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 Candles of Deepest Black

Nine Candles of Deepest Black

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Paganism dates back to the fourth century from early Christians that originally meant to describe anyone who did not worship the one true God- it is an umbrella for many different classifications and sub-classifications of a huge array of religions. In today’s society it is mostly associated with Wiccan beliefs. Wicca is a lot of times confused with witchcraft but the two aren’t exactly one and the same. Wicca is mainly more spiritual than witchcraft- the latter being more about the magic… and magic is where the true light and dark lies in wait. Nine Candle of Deepest Black by Matthew Cox gives us a look into what can happen if you don’t watch where your heart truly lies.

Nine Candles starts out with our main character, sixteen-year old Paige, having a conversation with her sister, Amber before the first day of school in a new area… there’s just one problem, Amber is dead. One night after her sister had left for college, Paige has a terrible feeling- something is going to happen to Amber. She tries to get her parents and Amber to listen to her, but everyone writes it off as her trying to get Amber back home since it tore Paige up when Amber left- until the accident happened. Now, her mother completely ignores her if she’s not getting on to her about something- choosing instead to dote on the youngest daughter. Her dad is a shell of his former self- withdrawing from everyone once off duty. With nobody to lean on, Amber’s spirit comes back to help pull Paige back from the dark place she’s stuck in. On Paige’s first day at her new school, she meets some new friends- Sofia, Santana, Renee and Kenz (Mackenzie) – who are into more than their peers. They practice real witchcraft… just nothing has worked so far. Once hearing that Paige’s dead sister’s spirit resides in her bedroom, Kenz confirms what she had thought- Paige is their fifth, the key to making their spells work. Using an old book that belonged to Kenz’ grandmother, the five girls set out to cast a spell to make their wishes come true. Only things aren’t what they appear to be and the entity behind the curtain isn’t playing nicely when it comes to making their spell a reality- with everything coming back on them times three. Can Paige find a way to stop the spell from hurting anyone else before it’s too late? Will her new friends help her or just get in the way?

Nine Candles of Deepest Black is the first book I have read from Matthew Cox and I have to say it’s a great way to be introduced to his work. The story is well written, the characters play off each other very well- in fact it kind of reminded me as a harsher storyline than the movie The Craft. The feel of the characters and their backstories make them more relatable to teens than the ones in The Craft, which makes it harsher in my opinion. You connect with Paige on a personal level and literally feel the struggles that she’s going through and you can’t help but cheer her on as the book progresses. I’m sad to say that the journey with Paige is at an end but I look forward to seeing what else Matthew Cox tackles in his other books.

If this book has piqued your interest like it did mine, you can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

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.

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.

A Shadowed Beginning: Demon Hunter Book 1

A Shadowed Beginning

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Change is a scary obstacle to overcome, no matter how old you are. The unknown is always a scary thing to face; there are so many possibilities of outcomes that can be good- or also bad. It’s that fear of not knowing what is going to happen that scares us, but it can also motivate us. What would you do if you were living your life and making the best of your circumstances and suddenly things changed? One day everything was normal then within the span of a single day, everything that you thought you knew was certain became unknown. When there’s something that you aren’t prepared to face but it’s thrown at you anyway, sometimes you just have to accept things as they are… or you can say ‘okay, this is how it is but I can choose where to go from here’. That’s the way that our heroine of A Shadowed Beginning, Ruby, decides to take.

Ruby Dawson is a normal sixteen-year-old girl, with an exception- she’s an orphan. Her father died when she was twelve and her mother isn’t in the picture. She lives at St. Helen’s- a home for young girls, goes to school and works part time as a receptionist at a temp staffing agency. Everything is going good for her until she sees a blast from her past walk into the agency, a man that she remembers being at her father’s funeral; a man with a scar on his face that made him unforgettable to her. Knowing he is the only link to any information she can get about her father, she follows him out of the temp agency and steps blindly into another world. A world that she can’t go back from once she has knowledge it exists- one filled with demons and other supernatural creatures. Can Ruby handle the new reality that is thrown at her, where monsters truly do exist? Can she continue to keep her normal routine knowing that her life is now anything but normal? Pick up a copy of A Shadowed Beginning today to find out, it’s definitely worth the read!

