Book Review: Daddy Monster by Kevin Berg

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Life couldn’t get any better.

A new baby, the promotion, the new house – everything is finally going his way. A happy family and the comfortable life don’t last long, though, once they start receiving visits from something that he does not understand. Or even believe.

His daughter, Little Olivia, is troubled by visions of a monster that only she can see.

He lurks in the shadows and lives on the edge of their perception, just out of sight, and sneaks in to steal the happiness from their dreams. But their frightening encounters with the unexplained serve only as a distraction, a break from the uncomfortable truth, will it be too late for him to realize what he has so easily forgotten?

Sometimes the things we need to fear most are closer than we expect.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Daddy Monster


Review

*I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 2 stars

One family’s suburban dreams are shattered when their young daughter starts being tormented by nightmares that are seemingly a little too real. Desperate to protect his daughter, a father must face the monsters that terrify his little girl.

I was really drawn by the summary of this novel. It sounded like a really great horror story, just the kind of book that I like to read. The author is a good writer. There was a wealth of description and vocabulary use. The style was dark in keeping with the genre.

However unfortunately I did not enjoy it at all. For me there were several things that meant that I just couldn’t get into it. One was the lack of names of the main characters. Only the daughter, Olivia, was named. The mother and father were not. For me a name is so important for forming an attachment to a character or even just being able to relate to them. This put me on the wrong-foot with this novel to begin with. The second thing was it was just so confusing. It went on and on with drawn out events that added no real value to the plot and just served to confuse. It jumped about all over the place and I could not follow what was going on at all, which was incredibly frustrating. The lack of names (and some characters were only referred to with unpleasant nicknames!) just added to this confusion and I nearly didn’t finish the book as a result.

When I finished it, I was left feeling rather disappointed that unfortunately this book was not for me.

Book Review: The Dreamer by Travis McBee

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Oak Grove, Georgia
It’s a tiny mountain town where nothing ever seemed to happen.

Until dreams began to come true. Dreams that could more aptly be called nightmares. Monsters, wild animals, nefarious traps, anything is possible. No one is safe. The only thing they have in common is a teenage girl, Natalie Mullin, who dreams about each new horror as they happen. But why does she dream of them? And can she stop them before she dreams of everyone she loves?

For when she lays her head to rest, it’s your life that’s put to the test.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Dreamer


Review

*I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

A series of strange incidents and unexplained deaths have a small town’s police department baffled. Unable to explain what is going on, they struggle to find a rational explanation or solve each case. The only thing that the events all have in common is that a teenage girl claims to have dreamed about them before they happened.  At first Natalie Mullin discounts her strange and disturbing dreams. However when she realises that they are a foreshadowing of events, she desperately searches for answers and a way to stop them before it’s too late for everyone whom she cares about.

The Dreamer is a really suspenseful and page-turning horror novel. Rather than focusing primarily on one character’s point of view, you see events through the eyes of victims and protagonists. The author took their time to develop each character and I really enjoyed the dark humour added in, which gave even more life to each personality.

I enjoyed how the events unfolded slowly with the right amount of building up to the finale. I thought I knew what direction it would take, but I was proved wrong in the last act. The ending caught me by surprise and left me with that feeling that I sometimes get in cinema after watching a really good horror film. Slightly shocked and unnerved, but in a good way.

I definitely recommend The Dreamer to horror fans.

Book Review: Stalked by the Zozo Demon: Real Life Paranormal Experiment by Celina Summers

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During the summer of 2017, LiveSciFi paranormal investigator Tim Wood and author Celina Summers conducted a real-life experiment where Wood contacted the demon known as Zozo every night for a month. Wood believed Zozo was a demon; Summers believed Zozo was a myth. The Zozo experiment was to be the first paranormal experiment live streamed to thousands of witnesses. Its purpose? To determine the validity of the Zozo entity once and for all.

