Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Oh, The Horror by Jaime Johnesse

A brilliant collection of short and flash stories that get more gory, twisted and gruesome as you read. Fantastic!

Really enjoy JJ’s writing style, she is so easy to read, nothing overly complex yet with an underlying "GOTCHA"; talk about lulled into a false sense of security!

Written in the moment with flashbacks, this really jumps you around the story (in a good way!) so that you are immersed straight into the action, great build up and insight into the characters; warts, ice cream munching, and all!

I suspected something was not quite right.... but was so not expecting that ending.

Femme Fatale:
Another body is found and poor Detective Evers is at a loss with no forensic evidence to go on. When the Feds hit the small town and take over the investigation the magnitude of the killers sneakyness starts to dawn.

As the lead Fed and Dec. Evers hone in on a suspect you cant help but wonder at the profiling business.

I do hope Flubberwupperkins was found.

When I first started to read I felt so sorry for the main character, Steve, but JJ soon flipped him around and her became and Ahole!, but a woman is dead and a murderer is on the loose, he may the only hope of finding them.

Can the Police find the murderer, with no solid motive, before they strike again?

Great reveal at the end, JJ is a master/mistress of the twisty end.

A serial killer is on the loose (there are a lot in the USA!).

JJ has such a way with her characters even amongst all the horror, that she describes to well, and in only a brief story I was still in full belief of them and with such strong emotions.

Such a sad and twisted ending.

Is it a bank robbery or more??

I love how eloquent JJ is with her use of words. 

So many turn arounds in this short story I felt quite dizzy but also I was grinning at it all; brilliant ride!

The Restraurant:
A plot is formed amongst the workers at a restraurant against their monster boss, all memebers appear to have legitimate reasons but should they? And can they get away with it?

Not your usual horror.

The Winnings:
Awwww Love really shines out from this lovely couple who have finally had some luck and won the lotto.

This is a wickedly sad story with a real kick; well-done JJ for making me feel that way.

‘Til Death:
Lynn has a perfect life but also a stalker.

I loved all the build-up which made the ending such a shock, but oh so brilliant.

Traine Wreck:
This whole story made me feel a bit queasy, not sure what to say about it other than WOW.

In Vertebrate:
Eeeeek. These stories are getting more gory and squirrelly as it goes along.

A great idea revolving around chronic pain that JJ fully explores and adds her own sordid extras too.

Well JJ saved the most gruesome for last.

A poor captured woman must retreat into her mind to hide herself from the torture that her captor is inflicting.

She dreams of beautiful times with her family, the juxtaposition between all the love and all the hate is amazing.

Horrid and horrific ending.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Shrouded World: Whistlers by Mark Tufo & John O'Brien

This is a first time collaboration between Mark Tufo and John O'Brien, two authors that are known for their own zompoc series of books, Zombie Fallout for MT and A New World for JO’B and it's here in Whistlers that their two main characters both crash land into this strange new world where the worst of their two worlds collide.

Michael Talbot, Trip ( aka John the Tripper) and Jack Walker.

As I have only read the ZF books (it’s my hubby that loves Jack Walker) I can say that both writers put their character across easily and leave no guess work. 

If you haven't already done so I would recommend reading both MT and JO’Bs books before hand to get some background on the characters and their individual stories, however this IS intended to be a standalone series so more maybe revealed as the books progress. 

Trip is still my favourite character in almost every book I read barring a few, fantasy novels; and I think he would fit right in there too. He seems to have been given more visionary skills, whereas Mike and Jack have retained their new enhancements from their old worlds. 

Although I think that some sort of explanation as to why the two have super powers might have helped the newbie reader.

Both authors have certainly honed their writing skills now and are able to produce a story line that gels, excels, excites and is basically worth every penny spent. They mash up together very well. 

I was curious (and worried) as to how two such strong characters (and authors) would be able to blend but it’s like peas in a pod/flip sides of a coin (yes, yes I know they aren’t the same!! See, what I did there though!) 

Fabulous way to introduce the three lunatics to the rest of the world.

They have distinctive “voices” and styles that worked really well with the alternating chapters and PoV, I loved the way a “thing” would happen to one character and then you would get a different view of the same “thing” from the other.

Left on a knife edge I cannot wait until the next book is released in what, I hope, will be a long series.

Negatives; there is a lot of dialogue in here BUT that does allow the characters to merge and the new readers to get to know them, however, it could get tedious for current fans.

