Tag Archives: creatures

How to Keep Monsters Out of Your Room by Catie Cat (Book Review)

Dru has monsters in his room! After several attempts, he finally figures out how to get rid of them! This rhyming picture book includes a project so YOU can get rid of YOUR monsters too! Afraid of the dark + problem solver.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Every night, kids worldwide fear the possibility of a monster lurking under their bed or in the closet. They sleep with lights on, fearing what could creep out from the shadows if they are left in complete darkness. Dru, like so many other young children, has difficulty falling asleep due to fear and anxiety over bedroom “creatures.” 

Due to vivid imaginations, every monster’s appearance varies to some degree. Dru’s unwelcomed guest has large, pointy teeth and green bulging eyes. He looked like a cross between a wolf and a dragon. I can understand why the beast was causing such a fright. I applaud the artist’s skills. Each page looked like a painting.

Dru yelled at the beast to leave his room immediately, but his demands went unannounced. He then remembered the warning signs he’d seen with his mom and recalled their meanings. No left turns. No dogs allowed. No cell phones. Everyone followed these signs and more, promptly Dru to have an ingenious idea. He knew how to keep the monsters out of his room for good! 

Children will witness Dru’s plan in action. They’ll cheer at his success. Then, after the story’s conclusion, they can follow Dru’s instructions and make a “No Monsters Allowed” sign to hang up anywhere in their room. 

When bedtime calls, kids can’t help but fear darkened corners, what supposedly is waiting under their bed, or what else is in their closet besides toys and clothes. How to Keep Monsters Out of Your Room aims to teach kids how to scare “monsters” away so they can get a peaceful night’s sleep. I think everyone will agree that is a great end goal!

Studies show that fear of darkness begins around the age of two; therefore, I recommend sharing the picture book with children as young as two. I also recommend creating your monster “stop” sign. 

Let’s squash those fears before they keep anyone up all night! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  ❤❤

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Meet the Author 

Catherine Castoro (Catie Cat) is an author and illustrator. How to Keep Monsters Out of Your Room is her third children’s book. Published Adult non-fiction: THE FERRY TO DUBLIN, January 2018 edition of The Ocotillo Review. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Austin, Texas.

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A Wretched Little Book of Poems: Remastered by Allen Isom (Book Review)

This Wretched Little Book is a must-read for fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Where the Sidewalk Ends. It promises to leave you both delighted and frightened. Embark on a spine-tingling journey through the pages of this book, featuring 10 brand new poems and eerie illustrations crafted by artificial intelligence in this remastering of the original.

Explore the bone-chilling tales of the Man in the Mask, Squid Face Girl, and The Depths, as you immerse yourself in the haunting and poetic stories of this collection. With a perfect blend of macabre terror and spooky fun, these poems are bound to stay with you long after you finish reading.

So, beware of the Little Beasties and other malevolent entities that may be Waiting in the Woods. And, above all, never look Behind You! Each page is filled with dread and suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Get ready to uncover the horrors that lie within your closets and under your bed, and experience the thrill of this illustrated horror poetry.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

We’ve all heard the familiar statement, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I judged A Wretched Little Book of Poems: Remastered by its, and my assessment proved accurate. Every image would please horror, supernatural, paranormal, or occult fans. His poetry contained the right blend of suspense and horror, making me thirsty for more. 

My favorite selections revolved around the living dead. “The Deadwoods” was one of my favorite poems. I also enjoyed the horde of the “walking dead” image that followed “Zombie Town.” Each made me itch to watch a zombie flick. 

“Squid Face Girl” was hauntingly sad. Kali, the girl with tentacles on the lower half of her face, never felt love. She’s never been kissed. Kids were horrific towards her. Poor Kali was alone and only wanted someone to look past the squid face and see the beauty within. “Squid Face Girl” illustrates how the real monsters are the ones who look normal to the naked eye. 

“Dream Come True” was phenomenal. It gave readers a horrific twist on the power of a genie and how one should take great thought into stating a wish. The mother/monster image also scared the holy heck out of me! 

