Sherry chose to read Highland Cove by Dylan J Morgan.
Five friends with ambitions to become documentarians travel from London to an abandoned asylum on a Scottish island. The doctor who ran the asylum died sixty years prior and the hospital was closed and is rumored to be haunted.
The author is excellent at evoking atmosphere. The descriptions—first of the pub where the friends met the man who was taking them to the island—then of the island itself—and, finally, the inside of the asylum. The descriptions were creepy and very well done. Dark clouds hanging over the island and the storm complete with lightning added to the exquisite sense of anticipation of meeting some supernatural beings in the corridors or hospital rooms in the abandoned building. Peeling paint, dead leaves and icy wind whirling through the scenes were particularly evocative.
This reader enjoyed the suspense of the book for most of the novel. Figuring out an essential plot point early on was interesting and upped the anticipation of what was ahead.
What was unexpected was the shock of what happened later in the story, and without any spoilers, it’s hard to say what that was, but it was almost too much for this reader. I confess, I glossed over some of that, swiping my e-reader pages faster until the tale moved past that part. I imagine many readers of this genre would revel in that section, but not this one. It didn’t ruin the story for me, but it was disturbing.
The flashes back to the past added to the overall creepiness of the novel. The author is definitely gifted with a talent for descriptiveness. I could see all the places in the story and some made my skin crawl.
If you’re a fan of horror, you shouldn’t pass on this one. The ending was particularly disturbing. Just don’t read before bed or you might wake up at 2 a.m, like I did thinking I heard someone calling my name…..
Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.
The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.
But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.
The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016
*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!
Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!
A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.
Cathy has been reading The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan
Several weeks after the first contingent of soldiers were despatched to Hemera on an ill-fated reconnaissance mission (The Dead Lands), another larger, elite force has travelled from Erebus to Hemera in order to rescue any survivors. Headed by Colonel Paden who couldn’t really care less about his soldiers, and has his sights firmly set on the treasure he believes is buried beneath the presidential palace. The Superior Armed Forces are aware from previous reports that Hemera’s capital, Magna, is overrun by mutants but were unprepared for the magnitude of their task and the swarms of creatures which greeted their disembarkation.
The action is non stop from that moment with terrifying battle scenes and lots of carnage on both sides. Written in the third person, it gives excellent, and sometimes poignant, insights into the characters, as we get to know the dynamics and great mix of personalities and motivations. They all inspire strong emotions and are crafted exceptionally well – those you love and those you love to hate. My favourites are Ryan and his sister, Jayde, along with several others. I know it’s a mistake to get too attached (it took me a while to get over Lane) as Dylan Morgan has no scruples about killing off characters, good as well as bad.
There are so many motivating forces in this story, including hate, greed, love, fear, honour and principles relating to loyalty and conduct. I know from reading previous books there is never a happy ever after, but this finishes with a completely unexpected and terrifically awful twist at the end, which I hope means the story isn’t over just yet, although I think I’ve visualised enough body parts and gore flying around to keep me going for a little while
The writing is as descriptive and detailed as always, with well defined characters, and a fast paced plot. If I can use the three Gs again – gritty, gruesome and great! Those words do seem to encapsulate Dylan Morgan’s books.
Teri has been reading The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan
I’ve been anticipating this followup to The Dead Lands (review here) and was highly rewarded for my impatience patience.
The reader is immediately dropped into a riveting action sequence that will make you want to flip ahead to see what happens – but try to resist the urge! The action sequences are vivid and extremely well done and I could easily picture the scenes as if watching a movie.
Morgan also possesses a talent at creating characters you love and those you love to hate and would like to feed to the mutants yourself – namely the greedy, narcissistic, and disgusting Colonel Paden. That being said, one of the reasons Morgan’s books are so suspenseful is that you never know if one of your favorite characters will live or go down in a blaze of glory – or even with a whimper. But it sure does make for an exciting read.
And the ending! Just when I thought the story was over, my heart rate had returned to normal, and I’d made peace with the sacrifices and deaths, a curveball came out of nowhere and left me in shock. A dark, but nice twist that could lead to a sequel – I hope.
I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.
Noelle has been reading The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan,
This is a review based on an advanced reader copy from the author; the book.
The Dead Lands, which I recently reviewed here, is the prequel to this book by Dylan Morgan – The Dead City. In the first book, a team of highly trained soldiers from Erebus are sent in response to a radio signal from the sister planet Hemera, indicating that the President of Hemera and his family are awaiting rescue after being in stasis since a nuclear war one hundred years prior. They are sent by the avaricious and pig-like Colonel Paden, who features prominently in this second book. Rather than a barren land with no surviving inhabitants, the team finds a baking, dusty, rubble-strewn wasteland populated by murderous thugs and a completely destroyed capital city of Magna, overrun with hordes of horrifying and ghastly mutants. The sole interest of these mutants is killing and eating the organs of their prey.
