Archive for June, 2017

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

June 23, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 23rd June 2017

275 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having only read Indie authors for just over a year I had not had the pleasure of reading any of the author’s work. However, when I was offered the chance to read a collection of his dark horror stories in one book and being a lover of short stories, how could I say no.

Before I even got to the stories I found the introduction by Paul F Olson fascinating, how he explained the history behind the creation of some of the stories and the lengths he had go to, to get these stories to the format we all know. It shows my age as I remember floppy discs.

For this review, I am going to pick a couple of my favourites, but with 11 short stories and a novella I was spoilt for a choice.

Homecoming:  Beckett was having a relaxing drink in a rundown bar, when he noticed a teenager having a drink, having a son the same age, he thought he may be in trouble. Having offered to take him home, he did not expect what he found. This story lulls you into a false sense of security however the further you read the creepier is gets. Whilst you know something is not right, you don’t expect the ending, then it hits you.

The More Things Change: Elvin lives in a town that nothing stays the same, it gets more surreal over time. The animals talk, the sky is green at the moment but can change every day structures change shape and texture and my favourite; bears riding Harleys, this is only a few things that are affecting this town and whilst at the start the residents find it quite fun, over time, the cracks start to appear and they are looking for someone to blame. Written from Elvin’s POV, this story is showing an apocalyptic at its funniest and whilst it is humorous, there was a serious side showing the mob culture, when they want changes.

Faith and Henry Gustafson:  Henry Gustafson gets a call in the dead of night about a murder at a disused summer camp, but when he gets there he is in for a surprise. This story reminded me a lot of those slasher movies set in the woods. This story was full of suspense and not knowing what to expect made it a really quick read.

Bloodybones: Amy loves life, an action junkie, who lives in a lighthouse. This story follows her on a regular journey home and the aftermath of that fatal Saturday afternoon. This story is intense from the start, starting with the race against the storm, you can feel Amy’s concerns and fears. The story then changes to her boyfriend’s POV we follow each step of his investigation. Reading from his POV makes the story more harrowing as you can feel his loss and when Amy’s sister comes to visit, you get the feeling that he thinks he is losing his mind. The more they investigate Amy, the more sinister the story gets, as they come across a creature called Bloodybones, who reminds me of Slenderman, created by adults to scare their children. A great story with a dramatic ending

This a great selection of short stories that will have looking over your shoulder whilst you read it. Now I have read Paul F Olson’s work I will look out for more

Supernatural: Mythmaker by Tim Waggoner

June 21, 2017 - 1:02 pm No Comments

Supernatural: Mythmaker
Author: Tim Waggoner
Publisher: Titan Books
Page count: 301pp
Release date: 29th July 2016
Series: 10: Between Hibbing 911 and The Things We Left Behind

Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Ok, where to start?
I’m a huge Supernatural fan, a part of the #SPNFamily, a #WaywardDaughter/Sister. Suffice to say, I know the universe and characters of this outstanding TV show pretty damn well. So, when I read the fan fic (Destiel anyone?) or these TV tie-ins released by Titan Books, I’m a good judge. I’m a rabid fan, but also a common sense fan, and I know what doesn’t work.
But, for the uninitiated- here’s the basic concept of the show;
The Winchesters; Family Business; Hunting Things, Saving People.
The show, starting in 2005, begins ’22 years ago’, with six month old Sammy Winchester asleep in his crib, and 4 year old older brother Dean asleep in bed.
A yellow eyed demon creeps into Sammy’s room. Mom, Mary Winchester investigates and kaboom – Crispy Fried Mom.
22 years later (series one), Dean heads to Stanford where Sam is at Uni, and tells him;
“Dad’s on a hunting trip; he hasn’t been home in a week.”
But hunting what?
The answer is basically monsters. Vampires, demons, shifters, witches, werewolves, ghosts – supernatural creatures.


