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

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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.

Convenience

Convenience

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

If you don’t know who Andrew MacKay is, shame on you; but, it is not too late for you to read the work that comes from his genius mind that lies inside the pages of his books. I’d like to welcome you to another mind-altering book created by MacKay. He has written many books that range from comedy to horror and thriller; but Convenience is definitely in a category all of it’s own. It shifts to the left, the right and slams through to hit the water beneath. I have read books from MacKay about school shootings and terrorism, enjoyed being inside the mind of a coma patient, been inside the mind with a brain tumor and God knows what else will happen when it comes from MacKay’s mind. But, I believe Convenience is one of the best works of his to read so far. If you are a fan of Andrew’s, then Convenience is for you. Now, let’s dip inside and I’ll tell you a little.

Convenience is filled with the reality of a worker named Willy Gee. Willy works at the Kaleidoscope Shopping Centre in Chrome Valley. He is one of the most important people that works there other than your security guards; Willy is a supervisor of the facilities of Kaleidoscope. Yes, it was a big shock for me as well. Willy has been doing this type of work for a very long time, making sure he is on top of cleaning every hour, on the hour. He checks every cubicle and checks both the men and women’s restrooms to clean. It is that we don’t know what happens that really terrifies us. Are you ready to dive in the toiletries and roll in the filth of the cubicles with Willy Gee; bringing the madness and chaos that is waiting to reveal itself inside? Well, what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy of Convenience today… and welcome to a shift in Willy’s world.

I have written a few reviews about Mr. MacKay’s work, but I have to say that this book touched me on a different level. Andrew has brought the ability to see inside of a normal working person at a mall and bring the craziest, most bizarre story that makes you shake your head and ask yourself, what did I just read? It is an experience that MacKay brings you with every book he writes, taking something completely normal and bringing absolute chaos by telling you the deepest, darkest secrets of it- connecting you to his stories. MacKay is skilled and clever in his word choices and layouts of his books, which results in the best stories, hands down. He brings a strong connection to the world of his imagination and you, the reader; but he also connects his books to each other in some way. It is fantastic and not something you see very much of. I look forward to his next release, as always, filling my bookshelves with Andrew MacKay’s work with each book that comes from his messed up mind.

 

The Sleeping Serpent

The Sleeping Serpent

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

They say that in order to love another person, you must first love yourself but what if you were happy with the way things were until one day you felt like life has passed you by?  As we age, things change- circumstances in life, our bodies/appearances, the way we feel about life and ourselves.  We can have it all but feel like we have nothing at the same time.  Society conditions us to feel that we, as women, have to look a certain way to be perceived as attractive and once you hit a certain age, that you are no longer worthy of admiration.  That’s why you see so many women (mostly older, but not always) get plastic surgery done- to save what they thought of as once beautiful, not seeing that there is beauty in getting older- as every day that we live is not guaranteed, so to age is to say we’ve made it.  Others take to getting into the best shape of their lives, improving their mental and energetic state of minds along with their physical bodies.

That’s the way that Luna, our main character in The Sleeping Serpent, feels.  She has an awesome career- working in as the costume designer for a hit television show- a loving husband of many years, and great friends; but she doesn’t feel as young and vibrant as she used to.  Hearing of a new yoga instructor coming to town through a mutual friend, she decides to test out his new program that is tailored to fit a person’s needs.  Nicholas, or Nico, has just arrived in L.A. with grand dreams of having the best yoga studio complete with high-end clientele that the city has ever seen.  Being more than a yoga instructor- as he became a shaman with the Q’ero tribe in the Andes- Nico yearns to heal those who seek his out his services by combining yoga and special sessions to open up the chakras to make a person feel and look as young and beautiful on the outside as they do inside.  Seems pretty normal, until Luna finds herself obsessing about Nico, even breaking plans with her husband to spend time with him; but not everything is what it seems to be.  This book does contain mature content and possibly, triggers for some people.  Will Luna be able to come to terms about where she is in life?  Will she ever break free of her obsession?  Pick up The Sleeping Serpent today and find out for yourself.

Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen have managed to create characters that you develop bonds with in The Sleeping Serpent that I have not had with a book in a while.  I was so angry with the character Luna at points during reading that I wanted to put this book down and not pick it back up; but I dived right back into the story to see how things would turn out.  This story does have psychological components to it that make you think about what you would do if you were in that situation yourself and ask how far would you let things go after they get out of hand.  Would you have the strength to walk away if you were in too deep?  Though I think that I would, it’s never a question you think to ask yourself until you are living it.  I look forward to seeing more from Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen in the future.

Ashley’s Tale

Ashley's Tale

Reviewed by: Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Ashley’s Tale by Mike Duke is beyond remarkable and perfect for its size- there’s really no need for any more or less.  From the beginning to the end, it is the mortifying tale of Ashley.  This tale teaches you to have the strength and courage to lay down your weak side to gain access to something inside the human spirit that you always push to the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind only to be locked away but never fully forgotten; seeming to never push the boundaries once it is set in motion.  Duke presents the sharp terror of Ashley, the main character, and the twisted game that her abductor, Jake, has induced upon her.

