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andreya

Andreya's Asylum

Insanity, horror and dark fiction are my catharsis. Brutally honest reviews are on the house.

 

 Professional Reader        80%

 
 

Garden of Fiends from Mark Matthews Pre-Order is now up!

 

 
 

 
**So Check this promo out**

The first 25 readers who send a receipt confirming a pre-sale purchase of GARDEN OF FIENDS to WickedRunPress@gmail.com will win the kindle book of their choosing written by any author on the GARDEN OF FIENDS table of contents. Yep, don't wait for April, read from the table of contents TODAY.

Lemme break this down:

1. Purchase Garden of Fiends on Amazon presale (currently at a discounted price.)

2. Choose from one the books listed below written by authors appearing on the table of contents

3. Email your Garden of Fiends' purchase receipt along with your choice of one of the books below to WickedRunPress@gmail.com and...

Bamn! If you’re one of the first 25 you’ll receive an amazon voucher emailed back for a free kindle download of your chosen book.

(And, pssst... if you're not one of the first 25 who email, I can still promise something extra.)

Here are your choices: 

Jack Ketchum
The Girl Next Door
Off Season
Offspring
Peaceable Kingdom
The Woman
Red

Kealan Patrick Burke
Kin
Sour Candy
Secret Faces
The Turtle Boy

Jessica McHugh
The Train Derails in Boston
The Green Kangaroos
Pins
Rabbits in the Garden

John FD Taff
The Desolated Orchard
I Can Taste the Blood
The End in All Beginnings

Max Booth III
How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers
Lost Signals
American Nightmare

Johann Thorsson
Not Your Average Monster: Volume 2

Glen Krisch
Where Darkness Dwells
The Hallowed Land
The Nightmare Within
Loss

Mark Matthews
Milk-Blood
All Smoke Rises
Lilly's Tale: The Milk-Blood Trilogy
On the Lips of Children
STRAY
 
 

 

Detritus in Love by Mercedes M. Yardley and John Boden

Detritus in Love - Mercedes M. Yardley, John Boden

Detritus in Love is and it isn't. There is love but it isn't a love story. There is horror but it isn't a horror story. The love comes not from the living and the horror, not from the dead. Yet both are undertones for this beautifully macabre story of Detritus, a boy whose only solace comes from those who shouldn't still be—yet are— and whose Opposite threatens to break what little happiness he has managed to hold on to. Darkly poetic, this little wonder of literary brilliance from Mercedes M. Yardley and John Boden is one that brightened even my dark heart.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Odd Man Out by James Newman

Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle, James R. Newman

Odd Man Out by James Newman is for the faint of heart. It's for the bigots and the racists and it's also for the humanitarians, for people who do their best to be good people. It's for anyone who has ever had oxygen in their lungs and blood in their veins. It's a story that could be yours or mine...

 

It's a story of summer camp in the late 80's; of a group of teenage boys all vying to be leader of the pack, or at least not the lowest ranked; of that awkward stage when they're not quite children but not yet men. One of them has a secret and it's about to call into question everything they and perhaps you believe.

 

If there is one book that every person should have to read, this is the one. Everyone reads The Diary of Anne Frank, which shows you hate on a larger scale. Odd Man Out is that same hate but on a smaller scale and much closer to home. It's a hate that every minority, every disabled person, every person with any definable characteristic that can be singled out has to worry about whenever they leave their house, open their mouth, let their guard down... because their existing may offend the wrong person at the wrong time.

 

I am not new to James' name, as he's obviously big in the horror genre. However, as someone who only this year got around to reading my first book by him, I can already tell you that I love his writing style and will hopefully be adding to my Newman pile very soon.

 

I received a copy of this directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Invisible Fences by Norman Prentiss

Invisible Fences - Steve Gilberts, Norman Prentiss, Keith Minnion

We are all afraid of something: heights, spiders, strangers, ourselves... I think for most people fear comes from experience, real life levels of aversion therapy. But some, some seem to be born afraid of their own shadow; it is as if there hasn't been a single safe place for them since they left the womb. For yet others, fear has been conditioned into them by other people and those other people are usually the ones who are supposed to be the safest place of all--our parents. Nathan is a product of his upbringing. The stories his parents telling him doing more than just keeping him from crossing a busy street or playing where he shouldn't. They lay the foundation for phobias he will carry with him into adulthood.