But the experiment didn’t end. Demonic influence pursued both researchers through their subsequent investigations…and their daily lives. As the activity heated up, the questions grew more difficult to answer. Was there really an entity named Zozo? Or was Zozo a smokescreen for something more sinister? At the end of the day, they had to confront the most terrifying question of all: were they stalking the Zozo demon? Or was Zozo stalking them?

The Zozo experiment is not your normal paranormal.

Purchase Link: To be advised

Goodreads: Stalked by the Zozo Demon


Review

*I received a copy for free for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

I was drawn to this book because it is very different from the books that I normally read. I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal and occult, so for me I was really interested to see how the experiment worked out and the conclusions that it would bring.

The style of writing is light considering the material, which is a good thing as if it was too heavy it would have struggled to keep my interest. It is told from the author’s point of view and through her you get a good idea of the personality of the investigator. The subject of the Zozo demon is controversial. From reading the book, and my own experiences and knowledge, I believe that they certainly summoned something of a sinister nature and that it enjoyed playing games with them.

The book slowly builds on tension. The presence of the demon increases as the experiment continues. Both the investigator and author begin to feel its impact even outside of the sessions. There was no conclusive conclusion as to what it was that they were communicating with, but this is not a criticism as due to the subject matter I believe there are things that we will never fully explain. Stalked by the Zozo Demon does do a great job of trying to shed some light on the entity and provides its own conclusions and theories. I think it would make an excellent film too!

Book Review: Dark Designs by Stefanie Spangler

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Twins Ivy and Violet Grant are opposites. Ivy, a hot-tempered redhead, couldn’t wait to get off the farm and see the world. Violet, a quiet brunette, was content to stay home and help their grandmother with the family business. The one thing they have in common is their magic.

Charlie Logan’s sinister obsession with Ivy Grant has ruled his life. When he discovers a book of dark magic during a burglary, he decides to return to Oak Hill and use his newfound power to gain control over Ivy.

Ivy and Violet, with help from their grandmother, need to practice their magic to overcome the evil seeping into their lives. A battle is coming, and Ivy’s life is not the only one at stake.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Dark Designs


Review

*I received a copy for free for an honest review*

Rating: 3 stars

After their mother abandons them, twins Ivy and Violet Grant are raised on a farm by their grandparents. When farmhand Charlie Logan makes inappropriate advances towards eight year old Ivy, luckily her grandfather is there to put a stop to it. Years later, Charlie returns and his fixation with Ivy causes him to turn to dark magic. The twins and their grandmother are gifted with their own light magic and must come together to not only protect Ivy but also their town from the monster that Charlie Logan has become.

I enjoyed reading Dark Designs. It was quite a suspenseful read with likeable protagonists and an interesting side cast. I liked the premise of magic being used in this way and how the twins learned to control their abilities and use it to protect Ivy and the town.

However I did feel that a bit more could have been explained, for example they never did find out what happened to their mother. I started the novel thinking that this was going to be a large part of it and then it just seemed to disappear. Also the ending could have been a little more drawn out. The author took a great deal of time to build her villain and then he was dealt with comparatively quickly.

Overall I did enjoy reading Dark Designs. It is a well-written paranormal/suspense novel with some great main characters and the added twist of magic too!

Book Review: You Only Get One Shot by Kevin J. Kennedy and J.C. Michael

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What would you do if someone demanded you write the best story of your life, to be judged online? That your life depended on it. Four well-known authors receive an email telling them they are responsible for a suicide. Their antagonist makes it clear she is out for revenge and they have no option but to comply. Their task is to post the best story they can imagine online and await judgement. Filled with guilt, anxiety, and even a few murderous tendencies, each writer weaves their tale and hopes for the best. It’ll be the competition of their lives. Who’s story will win? Will anyone survive?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: You Only Get One Shot


Review

*I received a copy for free for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

When four authors receive an anonymous email claiming that they are responsible for a suicide, the sender demands that they post their best story online for judgement. The prize? The winner will get their life.

