Bad Pennies: A Supernatural Horror Novel (The Scaeth Mythos #1)
John F. Leonard
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
“DARK FORCES SWIM BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE WORLD…
THEY CHANGE THEIR SHAPE BUT NEVER GO AWAY…
THEY FIND A WAY THROUGH…THEY ONLY NEED A TINY GAP
Chris Carlisle is about to experience an everyday horror. A morning that starts out bad is going to get infinitely worse. It’s gonna go to hell.
Wrong place at the wrong time and life takes a wrong turn.
But even the blackest clouds have silver linings. He’s going to get a little slice of luck to balance out the horror.
Just goes to show, bad often comes bundled with good.
Sometimes, they bleed into each other until you can’t tell them apart.
That’s where the strangeness begins, when the miraculous starts to rub shoulders with the mundane and monstrous.
It is only the beginning…
Chris has stepped onto a long road that leads to a hideous and horrifying destination. Dark and dangerous stops are dotted along the way. The pavement is crumbling and craziness shining through the cracks.
Enough for him to question his sanity and come to the conclusion that madness may be the easiest way out.
Sometimes need and greed get mixed into a deadly and deceptive cocktail.
He’s going to discover that dark and dreadful things lurk within spitting distance of the ordinary and routine.
That there are levels of horror and layers of knowledge which defy any rational explanation.
Impossible creatures crawl along the shady seams of the world.
Monsters wait in the shadows.
The walls of reality are thinner than we know. In places, they’ve been hollowed to a hazy veil that struggles to hold back the horror of what lies on the other side.
Chris is going to get a glimpse of an eternal darkness.
Become acquainted with a supernatural hunger that has endured aeons and echoes down the ages.
HE’S GOING TO ENCOUNTER THE SCAETH. A CREATURE THAT IS OLDER THAN TIME AND TWICE AS MERCILESS.
Chris thought life was grim. He has no idea.
He thought he was hard up. He doesn’t know what debt is.
They say that money is the root of all evil. They also say that the bad penny always turns up. That’s so true. Those crappy coins have a nasty habit of coming back.
BAD PENNIES is the first book of the SCAETH MYTHOS, a terrifying vision of horror that will haunt your dreams.”
The first thing that really grabbed my attention with this book was Chris Carlisle. A guy, just trying to make it through life, struggling the same way we all do. Mundane job, living payday to payday, debating with himself over the now regular winter ‘heating or eating’ dilemma. This is a great story, a supernatural horror story encompassing not only the horrors of the supernatural world, but also the horrors of our own everyday existence. I felt his internal struggle, his guilt, and his overwhelming need. He needed the money, he knew he was wrong, but it was going to help him more than the dead guy wasn’t it? Or so he thought. I really loved the undertones about our general money worries, and the depths we can be driven to in desperation. For me personally, it felt like John F. Leonard was getting right into the nitty gritty of our materialistic society. The rich get richer and the poor get squashed. Our ‘need’ as it were, for the things we don’t really need, take over our senses and cause us to do things completely out of character, ruining our lives and those of our loved ones. Those of us who are desperate enough can be completely blinded by obsession and greed. To me, this was a story examining just how far one is willing to go, and how much is one prepared to turn a blind eye to, just to get on in this mundane existence we have created for ourselves.
A particular quote I loved “I might have no time for Fleecebook and Twitter-Tattle, Snapshat or Instawhatever, but it loves them like naughty sons. The more noise the better as long it keeps a few real truths quiet.”
I felt this partly summed it up, our materialistic obsession. We love sharing so much with friends via social media. We lose ourselves in the moment, rather than enjoying what is in front of us right now, we sacrifice it for a few likes and retweets. We are missing so much. I am as guilty as the rest for this. There is a pressure here too, the ‘keeping up with the Jones’’, the need to acquire things just to show we have them. We don’t like the idea of people knowing we are struggling, we don’t always ask for help when we should. It’s like this ‘shame’ has been bred into us. There is no shame in needing help. To me anyways, it felt like this was one of the points of the books. Speak to people, ask for help if you need it. Don’t leave it so the ‘help’ seeks you out. Evil is attracted to the most vulnerable among us.
My favourite character has to be Ronald Hodge. My god that guy is a creep. I felt like I needed a shower each time he was in a chapter. He is one horrendously bad man, in every possible way. I absolutely loved the development of his story. The way it just kept getting worse and worse (in a very good way), he is awful. Reading about Steph in his house gave me chills. It was so bad yet so good. I really don’t want to say too much on Ronald as I don’t want to totally ruin it for people. This is must read, for this character if nothing else.
