Book Review: ‘Never Again’ by Lily Luchesi

A powerful story, as terrifying as the true horrors of the historical events on which it is based.

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There have been many horrors inflicted by humans on others in the last 500 years. Sean Wireman has witnessed them all. 

‘Never Again’ is a paranormal exposition of the consequences of human hatred and cruelty. 

The story is told from Sean’s perspective as both a witness and a sufferer of persecution, oppression and torture. The story is overwhelmingly dark and somber, but for those characters who bring light and relief into Sean’s life. The bleak and heavy tone of the writing suits the events of the story very well, yet the reader is aware that it is impossible for them to feel as weighted down by despair as Sean does.  

The main character is both flawed and heroic and, although he is not human, the reader develops a strong affinity with his emotions and responses, particularly the passions that characterise him, and his anger and heartbreak, which are portrayed so vividly they are palpable. 

The very powerful message of this novel is that the evil of the past must be resisted and put to an end. The horrors of the past must never be allowed to occur again. The reader is left in no doubt whatsoever that, like Sean, each of us must play our part in making that happen.

A gripping and often confronting read, ‘Never Again’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Children Of Darkness’ by Courtney Shockey

‘Children of Darkness is a grim tale filled with foreboding and brooding suspense from which there is little relief. Even when the protagonist forces herself to relax, both she and the reader remain slightly tense with the sensation that the respite can only ever be fleeting. 

Shockey builds the tension and darkness until it is almost tangible, then delivers blow after blow that suck the air from the reader’s lungs and keep them on the edge of their seat. 

This is a very well crafted horror story that keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

‘Children Of Darkness’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Kiss of Quicksilver’ by Dona Fox

A dark and disquieting tale.

This dark little tale by Dona Fox evokes a strong sense of desperation in her protagonist and other characters in their grim quest for survival.

Much like being thrown into the deep end of a dark pool, the reader is plunged into the action, yet only gradually realises the depths into which they have been submerged. There are some very effective moments of realisation and revulsion accompanied by an uncomfortable sensation of disquiet and doubt in the reader’s mind, both heightened by the tone of normality with which Fox infuses the narrative.

Easily read in less than half an hour, this is a perfect diversion during a break or over lunch on a busy day. Or… perhaps not while you’re eating. 

An excellent horror story, ‘Kiss of Quicksilver’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ by Claudette Melanson

A great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”… but definitely not for kids.

What if your most basic assumptions bout Santa turned out to be wrong?

Is he just a jolly old fat guy who delivers presents, or is there much, much more to his story?

Claudette Melanson presents a somewhat different version of Santa in these twelve stories, which are well-crafted and well told. There is some lovely connectivity between the stories, which is sometimes quite overt and at other times sneaks up on the reader and takes them by surprise.

This is a great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”.  Do take the title seriously, though: this book is definitely not for kids, as there is some quite graphic content.

‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The Awakening’ by A. Drew

A really great macabre mystery!

Part mystery, part macabre horror and part paranormal suspense, ‘The Awakening’ is a very good read.

The story is interesting and complex, cast with believable characters who face their biggest challenge ever while just trying to get through life from day to day. 

The central character is a regular teenage guy named Phil, who faces his own questions of identity and belonging by trying to fit in with the “in crowd”, as so many teens do. This sets off a disturbing chain of events that intrigue the reader and draw them deeper into Phil’s life as the story unfolds. 

This is the prequel to The Dowling House, but works perfectly well as a standalone book.

It’s a really good read. I have awarded ‘The Awakening’ a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.  

Spooktober Reads

Halloween Book Recommendations.

Promo Spooktober 2_edited-1

Book squirrel has a great collection of books for Halloween reading at
Book Squirrel’s Spooktober Reads. 

Ranging from creepy suspense to full-blown horror, these are some of the best Halloween reads around.

Stake Out by Lily Luchesi.

Lily Luchesi Stake Out

YA Paranormal.

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge.

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Lac Du Mort and Other Stories by Joanne Van Leerdam

Lac Du Mort 6x9

Macabre/horror.

From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.

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Tunnels by P.J. Blakey-Novis.

Peter Blakey-Novis Tunnels

Horor.

From the author of Embrace the Darkness, Tunnels takes you on six terrifying journeys full of terror and suspense.

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Beyond by Alanah Andrews

Alanah Andrews Beyond

Dark fiction.

The future, ghosts, aliens, surprising twists, murder, love and beyond…

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Truly Unfortunate by C.A. King

C.A. King Truly Unfortunate

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

Which is stronger… the boundaries of reality or the safety on one’s own mind?

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The Dowling House by A Drew

A Drew The Dowling House

Horror/macabre.

An unseen world, where one just might discover the secrets that exist there, may be better off left to rot.

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Of Nightmare Realities by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Of Nightmare Realities

Horror.

Delirium and psychosis are beginning to set in. Are these visions real? Or merely the hallucinatory projections of your sleep-deprived mind?

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Road To Terror by S.K Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to Terror

Horror/Suspense.

Aria is running from something she can’t quite remember.

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The Celtic Curse: Banshee by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

Horror/Ghosts/Folklore.

A young gypsy woman is murdered for falling in love with the son of an Irish clan leader. She curses the men responsible and their bloodline.

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Reaper’s Folly by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Reapers Folly

Horror/Dark Fantasy.

Anchored in Hell, in the dark Underworld, one tarnished soul has become captive to the Darkness.

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Fear Of The Dark by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Fear of the Dark

Horror.

Sometimes it’s not the dark you should be afraid of… it’s what’s hiding in it.

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The Nightmare by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan The Nightmare

Horror/Gothic

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night.

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The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Lily Luchesi The Coven Princess

Horror/Fairy Tale adaptation.

Your blood does not define you.

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Curious Times eBook

Horror/dark humour.

Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories.

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Do Not Open Until Halloween by C.A. King

C.A. King Do Not Open Until Halloween

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

In this young adult fantasy, award-winning author, C.A. King, explores the answer to one of the questions readers have always wanted to ask… Where do fairies come from?

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Flash of Darkness by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness

Horror.

Five flashes of terror to torment your mind…
Allow Eyenot to drag you through the darkness.
You may never find your way back to the light.

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A Flash of Light by S.K Gregory

S.K. Gregory Chills and Thrills 3

Creepy/Paranormal.

A Chills and Thrills Tale #3

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The Celtic Curse: Newgrange by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Newgrange

Horror/Suspense.

The Celtic Curse: Newgrange is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

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Pieces of Heaven by Nikki Landis

NIkki Landis Pieces of Heaven

Horror/Paranormal.

A Haunted Horror of Visceral Regrets.

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Arachnattack by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Arachnattack

Horror.

What IS Project 26? They called it the summer of spiders…

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Death Comes Calling by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan Death Comes Calling

Gothic horror.

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror.

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

A powerful, dark short story.

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.