The Beast of Brenton Wood by Jackson R. Thomas

Do you remember when you saw American Werewolf in London? I do. It was with my cousins and my Aunt and Uncle where gone for the day. We snuck the video tape out of their room and sat transfixed to the screen. From there I watched all the Howling movies, even the weird Australian one no offense to any Aussies. There are some days you want to be dropped into a people chomping fast paced thrill ride. The Beast of Brenton Woods is exactly what you are looking for.

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Summary: A young boy and a young woman have an encounter with a werewolf.

Things I liked: I really enjoyed the pacing of the story. It was a fast and thrilling read. The people chomping was really well written. You have to have good people chomping if you are writing a werewolf story (IMHO). There were some really clever plot devices and a twist that I didn’t really see coming and that made me truly happy. Thomas has really thought through the characters in the town that the story was taking place in.  Now here is the question is there going to be a sequel?

What I didn’t like: So this may be a bit picky but I wanted to know more of the backstory of the werewolf. There is a bit of a bombshell that is dropped at the end of the story but I feel like it would have been good to know more towards the middle of the story. It would explain a couple of parts of the story.

Star Rating: 4

My thoughts: I loved the people chomping. Thomas really did a great job in explaining some of the relationships of the characters. I loved the brother and sister relationship. It was sweet. I think the character of Ben’s mom should have been built up or maybe the familial relationship should have been built up a bit more. It was pretty important to the ending of the story. All in all it was an enjoyable, blood soaked thrill ride.

Alien Agenda is a small publishing house. If you are interested in reading The Beast of Brenton Woods please click on the picture of the book and it will take you to the purchase site.

*** Big Thanks to Alien Agenda Pub for sending me a review copy for my honest opinion***

Creature by Hunter Shea

I love a creature feature. The first creature feature I remember watching is The Thing with my brother. It was so scary it was awesome. I fell asleep dreaming about dogs that turned into other things. What I always found difficult to get is why reading a creature feature was a different experience then on screen. A good chunk of time when you are reading a creature feature you are kinda dropped into the action whereas there is a build up with movies. People getting stalked weird things happening and then BAM the monster. I will say Creature by Hunter Shea was the slow burning creature feature I have been waiting for.

Summary: A terminally ill woman and her husband rent their dream cottage for a summer away.

What I liked: There was this slow burning tense claustrophobic feeling through the beginning of the story. The slow burn was amazing right up until you really start getting to the action. Normally, this is when that claustrophobic feeling dissipates in the story but nope Shea kept that same powder keg of tenseness through the entire story to the end. The characters are well written and three dimensional. The pacing was perfect for the story. There was a lot of attention to detail due to the medical condition of one of the characters. From the very start there is a supernatural feel to the story. But I liked that what the main character was experiencing wasn’t the main element to the story. It was to set the tone of the story. It was clever and I really enjoyed it.

What I didn’t like: There isn’t anything that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved how the creature was created. I think that it really brought something to the story. The story came full circle and I thought the ending really was amazing. It was surprising to say the least. Of course I love when creatures get the best of people, who doesn’t. I think that the part that really made me love story was the characters. It is a very character driven throughout the beginning of the story. The one thing I thought was interesting was that the main characters illness basically was treated as another character. I have seen other authors try to do this and haven’t been successful. But Shea nails it.

Creature’s publishing date is September 6th, 2018. If you click on the picture it will take you to Flame Trees site so you can either order or pre-order. You really should this is a great slow burner.

****A big thanks to Flame Tree Publishing for providing a review copy for my honest review***

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz

Anytime I get an ARC from a publisher I feel super lucky. So when I had the opportunity to review Jonathan Janz’s new novel The Siren and The Specter published by Flame Tree Books I jumped at the chance. I am always down for a haunted house type novel. The Siren and the Specter is so much more then a haunted house story.

Summary: Paranormal skeptic moves into the countries most haunted house to either prove or disprove it is haunted.

What I loved: I read this in one sitting. I think I stopped a couple of times to refresh my coffee but but besides this I read and read and read. This is a, you can’t put it down, book. There many different story arcs in this novel. Janz expertly  brings them all together in a brilliant conclusion. This says so much about Janz’s writing ability. The pacing of the novel is perfect for the content. It wasn’t too fast and it wasn’t too slow. The story unravels before you when you are reading. Janz is a master craftsman who defiantly knows how to weave a horrific tale.

What I didn’t like: Nothing absolutely nothing.

Star Rating: 5 all the stars…

My thoughts: I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. I read it in one sitting and it made my black little heart happy.  Seriously I was worried…I mean seriously that all the story arcs wouldn’t come together but they did and I was so relieved. The story arcs I really enjoyed. They all made sense in the context of the story and fit well together. There are so many different elements of horror packed in this story and each is done so well.

