Brian must have accidentally been left at an abandoned gas station when he was little because this is a man who understands the fear of abandoned plac...moreBrian must have accidentally been left at an abandoned gas station when he was little because this is a man who understands the fear of abandoned places in the middle of nowhere. After stranding us in the harsh winter landscape of Canada in Dead of Winter, he now drops us in the middle of an abandoned Indian reservation that's surrounded by woods reputed to be haunted.
The woods are, in fact, really haunted, although not all ghosts mean harm to the living. Kyle Elkheart has the gift (curse?) of seeing these spirits that have yet to move on, although a rough past has him wondering if certain ghosts are really haunting him or if he's just being haunted by his own guilty conscience.
I'm big into characterization, and Brian delivers the goods again. Kyle is an easy main character to know. He has more than his fair share of problems and doubts, but he soon learns the difficulties of the past aren't anything when compared to what's waiting for him at the old Cree reservation.
Kyle's brother, Eric, on the other hand, is the type of guy that's driven to get what he wants... and he spares little thought for others when going after that brass ring, but he's not evil. He's a jerk, no doubt about that, but he's basically just doing the best with what he has.
The cast of characters is rounded out with Shawna, Kyle and Eric's sister, Jessica, who's caught between the two brothers, and a few of the Elkheart family members who decided to stick around when everybody else left.
Brian has a lot of fun with the location of this story, delivering many edge-of-the-seat scares with descriptive accounts of being alone in the dark woods, with branches rustling and strange eyes peering out from the shadows. You'll probably want to cancel any camping trips in the immediate future after reading this book.
The scares definitely aren't lacking in this story, with Kyle and the others encountering ancient monsters, various ghosts, corrupt people, and a nefarious plan that was put in place centuries ago. Each offers its own unique brand of terror.
Take a walk into the Devil's Woods. You'll be glad you did... if you make it out alive.(less)
I have always been a sucker for Greek mythology so I was thrilled when I got my hands on Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess.
Before I go into what this book i...moreI have always been a sucker for Greek mythology so I was thrilled when I got my hands on Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess.
Before I go into what this book is, let’s take a moment to mention what this book is not. It is NOT something that would fit comfortably with the Percy Jackson series. Percy and his Half-Blood friends are great but it’s basically Harry Potter with gods instead of magic. Antigoddess is dark. Sure, it has its moments of levity and humor, but serious business takes place within these pages, and some scenes could be a little graphic so it’s probably not something for younger readers.
For the first time ever, the immortal gods of Olympus face death. Over the centuries, they’ve declined in power and Mount Olympus itself has fallen, but the gods still endured… until now.
Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, along with Hermes, messenger of the gods, are on a quest to find out what’s happening to them, and hopefully discover a cure along the way. While it’s never precisely spelled out, it’s apparent that what the gods are known for become the symptoms of their disease.
Athena has always been associated with owls, and now owl feathers are growing within her body. While she rips them out when she can get her fingers on them, most are not easy to to reach, and she fears the moment where she might lie helpless upon the ground, suffocating from lungs filled with feathers.
Meanwhile, Hermes, known for being able to run super fast, has a metabolism that has shot into overdrive, slowly burning his body up from the inside out.
The two immortals discover that their only hope lies with a teenage girl named Cassandra, who happens to be the reincarnation of Cassandra of Troy. While the girl has the power to see the future, Athena is told that Cassandra can be much more than a seer, so the two gods set off to find her before the enemy does.
Throughout the novel, the point-of-view shifts between a couple of main characters, giving the reader a great look at what’s going on from multiple perspectives, and Kendare does an excellent job of bringing all the characters to life, making it possible to even sympathize with a goddess that’s been around for thousands of centuries.
The plot has plenty of twists and turns, making for an exciting read. While my love for mythology might’ve given me an advantage in knowing who the main villain was, I was still surprised at how evil this person was portrayed, although evil might not be the correct word. The gods that stand against Athena, Hermes, and Cassandra aren’t bad-guy caricatures that want to take over the world. They simply want to live, and an immortal suddenly facing mortality will take extreme measures to save themselves.
