Blood Desert

Blood Desert

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

When we first met the wonderful and comedic personality of Penny Miller, one of the strongest main female characters ever to exist in my opinion, it was in a book series titled The Hungry– an intriguing take on the zombie apocalypse. I was thrilled and excited to see what lies ahead for Penny, so I sat anxiously waiting for something new in Penny’s world to come out… I guess you could say that Penny is like a book girlfriend to me; her badass-ness and take charge but no bull attitude makes me eager to see what she has to endure next. Finally, Steven Booth and Harry Shannon gave us what we’re looking for- only, this time we get to experience events that happened before the zombies broke out. I have to say that the times that I went through with Penny in action, the humor and numerous insults and phrase with the zombie apocalypse, I had to question what else she could face that would be on par or even worse than that. Booth and Shannon answered that very question with Blood Desert, a prequel of sorts to The Hungry.

In Blood Desert, we meet Penny Miller in the not too distant past before the zombies ever turned into their undead status and we get to see more of Terrill Lee, the conspiracy freak- or otherwise known as Penny’s ex-husband. It all starts with the theory of a rancher dying suspiciously and the town is introduced to two newcomers, Dorinda McMaster and Cheryl Smith. McMaster and Smith open up shop in Miller’s town, drawing new business from different kinds of places and with that, bringing a completely new type of crowd. With drugs, motorcycle gangs, and an annoying Mayor who is always on her back, Penny is forced to have to trust in her crazed, conspiracy nut ex who is convinced that the mysterious death of the rancher was only the first to transpire amidst the chaos that has come to town.  His theory is that the ruckus is coming from vampires but can she really believe Terrill lee on what is happening in Flat Rock- even if there’s proof? Will it be too late for the residents of Flat Rock (and Penny’s loved ones) to be able to fight the undead bloodsuckers off? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

If you haven’t read The Hungry, you should check it out as I think it gives you more that you need to know to understand a bit more of Penny and Terrill Lee’s relationship. This one digs a bit deeper, than in the first book for The Hungry– although I have yet to read the others in the series (there’s six altogether). What Booth and Shannon bring us in Blood Desert is a new fear in Flat Rock that you will be frightened to come across. Their take on the vampire genre is kind of like The Lost Boys, which excites me more than ever because I thought those type of vampires were long dead- excuse the pun- and forgotten. Booth and Shannon risked it and they did not disappoint with bringing a new type of monster raging around in Blood Desert.

I have to applaud Steven Booth and Harry Shannon yet again for another fascinating novel featuring the kick-ass Ms. Miller. They brought us the same quirky attitude, comedic scenes that we will never forget and the foul mouths that we’ve come to love. They also brought us the inner workings of a new- or would it be old since it’s in the past? – development that will be the next great series of what happened before the flesh eating zombies that we have already been introduced to. Booth and Shannon are a talented writing duo that is a force to be reckoned with, we are never aware of who wrote what, which is exactly how it should be. They made a beautiful and attractive novel that will get the eyes of many readers that will hopefully get those film directors and producers to make the Penny Miller novels into epic films because to see Penny on the big screen would be every guys wet dream come true. Booth and Shannon are masters of their craft as they keep us hooked by reeling us in and shocking us until the end as we suddenly dive off a cliff, waiting for the next installment.

You can pick up more information on where you can get Blood Desert at Genius Book Publishing.

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Nine Till Five

Nine Till Five

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

As human beings, we pride ourselves on being seen as strong- never appearing weak or broken as those are sides of us that are tucked away, hidden beneath the mask (so to speak). We often think about the unknown darkness that surrounds us without fully comprehending what actually lies within that dark. Shadows, dark figures, ghosts- they’re all the same really. Things that our minds are so desperate for a rational reasoning behind sometimes can’t be rationalized, they are images that cannot be explained. Dale Robertson gives us an insight into that unknown in his novella, Nine Till Five.

In Nine Till Five, we follow a man named Damien that works as a computer technician at his regular day job- from nine till five. Damien is fed up with many things and one of those just happen to be his job. He sees abnormal things happening at his place of employment- seeing shadows among other things- leading to proof as it shows with it’s mark on his flesh. It stirs the impossible through the eye of his fellow co-workers. Next, we are introduced to a pair of characters that would love to be the next top ghost hunters, filming their way there when they see similar stuff that Damien has been seeing. Curiosity gets the best of us until the truth unfolds. Do you dare to follow down the path of Damien and the others, to see what lies ahead? If you do, then pick up your copy today here.

This is the first of Dale Robertson’s work that I have read and it was a fun adventure. Though it may be short, the characters are strong; thrills lay in wait in the corners here and there. Robertson took the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ and used it very well, in my opinion; using the novella to produce a very dark and twisted phenomenon to haunt these people. He is very good at twists that makes you succumb to his book- wanting more from this tale. If there’s one thing I could wish for, it would be to have more details. I will be looking out for more by Mr. Robertson very soon.

Tip of the Iceberg

Tip of the Iceberg

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

The Titanic is arguably one of- if not the– most famous luxury liner ships in history with a tragic ending for most of the passengers that were aboard the ship. Out of the 2,224 women, children and men, only 710 survived… and most of the survivors were first class passengers. The Titanic had the ability to carry 64 life boats which would have been enough at capacity per boat to carry almost four thousand people- more than the ships passenger capacity. White Star Line, the company who owned the most luxurious ship of the time, decided that a total of twenty would be enough… which equates to only about half of the people on board to survive. The Titanic hit an iceberg in the dead of night in the Atlantic Ocean after receiving multiple warnings and not listening. We all know how the story goes… or do we?

Tip of the Iceberg follows the story we all know so well, seeing the Titanic set out on her maiden voyage but with a little known secret that rages aboard the world’s best ocean liner. We start out with Patrick, one of our main characters, playing a card game the night before the ship is due to set sail. In his card game, he ends up winning over his opponent and finds himself the new owner of a tiny monkey, Pandora. Esme Jackson, another main character, dreams of being able to get away from her current life and start anew with her sister Charlotte. As a way to get to America, she accepts a chambermaid job aboard the Titanic hoping to do a good enough job to stay on with the liner to be able to provide her sister and herself their new lives that lie within an arm’s reach. Bridget Grafton, new wife of the socialite Captain William Grafton who is the sole heir of Grafton Steel Co., finds herself stuck aboard the ship while her husband rubs elbows with the who’s who of socialites in both Europe and America. Things are normal aboard until people start mysteriously dying faster than anyone can figure out what’s wrong. Are all of the souls aboard the Titanic doomed before the ship hits the iceberg… could that be the reason for not heeding the warnings of what lies in the Atlantic’s waters ahead of them? How are three strangers lives intertwined with each other? Things are getting deadly aboard the ship, but will there be any survivors… and what about the dead body that bizarrely disappears without a trace?

I’ve never had the pleasure to read any of Ash Hartwell’s work until now, but I wanted this bad boy- I mean, come on, it’s about the Titanic. I remember when the movie with Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio came out I went to see it three times in the theater… which is a lot for a ten-year-old. I knew at the time that the story in the movie was fake but it was based on an actual ship and I was hooked; that obsession faded some over time but not completely. Skip forward many years and enter in Hartwell’s Tip of the Iceberg with a huge twist to the story we think we know- something horrific is going on aboard this ship. There are multiple attacks happening and bodies start disappearing in the middle of the ocean; it’s pretty scary to think about because there’s nowhere for the bodies to go. Hartwell’s take on what happened on the maiden voyage is innovative and is sure to leave you with images that will haunt you, make your insides knot up and keep you wanting more right up until the end.

Psychological Breakdown

Psychological Breakdown

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

I have been wanting to read this book for a while; actually, ever since I read Puckered (which features Mr. Hughes and also Peter Oliver Wonder). It was incredible storytelling that made me wonder what else can come from these two demented minds; I wasn’t let down with this masterpiece by David Owain Hughes. Psychological Breakdown is a masterstroke because it is compiled of a collection of shorts that give you the insight into many different points of the breakdown process. A state of madness dwells within us, capable of reaching anyone at any time. A psychological breakdown. Perhaps the darkness takes over, ushering you to the brink of holding back the abuse or from wanting a taste of revenge. Maybe it’s a fascination of electronics that sends you into a tailspin. Then, there are the kinky needs of sexual desires. You start to wonder if maybe you are precariously balancing that line between ‘normal’ and utter chaos.

You may even wonder, as I did, if David himself was on the edge of tearing everyone to pieces while shouting ‘die, die, die’! When you start reading Psychological Breakdown, it will grab you by the soul while starting out in the wonderfully constructed world that Mr. Hughes has brought to the reader’s by letting you taste the apple in a twist of Adam and Eve. Further into the book, there is a twist of Jack and the Beanstalk in a short called Magic Beans; that one is in the top three of my favorites in this collection. My favorite short in Psychological Breakdown, by far, is Fillial Cannibalism with Caution: Slippery When Wet following in very closely. Both are set around vengeance and you do not know who- or what- is in the darkest pits of someone you royally stabbed in the back.

If you love the disturbing, grotesque, erotic and extreme, then David Owain Hughes is right for you. The start of the mayhem draws you in and never releases you until you reach the end. It will linger with you for a while- there is even a wonderful recipe that you will never forget. Some of what occurs inside will damage your mental state, it could turn into pleasure for some, or it can be very resourceful to others. There will be people who just thought it would be fun to read this book because it has serial killers, skulls and the word KILL all over it. Are you ready to feast your eyes on some pleasurable moments of blood splatter and enough death that would give the Angel of Death a massive hard on? Why are you still reading this review then? Go get a copy and start reading for yourself! I should warn you though it is quite descriptive.

David Owain Hughes, you are one of the best in the horror genre. I want to thank you for your work. Mr. Hughes plants you into the scene right from the first sentence and keeps you ensnared by your gut while you continue to build the relationships with the characters he provides. He will either shock, awe, twist your mind or make you laugh. Psychological Breakdown is the perfect book for anyone who wants a taste of Hughes writing style. You get twenty shorts- eleven of which have been in various anthologies- to experience the different situations Hughes sets for his characters. It was an absolute pleasure to read this and I will be waiting to see more from David in the future. If anyone calls themselves a horror-fanatic, avid extreme horror reader or loves books about death and blood and you are sitting there, staring at your shelves and see that you don’t own a book by David Owain Hughes, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

Postal

Postal

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Many people wait every month for all sorts of things- it could be that they’re waiting for the government to send them money on their overused EBT cards to buy junk food and other useless crap. It could be that they’re waiting to get a Social Security check to pay their bills and other necessities that are needed to maintain their lives. Maybe they, like you, are waiting patiently and nervously six days a week to check the mail; what might you get today? Did that check come from the insurance department? Did your last paycheck from the job you just left with no warning come in? I myself waited patiently for a book called Postal by Matt Shaw and J.R. Park. How ironic it was, waiting for this book to come in the mail when it is about many people waiting to receive a particular letter in their mailboxes. While many in the general population are waiting in line for the next ticket to hit the mega millions, these two authors created the ultimate lottery in the form of violence beyond anything I have ever come across before.

Imagine a world where you get a letter in the mail, waiting for days to see if you are a part of the elite. Thirteen lucky participants will receive a letter a month. The rules are simple: you can only kill one person and the ticket is not transferrable. There is a deadline though, so think quickly and relinquish that person from their mortal life. In the pages of Postal, you will experience anxiety, laughter and pure madness of a new world- think of Purging Day in The Purge. Only Postal is much better as it’s not everyone killing any and every person they can; it’s a limited time offer for only certain ones to obtain. I don’t want to give much away but I will say that Postal is smartly laid out in a different kind of world that Shaw and Park have presented to us. How would you kill someone if you happened to open your mailbox to find the golden letter? See how others choose to do it in the ultimate lottery ride inside this epic creation.

This is the first of Shaw’s and the second of Park’s work that I have had the absolute pleasure of reading. I’m not too sure who wrote what though as the story flows perfect and is connected beautifully together. The detailed writing and the character builds between these two is so creative in many ways but what made it unique and awesome to me was to see names of real people used in the story line. I will be pacing back and forth with anxiety to read more from Shaw and Park’s sick minds. To the many people wondering what you should read next, this is for you- a quick read that will make you think of all sorts of bad things. Oh good, the mail has just arrived. I wonder if I got that letter from the Department for the Postal Execution Center. I have been waiting for a year now and my patience is wearing off…

Upon Waking

Upon Waking

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Throughout time, we have come to face our fears through the eyes of many legends: Wes Craven, Stephen King, and so many more that the list would probably be the length of the whole review. Fears that lock us down and shown in various ways; however, there is only one female villain that made us fear her the most, Annie in Misery by Stephen King. Not many people stretch the boundaries to bring a top notch performing female lead that is realistic enough to give the most terrifying character in the horror genre. I have to say that Upon Waking by J.R. Park is very imaginative, creative and is probably the only one who had topped Annie Wilkes- making her seem like a friendly guest compared to Cassie (Park’s ultimate character for Upon Waking).

At first, I had no clue what I was reading- I thought that it was people waking up from nightmares- but the more I read on, I began to understand the nightmare was actually happening between each character and Cassie. Cassie is not a lurking monster or some creature; she is what we fear most. The realism that Park provides us causes the pages tear outwards and come to life, making you turn them for more terror as it continues through many unsuspecting souls- deep in the realm of extreme horror. I have had many opportunities to read some creative and deep horror but J.R. imparts the best, tenfold, in this no holds barred read for fans of the extreme. No rules, just as the flesh will not cut itself. Join the best and truly terrifying Cassie as she unlocks the door to bring you into the madness from the mind of J.R. Park.

This was my first read from this particular legend in the horror world. Having said that, I am excited that this was my first as it showed me firsthand what he is truly capable of; it actually made me feel comfortable as a writer and not just a reviewer. Upon Waking fascinated me in a way that I haven’t been since first discovering Clive Barker. Park deserves to be in the highest ranks as he petrified us with the gory descriptions that gives a slap of a twist and folds the end comfortably for a second read. This will not be the only book I read from him, I will read until my shelves are full of books that have J.R. Park on the spine.

Reaper: A Collection of Stories

Reaper

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Cultures all around the world know it; we all try to run from it, most are afraid of it. There are many names known around the world, but there is only one that you can’t escape. Angel of Death, Harbinger of Doom, Thanatos. No matter the name, it all comes back to one… the Grim Reaper. There has always been a certain morbid sense of curiosity about death throughout human history. Why did this person die and that one live? What would happen when you are exposed to a virus that tears its way through the host and you’re knocking on Death’s doorstep? How does losing a loved one affect us? What happens to the soul when the body dies? These are all questions that man have sought answers to; many answers have been found while others are still a best guess at what happens. When you hear the name Grim Reaper, you tend to think about the commercialized version of what Death has been portrayed as- a giant skeleton dressed in a long black robe holding a scythe that barely touches you and your mortal life is done. But what if death isn’t everything that we’ve been told?

Reaper is a collection of short stories that center on death. We get a refreshing look at what death could actually look like in one story and we are enraged and seek vengeance in another. These stories are crafted in such a way that you are captivated from the get go. I cried when every parent’s worst nightmare is realized- it hit me hard as a mom of a current four year old… really, it should get to anyone that has a heart. I wanted the vengeance for a young woman against her kidnapper. I felt a young man’s despair and anguish as his family is torn away from him. Briana has crafted stories that grab your attention from the start and weaves you into the pages. You are able to experience the greatest joy of being a reader and actually envision yourself in these situations, feeling everything that the characters feel. This is the first I have read from Briana but I look forward to seeing what she has to offer in the future.