Cover Image: Shaula

Shaula

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Member Reviews

I read Lesath before reading Shaula - the latter I received as an advance copy from NetGalley. 

I hate being negative about books, but I really found this a tough read. 

I love horror, thriller and mystery usually, but for me the structure of this book made it so hard for me to follow that I just felt lost. I had to keep turning pages back thinking, wait what just happened? Which is exactly what happened with Lesath. 

The first half of the story is quite dull, then when it begins to pick up later on it’s almost so fast that o struggled to comprehend it. There are also characters introduced, plot lines and plot twists touched on that are never revisited. Some of the complex language used also feels like it’s been put in there unnecessarily and doesn’t add anything to the overall effect. 

The characters are somewhat likeable. However, the world of the book isn’t elaborated enough for me. I don’t even know where it took place, despite having read both books, I assume it’s America? But I really don’t know. 

I really wanted to like this book more than Lesath, and I’ve seen so many good reviews, but it’s not the one for me unfortunately.
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This is more of a 3.5 or 3.75 but rounding up for simplicity sake.

It was an interesting plot and the writing was well done. While it states it can be read as a stand-alone, I would have preferred reading the first one first.

Overall, I do have a few people in mind to recommend this book to, as it’s right up their alley, so it’s definitely recommendable.
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I want to thank NetGalley and the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own. 

Shaula is a solid sci-fi horror thriller that delivers on all three fronts. In the beginning, the story moves intentionally slowly, pulling you into the mystery and fly-trapped-in-amber like atmosphere of the story. Telling it through the eyes of the clueless and endearingly green side-kick Ben was a really nice touch, I thought. In the second half, the story begins moving faster, and there are plenty of twists and unexpected turns that keep it fresh and the reader turning the pages ever faster. 

I did not read the first book in the series, but I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything - there are a few places where it's referenced, but everything is explained well enough without leaving the reader hanging. 

Although the author has stated in their review that the current copy should be free of typos (or as free as an ARC can be), I still found plenty, alongside grammar gone awry and commas that had no business being where they were - stuff like that happens in writing and text-blindness is a real thing; but I do hope the book does receive a final once-over and polishing before it is published, as I did find them a little distracting. 
Personally, I also wasn't a fan of the in parts flowery prose, but that comes down to personal taste, and since plenty of people have already pointed out how much they liked that aspect of the novel, your mileage may very well differ. 

I would recommend this to anyone who likes atmospheric creature horror and/or stories with cults.
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What happens when you combine humor and horror?  This book gives you the answer.

 Shaula combines the humor of the main and secondary characters, but with that touch of horror, a sea creature and cults.
 
 I liked the team that Grim and Ben formed from the beginning, leaving a good mix of horror and humor with their sarcastic comments.
 
The creature, I liked all the darkness of the creature theme, as well as being my favorite creature.
 
 In the story, it is always accompanied with horror and too many bloody scenes, and the ghost town with a mysterious cult.
 
 To clarify, this is the second book of The Stinger, but it is not necessary to read the first (something they tell you from the beginning).
 
 Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ebook.
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I loved this book.  The Author knows exactly how to make a situation go from regular to very sinister and quite scary.  It had great pacing, no parts felt too drawn out or dull, and the general menace of the Organisation is a quiet danger in the back of your mind.  I can only hope that there are more in this series as I want to see what happens in the long run.

If you like horror then I suggest you read this book.
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This is my first ever ARC from Netgalley. Many thanks to the author and publisher. 

The story revolves around two main characters, Grim and Ben, who had been tasked to send a package to someone in a shack. The someone ended up dead under mysterious circumstances and it's up to the duo to find out the cause of death, and stop more deaths from happening. 

This took me a few chapters to get into, but once it picked up I was hooked! Cults, experiments, a mythical creature. 

Other reviewers have probably mentioned what the mystical creature is but the unveiling is part of the surprise... Although it was foreshadowed in an earlier chapter by a disgruntled Grim. 

I enjoyed the book overall; the struggle between the protagonists on choosing between duty and survival, the descriptions of the mythical creature. There's a cult in there somewhere, with a cult leader, but I felt this was more of a filler.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s an excellent example of a horror! The monsters are chilling and I love cult/town horror. I didn’t know this was a sequel, so I read it as a stand-alone. 

It is well written, and not hard to digest. The setting is intriguing, and easy to immerse yourself in. The characters were also fun to read about, and sympathetic. However, it is a predictable plot line. I was not surprised at any moment in this book. It was still a fun read though. 

