Saturday, December 24, 2011

Creepfest Winners!

So, I'm probably the worst blog-hopper in the world. I wanted to be better, I really did. But we are trying to get two books out this week at Angelic Knight Press and there are always a million last minute details. And it's Christmas. Those are the excuses I'm sticking with anyway.

I didn't get as many posts up as I would have liked to, but stay tuned. Those posts are still coming. Plus many more posts on the wonderful books I managed to win during Creepfest. I didn't get to visit as many blogs as I hoped to, but I still have the linky guy. I'll continue the rounds!

My grand prize winner is Gina! Gina gets first choice of the prizes.

First Runner up was Ash Krafton. After Gina lets me know what she wants, I'll get in touch with you, Ash.

And the second runner up was Julie Janson. I'll be in touch!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and congrats to the winners!

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quiet Houses by Simon Kurt Unsworth

I read Quiet Houses, by Simon Kurt Unsworth, because of a recommendation I saw in the Kindle Horror Facebook group. I've always been a huge fan of the haunted house story, and this book was recommended highly by another author. I assumed Mr. Unsworth was a new indie author. I was totally wrong. (Not really an unusual occurrence) Mr. Unsworth has been writing for a while and has stories in several of the Best Horror of the Year volumes as well as The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. You can find his blog here.

Quiet Houses is one of the best books I've read all year. I don't say that lightly, because let's face it, I read a lot of books this year. Some of them not even worth reviewing, but some of them quite good. I will say that this is the best "on a whim" purchase I made this year.

The book uses the "frame method" of story telling. That means that there is a beginning story that sets the premise of the book and then each of the other stories are told, and another story at the end wraps everything up tightly and ties everything together. Sometimes this method works well (think of the old movie, Dr. Terror's House of Horror. What? You've never seen it?! It's a classic, people! Chock full of old horror movie legends! *sighs* I digress...) and sometimes it doesn't work. In this book it works beautifully.

We start with the story of a research assistant, Nakata, sorting through answers to an ad he placed in the newspaper, trying to find haunted houses. He wades through them and finds a few to actually check out. Each of these houses is a seperate story in the book. Throughout the book we get more glimpses into the character and what drives Nakata himself. One of the stories in the book is his own pivotal experience with a haunting. There are eight stories in the book. It would be hard to pick a favorite, but I if I had to (you know, because someone was pointing a gun to my head, or something), I would pick number 5. It centers on a big abandoned hotel, The Ocean Grand.

And I know what you're thinking (no, not because I'm psychic), I can almost here you say it, But that's been done! It has, and it's been done so well that sometimes we begin to think that no one else can use that theme again. And that, my friends, is the beauty of this collection! Haunted houses, haunted hotels, haunted burial grounds have all been done. Yet, Mr. Unsworth manages to do them again and not bore his readers. Each tale is so quietly creepy, so dreadfully evocative, so atmospheric, that you get completely caught up in them and don't spend the whole time comparing them to other things you've read. That, in itself, is quite a feat. As is creeping me out so badly that I don't want to turn out the light. And that's what these tales did.

There's no gore. No shock for the sake of shock value. No mad slashers. No gimmicks. These tales are just pure horror. The good old fashioned kind of horror, the kind that relies on plot, atmosphere and good writing, to deliver the scare. I highly recommend this collection. I don't recommend that you read it at night, if alone in the house. Recommended for lovers of Poe, James Herbert or Barbara Eskine. (If you don't know any of those authors- look them up- they're fabulous!) Or for anyone who just likes their fear to creep up on them, slowly, from behind.

You can find the book here on

Remember the contest! You can still enter to win by leaving me a comment telling me your favorite book and the reason it's your favorite. Contest runs until December 23rd. Now go. Read something!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creepfest Reviews...

I am participating in the "12 Days of Creepfest" blog hop, put together by the wonderfully talented Rebecca Treadway. Rebecca is the Artistic Director for Angelic Knight Press. She's a supremely talented author, but she's also a great writer.  And she put together this little blog hop to help all of us grab some new followers and discover new blogs.

The rules of participation say that the blog owner must host a contest during the creepfest. So, since this is a book review blog, I want the contest to be about books. The prize is going to be an eBook version of "Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls", eBook version of "Satan's Toybox: Toy Soldiers" or a print copy of Demonic Dolls, winner's choice. I'll give the remaining two prizes to two other lucky people.

How do you enter this fabulous contest? Simple. Just leave a comment on any post between now and December 23rd. In the comment tell me your all time favorite horror genre book and why it's your favorite. I will pick the winner at random and announce them on the Christmas Eve blog post. I'll also pick runner up #1 and runner up #2. If you'd like extra entries, follow me on Twitter (@Spot_speaks) or "Like" my Facebook fan page. Links for both are conveniently located on the side of my author blog.

