Feral by James Demonaco and Brian Evenson #bookreview #horror

From James DeMonaco, the writer/director of The Purge film franchise, comes the30689356 provocative and terrifying last stand of a lone outpost of women in the wake of a deadly pandemic.

Allie Hilts was still in high school when a fire at a top-secret research facility released an air-borne pathogen that quickly spread to every male on the planet, killing most. Allie witnessed every man she ever knew be consumed by fearsome symptoms: scorching fevers and internal bleeding, madness and uncontrollable violence. The world crumbled around her. No man was spared, and the few survivors were irrevocably changed. They became disturbingly strong, aggressive, and ferocious. Feral.

Three years later, Allie has joined a group of hardened survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam free, and hunt. Allie has been noticing troubling patterns in the ferals’ movements, and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon, and time is running out. The ferals are coming, and there is no stopping them. – Goodreads.com

I’m a fan of The Purge movies, so when I saw the writer/director had written a book, I was immediately intrigued.

The first part of this book is fantastic – the reader sees through Allie’s eyes how this apocalyptic event begins and the hard choices she makes in order to survive.  Flash forward three years, and Allie has transformed from a talented lacrosse player worried about boys to a hardened feral killer with trust issues.  Obviously, living through something like this will change a person, but I would have appreciated the inclusion of some events that caused this alteration.  The three year interval is a blank slate and the reader sees what Allie is like mostly through internal monologues and observations of other characters.

Which brings me to this – Feral alternates between first person and third person, some of this with the same character, and different POVs from several characters.  Different POVs aren’t really a problem for me, but the shifts between first and third person are somewhat jarring.

Overall, this is a solid read – it doesn’t bring anything new to the table with this genre, but it’s fast-paced with some exciting action sequences and a pretty quick read.  The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel.

Feral is scheduled for publication April 4th, 2017.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.


Unearthly Things by Michelle Gagnon #TuesdayBookBlog #suspense

After losing her parents in a tragic accident, surfer girl Janie Mason is forced to trade 29422134the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the cold fog of San Francisco. She’s never even met her new guardians, the Rochesters—an old money family who relish being pillars of high society. Janie feels hopelessly out of place in their world of Napa weekends, fancy prep schools, and cotillions. Nicholas is the only Rochester who treats her with anything resembling kindness—but he’s only six. When she strikes up a friendship with Daniel, a fellow surfer, it feels like things might finally be improving.

But something isn’t right in the Rochester mansion. There are noises—screams—coming from the attic nearly every night. Noises everyone else claims they can’t hear. Then John, the black sheep of the family, returns after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. Soon Janie finds herself torn between this new “brother” and Daniel, who has secrets of his own. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any worse, she learns the truth about the Rochesters: what they’re hiding, what they want from Janie, and how far they’ll go to get it. – Goodreads.com

I read Jane Eyre many years ago and honestly didn’t remember much about it, so I had to reacquaint myself with the synopsis.  Unearthly Things is an updated YA retelling of Jane Eyre and the author has done a remarkable job.

Orphaned at the age of 16, Janie had an idyllic upbringing that wasn’t without its problems, but she’s strong and tries to make the best of a tragic situation, making her character easy to admire.  Even though this is a modern day retelling, I loved that the Rochester’s house still maintained the creepy gothic atmosphere, complete with supernatural happenings.  I also liked that the primary emphasis wasn’t on romance, but more about the strange occurrences and secrets in the house, odd behaviors of its inhabitants, and Janie’s attempts to figure out the motivations of everyone around her.

This Jane is a down-to-earth, intelligent, strong surfer girl and I thoroughly enjoyed this book – and could easily have read it in one sitting if real life hadn’t required my attention.  Fans of the original Jane Eyre may enjoy this updated YA version, but I’d also recommend it to those who enjoy supernatural suspense.  Unearthly Things is scheduled for publication April 11th, 2017.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital ARC.

What’s On Your Shelf, Teri Polen?

I’m on D.S. Nelson’s blog today for her fun feature ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ Drop by to see my cluttered, but well-loved bookshelves.

Yes folks it’s time for ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, we have writer of young adult fiction, Teri Polen. Teri is a lover of books as long as they are not romance or pink and is most happy with a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate and a good novel. Check out her blog ‘Books And Such’ here, Facebook here and her books here. Over to Joan …

Thanks to Dawn for hosting me today! I’ve always enjoyed seeing friends and other authors talking about their shelves – they can tell you a lot about a person.
The first thing you’ll learn about me is that organization isn’t a top priority of mine. Hubby has suggested several times maybe putting my books in alphabetical order – why would I want to alphabetize books when I could be reading them? That topic has never been revisited.

My dad actually…

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Indie Author Friday – Mae Clair #thriller #indieauthors #suspense


I’m so excited Mae Clair is back visiting with me today!  I think Mae and I could spend a relaxing evening binging something on Netflix or getting caught up with Gotham on the DVR while Raven and Bond (our black cats) watch birds out on my screened porch.  If you haven’t read her eerie, supernatural Point Pleasant Series, you’d better get started, because A Desolate Hour, the final book of the series, releases July 18, 2017.  I’ve got my copy pre-ordered – do you?


