ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

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But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

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AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

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Book Review: Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart

Author: A.F. Stewart
Release Date: 13th September 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural
Series: Saga of the Outer Islands (Book #2)
Edition: e-book
Pages: 202
Publisher:
Blurb:
From the depths, darkness is rising…
Something ancient and powerful stirs beneath the sea of the Outer Islands. A creature strong enough to challenge Captain Rafe Morrow, God of Souls, for control of the dead and the survival of the living.
Still reeling from the aftermath of his battle with the Goddess of the Moon, Rafe and the crew of the Celestial Jewel find a mysterious shipwreck and strange tales of bones. Tasked by a new ally to find answers, Rafe stumbles on long-buried secrets shrouded in the shadows of the Nightmare Crow.
Now armies of the dead ascend from the ocean. And their master is not far behind.
Set sail on a new adventure with ghosts, gods and sea monsters!

Review

★★★

Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart is a dark fantasy novel with a strong plotline and good writing.

The book started out good, the progression was also decent but at some places the pace slowed dramatically and then picked up at unexpected places, making it a mixed bag of positives and negatives. The characterization, to me, felt a bit off but that might be because I haven’t read the prequel to this book.

On the whole, I liked reading this book; I might not have loved it but it was still a good read – dark (as promised), well-written with a good storyline and didn’t feel like it was a part of a series (as the blog tour promised) but I think I would have appreciated the characters in this book more had I read the previous book.

I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a new dark series to explore.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins

Author: C. B. Collins
Release Date: 9th September 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Thriller
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 476
Publisher: C.B.C. Publishing
Blurb:
Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.

Review

★★★

One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins is a new supernatural thriller with a lot of potentials that serves as a perfect Halloween read.

When I started reading this book I was pulled into it so fiercely that for the first 30% of the story I was not at all ready to put it down! But, much to my dismay, as the story progressed, I started to feel a little distant as the plot began to drag and the characterization started to falter. It began to get more and more difficult for me to feel a connection with the characters that started to emerge as the main ones as the story progressed. And by the time I finished 80% of the book I wasn’t sure if it was the same book that I had started. Maybe it’s simply my monumental expectations from the story or maybe the story was that way, but I feel that overall the story progression suffered heavily after the first 30-40% of the story. The second half of the story was totally dominated by the first half and wasn’t able to live up to the expectations that were set in the brilliant first half of the story.

Still, it made for a good Halloween read with an engaging plot. If the characterization would have been better, I would have given this story another star, but it wasn’t. So if you like stories with a decent plot and can do with not-very-strong characterization in a supernatural setting then do give this book a try, you might enjoy it more than I did.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux

Author: Melika Dannese Lux
Release Date: 2nd May 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror,
Series: Dwellers Of Darkness, Children Of Light #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 674
Publisher: Books in my Belfry
Blurb:
Flesh and bone and hearts unknown, lead to the rath and your fate will be shown…
Deadmarsh. The name struck terror into the hearts of all who heard it. But to Roger Knightley, neither Deadmarsh the house, nor Deadmarsh the family, had ever been anything to fear. Nearly each summer of his young life had been spent in that manor on the moors, having wild adventures with his cousin, Lockie, the Deadmarsh heir. This year should have been no different, but when Roger arrives, he finds everything, and everyone, changed. The grounds are unkempt, the servants long gone. Kip, the family cat, has inexplicably grown and glares at Roger as if he is trying to read the boy’s mind. Roger’s eldest cousin, Travers, always treated as a servant, now dresses like a duchess and wears round her neck a strange moonstone given to her by someone known as Master Coffyn, who has taken over the teaching of Lockie at a school in Wales called Nethermarrow.
And soon after he crosses the threshold of Deadmarsh, Roger discovers that Coffyn has overtaken Lockie. The boy is deceitful, riddled with fear, and has returned bearing tales of creatures called Jagged Ones that claim to be of the Fey and can somehow conceal themselves while standing in the full light of the moon. What they want with Lockie, Roger cannot fathom, until the horror within his cousin lashes out, and it becomes savagely clear that these Jagged Ones and the Dark Wreaker they serve are not only after Lockie and Travers, but Roger, too.
Joining forces with an ally whose true nature remains hidden, Roger seeks to unravel the tapestry of lies woven round his family’s connection to the death-haunted world of Everl’aria—and the Dark Wreaker who calls it home. The deeper Roger delves into the past, the more he begins to suspect that the tales of dark deeds done in the forest behind Deadmarsh, deeds in which village children made sacrifice to an otherworldly beast and were never seen or heard from again, are true. And if there is truth in these outlandish stories, what of the rumor that it was not an earthquake which rocked the moors surrounding Deadmarsh sixteen years ago, but a winged nightmare attempting to break free of its underground prison? Enlisting the aid of a monster equipped with enough inborn firepower to blast his enemies into oblivion might be as suicidal as Roger’s friends insist, yet the boy knows he needs all the help he can get if there is to be any hope of defeating not only the Dark Wreaker and his servants, but an unholy trinity known as the Bear, the Wolf, and the Curse That Walks The Earth.
And then there is the foe named Blood Wood, who might be the deadliest of them all.
Racing against time, Roger must find a way to end the battle being waged across worlds before the night of Lockie’s eleventh birthday—two days hence. If he fails, blood will drown the earth. And Roger and his entire family will fulfill the prophecy of fey’s older, more lethal meaning…
Fated to die.

