Sunday, February 10, 2019

OF BLOOD AND BONE by Nora Roberts



Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey

I, for one, don’t read romance, but Nora Roberts Trilogy Chronicles of The One is far from romance. Book 2 Of Blood and Bone is again set in the post apocalyptic world after the “Doom” has killed off most of the world's population. We see the rise of elves, shifters, and Uncannys, any who has magical abilities. Along with the light(good) is the dark, those that want to kill, destroy anything they don’t understand.


In Of Blood and Bone we watch Fallon come into her own through the training of Mallick, who has been waiting centuries for The One to be born. Fallon completes 3 quests that get her 3 spirit animals and when the time is right, and her powers within herself are realized, she will claim the sword and the shield.


The readers are reconnected with characters from a Book 1 when Fallon travels back to New Hope to begin the training of her army to defeat the suffering and injustices that are being meted by those that follow the darkness.


Light vs Dark, Good vs Evil, if you’ve never read a Nora Roberts book before, this series is a great read with adventure, magic, destruction and hope!







The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the epic Year Onereturns with a new tale of terror and magic in a brand new world.

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again

KILLER CHRONICLES by Somer Canon






Publisher: Bloodshot Books
Published: November 30th 2018
Pages: 140


This is my first time reading Somer Canon and now I'm addicted. Hook an IV from her keyboard to my arm and let me mainline her stories. KILLER CHRONICLES is one of those rare stories that sticks with you long after you've turned the last page. Not only does KILLER CHRONICLES feature one of the coolest creatures in folklore, it also contains great characters and one helluva setting. 

You immediately feel unease from the first scene. I don't read the synopsis before diving into a book. You could say I like to live dangerously. With KILLER CHRONICLES, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm talking from the first couple of pages Somer Canon had flipped the script and it sent me reeling. It had me doing a Zack Morris time out in my reading nook. I think Somer Canon has done something completely different with KILLER CHRONICLES because I've never read anything like it. 

KILLER CHRONICLES centers around a complex character named Christina Cunningham. She runs a true crimes website called Killer Chronicles. Christina goes to Micksburg, West Virginia to do some investigative reporting on a series of bizarrely gruesome deaths. She hopes the story will catapult her site to the next level. Christina isn't prepared for what she's about to experience. Or is she?

Christina has quite the time in Micksburg. She has a romantic fling. She also discovers what is behind the grisly deaths. I didn't see it coming. Somer Canon does a fantastic job describing this truly terrifying creature. You wouldn't believe all of the smells in that hotel room. Housekeeping needs to clean it thoroughly with bleach is all I'm saying. So much happens in that hotel room. 

You will need a yummy snack cake for this one. Overall, the reading experience was excellence. I devoured KILLER CHRONICLES in one sitting. I couldn't put it down due to Somer Canon's writing style–it makes for a quick read. The story is fast paced and the characters are great. Each character is interesting and they all get into the mix in one way or another.

I thought I knew where the story was going, but I was terribly wrong. That ending is everything. I didn't see it coming. I thought it was going one way, then Somer Canon pulls the lever, sending it in another direction. And it's all for the better. 

If you've read this book, please let me know in the comments below. I need to talk to someone about this great book. 





KILLING IS HER PLEASURE

She is an ancient primal force of nature, exalted by some and feared by others. Those who heed her capricious whims are rewarded. Those who displease her, however, are slaughtered like the animals she considers them to be.

MURDER IS HER BUSINESS

Christina Cunningham runs the website Killer Chronicles, a popular online database of the worst crimes of humanity. Lured to the town of Micksburg, West Virginia by a series of bizarrely gruesome deaths, she hopes that it will be the story that launches her site to the next level. When she discovers what is behind the murders, her ambition and her survival instinct collide as she matches wits with the strange and inhuman being. Is her life or the lives of her loved ones worth the story?

"Sexy and violent and funny...deliciously quirky.” - Brian Keene, author of The Rising
 

SILENT VICTIM by Caroline Mitchell



Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey


Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Published: March 1st 2018  
Pages: 325

This is my second time reading a book from Caroline Mitchell. This one is part psychological thriller and murder mystery! Throw in a sexual predator of young girls and a dysfunctional family and you have a recipe for a good story!


The main character, Emma, also deals with self image issues and bulimia! Mitchell does a great job of showing how a predator starts grooming his victims, winning them over, creating trust. It’s a sick game he plays with Emma and other girls!


The reader is drawn into Emma’s current life with glimpses of her teenage years dealing with her family and her relationship with her teacher! Many secrets are kept, past and present, with everything coming to a horrible conclusion! 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Emma’s darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long.

Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother…and an involuntary killer. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.

It’s a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma’s husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can’t leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge…

Returning to the shallow grave in the garden, she finds it empty. The body is gone.

