Hearthstone Cottage by Frazer Lee – Flame Tree Press

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My Rating: 4.5/5

I would love to see this made into a movie or mini-series (are you listening to this Netflix?). The imagery and scope of the landscape, the nightmare sequences, down to the descriptions of the characters (especially Meggie) is work of flawless art. This book is a real testament to the ability of the author.

The scene is set from the beginning; creepy yet beautiful Scottish Loch, an old stone circle, a house in the middle of no-where (a glorious old building), Meggie the mysterious sister and not to mention the majestic stag. An accident on the way to the house for the groups post-graduation holiday results in a wrecked hire car and a dead stag. No one was seriously hurt… but the accidental killing of the stag sets of a chain reaction of supernatural events centered around Mike Carter (our main protagonist). Mike’s friends Alex and Kay, and girlfriend Helen are dragged through the ringer by his deteriorating state.

The mental collapse of Mike throughout the story is handled vividly yet with delicate ease. First the accident, then finding out his girlfriend is pregnant, as well as his drinking and weed habit, he steadily circles the pits of despair, not knowing what is real or what is a dream.

Hearthstone Cottage is a wonderfully written supernatural horror story that captures the Scottish charm and beauty effortlessly.

Released October 24th 2019 by Flame Tree Press

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1787583252/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

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Slash by Hunter Shea ⭐⭐⭐ review

Many thanks to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for a copy of Slash to read in exchange for an honest review.

The premise was a simple slasher with lots of killings and groups of unwitting (or witless) individuals who serve themselves up on a platter to get killed.

The Final Girl, Ashely, who several years earlier survived a resort massacre at the hands of a killer known as The Wraith, can no longer live with the pain and is found hanging by her finance Todd.

Greiving, Todd goes back to the resort in search of the truth about what happened that night and he and a group of friends get a lot more than they bargained for.

The story flows well and along with interesting and dynamic characters is a good read. For me though I felt it was lacking in originality and there was just that spark missing that drags me in to the story.

It’s a fun read, gore filled and totally lives up to the title.

Enjoy!!

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Slash-Fiction-Without-Frontiers-Hunter/dp/1787581780

The Devils Equinox – Book Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for. Austin sure learns this lesson the hard way in this witchy satantic novel.

I have to say it too me a while with this one, wasn’t gripping form the outset and the characters fell a bit flat for me. It’s not awful though.

It’s a decent enough story, a tale of a man who off-handily wishes his wife dead one night and well of course he gets what he asked for.

For me, the plot was a little thin and the characters just didn’t feel very rounded out. It felt a little like an effort for me which makes me sad as I really loved the authors last FTP novel. As always it’s subjective and fingers crossed the next one will hit the right notes. The Devils Equinox sadly just plodded along a little slow with no payoff.

One thing for sure, it won’t me off the author or Flame Tree Press.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

They Kill – Book Review – Flame Tree Press

Flame Tree Press are really putting out some great reads. They Kill from Tim Waggoner is a crazy trip through the inner workings of the psyche.

I’m always afraid of saying too much and giving the story away, so I think for this particular book I won’t say anything more than READ IT! It’s a lunatic ride… Tim Waggoner really takes his readers on a journey through madness. The underbelly of civilised society, it’s a dark perspective of our deepest desires, that which we hide and tuck away in a corner never to be seen. We see ‘regular’ people turning to their reverse selfs, doing the things they never would think then would or they could.

This is a gore filled tale, very graphic but I never felt once that it was out of place.

It’s a fun read, one that will hook you in and keep you guessing.

Check it out here:

They Kill (Fiction Without Frontiers) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1787582566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_LvacDbECCNSSS

One By One – Book Review

One by One – D. W. Gillespie

Flame Tree Press, 2019

The Easton family has just moved into their new fixer-upper, a beautiful old house that they bought at a steal, and Alice, the youngest of the family, is excited to explore the strange, new place. Her excitement turns to growing dread as she discovers a picture hidden under the old wallpaper, a child’s drawing of a family just like hers. 

Soon after, members of the family begin to disappear, each victim marked on the child’s drawing with a dark black X. It’s up to her to unlock the grim mystery of the house before she becomes the next victim.