Review

When I first came across Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux, I was quickly convinced to read this title because it seemed very interesting but unfortunately, it turned out to be insanely lengthy and full of exhaustive exposition. There are a lot of details and an insane amount of wandering. It took me 3 days to complete the first 1% of the book and somehow I managed to plough on till 5%, not wanting to give up on the book, but it was for nought because same old exposition continued (even more so than before.)

The story idea seemed good, but it was thwarted by the descriptions and the wanderings, then same two elements that put down the characterization as well. Overall, it wasn’t for me.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers

Author: Chauncey Rogers
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 225
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.
Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse.
Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Cleaving Souls by Chancey Rogers is a super fast-paced supernatural read that is literally un-put-down-able.

Wow, what a suspenseful and goosebumps-inducing ride! The first part (out of all 3) was my favourite as the suspense built up was so perfect that it was literally impossible to put down the book! The characterization wasn’t overly relatable for me, but it felt very realistic and seemed apt for the story, so it served the purpose well.

A very well-written book with simple and smooth writing which made for a very quick read. The flow of the writing was so good that I finished this book in less than 48 hrs when I wasn’t even planning on reading it and happened to pick it up randomly on a whim, earlier than I had planned.

My only complaints are the slight slack in pacing around the 70-90% mark in the ebook and a somewhat down-played climax-built up. Just before the end, the plot progression suffered because of downplaying the main conflict of the story. It wasn’t bad as suck, but I feel that given the thrilling Act I and the sensational Act II, this part, Act III of the story could have been so much better in terms of tension, pacing and overall progression of that bit. Thankfully, the ending made up for this little negative, the only negative in the book.

I’m sure as hell looking forward to reading other books by the author! And I’d recommend this one to all supernatural and horror fiction fans and to those who won’t mind reading an unsettling or pregnancy-related story.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Our Frail Disordered Lives by Mary M. Schmidt

Author: Mary M. Schmidt
Release Date: 1st June 2018
Genre: Horror-Comedy, Supernatural
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 188
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Blurb:
Larry Kavanaugh is an ordinary kind of guy. He’s got a nagging wife and two kids, both annoyingly gifted. No matter what he does, there is no end to what his family needs. What’s a regular, everyday guy to do? Well, he cuts a few corners, obviously—one very big corner in particular. He sells his soul to the Devil. Maybe it’s not the actual Devil, but Larry is ready to make a deal with one of the Devil’s minions. He meets some demon whose name he can’t remember. Funny, it was right on the tip of his tongue, a name of something you step on. Roach the Demon has sort of good intentions. He just wants a re-write of Dante’s Inferno with himself as the star. Roach goes after Larry as a rogue operation. He needs to make a point to his boss, Satan, so he uses the body of a human to follow Larry around and stir up trouble. He offers Larry an airtight guarantee that nothing could possibly go wrong. After all, Larry doesn’t feel like he has much to lose—or does he? Even Roach might be in over his head this time.

Review

★★★

Our Frail Disordered Lives by Mary M. Schmidt is a unique story about a guy who sells his soul to the devil a demon in order to make his life better and what follows is a litany of situations one could do better to stay away from.

