The Nightmare Girl – Jonathan Janz

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Janz is a descriptive master. He conveys a scene in total HD ultra having you almost believe you are living it. This was most defiantly the case at the gas station.

Joe, a family man with a young daughter, witnesses a young mother abusing her toddler in the back of their truck. He intervenes to help the child and sets a disturbing chain of events in motion.

Joe and his family are soon stalked and terrorized by the family of Angie, the young mother who took her own life after she lost custody of her son. They are members of a cult and will go to any lengths to get their revenge on Joe and to bring back their daughter.

The premise of this story is filled with promise. The wonderfully dark and sinister cover conveys this too. A family man, just wanting to do the right thing . What is that they say about the road to hell… ?

A thrilling read from the outset. The characterization is on point as always from Janz and the story telling, deliciously creepy with many layers of nasty.

Flame Tree Press just keep putting out great books (mostly). Janz is as always, a wonderful author.

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Contrition by Deborah Sheldon – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Contrition

Deborah Sheldon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“In her late teens, Meredith Berg-Olsen had had all the makings of a runway model. Now in her late forties, after everything she had been through – including horrors that John could only guess at – she looked bloodless instead of pale, skeletal instead of slender, more dead than alive.

John Penrose has two secrets. One is the flatmate he keeps hidden from the world: his high-school sweetheart, Meredith. His other secret is the reason he feels compelled to look after her.

Contrition is a horror story with noir undertones and an atmosphere of mounting dread.”

‘Contrition’, by Deborah Sheldon, is one of those books that once started on, you just cannot put down.  

I found it intriguing from the beginning; I was desperate to know what the secrets were. Just what was Meredith? What had John done? The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader guessing, and withholding just enough to keep us turning those pages, without us losing interest or faith in the book. The pace is very fast, there is always something happening or about to happen and we are never quite sure what. I knew the payoff would be worth it, and quite frankly, the ending is brilliant.

The back-story, the history of John and Meredith, goes from normal to ‘what in the hell’ at great intervals. We get tossed just the right amount of detail and the right times.

I secondary story of John dealing with alcoholism was treated with dignity and respect. I feel that the author has either had personal dealings with the disease or she had really done her research. Coming from a family with alcohol problems past and current, I felt a kinship to John; I was really rooting for him throughout. He had a lot to deal with, past and present. The toll that Meredith was taking on him, his day to day life, and his mental well-being; he truly is a strong character. This is something that really came across well in the narrative.

I am annoyed at myself for taking so long to read ‘Contrition’. It has been a long standing title in my to-read list, and for the impact it had on me, I really wish I had gotten to it sooner. It is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time afterwards.

I cannot recommend this enough, Deborah Sheldon is a great author, and she knows how to write deep and real characters. She can tell a tale and she can scare the crap out of you. This is a terrifying story of the human condition.

5/5

Lesley-Ann

Devouring Dark – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***Spoilers***

Devouring Dark

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Alan Baxter

Grey Matter Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“DEVOURING DARK is an urban horror novel about a man plagued since childhood by a malevolent darkness that threatens to consume him. After a lifetime spent wrestling for control over this onslaught, Matt McLeod has learned to wield his mysterious paranormal skill to achieve an odious goal: retribution as a supernatural vigilante.

When one such hit goes bad, McLeod finds himself ensnared in a multi-tentacled criminal enterprise caught between a corrupt cop and a brutal mobster. His only promise of salvation may be a bewitching woman who shares his dark talent but has murderous designs of her own.”

To start, I would like to thank Grey Matter Press for a copy of Devouring Dark to read in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a wonderful mix of horror, the supernatural and some crime drama. Three things I enjoy.

Matt McLeod, he is a great character. He has this crazy ability to literally devour people with darkness, as the title says. The book gets into the action straight away with Matt devouring a paedophile in an alleyway. Unfortunately, in this wondrous age of digital devices, he is caught on camera by a criminal, who decides his abilities should be put to good use for a criminal organisation as an assassin. Of course Matt isn’t exactly sold on this idea.

Amy Cavendish has similar powers to Matt. They both thought they were alone with their abilities. When their paths finally cross they end up in the fight of their lives, finding out just the true extend of their powers.

The characters of both Amy and Matt are solid. They are wonderfully written; they come across so well throughout the book. This is the second work I have read of Alan Baxter, I love his work. He writes brilliant multi-layered characters that you can develop a real relationship with. He has a real talent and I am looking forward to reading more from him.

