Thursday, February 25, 2016

Return to Deathlehem: An Anthology of Holiday Horrors for Charity


Slay bells ring,
Kids are screaming,
In the lane, snow is blood stained.
There's nowhere to hide,
Krampus has arrived,
There'll be feasting in a winter slaughter land…

Welcome Back

… where the office Secret Santa proves more dangerous than a game of Russian roulette…
… where trips to Grandma’s house are fraught with danger…
… where a traditional Nutcracker poses a threat to a pair of would-be thieves…
… where ghosts of Christmases past haunt and take vengeance against the living…
… and many more!

Twenty-three tales of holiday horror that benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

I love a good Anthology and the only thing I love more than short horror stories with a Halloween theme is short horror stories with a Christmas theme. I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite from these creepy little gems but I suppose I am partial to Krampus stories and would have to say I loved those. I think this volume was even better than last year's.

Authors include JP Behrens, Steven Bigwood, Rose Blackthorn, Chantal Boudreau, Kevin G. Bufton
Alyn Day, Nicole DeGennaro , David J. Delaney, Gerard Griffin
Vicky MacDonald Harris Susan Jay Geoffrey K. Liu  Kerry G.S. Lipp  Steph Minns, Christopher M. Morgan, Mark Parker, Jordan Phelps, Mike Pieloor, Joel Reeves, Michael Shayne, Philip Thorogood
DJ Tyrer, Jay Wilburn

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cold Hollow (Cold Hollow Mysteries Book 1) by Emilie J. Howard

The Barner family relocates to Cold Hollow, a quaint town nestled in a Vermont mountain range. They find it to be quite charming and the inhabitants endearing, except for a few residents. Odd laws are enforced, confrontations begin, and insanity reigns as a madman sits upon his imaginary throne, trying to keep the threads of his dream from unraveling. Will Sophia and Angus Barner be able to protect their children from the malevolence that lurks within the small township? This is the story of Cold Hollow, a place you’ll never want to visit.

The Barner family is relocating to a lovely home in  Cold Hollow, which from all outward appearances is a perfect little town. So what if certain residents like to dig a hole in the dirt to nap in or slap their wives upside the head to show appreciation for preparing their favorite meal. It's really not that big of a deal if you have no cell phone reception and have to leave town if you need to make a long distance call is it? Well... provided you are able to get out. What might be a problem however, is what happens if you don't show up to town hall on time to collect your monthly bill or if you can't pay your "living fee." I have to say I LOVE books about strange little towns with bizarre inhabitants so this was right up my alley.  I was enthralled from the first sentence and thrilled to see that there is a part 2 (Weaving The Web: A Cold Hollow Mystery (Cold Hollow Mysteries Book 2)                  

I received a complimentary copy for review                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O'Leary

Set in 1960s and '70s Australia, "The Blood on My Hands" is the dramatic tale of Shannon O'Leary's childhood years. O'Leary grew up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.

The responses of those whom O'Leary and her immediate family reach out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives are afraid to bring disgrace to the family's good name, nuns condemn the child's objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevent the police from interfering unless someone is killed.

"The Blood on My Hands" is a heartbreaking-yet riveting-narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding, and the strength and courage it takes, not just to survive and escape, but to flourish and thrive.

I don't know that I have ever read of such a horrific case of abuse that didn't end in death. I had to constantly remind myself to calm down, this is a first person account so the author did survive. Words spoken to Shannon by her mother are what truly defines this story.
"Go down the road until you come to a telephone box, and ring the police if your father kills me." Words spoken by a mother who never knew from one day to the next if she and her children would survive the madman she married.
I received an advance copy for review

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Old Flames by Jack Ketchum

When her lover betrays her and dumps her coldly, Dora’s mind begins to crack. She tracks down her old high school love to recapture what she might have had. He’s married with a family, but Dora isn’t about to let that stop her…

This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.

This book contains 2  novellas.
In the first "Old Flames" a psycho woman hires a detective to track down her old boyfriend and then proceeds to insinuate herself into his and his families lives.

In the second, "Right To Life"

A woman is abducted on her way into a clinic where she intends to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.
This was definitely the more graphic and horrific of the 2 stories, full of depravity and torture as Jack Ketchum fans have probably come to expect.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

With No Regrets by Julie N. Ford


Living With No Regrets Is Harder Than It Seems
Finley isn’t exactly sure when her life began to feel unfamiliar. She suspects the transformation started long before she caught her husband and fellow garden club member doing the white-trash-two-step on her new Bernhardt sofa. Now free from the shackles of a loveless marriage, and with her children off to college, she’s finally able to go searching for the missing pieces of her heart.