A very unique story with lots of drama and twists and turns to keep the readers entertained throughout the book. Overall speaking, I liked the idea of the book, the main concept that is, but felt that it needed more polishing in terms of the execution of that concept. The writing was okay but the characterization, for this kind of story, felt weak, and that was my biggest issue. The pacing was good and the plot progression okay, but I really felt that if I would have been able to connect with the main character, Larry, a bit more then the story would have meant even more to me.

Still, it proved to be a pretty quick and easy read. So if you’re looking for a fresh quick read then this might be for you if you’re okay with reading stories with not very relatable characters and care about the story more than characterization.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Audiobook Review: Dead Of Night by William. R Todd

Author: William R Todd
Narrator: Ben Werling
Release Date: 
30th March 2018
Genre: Horror
Series: 

Length: 4 hours
Publisher: William Todd | 2018

Blurb
:
Dead of Night is a compilation of turn-of-the-century-era horror stories with a Victorian flair and traditional horror story plots with unexpected endings. If you like ghosts and ghouls and demons and werewolves, these stories are for you.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Dark Of Night by William Todd is a gripping and scary horror story that was narrated in a way that took the spook factor to an entirely new level.

I loved this book, more than many other horror books I’ve read (that have totally failed to spook me.) This book was everything the short blurb promised – dark and macabre. I love reading short stories (the main reason why I picked this one up) and, to my relief, in this book all the short stories were good, some very good and some plain good, but good nonetheless.

All the stories were well-written and maintained a good pace. They all had a good beginning with a really good hook, a good middle point and a nice ending – even if it was an open ending. I enjoyed reading all the stories and plan to read more (or listen to more audiobooks) by the author.

The narration was really good and I loved the deep and dark voice of narration that leant this book a constant eerie air. My only complaint is that in some stories (especially in the first one) the background music seemed a bit funny at times and I felt that the audiobook could really do well without it.

I’d recommend this book to all horror readers and to anyone who’s looking for a nice spooky read around Halloween.

this review is also posted on audible and Goodreads


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Graphic Novel Review: Manga Classics – The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted By: Stacy King
Illustrator: 
Several
Release Date: 17th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Short-Story Collection, Graphic Novel
Series: 

Edition:
 PDF
Pages: 308
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Blurb:
The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is a brilliant collection of some of his best-known stories: The Tell Tale Heart (a murder s haunting guilt), The Cask of Amontillado (a story of brilliant revenge), and The Fall of the House of Usher (an ancient house full of very dark secrets). Also included in this collection are The Mask of the Red Death (horrors of ‘the Plague’), and the most famous of all his poems: The Raven (a lover s decline into madness). Best read in a dimly-lit room with the curtains drawn, Poe s brilliant works come to life in darkly thrilling ways in this Manga Classic adaptation.”

Review

★★★

The Stories Of Edgar Allen Poe is another adaptation by Stacy King, who has adapted several other Manga Classics including Sense And Sensibility. This was my first encounter with any of Edgar Allen Poe’s works, and to say that the stories creeped me out would be an understatement considering that I write horror and creep-worthy fiction myself.

To be honest, this book did not please me like some of the other Manga Classics did; maybe it was because I wasn’t able to connect with Poe’s writing, or maybe because there were only a couple of stories. Either way, I didn’t like this book enough to get and read other works by Mr Poe because having previously read Stacy King’s other adaptations, I know that that it wasn’t because of her or the illustrations, which were beautifully done, to say the least.

The illustrations, as mentioned above, were awesome and spell-binding (literally!) They felt eerie and many times I stopped reading only to examine the illustrations more closely as they had such amazing details. Unfortunately, I received a very early ARC edition of this particular book, so some of the illustrations were only in black and white. Nonetheless, the illustrations were remarkable.

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If you’re anything like me and dread reading most fo the classics, then go ahead and give this one a read. It never hurts to have read the condensed and illustrated version of the most famous works of one of the greatest authors of their time.

Bookstagram

Review also posted on: Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Something Needs Bleeding: The Final Novel by Thomas Singer by Christopher Long

Author: Christopher Long
Release Date: 28th September 2015
Genre: Horror, Dark
Edition: E-book
Pages: 334
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.

