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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%

 
 

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.

Review of Michael McDowell's Wicked Stepmother

Wicked Stepmother - Michael McDowell, Axel Young, Dennis Schuetz

This is the third novel by Michael McDowell that I have read and my favorite to date. Although a few parts were a little drawn out, the pace of the novel was generally good and well worth a few extra words. Michael McDowell's prose, as always, is beautiful and entertaining and his characters believably imperfect. What I have loved since I picked up my first McDowell novel is how unique and realistic all of his characters are; they are flawed and comical in a way that is more human than forced. The literary world lost an author who could see and reflect the interesting aspects of people who aren't extraordinary or extreme but who are intimately just like you and me.

 

Wicked Stepmother is the story of three rich adult siblings who end up simultaneously orphaned and with a new stepmother after the suspicious death of their father. What starts out as a nuisance quickly starts to escalate as Louise Lerner, their instant stepmother - just add water - makes it her mission to inject herself as deeply as she can into the lives of the remaining Hawke family. Verity, Cassandra and Jonathan, who have always had free reign in how they live their lives suddenly find themselves under a microscope and Louise's attempts to try and control them as if they were children. With her ever-creeping presence and talons out trying to latch onto the family fortune, the only thing Louise has standing in her way are three disposable heirs.

 

My only issue with this story, and perhaps it's a mixture of the era and the culture that I'm failing to grasp, but I find it hard to believe that adults would subject themselves to their father's wife of four days as their stepmother in any form of acceptance, especially a woman that they despised to begin with. That said, Verity was my absolute favorite character in this book, addictions and all, and single-handedly would have made this an awesome read by herself. However, you get more than just Verity and a new spin on a classic tale of the wicked stepmother.

 

As always, Valancourt did an awesome job not only bringing back this classic McDowell novel but in re-packaging it into something you want to have on your bookshelf. My copy was generously provided in exchange for a review from the same awesome guys at Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Black Cat Mojo by Adam Howe

Black Cat Mojo - Adam Howe

After reading and enjoying every bit of Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, I devoured Black Cat Mojo like Belladonna devours Rummy in Of Badgers and Porn Dwarfs. Adam has set the bar pretty damn high with Die Dog, but as Adam's first anthology, Black Cat Mojo is also pretty freaking awesome. 

The first two stories were my favorite in this collection. Of Badgers and Porn Stars immediately hits it out of the park. Rummy Rumsfeld is a porn star midget with a long schlong and erectile dysfunction. Add in some gambling debt, a badger and a very traumatizing scene with "Momma" and you may wish you stuck to regular dwarf porn. Just kidding. You want to read this. Jesus In a Dog's Ass was unsurprisingly blasphemous and entirely enjoyable. This one doesn't need much more explanation, the title says (almost) it all. 

The third story, Frank, The Snake & The Snake is the only story that I was less than in love with. It was not bad by any means, I just found it longer and maybe less amusing than the others. I did very much enjoy the ending. If you ever wanted to be a gangster, are scared of snakes, or have a fascination with drugs, this story is for you. The Mad Butcher of Plainfields Chariot Of Death is a perfectly short and adequately disturbing ending to this little package of vileness and debauchery. And immense amounts of fun. 

Adam Howe is an author I recently discovered and one who needs to write more stories (for me), ASAP, because I'm out of them. I highly recommend reading anything by Adam that you can get your hands on and bugging him via e-mail (stalking hasn't been cute since he sent me the restraining order) to demand (encourage) that he produce more. 

I received this book directly from the author himself in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Blog Tour review for Adam Howe's Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet

Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet - Adam Howe

Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet by Adam Howe was the first novel (anthology) I have read by him and damn have I been missing out. When a British man can write white trash American literature better than most natives, it is both shameful and amazing. He very much reminds me of my favorite comedian, Eddy Izzard, if Eddy were slightly more foul-mouthed and slightly less tongue-in-cheek.