I will be posting some reviews from now until Christmas. Most of them will not be accompanied by author interviews on my other blog, simply because I don't know the authors. And not all of them will be Indie Books. I've read some really great books lately and want to share.

That's all I've got for today, but you should go visit all the other horror authors, reviewers, artists, bloggers listed at the bottom of this blog. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Also, they're giving away prizes as well!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Forsaken by Andrew Van Wey

Andrew contacted me through email and asked me if I would like to review his book. I, of course, said "yes". I didn't know Andrew and hadn't heard of his book, but this is not unusual. There are so many books out there and so little time to read. What I have to say is-- if you only have time to read one book-- read this one. It's worth it.
The Synopsis: For art professor Daniel Rineheart, life's a dream. His children's laughter fills the halls of his home, and his wife's embrace lulls him to sleep. But summer's end heralds the arrival of three disturbing omens. A lost bird, thousands of miles from home. A beautiful student with whom he shares an insidious past.

...and a mysterious painting, dripping with malignant secrets.

It wasn't the strangest creation he'd ever seen, but close. A girl with a wounded, sack-like face; a boy with pinhole eyes and a cruel sneer; and a distant shadow peering out from behind a dying tree, all stared back at him from that perfect painted canvas.

Yet it wasn't only the subjects that challenged him, but the riddle that came with it.

"Here in Art, Denial."

Four words shrouding a secret that awakens a surreal nightmare. Where objects from his past manifest in canvas and oil. Where painted clocks tick-tock away in the dark hours before dawn, and a missing dog whimpers from between the walls. Where the painted children leave the canvas to stalk the halls of his once quiet and happy home.

And where all answers lead back to a blind artist and an impossible creation, one that threatens to destroy his family and devour his sanity.


Forsaken lives up to all of the potential of the synopsis. The prologue sets the mood for the rest of the story, dark and tragic. What follows is a dark and scary story with all the creepiness one expects from a good horror novel. We follow Daniel down into the darkness beyond the painting and watch as his family is swallowed up too.

The reader is left wondering whether the painting is really supernatural or if Daniel's starting the long spiral into madness or both. The plot spirals in an effective manner that keeps you guessing until the end. The end wraps up the package with a satisfying bow.

Honestly, I was a little creeped out reading it at night, before bed, as is my custom. After the lights were out, I experienced some trepidation. Normally, I pass out without a second thought. To me, that screams success on the part of the writer. If you can make me lose sleep because I'm still thinking about the book- you win- and so do I.

I've seen lots of authors claim that their work is for fans of King, Koontz and Straub. This is the first time I've agreed. Go. Buy this book. You can find it here.

Then stop over at The Author Spot and read my interview with Andrew. He's extremely interesting, funny and articulate.


Monday, October 31, 2011

"Home" by Carson Buckingham

Carson Buckingham and I originally met through email, but I have been lucky enough to become her friend. And I was extremely pleased when she asked me to read and review her novella, Home.

Home combines two of my favorite things ever, Irish folklore and a great near-gothic setting. Its the story of Katie Kavanaugh, whose mother and aunt both pass away at the same time and leave her their house in the town of Three Oaks. Fleeing an abusive marriage, Katie goes home to claim her inheritance. What she gets turns out to be far more than she bargained. Her inheritance includes much more than just a strange old house.

To say it was a compelling read would be putting it mildly. I actually read it all in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down. Carson weaves interesting characters, odd situations and strange goings-on seamlessly into the narrative. The reader can't help but be intrigued and almost desperate to find out what's really going on. All is revealed at the end and the explanation not only makes perfect sense, but will resonate within the reader. And for those discerning enough, it will not be unexpected as there are many subtle hints throughout the story. Anyone familiar with Irish folklore will begin to recognize elements in the story.

The only fault I can find is the length. The story was so good, that it seemed to fly by. I would love to have had a little more length to savor. Having already read several of Carson's published works in anthologies (and one unpublished, as yet, one), I was already a fan. Now I'm a huge fan and will eagerly await her next novel.

I highly recommend Home, and any of Carson's work. Home will appeal to anyone who enjoys gothic-style literature, mysteries, Irish folklore, and well told tales. There's the feel of Bradbury in her work. Home is available on Kindle, Smashwords and available from Amazon in paperback.

As always, I've got an interview with the author up at The Author Spot. Go give it a read- Carson's an interesting lady.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Darkness Dwells by Glen Krisch

Glen Krisch contacted me about doing a review of his novel, Where Darkness Dwells, and I was absolutely intrigued by the synopsis. It reads as follows: Summer, 1934. Two boys, searching for a local legend, stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns. Time holds no sway there; people no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic.

By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns. Below a town ravaged by the Great Depression, an immortal society thrives, built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.

I'm a sucker for underground worlds to begin with, fascinated by abandoned mines, subway systems, and the like, because who knows what flourishes down there? Well, Glen Krisch apparently knows. And it's nothing nice, that's for sure.