Whether you like mythology or not, lovers of fantasy adventure will enjoy Antigoddess.(less)
Lock the doors and turn on all the lights because horror author Brian Moreland is at it again with The Witching House, a haunted house tale that will...moreLock the doors and turn on all the lights because horror author Brian Moreland is at it again with The Witching House, a haunted house tale that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Brian is one of my favorite authors, and a reliable go-to guy when I’m looking for a little something to get the blood pumping. If you haven’t read Dead of Winter, I strongly advise you to give it a try.
The Witching House is a standalone horror novel that can be read and enjoyed by itself but you can get a little more background info on the house and the witches who lived there by reading the free prequel, The Girl from the Blood Coven.
Otis Blevins, who we met briefly in the prequel, is a pig farmer with a special job. It’s his responsibility to feed the house, although he provides a steady supply of pig instead of what the house would prefer to eat.
Unknown to Otis, a group of adventure-seekers are about to arrive, unknowingly tempting the old house with the meat it craves. After ten years of a boring marriage, Sarah was looking for a little adventure, and she found it with Dean, who was eager to take on almost any challenge. After months of dating, he’s managed to talk Sarah into accompanying him and his friends, Casey and Meg, on one of their outings as urban explorers, where they explore abandoned buildings. To add a little extra excitement to their outings, Dean and his friends look specifically for buildings that are supposed to be haunted.
The group is led to the house by Ronnie, a fellow urban explorer who also happens to be a lot more. Intrigued by the bloody history of the house, the explorers are anxious to start looking around, but they get a lot more excitement than planned when they enter the house that eats people.
While Sarah, Dean, Casey, and Meg are the noticeable main characters, there is one more subject in the novel that is just as interesting. Otis is a kind-hearted guy that’s been surrounded by evil all his life, and his story adds a lot of emotional impact to balance out the horror of the house.
As far as surprises go, the plot will be recognizable to anyone that’s watched a few horror movies. A group of unsuspecting people enter the Bad Place, and lots of death and destruction follow. You’ll probably even be able to guess who survives, but there are still plenty of twists and turns to keep you from getting bored. Just when you think you know how something is going to go, something unexpected will send things in a completely different direction.
Fans of horror will have a bloody good time visiting The Witching House.(less)
The Girl from the Blood Coven, by Brian Moreland, is a prequel that provides a little background info on the events that occur in The Witching House. W...moreThe Girl from the Blood Coven, by Brian Moreland, is a prequel that provides a little background info on the events that occur in The Witching House. While it’s not necessary to read the novella to understand what’s happening in the novel, horror fans will not want to miss this brief history of the house and the coven of witches that lived there.
I really enjoyed Blood Coven because it has the feel of a horror movie, with the action starting almost as soon as you start reading. Sheriff Travis Keagan is relaxing at a bar when his downtime is suddenly disturbed by a blood-covered woman appearing at the door. The girl, Abigail Blackwood, makes an ominous statement about everyone being dead at her house, and the dedicated sheriff wastes no time in going to the location to investigate.
As is usually the case with horror stories, the sheriff doesn’t believe in the possibility of a supernatural threat. While the people that live at the infamous Blevins house are known to be witches, Keagan sees them as nothing more than a drug-taking hippie commune. Keep in mind that this novella takes place in 1972 so the hippie commune idea actually makes sense.
Moreland does a good job of providing some tense moments in short amount of space, with my favorite moment being when Keagan and his deputy are exploring the crime scene at night, wandering through an unknown house littered with bodies, guided by nothing but the light from their flashlights.
It’s a pet peeve of mine to see characters in either a book or movie explore a dangerous place at night because common sense suggests saving the sightseeing for daytime, but the author masterfully avoids that awkward horror trope by having a sheriff as the main character, since crime scenes have to be investigated with no regard given to the time of day or night.
The Girl from the Blood Coven is a quick, entertaining read, perfect for whetting your appetite for the horrors that await you in The Witching House.(less)
First, I have to say Wow! Is that an awesome cover or what? My personal favorite out of the whole series at the moment.
This time around, Shia leaves h...moreFirst, I have to say Wow! Is that an awesome cover or what? My personal favorite out of the whole series at the moment.