 

 

Damned Dirty Apes: The story that almost wasn’t told due to the apparent sensitivity and subsequent attempt to ban it from the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Reggie Levine is a former boxer turned strip club bouncer in a small town dive known as the The Henhouse. When Elisa, the stripper Reggie is infatuated with, ends up filming a skunk ape porno out in the forest with Ned, the village dunce, they end up attracting more than just some poison ivy. While Ned is doing the deed in his nasty Boogaloo Baboon suit he’s worn since his high school mascot days, he gets snatched into the woods by the infamous Bigelow Skunk Ape. Forming a haphazard search party, Reggie, Eliza, Lester (Eliza’s boyfriend) and not-so-notorious skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury head out full bore on a rescue mission/hunting trip that will leave all of the participants more than a little scarred…

 

Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet: The collection’s namesake. Serial killer Terrance Hingle has escaped from a mental hospital just as dangerous as when he was committed 5 years ago. Terry Mulvehill is resigned to being a small-town waitress, the highlight of her life watching TV with her cat and her Ben and Jerry’s. Having picked the wrong night to work an overtime shift, Tilly finds herself in the trunk of Hingle’s car after he stops at the diner for something to eat and finds her to be a close enough approximation to what he likes to play with. Things go from bad to worse when Hingle stops for gas at a crappy little gas station out in the middle of nowhere and finds himself and Tilly at the mercy of the deranged Ritter brothers and their house of horrors. What is worse than being kidnapped by a serial killer? Being then kidnapped by an even more psychotic serial killer.

 

Gator Bait: I loved all of the stories in this book but this one was my favorite. Smitty Three Fingers has a penchant for married women. A nickname earned after an angry husband took two of his fingers, Smitty gives up the city life for playing piano in a Louisiana honky-tonk bar called The Grinnin’ Gator where he aims to keep a low profile. Horace, the bar owner and well-known bootlegger, rules his roost with an iron fist and a giant man-eating alligator he keeps as a pet. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and Smitty can’t keep his hands off of Horace Croker’s wife Grace, despite the imminent threat of death swimming below his feet. A lovely little nugget of political incorrectness and backwoods fun.

 

A little collection of twisted, fun, no-holds-barred stories that will make your life seem a whole lot sunnier. Adam Howe is one sick puppy whose illness has been put out for all to enjoy and should not be squandered on the faint of heart or tight of buttocks. Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet. Do or die. You will read it if you know what is bad good for you and enjoy it.

 

This e-ARC was provided to me by Comet Press and Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

 

Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #DieDogorEattheHatchet #DieDog #AdamHowe #OnWriting #HookofaBook

 

Tune into all the stops on the tour at the publicity page: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/die-dog-or-eat-the-hatchetadam-howe-publicity-page/

 

Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Synopsis

  • Publication Date: Nov. 2, 2015
  • Publisher: Comet Press
  • Publication Length: 250 pages

From Adam Howe, winner of Stephen King’s “On Writing” short story contest, comes three original novellas of hardboiled crime, graphic horror and pitch-black gallows humor.

 

DAMN DIRTY APES

Washed-up prizefighter Reggie Levine is eking a living as a strip club bouncer when he’s offered an unlikely shot at redemption. The Bigelow Skunk Ape – a mythical creature said to haunt the local woods – has kidnapped the high school football mascot, Boogaloo Baboon. Now it’s up to Reggie to lead a misfit posse including a plucky stripper, the town drunk, and legend-in-his-own-mind skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury. Their mission: Slay the beast and rescue their friend. But not everything is as it seems, and as our heroes venture deeper into the heart of darkness, they will discover worse things waiting in the woods than just the Bigelow Skunk Ape. The story the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape tried to ban; Damn Dirty Apes mixes Roadhouse with Jaws with Sons of Anarchy, to create a rollicking romp of 80s-style action/adventure, creature horror and pitch-black comedy.

