Chills and Creeps: Eight Scary Stories by Nick Clausen #bookreview #shortstories #RBRT

In this collection, you’ll meet …

Peter, who meets an upholsterer who really likes his skin. Mary, who gets a pet fish thatwill only eat human flesh. Daniel, who plays a game that becomes real in his dreams. Eagle, who has a disease that make birds attack him wherever he goes. Joseph, who plays tennis with a ghost. Nadia, who gets trapped in a house slowly filling up with water. Calvin, whose sister visits a hypnotist and becomes someone else. And Noah, who learns to control lights with his mind.

Eight stories spanning horror, dark fantasy and science fiction, all set in everyday life while exploring the dark, the evil and the supernatural. 

I haven’t read many short story collections, but for me, a horror/supernatural compilation is irresistable.

At the end of each tale, the author shares what sparked the idea – a nice personal touch.  I find story origins interesting.  All are eerie and enjoyable, but I have my favorites.

When I Snap My Fingers – The concept of reincarnation has always fascinated me, and the way it’s incorporated will give you chills down your spine.  And have you avoiding hypnotists.

Ghost Tennis – You might be lured into thinking this is a friendly ghost story – don’t be fooled.  The ending is wickedly perfect.

Drip-Drip-Drip – As someone who is slightly claustrophobic, I was uncomfortable reading this one.

Not all the stories worked for me.  Some had less plausible plots and character actions which I felt needed another tweak with a content edit.  Even though it’s fiction, it still needs to be believable.  Other reviewers have mentioned this book is suitable for children, but because of some language sprinkled throughout, I wouldn’t recommend it for readers under the age of thirteen.

Dark, evil, and supernatural tales may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for horror fans, this is creepy collection that can be read in a couple of hours.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Rosie’s Book Review Team.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray #bookreview #YA #historicalfiction #supernatural

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

I’ve had this book in my TBR for quite a while and even started it a couple of times, but then had to drop it for other reading commitments.  When it fit the monthly category for my book club last November, I vowed to finish it.

The hidden secrets and supernatural powers thrilled me, and there are some chilling moments that may cause you to look over your shoulder.  A whirlwind of energy, Evie is the driving force of the story and occasionally charges into situations before considering the consequences of her actions.  She can be a bit annoying at times, but her heart is usually in the right place.  There are numerous other characters, but Jericho is a standout for me.  He begins the story as a bland character taking up space, but the gradual reveal of his backstory is both riveting and heartbreaking.  The characters’ paths intersect over the course of the story – and no doubt they’ll find themselves together again in future novels.

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but this is a highly atmospheric novel.  The author did an exquisite job with researching this time period from the language to the clothing styles, and I felt immersed in the 20’s.

At over 500 pages, this is a long read and the pacing wavers, but I definitely plan on continuing with this supernatural series.

 

Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

 

I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but the author provides such vivid, immersive descriptions, I feel like I have.  And the food!  I drooled over several pages.

The author gives a balanced picture of Puerto Rico.  While showing the horrors of drugs and addiction, and impoverished neighborhoods, she also demonstrates the deep love of culture and community, and supportive, loyal families and friends willing to do anything to protect their loved ones.  And can I mention the food again?

One of my favorite things about this book is the relationships.  With little parental support at home, Lupe’s relationship with her aunt and uncle is a positive influence, and portrayed so well.  Javier hasn’t made good choices in his past, and battles his addiction every day with the help of Father Sebastian.  Javier’s relationship with childhood friend Carlos is more of brother than friend, even though Carlos’s music career has made him an international sensation.

Mention urban legends in a book description, and I’ll show up, and El Cuco is the stuff of children’s nightmares.  The opening scene is a perfect way to set up the supernatural suspense.  When Javier makes the connection and realizes he’s living on borrowed time, I couldn’t read fast enough.

As a main character, Lupe is feisty, loyal, and determined – all good things.  But her default mode is set to combative, and I felt it got in the way of the story.  The final showdown is tense and exciting, but because it’s seen through several POVs, it stretches on for pages, when it actually lasts the length of a song.

