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.

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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.

In Their Shoes: The Teacher

In Their Shoes The Teacher.jpeg

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

I have to admit that I have read most everything from Mr. MacKay ever since I started reviewing mid-last year. I started with the madness that is Pure Dark and branched into the other genres from there- he certainly has kept me busy with reading a lot. I have experienced just about everything you can think of so far in Andrew’s world… but nothing has shocked or stunned me more than reading In Their Shoes: The Teacher. I have started something that I have to continue, thanks to Andrew MacKay’s writing skills.

We meet our main character, Jane Altwood… no, Joy Alterwood… or was it Joyce Attwood? Well, we’ll call her Joy Altwild. Ms. Altwild has decided that she wants to become a journalist who will shadow different people’s footsteps to help her write a book; one such person is Rachel Weir, the ‘star’ of the school. Ms. Weir is one of the best teachers at Maxwell Gooder’s Comprehensive School located in Fingeringham, Wiltshire where she is the sole English and Business Studies instructor. Joy follows Rachel through the ruthless battle between the good and bad kids in her class, including escaping to her secret office. We read into the life of Rachel as she slowly begins to break apart throughout the day. Again, we have a chance to learn more about the corruption that is in the forefront of the minds of youth today that builds into a never-ending page tuner filled with multiple paths, personalities and where the number one rule is to control the classroom. Can Joy survive the day alongside Rachel? Will Rachel survive the menacing torture from the youth on a Monday, after a weekend full of freedom from the wild kids? You will have to find out just as I have and read for yourselves. I will tell you, I wish I would have started this sooner and I look forward to continuing the series… yes, In Their Shoes is a series that we get to enjoy.

Now, this is my first comedy read- In Their Shoes is filled with dark laughter with a bit more of a real correlation between fiction and reality. It was actually a relief to break away from the murder, abuse and violence that I have been steady reading… well, let’s just say I didn’t escape it all. Andrew, of course I have to praise you yet again. I know this is the first book in the series but you brought a hell of a cliffhanger that has me begging for more. A simple cliffy that you can easily miss if you weren’t paying attention, as I did. It made me laugh and I felt quite disturbed for the teachers. This book made me feel as if it was actually based on true events as some kids can be quite disturbing to be around. It’s almost as if you wrote a book while thinking of writing a book then wrote it from the eyes of another person… I think I got that right and if not, oh well- I hope you get the point I’m trying to get across. In Their Shoes is legendary, creative and I very much enjoyed it from start to finish. Now, I must stop writing so I may continue on to read the next In Their Shoes, which I do believe is The Actor, which should be interesting.

If this review was enough to whet your appetite, click here to get your copy!

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.

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.