The story catches you right from the start, when Jimmy and George sneak out of their homes at night for one last adventure. The entire book is peopled with rich likeable characters that are fully drawn and display a wide depth of emotion. Cooper, the transient who feels pulled to the town, and one house in particular, is especially well developed. He has a full back story that gives us insight into his motivations. I'm also partial to Jacob Fowler and Ellie Banyon, the siblings of the missing boys, and the only children who play a large part in the book.

While, on the surface, the daily lives of these characters are being played out, dark characters exist underneath the town in a system of caverns and mining shafts. They exert their influence on the town and its people in horrific ways. I've seen some reviewers call them zombies or vampires, but I really don't think there's an easy classification for the monsters Glen's created. They don't decay in the underground and they have way more thinking capacity then any zombies I've read about. They don't drink blood or consume flesh like vampires, although the above ground air and sunlight do have a negative effect on them. No, Glen's monsters are original, but just as horrific.

The novel is definitely a battle between good and evil, but its not just the good townsfolk vs. the evil under-dwellers. Its also a battle of justice vs. the evil men do. Its a social commentary on the evil that men inflict on one another.

The novel is set in the 1930's and is rich with historical background. Its grounded in the gritty realism that was life in the depression era. And it travels even farther back, to the days of slavery and the plight of runaway slaves, those who helped them, and those who hurt them.

It was a great book. I highly recommend it to all horror readers. I think fans of Scott Nicholson's would definitely enjoy it, as well as fans of Dan Simmons. I look forward to reading more of Glen's work.

As always, I've interviewed the author over at The Author Spot. Stop by and read about my chat with Glen Krisch. I think you'll enjoy it.

Where Darkness Dwells, as well as Glen's other books, is available on Amazon.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shining in Crimson, Book One of the Empire of Blood series...

Shining in Crimson is hard to classify. Its a vampire tale. But its also a dystopian society tale. Its a tale with complex characters and it comments on socio-political themes. Its rather intense.

I'll be honest, it was a little hard to get into. It wasn't that it started slow, it does not. It starts with immediate action. I just wasn't hooked. But I'm stubborn, so I kept reading. And I'm glad I did. It's an excellent book. Its exciting, its involving and its original.

Vampires have been around for centuries. Well, not real vampires (well, maybe), but vampire lore. Its on nearly every continent, in every culture. The stories vary widely, and we all know that they don't always agree: sparkly in the sun vs. ashes in the sun. So to find a novel that has an original take on vampires is not an easy feat. But it is refreshing.

Shining in Crimson is about so much more than vampires, though. Its about society as a whole and how we treat others. Its about government having too much power. Its detailed characterizations pull you in and get you involved in the story. Its plot turns and twists keep you engaged and sometimes surprised.

I loved that Las Vegas ended up being the home of the vampires, where prisoners are sent to die. Irony, no? I recommend Shining in Crimson to intelligent readers everywhere. Its much more than just a book about vampires. So much more.

Want to learn more about Robert Shane Wilson? Visit me over at The Author Spot for an interview with the man who, like his novel, has hidden depths.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fate's Mirror by M.H. Mead

Most of you know that sci-fi is not my preferred genre. And I admit that I'd never read a cyber-punk or techno novel in my life. I'm not even sure I knew those new sub genres existed. But I took another author's (Scott Niven), whom I admire, opinion and gave it a try. Some days I'm the queen of good decisions. Happily, that was one of those days.

Fate's Mirror is the action packed brainchild of M. H. Mead, the pen name of Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion. I can honestly say that this book is a thrill ride and I got completely caught up in it from the very beginning.

The story follows Morris Payne, a hacking virtuoso (called a viker in the book). He's one of the best in the world. Morris has everything he needs right at his fingertips and spends most of his time plugged into the e-verse. Living in virtual reality, he's not plagued by his real world problems; severe agoraphobia, crippling panic attacks and a general fear of almost everything.  Unfortunately, his virtual life comes crashing down when someone kills his ex-girlfriend and colleague, NSA employee Khali. He becomes the next target and barely escapes his house before it explodes.

Stuck in the real world, he flees to the home of one of his clients, a private investigator named Aidra. Aidra takes him in and together they begin the search for whoever or whatever murdered Khali and is stalking Morris. Of course they have to battle real world problems as well. But once Morris gets back in his virtual world, the game is really on. And the villain of the piece? An AI who calls herself the Triple Goddesses of Fate and wants to assure her own security.

I don't want to give too much away so I'll stop there. I just want to say that the book is extremely well written and pulls you into Morris' world expertly. I did not have any problems with the language or picking up the slang they've created. The world in the book is easily believable and the characters perfectly drawn. You can't help but find yourself rooting for Morris and Aidra.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good suspense thriller, sci-fi or just really well written books. I think Michael Crighton fans would especially enjoy it. Seriously, I can't recommend it enough.