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I was hooked from the opening with this book, a very intricately woven family horror tale, narrated by the wise beyond her years Alice. At just 10 years old she is left to uncover the truth behind a sinister wall painting and find out just what is happening to her family.

The story begins with the family arriving at their new house, an absolute “steal” according to Frank, Alice’s father. Frank is prone to whimsical schemes and a bit of a dreamer, so when he buys this house it’s not surprising that the rest of the family isn’t exactly convinced.

Alice seems to connect on anther level with the house, she has her own narration of events in her head, from ‘Mary’, a girl who tragically died in the house. She know’s deep down that something is wrong and that something dark is t work, but she just can’t put her finger on it. When she finds the picture of the previous family under the wallpaper her suspicions seem to take on their own energy. A stick figure family, mother, father, son, daughter and the family pet – just the same as Alice’s family.

Their pet cat vanishes and at the same time a mysterious ‘X’ is drawn over the pet in the picture. The an ‘X’ is drawn over the boy, representing her brother Dean. Just what is happening to Alice’s family and what does ‘Mary’ have to do with it.

I love the mis-direct within the story – the reader is convinced it’s one thing happening when in fact it’s something even more sinister. The story of Mary and just what happened to her is an interesting and tragic tale. We get snippets throughout thanks to Mary’s diary after Alice comes across in and has to read it. It is a very well put together narrative, very clever yet simple at the same time, and for me, the characters, particularly Alice, really set this off.

One by One is my second read from D. W. Gillespie (thanks to Flame Tree Press for the eARC). I look forward to more.

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.

House of Skin – Jonathan Janz

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I’m quite annoyed at myself that I couldn’t get into ‘House of Skin’ as much as I would have like. I have become quite the fan of Janz’s work lately, but sadly this isn’t one of my favorites.

I like the premise: Nephew inherits estranged dead uncles creepy estate. Town tarnishes nephew with the same brush as his not so nice uncle. Murder and ghostly goings-on ensue.

It has a really good start to with the despicable Ted Brand getting his comeuppance after the cheating philanderer messes with the wrong women.

I think, well for me, I believe this it where it went wrong. I was loving the Ted Brand/Julia arc, but I was a lot more interested in that than in the Paul Carver arc, who of course is our main character. I couldn’t really attach myself to the character of Paul the way I like in a book. For me to really, and I mean REALLY enjoy a story, I need to be 100% behind the characters. Without this I have a habit of losing interest rather quickly.

This is by no means a shot at the story or the author himself. I firmly believe Janz is a wonderful story teller, and this story is not completely terrible. It just wasn’t for me is all.

I am looking forward to my next Janz read, ‘Nightmare Girl’.

Ghost Mine – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Many thanks first of all to Flame Tree Press for the copy of Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea. This is part of the Flame Tree Press May releases.

Ghost Mine is a cowboy/gold rush/Djinn mash up which does work really well for the most part.

Teddy Roosevelt wants the gold from the mining town of Hecla, the problem… well Hecla seems to swallow men whole. He decides his man from the Rough Rider days, Nat, now an NYC cop is the man for the job and sends him in to see what exactly is going on there. Taking is long time friend and fellow adopted Rough Rider, Teta, with him they head out to the unknown.

My favourite thing about this book is Teta, he is a fantastic character. You can feel his sassy energy bouncing of the page and his little digs and quips really worked for me. I hate to say that Nat on the other hand, felt a little, robotic (if thats the right term). For me this let the book down a bit. It’s a great story, and the Wild West setting is wonderful – I love a good western. Sadly the majority of the characters just took the shine off. Selma too, I found her quite irksome for the most part.

The story itself is rather good, opening in Hecla with the naughty kid Billy killing rats in the mines. It seems that something down there did not want to be disturbed and it definitely made itself known. I enjoyed the subtlety of the opening chapter, setting the story up whilst being very tight-lipped about the while ‘what’s down there’.

Ghost Mine is definitely worth a read. As always it’s a very subjective matter. Yes, I couldn’t quite get there with it, but all the same it’s a well set up plot, and Teta who I’ve already gushed over is great!!

Released May 30th 2019 from Flame Tree Press

Ghost Mine (Fiction Without Frontiers) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1787582078/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_gWs2CbE6KQ2GQ

The Nightmare Girl – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

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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