Bad Pennies is brilliantly thought out and written, it flows so easily from one chapter to the next. The switch up in characters is obvious without being confusing. The fluidity of the story and realness of all the characters made this a truly horrifying pleasure to read.
I am very much excited to delve deeper into The Scaeth Mythos, it’s fascinating. The other realm, the manipulations of our reality and the descriptions of the, do I call them familiars? I’m not sure. King Ratty was a definite favourite. When he became spider-rat, oh god, I was itching all over. I hate spiders! I really can’t wait to read the next instalment.
Anyway, that is more than enough from me raving about how much I loved this book.
Go buy it, go on, you can get it right here on Amazon (UK):
5/5 – I love it!!
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
Eat the Rich
Hindered Souls press
5* Book Review
When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.
So does the murder rate.
Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. He tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.
The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.
He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a plan B:
Eat the Rich, a fantastic grotesque look into the idea that we can all be equal. Abolish money, abolish the oppressive nature of the so-called ‘1%’ and live out our lives as equals. We each receive the same food, the same clothing, just all the basics we need to survive. Yeah… it’s just never going to work is it? We humans are an interesting breed. We want to be equal, we shout a lot about equal rights, equal pay, equal this that and the other. But if it ever comes to that, whether it be through an alien invasion or some other means, we all know it’s not what we want. This book does a great job of highlighting this, “No reason to work harder or to even dream about anything. It’s all just what it is and it’ll never change if the aliens have their way. I find that disheartening”. Don’t get me wrong, I whole heartedly believe that things need levelling up as it were, really, come on, 2018 and we still have people living on the streets and children having to be fed from food banks. There is absolutely no need. But total equality in every way, that is where we lose ourselves. It’s our hopes and dreams that drive us, the hope of a promotion, dreaming of that perfect life we have long desired. It’s this that keeps us going. Hope is a powerful tool. If we have nothing to aim for, nothing to strive for, what do we have? I think as a species we are still a long way from that Star Trek utopia where poverty is gone along with money. The idea of working to better ourselves is a noble one indeed, realistic and achievable? I really don’t know.
This is a great read; you have alien invasion, gruesome murders, cannibals, and plenty of rebellion. It’s rather funny in parts too, plenty of quirky one liners from human and alien alike. Ed is the unlikely hero, just a ‘regular Joe’, materialistically rich through debt, living with a lazy wife who is just in it for what she can get. He leaves her and his life behind to be free. Living on the streets he soon gets himself tangled up in this mess, first getting arrested, then infiltrating the alien camp and winding up in a mental ward, finally becoming the forced face of the alien invaders and finally the leader of a rebellion.
I couldn’t decide who I actually was supporting in parts, human or alien. Both sides I have to say had valid arguments, and I can completely see why our alien overlords thought they were doing the right thing. I didn’t think I was one of those supporters of government until they were all destroyed… They may suck and their jobs, some more than others naming no names. As a country though, we do need the structure. Without some form of structure, anarchy will prevail.
This book is most definitely a conversation starter, I can hear the political debates in my head already.
Enough from me though now.
I really did enjoy this book and would love you all to give it a go. You can find it hear via Amazon (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-Rich-Renee-Miller-ebook/dp/B07DKCD6VR/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541344578&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=EAT+THE+RICH+RENNE+MILLER
And it’s free (who doesn’t like freebies) via Kindle Unlimited.
Give it a go. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Housewife of Horror
The Five Senses of Horror
Sarah Totton (Contributor), Poppy Z. Brite (Contributor), Sarah Singleton (Contributor), Lisa L. Hannett (Contributor), Richard Christian Matheson (Contributor), Norman Prentiss (Contributor), David McGroarty (Contributor), Chris Bell (Contributor), John F.D. Taff (Contributor), John Farris (Contributor), Jessica Bayliss (Commentary), K.H. Vaughan (Afterword), Nils Bross (Illustrator)
Dark Moon Books
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: “Hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste: Our impressions of the world are formed by our five senses, and so too are our fears, our imaginations, and our captivation in reading fiction stories that embrace these senses. Whether hearing the song of infernal caverns, tasting the erotic kiss of treachery, or smelling the lush fragrance of a fiend, enclosed within this anthology are fifteen horror and dark fantasy tales that will quicken the beat of fear, sweeten the flavor of wonder, sharpen the spike of thrills, and otherwise brighten the marvel of storytelling that is found resonant!
