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Shelter for the Damned by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

 

While looking for a secret place to smoke cigarettes with his two best friends, troubled teenager Mark discovers a mysterious shack in a suburban field. Alienated from his parents and peers, Mark finds within the shack an escape greater than anything he has ever experienced.

But it isn’t long before the place begins revealing its strange, powerful sentience. And it wants something in exchange for the shelter it provides.

Shelter for the Damned is not only a scary, fast-paced horror novel, but also an unflinching study of suburban violence, masculine conditioning, and adolescent rage.

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

 

Holy smokes, this book was a challenging read. Scenes were written exceptionally well, in painstaking detail, which made me want to gag at times. 

If the monster/presence in the shack were real, it would scare the sh*t out of anyone who had the misfortune to encounter it. I don’t want to give too much away about it or its evil intentions, but its actions are vile, sickening, gut-churning, and a thousand more adjectives along those lines. 

If I could change/add to Shelter for the Damned, it would be answering a few questions. Why did the Shack want Mark? Did it sense Mark’s anger? Was Mark a psychopath? What made Mark such an angry/problematic teen? I think understanding his past more would’ve helped me understand his draw to the Shack and it to him.  

With or without the added details, Shelter for the Damned is twisted AF and not for the faint of heart. 

 

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

 

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Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Prairie Gothic. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

Connect with him on Twitter (@MikeThornWrites) or visit his website for more information: mikethornwrites.com.

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The Battle for Trimera: The Ruling Priestess Book 1 by Tanya SM Kennedy (Book Review)

To give in could mean the loss of everything she holds dear but resisting is tearing her apart.

All Pria wants is to protect her family, but as one of only two high priestesses in all of Reia, everyone has an opinion on her life. But as the stories reach her of the peril of Trimera, there is nothing she will not give to return to the only family she has left, her older brother Janu. Emotion is dangerous for a priestess, something she realizes all to keenly when she thinks about her brother’s friend Mian. 

From the day she was born, Mian knew he would die for Pria. But the woman that returns from the Lorien is a pale shadow of the fiery girl he remembers. Still scarred by the loss of his Prince’s advisor, the previous high priestess, he now has to watch his Pria face the same danger. But the more he tries to protect the high strung Pria, the angrier she gets. The only thing he knows for sure is that Trimera would not survive the loss of Pria; that he would not survive the loss of Pria. 

A mysterious being has gained control of the monstrous grinlo and every second that ticks by only serves to confirm that they are after Pria. With the Lorien watching her every move she can’t afford even the hint of weakness. But the longer she spends with Mian the more addled she finds her thoughts. How will she save Trimera when her very emotions could spell ruin?

The Battle for Trimera is the opening to the epic Ruling Priestess medieval fantasy series. If you like compelling characters, epic battles against savage monsters, and a gripping story, then you will love Tanya SM Kennedy’s tale of a priestess struggling against tradition to save her home. 

Pick up your copy of The Battle for Trimera and join the fight to save Trimera today!

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

 

At almost 600 pages, The Battle of Trimera is not only a beast in size, but the story is busting out the seams with blood-thirsty creatures. The grinlo are vicious beasts with sharp, black claws. Many men, women, and children have encountered them, yet survivors are few and far between. Ortid, one lone survivor, witnessed their wickedness firsthand. He stumbled up a very gruesome, gory, unforgettable, and stomach-turning scene. The grinlo’s leader, Neram, might be a man, but he was a monster just the same.  

As you are well aware, you can’t have a villain without a hero or heroes. There’re a check and balances in life, real or imaginary. In this scenario, multiple individuals band together to defend their land from the grinlo: Prince Janu, Lord Mian, Priestess Lana, Priestess Pria, Jaren, Liando, and various other soldiers. 

 

At three hundred page mark, Priestess Pria’s mind is troubled. She’s on the hunt for the person pulling the strings of the grinlo, and she’s trying to keep Mian at a safe distance. She wants to be seen as an adult, a powerful High Priestess; however, he makes her feel like a child again. Up to this point, if Pria looked closely, she would see he doesn’t –not entirely. His attraction to her is becoming more apparent for all to see. 

The sexual tension between Pria and Mian is growing with each page. 

 

The next 150 pages were quite active. There were nasty creatures, big and small, being a pain in the neck (literally and figuratively). Emotions also reached the boiling point, and, instead of throwing barbs at each other, Pria and Main let their true feelings show. No, they didn’t shag, but they had some steamy kisses.  

 

From page 450 until the endThe Battle of Trimera kept the same speed as the pages before it. The pace wasn’t too fast or slow. In actuality, Tanya (the author) balanced everything quite well. Overall, I felt she took ample time to develop characters, their relationship to each other, history, plot, etc. She had death scenes, but they weren’t overly detailed. Sure, they were gross but not horror movie gross (if that makes sense). Basically, what I’m saying, Tanya gave us enough visual stimuli to allow the reader to get the picture but not be overwhelmed.

There were some sections I wanted, craved more embellishment on, but I get why Tanya refrained. As I stated in my opening sentence, The Battle of Trimera was almost 600 pages long. 

To sum up, a great book and definitely worth the price tag attached!

 

 

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

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Tanya SM Kennedy was born in the wilds of West Virginia where she was raised to be strong, independent, and bull-headed. She spends her free time (any she can find) reading, writing, and taking care of her menagerie. She still lives in the wilds of West Virginia with her family enjoying the solitude.

 


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Author Tanya S.M. Kennedy (4 Book Showcase)

Series: The Terarch Rebellion (Book 1)

For fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series comes this medieval fantasy romance.

 

To save her people from slavery, Raivien must trust the very people who held her captive.

Raivien has never relied on anyone else; as a terarch, it is the only safety she has. But if she wants anything to change, she needs help and it comes from the most unlikely place: the very handler that captured her and the son of the man in charge of it all. Now if she could just get them to get along, she could focus on the upcoming battle.

Blerk was once the most promising terarch handler in Algar. Once, he had one of the most powerful terarchs the kingdom had ever seen. But he lost it all. One twist of fate and his life was balanced on a razor’s edge. But the closer he gets to Raivien the deeper his guilt grows. Faced with the true brutality he himself inflicted; he is determined to make amends. But one final mystery threatens to overwhelm everything he has worked so hard for.

For once in his life, Alden knows he is doing the right thing. He had looked aside so often when his father performed some heinous act or another. But no more. For his fallen sister, for the mysterious Raivien, he will make things right. Gathering his loyal men, he prepares to overthrow his own father.

Thrown together by fate, tested by fire, these three former enemies must risk everything.

Raivien had never sought out battle, but some things you can’t run from. With a vengeful king hunting them, a savage man out to capture her, and a flood of unaccustomed emotions threatening to overwhelm her, there is more than enough to keep her mind off the impending war and the inevitable deaths that comes with it. The only thing she is sure of is she can’t stand by while a monster sits on the throne of Algar.

The Terarch Rebellion is the opening to an epic fantasy romance series. If you like compelling characters, epic battles against oppression, and a gripping story, then you will love Tanya SM Kennedy’s tale of this feisty heroine’s battle for freedom.

Pick up your copy of The Terarch Rebellion and join the fight today!

 

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Series: The Terarch Rebellion (Book 2)

Raivien is back in the long anticipated second installment of The Terarch Rebellion.

Welcome to Algar where beloved King Alden has turned the kingdom from a symbol of fear to a safe-haven. With the aid of Raivien and Blerk, Algar has grown and prospered. But not everyone is pleased with the change as an unknown foe appears to have their sights set on the throne. With a warlord threatening their border, the mysterious Hawk hunting her every move, and even those she loves doubting her, how can Raivien keep her family from being torn apart? Mystery abounds and enemies are everywhere as we return to Algar where the fight for freedom is never over.

