Tag: horror

Book Review: Maybe The Dream Knows What Is Real by Steve Grogan

Author: Steve Grogan
Release Date: 24th June 2018
Genre: Horror, short story, dark
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 61
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
He was lost, directionless, unable to find his identity.
He thought he found it in her, which was good because he was teetering on the edge of madness.
She had no way of knowing her actions would push him over the edge.

This is a story about the dangers of depending on others to give you a sense of self-worth, taken to the extreme. It is a graphic, dark story not meant for the faint of heart. The graphic content makes up only 15% of the prose, but it is some of the most harrowing writing ever committed to page.

Steve Grogan has published several collections of poetry and short stories. This is his first story of extended length to be published.

REVIEW

★★+1/2

Maybe The Dream Knows What Is Real by Steve Grogan is a unique little book which is sure to make you squirm in your seat no matter how big your appetite for dark violence is. This book is a quick read which will make you feel unsettle and uncomfortable with a story and a character as unique as the book’s name.

I liked the book, even though I felt a bit queasy while reading it, but I would have enjoyed it more had the main character been developed a tad more. The story was okay but the characterization compromised the plot because it was a character-driven story which needed a very strong lead. Still, I won’t write it off only based on characterization because it was a short story and not a full-length novel.

If you have a stomach for violence and if you are okay being uncomfortable then go ahead and give this book a read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter

Author: Lachlan Walter
Release Date: 10th February 2019
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Monster Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 251
Publisher: Severed Press
Blurb:
One ordinary day, an enormous creature dragged itself out of the ocean and laid waste to a city. In the months and years that followed, more and more creatures appeared, until not a single country remained untouched. At first, people tried to fight them. In the end, all they could do was try and stay alive.

We Call It Monster is a story of forces beyond our control, of immense and impossible creatures that make plain how small we really are. It is the story of our fight for survival and our discovery of that which truly matters: community and compassion, love and family, hope and faith.

REVIEW

★★★★

We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter is a well-written and beautifully presented monster story which gives a great apocalyptic high to the genre lovers like myself. I enjoyed this book immensely and though I’m not a huge monster story fan yet, I absolutely enjoyed reading it!

The hero of this book is the story itself, the monsters and the different characters play a huge part in the story progression and in giving an idea to the reader about how the world collapses and how people try to cope with the downfall of society when threatened by something that is not only something incomprehensible but also ostensibly impossible to have happened. The book consists of different stories as chapters, each with a different cast of characters suffering in varying kinds of predicament.

The best part about the book was the slow build-up and the variations in pacing and tension at the right points. It kept me engrossed int he story throughout the book, right till the very end.

If you love reading about monsters, or if you love reading books set right in the middle of the apocalypse, you can’t afford to miss reading this book!

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

AuthorJoe Hill
Release Date: 24th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Dark, Short Stories
Series: 
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 448
Publisher: Gollancz
Blurb:
Four short novels from the author of THE FIREMAN and HORNS, ranging from creepy horror to powerful explorations of our modern society.
One autumnal day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails, splinters of bright crystal that tear apart anyone who isn’t safely under cover. ‘Rain’ explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as clouds of nails spread out across the country and the world. Amidst the chaos, a girl studying law enforcement takes it upon herself to resolve a series of almost trivial mysteries . . . apparently harmless puzzles that turn out to have lethal answers.
In ‘Loaded’ a mall security guard heroically stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun movement. Under the hot glare of the spotlights, though, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it…
‘Snapshot, 1988’ tells the story of an kid in Silicon Valley who finds himself threatened by The Phoenician, a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid that can steal memories…
And in ‘Aloft’ a young man takes to the skies to experience parachuting for the first time . . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapour that seems animated by a mind of its own.

REVIEW

★★★

This book turned out to be an okay read. I had a lot of expectation from this one, mostly because I had heard a lot about Joe Hill’s writing but also because he is one of the offsprings of my favourite writer. Overall, I liked the concepts of the stories, but what I did not like was the way they started to feel “lost” after a good beginning. The writing was good, no doubt, but the narration seemed to have faltered a lot as the story reached a certain point and then it went downhill from there at a fast speed.

Snapshot – 3/5 – Being a king fan, I felt this was very much like his works. I liked this story, but do feel that the ending was a slog. Hill could have totally ended the story 10-20 pages before and it would have been a great read rather than having over-stretched it.

Loaded – 1/5 – I read the first 2 pages and I left it there itself. I didn’t find the writing very appealing in this one nor did the story made any sense to me (I mean it is a short story, it has to make some sense in the first 2 pages, right?!) So… DNF

Aloft – 4/5 – A very good story. I loved the backstory more than anything else but overall, I really enjoyed this one. This book was a big relief and felt like a glass of chilled water in the desert heat as after such average stories, it was good to read something Hill is famous for – his unique imagination and style.

Rain – 3/5 – I really liked the beginning of this story and thought that this one would be my favourite one from this collection but towards the end, it started to feel like a burden and I was not sure where was it even headed to (something that I felt in the first story, Snapshot, too.)

