The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski #BookReview #Horror #SciFi

 

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hematTitle: The Hematophages
Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Series: N/A
Format: Digital, 326 pages
Publication Details:  April 1st 2017 by Sinister Grin Press
Genre(s): Horror; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads

Doctoral student Paige Ambroziak is a “station bunny” – she’s never set foot off the deep space outpost where she grew up. But when she’s offered a small fortune to join a clandestine salvage mission, she jumps at the chance to leave the cutthroat world of academia behind.

Paige is convinced she’s been enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny, a long-lost colonization vessel from an era before the corporations ruled Earth and its colonies. Whatever she’s looking for, though, rests in the blood-like seas of a planet-sized organism called a fleshworld.

Dangers abound for Paige and her shipmates. Flying outside charted space means competing corporations can shoot them on sight rather than respect their salvage rights. The area is also crawling with pirates like the ghoulish skin-wrappers, known for murdering anyone they can’t extort.

But the greatest threat to Paige’s mission is the nauseating alien parasites which infest the fleshworld. These lamprey-like monstrosities are used to swimming freely in an ocean of blood, and will happily spill a new one from the veins of the outsiders who have tainted their home. In just a few short, bone-chilling hours Paige learns that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as…THE HEMATOPHAGES

Review

I was in two minds going into this book. On one hand, I expected to like it because I’ve enjoyed many of Stephen Kozeniewski’s previous books (Braineater Jones, Hunter of the Dead and The Ghoul Archipelago) , but on the other hand, I don’t have a huge capacity for deep-space colony settings/ hardcore sci-fi novels.

Luckily for me, 1. I’m a bit of a gore-fiend, and that came in spades, and 2. It appears that everything Kozeniewski writes is so damn readable! It’s annoying, really. 

The Hematophages centres around Paige, a seemingly accomplished and confident Doctoral Student. But deep down she’s inexperienced and naïve, having never left her space station. Paige bags herself a ‘need to know’ mysterious new job which will send her on a mission into the fleshworld (yes, it’s as gross as it sounds) with its oceans of blood and blood-drinking alien-fish monstrosities. 

The mission is fraught with danger from the start, attacked by pirates with no skin before they even arrive, and then the realisation that they are actually salvaging the world-famous ship The Manifest Destiny which holds some truly grim surprises of its own, Paige and her new BFF/the object of her affection, Zanib will be extremely lucky to get out alive (and with all their parts), never mind complete the mission.

I wasn’t sure about protagonist Paige at first. She seemed to have two entirely different personalities, which meant it took me a little while to get into the swing of things, but I warmed to her eventually and ended up really enjoying this fast-paced story.

The thorough world-building made it easy to understand Kozeniewski’s epic vision. And it was epic! As I said earlier, I’m not a huge SF reader, so maybe this was nothing new, but it was definitely new to me, and felt unique.

I liked that in this version of the far-future the human race are all one colour due to years of inter-racial sex, that the gross Skin-Wrappers evolved from ostracised people with some kind of cancer, and that men have completely died out. Hurrah! (I joke…but, imagine).

Written well, full of stomach-churning wrongness and women kicking some blood-sucking, alien-fish-with-teeth-for-tongues ass, Kozeniewski has done it again. He’s like the indie master of horror. Or something. Give him a try if you can stomach it!

unicorn rating 4

 

 

 

The Frenchman by Lesley Young

frenchman
Title: The Frenchman
Author: Lesley Young
Series: Crime Royalty Romance #1
Edition: Digital Reader’s Copy, 276 Pages
Publication Details: January 2015 by L.A.Y. Books
Genre(s): Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands?

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family business will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

Review


To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think much of the synopsis or cover of this book, but I was in the mood for a quick, light read so I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m really glad I did!

The Frenchman is a page-turning romance (bordering on erotica), set in Toulon, France where innocent and naive Fleur Smithers is spending a year getting to know her police-officer birth-mum.

The relationship between the two is interesting. They are very different, but despite the past they get along and understand each other. Marie, Fleur’s mum, along with her friend Jess encourage her to enjoy everything France has to offer, including the men, and one night in a tiny restaurant, she does just that.

She meets Louis, an aloof, brute of a man who also happens to be a famous Rugby player. From here, Fleur not only finds herself in an intense, whirlwind of passion, but she’s also gotten herself into something deeper. Is Louis really who he says he is? Is her mother right to warn her against him and his family?

The Frenchman really surprised me. I was kind of expecting it to be sex, sex, sex, but I really enjoyed the story too, especially the crime element. It had a lot more strings to its bow than a lot of romance books I’ve read.

Louis is everything you could want in a leading man, too. Essentially, he’s a bad-boy with a heart, or so we hope as we read on. And he’s clearly pretty damn hot! I enjoyed the dynamic between the two characters, and how Fleur stood up to him on occasion. And although they get together pretty quickly, this definitely wasn’t an instalove thing – there was more going on than that, which is always what keeps me interested in a story – it was a rollercoaster of a romance.

Overall, I was really impressed by The Frenchman. It’s not the kind of thing I read often but I’d definitely like to continue with the series. Watch out E.L James!

unicorn rating 4