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(Stand Alone, not a part of  ‘The Terach Rebellion’ series)

Adjusting to this new world is impossible, returning to her old world means certain death.

Eylsa has an easy life; as long as she follows orders, she avoids punishment. But a poison is growing within her, stealing her sleep and twisting her thoughts, making a once easy job torturous. And it all started with nothing more than curiosity.

Brendan can’t imagine why his mentor Darius is trying so hard to rescue the very assassin sent to kill him. Everyone seems blinded by the girl’s youth but Brendan isn’t fooled. He can’t deny there is something about her that calls to him, but only a fool would trust a killer.

Assassin retraining did nothing to purge the deadly compassion from Eylsa’s mind. Every day is a constant battle to hide how broken she is. If anyone were to find out the weakness pulsing through her veins her life would be forfeit. When Darius reenters her life she knows she has no choice but to accept his offer of protection. At least imprisoned she might find peace. But what is she if she can no longer be what she was raised to be?

An Assassin’s Redemption is an urban fantasy about two worlds colliding. If you like compelling characters, bad-a** female antiheros, and an epic battle of struggling against evil then you will love Tanya SM Kennedy’s tale of one woman’s struggle for survival.

Pick up your copy of An Assassin’s Redemption and join the fight against the Trinity today!

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(The Ruling Priestess Book 1) 

To give in could mean the loss of everything she holds dear but resisting is tearing her apart.

All Pria wants is to protect her family, but as one of only two high priestesses in all of Reia, everyone has an opinion on her life. But as the stories reach her of the peril of Trimera, there is nothing she will not give to return to the only family she has left, her older brother Janu. Emotion is dangerous for a priestess, something she realizes all to keenly when she thinks about her brother’s friend Mian. 

From the day she was born, Mian knew he would die for Pria. But the woman that returns from the Lorien is a pale shadow of the fiery girl he remembers. Still scarred by the loss of his Prince’s advisor, the previous high priestess, he now has to watch his Pria face the same danger. But the more he tries to protect the high strung Pria, the angrier she gets. The only thing he knows for sure is that Trimera would not survive the loss of Pria; that he would not survive the loss of Pria. 

A mysterious being has gained control of the monstrous grinlo and every second that ticks by only serves to confirm that they are after Pria. With the Lorien watching her every move she can’t afford even the hint of weakness. But the longer she spends with Mian the more addled she finds her thoughts. How will she save Trimera when her very emotions could spell ruin?

The Battle for Trimera is the opening to the epic Ruling Priestess medieval fantasy series. If you like compelling characters, epic battles against savage monsters, and a gripping story, then you will love Tanya SM Kennedy’s tale of a priestess struggling against tradition to save her home. 

Pick up your copy of The Battle for Trimera and join the fight to save Trimera today!

 

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

Tanya SM Kennedy was born in the wilds of West Virginia where she was raised to be strong, independent, and bull-headed. She spends her free time (any she can find) reading, writing, and taking care of her menagerie. She still lives in the wilds of West Virginia with her family enjoying the solitude.

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Dead and Breakfast: Rewind or Die Book 11 by Gary Buller (Book Review)

When Eddie gets a flat in the middle of nowhere, the last thing on his mind is death. Then as darkness falls and the storm worsens, he’s forced to seek shelter alongside his significant other, Banksy. Big mistake.

Bed and Breakfast, the sign said, but there are no eggs and bacon on the menu here. Instead, their host serves up four tales of terror with a little murder on the side. And as the other residents of the mansion gradually reveal themselves, Eddie and Banksy begin to wonder if they’ll ever check out alive. 

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

 

Dead and Breakfast is a collection of 5 short stories, but they are not disjointed. I won’t say how Gary’s connects them, but I will say it’s twisted…morbid…and creepy AF! 

No matter if you are reading CordsThe Brace, The Weight of Nostalgiaor The Greyfriarsyou’ll discover something in each of these tales that’ll cause you to make the eww, grossed-out face. Case in point, in The Greyfriars, there were BIG, FAT MAGGOTS. I found them equally or more disturbing than the phantoms/ghosts/spirits. Yeah, I hate insects that much. 

Don’t get me started on all the various other haunting creatures… 

Without a doubt, Gary’s mind is as twisted as Stephen King’s. One day, I hope to see Gary’s workings brought to life on the big screen. Of course, I’ll be watching the movie through parted fingers. 


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

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Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partner Lisa, and his daughter Holly. He is a huge fan of all things macabre having grown up reading King and Koontz and loves a tale with a twist.

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Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3 – Six Authors, Twelve Chilling Stories (Anthology Review)

Brace yourself for another two-barrel blast of unrelenting horror and suspense. Volume 3 of the ‘Double Barrel Horror’ anthology series delivers two chilling tales from each of six talented authors for a twelve-story onslaught that will blow you out of your sneakers. This time around, your fate lies in the hands of Christine Morgan, Mark Matthews, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer, Glenn Rolfe, and Robert Essig.

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(review request submitted by Theresa Braun, contributing author, for an honest critique)

There are twelve stories in this gory anthology. I am going to share my favorite story from each author. 

 

I had no idea so many phrases had the word “eye” in it. Christine Morgan’s Eye See You discussed mentioned several. 

  • keeping an eye on you
  • look with your eyes, not your hands
  • eye spy with my little eye
  • eyes in the back of your head
  • eat with your eyes first

When a child hears these phrases, their minds might translate to a literal form. Maybe a child believes EYES are in the back of heads. If you step into their mindset, this phrase is creepy. That’s why I think many will find Eye See You disturbingIt makes you rethink and picture a not so pleasant scene. 

 

 

If you have a weak stomach, as in the mere mention of puke causes you to gag, then pass on From Unclean Spells by Robert Essig. There was so much vomit in this short story. I mean, you could slip- n-slide in the slimy stuff if you wanted to… not that I am suggesting you ever do so. I am just giving you a nasty visual of how much upchuck was involved. Oh yeah, there’s a grotesque monster in this tale as well. He made me wanna relieve myself of my breakfast foods as well. 

 

 

Wicked Smart Carnie by Mark Matthews solidified what my mother told me every year of my childhood when the carnival came to town… “Never trust a carnie. Never talk to a carnie. NEVER, EVER, go off with a carnie alone!” 

I’m sure carnies are lovely people, but they give off a creepy vibe to me. I’m assuming Mark Matthews (the author) has felt the creep vibe from them as well. 

 

Theresa Braun’s Stillborn had a great combination of science fiction, mystery, suspense, gore, and shock. I mean, first, she had body parts in jars. But, she topped herself when more jars were exposed. (no spoilers)

Mad scientist… Invasion of the Body Snatchers… I’m not sure what the heck is going on in that hospital, and I’m not sure if I want to know. Who am I kidding… I so want to know. I didn’t want the story to end! 

 

Calvin Demmer drew me in with Highway Hunger. His monster was a seven-foot squid/octopus with two large eyes that fed on dying animals or humans. Ok, that sounds good on paper. In-person, not so much. 

And the ending, wow, I DID NOT see that coming. I bet Dudley didn’t either. 

Oh and the rat scene… SHIVERS! 

 

 

When I was a child, there was an urban legend that a Cabbage Patch Doll came alive and suffocated a baby in her sleep. I immediately tossed all my big dolls in the trash. Even now, as I shop in stores, I give them the side-eye. I know it’s my imagination, but I swear them look a little too intently at me. Plus, they can blink their eyes. That’s creepy. 

Oh, and don’t get me started on the dolls that look, feel, and act like real babies. Those dolls are nightmare inducers! 

After reading The House on Mayflower by Glenn Rolfe, I have a new fear. I’d tell you, but I don’t want to ruin the story for others. 


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

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Morgan (Author), Mark Matthews (Author), Theresa Braun  (Author), Calvin Demmer  (Author), Glenn Rolfe (Author), Robert Essig (Author), Matthew Weber (Editor) 

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