 

DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET

Escaped mental patient Terrence Hingle, the butcher of five sorority sisters at the Kappa Pi Massacre, kidnaps timid diner waitress Tilly Mulvehill and bolts for the border. Forcing his hostage to drive him out of town, it’s just a question of time before Tilly becomes the next victim in Hingle’s latest killing spree. But when they stop for gas at a rural filling station operated by deranged twin brothers, Dwayne and Dwight Ritter, the tables are turned on Hingle, and for Tilly the night becomes a hellish cat-and-mouse ordeal of terror and depravity. The meat in a maniac sandwich, Tilly is forced against her nature to make a stand and fight for survival. Because sometimes the only choice you have is to do or die…to Die Dog Or Eat The Hatchet.

 

GATOR BAIT

Prohibition-era 1930s… After an affair with the wrong man’s wife, seedy piano player Smitty Three Fingers flees the city and finds himself tinkling the ivories at a Louisiana honky-tonk owned by vicious bootlegger Horace Croker and his trophy wife, Grace. Folks come to The Grinnin’ Gator for the liquor and burlesque girls, but they keep coming back for Big George, the giant alligator Croker keeps in the pond out back. Croker is rumored to have fed ex-wives and enemies to his pet, so when Smitty and Grace embark on a torrid affair…what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by true events, Gator Bait mixes hardboiled crime (James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice) with creature horror (Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive) to create a riveting tale of suspense.

Listen to this sample reading from the book over at YouTube from the folks at Manor House:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cKt_Y9CwO4

 

Biography

 

Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey ShowdownOne Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.

Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.

 

Praise for Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet

 

"It's an explicit, hard-hitting, twisted funhouse ride into pulpish horror wrapped loosely in a tattered skein of irreverent, jet black humor. In short, it's a freakin' blast." --Walt Hicks, author of Dirge of the Forgotten

 

"Every page ratchets up the tension another notch even as it descends deeper and deeper into terrible darkness. Out of all the books I've read for Ginger Nuts of Horror, this is definitely the most intense." -- David Dubrow, author of The Blessed Man and the Witch

 

“With Die Dog Or Eat the Hatchet, Adam Howe hasn’t written one of my favorite books of the year, he’s actually written three of my favorites. Stories that are tight, toned, and genre-confounding. Horror fans and crime fans are going to come to blows over who gets to claim Howe as one of their own, but they’re both going to be wrong because Howe’s his own thing.” – Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Mercy House

 

“The recipe for Adam Howe’s DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET is: Two parts Joe Lansdale, One part Justified, and a heavy dose of WTF. The result is a swampy cocktail darker than any backwoods hayride, stronger than the meanest Sasquatch, and crazier than anything you’ll find chicken-fried at your local state fair.”—Eryk Pruitt, author of Hashtag and Dirtbags

 

"Adam Howe proves with the three stories in this book that he can basically write anything. And write it very well indeed. To summarise: A three novella collection that you absolutely must have in your collection. I give this one the highest possible recommendation that I can." -Nev, Confessions of a Reviewer

 

"Adam Howe’s “Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet,” is equal parts terror and fun, his dark comedic voice dances through each of the works in this collection to create engaging stories filled with bars, dames, rabid dogs, and an ape with one hell of a right hook."(Nathan Crazybear/Splatterpunk Zine)

 

"Once again this author has sucked me into the darkness of his stories and unleashed the twisted, disgusting and stomach churning madness that I come to expect. In fact, I would have been very disappointed if this book was not even more mind-blowing than Black Cat Mojo. And he did not disappoint. Hats off to Mr Howe for creating this magnificent novella of pure horror. I would definitely recommend this to readers of horror and make sure you buckle up as you will be in for the most twisted ride of your life!" -Crime Book Junkie

 

"I'm pretty certain that whatever genre you like to read, be it pulp, noir, horror, anything really, you will find something to enjoy here. It's fast paced, action packed and brilliantly written. Comet Press has got a diamond on their hands! 5 stars" -Adrian Shotbolt

 

Purchase Links

 

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

 

Want to Feature Adam Howe?

