The House By The Cemetery

Mike didn’t want to take the job remodeling the old haunted house by the cemetery but his back was against the wall. His friend wanted to turn the house into a haunted attraction and not only was he unemployed but his wife left him and he needed something to get him out of the dumps. His luck was changing as a mysterious young woman and her odd friend started showing up at the house and helping him with his work. Soon enough set decorators start to put the attraction together but is the blood on the walls real or fake.People start to disappear, some of the dead bodies look too realistic and a local ghost hunter thinks the ghosts of the graveyard are angry. Mike may not know it but he’s started a ritual that will kill dozens before its all done.

The House By The Cemetery by John Everson was an odd read for me. I got this book because I loved the concept of turning a real haunted house by a graveyard into a haunted attraction. You already know where this story will go from the first paragraph and That’s the type of story I love to read. The weird thing is that I ended up not liking this book for the horror aspect. What I liked was that there is a bizarre love story in this book and I loved Mike’s story.

You feel sympathy for Mike from the beginning, the way he looks at his friend as he gets offered a job and how he sees himself in the mirror and how he is getting older and running out of chances to make a good life for himself. You then watch Mike and see what he is willing to do to get what he wants and you see how he is being manipulated and you wonder how far is this going to go. This is a book you don’t need to be a horror fan to enjoy, in fact the story could have worked in a non horror setting. John Everson is awesome at creating tragic characters that are easy to relate to. He also writes stories that are hard to put down.

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Immortals’ Requiem

The world we live in is not what it seems. There’s a hidden world within our own where magic is real and all the creatures from our dreams and nightmares exist. Giants, elves, zombies, werewolves, vampires, dragons and wizards are real but they are dying.and so is the world’s magic.  There are some that are trying to stop the magical apocalypse but a new problem makes worse.

Things get complicated when a giant  returns to take over the world after supposedly being dead for 2,000 years. There is hope as a mythological warrior appears to hunt the giant. As the streets of Manchester turn red with blood it’s up to a few magical creatures to save both realities and find a way to keep magic alive.

My description for Immortal’s Requiem by Vincent Bobbe is not very good. This book is more complex then just saying it’s an apocalypse story. If I have any complaint about this book it was that it should have been divided into two books. The characters are deep and they all have their own tales to tell and its fascinating to see how each story fits into the big picture. While reading this book I found myself feeling compassion for the villains as I was rooting for the heroes to succeed. For instance when you get to know the main villain in the story you see that he is pure evil but at the same time you see what others want to use his him for. I felt sorry for him because I thought that this guy had no other choice then to be a villain.

Some of the other characters have great stories as well such as Mark Jones who became immortal and found that it wasn’t what he thought it would be. At times in the story you want to hate Mark because he’s a murderer but as you hear more of his story and his lost love you feel for him. Another great character is Grimnir. Grimnir is a warrior but you see how out of place he is in the modern world, he tries to complete his quest and come to terms with the fact that his whole life was dedicated to one thing and he doesn’t know how he would fit in the world otherwise. At one point Grimnir sees a horror movie and its funny to see how he reacts to it and uses what he saw in his quest.

My favorite character is Cam the elf, you see this character go through a total metamorphosis. He starts as a manipulative drunk but becomes a hero as he has to deal with hardship. The  harder things are for him the more he wants to do the right thing. He’s a drunk in the beginning because he knows his race will be dying off in the near future. In my favorite scene in the book his father points out that even though their destruction is imminent they have to keep on trying to survive because by giving up  you show that you are afraid to live. Words to live by.

Immortal’s Requiem is .an epic fantasy adventure novel with elements of horror, dark humor and some amusing references to Lord Of The Rings thrown in for good measure. What I admired most in this book was how the story starts off simple and expands as it adds each character’s own sub plots to it like a jigsaw puzzle. Vincent Bobbe has created a broad mythological Universe with a lot of possibilities for future stories. If you love fantasy novels this is a masterpiece that you don’t want to pass up.

http://www.jumpstartpublishing.com/immortals-requiem/

 

The Abyss Beyond the Reflection

The Abyss Beyond The Reflection by Micah Castle is an anthology for readers that love the bizarre and love hearing about terrifying realities within our own. Within this book lies 10 tales of horror, science fiction and weird fiction. Each of these stories uses horrific imagery to bring it to life along with characters that come across as real people.

In the first story called The Abyss Beyond The Reflection, you get a look at how technology and being obsessed with celebrities can be a dangerous combination. In the future fans of celebrities can view the celebrities lives in real-time using virtual reality. Though sometimes if you get too close to the people you admire you see a reality that is too horrifying to comprehend. I loved the concept here and the idea of how even though the lead character has a pathetic life what he finds in the life of a celebrity is far worse.

Another story I enjoyed was Three White Demons. This one follows an unhappy college professor who is tipped off to a major discovery by a friend. At an archaeological site there are three white monoliths that may be the key to other dimensions. I loved the scientific explanation used to describe the discovery. I also loved how the Professor looks at this as the key to changing from his dull life to a reality that you would see in a Science Fiction novel. What he finds is not what he was hoping for, I loved the ending of this story which shows that some things are better left unknown.

