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horror

The Colony – F. G. Cottam

The Colony (The Colony, #1)“It is, alas, chiefly the evil emotions that are able to leave their photographs on surrounding scenes and objects and whoever heard of a place haunted by a noble deed, or of beautiful and lovely ghosts revisiting the glimpses of the moon?” – Algernon H. Blackwood

“Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door of a cottage on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.” – Sir Walter Scott

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

 The island is known as “New Hope.” Hard. Unyielding. A tiny speck of rock in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, it was an odd place to begin a religious colony. Especially as a colony of crofters. And odder than that? Their religious leader simply walked away from his lucrative business as a slave ship captain known for his murderous treatment of the slaves in his hold, embracing a desperate sort of religious fervor incomprehensible to those who knew him.

But the colonists arrived, and for a while, they thrived through sheer hard work and determination. Until, that is, they simply vanished from the face of the earth. No bodies. No graves. Food still on plates with chairs pushed back, boots and shoes left at the door. Gone.

Fast forward to modern time. Alexander McIntyre is a media mogul, determined to prove that paper and print are not a lost art – that the internet will not destroy the business he loves. And Alexander McIntire has a secret. A secret, he hopes, that will help him to do so. Alexander’s pet private eye has found a snippet of film from the 1930’s. A snippet which may well help solve one of the foremost mysteries of a century ago. What really happened to the 150 settlers who landed on New Hope Island, only to disappear into the ether?

His sturdy band of specialists includes everything from virology and forensic archaeology to a lecturer on alien abductions. Throw in a well-respected medium and a Catholic exorcist, and surely the mystery will be solved after all these years. And, of course, McIntyre’s paper will be saved.

So, off the intrepid team sails, to a land not only cold and inhospitable, but very, very deadly.

“A God capable of creating the universe would not wish to be worshiped by man, says Captain Ballantyne. Vanity is a human failing. Why would an omnipotent being crave our fear or flattery or even be sincerely interested in our gratitude?”

I don’t often read horror, but the premise and setting of The Colony caught my attention. And of course, a good cover always helps. For some reason, this stark, black-and-white image kept drawing my eye until I had to see what it was about. And then I was hooked. And the story itself didn’t let me down. As bleak as the shores which it portrays, the story strips its characters bare, touching the worst, and yes, the best, in the human soul.

The second book is The Colony: Dark Resurrection.

Yes. Humans never learn.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? It needs a solid Scottish editor, but it is highly atmospheric and readable.

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Review: By Darkness Revealed by Kevin O. McLaughlin

12416486“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron

Recruit Ryan Blackwell’s father was determined that he not follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and used his power and lawyerly clout to make sure it didn’t happen. No West Point. No Valley Forge or Citadel. Ryan would, come hell or high water, bend to his father’s will. But there wasn’t much he could do about it when Ryan was recruited to Northshield University – the same military college his grandfather attended – with a full scholarship. No, Ryan simply packed a small bag and boarded a bus.

At first, Northshield was everything he expected. Reveille at oh’ dark thirty each morning. Grueling PT, strict regulations, and screaming Drill Sergeant Upper Classmen with quick tempers and a tendency to make life on campus utterly miserable if they wished. Just what he expected, just what he wanted from his experience as an ROTC college student.

But then? Things got bad. It started simply at first. Magical motes, like tiny bits of fairy dust, dive bombing him as he ran through a creek, attempting to stay ahead off the pack of his fellow freshmen out for a grueling PT run. But then the motes attacked, and one of his fellow classmen went down. And as much as Recruit Blackwell wanted to hide who he was, and what he could do, he couldn’t let his fellow freshman drown. So, he stepped in.

His secret laid bare to two of the upperclassmen, the story begins to grow and evolve into something horrific. For something is trapped on the grounds of Northshield University. And when a twisted recruit pulls part of the darkness out of its prison below ground, people begin to die in horrific ways. And though Ryan is just a freshman with a bit of magic and no training, it seems he is the only one with any sort of knowledge that might trap the darkness back into its prison – and ascertain that the true monstrosity trapped so very long ago isn’t released upon the world.

