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.

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Let’s Kill Mr. Pond

Let's Kill Mr Pond

 

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

We have come to realize that the world, when it comes to education, has faltered into turmoil… at least in Andrew Mackay’s representation of his own world in Chrome Valley. In very vivid detail, MacKay brings us a perfected chaos in Chrome Junction Academy. We have experienced a school setting from MacKay before in Versus but not as hard as we do in Let’s Kill Mr. Pond– meaning this time, we get a look at the interactions between the students and the faculty. You will be able to connect with multiple characters in this one, feel their pain and torment almost as if it were your own, but this is only the start into the world that Andrew provides for us. MacKay never disappoints, as he made me sit and read Let’s Kill Mr. Pond in one sitting- with no stops, even for something as important (or trivial for some) as sleep.

We start with our main characters first, Andrew providing us an opportunity to step into their shoes- Sam and Jonnie. Jonnie is a ruthless back-talking child that has a bit of problem with listening and it makes you wonder if he may be hiding something deep down. Is his callous behavior a mask that he wears to fool everyone around him, including himself? Sam is a nerd of sorts who is having a rough life between home and school. Sam is probably the closest thing to a best friend to Jonnie. Follow these two on an adventure of rude behavior, a bit of humor and thrills that will get under your skin. Let’s Kill Mr. Pond may begin with humor and brashness but the words an infliction of tone that is used is harsh and sometimes a bit hard to take in as the plan is formed to kill the teacher they hate the most, Mr. Pond. The adventure begins when Sam and Jonnie set their plan in motion as you journey through their home lives and school. It will make you think for years to come… and God forbid if you have any teenagers, if you do, keep them close and never let them go. Be a part of their lives and never give up. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself but if you want to flip through the pages and find an extraordinary tale, then this book is for you. Let’s Kill Mr. Pond will make you laugh, fill your gut with disgust and will crawl under your skin in hopes of finding a permanent home deep down inside of you. It will also make you think of the ‘what ifs?’ and always keep you thinking about how close you really are to your children.

Andrew MacKay is very talented at his words and layouts- you get a different taste of this world in each one that is a never-ending connection between each book. You will love to taste a piece of this life. Andrew used to be a teacher himself and I think that is why this book is so great. He used his real life experiences and brought them into the world of Chrome Valley. MacKay continues to surprise me… and I’m never disappointed reading his work. In this latest work, he brings us warmth, a psychological breakdown from a teenager’s perspective and the process of many adult lives. Even though this is not horror, Let’s Kill Mr. Pond will stay with you for years to come in the execution of Sam and Jonnie’s plan. Andrew conquers the structure and brings madness inside.

You can click here to pre-order your copy for only $.99 until Monday, January 15th, 2018.

Land of the Free

Land of the Free

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Throughout human history, we have always been regaling tales in some fashion or another; mostly by verbal tales until the written word was discovered. Recorded history has come quite a ways since then- radio, films (silent, black and white, and color with sound) and television. One of my favorite ways of communicating these tales are books- the world you are visiting is only limited by the author’s descriptive abilities and the reader’s imagination to see the world. Many of these tales have something that appeals to everyone, whether it be passion, action or even science fiction. We’ve seen tales recently reflect a more dangerous tone to them… post-apocalyptical being the theme that tie them together. It is a subject that terrifies you but thrills you at the same time- begging you to think what would actually happen in that type of situation. What if the end of the world was actually the beginning of a new type of horrible reality? Michael Huard poses these questions in his debut fiction series, Land of the Free.

The United States falls into despair in the year 2016 with advances in technology, robotics and power-crazed corporations taking over all rational thought. The gates are opened to let religious and nuclear wars bring the world to ruins. The rich will consume the world… sounds similar to things happening in the world today. As long as the world still holds on, however, there is hope. Out of this hope, the Mystical Slayers are born- a beautiful sisterhood of patriotic women who are enhanced by superior intelligence and martial arts training. They are here to mark the nation free once again. This time, the battle consists of two organizations: Y-Wood Corporation, our villains who are world leaders of wealth and power ran through greed and corruption, and the Mystical Slayers- out to save humanity from those who seek to ruin the world further. Y-Wood takes the technology advances to bigger and astronomical places that destroys the middle ground leaving only the poor and the rich. The rich continue to pull the strings while the poor praise and worships the mega corporation, leading to the United States being ran by robotics. AI, artificial intelligence, tells the world what to do, how to act and how to live. Many years pass- a century worth- as several women were born, unlike any others. Metaya Valteese gets together with the best and the ultimate mother of a defense is born- the Mystical Slayers. Training them from a young age, like the Spartans, to use fighting and defensive skills and the secret weapon- a super drug named Starigen 6280 to give them increased brainpower, increased adrenaline, stronger bones and high tolerances to pain- these women will become the world’s saving grace. Seven women who will rise above everything to protect what’s left of the human race and their sisterhood in 3016 where Y-Wood has become bigger than ever. Taking down Y-Wood would result in the world turning back to normal with liberty and peace. Welcome to the Land of the Free.

I do not normally read dystopian science fiction, but I am glad I found this. Land of the Free is the most interesting novel I have read since The Maze Runner. Mr. Huard is clever when it comes to action and the realistic martial art moves- which makes sense because he teaches self-defense and martial arts for a living- and tosses in a robotic future. I would recommend this to many science fiction readers, those who love dystopian societies and comic book readers as well. Huard plans for many more books to quench the readers of the Mystical Slayers universe thirst. Honestly, I think Land of the Free would make an excellent film series- possibly even surpass movies such as The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games in looks and expectations- as what you will read in the book you will discover the hotness doesn’t stop at the patriotic wardrobe and flowing hair. Go pick up a copy of Land of the Free and see for yourself.

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.

Sin City Angels

Sin City Angels

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

We were first brought into the wonderful world of Sin City with Succubus created by C.S. Anderson; a city where the wonder is never in short supply. Sin City Succubus saw a half human/ half warlock dabbler by the name of Robert Jones thrown into a dimension where werewolves, vampires, warlocks and goblins not only exist but are governed by the Grand Council. Sin City Angels brings angels and gods into the mix, including one angel that you should never betray. I don’t really read this genre much but C.S. Anderson continues to surprise me. In Sin City Angels, we go on another adventure and find ourselves tested with Robert Jones and other characters.

To the readers of the realms of action/adventure and mythical alike, you will enjoy this as much as the next game of Dungeons and Dragons… just minus the dragons. I can’t get into too many details with this one because it’s a lot shorter than Succubus, but be prepared to go through a lot of epic changes. Mr. Anderson combines a great sense of humor, non-stop action, a lot of magic and a bit of violence topped with a major surprise that is heart stopping in the much-anticipated sequel in the dabbler series. Robert Jones is back and something keeps coming after him for the things he has done in the past. But will it be enough to stop him from protecting the one he loves? Pick up a copy of Sin City Angels, book 2 in the Dabbler series today and find out!

The only thing I can say is that book two was too short for my liking, as a fan of the Sin City series; but it does make me anxiously wait to see how far Anderson will take it in the next installment, as he left Angels with a tease of what’s to come. C.S. Anderson is talented in many ways and I know that we will continue to see more magic, more surprises and much more devastation to come in the future of the Sin City books. I look forward to seeing more from Anderson and seeing where Robert’s journey leads to next.