Panicked, Emma confesses to her husband. But this is only the beginning. Soon, Alex will discover things about her he’ll wish he’d learned sooner. And others he’ll long to forget

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

FIND YOU IN THE DARK by Nathan Ripley





Pages: 352 
Published: April 2nd 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing


Description: 

A chilling debut thriller in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr Ripley.

Martin Reese has a hobby: he digs up murder victims. He buys stolen police files on serial killers, and uses them to find and dig up missing bodies. Calls in the results anonymously, taunting the police for their failure to do their job.

Detective Sandra Whittal takes that a little personally. She’s suspicious of the mysterious caller, who she names the Finder. Maybe he’s the one leaving the bodies behind. If not, who’s to say he won’t start soon?

As Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder, Martin makes a shocking discovery. It seems someone—someone lethal—is very unhappy about the bodies he’s been digging up.

Hunted by a cop, hunted by a killer. To escape and keep his family safe, Martin may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever imagined.




My Thoughts:

Martin Reese has it all. He is a successful business man. A father. A husband. Everything looks rather normal on the surface, but Martin is hiding a dark and sinister secret. He will go to great lengths to keep that secret from being revealed to the world. Nathan Ripley makes Martin out to be a rather cut and dry, carpool type of dad, but at the same time, we get to see the darker side of Martin and his morbid escapades. 

As Martin's exploits become more frequent, people start to notice. One is a detective and the other is a stone cold serial killer. Martin must tread carefully. His marriage is on the rocks. His wife is starting her own business with another man. There's some jealousy there. I love how Ripley looks at the family dynamic and how it plays a big part in the plot. Things will be revealed. There are tons of twists and turns along the way to that excellent conclusion. 

You really don't know who has the moral high ground in FIND YOU IN THE DARK, which makes it a fascinating read. It's fast paced and smart. Ripley grips you from the start, and sends you reeling at the end. All the characters are dynamic, which is a very rare thing to have in a debut. I'm thoroughly impressed. And just when I thought Ripley was going to go the conventional route, he pulled the rug out from under me and did the unexpected. 

There's a lot happening in FIND YOU IN THE DARK, but Ripley manages it with style and grace. The loose ends are dealt with and there are no plot holes. There is a sense of urgency when you start this book. Once you start reading this book you can't stop–this is due to Ripley's style and prose. The short chapters keep you on the edge of your seat, too. I can't get over that ending. FIND YOU IN THE DARK is unrelenting and unputdownable. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

THEM by James Watts




Publisher: Hellbound Books
Published: March 9, 2018
Pages: 290


Synopsis:

Ray Sanders returns home from Florida to bury his mother. Soon, the supernatural evidence behind his mother’s demise begins to surface in the form of dreams and mysterious happenings. During all of the madness, Sanders must face his destiny and vanquish the generations-old evil that has plagued his family since the 1800’s… In 1854, Louis Sanders, with the help of Elias Atkins, dug a well to provide water to the family farm. What they did not anticipate was the water to be infested with Odomulites - ancient sins. These malevolent beings - were trapped in our world on their way to the spirit world - formed a pact of protection with both Sanders and Atkins; the families would serve as guardians of the Odomulite nests and in return, a blind eye would be cast when the Odomulites took host bodies to inhabit and feed upon. It was this pact, which in 2016 would propel Sanders and Julie Fontaine - a young woman with a special connection to the Spirit World - into the heart of the last active nest to rid the town of its insidious Odomulite population.

My Thoughts: 

I love how the author presents THEM to the reader. The prologue piqued my interest. The lady running through the night is the best kind of starter scene to get the reader engaged and hooked. I immediately wanted to know what she was running from. The author didn't let me down. A family secret going back generations is unearthed and Ray must face the terror head on. 

The decades old pact between the Odomulites and the Sanders and Atkins families make for an interesting dynamic. The Sanders and Atkins families must protect the Odomulites, and turn away when they have to take host bodies. These otherworldly monstrosities scared the daylights out of me. Think Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, but much more grittier and sinister. The ancient monstrosities are about to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting small town. 

The small town Alabama atmosphere is great. The characters are well written and relatable. The dialogue gives it that authentic feel. The pacing of the story is excellent. The vivid scenes bring the story to life. There are some scenes I can't unsee. The host bodies grossed me out in the best ways. I'm gagging just thinking about it. The author wraps the story up with a satisfying conclusion, too. 

THEM was a great reading experience. Read it with some popcorn, so you don't bite your finger nails. I look forward to reading the author's future work. 


Saturday, February 2, 2019

January Wrap-Up



Hi! I hope all is well with you and yours. It's been a weird winter here. We've already had two snows and another one on the way. January was a good reading month for me. I read several books over the last four weeks. I've read horror, graphic novels, history, and mystery/thrillers. I really enjoyed my experience. I got to see the different writing styles. I'm always learning from authors and how they approach their work. I learned several things from the following books. I will be reviewing these very soon. 




