Book Review: Bone White by Ronald Malfi

Title: Bone White
Author: Ronald Malfi
Genre: Horror
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims graves, in remote Dread s Hand, Alaska.
It s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.
But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.
And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .
Praise for Little Girls
Best horror novel of the year. Hunter Shea
Much more than a haunted house story. Cemetery Dance
Takes well-known tropes and completely turns them around. IHeartReading”

How amazing is it that my praise for Little Girls, one of the first Ronald Malfi books I’ve ever read, is included in the Goodreads synopsis for Bone White? Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Anyway, back to Bone White. Another Ronald Malfi book. I get excited just seeing this author’s name pop up on Netgalley or Amazon because he’s an excellent writer. The first book I read by Ronald Malfi was The Mourning House, a very atmospheric read. Next I read Little Girls, an absolute 5-star book for me, and still one of my favorite horror books to date. Then, I read The Night Parade, slightly less creepy for me but still an amazing book.

Then, Bone White. I was eager to start reading the book, and it starts out strong too. A man, Joe Mallory, comes down from the mountain he lives on to the quaint, slightly eerie Alaskan town of Dread’s Hand, where he tells the locals to call the cops. They do, and he just sits on a bench, waiting. When Major Crimes arrives from Anchorage, he shows them several spots on the mountain where he claims to have buried people. Who, he doesn’t know, and apparently it doesn’t matter much either, if you believe him. Jill Reyerson, detective in charge of the case, doesn’t believe the man actually buried people up there. Until the bodies start piling up that is…

In comes Paul Gallo, whose brother Danny went missing in Dread’s Hand one year prior. Paul is worried his brother might be one of the victims, so he travels to the desolate town to give his DNA. When it turns out his brother isn’t a victim of Joe Mallory, but Mallory seems to recognize Paul somehow… Paul decides to start to his own investigation in Dread’s Hand. What he finds, turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for. The people from Dread’s Hand behave eerily. No one wants him there, and no one is keen to answer his questions regarding Danny… But what is really going on?

The writing is, as I’ve come to expect from Ronald Malfi, nothing if not impressive. The settings are vivid and realistic, the characters are so real that you half-expect Paul Gallo to just show up next to you while you’re reading. The book is extremely atmospheric, again something Malfi is very good at it.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, but let me say a thing or two about the supernatural aspect. Usually a thing like that wouldn’t scare me. I’ve never been scared by anything really, except for ghosts. But here, with the atmosphere Malfi paints, with the sublime way he puts readers in his character’s heads…

I didn’t think I was afraid until I stopped reading and crawled into bed. It still wasn’t real fear, it was a bone-deep unsettled feeling, as if the devil himself was watching me…

So, a word of warning, even for the not-easily-scared, this book gets under your skin.

Bewaren

Author Interview with Ivan Ewert

Today I’m interviewing Ivan Ringbell, the author of Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for answering my questions.

  • How long have you been writing?

I started in elementary school, writing plays for my friends and I to put on in the playground and competing in district contests. I started submitting to magazines in high school. I stopped after a particularly painful rejection – not something I recommend to new writers – and when I wrote through college and young adulthood it was gaming or personal material, never meant for anything important. That break probably lasted ten years or so.

When Livejournal became a thing, I joined an online roleplaying game and started taking my writing for it very seriously. I joined a few online writing groups, went to a few community college classes, and eventually fell back in love with the process.

  • What is your favorite genre to write?

I dig on modern weirdness, though my roots are in epic fantasy. Some friends think my best work is in essays, where I’m able to be more honest and open with people about the way I think and feel my way through the world. I do enjoy writing those – they’re certainly easier than creating entire worlds! It’s difficult for me to find things to opine on for those, though; at least things I feel safe revealing.

  • Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

Two! I actually have a skeleton idea for a series of mysteries that would encompass over ten titles, which seems fairly common for the genre. Unfortunately, I’m completely disinterested in law enforcement and forensics, which makes research an unpleasant slog. I’m also intensely fond of secret histories, and I enjoy researching the past for weird coincidences and potential occult tie-ins. You’re more likely to see one of those than the mysteries, which is a shame from a potential earnings standpoint.

  • Please tell us about your book.