If you don’t like a certain authors style then their character may get on your nerves a bit, personally I don’t like all the over egged military stuff so tend not to read about every little nuance regarding guns, bullets and kick backs, again got tedious for me.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Holiday Wrappings anthology - Wrapped In.... series

UNTO THE EARTH by Patrick. C. Greene:
This little stunner of a story was in Wrapped in Black – so if you love Witches and the Occult this will be the book for you!

Landon and his beautiful wife, Agnes, who makes a wonderful Voodoo dinner, if only the dog would shut up, the cable wasn’t off and Aggy would stop ordering all the magazines in French!

DADDY’S GLASSES by Allison M. Dickson:

Wrapped in White is full of Ghostly goings on and this is the first to set you off with the shudders.

Loved the southern twang to the story. An early baby death sets the tone for this nightmare riddled story.

So much death in one family but AMD also manages to show what happens in “real” life as families stretch, change and lose contact.

However, when a blast from the past arrives in a little wooden box the narrator of this story gets a full front seat to the true horror of human nature.

MY BOSS IS A VAMPIRE by Michael David Matula:

From the Wrapped in Red (Vampires!) book this tale is my favourite combo – horror and humour.

From the first few lines I was treated to smirk worthy narrative; turkey Voodoo curses abound. Oh what a treat to end on, this left me with such a smile! Fantastic story with a real kick in the fangs!

HÄXENHAUS by Nick Kimbro:

Another scary short from the Wrapped in Black set, this is full on Witches so hold on to your britches (sorry I couldn’t help it!)
eeeek at the torturous instruments described and explained.

Our narrator, Kramer, is close to a house that is prison to witches, a place that has turned confession, torture and suffering into an art.

The witch that killed his child is now dead but what parting gift did she leave him. To say I really enjoyed this story would make me sound perverted, but then I love horror! And this has multiple elements to it.

To wish suffering on others, is that human nature? Whatever, it was brilliantly written and certainly deserves its place in this black anthology.

INSEPARABLE by Solomon Archer, Ph.D.:

The second treat from the Ghostly based book Wrapped in White.

The first paragraph left me feeling nauseated, such was the portrayal of devastation and lost come to physical being.

As you continue to be dragged down the rabbit hole of depression that has a dream like edge to it, I was wondering where the spooky would be in this well penned tale.

I need not have worried as the very last line sent such shivers down my spine I needed to stop reading for a while. Brilliant.

DADDY USED TO DRINK TOO MUCH by Michael G. Williams:

Wrapped in Red brings you another fabulous story but this is a tale so full of woe I was left a little bereft and the end.

Lots of blood and some fangs, but also tons of emotion. Such a sad way to start the book. The way MGW described the whole setting was also very corporeal.


Back to the Witches with this little treat.

Trey with his mantra of clean now. Trey has done something that requires penance. He has lost much too, and he appears to be paying. The world he lives in miserable; dull, grey and dirty.

Ciara gives the illusion of colour, and such gorgeous descriptions of colour given by the author, I was mesmerized.

This is a sad tale, with the lesson of being careful what you wish for.  Wonderful.

THE CURSE OF KIRBY by Patrick C. Greene:

Ghosties strike again in this brilliant addition to the Wrapped in White set.

Poor Dawson he can’t seem to get any peace with Butthole the cat pooping everywhere or scratching him to hell, not to mention his wonderful party hard neighbours.

Mendelbaum, his only other sane neighbour, is also having a hard time sleeping. Then they meet Abigail and Kirby; a mischievous ghost! and a plan is hatched.

However, as is always with hauntings there are dark currents and secrets, and with PCG you can always expect some even darker comments, not forgetting the gore, always lots of gore! But funny gore!

A fantastic climactic and grin worthy ending.

VERMILION by Bryan W. Alaspa:

Vampires come back for another bite (Wrapped in Red) I know, sorry!

The back story is inspired in its telling, BWA does not think us readers are fools, instead he continues to be eloquent in his revealing of the story.

As the climax comes nothing is given away until the last moment, then it is final. Awesome story and fantastic writing style.

SHE MAKES MY SKIN CRAWL by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd:

Time for those Witches to freak you out again!

To take a common saying and place a story around it, awesome!!

“Her” small but powerful punishments result in bloody bags of stuff, stuff from Jaime, skin from Jaime, skin that goes crawling on its own!! Even Jaime’s own bath tub was gagging at the revolting descriptions and imagery.

AIN’T THEY BRIGHT by Cecilia Dockins:

The final Spectral entry in this bonus introduction for the Wrapped in series.

In the world of Nursing and Medicine I found myself nodding and understanding all the pressures that CD was portraying.

