Posted in Reviews

Be My Killer by Richard Parker

Be My KillerBe My Killer by Richard Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Be My Killer,” is a book that has a great premise to live up to: What would happen if people put themselves out there on social media as potential targets for psychopaths? Who would be responsible for their deaths if they did die?

Fortunately, the book lives up to the “hype,” in my opinion, with the gore of a slasher movie and the suspense of a good detective story.

The novel follows Hazel, a documentary filmmaker who sees that a childhood friend has become the fourth victim of a ruthless killer who took people up on their tweet “requests” to be murdered. Hazel and her film crew set up shop in the abandoned amusement facility where Meredith was murdered to seek some answers about the killings. Then, people attached to the project begin to disappear.

This book is a great, creepy read. From the setting – an abandoned amusement park called the “Fun Zone” – to the eccentric cast of characters that knew the victims and have agreed to take part in the film, this book is nonstop suspense. The death scenes are a little gory, but nothing you wouldn’t see in a typical slasher movie. If you can’t stomach those, this isn’t the book for you.

I didn’t see the ending coming. In fact, I had no idea where the novel was going because there were enough moving parts and characters to create multiple plausible villains. Without a doubt, some of the side characters – like one victim’s social-media-obsessed stepbrother, or the creator of the @BeMyKiller Twitter account – really make the book great. You just want to know how they all fit into the story.

At the same time, the only downfall of the book is in the myriad of characters that can become confusing at points, especially toward the end at “the reveal” scene, when the fates of the characters is decided. Some of the names made me pause and think, “Oh yeah, that’s so-and-so.”

Overall, this was a very good thriller that will give you goosebumps. I thoroughly enjoyed it – it’s a must read for horror movie fans or anyone looking for a good creep-fest!

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Posted in Reviews

Blog Tour: Gavin by Russell – Review and Giveaway!

gavin 2

MY REVIEW

GavinGavin by Russell*

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To start: This book is dark. Very dark. It contains some very intense scenes involving sexual abuse and childhood abuse. Those that are looking for a light, warm-hearted read should pick another book. But for those that want to try a mystery/thriller with just a touch of horror: this book is an amazingly suspenseful thriller that will leave you begging the author for more.

The novel begins as Gavin Nolan and his partner – homicide detectives in the Chicago PD – are summoned to a crime scene in which two men are brutally murdered. The killer, who they’ve been investigating for weeks, also leaves a personal message for Gavin: “You could have saved me.” The investigation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as Gavin wracks his brain for any connection between the victims. How are these seemingly random (and quite, frankly, douche-baggy men that no one seems to really miss) victims connected? And how doe Gavin fit in? We’re about to find out.

Like I said, this novel does not shy away from anything, from the descriptions of the crime scenes, to the events that ultimately connect all the dots. It is not for those with a weak stomach. But I couldn’t stop reading; I was sucked in from almost the very first page. The author leaves a trail that is intriguing and keeps you guessing, while handing you little clues throughout. For example, I had a theory that I formed about halfway through – I was wrong. But that’s part of the fun with these types of novels.

The personal storylines were also good. They contributed to the storyline, but didn’t take away from the mystery. And the author does a good job of advancing them throughout the story – the characters grow and develop throughout the novel in a way that is really satisfying – I hate when characters stay stagnant.

The ending also promises more from these characters, which is great. Normally, I’m not a fan of cliffhangery-type endings, but this one was done in a really great way that gave closure to the story at hand, while promising more excitement coming.

I’ll definitely be reading the next in this series.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

_XPR4892.jpgFor nearly two decades, Russell was an executive chef in the restaurant industry, in which he created succulent entrees and managed various types of kitchen operations. In the last seven years, he began to teach future culinarians how to achieve their professional goals in hands-on classroom and lecture settings. With his recent graduate work in the field of sociology, his interests center on organizational behaviorism, social theory, and food insecurity.

Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Last year, he published a second edition of his freshman novel, The Tale of Old Man Fischer. Slipping into alternative universes allows Russell to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Most importantly, inspiration is a continuous piece of his work and results from the world around him. Currently, he lives in Upstate New York with his wife, two children, and several cats.

Please visit Russell on these social media platforms:
Facebook: Russell (The Author)
Twitter: @Russell_Writer
Instagram: @Russell_Writer


GIVEAWAY

Win one of NINE signed copies of the novel!


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND PURCHASE

Barnes and Noble
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Paperback

Posted in Reviews

The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward

I’m so excited to finally be able to share my love of “The Girl from Rawblood” with you all! The book is out now – don’t forget to check out the preview and giveaway for your chance to win a free copy!
The Girl from RawbloodThe Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every so often, I read a book that is so good, when I’ve finished it, I find myself wanting to read another book just like it. The experience was that good.

“The Girl From Rawblood” is one of those books.

It’s a gothic novel that gave me a Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein-like vibe. And please note: it is dark and depressing, just like that novel. If you’re looking for happy endings, please find another book.

But I seriously couldn’t put this book down once I got into it. I devoured it.

The novel begins with Iris, a young girl whose father doesn’t allow her to venture outside the confines of their home, Rawblood, or have friends, since their family is haunted by a strange curse which will kill them if they invite love into their lives. The pair are the last of the Villarca line and the story then begins to tell, from their own perspectives, the story of their family and how the curse, known as “Her,” came to be.

As I’ve said, this novel is very much in the style of classic gothic novels and is a dark, sad tale which will rip your heart out in places. But it’s also a tale of the power of love and how much it pervades our lives, no matter how much we try to push it away. Love reaches all of the characters, no matter how hard they push it away.

I think some of the lower reviews were from people expecting a modern-day style novel, and it’s not. It’s very much classical literature-style. You have to go in knowing that. Also, FYI: This book does contain some scenes where animals are harmed. Not anything over-the-top, but it may give you pause.

I do have some questions about the ending, since it’s very symbolic and tries to tie together all the loose ends of the novel, but I can deal with that – most is explained and revealed, there’s just some details I need to confirm. Hopefully, once the book comes out I’ll be able to read some fan theories.

Overall, I’m really still processing this book. It will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. If you’re a gothic horror/romance fan, buy this book, yesterday. I loved it.

I will definitely be buying more from Catriona Ward.

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Posted in Book Extras

The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!

image001In March, I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for “The Girl From Rawblood,” by Catriona Ward, which I have just finished reading and am now obsessed with.

From the publisher – but trust me, the description can’t do it justice:

For generations the Villarcas have died mysteriously, and young. Now Iris and her father will finally understand why. . .

 

At the turn of England’s century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family’s line. They are haunted, through the generations, by “her,” a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak, and death.

 

Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end…

 

From the sun dappled hills of Italy to the biting chill of Victorian dissection halls, The Girl from Rawblood is a lyrical and haunting historical novel of darkness, love, and the ghosts of the past.

To get you excited, below is a Chapter One sneak peak, as well as a chance to win a free copy of the book (starting the 27!), which comes out March 7!

Continue reading “The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!”

Posted in Reviews

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

The UndesiredThe Undesired by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’re looking for a book to creep you the heck out – look no further. You’ve found it. This book has two interlaced storylines and both are enough to make you pull the covers around you a little tighter and jump at stray noises.

In modern day Reykjavik, Odinn is handed a new project just as his personal life is in turmoil. His ex-wife was in an accident, leaving the care of their 11-year-old daughter to him. The project relates to an old care home for delinquent boys, which was shut down after a bizarre accident in the 1970s, and whether the boys were mistreated and could be entitled to compensation. Then bizarre things start happening and Odinn begins questioning his sanity the further he gets into his investigation. The second storyline – which follows a young woman hired to clean at the home – reveals the bizarre events leading up to the accident. The past and present collide in a huge climax which will leave you with goosebumps.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir is an Icelandic author who specializes in horror novels, and while this isn’t necessarily horror, it’s a thriller at its best. There are some hints about what the ultimate conclusion will be, but it’s still shocking and spooky when it happens.

