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

Monday, January 7, 2019

DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland




Publisher: Rising Horse Books
Published: February 2, 2017
Pages: 160


Marty Weaver has been through so much in his life. He’s been bullied and picked on his entire life. But he finds refuge in his favorite place, the local lake. He goes there to read his poetry and to share his thoughts. Marty is head over heels in love with Jennifer, a college student. He’s a janitor at the college, but they have an unlikely friendship. Marty helps Jennifer with poetry and literature. After all, Marty knows a thing or two about poetry. 

While visiting his quiet place, Marty runs into three sadistic killers who are hell bent on brutally killing him. The three killers get a kick out of savagely slaying people and making snuff films. Little do the killers know, Marty has been through far worse than anything they could do to him. 

I buried my head in my pillow after reading Darkness Rising. I felt all the feelings while reading this book. It’s raw. It’s gritty. It’s pure poetic emotion. You will laugh and cry while reading this novella. Brian Moreland is my new favorite author. I’m going to read all of his work this year. He writes powerfully complex characters. He packs so much characterization in one hundred and sixty pages. From the prelude to the epilogue, I was hooked and reading at a break neck pace. I read this captivating story in one gulp. 

Darkness Rising is a romance wrapped in a beautifully surreal horror story. Sink into the darkness. Embrace the flailing tentacles that is Darkness Rising. Let the poetry serenade you. I dig the poetry sprinkled throughout this book. Darkness Rising made me a little mushy. I was definitely feeling that sepia tone loving. Darkness Rising may become my new annual February read. 


Brian Moreland’s concise writing style makes for an enjoyable reading experience. The storyline is smooth. From the lake to the college campus, the setting elevates the story. Brian Moreland has created one of my favorite monstrosities to ever grace the written page. And that ending will melt your heart. That cover is beautiful, isn’t it?






Darkness runs deep ... 

Marty Weaver, an emotionally scarred poet, has been bullied his entire life. When he drives out to the lake to tell an old friend that he’s fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer, Marty encounters three sadistic killers who have some twisted games in store for him. But Marty has dark secrets of his own buried deep inside him. And tonight, when all the pain from the past is triggered, when those secrets are revealed, blood will flow and hell will rise. 


Brian Moreland writes dark suspense, thrillers, and horror. His books include DEAD OF WINTER, SHADOWS IN THE MIST, THE WITCHING HOUSE, THE DEVIL'S WOODS, THE VAGRANTS, DARKNESS RISING, and coming soon DARK NEEDS, an expanded collection of short stories. Brian loves hiking, world travel, watching movies and sports, and spending time with family.

Brian loves visiting with readers. 
Friend Brian on Goodreads or Follow him on Twitter @BrianMoreland

email: Brian@BrianMoreland.com

Sunday, January 6, 2019

KILL HILL CARNAGE by Tim Meyer



Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey


Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Published: July 15, 2018
Pages: 289


I’ve had this book on my Kindle for along time but circumstances kept me from reading it. Well, I had the day off and I started this in the morning and finished it later in the afternoon! I couldn’t put it down!

The author writes in a way that the reader is able to picture what is going on in unbelievable detail. The creatures are horrific, the black fluids are gross, the yellow, honey colored mucus is disgusting! I loved this line “the flavor of death crawled over her tongue, dove down her throat, landed in her stomach and bubbled it’s contents like a boiling broth.” That’s fantastic!!

Mr. Meyer is a great story teller, I think I’ve found another favorite author! Horror fans really need to add this one to their BTR lists!!



These woods are dark and full of monsters… 

In 1991, hell was unleashed upon Saint Christopher’s Summer Camp for Kids. The killers left behind piles of bodies and rivers of blood. Some say a family of inbred cannibals was responsible. A masked psychopath with a butcher's knife is another popular theory. Some still believe a camp counselor lost his mind and went crazy on everyone with an axe. But there’s also the mysterious, derelict factory that sits nearby, atop Kill Hill. A place where urban legends are manufactured, the grotesque and bizarre.
 
Twenty-five years later, the factory on Kill Hill is still said to be operational, but no one can get near it. It’s safely guarded along with the secrets within. But there are a few loose strings and hitman Frank Harmon has been sent to tie them up. His kill list is short, but the night is long and full of unspeakable horrors. With the help of a few college students on an impromptu camping adventure, Frank must contain the mess at Kill Hill before it spreads to the neighboring towns. Before it infects the entire country. Before it invades the entire world.
 
