Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson

In the tradition of Roxane Gay’s Hunger, a searing, honest, and candid exploration of what it’s like to live as a fat man, from acclaimed journalist Tommy Tomlinson, who decided he had to change his life as he neared the age of fifty weighing in at 460 pounds.

When he was almost fifty years old, Tommy Tomlinson weighed an astonishing—and dangerous—460 pounds, at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, unable to climb a flight of stairs without having to catch his breath, or travel on an airplane without buying two seats. Raised in a family that loved food, he had been aware of the problem for years, seeing doctors and trying diets from the time he was a preteen. But nothing worked, and every time he tried to make a change, it didn’t go the way he planned—in fact, he wasn’t sure that he really wanted to change.

He was only one of millions of Americans struggling with weight, body image, and a relationship with food that puts them at major risk. Intimate and insightful, The Elephant in the Room is Tomlinson’s chronicle of meeting those people, taking the first steps towards health, and trying to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point. From buying a FitBit and setting an exercise goal to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill, America’s “capital of food porn,” and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that is a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size. Over the course of the book, he confronts these issues head on and chronicles the practical steps he has to take—big and small—to lose weight by the end.


Tommy Tomlinson comes to terms with being both a good person, and a liar. He's been lying to his friends, his family, his wife, and most of all himself, about his food addiction, and his weight. For the first time, in this book, he admits to the actual number on the scale, how he reached it and why he thinks he landed there. This is not a woe is me it's everyone else's fault kind of story. Nor is it a follow me and I'll teach you to drop 50 pounds a month manual. It's an honest and heart felt memoir of growing up big, in a family where food was used to celebrate triumphs as much as it was to console and soothe loss. Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight or is still struggling now can relate to this, and anyone who has ever looked at  larger people and wondered how they let themselves get so big could benefit from this read.

I received an advance copy for review.



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Friday, December 7, 2018

RESURRECTION (ARIZE #1) by Scott Nicholson

RESURRECTION (ARIZE #1)

It begins with a long-dormant virus released from an archaeological dig in Northern Alaska.

A researcher studying the virus suffers a fever and launches into a bloody killing spree that ends with two police officers dead. A second researcher, Dr. Meg Perriman, has just flown home for the Easter holiday with her family in North Carolina, unknowingly carrying the virus. Within days, the infection spreads across the planet, sparking martial law, chaos, and widespread slaughter as many of the infected turn into flesh-eating zombies.

Meg and a few others appear to be immune, however, and the survivors gather in a megachurch called Promiseland that the U.S. government has established as an emergency shelter. The Rev. Cameron Ingram, a charismatic televangelist the president has appointed as the “zombie czar,” believes the catastrophe is a sign of the Biblical apocalypse. When a rash of natural disasters accompany the outbreak and civilization breaks down, people turn to Ingram for salvation in the face of fear and despair.
But Meg and her group of friends soon discover Ingram is not what he appears, and they are caught between the devil and the living dead.

When I started this book I was not aware that it was going to be a series, until I got to Goodreads and noticed it was listed as Book 1. Had I known beforehand, I may have been deterred from starting it. Not that I have anything against series, it's just that my "to be read" list is so long, there is no guarantee I can find time to go back for a part 2. So I guess it's lucky for me that I didn't know in advance, because by the time I found out I was hooked on this book and it would have been a shame to miss out.  While there is lots of blood and gore as you would expect in a zombie novel, it felt more like a heart pounding action thriller than the usual horror, especially never knowing which (if any) character would survive, as Meg and her husband venture out into the fray in a desperate attempt to get medical help for their child.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

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About the Author
Scott Nicholson is the international bestselling author of more than 30 thrillers, including The Home, McFall, Liquid Fear, Speed Dating with the Dead, and the AFTER and NEXT post-apocalyptic series. His books have appeared in the Kindle Top 100 more than a dozen times in five different countries. Look for Arize #2: REVELATION.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.




Ruth and Millie have been at odds with one another nearly from the moment Millie was born. Big sister Ruth tried to play with Millie, tried to read her stories, tried to interest her in games, but Millie just wasn't engaged in any of those activities. As they grew older they also grew further apart. Ruth began to resent Millie's good looks, while Millie began to feel Ruth looked down on her for her less than perfect school report cards. It didn't help that the boys Ruth wanted to date took more of an interest in Millie, or that their own parents seemed to favor Millie over Ruth as well. As the sisters move into adulthood and follow very different paths, petty resentments and their own insecurities keep them apart, even though deep down they still love each other as only sisters can. The sisters have gone their separate ways until unfortunate circumstances force them back together at the Springfield Armory.
I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant family drama and loved these sisters as if they were my own.
I received an advance copy for review.

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About the author
Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. Lynda practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years before moving out of the city to raise her two children with her husband. She wrote The Two-Family House while she was a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as a best book of the month for March, 2016, and was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. Lynda's second novel, The Wartime Sisters, will be published on January 22, 2019.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Window by Glenn Rolfe

What kind of demons await you tonight?

For Richie, life's constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything that he ever wanted.

When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father's behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is James' imagination getting the best of him?

Summer's almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will the son be able to save the father? Or is it already too late?

The Window holds the answers...and the key.


