Monthly Archives: September 2019

Author Showcase – Scott Snyder (The Batman Who Laughs)

Left rattled by the events of Dark Knights: Metal, Bruce Wayne must come face to face with the ultimate evil spawned from the Dark Multiverse. One part Batman one part Joker. The Batman Who Laughs.

“A Batman who laughs is a Batman who always wins.”

The mastermind behind Dark Nights: Metal, Scott Snyder, gives you a look inside the most terrifying version of Batman ever! He and superstar artist Jock (Batman: The Black Mirror) kick off a chain of events that makes Dark Nights: Metal seem like child’s play.

The Batman Who Laughs not only survived his fight with The Joker at the end of Dark Nights: Metal, but is now enacting a sinister plan across the Multiverse–something both terrifying and oddly familiar. When Bruce Wayne realizes the only way to stop this madman is to kill him, he must consider violating the very rule Batman can’t ever break … the rule that created this insatiable villain–the Batman Who Laughs!

As Bruce begins to deduce that his current life is somehow wrong and that all the mistakes he’s made are somehow connected, the Batman Who Laughs unleashes a brand-new evil. Enter one of the most punishing Batmen of the Dark Multiverse: the Grim Knight!

Collects The Batman Who Laughs #1-7 and The Grim Knight #1.

 

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Scott Snyder is one of comics’ bestselling authors. His works include BATMAN, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE WAKE, SUPERMAN UNCHAINED, SEVERED, and WYTCHES among others. He has also been published in Zoetrope, Tin House, One-Story, Epoch, Small Spiral Notebook, and other journals, and has a short story collection, Voodoo Heart, which was published by Dial Press in 2006. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence University and NYU and lives in New York with his wife, Jeanie, and his two young sons.

Jock is the three times New York Times best-selling British artist best known for his comics work with writer Andy Diggle on DC/Vertigo’s The Losers, the award-winning Batman: The Black Mirror, and Wytches with writer Scott Snyder. Jock has also produced key art and concept design for films including Dredd, Annihilation, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the Oscar-winning Ex Machina. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he now lives and works in Devon, England.

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Review of “You Wish” – Mark Scott Piper

Imagine you are granted three wishes—and your second wish is captured by a television news crew and broadcast across the globe. Now the whole world knows you can wish for absolutely anything, and it will come true. Now imagine you’re fourteen years old…

Jake Parker is about to finish the freshman year of what’s shaping up to be a mediocre high school career. He’s a late bloomer. His family is living hand-to-mouth. And worst of all, he’s a nobody—until he discovers an ancient ship’s lantern. With everyone on the planet watching to see what Jake’s final wish will be, he becomes an instant media darling, and his social status at school skyrockets. That’s the good news.

The bad news is pressure is bearing down on Jake from family, public opinion, the media, government agents, and crooked politicians as he struggles to come up with a final wish that will truly help mankind. But if he’s going to pull that off, he has to outsmart them all.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

At a very young age, we all start making wishes. Whether we are sitting behind a birthday cake’s candle or looking up at the night sky, we think of what we want most and hope our wish or wishes come true.

In You Wish, Jake finds an old ship’s lantern and discoveries it has the power to grant wishes. The catch: You can’t say the wish out loud or disclose your wish. If you do, the wish is recanted.

Like Jake, I think many of us would accidentally wish for something ridiculous. This magical blunder could really happen…if magic really existed.

As for Jake’s other wishes: The second one was caught on camera, viewed by onlookers and broadcasted around the globe. The repercussions were instant. Jake’s life was turned upside down. All eyes were on him to see what he’d wish for next. Many people had insights what he should wish for and the consequences of said wish(es).

End world hunger, cure cancer, world peace, wealth… Jake had so many suggestions thrown at him including one from the President of the United States. The POTUS’ wish was absolutely something I could see our current President asking for because he’s… well, I won’t tarnish this review by stating my feelings on the current White House resident.

When the world is watching your every move, the level of stress to make the right choice must be astronomical. I wouldn’t want to be in Jake’s shoes. I must reiterate, Jake’s life wasn’t his own anymore. Even his family was impacted by Jake’s sudden fame.

It’s nice to think about what if I had three wishes, but in actuality, I wouldn’t want three wishes because it’s too much pressure. However, it was NO pressure getting through this story. This book is worth reading whether you are a teenager, an older individual, or somewhere in between. So, pick it up and start reading it today!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

 

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Mark Scott Piper has been writing professionally his entire adult life. He is a longtime freelance writer and video director/producer. Mark holds an MA and a PhD in English from the University of Oregon, and he has taught literature and writing at the college level for several years.

Mark’s bookshelves are overflowing. Among his favorites are Christopher Moore, John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen Crane, William Faulkner, Tony Hillerman, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Anne Lamott–all of whom successfully conspire to keep him humble.

Mark has written four novels, three screenplays and more than 16 short stories. You Wish is his debut novel.

His stories have appeared in Short Story America, The California Writers Club Literary Review, and online literary magazines, including, Scrutiny, Writing Raw, Animal, Slurve, and others. In addition, two of his short stories have been Honorable Mention selections in Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction contests.

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Review of “Entangled Lives” – Imran Omer

Raza, a poor orphan trapped in the slums of Pakistan, is sent to a strict madrassah where he meets and falls in love with Perveen. They attempt to flee the city to escape their respective fates but fail. Perveen, pregnant, is sent back to her family, and Raza is sent to Afghanistan to fight as a Taliban solider. American journalist, Rachael Brown, travels to Afghanistan to cover the political unrest. When she meets Raza for a brief interview, she sees for the first time the true face of the Taliban: poor and desperate young men with nowhere else to go. As the war unfolds, their paths cross again, and each must decide what they owe the other.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

I want to begin this review by stating that when Imran Omer contacted me to read Entangled Lives I was very upfront about my initial thoughts based off the book summary. I said the following to him…. “It’s not my typical read but I am willing to give it a chance.”

As you read my review below, I think you’ll see I was fair and honest. I may not like the subject matter but he did give more insight into a world I’m not overly familiar with.

 

 

War has always been a part of human existence. People fight for money, for power, or to be the dominant force over mankind. Yes, most individuals join the fight out of their own free will. However, some people are forced to pick up a weapon because they either kill or be killed for their defiance.

In Entangled Lives, Imran Omer (the author) allowed readers to see the harsh reality many men, women, and children face in their war-torn country. They are beaten, maimed, killed, and left without many options. They witness death. They live in constant fear for their lives. No place is safe…. not even their homes.

I live in the United States. While we have violence and mass shootings, we still have many freedoms where the people of Afghanistan seem to have none.

I think Imran Omer’s intent with this book was to make us feel empathy for the people of Afghanistan. I think he wanted us to see not all the soldiers want to fight; that some soldiers do have a merciful heart.

While I can appreciate his effort, it’s hard for me to associate the Taliban with anything but violence, death, and destruction. I did feel compassion for all the innocent people in the line of fire or those affected by the ongoing war.

 

 

Now that I spoke upon the contents of the story, I will address the way it was delivered. At times, Imran transitioned from event to event smoothly. Case in point, the diary entries were integrated nicely. On the other hand, the transitions from Raza’s story to Rachel’s didn’t always blend well. As the story progressed, the flow became choppy and sections felt rushed. I did knock some points off for how the book was laid out but not on the contents. I may not like the subject matter but Imran did a good job relaying how harsh the conditions are over in Afghanistan.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Imran was born in Karachi and studied in Karachi and Chicago. A graduate of the University of Illinois and American College of Education, Imran teaches Art and English as a Second Language (ESL). He has taught in the United States, Oman and Saudi Arabia. He loves teaching but his passion lies in painting and writing. His artwork and some of his articles can be seen at www.imranomerart.com He resides in Homewood, Illinois.

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Author Showcase – Ellie Douglas (Death O Death Horror Collection Vol 2)

Ten Horror Stories

Unimaginable monsters to take your breath away.
What you can’t see will horrify you.
You’ll be squirming in sheer terror.
Real and unseen-evil awaits. Watching. Lurking.
When you least expect, it will pounce and consume you!
Safety warnings: May induce a rise in blood pressure.
Don’t read alone.
Keep the lights on.

The question is: Are you brave enough?

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 ~ Anthology Content ~

Don’t Look Under The Bed
Bogeyman
Can You Imagine
Grounders
Infest
Junkyard
Point Of No Return
Siphon
Trick or Treat
Why Aren’t You Scared


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~ Excerpt from Don’t Look Under The Bed

When Sue tried to wriggle out of its grip, she could feel her hair being pulled from the roots. A surge of pain filled her skull and ran down her spine to the very bottom of her feet. Right at that moment she felt like she had been electrocuted. The creature yanked on a section of her hair so hard and fast, that she’d been left with a large bald patch and more searing hot liquid ran down her back. Sue let out a fox like scream before gritting her teeth in excruciating pain.

Each time the beast pulled and ripped sections of her hair out, she felt like she was the ocean floor being repeatedly pounded by an anchor. The weight she felt pushing her into the floor made her feel as though her ribs were going to be crushed at any moment.