Review

Something Needs Bleeding by Christopher Long is a compilation of horror stories by  Thomas Singer, a talented but recluse author and wanted who wanted these stories to be published and read by his readers only after his death.

The fact that this book has stories by a dead author who wanted them published only after his death is disquieting in itself. I did feel a queer feeling when I finished reading the introduction and started reading the first story and once I got started there was no turning back. The uncertainty that these stories could very well have been real experiences of the author made my nerves stand on end throughout the book.

I liked the introductions by Christopher Long, mostly because they added a layer of intrigue and uneasiness to the stories that followed. They were also quite informative, as not having known Thomas Singer at all, they helped me know a lot about him and hence, develop a connection with the stories. They added a layer of intimacy between the stories and the reader and it felt like I’ve known Singer all my life.

The stories… well, they were all masterpieces. And I say this being a horror author myself. They weren’t outrageously spooky or even scary, but they were quite firm in holding the reader’s attention and the detailing and the easy flow of the writing and the beautiful progression of each and every story was spot on and more than enough for me to give this book a full 5/5 rating.

In fact, I’m going to dig up other books by Thomas Singer and read them all because his writing deserves to be read and relished. I’m sure he’s smiling from up there reading this review and I hope that he did not meet his end in the way one of his stories end (Something Needs Bleeding – 3rd incision.)

I found each and every story to be a work of genius. I loved each and every single story and I found myself completely losing in them and losing the track of time. The narration (and the first person POVs) were written in such a way that it made me feel as if I was right there and it was all happening right in front of me. The imagery (the proper term for what I just said) was superb!

I’d recommend this book to all the horror readers and to those who won’t mind reading dark and creepy stuff. If you love the horror genre, then you simply can’t afford to miss this one.

More from the author: Author Interview: Christopher Long

Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Deadraiser – Part 1: Horror In Jordan’s Bank by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley

31927052Author: Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley and Wayne J. Keeley
Series: Deadraiser Series
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, Occult
Edition: Ebook (PDF)
Pages: 
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Necromancy is an ancient black magic used for the purposes of communing with the dead. It is believed that practitioners of the dark art may harness the ultimate power of life and death and raise the departed for their own nefarious, malevolent purposes. It also is alleged that a true necromancer may realize the ultimate gift of mortality.
DEADRAISER is the tale of a present-day practitioner who achieves what others have been unable to do for centuries — to raise the dead. The problem is that he must sacrifice innocent victims in order to maintain his power.
Enter Fanchon (Frankie) Manning, daughter of the late movie star Erika Manning. She is the ideal sacrificial lamb for the Necromancer’s perverse desires. The only thing that stands between the Necromancer and the girl is Christopher McGuire, a lost soul who long ago has ceased believing in anything. In order to save the child, he must somehow rediscover his faith and summon the courage to take on the darkest, most sinister being imaginable.

REVIEW

Deadraiser by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley is one smasher of a book!
Staying true to its genre, this book kept me up at nights and gave me the chills.

The plot is really great and I enjoyed reading each and every single chapter. There was a mix of newspaper articles, journal entries, pages from the unpublished manuscripts, etc, and all these things took the plot and the setting of this book to an entirely different level.

The basic concept of the book is so unique that I was really intrigued and scared by it before even starting it. I’ve never read anything that was directly based upon Necromancy, and the fact that this book was entirely based on it really thrilled me. And after reaching the third chapter, I was sure that I was in for one hell of a reading experience.

I like the pacing, and the tension built-up was brilliant too. I also liked the flow of the authors’ writing, especially considering that it is a co-authored book. Right from the brilliant opening to the cliff-hanger of an ending , for me, this book scored a perfect 10 on all the fronts.

The characterization is not extraordinarily great, but considering the genre, it was pretty good. At least it was good enough for me to want to read this story without putting it down even for a second.

I’d recommend this book to all the Horror readers and also to those readers who want to read a nice scary read for Halloween. This is one horror book you wouldn’t want to miss!


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

29985686Author: Brian W. Matthews
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 260
Publisher: JournalStone

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Beneath the calm waters and pastoral fields of Emersville, a deadly secret lurks. But when psychologist Dr. Brad Jordan stumbles upon the odd happenings in the town, he sets off a series of tragedies that threatens to expose a danger long kept hidden from the world. Relentlessly following a trail of madness, suicide, and murder, he soon finds himself confronted with a massive conspiracy, and a sinister device known as the Conveyance.

