Skylar Donaghue has no memory of the night her parents died. When the perfect career opportunity arises, she ignores her brother’s superstitious warnings, choosing to leave the Choctaw reservation where she grew up and return to the place of her birth…
Widowed and caring for his young daughter, relationships are the last thing on Jack Langham’s mind. A chance encounter finds him intrigued, then captivated by a beautiful, but mysterious, violet-eyed woman and before he realizes it, he’s falling faster than fate may ever allow…
Stephen Donaghue holds the key to that long ago night, but never speaks of it. Now that Skylar is being pulled into the past, he fears its ghosts will darken their future and claim his sister forever…
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Raven’s Glen elicited many emotions from me. Read on to discover which ones and why.
Curiosity:For a while, I pondered these questions… What was up with the house? What truly happened the night Stephen escaped with Skylar? Will Nancy elaborate on John Patrick’s fascination with the occult? What’s Molly’s background? How could she sense something was a miss with Jack’s house. What was up with the numerous encounters with the ravens? Did Stephen have a unique skill like Skylar?
Frustration:Several times, I wanted to shake some characters. I wanted Jack to realize that not everything was kosher with his daughter, girlfriend, neighbor, and house. I wanted Stephen to wake up and stop dragging his feet regarding Chloe.
Fear: For years, I have suffered from night terrors. No matter the age, they are frightening. I can’t imagine my bogeyman becoming real. I wouldn’t want to deal with a live version of Skylar and Avery’s monster either. Brief description: One side of his face was smashed in; the other was charred. An eye that appeared to be melting down his face. Gross, right?!
Love and Hope:Love was expressed throughout this story. Not always with words but with actions. Avery playing matchmaker for her dad. Avery trying to protect her dad and Skylar from the burnt man. Jack and Skylar finding themselves. Stephen finally realizing how important Chloe was to him. Jack sitting vigil against Sky’s bedside. Stephen taking a walk on the dark side. Even the ravens brought hope that evil would soon leave everyone’s life forever.
I want to end the review with my favorite line from Raven’s Glen. It occurred during a meeting between Jack, the Principal, and a bully’s parents. The father of the bully said, “Words cannot physically harm, but hitting can.” What Jack said next is the absolute truth.
(Jack) “Words can cause intense damage. It’s just not as easily seen with the naked eye.”
Recommend this book to others? YES!
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Nancy E. Polin began writing as a child and returned as a late bloomer to add experience and the occasional quirk to her work. She’s published four novels and several short pieces to date and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. Nancy shares her life with her husband, kids and critters, nestled within the towering firs of the Pacific Northwest.
Theresa Braun is offering not one… not two… but three stories for FREE until the end of the month.
So, make sure and grab the following stories while the offer lasts!
~~ Under 40 pages ~~
The story follows Veronica who lands a date with Sebastian. On their first meeting, they encounter the ghosts of their past that threaten to tear them apart. The couple decides to face the evil that stands between them–but will they make it out alive?
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…
After a sudden death, Will, a misguided angel, is tasked with protecting a baby girl. Watching over her as she grows up and navigates the world appears a harsh punishment for his past failings. Can he redeem himself, or will he fall further from grace?
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.
A normal day in the Deep South turns into a nightmare, as Chantal discovers that beauty and terror trace the fault lines between life and death. She fights to understand why a good woman, her friend Aida is stricken with a debilitating illness that steals her mind and reason. When Aida’s terrifying visions are revealed, what price does it have when it’s shared with Chantal?
Take a walk on the dark side, where existence is fragile and knowledge of the after-life can cross over and become frighteningly real and physically dangerous to anyone who knows the truth. Make it a summer to remember with a fantastic new story from Black Calyx Books!
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Dementia is a scary illness. It weakens the mind and body. People with the affliction are aware their time is limited, and there’s no cure. Loss of motor function, loss of memory, and hallucinations are just a few symptoms a person faces with this terrible illness. Again, it’s a sad and frightening illness.
Bibiana wrote about the fears and heartache of having Dementia from a sufferer’s point of view and a friend’s as well.
She focused a lot of time on hallucinations. Were the three people Aida saw real or the result of her disease? To avoid spoilers, I won’t say either way.
I will say this…
When you sense evil or death breathing down your neck, real or imaginary, it’s a real mind F—K. You can’t help but live in constant fear. And fear, as we discover, is like food for vile creatures.
After I finished this short story, I read the “Afterword.” In my opinion, I think Bibiana Krall should’ve put the “Author’s Note” before the actual story. Knowing this story was loosely based on real-life events increased my score. Before the “Afterword,” Troika was a solid three stars. After I read the “Author’s Note,” my score jumped a point.
Also, before the story began, Bibiana had an “Epilogue.” An epilogue goes at the end of a story.
Other than those two things, I wouldn’t have changed anything else. It was a quick, to the point, read and had just the right amount of spookiness to keep me engaged. No gore, only a story that embraced the word FEAR.
Bibiana Krall is the author of seventeen titles on Amazon, a former international travel expert and luxury insider, she has lived the adventurous life she writes about. Her novels and short stories highlight kickass, female protagonists in character driven stories that utilize social narratives.
Winner of a ‘Pay It Forward Scholarship’ from Wilkes University CW, Bibiana Krall has been called a, “Lyrical maven and literary wordsmith.” @Goodreads Learn more about Bibiana’s books, watch cinematic book trailers.
NOTE: A story which incorporates similar themes to major motion pictures such as these – JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARGATE, THE LOST CITY OF Z.
From the sworn oath of an ancient curse a cult rises. She is the ocean vast, its deadly rake, and primal power. Her first ones commune from across the great divide and make their new hive in the emptiness of men. A secret project, born from the ambitions of a young nobleman, transcends the passage of time and reaches through the veil of life and death for her reawakening. Deep beneath a mountain, inside a secure facility at the heart of a covert black op called Nexilexicon, a team of scientists, the military and the CIA are about to punch a hole through to another dimension. What could possibly go wrong?
What begins in the wilds of the Amazon jungle in 1847 culminates in a threat to mankind’s very existence.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
This story takes part in different time periods, so I’ve broken up my review into sections to discuss each area. Beware, there are spoilers!
The story begins with Sander van Straten embarking on a voyage. It’s not long before feelings of excitement turn to feelings of dread.
First, a mighty storm struck and they lost a young sailor.
Next, a swarm of insects descended on their ship and the crew had to hunker down below deck.
Then, there were the strange markings on the barrels and several stolen items.
Was the cook correct in saying this voyage was cursed? Even though I found Keith Anthony Baird (the author) long-winded at times, and the story seemed to teeter on the dull side, I was curious about the crew’s fate.
The crew’s trek through the Amazon jungle was quite adventurous, but I’d expect no less. They crossed paths with many exotic creatures, came face to face with a spider the size of a man’s head, and were ambushed by the natives. I wished they’d stayed in the jungle longer. I was thoroughly enjoying their time there, even though they weren’t at the least.
When they went back on the Eva, trouble again struck hard and fast. Rhames overtook their ship, and Eva’s crew members were held captive for two weeks, starved before released onto a small island. No drinkable water, no food, nothing but the clothes on their backs. The men turned into savages. They ate one of their own, had to if they wanted to survive. Sander couldn’t allow himself to partake of human flesh. I’m not sure I could’ve either.
Life on the sea was hard, but life on land was no picnic either.
Chapters 9 -11
We jump forward in time to 1964. For over a century, Eva’s treasure has been lost to the sea but no longer. Wreck hunters have found the bounty and, with it, the curse that accompanies it. These chapters were laced with mystery, intrigue, suspense, death, and left me wondering what the hell was going on.
It’s 1973, and an international team has been in the Al-Hajar Mountains for five weeks. Five weeks before the discovery of a chamber’s entrance. What they did find there is an archaeologist’s wet dream: mummified creatures, crystals, and a civilization that thrived and appeared highly evolved and intelligent. Unfortunately, their good fortune didn’t last long. Nobody’s luck remains good for long in this story.
Chapters 13 – 15
2012 – Project Nexilexicon was underway, and things were finally getting really good. Using DNA discovered at a dig site 40 years ago, scientists have reanimated/resurrected the creature Sander van Straten saw during his time in the Amazon jungle. The animals had six limbs, around 650 pounds, and had a presumed bite force that would resemble a crocodile’s.
I knew these creatures would escape their enclosure, but I didn’t realize how they would. They were extremely organized and intelligent in their escape. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll be amazed by what these creatures could and did accomplish.
Humans versus beasts… I knew it would be a bloodbath, and I was right. Keith Anthony Baird had the creatures biting heads off and separating limbs from bodies. Soldiers did everything to stop them, even sacrificing themselves for the civilians.
This set of chapters were my favorite out of the entire book. I actually could’ve used more action like this. In my opinion, I would’ve edited out much of the beginning time spent in 1847 and devoted more paragraphs to Project Nexilexicon. What the scientists and government were doing underneath a Nevada mountain range was the only reason why my score became a solid three stars.
The first eight chapters were mostly bland. Chapters 9-11 were okay. Chapter twelve had great potential but fell flat overall. However, Chapter 13-15 had me on the edge of my seat! I also enjoyed the epilogue because Keith ended with a nice twist. It’ll make you wonder what’s going to happen next for Project Nexilexicon.
Keith Anthony Baird lives in rural Cumbria, England, with his partner Ann, a mad spaniel, two cats and two goldfish. He’s also inherited two daughters and a grandson. He’s had a varied career, having been a journalist for ten years, and also a designer and a retail manager in his time. The Jesus Man is his first novel, written throughout 2016 and based on an idea he devised just under thirty years ago.
Inspired by such luminaries as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. G. Wells, his aim has been to deliver stories in a classic vein, but with a contemporary slant in both style and content. He aims to remain entirely independent, producing his works his own way, without interference from traditional publishing houses.
In his spare time, he and Ann indulge their shared love of the mountains by scaling the many peaks of the inspirational Lake District National Park.
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.
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.
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.