Monday, July 31, 2017

Seeing Double by Karen Runge

What do you do with a woman who can't love? Not herself, not another. Not the life inside her. You teach her to love. You remind her of gratitude. The benefits of closeness. The pure, beauteous ecstasy that exists in reprieve. 

Seeing Double is damn good! I felt kind of naughty reading it too. It is dark, sexual, and disturbing! 50 Shades ain't got shit on this book! (Denzel Washington voice)

Daniel, Ada, and Neven are deeply flawed characters, but I wasn't really invested in them that much. I just kind of felt sorry for the characters.  They require only control and lust.

Daniel, Ada, and Neven live in Asia and all they want to do is experience the deadliest of thrills. The love triangle quickly balloons into savage sexual conquests, which cause their lives to spin out of control. They begin to feel the psychological effects of physical and mental abuse.

Strange occurrences begin happening around town. I will stop there because I don't want to give too much away. I didn't see that ending coming!

This is my first time reading Karen Runge, but it won't be my last. Karen's writing grabs you from the first page and doesn't let you go until the creepy ending! I had to know what was going to happen. I had to see how far the three were willing to go. Karen Runge didn't disappoint!

If Seeing Double had a soundtrack, then Godsmack's Love, Hate, Sex, Pain and Three Days Grace's I Hate Everything About You would definitely be on it!

Seeing Double will definitely have you screaming safe words!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

4.5/5 safe words!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano

I read this a few weeks back and I decided to sit on the review. This anthology makes you think. Like most anthologies, some stories are better than others, but overall this anthology was enjoyable.

As I think back on this anthology, one story sticks out the most to me, and that is Larue's Dime Museum by Lisa Morton. It is a great story! I must confess that I am a Goosebumps fan and I love stories with cameras in them. Lisa Morton gets the anthology off to a great start with this gem of a story! Julie goes into Round Again Antiques and buys pictures of The Human Squid, Mr. Inside-Out, a contortionist at Larue's Dime Museum. She starts seeing the people from the pictures in the streets. This is one of the best stories that I have ever read! The ending is clever!

Wildflower, Cactus, Rose by Brian Kirk is unique! "A smile will get you a smile. People light up like Chrismast bulbs as you stroll along. Same with a scowl; it's like lowering a dimmer switch."

The Baker of Millepoix by Hal Bodner is a funny story! Henri decides to become a baker in a small town. Miracles begin taking place all over town. Is something in the pastries?

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament by Clive Barker is great! It is definitely body horror. I don't want to say too much about this story. You should definitely read this one!

An Exhibition of Mother and Monster by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a great poem that ushers in the second section of the anthology called Curiosities. A beautiful poem from the carnival barker's pov.

Madame Painte: For Sale by John Langan is creepy! It is about a haunted doll/yard gnome. Caution: keep her outside!

Chivalry by Neil Gaiman is great! An elderly woman buys the Holy Grail at a thrift store. Funny story!

Fully Boarded by Ramsey Campbell is about a wristband! I don't think I want to put on another wristband for as long as I live!

In Amelia's Wake by Erinn L. Kemper is about two brothers who are tasked with guarding Amelia Earhart's plan. That ending is something!

A Ware That Will Not Keep by John F. D. Taff is about a Nazi concentration camp. It is also about a golem from Jewish legend. This is a great story!

Earl Pruitt's Smoker by Patrick Freivald is about a girl who controls bees!

As a Guest at the Telekinetic Tea Party by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a great poem that ushers in the third section of the anthology called Undefinable Wonders. Another beautiful poem from the carnival barker's pov.

Hazelnuts and Yummy Mummies by Lucy A. Snyder is good! A writer accidentally takes a hallucinogen at a convention.

The Shiny Fruit of Our Tomorrows by Brian Hodge is about two men riding the rails searching for something. The languid mirrors spun and flashed, revealing scenarios good and bad.

The Wakeful by Kristi DeMeester is about a teacher/student affair.

Knitter by Christopher Coake is about storytelling and how it is an art.

Through Gravel by Sarah Read is about a future society that lives underground.

Hiraeth by Richard Thomas is a love story. Jimmy has a hole in his chest. He has to go to town for his family and he falls in love with Suki. His trips to town become more frequent.