REVIEW

The Conveyance by Brian W. Mathews is a splendid Supernatural Thriller novel.

The author has cleverly used his background as a psychiatrist to use in the novel as the protagonist’s profession. The struggles and the conflicts of the main lead were so realistic that i was able to connect with him right away and the bond only deepened as the story progressed further.

I was literally pulled into the book right from the very beginning, where the main lead is shown talking to one of his patients (a kid,) and I wasn’t able to put down the book right till the very end when everything goes to hell.

The pacing and the timing were brilliant and so was the fast paced plot. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and some of the parts really creeped me out! This book is a brilliant example of how a good super natural story can be written without having any of the stereotypes in it (yes, I talking to the Vamp and Werewolf lovers.) The author took the concept of creepy dolls to another level. It really blew my mind off!

I found the author’s writing really easy to follow and it made reading this book a really pleasant experience. It was fresh, clever and had a distinctness that I really liked.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has a liking and an appetite for a creepy supernatural book that actually crosses its path with Sci-Fi genre. So, all in all, if you like Stephen King books and the likes then you really have to read this book!

My copy of The Conveyance:

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The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: Nightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

17672505Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
Release Date: October 21, 2013
Series: Nightlife
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Edition: e-book (Kindle)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pocket Star

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Nightlife by Mathew Quinn Martin. This book is a real page-turner from start to end. It was literally un-put-down-able!

The best part about this book and also the most impressive one was that this book showed Vampires in completely different light. I guess this is the first time someone has successfully pulled off portraying Vampires as really scary creatures. The concept behind the whole vampire mythology was explored beautifully and I was captivated by the author’s imagination. For the first time in my life, the Vampires actually creeped me out! I’m glad that finally, someone wrote a book that didn’t show vampires as the lovey-dovey pets people want to fall in love with.

Author Mathew Quinn Martin showed them for what they are really are – blood sucking nightmares.

Apart from this, the writing was great too, and the pacing was superb. The alternating POVs kept me on on my toes the entire time and I enjoyed the POV shifts mostly because the transition was really smooth.

The characterisation is also brilliant. I loved all the characters, especially that of Jack and Beth. I even liked Beth’s jackass boyfriend. The reason why I liked Ryan is because all his faults and stupidity made him come out as a really believable character. I was able to connect to all the characters.

The book began with an intriguing prologue which threw me right into the story’s heart and was a complete winner for me. I was so engrossed in it that I wasn’t able to put down this book once I started it.

The ending was good and quite practical. I loved it and thought that it was perfect and in tune with the story.

I’m really looking forward to reading more by the author. I’d recommend this book to all the paranormal and horror lovers and especially to all the Vampires fanatics.


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Book Review: Nowhere To Hide by Tracey Lynn Tobin

31673356-2Author: Tracey Lynn Tobin
Release Date: October 2, 2014
Series: 
Genre: Apocalyptic Fiction, Horror>Zombies
Edition: e-book (mobi)
Pages: 236
Publisher: Createspace

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

The only thing that Nancy King has worried about since her grandmother passed away is figuring out what to do with the rest of her life. That decision is forcibly made for her the day one of the residents of her apartment building dies…and immediately rises to tear open the flesh of anyone within reach of her cold, dead fingers. Now Nancy has found herself in a deadly game of survival against an army of zombies. She may have the will to keep running for a little while…but how long can she push forward when there is simply nowhere to hide?

Review

Nowhere To Hide is a really engaging read. I enjoyed it from the first page right down till the very last page!
It is about a girl who finds herself in the midst of an unforeseen apocalypse and what makes this book different from others is the twist which leaves her with a little baby. Amidst all the chaos, Nancy tries her best to take care of the baby while trying to survive each and every day.

The best part about the book was the pacing of the story. Not even for a single second, I felt that the plot was going weak or uneventful. I enjoyed the exposition as well as the meticulous imagery. The writing was really good and the story flowed beautifully.

There were places though where the situations could have been more intense but I’m happy about the way things were.
I was able to feel a strong connection with the leading lady, Nancy. She had a strong personality and I was able to relate to her on so many different levels. I was able to feel her frustration behind each and every relentless decision she made and felt a wave of happiness and relief whenever situations got better.
The supporting/secondary characters were also very relatable. I loved Greg’s character a lot and was able to feel a connection with him too.