 

Not all fear is unfounded. However, in my experience, it's usually the things that take us by surprise that hit the hardest. The things that creep up on us while we are busy trying to secure our life from every other conceivable danger. Invisible Fences is a story of fear. It's a story of conditioning. It's a story about ghosts. Perhaps more 'literary macabre' than actual horror, this dark little novella is sure to satisfy both those who love the dark and those who simply don't want to feel alone in their neuroses. This is the first book I read from Norman Prentiss and still one of my favorites.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

Review of Stranded by Bracken MacLeod

Stranded - Bracken MacLeod

Stranded is the second book I've read by Bracken MacLeod, although the first one hasn't been published yet, it was enough to make me realize that I didn't just want to read Stranded, I needed to. I will also need to read anything that he writes/publishes in the future. Stranded was definitely worth all of the hype and I happily have a signed copy on my bookshelf from when I met Bracken for the second time in person.

 

I'm sure by now everyone has told you the plot. I wouldn't be rehashing it, even if I wasn't a bit late in posting my review. What I will tell you is that as a woman who is not real current on my sailor jargon, the book started a bit slow for me. This is entirely why it has taken me so long to write this, because I don't know how else to say it. I wasn't sure how to tell you that I thought it started a bit slow and that I don't think it detracted from the book, whatsoever. That said, by 40% I could not put this book down and the rest went fast, too fast. At first I was a little bummed at the end; I wanted more. But the more I have talked about it and the more I have thought about it (which has been a lot), it's either entirely fitting or a great opening for a sequel. (hint, hint)

 

So how do you write a review that sounds like you don't really like the beginning or the end? Like this. You say that Stranded is one of the best books you have read this year. That Bracken MacLeod is a literary force to be reckoned with. And you say that you maybe could have loved this book a bit more but it was pretty damn good anyways.

 

I received an e-arc of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

Review of Tijuana Donkey Showdown by Adam Howe

Tijuana Donkey Showdown - Adam Howe

Adam Howe is an author I can't get enough of. I first discovered him with the lure of of a "free review copy" and have been hooked since. If Jeff Strand and a seedy motel room had a lovechild, that would be Adam. :) Tijuana Donkey Showdown is the long-awaited sequel to Adam Howe's story Damn Dirty Apes, from his stellar novella collection Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet. We wanted more Reggie and we were not disappointed.

 

Reggie Levine, our hot mess of a local hero, once again finds himself in deep crap, literally and otherwise when he walks into the well-known shyster used car salesman getting dunked into the toilet at The Henhouse where unfortunately he is the one and only bouncer. Because Reggie and trouble go together like thunder and lightning, naturally he finds himself entangled with Harry, aforementioned dunkee, and all of his seedy dealings. From Harry's Chinese Crested being mistaken for a chupacabra to almost getting killed by a serial killer, a mule with a giant phallus, killer drug dealers, and an actual (almost) serial killer, Reggie may need to rely on more than just his looks to get himself out of this one.

 

I'm not sure if it says more about Adam or myself that I expected this one to be dirtier. For anyone who has read Adam's previous work, this will be obvious. That said, this was, by far, my favorite story from Mr. Howe. Although perhaps not an appropriate present for your favorite grandparent (or child) this upcoming holiday season, if you have a sense of humor and aren't too terribly offended by well, everything, this one's for you. Well done, Adam. Now where's my threequel? :)

 

I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. That's all folks.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

Review of Wrathbone by Jason Parent

Wrathbone and Other Stories - Jason  Parent

I just finished reading the last story in this collection and I am still having trouble finding words to describe just how much I am in awe of Wrathbone, the story that the collection is named after. I loved every single story in this book, but Wrathbone was by far my favorite. Jason Parent is an author that I have always liked but who I am ashamed to admit I have not read too much from--that is going to change.

 

Wrathbone: Beautiful, haunting, horrifying...1865. Abraham Lincoln was murdered. Is there a demon that Major Henry Rathbone is unable to stop, or is his haunting a reflection of his madness? Is a lifetime of torment enough or only a taste of what's to come? The writing alone would have had me but Parent has crafted a story to match and both are soul-achingly brilliant.

 

The Only Good Lawyer: An oxymoron? The epitome of lawyerly loathing, Bradley Walsh will stop at nothing to win a case. Without a bunch of pesky 'morals' getting in his way, there is nothing to lose, right?

 

Dorian's Mirror: Dorian loves nothing more than Dorian. Dorian's entire world centers around his looks. Putting most teenage girls to shame, Dorian himself is shameless and...flawless? Perhaps not... A quite satisfying spin on an old favorite.

 

For the Birds: Nev's one and only friend is his pet parrot. He loves his pet parrot and his parrot loves him. Oh yes...

 

Revenge is a Dish: Maurice gets to travel the world doing what he loves best, working as a chef and exercising his job 'perks'--at least until his boss finds out about his wife's private cooking lessons... cast out and with plenty of time to stew, Maurice plans his revenge and revenge isn't always sweet, sometimes it's salty...

 

An amazing collection, Wrathbone is one that you don't want to miss. Jason has accomplished in one story collection, one story in particular, what many authors will never do in their lifetime and as impressed as I am, I can't wait to see what else he has in store for us. I am in love with this book and will be paying a lot closer attention to Mr. Parent in the future.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

Review Hollow House by Greg Chapman

Hollow House - Greg Chapman

Hollow House is my second read from Greg Chapman and I would just like to say that this man writes exactly what I like to read. I was hooked from page one, and that hasn't happened with too many books for me; I'm typically a little slow to warm up to a new story.

 

The moment I saw "haunted house" I knew I had to have this and I can honestly say that this is one of the top haunted house stories I have ever read. I won't say that it's classic or that it's typical because it's not. The Kemper house is an entity entirely of its own making and the overwhelming smell of death that it emits is only the beginning of what the house has in store for the residents of Willow Street. Hollow House will change the way you look at that empty house in your neighborhood, the one you maybe forget to notice, the one that may be noticing you...

 

I cannot give this a higher recommendation. I will definitely be re-reading this sometime soon and suggest that you get your own copy as soon as possible. My hope for this book is movie rights (this would make a wicked scary movie) and a nice signed/limited edition for my bookshelf (hint, hint: Greg). Otherwise, what are you waiting for? :)

 

I received an e-ARC of this book from Omnium Gatherum in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Disappearance At Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay

Disappearance at Devil's Rock: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

Disappearance at Devil's Rock is the second book I have read by Paul Tremblay and it did not disappoint. Tremblay is one of the few authors I have found who can take a story line that you think you have read ad nauseam and make it entirely his own. The clue that I think that I have when I begin the story, just left me in the dust.

 

Three teenage boys go out into the woods. Only two come out. When Tommy Sanderson goes missing, it is almost as if the night itself has swallowed him whole. When strange things start happening around the park and outside of people's windows near the park at night, the re-named Devil's Rock may be more than just a name forged from some middle school superstition...

 

"Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear the very stones prate my whereabout - and take the present horror from this moment which now suits it." - MacBeth.

 

This book had me guessing nearly until the end. Written in a style that is engrossing and subtly poignant, Tremblay's prose is one that you won't soon forget. I, for one, can't wait to see what he has for us next.

 

I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review and here it is.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Year's Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1, edited by Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax

Year's Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1 - Randy Chandler, Cheryl Mullenax

A horror collection from some of the leading horror authors in the genre? Yes, please. I have to say that you had me at "Adam Howe," and when I saw some of my other favorite authors in the lineup, I thought that Christmas came early this year. 

That said, it's an anthology. I didn't love every story in here, but the stories I loved, I loved hard. My absolute favorites were (in this order): "Reborn" by The Behrg, "Cleanup on Aisle 3" by Adam Howe, "Awakening" by Jeff Strand, "Eleanor" by Jason Parent, "Readings Off The Charts" by Adam Cesare, and "What's Worst" by David James Keaton. I liked a lot of other ones but those are the ones that stuck with me. These are also short stories so I'm not going to tell you what they are about so you are just going to have to read them yourself. You're just going to have to read your own dead baby jokes. 

As an obsessive (I hate the word "avid") horror reader, I wouldn't exactly classify many of these as hardcore (at least I don't think so...), so if that's the only thing stopping you: suck it up buttercup, you're reading horror, not Twilight. And really, what good is horror if it's not horrific? You aren't reading The Year's Best Pansy Stories Volume #1. 

I received an e-ARC of this from Adam Howe in exchange for an honest review and here it is.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of The Invasion by Brett McBean

The Invasion - Brett McBean

I am happy to say that I have a gorgeous signed/remarqued Thunderstorm edition of this  one and this is one of the coolest looking Thunderstorm books I own and also happens to be a kick-ass story. 

I will admit that The Invasion started my spiral into full-blown Brett McBean addiction. As I look at all of the beautiful signed/limited edition McBean's I have amassed on my bookshelf over the last few months, I will also admit that it was worth it. In a genre where fear rules, Brett McBean may very well be king. Sorry, Stephen. 

As you have probably already intuited, it's a book about a home invasion. My first thought was "how original," right? And then I read it. If you haven't already lost your hope for humanity, please check it at the door and make sure your cell phone is fully charged. This is a book that makes me both cringe and wonder who is sicker-- McBean for writing this or me for liking it? If you like to complain about our stereotypical "Millennials" just wait until you meet McBean's cult of killers and their not lack but non-existence of empathy for whatever toys happen to be in the box they choose to play with; in this case it is Debra and her unsuspecting Christmas dinner party whose stuffing and gears are about to become the main course.

Hi, my name is Andi and I have a problem. There are still some McBean books I have been unable to locate on this side of the world. All I have to say is buy this book. And maybe also someone get our favorite Aussie to the US please.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Fellside by M.R. Carey

Fellside - M.R. Carey

Fellside by M.R. Carey is a book that I have had trouble reviewing, but not for a lack of love. It is a story that caught me by surprise both in how badly I misjudged the cover and how thoroughly I enjoyed it. 

Jess is a heroin addict who sets a fire in her apartment that ends up killing a kid and disfiguring her half of her face. In prison for manslaughter, Jess just wants nothing more than to die...when the boy she killed comes back to haunt her. Is there such thing as redemption in Fellside or has he come back to make her pay for her sins? Jess is a character who you aren't sure whether you should love, hate, or want to throttle for most of the book but one that will win you over with her overwhelming and flawed humanity. 

I have always been fascinated with prison stories and this one delivered everything I was hoping for and more. The story slows in a few places but the end absolutely justifies (and explains) the means. I highly recommend this book.

I received this e-ARC from Orbit Books/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Redemption Road by John Hart

Redemption Road: A Novel - John Hart

This book is the movie that everyone says that you "just have to see!" the movie that is so good that your friends have all seen it thrice and they can't wait for you to see it and adore it as much as they do. This is a book that by all accounts I should have loved, because everyone else does, right? Wrong. I guess I've never been very good at going with the masses. I refuse to watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings because I already know that I hate them by description alone.

The description Redemption Road sounded good but just didn't do it for me. I found the book to be long-winded and predictable. I will have to say that I am not a fan of his style of prose. I found myself skimming the book to see what happened because I wanted to know and it felt like the book would never end otherwise. 

You will probably love this book and down-vote my review on Amazon and that's okay. I wanted to love it too. I just didn't. 

I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Panacea by Adam Light

Panacea: A Novella of Horror - Adam   Light

My favorite story in the Dead Roses anthology, I was glad to see Panacea by Adam Light thriving on its own in the wild. This is also undoubtedly my favorite story by Adam to date.

 

Rob Arnold and his wife Molly are what every married couple strives for, with a love that far outweighs the years they have been together. The only thing in life that could ever tear them apart is Molly's cancer which every day brings Rob closer to losing the one thing he cares about. Willing to go to any lengths to stop this from happening, Rob desperately latches onto the first thing that he comes across promising a cure. Unfortunately nothing comes without a price and sometimes that price is far higher than you bargained for...

 

I'm not always a fan of short stories. If I like them I usually end up feeling cheated by the shortness of them and otherwise often they just sort of feel like an afterthought-- almost stories that want to be more... but aren't. That said, some of the best stories I've read have been shorts. I think it shows exceptional talent in a writer who can pull off a short story and not leave you wanting and Panacea is that story.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

I am absolutely in awe of this book. As a recent new-to-me author, I could not have been more blown away by Blake Crouch's novel Dark Matter. I vacillated between consuming and reading this slowly, because for as much as I didn't want to put it down, I also didn't want it to end.

 

Science fiction thrillers aren't usually my flavor of choice. For me it's typically like getting tea when I ordered coffee... and having that tea be decaf. The Martian by Andy Weir was my exception last year and Dark Matter is almost enough to make me change my reading preferences this year. Almost.

 

What would you do if you woke up and the world -your world- as you know it had changed? For Jason Dessen, one minute he is being kidnapped and the next-- he's not even the same person. We all say that we would love to wake up one day and be rich, to be someone else. What if someone else made that choice for you? For Jason Dessen that's not a choice he's willing to live with and he will stop at nothing to get back the life he lost--even if he's not really sure where that life is anymore.

 

"No one can take away your right to fight and to never surrender." - Never Surrender (Corey Hart)

 

This is a story of quantum physics which I found to be profoundly interesting. This is a story of just how remarkable your unremarkable life is once you don't have it any more. This is a story that will make you question your perception of not only reality but of the choices you have made in life that lead up to now. This is Dark Matter.

 

I received an e-ARC of this book from Crown Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Pressure by Brian Keene.

Pressure - Brian Keene

This was my first actual read from Brian Keene, which I'm slightly ashamed to admit to since I own several of his books in hard copy and he signed a few of them personally for me at a convention. Anyways, I shall be putting all other reading on hold until I catch up on some Keene.

 

I would say that Brian Keene lives up to his hype. While not quite flawless, his pacing is steady and his storyline solid. I wasn't quite as disappointed as other readers that there wasn't more of a focus on the sea creature because I quite enjoyed the rest of the story as well. This book was closer to Deep Blue Sea than to Jaws and overall more suspenseful than gory. The beginning and the end of this book were amazing. If the tone of this book had been carried throughout, this would have undoubtedly been a 5-star read.

 

This book reads quickly while still giving you all of the elements of a great story. If Mr. Keene ever reads this I am humbly putting in my request for a sequel.

 

I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.