You can also read this review on Goodreads

ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

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But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

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AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart

Author: A.F. Stewart
Release Date: 13th September 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural
Series: Saga of the Outer Islands (Book #2)
Edition: e-book
Pages: 202
Publisher:
Blurb:
From the depths, darkness is rising…
Something ancient and powerful stirs beneath the sea of the Outer Islands. A creature strong enough to challenge Captain Rafe Morrow, God of Souls, for control of the dead and the survival of the living.
Still reeling from the aftermath of his battle with the Goddess of the Moon, Rafe and the crew of the Celestial Jewel find a mysterious shipwreck and strange tales of bones. Tasked by a new ally to find answers, Rafe stumbles on long-buried secrets shrouded in the shadows of the Nightmare Crow.
Now armies of the dead ascend from the ocean. And their master is not far behind.
Set sail on a new adventure with ghosts, gods and sea monsters!

Review

★★★

Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart is a dark fantasy novel with a strong plotline and good writing.

The book started out good, the progression was also decent but at some places the pace slowed dramatically and then picked up at unexpected places, making it a mixed bag of positives and negatives. The characterization, to me, felt a bit off but that might be because I haven’t read the prequel to this book.

On the whole, I liked reading this book; I might not have loved it but it was still a good read – dark (as promised), well-written with a good storyline and didn’t feel like it was a part of a series (as the blog tour promised) but I think I would have appreciated the characters in this book more had I read the previous book.

I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a new dark series to explore.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins

Author: C. B. Collins
Release Date: 9th September 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Thriller
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 476
Publisher: C.B.C. Publishing
Blurb:
Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.

Review

★★★

One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins is a new supernatural thriller with a lot of potentials that serves as a perfect Halloween read.

When I started reading this book I was pulled into it so fiercely that for the first 30% of the story I was not at all ready to put it down! But, much to my dismay, as the story progressed, I started to feel a little distant as the plot began to drag and the characterization started to falter. It began to get more and more difficult for me to feel a connection with the characters that started to emerge as the main ones as the story progressed. And by the time I finished 80% of the book I wasn’t sure if it was the same book that I had started. Maybe it’s simply my monumental expectations from the story or maybe the story was that way, but I feel that overall the story progression suffered heavily after the first 30-40% of the story. The second half of the story was totally dominated by the first half and wasn’t able to live up to the expectations that were set in the brilliant first half of the story.

Still, it made for a good Halloween read with an engaging plot. If the characterization would have been better, I would have given this story another star, but it wasn’t. So if you like stories with a decent plot and can do with not-very-strong characterization in a supernatural setting then do give this book a try, you might enjoy it more than I did.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux

Author: Melika Dannese Lux
Release Date: 2nd May 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror,
Series: Dwellers Of Darkness, Children Of Light #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 674
Publisher: Books in my Belfry
Blurb:
Flesh and bone and hearts unknown, lead to the rath and your fate will be shown…
Deadmarsh. The name struck terror into the hearts of all who heard it. But to Roger Knightley, neither Deadmarsh the house, nor Deadmarsh the family, had ever been anything to fear. Nearly each summer of his young life had been spent in that manor on the moors, having wild adventures with his cousin, Lockie, the Deadmarsh heir. This year should have been no different, but when Roger arrives, he finds everything, and everyone, changed. The grounds are unkempt, the servants long gone. Kip, the family cat, has inexplicably grown and glares at Roger as if he is trying to read the boy’s mind. Roger’s eldest cousin, Travers, always treated as a servant, now dresses like a duchess and wears round her neck a strange moonstone given to her by someone known as Master Coffyn, who has taken over the teaching of Lockie at a school in Wales called Nethermarrow.
And soon after he crosses the threshold of Deadmarsh, Roger discovers that Coffyn has overtaken Lockie. The boy is deceitful, riddled with fear, and has returned bearing tales of creatures called Jagged Ones that claim to be of the Fey and can somehow conceal themselves while standing in the full light of the moon. What they want with Lockie, Roger cannot fathom, until the horror within his cousin lashes out, and it becomes savagely clear that these Jagged Ones and the Dark Wreaker they serve are not only after Lockie and Travers, but Roger, too.
Joining forces with an ally whose true nature remains hidden, Roger seeks to unravel the tapestry of lies woven round his family’s connection to the death-haunted world of Everl’aria—and the Dark Wreaker who calls it home. The deeper Roger delves into the past, the more he begins to suspect that the tales of dark deeds done in the forest behind Deadmarsh, deeds in which village children made sacrifice to an otherworldly beast and were never seen or heard from again, are true. And if there is truth in these outlandish stories, what of the rumor that it was not an earthquake which rocked the moors surrounding Deadmarsh sixteen years ago, but a winged nightmare attempting to break free of its underground prison? Enlisting the aid of a monster equipped with enough inborn firepower to blast his enemies into oblivion might be as suicidal as Roger’s friends insist, yet the boy knows he needs all the help he can get if there is to be any hope of defeating not only the Dark Wreaker and his servants, but an unholy trinity known as the Bear, the Wolf, and the Curse That Walks The Earth.
And then there is the foe named Blood Wood, who might be the deadliest of them all.
Racing against time, Roger must find a way to end the battle being waged across worlds before the night of Lockie’s eleventh birthday—two days hence. If he fails, blood will drown the earth. And Roger and his entire family will fulfill the prophecy of fey’s older, more lethal meaning…
Fated to die.