The struggle from the low succumbed life she has almost messes with your mind and the feelings you feel towards the main characters; this story line leaves you with a sense of defeat giving way to a rise and questioning the bounds of restraint that we face in our normal, pathetic, everyday lives.  Ashley’s Tale brings forth the strongest female character we have seen since Jennifer Lopez in Enough, imparting this darkness that surrounds this tale of extreme survival.  Will Ashley rise above the situation at hand and survive?  Will she be the same person if she does?

Mike Duke is officially a force to be reckoned with- he is the master of terror. First, I read his Warm, Dark Places Are Best but this is entirely different in every aspect and still terrifying to the soul.  Duke surprised me again and seemed to make my mouth drop in this page turning success.  He gets to a personal level with his audience and brings forth the realities that most people do not want to see come into physical existence.  I bow down to the craft of his writing skills to say we simply are not worthy.  Duke will rise from the sea of authors as unique, creative and masterful in his craft; it would be a sight to see his books transformed into screenplays and played out for everyone to see.

Just Things

Just Things

*This book was provided for an honest review

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

What would it be like to be inside the mind of a serial killer, to know what’s going on in their heads to make them kill? What kind of horrific images would we be able to see and feel as if we are the ones experiencing this first hand? Just Things allows us to do just that. It takes us into the mind of a serial killer and gives you the views inside his head through his personal journal. The dictionary describes the pronoun of thing as an object that one need not, cannot or does not wish to give a specific name to. Things in other people’s eyes could be a collection- from finding rare antiques to something as mundane as stamps- but to Jimmie, his things are more complicated than most; to him, he’s an artist and his things are his masterpieces. But Jimmie is no ordinary artist, he’s the perfect serial killer. Erin Lee has taken what we know about the infamous killers and combined them to form Jimmie- if I were to write a book about what I know about every serial killer I have researched in my past, then Jimmie would be the person I wrote about. The relationship he has with his things is like what you would expect from any normal person, but with a disturbing and haunting twist; he invests everything into his things.

The characters in this book have a similar bond between each other, almost as if their minds work in the same way; one, the killer and the other being the one trying to get justice. Lee’s research and writing skills gives off a non-fiction feeling, as if we are actually inside the mind of a true serial killer, but I assure you, this is a work of fiction. Just Things almost gives off a Dexter vibe but it is very different at the same time and I love it. This book is very well thought out and the research Ms. Lee put into this really shows; everyone who is an enthusiast in all things horror, thriller, and serial killers will absolutely love to see the twisted inner workings of the serial killers mind. So, whatever you are doing, just drop it and go read this book- you need to experience this read from beginning to end! Every fan will respect and honor this as if it were the next Dexter. I also warn everyone that you will crave ice cream during or at the end of reading Just Things– no matter what horrific, disturbing or psychological experience you may have.

Erin Lee is a freelance writer in her free time- with multiple works published already- but she also holds a master degree in psychology and works with at risk families as a court appointed special advocate. Ms. Lee has a brilliant mind to create such a masterpiece and characters as she unfolds in the phenomenal creation called Just Things as Jimmie is remarkable in every spectrum; I bow down to Ms. Lee in her quest in making the perfect serial killer. I do look forward to reading the continuation of this series of The Diary of a Serial Killer.

The Seed

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*This book was provided for an honest review

Reviewed by: Demetrius Svette

“A little reminder that each rose is so very different in its own way, even roses from the same bush. I think you’ll find that you need to care for each of the roses singly in order for the whole bush to be healthy and grow. She is unique, and if I try to raise her like any other child, it’s going to result in nothing but disappointment and heartache for the both us. We’ll both wither and die, just like the rose bush will if each of its parts are not properly taken care of.”

The Seed revolves around two main characters: Alicia, the mother- which is a character stronger than most who would do anything in the world to protect and keep her daughter safe- and Mindy. Alicia is put through tests and a series of what ifs that leaves her no clear answers and just does what needs to be done. She is dealing with other problems like the school that her daughter goes to that forces her to stop what she is doing and flee over there in an instant, problems with her job, and also the Government. Alicia has a strong emotion and power of love towards Mindy and will not stop at anything to be by her side, and protect her like a mother should.

Mindy is Alicia’s daughter; in this story she is put through some heart wrenching experiences and it puts you on your toes. You may find yourself without nails while flipping through the pages in Mindy’s point of view. Mindy goes through a lot of abuse in this story of The Seed but not necessarily in the more conventional ways that people talk about. In the beginning of the book, it talks about abuse and it is portrayed to be swept under the carpet to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Abuse recruits its followers; it creates monsters out of once beautiful people by putting them into unspeakable torments and habitats. Will you become the survivor of The Seed?

Wendi Starusnak puts this book together like you are reading two entirely different books within the same book; you are put in two different points of views- the mother’s and the child’s. It makes you ask questions throughout, page after page, and it will make you feel like you are The Seed. Wendi is creative and interesting while making suspense come alive, making it feel so surreal at times through the journey this back and forth scenario creates. She has the power within her words that will make you cringe, ball your fist, and feel sympathy towards her characters. She is a talented writer, making characters that you feel like you can emotionally bond with and a story line that takes creativity to a whole different level. I do look forward to seeing what else she brings to the table in her books.