Archive for February, 2017

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

February 22, 2017 - 6:20 pm No Comments

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Published by H Harksen Productions on 3rd August 2016

(Alternative Title: Black Propaganda)

Reviewed by Chris Amies

Mackintosh’s tendency is to the dark and the gothic. From the opening story “The first Circus of the New Year” with its atmosphere of high decadence and bloody resolution we are off for a circus ride among the deranged and decadent. “Advertising Autoerotic Asphyxiation” borders the Society of the Spectacle and William S Burroughs’ fixation with hanging and his cynical approach to the modern media, which lurks in the background of most of the stories: the hunger of the mob for blood or indeed circuses.

“The Princess And The Dragon” is a nostalgically sensual tale set in Singapore, and handles a caring S&M relationship better than some recent offerings we can think of. The Pacific Rim features in several stories in this volume – and one of my favourites given my fondness for Lovecraftiana, is “The People of the Island”, suitably full of dread and dampness and a mysterious marginal race clinging to their batrachian gods in an island off Hong Kong.

“Master of Darkness” is essentially a murder mystery set in London though with an interesting mix of perceptions – at first it reads like the 1930s but there are blogs and the unaffordable hollowed-out London of the 21st century. It all depends which character’s viewpoint you are in. This tale has a good use of mythology too, the kind of thing Ben Aaronovitch writes, in a good way but with that monochrome-shot-with-scarlet nod to the clubland mysteries of the 1930s. It could quite easily be a film though whether a period piece starring Basil Rathbone or bring it up to date with Ben Affleck or Cumberbatch is another matter.

“The Island of Dr Bataille” as its title suggests, resembles “The Island of Dr Moreau” in some ways though its resolution is strangely and deliberately low-key; the typical Mackintosh protagonist is often not so much resigned to fate as welcomes it. Similarly in “Coma Berenice” a celebrity finds a unique way to disappear from the world’s attention; as the narrator of “The Mutations of Fame” says, if you want to live whole and long, live invisible and dim. I don’t, Berenice says, want to be there when you do it; and she is and she isn’t. Is she a victim (as many of his female characters are, participating in a voyeuristic ride to desecration or destruction) or a protagonist, or both?

This book does have an alternative title – in some places it is known as “Black Propaganda” which may give you some idea of the kind of thing it is, a kind of Manichean journey into night, but if you find a Mackintosh book called “Black Propaganda” it’s the same stories as “Blowback” so don’t buy it twice. Buy it once though, by all means.

Two Nocturne Falls Shorts – Kristen Painter

February 21, 2017 - 11:20 pm No Comments

The Vampire’s Valentine Surprise
A Nocturne Falls Short
Author: Kristen Painter
Publisher: Kristen Painter
Page count: 44p
Release date: 20th March 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. The tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better. Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all. When Delaney Ellingham enters the Nocturne Falls Valentine’s Day Bake-Off, she has no idea that an old rival will create such havoc. Her husband, Hugh, and her friends all come to her aid, but even they can’t guess the surprise that lays in store…
Preparing for the competition, Delaney is baking, baking and well, baking. And poor old Hugh is worried about becoming the world’s first diabetic vampire through all of the taste-testing he’s been doing. And it’s the same for Hugh’s rook/butler Stanhill (think Jeaves but immortal) so the on,y option is to go out for dinner; real food, before they all explode in a puff of sugar-induced death.
Such is Delaney’s determination to win the Bake-Off. The contest was key to the success of her business; Delaney’s Delectables. And her stress levels are through the roof.
Amidst the usual fun, progressing storyline and character changes, we get our first glimpse of Roxy, who shows up as female lead in ‘The Shifter Romances the Writer’ one of my favourite in the Nocturne Falls universe. We also find out about some more of the characters and it does de
Over the expected HEA. Great Valentine’s fun


The Vampire’s True Love Trials
A Nocturne Falls Short
Author: Kristen Painter
Publisher: Kristen Painter
Page Count: 55pp
Release date: 4th Jan 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin


So, I’ve read and reviewed six if the Nocturne Falls books so far and love every one of them. But as it’s February: Valentine’s month, I decided to try the Valentine themed short.
But first, some background. Nocturne Falls is a town where it’s Halloween 365 days a year. From the cake shop, to the restaurants to the bars, to the streets, this town is Horror and Supernatural themed and the tourists love it. They love the fake gargoyle statue in the centre, they love the ‘vampires’ who walk around, and they love everything about it. They’d love the town even more if they realised it was – real.
Run by the Ellingham’s, centuries old vampire brothers, the town offers a way to ‘hide in plain sight.’
In this short, we pick up after Sebastian’s and Tessa’s fake wedding was cut short, and in this story, vampire Sebastian is about to meet Valkyrie Tessa’s parents. They have just endured interrogation from the vampire council following the events in ‘The Vampire’s Fake Fiancé’ book five. Sebastian suggests they stay over a little while longer and play tourist in Amsterdam, though he would love to be back to see Delaney’s child being born (his sister in law, and a momentous occasion for this vampire family).
However, Tessa’s parents however have other things in mind, and a new husband all picked out for Tessa, it doesn’t matter what she wants. So, deter,ones to win his love forever, Sebastian must face a series of trials.
This is another fun Short in the Nocturne Falls series, just enough to whet the appetite and fill the gaps between books. Humorous, sexy and great characters. Another hit.


Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest by Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston

February 16, 2017 - 9:13 pm No Comments

Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest by Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 10th February 2017

199 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Even today the Amazon Rain forest still has its mysteries, with exotic plants and creatures that lay undiscovered. This collection of stories and poems take you on an adventure of the strange happening that go on in the forest.

The poems were scattered throughout this book breaking up the stories. Whilst I am not a big fan of poetry, I really enjoyed reading them as I felt they took you deeper into the forest with the descriptive writing you feel that you are there, exploring the area. Luminous Decay to me was a poem about a tribe living in the forest. Another poem I enjoyed was A Gourmand of the Mutant Rain Forest, A poem about gluttony and the consequences.

The stories were of various lengths and in each story the characters had a different experience in the forest. Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, my favourites were

Cruising Through Blueland, the story of Jeri Cristobel rescuing his brother Eric whilst being a pawn in a revolution. With psychic powers, enormous creatures and space technology, this story is a great introduction to what wonders the forest homes.

Holos at an Exhibition of the Mutant Rain Forest. Holographer Genna Opall and guide Jorge are hired by Mingus to find his missing wife. With them going deeper into the forest, they come across mother nature’s creations turning this into more than a missing person case.

If you want a different type of sci-fi book, then this is the one for you. With the mixture of poems and stories that keep you Interested from the moment you start to read. As it is set in the rain forest, then expect South American terms, I did use my dictionary a lot on my kindle but this was not a bad thing as I felt as I learnt more about South America. This is a complete change to what I usually read but I am glad I took the time to read it.


February 12, 2017 - 4:46 am No Comments



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Hellspawn Sentinel by Ricky Fleet

February 11, 2017 - 10:33 pm No Comments

Hellspawn Sentinel by Ricky Fleet

Published by Optimus Maximus Publishing on 29th September 2016

258 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After a dramatic ending in Book 2 Debbie and Mike split from Kurt and co and go their separate ways. With the hordes of zombies growing in numbers can both groups reach their final destination.

There were more new characters added to this story each with their own story to tell. What made it more interesting was that we were not just following Kurt’s adventure, but also Debbie and Mike’s journey and Baxter’s mission, Baxter was an Army officer with a God complex and one of the most irritating characters I have ever read about. With all these back stories, you would think it would be confusing, but how wrong you would be, each of their stories were clearly identifiable, coming together to make an exciting read.

As in the other books, each new character had their own back story which added more depth to the story. I for one have a new favourite character and hope to know more about Winston in further books.

This book has your emotions in tatters, as the descriptive way the author writes you feel as if there is no hope for the brave team. With crashes, explosions and near death experiences this is full of action and you will not be able to put this book down, I had to force myself to do it as I had to go to work.

With each book getting better and better and the fighting getting more intense, I cannot wait to read book 4