This novel written by Bram Stoker award winning author Tim Waggoner is set in series ten.
A lot of crap has happened to the boys. And no, I won’t spoil it for you.
What I will say, is you can catch on pretty easy from Waggoner’s careful exposition what the series is all about.
In ‘Mythmaker’, Rene is a talented young artist who recently has been painting strange, powerful creatures, but as she finishes the painting, the mythology figure disappears from the canvas. And the process is literally draining her; physically, mentally and emotionally.
In the small town of Corinth, a
silver, gauntleted woman appears, with astounding powers, and she begins to gather followers. Adamantine believes herself to be a god with a little ‘g’.
But she’s not the only one popping up in the town. In fact, there’s a shed load of them. Rene is the ‘Mythmaker’ inadvertently creating these monsters.
And in a kind of mash up between Highlander and #SPN S5 episode ‘Hammer of the Gods’ they must fight until there is only one left standing, who will destroy all of the rest, absorbing their powers. And these gods can be fickle. And deadly.
Enter stage left; Sam and Dean Winchester.
Sam is worried about Dean, bearing the ‘Mark of Cain’ and that’s the underlying tension in season ten. It basically makes him even angrier than his normally very angry self.
As a book in its own right, there’s humour, monster bashing, with Waggoner blending myths and his own imagination to generate all manner of beasties, blood, emotion, and a cracking final fight scene.
For #SPN fans, it’s so much more.
Sam and Dean are spot on; Dean’s reaction to Adamantine that much more intense.
The banter between the two brothers is funny and heart warming, as is the love they obviously share but don’t talk about (hey, they’re dudes), but in the end, they’re there for each other. It seems Waggoner knows the series inside out.
The supporting cast characters are also very well realised, and I particularly liked Paeon.
I can see why this particular novel has been nominated for a TV tie-in award.
It’s a worthy contender.
5/5

Archangel’s Heart

June 21, 2017 - 12:24 pm No Comments

Archangel’s Heart
Guild Hunter Book 9
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count: 381pp
Release date: 2nd Nov 2016
Tweet if you like it: @NaliniSingh, @Gollancz, @StevieFinegan
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Archangels-Heart-Book-Guild-Hunter-ebook/dp/B01D8ZZWO2/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498047841&sr=1-5&keywords=nalini+singh

 

Right, things are a little complicated if you don’t know the series or haven’t read the previous books, but Singh drops in pieces of exposition during the first couple of chapters. So, I’m going to summarise the gist of it here for you.
This is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series, a series in which an Archangel named Raphael is betrothed/mated (call it what you will) to his consort Elena. Raphael is in charge of New York, a city where angels, humans and vampires roam. Vampires are created by Archangels/angels, who repay the debt of saving their life and making them immortal, with a 100 years of servitude. Some angels can be brutal towards their ‘property’ indulging themselves in sexual torture, physical abuse and downright nastiness. But in the main, they are treated well, for instance, Montgomery was made by Raphael and works happily for him as a kind of butler/organiser/PA. He is also happily married to his partner of choice. Raphael is madly in love with his Elena (Guild Hunter-turned angel) who is the equivalent of a toddler in terms of angelic power. She returns his passion in spades. As for the Guild Hunters, they basically hunt ‘naughty’ vampires who runaway from their masters.
At this stage of the series, Elena is coming into her powers. This book is set two years after the events of the last book. Archangel Alexander awoke from ‘Sleep’ claiming back half of his lands from the current ruler Favashi. Cue tension and possible war. At the same time two years ago, after making zombie-ish creatures to try and take power, Lijuan was last seen disappearing into the distance (presumed not-dead due to her age) and there was the ‘cascade’, causing untold destruction and changes in the world hierarchy. Now, as Lijuan has been missing/dead for two years, a mysterious and ancient order of angels, the Luminata, call the Cardre of Archangels together to discuss the fate of Lijuan’s territory. But if she is not in ‘Sleep’ and is in fact alive, there will be eleven Archangels awake at the same time; with possibly deadly and disastrous consequences.
Elena is allowed to accompany Raphael to the compound but only as consort, so bringing her faithful guards with her is out of the question. So death is a very real possibility. Especially as her best friend Bluebell (Illium) will remain on duty in New York. He, too, is becoming a staggering angel in his own right. Thankfully though, she can take one of Raphael’s other ‘Seven’, Aodhan. Still bearing the dual scars from his time in hell, Aodhan has finally returned to art. Yet his creative side belies a clever, dangerous angel.
So, the trio set off in the skies to meet with the Luminata and the other Archangels and co.
When they get there, the architecture is stunning, as is the Morrocan scenery, bringing back all manner of memories for Elena about her mother. But something is not right at their lair. And lair is probably the best word for Lumia; for it feels more like another Archangel’s refuge than a pseudo-religious/mystic and peaceful land it pretends to be. The angels at Lumia ring alarm bells for Raphael, Elena and Aodhan. Secrets abound. Adding to this is the evidence of bloodlust attacks and the possibility that it could worsen, and the need for proof as to what has indeed happened to Lijuan.
When Elena visits the local town, it’s clear the villages are scared to death of angels – the question is ‘why?’.
Between various mysteries and story threads, Singh delivers an intricate sometimes confusing world build. If you’re new to the series, this isn’t the best book to start with, as it’s heavy on the politics and world build.
I love that Singh delivers multicultural societies in her novels, reflective of the world in which we live (without the mythical creatures that is) and she is brave enough to deal with Aodhan’s PTSD among other issues. However, I have to confess, of the series, it wasn’t my favourite, though it did give us a glimpse into Elena’s history, and the relationship between Raphael and his mother Caliane was explored.
Enjoyable, romantic and lots going on.
A solid 3.5/5