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K.Z., Amazon Customer, 5⭐: Death O Death is definitely not a collection of bed time stories.
Ellie Douglas new anthology can scare the socks off the tin man! You’re not in Kansas any more, Toto! Leave the lights on.
Every story reaches just a little farther into the terrifying world of madness and gore, each tale unique and graphically written to send a new shiver down the spine with every turn of the page.
Any fan of bloody horror stories will love this new collection!

 

Mark, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: This is not simply another collection of horror stories. There is nothing simple about them AT ALL! Ellie’s imagination is unparalleled as she weaves shock upon shock, like an overcharged Electroshock Therapy treatment. Each story doubles the voltage and is liable to cause massive brain seizures!!
Be scared. Be VERY scared.
Five ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for the Mistress of Murder & Mayhem.

 

Andrea, Goodreads Contributor, 4⭐: An impeccable anthology!

I don’t call Ellie Douglas ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason. She is a phenomenal writer. Anthologies might be tricky. There’s always one or another story that you might prefer that weren’t in the book. That’s not the case here. The author presents us ten impeccable short stories that will scare you to death.


In the description of the book, Douglas tells us what to expect. And she defies us – “Are you brave enough?” Believe me when I tell you, and I’m entitled to tell you because I’ve read horror a lot, you must be really brave. From the first story on you can already see that she’s right to warn us. And I dare you not be scratching your head reading ‘Infested’.


For me, what makes Douglas’ stories so good is the fact that she can turn ordinary facts into something so frightening and/or create stories which have already been told so many times into something totally new making us surprised and, of course, terrified.
I loved all ten stories, but, of course, I have my favorites: ‘Junkyard’, ‘Can You Imagine’, and ‘Point Of No Return’. All three of them leave us in ‘tense mode’ and it’s hard to see what is coming. Brilliant!


There is something really cool in this book – ‘Trick Or Treat’ and ‘Junkyard’ were starred by two real life people. And don’t think the author went easy with the characters because of it, because she didn’t.


I’ve already read a few books by this author and will certainly read all of Ellie Douglas’ books. As I said, I don’t call her ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason.

 

Read more Goodreads’ reviews here –> Goodreads Link  <—

 

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Born and raised in New Zealand, a mother and wife who donates what spare time she has into volunteer work with Autistic children.

Ellie Douglas is addicted to horror, everything about it she loves. She enjoys creating strong characters that rise to the top from ordinary lives.

Her love affair with horror has seen her produce three award winning horror books. With many more on the way.

Ellie is creative in all aspects with several adult coloring books and an online casino slot game under her belt. She is constantly striving to do more.

Ellie also makes professional book covers for authors and she makes websites, banners, and logos too.

Ellie’s ultimate aim is to give back, paying it forward and to constantly better herself. To give the audience amazing entertaining stories that she herself would read.

She would love to scare you…

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Review of “The Rebound Effect” – Linda Griffin

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.

Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.

Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.

And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Warning: Spoilers included!

Frank McAllister was a controlling a-hole!

He proclaimed he didn’t want to push Teresa but that’s exactly what he kept on doing.

Date 1: He asked to meet her son and kept asking even though she said it was too early. He repeatedly brought up her exes despite how uncomfortable she was regarding the topic. He also offered to help her financially because money means nothing to him since he had a lot of it.

Date 2: He paid the babysitter despite Teresa stating firmly “No — that’s my job!” He tried to convince her to have sex with him and again brought up her ex when she repeatedly declined his advances. 

Date 3: He asked to take her and Aiden away from the weekend. She said no. He then said just the two of them could go. As a parent, I would never leave my child with a sitter for the entire weekend. Maybe some single parents would if they were dating a person for a long while but definitely not after only a few dates.

Weekend trip: Again, Frank was a pushy a-hole. She didn’t want a new cell phone. Teresa didn’t want Aiden to have a cell phone since he was only 6 but her protests meant nothing to Frank. He also insulted her best friend Alix and  Alix’s daughter. 


I could’ve expressed my feelings regarding the other dates but it’s obvious I am not a fan of Frank. Really, I can’t fathom why Teresa agreed to a second date or a third date, etcetera, etcetera. 
Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius to realize Frank is unhinged, mentally unstable. However, it did take a lot of willpower to continue reading this book. Sadly to say, I didn’t find it entertaining and I wasn’t surprised by what became of Frank.

The only bright spot of The Rebound Effect was Aiden, Teresa’s son. He was adorable and proved extremely helpful when it mattered most.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤

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Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired from a position as the fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Binnacle , EclecticaOrbis, and The Nassau Review. The Rebound Effect is her second novel from The Wild Rose Press. Seventeen Days was published in October 2018. She enjoys Scrabble, movies, and travel, as well as the three R’s—reading, writing, and research.

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