In a lot of ways, this could have been just some YA story of a young man gaining amazing magical powers and riding in to save the day. Luckily, it turned out to be a much better book than that. Ryan knows he isn’t strong, he isn’t trained or knowledgeable. But he is ready to go all out, to give his own life if necessary, to stop what is happening. He has a good heart, a good soul, and a strong link to the strength his grandfather displayed in the Second World War. He isn’t cocky, he doesn’t suddenly gain super powers. He is just a college freshman with a bit of talent, a will to learn, and some quirky abilities he has had to learn to control in order to keep himself sane – and make sure others think he is as well. Of course, on a campus where weird things happen, and two or three students a year die under ‘unusual’ circumstances, there are those who watch out for anyone who appears who seems a bit odd, a bit like they are there for less than your bog standard military school reasons. So Ryan finds a friend or two. But when push comes to shove? Yeah. It’s all pretty much on him.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from By Darkness Revealed. I just felt like something a bit magic, a bit horror, and this is the first thing that popped up on my reader that fit the bill. I dove in, and from the first page I was hooked. I added it to my collection from a ‘Freebie’ email (it is Free on Amazon) – probably because I liked the cover, to tell the truth – I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up from reading that it was a “coming of age” book – that isn’t my thing normally. But it kept me riveted from page one, so I am very glad I did. The only thing I can really fault it on is lack of backstory for Ryan – that would have helped me understand him more.

When the Tik-Tik Sings by Doug Lamoreaux

26031060“Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

On the banks of the Mississippi, the tiny town of Duncan, Iowa seems so very quiet. Historical Duncan, an oddball blend of shabby industrial plants and quirky, charming historical districts. But Duncan will never be the same. For in the darkness, the Tik-Tik bird sings.

Tik-tik, Tik-tik, tik, tik, tik . . .

The sweet birdsong of Hell.

It begins in the silence of the dawn, above the river, where Police Sergeant Erin Vanderjagt ends her early morning run. Tik-Tik. Tik-Tik. The flap of leathery wings, a monstrous shadow. And then, silence. Silence filled with terror. With pain. And with the cold assurance that nothing will ever be the same – in the worst, most horrific ways imaginable.

A house explodes, taking a neighborhood with it. Bodies begin to fall. And the only person who may hold all the answers is badly burned, locked in a hospital isolation ward – and apparently doesn’t even speak an understandable language. Aswan! Mennon! Gal! Tick tick! Tick tick!

When the Tik-Tik Sings is one of the more creative horror stories I have read. The story is chilling in its very inanity at points – simple sounds, shadows in the night. The beat of wings and the simple Tik-tik from the dark.

A police sergeant. A fireman. A simple man with the mentality of a seven-year-old and a gentle heart. And, an undying monster. Will it end? Or can it?

A story for campfires and dark nights, When the Tik-Tik Sings is the perfect shivery, bump in the night tale.

This is the first Doug Lamoreaux book I have read, and as much as I loved the story, I admit to being disturbed at how a book by an author nominated for the Rondo, Lord Ruthven, and Pushcart prizes, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Horror Society’s Igor Award for fiction, could feel comfortable publishing a book with the number of editorial errors I found doing a simple read, not even looking for them. It was disappointing.

“Edit your manuscript until your fingers bleed and you have memorized every last word. Then, when you are certain you are on the verge of insanity…edit one more time!”
― C.K. Webbhttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OLONWrH7r2g/TYpEDN52gRI/AAAAAAAAAuc/92CGocIWxps/s1600/Aswang_Final04.jpg

Review: A Cold War by Alan Russell #Bestof2015 #SuspenseThriller

“Nothing could be more heart rending than this mute and motionless dispair” – ― Émile Zola, Thérèse Raquin

“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Despair. Horrible, gut wrenching, soul destroying despair. Nina Granville’s life has become a hell on earth unlike any most ‘normal’ people could ever understand. Fear so deep her bones ache with it. Because Nina is a captive. A captive of a monster in a land where ice, snow, and death are balanced on the head of a pin. Where the wrong breath, the wrong move, can mean immediate, or long, drawn-out death.

Captured and held in the wilds of Alaska by a sadistic monster, Nina is doing everything she can to survive, but the brutality is nearly unbearable, the psychological terror breathtaking. Nina is, very literally, in hell. A frozen hell, buried in ice and snow. Repeatedly raped, beaten and terrorized, she has little reason to continue living.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run Cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGree.

The same poem. Over. And Over. And Over. The repetitive dirge, of a madman. No hope. No hope. . .

Until she finds Elese Martin. Or at least, Elese’s journal. Elise – the madman’s last victim. Elise suffered as Nina does now. The beatings. The rapes. The terror. Elise, who was held on for years. Who had, and lost, a child by the monster. Who made a plan.

Now, Nina needs to plan. To plan, to hope.

This book was, literally, heart wrenching. Alan Russell literally broke my heart with his writing. Nina’s pain, her struggle, was written so well I felt it. The story is incredibly well-written, well-paced and the characters and landscape feel so very real I could almost smell the smoke, the cold, the forests of Alaska. There are so many layers in the book, layers that I fell through as if through water, sinking into blackness.

It is an important story, an important book, with strength and depth. I can’t recommend it highly enough, but be ready to feel Nina’s and Elise’s pain, their desperation and despair. It is breathtaking, twisted, and amazing.

I received A Cold War from the publisher in an uncorrected proof. All thoughts are my own, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Strap in for the ride of your life.

Review: Abandon by Blake Crouch #Horror

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” – Dante Alighieri

“He, who had done more than any human being to draw her out of the caves of her secret, folded life, now threw her down into deeper recesses of fear and doubt. The fall was greater than she had ever known, because she had ventured so far into emotion and had abandoned herself to it.” ― Anaïs Nin

A day and a half. A few hours, cold and weary. Lost. Afraid.

“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” ― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Hell truly is dark. And it opens up in the mountains above Durango Colorado, in a ghost town forgotten for one hundred seven years. Abandon. Abandon all hope, for Abandon is the home of death. The home of the darkness which fills the human soul.

Twisting. Twisting.

Abandon was once a thriving gold mining town, filled with people, light and laughter. “The whores, the opium, the fun”, but hey, it was the gold rush, and everything goes. But then, the gold vein faded out, people wandered away. And by the time Christmas day of 1893 arrived, and only a small number of people remain.

Jocelyn Maddox, the barkeep and black widow, waiting for the snows to pass in the spring when she will be transported to Arizona to hang for her crimes. Ezekiel and Gloria Curtice, the local lawman and his wife. A preacher, a deputy, a few families. Abandon is dying. Dying.

Dead.

Now, six people return to Abandon. Scott Sawyer and Jerrod Spicer, mountain guides. Emmett and June Tozer, paranormal photographers. Lawrence Kendall, university professor and specialist on everything Abandon. And Abigail Foster, New Yorker, outdoor magazine journalist, and estranged daughter of Lawrence. They have climbed to 13,000 feet, then dropped 2,000 to the ghost town of Abandon. And then, they too begin to die.

Moving through the abandoned Abandon, you can almost see the town itself, in all its disintegration. Gasping in the thin, high-altitude air. The scent of firs and snow, the cordite scent of landslides. Dry rot and age. And then? Fear. Blood. Desperation. Death.

Blake Crouch is a master of edge-of-your-seat suspense. Horror on a human scale. Breathtaking terror so thick in the air the reader gasps, feeling the cold upon the skin, the terror deep in the heart and mind.

“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” ― Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

Enter at your own risk.

I received Abandon from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Published! Night Without Stars: Supergirls 2

Henrietta can choose when to remember and when to forget, when to feel, and when to let go. To survive, you must become.

 25460423After Jenn escapes the Pig’s house of horrors, she wanders the countryside with May, her dead sister’s ghost, until a rogue priest finds her and tucks her away in his uncle’s deserted cabin.

Jenn cares for Tina and Tony, children rescued from the sex trade. Together they find the peace she and May had always dreamed of. But her dark past catches up with her, and it has a helluva big knife.

She turns to the priest for help, but he has a dark past of his own, and even darker enemies. Together they have a decision to make. Fight or run?

“I’m just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children.
What words are there to describe what happened to me, what was done to me? Some call it ritual abuse, others call it organised abuse. There are those that call it satanic. I’ve heard all the phrases, not just in relation to me, but also with regard to those I work with and try to help. Do you know what I think? It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it doesn’t matter what label you put on it. It is abuse, pure and simple. It is adults abusing children. It is adults deciding – actually making a conscious decision, a conscious choices that what they want, what they convince themselves they need, is more important than anything else; certainly more important than the safety or feelings or sanity of a child.” – Laurie Matthew, Groomed: An Uncle Who Went Too Far, a Mother Who Didn’t Care, a Little Girl Who Waited for Justice


 

22742696October 31 of last year I reviewed Supergirls by Mav Skye. You can click the title to read the review.

At that time, I quoted the following:

Jason Michel, in Pulp Metal Magazine said of Mav Skye’s Supergirls: . . . (It) is grounded in the mundane reality of poverty, yet as it unfolds becomes an increasingly surreal and cinematic experience; as if Sam Peckinpah or Tarantino had directed the girls from Scooby Doo, who were all grown up and had taken some real bad life choices.

This second installment ramps up the surreal, cinematic experience to eleven, then breaks off the dial.

Can you handle the pain?  If you read and loved Supergirls, number two cranks up the story to 80’s GG Allin levels.
Prepare for the REAL, Baby!

A Short Review For A Rather Disappointing Anthology

22609311The title, “The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year” stands to reason. These are some of the best stories in both genres. For me, anthologies are the BEST. They give me not only the chance to enjoy works by familiar and well loved authors, but also to meet new authors whom I may come to love.

From magical realism to the just plain weird, this collection of stories is quite good.

The reason for the three stars? I would love to see more depth to Strahan’s stable. Many of these authors seem to show up every year. Also, why is there so much Horror?? This is supposed to be about SciFi and Fantasy – the horror stories seem much more fitting for a horror anthology.

Overall, the stories are good – but the overabundance of horror turned me off.
disappointed
I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

There Are SO Many Collections Out There!

Have you noticed how many book collections there are out there these days? Multiple authors get together and donate a story to a Limited Edition Book Bundle based upon a theme. I have several of these, and have found new authors to love in nearly every one, as well as new stories by authors I already know. Since today is the start of a new week, I thought I would toss some of the bundles out there for you. Some stories you will like in a collection, some you may not, but for the price, these are GREAT bargains! They range from .99 to FREEE! They are in no particular order, just as I come across them on my tablet. There are a lot of bundles out there – search Amazon for “Book Bundles for Kindle” or “Free Book Bundles for Kindle”. You can also search “Collections” and then search by genre. I am sure there are other ways to search, such as on Goodreads (“anthologies, collections” gained me 267 results while “series collections garnered 1904 results! Awesome… I am going to be hitting that list hard!).

23702709A Very Paranormal Holiday

.99 Cents!

There’s something supernatural lurking under the mistletoe this year. Get ready for a twist on the holiday season with paranormal tales from six fantasy authors (both Mark Henwick and J.C. Mells, two of my favorite authors, have stories here!)

Killer Confections: 8 Delectable Culinary 25045580Cozy Mystery Novels

.99 Cents!

A dash of murder, a dollop of intrigue, a little sugar, and plenty of spice create a tasty buffet served up by bestselling and award-winning mystery authors, Denise Dietz, Leighann Dobbs, Pamela DuMond, Harper Lin, Tamar Myers, Joanne Pence, Cindy Sample, and Connie Shelton. This culinary mystery bundle mixes lethal lunches, deadly dinners, poisonous pastries, and criminal cocktails into a scrumptious fare that you don’t want to miss. (And, of course, recipes included.)

 

The Dragon Writers Collection: A Fantasy and Science Fiction 23262719Bundle with Dragons and Elves, Wizards and Magic

Free!

Do you love to read about elves, dwarves, and dragons? Do you find the lure of magic mystery too enticing to resist? Do you crave stories of monstrous orcs and trolls vanquished by brave heroes?
Looking for fantasy with powerful female heroes, or villains? Beware of both!

24268834

Ultimate Undead Collection: The Zombie Apocalypse Best Sellers Boxed Set (10 Books)

.99 Cents for 10 books!

! Pump up your adrenaline with 10 heart-pounding tales from today’s top apocalyptic authors.

THE PARANORMAL THIRTEEN23387007

FREE!

Actually, 14 full length paranormal and urban fantasy novels featuring witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, Loki, time travel and more! 1.3 MILLION words! 3,500 PAGES!

 

23166727

Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

23627162

AND!

Stars & Empire 2: 10 More Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

Two collections, .99 Cents EACH!

 

23362716

A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-Pumping Mystery Thrillers Boxed Set

Free!

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish.

23456673

Shifters After Dark

.99 Cents
SM Reine – OF WINGS AND WOLVES (Review here)
Dannika Dark – SEVEN YEARS
Marie Hall – HOOD’S OBSESSION
Melissa F. Olson – BLOODSICK
Kate Danley – THE DARK OF TWILIGHT
Phoenix Sullivan – HEARTSONG

22500632The Old Kingdom Collection: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel

OK, so these are $34.99. I have read each of these, and they are Wonderful!!!! Garth Nix is a storytelling God…..

Review: Supergirls by Mav Skye

22742696I have seen beyond the bounds of infinity and drawn down daemons from the stars. . . . I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness. . . – H.P. Lovecraft – From Beyond, 16 November 1920

I realize that I live on the bubble of insanity. I feel the weight of human suffering, loneliness and despair on me all the time. It’s not getting easier; if anything, it’s always right on the edge of my skin. – Erwin McManus

As you step into Supergirls, you are transported. Transported to a world, a life, straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. A visit to Dante’s Inferno, a glimpse into the minds of the damned. Brutal. Savage. An acid trip into Naraka, tortured by Yama, denied the relief of rebirth.

Jason Michel, in Pulp Metal Magazine said of Mav Skye’s Supergirls: . . . (It) is grounded in the mundane reality of poverty, yet as it unfolds becomes an increasingly surreal and cinematic experience; as if Sam Peckinpah or Tarantino had directed the girls from Scooby Doo, who were all grown up and had taken some real bad life choices.

I can only agree.

Supergirls is, in its own way, a story of sisterhood and family, the bonds of love and sacrifice, all played out on a screen of the absurd that would send chills up the back of Dahmer and make Spring-Heel Jack and Béla Kiss feel emphatically mediocre. The horror is horrifying, without a doubt – but to my mind, the portions that are real, and all too common in our world today, are the scariest moments, the most frightening horrors of all.

The pages of a graphic novel flashed through my mind as I read Mav Skye’s work, the scenes backlit by a bloody light, built of straight black lines and soulless eyes. For anyone who adores dark fantasy, this is a luscious treat for the mind, a glimpse into inane, mundane, yet horrific madness that kept my eyes glued to the page and my heart pounding as I traversed the darkness into the cellar of Skye’s mind.

Watch out for the rotting stairs . . .

I received Supergirls from the publisher in return for a realistic review. This is a novella, only 87-pages, and would make an incredible Halloween night read! Highly recommend.

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