Friday, 29 April 2016

Review: Blood Sacrifices by Brian Moreland

Blood Sacrifices - Brian Moreland
Blood Sacrifices by Brian Moreland

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Blood Sacrifices from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Blood Sacrifices blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

Blood Sacrifices is comprised of a short story and three novellas. The short story, The Girl From The Blood Coven, being a short prequel to The Witching House, followed by two independent novellas, Darkness Rising and The Vagrants.

I particularly enjoyed The Girl from the Blood Coven and was pleased to see that The Witching House continued on with this story. I was left curious to learn more about the house and what led up to the events, and The Witching Hour was exactly what I was looking for. These two were my favourites from the collection.

Darkness Rising was a bittersweet story, the main character of Marty is very appealing and easy to care for, this makes his horrific story all the more heartbreaking and poignant. I enjoyed this as much as the above but in a different way. The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House caters more to my personal preference where horror is concerned but Darkness Rising really stood out as it's particularly haunting and poignant. Bad things happened to good people.

The final story, The Vagrants was yet another great story but was the one I have to say I enjoyed least of all. It wasn't that it didn't draw me in, it just felt like it went on a bit in places.

Moreland writes in a way that draws you in instantly. The opening paragraphs of each story get their claws into you and you just have to read on. All of the stories stand out in their own way and there is something for everyone here.

Blood Sacrifices is one that I would highly recommend reading, it's full of tension, atmosphere and moves at pace that will have you on the edge of your seat.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Synopsis for Blood Sacrifices
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Publisher: Samhain
  • Publication Length: 282 pages

Some evils require sacrifices.
From the author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods come four tales of blood-tingling horror:

The Girl from the Blood Coven
In this short prequel to The Witching House, when Abigail Blackwood claims her hippy commune family has been massacred, Sheriff Travis Keagan and his deputies investigate. They discover there’s more than weed smoking going on at Blevins House. Much more.

The Witching House
Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, but she helps her adventurous boyfriend investigate the old, abandoned Blevins House, scene of a forty-year-old unsolved massacre. Little do they know the house is hungry for fresh prey…

Darkness Rising
When Marty Weaver encounters three killers who like to play sadistic games with their victims, his own scarred past is unearthed. And when his pain is triggered, blood will flow…and hell will rise.

The Vagrants
Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering. While living under a bridge with the homeless, journalist Daniel Finley witnessed something that nearly cost him his sanity. Now, with a book published about the experience, he’s caught between the Irish mafia and a deranged cult preparing to shed blood on the street.

This is a collection of books previously published in digital format.



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Biography


Brian Moreland photoBrian Moreland is a best-selling and award-winning author of novels and short stories in the horror and supernatural suspense genre. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger.
Shadows in the MistDead of Winter, and The Devil’s Woods are his currently available novels, as well as his Kindle short-story The Girl from the Blood Coven and the novella it led into called The Witching House.  Now, he has released the full-length The Devil’s Woods. His novella, Vagrants, released in 2014 and another, Darkness Rising, in 2015.
He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and making guacamole. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel.  When not working on his books or books for other writers, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew.

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas. You can communicate with him online at www.brianmoreland.com, Twitter, or Facebook.


 


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Media, information and review copy provided as part of the Hook of a Book blog tour by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.




Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Review: I Kill in Peace by Hunter Shea



I Kill in Peace - Hunter Shea

I Kill in Peace by Hunter Shea

My Rating:


I received a free copy of I Kill in Peace from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I can't say that I enjoyed this one but at the same time I can't say that I didn't enjoy it either. Even though it held my attention while reading, now that I'm sitting down to write my review I find myself struggling to put words to what it was that I liked and disliked.

The character of Peter was done well, his struggles with what he was doing and the progression of his character were well written. The plot was unique and the pacing was consistent and I did enjoy the story enough that I wanted to keep reading but the religious aspect and the ending ruined it for me. The whole religion thing is the stuff of fairytales as far as I'm concerned so perhaps I just can't relate or suspend my belief enough to have enjoyed it.