 

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Adam Howe, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Review of The Fireman by Joe Hill

The Fireman: A Novel - Joe Hill

I started this novel intending to read a few pages before bed. I couldn’t put this book down. I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and the Kindle was precariously close to becoming one with the floor. Then I woke myself up and read some more. Joe Hill’s talent is undeniable. NOS4A2 was good. The Fireman is brilliant. To be honest, I was very much not thrilled at the thought of reading about a fireman but jealous enough that my friends had it that I wanted to read it too. After all, it’s Joe Hill. The Fireman was not at all what I was expecting and this was abundantly clear from the first few pages.

 

            The thing I love the most about Joe Hill’s books is his characterization. What is one of the hardest parts in writing for most authors seems to come naturally to Hill. Every one of his characters has their own unique personality and Joe Hill doesn’t just describe them, he makes them real. I loved Harper, his main character, as if she were my best friend. I loathed her husband as much as I can loathe someone in real life. The Fireman made me smile and laugh out loud. The end of the book feels like a loss, because these people that he made me feel have come to an end. There are very few authors who don’t just make me want to know the ending, but who make me want the story to continue, and Joe Hill is one of them.

 

            I feel that this book could have been a tad shorter without losing anything important. That said, its length did not detract from my enjoyment of it. My only criticism is that I don’t think that Nick, even in an apocalyptic situation, sounded like a 9-year-old, his character seemed much, much older. Otherwise this book exceeded my expectations and I loved every minute of it.

 

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

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Blog tour for Hunter Shea's I Kill In Peace.

I Kill in Peace - Hunter Shea

I Kill in Peace is the first book that I’ve read by Hunter Shea and definitely will not be the last. A fast-paced little novella, it cuts to the chase quickly and doesn’t leave you wanting.

 

Peter Blades is a normal guy with a normal life. At least until he gets laid off from work and someone who calls himself AO starts sending him messages telling him to kill people, starting with his now former boss. Peter is not a killer. AO convinces him otherwise and with less than subtle methods. When the killings get out of hand (when weren’t they?), can Peter find a way to stop before he gets caught? Before his family finds out?

 

I did not find this one to be predictable and I never could have guessed how it ended. It definitely was not what I was expecting and in a good way. Hunter Shea can write, knows how to build suspense, and paints a wicked picture of horror. I only wish that I had read his work sooner. Read this and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

I received an e-ARC of this book from Samhain Books and Hook of a Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

 

Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #IKillinPeace #HunterShea #evilancientswords

Synopsis for I Kill In Peace

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2016
  • Publisher: Samhain
  • Publication Length: 104 pages

 

Killing gets easier…with practice. 

Peter Blades is, in every sense of the word, an ordinary man. Hard worker, father, husband, a man content with small-town life. Except for one small fact—he’s slowly being turned into a ruthless killer.

Compelled by mysterious texts to murder, he’s provided a fiery red Mustang and an ancient sword to carry out an ever-growing hit list. His jerkoff boss is victim number one. You always remember your first.

By the time his sword sings through the air to dispatch a would-be school shooter, taking lives is as easy as breathing. And if the world is going to hell around him, all the better. No one wants to burn alone.

 

Biography

 

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel,Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned – “A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

 

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

 

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

 

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

 

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

 

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Praise for Hunter Shea

 

This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster

 

“Bloody good read!  This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre

 

“Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

 

Want to Feature Hunter Shea?

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Hunter Shea, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com

Blog Tour for Brian Moreland's Blood Sacrifices.

Blood Sacrifices - Brian Moreland

     Blood Sacrifices by Brian Moreland is the first book I’ve read by this author and as an anthology of his work, seemed like a good place to start. All four stories were previously published as single novellas, so it’s new to me but not new in general. This is so all of those people who buy this and then complain that it’s false advertising because they have already read all of the stories, that’s so I can tell you that “I told you so.”

 

 

The Girl from the Blood Coven: A short prequel to The Witching House. It is indeed very short but I thought it was a great introduction to the next story. When a hippie woman shows up at the local bar covered in blood claiming there has been a massacre at her commune, the sheriff finds there are worse things out there than a murderer on the loose…

 

The Witching House: Two couples go on an urban exploration trip into the middle of the sticks to explore the site of a massacre that happened 40 years ago and that was never solved. Casey and Meg (newlyweds) and Dean are old hats at urban exploring but Sarah, Dean’s girlfriend, is just along to impress him and wholly unprepared – before the house starts to take on a life of its own.

