Welcome to Woofer's Lair. Curious as to what you will see here? Well, for the most part, you will find book reviews, maybe the occasional movie review, and if you are lucky, you might stumble across one of my own works in progress. If you like what you see or what read, and even if you don't, please feel free to leave your comments. As I am somewhat new to blogging, all of your constructive feedback is appreciated. Have fun and thanks for stopping by.

Wicked Seasons

Wicked Seasons
My short story, HUNGRY FOR MORE, is included


Joe Hill's NOS4A2

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Blue Birds Fly. . . and Zombies Roam

I'm going to be blunt here; The Undead World of Oz by Frank L. Baum and Ryan C. Thomas did nothing for me. After having read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I thought was an interesting concept (even if it didn't work for me), my curiosity was piqued by a similar approach to the Wizard of Oz. Would it work better, being that it is already a fantasy? Alas, it turned out to be as big a disappointment as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. To me, if you have read one, you've read them all.

As I said, the concept of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies intrigued me, as I was curious to see how they would work in the zombie elements. It was done remarkably well, I won't take that away from the authors, as I feel Thomas also did a remarkable job of interweaving the additions to make it appear as if the zombies were part of the original story, but it did little to add to the story. Having read the originals, I was quickly growing bored with the books, and I found myself skipping ahead just to find out where/what things were added and changed. I feel that there is a lack of creativity on the part of the author(s); while the concept is creative, the execution requires more a knack of being able to duplicate the language of the original author, so I can appreciate the works on a technical level, but as a creative narrative, the creativity belongs solely to the original author. In order for these to be successful (for me at least), I would rather see the author take the original story and rewrite it in their own words and include their zombie concept. Going forward, I feel that's how the authors should approach these rewrites rather than just adding to the original texts.

With that said, about The Undead World of Oz. . .

If you have read the original, the story is pretty much the same word for word until Dorothy lands in Oz. Her house does land on the Wicked Witch of the East, and she does meet the Witch of the North. However, their meeting is interrupted by the arrival of Undead Munchkins clamoring for brains. On hearing Dorothy's desire to return home to Kansas, The Good Witch advises her to go and see the Wizard; she also requests that Dorothy ask the Wizard to put an end to the curse of the Wicked Witch and lay the Undead to rest. So, donning the silver shoes of the Wicked Witch of the East (yes, silver, although by the end of the book they are Ruby Red Slippers after they have become stained with the blood of the zombies), she sets off to see the Wizard.

One her way, she does rescue the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and does encounter the Cowardly Lion, and as they venture to The Emerald City, they encounter zombies and assorted other monsters. They finally arrive, only to be told my the Great and Powerful Oz that he will not grant their requests until the bring proof that the Wicked Witch of the West is dead. So it's off to slay the witch, and on that journey they face even more monsters and zombies, including the Flying Monkeys. Dorothy succeeds in killing the witch, and when they return to Oz, the Wizard grants all of their requests -- except the two Dorothy made -- so the Scarecrow has his brains, the Tin Woodman has it heart, and the Cowardly Lion has his courage. As Dorothy is about the climb into the hot air balloon to return home, the zombies lay siege to the Emerald City. Toto jumps from Dorothy's arms to attack the zombies, and Dorothy goes after him, leaving the Wizard to depart the Undead World of Oz alone.

Left in Oz, Dorothy comes to the conclusion that if she is going to be stuck in this strange world, it is going to be up to her and her friends to make the land safe for everybody. Needless to say, Dorothy does eventually return home with the help of the silver shoes. As for the ending, this was the only part of truly enjoyed, even though I was able to predict it early on, as it offers up an explanation as to how zombies came to inhabit our world.

The commercial success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is spawning way too many rip-offs, of which The Undead World of Oz is only one. I have been unfortunate enough to have read two of these zombifications of the classics, and I won't deny that you should read at least one just for the experience of reading, but leave it at that. Pass on the others so that we don't encourage this trend of "rewriting" the classics, of which there are far too many already.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For Love of the Dead by Hal Bodner

Jake Marshal knows death. In fact, as a Funeral Director, Jake Marshall is surrounded by death on a regular basis, and since he lost his lover, Devin, in a hit and run, Jake has also become somewhat morbidly attached to the beautiful young men whom he has helped lay to rest. He has pictures of them on his living room wall and dwells in the past, wondering What if. . . What if he had met them before they died? Would they have have died so young if he had been involved with them? Could they have been THE one who could complete him so he could rejoin the world of the living? Mark Hartner is one of these men.

