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Summerhome by Thomas R. Clark

Summerhome is a harrowing tale that brings to light the sentiment what we don’t know, will hurt us! Meghan’s Mom is an elderly woman with a lot of secrets. She has recently been diagnosed with Dementia and is going down-hill quickly with a knowledge that she refuses to relinquish. Meghan and her brother decide to put her in Summerhome where she can continue to be as independent as possible but still get help when she needs it. Little do they know, there is darkness in every corner.

Summerhome residents see and feel things that they are not entirely sure is real. Some residents have no idea that something is going on and live their life as they see fit. A paranormal team gets word that the residents are seeing things and weird stuff is happening so they go to investigate. They, along with Meghan and her brother discover what the darkness is and it’s more than they ever imagined!

Clark masterfully wove in character ties to his previous books by letting us see more of the periphery of their lives. If you have not yet read the other books, it is ok as this stands on its own. The background does not detract from the story and Clark skillfully makes it work. But if you have read the other books, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the nuggets and references thrown in. Clark continues to hone SplatterFolk and gets better and better!

This is a horror story, so there are some gruesome scenes. There are some scenes that I as the reader cannot unsee! Clark has figured out how to pull from folk tales, oral and written histories, and legends and make it his own world of chaos! So come and delve in, if you dare!

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Seven Exhumations by James G. Carlson

Seven Exhumations is a fantastic collection of 7 twisted little short stories of horror. I was hooked by the first story, Grim. I found myself needing to devour the pages to find out what happened next with each story. Carlson does a great job with the build up of suspense and anticipation for all of the stories featured in this collection.

Each story is a stand alone and I loved all of them! This is one of those rare books that grabs you and won’t let go! I really enjoyed the spooky houses, cave adventures, angels/demons, and survival in a climate changed world. I will definitely be reading more from this author!

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Bel, The Last Dragon: Jungles of Habbiel by John Baltisberger

Jungles of Habbiel is an adventure that takes us back into the world of War of Dictates. Centuries have passed and Bel, The Last Dragon has awoken!

As one of the most revered species of Sheydim, Bel must learn who he can trust and discover if others of his species have somehow survived like him. He must learn how technology has changed the face of battle and helped to somewhat even the odds of humans and half-breeds to fight the Gregori and their followers.

Bel gets teamed up with three individuals who have their own supernatural abilities to fight against demons, angels and if they are lucky, a chance to go head to head with one of the Gregori, Habbiel. The tale is masterfully told with references to mythology, historic locations and events.

I love history and mythology a lot! Baltisberger does a fantastic job of weaving in mythological creatures and characters with just enough background so we can identify exactly which creature or God is being identified. I loved this book! I would love to see Baltisberger create more stories based on War of Dictates and make his own series, much like we’ve seen done with Splatter Westerns.

This is a stand alone book, but would make more sense to the reader if War of Dictates has been read first. Baltisberger is a superb storyteller with an incredible imagination. I’m so looking forward to what comes next, so go read his books!

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Warm, Dark Places Are Best by Mike Duke

I will start this off by saying, Damn you Mike Duke! I knew when I picked this book up it might be bad. I hate creepy crawly creatures and this story just solidified why.

Carl and Jessica move into a new apartment that is not the greatest, but it’s what they could afford. Carl befriends the local kids and finds out some shocking information about the building and Carl’s apartment. Creepy crawlers ensue and all hell breaks loose!

I really enjoyed how real the characters were in this story. Duke gave them likable characteristics and described common interactions between them. Any one of us could have fit right into this story. I squirmed as I read. It creeped me out at the possibility of something like this story happening. Go grab this quick read! Again, Damn you Mike Duke!

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The New Girls’ Patient by Ruthann Jagge

Wow! What a thriller! Jagge takes Horror into a rural setting and runs with it at Mach speed!

Jamie is a newly certified nurse who works in a hospital where she doesn’t expect to ever move up in her career as long as she works there. It’s not the patients’ fault, so she makes a point of treating all of them well, especially one she’s built a bond with, Miz Elizabeth. Jamie and her friends are suddenly thrust into a bad situation that hinges on a dark family history.

I really enjoyed this thrill ride! I found myself quickly vested in the main character hoping for a way out of her predicament. Jagge story is so well written that it grabs the reader then makes you have to keep turning the pages to see what happens next. It’s brutal, relentless and just when you think it can’t get worse..it does! This book is definitely one of my favorites so far this year!

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Cruel as the Grave by B.L. Blankenship

Cruel as the Grave is a short story set during the time of the Civil War. Times were hard and people did what they could to get by. Uzziah was a man who had two wives, Dawn and Estelle. They lived as a family in relative isolation from others due to their peculiar arrangement. This is their story of fear, apprehension and a stroke of malice.