 

Darkness Rising: This was the only story that I wasn’t very fond of. Three people like to dress up in animal costumes and torture people to death. They also like to film it for fun and for their client who wants creativity in his killings. Marty Weaver is a (disturbed) janitor at a college that he someday hopes to attend and has an unrequited crush on one of the students. When the animal trio happens upon Marty, they are no match for the demons he has been storing up. This one reads more like a YA novel to me.

 

The Vagrants: My personal favorite. Daniel Finley, a journalist, decides to live amongst the homeless in order to write a piece spotlighting the plight of the city’s least fortunate. All is well, as well as being homeless can be, until a group of homeless who call themselves the “Seekers” materialize one day in their camp. Fast forward two years and Daniel has now written a book about his time underground but the experience still haunts him. When the Irish Mafia ends up shoving him back into the path of the now expanded and now violent group of Seekers, Daniel will have to choose between the lesser of the two evils.

 

     This was overall a good collection from an author whom I will definitely be keeping an eye out for from now on. I enjoy Brian Moreland’s writing style and his intense imagination. If On the Lips of Children didn’t instill a fear of homeless people in me, The Vagrants has absolutely nailed that home. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

 

This e-ARC was provided to me by Samhain Publishing and Hook of a Book Media and Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

 

 

Blood Sacrifices houses four tales of terror by one of the masters of horror, Brian Moreland. Previously only available in digital format, these stories are compiled into one book and can now be ordered in print!

Follow along the tour with the hashtags: #BloodSacrifices #4TalesofTerror #BrianMoreland

 

Synopsis for Blood Sacrifices: Four Tales of Terror

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Publisher: Samhain
  • Publication Length: 282 pages

 

Some evils require sacrifices.

From the author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods come four tales of blood-tingling horror:

The Girl from the Blood Coven

In this short prequel to The Witching House, when Abigail Blackwood claims her hippy commune family has been massacred, Sheriff Travis Keagan and his deputies investigate. They discover there’s more than weed smoking going on at Blevins House. Much more.

 

The Witching House

Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, but she helps her adventurous boyfriend investigate the old, abandoned Blevins House, scene of a forty-year-old unsolved massacre. Little do they know the house is hungry for fresh prey…

 

Darkness Rising

When Marty Weaver encounters three killers who like to play sadistic games with their victims, his own scarred past is unearthed. And when his pain is triggered, blood will flow…and hell will rise.

 

The Vagrants

Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering. While living under a bridge with the homeless, journalist Daniel Finley witnessed something that nearly cost him his sanity. Now, with a book published about the experience, he’s caught between the Irish mafia and a deranged cult preparing to shed blood on the street.

This is a collection of books previously published in digital format.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

 

Brian Moreland, Biography

 

Brian Moreland is a best-selling and award-winning author of novels and short stories in the horror and supernatural suspense genre. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger.

 

Shadows in the MistDead of Winter, and The Devil's Woods are his currently available novels, as well as his Kindle short-story The Girl from the Blood Coven and the novella it led into called The Witching House.  Now, he has released the full-length The Devil’s Woods. His novella, The Vagrants, was released in 2014, and another, Darkness Rising, in 2015.

 

He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and making guacamole. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel.  When not working on his books or books for other writers, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas. You can communicate with him online at www.brianmoreland.comTwitter, or Facebook.