In The Dead City, another crack team is heading to Hemera and Magna, accompanied by Colonel Paden. He wants to find the treasure in gems said to be hidden within the capitol city, ostensibly for Erebus but in reality for himself. He brings with him physicians to tend to his health and three prostitutes to tend to his other needs. The team is led by Lieutenant Marshall, a much-decorated soldier revered by his men. Among the team members are Ryan and his sister Jayde, who is also a soldier and very close to her brother, and also the loathsome Murdoch, who has hated Ryan since their training and fantasizes in graphic ways about what he will do to and with Jayde, if he ever gets the chance.
This time the soldiers are aware of what awaits them, and the trek to the capitol’s palace is a running of the gauntlet, with the gruesome deaths of both soldiers and mutants. The mutants, who have deadly aim with sharpened metal blades, are held off by a plasma guns (Berserkers), which blow them into bloody bits but which cannot stem their unending tide. Eventually some of the groups into which the team has been split reach the deepest level of the palace, where the President and his family, long since dead, were once housed. Paden then follows in relative safety, at the cost of more men, and the search of the building and sewers for the gems begins.
The Dead City has an inherently interesting story line with characters you can really love or hate. My dislike of Colonel Paden was so great, I prayed for a mutiny. While Ryan is suitably indomitable and brave, the author has also created many minor characters who grabbed me emotionally. As I said about The Dead Lands, this is not a story for the faint of heart. There were times when I was overwhelmed with the repetitive and gruesome slaughter; there’s a limit to the amount of gore I can handle. Luckily, each time when I thought I’d reached that limit, the story and characters kicked back in and I kept reading. The ending was a total surprise and made it more than worth reading the book. I want the sequel!
Two things. I wish there had been more of a transition between the previous book and this one – seeing what happened to the first team when the remnants of it returned to Erebus, for example. I also wondered why the mutants never killed and ate each other.
The relentless gore aside, the author does a great job of describing his world and drawing the reader into it. This book should appeal to everyone who likes strongly written, post-apocalyptic thrillers.
I don’t know where to start! When I read The Dead Lands, which is the prequel to this book, I didn’t think I could ever feel quite so involved in a novel again, but I was wrong. Dylan Morgan has a unique talent for dropping you into the thick of the action as if you are a living, breathing member of the Erebus Superior Armed Forces. I had to keep coming up for air after certain scenes just to check I was still in my living room!
The Dead City can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, without having read The Dead Lands. There are a couple of references made to the characters in the other book but nothing that will confuse a reader who finds this title first.
As with all of the books I’ve read by this author, he crafts characters that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Unfortunately, Dylan Morgan also has a knack for ripping your heart out of your chest by killing off your favourite characters in a blaze of gunfire. I think this is what I love most about Dylan’s books – they are incredibly realistic. Unfortunately, in war, the good guys don’t always make it home and this is what gives The Dead City such a powerfully emotional pull. I cried twice reading this book!! I’d love to talk more about the wonderful mix of characters but I fear that I may inadvertently leave a spoiler or two.
The storyline follows the team of soldiers as they arrive on the planet of Hemera with instructions to extract the city’s huge wealth. You are dropped into the action almost immediately and the scenes that unfold are both gripping and terrifying. Greed, betrayal, and horror meets the soldiers and you are swept along this tidal wave of emotion with them.
I became a firm fan of Dylan Morgan several books back but The Dead City has cemented my allegiance as a lifelong groupie. I can’t recommend this title highly enough.
I read The Dead City as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and received an ARC copy from the author in response for an honest review.
Terry has been reading The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan
The Dead City is the sequel to The Dead Lands, which I loved ~ and I’m happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this, too!
The sly, greedy and sociopathic Colonel Paden from planet Erebus has commanded a fleet to go to the city of Magna on planet Hemera, to recover lost riches hidden there after a nuclear strike wiped it out a hundred years before. The party of 400 soldiers is led by Lieutenant Marshal, and as soon as they set foot in the dead city of the title, they are besieged by the thousands of mutant beings who live there, descendents of those who survived.
The main characters are Paden, Marshal, soldier Ryan and his beloved sister Jayde, the evil Murdoch who has a bone or six to pick with Ryan and a hankering for his sister, and several other ‘goodies’ who are given varying fates: Boone, Darrell, Burke, Laila.