Happy Reading,

PS- Don't miss my interview with Margaret and Harry over at The Author Spot. Find out how they play so well together!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vampire's Retribution by Jeremiah Coe

Vampire's Retribution is obviously a vampire novella. What isn't obvious from the title is that unlike most vampire tales, it's set in the Civil War Era. What? Vampires and riverboats? Exactly! Mr. Coe has combined two great things- history and vampires. But they do go well together? They do!

The novella follows the story of Carl Tamell, an ordinary guy who grew up in the North and joined the army when the Civil War broke out. After the war, he takes a job as a dealer on the riverboat casino, The Southern Queen. After a bad night at the table, he's unceremoniously thrown off the boat into the mighty Mississippi with only the clothes on his back. He makes it to land and stumbles wearily along wet, cold and bleeding.

Then he meets Gaius Octavia, a vampire who saves him from certain death, only to curse him with undeath. Gaius teaches Carl, a reluctant vampire at first, the ways of the vampire. He tries to teach and shelter his new ward and this works for awhile, but Carl is hungry for more than blood- he wants revenge. So he leaves Gaius to hunt down the owner of the Southern Queen and give him a taste of payback.

The tale is interesting and you find yourself rooting for poor Carl, first with his poor treatment at the hands of the riverboat owner's thugs and for his unwitting transformation to creature of the night. The setting is original and refreshing. You don't get a lot of cowboys and vampires. The setting stays true to the time period, which I think is always a problem with historical fiction. It's obvious that Mr. Coe did his homework there.

I found the book an enjoyable quick read. It wasn't the best vampire novel I've ever read. But it was nowhere near the worst. It held my attention but didn't enthrall me. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history, particularly the post civil war era. And also to anyone who loves vampires tales, real vampire tales, not that sparkly nonsense. His next novel will feature zombies & the civil war. You can bet that I'm going to read that one as well!

I did an interview with Jeremiah Coe over at The Author Spot. Please drop by and get to know him and what he has in store for us next. Vampire's Retribution is available at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tales from The Swollen Corpse- by Sam Williams

Tales of The Swollen Corpse is a book of 17 tales of pulp style horror. You know how much I love my short story collections and anthologies. And I love this one even more for two very good reasons- the first is because its good. And the second is because I edited it.

I'm a fan of all the stories, but of course you are bound to like some more than others. My all time favorite story is called, "Apocalypse on Aisle Six". Yes, it is a zombie tale! How did you know? The action of the story takes place in a home improvement store and centers around the night shift crew. Its witty, its refreshing and its entertaining. It doesn't just recycle the same old zombie shtick because the story is character driven. You root for the hero because Sam lets you see inside his mind, gives you a glimpse of his life. Sure it's got the requisite zombie gore, but it's also got humor and depth.

My second favorite is "Redlands". Redlands is a vampire tale with some new twists, like a government conspiracy, and some awesome weaponry. It's also character driven and draws you in. How far would you go to save or avenge a family member? And the hero is one kick-ass dude. But he's not your typical "I'm alone in this world" tough guy. He can be tough and still tell him mother he loves her.

And it's really hard to choose a third because they are all good. It would be a toss up between "The Well" and "The Ghost Eaters". If you've ever wondered what happens when you die, "The Ghost Eaters" is a brand new take on that theme. And "The Well" explores farm life and revenge through the eyes of a young boy.

I repeat- all of these stories are good. I like to think I did a good job editing- but the truth is an editor can only do so much. Sam has the story telling talent that brings these characters to life and makes you want to read what happens to them. The stories are all different, a very eclectic mix. And they are all character driven, which in my opinion, makes the story. I highly recommend this collection. You just might have a new favorite author.

Oh! And I wouldn't advise reading them at night...

Happy Reading,

PS- As always, you can find an interview with the author on The Author Spot. Come find out more about Sam Williams.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry by S. Alini

I received an email from S. Alini asking if I would like to review one of his books. So I went to his website and checked him out. He's a multi-talented writer and writes a variety of things including screenplays, children's books and young adult. I hadn't reviewed any young adult books yet on this site and I'm always up for a free book so I chose The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry. Boy, did I make a good choice!

I don't know how many of you read Young Adult fiction. I know that it's grown in popularity since the advent of the Harry Potter series as well as the Twilight Saga. I've read a lot of young adult since I homeschooled my children. And at the bookstore where I worked, I would pick up new titles so that I would know what to recommend when people asked. Just like adult fiction, some YA is very well written and is a great read and some is not. I can say with somewhat of an expert opinion- The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry is excellent.

The story follows the main character Henry, on an odd journey of discovery. He wakes in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar house, with an unfamiliar family. He seems to have amnesia and is told that he's been "sick" for awhile. While Henry doesn't know exactly who he is or where he's from, he's pretty sure this is not his family or his home. He begins chronicling everything in a journal.