 

Praise for Brian Moreland

 

"For horror fans wanting a healthy dose of the small-town stuff a la Stephen King, be sure to pick up a copy of this (The Girl from the Blood Coven) memorable and frightening short story, a wonderful teaser that will whet your appetite for the main course, The Witching House, where the twisted story continues." -DarkEva/Hellnotes

 

" Very much in the tradition of HELL HOUSE, THE WITCHING HOUSE is a creepy, modern turn on the haunted house story." -Tim Potter 

 

"Far and away the best new piece of fiction I've read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he's one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum...etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I'm a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it." -Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain, on Darkness Rising

 

"Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist. I know, when I've got one of his books in my hands, that I'm going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He's just that good." -Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters

 

"A thrilling, wholly-engrossing read that masterfully crosses multiple genres and leaves the reader breathless. Moreland weaves one hell of a history lesson, rich with brilliant characters and incredible plot twists. Highly recommended!" -Brian Keene, bestselling author of The Last Zombie and Ghoul, on Dead of Winter

 

“Dead of Winter is an exceptionally well crafted horror novel that tells a gripping story of dark religious doings, a horrific serial killer, and a sympathetic Inspector, in a dark and fascinating historical setting of 19th century Canada. The atmospherics are outstanding and the story offers plenty of surprises right up to its shocking and violent conclusion. Highly recommended.” 


- Douglas Preston,  New York Times bestselling co-author of The Monster of Florence and Cold Vengeance

 

Brian Moreland’s fiction is taut and spellbinding, often blending varied themes to form a dark genre very much his own.  From his WWII occult thriller Shadows in the Mist, to the haunting chiller The Devil’s Woods, Brian’s work is at once versatile, original, and deeply engaging.” - Greg F. Gifune, author of The Bleeding Season

 

"The Devil's Woods is an awesome horror novel, filled with nerve-wracking suspense and thrilling action!” - Jeff Strand, author of Wolf Hunt

 

Want to Feature Brian Moreland?

 

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Brian Moreland, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Review of The Winter Box by Tim Waggoner

The Winter Box - Tim Waggoner

I had a hard time rating this one. I like the way that Tim Waggoner writes. I really liked the last book I read by him, The Last Mile, but The Winter Box didn't do it for me.

 

There are some aspects of this book that I really liked, but I didn't care for the general premise. I found the cheesy-turned-supernatural Winter Box to be a bit over the top. I didn't feel any sympathy for the characters because other than the fact that they were once young (like everyone else) and that they have physical characteristics, I didn't know anything about them. I do think this has the potential to be a great novel with a little more depth and a lot more expounding on the key parts of the story. I did love the ending which is why I gave it an extra half-star.

 

I received this e-book as a member of DarkFuse and this is my honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Dominoes in Time by Matthew Warner

Dominoes in Time - Matthew Warner

My awesome friend gave me her (gorgeous) copy of Thunderstorm's Private Reserve signed/limited edition hardcover for Christmas and I love it more than when I first saw the cover. I had not read anything by Matthew Warner before and with so many books in my never-ending "to be read" pile, it was put on my book shelf and remained eye candy until this week when curiosity won out and I picked it up.

 

I typically go into a book with some sort of expectations, my own or from the word of mouth of others. With Dominoes in Time, I had none, and perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so completely. I can honestly say it is one of the few anthologies that I have read where I liked every single story. I'm not going to go through and give you mini-summaries of all of the stories, but I will give you a table of contents:

 

Foreword

AIN’T IT ROMANTIC?
Picture Perfect
Muralistic
At Death We’ll Not Part
Springs Eternal
Cocktail Party of the Dead
Life Insurance

THE JOY OF PARENTHOOD
Cat’s Cradle
Second Wind
With the Eyes of God
Maybe Monitored
It’s Just Business
The Three Golden Eggs

INTERMISSION
And That’s When the Bathroom Exploded

LOOKING BACK
Backwards Man
Bummers
Monarch of the Mountains

LOOKING FORWARD
Noah’s Temple
Die Not in Vain

Story Notes

 

My favorite stories are: At Death We'll Not Part, Cat's Cradle, Second Wind, Noah's Temple and Die Not in Vain. At Death We'll Not Part makes you realize that there are worse things than dying. Cat's Cradle still creeps the crap out of me when I think about it. Second Wind was both fascinating and heartbreaking. Noah's Temple, my absolute favorite story in the book, is just brilliant and I would happily read a sequel to this. Matthew Warner has exceptional attention to detail and this story fell into place perfectly. Die Not in Vain has the best airplane description I have ever read. I hate flying and Warner managed to encapsulate the feeling of every nerve in my body during a flight. The rest of the story is equally gripping and disturbing. They can't all be my favorite but they were all worth reading and I would do so again.