“Something Ate Me” gave me goosebumps, especially the line, “At least it cannot eat me twice.”

I’ll never look at my daughter’s rock collection after reading “Pet Rock.” NEVER! 

While many, MANY drawings sent shivers down my spine, one will definitely haunt my dreams tonight and many nights in the future. The severed head that accompanied “Old Severed Head” had a realness quality to it. It didn’t look like a creature straight from hellIt looked like an everyday man whose path crossed with the worst evil imaginable. Wait until you see the drawing…seriously, SHIVERS! Further into the book, the writer drew an axe-wielding man who reminded me of Jason from Friday the 13th. Again, images that show plausible monsters are the scariest (in my opinion). 

“What’s for Dinner” made me think of tall tales centering around “witches” capturing children to cook and eat them. The writer’s picture of the person sitting in the pot of boiling water made me shift nervously in my seat. His eyes seemed to stare at me, and I almost expected him to jump out of the book and grab me, bringing me into the bubbling cauldron with him. 

If you loathe bugs, you’ll want to avoid “Timmy’s Tummy,” “Creepy Crawlies,” and “Infestation.” The images are cringe-worthy! 

Allen Isom’s spine-tingling poetry book needs to be transformed into several 30-minute episodes. His creative mind designed drawings that any special effects artist (make-up and digital) would jump at the chance to bring to life. 

Poem after poem, drawing after drawing, each page is more haunting than the last. Evil lurks everywhere, even in space.  

Grab a copy of A Wretched Little Book of Poems: Remastered and step into the world of the strange, the frightening…YOUR worst nightmare!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Author

When Allen Isom isn’t conjuring up spine-tingling tales of terror, he can be found lurking in the shadows, cackling maniacally and muttering to himself. Born in a haunted house, Allen Isom has always had a fascination with the darker side of life. His writing is a twisted mix of horror and humor.

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Gladiator (The Arena Book 1) by Casey Lea (Book Review)

One Arena. One Love. ONE DAY.

Happy-ever-after is never guaranteed but that’s the gladiator’s mission. It wasn’t his plan to fight to the death, but plans change. When Harvesters steal his wife, he tracks them down. The hunt takes all of his money and most of his self-control, but she’s worth it. He joins her as a slave forced to fight for his life without hesitation.

His wife is a deadly warrior, so it’s too bad she doesn’t know him. Memory stripped and struggling to survive she has no interest in the fool claiming to be her husband. He’s just another target standing between her and freedom, but not for long. She’ll take down anything and anyone in her way.

Can the gladiator live long enough to win his wife’s love? Unlikely. It’s the end of the season and the final day of fighting. They’re about to enter the Carnival of Death which leaves only a single survivor.

One of them must die.

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

 

Imagine waking up and not knowing who you are, what species you are, where you are, or how you got there. That’s how Gladiator (The Arena Book 1) by Casey Lea begins. Haze’s com (nicknamed Connie) informs him that he is on the slave-trading planet Vertigo. It claims he’s seeking work in the arena as a gladiator. Haze is confused. Nothing makes sense. 

Slowly, snippets of who he is resurface and, with it, a name. Silk is his wife, and he’s on a mission to find her. The path takes him to the Carnival of Death, a battle where many walk in, but only one will leave…alive. 

Haze will do anything, sacrifice anything to ensure Silk makes it to the center of the area (the maze) and claim the prize, the knife. However, there are several obstacles in Haze’s way. For one: the other contestants vary in size and species from an enormous dragon to a scrawny guy. Two, he has to face non-contestants who love to snack on the fighters: eels and wolves. Thirdly, there’s Umpyre, the guard of law, who is a stickler for following the rules he made up. And finally, the most challenging obstacle of all, Haze’s wife, Silk, doesn’t remember her hubby. 

The cards are stacked against Haze, but he is a tenacious S.O.B. He will battle creatures, contestants, and even his wife’s stubbornness. I won’t disclose what Haze is, but he’s not your typical lawyer. He puts fear in many, and you’ll understand why once you see him lose control. 

Many shall enter. Only one is supposed to win. The road to victory was hard. The fights were intense, bloody, and brilliantly written. 

There were several shocking developments as the day came to a close. I did not see the twists coming. I was left stunned, like the characters in the book. 

Who survives 24 hours of hell, aka the maze cut out of stone? That question will only be answered by reading the book. So read it! 

The story did end with a set-up for a sequel. I can’t wait to read it as well!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2

Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Authors

Casey Lea is the pen name for a mother and daughter creative duo, dedicated to sharing their passion for all things sci-fi and fantastical.

A doting grandmother with too much time on her hands took the opportunity to put pen to paper.  Her older daughter kindly placed the resulting scribblings in one of those new-fangled so-called “computing machines” and a writing partnership was born.

The Lea (pronounced Lee) half of Casey Lea now spends her days wrestling with words and her memory while reading aloud to any cat careless enough to settle nearby. Daughter Casey edits the results while wrangling her adorable offspring.

After a decade on the rollercoaster ride of indie publishing their shared passion for epic love and grand adventure, spiced with advanced tech and ancient magic, remains undimmed.

 

You can find us at:

Sci-fi Fantasy Authors / Caseyleabooks.com
Casey Lea | Facebook
 Casey Lea (@CaseyLeaBooks) / Twitter

 

 

 

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Gladiator (The Arena Book 1) by Casey Lea (Book Spotlight)

One Arena. One Love. ONE DAY.

Happy-ever-after is never guaranteed but that’s the gladiator’s mission. It wasn’t his plan to fight to the death, but plans change. When Harvesters steal his wife, he tracks them down. The hunt takes all of his money and most of his self-control, but she’s worth it. He joins her as a slave forced to fight for his life without hesitation.

His wife is a deadly warrior, so it’s too bad she doesn’t know him. Memory stripped and struggling to survive she has no interest in the fool claiming to be her husband. He’s just another target standing between her and freedom, but not for long. She’ll take down anything and anyone in her way.

Can the gladiator live long enough to win his wife’s love? Unlikely. It’s the end of the season and the final day of fighting. They’re about to enter the Carnival of Death which leaves only a single survivor.

One of them must die.

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A Beginning

I want to tell you my story—or at least my part in a much larger story. It may seem sad, but like all of us, this story is a work in progress.

                                                                                           The Old Man’s Journal

 

 

The man standing in darkness had no idea who he was. That realization hit like a fist in the gut—folding him forward to rest his hands on his thighs. His head ached and dizziness came with the movement, tipping him to one side.

His shoulder collected a cliff face. He let the rough rock hold him in place while his fingers explored the pain in his temple. He found a sticky mass cutting across his brow. It felt like a furrow that was damp in the middle, but dry and crusted around the edge. When he lowered his hand to inspect his fingertips, they looked dark in the low light.

It took him a long slow minute to realize they were wet with blood. His blood.

The man sucked in a breath. He was shocked to be hurt, but not surprised. The wound explained his amnesia, although little more. Was he a fighter? A criminal? Someone who courted danger, or an innocent who’d suffered an unprovoked attack? More importantly, was he still at risk?

A careful step let him turn to brace his back against the wall.

Sweat coated his bare skin and he tasted bile when he tipped his head back to rest it against the cool rock face.

The stars above were strange.

He took a long breath and held it until his panic settled.

The confusion still made him dizzy, but he ignored it to look around, gathering information. It was night-time, with no sign of dawn or dusk on the horizon. His fingers drifted carefully across the cliff supporting him until they found a straight line of something more brittle than rock. It flaked away under his touch, and he realized it was mortar. He was leaning against a wall made of massive blocks.

They scraped the man’s bare shoulders, and he was suddenly aware of the chill night air against his uncovered skin. He looked down and was relieved to find he wasn’t naked. He was wearing a leather vest with a cloak thrown back over bare shoulders, and trousers with reassuringly solid boots beneath.

There was a matching wall opposite, across a rough path. He was standing in an alley that felt more like a gully. It fell away to angle down toward a cluster of lights in the distance.

Where the hell am I? he wondered and shrugged. He was jumping ahead, but questions were like that. They tended to stack up quickly. He needed to start at the bottom of the pile. He drew a deep breath, and his voice was surprisingly steady. “Who the hell am I?”

“Your gene tag identifies you as a gladiator. You are seeking work in the arena on the slave-trading planet Vertigo,” a warm female voice said beside him.

Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Authors

Casey Lea is the pen name for a mother and daughter creative duo, dedicated to sharing their passion for all things sci-fi and fantastical.

A doting grandmother with too much time on her hands took the opportunity to put pen to paper.  Her older daughter kindly placed the resulting scribblings in one of those new-fangled so-called “computing machines” and a writing partnership was born.

The Lea (pronounced Lee) half of Casey Lea now spends her days wrestling with words and her memory while reading aloud to any cat careless enough to settle nearby. Daughter Casey edits the results while wrangling her adorable offspring.

After a decade on the rollercoaster ride of indie publishing their shared passion for epic love and grand adventure, spiced with advanced tech and ancient magic, remains undimmed.

 

You can find us at:

Sci-fi Fantasy Authors / Caseyleabooks.com
Casey Lea | Facebook
 Casey Lea (@CaseyLeaBooks) / Twitter

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Seekers: The Winds of Change by Troy Knowlton (Book Review)

After an assassination attempt that could lead to an all-out war, Tyras and Oren, two young Seekers of the Argan Empire, are each given secret missions in an attempt to thwart the coming chaos. Both tasks require the Seekers to venture through the war-torn continent of Tiarna where the young men face mortal danger, horrible monsters, and hostile groups – all challenges Seekers are trained to combat. Luckily, the two Seekers also find guidance, friendship, and romance along the way. However, powerful and mysterious forces are conspiring behind the scenes and both Tyras and Oren will have to overcome a host of obstacles, including their own inner demons, in order to maintain a glimmer of hope for success. With war imminent and the unknown ahead, will the Seekers triumph, or will they be swallowed by the turbulent, relentless Winds of Change?

Set in a new, masterfully created high fantasy world, Seekers: The Winds of Change is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faisal.

 

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The Winds of Change by Troy Knowlton is advertised as a teen and YA fantasy book, but I think many adults will find this an exhilarating read. It did not lack action sequences. Various weaponry was used in battle: swords, arrows, cannons, bombs, and spears. Tyras and his fellow travelers faced dangers from humans, but they also had to face off against creatures. While the giant lizard (Widower) and scorpions (Barbarians’ mode of transportation in battle) would be frightening to encounter, I found the guglanni terrified me the most. They can eat through metal cages. Imagine what these oversized worms could do to a human bone. They are the stuff of nightmares! Plus, worms are just gross. 

This story did have life-and-death situations and multiple losses, but it also has romance. The scenes are not graphic, but I would suggest a parent read this book first to ensure their child won’t have an issue with the more intimate settings. As I stated in my opening sentence, this book is written with YA and teens in mind, but every child’s comfort zone is different. 

I know this book is a fantasy book, but I did have an issue with how the aftereffects of altercations were handled. For the most part, people got over severe injuries rather swiftly. I wouldn’t like to see the injuries restrict their ability to perform at their peak in the next battle. The pace of the book also seemed to have one speed. It was one life-and-death encounter after another, which is fine if that’s what you like. 

If you like fantasy books with a hint of romance, action, strong female characters, and quick-paced with surprising plot twists, please consider picking up The Winds of Change by Troy Knowlton! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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About the Author

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Troy Knowlton always had a burning desire to tell stories. He started at a young age by drawing maps of made-up continents and fantasy kingdoms. The empty kingdoms beckoned to be given life, and his work eventually blossomed, leading him to create full narratives and characters for his worlds. He currently lives in California where he works as an X-Ray technologist and teacher when he isn’t writing. He’s also a great lover of history, currently working to earn his bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science.

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