Famished: The Gentleman Ghouls Omnibus is made up of three novels and two brand-new short stories. It covers the trials of Gordon Velander, a slightly over-educated Everyman who discovers he is among the lost heirs to a horrific and powerful secret. Unable to square his moral compass with what the Gentleman Ghouls expect of him, he is convinced by outside entities to destroy the entire system which he could benefit from greatly if he was less scrupulous.

  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Carreau was always my favorite character. He only appears in about a third of the books, but oh, he was fun to write. In many ways he gave my inner hedonist a strong voice and forceful personality, something my Midwestern upbringing has always frowned on and worked to suppress. So getting him out on the page to strut his stuff was awfully fun.

My least favorite character was probably Jacob Archard, leader of the New England Ghouls. I wanted a more tragic villain, one who was less sure of himself – someone who mirrored the protagonist, Gordon Velander, but in a different way from the adamant leaders of the other branches. It was difficult to write through his depression, his bleakness, the decisions he had to make but did not want to. I’m honestly rather proud of him as a character, but I certainly didn’t enjoy being in his head.

  • What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Making time. Hands down, making time … I admire writers who are able to carve off a specific period of time for writing and who guard it fiercely. I’ve never developed that knack with boundaries. Between my day job, a long commute, family obligations and various other projects constantly spinning around the calendar, I’ve never got into a steady routine of writing.

That’s on me, though. It’s not as if my wife or friends would begrudge me an hour or two a night. With more discipline and an improved sense of boundaries I could make this easier on myself.

  • What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

See above – it’s not much of a routine, really. The main thing I absolutely need is a sense of solitude. If I can hear someone doing chores in the next room, or have my email and instant messaging open, it’s impossible to focus on the task at hand. I’m not one of those coffeehouse writers! Give me a nice, comfortable garret far away from the rest of the world. When deadlines are looming, sometimes I’ll book off-hours time in my office’s conference rooms just so I know I have the space and time to do what’s necessary.

Music isn’t an absolute need, but oh, does it ever help. I will force myself to write in silence every few days so that it doesn’t become a crutch, and I make it a point of shifting from one style or genre to another, rarely the same band twice. Bandcamp.com has been a godsend for this and I try to promote the music I’m listening to on my blog alongside the writing work. I have so much respect for musicians and other artists, they’re trying to make things work just like writers are. My usual rule is that if I listen to the same album more than twice, I buy the digital copy.

Went off the tracks a little there, I suppose, but that’s how important the music is to my process.

  • How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

::laughs:: Ages. AGES. I don’t even remember when I started, to be honest, I’ve been trying to do the math and it just eludes me. Let’s say a minimum of ten years. Each book individually, though, I want to say between 1-2 years. I’m not proud of that speed, but there we are.

  • Can you tell us about your editing process?

Each chapter as written is sent out to alpha readers while I start work on the next. I’m not looking for typos or anything at this point, just recommendations or people to catch logical fallacies and plot holes. Once the entire book is complete I take a two-week break, then print the whole thing out to read and redline. I do one round of edits that way, pen and paper, then make the fixes in Word and print it out a second time.

That second printing gets read aloud, every word, every line. I want to know how the sentences flow, where alliteration has taken over, where the dialogue is awkward. Again, I’m redlining here with pen and paper, although sometimes the note just reads “Unfuck this part up, please,” to remind me it has too many issues to fix with a pen.

After that it goes to beta readers. Any typos or awkward phrases they find I fix immediately as they come in, but I file away any larger comments on style, feel, or other questions until everyone’s given me their feedback. At that point I attack any common complaints about specific scenes or bits, then I’ll go back and give careful consideration to individual comments or notes. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not, so that determines whether it’s addressed or not.

At that point it’s off to the editors for what is hopefully the last round of edits. Typically I don’t fight the editors unless I strongly disagree with that they want – I’ll fold in what they’re looking for, tighten the places they want tightened, and send it back in with a minimum of muttering.

Oh, and editing is done in silence. No music there. That’s a different part of the brain.

  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

The omnibus comprises three books and two short stories. There’s room in the world for a fourth, but I don’t consider myself anywhere near ready to tackle its subject matter. It’s likely to go unwritten, to be honest, and I don’t think that hurts the work as a whole in any meaningful way.