This time around, Shia leaves her old stomping ground for a change of scenery in Los Angeles. Royce convinces her that a temporary relocation would keep her out of trouble… but this is Shiarra Waynest we’re talking about, and she has an almost supernatural talent for stepping out of the frying pan and landing right in the middle of the fire. And by fire, I mean feuding vampires and zombies.
Because of the new locale, fans of Royce might be a little disappointed because he’s only in the opening chapters. After that, he’s just a voice on the phone. However, Royce makes the most of the time he does have, with him and Shia sharing some of the most passionate and emotional moments of the series so far.
Royce’s foolproof (??) plan consists of Shia and Sara going to LA and staying with Clyde Seabreeze, a vampire that rules the area who happens to owe Royce a favor or two. Of course, Clyde immediately decides to ignore some of the ground rules and puts the two detectives to work for him.
The case they have to solve? Find out who’s responsible for the zombies in the area and discover why that person is using the zombies to kill Clyde’s people, and only Clyde’s people. Other vampires, werewolves, and humans are of no interest to the zombies, but that doesn’t make things any less nerve-wracking when the walking dead are on the scene.
Another new vampire to enter the scene is Jimmy Thrane, a vampire that has somehow managed to carve out his own little mini-kingdom right in the middle of Clyde’s territory. Jimmy is… ummm… interesting, to say the least. It’s safe to say you’ve never encountered a vampire like him and I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play a larger role in the book. However, I have fingers crossed that we haven’t seen the last of Karaoke-loving Jimmy and his merry band of vampire followers.
The conclusion of the story offered a few surprises, which was nice because I was certain I had figured out how things were going to play out. I was right about a couple of things but was still plenty shocked by some of the events that occurred, and as usual, Jess is a master of leaving readers wanting more.
The H&W Investigations series continues to be a must-read for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Shia gets out of the new mess she finds herself in.(less)
Jordan Dane, author of great titles like In the Arms of Stone Angels, On a Dark Wing, and No One Heard Her Scream, enters the self-publishing arena wi...moreJordan Dane, author of great titles like In the Arms of Stone Angels, On a Dark Wing, and No One Heard Her Scream, enters the self-publishing arena with a great how-to guide for anyone interested in writing fiction. The book is aimed specifically at writers of the YA market but the knowledge can be applied to any fiction genre.
While serious topics like creating characters and plot structure are covered, Jordan keeps the tone light, giving the feeling that you’re getting these pointers while hanging out with her drinking coffee, instead of just reading a book. She gives plenty of real-world examples gained from her experience as a published author, lending a lot of credibility to the advice she offers. Most importantly, even more important than the tips themselves, Jordan strongly conveys the attitude that it is possible, with dedication and passion, for you to create works of fiction that others will be dying to read.
If you’ve ever wondered how and where to start a scene or how to make the voices of your characters sound authentic, Jordan will provide the answers you’re looking for, along with plenty of wisdom in all the other areas of crafting good fiction.
Consisting of only 92 pages, One Author’s Aha Moments is a fast and informative read that should have a special spot reserved for it on the desk of every author.(less)
Get ready to step back in time with Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of Bampton Castle, as he sets off to solve a crime while stealing a woman’s...moreGet ready to step back in time with Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of Bampton Castle, as he sets off to solve a crime while stealing a woman’s heart at the same time.
Mel Starr’s “A Trail of Ink: The Third Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon” is a lively mystery cloaked within the setting of 14th century Oxford. Hugh’s scholarly friend has had twenty-two books stolen from him and seeks Hugh’s assistance in finding his property. Hugh is more than willing to put his deductive skills to use to help his friend, and the crime provides a good reason to spend extra time in Oxford so that he can pursue a more personal mission – to win the heart of the lovely Kate.
I’ve been on the edge of my seat since reading the last page of Deceived by the Others, and Jess keeps cranking the tension up in the latest adventure...moreI’ve been on the edge of my seat since reading the last page of Deceived by the Others, and Jess keeps cranking the tension up in the latest adventure of Shia’s life.
