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review 2018-12-11 18:45
THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES VOL. 3 ed. by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont,J.B. Priestley,James Purdy

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: VOLUME THREE is the latest entry in Valancourt Books' excellent anthology series. I certainly hope they continue this outstanding tradition next year!

 

What I like best about all of these anthologies is the fact that I haven't read any of the stories before. Introducing me to new authors, some I enjoy, some not so much, Valancourt has expanded my reading horizons and for that, I will always be grateful.

 

I can't get into all of the stories but I will mention those that had the biggest effect on me:

 

THE PARTS MAN by Steve Rasnic Tem. This man is a legend and he's a national treasure as far I'm concerned. This short story had wonder and grief all mixed together and I thought it was somehow both beautiful and sad. BRAVO! (This story is original to this collection.)

 

DON'T GO UP THEM STAIRS by R. Chetwynd Hayes. I loved the tone of this tale so much I bought one of his other books from Valancourt as soon as I was done.

 

THE FACE IN THE MIRROR by Helen Mathers. A terrific little ghost story wherein the lady saves the day!

 

THE LIFE OF THE PARTY by Charles Beaumont. A sad tale of an acne-ridden boy at a school dance. The introduction to this one states that it's partly autobiographical.

 

BLOOD OF THE KAPU TIKI by Eric C. Higgs. A creepy little story with an ending that made me chuckle.

 

THE BOTTLE OF 1912 by Simon Raven. A man returns home after WWII after serving as a spy. He returns with the hope of seeing his family again and celebrating with a special bottle of wine.

 

BEELZEBUB by Robert Westall. Next to THE PARTS MAN , this was my favorite story in the collection. Robert Westall was super talented and I wish he had written more tales in the dark fiction vein because I've loved every one of them I've read.

 

Once again, Valancourt Books knocks it out of the park! Consistently full of rare stories that offer up a diverse range of horrors-this anthology has something for everyone. This, the third in a series of anthologies containing authors that Valancourt has already published, is as much of a MUST-READ as the first two.

 

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: VOLUME 3 receives my highest recommendation!

 

You can order it and other fine books directly from Valancourt here, with FREE shipping from now until the end of 2018: VALANCOURT BOOKS 

 

 *I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* 13 likes

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review 2018-11-28 23:02
Book Review of Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies Book 2) by Dianna Hardy
Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy

Aftershock is a companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series and also acts as a PREQUEL to a brand new series to come. You don't have to read Eye of the Storm to enjoy this novel (some background is given). However, we always recommend you do in order to gain full understanding of how the characters have arrived at this point.

 

Self-sufficient and travellers at heart, Pete and Claire packed bags five years ago and headed on a journey that would change their lives forever.

 

After the unexpected death of her childhood best friend, Sarah, Claire has nurtured both an open wound, and Sarah's baby - a miracle born on her deathbed.

 

Pete has been nothing short of a father to baby Jasmine, and partner to Claire, the werewolf in him one of the few things in the world Claire connects with.

 

However, despite their love for their adopted daughter and each other, fate's about to test the foundation they've built. Jasmine has been having episodes - seizures - the doctors aren't sure exactly what they are, or what triggers their onset, but when a little boy is hurt by Jasmine's hand they can no longer wait for answers. They consider taking to the road once more believing a life of travel might be safer than planting roots.

 

But there's a Supermoon coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse. Pete can feel the charge in the air, and it seems, so too, can Jasmine. With her terrible, secret legacy threatening to break through the shadows, Pete and Claire have a devastating reality to face.

 

Can you ever escape what you truly are?

 

Blood never lies.

 

NOTES: This is a dark paranormal fantasy novel. Contains some explicit scenes. Written in British English.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the second book in a new companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series. I loved it! You don't have to read the Eye of the Storm series to read this book, but I recommend that you do, so you have a good grasp of where Claire, Peter, and Jasmine are heading.

 

Claire (aka Beth from the Eye of the Storm series) now has a new identity. I loved her as Beth, but I think I love her more as Claire. She loved her best friend, Sarah. But when she died in a car accident while pregnant, Claire takes responsibility for her baby. Running for their lives from the danger of exposure from their daughter's unusual birth, Claire and Peter will do anything to protect their new family.

 

Jasmine is a lovely character. She is only two and a half when she's first introduced in this story, but she stole my heart. I love her innocence and curiosity. Even at that tender age, she has an unusual power. The story skips time, and we get to meet her once more when she is a five-year-old, and a Supermoon is imminent. As the event fast approaches, danger threatens, and their lives hang in the balance.

 

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book for some time. Told through the eyes of several of the characters, namely, Claire, Peter, and Jasmine, we get to see their thoughts and feelings.

 

I don't know how to put into words the emotions that went through me while reading this book. For someone who has written many reviews, that is not an easy thing to admit. I found myself smiling at the first scene where Jasmine appears; it was so sweet. However, as the story took me deeper and deeper into its pages, I ran a whole gamut of emotions, from happiness to anger, fear to heart-wrenching sadness. The characters came alive on the page, and I felt every emotion they did. There are some scenes in this book between Pete and Claire that are a little steamy, but amusing. They weren't particularly funny, but the situation of having a young child interrupting was. I think all parents have had to deal with this particular circumstance at one time or another.

 

A new character introduced into the tale never has his origins properly revealed, so he remains a mystery, though there is a twist I didn't see until I stumbled over it. I had my suspicions, of course, but even then, the reveal surprised me. One thing that did surprise me was Claire’s intuition. Was it an innately human sense, or does she had magic running through her veins? Diego is one of Jasmine’s classmates. There is one scene in this book that ripped my heart out containing him. I won't say what happened because of spoilers. Suffice it to say, keep a tissue handy, you'll need it. I reached the end of the book, and I've now got a severe case of 'book hangover' from reading this tale. Be warned!

 

As this series is a convergence of two other series - The Eye of the Storm, and The Witching Pen - I loved meeting Pueblo (from The Sands of Time - The Witching Pen Series) once more, as well as Jarrod. Near the end of the book, we get to meet the werewolves from the Eye of the Storm series (and their children), as well as Selena aka Jennifer aka Laura from Blood Shadow, the first book in this companion series. I now can't wait to read the two new series. One following Laura in the Blood Shadow series, and the other following Jasmine in the Aftershock one. Bring it on!

 

Dianna Hardy is one of my favourite romance authors (she writes both paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romance), she has a way of expressing so much emotion through her written words. Ripping your heart out with them, but will also fill you up with them too. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. The flow is fantastic too. Reading her books are a joy, and I will continue to read them for as long as she keeps writing them.

 

Unlike other books by this author, this book doesn't have many romantic scenes of explicit content, though what scenes there are, aren't as detailed as other series written by her. However, some scenes contain bad language and violence that may offend or upset some readers, so I do not recommend this book for younger readers or those of a nervous disposition. I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love contemporary or paranormal romances, dark fantasy and urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-02 15:31
Book Review: Winter Shadows: Coldharbour Chronicles #2, by Richard Amos
Winter Shadows (Coldharbour Chronicles #2)Winter Shadows by Richard Amos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better and better!

This is the 2nd in a trio of books by author Richard Amos. The world building he has done and continues to do in this series is absolutely stunning. This series is seriously phenomenal and I am totally addicted to it. The description the author uses is spot on: A dark urban fantasy tale with kick-ass action and slow-burn m/m romance.

In this second book of the Coldharbour Chronicles, we are once again in the magically sealed off town of Coldharbour, where the other realm species known collectively as The Beast, are trying to find a way into our world at large. Our erstwhile hero, Jake Winters, is still trying to deal with the fact that he is the chosen weapon of the goddess Hecate, reeling from the murder of his husband by the White-Eyed man, and assimilate the crazy world he's found himself in. And now he has to protect a Beast called Luke while the Purple-haired psycho Beast, Dana is gunning for him, and his sparky hand are amped up to devour Beast left and right, leaving him hungry for more and... really really horny.

As expected, everything goes to doo-doo as Purple manages to get her hands on a Goblin Wars artifact, a potion with no antidote, and releases it on the helpless cat Beast Luke. Things go from bad to worse as the twin Beast shadows are released and begin to wreak havoc down on Coldharbour while trying to free the Beast Supreme, Lilisian, from the weak and dying host body she's trapped in. And then The White-Eyed Man comes back. Jake's life is well and truly messed up.

Oh, did I mention he has the hots for one of his Guardians, the apparently straight half fae Dean, who is beyond smoking hot. And the object of Jake's Beastfed lust. And it's Christmas. Jake hates Christmas.

Well hell.



View all my reviews

 

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review 2018-10-31 21:44
An Anti-Heroine that shines in her darkness...
Give the Dark My Love - Beth Revis

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~BOOK BLURB~

Give the Dark My Love

Beth Revis

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When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn't quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her. 

 

All, except for Greggori "Grey" Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that's for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it's making its way toward the cities. With her family's life--and the lives of all of Lunar Island's citizens--on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. 

 

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy's most dangerous corners--and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Give The Dark My Love is the kind of book that is not easily defined.  For me, it was part Dark Fantasy, part Alternate History and also part Supernatural with a splash of romance.  The romance in no way interferes with the storyline or dominates it either…just enhances it. 

 

In the beginning, I had an overwhelming feeling of depression… the disease or plaque that does dominate the story, just left me saddened.  But around the half-way point, this takes a decidedly dark turn and that's when this story evolves into something most compelling…the darkness and the necromancy sucked me right into the story.  Despite the slow start to the book and my not having read too much about necromancy, to say yay or nay on it…I still feel like this is executed smoothly and poignantly.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.2STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 4.2/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 3.8/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3.8/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 4.3/5  Cliffhanger~ Not really, but there is a second book.

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Book Cover~ So gorgeous…

Narration~5 for Mhairi Morrison, she reminded me of the girl in the Disney Movie Brave…I quite loved her accent. 4 for Bruce Mann…meh, he was all right.

Series~ Give The Dark My Love #1

Setting~ Lunar Island

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-10-24 22:00
BRIGHT RUIN by Vic James
Bright Ruin - Vic James

 

BRIGHT RUIN brings to an end the DARK GIFTS trilogy which began with GILDED CAGE back in 2017. This series delivered on nearly every promise it made back then, resulting in an extremely satisfying experience for this reader.

 

We're back with all the same characters, (well, the ones that are still alive), and resuming their individual dramas in an unsettled London, dominated by Equals. In this series, Equals are born with special powers, magical powers even, which allow them to control all sorts of materials and energies. As such, this world Vic James has created allows those rich in these powers to control and enslave those who are not. (Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and all that.)

 

But what James has so Skillfully done, (Skill being the name given to these "powers"), is that she's woven in political commentary that is eerily on point with today's events all over the real world. Ruling classes and/or class warfare? Check. Political parties scheming and planning to keep the unSkilled quiet and working- with their noses to the grind? Check. Those rich in Skill, (or in our world, dollar bills), easily gain more wealth, while holding their feet to the throats of the those not so blessed? Check. Using fear to keep the masses afraid and not too interested in what's REALLY going on? Check.

 

"Fear was the superpower they all possessed. And unlike Midsummer’s monsters, there was no limit to the number of people they could control with it."

 

What Vic James has done here and done in a timely manner, (I'm looking at you, famous fantasy writers whose series' remain unfinished-you know who you are), is deliver a trilogy that has something for everyone. Even though it's categorized as YA, I would be wary of recommending this to the super young YA crowd, as many of the political points would go over their heads, (and possibly bore them), but also because there are extremely dark themes and violent scenes. That aside, I would recommend this trilogy to everyone else-fans of dark fantasy and horror most especially.

 

My only issue with this final book is that everything seemed to wrap up rather quickly-the denouement came fast and furious, and it seemed like one big blow or discovery after another-rapid-fire style. Not that I'm complaining, but I think I wanted to savor events just a wee bit more.

 

Vic James has proven herself to be an author to watch and I know that I will be watching closely for anything she puts out. If she can make me,(a die hard YA avoider), read and enjoy an entire YA trilogy, than who knows what else she may be capable of? I can hardly wait to find out!

 

In the meantime, I highly recommend this book and the entire trilogy.

 

*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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