Description

Thursday, January 31, 2019

My Junt



Hi! I hope all of you are doing well. I've been absent as of late. This is due to the snow and the cold weather. It was a much needed break. I read over two hundred books last year, and I got kind of burned out. So, I did what any reviewer would do and took a break from my blog. That's not to say I stopped reading books because I never stop reading. I read every day, whether it be for ten minutes or a couple hours. It's all about books and their creators. It's getting the word out about those books and creators. I love to read and I love to talk about what I've read. My horror heart is still black as ever. My love for the genre is stronger than ever. That fire and passion will never cease. I want to be more efficient on my blog, too.

I have neglected my blog for a couple of weeks. Now, it's time to get on my grind. I have several reviews to write. I find that the hardest thing is getting back into the rhythm and groove of posting every day or every other day. As the TBR pile mounts, I'm playing catch up. Those reviews are coming slowly but surely. I always try to write quality reviews, but as of late, I have been staring at a blank page. I have erased as much as I've written. I want to convey all the feelings, but it ends up looking something like this:

Great book. Strong characters. Great hook. The ending is great, too. 

I see a lot of writers talking about writer's block, but I think book reviewers are susceptible to writer's block as well. Has any other reviewers experienced anything like this? Please let me know in the comments below. Any advice would be appreciated. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

THE GIRL WHO HID IN THE TREES by Steve Stred



Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey 

Thanks go out to the author, Steve Stred, for this pre-release mobi copy in exchange for a honest review. Release date is 2/28/2019. I have read other works by this author and I what to say it is so amazing to see how this author is growing and improving within his craft!


Great horror, urban legend tale that draws you in right from the first line, “Abigail, don’t stray too far, ok.” Now, this kinda lets us know that Abigail will more than likely stray too far and let’s the reader know that something has happened before Abigail entered the picture. That something is bound to happen to her because she strayed too far and with that the story is off and it’s doesn’t let up till the last sentence!! I really enjoyed this one, good job Steve!!





Something lurks just beyond.

Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.

Now the kids who reside near McConnell's Forest live forever in fear.

Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.

Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.

But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.

She's out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.

Also features;
- foreword by Gavin Kendall from Kendall Reviews

Three short stories
- Abraham, Look to the Sky
- The Tooth Collector
- The Navajo Nightmare

THE ISLE by John C. Foster




Publisher: Grey Matter Press
Publisher: December 4, 2018
Pages: 316


The Isle is an atmospheric murder mystery wrapped in a curse. The boat ride out to the island is claustrophobic foreboding at its finest. The dread is evident from the get go. I thought the boat name, Leviathan, was pretty cool, too. Once on the island, the claustrophobia gets even more intense. The atmosphere and dread are so thick, you could cut it with a knife. 

The lead character, Bone, is suppose to retrieve the body of fugitive, Richard Slocum. Bone is a very complex character. He has a rich background that includes a drinking problem, which led to his wife's death. Bone has so much depth. All this makes for a more compelling read. This is a perfect example of how to get a reader fully invested in the story and the characters there in. 

Bone is thrown head first into the midst of a murder mystery. That's when Bone is given takes on the role of investigator. I'll never be able to look at lobsters the same way again. Although, I do want to make me a pot of seafood gumbo and a basket full of lobster tails. Anyways, enough about food. Bone brings modernity to a not so modern society. I couldn't quite picture the villagers, so I improvised. I thought about the history of the island and pictured the island stuck in 17th century, given the events of 1687 and all. When it comes to the technology factors (no television and not much electricity), Bone would have surely gone mad. I know I would have. He's stuck on the island by a storm. As of late, I have read several stories with a storm in the backdrop, keeping the protagonist from fleeing.  

Some curses are best believed.
Sometimes the past is best left buried.
And some will kill to keep it so.

My favorite part of The Isle was the backstory of the curse. I felt like that is where the author's strengths were. I love history, so it could have just been me. I wanted to spend more time there. The storyline was a bit slack in the middle. The characterization is solid. The villagers had odd names, but that is understandable given their societal situation. I thought the latter third was solid, but the story ended abruptly. John C. Foster did a solid job with The Isle and I'll definitely check his other work out. 





EXPOSE THE DARKEST OF SECRETS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD 

A deadly menace threatens a remote island community and every man, woman and child is in peril. Sent to the isle to collect the remains of a dead fugitive, US Marshal Virgil Bone is trapped by torrential storms. 

As the body count rises the community unravels, and Bone is thrust into the role of investigator. Aided by a local woman and the town pariah, he uncovers the island’s macabre past and its horrifying connection to the killings. 