13 Déjà Vu (Thirteen Series book 2) by Bradon Nave, Elizabeth Roderick, Carissa Ann Lynch, Sara Schoen, Marissa Farrar, Thomas S. Flowers, S. Valentine, Erin Lee, Jackie Sonnenberg, Samie Sands, Luke Swanson, D.A. Roach, Taylor Henderson.

June 20, 2017 - 9:45 pm No Comments

13 Déjà Vu (Thirteen Series book 2) by Bradon Nave, Elizabeth Roderick, Carissa Ann Lynch, Sara Schoen, Marissa Farrar, Thomas S. Flowers, S. Valentine, Erin Lee, Jackie Sonnenberg, Samie Sands, Luke Swanson, D.A. Roach, Taylor Henderson.

Published by Limitless Publishing LLC on 20th June 2017

410 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read 13 I knew that I had to get this and pre-ordered it so it arrived on my kindle today. Knowing all the authors I knew that I would be in for a great read and I was not disappointed.

Caved in by Jackie Sonnenberg: When Fay wanted to protect her unborn baby, she knew that she needed to talk to the witch that lived in the cave. As I began this story I thought I knew what was going to happen but I was completely wrong. How the author came up with this idea of saving the baby is beyond me and I loved the graphic bloody ending.

Grave Beginnings by Sara Schoen: Three friends, an abandoned prison and a Ouija board, what could go wrong. It was a pleasant change to read a story that was not set in an asylum. Set in a prison added to the suspense and you are aware that the people who had dies there had all been convicted of evil crimes, so when a Ouija board was added you knew that something evil would emerge. This story was full of suspense and kept you guessing to the end.

Myopia by Samie Sands: Mia was blind, due to her disability, she did not make friends easy. Whilst her mom was called into work due to a medical emergency, Mia has to fend for herself and tries to learn what has happened. Only hearing what was going on in the town made it hard for Mia to grasp how serious the situation was. Whilst it would be worrying be left alone, losing one of your senses makes it even more scary and you can understand all of Mia’s emotions. The ending made me want to know more about her survival and I felt really sorry for her as yet again she was classed as a burden. The only good thing was she could not see the devastation happening, although I am sure her imagination made it worse.

Room 249 by Thomas S Flower: The story follows Andy as he goes on a crime and killing spree and ends up in a motel in room 249. Andy is the type of criminal that blames everyone else for his mistakes, and even when he was killing he always justified his actions. When he gets to the motel he does not suspect anything is wrong with the place and the author has a talent of concealing the horror that is soon to happen. When it happened; I was in shock as never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the creature that was lurking in room 249.

Sacrifice by Luke Swanson: Detective Flynn is renowned for investigating the evil of cases. Roger has retired to LA, but when a murdered child is found their meeting is not what was expected. The start of the story is an introduction to Roger, but after the child is found the story changes to Flynn’s investigation and you had the sense that Flynn as at breaking point. The author tied up the investigation neatly and I would enjoy to read more about Detective Flynn.