  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Oh, gosh. Get good with your boundaries and discipline early on. Make time for yourself and your creativity. Try to stop mimicking your favorite authors as soon as you can – you’re going to do it, everyone does, but work at noticing that and putting a stop to it when you see it. When you find your voice, defend it fiercely as needed. Don’t roll over for publishing trends or what’s selling today. And honestly, deny and reject the stereotype of the alcoholic writer. Booze and drugs don’t enhance your creativity, no matter how much fun they might seem. Rise above that myth.

  • Why should everyone read your book?

Famished: The Gentleman Ghouls has a lot to say about duty, conscience, and steadfastness in the face of overwhelming and institutionalized horror. These days, that’s even more important than it was when I started the stories so long ago. Additionally, I’ve heard that at least one reader fainted while reading a specific scene, which gives me a big toothy grin. Dare you prove yourself against that chapter?

  • If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

Tim Powers would be first. I’m a big fan of his work and the sheer amount of research he puts into everything he does. Last Call was one of the first books to really show me how things could be stretched into strange and bizarre angles. I’ve just re-read Declare for the second time and remain in awe of how many genres he manages to combine with modern weirdness.

I would very much like to have met Sir Terry Pratchett. He left the world the same way my father did, and he was the first author whom I shared with my father rather than the other way around. Dad had to stop reading the books on his public transit commute because he couldn’t stop laughing. I would like Sir Terry to know what an influence he had on both of us.

And because I’m a theater nerd, William Shakespeare’s the obvious third choice. I know it’s a cliché and I don’t care.

If we extended beyond three, I’d have plenty more. I really should start going to more writing conferences and conventions to meet some of them!

  • What inspired you to write your book?

I was asked, to be honest. I never would have tried writing horror if Jennifer hadn’t asked me to, and at the time I thought it was a twelve-episode serial. I certainly never expected it to become what it did. In terms of the core inspiration, I was told to find what frightened me most and write about that. Lovecraft’s “The Picture in the House,” one of his earliest stories, scarred me at a tender age and is one of the few horror stories I remember being shaken by. So I took a core concept there and expanded it across other fears of isolation and dominating authority.

  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I can’t talk about my biggest surprise yet, though hopefully soon! In writing, I’ve got two chapters down on a suburban fantasy that’s been kicking around my head for years. It’s lighter in tone and feel, theoretically; though since I’ve spent so long in the darkness of Famished I find it creeping into almost everything I do these days. I’m also working to become an accredited public speaker and hope to move into monologuing as a combination of writing and performing my own work.

 

About the Book

Hunger.

It’s the driving force behind survival.

The Velander bloodline carries an ancient secret: power and immortality. But that power requires a key to unlock: human flesh. Gordon Velander finds himself an unwilling participant in a play for survival – but he won’t be powerless for long.

It’s the driving force behind passion.

The Gentleman Ghouls have survived for centuries due to cunning and careful planning but their world in unraveling. Gordon has vowed to take the Ghouls down no matter what, but he’s fighting a war—both within and without. The Ghouls, on the other hand, are not waiting patiently for the end to come.

It’s the driving force behind revenge.

With the Farm and the Commons destroyed, the Ranch is the last outpost of the Ghouls. With the bitter end in sight, Gordon must face his greatest challenge yet—claiming his own fate as other forces make their moves.

Revenge is sweet.
Passion is fulfilling.
But survival trump all.

This rural horror omnibus of cannibals, dark pacts, and ancient power by Ivan Ewert contains three novels: Famished: The Farm, Famished: The Commons, and Famished: The Ranch, and features two new short stories.

Purchase from Amazon.
Bewaren

Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

32796253Title: Final Girls

Author: Riley Sager

Genre: Thrillers

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Final Girls is an intriguing psychological thriller about survival, evil and the strength it takes to live with the guilt of surviving when others did not.

Quincy is doing well, nowadays. Years ago, she went through the worst nightmare imaginable. All her friends got slaughtered in a cabin in the woods one night, and Quincy was the only one who survived. She doesn’t remember anything from that night, just bits and pieces, but it has still redefined her life. Now she spends most her time working on her food blog.