You Only Get One Shot is a clever and thrilling read. Each part is broken down into chapters from each other’s point of view and then their stories. The stories and characters are all very different and well-developed, making them each credible and deserving winners.

Once the stories are posted the waiting game begins and I did not see the ending coming at all. Staying true to the horror genre, there is an unexpected and gruesome finale and the final twist at the end is brilliant. Well worth a read!

Book Review: The Forgotten by M. Stringfield

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Evelyn Moore hasn’t seen her children since the day they were born. No one in Felicity has.

From the moment a child is brought into the world they are placed into the arms of a patrol, and sent to live on the other side of the bridge. This is the way it has been for as long as anyone can remember. The water in Felicity is too tainted for the children to survive. They say it started with a war so ravenous that it split the land in two, creating what is now known as The Chasm – a giant crack in the earth that serves as the divider between Evelyn’s world, and her children’s.

On one side of the bridge is a city named Felicity, with beautiful high-rise buildings that can be seen from all the way across the divide. Those that live in Calloway can see the silhouette of the other city if they stand close enough to The Chasm. Every child wants over that bridge. Their city is riddled with violence, and the homes that are still standing are nothing better than shacks. It doesn’t help that those that live in Felicity are oblivious to the squalor that surround their children. Everything about the cities must always remain separate.

Now that Evelyn’s daughter, Char, is old enough to reenter Felicity she has chosen to become one of the patrols whose job it is to keep the cities safe, and separate. It was the only way she could ensure her brother, Alexander, stay safe in Calloway. Except, things begin to unravel the moment Char crosses over. Between the cryptic messages that Evelyn begins to receive, and the strange radio broadcast that Alexander discovers in Calloway, it becomes clear that someone out there is desperate for the truth to come forward.

Everything they thought they knew about their cities will turn out to be a lie. Unfortunately for them, some things are better left forgotten.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Forgotten


Review

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

The Forgotten was nothing like what I was expecting when I first started reading and I mean this in a really good way.

When war ravages the land and the water becomes poisonous for children to drink, the residents of Felicity make the heart-breaking decision to send them away across The Chasm to Calloway so that they might live. Thus starts a grim tradition that has been in place for as long as anyone can remember. Each parents longs for the day that their child becomes old enough to cross the bridge and return to them.

When Char Moore crosses back into Felicity, she is reunited with her mother Evelyn whom she struggles to form a bond with. Evelyn is jaded and haunted by past events, however she had always longed to see her children again.

When Char begins to unravel the mysteries of Felicity and Calloway, she learns the devastated truth of all that she had been brought up believing. Together with her mother and younger brother Alexander, she has to find all the answers before it is too late.

The Forgotten is one of these novels that you cannot tell what direction it will take next. There is no second guessing, which makes it an especially gripping and intense read. The characters were so raw with their emotions and you could really feel everything that each of them had gone through.

There were so many plot twists and surprises at every turn. I cannot recommend The Forgotten enough. Dystopian science fiction at its best!

Book Review: The Loyal Whispers (The Life Siphon #3) by Kathryn Sommerlot

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Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.

Pre-Order: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Loyal Whispers


Review

*I received an advance copy for free for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

The Loyal Whispers is the third novel in The Life Siphon series. Instead of being told from the points of view of the main characters from the first and second novels, the author took the bold decision to tell it almost completely from the points of view of three female characters who play pivotal roles in the third instalment. This move really did pay off and through them you learn so much more about the rich and detailed world that the author has created.

It was great to see more of Alesh and Ral, and the characters of Mairi and Ravee were wonderful additions to the cast. Through them you see Yudai and Tatsu struggle to build alliances when the world around them is fracturing. As well Yudai still faces his own inner battles and demons. This is expanded on more in the latter half of the novel, foreshadowing possible events to follow.

The plot itself is a thrilling combination of action, magic and the politics driving the first two. Combined this creates an engaging and gripping read that I didn’t want to put down.