See you on the Flip Side by Carissa Ann Lynch: If you have read 13 then you will recognise the place where this story is set. Going back to Adventure Town we follow Donna as she goes on a camping trip with her boyfriend and family. The author has a way of playing on your fears and if you have a phobia of bugs then this story will definitely make you skin crawl. I loved the twist at the end when you think Donna has lost her mind and I could see a series about Adventure town.

Sinister by Taylor Henderson:  This story is a build up to a killer’s first murder. The story is about Karen, her neighbours Nate and Natalie and her best friend Marty. There are hints in this story that there is a potential serial killer when animals go missing and whilst Karen has her suspicions it is not till the end that we get to know who the murderer is.

Six Lie Broken by Brandon Nave: A group of men abducting a teenager, Savannah rescuing a young boy and with her best friend Vanessa throwing a party called the Harvest. This story had graphic scenes throughout and when you find the identity of the victims you do not have any sympathy for them. A unique story and I have learnt a new use for a hot spoon.

The Bad Man by Marissa Farrar: Sophie lived in a tunnel with 4 other children after being captured by the bad man. Why are they down there and who is scratching in the dark? Whilst reading this story you don’t know if the bad man is actually bad or if he saved the children. However; these children were living in squalor and would the outside world be better for them. The further you read the scratching noises are explained and the ending left me wanting to know more.

The Inheritance by DA Roach: Niki has just inherited a factory from her dad, believing it to be a curse, he did not want anything to do with it. This story follows Niki and her friends whilst they investigate the building. The story is full of suspense and has the feel that you are following the group as they go around the factory. The twist in the story involving Rya a demon who collects souls adds to this.

Under Mama’s Roof by Elizabeth Roderick: Tara had always had a mother ruling her life, but when she died she thought it was over. When things start happening around her home Tara suspected it was the ghost of her mother, but she did not expect it to get so out of control. A good ghost story with added twist.

Wicked Intentions by Sophia Valentine: April is due to give birth and without a job and a home, she turns to the father of her baby to help. But is he after her baby? Whilst I was reading this story I was on April’s side as the author wants you to believe that she is in danger. The story builds to a dramatic climax and you are left wandering who the real victim was.

Widow’s Prey by Erin Lee: There has always been something wrong with Tendra. She has never cried and has never showed emotion. Whilst you have an idea of what type of child she is, it is not until she is in college and gets her claws into Colby that you find out exactly what she is like. Tendra is one evil girl, only thinks of herself and what she wants she gets. This story reminds of a cat playing with its prey wearing them down until the killer blow, and the ending of the story is one of the most evil scenes that I have read in a while.

Another great anthology from Limitless.

The Aurora Stone by Alana Greig

June 20, 2017 - 6:57 pm No Comments

The Aurora Stone by Alana Greig

Published on 9th June 2017

324 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

On her 18th birthday Eve was expecting to receive her powers and go on with her life. What she did not anticipate was to be the receiver of a prophecy, find out she is adopted and has a missing twin brother. As she starts her journey she has to find 3 companions who can help her achieve her mission to defeat the evil Nimayaorin.

Eve had a lot to take in on her 18th birthday and handled it like any other teenager, she threw a tantrum but after having time to think about it knew that she had to do the right thing and begin her journey. At the start of the journey she was quite naïve and did not know how to act around other mystical creatures, but when there was an accident in the witches’ quarter, her caring nature came out and she began to believe in herself.

The author takes us on a magical journey as we follow Eve on her quest. As each companion is found we learn about them in detail and although they have all got their own strong personalities, as a group they are a formidable force and really work well together. The only one I thought let them down was Eli, but that was due to his lifestyle, however after a bumpy start even he became an important member of the group. One of my favourite characters was Jericho as he reminded me of Reepicheep from Prince Caspian, a brave rat like creature with a heart of gold.

This story has an even balance of action and adventure. The scenes involving Nimayaorin are quite dark which shows how evil he is. However; the further you read this story you get an understanding why he is evil and the reason for the Aurora Stone. For a lover of fantasy this story has so many mystical creatures, including a Unicorn. This book is perfect for all ages and I hope there are more books in the series.