The Siren and the Specter releases on September 6th. It is currently available for preorder. If you click on the picture it will take you to Flame Tree Publishing’s site. Go and order now folks!!!

****Huge Thanks to Flame Tree Press for sending me a Review copy for my honest opinion.*****

Siphon by A.A. Medina

I have a large old  Gray’s Anatomy that I love. While being helpful when I was doing my masters it is just beautiful. The illustrations of the muscle layers and the colorful veins. I personally believe that they are a work of art. So much time and skill went into the plates. It is still one of the books that I am truly proud of owning… I follow a lot of publishers and authors on twitter and I had seen Siphon by A.A. Medina a number of times and the cover is stunning. It was calling me. I was truly thrilled and excited when Mr. Medina contacted me and offered me a review copy.

Summary: Gary is a Dr. with a fixation on his co-worker. Things really go sideways after an accident in the lab.

What I liked:  The pacing was perfect. The more manic Gary became in the story the faster the pace.  It was sooo sooo good. Medina’s has a strong writing voice which allows the reader to become submerged in the story almost immediately. Medina’s skillfully created  characters which read three dimensional and are well written.  The reader truly understands the full force of Gary’s obsession. Just when you think that Medina is winding the story down he hits you with an ending that you didn’t see coming. That ending tho!!! Completely took me by surprise. Siphon hit all the right notes for me.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything I didn’t like in this book.

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: I am really looking forward to reading more from Medina. The story was fresh and I had no idea where the story was going to take me and I loved that. The cover is just stunning and fits the story so well. Your feelings toward the main character change throughout the story. It is a manic and fun ride that I personally am seriously glad I took.

***BIG thanks to A.A. Medina for sending me a copy for my honest review***

Candles and Pins By Jacqueline West

I haven’t really been a poetry reader until National poetry month. It was really good for me. It opened a whole new door. Horror Poetry!!! It is like the gods have smiled on me. It was amazing. A whole new genre to read! A friend of mine approached me asking me if I would like to review a dark poetry book. I just about jumped for joy. So here I am writing another dark poetry book review. This one really sticks to your ribs. Candle and Pins by Jacqueline West.

Summary: Poetry collection about superstitions.

What I liked: This little tome hit all the high notes for me. The first being superstitions. I love anything written about superstitions. One of my favorites were about strigoi. As I have been to Romania a few times. The poem made me think of the people that I met and the culture that I was able to see. There is another poem that made me think of my grandmother and her habit of putting honey out for the little folk so they don’t make mischief. The superstitions that were chosen were wonderful and the inclusion of lesser known superstitions really hit a high note for me.  I can’t really discuss the technicality in which the poems are written as I don’t have a background in technically dissecting poetry.  It is a collection that you will want to digest slowly and languidly.

What I didn’t like: So I loved all but one poem in this collection. For me it seemed out of place. It wasn’t so much the subject matter but it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the collections superstition vibe.

Star Rating:4

My thoughts: One of the things that through my for a loop was the change in cadence in every poem. As I am very used to reading novels and novellas it through me just a little but once I got into the swing of things I really appreciated how cadence can be used as a demarkation between poems. I would defiantly recommend West’s work to anyone looking to branch out of novels and novellas.

Blog Feature for Into the Sounds by Lee Murray

Today in my small piece of the internet I get the privilege of being a member of the Blog tour for Lee Murray. For those of you who don’t know who Lee Muray is let me introduce you to her.

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Lee Murray is a multi award-winning writer and editor of fantasy, science fiction, and horror (Australian Shadows, Sir Julius Vogel). Her titles for adults include the acclaimed Taine McKenna series of military thrillers (Severed Press) and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra co-authored with Dan Rabarts (Raw Dog Screaming Press). Among her titles for children are YA novel Misplaced, and best-loved middle grade adventure Battle of the Birds, listed in the Best Books of the Year 2011 by New Zealand’s Dominion Post. Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, the first book in a series of speculative middle grade antics, is forthcoming from IFWG Australia. An acquiring editor for US boutique press Omnium Gatherum, Lee is a regular speaker at workshops, conferences and schools. She lives with her family in New Zealand where she conjures up stories for readers of all ages from her office overlooking a cow paddock.

Lee’s latest foray in to the world of kaiju is Into the Sounds. 

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Synopsis

On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park, where soaring peaks give way to valleys gouged from clay and rock, and icy rivers bleed into watery canyons too deep to fathom. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. But a band of mercenaries saw them first, and, hell-bent on exploiting the tribes’ survivors, they’re prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. A soldier, McKenna is duty-bound to protect all New Zealanders, but after centuries of persecution will the Tūrehu allow him to help them? Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?

I got to Lee about her favorite monsters and kaiju!! Come on who doesn’t love monsters!!

What is your favorite creature feature movie?

