Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT HEARTBREAKER by @dancummings85 #Horror

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs at http://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading Heartbreaker by Dan Cummings

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Well – who wouldn’t like this premise – unfaithful men being punished?  Except for the men maybe?  And they are truly punished in horrific ways in this novel.

I have to admit, I had some difficulty getting into this book.  The first half contains several scenes and pages of typical guy banter between Antony and his friends that might be amusing, but don’t do much to advance the plot, so I skimmed through those sections.  Descriptive writing is obviously important to any novel, something at which this author is very skilled, but some passages contained so much it detracted from the story.  A little can go a long way in putting images in the reader’s head.

The second half of the novel is when things begin to happen and the action escalates.  Pacing was more to my liking and the suspense is heightened when some of the characters catch the eye of the ‘ancient evil’ and are recruited as servants, with minor characters moving to the forefront and playing bigger roles.  Surprising betrayals among friends, in more ways than one, are also discovered.

Heartbreaker contains an unsettling, yet satisfying horror story with a creative story line, but the reader may have to be a little patient in getting to the heart of it – no pun intended.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book Description

In the quiet Californian town of Wood Fall, an ancient evil has awoken, preying upon the dreaming minds of unfaithful men. 
Taking the physical form of their most desirable women, she enraptures some of her chosen, reducing them into mindless, homicidal servants, ready to stalk and abduct other sacrificial love cheats. 
However, during her latest spell of activity, she finds herself attracted to a young man called Antony Pickett, who, unlike her usual targets, is pure of heart and in great pain. 
Unfortunately for Ant, he is blind to the root of his heartache, a blindness which she is happy to remedy for him at a deadly cost.

About the author

Dan Cummings

Dan Cummings is a nerd with a short attention span and shorter fuse (depending on poor sleep), but when he is able to stop arguing with his own internal monologue and focus for a few minutes he enjoys putting the noise in his head on to paper. A lifetime fan of monsters, comic books, sarcasm and casual violence, it is inevitable that these constituents regularly crop up in his books. Heartbreaker is his first foray into horror, whilst Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse, is the first instalment of an on-going supernatural, action/adventure series.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT BLOOD OF THE SIXTH by @KRRowe #Horror

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga ha been reading Blood Of The Sixth by K.R.Rowe

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I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with an ARC copy of the book.

I enjoy horror books (and movies) although I don’t read exclusively in that genre. I must admit that perhaps I’m more lenient with horror books than I’d be with others. If they manage to scare me, I’m usually happy. As happens with comedy, where it’s very difficult to make people laugh, it’s not that easy to scare people (or at least people who enjoy being scared. I know people who wouldn’t read horror or watch movies). If the book can scare me, the story is good and the characters are solid and interesting, we have a winner.

And, we have a winner! As I mention above I am reviewing this book as a member of Rosie’s Books Review Team, and I noticed it in the catalogue of books available a while back, but I had so many other books to read that I didn’t dare to take it on. And there it was, teasing me. Eventually, I had to read it.

The story, told in the third person, alternating between the points of view of Allie Kent, the main protagonist of the story, and some of the other characters, including Phillip Chambers, a detective who falls for her from the very beginning.

The opening of the novel (and as I said I’ve read a few in the genre) is very strong. I won’t mention anything, although I dare you to check the beginning of the novel in the look inside feature. You’ll see what I mean.

The main characters have difficult and traumatic experiences behind (Allie’s we discover slowly, and they are much worse than we imagine), and Allie and Phillip cling to each other. But the bizarre crimes have also much history behind them, and soon the ghosts of the past become more vivid and alive than the present for Allie, causing all kinds of terrible things.

The crimes are not only gory and scary, beautifully (if you know what I mean) and eerily rendered but also relate to a tragic love story. The baddies… well, supernatural doesn’t quite cover it. If you’re or have ever been scared of the dark, you’ll jump at shadows after reading this.

The author cleverly creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, where Allie’s apartment, her building, and the neighbourhood become part of the story, giving it a gothic feel. I can honestly say that I felt as if the town was shrinking and only the areas where the crimes were committed existed.

