Book Review and Giveaway When Blood Reigns by Barbara Custer

Title: When Blood Reigns
Author: Barbara Custer
Genre: Horror / Science Fiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. On the way, ravenous flesh-eaters attack Alexis’s team; one survivor turns on her. She realizes too late that the renegades have been tracking her every move. When officials capture her, she becomes deathly ill. Can DNA splicing save her? Will Yeron’s attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?

I started reading When Blood Reigns right after I finished watching Van Helsing, a tv series about a zombie apocalypse with vampires instead of zombies. Both put me in the same mindset: slightly spooked, slightly paranoid, afraid a zombie might turn up any moment, feeling like I couldn’t trust a single of the characters besides the main character, and that not all survivors might have the best of intentions.
Alexis is an intriguing protagonist, and I particularly liked how she grew and changed throughout the book. The author’s combination of a zombie apocalypse with aliens and science-fiction elements is a huge bonus too. The Kryszka, as the aliens are called in this book, have a hand in the zombie apocalype now infesting earth, and that’s an unique spin. I don’t want to give anymore away about the relationships between the main cast, the zombeies, and the Kryszka, but it’s very compelling and entertaining.
As with all apocalypse survivor stories, you get a sense of hopelessness. Not only is the world getting destroyed, there’s also no one left to trust. Good guys turn into bad guys. People who should rely on each other, betray each other.
The writing is solid, and once I started reading, I kept turning page after page, curious to find out what would happen next to these characters. Not for the faint of heart (it is horror, after all) but definitely an enjoyable, suspenseful read for fans of horror and scifi.
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Mini-Reviews: The Lonely Ones, City of Shadows, The Spirit Chaser

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Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Lonely Ones

Tite: The Lonely Ones

Author: Kelsey Sutton

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you?

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it’s no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond – and in spite of – the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world?

Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.

Review: Fain knows what loneliness looks like. What it feels like. But when a group of monsters befriends her, she is no longer lonely: now she has friends to go on adventures with. This is a beautiful story of a girl’s journey of self-discovery through her imagination.

City of Shadows

Title: City of Shadows

Author: Pippa DaCosta

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Alina knows she is not real – the fae queen spun an evil web to create her – but she wants more than to spend her days feeding off humans’ energy to survive. She isn’t content to lose herself in the dangerously attractive Reign. She wants a life of her own making.

Desperate to help the man who saved her life, Alina vows to find his missing sister. Alina is convinced that the general of the Fae Authority plays a part in her disappearance. She infiltrates the organisation and gets close to their strongest fighter. But while Samuel’s tormented soul and masterful touch stirs in Alina a feeling of being human again, her loyalty to Reign makes her Samuel’s enemy. Who should she trust?

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

Review: I absolutely loved this book. Alina is a construct, something made by the fae queen, and she only has limited time left. All the characters were amazing, especially Reign and Alina! This was the second book in a series, and I didn’t read the first book, but I wanted to ever since I finished this one. An excellent read.

The Spirit Chaser

Title: The Spirit Chaser

Author: Kat Mayor

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.

Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show. When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.

Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?

He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.

Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.

Review: This book had everything I loved: ghosts, a paranormal show, romance. Unfortunately, it all felt rather bland, mostly due to the writing style, which was mechanical and boring. The first few spooky scenes were creepy, but it went downhill from there.

Book Review: Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

monsterlandTitle: Monsterland
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Horror / Action
Age Group: Young Adult and Up
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland is a theme park filled with monsters – any monster lover’s dream come through. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, you name it, and the park has them. Wyatt Baldwin, high school student, movie buff and monster fan never expected to get invited to the grand opening of Monsterland. But then luck (or destiny, depending on how you look at it) intervenes and they get to visit Monsterland on the grand opening. What could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland focuses on monsters and families, and it basically reads like Jurassic Park, but with monsters. Of course you know something will go wrong the moment Wyatt steps through those doors, but still, it’s an engaging, surprising read. Wyatt and his brother have a new stepdad, so the family dynamics are slightly troublesome. They’re trying to make it work, which is admirable. The family dynamics play an important part of the book, and help sketch the personality of our main character.

The book is filled with adventure, fast-paced escapes, and great writing. A perfect read for horror fans – I didn’t find it that scary, but it was very entertaining nonetheless.

Book Review and Giveaway Cinnamon Tea

51yur+PX2jLTitle: Cinnamon Tea
Author: Charles Campbell
Genre: Horror
Rating; 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Cinnamon Tea tells the story of Adrienne Whitman and Avril Whatley. Two young women that were taken from their families two years apart under eerily similar circumstances.

Detective Shawn Whitman, Adrienne’s father, senses that Adrienne is still alive when Avril Whatley turns up missing. Detective Whitman and Avril’s immediate family (her mother, Jessie, grandmother, Annella, uncles T.C. and Jerry Lee) must work together to save their girls. The sweet aroma of cinnamon tea is prominent throughout this tale. It is so inviting, but it can also be deadly. Cinnamon Tea is a story of loss, a story of new discovery, a story of anger, a story of terror, a story of love and a story of closure. Are you drinking the tea?

This is an amazing book, and very suspenseful. Adrienne Whitman and Avril Whatley were both taken from their families under eerily similar circumstances. Detective Shawn Whitman, Adrienne’s father, senses his daughter is still alive when Avril goes missing, but if he wants a chance at rescueing her, he’ll need to work together with Avril’s immediate family.

The story put me on the edge of my seat. The author is an amazing storyteller. The characters feel very real.

I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys a dark, thrilling novel.

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Book Review: Revenge of the Wolf Two by Skyler Patterson

Revenge Of The Wolf 2 Ebook coverTitle: Revenge of the Wolf Two
Author: Skyler Patterson
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Horror
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

A MAN WITH A SUPERNATURAL PAST

At a young age  a wealthy  young handsome man: Justice Sorrowfell was bitten by a wolf. This left him with the abilities to change his  skin and shift his shape at will into a grievous wolf. Justice shared his secret with no one. Justice had everything a man could want.  Money, wealth and being a son of a 18th century shipping magnate in New York City. Justice is missing  however one important thing, to make his life complete. A LOVE..

 AN ANGEL OF NEW YORK

A young wealthy angelic woman named Angelica Innocenta is young and beautiful. Angelica  has everything a woman could want too. All except a A LOVE . A man.. Angelica and her beautiful Spaniard girlfriend Selita conjure up scenario after scenario to purposefully court eligible men. Angelica finds no man to her liking until one day Selita tosses (Literally)her into the most handsome man she ever did see! JUSTICE SORROWFELL!

TWO WORLDS COLLIDE

Justice and Angelica begin a glorious romance. They court throughout the city. All is exquisite and utter bliss until tragedy strikes! Whilst both are out and about the city Angelica is murdered by a heinous outlaw! Justice never forgives himself for Angelica’s death. Justice thus far has never felt the need to use his supernatural feral gifts. Never until now!  And when New Yorks police cannot seem to bring Angelica’s killer to the gallows. The man named Justice  Sorrowfell, decides a wolf could sniff this outlaw into the open!  He feasts  on outlaw after outlaw in the form of a four-legged wolf and a werewolf! He becomes a SKIN-CHANGER VIGILANTE This eventually attracts the attention of New York  Police inspectors!

TWO POLICE INSPECTORS

The New York inspector Nolan Noluck and his partner Wilhelm Dogood . Wilhelm Dogood is summoned from England after investigating the Jack The Ripper case abroad! Both men are now  on the case! These two join forces to investigate a strange case of vigilante killings that seem to be the work of a wolf and a man! They begin their hunt for this prolific feral killer. But are they hunting a man or a beast ?!

A WOLF PACK OF TOURISTS

A trio of shape-shifting tourists enter the city. They join Justice’s wolfpack. Yet they may not want to feed on only the outlaws.. A never ending grief descends upon Justice. Justice seems doomed by grief until he can be caught to face New York ‘s  police form of justice! Justice for the vigilante killings he is alleged  to have committed.. Justice is descending into alcoholism and becoming heathen.. And then one emotional visit to his dearly departed fiance’s gaudy crypt changes. It. all! AN ANGEL LIVES! IN UN-DEATH! And what does she offer him besides her incredible sensual charms? Advice on what to do next: “KILL EVERY OUTLAW IN NEW YORK CITY!” And so the body count rises! The red hot lovemaking continues! And now here we are its REVENGE OF THE WOLF TWO! Justice is kicking his  vengeance into overdrive, whilst finding time to appease his now day -walking fiance’s insatiable desires! The police are closing in and the love birds are planning a wedding! An epic showdown looms in the distance! ALL PEOPLE DO DIE. BUT TRUE LOVE CANNOT BE KILLED. OR CAN IT?! FIND OUT! This is the second book in an epic tale of paranormal, gothic, horror, action,romance!  Revenge Of The Wolf 2  An ebook on Amazon and Barnes&Nobles! And KOBO! Revenge of the wolf One  and Two are both now now on Amazon.(GET REVENGE OF THE WOLF ONE- FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE AUGUST 7Th & 8 th!!!) These ebooks were written by Goodreads author SKYLER PATTERSON!

Revenge of the Wolf Two is a nail-biting page turner. Shape-shitfting wolves, action, romance, angels, what more can you want? This is an epic story, and I really enjoyed the writing and characters. Justice was very intriguing, and the story moved swiftly.

Book Review: Pay The Ghost by Tim Lebbon

26246296Title: Pay the Ghost
Author: Tim Lebbon
Genre: Horror, Novella
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

NOW A MOVIE STARRING NICOLAS CAGE.
A girl goes missing … the father gives up hope … but the mother never stops searching. Now, a year later and close to Hallowe’en, they have a chance to rescue their child. But to do so they must face something terrible.

Pay the Ghost is all right for a short story. The story is pretty basic: Moll, a six-year-old girl goes missing on Halloween. A year later, her father is desperate, her mother even more so. She’s been reduced to a shell of her former shelf, and when she knocks on Lee’s – Moll’s father – door, she looks like a living corpse. But she knows where Moll is, or so she claims, and Lee is desperate to save his little girl. Even if perhaps she can’t be saved at all.

The plot was pretty original, but it wasn’t fleshed out enough in this novella. I couldn’t connect to the characters because they didn’t really have personalities, not even main character Lee. There’s nothing outstanding, different, or intriguing about the book. It’s a pleasant short story, but it doesn’t stand out.

Also, for a horror story, the novella lacks scariness. I wasn’t scared at all while reading.

Book Review: Little Killers A to Z

30618496Title: Little Killers A to Z
Author: Howard Odentz
Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult and up
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Bad things come in small packages . . .
EPIC Award finalist Howard Odentz has penned twenty-six disturbingly fascinating horror stories about the youngest predators among us.
From Andy and Boris to Yuri and Zena, this eclectic anthology is filled, A to Z, with psychopaths, monsters, and murderers!
So turn on the lights and huddle under your blankets because murder isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Come meet our gallery of little killers.
After all, they’re dying to meet you!
Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.
5 Stars “a relentless, thrilling ride” – Court Street Literary, on Bloody Bloody Apple.
“Howard Odentz takes this mis-mosh of dysfunctional characters and puts together a wonderful story that is equal parts horror and love.” – Scared Stiff Reviews, on Bloody Bloody Apple.

Little Killers A to Z: An Alphabet of Horror is, as the name suggests, a collection of horror short stories featuring children. Twenty-six tales, most of them very entertaining. As with all collections, I liked some more than others, but the writing quality in all stories is very high, almost lyrical, and the author has a knack for writing entertaining, original stories, and setting the mood in just a few pages.

Some of the stories featured monster-kids, others kids who had turned into murderers, yet others featured veeeeery creepy kids. Some of the stories were creepier than others, but I liked the majority of them, and in general, I found that the quality of storytelling was very high.

I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark fiction / horror, and short stories.

Book Review: Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders

24972267Title: Passing The Torch

Author: L.L. Sanders

Genre: Horror, Novella

Age Group: Young Adult and Up

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Deep in the Arizona desert live a girl and her dad, burying secrets—and bodies.
Mesa Kingston’s first memory of burying a corpse was at eight years old. Back then it had been the carcass of a large lizard her dad found that they buried in the backyard of their isolated cottage. At age fourteen, the body of a young lady accompanied the reptile’s remains, and ever since, an accumulation of female bodies began to grow. Now, the only way Mesa can stop the haunting screams of the dead is by drowning them out with flames. Or is there more to the blaze than even she can perceive?

Passing The Torch is a very short but dark novella about Mesa Kingston, a young girl living with her father. They often go to her father’s cabin to spend some time away from civilization. Yet, Mesa has memories of her father burying young women underneath the cottage. Each year, more and more women cry out to her from beyond the grave, and now, age eighteen, Mesa has decided to do something about it.

For such a short story, the author did a good job of fleshing out the characters. Mesa was intriguing. The other characters, police officers, her dad, were all sketched in a few short lines, but it worked.

The book is a novella, so it’s very short, and I wouldn’t have minded to read a full-length novel on this topic. As such, I found it an okay read but not long enough – too many details were missed, and it was slightly too abstract. Despite that, I did enjoy it and found it disturbing, in a good way.

Book Review: The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

27405533Title: The Night Parade

Author: Ronald Malfi

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .
They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .

Once again, Ronald Malfi’s writing totally blew me away in The Night Parade. This author knows how to write, how to make the words shine on the page, how to craft a story that stands out from others, and stays with you, long after reading.

David Arlen’s world has fallen apart. Wanderer’s Folly, a disease that causes daydreams, nightmares and delusions, is wrecking the entire world, turning people into zombie-like creatures, and eventually killing them. The disease spreads randomly, and no one knows how you get infected. What they do know is that the cure is hidden somewhere inside the body of David’s wife.

But now she’s dead, and the doctors who hurt her, now want his daughter Ellie, who holds the same miracle cure. But David isn’t willing to give Ellie up, not even for the good of mankind. They flee across the country, chased by the disease that strikes randomly, haunted by the remnants of human civilization.

Ellie is a wonderful little girl. She’s nine, and sometimes she acts like a child, sometimes more like an adult – but for her, it makes sense to act that way. She’s a very kind, loving, gentle child, and she touched my heart. David too was an intriguing character. Being the adult he’s left to make the tough choices, and since the book is told from his POV, we spend most time inside his mind, which I did enjoy – he was complex yet relatable.

The book isn’t exactly scary. For horror, it’s rather tame: you don’t get gore (not that much at least) or supernatural over-the-top scares. What you do get is a slow build up of dread. Even though it’s not scary, you do grow scared. The author manages to pull the reader into the story with such excellence that you become part of the story, you feel the dread David feels, your anxiety grows as things are revealed. You can’t just sit and relax: you have to keep on turning the page.

I already look forward to reading my next Ronald Malfi book.

Book Review: Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole

unnamedTitle: Raven’s Peak
Author: Lincoln Cole
Genre: Horror / Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.

Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

From the moment I started reading Raven’s Peak, I couldn’t put it down. Raven’s Peak is a quiet little mountain town hiding a big problem – the townsfolk are starting to act crazy. Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people, and as such, discovers a demonic threat of epic proportions.

Abigail rescues Haatim Arison, a young man who has a family legacy in the supernatural, something he knew little about until now. Now he sees demons, scary supernatural beings, and must come to terms with his own legacy. In order to survive, Abigail will need to protect Haatim and learn to trust him – easier said than done.

I really liked Haatim. At the start of the book, he’s obviously lost, having dropped out of college and suffering personal loss. But as the story progresses, the reader sees him grow and change, and likewise, so does Abigail. The plot is engaging, and the writing is very fast-paced; I almost flew through the pages racing to the end.

This was definitely an on-the-edge-of-your-seat pageturner and paranormal thriller.