Editor Eric J. Guignard and psychologist Jessica Bayliss, PhD also include companion discourse throughout, offering academic and literary insight as well as psychological commentary examining the physiology of our senses, why each of our senses are engaged by dark fiction stories, and how it all inspires writers to continually churn out ideas in uncommon and invigorating ways.
Featuring stunning interior illustrations by Nils Bross, and including fiction short stories by such world-renowned authors as John Farris, Ramsey Campbell, Poppy Z. Brite, Darrell Schweitzer, and Richard Christian Matheson, amongst others. Intended for readers, writers, and students alike, explore THE FIVE SENSES OF HORROR!”
Table of Contents includes:
“Preface: The Five Senses of Horror” by Eric J. Guignard
“Introduction: Why Do Horror Stories Work? The Psychobiology of Horror” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Thoughts About the Sense of Touch” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Heading Home” by Ramsey Campbell
“Soft” by Darrell Schweitzer
“Feel the Noise” by Lisa Morton
“Thoughts About the Sense of Hearing” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“In the Cave of the Delicate Singers” by Lucy Taylor
“Sounds” by Kathryn Ptacek
“Malleus, Incus, Stapes” by Sarah Totton
“Thoughts About the Sense of Taste” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood” by Poppy Z. Brite
“Cassilago’s Wife” by Sarah Singleton
“Sweet Subtleties” by Lisa L. Hannett
“Thoughts About the Sense of Sight” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“The Beholder” by Richard Christian Matheson
“In the Porches of My Ears” by Norman Prentiss
“The Impression of Craig Shee” by David McGroarty
“Thoughts About the Sense of Smell” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Shem-el-Nessim: An Inspiration in Perfume” by Chris Bell
“The Scent” by John F.D. Taff
“The Odor of Violets” by John Farris
“Understanding and Incorporating the Five Human Senses into Modern Horror Short Fiction Writing” by Eric J. Guignard
“Afterword: Sensation and Perception” by K. H. Vaughan, PhD
“Suggested Academic Reading for Further Study”
“A Brief Reading List of Modern Fiction Short Stories with Relation to the Senses (1940–2015)”
Our five senses: Touch, Hearing, Sight, Taste and Smell. All of which are explained and explored from both a psychological perspective, and from that of the horror writer.
Thank you to Eric J. Guignard and Dark Moon Books for allowing to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
A wonderful collection of short horror stories, split into five sections (the five senses obviously), all with fascinating introductions explaining the psychology behind the sense. I found those introductions, courtesy of Jessica Bayliss, PhD, very insightful and thought provoking. The short stories themselves were all very well chosen, fitting in even so well with their specific sense. The introductions for me seemed to also add to the feelings I had while reading each story. It felt like the explanations to our responses to fear stimuli actually invoked a fear response from me before I read the story itself. That may have been helped along though by a long discussion about the fear of spiders – I hate spiders.
It’s quite difficult to choose a favourite. They are all so good. If pressed though, I would have to pick ‘In the Cave of Delicate Singers’ by Lucy Taylor. This short story I found to be especially haunting.
***beware of spoilers***
The Brotterling cave complex is a deep network of caves, chambers and tunnels, with a dark history behind it.
This doesn’t sway Matthew and Lionel Hargave, brothers, and experienced cavers. They both went in, but only one, Lionel, returned. In a cruel twist of fate, Lionel was the lucky one; he had lost his hearing in Iraq years courtesy of a roadside IED. This terrible accident was what saved his life here; he could not be called by the maddening siren song within the depths of the cave.
A search and rescue team are dispatched, confident and disbelieving of the rumours and stories of death. They are soon to find out the caves history is all too real.
Karyn, a junior member of the team goes solo against orders to try and rescue her friends. What she finds are mutilated corpses, her friend and one time lover, Pree, being absorbed into the cave itself.
This is a song that must be heard.
“Madness made tangible.
Contagion by sound.
It spews from my lips – a song of such deadly beauty and unholy allure that I experience only the briefest frisson of horror – an emotion something inside me instantly quells – when their mouths fall open, songstruck, enthralled, and they begin to rend their own flesh and tear each other apart”
A story that definitely resonates with today’s busy modern world of chaos is ‘Sounds’, by Kathryn Ptacek. This tells a tale of a woman plagued by sound – the constant din of the town where they live, the never ceasing intrusive soundtrack of life – to the point of madness.