Even with a busy shift it seems Hell has followed our narrator into work.

I was left a little perplexed by this story, maybe it was too close to home.

NIGHTBOUND by Patrick C. Greene:

Sad to see the last in the Vampire themed set but PCG starts the story so well you can't help but want harm to come to these "bad" men, he continues to heap nastiness upon them but gives a sense of spook once in the house, you can feel the blood suckers coming. The first kill is amazing, it was so visual.

The criminals really get what they deserved, some smirking great humour.

HAIR SHIRT DRAG by Gordon White:

A brilliant finale to not only the Wrapped in Black but this Holiday Wrappings.

Jesse, or Sissy to his non-friends, is a backwoods, Southern, effeminate, cross-dressing Witch and is even a little strange even for each of those sub groups. He comes from a long line of Overhold women who have the “gift”, each use and supply it in various odd ways but the outcomes are all the same.

The town has come to Jesse’s Momma house to help her with some “medicine”, the initiation of her son, who should have been a girl.

However Jesse is splendid in his hand me down Hair Shirt and as the townsfolk turn upon him, his beauty explodes around them. Fantastic build-up, great finale and brilliant start to this anthology.

I could feel the atmosphere such is the writing skill of GW, he managed to spin, wind and wallow me in a tale so beautiful I almost did not notice the dark undertone.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Other Side of Dead by Ian Woodhead

Well let me start with the fact that I got this book as a freebie! But felt it was so brilliant I then PAID for it!!

I will not go over what happens in each story!! I’m sure others will! But I will let you know how I felt about each story....

My only comment is that maybe the stories could have been in a different order but that’s personal preference!

Ian has a way of painting a scene that leaves you wide eyed!

If I have a complaint it’s that Ian does leave you gasping for more.....

Rotating Flesh:
Let’s just say I will never eat fast food again!!
 Yay to the right thing happening!!

Very Dead Dolls:
Great glimpses of the horror that surrounds this family with a spooky child perspective! Quick ending but omg yuck!!

Two Skins:
My favourite quote in a book for a LONG time "month old peach!" and the retort made me giggle!  Henry the mole will live with me for ages!  Fantastic ending... more please!

Crimson Dreams:
Flash horror but show stoppingly brilliant!

Beg the other Man:
Oooh a moral tale! The description in this short story is amazing and so detailed you can "see" it!

Red Furry Flower Pot... 4 words and you know who Ian is talking about... his descriptions are so clever and so bright!  pls pls pls expand on this story i want to know how? why? now what?

Blood Curse:     

Just sppppoooookkky!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Three brilliant short stories by Stacy Turner

Nicky was dead and Natalie knew this he was taken away in a black plastic bag, he had screamed a lot and for that she was glad.

Nicky was mean to her, torturing both her and threatening her beloved Mr Bear.

Beloved until he starts speaking to her that is, and Mama starts to wallow in her grief of her favourite child dying.

Thank goodness for Aunt Ellen and her lavender baths and trips to the zoo.

I just loved the way ST managed to capture the honesty that is child logic; so wonderfully blunt and truthful.

The twist in the ending is just amazing!

Captain Roberts and his squad are in battle and whilst many of them are seriously injured none appear to be in severe pain or bleeding, then there is the fog, oh and the giant marbles that fall out of the sky and not forgetting the amnesia….. Yes, that was a joke!

I really laughed at the MRE joke.  This story was really getting a bit farcical up until the final paragraph when all is made clear and my oh, my it was a brilliant ending!

Jeb, his mother and Cassie are trying to make their way in the new world of Good vs. Evil since the clouds came and blocked out the sun, the whole world appears to have taken sides.

When Jeb finds a stray young girl in the fields he brings her home to love and care for, like he did with Cassie, only she is not happy about it.

The child is strange, in many ways, non-communicative being only one thing. Hugging the newly pregnant Cassie each morning and growling at visiting Pastor others. 

There is a strong Godly element and feel to the story which lends itself to some foreboding of what’s really going on and intensifies the tension when Cassie starts to give birth.

When the battle scene arrives it may have been predictable in coming but what follows is not.

ST does well to cram so much life into such a few pages.  Whilst the overall story is chilling in an apocalyptic Omen type of way the real horror was poor Cassie and the first aid kit for 

See, now you HAVE to read it!!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ravenous by Lorraine Versini

Firstly look at the detail in the cover, then read the story and look again!