 

My first instinct is to go out and buy everything I can find by Matthew Warner, because all I want is more. My second is to tell you to do the same. To say that this man can write is an understatement. His prose is brilliant, witty, and unabashedly his own.

 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews

On the Lips of Children - Mark  Matthews

This being the third book I've read by Mark Matthews, I can only venture to say that his head must be a very, very frightening place. It is obviously a place where people live in caves, want to you eat you, and have incredibly creepy children. It's a place where your greatest fears become reality and everything you love can be taken from you.

 

In movies and real life, joggers are always getting attacked and/or killed on running trails, which is disconcerting enough. I have never wanted to be a runner but if I had ever so much as entertained that idea, Mark just guaranteed that I wouldn't ever be able to do it without looking over my shoulder, constantly, and suspiciously at anyone who looked even remotely homeless. Mark Matthews has a special talent of making even the most mundane of things, absolutely terrifying.

 

If you haven't read Mark's other books, Milk-Blood (my favorite) and All Smoke Rises: Milk-Blood Redux, his brilliant sequel, you should rectify that immediately. His latter receiving praise from Kealan Patrick Burke, for which there isn't much better of a seal of approval you can ask for in the horror genre. Urban horror has met its master in Mark Matthews and I can't wait to read what he comes up with next.

 

I received a copy of this book directly from the author without any obligation to review it but I'm putting my two cents in anyway.

 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Zero Lives Remaining by Adam Cesare

Zero Lives Remaining - Nick Gucker, Adam Cesare, Frank Walls, K. Allen Wood

I originally figured on 4.5 stars, but thinking about it, this book makes me so happy, it needs to be 5.


I ordered Shock Totem's limited edition hardcover because it was awesome. I hadn't heard of Adam Cesare but the VHS tape cover and box were too much for this horror geek to pass up. It is, without question, the coolest looking book on my shelf. The second best thing was when the e-book came out and I didn't have to mess with my good copy in order to read it.

 

"Robby Asaro is dead."

 

"And alive."

 

When Robby is baked alive in his favorite pizza oven at FunCave, his life, his real life, begins. Haunting the arcade (not a bad deal if I say so myself), Robby has his favorite games, his favorite customers and the not-so-afterlife isn't so bad. At least until he inadvertently sets off a chain-reaction that results in more than the loss of virtual lives at FunCave. When FunCave becomes a horror cave, is there anything that can stop this supernatural killing spree?

 

This novella reminds me of a song by Tori Amos called The Glory of the 80's. Adam Cesare has pegged an era and given it all of the nostalgia of a classic 80's movie. It makes me wish (minus the bloodbath) that I had a FunCave in my childhood. I loved reading this and I did finally open my hardcover so that I could read the bonus story at the end, which was also fantastic.

 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Children of the Dark Jonathan Janz Blog Tour

     Children of the Dark is the third novel I have read by Jonathan Janz. I’m not sure if it is my favorite thus far, because everything I have read by him has really been very good. Intelligent, thoughtful, and witty, Janz has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. My only regret is how long it took me from first hearing his name, about a year ago, to actually getting around to reading one of his books. I’m so glad that I did.

 

     A prequel of sorts to Savage Species (which I haven’t read but shall be rectifying soon), Children of the Dark takes place in the small town of Shadeland. Small town or not, life is a far cry from The Waltons for 15-year-old Will Burgess. His father walked out, his mother is a drug addict who sleeps all of the time, and Will is left to be the sole caretaker of his much younger sister, Peach. Many people call this a coming of age story but it’s more than that. Will was already more adult than most of the adults in his town to begin with. To tell you that it’s just a story about Will would be to sell you short. It’s a story about people and all of their flaws as much as it is about monsters. It’s the story of a town and all of the dirty secrets that lie within.