The mission is dangerous if not suicidal, and Marshal contemplates mutiny as more and more of his men lose their lives. Dylan Morgan is the master of bleak dystopian description and atmosphere, and though this is a fairly long book consisting mostly of soldiers fighting mutants and dying horrible deaths, it never seemed either repetitive or tedious, because of the backstories, hopes, fears and relationships between all the people, and the ‘oh my God what’s going to happen when I turn the page’ factor. The characterisation is as good as in all his books, and I couldn’t get enough of the despicable Colonel Paden! I made a note that Chapter 10 is particularly good, but there are other highlights, including a chapter from a mutant’s point of view, which is quite an eye-opener and a great idea (there’s one in The Dead Lands, too).
I wasn’t expecting a happy ever after ending and I certainly didn’t get one, though a final, dark and terrifying twist is revealed at the end – nice one, and it left promise of another book to come, which I am seriously looking forward to! Definitely recommended if you like books of this genre and don’t wince at blood, gore and horrific injuries. Oh, and if Mr Morgan can get me any of that Tetralaphel given to the injured soldiers, I’d be forever in his debt!!
Homo Deus: A Brief History of TomorrowHardcover– 8 Sep 2016
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestsellingSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. InHomo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.
Homo Deusexplores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This isHomo Deus.
War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict
Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation
Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.
Told from a perspective unlike any other,Nutshellis a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.
Lean in 15 – The Sustain Plan: 15 minute meals and workouts to get you lean for life by Joe Wicks Paperback– 17 Nov 2016
Bestselling author Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has inspired thousands to transform their bodies by shifting unwanted fat and building lean muscle. InLean in 15 – The Sustain Planhe reveals how to SUSTAIN incredible results while still seeing progress week on week.
Fully illustrated and with a hundred quick-to-prepare meals and four workouts, the plan is perfect for busy people who don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen or gym. Joe gives advice on how to combine his tasty, nutritious recipes with a brand new training programme to make you leaner, fitter and healthier than ever before.
It’s time to makeLean in 15part of your lifestyle forever.
The Worldwide Number One Bestseller Wilbur Smith returns to Ancient Egypt in a captivating new novel that will transport you to extraordinary times.
EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK.
Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.
Taita prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose’s armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt’s most desperate hour.
With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen.
Pharaoh Utteric is young, weak and cruel, and threatened by Taita’s influence within the palace – especially his friendship with Utteric’s younger and worthier brother, Ramases. With Taita’s imprisonment, Ramases is forced to make a choice: help Taita escape and forsake his brother, or remain silent and condone Utteric’s tyranny. To a good man like Ramases, there is no choice. Taita must be set free, Utteric must be stopped and Egypt must be reclaimed.
From the glittering temples of Luxor to the Citadel of Sparta, PHARAOH is an intense and powerful novel magnificently transporting you to a time of threat, blood and glory. Master storyteller, Wilbur Smith, is at the very peak of his powers.
Chasing The Dream: A Sports Thriller by J.D Dudycha September 13th
One is driven from failure to success. The other is willing to let his friends die to chase his dream.
Brothers Drake and Cade Flint are baseball players. It is in their blood. From an early age, Drake has had superior talent and secures himself a place in professional baseball at the age of eighteen. But after three long years in the minors and a recent fastball gone awry, he is beginning to question his ability and even his love for the game. Will anything be able to help him refocus and recapture his place in the sport he loves?
Cade Flint, on the other hand, has a belief in himself that’s unparalleled. The brash teenager can do no wrong—at least in his own mind. That is, until he finds himself in a precarious position with an intriguing young woman, who turns out to be more of a stalker than your average fan. She forces Cade to take action, leading to the untimely death of a teammate and to his life spiraling out of control. Will it ultimately lead to his own demise?
Can these brothers make it out on top? Or will chasing their dreams cost them more than it’s worth?
The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan due out September 4th
Nuclear war devastated the planet of Hemera and shattered its main city, Magna. A century later, its sister planet, Erebus, despatched a team of soldiers to the city to rescue Hemera’s president and restore that world to its former glory. What the reconnaissance team found however was a violent mutated population—all they discovered there was death. Now, four weeks after the final mayday call from her decimated soldiers, Erebus has sent a larger force to Hemera’s surface. Colonel Paden is coming with them, but his desires go way beyond the rescue of the surviving recon team. A mountain of jewels and gold is rumoured to lie buried beneath the presidential palace, and Paden is here to claim the wealth he believes is due to him.