The new and terrifying novel from Glenn Rolfe, author of LAND OF BONES and BECOMING





James is having a hell of a summer. Literally. The soon to be 14 year old finds that living with his mom and her new boyfriend, quite frankly, sucks. When his father demands that James be allowed to come and spend the last month of summer vacation with him it seems that things are looking up. James has missed his father terribly and also can't wait to spend some time with his friends. His father Richie hasn't been doing so well without James either. He's lost his business, his wife, and is missing his son. He's been drinking more than usual and feeling depressed. All of this makes his soul ripe for the plucking by lustful demons who prey on misery and despair.

"He didn't notice the reflection he'd left in the kitchen window as it watched him drive away."

The happy father and son reunion is short lived as James begins to notice Richie's strange behavior.
I am a big fan of coming of age/horror where the friendships run deep and the horror threatens not only the soul but the bonds forged between loved ones, so this was a hit for me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

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About the author
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of Becoming, Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram's Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, The Window, Out of Range, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Borderlands, Volume One : The Anthology of Weird Fiction Edited by Thomas F Monteleone

It’s hard to believe, but this anthology first appeared 28 years ago. In re-reading the stories in this gathering of the weirdest tales, I am also reminded of how strikingly fresh and original the material remains.

As its title implies, Borderlands contains fiction that resides out there on the edge, on the perimeter of what's being done in the field of horror, dark fantasy, and suspense literature. When I solicited material for what I hope will be the first of many volumes, I made it clear I didn't want stories that employed any of the traditional symbols and images of the genre. I wanted writers to expand the envelope, to look beyond the usual metaphors, and bring me something new.

Some fresh meat, so to speak.

So, dig in!

Stories by

David B. Silva * Nancy Holder * John DeChancie * Francis J. Matozzo * Bentley Little * Darrel Schweitzer * Michael Green * Poppy Z. Brite * Jeffrey Osier *
John Shirley * Lee Moler * Nina Kriki Hoffman * T. E. D. Klein *
Chet Williamson * Ed Gorman * Jack Hunter Daves, Jr. * Thomas Tessier * Les Daniels * David B. Silva * Karl Edward Wagner * Elizabeth Massie * Charles L. Grant * G. Wayne Miller * Joe R. Lansdale


Every reader has their favorite authors. When I saw that this anthology contained stories by Bentley Little and Poppy Brite I knew I had to read it, but the best part of such a collection is the ability to read not only your favorites but to discover works by authors you may not have otherwise read.
I enjoyed most of the stories but the ones that stood out as favorites for me were-
The Grass of Remembrance" by John DeChancie about a man who sends away for a very unique grass seed after his failed attempts to keep his lawn alive. "The Pounding Room" by Bentley Little in which starting a great new job isn't all its cracked up to be, "The Raw and the Cooked" by Michael Green was a dark and satirical look at how the makers of your happy meal stay so happy. "The Man in the Long Black Sedan" by Ed Gorman involves a family man who takes a day off work to protect his family.
I think all horror lovers will find something to enjoy in this volume. Borderlands is a symphony of dark and disturbing fiction and I hope there will be future installments.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Josephine Baker's Last Dance by Sherry Jones

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.




This was a riveting, well researched, fact based though slightly embellished account of the life of Josephine Baker from her childhood and beyond her rise to fame, becoming the highest paid black performer in the world. Since Josephine is no longer with us to be able to share her intimate thoughts, there was a good mix of story telling and facts. It held me captivated from start to finish as Josephine grew from a poverty stricken neglected child to a strong willed woman who stood along side MLK to fight for civil rights. 

I received an advance copy for review.

Available for pre-order

About the author
Sherry Jones is an American journalist and internationally best selling author of the controversial "The Jewel of Medina" and other historical fiction novels about women's power. She is also a speaker on issues including women's rights, free speech, and Islamophobia.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Violent Hearts: A Haunted Journey by Keith Deininger

  Years ago, in college, Owen, a man on the brink of suicide after losing his wife and baby daughter in a brutal drunk-driving accident, and Chloe, a dispassionate academic who believes in scientific research as a means to make the world a better place, took part in a ritualistic act in the woods. After, neither of them can remember exactly what happened that night, but darkness has since haunted them both.

Now, as adults living separate lives, the once minor manifestations from that night have grown into threats not only malignant and dangerous to them, but to all of humanity.

A surreal tale of horror and heartbreak, rife with dark oddities, wonderfully realized characters, and terrifying nightmares. Here the blind Guitar Man gives insane advice on the brink between reality and nightmare; eerie clones known as umbriates sneak into the world with murderous intent; and the once-imaginary being called Ozy is gathering strength and followers in his effort to rip through the very fabric of reality with the intent of dominance and darkness. And only Owen and Chloe can stop him.
 
When I first started reading Violent Hearts, I thought it might end up in my pile of unfinished books. At 10% through the book I still didn't really have a clue what was going on, and the use of words like "umbriates" and smudgemutters" which even now my auto correct wants to change.. did not help me understand what was happening. I can't really say what made me stick with it, when I would normally move on to the next book on my list. Something about it managed to grab my attention I suppose, but it was not until 25% through the book that I began to understand that Owen and Chloe had opened up a doorway to a dark and deadly shadow world that was now hunting them down in this realm. It was more of a fantasy than a horror, which is not really my thing, but I did enjoy the story once it got going. It was worth sticking with to the end and I'm glad I didn't give up on it.
 
I received a complimentary copy for review.
 