 

     The story admittedly starts out a tad slow but it gives you the foundation that every good story needs to have any sort of depth. It’s the difference between this being just another cliché teen monster story and giving you characters that you can relate with, characters who could very well be you. Whether from experience or exceptional storytelling, Jonathan Janz is well acquainted with the human condition and the pain that comes with it. He is also very adept at painting for you something out of your worst nightmares, whether it is a serial killer on the hunt or monsters prowling about the woods. Could a town possibly be so unfortunate to attract both?

The answer is yes and the catalyst may be more surprising than the results.

 

     Jonathan Janz, as always, writes a good story. What I love about it is that he makes his characters real and his monsters believable. You want the good guys to survive but the bad ones are human enough that there is no satisfaction in their death and that to me is the story of humanity. People are never black and white. A story is never one-dimensional. Children of the Dark could be your town.

 

I received this copy as an e-ARC from Sinister Grin Press and Hook of a Book Media & Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum. 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #ChildrenoftheDark #StandwithWill

#JonathanJanz #SinisterGrinPress

Children of the Dark, Synopsis

  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2016

Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives.

Biography of Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a
way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, “Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a “Rousing-good weird western,” and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan “Horror’s Next Big Thing.” 2015 also saw the release of Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

Praise for Children of the Dark

“Jonathan Janz brings us a vicious tale of terror with the innocence of youth in a coming of age tale that should surely make Stephen King smile.” – Dave, Beneath the Underground on

“Jonathan Janz has written the next definitive coming-of-age horror novel that is sure to be mentioned alongside those that came before it. Be on the right side of history and read it now, before it becomes a classic.” –Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to be Paid

Praise for Jonathan Janz

“Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won’t be disappointed.”
-Pod of Horror

“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene, best-selling author

“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it 'The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.' You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”
-Author Edward Lee on House of Skin

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner, multi-published author

"Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." - Publishers Weekly on Savage Species

Purchase Links

Amazon

Also, check out Sinister Grin Press Website

Review of All Smoke Rises: Blood-Milk Redux by Mark Matthews

ALL SMOKE RISES: MILK-BLOOD REDUX - Elderlemon Design, Julie Hutchings, Mark Matthews
All Smoke Rises: Milk-Blood Redux is the awesome sequel to Mark Matthews' Milk-Blood, which was one of my favorite reads of 2015. I was lucky enough to be able to beta read this in its infancy and see it turn into the beautiful, haunting, gem of urban horror that fittingly compliments its predecessor. 

"Real truth might burn your eyes right out."

When we last saw Lilly her story seemed to be over. A sad life followed by an even sadder ending. But can that much pain ever really die? Where does the smoke go when it rises? Lilly's story is one that cannot be contained and won't be ignored. A story that drove one man insane now lies in the hands of a psychiatrist whose patient just killed himself on her kitchen floor, demanding that she read it.

"And you read. Because you must."

Lilly's story is one of addiction, of desperation, and of heartbreak. It's Crystal's story, Oscar's mom who lives with the guilt of accidentally killing her only son and the sad reality of what her life has become, living with an angry drug dealer for a boyfriend and the constant threat of parole violation. It's the story of Oscar, dead but still inhabiting the house that ended his life -- the house that Lily now also resides. It's the story of Jervis, Lilly's schizophrenic, heroin-addicted Papa who feeds her milk-blood to bring her back and whose devotion to his less-than-normal daughter both stokes and feeds his madness. It's a story of Lilly's mother who calls out to her from her burial plot in the back yard, calling her to come home.

All smoke rises...

The story is told, as it had to be. The truth contained within these pages, that ruined so many lives, is now up to you to face or forget. Will the blood on your floor be for naught? When the smoke rises, will Lilly's story rise with it? Ashes as fleeting as her short broken life... Or will you write another chapter? It's your story now.

The bonus to this already incredible read is the introduction by Kealan Patrick Burke, who has, in a few pages, summed up the genre that I love in words that make me love him even more. 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum