Book Review: ‘Warm Shelter: A Ghost Story’ by Rich Hawkins

A powerful, dark short story.

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Rich Hawkins Warm ShelterThis is a powerful story of one man’s descent into darkness. The author has drawn the reader into that journey by positioning them to look over Alex’s shoulder to see what he sees, but also by expressing the character’s thoughts and feelings in a really natural and familiar way. It’s a very good story, combining elements of horror, macabre, and suspense to keep the reader in the grip of the rising tension as the story progresses.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the story is the writing itself. It’s lean and precise but, at the same time, incredibly sensory and poetic. Hawkins skilfully causes imagery to flash into the mind of the reader and linger for a moment in such a way that the reader can not only see but also smell and taste those images, until the next scene and the next image takes its place. Hawkins makes great use of suggestion and foreboding to gradually darken the story, allowing the reader time to hypothesise and question before reaching the conclusion of the story. These elements combine to imbue the story with a nightmarish quality that evolves subtly at first and grows stronger as the tension of the story builds.

It’s a short read, but one that has a significant impact on the reader.  Acorn Award I Golden

‘Warm Shelter’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: Road to Terror by S.K. Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to TerrorA short story laden with fear and doubt, the author takes the reader on a dark road with Aria. Aria is unknown but the urgency and desperation that Gregory creates is effective in hooking the reader into Aria’s flight and developing sympathy for her situation.

The story is well-crafted and comes with a great twist that is delivered very effectively. Acorn Award II Silver

Road To Terror has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

New Releases: October 2018

Check out these great new release books!

There are several new releases out this week that you should know about – so that you can buy them and read them! Some of these great books also have a particular appeal for the spooky season which is now officially upon us!

The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood. YA fantasy/sword & sorcery.

Sarah Northwood The Westwood WitchesAero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back.
Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.

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Siren’s Lullaby by Erin Lee. Mythology/folk tales/fantasy.

Erin Lee Sirens Lullaby

Three women are left stranded on a small Island near Sicily, Italy, to starve, but they won’t give up easily. Joining together to fight to survive, they make a deal with a demon of the sea.
Three pirates–brothers–who haven’t agreed on much since their mother died get back together for a long journey. They long to rid themselves of the curse placed on them by a sea witch.
An insatiable hunger felt by the seductress sirens and the deadly pirates will join them together in more ways than they could ever have thought.

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Cirque De Slay by CeeCee James.  Cozy mystery.

Cee Cee James Cirque de SlayConcello Circus is crowded with unforgettable characters- trapeze artists, sword swallowers, clowns, not to mention the famed Ringmaster. Working at the circus is exactly what Trixie expected. What she didn’t expect is to find a dead body…with a dark apparition rising up from it.
Claudette Barbarosa, the beautiful bearded lady and rumored girlfriend of the Ringmaster, has been murdered and suspects are everywhere.
Trixie is desperate to catch the killer before she is caught herself. Even more, she wants an explanation for what she saw the spooky, rainy night that Claudette died.
Were her eyes lying to her…or was everyone else lying?

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam. Macabre/horror/dark humour.

Curious Times eBookFriday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories. Set at significant times of the year, these stories celebrate key events while Friday delivers his own brand of feline justice to people who fully deserve what’s coming to them.
If you have ever wished for revenge, or taken pleasure in seeing horrible people get their just desserts, this book is for you.

 

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Love You To Death by S.K. Gregory. Horror.

SK Gregory Chills 5 Love You To Death

Ravenna has lost the love of her life, but she isn’t about to let death come between them. As a powerful witch, she can raise him from the dead, but what will it cost her?

This is the fifth title in the author’s ‘ A Chills and Thrills Tale’ series of short reads.

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Onyx a by Nikki Landis. Dark paranormal romance. 

Nikki Landis OnyxDerek is obsessed with Harleigh Quinlan.
It doesn’t help that he’s been assigned as her guardian, a job he never guessed would bring him face to face with his darkest enemy. Haunted by a tragic and brutal past and forced to confront his own demons, Derek must find a way to protect the woman who’s become his entire world and seek answers to the nightmares that plague his nights. As vengeance burns within his veins, will Derek become consumed by the flames?
This is not fan fiction – it is a totally unique and original story.