The full moon is appraching fast and Shia, along with everyone else that knows her, expects her to go all furry when that happens. People don’t think that just because she was bitten, either. This is a brand new Shiarra meeting readers. She has a definite edge and an air of menace about her that she didn’t possess before, and she’s determined to bring down the wolfpack that ruined her life, including pack leader and former boyfriend Chaz.
During her quest for vengeance, we get a little insight into some of the characters we’ve seen before. Jack, the leader of the White Hats, has always intrigued me, and he becomes an even more fascinating character after he shares a closely-guarded secret with Shia. I can’t wait to see where this particular development goes. Shia’s relationship (for lack of a better word) with her vampire-hunting belt also reaches a new level that I never saw coming.
Stalking the Others’ plot moves fast and furious, never letting you out of its suspenseful grip, and I never imagined all the twists and turns that would come along before the last page was turned. Think you know who all the good guys and bad guys are? Think again because you’ll be looking at some people in a brand new light before the ride is over.
Finally, speaking of the end, if the last page of Stalking doesn’t make you want to throw the book across the room, then you must have ice water in your veins. The next book in the series can’t get here fast enough.
If you’ve been a fan of Jess’ H&W Investigations series, Stalking the Others won’t disappoint. If you’re new to the world of the Others, I’m afraid you’ll be totally lost but it’s an easy remedy. All you have to do is grab Hunted by the Others and work your way to this point. You won’t be disappointed.(less)
I’ve been a huge fan of this series since Touched by an Alien burst onto the scene, and Alien Proliferation continues the trend of delivering non-stop...moreI’ve been a huge fan of this series since Touched by an Alien burst onto the scene, and Alien Proliferation continues the trend of delivering non-stop adventure combined with a perfect mix of comedy and drama. This time around, the lives of Kitty and her AC friends are turned completely upside down because the youngest member of the Martini family makes an appearance, but there’s no time to celebrate or hand out cigars because the bad guys are once again causing problems and making a grab for ultimate power. To make matters worse, Christopher is acting grumpier than usual and Kitty’s friend, Amy, might be a traitor.
Gini continues to give readers what they want, while adding a few new twists along the way. While Jeff and Kitty have always been the major players, the supporting characters always get a generous amount of time in the spotlight, with special emphasis being placed on Jeff’s uncle, Richard White, this time around. Richard’s wry sense of humor and comical interactions with Kitty have always been a highlight for me so I was really pleased to see the Pontifax play a larger role. How cool is Mr. White when facing a dangerous assignment in the field? At one point, during what is an especially tense moment in the story, White responds to a question by saying, “I’d make the others seem inadequate.” Trust me. I’d love to give some details on this scene but you’ll just have to read it for yourself because I don’t want to spoil anything, but something’s wrong with you if you don’t chuckle just a little bit when you read this part.
I was also really happy to see Jeff finally start to get a grip on his jealousy. He’s still definitely very possessive when it comes to Kitty but he’s doing a good job of keeping things under control.
This is one of those books where you want to grab people you know and say, “Can you believe that just happened,” and it’s really hard to keep from blabbing about some key points. Suffice it to say that, in my opinion, Alien Proliferation is the best book in the series so far and it changes just about everything you know. I can’t wait to get my hands on Alien Diplomacy to find out exactly how all these changes affect Kitty and the rest of the gang.(less)
What happens when a serial killer picks up a serial killer? A whole lot of fun when Kilborn and Crouch are at the helm. The two killers are deliciousl...moreWhat happens when a serial killer picks up a serial killer? A whole lot of fun when Kilborn and Crouch are at the helm. The two killers are deliciously twisted as we're introduced to them while they do what they do best. One of them is especially wicked and she'll make you think twice about picking up strangers... especially when they're toting a guitar case.
If you're looking for a quick read, you can't go wrong with Serial.(less)
The big heart and the tagline (the couple who slays together stays together) might make zombie lovers shy away from Married with Zombies, but that wou...moreThe big heart and the tagline (the couple who slays together stays together) might make zombie lovers shy away from Married with Zombies, but that would be a huge mistake. In addition to comical (in a macabre way) situations that include seeing your marriage counselor eating the patients that were scheduled before you and conversations about killing people you know, Married with Zombies delivers tension, edge-of-your-seat excitement, and one scene that is almost so heart-rending that it will stay with me for a while.
