Short Story Review: Origins by S.M. Boyce

A Ghostly Paranormal Horror Short Story

Mel has a curse: she can see what’s invisible to most humans. We call them ghosts and demons. She calls them living nightmares.

When she was five, she had her own ghost. A good ghost. She swore to never leave his side, but over time, he scared her. She pushed him away. She broke her promise.

Now well into her twenties, Mel meets her old ghost again. And this time, he’s brought the darkness with him to prove his point…

…you don’t break a promise with a ghost.

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My Review

I chose to read this short story after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story is very short but still packs a punch. Mel promised her ghost when she was young that she’d always be his friend, but she broke her promise. Now she’s in her twenties and he has decided that he doesn’t want to be ignored any longer. Her good ghost isn’t so good anymore…

I’ve always liked S.M. Boyce’s writing and that’s still the case in Origins which gives a little background to her horror novel Ari. I haven’t read Ari yet but I’m going to have to find time to read it. I enjoy a well written horror story!

 

 

About the Author

When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the fantasy and horror novelist she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with a knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real.

She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

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Book Review: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray

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Jane is ecstatic when she gets the role of Red Riding Hood in her school play, but she didn’t realize that they’d be using the stuffed wolf prop as the Big Bad Wolf. That tattered old prop has always scared her and, lately, she has been having strange dreams about it that make it seem like it’s something more.

Jane will have to get help to save herself from the hungry spirit that has haunted her people and her nightmares before it consumes her, or worse, escapes the prison of the last creature it took to sate its horrible appetite.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Big Bad Wolf is a scary story for middle grade readers and I think it would at least send a chill down the spine of young readers. Jane is in middle school and gets the lead part in a play as Red Riding Hood. The wolf is an old stuffed wolf that was donated by a family and it scares her and gives her bad dreams.

Of course Jane tries to tell herself that she’s silly for being scared which is a normal reaction, but she finally gives in to the realization that something is very wrong and it’s more than her imagination. She eventually enlists the help of other students who also end up believing that the wolf is evil. Will they be able to get rid of the evil that lurks inside the wolf?

This is a good story for this time of year. Not only is it scary and a fun story to read but it touches a little on some Native American beliefs which may be of interest to readers. It’s definitely a story for middle grade readers and it could be one of those stories that will help get reluctant readers to pick up a book.

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About the Author

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her middle grade series Spine Chillers. She also published her YA fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.

Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.

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Book Review: The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
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The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.
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For the sea was a fair master.
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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a mixture of stories that range from predictable to horrifying. I’d read one story and know how it was going to end. Then the next story I’d think, “I can’t believe that happened!” There are also love stories and tales of murder. My favorite story was about an android that has almost found a way to feel like humans do. Another one, Letting the Dead Grow, will stay with me for a while. It amazes me how Calvin Demmer can make the reader feel so much in so few words. I look forward to reading more of his work.

I read this book in one sitting but it would be a good one to have around when you just a few minutes to read here and there. I definitely recommend The Sea Was a Fair Master.  It’s a memorable book of short stories and if you like multiple genres, especially horror, you’ll enjoy it.

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About the Author

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.

 

 

 

 

Audiobook Review: Oshun Rising by Jennifer Alsever

 

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Author: Jennifer Alsever

Narrator: Moira Todd

Series: Trinity Forest Series, Book 2

Publisher: Sawatch Publishing

Released: May 30, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

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OSHUN has everything a young pop star could ever want—fame, fortune, and beauty to spare. But there’s something dark inside of her, rising like the tide, fighting to be heard. Something that terrifies her. Because once she lets it out, she knows there’s no going back.

EMBER is drowning. Fighting for consciousness, struggling to make sense of the strange dreams she’s been having—prophecies of murder, deception, and blackmail. But once she begins to untangle them, she realizes that they might not be dreams at all…and if she doesn’t find a way to stop what she’s seeing, more people will die.

MADDIE is barely staying afloat. How can she be expected to care about school when her best friend Ember is still missing, presumed dead? So when Ember’s brother calls and tells her about his theory about a pop star who may be involved in Ember’s disappearance, she rallies him to take a road trip to check it out.