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Andorra by Greg Alldredge. Steampunk/gaslamp.

Greg Alldredge AndorraFly for freedom.
Helena always thought of Europe as the romantic continent, full of history and mystery waiting to be explored. What she finds breaks her heart, deforested, and smoke choked.
The Russians haunt the Legend’s every move. Will she ever escape their influence?
The old countries are arming with new deadly steam-powered weapons. Will humans survive to see the 20th century?
Will Helena want to live in the next century if it arrives safely?

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What Lies Beyond the Shadows: a 2018 Halloween Anthology. Horror/ghost stories.

Anthology What Lies Beyond The Shadows
This collection of horror stories, published by Wild Dreams Publishing, is due for release on October 4th.

Don’t forget, folks, if you read and enjoy a book, leaving a short review really helps that book be seen by more people. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as mine – just one sentence will do the trick!

Book Review: ‘Alterations’ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great novel in Stanhope’s ‘Elemental Witch Trials’ series.

Lucretia Stanhope EWT 5‘Alterations’ is the fifth novel in the Elemental Witch Trials series by Lucretia Stanhope. It resumes Gwen’s story some time after the events of ‘Familiar Betrayal’, as she finds herself pursuing new and dangerous directions. There seems to be so much at stake for Gwen in this book – but perhaps that is an issue of scale, for every mother perceives that there are threats to her children that she must overcome in order to protect them, and all individuals understand that there are many people who would be willing to take us down and few who would truly defend us if it meant putting themselves in danger.

One of the qualities I really admire about Gwen is her refusal to be passive and just let things happen around her. She is not only a strong woman, she is confident in using her strengths to achieve her aims. She may not have everything in control, but she definitely strives to do what she can and to respond to situations with positive outcomes in mind.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m also really glad to see that the author is determined to make this series varied and complex. This instalment is full of tension and twists, and I’m definitely keen to read more of this series.

Acorn Award II Silver

‘Alterations’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find ‘Alterations’ here.

If this series is new to you, click here to read my review of the first book in the series, Blessedly Bound.

 

 

Series Review: ‘Lineage’ by C H Clepitt

Highly original and wickedly brilliant.

This is a marvellous series of three paranormal short story reads. The writing is witty and laced with dark humour, the characters are quite unique and yet seem to belong together in a “shabby chic” kind of way, and the stories are enormously entertaining.

Clepitt writes with a trademark brand of cynical dark humour, and there are some gems of observation about society and people in general embedded in these stories of urban vampires making a life for themselves in 21st century England.

Each story is short enough to read in one sitting, and the overall story arc enjoys good continuity and development of both the characters and the challenges they face from one to the next.Acorn Award I Golden

The ‘Lineage’ series has been awarded a Gold Acorn for originality and wickedly brilliant storytelling.

 

New Release: A Poet’s Curse

A new collection of dark poetry that delivers justice in its most poetic form.

A Poets Curse eBook 6x9People often say, “Never annoy a writer. She will put you in a book and kill you.”
These poems don’t kill anyone, but they leave the reader in no doubt whatsoever of  the poet’s feelings.

Uncomfortable truths, observations about life, and unashamedly honest responses to hateful people make this collection of poems highly relatable and deeply, darkly satisfying.

They say there is a special place in hell reserved for those who prey on others.
Until then, there is A Poet’s Curse.

Book Review: ‘The Witch’s Touch’ by Rosie Wylor-Owen

A deliciously dark short story read.

Rosie Wylor-Owen The Witchs TouchThe Witch’s Touch is a delightfully dark story about justice being delivered in the most satisfying way.

The narration of the story is fluent and masterful, giving the reader rich insights into the characters and their actions. The characters are developed with considerable detail given the length of the story, and the reader is captivated by the story that unfolds. The story itself is quite unique and has some brilliant twists in it to keep the reader guessing.

Acorn Award I Golden
It’s a short read that took me a little under half an hour, so it’s perfect as a quick escape from a busy day. ‘The Witch’s Touch’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.