 
 
 
 
About the author
Keith Deininger is an award-winning dark fiction author. His titles include WITHIN, MARROW'S PIT and A GAME FOR GODS. He is best known for blending elements of fantasy with horror in his surreal, literary style. He grew up in the American Southwest and currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife and daughter.

www.KeithDeininger.com
 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison


Description

 
 
I confess that the description put me off a little. I am not a fan of romance novels but I do love a good historical fiction.
Eva is a young woman with a strong will and bright mind who feels there must be something more to life than the drudgery of settling into marriage and bearing children that she doesn't really want, with a man who turns out to be less than what she had hoped for. Not having many opportunities in the 1850s she is swept by circumstance to live in squalor and poverty while her husband pursues his dream of striking gold.
 
There's a serial killer on the loose, whose hatred of his mother drives him to murder prostitutes, believing the world is a better place without these unclean women. Money and privilege conceal his heinous acts and seem to keep him above suspicion from everyone...except the owls. When he crosses paths with Eva, her strong will may be her salvation or her demise.
 
4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.
 
 
 


Friday, November 9, 2018

The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Ben Shadeland and Eddie Blaze are the hottest young music composers in Hollywood. Fresh off an Oscar nomination, they've just been chosen to score a big-budget horror movie by Lee Stanley, the most demanding director in film. But Ben, the creative half of the duo, hasn't written a note since his wife divorced him and got custody of their three-year-old son.
Chris Blackwood is the gambling-addicted heir to the Blackwood fortune, which includes the Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California. The island and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome, unexplained murders in 1925, but Chris needs money, and to get it he allows Ben, Eddie, Claire Harden (an aspiring composer), and Eva Rosales (Lee Stanley's gorgeous assistant) to stay a month in Castle Blackwood.
Eddie is certain an eerie, isolated setting is just what Ben needs to find musical inspiration for a horror film. But what they find is more horrific than any movie.


The premise sounded simple enough as I settled in to read what I expected to be a spooky but not unusual tale of a haunted castle. I should have known after my last foray into horror with Jonathan Janz (The Siren and The Specter) that this is not an author who does "simple." While this book is heavy with supernatural horror, it also showcases the fact that sometimes the worst monsters are of the human variety. It frazzled my nerves and had me terrified over whether  or not the characters I cared about would survive, while simultaneously wishing a horrific death to those who deserved one.
5 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.


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About the author
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter (http://jonathanjanz.us12.list-manage....), and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Stranger in Our Home by Sophie Draper

Have you been bad enough?
After her stepmother’s sudden death, Caro returns to her childhood home, a now-empty farmhouse in Derbyshire. But clearing through her stepmother’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. As snow descends, trapping Caro in the strange village, where the neighbours stare and whisper about her, Caro’s past will catch up to her with deadly consequences. What is it about the summerhouse that makes her shiver? Who is the young boy she seems to remember playing with? And why did her stepmother taunt her with a haunting fairy tale about two sisters, enticed to commit a terrible act?
As Caro digs into the dark corners of her past, she starts to realise that she has been bad. More than bad enough.

"The flashy one or the nutcase?"

If ever there was a wicked stepmother, it was Elizabeth, who made a point of letting Caro know she didn't belong, and tormenting her with horrid stories. That may explain why Caro's older sister Steph flew the coop when she was barely old enough. It doesn't explain why decades went by before she would ever bother with her sister again.
Now a grown woman, Caro will uncover the reason why her childhood memories are so sparse and what secrets her own mind has hidden from her, as she heads back to her childhood home to clear it out after Elizabeth's death. The locals are less than welcoming, and a charming neighbor who rents the cottage on her property may know more about Caro's past than she does.
This was a twisty psychological thriller with lots of suspense and a bit of romance thrown in.

4 out of 5 stars.
I received an advance copy for review.



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Walking Alone: Short Stories by Bentley Little

From the mind of the man Stephen King calls "a master of the macabre" comes a brilliant new collection of no-punches-pulled horror stories, some never-before-collected and many originals that have never been published anywhere before. Bentley Little can take the innocuous, twist it around, and write a story that will change your way of thinking. Walking Alone: Short Stories is a shining example of his talent to scare you, creep you out, and make you shudder.

Bentley Little has been and continues to be one of my favorite authors. He has a unique gift for taking an ordinary situation like a car trip or the day in the life of a school girl, and turning it into something supernatural and horrifying. Even his craziest and most bizarre tales that begin with something far less innocent, such as murdering your parents because all the cool kids are doing it have me in stitches. I sometimes don't know whether to shudder or chuckle but probably the biggest compliment I can pay is to say that Bentley Little is never boring. Of these 27 stories there were only a few that missed the mark for me, but the rest more than made up for it.
4 out of 5 stars.
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About the author
Little was born one month after his mother attended the world premiere of Psycho. He published his first novel, The Revelation, with St. Martin's Press in 1990. After reading it, Stephen King became a vocal fan of Little's work, and Little won the Bram Stoker Award for "Best First Novel" in 1990. He moved to New American Library for his next two novels, but was dropped from the company after he refused to write a police procedural as his next novel. He eventually returned to New American Library, with whom he continues to publish his novels.

Little has stated on several occasions that he considers himself a horror novelist, and that he writes in the horror genre, not the "suspense" or "dark fantasy" genres. He is an unabashed supporter of horror fiction and has been described as a disciple of Stephen King.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest by G.L. Davies

Blissful beginnings for a young couple turn into a nightmare after purchasing their dream home in Wales in 1989. Their love and their resolve are torn apart by an indescribable entity that pushes paranormal activity to the limit. Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is the prequel to the bestselling A Most Haunted House.