Finley’s best friend, Cathyanne, is already working hard to ensure that Finley finds true love this time around. But when Finley is unwittingly tossed into the arms of two men—their sexy trainer and her neighbor, a popular country star—Cathyanne fears finding the right guy will be more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

For Finley, building a new life feels as impossible as flying a paper airplane to the moon. But maybe, just maybe, with the right help, she will find her whole heart—even if it’s in the very last place she thinks to look.

This was a bitter sweet story that I read over Valentine's day. It reminded me a bit of the movie How Stella Got her Groove Back and I guess it's because Finley needed to get her groove back too. Finley had been stuck in a stagnant marriage for quite some time. Finally catching her husband cheating on her was the push she needed to end things. She probably would have just stayed in the marriage and spent her life unhappy if not for that.
Her best friend seems to be in a rush to get her into another relationship, but she has another motive for wanting to make sure that Finley has someone in her life to lean on.
I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review

Friday, February 12, 2016

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

With his stunning debut novel, She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb won the adulation of critics and readers with his mesmerizing tale of one woman's painful yet triumphant journey of self-discovery. Now, this brilliantly talented writer returns with I Know This Much Is True, a heartbreaking and poignant multigenerational saga of the reproductive bonds of destruction and the powerful force of forgiveness. A masterpiece that breathtakingly tells a story of alienation and connection, power and abuse, devastation and renewal—this novel is a contemporary retelling of an ancient Hindu myth. A proud king must confront his demons to achieve salvation. Change yourself, the myth instructs, and you will inhabit a renovated world

This is mainly the story of twin brothers, one who is in and out of institutions due to mental illness, and one who feels he must always look after him and protect him as best he can.
I very much enjoyed the first part of the book which kind of bounced back and forth between the here and now, and flash backs to when the boys were growing up with an abusive step father and a mom who was basically afraid of her own shadow, Towards the middle and into the last half when much of the book was taken over by memoirs written by the long dead grandfather my enjoyment began to wane a bit. I also would have liked less psycho babble from the drawn out visits with the psychiatrist who was constantly asking for things (Americanisms ) to be explained. Although some of the secrets revealed in the grandfather's memoirs were pertinent to the story, I really feel this story could have been better told in 700 or so pages instead of needlessly dragged out into 900.
I would rate it 4 of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn

Dastardly Bastard


Dastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect from the description but having read and enjoyed another book by the author (Life After Dane) I decided to give it a chance.
With an eclectic cast of quirky characters it really held my attention right from the start. I love horror with a dose of humor thrown in and that is exactly what this book delivers.
There are some strange and spooky happenings before Justine and Trevor even arrive to tour Waverly Chasm, and Mark had a humorous time getting there. The adventures of this plus sized reporter had just while renting a car had me laughing one minute and gave me goose bumps the next.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Friday, February 5, 2016

When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Castles in the Air by Alison Ripley Cubitt


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Picture Frame by Iain Rob Wright


An SG Horror Release
--Latest Novel by bestselling horror and suspense author, Iain Rob Wright
--Includes 2 bonus short stories by UK author, Matt Shaw

Blake Price is the most celebrated mystery writer since Agatha Christie, but violent tragedy has yanked him from his life and sent him retreating to a secluded cottage in the countryside, dragging his family with him.

Trying to connect with his spirited ten-year old son and despondent wife is difficult, but Blake tries to hold the strands of his life together as best he can. But that becomes impossible when an old picture frame finds its way into his life. A picture frame that curses anybody unlucky enough to have their picture placed inside of it. Unfortunately, Blake’s wife thinks the frame is just perfect for a family photo...


Blake and his wife have had some rocky times but are doing their best to raise their young son and forget the past in a rural cottage in the country.
One day While Blake and Ricky are having some father son time together they find an old picture frame buried on the property. Ricky wants to keep it and soon has it cleaned up and looking good as new. However unfortunate incidents begin to occur immediately afterwards.
This was a short and spooky read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a horror story without excessive gore. Even if it did irk me a bit that nobody would consider getting medical attention or rabies shots after being bitten by a wild animal. I suppose horror doesn't always have to make perfect sense.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Monday, February 1, 2016

Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves



This is a work of historical fiction, set in the south in the mid 1920s Before the story has begun we are already aware there will be a death on this land and that Roscoe Martin will be jailed for it. The story flashes back and forth between the time leading up to that death and jail sentence, to the time Roscoe is currently serving out his sentence and then continues past his eventual release. He and his wife Marie were not exactly the happiest married couple you will ever encounter though they did both try to make things work in their own way up until his jail time when Marie totally abandoned him. Roscoe had never actually wanted to be a farmer and his resentment of that was often felt by his wife and son. This was a tragic story of the breakdown of not only a marriage but ultimately a family.
I enjoyed the story but I could have done without the excessive descriptions of wires, coils transformers and how electricity works.

I received an advance copy for review