When Jake first meets Mark, Mark is dead. Very dead. And is laid out on the table so he can be embalmed and laid to rest. He is in awe of the man's angelic beauty and he starts wondering what if? He doesn't have to wait long to find out. Tyler Deauxfines has an agenda -- and it involves Mark Hartner and Jake Marshall. Tyler is a houngan, or voodoo priest, and he holds Mark responsible for his brother's death. With the aid of his Dark Gods, Tyler succeeds in reviving Mark Hartner. Imagine Jake's surprise when he finds Mark sitting up on his table.

Jake quickly finds out that Mark is not the kind of man he could have a relationship with, not like Mario, the one man he has met that seems to understand his love for the dead; Mark is egotistical, arrogant, and cruel, a man used to seeing what he wants and taking it regardless of the consequences. And Mark never suffers the consequences. In this case, Jake is the one who suffers.

When Jake and Tyler finally cross paths, Jake discovers the truth of things. He finds out what a despicable person Mark really is and how many people he has hurt in his short life. He also discovers what role he has to play in the course of things.

I'm not going to reveal anything more in case you decide to read the book, and if you aren't put off by gay relationships and gay sex, I would highly recommend reading it, which is surprising for me. When it comes to my reading, I tend to stay away from what is considered "erotica" because I find the sex contained within it tends to overpower the story, and usually there isn't much of a story. I find the sex is used as filler for a lacking story line. That was not the case with Hal Bodner's For Love of the Dead, published by Ravenous Romance. What I found here was a gruesome little tale that had the right balance of horror, romance, and sex. With that said, there was one sticking point for me, and that is only because I am a gore hound. While I did say there was an even balance, I did find there was an imbalance in the gore -- one scene is rather graphically described while another scene is glossed over. That does not take away from the book as a whole, which I thoroughly enjoyed and could not put down, but it did leave me feeling a little cheated -- but as I said, I'm a gore hound.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton

I've been a die-hard Anita Blake fan for years; recently, however, I'll admit to being disappointed with the last few books in the series (starting with Incubus Dreams), as the books moved away from mysteries and became more about Anita's sex life, so while I still bought and read them, they weren't always a priority on my TBR pile. A friend of mine urged me to start this one because it was more like the first books of the series -- and I am happy to say that the old Anita is back, stronger than before, but still trying to gain control over her growing powers. How long before the books revert back to the bed hopping, only the author knows. But enough of that, on with the book.

The books opens with Anita receiving a unique present while at work -- somebody care enough about her to send her the very best, a severed human head. Turns out the severed head belongs to a fellow vampire hunter who worked in Vegas. Obviously, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. Along with the head, there's a note so Anita knows who to thank for this lovely gift. Turns out Vittoria, a ruthless vampire serial killer, is back, and he wants Anita. Is it revenge, as Anita has had a run-in with him in the past, or is it something more?

Anita contacts the Vegas authorities, feeling the need to let them know exactly what they are up against. Things turn out to be worse than she expected, as there were eleven law enforcement officials slaughtered at the same time as their local vampire hunter, and it was done through supernatural means. As a Federal Marshall, Anita sneaks off to Vegas on her own (which Jean Claude is not happy about), without any of her entourage that will help her control her growing powers. In Vegas, she teams up with fellow Marshalls Edward, Bernardo, and the unpredictable Olaf, who scares Anita more than some of the Uber Monsters she has gone up against. Being without the Men in life, Anita faces the possibility of losing control of the ardeur, the one power that has proven to be the most unpredictable, and the one power that has turned her into the equivalent of a living vampire. As if that wasn't bad enough, there is also the threat of the Mother of All Darkness, the Mother of All Vampires, who has the habit of attacking Anita when she is at a disadvantage, and she does not disappoint.