Where secrets make their home…

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

Universal Purchase Link (All Booksellers)


How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

I had to delve into social media, something I shunned before (I didn’t even have a Facebook page). Venturing online has made a marked difference in my reach, and I’ve made so many great friends along the way. Publishing also meant I had to transition from having a hobby to launching a business. I love to write and would continue to do so even if I didn’t earn a penny, but now I have a whole new set of rules to follow.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Recently, I saw a comment by another author who said she saw “bestseller headlines” in my future. She’s read a number of my books, and to see that comment posted in a forum (unrelated to me) pretty much blew me away. I hope it’s true, but even if the cards don’t fall that way, I was flattered and appreciative. A goose bump moment!

What do you do to get book reviews?

Not nearly enough. This is one area in which I sorely lack. And it’s become harder since Amazon has moved to the “verified purchase” review platform. I sell a number of books locally (through book signings) and I rarely ever ask for reviews. I need to get better at doing that. As an author, I make an effort to review every book I’ve read. As long as I can provide a 3-star rating or higher, I post reviews within 1-2 days of finishing a book.

Fortunately, my publisher makes my work available on NetGalley pre-release, so that has been a help.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I tend to DVR stuff and then try to catch up with episodes when I have time. Right now I’ve got a backlog of Gotham, Lethal Weapon and an old TV western called The Rifleman. When Once Upon a Time returns from winter hiatus the beginning of March, I’ll watch it in “real time.” It’s the only show I make sure I’m around to see when it airs.

If you were a box of cereal, which one would you be?

Quisp, because it reminds my childhood and it has a whimsical connection to UFOs.

How would your best friend describe you?

Introverted! Most people see me as being an extrovert, but those who know me well realize the opposite is true. When I’m required to be “on” in social situations, it takes me a full day to recover.

Author Bio

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions. Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:



Twitter (@MaeClair1)


Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page



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Story Empire

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta #bookreviews #fantasy

A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and 25226075put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife. – Goodreads.com

This isn’t my one of my typical reads, but the mention of Scotland and hint of witches reached out and grabbed me.

Heather is a girl who clearly has some issues – not only with cutting, but recurring nightmares involving twin sisters, Prudence and Primrose, both witches from the 1600s.  Throughout the story, the POVs rotate between these three characters, although the sisters’ chapters are much shorter.  The historical flashbacks, witchcraft, and the author’s take on a ‘blood witch’ are my favorite parts of this novel, but these aspects aren’t really delved into until nearly halfway through the book.  Heather and her supporting cast of friends have some fun scenes and Robby is sweetly charming, but I’m relieved the teen romance didn’t overshadow the plot.

Once the pace really got rolling and the building suspense drew me in, the story wrapped up rather abruptly, leaving me a little frustrated.  When I noticed so few pages remaining near the end, I even wondered if there might be a sequel.  Admittedly I might have missed something, but I had trouble buying into the initial conflict that pitted the twin sisters against each other.  Their later conflicts – absolutely, but it seemed a weak springboard.

A wonderful setting, believable characters, and suspenseful mystery interwoven with witchcraft and magic – I just wish it would have been a little longer.

Bad Blood is scheduled for publication March 14th, 2017.  Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

In a Small Compass: Vol. 1 by Karen Oberlaender #bookreviews #paranormal #TuesdayBookBlog

15 contemporary short fiction stories with paranormal streaks take you on a journey33227363 to Boston, Dublin, Dundrum, Galway, Heidelberg, London, Munich, Nuremberg, Skerries, and other places.

Find out more about:
– Rachel and her nightmare.
– Madelyn and her marble.
– Jenny and the shadow.
– Louise and her hunches.
– Ted and the noises.
– Dee and her prison.
– The heatwave in Willowsend.
– Judy and her projections.
– Joe and a voice.
– Roberta and Laura.
– Marty giving directions.
– James Ferris Wheeler and the award.
– Aoife at the Dundrum Town Centre.
– The secret of the blue window – with two alternative endings. – Goodreads.com

For someone who prefers their books to have a touch of other-worldliness, this marvelous collection of short stories was a treat for me.  Each is the perfect length to take an enjoyable short break from your day or for a quick read while waiting in line (I’m never without a book if I have to wait anywhere, anytime).   The settings from around the world are just an added bonus.  Looking forward to volume 2!

Downsizing the TBR Pile #amreading

Hubs out of town, so I did nothing except read and write over the weekend – and finished two books!  I’m also proud of the fact that the local library’s used book sale was this weekend and I held my ground and didn’t add anymore to the TBR pile.  Let me tell you, that was a tough one to stay away from.

My son and I also found some time to watch Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen and rated it two thumbs up – a thought-provoking movie with an outstanding performance from Mortensen (but he’ll always be Aragorn to me).  Add it to your 23299513list if you haven’t seen it.

I finally finished The Shadow Queen.  I was never much for fairy tales growing up, but this take on Snow White was hard to put down – creative world-building and strong, fun characters surrounded by magic – and dragons!

I read out of order again.  Sometimes what I read depends on what’s closest to me at the time – my 24487079Nook or Kindle.  Type and Cross by Staci Troilo immediately grabbed me – so many secrets in this small town.  The full review will be posted soon.

Currently reading






Up next:

TBR:  104

Read:  2

Bought:  ZERO!!! (due to an exorbitant amount of restraint on my part)

Total:  102