Vicky and Lizzie’s First Period

Vicky and Lizzie's First Period (Kindle Cover)

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

In Let’s Kill Mr. Pond, Andrew brought us a thrilling tale of two boys, Sam and Jonnie, in the first part of the tremendously hellish series- The Chrome Junction Academy. In this new series we get an insight into school life at Chrome Junction Academy with a humorous and terrifying take into this rocky and uneducated world we live in with the frightening future of the kids we expect to take over when they grow up. Now, we are given a look into life at Chrome Junction Academy from the eyes of two girls in Vicky & Lizzie’s First Period.

We are started at the beginning with our two main characters, Vicky and Lizzie, shoplifting before breaking out into a musical of sorts that leads them to the school grounds at CJA. Vicky and Lizzie takes place around the same time as Mr. Pond, meeting about halfway in to give two different sides to some of what happens in this volatile school. We are to expect a bit of an overload of utter rudeness, complete disrespect and total foulness that we experienced with Sam and Jonnie in Mr. Pond with Vicky and Lizzie. When a teacher is accused of fondling a student, the corruption never stops dwelling within the youth’s minds and through the power of sisterhood- and best friends- nothing is stronger than a bond bound by the pinky finger. We also get to see a disturbed and abused student that wants nothing more than to drive sharpened pencils through her skull… and of course, Vicky and Lizzie’s first period with Mr. Bloom. Be ready for rumors and more in this chaotic, rowdy and more bizarre than In Their Shoes: The Teacher combined with Pure Dark in a salacious scandal that abounds through a corrupt society with never ending abuse from every character in Mackay’s world. The body count continues to pile with this new exciting series with a bit of humor, musical singing, terror and thrills. Do you dare to dip into the world of two twelve year old girls? I advise you to join in and prepare for the convulsion and shuttering to run through your nerves.

Mackay has surprised me again; only this time, it’s not a cliffhanger that has me on edge but how he has combined a little bit of every one of his books that I have had the pleasure to experience so far. I do believe that he has even brought more to the table this go around through a musical setting with humor and a touch of horror. It reminds me of if In Their Shoes and Pure Dark had a baby and gave birth to a completely new series that is finalized with a song. Andrew has done fantastic at presenting a disgustingly bizarre tale with laughter in the pages of Vicky & Lizzie’s First Period. With books piling up, we can expect more to bring this story into its full form. Mackay is clever at leaving gaping holes that we never knew were there and filling them with new pieces of backgrounds and tales.

This brings me to the most exciting part of what I experienced in the book- I wanted to squirm, jerk and even scream at times. Vicky & Lizzie made me laugh, worry and yes… it even made me almost cry, which is very hard to do but Andrew knows how to get you in the feels when he wants to. This book leads into a new story that needs to be filled and makes me anxious to get started with, The Belch Park Field Trip– the first trip that Mackay has offered that has a ride that is oh so familiar in Pure Dark. I cannot wait to see Max Dark’s Ghost Train come to life and elevate the unorthodox and sheer grotesque features that are laid out from the first part of this series and unremitting into Vicky and Lizzie’s First Period. How much further can he go with the field trip? We can only wait, trembling impatiently as we want to dig our fingers into the third part of one of the best series Andrew has written so far.

Sneak Peek Alert: Vicky and Lizzie’s First Period by Andrew MacKay

Vicky and Lizzie's First Period (Kindle Cover)

Vicky & Lizzie’s First Period

Bloody Hell!

All together now…

There were two girls called Vicky & Lizzie
Who kept the Academy busy
Causing trouble and mirth
For all they were worth
Sending teachers right into a tizzy

They kicked-off a false, nasty rumour
That one of the staff was a groomer
For everyone knows
Gossip spreads out and grows
But the school didn’t quite see the humour

Would Vicky & Lizzie regret
All the damage they caused? Nah, not yet
Scheming, conniving
The girls kept on vying
A dangerous precedent was set

Vicky & Lizzie delivered a blitz
On a school at the end of its wits
Did they care? Did they f**k
They were common as muck
Those nasty, vindictive young s#!ts

This might cause upset and uproar
It’s a musical satire, what’s more
For the first time ever
We promise you’ve never
Read anything like this before

So pick up your copy today
Of a story about which you will say
That I wanted to barf
But so hard I did laugh
Vicky & Lizzie have just made my day!