Five Midnights is a briskly paced, dark, YA supernatural mystery that I enjoyed from the first page, and would recommend to fans of urban legends who enjoy a touch of the paranormal.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon #bookreview #supernatural #mystery

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late . . . 

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

I’m really behind on my Jennifer McMahon books.  The last one I read was The Winter People, which was an easy five stars for me.  When I saw The Invited on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it.

This author is certainly talented at creating a chilling, atmospheric setting.  Forty-four acres of rural land, very few neighbors, and creepy bog?  Oh, and someone died by hanging at the bog?  Perfect.  Throw in a main character who uses building materials from allegedly haunted locations?  Disturbing.  The author also weaves in some spine-tingling visuals – nothing that kept me up at night, but I’m a horror fan, so that’s a difficult task to accomplish.

The characters are likable in the beginning, but once the supernatural events begin, they’re at each other’s throats.  While both Nate and Helen develop individual obsessions, the reader feels the same frustrations with them as the characters do with each other.  Honestly, if I was Nate, I probably would have tossed Helen out on her keester.  They’re also pretty slow to realize things aren’t quite right in their neck of the woods.

Maybe it was because I read an ARC, but several things are mentioned in the book that didn’t happen – events, something a character said, etc.  Like maybe the author meant to go back and add things during revisions, but forgot?

The Invited is a slow burn, supernatural tale that starts off a bit sluggish, but picks up around the 45% mark.  Enough hints are dropped that readers will probably figure out the twists before the ending, but it was an enjoyable read for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

Extra Innings: Can You Go Home Again? by Don Massenzio #bookreview #timetravel #scifi

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past. That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

When I first saw the cover for this book, not being a sports fan, I nearly passed on it.  But when I read the blurb and saw it was about time travel, I snatched it right up.

I immediately wanted to root for Joe.  With a failed marriage, a thankless, dead-end job, and not much to go home to at night, the guy deserves some happiness.  Upon realizing the seat he purchased from a baseball stadium that held wonderful memories for him is a time machine, endless possibilities are at his fingertips.  If you could travel back in time, what would you change about your life?  Anything?  Would those changes have unexpected ripple effects?

Joe encounters several surprises along the way, and I laughed out loud at some situations he found himself in.  Extra Innings is a fabulous, enjoyable story with several layers to include family drama, organized crime, and corporate mergers, and I was captivated throughout.  The ending isn’t something I expected, but will leave you thinking about it for days after.

#BadMoonRising: Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster #childrensbooks #supernatural

Today’s guest is the author of a wonderful series of children’s books.  Readers call them ‘delightful armchair travel’ and a ‘fantastic adventure’.  As a bonus – they’re educational!  Amanda in New Mexico touches on the supernatural, and that’s the book Darlene Foster shares with us today.  She also tells a Ouija board story that will send tingles down your spine.  Welcome Darlene!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I would be the comic relief. I’m usually the first one to crack a joke when things are tense. This can be annoying to some people who think it is no laughing matter.

Have you ever played with a Ouija board?

My aunt and I played with one when we were children. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I do recall that my grandfather thought it was interesting and asked if he could have ago. He asked the board how old he would be when he died. It spelled out 78. He seemed content with that. He died at age 78 many years later. I have always assumed it was a coincident but now I wonder.

If you were paid to spend the night in a haunted house, would you do it?

I don’t think so. I get spooked quite easy. It would have to be a lot of money and I would have to be able to bring my hubby along and maybe my dog. Mind you, the money would come in handy. I may be able to collect material for another book. Ummm, I may have to think about this.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

I start with a location, usually a place that I have visited and found intriguing. Once I have the setting, I decide on an issue that a young person may encounter and work from there. I am a panster so the story develops as I write. Amanda is the main character and her personality develops with each book. She stays pretty well the same age but matures a bit as she travels and learns more about the world and herself. In Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, she finds her disbelief in the supernatural challenged. I visited New Mexico and loved it, but there was certainly an air of something other worldly about. In particular when we stopped in at The St. James Hotel in Cimarron which is well known to be haunted. I said to my travel companion, “I have to include this in an Amanda story.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I like to read, bake, walk on the beach, drive in the country, take my dog for walks, go for coffee with hubby and chat with friends. Of course I am always collecting ideas while doing these “non-writing” things.