Presented as non-fiction this factual account is based on the author's own experiences as detailed in the included copy of his best selling book "A Most Haunted House" and the experiences of a couple who lived in the house before him. 
It is a creepy read whether you believe in the supernatural or not, and it also touches on some scientific explanations for the phenomena and explanations and theories on hallucinations.
Presented as an interview, there are some strikingly believable occurrences and some that defy plausibility. It should be a hit with fans of TV shows like Paranormal Witness, My Haunted House, A Haunting or any of the other ghostly reenactment shows.
4 out of 5 stars.
I received an advance copy for review.

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About the author
G.L. Davies is the author of the bestselling A Most Haunted House. He is the founder of the popular webcast The Paranormal Chronicles Network on YouTube, presenting shows with Dave Dominguez on a number of Paranormal subjects. He became sole owner of Pembrokeshire's premier paranormal website, Pembrokeshire Beyond, in January 2015.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Lemons on a Plate (an alter-ego speaks) by Pat Black

The poverty-stricken vagabond Barron Desulfer, addicted to drugs and alcohol and once a professor and renowned writer, decides to turn his life around. By chance, he meets up with an ex military Colonel, Ken, who is looking for someone to write his autobiography; this opportunity becomes the only hope that the desperate Barron needs to bring him up from the poorness in which he lives. Barron, suffering from progressive memory loss, has kept a daily journal for over thirty years.
He begins interviewing the Colonel. As the month's pass and the project moves forward, Barron stumbles onto a diary that belongs to the Colonel. What he finds in it will forever change the path in which he is on; hope will be stripped away. Or will it?

A former ghostwriter for some of the world's acclaimed novelists, author Pat Black has intentionally shied away from modern writing and traditional grammar standards, as he reaches the reader by way of an altered-state voice to create a truly unique first-of-four series.




Barron Desulfer lives in poverty in a dusty shack that contains little other than his couch and writing area. He writes constantly as he is losing his memory and in this way can keep a record. He occasionally sweeps up at the grocery store for a few odd dollars and one day leaves an ad on their cork board offering himself up as a writer. He is hired by a former military man who presents himself as a veteran of several wars, to write his biography. After some time it becomes apparent that this alleged war hero has lied about his adventures.
I'm not sure what I expected from this book but I am sure that what I got isn't what I was looking for. I was intrigued by the description of a drug addicted writer trying to turn his life around while living in poverty. What I got feels more like the ramblings of a fever dream (or drug induced dream?) For such a short book (less than 200 pages) it was quite repetitive with multiple repeats of the same material. Perhaps because Barron is losing his memory he forgot that he relayed this information already. There were some issues with sentence structure as well, so I am in agreement with the description that states "Pat Black has intentionally shied away from modern writing and traditional grammar standards," and I agree that this book is "unique."
I won't be reading the rest of the series. Someone else may enjoy this style, but it's just not for me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra

Everyone does bad things when no one is watching

Mercilessly bullied in high school, Ava knows she needs to put the past behind her and move on, but she can’t—not until she’s exacted precise, catastrophic revenge on the people who hurt her the most.

First, she watches Saanvi. Flawlessly chic and working hard at a top architectural firm, Saanvi has it all together on the surface. But everyone does bad things when they think no one is watching and Ava only wants what’s fair—to destroy Saanvi’s life the way her own was destroyed.

Next, she watches Cass. She’s there as Cass tries on wedding dresses, she’s there when Cass picks out a cake, she’s there when Cass betrays her fiancĂ©. She’s the reason Cass’s entire future comes crashing down.

Finally, Ava watches Mel. Mel was always the ringleader and if anyone has to pay, it’s her. But one tiny slipup and Ava realizes the truth: Mel knows she’s being watched, and she’s ready to play Ava’s games to the bitter end.



This book got off to a slow start, but it wasn't too long until I was dying to know what this group of mean girls had done to Ava that pushed her over the edge and filled her with the single minded purpose of revenge. By the time it was revealed, I couldn't wait to find out how Ava's plan to get even would play out. If you have ever had a revenge fantasy you will likely enjoy this guilty pleasure.
4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea

WHAT HAS LONG PINK FINGERS AND SMELLS LIKE ROTTING FLESH? It is a slime-covered fungus known for its pinkish red tentacles and pungent odor. It is indigenous to Australia but has spread to North America. Its Latin name is Clathrus Archeri, also known as Octopus Stinkhorn. Most people call it The Devil’s Fingers . . .

I DON’T KNOW BUT IT’S GROWING ON YOUR NECK.
Deep in the woods of Washington, botanist Autumn Winters stumbles onto a field of the luridly colored fungi. Two of her fellow campers make the mistake of touching it. Now it’s growing on them. Fleshy gelatinous pods. Sprouting from their skin. Feeding on their blood . . .

AND IT’S STILL GROWING.
Autumn watches in horror as her friends are transformed into monstrosities—grotesque, human-fungal hybrids as contagious and deadly as any virus. Autumn knows she must destroy these mutations before they return to civilization. But if there’s one thing that spreads faster than fear, it’s The Devil’s Fingers . . .


This was another creepy creature feature from Hunter Shea, this time in the form of a parasitic fungus that attaches itself (quite literally) to some friends that are camping in the woods of Washington. What was meant to be a scattering of ashes turns into a horrific discovery of a foul smelling growth that begins to infect the group. This was a quick read and a gross out good time.

I received an advance copy for review.





Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories Edited by Evans Light



Halloween has always gone hand-in-hand with horror. The holiday gives many children their first taste of terror, the discovery and overcoming of fears. For those who find they love a good scare, that first taste can grow into a voracious appetite.

That might be why you’re looking at this book right now. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Doorbells at Dusk is a treasury of brand-new Halloween tales from both modern masters and rising stars of dark fiction, horror and suspense.

These are the thrills you crave, packed into a collection of stories that's pure Halloween.

Carve your pumpkins and turn on the porch light, Halloween frights begin with the sound of…DOORBELLS AT DUSK.



 

Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover. Look at this gorgeous work of art. This anthology contains more treats than tricks, so step away from the Halloween candy, and put this in your goody bag because horror can taste as sweet without packing on the pounds. Among my favorite treats were The Rye Mother by Curtis M. Lawson about a young boy who longs to experience a Halloween that is forbidden by his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.
Rusty Husk by Evans Light is a deliciously disturbing tale about a man who makes the most lifelike scarecrows anyone has ever seen. Adam's Bed by Josh Malerman finds us in the midst of a birthday party for little Adam who was born on Halloween. What could be better than having his drunken lothario of a dad  in charge of the celebration? Keeping Up Appearances by Jason Parent takes us along on a crime spree gone wrong as a small band of criminals use the cover of Halloween to rob the wealthiest looking homes. There is a dark neighborhood secret kept in Vigil by Chad Lutzke.
Trick 'Em All by Adam Light is a splattery gore soaked tale that begins when an angry 16 year old is relegated the lowly  task of staying home to hand out candy.
As much as I love short horror stories it's always a bit difficult for me to review them without giving too much away. That is why I have just touched briefly on my absolute favorites. The whole collection is delightfully gruesome.
5 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

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Featuring stories by:

• Sean Eads
• Amber Fallon
• Charles Gramlich
• Joanna Koch
• Curtis M. Lawson
• Lisa Lepovetsky
• Adam Light
• Evans Light
• Chad Lutzke
• Josh Malerman
• Jason Parent
• Thomas Vaughn
• Joshua Viola
• Ian Welke
• Gregor Xane

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Goat Parade by Peter N. Dudar

SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME…
AND BE LIKE GOATS IN MY PARADE

The city of Portland, Maine, is preparing for a parade to end all parades, one that will usher in a thousand years of darkness. The only thing is, they don't know it.

Four strangers will engage each other on the Devil's battlefield and fight not only for the future of the city, but for the entire world.

Warren Pembroke, Satan's Chosen One. He has been charged with making sure everything goes according to the Dark Lord's plan.

Svetlana Barnyk, a gypsy street performer cursed with the Gift of Sight. She lives in fear of the day Zee Doctor will return to reclaim the gift he bestowed on her.

"Tobacco Joe" Walton, an ex-con who served a 43-year term for committing a savage crime in the name of Justice. He is seeking redemption, but Ol' Scratch has other plans for him.

Erik Marsh, a crime beat reporter driven to the edge by the atrocities man has committed against his fellow man. All he wants is to preserve his sanity and spend time with his son.

Will they be able to defeat the Devil and stop the Goat Parade, or will the world be plunged into an age of darkness and endless suffering?


This is a story of sex, drugs, and Satan. A fight against evil, and those who give in and welcome it.
Erik Marsh, ex husband, father of a 10 year old boy, and crime reporter, has had more than his fill of being called "Erik the Black." He is in desperate need of a break from covering news stories on the worst of humanity before it drives him mad. He also hopes that this break will allow him to spend more time with his son. This break is short lived when his son's school is the setting for a ritualistic crime, planned by someone who wants to be written about by Erik. Meanwhile Erik's son is having horrific nightmares, and an old blues man Tobacco Joe is released from prison after serving time for a murder conviction. Tobacco Joe may have earned his release from jail but that doesn't mean he is free. He's still bound by a contract he made with the devil. I don't want to go further into the plot, but this is a violent and gruesome tale that I think all horror lovers will enjoy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

They Feed by Jason Parent

The night uncovers all we wish not to see.

A troubled man enters a dusky park before sunset. A young woman follows, hidden in shadow. Both have returned to the park to take back something the past has stolen from them, to make right six long years of suffering, and to find justice or perhaps redemption—or maybe they'll settle for some old-fashioned revenge.

But something evil is alive and awake in those woods, creatures that care nothing for human motivations. They’re driven by their own insatiable need: a ravenous, bottomless hunger.

The campgrounds are full tonight, and the creatures are starving. Before the night is over, they will feed.
An unrelenting tale of terror from Jason Parent, acclaimed author of People of the Sun and What Hides Within.




Tyler is freshly released from jail when he decides to head to the park, back where all his troubles first started. He's not alone.There's also a woman with a grudge against him, and some other unsavory characters. There is something else in the woods at Galveston State Park. It's hungry, and it's evil, and it's anxious to welcome Tyler home. I'm really not sure what the hell it is but it looks like slugs and can take on the form of it's victims. It reminded me a little bit of The Ruins by Scott Smith, although that had talking vines that could infect your body and mind, and this has slug like creatures  with unusual abilities.
Stories like this are why my idea of camping involves renting a house on a lake with a door that locks and not being a sitting duck in the forest with nothing but a flimsy tent for protection. They Feed is full of gory fun.
4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review. 

Buy a copy


About the author
In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.

When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists into a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

Please visit the author on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJasonP..., on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AuthorJasParent, or at his website, http://authorjasonparent.com/, for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hark! the Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more.