Devouring Dark is a brilliant noir supernatural horror mash which will have you hooked from the start and all the way through. I loved it.

4/5

Lesley-Ann

Housewife of Horror

Wolvz: Whispers of War -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***Spoilers***

Wolvz Whispers of War

Wolvz Whispers of War

Toneye Eyenot

5* Book review

“The war on humanity has begun… 

Wolfhaven – ground zero – none in this town will survive the wrath of the pack. The first slaughter sparks the beginning of the end for humanity as the Wolfhaven pack descends upon the unsuspecting townsfolk to exact revenge for the killing of one of our own – Pharo, the mother of the pack, once feared and respected by our kind throughout the region, is no more. 

Claude’s plan is bold yet carefully thought out; to spread from Wolfhaven, town by town, village by village, city by city; to rid the world of the human plague and put an end to the desecration of this wondrous planet. It all begins here. 

As the ranks swell, the surrounding packs forming alliances and consolidating, select humans spared annihilation to be turned and assimilated as the moon casts her influence. Will our beloved Alpha’s grand plan come to fruition? Or, will pettiness, arrogance, and territorial pissing end this war before it begins? 

I am Shona, first daughter of Pharo, and here my story begins…”

I really loved this novella, it was an intense and inspiring read, an exquisitely beautiful and savage tale centred around revenge.

I was pulled into the story from the outset. The townsfolk of Wolfhaven have killed the pack mother, Pharo, and the pack has planned their glorious revenge. The Wolfhaven pack, led by Claude, has come up with an astoundingly vicious plan. They are going to decimate the town of Wolfhaven, killing most of the human infestation, and turning the stronger among them, those with potential,  to increase their numbers. They also plan to form alliances with neighbouring packs and to continue this killing spree and recruitment drive through other towns. One town at a time, they plan to take the planet for themselves, ridding it of the human scourge.

This is a very visceral descriptive story, from the POV of Shona. She has lost her mother, ripped away from her in a savage way. This is her story; this is Shona’s journey of revenge and to some extent, her coming of age.

“Agitation sets into my bones. Soon, we will be in human skin once again, which I never look forward to. I long for that day… when Claude’s plan comes to fruition and we never have to hide our true form again.”

The writing, the imagery, the sheer feeling that is evoked when reading this, this is what led me to rating this five stars. It is a journey for both Shona and the reader. There is a delicate intensity about Wolvz: Whispers of War. It is savage, yet beautiful. It is haunting, the purity of the rage from the pack. The writing is outstanding, really getting inside the head of the reader.

I would highly recommend this novella to anyone and everyone. It’s not a long read, this is very good lunch break or bedtime material. If werewolf stories aren’t normally your thing, you won’t lose too much of your day reading it. I think if you give it a go though, you will be more than impressed.

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Savage Species ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Savage Species

Savage Species by Jonathan Janz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


If you like a fast-paced, full on, action filled bloodbath then this is the book for you.

Thank you Flame Tree Press for an ARC of Savage Species by Jonathan Janz to read in exchange for an honest review.

Savage Species, and by god they are savage, is a spin on the Wendigo Myth. A brutal race of creatures have been awoken thanks to the construction efforts in the opening of Peaceful Valley Nature Preserve. It doesn’t take long for the peaceful atmosphere to be lost to the horrific sounds of screams and mutilation.

This is a two-fold story. We have Charly, dealing with her idiot of a husband, her crush, and the terrible kidnapping of her baby by the creatures. We also have Jesse, Emma and Colleen, who have been assigned by their paper to cover the opening. They got more of a story than they bargained for. The separate story arcs come together neatly, culminating in one great finale.

The characters are all written so flawlessly. There is real sense of fear and urgency from all of them. You feel how scared they all are, how trapped and helpless they feel in this nightmare situation. The oppressive feel of the tunnel and the caves is real; you get a distinct feel of the claustrophobic atmosphere, and the tense nature of their predicament.

The balance between the human characters, with their own issues, and the monsters is scaled nicely. It’s that real sense of humanism, the characters become alive, they have real life problems and issues, they are just like the rest of us, not over dramatised or exaggerated. They are real. It is this, and the fast yet steady pace of the story which really knits it all together.

The creatures, two different creatures, are written frighteningly well. You get a real picture of them in your mind’s eye. Their human qualities, and their beast qualities, make them a truly terrifying creature to behold. The brutal descriptiveness of the initial attack by these creatures was, as the title suggests, savage. The fierce nature of the beasts, the primal instincts and the absolute brutality was captured with the sense of realism that I so admire in the author’s writing.

I have to mention my favourite character, Frank Red Elk, he is a piece of work. I love him. A ‘soft-porn’ obsessed Native American who lives on the land. I really appreciated the comedic value this guy added to story. It paired well with the brutality, breaking it up in just the right places. He is one of my favourite characters I have had the pleasure to read I think.

Synopsis: “Jesse thinks he’s caught a break when he, Emma (the girl of his dreams), and her friend are assigned by their newspaper to cover the opening weekend of a sprawling new state park. But the construction of the park has stirred an evil that has lain dormant for nearly a hundred years, and the three young people–as well as every man, woman, and child unlucky enough to be attending the Algonquin Falls grand opening–are about to encounter the most horrific creatures to ever walk the earth. Charly has three young children and a jerk for a husband, a hot shot girls basketball coach with a penchant for seducing his female assistants. When Charly’s baby is kidnapped by one of the creatures, she turns to Sam Bledsoe, the man who constructed her house (and the man on whom she has developed a sizable crush) for help. Sam, Charly, her husband, and the newest hot assistant coach soon find themselves underground and on the trail of Charly’s baby. Jesse’s trio, a group of professors, and Frank Red Elk–a Native American who specializes in women and booze–take refuge in the caves hoping to find a way out of the park. But like Charly and the others, Jesse’s crew will soon learn just how monstrous the creatures are. And how cunning. Together, they will all try to save Charly’s baby, escape with their lives, and take down as many of the monsters as they can. But the creatures are hungry. They delight in human suffering. And they will stop at nothing to prove that they are the dominant species.”



View all my reviews

Coming in 2019 – 7 books in 7 days

I have set myself a little 2019 New Years challenge – to read 7 books in 7 days. I want to make the most of my week off work (I’m off for the first 2 weeks of Jan), and it’s a great opportunity to catch up on some reading. 

I have chosen 7 books from my reading list (see below), and I have to say, I’m very excited to do this. It will be great to be able to just sit down and read. Normally things such as work get in the way, only having time in the mornings and on lunch breaks, so this will be a welcome change. 

Jan 1st – Savage Species (Jonathan Janz)

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Jan 2nd – Junction (Daniel M. Benson)

Jan 3rd – The Haunting of Henderson Close (Catherine Cavendish)

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Jan 4th – The Frighteners (Peter Laws)

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Jan 5th – Sugar Skulls (M. R. Tapia)

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Jan 6th – I Can Taste the Blood (John F. D. Taff)

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Jan 7th – Kosmos (Adrian Lang)

This Lie Will Kill You -⭐️⭐️ Book Review

This Lie Will Kill You

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Chelsea Pitcher

“Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago. 

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?”

First, let me extend my thanks to NetGalley, and of course the author, Chelsea Pitcher, for this copy of ‘This Lie Will Kill You’ to read in exchange for an honest review.

This has many ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ tones to it. We have a group of teenagers, a party, drinking, driving and finally, a death. One year on, someone wants their revenge.

Five teenagers – Juniper, Ruby, Parker, Brett and Gavin – all arrive at a mansion with the expectation of competing to win a $50,000 scholarship, a prize each of them desperately needs. After the events of one year ago where a fellow student tragically lost his life, each of the five have struggled academically. Juniper, for example, would have been valedictorian with a scholarship to a school of her choice. But that party, that fateful night one year prior changed everything. It was a similar story for each of them. One night altered their lives in unimaginable ways.

This is a story about bad decisions. A showcase of the poor life choices we make in haste turning out to have lasting consequences. This is a whodunit novel, Cluedo for the Riverdale-age, with a variety of shallow and frankly quite annoying characters. I found myself wanting to carry on, but struggling to connect with the book. It wasn’t a read I particularly enjoyed, which considering I am a fan of franchises such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, and shows like Riverdale, I thought it would definitely be something I would like.