I did guess at least part of the “modern” storyline “secret,” but the past story had me stumped. And I was not disappointed in either story even having guessed a little bit of what was happening. The author keeps you second-guessing everything you think you know about the characters and their motivations. There’s definitely a creeping, pervasive feeling of dread that really culminates when your theories are finally confirmed. It’s really good.

The author does a great job of creating an air of suspense where you’re not sure what the heck is going to happen next. As Odinn’s investigation creeps forward and as Aldis’ time at the home goes on, everything just builds and builds to its conclusion – by the time I got to about 60 percent through the book I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was going on – in both stories! That’s really an incredible thing: to create to stories in one that are just that good.

I am so glad I got a chance to read this book and am so thrilled to have discovered Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up when it is released (Feb. 14).

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Posted in Reviews

Hope’s Peak by Tony Healey

Hope's Peak (Harper and Lane, #1)Hope’s Peak by Tony Healey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is dark. Like, really dark. If you want a happy ending, skip this one.

But it’s also very good, in terms of thrillers. It has a definite “Psycho” vibe, a movie which the author mentions in the novel. Fans of the movie will certainly enjoy this book. Like the movie, it’ll scare the pants off of you.

The novel follows Jane Harper, who at the beginning of the novel is at the scene of the second ritualistic murder in recent weeks. She thinks a budding serial killer may be on the loose, but as her and her partner, Stu, are beginning their investigation, they find out the murders go back much farther. The first victim’s daughter, plays a big role in their investigation, with her host for being able to “see” things when she touches emotionally-charged people or objects. But she’s been fragile since her mother’s death – cut off from the outside world. There’s also a sub-plot involving Harper and Stu’s personal relationship.

The book isn’t a whodunnit, since readers are let in on the killer’s identity fairly early on, it’s more about watching the investigation unfold and wondering what is going to happen next. And the author does a good job of still keeping the suspense high even though the traditional “killer reveal” isn’t on the table. I really didn’t feel disappointed with the author’s choice in that regard.

Also, the paranormal aspect is fairly light, which keeps the believability high. I could see many Idas out there, watching life pass by with all its secrets and stories. And that’s the key to a good thriller like this: making the reader believe this could really happen.

In the end, that paranormal element allows for all the pieces to be put together and provide some closure in a neat way.

Based on the subtitle, the author intends to make a series of books about Jane and Ida’s unique relationship. I look forward to the next in the series.

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Posted in Reviews

Colony of the Lost by Derik Cavignano

Colony of the LostColony of the Lost by Derik Cavignano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fans of horror movies are going to want to pick up this new tale from Derik Cavignano, which combines Stephen King with Scooby Doo, but in a good way.

The children of Glenwood, Mass. begin disappearing without a trace – no suspects, no clues, nothing. It’s eerily reminiscent of the original settlers of Glenwood, then called Freetown, who all disappeared, leaving not a shred of evidence about their fate behind. Meanwhile, a gang of misfits – an alcoholic teacher, a love struck teenager, and an outcast little girl – begin seeing something strange near the woods. They discover they need to work together to figure out how to stop who – or what – is destroying the town.

This book really succeeds because it takes you to a place that seems so normal, but is hiding something most abnormal. I think the setup is done well, slowly creating the mystery and atmosphere, then introducing the central horrific premise.

I’ve seen other reviews that criticize that it’s “unreal” or “far-fetched,” but that’s the beauty of horror novels: they can take you to a place where monsters do exist and where it’s too dangerous to turn out the lights. I definitely got chills when I was reading this book late at night, even realizing that it’s just fiction.

So, if you’re willing to forget reality for a little bit and experience some chills, I recommend this book. It’s got a great main cast of characters and a chilling premise.

Just make sure you lock your doors before you start reading.

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