That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts.
Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.



Christmas horror in time for Halloween? Yes please! count me in! What a great way to kick off the holiday season. Not only do the herald angels scream, they bring you tidings of discomfort and fear. I love short horror stories in any season, but I savor them even more this time of year when busy schedules, holiday baking, and decorating the house for hordes of trick or treaters infringe on my reading time. Oh Dear, I didn't mean to sound like scrooge. There is just something so satisfying to me about being able to finish a long day of holiday chores and reward myself by sinking my teeth into a good story (instead of the Halloween candies or Christmas cookies) There are 18 tales in this goodie bag and I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. I enjoyed most of them very much. In fact the first treat I pulled from this bag "Absinthe and Angels" by Kelly Armstrong was deliciously creepy and set the bar rather high for those that followed. There are stories of down and out husbands in search of the perfect gift to get back in their family's good graces. There's a newly single mom trying to cope with her first Christmas without her husband. There are holiday parties you are better off not invited to attend, a couple's first trip to Barcelona with their new baby in time for Christmas is one I will bet they never forget. A haunted hotel room, a tongue in cheek version of my all time least favorite song The Christmas shoes titled "Good Deeds" by Jeff Strand was a perfect fit for my twisted humor.
All in all this anthology was well worth a read.
4 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review.
Get a copy

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way


Description




This twisty psychological thriller is told on 2 separate timelines, the present and the 1980s, and even if you figure out what one has to do with the other, the ending hits you like a freight train.
In the present, Clara and Luke have recently set up housekeeping and are madly in love when suddenly he disappears. At first Clara thinks he may have just had a few drinks and is sleeping it off somewhere but it soon becomes apparent that something more sinister is afoot. When Clare reports him missing, she learns some unsettling secrets that she was happier not knowing, and as she takes it upon herself to search for clues in his disappearance she learns some disturbing details that make her question how well she really knows him.
In the 1980s we meet Beth, a woman who longs to be a mother and who is finally blessed with a daughter that she and her husband Doug love more than life itself, even when it becomes apparent that their beautiful little girl doesn't seem to love them back, is unable to make friends, and terrorizes the other tots in daycare. Eventually we learn what these two timelines have in common but even then, this tangled web of lies holds another shocking secret.
5 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Get a copy



Thursday, September 20, 2018

Perfect Prophet by Diane M. Johnson

When atheistic death-metal guitarist Alec is shot on stage by a Satanic fan, his miraculous recovery inspires a change in his beliefs about God. But when he returns to his hometown to make amends with his family, he discovers that his strictly religious and abusive father has dark secrets that involve Alec and his role in a local Satanic cult.

Perfect Prophet is a dark, supernatural thriller where normal people who question the existence of God must choose what roles they will play in a battle over an unlikely savior's soul.




It's been a long time since I've come across a really satisfying Satanists versus the good guys story and that is just what Perfect Prophet delivers. I'm not going to get into the plot too much except to say I wasn't convinced this death metal band was going to interest me much. I was wrong.
 Race With The Devil is mentioned in the book but I was already reminded of it before then. It also has shades of Salem's Lot and Let's Scare Jessica To Death. No there are no vampires but you just never know who you can trust and who is in league with the devil.
5 out of 5 stars

I received an complimentary copy for review.

Get a copy

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson

From National Book Award finalist and the New York Times bestselling author of The Year We Left Home comes a moving family saga about three generations of women who struggle to find freedom and happiness in their small Midwestern college town.

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl is a poignant novel about three generations of the Wise family—Evelyn, Laura, and Grace—as they hunt for contentment amid chaos of their own making.

Evelyn set aside her career to marry, late, and motherhood never became her. Her daughter Laura felt this acutely and wants desperately to marry, but she soon discovers her husband Gabe to be a man who expects too much of everyone in his life, especially his musician son. Grace has moved out from Laura and Gabe’s house, but can’t seem to live up to her potential—whatever that might be.

In A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl we see these women and their trials, small and large: social slights and heartbreaks; marital disappointments and infidelities; familial dysfunction; mortality. Spanning from World War II to the present, Thompson reveals a matrilineal love story that is so perfectly grounded in our time—a story of three women regressing, stalling, and yes, evolving, over decades. One of the burning questions she asks is: by serving her family, is a woman destined to repeat the mistakes of previous generations, or can she transcend the expectations of a place, and a time? Can she truly be free?

Evelyn, Laura, and Grace are the glue that binds their family together. Tethered to their small Midwestern town—by choice or chance—Jean Thompson seamlessly weaves together the stories of the Wise women with humanity and elegance, through their heartbreaks, setbacks, triumphs, and tragedies.


I suppose anyone who is a daughter, or a  mother, or has lost a mother, will be able to find something to relate to in this book. I know I did. It is true that women have always been the glue that holds a family together, sometimes joyfully, other times not so much. This is the story of 3 generations of unhappy, dissatisfied, women who did the best they could with the hand they were dealt, and lived as best they could with the choices they made. It was not exactly a tear jerker although it was depressing at times. I wanted to remind each of these women that life is what you make of it. I wish someone had done that for them.

I received an advance copy for review.

Get a copy




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Let There Be Dark by Tim McWhorter

From an oddities shop looking to expand their macabre collection, to a back roads bridge with a horrifying past, Let There Be Dark is a collection of eight, sinister short stories full of ghostly phantoms, savage beasts, and the most frightening creature of all: humans. This first horror collection from the author of the best-selling novel, Bone White, thrusts you beyond the fringe and reminds us why we should all fear the dark.