Some curses are best believed. 
Sometimes the past is best left buried. 
And some will kill to keep it so. 

MAGIC AND BULLETS: MY KINDA HORROR by Brian Fatah Steele



MAGIC AND BULLETS: MY KINDA HORROR by Brian Fatah Steele

Bloodshot Books will be releasing my next novel BLEED AWAY THE SKY on January 25th. It’s an adventurous cosmic horror/urban fantasy story… whatever that means. A tale of ancestral magic, celestial destiny, government cabals, and dimensional abominations. It’s the kind of ridiculous story with gunfire and evil gods, magic powers and monstrous hordes. It’s also about a woman’s right to choose, mental health, and conformity.

Adventure Horror? That’s not right. I don’t know what you call it, but I love it. It’s what I try and write. It comes from being just as influenced by Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison’s work in comics as I am Clive Barker and Brian Lumley. I have a pretty wide range of influence, with James Rollins, Terry Goodkind, and Neil Gaiman just as impactful and Edward Lee, Anne Rice, and H.P. Lovecraft.

No, it’s not called Adventure Horror. Post-Pulp? Dark UF? I dunno. Regardless, here are 10 books that I think blur genres and tell dark, epic stories.

#1 – WEAVEWORLD by Clive Barker
Probably my favorite by the Master, a saga of weirdness and wonders. I didn’t realize how much this book had shaped me until I had reread it years later, especially the villains. Every horror fans needs to have this in their TBR pile.

#2 – NECROSCOPE by Brian Lumley
Lumley taught me I could put whatever I wanted into a story and I didn’t have to confine myself. Psychic powers, British spies, symbiotic vampires, and dimensional travel? Sure, why not! The series only gets weirder after the first book.

#3 – GHOST OCEAN by S.M. Peters
Criminally under-read, and given a title that doesn’t make any sense, this is one of my favorite books of all time. With Lovecraftian undertones, this story is about a town with magic and a young woman who may hold the answers, but it’s a lot darker than that.

#4 – BLOOD OATH by Christopher Farnsworth
What a fun series. The president of the USA has his own personal vampire, bound to whoever holds office. All kinds of easter eggs are thrown in, including the vampire fighting Jason Voorhees, the Deep Ones, and Zombies. Book one of the Cade series.

#5 – THE ATROCITY ARCHIVES by Charles Stross
Another fun one. What if instead of being a suave, international spy, you just worked IT for a shady intelligence agency? And instead of terrorists, this agency was busy trying to stop the Old Ones from breaking into our reality and gobbling up our sanity? Yep, that’s pretty much the plot to the books in the Laundry Files series.

#6 – THE DOMINO MEN by Jonathan Barnes
A pact was made over one hundred years ago by the Queen of England, and now monsters have come to devour the country. Oh, and two creatures in schoolboy uniforms are murdering people for fun. Another novel woefully overlooked.

#7 – DEAD MEN by John C. Foster
A man wakes up with no memory after he sat down in the electric chair, but now alive behind the wheel. What follows is noir action and nightmarish horror. A fantastic start to the Libros de Inferno series

#8 – SANDMAN SLIM by Richard Kadrey
After some time in Hell, James Stark goes back to Earth for revenge. It doesn’t go as planned. In fact, it goes quite badly. Funny, violent, and irreverent. Book one in the popular Sandman Slim series.

#9 – KRAKEN by China Mieville
Someone stole the giant squid from the London Museum. This matters because there’s a squid cult, a magic unit in the police, and ancient Egyptian spirit, and that’s only about half of what’s going on. This book is insane in all the best ways.

#10 – BAD DOGS by Nate Southard
White trash mage Charlie Crawford seeks to protect his town from demons, meth-dealers, the Dixie Mafia, and other ills in a story equally brutal and hysterical. An absolutely fantastic novel of supernatural noir in the rust belt.

I don’t know what you would call these kinds of books, but I invite you to check any or all of them out. They are all stories that deeply resonate with me and the kind of tales I want to tell. If that sounds like something you’re into as well, please check out my new novel BLEED AWAY THE SKY from Bloodshot Books, available for pre-order January 18th and out on the 25th.


Synopsis for BLEED AWAY THE SKY

EVERY BLOODLINE HAS SECRETS

Audrey Darrow lost her mother when she was a child. Now, her absent father has passed away and now Elliot, the half-brother she never knew, wants to connect with the only family he has left on an impromptu cross-country road trip.

BUT SOME SECRETS ARE BEST LEFT HIDDEN

Soon after the journey begins, she learns that her mother belonged to an ancient line of women — women who held powers they used to seal and protect our realm from an onslaught of nightmarish entities — and Audrey is the last of them.

AND YOU CAN’T FLEE THE PAST FOREVER