Friday, 5 February 2016

Review: Prince of Nightmares by John McNee



Prince of Nightmares - John McNee

Prince of Nightmares by John McNee

My Rating:


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

The premise of Prince of Nightmares really intrigued me and as an added bonus I discovered that not only is John McNee a Scottish horror author but the story is also set in Scotland. Result! Wild horses couldn't have held me back. I love all kinds of horror but being from Scotland myself it's a real treat to come across a Scottish horror author, especially one who sets their story in Scotland. Of course that doesn't mean that I am going to love it or that I'm going to give it 5 stars based on those facts alone.

Prince of Nightmares is expertly written, a pleasure to read and much more than I was expecting. At times I wasn't sure if what I was reading was real or if it was a dream but that just added to the imagery and surreal feel of the story.

I honestly don't think I could pick just one thing that stood out for me. I enjoyed everything about this one: the writing style, the imagery, the pacing, the atmosphere, and more. Fans of horror will devour the imaginative, twisted and horrific scenes within the pages of this book. I know I certainly did.  It's bloody, it's gory, it's vicious and certainly not for the faint of heart and I was totally immersed and enjoyed every minute.

I would love to read a prequel set around the history behind the hotel.

Highly recommended.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Cookie Classics Made Easy by Brandi Scalise



Cookie Classics Made Easy: One-Bowl Recipes, Perfect Results - Brandi Scalise

Cookie Classics Made Easy by Brandi Scalise

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Cookie Classics Made Easy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Cookie Classics Made Easy is nicely presented and has lots of delicious looking cookie recipes. Each recipe is set out clearly and has a nice bright colourful photo of the finished product. The recipes themselves are pretty straight forward, just shove everything in the bowl and off you go.

I tried a few of the recipes but I have to admit it wasn't as straight forward as I was expecting. I'm from the UK and all the ingredients in the review copy I was provided with had US weights and measures, there was a conversion chart at the beginning of the book that covered some of the conversions but it didn't cover all of them and I had to look some up online. I'm not sure if the UK version once released will have UK or US measurements but I felt I had to point this out for anyone who is not familiar with US weights and measures which vary quite a bit from the metric measurements we use in the UK.

Another problem that I had was that every recipe was for 3, 4 or more dozens of cookies. Two recipes and you have 6 to 8 dozen cookies, which is fine if you're feeding an army but not for when you just fancy throwing a small batch in the oven for a treat. I had to reduce the ingredients to make smaller batches which was a bit time consuming to do, especially with the unfamiliar US measurements. It makes more sense to have the recipe set up for a smaller amount, perhaps one dozen, allowing the ability to easily double or triple it to make more rather than messing around with trying to reduce it.

The recipes I did try, once I had everything worked out, turned out to be delicious and went down well with all the family and I would certainly make them again but all the hassle of trying to reduce and convert the recipes beforehand isn't really the "Made Easy" experience I was looking for.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Review: Blood Sisters by Graham Masterton



Blood Sisters (Katie Maguire) by Graham Masterton (2015-10-08) - Graham Masterton

Blood Sisters by Graham Masterton

My Rating:


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

I have been a huge Graham Masterton fan for many years and I have enjoyed every book of his that I have read, until now.

I couldn't get into Blood Sisters, I kept hoping it would pull me in but it just didn't happen and I think that was largely due to the main character. I find a book very hard to enjoy when I don't like the main character. Katie Maguire is an overly complicated and emotionally confused woman, I kept finding myself thinking "sort yourself out woman, really!" She's all over the place and just comes across as a mess.

The plot felt scattered, there were too many side stories resulting in too much happening outside of the main storyline. I can't say I hated it, I stuck with it to the end as I had to know what was going on but it was hard work. I was making myself pick the book up to finish it rather than being drawn to pick it up. There were some grisly and imaginative murder scenes in the book that I really enjoyed, they were very well done and were the best part of the book in my opinion.

One thing I will say, this book makes me glad I'm an atheist!

Not one I would recommend.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: The Haunting by Alex Bell



The Haunting (Red Eye) - Alex Bell

The Haunting by Alex Bell

My Rating:


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

The Haunting had it's moments and there was a lot of potential for some really creepy hair raising chills but it didn't quite get there for me. There were a couple of times where I though "Oh, I like where this is going," and I could feel the atmosphere start to build but it petered out.

The story felt rather juvenile for a young adult book, even the "scares" and atmosphere felt more suited to younger readers. It reads more young teen horror than young adult horror. I think part of that was because of how Emma, the main character, was portrayed. Emma is 17 but she came across as being much younger and her reactions and interactions were lacking the maturity I would expect in a character of that age.

The setting was great and the plot was enjoyable, and perhaps if it had been classed as teen instead of young adult I would have gone in with a different mindset and enjoyed it more as a result. As it was, I was expecting more because of the age group it's aimed at and it just wasn't there. There were too many missed opportunities to really ramp up the atmosphere and chills which only added to the whole younger reader vibe.

Would I recommend it? A bit of a mixed answer. Yes, for younger teens. My daughter would have loved this at 12 or 13 years old. As a young adult book, I probably wouldn't recommend it.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller by Hunter Shea



They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller - Hunter Shea

They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller by Hunter Shea

My Rating:


I received a free copy of They Rise : A Deep Sea Thriller 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 They Rise blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

They Rise was my first read of 2016 and I knew even before finishing that it was going to be one for my Favourites of 2016 shelf. I couldn't put this book down - it was terrifying, it was engrossing, it was fascinating and I was "hooked" (see what I did there!). I loved everything about it.