When young Bastian calls the emergency services to say his Mama won’t wake up my little hairs went up. However is it Elisa, the responder that really set my bumps a goosing as her own frustration at not being able to pinpoint Bastian’s house and therefore send help, is terrifyingly detailed by LV.

When paramedics do finally arrive not all is as first seems, something weird and sinister has happened to Mama; rumours soon become rife.

Poor bereft Bastian must take his beloved dog Max and go live with Aunty Nancy.

However when Max soon becomes fatally injured in the same way as Mama Aunty Nancy must not only fight to save his life but protect them all from the threat circling above.

The swirling scene was like being in the middle of a feather hurricane; love LVs way of describing scenes in minute detail, it really suited this short story.

The ending reveal really conjures up all sorts of horrors and the little epilogue was just the perfect cliff hanger.

The ending is a fabulous little explanation of how the story developed and grew in the authors mind, I love that sort of sharing.

Ps. Go back and look at the cover!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Cyberchip by Billie Sue Mosiman

Cory is annoyed with his life in general, his job, his boss, his ex-best friend, his soon to be ex-wife, so now he is acting out revenge.

After trialing a tracking chip on himself he discovers a unique talent,  he  then goes on an almost murderous spree; almost as each attempt fails and lands the target in hospital instead, seems he can’t if do that correctly.

Soon he notices that the apes in the lab are acting strange towards him and karma comes to call.

Left on a brilliant twisty note this little story held me engrossed for half an hour and then left me with a satisfied smile.

Fabulous writing and strange little stories spring from this authors mind!

Friday, 28 November 2014

whats wrong with Horror??

Its not often I comment or even share another blog or review site but this post today on FB has made lots of authors, reviewers and the rest of us sit up and think.

Many a lovely site, chat room or FB group has gone south of late due to the amount of just general spam. 

Have a read of this brilliantly written article on the great Ginger Nut review site and see what thoughts it provokes in you..... maybe even head on over there and leave a comment!

Interaction, thats whats missing for me.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Jane The Hippie Vampire: Hair by Leigh M. Lane

Jane is ironically a vegan vampire with a knack for getting into trouble.

Needing to head to warmer climes she heads South into Bible Belt country, the weather maybe warmer but the hospitality is not; at least for an outwardly appearing teenage vagrant.

When a purple dog runs past her during a routine police stop you are already drawn back into Jane’s strange world and you can feel the magic carpet ride coming.

Whilst she knows that she must feed and she often disgusts herself with the berserker like frenzy when this occurs she knows it was not her that started to rip the Officers to pieces in the woods, even though she does not turn down an easy meal.

LML has a wonderful skill of explaining the pain that Jane feels during these feeds giving you a sense of the gnawing hunger vs the need to preserve all life.

As she hides in the forest she is found by the local Ranger, Bobby, and he kindly takes her home for dinner, although he does have his own agenda and what is actually on the menu?

His family are a strange mix of rednecks and homely parents, then LML introduces  the local fruitloop who professes to be seeing lake monsters, werewolves and vampires and you know things are about to go squiffy for poor Jane!

When said fruitloop decides to rid the world of a “stinking leech” he sets in motion a terrible chain of events, killing sprees, hidden bodies and family secret revelations.

Whilst all this is going on LML manages to throw in some horrific flashbacks of Jane’s previous life and her “change”.

Overall another wonderful installment in the undead life of Jane. I am more intrigued by this vampire now; LML is expertly giving little hints of the true horror in Jane’s life whilst telling these little chapters in her life. 

My only complaint is having to wait for the next episode.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Undead Tales antholgy

Resurrecting Mind by Joe McKinney: Poor Kevin the last man alive after the world ended three years ago, its Xmas eve but he still believes.

But maybe he is not truly alone, whilst out foraging for decorations, he spots an ex-girlfriend and with some very corny jokes tries to nourish her back to life from the world of the zombie “faker”.

The twist at the end is heart breaking. Such wonderful writing and a superb way to start this anthology.

Louis by Carole Gill: Louis has decided to become a necromancer after his best friend dies. eeeew at the practice mouse.

A great tongue in cheek feel to this story, yet another interesting author I must seek out and try a longer piece of work from.

Breaking Out by Eric S. Brown: Bio toxins, the military and naughty, unethical Drs; what could possibly go wrong!

Loved the telling of this notsooriginal story. Blindingly fast, it was a super read.

Hard Choices by Todd Sprague: The juxtaposition of some of the Hard Choices and comments from the narrator would have been funny had they not rung the sad bell of truth a little too loud.

The Hard Choices only get worse as survival becomes the utmost driving force to this man.