From the fantastical, high-octane mind of Tim Meyer, author of Sharkwater Beach and In the House of Mirrors, comes his most frightening tale yet! Summer camp this year is at your own risk.



Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey

Received a BS degree in Marketing from Indiana University 1982. Have worked in the retail business for the last 19yrs. Raised 4 children, 3 have graduated college. I love animals and reading. Reading has become as much a part of my life as eating! If it’s not done a couple times a day, I feel starved!

SOMEONE YOU KNOW by Olivia Isaac-Henry



Publisher: Avon Books UK
Published: February 4, 2019
Pages: 336


Edie and Tess are trying to fit in. They live on the other side of the tracks, but they attend an upscale prep school. Edie is popular and Tess is a tag along. They're growing apart. They argue. They have different interests. One day after school, Edie goes missing. No one has seen or heard from her for the past twenty years. Tess thinks she ran off with her boyfriend. 

One day Tess gets a phone call from her estranged father, saying a young girl's remains have been lifted from the local reservoir. No one can believe it. While the coroner runs an autopsy, Tess goes home to be with her father and other family members. After all, their the Piper family is tight knit. It turns out Edie was murdered, but something is off. A photo of her and Tess is missing from her bag. While the police investigate, Tess begins digging for answers as well. 

Olivia Isaac-Henry has concocted a tale of intrigue and deception. The lead character, Tess, is one of the most complex characters I've ever read about. Even the supporting cast is complex. There's so many layers to the story, too. When you think you know a character, Olivia peels back another layer of the story to shake things up, keeping you on the edge of your seat. 

Someone You Know is one helluva who-done-it. Olivia keeps you guessing. The story is split between the past and the present, which makes for a great reading experience. I think the way it is written also makes for rich characters. The characterization is top-shelf. The story never slows down. Someone You Know is a fast paced thriller. The build up is compelling and pulse-pounding. You have the right amount of description and delectable dialogue, making for a realistic feel. 

Someone You Know has enough twists and turns to satisfy any reader. It's well written and Olivia delivers the goods with that ending. The atmosphere is incredible, too. I devoured Someone You Know in one sitting.  I also dig the cover.  







You can trust your family, can’t you…?
Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.
She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.
Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life, because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.
After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…
What really happened to Edie Piper?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Favorite Novels and Novellas 2018



Hey, guys! Thanks for stopping by my site. I finally picked my favorite novels and novellas. Making a list of your favorite books is a tough task. 2018 was great for indie horror and horror in general. My picks are in no particular order. 


Providence by Caroline Kepnes


Hellsworld Hotel by Matthew Vaughn


Feral by Matt Serafini 


The Window by Glenn Rolfe


The Mortecarni by Kelly Evans


Call Drops by John F. Leonard


The Switch House by Tim Meyer


A House At The Bottom Of A Lake by Josh Malerman


Island of Bones by Gaby Triana


Return To Dyatlov Pass by J.H. Moncrieff


 Body of Christ by Mark Matthews



Closing Costs by Wesley Southard


But Worse Will Come by C.C. Adams


The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen 



The Followers by Greg Chapman 


The Detained by Kristopher Triana 


The Book Club by Alan Baxter 


The Cipher by Kathe Koja 


These Walls Don't Talk, They Scream by Kevin Holton 


Cockblock by C.V. Hunt 


Stirring The Sheets by Chad Lutzke 


The House By The Cemetery by John Everson


Corpsepaint by David Peak 



The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie 


The Faithful by Matt Hayward


Tamer Animals by Justin M. Woodward


Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason 


Scapegoat by Adam Howe & James Newman


Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones 



Boy's Life by Robert McCammon 


Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon 


The Grip of It by Jac Jemc


Abram's Bridge by Glenn Rolfe 


Forest Underground by Lydian Faust


Creature by Hunter Shea 


Siphon by A.A. Medina 




Kill For Satan! by Bryan Smith


Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi


In The Dead Of Summer by Joe Zito


The Rot by Paul Kane 


Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz 


The Bell Witch by John F. D. Taff