 

**Today we have a sneak peek at Vicky and Lizzie’s First Period by Andrew MacKay. It is available on Amazon now and to celebrate the release, Andrew invites everyone to join the release party on Facebook. Links to Amazon and the launch party on Facebook are at the bottom- please, join us… it’s always a blast with author takeovers and tons of giveaways!

Vicky and Lizzie’s First Period is a dark musical satire and true to MacKay fashion, it is truly a one of a kind read. To give you a small taste to get your appetite going, I’m posting an excerpt from a chapter and will post one of the many songs that is held within the pages.

“Girls Just Wanna Make Bank”  (sung in the style of Cindi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)

(Lyrics by V. Hopper and L. White)

 

Vicky:

I wake up, first thing in the morning,

And think “How do I make myself look less rank?”

The answer is simple, Liz,

You can’t offer the driver a wank,

Us girls, we gotta make bank.

Oh, girls just gotta make bank…

 

Driver:

Oh-ho, girls, they wanna make bank.

 

Vicky and Lizzie run alongside the car.
The driver toots his horn and winks at the pair.

 

Lizzie:

We can’t afford

To buy all the stuff we want

With the shitty pocket money we get.

Our parents force us to go on the rob

Us girls, we gotta make bank.

 

Driver:

Yes, you girls,

You gotta make bank.

 

The pedestrians stop and dance with the pair of girls.

An elderly couple with shopping bags.
A young mother with a baby in stroller.

 

Vicky & Lizzie:
Girls, we want,

Want to make bank.

 

Pedestrians:

When the school day starts and stuff,

Oh girls, you just want to make bank.

 

Vicky and Lizzie run off with a hop, skip and a jump.

A flurry of school kids join them as they
turn into the school road.

 

Vicky:

Some boys think that Lizzie and I

Do it for attention and lols.

We want to be the ones that they never blank

So us girls,

We go and make bank.

The other kids line up. Lizzie opens her bag and takes the money from the school children who buy the stolen sweets.

 

Children:

You need to,

You just need to-oo…

 

Lizzie:

Us girls just,

Wanna make bank.

 

         Lizzie slammed her rucksack on the wall outside the school. A torrent of students poured around them, making their way into the grounds.

Vicky pulled out her mobile phone and looked at the screen. ‘It’s only eight-twenty. We’re well early. How much did we get?’

Lizzie held up her hand and counted the gold and silver metal in her palm.

‘Dunno, hard to tell, I need to count it. Looks like about fifteen quid.’

‘It’s not enough, man,’ Vicky slapped Lizzie on the back. The brunette nearly dropped the coins to the floor. ‘We need to rake in some more cash.’

‘Be careful!’

The school buzzer blasted around the school ground entrance. Vicky looked over at the stone fountain that sat in the patio grounds. ‘Got any stuff left?’

‘Yeah, loads,’ Lizzie pocketed the coins and emptied the contents of her shirt into the rucksack. ‘Got all these fanny pads I stole, too.’

‘What are we gonna do with those, man?’

‘Dunno, yet.’ Lizzie zipped up her rucksack. She was about to lift it over her shoulders when a handsome young boy and his friend came into view.

Time seemed to slow down. The taller of the two boys, Jonnie Barron, shot Lizzie a shit-eating grin as they approached.

‘Hey, Jonnie,’ Lizzie said, fluttering her eyelashes at him.

Jonnie snorted and bopped his little bespectacled friend, Sam, on the shoulder. ‘Yeah, whatever.’

‘Have a good weekend?’

‘Yeah, mate,’ Jonnie chuckled. ‘Spent it wanking over your Skullbook photos, didn’t I?’

‘What?’ Lizzie gasped as Vicky burst out laughing. ‘That’s gross, man!’

‘Go fuck your Dad.’

Lizzie liked Jonnie, and made damn sure he knew that she didn’t appreciate his rude remark. Jonnie made amends.

‘I’m sorry, that wasn’t right.’

Lizzie looked up, ready to forgive his apology. ‘That’s okay, Jon—’

‘—I meant step-dad. He’s not your real Dad, is he?’

‘No.’

‘Cool. So you can fuck him and it won’t be against the law, then.’

Jonnie and Sam burst out laughing. They made their way past the stone font that stood in the grounds of the school.

Gobsmacked, Lizzie turned to her friend. She found the whole exchange riotously funny. ‘What are you laughing at, you cow? You think that’s funny?’

‘He’s such a prick.’ Vicky shook her head and made her way toward the school entrance. ‘Dunno what you see in him.’

‘He’s fit, that’s all.’

‘You can do better than Jonnie Barron, mate.’

Lizzie sighed and looked over her shoulder. She saw a little ginger girl run up behind her and whispered to Vicky. ‘Ugh, that little gingerbread doll’s seen us.’

‘Hey, Lizzie!’ Jody caught up to her, tightening a hair band around her ginger ponytail. ‘You okay?’

‘Uh, hey, Jody. Yeah, whatever.’

‘You hear from Layla?’ Jody asked. ‘She’s been off for a week, now.’

‘We ain’t heard shit from Layla Quick,’ Vicky said. ‘Where is she?’

‘She’s moved to another school, temporarily. Since that whole thing with Mr Galigan from Geography.’

 

Vicky, Lizzie and Jody pushed through the main school doors and into the entrance.

Staff members milled around talking to each other. Vicky turned to Jody as they walked. ‘What happened, then?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘With Layla and Mr Galigan?’ Lizzie butted in, losing her patience.

‘Not here,’ Jody whispered. She was scared members might overhear them. ‘I’ll tell you in tutor.’

The three girls made their way past the reception – and almost into the path of Mr Foster, the principal of the school.

‘Girls, mind where you’re going.’

Vicky made an apologetic face. ‘Yes, sir.’

‘It’s nearly twenty to nine. Go straight to tutor, please.’

‘Yes, sir.’

Vicky giggled to herself and winked at Mr Foster. He watched the trio walk toward the playground as the final morning bell sounded off.

‘What are you playing at?’ Lizzie asked Vicky.

‘What?’

‘Giving Foster the eye and being all like “sorry, sir,” like a proper teacher’s pet.’

Vicky pushed through the set of double doors that lead to the IT department staircase. ‘Oh, come on, Liz.’

‘What?’

‘Every chance he gets, he gawps at my legs.’

‘Eh? Does he actually?’

‘Are you really that stupid? He tries not to show it, but he’s definitely doing it.’

‘Ugh, that’s gross, man.’

Vicky and Lizzie gripped the stair rail and aided their two-at-a-time ascent up the stairs. Jody tried to enact the same but was far too small to keep up.

‘Wait for me, guys!’

‘Come on, you redheaded stepchild!’ Lizzie screamed after her. ‘Keep up!’

‘Don’t call me that!’

Jody reached the top step and disappeared into the IT corridor with her two chums.

 

The twelve-year-olds ran into the corridor with gay abandon. They were unaware that their lives – and the lives of the staff – were about to change significantly during the course of the week…

 

About Andrew Mackay​

Some authors are afraid to cross the line.

Me? Oh, I’m glad you asked! I make “the line” my starting point…

My brand is satire.

I hop between genres like madman on crack because my razor-sharp literary knife is hungry for political and social commentary. One genre just can’t cut it (if you’ll forgive the pun.) I’m obsessed, I tell you!

I write straight-up humor and farce, horror, crime, romance… all under the banner of satire.

My novels often contain a ruthless commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life. They can be uproarious, funny, outrageous and shocking. Make no mistake, though. They are this way for a reason, and always come equipped with a sense of humanity and wit.

My influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jordan Peterson, Pat Condell, and writer/director Larry Cohen.

My obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) obscene amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, debating, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.

Purchase on Amazonhttp://amzn.to/2E6h5kO

Website – https://chromevalleybooks.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/chromevalleybooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Andrew_CVB

Join Andrew Mackay on Facebook for a virtual launch party tonight for a selection of author takeovers and giveaways.

5:00 – 8:00 CST (6-9 PM EST)  which is  23:00 – 02:00 GMT (14/15 Feb)

https://www.facebook.com/events/254661718405712/

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.

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

It’s been said that humans as a species only hear what we want to; only see what we want to. When it comes to matters of the heart, we like to turn a blind eye to the unpleasant things. We don’t like to be reminded that humans as a whole aren’t perfect. Then, we might see or hear something that we can’t ignore any longer- we could hear something that doesn’t sound quite right and jump to conclusions without fully knowing the truth. Alternatively, we could see something that we can no longer rationalize away to ourselves to continue in the lie. Perhaps we think we see things that we want to see there, but do not exist. The saying “to assume, makes an ass out of u and me” is true. We make assumptions based on these things… but what if our assumptions aren’t right at any angle?

The Wife Between Us features a classic plot of man meets young woman, marries her then sometime down the road of marriage, falls in love with another woman and the wife is now sitting out in the cold. What sets this one apart from the many before it (and I’m sure after) is the twists that are thrown at us. We assume when we read the title that it will be a tale filled with jealousy, obsessions, and a desperate wife to stop the relationship between her husband and the other woman. Assume nothing though as the plot thickens and curves every time we think we have it figured out. Learn to read between the lies and find out where the truth really begins.

The Wife Between Us was written by both Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This tale is broken down into three parts- and I’ll admit the first part being the hardest to get through in my opinion. It shifts back and forth between two women’s points of view- which is fine in itself- but the way it was written bounced between first and third person. We got to experience everything that the wife felt first hand at the demise of her marriage and see into the life of Nellie, the seemingly other woman, in third person as if it were being told to us. The end of the first part is one hell of a mind blower though and the writing pattern shows that the first part was written that way out of necessity. It will propel us into the next part with such force that we have no choice but to hold onto the edge of our seats as we try to figure out where this sordid tale really began. It’s more than where the story began, it’s finding out what happens now. Dive into this book for a mind twisting story that will keep you on your toes in this exciting thriller that revolves around what one woman would do to stop the man she married being with her new and younger replacement. It definitely is a read that you won’t be able to put down once you get the first shock, and it will have you begging for more.

Title: The Wife Between Us

Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Publication Date: January 2018

Page Count: 352 pages

Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9781250130921

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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.

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.

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.

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab

Barnabus Missing Scarab

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

A good mystery has the power to engross us all- sort of like a car wreck. We can’t help but look at every angle even when all we want to do is to pull ourselves away. A great mystery not only captivates you, it immerses you within the world of the characters and keeps you guessing right up until the end. Detective stories have been a staple in mysteries since around 1841- when Edgar Allen Poe published The Murders in the Rue Morgue in a magazine; however, the most iconic of names that come to mind in a detective mystery is Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and known to the public in 1887. The draw of Sherlock Holmes is the quick wit, the banter between him and Dr. Watson, and their infallible deductive skills that catches the correct perpetrator in the end. Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab is a great mystery that reaches for the mighty torch that Sherlock Holmes carries- and it’s one that I believe the torch can rightfully be passed on to.

Barnabas Tew has made it his life’s mission to be a great detective like his hero, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Reading the first tale of the adventures of Holmes and Watson as a boy made quite the impression on the young Barnabas- so much so that it marked his chosen career path. He spent all his schooling to pursue being a real life Sherlock, thinking that he would quickly rise up as the detective in Victorian London. A decade, and a string of attempts to solve a case later, Barnabas is still looking for the one case that will shoot his career on a fast track. Wilfred, his loyal assistant, knows that Barnabas is well intentioned but they still haven’t had any luck with their cases- usually someone ends up dead before they can solve the case successfully. To try to bring his employer out of his slump, Wilfred suggests that they attend the new exhibit at the museum- the Egyptian Mummy. Spending the day at the museum helps to get Barnabas’ mind off the failed cases that he has taken on, but as a result, the pair completely lose track of time and find themselves locked inside of the now closed museum. In their search for a person or an unlocked door to leave, Wilfred and Barnabas come up to some strange happenings. When Barnabas comes to, he finds himself being ferried across the River of the Dead, on his way to meet Anubis in the ancient Egyptian Underworld. Barnabas’ services have come highly recommended to Anubis from a former client of his and Anubis is convinced that Barnabas is just the right guy for the job. Khepre, the scarab beetle god that is responsible for rolling the sun across the sky and allowing nightfall to come, has gone missing… and he could be facing dismemberment. With Khepre missing, the Underworld is stuck in a perpetual high noon that will leak into the world of the Living if he cannot be found. Will Barnabas and Wilfred be able to find the missing scarab? Will they be able to solve the case and apprehend the perpetrator before it’s too late? Pick up a copy of Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab and find out!

When I first saw this book, the cover immediately drew me in. The figure of Barnabas with the pocket watch, the candelabra and Victorian designs in black and white with just a splash of color intrigued me- it’s definitely not something you see every day. I started reading it and was deeply drawn into the world of Barnabas- his struggles are something that everyone can relate to on some kind of level (not just about the detective work). When he is introduce into the ancient Egyptian Underworld, I knew that this was my kind of book. I love everything to do with ancient Egypt (I’ve always been drawn to it though I’ve never figured out why) so I relished the fact that Barnabas is set in the ancient Egyptian world. There was the perfect amount of comedic relief to the characters that makes this book stand out in so many ways. Most mysteries are done in serious tones- as most story lines such as those should be- but with Barnabas, it helps to make the affection that you develop for the characters that much more special when you add in the unintended comedy between Wilfred and Barnabas (though completely intentional  from Columbkill to make the characters seem more real). Columbkill Noonan will do for Barnabas what Doyle did for Sherlock. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading Noonan’s work, but it most certainly will not be the last. I look forward to the next book in the Barnabas Tew series, where the two will be attempting to solve a case for the Norse God, Odin.

Sparks: An Electric Anthology

Sparks

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

This anthology was put together to help raise money for a very helpful cause, and it’s something that is close to the hearts of many. It intrigued me to see that 100% of the profits of all sales of this anthology go to help with resources for Autism. Though this book was made with absolutely no profits for the authors themselves in mind, the collection of short stories inside are not compromised (meaning that the authors didn’t gyp anyone on the quality of the stories). The pages are filled with some of the craziest, wildest and most detailed stories that I have read inside of an anthology. Some were funny, some were shocking and some can be scary- depending on the person reading it. Each turn of the page, it felt like my hands were being shocked and the pulse of the lightning strikes were filling my eyes. I commend Cash and Dehaney for bringing a great group of authors together for an awesome cause.

Sparks is compiled of fifteen authors that take you on an epic journey through horror, sci-fi, fantasy and the bizarre. There is a little something for everyone. I did not know what to expect when I first started reading Sparks. An incredible experience that started with death and ended with more, this book features Pippa Bailey (hers was one of my favorite stories), David Court, Mark Cassel, Ash Hartwell and many more; including the editors, Matthew Cash and Em Dehaney. Throughout history, we have thought about electric shock and thought Tesla and Ben Franklin mostly but never a book- until now. Do you dare to open Sparks and be shocked or even taken over by the electricity that flows inside? I implore you please do, as you will feel every pulse of the electric rod go through your body.

Are you ready for the horrific tales that lay inside? Are you ready to cut your phone off after you finish with this collection? Remember to check your attics and basements; be sure to cut off all the lights, go-ahead and turn off all your electrical products while you’re at it. Better yet, just rip the cords out of the wall… you will thank me later. From the start, with a short that is not kind and gets straight to the point, you will welcome all the stories inside that do not shy away from horrific and deathly tales of electricity. Just remember that you have been warned and if you follow my directions, you will be safe. Only read this when you are alone and in the daylight with clear skies around. The risks are greater if you read during a storm when you decide to read this. I extend a round of terrifying applause to Burdizzo Books for giving us one of the best anthologies of the year.