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A teenager still lives inside author Jennifer Alsever. She spent two decades as a professional journalist, contributing to such publications as Fortune Magazine, the New York Times, Inc Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, before letting her imagination run wild in 2016. The result is Ember’s story told in the three-book Trinity Forest Series, her first published fiction work.
When not absorbed in writing, Alsever enjoys a good hike, doing some yoga, hanging with her boys, some moguls on skis, a rigorous mountain bike ride or indulging in the simple pleasures of life. Her favorites: untouched snow, frozen chocolate chips, savasina on a yoga mat and yes, bowls of pan fried brussels sprouts. Jennifer is working on her upcoming novel, Psychic Monkeys, to be released in 2019.

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Narrator Bio

Moira Todd is a Washington, DC-based actor. She originally hails from Mt. Hood, Oregon where the trees are always green, the mountain is always pointy, and the weather is usually rainy. It was there that she learned the secret arts of alpine skiing and whistling at the same time as you hum. While neither has proved useful in her theatre career, she remains hopeful. These days she spends most of her free time swimming, baking bread, and watching whale documentaries.

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I received these audiobooks as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Alsever. The gifting of these audiobooks did not affect my opinion of them.

I listened to Ember Burning, the first book in the Trinity Forest series and was glad I had Oshun Rising to listen to right after it because I had to find out what was going to happen! 

Ember is no longer supposed to exist. She’s been “reborn” as the pop star Oshun. But her rebirth was rushed, she didn’t want it, and mistakes were made. So Ember still exists somewhere deep down in Oshun and occasionally, Ember gets a glimpse of what is going on. 

Ember’s brother Jared has never given up on finding her. When he calls Ember’s best friend Maddie she’s concerned about his obsession with finding Ember after three years have passed. She decides a road trip might be what he needs and they end up going to one of Oshun’s concerts. Poor Maddie is trying to help Jared and she realizes that she loves him, but she’s afraid she’s going to lose Jared along with Ember.

Jennifer Alsever does a great job at expressing Maddie’s thoughts and feelings as well as her confusion when trying to deal with Jared and Oshun. The narrator, Moira Todd, also does well and has good timing and a good singing voice as Oshun/Ember.

Oshun Rising has a little bit of everything: paranormal, fantasy, horror, romance, drama, and humor. I can’t wait until I have the time to listen to the third book in the series. Oshun Rising stops at a good place but the world is still at risk!

 

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Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Ember Burning by Jennifer Alsever

 

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Author: Jennifer Alsever

Narrator: Moira Todd

Series: Trinity Forest Series, Book 1

Publisher: Sawatch Publishing

Released: Sep. 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

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Author Jennifer Alsever delivers an addictive story ideal for fans of The Uglies, We Were Liars, and Before I Fall about a teen grieving over her parent’s tragic death who becomes entangled with a mysterious forest teeming with urban legends of strange disappearances and witchcraft.

Ember Trouve used to be alive, driven to become a musician and on a path to college. That was before her parents died. One day, after venturing into the fabled Trinity Forest, she goes missing. Now, Ember must confront the truth behind her parents’ death – or lose herself to the forest forever.

In this fresh and compelling novel, Jennifer Alsever creates a paranormal world of loss, mystery, love, and survival as Ember searches for escape – and a path back to herself. Ember Burning is the first installment of the three-book Trinity Forest series.

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A teenager still lives inside author Jennifer Alsever. She spent two decades as a professional journalist, contributing to such publications as Fortune Magazine, the New York Times, Inc Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, before letting her imagination run wild in 2016. The result is Ember’s story told in the three-book Trinity Forest Series, her first published fiction work.
When not absorbed in writing, Alsever enjoys a good hike, doing some yoga, hanging with her boys, some moguls on skis, a rigorous mountain bike ride or indulging in the simple pleasures of life. Her favorites: untouched snow, frozen chocolate chips, savasina on a yoga mat and yes, bowls of pan fried brussels sprouts. Jennifer is working on her upcoming novel, Psychic Monkeys, to be released in 2019.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

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Narrator Bio

Moira Todd is a Washington, DC-based actor. She originally hales from Mt. Hood, Oregon where the trees are always green, the mountain is always pointy, and the weather is usually rainy. It was there that she learned the secret arts of alpine skiing and whistling at the same time as you hum. While neither has proved useful in her theatre career, she remains hopeful. These days she spends most of her free time swimming, baking bread, and watching whale documentaries.

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I received these audiobooks as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Alsever. The gifting of these audiobooks did not affect my opinion of them.

Ember is a teenager whose parents died in a car accident. She was also in the accident but not only survived it, she blames herself for it. She was once a good student but she doesn’t care any more. She’s alienated her best friend and has even started popping pills.

And then Ember goes to Trinity Forest. It’s a place that the people from her town stay away from because so many people have disappeared there. She meets some people who seem nice, live in an amazing house, and want her to stay. It seems too good to be true…and it is. When she wants to leave, she finds out that she’s not allowed to and the gate that she entered to get onto the property no longer exists.

Jennifer Alsever does a good job making the reader feel what Ember is going through. There were times I thought she was being immature but then I remembered she’s just in high school. She’s young! The narrator, Moira Todd, also does well portraying Ember and has good timing and a good singing voice.

Ember Burning is a scary young adult book with a touch of romance and several damaged characters. It could actually end with book one but I’m glad there are more books in the series. In fact, I’m getting ready to listen to the next book and look forward to seeing what is going to happen.

 

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: Bitten by Alan Moore

Book Title: Bitten by Alan Moore
Category: Adult Fiction, 430 pages
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: February 7, 2018
Tour dates: June 4 to 22, 2018
Content Rating: R (Book contains profanities, intermittent sex and violence, incl. one violent sex episode, together with scenes of explicit disaster, distress and death)

 

Book Description:

In the not-too-distant future, Italy is in disarray. It has voted to leave the EU in an attempt to regain control of its laws, finances and commerce. Even so, the country’s economy is shrinking and its national debt rising. There is a marked escalation, too, in unemployment, bank loans and immigration. Production and service companies are in difficulty. The only thriving business areas are the black market and organised crime. There is discontent and protest on all sides.

In Florence, the local Mafia boss, more accustomed to gunrunning and trading in plutonium, is involved in organising a silent auction for the sale of one of the world’s most valuable lost paintings – a sixteenth-century masterpiece, which was appropriated in World War II by Stalin’s Trophy Brigade. A British art expert is set to buy the picture on behalf of his client, a South American billionaire – yet surprisingly two Italian undercover intelligence agents, acting as antique dealers, submit the winning bid.

All the while, human beings continue to harm the Earth by destroying land, sea, air, animals and trees. Global climate change, polluting the atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer: these are some of man’s crimes against Nature. But time is running out. Nature has lost patience with humans. Unless something is done immediately to reverse the destruction of the ecosystem, Nature will retaliate by deploying the terrifying forces at her command. And as a first step in wreaking her revenge, she instigates a reign of terror by the deadliest creature on Earth.

To read reviews, please visit Alan Moore’s page on Italy Book Tours.

 

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is a difficult book to review. It has two separate plots and the only way that they’re related is through some of the characters. Speaking of characters, there are a lot of them and it took me quite a while to keep them all straight. There wasn’t a lot of character development, I’m sure because there were so many and there was so much going on.

Claudia is an ecologist who specializes in mosquitoes. She works for an institute in Rome but is sent to Florence and Venice to collect specimens of mosquitoes because it seems that they’re growing in size. There have also been vicious attacks by mosquitoes and the attacks are growing in size and frequency. 

At the same time, a sixteenth century painting has surfaced and an art expert has been commissioned by the Mafia to authenticate the painting. The painting is part of a big arms deal and with all of the criminals involved, it’s questionable if the painting will even make it to Italy to be authenticated. Two undercover agents want to submit the highest bid for the painting so that they can take down some of the big players in the Mafia.

Bitten is a book that is difficult to put down because you want to find out what is going to happen. Unfortunately, while one of the plots had a lot of twists and a good result, the other one was horrifying but a bit lacking at the end. 

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Meet the Author:

 

Born in Surbiton, Surrey in 1944, Alan Moore lives in Barnes, SW London, with his wife, Amber. They have two daughters and a son, who between them have two boys and two girls with another boy expected in May. Alan was educated at Oundle School in Northamptonshire and at London University, where, as an external student, he obtained a BA degree in English. Thereafter, for 25 years, he single-handedly ran his own book publishing company, which at one stage was producing up to 20 titles a year. Now, at the age of 74, he has self-published his first novel.
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Ends June 30, 2018

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