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review 2018-08-15 19:39
Unidentified by Michael McBride Audio Review
Unidentified - Michael McBride,Joe Hempel

This is a brief little novella that runs a little over 2 hours on audio. It’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Joe Hempel, who helps the story leap off the pages. He also never grates on my last nerve like some narrators do. His pace is on the slower side and it draws you into the chilling atmosphere of the story and his performance of the characters sounds natural. If you like audio and scary tales, this is a really good one. 

40 years ago a group of teens stumbled across something terrible in the aftermath of crop circles, missing teens and animal mutilations. They woke without memories of the events that cost them a friend but now that another child has gone missing and one of them writes a chilling email saying only “I remember everything”, they reunite to start digging into the past and end whatever it is from tormenting their hometown once and for all. 

Since this is such a short story I don’t have a lot to say about it. It left me guessing and I loved the bleak threads running throughout it and if you listen to the author notes at the end, and you should, you might be a little terrified of the sky!

 

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review 2018-08-08 19:26
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier

This book is a few different things and miraculously I loved them all. It’s a mystery, it’s an acclimating to prison life tale, and it’s a love story gone about as wrong as a love story can go! It’s dark and it’s addictive and it’s getting all the stars I have to give.

 

Georgina, Angela and Kaiser (Kai) were the best of friends in high school but when Georgina starts seeing an older guy, everything gets all messed up. One of them dies, one later goes to prison and another ends up being the arresting officer. There’s also a recent spate of atrocious serial killings that may be connected to the past murder . . .

 

The big draw here is finding out the why just as much as the who. Why did one of these friends die? What really happened that night? Who is keeping secrets? And, who is killing innocents in the modern day? Also, why is Angela such a bitch? That one is never answered, she just is! None of it makes sense until the very end where it all comes together in a glorious rush of craziness that worked for me in every way.

 

Most of these characters are imperfect and awful, cruel, jealous, vindictive and selfish but I could not, did not want, to stop reading for a moment. This book is so addictive. If you like this stuff, you MUST read it.

 

“Because that smell – of rotting flesh, of rotting soul – is you.”

 

 

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review 2018-08-07 19:01
The Beast of Brenton Woods by Jackson R. Thomas
The Beast of Brenton Woods - Jackson R. Thomas

There is a werewolf on the loose and he’s got murder, food and procreating on the brain!

 

If you want a fast paced, action-packed, blood-soaked read and are sick and tired of watered down monsters you should give this one a go. I think you will be very satisfied. There are a few people who accidentally get in his path but, for the most part, his victims are no big loss to society.

 

This story is more than just people eating fun though and that’s why I liked it. There’s some good characterization, realistic dialogue and interesting plot threads here too. There’s a young boy who feels a weird connection to this monster and thinks his momma is keeping secrets and there’s a teenager who has a heart of gold and risks everything to save his feckless sister. It’s good to have a couple of good guys to root for in this cruel, cruel world.

 

This reminded me slightly of a Richard Laymon story, what with the pervy men and stupid people, but it wasn’t nearly as in your face with it all and there wasn’t all the rump and boob talk that Laymon loved so much. I enjoyed it without ever wanting to murder one of the characters myself.

 

My only minor issue was the plethora of characters. There were a lot of them in this novella and sometimes I struggled trying to remember who was who but maybe that’s due to my crappy memory and the fact that I couldn’t finish it in a sitting or two.

 

At any rate, it’s a solid four star read and recommended for you beast lovers!

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review 2018-08-03 20:08
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

The Broken Girls is a book that straddles two timelines. Usually books like this leave me confused at least a time or two but not this one. They’ll often leave me frustrated too because I typically find one timeline far more interesting than the other but that didn’t happen this time around either. I think what it all breaks down to is the characters. Too many murder mystery thrillers focus on the murders and the police procedural aspects and all the dynamics that go along with that and though this book has some of that stuff it wasn’t the main focus so I never drifted away. The main focus is on the characters and their emotional ties either to each other or to getting to the truth at whatever cost for deeply personal reasons. I read for character, for the most part, so that’s why I dug this story. If you’re that type of reader I think you might like it a lot too.

 

There is a lot of stuff going on here and none of it is boring. There wasn’t a single moment when I felt the need to drift away or long to pick up something else. There’s a murder or two or maybe more. . . I’m not saying. Some murder takes place in the past, one in the not too distant past and the ramifications are a big source of motivation for the modern day character. My favorite part of this story was the friendship that was so skillfully and carefully developed between a group of misfits and misbehaving girls in the 1950’s who are carted off to Idlewild Hall and are mostly forgotten by their families. Their friendship and the terrible thing that happens (and no I am NOT telling you what it is) had me glued to the book. These girls and their day to day troubles came to life. But besides being a house for wayward girls, Idlewild Hall may also be inhabited by a ghost or two!

 

I loved all of it and I am so afraid of spoiling anything that I’m not going to say anything else. Instead I will leave you with this bookwormy quote that made me forever a fan of Sonia.

 

“Sonia envied her, the way she could turn her brain off, think about absolutely nothing. It was a trick Sonia herself had never learned. That was what books did - they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn't have your own.”

 

 Yep

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review 2018-07-31 18:46
The Sea Was A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

Sorry for my lack of anything. I was on vacation and intended to do so many things and did none of them. I had fun in the real world though. Now, back to my regularly scheduled thoughtless reviews:

 

This is a collection of little short stories or as they’re better known “flash fiction”. There are 23 of them and when I realized how short they were I have to admit I was super worried that they’d be a waste of my time. I mean, I have trouble with a lack of a complete story in a novella, never mind a story that is only 2 pages or so! But once I started reading them I was no longer worried. These stories are eerie, creepy, sinister, sometimes bleak or funny and always creative and best of all they are COMPLETE! One or two even almost made me get teary. How the author managed to do that with so few words is beyond me but I’m glad he did and I can easily recommend it for any weird fiction and horror fan. 

There’s a little something for everyone here and I wasn’t disappointed with any of the stories but, of course, there were some I liked better than others. I'd say my least favorites were the two having to do with the sea. Here are my favorites with vague little recaps. 

Restroom Finds is filled with gory gorgeousness and is set during the aftermath of an apocalypse. All I have to say is, when are people finally going to listen to Agent Mulder and Trust No One?! And that means absolutely NO ONE!

Underneath is a darkly demented, humorous little tale about a man and his wife that still makes me laugh when I think of it. But perhaps there is something wrong with me!

Yara Damn this one. This one made me go all bleary eyed when I least expected it.

Revenge of the Myth Krampus comes a-calling and you can bet I loved this one. It’s complete but I’m greedy and I want it expanded into a novella! Who can ever get enough of the sexy Krampus, lol.




The One is a weird little voyeuristic look into the desperation of a homeless man willing to do the most awfullest of awful things in order to win the hand of the woman he loves. It’s gruesome and it’s fun, if you’re a weirdo.

Letting the Dead Grow A cemetery grounds keeper takes his macabre garden very, very seriously using the materials he has on hand.

Graves Oh, ouch this one stings the heart until it’s dead. 

If you like this sort thing, I suggest you grab a copy of this collection. Each story is like a little present, and most contain an unexpected nasty little surprise inside. What more could you want?!

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