This is a particularly relevant story I felt, especially as I live in quite a built up area. We never get complete peace and quiet. There is always something going on. Whether it be the neighbours banging, cars revving, the garbage truck or the mail. There is always noise of some description. It is never ending. It’s easy to see how very real this story’s conclusion could become in today’s society.
What is most frightening though, is that we have done this to ourselves.
This is a wonderful anthology of stories from some great authors, which will appeal to all walks of horror fan. It contains a wonderful mix of the paranormal, the supernatural, as well as the most terrifying side of the human condition.
Highly recommended and worth a read as soon as you get the chance.
Available via Amazon (UK) here:
Dark Moon Books:
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
The Die-Fi Experiment
M. R. Tapia
Hindered Souls Press
“I would like to welcome the world to The Die-Fi Experiment. Please join us in the fun that is the deterioration of the world by means of social media.”
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: “Marie and her husband are spending their honeymoon in Tokyo, Japan. While strolling the downtown streets, they are hoaxed into a chance at winning the latest cell phone: First to get through a maze of doors wins! Only they both awaken amidst a sadistic live-stream gameshow. Marie competes against a man while both of their partners are strapped down to chairs. The winner of the deranged challenges imposes extreme pain for their own partner while the loser receives their own form of demented punishment. As it goes on, more and more people around the World Wide Web tune in. The winner of the entire competition gets the chance to fight one last time for their ultimate chance of survival against their own partner…to the death! Will Marie and her husband get the chance to have their first fight as a married couple, and if they do, who will be the last one standing?”
A huge thank you to M. R. Tapia for allowing me to read and review The Die-Fi Experiment.
The Die-Fi Experiment, a brutal glimpse into the ever changing morals of our modern society. The pitiful truth of the time we live in, a world where we upload a video of someone being assaulted in the street to Instagram with a snappy hash-tag rather than help them. Where we go out for dinner and spend the entire time posting pictures of our meals all the while trolling for likes and comments. Seeking the validation from faceless friends, and judging our place in society by how many comments or re-tweets we receive.
It’s a very sad time for the human race. We have lost ourselves to the digital world. We are helpless without a WiFi connection.
I personally loved this novelette from M. R. Tapia, it really hit chords with me over our obsessions with our iphone and the likes (yes – I need my phone; I am one who gets a bit anxious if I don’t have it with me. I hate that about myself). It really reflects well the global fixation with viewing life through a 7 inch screen, as well as our backwards need to comment on the misery of others rather than to help. The phrase – “A congregation of faceless hairdos. Mohawks and bowl cuts. Tapers and sumo buns. Bald Heads and sweeping comb-overs. Lots of them nodding in approval. Receiving their own acceptance by sharing this live on their own Facebook and Instagram and Twitter accounts.” – really summed this up.
The Die-Fi experiment is quite a brutal experiment, a live streaming of torture and murder with tones of Saw and Hostel. The coup de grâce being that the winner receives a brand new iphone X – seriously though, people kill for less these days.
I loved this, the relevance to our brutal world really spoke to me and I feel like it has given me a nudge to maybe leave the phone at home sometimes. To go out and enjoy the world, see some sights through my own eyeballs while I still have them, and rather that tweet it, tell someone in person.
Definitely a must read…
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror
Got plenty of review to come this month. Looking forward to lot’s of reading and writing (and some Halloween fun).
Reviews coming soon:
The Die-Fi Experiment by M. R. Tapia
The Five Senses of Horror by Eric J. Guignard & Co
The Jesus Man by Keith Anthony Baird
This months reading:
Ten Thousand Thunders by Brian Trent
Sugar Skulls by M. R. Tapia
Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter
+ plenty more
Stay tuned folks (credit firstname.lastname@example.org)
The House by the Cemetery
Flame Tree Press
“Some things should remain buried”
Synopsis: “Rumour has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumours won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumours down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumours is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfil. Because while the witch may have been dead… she doesn’t intend to stay that way.”
Thank you to Flame Tree Press for sending me an advance copy of The House by the Cemetery to review.
Some things should most definitely remain buried. A murderous witch undoubtedly should. If there was ever a tale about a man being led by his, ahem, ‘other’ brain, this is it. Mike, a carpenter is tasked with making an already haunted house safe, to be opened as a haunted house attraction. Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? The end result, the cattle are taking themselves to the slaughter.
I got many American Horror Story feels from this book; I could picture it in my mind, the different cast members of AHS and which parts they would be perfect for. It really felt like a story that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk had come up with during the creative process for their next series. It’s a shame really that they have already done the haunted house theme (series 1). I can live in hope though right?
Mike, divorced, living hand to mouth and pay check to pay check, is struggling to pay the rent. He reluctantly agrees to a job offer from his friend Perry, to work on reconstructing Bachelor’s Grove, an infamous haunted house complete with a creepy cemetery. It is to be opened in the run up to Halloween and a scary money making attraction. He meets a girl, Katie, falls for girl and does everything she asks no matter how twisted or bizarre it may seem. Love really is blind.
That was my one fault with this book; Mike was a little too accepting of the situation. Even at the end, all the murders, the bloodshed, and he just seemed to be very blasé about it. He would complain, and say he didn’t agree et cetera et cetera, but Katie would smile sweetly and bat her witchy eyelashes and he would be back to being her good boy. That one thing was my only annoyance. I think we needed a man with a bit more fight in him, not an absolute pushover. Katie really didn’t have to work for it. Also, I have to admit, it was not a huge surprise to find out Katie was a ghost, or even the witch for that matter. It was sadly pretty obvious from early on in the book, although that didn’t curtail my enjoyment.
I felt the haunted house within a haunted house concept worked really well, I loved all the different room ideas and the overall layout and decoration of the house really did sound great. I felt there was maybe a lack of any ‘actual’ haunting within the house when it was open to the public, unlike the subtle incidents, of entrails, noises and footsteps whilst Mike was working on it. That subtle approach was perfect for building atmosphere in the earlier stages of this novel. I would have appreciated a few unintended jump scares from resident ghostly inhabitants during the open house, which would have been a treat alongside the actors dishing out the scares. I think introducing some other spectral figures would have given the house more of a back story, showing us that many people died there over the years. While we were limited with ghostly visitors, despite being told numerous times of the vast paranormal presence within the house, we were not left totally disappointed. It wasn’t until the very last night of business that the ghouls came out to play. Those last few chapters were great, a very big finish, a huge kill count, it was an absolute blood bath that wouldn’t have been lost on an eighties slasher flick.
The House by the Cemetery, released 18th October 2018, is available for pre-order from Amazon here:
4/5 – We all love a good haunted house story don’t we?
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
The Sea was a Fair Master
Calvin Demmer, 2018
5* Book review
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: “The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.”
I love horror shorts, short films and short stories. Some are downright terrible, while others are terrifyingly great. It’s surprising what can be packed into a 5 minute video or a few pages in a book. I’m one who loves to be scared, I want to be clinging onto my fiancé Andy, the child in me scared of what might be lurking behind the sofa or under the bed. There is a damsel in distress within me who loves the feeling of being protected by my man during scary scenes.
This collection of short stories from Calvin Demmer titled ‘The Sea was a Fair Master’ is quite frankly a masterpiece. I would absolutely love to see a few of these, Hangman and Trashcan Sam in particular, expanded into novellas if not full novels. Within the pages of ‘The Sea was a Fair Master’, are great stories; I was genuinely unnerved by a few.
‘Hangman’ is one of my favourites from the collection. An unsettling tale of the ‘Extreme English’ class, one class you absolutely cannot fail. The penalty is death.
Another I particularly liked was ‘Graves’. This is a sad story of death and the struggle to move on. This is one that tugged on the heartstrings a little.
‘Trashcan Sam’, now this is an interesting one. I would love to read more of this, to see where it started and how it develops. This is the creepy world of garbage looters and the random oddities they find in people’s trash. It’s rather disturbing I thought, and possibly my overall favourite. It’s hard to choose as they are all so good.
You can find ‘The Sea was a Fair Master on Amazon here:
It’s also free via Kindle Unlimited.
Check it out, please, it’s worth your time.
5/5 I LOVED IT
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
Just checking in as I’ve been a bit absent this last week. I’m still here and still reading.
I have recently joined the @GNHorror Gingernuts of Horror review team, so my review of The House by the Cemetery is a little delayed in going up – that said, it should be up this week on their site followed by my own a few days later.
I am currently reading a fantastic collection of short stories by Calvin Demmer, ‘The Sea was a Fair Master’. I am very much looking forward to writing up my review of this soon.
Got a good lot of books to read and review coming up. Over the next few weeks I will be reading and posting about some of the following:
Stay in touch guys,
Love and hugs, Lesley-Ann
(Housewife of Horror)