The more he finds out about his so called family, the more he's sure he's not who they say he is. The journal chronicles Henry's search to figure out who he is and what happened to his real family. It's compelling, amusing and entertaining all in one. The book will hold your interest from the beginning and not ease up. The things Henry finds out and the ways he begins to deal with them and set things right make for a great read. From the very beginning you will empathize with Henry.

The book follows through with all the promise of the beginning. The conclusion is well thought out and fits perfectly. The storyline is as complex as a Dan Brown novel. S. Alini did his homework and even I can understand the complicated discussions that take place between the brilliant Henry and his odd companion, Robert Bontley. And that's saying a lot!

For a very entertaining, quick read- look no farther than The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry. Let's face it, good writing is good writing regardless of the age group it's intended for. Fans of suspense & intrigue will really be pleased.

As always, I've interviewed the author, S. Alini, over at my author blog- The Author Spot. Please stop by and read about S. Alini.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The House on Blackstone Moor

The House on Blackstone Moor is a dark gothic novel by Carole Gill. Carole is a prolific writer with several books to her name and her stories have been included in several anthologies and publications. The House on Blackstone Moor follows the story of  Rose, a young lady whose entire family has been slaughtered by a crazed killer. To make matters worse, the killer was her father- who then committed suicide. The incident pushes Rose over the edge and she travels from one institution to another. But she pulls herself together and takes a governess position with the Darton's. That's when the real trouble begins, as the Darton's are not what they appear.

The book has all manner of horrifying creatures from vampires to demons, nasty housekeepers and satanic cults, and worst of all- real monsters in the form of men. The plot was fast paced and there was no lack of action! Poor Rose is thrown from one horrific mess to the next, with very little time to relax. And yet, she manages to fall in love, bond with the Darton children and survive with her wits mostly in tact. She is definitely a character you can root for.

Carole Gill has some new twists on vampire lore, a host of demi demons and her book begs the question- can a creature without a soul still have a conscience? Can someone with a soul love a demon? And the major question that seems to drive the book- are men born evil or do we invite the evil in?

The book kept me reading, even as I got a little frustrated with Rose (in parts she seems a bit wishy washy and unable to make decisions on her own). The storyline still drew me in and I wanted to see what happened to her next. I also wondered just how many bad things could happen to one poor girl. At times it was a bit confusing- is she a vampire now, or is she a human? And there is a bit of repetition. But all in all, it's a fascinating story. It's also filled with some interesting history. Carole Gill really does her research.

I would recommend the book to those who like gothic horror, vampires and evil men. There is also a sequel in the works which will focus on Eco, the very evil demi-demon, the guy you love to hate! As always, you can read my interview with Carole Gill over on The Author Spot.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Servants of Darkness by Mark Edward Hall

Again, it's a collection of short stories. I'm sorry people, but I love my short story collections. They're like little bites of scary goodness. They're like the Whitman's sampler of the horror book world. You guys know what a Whitman's sampler is, right? The box of chocolate...oh never mind.

I ran into Mark (not literally of course) over on the Masters of Horror Facebook page and he was looking for reviewers for his book. What a serendipitous coincidence, no? So I gave him my email and he sent me his book. Yay!

Servants of Darkness is a delicious bundle of thirteen dark stories. The majority have been published before but I had never read any of the author's work. The stories were well written, dark and deeply satisfying.

My favorite of the tales is The Kindred. What if the veil between worlds really is thin on Halloween night and all hell breaks loose? What if you were the one chosen to save the world? Mark creates his own myth for Halloween and names an unlikely hero.

I also really enjoyed The Nest and Bugshot. Because I hate birds and most bugs. (Way to play to my fears Mark!) The Nest also has a twist ending, which I always enjoy. The Rain After a Dry Season was another eerie tale that makes you wonder just where did that orphan come from?

All of the tales are well written, atmospheric, everything horror should be. I highly recommend picking up this collection and getting to know Mark Edward Hall's work for yourself. You will not be disappointed. For those of you who prefer novels, Mark has three novels also available on

Happy Reading,

PS- don't foget to check out my interview with Mark over at The Author Spot!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seed by Ania Ahlborn

I read Seed on the recommendation of another author, whose opinion I trust. She said she couldn't put it down and I was looking for a new book to read. So I bought Seed. And it was scary. What is it about small children being involved with evil that just creeps up out? Is it the taking of something that should be innocent and molding it into the ultimate horror that fascinates us? I'm not sure why it's so unnerving, but I will never look at a six year old quite the same again.

Seed deals with some very interesting themes; demonic possession, murder and the idea that possession could be "inherited". I've never seen that particular idea done before. It makes for an engrossing read as you follow a father's quest to save his daughter from an evil he himself wrestled with as a child. The book is filled with some very creepy moments. The psychological horror mounts and the atmosphere is tense. I was (figuratively) on the edge of my seat. The book has some powerful elements.