What are you working on now?

The seventh novel in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action, is completed, has been beta read and edited a number of times. It is now at the publishers and will be released in 2019 after a few more edits. While waiting for its release, I am, as we speak, working on Amanda in Malta, which is turning out to be a great adventure for my main character. Amanda has many more places to explore yet.

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Excerpt

She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out. Amanda walked through the swinging doors into the restaurant. No one was there either. She went out a back door to the outside eating area and surveyed the empty tables and chairs. She stopped to listen. It felt like something was beside her. As she slowly turned to look, a huge bear leaned out a window holding a pie.
She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out.
“What’s wrong with you, Amanda?” Cleo appeared from around a corner. “You look like you just had a run in with a ghost. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe they exist.”
Amanda gave her head a shake. The window with the bear holding the pie was just a mural painted on the wall.
She laughed nervously. “For a minute I actually thought that bear was real. That’s a good painting.”
Cleo shrugged her shoulders up to her ears. “You thought the bear was real, but you don’t believe me when I tell you I see ghosts?”
“Where is everyone, anyway?” asked Amanda.
“They’re in the gambling room, listening to stories about the guys that have been shot here in this hotel. The boys think it’s cool but I think it’s depressing.”
“Did they talk about T. J. Wright, the cowboy from Room 18?”
“Oh, yes. Apparently, he harasses guests here all the time. But the ghost of Mary Lambert, who is called the protector, often chases him away. She doesn’t like her guests being upset. He sometimes goes into the room next to his and bothers whoever is in there. Room 19, I think it is. It used to be the room of Mary Lambert’s daughter.”
“Really?” Amanda paled. She remembered the rose scent in Room 19 and wondered if Mary Lambert had chased T.J. Wright away. That is if it was him, or rather his ghost, in the room with her.
Amanda flapped her hand. “No way! I don’t think so. It’s probably just a publicity stunt to increase business for the hotel.”
“Whatever,” mumbled Cleo.
The courtyard filled up with the other students.
“There’ve been some cool shootouts here.” Caleb walked over to the girls. “Have you two been ghost hunting? This would be the perfect place.”

Buy links

Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk
Kobo

Author Bio

Darlene Foster has dreamt of writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people for as long as she can remember. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. An avid traveler herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes it is never too late to make your dreams come true.

Social Media

Website www.darlenefoster.ca 
Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

#BadMoonRising: Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts #shortstories #supernatural #paranormal

Happy Hump Day!  If taking on a horror/paranormal/supernatural book all at once is a bit daunting, maybe testing the waters with short stories is a way to ease into the genre.  Today’s featured author gives you that opportunity.  He also confirms why it’s best not to leave arms and legs uncovered while sleeping – you never know what’s waiting under the bed.   Welcome Hugh Roberts!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I’d be the killer. I can remember being cast as the ‘bad guy’ in a school play. It was set in a haunted house, and I had to wait for my victim to pass by before I came out of the dark and wrestled him to the ground. What most struck me about this, though, was that whilst the struggle went on, I had to wait for somebody to say the words “Cut! That was excellent.”

That line stuck in my mind for many years because I went on to use it as the twist for one of my short stories in my book, Glimpses. I suppose it also shows that I wasn’t really the ‘bad guy,’ but just an actor on a film set. That also stuck on my mind when I thought about it because I’ve also used a film set as the scene in another of my short stories in the book.

It’s amazing what memories stick with you, and how they can go on to become a big part of something later on in your life.

Have you ever played with a Ouija board?

Yes, but only when I was in my teens. It wasn’t a real Ouija board because we’d cut out the letters and placed them on the kitchen table. There were six of us, including me, and I remember how I wanted to frighten everyone in the room by moving the glass around. The problem was, somebody else also had the same idea, and we ended up frightening some of the younger children.