I am curious to know if this is a standalone brief flash of a story, or if it is part of a greater story.

So far, every single author and story has been spot on!

Until Hell calls our names by WD Gagliani: Loved the approach to telling this story.

Set in the Old Wild West it brought a new tinge to an old story.

In between tales of confederacy and submarines (!) is the most awful tale of relationship abuse.

The wronged woman, along with her Mother, cast zombie spells to avenge they abuse. The story which follows is complex and I found it to be too harrowing to “enjoy” but it was thoroughly entertaining and caused a different sort of shudder in terror.

Amazing writing to make me feel so uncomfortable.

Till death do us part by Scott M. Goriscak: Poor Tim, the mortician, he finally finds the love of his life only to lose her in a freak accident.

Of all the horror in this book, the reading of the embalming made me actually gag.

When a rogue bolt of lightning reanimates his love all sorts of strange things start to occur.

I had to giggle at certain body parts coming apart as she decomposes. The ending, for me, was hilarious.

I forgot my own name by JD Gillam: A sad story from the zombies PoV.

This was obviously hard to write due to the decomposing brain, but well accomplished and interesting to read.

Zombie Camp by Lawrence R. Dagstein: Day care camp for zombie children, now that’s a thought! As the world has changed, apparently parental love and social ambition has not.

Very well-articulated to bring forth all the trappings of rich families and the dilemmas obviously faced when picking your child’s education and play mates.

A cracking concept with some outstanding dry humour.

The Zombie with the Dragon tattoo by Armand Rosamilia: Another rip roaring giggle a minute story.

Gary is in lust with Roxy the stripper, even if she is now one of the undead and all the hassle that brings.

When he decides to break into the Cheaters strip bar for one last lap dance he meets the bouncer and DJ who are not what they seem.

The normal sex focused zombie humour from this author, a really fun little story with some clever character twists.

Feast of the Dead by P. David Puffinburger: The first story with editing errors? Or not? I am not sure if this was an attempt at first person writing with intentional errors, but as it went on it did not feel right in its prose
This story was neither funny nor sad but degenerated into a deliverance type rape scene that was poorly written. 

Really felt this story was out of context for this anthology so far, or maybe I just didn’t “get it”.

Mick’s Rules by Zach Brunner: A weird little tale of a 50’s circa zombie frequenting a bar owned by Mick and boy does he like to pick a fight!

Lots of dialogue and some nifty left hooks make for a fun showdown between the pair.

What walks in afterwards makes me want to visit and order some nachos and beer for some “people” watching.

Yet another fabulous author, who plays well on stereo types.

Written during rapture by Scott Nicholson: A love note vs a suicide note. Very brief story but oh so poignant.

Carriers by Ian DG Sandusky: A new take on what causes the zompoc. Kind of put me off my dinner!

Some great explanations, funny? Not so sure but definitely a sad indictment on our current way of life and destruction of the planet.

What’s a man gotta do by Chantal Boudreaux: An old ranch hand is trying to eke out a living by foraging and trading in the zompoc world.

However, he has an addiction, his Drink.  He risks life and limb for this special taste.

Whilst serious throughout the story the final lines really leave you on a giggle.

Always brilliant writing from Chantal.        

My name is Riley by Mark Tufo: Told from a dogs PoV this is a unique take on the zompoc.

Riley’s little pack must survive the start and ongoing zompoc, a teenage girl, a baby, a runt dog, Riley and a naughty cat – sounds like the start of a good joke – it’s actually a fabulous series that I encourage everyone to seek out.

How do you kill what’s already dead? By Jeremiah Coe: The Germanic barbarians are facing off the invading Roman Hordes, only these turn out to be zombies, an unfair advantage.

With a lot of chatter about the ancient military style  I found it hard going as not my favourite topic to read about. But the author gave me characters that I really started to care about to follow and become involved with.

The sad little twist at the end made the read very worthwhile.

Of the Dead by Ian Woodhead: As if zombies aren’t bad enough IW thinks up spider mutated zombies!

Just what is going on in that food factory, you can probably figure it out, but this author just loves taking you for a ride of terror.

The world presented in this short story is complex and hints at a larger set of stories, but IW does have extensive zombie writing experience, well worth a seek out.

I loved the humour, dark and slapstick, mixed with all the horror. Some really original stories mixed in this anthology with some original telling’s of old stories.

The contributors are well picked and well placed, so credit to the editor, himself an accomplished author.  Rich Orth has amazing little poems scattered throughout, which makes for some light relief and is an inspired thought.

One of my favourite anthologies to date.