The writing is well done. The grammatical errors and typos are few, which for me is a big plus! But there were a few more things I would have liked to seen. We're never quite certain just where the demon came from or how the father got past it and lived an almost normal life for several years. There's a bit of ambiguity about how it all got started. And the ending is too quick.

That said, I would still recommend the book. There are enough great elements to more than balance the ambiguity. There are some truly horrific moments, some awesome forethought and an all around creepy vibe. I'm very interested to see what Ania comes up with next.

For fans of movies like The Omen or Case 39, for fans who like creepy children or for those of us who just like to be scared- Seed delivers the chills.

To read an interview with the author, head on over to The Author Spot. This is one lady you're going to want to watch.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Q Word and Other Stories by Richard Lee Byers

I had no idea what to expect when Richard Lee Byers sent me his book. I'd met him on the Masters of Horror Facebook group so I just assumed it was a book of horror stories. I was wrong. While some of the stories straddle the line between horror and fantasy, for the most part, I'd call them fantasy. That is, if I was trying to pigeonhole them, which I'm not. That would do them a great disservice!

I haven't read a lot of fantasy novels or stories recently. Maybe not for several years even. Don't ask why, I have no idea. But I would like to personally thank Mr. Byers for reawakening my interest in the genre. I loved this book. Loved it.

I read a lot of anthologies and short story collections. For one thing, they are easier to fit in at the end of the night then trying to jump back into a novel. Another reason is that I simply admire the short story form. It's not as easy as it looks to get everything you need for your reader to know into fewer words. So I very much admire people who can conquer the form. Richard Lee Byers came, saw & conquered.

The first story is one of my favorites in the book. It's the title story, The Q Word. Honestly, I haven't liked an ogre so much since Shrek. The story is told with wit and humor and had me giggling out loud while trying to guess what would happen next. This story is a new one, written specifically for this book. All of the others have been previously published in various magazines, anthologies or on websites.

My second favorite story is Griefer Madness. I'm not a big gamer myself (I get totally disorientated, scream and shoot my own players), but even I loved the description of the game in this story. It showcases the talent it takes to be a good gamer and has a happy ending.

Black is a story for cat lovers like myself, while Things I Learned About Science from Popular Entertainment is a witty essay that will leave you laughing. There was not one story in the entire collection that I didn't enjoy reading. I gobbled them up like a chocoholic with a Hershey bar.

So thumbs way way up on this delightful collection. Get a copy today. You won't be sorry! Don't forget to check out my interview with Richard Lee Byers over at The Author Spot.

Happy Reading,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Undead of Winter: An Extreme Zombie Release

I first heard about this book on the Masters of Horror Facebook group. If you are a horror writer and you haven't joined this group yet, I highly recommend it. I heard about the book in posts from several of the members who have stories included in the book. I was excited for them and excited to read the book. So I bought it for my Kindle. And later Armand and I got to talking and I offered to review it here.

The book was published by Rymfire Ebooks ( a small indie publisher), you can visit them at their website, and edited by Armand Rosamilia. You can read my interview with Armand over at The Author Spot. Undead of Winter contains nine horrifying tales of Zombies and frigid conditions. I was very interested in the book because Sean and I often discuss what would happen to zombies in the winter time? Would it slow them down? Nine authors attempt to answer that question...

Armand not only edited and published the book, he also wrote the first story, Undead of Winter. The story centers around a character, Darlene Bobich, that he's written about in other stories. Darlene is one tough chick, but then you have to be when you're kicking Zombie butts! The thing is- even tough girls have a soft spot. That soft spot can get you into trouble. Armand's story is a great read. I'm going to have to look up the other stories and see what else Darlene has been up to.

The other stories are written by Brent Abell, Suzanne Robb, Jonah Buck, R.S. Pyne, Tim Lieder, Blaze McRob, Lisa McCourt Hollar and Carole Gill. As with any anthology, some of the stories are better than others. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Second Wave by Lisa McCourt Hollar. The story is well written, action packed and the idea is completely original. It was unlike any zombie story I've ever read. But on the whole, Undead of Winter delivers. Each of the stories differs enough to keep you interested and to not make you feel as if you're reading the same thing over and over. Each author has their own unique approach to the material.

I would recommend the book to anyone who loves Zombie fiction, anthologies or short stories. The really awesome thing about anthologies like this one is that you get to taste several new authors at once, almost like a box of chocolates. If you find one you like, you can look up their other work, check out their blogs and generally support their efforts in any way you can.

Happy Reading,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Twilight Candleflies by Scott Niven

Today's review makes me happy. You know, the kind of happy you get when you find a new author that you adore, that you simply must by all of their books? That's what happened when I found Scott Niven. I bought one of his three books and then went back and purchased the others because I couldn't get enough. That was at the $1.99 price. Lucky for you, they are now on sale for just $.99 each!

