Tag Archives: revenge

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

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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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The Broken Darkness by Theresa A Braun (Book Review)

In her debut collection, Theresa Braun explores the inner workings of the human heart and what it is we most desire-forgiveness, acceptance, love, fame, or merely to escape who we really are. Whether we are battling ghosts, demons, mythical monsters, the past, or other dimensions, we are really facing the deepest parts of ourselves. These thirteen tales of horror and dark fantasy may appear to be a matter of good versus evil, but they are all a reflection of the hidden corners of the soul that are often shades of broken darkness. The characters in these stories must face their inner and outer terrors, or else suffer the consequences.

“Dead over Heels”
“Collecting Empties”
“The Celestial Assignment”
“Guilty As Cell”
“Lost Time”
“Legend Trippers”
“Dying for an Invitation”
“Stay Tuned”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps

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


Before I began the horror anthology, I noticed that I’d read and reviewed about half of them in the past. I will briefly summarize a few before pushing forward with the new reads. 

“Dead over Heels” – As a fan of science fiction/paranormal shows, I love storylines that tap into the unknown. In “Dead over Heels,” we watch as the past meets the present in the forms of spirits reliving traumatic moments, aka their deaths by the same murderer.

As you can imagine, the living playing unwilling bystanders to this horrific scene is one thing — the victims being someone near and dear to their heart is another matter entirely. It amplifies the experience 1000%. 

For fans of the ghosts/spirits, I assure you this ending was perfection. It wasn’t your typical ending to a ghostly tale, and I like my plot twists.

“Stillborn” combined science fiction, mystery, suspense, gore, and shock. I didn’t want the story to end! 

“Legend Trippers” had gore, blood, and moments where I was happy I wasn’t reading this short story after sundown.


There were six short stories in the horror collection that I hadn’t read in the past: “Collecting Empties,” “Guilty As Cell,” “Lost Time,” “Heathen,” “Stay Tunes,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Half of those scored five stars because they each possessed unique qualities that had me cringing, contained a fascinating turn of events, or possessed a plot that stood out from other stories in the horror genre.

“Stay Tuned” had vigilante justice served that would make the most vial and evil psychopath stand up, clap, and say, “Well done.” 

“Guilty As Cell” had me giving my cell the side-eye. It had a vengeful spirit, a possessed cell phone, and an ending that might be a trigger scene for some readers. Not the ghost, but, heck, maybe that too. Who am I to know who believes in the supernatural world and who might’ve seen a less-than-friendly spirit? 

I thought I knew the path “Heathen” was taking, and then Theresa wrote an enlightening scene that changed everything. I love Theresa’s plot twists!


Theresa’s works have always impressed me. She thinks outside the horror box and always leaves me wanting more. 

I recommend you pick up this collection! 


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

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Meet the Author

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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Ferryman (Creepy Creations) by T.B. Phillips (Book Review)

A coastal town faces dark magic in this spine-crawling thriller by T.B. Phillips!

Here is a gripping novel blending historical fiction, set in the New England town of Newport, Rhode Island. In 1695, this haven for pirates boasted names like the notorious Thomas Tew and William Mays, each among the wealthiest pirates in history. Taking place not long after the Salem Witch Trials, witches were abundant in the colony as well, and dark magic had made its way up from the West Indies via Africa.

As a coven hides its rituals beneath a rocky shore, Curtis Charles, a young man terrified of the sea, stumbles upon family secrets. Swept into a tempest of betrayal, lies, and schemes, the fabric of his world rips apart while pirates and witches compete over a sinister treasure. Their greed will be judged when the Ferryman comes…

A full length-novel adaptation of the Ferryman Tales comic series created by Chris Hays and McLain McGuire.

Written by T.B. Phillips, Master Storyteller of Pirates, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.

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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.


Ferryman (Creepy Creations) by T. B. Phillips is based on the Ferryman Tales comic series created by Chris Hays and McLain McGuire. I haven’t read their comic series, but after reading this book, I want to. 

First off, the cover was sensational. It was spooky and mysterious, sparked fear, and the Ferryman’s eyes were mesmerizing. I could see a person becoming lost in them while their body trembled in fear over his arrival. When the transporter of the dead comes for you, you best be prepared to answer his riddle or your dues. Those who can’t pay are cursed to drown for 100 years. Not a fate I would want to live.

Many characters in the Ferryman (Creepy Creations) faced judgment day, and they had to answer for their sins. Greed and power were the roots of evil expressed. This story hammers home the point of not letting greed corrupt your soul.

Besides the hypnotic cover, the story had other elements that kept me engrossed to the ending credits. First, the story’s broken up into parts that contain different points of view from key characters such as Curtis Charles, Mary Griggs, and Captain Thomas Tew. Scenes were replayed but viewed through their eyes. We got to witness how they interpreted the events and who caused the train of events that would bring about the arrival of the Ferryman. Curtis’s POV was filled with unimaginable pain and unthinkable sights. Mary’s scenes were the most horrifying, in my opinion. She saw things of pure horrors and ghostly figures. Visions that would drive anyone insane and did. 

I hope a movie studio discovers the Ferryman (Creepy Creations) and works its cinematic magic to bring it to life. If they do, I will be there on opening night! 

If your reading tastes center on mythology, witchcraft, dark magic, or the paranormal, you must read Ferryman (Creepy Creations). It’ll hook you from the “Prologue,” where the Drake sinks, to the ending scenes when the Ferryman delivers the souls to their final destination. 


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

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Meet the Author

T.B. Phillips debuted in 2019 with his award winning series Dreamers of Andalon, a cautionary science fantasy set in the age of sail. He is a former sailor and educator, teaching English and History before becoming a public school administrator. He resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Mara’s Awakening: The Mara Files (Book One) by Leo Flynn (Book Review)

The first in an explosive science fiction series of short stories, this is an action-packed and addictive book from an emerging author.


Mara Keres. A trained warrior and formerly highly respected peacekeeper.

Note “formerly.”

Once, she had her life under control. Once, she had the trust of the galaxy.

Now she rots in the same prison she used to sentence people to. Solitary confinement for six years. Would’ve brought anyone else to their knees.

Not her.

Then an offer resurfaces, almost too good to be true. Ghosts of her past and demons come back to haunt her, will she ever make it out alive?

Sometimes, facing your worst memories is worth the risk.


Featuring a badass anti-hero, secrets, betrayals, twists and turns, this gripping story will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more.

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


While the writing was a bit choppy, overall, it was a nice start to a series. There was suspense, action, deception, revenge, and a prison break. Oh, and I mustn’t forget there was a wicked cool weapon — Skyfall Swordbow. As you probably surmised, it’s a weapon used as a sword or a crossbow. That weapon wasn’t the only tool at Mara’s disposal. She also could fire bolts from her hands.

She’s a lethal weapon, one that used to be on the side of justice before wrongfully incarcerated. I look forward to reading what trouble awaits her while she’s on the run. And, I hope to see more backstory on Mara and other key characters. 


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

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Book Two

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Leo Flynn writes poetry & gripping, action-packed SciFi, like The Mara Files, his debut, an exciting science fiction short story series. Other galaxies, reading, talking too much about writing and music consume his waking hours.



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