A Shadowed Beginning is the first book by Alice J. Black that I have had the pleasure to read, but it most certainly will not be the last; especially since Black is making the Demon Hunter book into a series. I have to know more about what happens with Ruby and where things go from the end of book one. I don’t read a lot of YA fiction anymore, but I am so glad that I took a chance and read this book- all throughout this book, I was on edge with Ruby and trying to figure things out right along with her. It was such a good surprise to see that though you get an idea of what’s going to happen when you are reading A Shadowed Beginning, you don’t get ahead of the book and know for certain that things are going to go a certain way. Alice has a way with entwining the supernatural with her characters that make it seem like this world can really occur in the real world- with demonic creatures hiding from the unsuspecting population easily in the shadows, waiting for their time to come around without anyone being any wiser about it. I sincerely cannot wait for the second book in this series to see what new situations await Ruby and what challenges she will have to overcome.

A Collection of Short Stories

Collection of Short Stories Steph C.

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

Collections of stories are great because usually, they have more than one author. If you haven’t heard of some of them before, it is a good way to get a little familiar with the author without committing to buying a full book that you may not get past the first few pages. A collection that features just one author is a greater find since you get a more in depth look into their style- or styles if there’s more than one genre. A Collection of Short Stories by Steph Christina gives you an eclectic mix of shorts that vary from romance and family to super and paranormal tales. In each story, the characters have their problems and situations that they must overcome. Can they overcome the obstacles in their way? Will the problems prove to be too much? Pick up a copy of A Collection of Short Stories today to find out how the environments affect the characters!

When I first started looking at Steph Christina’s books, it was impossible for me to figure out which one I wanted to read. Until I found A Collection of Short Stories, which features ten of her short stories all in one place, and with varying genres. The first half of the book is romance shorts and the last half feature her shorts in super/paranormal. I found it to be an interesting mix that suited my tastes perfectly and I was not disappointed; you have romance, family, witches, vampires and zombies. Her stories have concepts that everyone knows- being in a foreign place, escaping your current life for a better one, family dramas, and a zombie apocalypse just to name a few- and gives a unique perspective with each telling. I enjoyed getting to know some of the characters within these stories and I know that I am going to keep a look out for the next collection. In the meantime, I’m off to find another story of Steph Christina’s to enjoy!

The House on Hayden Pond

The House on Hayden Pond

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Do you love movies such as Paranormal Activity, Insidious or The Conjuring? It is what frightens everyone, the possibility that there is a more sinister afterlife out there; the jump scares that make you feel like demons and evil exist in the world today. Paranormal is a tricky genre that has to be done right or it can feel cheap and cheesy or boring and plain. The characters have to be perfect to pull off the ultimate goal of scaring people. The evil has to creep through and make the characters fall. What if I told you that I had found someone who has just upped the game in terrifying you through every chapter? One where you grip the sides of the book, and pray you won’t bite all of your nails off while you continue to flip through the pages- making you scream at the characters as if you are watching a horror movie in a theatre. Well, I have indeed found that person- Jessica Monks with her book The House on Hayden Pond. Do you dare to continue on to experience true evil? Would you be able to survive without your heart pounding out of your chest as the book relentlessly haunts you in such a way that you will never forget?

Have you ever heard the saying that ‘nothing is free’? In The House on Hayden Pond, the Bolton family- a happy family with three children that the parents love completely- receives a house. An isolated one that sits on the out skirts of town, but with the Bolton’s long time prayer answered they begin the move in to the house. They are adjusting to life in a new area when disturbing things begin to happen- inside the house, something is hungry. The sinister acts that are thrust onto this family will make you want to scream and cover your eyes but keeping them slightly open to continue reading. Will the Bolton’s truly adjust to the new setting? Will they survive the house? Darkness exists in the world that Jessica Monks has provided for you… just remember to keep the lights on and lock your doors.

Jessica Monks is talented and creative- the front cover is a bloody child’s hand print from her own child, which just adds to the creepy factor. She actually had me screaming at the characters as I read. Monks connected me to the reality that the Bolton family is going through- from beginning to end. She is great at getting under your skin with some unholy events that can occur if you are not too careful; no matter where I am, I will always be checking on my kids- ensuring their safety because the paranormal realm can happen to anyone, anytime. This is the first book that I have ever read from Jessica Monks, but I hope it will not be my last. I wish to read more from her- getting to scream at the characters that she creates is a pleasure as not too many authors have that ability. The House on Hayden Pond resides in a genre that is not going away anytime soon, and the book has been a nonstop thrill ride from chapter to chapter- it has me begging to read more soon.