Tag Archives: horror

Review of “Dying for an Invitation” – Theresa Braun

~~ Under 50 pages ~~

Dacie returns to Romania where she’s ready to coax her invisible childhood playmate to reveal himself to her. Tension and passion fire up between them. Dacie’s mother spouts cautionary advice regarding the supernatural; however, Dacie shirks the warning as nonsense born from local legends. A lost letter lands in Dacie’s hands, suggesting the powers of the undead might have a grip on the family lineage. When her mother dies, so do the answers. And, Dacie needs the comfort of her unseen companion more than ever…

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I truly believe vampires are not real. But, what if they are? What if they watch us, biding their time until they make us one of them? What would you do to protect your home and your family?

Dacie grew up in Bran Village (Transylvania). There, people absolutely believed you must be careful of the strigoi (vampires). That’s why they took extreme measures to make sure the dead stay dead.

Theresa wrote about the staking of the heart, burying them face down and burning the deceased. What she added and what I never heard before was mixing their ashes with holy water and then drinking the concoction. I guess if it works and I was a believer I would say bottoms up.

She also wrote about the importance of garlic, thorns along a home’s threshold, and how easily a vampire can seduce their victim. As for Dacie, her fate was set years before she returned to Bran and came face to face with her invisible, childhood playmate.

While Dacie was attempting to figure out the past, Theresa gave us a history lesson regarding Vlad Tepes. It was a most interesting tale and proved very important to Dacie’s fate and the fate of others.

Like I said, I am not a believer in vampires BUT I have no plans to visit Romania/Transylvania just in case I’m wrong and the fanged monsters are really there waiting for me like one waited for Dacie.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤1/2 

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Review of “Earth Sucks: the Fringeants” – Heather Chambers

It’s the apocalypse.
And Feng has a knack for pissing people off.
There are certain things you come to accept when Earth comes closer to its expiry date, like being invaded by bloodthirsty creatures you didn’t even know existed. 
He just wanted to find his family. Now he’s being hunted.
With the love of his life dead, his family missing and every surviving human on the run, Feng is feeling a bit grouchy.
The death, he expected. Her? Not so much.
Meet Diem, an adorable alien healer with boundless curiosity and a glowing crimson mouth. She grew up on stories of Humans but never thought she’d meet one. Now that the opportunity has surfaced, she wishes she never did.
Something far more sinister is at play.
The mystery surrounding the fate of the disappearing humans is not all that it seems. What Feng and Diem discover will change everything. For both sides of the war. 
But will it allow them to get out alive?

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

This story, overall, contained a lot of information. We learned why the Fringeants were here on Earth, why they hated us, the purpose of their body’s light, the significance of the light’s color, and the lengths they’d go to protect their people. It was almost overwhelming keeping up with everything in the book.  

However, despite the overload of information, I will say Heather Chambers (the author) created very unique aliens. They could change their appearance with a pill, attend markets to trade goods, and they also sought out a soul mate. They were like us, fighting to survive. And, like us, they weren’t all bad.

Diem, Fringeant healer, didn’t like violence. She assisted a human (Feng) on more than one occasion and she seemed lonely. She just wanted to be accepted, like many Earth dwellers do. I liked her, even when she hit Feng with books and a frying pan. In her defense, she was scared and trying to defend herself.

The first 200 pages did point out how the Earth was drastically altered from how we see it today in real life. Heather pointed out what could happen if we don’t protect our planet: acid rain, undrinkable water, mutant plants and animals, cities in ruins and the list went on. I’m not sure if Heather actually believes in aliens BUT I do believe she was emphasizing the importance of taking care of Earth before if becomes uninhabitable. I agree, we should protect and preserve our planet for many generations to come.

 

The next 200+ pages……. 

 

We pick up right after Drachn (Fringeant) shocks the hell out of Feng with a startling and almost unbelievable revelation. The second half of the story also revs up the torture into submission scenes. The Fringeants use water torture, whips, remove body parts, pour hydrochloric acid down throats, and use room 191 to have the humans face their upmost fears and painful memories.  

Of course, the Humans fought back. No animal wants to be caged up.

The population of Earth has dwindled down to almost nothing but the final page was a sign of hope.

Before you purchase Earth Sucks: the Fringeants, I must warn you there are some intense exchanges between the Fringeants and the Terrants (humans). However, Heather did add humor and tender, loving moments here and there. I grinned when Feng was teasing Diem about reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The Sun and the Moon story was very romantic. And, I smiled every time Feng called a fellow prisoner Mr. Rogers.

In a world where there was no reason to laugh, Heather Chambers gave the characters and me a reason to smile.

Recommend: Yes!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Heather Chambers is a 19-year-old Canadian writer with a knack for exasperating English teachers and dreaming up the macabre. Sarcasm and horror have been her splash-pad since she first learned to write. She brings a keen awareness that one only has to look outside to see it resides not only in fiction. However, some people have closed the curtains. Her debut novel, Earth Sucks , brings teen characters and What Ifs to life for Gen Z readers who want their own writers to throw a wet cat on those blinds. 

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Review of “Tainted Luck” – Cynthia Austin

Levi Kast was content living his life in the shadows. He didn’t want much, just his dad’s attention and the girl of his dreams to notice his existence.

Instead, he got more than he had bargained for.

Taylor James was the new student at Kennedy High. She was eccentric, impulsive, Gothic and…dark.

She always got what she wanted, and she decided instantly that she wanted Levi Kast. He became her obsession.

Despite Levi’s initial response to retreat from her other world presence, he was eventually drawn to this girl and her obsession of death and ghosts.

But Taylor had skeletons in her closest, including a dead boyfriend, and before Levi could understand them, he found himself her next victim.

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

In Tainted Luck, Levi Kast dealt with problems associated with teenage life: dating, insecurities, and parental issues. He, unlike other teens, also had to deal with paranormal situations: spiritual body swaps and spirits.

This story did have some creepy moments in it and a few moments that will make your skin crawl, especially the maggot scene.

It also touched upon a sensitive subject matter… teen suicide.

It’s difficult raising a child because you wonder what going on in your kid’s head. I can’t imagine the mental and emotional toil raising Taylor James had on her parents. She had powers, thoughts and intentions that would be difficult for any caregiver to process. I can understand why her mother, teacher, and classmates were leery/afraid of her. Trust me, you’ll understand why once you read the book.

Tainted Luck is a book worth reading. Whether you believe in paranormal/supernatural world or not, certain sections might freak you out. It sure did me.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Cynthia Austin is a multi-published author who lives in Northern California with her husband, two boys, and Olde English Bulldogge named Count Dogula. They love all things horror, gothic, and Victorian which prompts her friends to dub them as “The Adams Family.”

She is an avid reader who may be slightly obsessed with music. She hears music in a way that she believes the artist intended it to be heard: visually, with a storyline that follows. Listening to the songs by her favorite artists, she was inspired to write her first series titled “The Pendant.”

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Author Showcase – Jim Proctor (In Azure Dreams)

Delve into six stories from the paranormal realm…

Caveat Emptor (story one): Mark buys a house for half the market value. He’s thrilled with the deal, but he has no idea he’s about to discover the full cost. As they say, “Let the buyer beware.”

The Meaning of Life (story two):  Eric obsesses over discovering the meaning of life. Given how thick-headed and self-absorbed he is, it will take someone else to spell it out for him in big, bold letters.

In the Sand Beneath the Dawn (story three):  Carly has just about given up on life, but she’ll learn Fate isn’t finished with her, and is shuffling the cards to deal her new hand.

See You in My Dreams (story four):  Arthur teeters between two places at once. Reality has split his existence into two parallel realities, and he doesn’t even know it. Unfortunately, life will only offer one solution to his problem.

Planet 94 (story five): Senja and Petre make the scientific discovery of a lifetime—a planet teeming with life. Among the ruins of a lost civilization, a new discovery will make them rethink everything they know about their own history.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving (story six):  Samantha works hard and makes just enough money to get by with little to spare. When her company has a big celebration and she needs to buy a gift for her boss, she’ll get a taste of buyer’s remorse when she ignores her instincts and buys a gift from a strange little shop that hadn’t been there only yesterday.

What you can’t see can hurt you.

 

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~~ Excerpt from Caveat Emptor, story one ~~

 

The alarm clock blared. Sunlight filtering through the window shades cast a sickly grey hue about the room. Three open moving boxes sat on the floor near the closet, their contents sorted into piles waiting to be moved to their appropriate places. Mark had moved in just four days ago.

The divorce had been bitter. His ex-wife got the house, the kids, and half of everything else. He got to pay the mortgage, alimony, and child support. He never would have been able to afford this place if it hadn’t been for the circumstances. Three previous owners, all young men, had died in this very bedroom. All had died in their sleep of unknown causes within days of moving in. Mark had laughed at the idea that the house was to blame. The first time he walked in, it had felt so welcoming, drawing him in. When he made a ridiculously low offer for the place, he’d been shocked when the bank accepted it without counter. Now, he lay motionless on the bed, beads of sweat glistening on his ashen face. Mark was dead. Number four. He wasn’t laughing any longer.

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Jim Proctor has been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy since high school, bitten by the Sci-Fi bug while reading Frank Herbert’s Dune. He has worked as an engineer and laboratory scientist for almost forty years, and uses his expertise to create believable frameworks for his science fiction stories. He is married with four kids, all adults now, who remind him he was born before dirt was invented. He enjoys sitting down with his laptop and his new writing partner, Bailey, a two-year-old yellow Labrador.

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Review of “Gaelan’s War” – Thaddeus McGrath

Book one of the Gaelan Kelly Trilogy

WHEN GAELAN KELLY RETURNS FROM WAR, physically and emotionally scarred, he tries to piece a normal life back together. But the horrors of war couldn’t prepare him for the terror he discovers, thrust into a world he never knew existed. Dealing with the trauma of combat and plagued by nightmares of a monster that shouldn’t exist, Gaelan finds himself embroiled in a battle to protect humanity even as he struggles to preserve his own. 

He fought a war of men. Now he fights a war for mankind. But Gaelan’s greatest war will be within.

 

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

Hunters love the thrill of the chase but what if the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted. In the introduction, a deer hunter finds himself in this very predicament. He suddenly understands the fear animals face in the wild and the pain of dying that follows. As I read the gory scene in “Hunting Grounds,” I knew this book was going to be highly descriptive in future encounters with various monsters. As a reader, I love when an author holds nothing back. In Gaelan’s War, Thaddeus McGrath pulled no punches in delivering many gruesome, finely detailed battle scenes.

Gaelan, a Marine, faced many horrors on the battlefield and more when he retuned home. In the Middle East, he watched many comrades die in battle. At home, he witnessed his parents savagely killed by a beast. At the time, he had no idea it was a werewolf or that he was about to become one. With the assistance of Father Denny and Master Oonishi, he had a second chance at life. Instead of dying, he trained to control his beast and fight the monsters feasting on mortals.

Every battle scene was exceptionally written. Gaelan’s most memorable supernatural fight scenes involved him battling a vampire, cobalus, and a pack of wolves.

Gaelan was no ordinary werewolf. He wasn’t a complete monster. He can do something extraordinary…. He can control the beast instead of the beast controlling him. 

No one can truly understand why and how Gaelan is different than other werewolves. Maybe he carried over some of the traits he had as a mortal man: strength, honor, loyalty, and compassion. He was a respected soldier; a man his fellow soldiers could rely on during battle. As a werewolf, nothing’s changed. He’s still a fierce warrior. 

I recommend anyone who loves supernatural/horror stories to read Gaelan’s War.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Thaddeus McGrath is a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter/attack pilot, a veteran of the War on Terror and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  He has loved writing since he was a boy. His debut novel, Gaelan’s War, was inspired by a desire to continue the discussion about PTSD, and a love of all things supernatural.  In his world, werewolves aren’t big dogs and vampires definitely don’t sparkle! He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, kids, and oversized dogs.

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