Review: The Last Days of Ordinary by Sloan Archer

OridnaryThe Last Days of Ordinary is a bloody good ride. I am giving it five stars because it lived up to every one of my expectations.

When I begin reading a new book, I go in with high expectations. As a voracious reader, I know what I want to see in a novel and if those elements aren’t there, it’s a letdown. I look for characters I can relate to, people with distinct voices and personalities that come alive on the pages and make me care about them. If it’s a genre novel, I want to know the how and the why behind the science, magic, or new world that I’m entering. Good writing is a must. The plot has to be plausible and possible, well-supported by the world and the characters in it. Above all, I want a good story that transports me to a different time and place, and makes me reach for the next chapter even when I know I need to put the book down and go pretend to be a responsible adult. Continue reading

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Review: Descendant by Toni Kerr

DescendantImagine that you’re telepathic. You hear the thoughts and voices of other people in your head all the time and you have no idea why. Are you crazy? Fifteen-year-old Tristan thinks he is, and when the pills he steals from his drug-addicted mother stop keeping the voices at bay, he plans a permanent escape from the insanity.

Tristan’s plan doesn’t work. An old woman stops him from self-harm, and charges him with a task. She gives him a seemingly blank piece of paper, calls it a map, and makes him swear to protect a magical gem. Scared and confused, his world dissolves into murder, magic, and a journey into a secret world that seems bent on destroying him. Continue reading

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Review: Hello Darkness by Sam Best

Hello_DarknessIn the horror genre, many authors try for something new and different, something with a twist to surprise their readers. But when it comes right down to it, tales of good vs. evil have scared us for hundreds of years. Why mess with a good thing? Sam Best offers up a tale of ancient evil that delivers a reminder of why we should fear the monsters under the bed.

The setting is the idyllic Colorado town of Falling Rock. The tourists are leaving and the locals are getting ready for the long, cold winter. Ben Howard returns to his family home with his daughter, Annabelle to start a new life after his wife’s death. We meet the rest of the town’s residents and see that not everything is as it seems. The foundations are laid for the escalating horrors that await us. The characters are engaging and well-rounded, with plenty of backstory to gain insight into their motivations. Continue reading

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Still Water

I needed a little jump-start to my prefrontal cortex, so I wandered over to Chuck Wendig’s Blog and found a theme: “We’re all human, even when we’re not.”   I also tried something that makes me uncomfortable–writing in present tense.

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Review: Hiram Grange and the Digital Eucharist by Robert Davies

HiramGrange_EucharistHiram Grange and the Digital Eucharist is book 3 in a 5-part series of novellas detailing, “The scandalous misadventures of Hiram Grange”.  I was skeptical about jumping into the middle of a series, worried that the story wouldn’t stand alone. I was wrong.

When I first met Hiram, he and two others are in the middle of carnage. They’ve interrupted a demonic summoning and getting down to the business of sending the surviving demon back to hell. Hiram is fighting many demons in that subway, the least of which is the one standing in front of him. Prepared by the prologue, I was well prepared and able to dive into the rest of the tale without hesitation. Continue reading

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Twilight spirit

Caught between
Blind, deaf
Soft as breath
Slipped unseen
Through the gloam
Waiting, wailing
Winding home

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Review: The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife by Kit Power

Loving_HusbandThere is no horror quite like suburbia. Kit Power offers two tales of domestic darkness from two very different men from opposite sides of English society.

In the title story, we meet a man and wife who are sure to be introduced as a “charming couple” to others, but are never named. The husband loves his wife with an obsessive passion, noticing every nuance of her bearing and emotion. He knows how to reassure her, how to read her mood, how to love her. Keeping her reassured and happy is his joy.

“I love her with all my heart and soul and would do anything to keep that smile on her lips and protect what we’ve built together.”

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Review: Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror edited by William Cook

Fresh.FearThere is no set theme for this anthology, but each story touches on the fears of the modern world. In the introduction, a selection from W.J. Renham’s The Art of Darkness: Meditations on the Effect of Horror Fiction,  we are reminded that, “Horror serves to reconnect us with our primal selves, provides temporary respite from the droning conditions of modern life.”

This isn’t a taste of the horror fiction of today–it’s a giant snarling bite. Some stories examine the experience of being bullied, losing a child, and the terror of becoming a drooling husk devoid of emotion. Primal fears of ghosts, demons and ancient evil unleashed upon humanity are also found here. Some of these tales are a closer look at the horrors we view on the 24-hour news feeds where serial killers, rapes and murders keep us both frightened and entertained. Some authors examine the quiet horrors of isolation, insanity, and the the complacency of those who look at evil but do nothing to stop it. Continue reading

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Letting Dreams Speak

I dream a lot. Dreams are one of the many ways I get inspiration for the creative things I pursue. I’ve dreamed everything from complete dance choreography to jewelry designs to story plots. Dreams are also one of the inviolate holy places where I can connect with the mysteries of the not-yet-discovered. There are worlds of rich, detailed, emotionally layered experiences available to me and all I have to do is sleep to see them. Last night I had a dream that still has me thinking about what’s going on in my brain. Continue reading

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Review: Gone by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Charley Woods is a businesswoman who is struggling with everyday life and the twin pressures of family obligations and work. She’s guilt-ridden by the existence of her daughter, Jenny, who is in full-time care due to severe brain damage. When Charley suffers a heart attack in her office, she’s abruptly catapulted to Avalon, which may be the afterlife, or perhaps something in between. Continue reading

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