All in all, this is a really good anthology. I wish some of the stories would have been moved around, though. Some of the stories didn't do anything for me, but that is typical when it comes to anthologies. I had to read several of the stories twice. I will also give this anthology another read in the future. Doug Murano is a great editor. If you like this anthology, you should check out Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.

I recommend this anthology to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Spells & Persuasions by S.J. Budd

Spells & Persuasions is a great short story collection! S. J. Budd can write! If you haven't read an S. J. Budd book or short story, then you should remedy this immediately. Now, let's get to the review.

The Memory Chamber is awesome! A woman does a poor job of looking after her son, Jimmy. He is hit and killed by a car at the age of three. I will stop there because that ending is brilliant and I don't want to spoil the reveal!
5/5 stars!

Earthly Joy is creepy good fun! A woman waits each year for her husband to return. She has left the table set.
5/5 stars!

Hold Me Tight is eerie. Jake is an unwanted orphan who is taken in by Kirsty. Something is off about Jake and it makes Kirsty feel uncomfortable. The ending is incredible!
5/5 stars!

The Little Orphan Girl is about a spell. This story is crazy! The ending is to die for!
5/5 charred remains!

The Knocker is a great ghost story! You better answer the door.
5/5 knocks at the door!

The Mound is a "careful what you wish for" story. You must be careful when you are using magic.
5/5 stars!

White Lilies and Everlasting Shadows is about a woman who marries her dead best friend's husband. Yes, there are repercussions!
5/5 stars!

Spells and Persuasions is a great short story. A woman has to use self-defense when a man stops at nothing to be with her. The dead just don't stay dead.
5/5 stars!

A Most Devoted Son is about a boy who will stop at nothing to be with his mummy!
5/5 stars!

All of these stories keep you guessing. After you finish one, you just have to start the next one. The stories are from different time periods, which keeps things interesting as well. With that being said, you should get a copy for yourself. You definitely get your money's worth with this collection!

I highly recommend this short story collection!

5/5 stars!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Debt to be Paid by Patrick Lacey

Patrick Lacey has done it again!

A Debt to be Paid is a great novella! It will make you want to draw the curtains tight and double check the locks on your doors.  While reading, I had to cut the light on. I also found myself glancing over my shoulder making sure there were no shadowy figures. Anyways, let me get to this review.

Gillian Foster feels hopeless. She receives a letter in the mail, and then shadowy figures start appearing everywhere. She hits the road with her daughter Meg, but it's no use, she can't outrun the shadowy figures.

Twenty years later, Meg receives a similar letter, and then shadowy figures start appearing everywhere. Gillian is in the Hawthorne Psychiatric Facility. Meg must get answers from her mother. I will stop there because I don't want to spoil anything.
5/5 shadowy figures!

I thought this book only contained A Debt to be Paid, but I was greatly mistaken. This book also consists of three great short stories!

 In On It is about lizards taking over the government, and the ultimately taking over the world. This short story is creepy good fun! I don't want an old television!
5/5 forked tongues!

Lynwood Vampires is the short story that turned into We Came Back. Great short story! If you haven't read We Came Back, you are behind the times. That book is where it's at! Check out this short story if you don't believe me.
5/5 bloody tentacles!

The Barry Effect is great! This short story is eerie. I loved it! A man goes back home to attend his high school reunion and no one remembers a guy they grew up with named Barry. He digs deeper, trying to find answers, but what he finds is more than he bargained for. That ending is everything!
5/5 stars!

Patrick Lacey is consistent! He delivers the goods every time! I look forward to reading his future work. If you haven't read Patrick Lacey before, then this novella is a great place to start!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

You can pick up a copy here.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book trailer for BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders

Witching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz

Witching Hour Theatre is a great novella! I didn't know what to expect. This is my first time reading Jonathan Janz, but it won't be my last! This was a fun, quick read. Besides, what's not to like about horror in a theater? The cover is what drew me in, but Jonathan Janz's writing kept me turning the page. This is his first published work, but it reads like a seasoned author wrote it.

Larry Wilson lives for the Witching Hour Theatre at the Starlight Cinema. He's also in love with the hot brunette that works the concession stand. The theater crowd starts thinning out during the horror movie marathon. What happened to all of the theater goers? Larry sees an entity seated in the back of the theater. It turns out, he has to fight for survival. Heads will roll!