When my parents came home and found out what we’d been doing, they were not best pleased. My mother tore up all the letters and threw them in the dustbin.

A few months later, it was all forgotten about until my mother was cut badly by the glass we’d used. She swore that something had hit the glass along the kitchen countertop towards where she was washing the dishes. The glass smashed as it entered the water, cutting both her hands quite badly.

Creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

In the first ever apartment I owned, I was once woken by the sound of scratching coming from beneath me. To my utter disbelief, I watched as the duvet was slowly pulled down the bed. I grabbed it and tried pulling it back towards me, but something at the other end of the duvet was also pulling and it was a struggle to pull it back.

Eventually, I switched on the bedside lamp and found the duvet still over me. I put it down to a bad nightmare, and it never happened again.

However, a few years later, when I moved out of the apartment, one of the removal guys pointed out to me that some of the wooden slats under my bed (which the mattress laid on) were badly scratched. I had no idea how the scratches got there as the bed was delivered new when I had moved in, and I’d assembled it myself.

I ditched the bed and slept on the floor of my next home until I was able to afford a new bed.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

I’m very much a ‘Pantser’ when it comes to writing my stories. As soon as I get an idea in my head (often the ending of a story) I start typing and allow the story to reveal itself to me.

Of course, the first draft is never the final version, but I tend not to change too much as it then becomes a completely different story.

Characters seem to fall into the story as I write it. I don’t think about them too much. They’re just a part of the story which, for me, is the most important part.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

Rod Serling, who created and presented the TV show, The Twilight Zone. He also wrote some of the episodes.

What captivated me most, was the way Rod wrote the stories. They always had a twist at the end that I never saw coming. He may have sprinkled each episode with clues, but they were always well conceived and gave little away of what was to come.

I see this has an incredible way to write stories, leading the reader up the wrong garden path, so to speak. The Twilight Zone gave me inspiration to write stories on a similar based theme, and I like to think that the style they are written is very much that of the way Rod wrote.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on my next collection of short stories which will be published in early 2019. There are 32 new stories in the book, many of which I have never published on my blog before.

My editor returned the book to me in early September and I’m now working on the edits as well as making some of the stories even better. I can reveal that the book will be called ‘More Glimpses.’ Here’s the blurb –

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.

Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.

Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?

Buy Links

Universal Link for buying Glimpses

Author Bio

Hugh W. Roberts lives in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. He shares his life with his civil-partner, John and their Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Toby and Austin.

He has always enjoyed writing even though he suffers from a mild form of dyslexia. However, he’s never allowed being dyslexic stop him from having a positive outlook on life. Shortly after retiring, Hugh thought it about time he let his writing become public. Becoming a blogger seemed to be the perfect way for him to do this.

He started writing short stories at school but was never encouraged to continue writing them. In February 2014, when he discovered blogging, he wrote and published several short stories on his blog. They soon became hits and Hugh was encouraged by some of his readers to publish some of the stories in a book. Now, finally, his dream of becoming a published author has come true with the publication of ‘Glimpses’ the first volume of 28 of his short stories. If, like Hugh, you enjoy shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and Black Mirror,’ then his short stories will take you on plenty of twists and turns to unexpected endings.

‘Glimpses’ is available to buy on Amazon and has already received excellent reviews. Hugh is now in the process of writing a second volume of short stories which he will publish in early 2019. If you decide to buy and read Glimpses, then Hugh would be delighted if you would consider leaving a review on Amazon. Reviews help all authors and feedback is vital to improving writing.

Hugh’s blog, Hugh’s Views And News, covers a number of subjects, the most popular of which are his blogging and social media tips. He is a keen photographer and enjoys helping to promote other authors and writers on his blog. Despite considering himself to be an introvert, he also considers himself as a ‘peoples’ person. Please do feel free to contact him via his blog.

Social Media

Blog: Hugh’s Views and News
Twitter: @HughRoberts05
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Amazon Author Page
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