As I finish up this collection of 8 short stories I am asking myself how I have never heard of Tim McWhorter. Do I live under a rock? This is not his first book but it is my first time reading this author. How am I the first one to review this? Where are all the horror lovers who should be enjoying the hell out of this and singing it's praises. Tim McWhorter said Let There Be Dark... and there was!

It takes a LOT to scare me. At least when it comes to books. Some of these stories had my heart pounding because they played off my real life fears. Especially "The Dark Side"
With the coming Halloween season my husband and I are preparing (as always) to visit multiple haunted house attractions, but we have never been to one of those black out houses. You know the kind where you walk through in absolute darkness? That is the premise of "The Dark Side" as a young couple prepare to make their way through, even though one of them really doesn't want to participate. Personally my real fear is that I would trip and break a hip in the dark or just plain get lost and never find my way out. I have absolutely no sense of direction. This is also the reason that the story "Growing Cold Together" had me nearly quaking with fear, before the scary parts even started. 2 sisters and a boyfriend are on a road trip on a bitter cold snowy Colorado road. They pull over for a bathroom break, the sister wanders into the woods and doesn't come back. I can easily see myself as the one lost in the woods.. and as the one left behind having no clue which way to go or how to find her. I am the kind of person who can come out of the grocery store and not know where the car is so picturing myself in their shoes gave me that dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach before the real horror even started... and it does get started. Believe me. I'm warning you. "The Bridge" is a chilling ghost story based on urban legend which just about every small town has a version of, though not nearly as compelling as this one. These stories were 5 star reads for me.
I also enjoyed "Rope Burns" about a trip to Salem for research on writing a thesis on how the witch trials influenced the legal system. Historical landmarks may not have been preserved but restless spirits can not be so easily washed away. "Pigs" finds a hapless photographer in need of cheap lodgings getting involved in some disturbing goings on at a pig farm.
In "No Saints Here" a would be lothario has his plans interrupted when he tries to force himself on the wrong woman. "Skull Session" concerns a young man attempting to sell a strange curio he bought online but unfortunately for him the buyer requires something else from him. These were 4 star reads for me. I hate to have to say that I have left out one story.. "The Company You Keep" that just simply was not for me. Others may enjoy it. I only skimmed it. I just can not muster up interest in anything to do with mafia, mobsters or whatever. It's not you, it's just me and I choose not to base my rating on that one story.

4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.
Get a copy

 About the author
Tim McWhorter was born under a waning crescent moon, and while he has no idea what the significance is, he thinks it sounds really cool to say. A graduate of Otterbein College with a BA in Creative Writing, he is the author of the novella SHADOWS REMAIN, the suspense-thrillers, BONE WHITE, and its sequel, BLACKENED, and a collection of short stories titled SWALLOWING THE WORM. Described as "an intelligent thrill ride that presents itself as a love letter to slasher stories," BONE WHITE came in at #11 on HorrorUnderground's Top Books of 2015.

He lives the suburban life just outside of Columbus, OH, with his wife, a handful of children and a few obligatory 'family' pets that have somehow become solely his responsibility. He is currently hard at work on another thriller with just enough horror to keep you up at night. He is available for conversation through Twitter (@Tim_McWhorter), Facebook 
or his website

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie

Description

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

Rumor has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumors down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfill. Because while the witch may have been dead... she doesn’t intend to stay that way.

When Mike is offered a job shoring up a ramshackle old house to  make it safe enough to walk through so that it can be turned into a Halloween attraction, he is not overly excited by the idea. For the last 50 years or so, rumors have circulated that this house is haunted. Not having worked steady for quite a while and in need of money he reluctantly agrees. There are strange happenings as soon as he starts working but for some reason a befuddled Mike doesn't quit his job. It kind of bothered me when Mike was not the least bit suspicious when a couple of random girls showed up to hang out at the house with him, and that he didn't seem to find it odd that he could be talking to them one minute and turn around and they were gone. It was just a bit too obvious and predictable for me. Towards the last half of the book there is lots of blood and gore for those of you who like the gross out factor but I just didn't find it to be as frightening as I had hoped.

I received an advance copy for review.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end.


What an intriguing read! When the Montrose family was forced by scandal to uproot their lives and flee the city, I at first thought to myself that surely it could not have been that severe, after all what was not considered scandalous in those days? The scandal itself is a bit of a mystery, and there are hints that it may have been caused by Lydia or by Catherine, but either way I could not wait to find out what it was. Once settled in their new home it seems that gossip has followed them, and sadly a tragedy is not far behind. The relationship between the sisters held me spellbound. For having been raised by the same parents in the same home, they could not have wound up more different from each other. This was a captivating work of historical fiction with a gothic ghost story feel, complete with heroes to cheer for and villains that I took delight in hating.

I received an advance copy for review. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz

When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.


When David Caine accepts an offer to stay in a supposedly haunted house for a month, to prove or disprove whether it has earned it's title of most haunted house in Virginia, he is unaware of many details about the area. He is not expecting sexual deviants for neighbors. He is not expecting the house to hold ties to his own past, and he is not aware that the Alexander house holds horrors of epic proportions.
This is more than a haunted house tale. The horror is not only in the supernatural aspects but in the evil that mere mortals commit. It got under my skin, not just with  delicious spine tingling fear that all horror lovers crave, but with sadness, and disgust, and sometimes rage. The test of any good book (for me) is whether it can make me feel something. The Siren And The Specter is a masterpiece of horror.
5 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review.

