Today’s stop is for Anna Willett’s Cruelty's Daughter. We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
When a young girl is abducted by a notorious serial killer, a woman risks her own life trying to save her.
Mina is struggling to come to terms with her past. Having led a reclusive life, shunning human contact, she decides to take on a local college course to help get her life back on track.
However, when a young girl who tries to befriend her is abducted by a serial killer, Mina feels responsible. She refused to wait with the girl for her mother to pick her up. And she shrugged off the youngster’s fears.
Now Mina cannot rest until she finds out what happened. But as she probes into the events of that evening, her own nightmares start to return. She has put herself in danger, one that leads to an increasingly tense standoff with a cruel and vicious man who will stop at nothing.
Can she find the strength to stand up to her demons, past and present? And will she do so, even if it means risking everything?
CRUELTY’S DAUGHTER is the fifth novel by best-selling Australian author, Anna Willett. She writes in the thriller genre, with a touch of horror. Her books explore how women react to difficult situations. The books are full of tension, physical and psychological, and they are difficult to put down.
The flap on the back of the mailbox clanked open. The box was not as overflowing as she’d expected. Reclusive behaviour has its advantages, she thought, flicking her tongue over her suddenly dry mouth. Glancing around, she was struck by how silent the street seemed. In the windows, lights flickering behind closed curtains and blinds were the only sign of life. With the stack clutched to her chest, Mina turned and hurried up the path. A glass-rattling clang echoed and the front door slammed behind her. Another envelope, identical to the last. The same rich texture and an odour. She tried to identify it but all that came to mind was polish of some sort, maybe wax. Had the smell been on the first note? Mina dropped the packet on the table and sat. It wasn’t over. How had she ever convinced herself it was? She let out a long breath, surprised at how laboured it sounded. I could throw it away. If I don’t look, I won’t have to know. Her mind raced through possible scenarios. Maybe this time the Magician would give details. A location. Mina pulled her hair over her right shoulder and twisted it around her hand. She picked up the envelope and tore it open. Once more, a single sheet of paper, thick and grainy. Before unfolding it, she shook the envelope and a second penguin clip tumbled out. A soft noise somewhere between a sigh and a gasp escaped her lips. The clip bounced on the table and then lay still. Mina had the urge to sweep the little plastic clip to the floor and crush it under her foot. Instead, she unfolded the paper. This time the message was longer, but no less disturbing. The gift that keeps on giving. The large sloping letters were unmistakably written by the same person. Mina stared at the words trying to see more than what appeared on the page. What does he mean? And more importantly, where is this going? Six words. Enough to send a trail of sweat running down her spine. She put the page on the table alongside the clip and focused on one word, keeps. Did that mean Andrea was still alive? Maybe he was trying to tell her something? But why her? In movies, the killer often sent taunting notes to the police or the hero. But this was no movie and she was as far from a hero as a woman could be. The light drained out of the day, reflecting darkness into the kitchen. She had the eerie sensation of being watched: someone hiding outside the house, peering in the windows. She had the urge to turn and look out of the kitchen window, but the fear that she might actually see a face pressed against the glass kept her from looking over her shoulder. She needed light to chase the shadows away. Half out of her chair, the shrieking of her phone erupted. The noise was so shocking in the darkening room that Mina slapped her palm on the table in surprise. The phone was on the counter where she’d left it after Lee had called. She stood on numb legs and reached for it, keeping her eyes off the window.
Today’s stop is for Claudette Melanson’s The 12 Terrors of Christmas. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
Award-winning author Claudette Melanson offers eleven new and original stories to make your skin crawl at any time of the year. This horror anthology also includes an original short by Amazon International Best-Selling Author, Lynn Lamb, titled "Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine." A special bonus story is also included by Melanson, "Mislead," previously published only on the Halloweenpalooza blog. Grab a cup of cocoa and make sure the windows and doors are locked tight as you settle in by the fire to enjoy these tales of terror, but be warned...locks have never succeeded at keeping Santa from gaining entry. If you enjoy a slice of horror with your holiday cheer, this collection of Christmas horror shorts will satisfy all your dark cravings during the holidays...and beyond.
Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?
It is said that every wish bears a cost...even a wish of good intent. What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?
Christmas can be a time for great joy...but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?
Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn's home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster?
As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa's yearly deliveries forever.
A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa's workshop and its inhabitants. The world's children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.
A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem
Santa's sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?
Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he's kept hidden during all the months of their courtship...
The world's population explosion means business is booming at Santa's workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.
A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura's extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn't quite play out the way the vampires planned?
It's a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa's existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?
Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?
The date was December 1st, twenty-two long, boring days before school let out for Christmas break, and it was snowing like hell. I’d never admit it to anyone, but I was slightly creeped out by the murderous details in the story I’d just been listening to. For some reason, watching little Lamia creep off into the woods alone disturbed me even further. I yanked the red-and-white Beats earbuds—an early present from my dad, who was equally proud of my Audible habit—from my ears only to find myself surrounded by the eerie soundlessness which always seemed to accompany a heavy snowfall. I felt like all the normal noises had been sucked away from the air around me, completely. All I could hear as I continued toward the spot where Lamia had disappeared was the soft groan of my boots sinking into the thick carpet of icy fluff beneath me. “Hey, Kid!” I called out, but she ran on as if she hadn’t heard me, the snow muffling my voice as it had all other sound in our little corner of the world. She hadn’t turned her head in response or even slowed the pace of her run a tick. When I reached the line of trees, I hesitated. Must’ve been the dread the story I’d been listening to had inspired, I told myself, but I was angry in the space it took my heart to pump out another beat. “Shit, really?” I mumbled under my breath. “That kid’s not even old enough to go to school, and she ran in there like she was the one born with the nuts… Awwww, to hell with it.” I slid the backpack from my shoulder so that I could enter the woods as unhindered as possible and dove in. I’d never admit I did so with my eyes closed. As the squeak of the snow under my feet became the only sound—I’d lovingly packed my precious earbuds into a special pocket reserved only for them—echoing softly off the damp-dark tree trunks, I tried to brush off that tickle of fear which had begun to climb each individual vertebrae in my back like a lizard inching along a palm frond. After all, I’d always wished to see something scary, gone in search of ghosts on more than one occasion. Always hoped to find some kind of proof to turn all those journal entries into truth. So many of the early settlers had written accounts of seeing or hearing things that didn’t belong in the realm of the living. How could so many of them have been wrong? But as much as I’d searched the woods ringing the whole of Whispering Woods Drive, and even the deserted, burnt-out shell of the Henderson place which stood waiting for the insurance money to come through so they could rebuild, I’d never seen a whisper of vapor, never heard so much as a whisper that couldn’t be explained away by the logical or mundane thing which had made the sound. Of course, everyone in Moon had seemed to stop writing about ghosts, abruptly, in 1890. Our history teacher had told us this happened because that had been the real beginning of scientific advancement, bringing about all the means to discover those logical explanations I mentioned previously to explain away all the strange things they couldn’t before. The end of superstition giving way to the birth of rationale. Still, I’d always hoped… It was the weird smell which stopped me in my tracks. Earthy…savory…familiar. My mother burned sage incense often in our home; it was one of her favorite scents. It had irked me for years because I’d just known she was chasing all the ghosts away with the smoke even though several people on the internet were of the opinion you could only use a sage smudging stick to cleanse a house. I’d seen where one person commented on Yahoo Answers that three or four incense sticks bound together could be used in place of one, so I’d tried to console myself with the fact my mother only burned one at a time. Before I laid eyes on her, I heard her. It was really bizarre to hear a child chanting…like something out of a ChildrenoftheCorn-esque horror movie. "Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel." She repeated the prayer over and over, and I must’ve listened to it twenty times before I calmed enough to peek out from behind the large tree trunk I’d been resting my back against. Lamia held an actual smudge stick… I’d seen enough of them on the internet and my favorite shows to know what one looked like. “You little bitch…” I growled under my breath. No wonder I’d never seen so much as a parlor trick performed by a poltergeist. Between Lamia and my sage-burning mother, no self-respecting ghost would come within a mile of Whispering Woods Drive. But what had Lamia seen or heard that would prompt a four-year-old to ghostbust the woods surrounding her home?
Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.
In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.
Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.
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