In the end this one just wasn't for me.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Review: The Devil's Serenade by Catherine Cavendish



The Devil's Serenade - Catherine Cavendish

The Devil's Serenade by Catherine Cavendish

My Rating:


I received a free copy of The Devil's Serenade from the publisher in return for an honest review.

For me, a good haunted house story means checking the dark corners of the room and being scared to lower my feet to the floor lest something be hiding under the bed. I didn't find that within The Devil's Serenade.

The story builds rather slowly, creating a dark and slightly eery atmosphere as it progresses. Things are more subtly hinted at for a large part of the book, which I wasn't so keen on but it begets an air of mystery, has you unsure of what's really happening, and keeps you reading.

The plot is unique and different and there are plenty twists to keep the reader on their toes. And even though I enjoyed the story, it didn't instill in me the fear, anticipation and apprehension that makes haunted house stories one of my favourite things to read. I wanted to be scared, to be reaching for the light or jumping at every little sound but I wasn't feeling it.

The pace picks up in the latter part of the book but I found it a little frantic, rushed and at odds with the previous pacing. In the end, despite the subtle hints and happenings, things seemed rushed and it felt like everything was thrown at me all at once.

I think in the end it all boils down to the fact that The Devil's Serenade told me a story about a haunted house rather than drawing me in and allowing me to experience the haunting for myself.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Review: Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz



Children of the Dark - Jonathan Janz

Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Children of the Dark from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Children of the Dark blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

Children of the Dark is the prequel to Savage Species which I haven't yet read but, after reading Children of the Dark, it's one I will make a point of reading!

I'm generally not a fan of books that are set around a group of younger characters. I tend to get annoyed with them or find them overly childish in regards to their choices etc, that was certainly not the case here. The characterisation was excellent and really made this one stand out for me. You can't help but become invested in the characters, rooting for some and at the same time eager to see others get their just desserts.

The plot isn't predictable at all, it kept me guessing throughout and although I found the pacing slow to begin with it quickly picked up and kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogue was natural, adding even more depth to already well fleshed out characters.

Children of the Dark is a must read for horror fans. With real people in horrific situations and a plot full of tension, scares and monsters galore, it draws you in, makes you part of the story and takes you on one heck of a ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend giving it a read!



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Synopsis of Children of the Dark

Print Length: 293 pages
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2016

Purchase Links
Amazon
Sinister Grin Press

 Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives.


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Biography,  Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”
 
2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, “Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a “Rousing-good weird western,” and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan “Horror’s Next Big Thing.” 2015 also saw the release of Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.


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Praise for Children of the Dark

Jonathan Janz brings us a vicious tale of terror with the innocence of youth in a coming of age tale that should surely make Stephen King smile.” – Dave, Beneath the Underground

My highest recommendation to fans of coming-of-age stories, extreme horror, creature features, serial killers, cannibals and basically any fan of dark fiction, in general. There’s something here for every horror fan to sink his/her teeth into. BEWARE the Children of the Dark!” -Char, Horror After Dark

Jonathan Janz has written the next definitive coming-of-age horror novel that is sure to be mentioned alongside those that came before it. Be on the right side of history and read it now, before it becomes a classic.” –Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to be Paid

This one reminded me of Dan Simmons’ SUMMER OF NIGHT……but stripped down, built for speed….without giving up any of the horsepower. This one burns rubber, folks, and you’ll want to take it for a spin.” – Jon, Reclusive Reads



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Media, information and review copy provided as part of the Hook of a Book blog tour by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.  


Friday, 18 March 2016

Review: Wizard's Rise by Phillip Tomasso III



Severed Empire: Wizard's Rise - Phillip Tomasso III

Wizard's Rise by Phillip Tomasso III

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Wizard's Rise in return for an honest review.

I really struggled with this one. I don't think I have ever before used the highlight function as often as with Wizard's Rise. Almost every other page had at least one highlight, covering everything from: spelling errors, wrong words, missing words, random single letters, sentences that made no sense, dialogue for characters that weren't present at the time, plot holes, inconsistencies and more.