I absolutely loved The Loyal Whispers and the amazing world that the author has created and I really hope that there will be further novels in the series.

New Release Blitz and Review: Sorcery of the Blood by Alice G. Holmes

Title: Sorcery of the Blood

Author: Alice G. Holmes

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, paranormal, gay, interracial, vampires, vampire hunters, dystopia, dark, magic, spells, witchcraft

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Synopsis

Kingston St. Louis and Martin Von Brandt are vampire hunters of the highest caliber. That is until Kingston is made a vampire and they discover too late that the city is being taken over by vampires in a bloody coup.

Branded as outlaws, they’re forced into hiding with an unexpected ally. For their plan to stop the coup to work, Kingston will have to overcome his prejudices and train the very vampires he used to hunt, and Martin must learn magic.

All the while, they struggle with their feelings for each other. Love can be a weakness, and they can’t afford weakness when hiding from a powerful enemy.

Continue reading

Book Review: Shinigami (Takamagahara Monogatari #2) by Xia Xia Lake

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A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of his life.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Shinigami


Review

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

Shinigami is the second novel in the Takamagahara Monogatari series. As with the first book in the series, Shinigami draws Japanese religion and folklore into its stories as well as the life of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. I don’t want to say too much about the historical Fujiwara no Hirotsugu as it would spoil some plot elements, but he was a real person and I liked how the author incorporated this into their work.

Shinigami begins when a young compassionate Hiro takes pity on a starving boy and from his kindness a bond between them is forged. Over the years their friendship turns into a forbidden love that will shape the course of Hiro’s destiny.

Like the first novel, Shinigami combines a mixed of folklore, history and religion to create a uniquely beautiful tale. Time is taken to set each scene and describe every detail in a way that draws you into this wonderful world that the author has created. The romance happens gradually and at a natural pace that never once feels rushed or false. You really feel for these characters and the struggles that they are facing.

Shinigami is a beautifully written and moving novel, which I cannot recommend enough. I very much look forward to reading further novels in the series.

Book Review: Lament of the Fallen (Hero of Darkness #2) by Andy Peloquin

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Can a killer escape the evil inside him?

The Hunter has fled his home and the suffering left in his wake. Hoping to cleanse the stain of blood on his hands, he aids travelers beset by bandits only to discover those he saved are warrior clerics on a holy mission to kill him.

Left for dead, he must hunt down the priests to reclaim his stolen birthright and silence the relentless whispers in his mind that hunger for blood and death.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter journeys toward the truth about his forgotten past and the demons he pledged to hunt. But will his discoveries be his salvation, or will they cost him his sanity and even his life?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Lament of the Fallen


Review

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

In the second instalment of the Hero of Darkness series, the Hunter sets out on a quest to discover the secrets of his own past. Along the way he again faces adversity from those he meets, as well as his own internal struggle with the demons that threaten to consume him.

I really enjoyed reading the second novel in this series. It is more focused on the character of the Hunter and his personal struggles. Delving into his mind, you learn more about his motivations and also how he fights against his own destiny as an assassin. Through the people that he meets on the road, you learn how the Hunter really craves companionship and acceptance although forced to hide the true nature of what he really is for fear of attack or rejection. These fears are often proved founded however there is also hope for him that he can forge some relationships with those open and willing to look beyond and see the man that he truly wants to be.

His internal struggle makes for some compelling reading and you really get a sense of who wants to be. Even in his darkest moments, you can really feel for the man fighting the demon and this invokes an empathy that on a less well developed character you might feel does not deserve it.

The Hunter’s path inevitably leads to conflict and his compassion at the end of the novel fits in well with who he has developed into as a person.The world-building is as rich and vivid as the previous novel, as is the description. The fight scenes are realistic and as brutal as they need to be, contrasting against the Hunter’s reluctance to engage in the violence that he is forced into.

This a really great, character-driven story and I am very much looking forward to finding out the secrets of the Hunter’s past in further novels in this series.