The ending was absolutely gut-wrenching. I felt so sad that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for hours after I finished reading it.

It is a spectacular apocalyptic tale with an interesting twist and I’d recommend it to all the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction readers.


Goodreads

Book Review: Those Who Remain (Book #1) by Priscila Santa Rosa

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Author: Priscila Santa Rosa 
Release Date: August 2014
Series: Those Who Remain Trilogy
Genre: Apocalyptic | Horror > Zombies |
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 232
Publisher: Not Specified
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Followed by:

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Hide your children, lock your doors, and load your guns because zombies are real and they are coming. Danny Terrence knows this better than anyone. He spent months preparing for the inevitable moment the disease would reach his small town. What he didn’t prepare for is the fact that nobody really believes him.

Luckily for him, an old classmate and bully just happens to be the first one bitten. The bad news is that the family with the biggest arsenal of guns just packed up and left town, leaving them defenseless from an oncoming zombie horde. Being a leader isn’t turning out the way Danny imagined.

Yet four other survivors easily have it worse than him. Between a thirteen-year-old girl on a road trip from hell, a family of paranoid hunters having to deal with their feelings for the first time ever, a stubborn doctor butting heads with a cold-hearted sergeant and an amoral British professor carrying the fate of humanity in his hands, Danny has it easy. Unless, of course, they all end up in his town, messing with his already messed up life.

Follow these five people as their paths cross and their lives and hopes are challenged in this thrilling novel.

Review

I enjoyed this book from start to end. For me, this book is nothing short of a GREAT apocalyptic book!

The characterization is awesome and the alternating POVs kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time! I felt a strong connection with everyone, but my favorites are The Girl, Hunter’s Daughter, and The Last One Out.

The writing is excellent and I literally breezed through the entire book in a single day! I loved it and have already requested (and received) the remaining two parts of this trilogy [can’t wait to read them!] The suspense build-up, the mysterious undertones, the chills and the curiosity, everything that the characters felt, came out beautifully.

I never felt that I was reading a book, I felt like I was in there with each and every character experiencing everything they did, first-hand.

The pacing is excellent and the twists and turns and the interludes at the end of the book were simply a master stroke.

I loved the Zombies as well, and the disease’s spread felt really natural and practical.
I’m really, really excited to know what happens next as the author ended all the POV’s on a great note. It’s literally killing me to read other books before getting to the next parts – This book is so good!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: My only window to the outside world is a thin gap between the closet’s doors.

Highlights: Pacing and story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Turns out, deep down, I’m sentimental. Very deep down.

It took me hours to realise that crying wouldn’t change anything. Shoes. I need new shoes.

I let out a sigh, embarrassed for him. A sociopath, but not a smart one.

It’s a rule of every horror story: when someone is too happy, or things are going too well for a character, then the next scene his head is rolling down the floor with the psychotic murderer making a surprise return from the dead.

A crazy disease spreading, riots going on, people running away, the military taking control over everything and I can’t load my rifle. PTSD is a bitch.

Memorable Paragraphs:

I don’t think she went to the drugstore at all. Why else did she take the car? She didn’t leave me behind. She took him away. To save me.

Father puts a hand on my shoulder. We both know leaving her behind meant her death. I’m allowed a minute to grieve for a mother I never truly knew. Then we run.

Between doctors, nurses, staff and patients, Saint Jude Hospital housed almost ten thousand people. Three hundred soldiers were sent to keep them safe. Only five people were leaving alive.

Some kids ask Santa for a toy. I wished for the Zombie Apocalypse. He took his sweet time, but finally my present was here. With luck, unwrapping it wasn’t going to kill me or destroy the town.

Final Thoughts: Best Zombie book I’ve read so far this year!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Monsterland

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Author: Michael Phillip Cash 
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: YA | Adventure | Urban Fantasy | Post-Apocalyptic | Horror>Zombies |
Paranormal>Vampires | Shapeshifter>Werewolves | Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Create Space
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

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

Rating

TRB 5 stars

Review

It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569
http://blewzen.deviantart.com/art/Werewolf-vampire-zombie-sketches-450864569

The story line of Monsterland is really unique, fresh and, I must admit, quite chilling (esp. the werewolf part.)