They Rise is one of those books where I find myself struggling to really do the book justice and to express how much I enjoyed it. I think what really got to me, aside from the story itself, was the plausibility of it. The sea can be a scary force to be reckoned with on its own but throw in the horrors found in this book and you have a whole different level of scary. A "There's not a chance in hell that I would dip my toe in there, even if you paid me!" kind of scary. The whole time I was reading I found myself thinking that this could really happen, perhaps not to this extreme but something similar, which is a very scary thought that added so much more to the story.

They Rise creates an atmosphere full of fear, tension, and anticipation that along with its breathtaking pace will have you turning the pages desperate to know what comes next. But at the same time, because the characters are so believable and their fear so easy to relate to, you don't want to know what happens next because you are so wrapped up in them and their experiences that you don't want anything bad to happen to them.

On finishing this book I immediately told my daughter how good it was and that she should give it a read, she's on the same page as me, so to speak. Definitely one we would both recommend and an easy 5 stars.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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They Rise, Synopsis


Print Length: 162 pages
Publisher: Severed Press (January 4, 2016)
Publication Date: January 4, 2016

Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea. Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong.
Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red.
The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.



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Biography, Hunter Shea
 
 
Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn't just write about the paranormal - he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned - "A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!"

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D'Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man's land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he's happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray's Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow in on Facebook and Twitter.

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Praise for Hunter Shea

“This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster
Bloody good read!  This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre
Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

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Giveaway
 
 
Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card for joining this tour! Get extra entries for social media follows, but get extra extra entries for signing up for his newsletter and five extra entries if you review They Rise and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com!
 
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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.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley



The Loney - Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

My Rating:


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

I had really high hopes for this one because of all the great reviews and also because it won the 2015 Costa First Novel award but I found it to be a disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high.

In all honesty I think it was the writing style that kept me reading. The author did a wonderful job of creating a dark and dreary atmosphere, his ability to set the scene and describe the surrounding environment totally immerses the reader, creating the illusion of being present in the moment as if a character in the story as it happened. Or didn't happen in this case. Without this I don't think I would have finished the book at all.

I am left thinking Did I miss something or was there nothing to miss? The whole thing felt like a lot of plot holes thrown into a plot that was more hinted at than expanded on. It was all over the place and I was never really sure where it was going or why. The further I got into the book the more I found myself having to resist skimming pages. Nothing was happening, yet so many things were left unexplained. In the end it all felt rather pointless.

All in all it was an unsatisfying read and not one I would recommend.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Review: Desolation by Kristopher Rufty



Desolation - Kristopher Rufty

Desolation by Kristopher Rufty

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Desolation by Kristopher Rufty 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 Desolation blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

I'm generally not a fan of home invasion story lines, I have read so many that I have become bored with them. Most seem to merge into each other creating a been there read it already feel but I was completely drawn into this one right from the start. The chilling atmosphere and descriptive scenes really captured my attention, I could picture everything so clearly.

I initially picked up Desolation with the intention of reading a chapter or two before sleeping but ended up reading it in one sitting. It's a perfect mixed bag of suspense, tension, horror and chilling emotional scenes that will keep you turning the pages eager to know what happens next.

There are twists a plenty to be found here and some grisly goings on that will satisfy many a horror lover. But, at the same time it's a heartbreaking and emotional tale of revenge and loss and the two intertwine nicely to induce not only fear and anticipation but also heartbreak and sympathy for the characters within the story. It's quite a roller-coaster of a ride. One minute you're grabbing onto the rails dreading what's round the corner, the next you're reaching for the hanky and full of remorse for disliking the characters previously.

Definitely one I would recommend.


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Desolation - Kristopher RuftyDesolation, Synopsis

Samhain Horror
PAGES: 266
ISBN: 978-1-619233-09-6
Trade Paperback (List: $15.95)

There’s no escaping your past. Especially when it wants revenge.

Grant Marlowe hoped taking his family to their mountain cabin for Christmas would reunite them after his alcoholic past had torn them apart, but it only puts them into a life and death struggle.  On Christmas Eve, a stranger from Grant’s past invades the vacation home and takes his wife and children hostage. His agenda is simple—make Grant suffer the same torment that Grant’s drunken antics have caused him. Now Grant must confront his demons head on and fight for his family’s lives. Because this man has nothing left to lose. The only thing keeping him alive is misery—Grant’s misery.

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Biography, Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Lurking Season, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often. 



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Praise for Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” --Jeff Strand

A Dark Autumn is a wild gender role reversal of ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and ‘Friday The 13th’ thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again.” --Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show

A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it’s got one of the best death scenes I’ve read in a long time!” --Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller

A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty’s prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!” --Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow

An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out...forget it!” –Edward Lee, author of Lucifer’s Lottery and City Infernal


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 Giveaway!!!

We have a lot of books to giveaway from Krist! We have two audio books, Oak Hollow and Pillowface in one link.  In the second link we have a signed print copy of The Lurking Season and two e-books, Vampire of Plainfield and Bigfoot Beach.

Winners are chosen random via rafflecopter and are given choice of prize of order pulled. Any questions on raffle, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com

Link for audio book giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI5/?

Link for print/e-book giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjMw/?



 

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.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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