Tag Archives: souls

Come One, Come All by E. Gilliland (Book Review)

The Pied Piper Circus lures in the lost, the lonely, people who wish to be stronger or faster or prettier…but once you join, you can never leave. 

Louisa knows the dangers of the traveling carnival, but she cannot afford to stay away. Not if she wants to get rid of the white owl that’s been haunting her, invading her dreams. Not if she wants to know about the dark, sinister mark in her eyes that convinces people to follow her every whim, no matter how terrible. Not when she fears what she might do with that power.

Ringmaster Amos Cain has the answers Louisa seeks, but like everything else in the Pied Piper Circus, they won’t come without a price. And there’s something hungry living in the heart of the carnival that will never be satiated, no matter how many lost souls She consumes.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Years and years ago, I grew up in a tiny town. Every fourth of July weekend, a carnival would be set up less than a block from my house. During the day, the carnival didn’t look scary. At night, I had the opposite feeling regarding the place. I’m sure the carnie workers were friendly enough, but at night, I was afraid of them and who might grab me on the way back to my house. This story made me remember all those uneasy feelings from years past. 

The Pied Piper Circus had an acrobat, clown, a strong man, and a tiger that entertained the visitors. The circus also housed a very dark secret – a monster that feasted on the souls of the lost and lonely. When hunger struck or anger boiled over, the monster, referred to as “Lady,” would peel the skin off her victim’s flesh. She was the stuff of nightmares! 

Amos was the circus’s ringmaster, but he also helped corral the Lady when she awoke. It was no easy task keeping the Lady pleased; she was a jealous and heartless beast. 

The book’s summary was an attention-grabber. The cover and title are perfect! The story itself left me with mixed feelings. The story’s plot was unique. However, the first half often gave off a sequel vibe. For instance: It was written as if I should know who certain characters are, their past interactions, and why they behaved or reacted in certain ways. I looked up the book to verify this was not a sequel in a series. 

Since this book is labeled “horror,” I craved more Lady feasting scenes. Her hunger wasn’t capitalized on enough to make this a typical horror book. This story was more supernatural in nature. 

I was pleasantly surprised who came out of nowhere to help Louisa when we saw Lady’s anger unleashed. I thought they were gone forever. (No spoilers.)

With the superbly written book summary, I was ready to be blown away by the contents. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. It felt incomplete. Even though I had mixed feelings regarding the story, I recommend you read it. It was a nice supernatural read, and the ending opened it for a sequel. 

 

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

 

 

About the Author

Writer Elizabeth Gilliland was photographed in Mobile, Alabama.

Elizabeth Gilliland mostly believes in ghosts and other supernatural spooks, but she has a standing agreement with them to keep a respectful distance. When she isn’t writing, she is most likely sneaking classic Gothic novels into her class curriculum, or arguing why we need to value adaptations as art. She is also the author of the Austen University Mysteries, and she lives in Alabama with her husband and son.

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Jack Gregson & the Stolen Sons by Peter Wilson (Book Review)

JACK GREGSON AND THE STOLEN SONS by Peter Wilson

 
Dark Mystery
Ancient Prophecy
Family Secrets

When a loud, incessant knocking disturbs the peace at Gregson Manor, David and Rosie once again travel through the mysterious portal, where they encounter darkness, chaos and impossible impossibilities.

Only by fulfilling an ancient prophecy and uniting unlikely allies can they save parallel universes.

A dormant sun awaiting new dawn,
Two stolen sons their mothers mourn.
One will wake from whence they laid,
The other repeats a mistake once made.

​Who are the sons?   

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Jack Gregson & the Stolen Sons by Peter Wilson had more suspense, mystery, surprises, and bombshells than Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal. It also had more humor, thanks to pixie dust. I like Jarl, the sparkling golden pixie. While she might’ve not been the brightest bulb, she was fun to watch in action. She reminded me of Tinkerbell, except Tinks never turned herself into a frog. 
 
This story also had more family drama and unveiled another traitor. The traitor will play a major role in the next book, which I’m looking forward to reading! 


As with the first book in the series, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal, there is oodles of magic. Colors play a significant role in the magic scenes. If you’re a teacher, this would be an excellent opportunity to discuss symbolism with your students. 


As I stated earlier, there are many humorous scenes in the story. One fight scene made me smile because David was wielding the unlikeliest weapon. Oh, I wish I could tell you what it was, BUT I want to leave you guessing. I can see kids laughing at it, though! I did give a slight chuckle. 


On a final note: I didn’t think Peter Wilson could make the punkey any weirder, but he did. I’m curious how the mutant will evolve in the next book. 
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson is an award-winning writer based in Sydney, Australia. His first novel, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal has won awards internationally, in both the USA and United Kingdom, and has quickly become a favourite with young readers. Peter’s second book in his trilogy series, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Sons, is set for release in 2021. In addition to children’s and young adult content, Peter is also interested in writing for the adult market and is currently working on a crime thriller set in his home city, Sydney.

 
connect with the author: 
website twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram goodreads

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Peel Back and See by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.

From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn. Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.

 

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

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

 

Peel Back and See is a collection of sixteen (16) short stories that are heavy on unforgettable encounters with hungry creatures, blood and gore, fear, Satan, and (weirdly enough) sexual arousal. 

Some stories stuck with me more than others. Below are my top five (5). 

1.) Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests: Everyone knows you don’t try to double-cross Satan. I mean, come on, don’t even try. Deals with him are also a bad idea. Seriously, the worst possible choice a person can make. If you believe in the devil, demons, and hell, say NO to anything offered. Period!

2.) @GorgoYama2013: We’re raised to know you NEVER go into a stranger’s car. Horror movies have ingrained in us to NEVER go into a strange basement, especially alone. Victor broke all the rules. What he met could best be described as a horrific version of Krang (the brain) from TMNT. If you don’t know who I am talking about, look him up! 

3.) Vomitus Bacchanalius: Okay, people are vomiting. Aliens are eating the regurgitated food. There are goo-faced men. Ugh, this story was gross, BUT good! I loved the nod to Gordon Ramsay too. 🙂

4.) The Furnace Room Mutant: This story stood out more because you’d think an unnatural being would be the monster in the story. I like it when authors step out from the paranormal norm. 🙂

5.) Havoc: This was the first story in the collection, and it made me close my laptop and take one giant step back from it. Read the story, and you’ll understand why. There was only one part I wasn’t too keen on — a flashback scene between student and teacher. I don’t want to divulge too much, but it made my score drop from a five to a four. (for this story only, not the overall score of the anthology)

 

 In Peel Back and See, thirteen of the sixteen stories scored three and above. That’s impressive! I encourage others to read the collection and see which story has you cowering under the covers. 


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

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

 

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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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