I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to this arc!
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Really enjoyed the main characters Grim and Ben. Their relationship is fun to watch and follow, and it develops quite nicely. This book is part of a series but can be read on it’s own and you won’t get lost. This book is a fun read and sometimes creepy and the element of the cult leader really gives the book an extra push. A must read for those whose like books that are a bit different.
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We love a good cult. This is a great sci-fi/horror story that was unique and tried a few new things. The characters were likable (not that they need to be for the book to be great) and the monsters were downright creepy. I would've enjoyed a little more backstory to help the fictional history and I couldn't find the first book anywhere to read it before-hand. But, solid read.
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This is my first book that I read by A.M. Kherbash. I found his style of writing easy to follow and the character development was something I enjoyed also. I was able to follow the story for the most part, keeping up with Ben & Grim’s mission with the commune and the kraken, but I found it difficult to keep myself engaged through the whole book. I typically enjoy thrillers and mystery books, but I had trouble staying connected until the very end. Thank you for providing the book to me as an advanced copy!
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I received a free advanced copy of Shaula from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book was not for me. I am not a fan of horror, but I love a good thriller, and this book was definitely more in the "horror" category than the "thriller" category.

The premise is that two men are sent to deliver a package. The delivery men seem to be members of some sort of organization- shady, secret agent sort of organization- and the town that they are delivering the package to is a virtual ghost town, taken over by members of a nearby cult. The story picks up pace as it moves along and there are plenty of twists and surprises awaiting the reader.

I suspect if you like horror or science fiction type horror, you may enjoy this book. I had not read the first book in the series, and I understood most of what took place in this book without having read it. Other reviewers have made comments about typos, but I think some of those are to be expected in ARC's, and I didn't notice any issues that made me struggle with comprehending the novel.
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3.5 stars

I received a free advanced copy of Shaula from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review, thanks to the author and the publisher.

I have not read the first book of the series and dived right into this one since the author stated it can be read as a standalone, albeit there are references to some events taken place in Stinger #1. Shaula is a blend of a cult, a ghost town, a mysterious lake creature, and two agent main characters.

Shaula is a sci-fi horror that follows our main characters, Grim and Ben, who are sent to send a mysterious package to a man who lives by a lake. They notice immediately that most of this town's inhabitants have left, leaving room for a cult to take over in their wake. The tale that follows deals with what happens when things do not actually go as planned. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, slowly getting to know the characters and the plot that entailed.
The novel combined great character development and enjoyable sci-fi elements. I loved the creepy town and the cult on the outskirts, and I loved the relationship between the characters. The author did a great job balancing between the amount of information they provided and the mystery.

It’s a great read, albeit with a very obvious plotline. It didn’t impact me much in any way, but I would recommend it to people if they are looking for a fresh book of the thriller/fantasy genre or a mystery with hints of fantasy, with great, rich writing and strong, amazing imagery. I would also recommend reading the first book before getting to this one because I sure do regret not doing that myself. The ARC I was provided with also has a ton of typos and errors and the novel could definitely use some proofreading. I hope it gets good polishing before it is released. Otherwise, an enjoyable read!
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First of all, thank you for letting me read the book ahead of its time.

The story sounded like it was right up my alley and in fact I did like parts of the book and I think I see what the authors intentions were.
With that said, I also did see some weaknesses in it. 

The characters are built after classical archetypes, which makes them feel familiar. Personally I found neither of them very sympathic or not. Right from the beginning they have an interesting relationship because both are carrying secrets and still they seem to be feeling kind of drawn together, trying to get on with one another. 
The setting is very well chosen and the cult is an interesting part of the story and makes it less predictable. 
After time, the main characters get unreliable, which is also a classical theme in horror stories. But usually I feel like the characters get this way because they are living through unbelievable stressfull scenarios. With these two it just felt like they were doing unreasonable and stupid things, which annoyed me. 
The other characters were also interesting concepts, but sadly they fell pretty flat. They only played little roles and then dissapeared.

In the end it just felt like the story was accumulating as much chaos as it could. It is a quick story that comes on strong with action sequences, but I would have preferred it, if it had more depths. 

The supernatural stuff like the monster and so on were also not enough explained and described for me. That way I could really not picture it at all and it threw me out of the story.
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Really good book including likeable main characters, creepy monsters and weird cults. I really enjoyed this one! Good news is since the first book in the series was hard to find, you didn't have to read the first one before this book to understand what was going on. The backstory would have been nice, but Shaula did a good job of filling in some of the blanks enough so that you could start here.
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In "Shaula," two agents from a secret organization are sent to deliver a mysterious package to a man by a lake. They quickly realize once they arrive in town that the people have abandoned it, leaving room for a local cult to take over the community. Things quickly devolve as the two agents learn to navigate their own organization, the town and cult leader. 
I want to preface by saying I have not read the first novel in the series. The book does make reference to that first story, but you won't be lost. The author, A.M. Kherbash, does an excellent job with character development and keeping the plot tight. However, the novel starts along the lines of a traditional horror before becoming more of a thriller in the latter half.
Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy.
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Oh boy. Let me start by saying I couldn’t find the first book in this series ANYWHERE to read before jumping on this. I may have missed A LOT of context by missing out on the first book. However, per the book itself:

0/1 World: I think the story took place in America? Maybe middle America? The place with the most character was the Tea shop and even that left a lot to the imagination. The characters often spoke about “the organization” and “HQ” but aside from some super secret science implications there’s no real indication what this place does. It does sound very CIA/Men in Black but beyond that..?

