Friday, June 24, 2022

Savages by Greg F. Gifune

About the Book:

It began as a vacation to the Cook Islands. But when seven friends are lost in the South Pacific after their boat goes down in a storm, they must survive at sea for several days in a small raft. Blown miles off course from their original position, and deep into open waters, they eventually encounter a small uncharted island. Grateful to be alive, they begin their quest for survival, hopeful they’ll be rescued sooner than later.

But the island is not the paradise it appears to be. Instead, it is a place of horror, death, torture and evil, of terrible secrets thought long buried and forgotten. And they are not alone. Something guards those horrible secrets, something evil and relentlessly violent, an ancient horror born of rage and vengeance, a blood-crazed predator that lives to kill and will stop at nothing to protect the island from those intruding upon its dark legacy. The savage is loose, and there is no escape.


Seven friends who are supposed to be enjoying a glorious vacation are plunged into hell when they are hit by a ferocious storm at sea. With nothing but a raft too small to safely hold them, injured and lost, they wash ashore on a deserted jungle island with only the clothes on their backs and a will to survive. What could be worse than being stranded with no way to call for help? Finding out you aren't alone, and something on the island wants you dead! 

Nerves fray and tempers flare when there is no food, shelter, or rescue in sight.

Savages is a monster/slasher, a survival horror, and a history lesson all in one. I found myself researching after reading this book to learn more about something ghastly that was mentioned, which turned out to be true. Apparently, my public education history class was lacking because this horrific happening was news to me. 

Who will survive their time on this island? you'll have to read to find out.

4 out of 5 stars

*content warning-rape and gore*

My thanks to Cemetery Dance Publications for the review copy.

Available for Preorder

About the author

Monday, June 20, 2022

Godland by Stuart R. West


An embittered farmer. A New York corporate raider. Two teenage high school girls. A failed small business owner. Past and present collide, secrets are revealed. These disparate people gather at a desolate Kansas farm for a hellish night not everyone will survive.

Godland is a dark psychological suspense horror thriller. 
A Midwestern nightmare. Farm noir.

Is it nature or nurture that creates a psychotic personality? Not that anyone was nurtured in Edwin's family. Edwin is a farmer who lives by his own twisted interpretation of the bible. To him, this means he is free to hand out frequent beatings and other physical and mental abuse to his wife and children. And don't get me started on what he considers to be a woman's job.

How did these children turn out you ask?

Well, that is something you will find out as you meet their adult selves and discover what brings Peter and Matt back to the farm for a most horrifying family reunion. 

This is a dark and disturbing read told from multiple points of view as we get into the heads of Edwin's grown sons. Inside of Peter's mind is an especially uncomfortable place to be. With a quick pace and loads of suspense, Godland kept me turning pages late into the night.

4 out of 5 stars

My thanks to Grinning Skull Press.

Visit the author's website

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Classic Monsters Unleashed edited by James Aquilone


Stories of famous monsters in a new horror anthology edited by James Aquilone and featuring Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, and many others.

Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau, the Headless Horseman, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, the Wicked Witch of the West—they're all here, in this collection of horror short stories that reimagine, subvert, and pay homage to our favorite monsters and creatures.

Written by the biggest names in the genre—including Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Owl Goingback, Richard Christian Matheson, Seanan McGuire, Maurice Broaddus, Dacre Stoker, Linda D. Addison, Alessandro Manzetti, Tim Waggoner, John Palisano, Mercedes M. Yardley, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck, Rena Mason, and Monique Snyman.

The most famous monsters of yesterday are given new life today by multiple award winning authors in this entertaining new anthology.
There were not a lot of scares, but there was a lot of fun, some social commentary and even the Invisible Man was an allegory of today's social climate.
Several stories pay homage to Mary Shelley with reimaginings of Frankenstein and his monster.
We learn how The Wicked Witch of the West made flying monkeys, dabble in the dangers of artificial intelligence with a headless horseman, and more in this huge volume of stories and illustrations.
Not every story was a huge hit with me but that is not unusual with such a massive selection. Much like a box of assorted chocolates you can take what you like and leave the rest.

A few of my favorites were They Call Me Mother by Geneve Flynn but I am not going to tell you the classic monster it was derived from because I didn't know myself until nearly halfway through so I'm not going to spoil it for you.
She Creature from the Golden Cove by John Palisano in which a boat trip turns dangerous when a family stops to help what they think is a woman in trouble.
Dreams by F. Paul Wilson is about a woman who dreams she is a monster
Beautiful Monster by JG Faherty - is another Frankenstein's monster story with a sad twist and a female lead.
Give Me Your Hand by David Surface is a different sort of werewolf tale.
A Tale of Wickedness by Kelsea Yu in which a very captive audience hears and experiences a witchy story.
Moonlight Serenade by Gaby Triana was another very original werewolf tale.

These for me were the 5 star stories, your favorites may differ from mine.

I received an advance copy under no obligation to write a review.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Mystery Road by Kevin Lucia

 Two Kevin Ellison Stories in One!

Mystery Road

Choices are like roads, taking us to destinations both planned and unexpected, but lofty thoughts like that are of no concern to young Kevin Ellison, who only cares about his dreams of basketball glory.

One day, however, while riding his bicycle to shoot baskets with his best friend, he comes across a side road he doesn't recognize, curving away into the woods. Intrigued, he rides down this unmarked road and encounters something both wonderful and quietly terrible, something that forever changes his understanding of the world...

A Night at Old Webb

Old Webb, an abandoned grammar school just outside Clifton Heights, is the place to be late summer nights in Webb County. A gathering place for friends to be themselves, away from grownups who have forgotten what it means to be young and free.

The summer of 1992, Kevin Ellison spent his Saturday nights there like everyone else. Everything was running according to plan: a college basketball scholarship, school, all the things everyone expected of him.

Then he met a girl named Michelle Titchner, and everything changed...

You may need to have a box of tissues handy when reading this book, especially for the first novella Mystery Road, which is a beautiful, but melancholy ghost story.
Kevin Ellison is bracing himself for his father's passing. If you have ever lost a loved one to a long illness you know this feeling. While trying to be mentally prepared for the inevitable he is struck with a powerful memory that has been repressed for years.
When Kevin Ellison was fifteen, and on his way to play basketball with a friend he took a brief detour that lead him to the unexplained. Maybe he traveled through time, maybe he traveled to another plane of existence, or maybe a spirit with unfinished business just needed him to know that the end of life is not all there is.

Later, in A Night at Old Webb an unexpected package leads to a story about a college-aged Kevin and a bit of encouragement he received to follow his dreams.

The first story is more somber. The second is more uplifting, Both are beautifully written and stir up a wealth of emotion. If you're in the mood for a book that has all the feels. to raise a smile and a tear, this is it.
4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy under no obligation to write a review.