The White Sea is a story that has a H.P. Lovecraft feel to it. It’s about a down on his luck author who after the death of his parents takes a trip on a schooner in hopes of inspiration. He soon discovers that the ship’s captain has an agenda and serves a mysterious God. The writing in this story is brilliant, we hear the whole story from the main character’s viewpoint and the descriptions of the sea demons and the protagonist’s reaction to everything makes this a memorable piece of fiction.

Qaeceit’s Mirror is a different kind of vampire tale. This one follows the story of a college student who has a new roommate who sleeps during the day and has some odd habits. I loved the vampire’s origin story and would love to see a longer work made from this one. I figured in the beginning that this was going to be a vampire story yet the way its told made it feel fresh and new. I guess there is always a way to put an original spin on an old idea.

Reading The Abyss Beyond the Reflection  reminded me of how much fun horror and weird fiction can be. The way everything is described brought the stories to life and every character showed amazing depth. Micah Castle’s writing demonstrates that he has a strong passion for his craft and if you love horror fiction you won’t want to pass this book up.

https://micahcastle.com/

Gypsy Blood

Who would have thought that helping an old man being attacked by three albinos in tragedy masks could go so wrong? Down on his luck writer Corbin Stewart is living in Paris and was trying to do a good deed, little did he know that it would lead to a whirlwind of horrific events. The man he was trying to save was a powerful gypsy named Gregor and his blood and part of his soul has now infected Corbin. Now Corbin is in the middle of a gang war between two blood cults, the T’acho Rasa and the Fantomes de la Nuit.

Corbin isn’t the only victim of the war. A woman named Margot and police detective Besson are also involved in circumstances beyond their control. Everyone has their own agenda and no matter who wins the war between the cults the result will be mass destruction from a supernatural event.

Gypsy Blood by Jeff Gunhus is a paranormal thriller that starts with a simple idea and expands into a complex tale about morals, making choices, dealing with a horrific past and hope for a new beginning. I loved how the three main characters in this book all have points where they do something bad but they also attempt to do what’s right. Even the villains in the book show that they have a compassionate side. When you hear their back stories you understand why they are how they are, even though you may not agree with them.

One of my favorite scenes was when we hear the backstory of Alexis who is the head of the Fantomes de la Nuit. At this point in the book you see him as pure evil but as you hear his story you understand him more and see where he is coming from. At one point Alexis hears about the T’acho Rasa torturing his people, Alexis has committed some horrible acts himself but you see the anguish he experiences over how his people are treated and your opinion of him changes. The lead character Corbin starts to feel empathy for him but then decides that Alexis isn’t worthy of redemption. This left me as the reader wondering: “Is he really not worthy of redemption? There are moments in the book where you experience that for all the characters and even the characters wonder if they are worthy of it. The characters in Gypsy Blood are fascinating and as you read on they show you that there is more to them then you see in the beginning of the story.

I also love the exotic settings of Gypsy Blood with parts of it set in the Paris Catacombs and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The settings adds a certain mood and the book comes across as highly original since it focuses on history that I only knew very little about. You learn about how badly the Romani people were treated and how African Albinos are used for their body parts because people believe that they’re bones are magic.You see how certain people are affected by this and you feel for them even when the victims become villains. Jeff Gunhus has written an action packed character driven thriller that you’ll find hard to put down.

 

Wayfarer: AV494

Kerys wanted to leave everything behind. Her career wasn’t going well and she was just getting over a bad relationship with a man named Will. What better way to get a new start then to take a three-year trip to Wayfarer Outpost which is situated on another planet. Kerys new job is to spend 6 months exploring ancient alien relics. The problem is that Will is a botanist and is already on the planet working.

While Will is outside working, Kerys goes along with an expedition into  the alien ruins and discovers something deadly. Now everyone is trapped in the Wayfarer Outpost with an alien threat and no chance for escape.

Wayfarer AV494 by Matthew S. Cox is a Science Fiction novel with elements of horror. What drew me to this book was the idea of a woman trying to escape her crazy ex-boyfriend and then getting trapped with him in a life or death situation. The idea of being at the mercy of an alien threat in space has been done many times in books and movies but I figured the relationship would add an original spin to the story. Much to my surprise I thought the connection between the two characters was the worst part of the book.

My problem with Kerys was that she came across as whiny and incompetent. She complains constantly, she’s responsible for a crew mate getting injured early in the book and she is always saying how much she misses her brother when it was her choice to leave him. Will on the other hand came across as so crazy in this story that I wondered how he would have gotten chosen to do this job in the first place. Another problem I had with the story was how we get hints to some problems that Will is creating and even though Kerys has evidence of this she never tells anyone which made me think that this character isn’t to bright. Despite how I felt about these two characters there was still plenty to like about this book.