Dropped into an unforgiving world, Ryan and the other soldiers of Erebus Superior Armed Forces soon discover everything is not as they thought. Magna’s population is more deadly than they could ever have imagined, their Colonel more corrupt than they’d ever known. Seeking refuge in the president’s underground bunker, the combatants are forced to sacrifice everything just to stay alive.
Bandit clans control Hemera’s dead lands and they’ve surrounded Magna in an effort to claim the fortune that belongs to their planet. Mutants control the city streets, but all they want is the taste of human flesh. Trapped inside the dead city, Ryan must fight against a mutated population—against the greed, betrayal, and hatred of those who stand at his side—in a desperate battle for survival.
Murder & Mayhem by Carol J Hedges due out early September
The city is in the grip of railway mania when the gruesome discovery of several infant corpses in an abandoned house forces Inspector Lachlan Greig of A Division, Bow Street Police Office and his men to enter the dark and horrific world of baby farming. It will take all Greig’s skill and ingenuity to track down the evil perpetrators and get justice for the murdered innocents.
Meanwhile two school friends Letitia and Daisy stand side by side on the threshold of womanhood. One longs for marriage to a handsome man The other craves entry to higher education. Will their dreams come true, or will their lives be shattered into little pieces by the tragic and unexpected events that are about to overtake them?
Hope meets horror, and Parliament is threatened by anarchists in this rumbustious fourth Victorian crime novel, set once again amongst the dangerous twisting alleyways and gaslit thoroughfares of 1860s London.
The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler due out early October
There’s a serial killer at large in the fictional town of Lyndford in south Lincolnshire, and five people fear that he might be someone close to them. One of them is right….
Julietwonders where her controlling, violent husband goes at night, and when a TV crime expert lists the characteristics of your average multiple murderer, she realises they could be describing the man she’s been married to for twenty-four years. Steve has been friends with Dan since childhood, but a new friend has brought out the worst in him. Is ‘the worst’ more terrifying that Steve dares to imagine?
Tamsinis in love with her colleague on the local newspaper. When Jake rejects her, she begins to look at him with new eyes. Maisieloathes her mother’s new boyfriend. Her best friend teases her that Gary is the Lyndford Strangler, but could her joke have hit the nail on the head?
Dorothy loves her son, Orlando, more than life itself ~ which makes her suspicions about his secret life so heart-breaking that she fears for her sanity.
Lilyn has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Oh, I wanted to love this book. It looked perfect. Mutants, science-fiction, post-apocalyptic setting… I’d seen great reviews, too. Unfortunately, The Dead Lands was a dud for me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t feel anything for or towards it. It evoked no emotions. It never aroused my curiosity, never made me think.
It was technically a science fiction novel in part because it was based on a different planet, but it wasn’t really based on a different planet. Apart from the advanced weaponry and cryogenics, the worlds that are featured in this novel (mutants aside) are disturbingly mundane. There’s nothing in them that suggests an exotic location. None of the characters appealed to me. They’re not cardboard characters, exactly, but they’re so typical that with the mundane setting and other issues they were almost irritating.
However, and here’s the interesting thing, this would make a great movie. The more I read it, the more that occurred to me. All the little bits and bobs , the occasionally gruesome images and odd character tics, etc, are at best mildly interesting in the book. If it was a movie, though? Hah! It’d be freaking awesome! Filled with shoot-em-ups, last stands, and plenty of gore. You’d probably have to pay me to get me to read the second book in this series. But I’d be there on opening night in the theatre, saying “Shut up and take my money” to see this on the big screen.
My favorite part of the book was near the very end when the author killed off a character I was expecting to live. It was completely unexpected, so I’ll happily admit I did a little internal cheer. I love it when authors go against the grain and do something unexpected. Overall, The Dead Lands was an okay read. Morgan knows how to put a story together, but he needs to refine his writing a little bit.
Teri has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Another Dylan J.Morgan book – another thrilling read! A combination of sci-fi, horror, and post-apocalyptic elements, The Dead Lands is a gritty, action-packed novel.
From the beginning, the reader knows the mission to Hemera is expected to fail and it doesn’t take long for the characters to realize the same thing – but that doesn’t stop them from fighting for survival, making it easy to root for most of them. Some, I was rooting for the mutants to tear into. The novel is full of conflict – not only between the characters themselves, but also with what they encounter on Hemera.
I’ve always liked this author’s writing style – clear and concise, no wasted words and he has a gift for descriptive writing, allowing the reader to picture Hemera and everything the characters experience (the smells are revolting – I don’t think these guys got a breath of fresh air throughout the novel).
There’s a somewhat surprising twist at the end and I’m glad to know a sequel is in the works. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy sci-fi, thrillers, action, and a touch of horror.
I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.