Daniel M. Benson
“When Japanese nature show host Daisuke Matsumori finds himself on an alien world, he hopes to rekindle his passion for his work. Travelling through a newly-discovered wormhole in the Papuan highlands, he joins biologist Anne Houlihan on Junction, a patchwork planet of competing alien ecosystems. When their exploratory party crashes in the alien wilderness, Daisuke and Anne try to lead bickering soldiers and civilians back to civilization alive. As they trek across one unearthly biome after another and members of the party continue to die, however, Daisuke wonders whether human politics might be more deadly than alien biology. One of his companions might be a murderer.”
As much as I love horror, I also love and adore science fiction. One of my first loves was Stargate, right from the film starring James Spader and Kurt Russell, through to the Stargate Universe. The mere mention of Wormholes, this took me back to a good place. I couldn’t wait to get into Junction.
First things first, I would like to thank the author, Daniel M. Benson, and Flame Tree Press for an ARC of Junction to read in exchange for an honest review.
This is fun filled book of weird and bright aliens, on an even weirder and brighter planet. What’s not to love?
The plot itself is rather interesting, a take on world politics, and how we, as a global nation would react to such a magnificent find. A stable wormhole in the middle of Papa New Guinea, that’s one hell of a find. I found the authors handling of the different nations great, as well as the diversity of the ‘away team’. We have some pompous military leaders who of course always know what’s right. Anne Houlihan, a character I loved instantly, the biologist who isn’t shy about telling the world what she thinks. Then we have Daisuke, a reality TV star, the Bear Grylls of Japan, who has also been sent along on this mission– well he isn’t quite sure why.
It’s an engaging story; I found it fun to read. It held my attention, and I became very sympathetic with the characters early on.
The planet is amazing, I loved all the ‘domes’, the different life, the different atmosphere as it were, the transition from dome to dome was great to read. The author has come up with some crazy aliens life forms, while also keeping it quite simple (if that’s the right term). I think that simplicity of it made it all the better, and more engaging to read. I didn’t have to be concerned with remembering too much detail involving really elaborate aliens, which can take away from a story.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
“He is close. So close now. He Feels it. He feels everything”
Thank you to Grey Matter Press for this copy of Little Black Spots, a short story collection from John F. D. Taff.
The Immolation Scene is up first. This is a very intense story of loneliness and helplessness, emphasizing just how far people are willing to go to feel, to feel anything.
Corey is besotted with Amy, his ex and also his colleague. They engaged in a 6 month passionate affair before Amy abruptly ended it, claiming love wasn’t enough.
Both Corey and Amy have a special, yet dangerous, ability. They can ‘burn’; they both have the ability of spontaneous combustion. They can ignite their flesh, sometimes without realizing. Neither knew of the others ability, until a chance meeting when they cross paths during work. Amy is clearly more comfortable with their ability than Corey, he can’t bear the pain, the burnt flesh, the scars it leaves. The smell of the burning flesh is overwhelming. It’s too much to see, to deal with and to cope with, Amy wants them to be together completely, to burn bright as one, but he cannot commit to that, breaking Amy’s heart.
“How far are you willing to go this time”
“How much are you willing to feel”
Corey returns to his mundane existence, ‘numb’ from losing Amy again. He is lonely, the emptiness eating away at him.
I loved this opening to Little Black Spots, it’s a perfect story examining the human condition and how we are afraid of what we don’t totally understand. We are willing to sacrifice our own happiness, willing to miss out on what could be a pivotal life changing moment, because of fear, fear of the unknown and our innate resistance to change.
I’m looking forward to the next story very much after this one, ‘The Bunny Suit’.
Little Black Spots – https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781940658841&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20
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)
Don’t you Cry
One stolen baby – Two desperate strangers- One night of terror
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
The USA Today and Sunday Times top ten bestselling author returns with a dark and twisty psychological thriller.
She saved your life.
When Nina almost dies during a disastrous blind date, her life is saved by a waitress called Angel. But later that evening, Nina is surprised by a knock on the door. It’s Angel – and she’s pointing a gun at her.
Now she’ll make you pay.
Minutes later, Angel’s younger brother Lucas turns up, covered in blood shielding a stolen newborn baby in his arms. Nina is about to endure the longest night of her life – a night that will be filled with terror and lead her to take risks she would never have believed herself capable of…
Thank you to NetGalley for this copy of ‘Don’t you Cry’ by Cass Green.
Nina night goes from bad to worse. First she has a terrible blind date. Not only is the guy a total loser, but she almost chokes to death. She is saved by the waitress, Angel, aptly named. What she doesn’t realize is Angel thinks Nina owes her one, and she comes to collect. It’s the beginning of a nightmare for Nina. How bad can this night get? If only she knew.
This isn’t a bad read, the characters are interesting and the development of the story keeps you guessing and wanting more. We all like a book that keeps us interested, and this certainly does that. My 3 stars, well, it could be a little slow in places, and I really can’t decide on the format. The splitting of the characters, so each chapter is from a particular characters point of view, I’m not entirely convinced this worked. It did in some ways, but I think I would have preferred it from the POV of one character, for example, Angel. Although I must say the author did do a great job of keeping the story fluid, with little overlap. It wasn’t confusing, just maybe too much in my personal opinion. I’m possibly biased here as I love Angel, she has so many layers, so many different depths to explore. The story would have had a darker tone to it I feel if it had have been Angel-centric (may not have been a bad thing – darker the better for me).
Overall, I enjoyed it, yes some parts were a little dull, other parts maybe skimmed over too quick, but it’s a very good read.
What’s great about it, is it’s a real life scenario, this could happen. It has happened I’m sure. It’s one of those novels that delves into the inner parts of the psyche and examines just how far one is willing to go when pushed. We will never truly understand until we ourselves are in that position.
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
5* Book Review
Grey Matter Press
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
“A SUPERNATURAL CRIME THRILLER FROM THE AWARD-WINNING MASTER OF DARK FANTASY
Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.
A contemporary southern gothic thriller with frightening supernatural overtones, Alan Baxter’s Manifest Recall explores the tragic life of a hitman who finds himself on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate. Baxter’s adrenaline-fueled approach to storytelling draws readers into Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis and through the darkest realms of lost memories, human guilt and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption.”
Manifest Recall, The Sopranos meets Sons of Anarchy, and gets all kind of twisted. This is a great read, a brilliant novella from Alan Baxter. May I just say a huge thank you to the author and to Grey Matter Press for sending me a copy of Manifest Recall in exchange for a review.
Eli Carver is having the worst day of his life. Who is he? What has he done? What or who is he running from? And who is the girl tied up in his trunk? He has no memory. He knows that something bad has happened to him, he just doesn’t know how bad. To make matters worse, he has the ghosts of the dead talking to him, mocking him, tormenting him. What has he gotten himself into? And how is he going to get himself out of this?
This is one of those books. You know the ones, the ones you cannot physically put down after you start them. You just have to keep going, keep turning the pages to see what comes next. The desire to put all the pieces together, to figure out what is happening right now and what happened before, it’s too strong. Before you know it you have finished the entire book and you just don’t know what to do with the rest of your day. This is one of those books.
I really don’t want to say too much about it, I don’t want to give too much away. This is a must-read, it’s a real edge-of-seat job, a proper page turner.
The writing style is excellent, the first person prose, it does its job of dragging you deep into the story. There is a brilliant claustrophobic element here; you are sucked in so deep you need to finish the story to climb back out again.
It’s excellent. Very stylish and very fast paced. Thrilling.
Find it here via Amazon (UK):
Thrilling from start to finish.
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)