It’s not scary in the literal sense as such but it does gives the chills at more than one occasion. The descriptions are wildly realistic and the images they paint is worth all the time and money spent on this book. I felt that I was the one visiting the Monsterland with my friends and not the fictional characters. The story is beautifully crafted and the detailing is commendable. Being a paranormal/shapeshifter/horror storyline, the author successfully captured the character backgrounds and successfully added layers to the overall concept.

I enjoyed the book right from the first line right till the very last one. The overlapping of the paranormal and horror genres is commendable because, despite my initial reservations, the author managed to woo me with his amazing story and its execution. It is a job well done on the author’s part.

I felt a connection with each and every character of this book. What seemed to be pointless discussions of monster-obsessed teenagers in the initial pages of the book, made more and more sense as the story progressed and finally when it reached the last act.

I also enjoyed the last connection that the author made between the characters. It’s a well thought out storyline with 3-dimensional characters and layers and layers of different elements.

All the elements blended perfectly well together (except for one little thing- why was Raoul the vamp scared of the zombies!?!? Well, this crossed my mind only for a second before I got caught in the thrill of the moment and my mind moved on to other characters who were literally fighting for their lives (when the story is as good as this, who cares?)

I love myself some badass zombies but this is the first time I actually saw them sympathetically as “victims” and poor sick people who are not someone to be shot or bashed in the head by any/everyone, but a sad bunch of unfortunate people who caught the plague.

http://weknowyourdreams.com/zombies.html
http://weknowyourdreams.com/images/zombies/zombies-07.jpg

By the starting of the end, I was actually feeling sad for all the three creatures- the zombies, the vamps and the werewolves- but by the end, all the other things faded from my mind and I experienced what I really wanted to (and why I really picked this book in the first place)  – a complete monster massacre.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The sky was a sparkling, power blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lilypads.

Memorable Quotes: 

Wyatt looked back at the main area of the park, feeling uneasy he was being led somewhere he shouldn’t be going.

Memorable Paragraphs: 

Wyatt glanced back in his rearview mirror and shifted uncomfortable in his seat, remembering why the sign unnerved him. It bore a stricking resemblance to a picture he has seen in his history book. The words were in German and read Arbeit Macht Frei– Work Makes You Free. It was the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

Highlights: Superb concept and amazing execution of all the elements.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A must read for paranormal and post-apocalyptic readers.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley

 

Novella Review: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

18106337

Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Release Date:  2013 
Series: None 
Genre: Horror | Paranormal | Suspense 
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 137
Publisher: Red Feather Publishing
Source: NetGalley 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

Rating

4-stars

Review

 

Story/Plot:

This book has a really unique plot-line and I enjoyed it pretty well. It was a mild read but at times it really gave me the creeps. The concept was really good but I feel that the story could have a little ore better towards the end. Still, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent suspense or horror read.

Though I felt that despite of having a great start to the book, the ending was a little week.

Characters:

It took a few chapters to establish a connection with the protagonist, Paul, but once it was done, I was able to enjoy the book without any difficulty. I really felt sorry for the situation he was in – dead wife and three children to care of and then dead wife coming back to ask for help. The other characters were also good but I wasn’t able to connection with anyone else.

Romance:

There was no romance as the lead’s wife dies, but there was a whole book full of love. It was really sweet to read a horror story which was completely driven by only one main emotion – love.

The author did justice to the theme.

Writing:

I’d like to commend the author on the simplicity of the book. The writing was simple yet relatable and I’d like to read more books by the author.

Beginning:

The beginning of the book was probably the best part as it drew me right in. I was able to get the feel of the whole situation and could clearly see where the story was going.

Ending:

The ending, for me, was a bit confusing and week. I felt that with such a great concept the author should have really pulled it off with a great ending (connecting the dots and all) but to my disappointment the story felt quite rushed at the end.

Cover Art:

I like the cover art and it compliments the theme of the book perfectly.

Blurb:

The blurb is quite good and summarises the story perfectly well.

You canals read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Paul turned from the dark window, twitching the drapes back in place.

Highlights: Beginning of the plot.

Lowlights: Ending.

Final Thoughts: A decent read.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P.

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.