Pretty Marys all in a Row By Gwendolyn Kiste

Every place has a similar story….the story is normally about a girl walking home from a dance and something horrible happens to her.  Now she is destined to walk that stretch of road forever trying to get home.  Some people stop and offer her a ride home. However, when they reach her house she has disappeared or the house is completely dilapidated. There are different takes on the story of Resurrection Mary myth. I recently listened to The Astonishing Legends three part podcast about resurrection Mary. It was really interesting and very fitting when I started to read this Pretty Marys all in a Row. 

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Summary: Resurrection Mary needs to save herself and her sisters Bloody Mary, Mistress Mary, Mary Mack and Mari Lwyd from the darkness.

What I liked:  Kiste’s writing is ethereal through Pretty Marys. The idea of the story is unique and something that I hadn’t read before. I love the concept and the execution didn’t disappoint. The idea that Resurrection Mary has a human friend is completely intriguing and I kinda wanna be her friend. But I digress….the pacing of the story is so good and you end up getting wrapped up in the story. Kiste’s description of the house and the surrounding gardens really brought Mary’s home to life. I loved the entire backstory. This was a story I wanted to hug. It was so well written and so well thought out and executed.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked Abby to take a larger part earlier in the story.

Star Rating: 5 Bloody Marys

My thoughts: What really intrigued me was the idea that there was something that the ghosts were scared of. Something that frightened the frighteners. That was something that ran through my mind the last half of the story. Kiste really blew me away with this story.  The concept, the writing and the ending. I appreciated the different Mary’s backstories, they were all so different but yet similar. There was so much sadness and loneliness woven throughout the story of the Marys, that you truly begin to feel the weight of each story. If you haven’t gotten this yet please do it is so good.

The Mouth of the Dark By Tim Waggoner

I have been buddy reading with a few of my friends for the last couple of months. I always enjoy the differing points of view that everyone has. Our discussions range widely over topics that range from tentacles to writing style. It was during one of our group read alongs that we all read The Mouth of the Dark and needless to say there were many moments during reading that we all thought WTF!

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What I liked: Throughout the novel the pacing was fast and the story kept moving. The world building of Shadow was really good. I always enjoy a novel where there are multiple world layers, especially when the dark bleeds into the light. Waggoner’s  writing was engaging and didn’t lose my attention. There were multiple story arcs that Waggoner skillfully ties up.  There are plenty of WTF moments for those of us that enjoy WTF moments.

What I didn’t like: The ending fell a bit flat for me. For me the book is full of action and then the action just stops. I guess the ending was mundane for what the book was. But perhaps that is the way it is meant to be written.

Star Rating: 4

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. I did have a issue with the ending just because I thought it was ehhhh for the rest of the story. The story arc with with the main characters mother was excellent and I really appreciated how it was handled. There was one part that I felt was dragged out a bit too long. This specific scene went into a lot of detail about a specific situation that father found the daughter in. There was a lot of detail regarding the daughter. I felt that the level of detail was a bit ehhh due to the age that the daughter was suppose to be at the time. This was just my thoughts on it. I appreciated the other aspects of the story immensely. Will defiantly be checking out Waggoner’s back catalog!!

 

 

Fright into Flight edited by Amber Fallon

I have a deep appreciation for anthologies. I think that they offer people who read a lot a bit of a pallet cleanser between heavier reads. There are times when you find an anthology that just speaks to you.  I truly thought that my time had come…Stephen King and Bev Vincent where editing a horror anthology based on travel. I like going places just the traveling part is stressful, with so many moving parts that can go wrong. I  reviewed the contributing authors list and there was a glaring error….there were no women authors. I was shocked and possibly a little crushed.  There wasn’t one short story written by a woman.There are a ton of amazing women horror authors. It was shortly after that I came across a tweet from Word Horde press there were looking for reviewers to review their new travel horror anthology edited by a woman with a full cast of women horror writers. I jumped at the chance……Fright into Flight was delivered into my  mailbox a couple of weeks later.

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Summary:  16 dark stories centered around flight. Whether that is wings or floating away.

What I liked: OMG! I want to say that I have the words to do this anthology justice. The stories that have been carefully curated by Fallon fit with the anthology theme so well. It was like reading back to back episodes of Tales from the Darkside. All the stories were well written and edited. The stories fit so well together that while I was reading them I was never outside of the story. Many times with anthologies there are a couple of amazing stories and a good chunk that are just okay. But this wasn’t the case with Fright into Flight each story was just as good as the one before it. There were so many different themes that ran through this gathering of stories I can’t name them all. The stories are beautiful, heartbreaking and horrific.

What I didn’t Like: Nothing, it was beautiful.

Star Rating: All the damn stars

My Thoughts: This was a great answer to those of us that were perturbed that there were no women authors in the other anthology. The stories where so well chosen and fit the theme perfectly. I appreciated the fact that each story had different types of flight. The opening story sets the scene for the anthology perfectly and draws you right in. Once you dive in you just keep swimming. It was truly a pleasure to review this anthology. I truly hope that Fallon edits another anthology as this was right on the money and more.

Fright into Flight is available September 4th from Word Horde. Click on the picture to be transported to the publisher page for purchase.

****Big Thanks as always to Word Horde for sending a review copy for my honest opinion****

Triple Axe By Scott Cole

There aren’t many times I can say that a horror novel or novella is cute. Normally I reserve cute for animals I see on twitter or instagram. Especially sheep, that are bobbing all over the place. Those are the cutest things I have ever seen. There re basically fluff balls that are bouncing allover seriously cute.  But I can honestly say that  I would have never said porn, gore and murder where cute. But honestly Triple Axe by Scott Cole is indeed cute. Sorry Mr. Cole but it was, in a gory way.

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Summary: 3 porn stars are trying to catch the manic that is killing their friends.

What I liked:  The story was fast paced and once I started reading I wasn’t able to put it down. I enjoyed the story line immensely. The characters were well written and likable. You really wanted them to find the killer and win the day. Cole came up with a very  ingenious way for the manic to kill his victims. There is also a cult aspect that I really enjoyed in this book. It helps pull together the story that Cole is telling. Now, I hope with that ending we are going to get a sequel!!

What I didn’t like: Ummm the fact that it ended….on a cliffhanger!!

Star Rating: 4 porn stars

My thoughts: I loved how he wrote these characters. Yeah they were in the porn industry but they were human. The women in this story were bad ass and banded together to take the law into their own hands. He didn’t write the women as weak; they were strong characters in their own right. I appreciated that. There is plenty of gore in the book. But it didn’t come across as a pure splatterpunk. It was more like gore meets the porn world with a heart of gold.

*****A Big thanks to Scott Cole for sending me a review copy for my honest opinion****

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.*****