Obviously, I love the Jurassic movies. [Please no spoilers on the latest instalment because I haven’t see it yet!] In a former life, I was a research scientist, so I know exactly how it feels when you open the centrifuge to discover one of your test tubes has exploded in the drum… I love the Kong movies too, perhaps because they were the signature kaiju movies of my generation, but also because of their romanticism: the sweeping landscapes and that sense of awe at nature’s dogged determination to survive, and a need to connect in times of crisis.

In a battle between Godzilla and the kaiju from your first book, who would win?

Difficult question! Certainly, if size has anything to do with it, Godzilla has the advantage since even the 1954 movie version stood around fifty metres tall (164ft). By comparison, the Sphenodon kaiju in Into the Mist ‒ who Taine’s soldiers have nicknamed Sampson ‒ is tiny, just three metres tall (10ft) and fifteen metres (50ft) from head to tail, but I still believe he could hold his own in a battle. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, because my creature is conjured from a real biological Order, the Sphenodontia, he’s equipped with the natural superpowers shared by the other representative of that group, the tuatara, features such as: an armoured hide with spiny ridges and sharp talons, hearing sensitive enough to detect an insect’s wingbeat, and a parietal eye in the middle of its forehead, which scientists believe were for testing the air temperatures. Like his close cousins in the reptile family, our friends the crocodiles and snakes, he’s a formidable hunter, able to learn from past experiences, which means if he survives the first onslaught, my Sphenodon likely to come away with some new knowledge which will make him better equipped in the event that the pair clash again. And finally, my kaiju is not just a primordial monster, he’s also a living mythological creature, a mighty taniwha with its own wairua (spirit) and that gives him the edge.

Why do you think more girls aren’t writing kaiju books?

I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I have a story called Maui’s Hook coming out soon in a fabulous kaiju anthology from Outland Entertainment called Kaiju Rising II. The book is full of wonderful women authors, all writing monstery fiction of the oversized variety: Mari Murdock, Marie Brennan, Melanie R Meadors, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Zin E Rocklyn, so if readers are interested in discovering women writers in this genre, I recommend picking up a copy of this book as the perfect sampler. And in answer to your question: this particular kaiju anthology was by invitation, so perhaps if we want to see more girls writing kaiju fiction, the answer is “if you ask them, they will come”

What was the oddest bit of research you have done for this series?

Since you asked, here it is: Te Urewera, the setting for Into the Mist, is the name of one of our most beautiful national parks and the spiritual homeland of the Tūhoe tribe. However, it is also the Māori term for “burned penis” named after the war chief Murakareke, who turned over in his sleep one night, rolling into the fire where he singed his family jewels!

Is there any other cryptid out there you kind of secretly hope is real?

Do you think a lot of Harry Potter fans are going to be disappointed if I don’t say Griffin? To be honest, it’s a difficult choice since so many cryptid species might more than a little dangerous if we were to actually encounter them in the flesh. Down here in New Zealand, our mythology supports a lot of potentially lethal cryptids: massive carnivorous birds, serpent beasts, mammoth primates. Let’s hope no one finds the elixir that brings them all to life ‒ unless of course it’s in a story.

What is your personal favorite kaiju book (that you haven’t written)?

I absolutely loved Jeremy Robinson’s Apocalypse Machine. Kaiju fiction is one of Robinson’s favourite genres and all his monster books are great, but that one really hit the spot for me. Now there’s a monster who could give that fifty metre Godzilla a run for its money. A fabulous high action, fast-paced read. Highly recommended.

Lee has allowed me to share a sneak peek of her newest release Into the Sounds.

Excerpt

Letting himself be carried along, David tried to get his bearings. Saltwater met freshwater in these Sounds where the sea carved great caverns into the land, some of them more than 500 yards deep. He could believe it: below him, the saltwater layer was dark as an All Black jersey. Broadnose was sticking to the murky freshwater layer and a shelf about three yards below the surface. The other men, still dragging Wallace, had entered a cave. David’s pulse pounded as they followed them inside.

Not a cave, but a tunnel. Does this go anywhere? Running out of air.

Broadnose moved them swiftly through the silence. A horizontal fissure as big as a truck gaped to their right. Through the murky gloom, David spied movement.

Something was in there. Something huge. Oh my God, it was coming out. David wanted to scream, to tell Broadnose to get them the hell out of Dodge, but the pale man just tightened his grip on David and continued on. Helpless, David could only watch in horror, his lungs bursting, as slowly, slowly, a monster emerged.

It was colossal. More than fifty yards from tip to tail. With a cone-shaped body the size of a whale, it glowed eerily. Squid tentacles, white and thicker than a tōtara trunk undulated in the swell. A gigantic pupil eyed David malevolently.

Into the Sounds is out NOW. Click on the picture of the cover (which is exquisite by the way).