Witching Hour Theatre reads like an 80s slasher film. Larry Wilson is the lovable loser who is in love with his dream girl. The pacing is perfect and the characters are believable. The first half is atmospheric and the second half is off to the races! It's straight hack and slash! Will Larry Wilson survive the night?

The Forward and Afterword are great as well. I look forward to reading his other work!

I highly recommend this novella to fans of horror!

4.5/5 stars!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Scares That Care!

This year is the 4th Annual Scares That Care Horror Convention. This was also my first year attending this convention, but it won't be my last. In fact, I will make it a point to go to this convention. Why? It's simple. Everyone was nice. I was welcomed by everyone. The family friendly environment was another key factor for me.  I got to meet some really great people too.

I arrived at the convention early (30 minutes before they opened) and actors were walking around talking to people. How cool is that? The horror icons of my youth were down-to-earth and friendly. It was just an amazing experience!

They had silent auctions, photo ops, signings, meet and greets, a costume contest, author roundtables, writing workshops, and authors and actors everywhere. Something was happening in every room. The place was a packed house!

Brian Keene took the time to show me how to get to the author rooms on the second floor. He took time out of his busy schedule to help me. That means a lot to me as a convention goer and a fan of his work. Brian Keene is a class act and a great guy! He is a horror legend and I got to shake his hand and converse with him!

I got to meet Patrick Lacey!

I got to meet Tim Meyer!

Yep! I'm rocking the Dad bod for sure!

I got to meet Stephen Kozeniewski, but I forgot to go back and get a picture with him. I wanted to meet David Berstein and the Sisters of Slaughter (That sounds like a great band name doesn't it?), but I couldn't find them. I couldn't find Jonathan Janz either. I met Adam Cesare, but I forgot to get a picture with him. If you haven't checked out Adam Cesare's Black T-shirt Books, then you really should. I got to meet Edward Lee and Ronald Malfi–two cool guys!

I also found some new authors to read: Scott Cole, J. Peter W., and Matt Manochio!

I will definitely be going back next year! I had a blast!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bone White by Ronald Malfi

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo (a college professor) watches a news report of a mass murderer in Dread's Hand, Alaska. Joe Mallory decapitates eight people and buries their bodies. He confesses to the murders and tells the police where to find the bodies. Dread's Hand is an old mining town that is cut off from the world. Paul's twin brother, Danny, went missing around Dread's Hand a year ago. Paul heads to Dread's Hand to get closure. 

The townsfolk think there is something in the woods, but they don't talk about it. Is it a local legend, or is there something more sinister at play? There is more to Dread's Hand than meets the eye. 

The citizens of Dread's Hand stay to themselves. Paul is an outsider, and they don't take too kindly to outsiders. Paul persists. Paul will stop at nothing to find his twin brother. I will stop there because I don't want to give anything away. 

Bone White starts off with a bang! The story unfolds smoothly and the ending is superb! As I read this book I got that uncanny feeling like I was being watched.  Bone White creeped me out. Make sure you read this one with the lights on!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 shivers!

Bone White, Synopsis
·       File Size: 1616 KB
·       Print Length: 384 pages
·       Publisher: Kensington (July 25, 2017)
·       Publication Date: July 25, 2017
·       Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .
Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims’ graves, in remote Dread’s Hand, Alaska.
It’s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.
But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what’s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.
And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. 
Praise for Ronald Malfi
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the words, the ending. Color me impressed.” –Melissa Reads on The Night Parade
“The Night Parade has a creepy vibe and some genuinely terrifying moments. I even teared up a time or two. It's everything I look for in a great read.” – Frank Errington on The Night Parade
“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books
“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon
“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly
“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”
Suspense Magazine
Purchase Links

Want to feature this book/author?

If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature Bone White or Ronald Malfi in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at Thanks!

Interview With Ronald Malfi

Thanks for doing this interview for Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews! 

CHHR: What does a typical writing day look like for you? Do you have any writing quirks?

RM: At the moment, I’m not sure there is a typical day. Some days I’ll get up early before the rest of the house wakes, get a few pages down, then revisit them later in the afternoon. More often, I’ll stay up late and go for a few hours, particularly if I’m on a roll. I don’t necessarily have any quirks, though I do have a favorite writing shirt that I like to wear. Depending on the time of day, I’ll drink a hot cup of coffee or a glass of scotch while I work.