I also wasn't very impressed with the way women were overly described and the men totally neglected. I couldn't tell some of the male characters apart or tell you what many looked like. Especially the two kings. Nothing made them stand out. Not enough information was given in order for me to visualise them and set them apart from each other. The women on the other hand? Oh boy! I know a lot about them: pretty, ugly, naked, eye colour, hair colour, how well they filled their blouse, slim, overweight (cause being overweight means unattractive, ugh!) Way to win over female readers.

The story had potential but all of the above totally ruined the whole reading experience. I also found that not much really happened, the story didn't actually move very far forwards. It read more like a prequel. I had to force myself to finish the complete book. It took me almost 2 weeks to read just under 300 pages, says it all really. I continued only out of obligation to review and to keep note of errors discovered, something I don't usually do but did out of respect for the person who sent the book for review on behalf of the publisher.

Not one I would recommend at all.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Review: Woman In White by Kristin Dearborn



Woman In White - Kristin Dearborn

Woman In White by Kristin Dearborn

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Woman In White from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Woman in White blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

I really enjoyed the cold, harsh and stormy atmosphere of the Woman in White. The author has done a wonderful job. The descriptions of the scenery, the snowstorm and the environment really made this one stand out and resulted in an amazingly chilly backdrop that gave me the chills and had me reaching for my reading blanket.

I usually find character development to be somewhat lacking in many novellas but the balance here was just right. There was quite a few characters and they were all well rounded and interesting, each had just enough of a backstory to make them feel real and stand out as an individual. The pacing was consistent, the writing flowed well and the storyline had me engrossed from start to finish.

Woman in White has just the right mix of mystery, suspense, horror and gruesome scenes to appeal to all horror fans. I thoroughly enjoyed it would definitely recommend giving it a read.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Woman In White - Kristin Dearborn
 Synopsis of Woman in White 
 
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication Length: 139 pages
 



Rocky Rhodes, Maine.

As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.

While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it's up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.

Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.


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Biography, Kristin Dearborn

If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probablyIMG_1693 written about it. written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from  Thunderstorm Books, which sold out.

She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Kristin’s latest DarkFuse release is Woman in White.

Find more about Kristin online at kristindearborn.com or Facebook.


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Praise for Woman in White 
 
Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards

Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night

Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure’

Dearborn has a wonderful sense of the macabre, along with the ability to balance the spookier aspects of her work with well-rendered, solid characterizations…Sacrifice Island is a blazing fast read, with engaging characters and a compelling narrative.” —The Maine Edge

Sacrifice Island is a fresh and interesting take on a tried and true horror setup.” —Examiner
 
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Woman In White tour graphic



Media, information and review copy provided as part of the Hook of a Book blog tour by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Review: Northwoods by Bill Schweigart



Northwoods - Bill Schweigart

Northwoods by Bill Schweigart

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Northwoods from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Had I written this review right after finishing Northwoods it would have been higher rated but I have found, after contemplating on it for a bit, certain things which didn't really jump out at me at the time. I did enjoy Northwoods while reading but on writing this review I have come to realise that it was more of an OK read than the great read it seemed to be.

At times I felt there was too much going on and that the characters spent more time apart than they did together. As a result a lot of the action was happening at the same time, this I feel caused a lack in the overall building up of the tension and fear.

I also had trouble with the believability aspect at times. Take for example the opening scene of the book. The area is monitored by sensors and drones and although the sensors were triggered they didn't pick up on the people that were in the vicinity. Surely they would pick up on these people, that is what they are there for after all. Also, the opening scene gets totally forgotten about as the story progresses and the item found in this scene is actually an important item to the storyline. What happened? How did it get there? Where did it come from? Why did no one ask these questions or look into it more?

On a more positive note. I enjoy when an author includes lore or legend in their storylines, I find it fascinating and it added a whole new level to a story for me. The scene setting was done well and the interaction between the characters, when they were all together, were well written. I can't say that I found all the characters likeable or relatable but I did enjoy the character of Alex Standingcloud more than the others. I found Lydnsay to be, as time went on, rather annoying.

Overall it was an OK read. Northwoods was my first by this author and I would read more but I would have to be drawn into the story way more than I was with this one before I would pick up a third.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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