Scott's work is hard to pigeonhole. Its a mix of scifi, fantasy and horror. Each story like a Twilight Zone episode. It was hard to pick which book to review because I loved them all equally. I finally decided on Twilight Candleflies because I love apocalyptic fiction. The first story, The Last School of Humanities, is about a woman trying to go on with life after the end of the world. She's made a home, a garden and taken in orphans. Its a solitary life but it suits her fine. Unfortunately, you can't just shut the world out and not all survivors are as peaceful as she.

The next story, This Is Not Your Mother's Earth, explores a common theme- a matriarchal society and men's role in such. I can't decide if this is a man's worst nightmare or every man's dream. The last story in this collection is Five Minutes for the World. What happens when the one thing you look forward to for a year doesn't pan out? How far will you go to get another chance? And what happens when you find out things aren't what they seem?

Each of Scott's three books contain three stories. Each is well worth the read. He reminds me a bit of Ray Bradbury. And each story is like a Twilight Zone/Outer Limits/Night Gallery episode. I can't wait to read what he comes out with next!

Also, I'd like to throw some kudos to his girlfriend, Amy Jo Martin, who did his amazing cover art. I understand that all three pictures were taken from a larger painting she did for Scott. It can be viewed as the header on his website. If you enjoy the cover art, you can visit her Etsy store here:

That's all for today folks, but please jaunt on over to The Author Spot for an interview with Scott Niven and more links to his work!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blood of my World trilogy: Discovery of Death by A.P. Fuchs

Today's book review is the first in the YA Blood of my World trilogy by A.P. Fuchs. The first book is Discovery of Death, followed by Memories of Death and Life of Death.

The trilogy follows the story of Rose and Zach, two high school sweethearts deeply in love. Then one day Zach disappears. Rose is left to try to carry on, but how do you get over someone when you don't know what happened to them? But that's not all that's on Rose's plate. She's about to lose someone she loves, find out monsters are real and discover that she comes from a long line of vampire slayers. And you thought high school was hard!

Zach's not having such an easy time himself. He wakes up dead and in a coffin with no memory. He learns that he's now a vampire, has a whole vampire family and incredible powers. Yet he's tormented by bits and pieces of memories from his human life. He's torn between images of a  beautiful girl and his new found family.

What will happen when Rose and Zach meet up again? Can they forsake their families and their destinies for the sake of true love? Well, you'll have to read all three novellas to figure that one out. The novellas are Young Adult so they're a quick and easy read. The concept is interesting, very Romeo & Juliet meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I've only read the first novella, and it was a little heavy on the romance for a true horror fan. There are however, undertones of things yet to come that may satisfy the bloodthirsty. Don't get me wrong- these are in no way sparkly vampires. They drink blood and kill and enjoy doing so. But at heart, the books are a love story. Fans of paranormal romance will find them delightful.

Happy Reading,

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today's review has been postponed until tomorrow. Sorry! Bronchitis has got me lagging behind this week. But there will be a review up tomorrow so be sure to stay tuned. I have some fantastic books and authors scheduled for the month of June!

Happy Reading,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Memoirs of the Walking Dead by Jason McKinney

When you're reading Zombie fiction, seeing Zombie movies or just chatting about the impending Zombie Apocalypse (doesn't everyone do that?), you're usually thinking about your survival. As a human. But what about the Zombies? What are they thinking, beyond the usual "Bbbrrraaaaiiinnsss"? If you have ever wondered, Jason Mckinney's book will answer that question for you.

Memoirs of the Walking Dead is told from one Zombie's point of view. It covers how he became a Zombie and how he's surviving his undeath. Paul Rierson is a Zombie with more morality than most and tries to refrain from snacking on live people. Unfortunately, his Zombie cat Charlotte, doesn't share either his moral values or his self restraint. Paul's just a guy (undead though he may be) trying to stay alive, have a relationship and make his existence meaningful.

The book is laugh out loud funny in parts, gruesome in parts (Zombie sex, anyone?) and thought provoking in others. How do you hold on to your core values in a world turned upside down? It's not without a few faults; grammatical errors and a few slower moving parts, but on the whole its very entertaining!

I would recommend it for anyone who loves Zombie fiction, humor and biographies. And a big shout out to Jason's wife, Tabitha, who did the cover design!

Happy Reading,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sam by Lisa McCourt Hollar

This week's review is Sam by Lisa McCourt Hollar. Its the first time I've reviewed a short story, but you all know how much I love short stories. And Lisa excels at the short story form.

Sam is a zombie story. And its a fish story. That's right. It's a zombie goldfish story. And you're probably thinking the same thing I did..."genius"! Who would have thought to turn a tiny harmless pet into a killer? Lisa McCourt Hollar, that's who! Its the most original idea I've seen in quite a while.