The story, although short is extremely brutal. If you have triggers, I suggest avoiding this one. Blankenship uses real places and landmarks in his stories which gives the reader a good idea about the setting of the story. He brings in folklore and superstition that brilliantly adds to the story. I liked it and look forward to reading more from this author.

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Addicted to the Dead: Relapse Edition by Shane McKenzie

This book is a set of three stories all set in the same locale. Imagine a world where zombie flesh is a common meal, but can only be consumed in small amounts or you get addicted to it. It can’t be too fresh, or too old, but just right and one man has the monopoly on getting it out to the masses.

The first story, “Like a Brother” is a short story that introduces the reader to one of the main characters of the book, Calico. Calico is a tough guy who takes care of whatever the boss man needs done. We get just a glimpse in this short story about how brutal this world really is.

The second story, “Addicted to the Dead,” introduces us to Paco and his little sister, Sophia. They go on a harrowing adventure into the city to find Sophia a doctor to help her with her “illness.” Junkies are everywhere looking for their next fix, a zombie snack. Can they make it safely to their destination?

The third story is a novella called “Knock His Teeth Out for Me.” Here we are introduced to Worm, an addict and former employee of the boss man. We are exposed to the tough life of an addict and how they will do anything to get what they need.

This is my first book by Shane McKenzie that I’ve read. I finished it and immediately thought, WTF did I just read? I liked how McKenzie told the story from different perspectives, the addict, those alive and trying to survive, and through a child’s eyes. Each perspective offers a unique blend of fear of the unknown and the feeling of helplessness. The swinging pendulum of emotions kept me vested in the characters.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It’s out now in electronic version on Godless, but will be released everywhere else on April 30th by Madness Heart Press! Go get it!

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Hunters of Darkness- Vampire Rebellion by J.R. Knoll

Wendy Shaw is a cop who works under cover from time to time. She has a mysterious past that she has not dealt with and avoids it by throwing herself into her job. It is during one of those stings, she meets an immortal that forces her to become a vampire like him.

Wendy has to learn the intricacies of this new world and the hierarchy that rules it. Her sire, Sebastian, wants to not only rule Wendy, but take over the vampire world too. What he doesn’t realize is that Wendy is not gonna take crap from anyone. She is a spitfire with a gumption to do what she wants, when she wants. She also learns of another immortal creature that believes their sole purpose is to kill vampires. Thus the rebellion ensues.

Knoll does a great job of setting up all of the moving pieces of this story of rebellion. He uses Wendy’s sass and spunk to throw in some comedy to some hairy situations! This is a great horror story even without the gore and sound descriptors I’m used to reading. The reader gets the idea without all of those descriptors, which is a feat not all horror authors can do! There were also some erotica thrown in and again, it led the reader to understand what was going on without going into a lot of detail.

I really enjoyed this story. It has a different type of vampire tale and characters than we are used to. I thought it was fantastically done and I look forward to book 2 of Vampire Rebellion.

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Tweaker Creatures by Robert Essig

There’s a new drug in town called Tweak. Only Dr. Scabs knows what’s in it, because he made it. Tweak is taking over the population of a small town. The Tweakers want it, no matter how horrid the side effects.

Amber is a recovering addict who is trying to follow the right path, but her sister Erin goes missing. Amber thinks Erin has gotten involved with drugs. No one can locate her, so Amber is forced to enter her old world to find her.

Robert Essig takes us into some dark places in this story. I’m coming to realize, that’s just what Robert Essig does. He is one of the best storytellers of the darkest sides of humanity. We get the story of addicts and what they will do to feed their addictions then he takes it up a notch. He uses great descriptors of the characters as the Tweak takes full effect.

I didn’t see the ending coming. I honestly wasn’t sure what was gonna happen. The suspense was real! But I liked how the story wrapped up. Check it out! I hope you will like it too!

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Monsters Monsters Monsters Monsters

Compiled and Edited by XTINA MARIE

This is a fun compilation of stories featuring Monsters that showcases many authors I have never read before. The stories are clever and easy to read through for those that don’t like to read for long sittings. I found it best to read a few stories before bed, but you know what works for you!

I did have some favorite stories from the bunch that came from the minds of some new authors to me. “The Boy Under the Bed” by Gerri R Gray is an amusing tale that details a child’s terror that he sees. “Indoor People” by Cayce Osborne is a tale of suspense and grabs you right from the beginning. “Male of the Species” by Tom Vandermolen put a new spin on a story about a boy and his unusual pet. “Wake of the Medusa” by Scotty Milder was just fantastic. Milder’s way of drawing from tales of the old world and spinning them to a lively story of today was perfectly done!

I really enjoyed reading these each night and I hope you will too! Coming soon from Hellbound Books!