Sarah and David are going through the motions that make it appear they’re trying to save their marriage but it’s nothing more than a show because not even a zombie plague can bring this marriage back from the dead. Or can it? When the world goes to hell, the couple realizes they only have each other to rely on, and the zombie apocalypse brings out traits in each of them that make them shine in each other’s eyes.
Even in the beginning, when Sarah and Dave are bickering at each other over everything, they’re likable main characters. Their situation is real and plenty of people can probably relate to reaching the point of having a mental meltdown just because your significant other decided to load the CD changer with all his tunes. Once the dead start walking (and eating), Sarah and David still keep things real, and that’s what gives Married with Zombies so much power. These two aren’t bad-ass zombie killers; they’re normal people like you and me. They’re scared and they make mistakes, but the only other options are eating a bullet or letting the zombies feast on them.
Here’s a little peek at Sarah as she gets the hang of zombie killing She’s not real happy since she just recently became the owner of a wet butt because her loving husband didn’t put the seat down.
Out of pure instinct and a hefty dose of luck, I flattened against the back wall as his bulky body careened past me. His already shredded forehead hit the thin bottom seat of the toilet with a clang and he let out a whining groan.
I don’t know what came over me as I looked down at our fat, piece of shit of a neighbor lying half in my toilet, the offending seat Dave had left for me still flipped up overhead. I certainly didn’t think about what I was going to do, I just did it. Dropping down, I started slamming the toilet down against his skull.
“Put. The. Toilet. Seat. Down. David!” I accentuated each word with a crushing bang of the seat.
I didn’t stop until I heard Dave’s voice outside the door.
If you’re looking for an exciting time packed with a few laughs to make the end of the world a little more bearable then Married with Zombies is exactly what you’re looking for.(less)
Petrucha takes the vampire back to it's beastly and blood-thirsty roots with "Blood Prophecy".
In 1644, Jeremiah Fall is a hard-working, God-fearing ma...morePetrucha takes the vampire back to it's beastly and blood-thirsty roots with "Blood Prophecy".
In 1644, Jeremiah Fall is a hard-working, God-fearing man whose life consists of working the family farm with his father, Nathan, his mother, Mary Vincent, and his grandfather, Atticus. While plowing a field, an ancient evil is accidentally freed and the whole family, with the exception of Atticus, is claimed by the vampire curse.
Jeremiah is bound by Atticus before he has a chance to rise up as a vampire because his grandfather suspects that the man might still exist within the beast. The old man's suspicions prove correct, and Jeremiah learns to control the blood-thirst that is now a part of him. As time passes, Jeremiah learns that the power of redemption might exist within an ancient stone and he travels the globe to seek it out. However, there's more to the legend than Jeremiah first realizes and his efforts to reclaim his lost humanity could possibly destroy everything.
For the most part, "Blood Prophecy" moves at a steady pace but there are moments when the story gets a little bogged down with the history and politics of the period that Jeremiah is living in at that time.
I grew to care about Jeremiah because the vampire hunger within him taunts him endlessly, but he is determined that the man will rule the beast, instead of the other way around. Even as a creature with the potential for unspeakable evil, he clings to his humanity with fierce determination. This desire comes with a price because, without the power of human blood, Jeremiah isn't able to fully tap into his vampire strength. These limitations prove to be a problem when he encounters the vampire that turned him.
In addition to Jeremiah, I also liked the character of Atticus. Although he plays a relatively small role in the story, it's a vital one because he teaches his grandson an important lesson - you don't have to be a vampire to do evil things because desire and greed taunt everybody. If a human can control those dark passions (for the most part), then perhaps a vampire can, too.
The plot and characters are unique, taking a different path than most current vamp stories that are currently out there. Each twist and turn was interesting because there was no way to see how things would go.
If you enjoy vampire stories but want something a little different from the standard vampire/mortal love affair, something a little darker and grittier, then "Blood Prophecy" is the book you're looking for.(less)