CHHR: How many drafts and edits do you make on a manuscript before you send in the finished product?

RM: I tend to edit as I write, so I may go over a particular chapter or section a few times after I’ve written it before moving on. After I turn it into my editor, we general go through one round of strong edits followed by a cursory review with a copyeditor.

CHHR: What influenced you to write Bone White? Are there any characters in Bone White that you relate to?

RM: For a story to interest me and get me writing, I’ve got to find that story’s metaphorical “open window” for me to climb through and access it. For Bone White, I liked the dichotomy between the two brothers. They’re identical twins, but their personalities reside on opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve got two brothers—in fact, the book is dedicated to them—so I can certainly relate to those types of relationships, and the themes that come along with them. There were some other moral questions that I was interested in tackling, too, which prompted me to write the book, although to talk about them here would be to spoil some of the revelations in the novel.

CHHR: Which of your books is your favorite? Which one was the most fun to write?

RM: Each new novel tends to be my favorite, so Bone White is up there right now. I tend to appreciate one of my novels more when the finished product tends to be as close to how I’d originally envisioned the story—so often, when the actual writing process begins, stories tend to change into something other than the thing you first thought them to be, so I find some satisfaction in being able to capture that initial vibe I had when I first thought of it on paper. Those books would be Little Girls, The Night Parade, December Park, and Floating Staircase.

I enjoyed writing them all for different reasons, but possibly December Park was the most enjoyable because it was also my most autobiographical, and I allowed myself some time to revisit places I knew in real life—even though I’ve altered them in the novel—and even friends that I knew back when I was younger. It was a joy to write that book, even though it took some work to get it to its final version.

CHHR: What was your first published book?

RM: It was a fluffy sci-fi novel called The Space Between, which is now, blessedly, out of print.

CHHR: When it comes to writing, what advice would you give your younger self?

RM: I probably wouldn’t go back and say anything, for fear I’d gum up the works. But seriously, I think every writer at some point struggles with their own identity—who they are, or should be, as a writer. I think that only confuses things. I’d say write for yourself, write what you have a passion for, and if you’re not enjoying it, write something else. That’s good advice for the present-day version of myself, too, by the way.

CHHR: Do you prefer outlining your books or do you let the story take you where it’s going?

RM: I don’t outline. I’ve attempted this on a few occasions, only to find that when the story is so fully fleshed out in an outline—or sometimes even just in my head—I lose all interest in actually writing the story. To keep me interested, I need to question characters’ motivations, and where they take the plot, as I’m writing. I approach writing as if I’m the first reader, and the story and characters need to keep my interest throughout. I’ve found that outline sort of kills that magic.

CHHR: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out?

RM: Read voraciously.

Ronald Malfi, Biography
Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Bone White, this summer’s release from Kensington.
In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.
Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Straws by James Baack and Eric S. Brown

I found this book while browsing the Kindle Store. Yes, I tend to browse the Kindle Store from time to time. I like finding new authors and books to read. I have to admit, this cover looks badass!

Billy is being bullied by Brian and his friends. The bullying goes too far and Billy ends up dying. Or does he?

Kathie and Ellen (best friends) get an Ouija board. They go to their spot in the cornfield and try talking to the spirit of Billy. They don't get an answer, but a scarecrow in the cornfield comes to life when they leave. The scarecrow's name is Straws and he has to kill for Billy. I will stop there because I don't want to give too much away.

The story was pretty good. As for as the story goes, Straws is a solid book. The story flows well, but the characters don't have any depth. The ending is good, though.

With that being said, this book needs some heavy editing. Some of the sentences are written awkwardly. Words are used incorrectly in sentences. Quotation marks are missing from the quotes. Commas are missing as well. It feels more like a rough draft than a final draft. If it gets the much-needed editing, then this book would get 4 stars instead of 3 stars.

All in all, this book is good. It just needs proper editing.

3/5 stars!

The Girl on the Glider by Brian Keene

Brian Keene has done it again! He bares his soul in this book. The Girl on the Glider is more than just a ghost story. It talks about real life situations, relationships, and events that change people's lives forever.

In The Girl on the Glider, Brian Keene gives us an inside look at what it means to be a horror author, living to see that paycheck every six months. Trying to meet deadlines. Trying to please your family, friends, and everyone else in between.

