Blood in the Woods – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

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J. P. Willie

Blood in the Woods

First of all, many thanks to the author for reaching out and offering me a copy of ‘Blood in the Woods’ in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“Rural Louisiana country life is peaceful, idyllic, and sanguine. One bucolic town leads to another in an endless series of southern country life. Yet beneath the tranquil surface lies another story. A story of the south which hasn’t been told only hinted at. 

As 26 -year -old Jody stands on the cracked, aged driveway of his childhood home, a black mass settles itself on his chest. A sense of fear is manifesting around the edges of his psyche as unmentioned memories flood back to the last time he stood on this spot years ago. There is an empty space where the trailer once stood. The place he called home; thought of as his refuge together with his mother and younger brother, but all was ripped apart along with the innocence of childhood. 

Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties in the small town of Hammond, Louisiana, with his best friend Jack, was full of wonderful memories. Their lives on Rhine Road are typical for boys their age. Time is spent playing in the woods, shooting pellet guns, blowing up mailboxes, fighting at school and the beginnings of interests in girls. Their lives are what you would expect from children with no responsibilities or worries beyond the next pop-quiz or getting to second base. 

As they grow older together and experience the joys and pains of life, love, family and friendship, they discover a meddlesomeness borne of lazy summer days, boredom and childhood rebellion. Through idle curiosity, they stumble upon something horrific in the woods one evening and their lives quickly take a turn. 

They soon become hunted by an unspeakable evil and the hunting ground was home.”

A Louisiana coming of age novel with a twist of horror.

This was a very engaging read from the start. The author has done a wonderful job of laying the foundations of a beautiful and harrowing tale of childhood friends Jody and Jack. We are taken though the story of their lives, living carefree in the town of Hammond, getting up to all the usual mischief, followed by the terrifying story of what lurks in the woods.

This is a chilling read. I was emotionally invested from the get-go. This novel has it all, emotion, laughs, tears, chills and scares. It is one hell of a ride.

A great debut from J. P. Willie, An author I hope to see more from.

4/5

Lesley-Ann

Brain Damaged -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Brain Damaged

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David Owain Hughes

Hellbound Books

“Another superlative collection from the critically acclaimed David Owain Hughes; a selection of 20 mind-bending, soul-tearing tales of terror designed to make even the hardiest of souls weak at the knees! Firstly, Hughes brought us the delicious madness that is White Walls and Straitjackets, followed by the unhinged Choice Cuts, before unleashing a whole host of batshit crazy with Psychological Breakdown. Each of these collections displays stories of cracked minds, disturbed individuals and the scariest monster of all”

I quite enjoyed most of the stories within this collection. As always with short story collections, some you love and some you hate. Here, I loved most of them. Brain Damaged is as it says it is. It contains some very graphic, gory, pushing the limits (but never too far) gruesome horror tales.  

To pick my favourite three, well, it’s hard I must say. I will go with the following though, as these really stood out.

Scarab: This is a tale of crime and ancient gods. Jason is a man who has always lived within the grey. He has been in trouble with the law numerous times and served his time for armed robbery, costing him his family. He is a desperate man, and desperate men will do anything. Just one more job, one more job will set Jason and his crew up for life. Jason plans to kidnap his children and flee the country with the proceeds of this last job. He targets what appears to be a simple family jeweller, with lax security in place. They hold within their vaults priceless ancient artefacts, which cannot be removed from the vault under any circumstances. Jason doesn’t believe this; he has his sights set on an ancient Egyptian Scarab. Ignoring all the warnings, he kills the jewellery shop owner and takes it. The second he sets foot outside the shop, the world begins to end. The dead rise and begin their slaughter of the innocent.

As a fan of mythology as well as horror, ‘Scarab’ really stood out for me. I love all these stories mummies rising form the tombs, ancient curses, all that kind of thing. I find it so fascinating, as well as very believable. I for one would never tamper with an ancient artefact, because really, who knows? We have all seen those movies!

Brief Encounter: The first tale from the book. Brief Encounter is the story of a man trying his best to get to his kids on Halloween. After the end of a toxic relationship with his ex, Millie, he now lives a separate life from her and his children, Lilly and Mark. He is doing his best to get to them on Halloween; he has costumes for them, and is, as any father would be, excited to spend some time with them. He is unfortunately stuck in excessively heavy traffic, and is unsure what is happening after he witnesses some form of explosion behind from his rear view. He isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 He meets a woman, in the next car over, first thinking that she is in costume, then the gruesome reality hits, she is dead, and so is he. The explosion was his death on the highway, and he is now in hell.

I really enjoyed this story. It felt like a great metaphor for the ‘hell’ that is the daily rat race of life. A man, working a job he resents, separated from his family, just trying to get by anyway he can.

Mink:  I loved this one. Tanya is a nasty piece of work, a woman who married her mob boss husband purely for his money, and then she had him killed by her lover, her husband’s right hand man.

One of her favourite possessions, well used to be, was a mink coat. Her husband had gifted it too her, and she loved wearing it. She loved wearing it that is, until she started to believe it was possessed by her dead husband.

This was a great read, a gold digging horror show of a woman getting her just deserts. Her scorned husband still managing to enact his bloody revenge from beyond the grave.

This is a great read, short stories are perfect too if you don’t have too much time to read. It’s bloody, gory, scary and fun.

Find it here on Amazon, currently free on Kindle Unlimited.

4/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Darkest Sunlight: A Poetic Narrative – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review

Darkest Sunlight: A Poetic Narrative

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Xtina Marie

“The heart was made to be broken.” – Oscar Wilde 
“To allow your heart to soar, you must risk the depths. Darkest Sunlight is the third poetic narrative from Xtina Marie. In this journey, readers will begin in the darkest of places yet revealed to us by this critically acclaimed poet, only to then find themselves thrust into the brightness of love before their eyes and minds can fully adjust. It is this shocking contrast which best conveys what it is to love, lose, and love again. 
In Dark Musings, Xtina explored sadness. In Light Musings, she explored the intricacies of a loving heart. In Darkest Sunlight, Xtina Marie compares the opposite ends of the spectrum, and in doing so, she found a place darker than black.”

Darkest Sunlight is a wonderful collection of dark poetry exploring obsession, paranoia, depression, grief, love and lust to name a few. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t read a lot of poetry so this was an interesting change of pace for me, one which I must say I thoroughly embraced and enjoyed.

I don’t feel at all qualified to review poetry properly; I could never give it the justice it deserves. I will say that I thought Dark Sunlight was brilliant, and that I will be picking up more from Marie to read.

It’s worth your time.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkest-Sunlight-Narrative-Xtina-Marie/dp/1948318466/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1546369868&sr=8-9&keywords=xtina+marie

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

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