Available on Amazon



Author's website http://jonathanjanz.com/

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

For the sea was a fair master.



I am not the world's biggest fan of flash fiction. I do love short stories but have often found the extremely short flash fiction style just leaves me hanging, scratching my head and saying that's it? It's over?
That was not the case here, where most of these stories  have a satisfying conclusion or had me saying Aha! I see what you did there. If you are looking to snack on some crunchy bits of bite sized fiction I can recommend this well written anthology, chock full of sorrow, fear, dark humor and horror.

4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.

About the author
https://calvindemmer.com/

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Mortician's Wife by Maralee Lowder

The honeymoon of Ada, a shy and innocent young girl and Horace, a dashingly handsome, charismatic, mortician, gets off to a rough start. The marriage goes down hill from there. Although the marriage continues to be unconsummated, Ada holds out hope that one day the love she has for her husband will destroy the emotional wall that continues to separate them. Unfortunately, before this happens, her father, a celebrated physician and owner of the local hospital, faces ruin, both financially and legally. It is then that Ada realizes the only reason Horace married her was because of her family's high standing within the local community. That is when all hope of sharing love with her husband vanishes, as he begins abusing her. Having no one to turn to, Ada quietly accepts her husband's abuse, until, after years of living in fear, Horace does the unthinkable. When he takes away her only reason for living, she shes him for what he as become--a monster of the highest order. When she learns the depth of his depravities, she comes to the realization that it is up to her to keep not only herself safe from him, but also any others who might come within his distorted vision. What she decides she must do will surprise most readers, and abhor others. She feels it is her duty to humanity to protect them from the man she once loved. Unfortunately, what she cannot possibly know is, that although she may have saved others from the living man, she has released an even more dangerous evil, his everlasting angered soul.

The story begins when Emily is a little girl and gets her first glimpse of Ada on a long ago Halloween night. Emily is out trick or treating away from parental supervision for the first time. Everyone knows to stay away from the creepy old mortuary and the crazy old witch lady Ada, but lonely Emily finds a kinship with her and for a brief time they become friends. Years later they reconnect when Emily is a grown woman and Ada is now in her 90s with deteriorating health and needs someone to help her with her daily needs. Gradually, Ada tells Emily her life story and how she came to be living above the mortuary and why she refuses to leave. It is a heartbreaking tale that ends a bit abruptly since it is the first in a series.

4 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy for review

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Painless by Marty Thornley

Description

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Creature by Hunter Shea

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal. But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

I have been a fan of Hunter Shea for a few years now. I believe I have read most if not all of his work. I can usually count on his books to remind me of lazy Saturdays as a kid reading through my horror comics or watching the creature double feature on my old TV that got 3 channels back in the 80s. I've often described his books as "a fun read."
Creature is a whole other level of horror than I was expecting. It's much more dark and serious. It feels real. If you have ever suffered chronic pain you are going to find an instant kinship with Kate. It will take you back to your darkest days. If you have not known this kind of pain you will at least feel sympathy for her and her husband Andrew, who due to her debilitating illnesses has had to become her caretaker yet somehow remained a real husband. Kate and Andrew despite everything have remained madly in love. Not that fake romance novel type love either, I mean the real kind where you sometimes get on each other's nerves to the point that you can't stand to be in the same room together but before you walk out you still make damned sure they have everything they need, and you know you're coming back. Andrew would do anything for Kate, and it is in that spirit that he takes her to a lake house for the summer where he hopes she can find some relief and some happiness before her next horrible round of doctor appointments in the fall.  This was a 5 star read for me.

I received an advance copy for review.

Publication date September 6, 2018 available for preorder now.



FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

RED HARVEST by Patrick C. Greene

RED HARVEST 
Every year at harvest time, something strange and wonderful happens in the sleepy farm community of Ember Hollow. It comes alive. Truckloads of pumpkins are sent off to be carved into lanterns. Children scramble to create the creepiest, scariest costumes. Parents stock up on candy and prepare for the town’s celebrated Pumpkin Parade. And then there is Devil’s Night . . .
 
But this year, something is different. Some of the citizens are experiencing dark, disturbing visions. Others are beginning to wonder if they’re losing their minds, or maybe their souls. One newly sober singer with the voice of a fallen angel is tempted to make a deal that will seal his fate. And one very odd boy is kept locked in a shed by his family—for reasons too horrible to imagine . . .
 
Whatever is happening to this town, they’re going to make it through this Halloween. Even if it kills them . . .


I love any and all things Halloween related, so give me a rock and roll horror story set in a town that is pretty much the Halloween capital of the planet and I'm all over it. I loved Stuart and his relationship with his punk rocker brother Dennis, who is recently sober and has moved back in with Stuart and his mom while they are all still struggling with the loss of Dad. Halloween is always a huge deal in this town but this year holds the promise of a possible recording contract for Dennis and his band, who tour around in a tricked out hearse.
As the town is preparing for their annual celebration  there is someone who aims to  put a permanent stop to all the fun, and someone else who has far different ideas about how to celebrate.
While I did have a couple of minor issues with the plot and would have rather the reasoning behind certain happenings had been just a little different I did enjoy this book and thought it was a lot of gory fun. I will definitely be back for the next installment of these Haunted Hollow Chronicles.

4 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.