The Girl on the Glider is also about a teenage girl who dies on Brian Keene's property. The teen haunts Brian Keene's home. He struggles to make money to provide for his family. Brian Keene must fight to hold on to his family and his sanity.

This is a meta-fictional take on the traditional ghost story, but boy did it feel real. The Girl on the Glider is definitely going into my top 10 list for 2017! It's one of the best books that I have ever read!  I read this book in one sitting. Read it with the light on too!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and ghost stories!

5/5 stars!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Interview With Jason Parent

CHHR: Hey, Jason! Thanks for doing this interview for Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews.

JP: I’m honored to have been invited.

CHHR: What was your first published story or book?

JP: My first published story was my novel, What Hides Within. It’s a quirky story about an average joe with a sinister spider living in his ear. It’s horror, mystery and dark humor, all wrapped into one.

CHHR: What does your writing days look like? Do you have any quirks or things that you do during your writing sessions?

JP: Right now, I’m taking a little break. I lost a lot of my writing after a recent hard drive crash, so I’m summoning the will to redraft what was lost. If my heart’s not in it, I won’t be at my best. But I will come around.

When I do write, I like complete silence. The Internet is a huge distraction, so handwriting the first draft is usually preferable (and had I kept that as my practice, my lost hard drive wouldn’t have been such a big loss – lesson learned).

CHHR: Do you like writing novels or short stories better?

JP: I like writing novels better than short stories only because I feel like I’ve accomplished more. Short stories take talent, craft, hard work, etc, but let’s face it – a lot less time. So when I marry myself to a story for as long as it takes to pump out a novel, it’s much more satisfying to see the final product – assuming it’s worth reading, of course.

CHHR: When writing, do you go where the book takes you or do you outline?

JP: I start every novel with an outline of the first 6-10 chapters and an intended ending. Then I start writing and the story takes me wherever it wants to go. After a few chapters, I draft a new outline for the next few chapters, always subject to change, and repeat the process every four chapters or so.

CHHR: How many edits and rough drafts do you write before you turn in the finished manuscript?

JP: I do a minimum of four drafts myself before sending to beta readers. Then I send to editors. I’ve done as many as 16 drafts on one novel, and if you count my updated version of What Hides Within, coming soon, over 20 – and I am sure I, my editors, and my publisher will still miss something.

CHHR: What do you like to do when you are not writing? Do you have any favorite activities or sports?

JP: I’ve been hitting the gym a lot and trying to get back in shape, so that’s taking up a lot of my free time (though I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying it). I love to travel. Anywhere. With anyone who wants to go somewhere. Feel like going anywhere?

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

JP: I love craft beer, which is one of the main reasons I need to hit the gym lately. But my favorite is definitely Kentucky Bourbon Ale. If KBR ever needs a Z-list celebrity sponsor, the company can feel free to give me a call… if I can raise my status to Z-list.

CHHR: What horror authors have influenced your writing the most?

JP: King and Poe for sure, but other than that, I try to be my own voice. People have likened me to other horror writers, some of whom I wouldn’t call influences but have read and loved and others whom I’ve never read at all. I enjoy the comparisons and often find new reads based on them.

CHHR: Do you have any advice for authors who are just starting out?

JP: Get involved in the writing community. One of my biggest faults is that I can be so introverted and a loner. Like anything, the writing business is as much who you know and getting yourself out there as it is talent. Plus, there are a lot of good people in the community who would be willing to help out new authors, so long as they are considerate in their methods of approach. I’ve been lucky to have met some of these people in my journey, and I try to give the same considerations to those who come after me. But of course, you’ve got to have a solid piece to push, first. So above all, hone your craft.

Detectives Bruce Marklin and Jocelyn Beaudette have put plenty of criminals behind bars. But a new terror is stalking their city. The killer’s violent crimes are ritualistic but seemingly indiscriminate. As the death toll rises, the detectives must track a murderer without motive. The next kill could be anyone… maybe even one of their own.

Officer Aaron Pimental sees no hope for himself or humanity. His girlfriend is pulling away, and his best friend has found religion. When Aaron is thrust into the heart of the investigation, he must choose who he will become, the hero or the villain.

If Aaron doesn’t decide soon, the choice will be made for him.

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.

When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

Please visit the author on Facebook at, on Twitter at, or at his website,, for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him.