Review

When I first came across Deadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux, I was quickly convinced to read this title because it seemed very interesting but unfortunately, it turned out to be insanely lengthy and full of exhaustive exposition. There are a lot of details and an insane amount of wandering. It took me 3 days to complete the first 1% of the book and somehow I managed to plough on till 5%, not wanting to give up on the book, but it was for nought because same old exposition continued (even more so than before.)

The story idea seemed good, but it was thwarted by the descriptions and the wanderings, then same two elements that put down the characterization as well. Overall, it wasn’t for me.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

RMFAO Buddy Read: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

First off, I’d like to share a good news that we’ve crossed first 500 members at RMFAO! For those of you who don’t know what RMFAO is, it is a book club/group on Goodreads where book lovers from all over the world share their latest reads and reviews and participate in exciting year-long challenges and buddy reads.

Coming back to the topic, for the month of October this year, we’re hosting a buddy read for Strange Weather by Joe Hill at RMFAO. The buddy read would be lead by Cheryl, one of the moderators at RMFAO.

I’ve been waiting to read this book since its release last year! I got the hardback copy of it as a birthday gift from Vishal in December itself, but then we planned to have a buddy read for this book in October, so I saved it for later and finally, after a long and arduous wait, October is here and I’m super thrilled to read this book! The best part is that this book fits in the Horror genre so it makes it easy for all of us who are participating in RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge (October – Horror) challenge to count it in.

If you want to read this book or like horror fiction or want to explore it then come along and join us. This is a month-long buddy read so you can join in anytime as long as you finish the book by the end of the month.

You can find the main discussion thread for Stange Weather buddy read here.

If you want to know more about RMFAO then you can check out this page: RMFAO

Ciao ❤

Book Review: Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers

Author: Chauncey Rogers
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 225
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.
Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse.
Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Cleaving Souls by Chancey Rogers is a super fast-paced supernatural read that is literally un-put-down-able.

Wow, what a suspenseful and goosebumps-inducing ride! The first part (out of all 3) was my favourite as the suspense built up was so perfect that it was literally impossible to put down the book! The characterization wasn’t overly relatable for me, but it felt very realistic and seemed apt for the story, so it served the purpose well.

A very well-written book with simple and smooth writing which made for a very quick read. The flow of the writing was so good that I finished this book in less than 48 hrs when I wasn’t even planning on reading it and happened to pick it up randomly on a whim, earlier than I had planned.

My only complaints are the slight slack in pacing around the 70-90% mark in the ebook and a somewhat down-played climax-built up. Just before the end, the plot progression suffered because of downplaying the main conflict of the story. It wasn’t bad as suck, but I feel that given the thrilling Act I and the sensational Act II, this part, Act III of the story could have been so much better in terms of tension, pacing and overall progression of that bit. Thankfully, the ending made up for this little negative, the only negative in the book.

I’m sure as hell looking forward to reading other books by the author! And I’d recommend this one to all supernatural and horror fiction fans and to those who won’t mind reading an unsettling or pregnancy-related story.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Our Frail Disordered Lives by Mary M. Schmidt

Author: Mary M. Schmidt
Release Date: 1st June 2018
Genre: Horror-Comedy, Supernatural
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 188
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Blurb:
Larry Kavanaugh is an ordinary kind of guy. He’s got a nagging wife and two kids, both annoyingly gifted. No matter what he does, there is no end to what his family needs. What’s a regular, everyday guy to do? Well, he cuts a few corners, obviously—one very big corner in particular. He sells his soul to the Devil. Maybe it’s not the actual Devil, but Larry is ready to make a deal with one of the Devil’s minions. He meets some demon whose name he can’t remember. Funny, it was right on the tip of his tongue, a name of something you step on. Roach the Demon has sort of good intentions. He just wants a re-write of Dante’s Inferno with himself as the star. Roach goes after Larry as a rogue operation. He needs to make a point to his boss, Satan, so he uses the body of a human to follow Larry around and stir up trouble. He offers Larry an airtight guarantee that nothing could possibly go wrong. After all, Larry doesn’t feel like he has much to lose—or does he? Even Roach might be in over his head this time.

Review

★★★

Our Frail Disordered Lives by Mary M. Schmidt is a unique story about a guy who sells his soul to the devil a demon in order to make his life better and what follows is a litany of situations one could do better to stay away from.

A very unique story with lots of drama and twists and turns to keep the readers entertained throughout the book. Overall speaking, I liked the idea of the book, the main concept that is, but felt that it needed more polishing in terms of the execution of that concept. The writing was okay but the characterization, for this kind of story, felt weak, and that was my biggest issue. The pacing was good and the plot progression okay, but I really felt that if I would have been able to connect with the main character, Larry, a bit more then the story would have meant even more to me.

Still, it proved to be a pretty quick and easy read. So if you’re looking for a fresh quick read then this might be for you if you’re okay with reading stories with not very relatable characters and care about the story more than characterization.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon