Archive for May, 2017

Made for the Dark: Tales of the Supernatural and Paranormal by Greg James

May 25, 2017 - 9:26 pm No Comments

Made for the Dark: Tales of the Supernatural and Paranormal by Greg James

Published by GJA Publications on 21st May 2017

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Made for the Dark is a collection of 20 short stories that will take you on journeys that you could not imagine.

There was not a story that I did not enjoy, however for this review I am going to mention the ones I enjoyed the most.

The Curse of Amen-Ra: A story about a recluse who is about end his life and his involvement and fascination with Amen-Ra. In most stories about Egyptian mummies, the curse is usually awoken by opening the tomb, however this story uses an intriguing method of waking up the mummy. With the story concentrating on the aftermaths of the awaken, and using nautical history makes this a fascinating read.

Zombies by Moonlight: Vera is on the way to her parent’s home and soon regrets taking a shortcut. Although a short story this is full of action. Reading it you get the thrill of the chase and whilst Vera soon realises that she is being pursued by zombies, they are not what she should be scared of. The twist at the end made this story more than your regular zombie story.

The Writhing: The majority of historical castles have a chequered past, but Angrisla Castle past was more experimental than invasions. Elly and Barry grew up watching old monster movies so when Elly heard about the castle’s history she knew she had to visit. As the story progressed you knew something was going to happen, but whilst I expected some creature to jump out I did not envisage the method that was used and the relationship between Barry and Elly was explained in detail.

The Bus Shelter: A story about a passenger as he has to deliver a package. From the start of this story you can feel the despair. The pollution and the disrepair of the surroundings makes this an unbearable place. Whilst I was reading this I felt that the man on the bus wanted to escape this world but the journey was making it impossible. An interesting read.

Whilst I have read a number of books written by Greg James, I have never read any of short stories. The details he put into them where as much as he would a novel. His descriptive writing brought out a number of emotions whilst reading them. Each story left me wanting more and I know I will revisit this book again. Whatever horror you love, whether it is zombies, ancient Egyptians or things that only your peripheral vision can see than you will sure to find a story you will love. A great collection of short stories

Rite of Annarii by A Maslo

May 22, 2017 - 6:47 pm No Comments

Rite of Annarii by A Maslo

Published by Feather Dream Press on 12th May 2017

197 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Fellywynne is a human living with the Fae folk. Having been abandoned at birth, Fellwynne was lucky to be brought up by these magical folk.  We join Fellwynne as she is about to graduate and take up her role in the community.

Fellwynne was a considerate young girl and although different she made adaptions to fit in. She and her best friend Willow Leafshimmer were inseparable and I like how the author incorporated Willow in the story letting her enjoy Fellwynne’s quest. Having Drake, Willow’s boyfriend on the journey could have made Fellwynne into a third wheel, but the author introduced us to Aleck Stormblood, the 1st commander of the Annarii Elite. On their travels Fellwynne grew into a woman and became the diplomat that the elders knew she would, she was not afraid of danger and stood up for people more unfortunate then herself.

One of favourite scenes was the back story about Kiari and her rooster, I could not stop laughing when Kiari told her story and the length of time it took Willow to catch on. The author had a style of writing that took you on the journey, the descriptive way she wrote the story, had you feeling that you were following in Fellwynne’s footsteps, even the minor scenes had a lot of detail. A simple task of collecting berries had you feeling that you were there, getting sunburnt whilst you were filling the baskets with elderberries.

I got so into this story that I could not believe when I had finished it, I just wanted to carry on with Fellwynne’s quest. If you love fantasy and adventure books then you will love this story. With a touch of romance which does not detract from the main story, this will appeal to a lot of readers. I cannot wait to continue on this journey and I hope I do not have to wait long to do so.

Just Things by Erin Lee

May 17, 2017 - 6:42 pm No Comments

Just Things by Erin Lee

Published by Zombie Cupcake Press 14th May 2017

196 Pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Jimmie loves ice cream, he also loves collecting things. The difference between his collection and others are his used to have a heartbeat. Detective Florel Ross, a forensic psychologist in the FBI, knows that at least 13 women have gone missing and although she can’t prove it, she thinks the Ice Cream Killer is behind it.

Jimmie was a quiet man that tended to be walked over, either by his ex-wife or his bosses. A man not to draw attention to himself due to his speech impediment.  Jimmie was meticulous in his home life and with his collection and I think that was why he had not got caught. He was not a character that I disliked, even though I know what he did, I did wonder whether if he had a better childhood would he have been different. This question is probably asked about the majority of serial killers.

Detective Florel Ross was a woman on a mission. Pushed on to be the best of the best, she did not want any other family to go through what her family went through when her twin sister was abducted. Not liked by her colleagues, she had no social life and was very focused.

The way the author wrote this book was a lot different to other books I have read about serial killers. The majority of the book was written as a journal either by Jimmie or Florel, this told the story from a different perspective. The story concentrated on the whys and the how’s, but not the actual killings. Jimmie wrote in detail about each of his Things, telling their story through his journal and the newspaper cuttings he also collected. Florel’s journal was her research into tracking him down. What I enjoyed was they both showed some of the same characteristics which enforced my view that it was their upbringing that took them down their path. The story flowed smoothly making it a quick read and it was just like you were following this story via a news channel. My only complaint was that the ending was abrupt and I had to flick back a few pages to see if I had missed anything. However, reading on after the story there will be book 2 so I will be able to know whether Florel caught the Ice Cream killer.

THE HIDDEN PEOPLE by Alison Littlewood

May 17, 2017 - 6:35 pm No Comments

THE HIDDEN PEOPLE by Alison Littlewood

Jo Fletcher Books / 384 pgs / £14.99 hardback / ISBN 978-1848669901

Reviewed by Carol Goodwin

We like to think we live in a rational world, but irrational beliefs still lie close to the surface. Animal shelters that can’t re-home black cats as people consider them “unlucky” and the recent hysterical reaction to “scary clowns” are only a couple of examples. The horrific consequences of one such belief is the central theme of this novel.

In the middle of the 19th century, a young man leaves behind his comfortable life in the city to see to the affairs of his pretty young cousin. She has been killed in a dreadful way by her husband who apparently believed she was a fairy changeling. (This central incident and the inspiration for the novel is based upon a real event). Feeling that his family have neglected his poorer relation, and with an unrecognised romantic fixation with her, the protagonist wants to understand and uncover the events and reasons which led to her death. When he arrives in the small rural village where she lived, he finds an almost universal belief in the existence of changelings, the Fairy folk and their interference in the lives of people who attract their attention.

When he moves into her “unlucky” cottage, halfway up the fairy hill, he finds himself drawn into this miasma of superstition. What seems easy to believe in the city, bounded by iron railways and modern machines is much harder to hold onto in the “endless summer” of the village. When he is joined by his young, newly pregnant wife, the stage is set for another tragedy as he also struggles to understand her apparently “changed” behaviour in this new environment.

This is a wonderfully atmospheric novel. There is an excellent attention to detail in this book. The careful consideration that has been paid to the vocabulary and style of the prose, so that it is appropriate to the Victorian setting, yet still being eminently readable is exceptional. There was an added verisimilitude to me in that many of the old superstitions were reminiscent of those some of my older relatives held – eg not wearing green because it was the fairies’ colour, or not walking through a fairy ring. The contrast between the new rational, industrial world of the city and the older, unchanged and superstitious countryside is well done without being heavy-handed. The author keeps the narrator, and the reader reeling (like the Fairy dancing road in the book) between whether to believe the superstitious or the more mundane and rational explanations of his cousin’s death. As he digs deeper into village life and the circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, the story builds to a climax, and the true cleverness of this story becomes more apparent. The reader becomes more and more intrigued as to who the actual hidden people are? Do the fairies exist or does the belief both engender and conceal more human motives and wickedness?

When I started this novel, I expected a fairly straightforward dark fantasy but the book has far more depth to it than that. I loved the difficult balancing act that the author credibly maintains throughout the book and the complexities of character in the narrator and his wife in particular. It is not a gruesome horror book, apart from one somewhat graphic but justifiable scene at the beginning so would suit many who like intelligent, well-written fiction with some fantasy elements. CG

(Review copy kindly donated by Jo Fletcher Books)

Daddy’s Angel (Weeping Willow Book 1) by Steven Evans

May 16, 2017 - 5:08 pm No Comments

Daddy’s Angel (Weeping Willow Book 1) by Steven Evans

Published by Zombie Cupcake Press on 7th May 2017

164 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I purchased this book when it was released last October and then I purchased it on its re-release. It has been re-edited and has a new publisher.

When a car crash wipes out his wife and daughter, the protagonist feels that he cannot go on. Turning to drink all he wants to do is end his life and join his family. However, something has other plans, and we follow him as he tackles his addiction, whilst protecting his soul and learning how to live again.

From the first chapter, you can feel his grief, his emotions are raw and I could understand why he turned to drink. It did not matter what state he was in, you could feel the love he had for his family and that one simple phrase” You must live! Live for momma, live for me and most importantly you must live for yourself” was his mantra to fight and heal himself. When the hauntings began, he became stronger, whilst he still wanted to die, he became more assertive, to the point of him coming more argumentative with the entity.

The author had a way of building up the mystery of the entity, even with the history of the haunting, you do not understand it full until the end of the book. The descriptive way this book is written takes you on an emotional ride and you feel like you are living his grief with him. The attacks are graphic which shows how evil this being is, with each attack, you know that it cannot carry on but the final twist in the book brings this story to a dramatic end. A good read that will have you gripped from the beginning