The story is well written, you sympathize with poor little Tommy, cringe with Mama Tasha and detest Joyce. The characters are well developed for a short story and the reader is drawn into their world. And then there's the twist ending. I have to admit, she got me, I didn't see that one coming!

For more of Lisa's writing, you can purchase all of her work on or Smashwords. And I'd also suggest following her blog, Jezri's Nightmares, to sample more of her work. She's an author you'll want to keep your eye on. I definitely will be.

Happy Reading,

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Fury by Claudia Lefeve

 When Claudia Lefeve emailed me and asked me to review her new novella, The Fury, I was excited. I hadn't read any of Claudia's work yet, but I'd seen some of the authors I enjoy tweeting links to her novella. And even though I enjoy a good novel length read as much as the next girl, I adore short stories and novellas. I think it takes a special skill to tell a full story in shortened form. Let me just say that Claudia Lefeve definitely has that skill.

The Fury tells the story of a small town with small town mindset, where football stars are king and anyone who speaks out about them, incurrs the wrath of the whole town. When the unthinkable happens to Abby Sheppard, her first instinct is to keep it to herself. But after rumors are spread that tell another story she decides to set the record straight. Instead of the sympathy and desire for justice she expects from others, she's ostracized and humiliated. No matter what a jury says, the town's mind is made up. Luckily for Abby, there are other ways to see that justice is served.

The novella is a very intriguing read, there are twists you don't see coming (and I don't think I've spoiled). The courtroom scene is realistic, thanks in part I'm sure to Mrs. Lefeve's experience in the Criminal Justice System. Abby is a character you empathize with and root for and the bad guys are believable but also detestable. The pacing is just right and the whole thing just feels real. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys short fiction, horror fiction or even crime fiction. If I had to give a description I'd say "think Friday Night Lights meets the Twilight Zone".  You know you want to read here are the links:

Claudia Lefeve's blog
Claudia Lefeve's website
The Fury on
The Fury on

Happy Reading,

Monday, May 2, 2011

No Escape by Anthony Izzo

No EscapeNo Escape, the latest book by Anthony Izzo, is a suspenseful and engrossing read. So suspenseful and engrossing in fact, that while I was reading it (home alone in the semidarkness) and my cell phone went off, I jumped three feet in the air. I believe "Holy Hell!" is what I shouted. (And yes, I do know that that is an oxymoron!)

The book begins with a military mission, a ship and some dangerous cargo- all shrouded in mystery. And that's just the Prologue. When the first chapter begins we are immediately thrust in the world of the Hammond family and to say that their vacation is about to get deadly would be putting it mildly. Before the book is done, the Hammond family will become unlikely allies with a secret military unit and some other innocent vacationers in order to survive.

The action starts quick and the body count rises. It doesn't let up until the end. I guess I'd call this one a "nail-biter". Thankfully, I stopped biting my nails. But if you haven't, well, you've been warned. Mr. Izzo  mixes action, suspense, horror, gore and mystery all together in one delectable ball of anxiety. Throw in some well developed characters with believable interactions and you've got yourself a thrill ride of a read.

I would recommend No Escape to anyone who's a fan of military conspiracies, creature horror or suspense thrillers. I haven't read any of Anthony Izzo's other books before but I plan on correcting that in the very near future. He's an author on his way up. And I've added him to my "To Be Read" list.

Happy Reading,

Don't miss my interview with Anthony over on What Passes For Sane On a Crazy Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Liquid Fear by Scott Nicholson

When Scott Nicholson sent me an email about reading and reviewing his latest book, Liquid Fear, I was flattered. Well, I was flattered and excited. Those of you who know me, know that very little excites me as much as a good book. Okay, you’re right, I’m easily excitable, nearly everything excites me. But the prospect of a good book ranks up there pretty high on the excitement scale. And the fact that it was free…well that pushed it to the top of the scale!

And I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. Not that I expected to be, but Nicholson definitely delivered the thrills. The book is a fast paced thrill ride from the first page to the last. I read it in two days, staying up way to late that second night, because I didn’t want to put it down. Central to the book are fears that most of us have in some form or another…corrupt politicians, unchecked pharmaceutical research, loss of control over our own lives. What if you found out you were just a pawn in the game, your movements anticipated, your memories false or nonexistent and events spiraling far out of your control?

The characters are well developed and the good guys compelling, the bad guys easily detestable. The dynamics between the group are effective and their reactions genuine. Their fear and anger is palpable. I wanted to know what happened to them beyond the end of the book. Which, for me, is the hallmark of a good read…if I’m still thinking about it days later…it’s a win.

And this book is a solid win for Nicholson. I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys thrillers and mysteries with a medical bent. Anyone who enjoys Dean Koontz or Robin Cook will enjoy this. And me? Well I hightailed it to Amazon to pick up a couple more of Scott Nicholson’s tales.

Burning the midnight oil,