I loved all the supporting characters in this story and I loved how the science behind Wayfarer Outpost is explained. I also enjoyed how the alien ruins were described and hearing the characters discus what they thought this alien civilization was like when it had living creatures. The first part of the story is fascinating with the scientific explanations while the second half is good because the book turns into a horror novel in space.

With the exception of hoping that Will and Kerys would die right away, I really enjoyed this book. A lot of depth goes into explaining how everything works and hearing about the science made you feel like this could all happen in the future. Then we have the second half which becomes a gore fest where anything goes. Whether you love science fiction or horror you will find something to love about Wayfarer AV494.

 

Wolf Hunt

George and Lou made their living as criminals. Usually they were hired to rough up someone who owes a mobster money or something along those lines. This time the job they were given seems pretty easy, they have to drive across Florida and deliver a man in a cage to a mob boss. There is a catch, the man in the cage is a werewolf, but who would believe in something like that?

It’s a simple job, they just have to follow the instructions: don’t open the cage, don’t reach into the cage and don’t throw anything into the cage. Surprisingly enough things don’t go according to planned, the werewolf escapes and goes on a killing spree. This werewolf named Ivan can change from human to wolf at will and he has an insatiable blood lust. George and Lou never believed in werewolves but they do now and they may be the only ones who can stop the carnage.

Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand is everything you could ask for in a horror novel, it’s a simple story that’s carried by great dialogue, dark humor and  moments of nail-biting horror. What really sets this book apart from other horror novels is how the story is told, it doesn’t rely on bloody action packed scenes (even though it does have that) to keep the reader interested, it holds your attention by how the characters interact with each other.

After reading this book I was looking at reviews for it and one bad review that I saw said that the characters were boring and there wasn’t much information given on them. This person must not have paid attention to the writing and probably didn’t read the whole book. There’s lots of detail given on what makes the characters tick. It’s just revealed through dialogue rather than having a third person description on what the character is like. As I was reading this book I found myself thinking that Quentin Tarantino could make an excellent movie out of this since I always thought the best parts of his work was the dialogue.

Another thing I liked about this book is how the story gets more complex as it moves along. We start with three main characters, we then add more characters including a woman named Michelle who gets into the action by accident but then decides she wants to go along for the ride. My favorite scene in this book was when Lou and George meet Ivan in a bar to work out a deal and things don’t go well. In particular I liked how Ivan gives one of the people in the bar an ultimatum and what happens when the person makes his decision. Ivan may be insane and evil but even he seems to have a moral code.

While I had some issues with this story which I can’t talk about because it would spoil the book, I thought it was a pretty solid read. I love how Jeff Strand’s books combine humor and horror and Wolf Hunt is no exception. I love werewolf stories and I’m happy to see that there is a sequel to this book. I just hope Mr. Strand can recapture everything what made the first book so much fun.

https://jeffstrand.wordpress.com/

Lost Girl of the Lake

It was the Summer of 1961 and young Mark Gaitlin was on vacation with his  family in Lake Livingston Texas. Mark was like any other 15-year-old, his body was changing, his family was driving him nuts and he was obsessed with sex. His dream of meeting a girl comes true one night when a mysterious girl invites him to go skinny dipping. Mark is on the verge of becoming a man and everything is about to change.

Mark is starting to see the social injustices in the world and also realizes that Lake Livingston is a mysterious place. He’s surrounded by abandoned villages haunted by family secrets and finds evidence of a cult of religious backwoods snake handlers. As he journeys into manhood he finds the world is more complicated than he thought and wrong decisions may cost him his life.

Lost Girl Of The Lake by Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty is about how a series of odd events shape a young man’s life. The passage that really hooked me into this story was early on when we hear Mark being introspective as an adult about his childhood. He states that “the man and the boy don’t speak the same language anymore.” He then describes the difference between how an adult thinks compared to how a child’s mind works. The beginning of this coming of age tale had a Stephen King feel to it that made me want to keep reading.

What I enjoyed most in this story is how a lot of it is open to interpretation. The authors paint a picture by the way they describe the setting. Also the use of imagery like the butterflies that gather at the lake, the abandoned town, the Copperhead snakes and the dreams that Mark is having are metaphors and they all shape the man he will become. It’s up to the reader to wonder what the meaning behind everything and how it affects the characters in the story.

For a short novella there is a lot going on in this book and every little detail seems to have a deeper meaning. I enjoyed the references to pulp fiction magazines in the story and since at points it felt like the pulp fiction that Mark reads I thought it was a good metaphor. Another scene I liked that illustrated what its like to be on the edge of adulthood was when Mark and his friend are heading to the lake to look at “spicy” pulp magazines and have to keep a look out for anyone who may get them in trouble for having them. At one point Mark tries to walk away but his friend urges him to stay which leads to something that illustrates what 15-year-old boys are like.

Whether you like this book or not will depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re expecting a good horror story or a tale with a lot of supernatural activity you may be disappointed. On the other hand if you are into coming of age stories that make you think about how certain events shape your life then you will like this novella. This is a story of the loss of innocence, the road to adulthood and how your reaction to what’s happening around you affects your life.