0.5/1 Characters: I hate Ben. Not because of any fault of his personality wise but just the way he’s written. If half of anything he did made sense... I might have liked him. Half the cast didn’t need to exist and served zero purpose beyond some weird Swiss cheese subplot. Grim and Olivia were acceptable and interesting (though I would have liked more on Olivia!) so... half a point.

0.5/1: Obviousness: so much about this book should have been obvious but the subplot had me thinking one way and the main plot... didn’t make any damn sense. It gets half a point for the fact I didn’t see the ending coming.

0/0 Readability: maybe the author is too smart for me or maybe it was typos (advanced reading copy) but there were words in this book that I had never heard and I couldn’t figure out from context. That and the whole mess just didn’t make any sense. There was very obviously the beginning of a plot but then it fell off the face of the planet and disappeared. A lot of jumping around and character POV changes too which pulled me right out of the story all together.

And finally:

0/0 Discrepancies: It’s really hard to get a zero from me on this honestly. Sometimes yeah your mind has to make it’s own connections and follow some implications but this book was everywhere. Characters disappeared after having half chapters dedicated to them. Things happened to other sub characters who weren’t even in the story to begin with and then they just... anyway. The whole thing was a mess and it seemed very half finished to me (even though those subplots were supposedly resolved at the end?) so yes - lots of discrepancies.

1/5 Overall: Hopefully with some editing and a bit more time this book can be polished but if it stays close to the advanced read... well... it ain’t great.

Publisher please note that a lot of editing needs to be done here as there were many instances where words were missing in sentences or sentences just didn’t make sense. The editing team needs to have their fine-toothed combs for this one.
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I was really interested in this book because it was really in line with my interests and it seemed like a slam dunk for me. The first half of the book was awesome. I really enjoyed getting to sort of know Grim and Ben. I came to picture Grim in my face as this older man who everyone in the neighborhood is afraid of, but that quality made him kind of endearing. The balance between amount of detail given and mystery was perfect and I loved the creepy small town with a cult on the outskirts of town. About halfway through there is a shift when Ben and Grim figure out what they were delivering that knocked me off course. It changed the book for me and I struggled to get through it. I would classify this more as a Thriller/Fantasy novel or a Mystery with hints of Fantasy in it instead of the way it was currently categorized. The writing was amazing and the imagery was so strong so I did really enjoy that part of it. It was just not a book for me.
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I received a free advanced copy of Shaula from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review - my sincerest thanks to both the author and the publisher. :) 

Disclaimer, I have not read the first book in the series. Kherbash states at the start of this novel that it is not required but the book does reference some events that occurred in #1. That being said going into this blind did not diminish my overall enjoyment of the book. 

The authors prose flows easily and is good at painting the images into your head. There's a very definite X-Files feel here in terms of the plot. especially in the first half or so. Then hold onto your pants folks because many things are not as they seem and there's some excellent twists throughout. 

The first half or 1/3rd of the book is more slow and even a bit generic in my humble opinion however I think that was the author's intention, lulling you into some sense of malaise before hitting you with some incredible stuff out of left field. 

That said, sadly my copy had a few typos or a missing word here and there. It would have benefited from a bit more proofreading. Overall 3.5 stars rounded down rather than up for the editing errors. If you can look past those and know the beginning is most likely on purpose there's a real interesting plot and world here. I am going to seek out #1 and hope there is a #3.
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Given I haven't read book one.... This is enjoyable as a standalone book also. 
This was definitely a different type of bok for me but one I could get into. 
Two agents are sent to send a mysterious package to a man who lives by a lake.
The lakeside cabin was the last remnant of a closed down resort, which Ben guessed was bought by a dummy corporation belonging to their employers. All the other cabins were torn down, leaving them with an empty property that served to distance the lakeside cabin from public grounds. 
In town hardly anyone has stuck around but this cult has taken claim. Things start to get a little hairy soon after arriving. 
This was a good read. I liked the characters. The setting was creepy. The story was overall a great story.
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I loved the character improvement/development in Shaula! Ben becomes someone completely new by the end and it was really great to see growth. I think sometimes in thrillers/horror novels, the characters get overshadowed by the plot. This book was able to balance both nicely. I liked the cult aspect of Shaula, I think there are many readers that would enjoy that!
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