I was surprised when I read it. The book is 486 pages, and with each page I turned, I cringed; I was waiting for Anita to lose control of the ardeur and have to have sex with the nearest available man in order to sate it. It was with some relief that she did not need to feed until the book was near completed (somewhere in the 370s/380s), and then it was not painfully drawn out. My only problem with the book was the ending. Without giving it away, I found the ending to be rushed and anti-climactic. There was also one incident that takes place that caught be totally off guard, as it totally blows out of the water where I thought Hamilton was taking the series. All in all, the ending aside, I was more satisfied with this Anita Blake adventure than I have been in a long time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead (may contain spoilers)

Succubus (n) - A alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men.
Pathetic (adj.) - A succubus with great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid
(taken from the back cover of Succubus Blues)

That's what lured me into the world of Georgina Kincaid. The latest installment (Book 4) in the Georgina Kincaid series is Succubus Heat. It starts with Jerome, a demon with a man crush on John Cusack (although he'll never admit it) and Georgina's boss, loaning out our friendly neighborhood succubus to a fellow demon in Canada. Why? Because Georgina has been a tad bitchy since her break-up with her boyfriend, and he just can't deal with her in this mood.

While on assignment, Jerome is kidnapped and Georgina and the rest of the lesser immortals under Jerome's command suddenly find themselves stripped of their abilities. Faced with a mortal existence after centuries of immortality (not to mention the ability to shape-shift a killer wardrobe and perfect hair), Georgina experiences a brief agoraphobic episode, where she is left wondering if she now faces the real possibility of dying. On top of this, she must also face the fact that there is a chance that Jerome will never be coming back, as the Demonic Powers That Be, while concerned with Jerome's disappearance, seem more concerned with finding a replacement. Georgina wants Jerome back and sets out to find him. In her search, she is aided by ex-boyfriend Seth, psychotic ex-boyfriend Roman, and current boyfriend Dante.

Seth is the one who got away, and while they are no longer together, it is obvious they still love each other. Faced with Seth and the lack of her succubus abilities, Georgina realizes she can now be with Seth in the one way they couldn't be with Seth before for fear of draining his life force -- one of the downfalls of having sex with a succubus. The only things standing in their way is Georgina's current boyfriend and Seth's current girlfriend, Maddie Sato, who also happens to the Georgina's best mortal friend. Does she put aside her investigation and her relationship(s) to be with Seth? Not answering that.

Does she find Jerome? Does Seattle fall under the rule of a new Demon? Not answering those either. You'll have to read to find out. If you are new to the world of Georgina Kincaid, you have a month's worth of reading ahead of you (that's averaging a book a week).

Let me start off by saying that this series is not one I normally would have picked up, as I am a die-hard horror buff. But sometimes something about a book grabs you, whether it be the cover, the jacket copy, whatever, and you pick it up. I don't regret starting this series, as Succubus Blues was excellent. Each book just gets better, and your find yourself rooting for the supposed bad guys (aren't demons and vampires supposed to be evil?). The books are well thought out, and well written. There are just enough questions asked to keep you reading. And there are some questions that keep you reading into the next book. Despite things that happen, you can't help but hope that Georgina finds her happily ever after. So many readers I've seen posting on the series want it to be with Seth? Me? Originally, like everybody else, I was hoping it would be with Seth, but that won't happen unless Georgina can find the loophole in her contract (I'm not saying anything more on that -- you'll have to read to find out what I'm talking about). But now? I'm hoping Georgina's appeal is enough to reform Roman. After all, once he came back into her life a piece of her dream of happily ever after came true (you'll have to read Succubus Dreams to find out about that).

Recommendation: Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What to do, what to do. . .

Well, when I signed up for this, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, but now I've made a decision, for those who care to know. Since I've picked up on my reading in the past few months, and I've been getting back to my writing, I will be posting my thoughts on books as I've finished them, and post some of my current projects in progress to get some general feedback -- providing I can get some honest criticism. I'm almost finished with Richelle Mead's Succubus Heat, so that will probably be my first review. Look for it in a couple of days. Later tonight, I'll post the opening of a new short story I'm working on.