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review 2018-03-16 17:26
BLANKY by Kealan Patrick Burke
Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke


BLANKY is a powerful novella, full of grief, pain, and horrors previously unknown-those both real and imagined.


You can't let Kealan deceive you with that innocent looking cover. Any of you already familiar with his work wouldn't fall for that anyway. This is a tale that touches on everything it is to be human, both good and bad.


The time we spend with our families, even the irritating or angry times, are all something special. We may only want to focus on the fun, good memories, but that's not reality. BLANKY makes you think about, made ME think about- exactly what reality is.


With this story, be prepared to bring a piece of yourself and leave it upon the altar of Kealan Patrick Burke.


My highest recommendation. Period.


*I bought this novella with my hard earned money and reading it cost a small piece of my soul.*

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review 2018-03-05 18:45
I'll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky by Brian Hodge
I'll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky - Brian Hodge

Brian Hodge is an outstanding writer and as such, how could I'LL BRING YOU THE BIRDS FROM OUT OF THE SKY be anything less than outstanding? In fact, if there was a word-I would rate this book higher than outstanding. How about exceptional? Yeah, let's go with EXCEPTIONAL.


In this novella length tale, we meet Mr. Timothy Randolph, an art dealer and curator of folk art. When Nona brings him a sample painting of her grandfather's, Timothy is intrigued and immediately sets off with her to see more of her grandpa's work. In the Appalachian mountains, they find a LOT more than they bargained for, and they will both be changed forever.


I didn't expect this tale to go where it did. Even in this short length of a story, Brian Hodge delivers the creeps on a magnificent scale. Not going to lie: I totally shuddered at the description of one character's


(spoiler show)

 I even had to put the book down for a minute. Not for long though, because I had to see what happened next. (Even now, just thinking about it, I have goosebumps.)


That's it! That's all I'm going to say. If you've read Brian Hodge before, you already know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read Brian Hodge before, start here. At only $2.99 for the Kindle version, take a chance and you'll get to see what I'm talking about for yourself.


Simply, my HIGHEST recommendation!


*A HUGE thanks goes out to my friend Andi, who gifted me a beautiful signed copy which I'll treasure forever.* 

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review 2018-03-04 15:35
Scary House by Sean Thomas Fisher
Scary House - Sean Thomas Fisher

SCARY HOUSE featured genuinely scary scenes that I enjoyed!


There's nothing like a good haunted house tale to get my heart pumping. Combine that with a coming of age story and I should have a real winner on my hands. In this case, I did enjoy the story, it's just that I never felt quite connected to the characters.


Gavin and his friends are getting ready for Halloween and want to check out a somewhat nearby haunted house. Gavin had his new Polaroid, (this is the early 90's), and used it to take instant photos around the home. The house has a history, so when they find an old photo album still there, they flip through to find out more. It's when they come across a picture of their bikes, parked outside that they start to get the creeps. From there, as you may have guessed, things go downhill. What happens then? You'll have to read SCARY HOUSE to find out!


There's a lot of early 90's nostalgia, a Jurassic Park watch is repeatedly mentioned as are some other heavy metal and rock bands, such as Nirvana. (Which is funny to me, because the author used to be a DJ at my local rock radio station and it played a lot of music from that era.)


This book was fun and did have a cool premise. Unfortunately, I couldn't help feeling it was somewhat derivative of King's IT. (It must be hard to avoid that comparison, when it's a nostalgic coming of age story which also involves a group of kids coming back to town as adults.) The other issue I had was that I didn't care that much for the characters. For me, that fact took a lot of tension out of the final scenes.


Overall, I did have fun with this story and would try more from Sean Thomas Fisher in the future, it's just that SCARY HOUSE didn't turn out to be that scary for me. Your mileage may vary!


*I received a free Kindle copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-01 22:30
Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Deadfall Hotel - Matt Godfrey,Steve Rasnic Tem,Steve Rasnic Tem

THE DEADFALL HOTEL is a beautifully written story, though difficult to describe with any kind of clarity. To vaguely set the scene: a recently widowed man accepts a job as caretaker at a somewhat remote hotel, bringing along his young daughter. The current, elderly caretaker is the one who recruited him, and will be available for on the job training, in the hopes that he will soon be able to retire.


Anyone going into this book expecting something like King's THE SHINING, or Matheson's HELL HOUSE, is probably going to be disappointed. While the Deadfall does have some ghosts hanging around, the story isn't really about them. Then again, it's not really about the living people at the hotel either. (Remember when I said this is a difficult story to review with clarity?)


Here's how I viewed it, (or tried to view it), and that was by looking at each chapter as its own separate story; connected only by their setting. King of the Cats, for instance. Yes, living people were in the tale, but it was mostly about the cats and the hotel. The Craving-yes the caretaker in training was part of the story, but only incidentally.


In these little vignettes, the author really shines, (especially in regards to the werewolf and the vampire), but when it came to the living people, the narrative didn't work as well for me. I enjoyed the characters, but they did a LOT of things that weren't believable. Towards the end, a few of their confusing actions were explained, (like why they went there in the first place), but the father repeatedly putting his daughter into danger was something that was not explained to my satisfaction.


Aside from these issues, I truly enjoyed this story. I've long been a fan of Tem's writing, but other than his novel UBO, (which I loved), I've not read any of his longer works. I pulled over in my car, so I could bookmark this quote from the audio:


"Fall is but a whisper in these environs. With so much death and decay on display year-round, we hardly notice the autumn and so it truncates, crawling off sullen and insulted by our lack of attention."


As I said above, I listened to this story, and I loved the narration-especially the voicing of Jacob, the elderly caretaker. Most chapters started off with quotes from his journals over the years and I think those were my favorite parts.


Even though DEADFALL HOTEL wasn't quite what I was expecting, it did grow on me, and I did end up enjoying it. I would go there for a visit...as long as I didn't have to go near that godawful swimming pool. (Trust me, that pool was SCARY.)


Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy, and/or weird tales!


*I received the audio of this book free of charge from the narrator with no strings attached. I chose to review it anyway. Furthermore, I consider the narrator to be a friend, even though we've never met in person. That fact did not affect this, my honest review.*

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review 2018-02-26 19:00
Edging by Michael Schutz
Edging - Michael Schutz,Michelle.Thompson


EDGING. That's what you call it when you take a dose of Intenze. First, you'll experience your mind's own little horror movie. You'll be scared, maybe even terrified, but afterward? You'll get an adrenaline rush like nothing you've ever experienced before. It's a great premise for what turned out to be a great story!


All of the characters in this book are well drawn, with realistic problems, hopes and dreams. The main protagonist Rick, is the father of creepy twins and husband to a cheating wife. He's a bit wishy-washy and slow to act on things until his his hand is forced. His wife Trish is unhappy and all too willing to try Intenze at the behest of her new hunk of a boyfriend, Steve. She soon becomes addicted and so do most of the other people who decide to EDGE. But what happens if you do too much? Will you overdose? What is up with the tall, dark, shadowy man that many who EDGE see while they're tripping? What would happen if the whole town was EDGING? You'll have to read it to find out!


This is an intricately plotted story and I loved seeing how everything slowly came together. In some ways it reminded me of Salem's Lot. We're introduced to people around town and get some insight into their daily lives. Once events ratcheted up, everything came together beautifully. I do think a few portions dragged just a bit around the 75% mark, but that didn't bother me too much, as I was so engaged with the characters I had to see what happened next.


There is an element of originality here with the introduction of Intenze, what it did, and how it was used. There are aspects of this tale that touched on why drug use is so popular, and also on bullies and what motivates them, as well as the acceptance, (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in our homes and in our schools. It is often easy to forget how horrible life can be when one is constantly reminded of, and being made to pay for, being "different." This book takes a hard look at some of those things and I respected and appreciated those bold looks.


EDGING was a nice surprise for me. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't a book this compelling. It was well written, had engaging and interesting characters, an original premise and an exciting denouement. What more could you ask for?


Highly recommended for fans of dark, edgy, (see what I did there?!) fiction!


You can get your copy here: Edging


*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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