I feel like, well for me, the let down here was the characters. They were annoying, boring, shallow, horrid people. No one you would be able to garner any sympathy with. A big part of my enjoyment in a story comes from my developing relationship with the characters. I love to be invested, I love rooting for a character, being drawn into their lives,feeling a variety of emotions for them. That was missing here. The setting itself had loads of potential. A creepy mansion, life size porcelain dolls (they are extra creepy at the best of times), and a murder mystery dinner. It could have been really good. It’s a real shame that it was let down by the lack-luster characters.

2/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Night Shift -⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review ***spoilers***

Night Shift

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Robin Triggs

“Anders Nordvelt, last-minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.

Then a body is found in the ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer: he must find a way to survive.

Will anyone endure the night shift, or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains?”

Thank you to Flame Tree Press for this copy of Night Shift by author Robin Triggs to read in exchange for an honest review.

This a nice little read, a thriller set in a remote mining base situated in Antarctica. Anders Nordvelt finds himself as the new head of security for a mining project. This should be a routine job, there are only a handful of workers on the base, and there have never been any problems, until now. He unfortunately finds himself instantly hurled into what first seems like a sabotage plot, and then a body is found. Murder? Being the new guy on the block, no one trusts him,and of course they all suspect him. Are they right? Can Anders be trusted? Will the crew survive the night shift?

I enjoyed this novel, I did find it a little slow in parts, and to be honest, to me it didn’t feel like a lot really happened. It felt like a slow-moving slow burn thriller, keeping the reader guessing on the culprit of the sabotage and the murder right until the end. An Agatha Christie-esque suspense mystery. As much as I enjoyed it, and I was very excited by the cover (I love a dramatic cover), I did struggle with it. The slow pace, and the not very likable characters make it a difficult read in places. There was no one who I was really rooting for to be ok, not even the main protagonist Anders Nordvelt. As far as the ending, it felt very matter-of-fact, it seemed to lack the drama that should have been associated with it.

I would recommend giving it a read, Night Shift like I say is a great little mystery thriller, perfect for those winter nights in the comfort of your own home. The frosty Antarctic atmosphere really adds to the winter scene.

3/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Whiteout -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review ***spoilers***

Whiteout

Gabriel Dylan

“‘She sat us all down and told us a story. About things that lived in the woods. Things that only came out at night.’

For Charlie, a school ski trip is the perfect escape from his unhappy home life. Until a storm blows in and the resort town is cut off from the rest of the world. Trapped on the mountain, the students wait for the blizzards to pass, along with mysterious ski guide Hanna. 

But as night falls and the town’s long buried secrets begin to surface, the storm is the least of their problems….

A chilling RED EYE horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Charlie Higson.”

This was a thrilling read, I became quite wrapped up in the story and with the characters early on. A group of teenagers, on a school skiing trip to a remote resort, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty it would seem, for this particular ski resort is like no other. A storm is heading in, meaning that there will be no skiing happening for a day or two. Both the students and their teachers, lead by their guides, head back to the lodge. A lot of the workers and regular townsfolk head back down the mountain before the storm hits to avoid being stranded. This place has a dark secret, for there are monsters, vampire like creatures who every so many years, awaken to feed on the unsuspecting tourists. The locals though cover it up, sacrificing them like lambs to the slaughter to keep themselves safe. High on a remote mountain, it’s very easy to say it was an avalanche, or a skiing accident. It’s too easy to lie.

Hanna is desperate to find out what became of her brother. She was told it was a skiing accident, she knows something doesn’t quite fit, it doesn’t feel right. She has heard the stories, the tales told to children to keep them away from the edge of the mountain. To keep them safe.

A terrifying night ensues, leaving a group of lone teenagers in fear for their lives.

Thank you to NetGalley for this copy of Whiteout to read and review. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was pretty fast paced, lots of action with a good mix of character development intertwined. There are quite a few characters in this book, and I feel they were all given adequate time, letting the reader get to know them and subsequently be rooting for them, even if they are not the nicest of people.

For me, what knocked this off from being a 5* book, is the ending. The discovery in the cave somewhat took away from the terror of the creatures, causing it to lose some of its claustrophobic intense atmosphere. By far though this is a great read. As the reader you are pulled deep into the narrative from the beginning, developing a relationship with the characters and feeling the same fear and trepidation as them. This book contains some very gory moments, and some pretty good scares.

I would highly recommend giving it a read.

Find it here on Amazon UK –

4/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

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