She barely even thought about Lisa. Lisa was the first girl they called a Final Girl, a title stolen from TV series and movies, a name for the last girl alive after a massacre. The only survivor. The Final Girl. Lisa offered help to Quincy back when she needed it the most, and Quincy has never forgotten. So when she hears Lisa passed away – a suicide, or so police think – she’s upset. And when Samantha, the other Final Girl, shows up on her doorstep, claiming to be worried about her, Quincy lets her in and they start to connect.

But the past won’t let go, and when it appears Lisa’s death was no suicide but murder, someone seems out to finish the work those butchers started all those years ago, and finish Samantha and Quincy off. But who can Quincy trust? And if the secret to the murderer’s identity is buried along with her own traumatizing memories of the night that ripped her life apart, can she find the strength to finally face the past?

This is a very suspenseful read, and the writing is excellent. Quincy is a well-developed character. She has plenty of flaws, and she still struggles with the past, but it all sounds very realistic. It’s normal Quincy is still struggling, it’s normal she still has survivor’s guilt. But she’s very strong, easy to relate to, and actually quite admirable. Samantha and Quincy develop a bit of an odd relationship as two Final Girls, but even that (which I imagine must be quite difficult to write) is written well, and in a believable way.

Now, the major downside (and what brought this from a 5 to 4 star read) is that I figured out who was behind it almost from the moment this person appeared in the book, and how it was all connected. It’s not too obvious, but I simply had a gut feeling and it turned out correct. Bummer, though, because that made the book less suspenseful than it would’ve been otherwise.

If you’re a fan of thrillers or slasher movies, I recommend you check this out.

Guest Post Eternal Darkness

Guest Post: SMALL TOWN HORROR

By Tom Deady

I was thirteen when I picked up Salems Lot from one of those spinning wire book racks in a local Woolworths. Vampires in a small Maine town? Sounded good to me! I devoured that book, reading late into the night despite having school the next day. How could I go to sleep and leave the Glicks and Ben and Mark and the Marsten House? ‘Salem’s Lot felt like home to me. And so began my lifelong journey as a horror fan turned horror writer.

Forty years later, ‘Salems Lot remains one of my favorite novels. Others on that list include IT, Boys Life, and Summer of Night. It doesn’t take long to see the common thread that runs through these stories – aside from the great writing – is the small town setting. What is it about these stories that draw in so many?

Small town life is an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, everybody knows everybody, and there are often more social gatherings like farmers’ markets or parades for people to get together. There is a sense of community, more than that, a sense of comfort.

On the other hand, does anybody really know anybody? You trust your neighbors and those in positions of authority (mayors, police officers, even parents, etc), but should you? When everybody is worried about “what will the neighbors think?” you have to start to question what they’re up to behind closed doors.

There are many examples, in several horror stories, where the people you think you can trust are really the villain. Stephen King uses this concept often: Big Jim Rennie in Under the Dome and Frank Dodd in The Dead Zone come to mind. Another person of authority often used as a villain: a parent. It’s a special kind of terror when a person has nowhere to turn. After all, home is supposed to be a place you think of safety, comfort, shelter. A place where you can retreat when you need to. When your home is unsafe, there is no comfort. No safety. No protection.

Small town life can also mean isolation. Long stretches of tree-lined country roads are the only way in or out. Deserted houses on the outskirts of town. Lonely ponds or lakes or river beds. No public transportation to hop on, no heavily populated places to just blend into the crowd. Just you and your town, your home, and all your neighbors, good and bad. Throw in a blizzard, a washed out bridge, or a power failure, and then what do you do? Isolation is a powerful component of horror.

I recently reread Salems Lot and was not surprised to see it holds up against the test of time. Small towns may not be the same as they were forty years ago, and technology makes it difficult for anyone to ever feel isolated, but there are some things that never change. Growing up is always going to be hard: there will always be bullies and cliques and cool kids and misfits. The coming-of-age themes found in Salems Lot and the other books I mentioned isn’t a trope, it’s a fact of life.

Relationships, whether friendships or romances, are also difficult. For kids and adults. Ben and Susan in ‘Salem’s Lot, Bill Denbrough and Beverly Marsh from IT – the challenges are always there and seem magnified under the lens of a small town.

Reading Salems Lot as a young teen, I took comfort in knowing – even though it was fiction – that other people were facing the same struggles I was. Today, as a writer, I would like to be able to capture that same feeling and pass it along to my readers.

  I used small town settings in both Haven and Eternal Darkness, as well as a strong coming-of-age theme in each of the stories. If I’ve done it right, older readers will get a whiff of nostalgia, but maybe, just maybe, younger readers will find a nugget of hope to help them through their struggles. Either way, I hope I at least throw a few good scares into them!

Perfect For Fans of The Paperback Horror Days, Don’t Miss Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady!

Available For Pre-Order Now – Reserve Your Copy Today

Holliston, MA – January, 12, 2017 – Tom Deady, acclaimed author of Haven, is releasing another horror book, Eternal Darkness. For fans of old-school horror and character-driven stories with people you can identify with, this is sure to be a hit. Following the author’s debut novel Haven, Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness novel promises a deeper look at the secrets people hide from one another, and the malice right next door.

“First and foremost, that’s what Tom Deady is about as an author: story. And those are my favorite kinds of writers,” says Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance and author of A Long December. “Tom understands this traditional school of writing very well, and if his first two novels are any indication of his focus and growth as an author, all of us readers are in for many more treats in the future. Tom Deady is a true storyteller, and I can offer no higher words of praise,” says Chizmar.

Something is killing the people of Bristol, Massachusetts. Do you dare to find out what? First, a young boy goes missing. Then, his abusive father is slaughtered. Next, his grieving mother burns in an unnatural fire. The only thing you know for sure? Something’s not right. Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack know the stories. Now, they must separate truth from lore when they dig for answers. Who will survive and who will succumb to the eternal darkness?

If there are three things to know about Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness it’s:

  • Someone Has Moved Into The Old Brewster Place
  • Something Is Killing People
  • Sometimes You Can’t Fight Your Own Destiny

“Tom Deady writes the type of novels that made me a fan of the genre decades ago – big, hefty books about regular folks fighting monsters against incredible odds,” says Pete Kahle, owner & founder of Bloodshot Books. “I’m ecstatic that we are able to debut Bloodshot Books’ line of original novels with Eternal Darkness. We need more authors like Tom,” says Kahle.

Perfect for fans of the paperback horror days. Richard Chizmar says, “It would be too easy to tell you that Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of early Stephen King. Sure, it features a small town New England setting, a large cast of colorful children sprinkled with a handful of flawed adults, and a monster straight out of your nightmares. If it sounds like I just described ‘Salem’s Lot or IT, there’s probably a good reason for that.”

Whether you are a fan of Haven looking for more, or new to Tom Deady’s work, Eternal Darkness from Bloodshot Books should be on your 2017 release radar. Pre-order your copy of Eternal Darkness on Amazon Kindle today: http://amzn.to/2ibyj9p

About Tom Deady:

Tom Deady, born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, is not far from the historic (and spooky) town of Salem. He has endured a career as an IT professional, but his dream has always been to be a writer.

Tom has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

Tom’s first novel, Haven, was released in 2016 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

His new release, Eternal Darkness will be published by Bloodshot Books.

As always, he is actively working on his next novel.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for horror / apocalyptic scifi “Hell Holes: What Lurks Below”. The tour runs from March 1 to March 15. Enjoy the tour!

Tour Schedule

March 1st: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

March 1st: Promo Post @ Stormy Night Reviewing

March 3rd: Author Interview @ Erika Gardner’s Blog

March 5th: Book Excerpt @ The Pursuit of Bookiness

March 6th: Promo Post @ Memories in a Box

March 9th: Character Interview @ Compelling Beasts

March 11th: Promo Post @ Mello & June, It’s A Book Thing

March 12th: Book Review @ 100 Pages A Day

March 13th: Book Excerpt @ Just Books

March 14th: Author Interview @ Two Heart Beats

March 15th: Book Review @ Natural Bri

About the Book

Title: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Author: Donald Firesmith

Genre: Apocalyptic Scifi / Horror

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

Author Bio

A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky and his youngest son Dane.

Links

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/embed/amXuTAlKoX0

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below: Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, Goodreads, Indigo, Kobo, Smashwords

Book Review and Giveaway Those Who Are Left by Josh Stricklin

Title: Those Who Are Left
Author: Josh Stricklin
Genre: Horror
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Thinking back to when everything changed, Derrick can never pinpoint if it was the pickaxe swinging toward his own face that alerted him or if he knew moments earlier when he saw the weapon hurtle toward the barn cat. Either way, he quickly realized that the man he was facing—a farm employee he knew well—was not only no longer a friend, he wasn’t even human any more.

An apocalyptic tale that surprises you with humor when it’s not terrifying you with horror, Those Who Are Left follows Derrick as he and two strangers venture through the major cities of the South in search of family and safety. But not all the human factions can be trusted, and if the trio can’t figure out what’s driving the different groups they could end up with enemies on all sides.

But even in a chaotic world of murderous screamers and posturing humans, there’s always time to play a few games of bowling before the slaughter begins…right?

In Those Who Are Left, the world changes in the blink of an eye. Derrick’s farmhand, a man he knows well, suddenly attacks him with a pickaxe. And the rest of the world doesn’t fare much better – humanity has left the building, and the creatures left are hungry and savage, and will attack anything that moves.

Derrick is saved by Mark, a complete stranger who may turn into the best friend he’s ever had. Surviving in this new, apocalyptic world, means finding trustworthy allies, and Derrick and Mark work together. Their goal is to find Derrick’s wife, Sarah, and Mark’s sister Jackie, but finding them will be tremendously difficult with flesh-eating zombie-like creatures marauding the streets.

Despite the horror of the situation, the author actually manages to incorporate some humor in the book as well. This helps show humanity’s resistence, even in the face of such a terrible danger.

The writing was solid, and once I started reading, I finished the book in one sitting. A supsenseful, creepy read for fans of zombie apocalypse books and scary novels.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Those Who Are Left

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for horror “Those Who Are Left”. The tour runs from February 6 to March 6. Stay tuned for my review on February 18.

Tour Schedule

February 6th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

February 6th: Book Review @ Deep in the Crease

February 6th: Promo Post @ Stormy Night Reviewing

February 7th: Book Excerpt @ Bedazzled Reading

February 9th: Book Excerpt @ Books, Dreams, Life

February 11th: Author Interview @ Compelling Beasts Blog

February 13th: Promo Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

February 15th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

February 17th: Promo Post @ Bookish Madness

February 18th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

February 20th: Promo Post @ Maari Loves Her Indies

February 21st: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

February 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy

February 25th: Promo Post @ Hollow Readers

February 27th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

February 28th: Promo Post @ Kathryn Lively’s Blog

March 1st: Promo Post and Giveaway @ The Pursuit of Bookiness

March 2nd: Book Excerpt @ Books are Forever

March 3rd: Promo Post @ The Bookworm Lodge

March 4th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Just Books

March 6th: Promo Post @ Mello & June, It’s A Book Thing

About the Book

Title: Those Who Are Left

Author: Josh Stricklin

Genre: Horror

Thinking back to when everything changed, Derrick can never pinpoint if it was the pickaxe swinging toward his own face that alerted him or if he knew moments earlier when he saw the weapon hurtle toward the barn cat. Either way, he quickly realized that the man he was facing—a farm employee he knew well—was not only no longer a friend, he wasn’t even human any more.

An apocalyptic tale that surprises you with humor when it’s not terrifying you with horror, Those Who Are Left follows Derrick as he and two strangers venture through the major cities of the South in search of family and safety. But not all the human factions can be trusted, and if the trio can’t figure out what’s driving the different groups they could end up with enemies on all sides.

But even in a chaotic world of murderous screamers and posturing humans, there’s always time to play a few games of bowling before the slaughter begins…right?

Author Bio

Josh Stricklin is an American author and musician with degrees in English literature and advertising from the University of Southern Mississippi. His first novel, Those Who Are Left, made its debut in 2015. The terrifying follow up, The King of Evil, is available from Silver Leaf Books. He’s currently hard at work finishing his first series…or more likely reading comic books and wearing a Seahawks jersey.

 

Links

thegreenroses.com

https://www.facebook.com/thegreenroses/

https://twitter.com/ExplosionAction

https://www.instagram.com/explosionaction/

Purchase on Amazon

 

Book Tours: Starter Day Party When Blood Reigns

I’m hosting the starter day party today for horror / science fiction “When Blood Reigns”. The tour runs from January 15 to February 15. Stay tuned for my review on February 15!

Tour Schedule

January 15th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

January 15th: Promo and Giveaway @ Tome Tender

January 15th: Promo Post @ Author C.A. Milson’s Blog

January 16th: Book Review @ Reads and Reels

January 16th: Promo Post @ Stormy Nights Reviewing

January 18th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Reading A Page Turner

January 21st: Character Interview @ Indy Book Fairy

January 21st: Promo Post and Giveaway @ The Pursuit of Bookiness

January 22nd: Promo Post and Giveaway @ T’s Stuff

January 24th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Just Books

January 27th: Author Interview @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

January 29th: Promo Post @ Books are Forever

January 30th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

February 2nd: Promo Post @ Memories in a Box

February 3rd: Book Excerpt @ The Bookworm Lodge

February 3rd: Promo Post @ Mello and June, It’s A Book Thing

February 5th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

February 6th: Author Interview @ Compelling Beasts Blog

February 8th: Book Review @ Bedazzled Reading

February 10th: Guest Post @ Sharing Stories

February 13th: Book Excerpt @ The Single Librarian

February 15th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

About the Book

whenbloodreigns_300dpi_printTitle: When Blood Reigns

Author: Barbara Custer

Genre: Horror / Science Fiction

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?

Author Bio

whenbloodreignsauthorphotoBarbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.

Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer, City of Brotherly Death, Infinite Sight, and Steel Rose; also novellas Close Liaisons and Life Raft: Earth. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons, and you’ll find her.

To contact her, e-mail her at barbaracuster@hotmail.com.

Visit her at:

Website

Facebook

Linkedin

Twitter

Links

Amazon

Book Trailer

Mini-Reviews: Nightmares, Extinction of All Children, America’s Most Haunted Hotels

minireview

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.

Nightmares

Tite: Nightmares

Author: Ellen Datlow (Editor)

Genre: Horror, Short Stories

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Unlucky thieves invade a house where Home Alone seems like a playground romp. An antique bookseller and a mob enforcer join forces to retrieve the Atlas of Hell. Postapocalyptic survivors cannot decide which is worse: demon women haunting the skies or maddened extremists patrolling the earth.

In this chilling twenty-first-century companion to the cult classic Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, Ellen Datlow again proves herself the most masterful editor of the genre. She has mined the breadth and depth of ten years of terror, collecting superlative works of established masters and scene-stealing newcomers alike.

Review: This is a perfect collection for fall / winter, with some stories being creepy, some disgusting, and some bone-chilling! Some of stories were amazing, but some were lacking quality and were a little boring. Overall, not too bad of a collection but I would’ve preferred a better mix of strong and mediocre stories – now most of them seemed mediocre.

Extinction of All Children

Title: Extinction of All Children

Author: L.J. Epps

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.
Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.
During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.
Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret. If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.
During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.
After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger. In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

 

Review: An interesting plot, definitely unique, and Emma makes an intriguing protagonist, the kind you can root for. However, sometimes the writing rambled on, and the book suffered from a few info-dumps, and repetitive scenes.

America’s Most Haunted Hotels

Title: America’s Most Haunted Hotels

Author: Jamie Davis Whitmer

Genre: Nonfiction, Paranormal, Ghosts

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Phantom footsteps pace the stairs at the Myrtles Plantation. A seductive spirit tugs on the sheets at the Copper Queen. Ghost children whisper and giggle at the Kehoe House. Journey into the mysterious world of haunted hotels, where uninvited guests roam the halls, supernatural sounds ring throughout the rooms, and chills run along the spines of those who dare to check in for the night.

Join Jamie Davis Whitmer, author of Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums, as she explores some of the most haunted hotels across the United States. From the Jerome Grand Hotel in Arizona to the Palmer House in Minnesota, each hotel is discussed in great detail, covering everything from the building’s history and legends to first-hand accounts of spooky sounds and smells, ghost sightings, EVP sessions, and more. You’ll also find photos, travel information, and everything else you need to plan your own visit to these iconic hotels.

Review: In this book, the author and her husband travel from one town to the next, to visit haunted hotels. Readers get the history of each hotel, info about the haunting, and then the author’s evidence (or lack of evidence, if they don’t get any during their investigation) for the haunting. I enjoyed that they included their own experience, and that they did research about the locations. A travelling guide for people who enjoy the paranormal.