As I mentioned above, the writing is superb, with excellent descriptions, not only of settings and of the gory details but also of the psychological experiences of the characters, that although written in the third person feel very close. The novel fits in well in the tradition of the Southern gothic novel, with complex family relationships, oppressive atmosphere and the weight of traditions.

So, here you have a pretty scary story, with sympathetic characters you care for, a well-developed and intriguing story, and a gothic atmosphere. There are many aspects of the story that readers of other genres would also enjoy, but I hesitate to recommend it to people who don’t enjoy horror, because… well, it’s horrific and more. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the author’s novels and I strongly recommend it.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

About The Author

K. R. Rowe

K. R. Rowe spent her childhood in the scenic city of Chattanooga, TN and still resides there today. Her father was born and raised near Tellico Plains, in the heart of Tennessee’s tract of the Appalachian Mountains. With her mother’s South Carolina heritage, her southern roots run deep. From a very young age, her overpowering love of the mountains continues to draw her to them. When not tied to her desk, her free time with her family is often spent enjoying any activity that can take her far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and into the peace of the mountains.

Twitter @KRRowe

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT BLOOD OF THE SIXTH by @KRRowe #Paranormal #Horror #wwwblogs

Today’s Team Review is from Teri, she blogs at http://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading Blood Of The Sixth by K.R Rowe

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In the quaint Southern town of Port Bella Rosa, something sinister lurks beneath the cobblestones. When hunger stirs a centuries-old evil, a demon awakens, releasing its hunters in search of prey. Jackals swarm from the mist, seeking out quarry, sating their master with offerings of human flesh.

Allie Kent catches a glimpse of the first victim: a corpse with its organs, muscle and bone all consumed, leaving nothing more than skin behind. While police work to solve the unexplained murder, more bodies are found mutilated. Finally convinced the killer isn’t human, Detective Phillip Chambers is desperate to shield Allie from harm.

But something haunts Allie: shadows spill through her darkened window; nightmares invade her sleep while visions confuse her waking thoughts. With Phillip her only protection, Allie struggles to keep her independence in check while treading a thin line between reality and insanity. But is the evil dwelling beneath the stones her only true threat—or will the demons in Allie’s head have the strength to destroy them both? – Goodreads.com

I’ve been a horror fan since third grade when I read my first ‘age appropriate’ horror book – then moved on to Stephen King and others soon after, craving more than the ‘appropriate’ books could provide.  Blood of the Sixth is most definitely a horror novel with some cringe-worthy moments – but if you’re not a fan of the genre, don’t let that keep you from giving this a try, because there’s also a sweet romance between some intriguing characters.

Whether it’s an eerie, haunting scene guaranteed to cause goosebumps or the deep, gut-wrenching pull of first love, this author is phenomenal at descriptive writing.  The senses are engaged and the writing flows effortlessly, immersing the reader into a well-paced story – which caused me to lose track of time more than once.

One of the biggest reasons this story is so captivating is the characters – you can’t help but love Allie’s quirkiness and be sympathetic to her horrific past.  Phillip is all business as a detective, but shows a softer side when he feels an attraction to Allie almost immediately when they meet and charms his way into her life.  Maybe Allie is more open to the possibility of the supernatural because of her past, but Phillip needs convincing and soon witnesses some terrifying events that can only explained by paranormal means.

Blood of the Sixth is a spine-chilling read and one I’d highly recommend to horror/paranormal thriller fans.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT FURY by @JoanDeLaHaye #Horror #wwwblogs

Today’s team review is from Lilyn, she blogs at http://www.scifiandscary.com/

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Lilyn has been reading Fury by Joan De La Haye

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REVIEW:

I’ll admit to a bit of initial distaste towards this book that showed itself soon after I started reading. Simply put, drug dealers and drug users (much like alcoholics who are unwilling to seek help) disgust me. They’re right below rapists, pedophiles, and child killers in my book. Still, even with that bias in my head, Joan De La Haye’s Fury was almost impossible to put down.

The imagery in Fury is graphic. There is no skirting around the violence that happens. There’s everything from  detached dangly bits used as gags, to a spirit stalking around on stumps. The worst parts of heroin withdrawal are splashed across the page in all its fetid glory. It’s not a book for the weak stomached or easily disturbed. De La Haye’s easy and unflinching display of the explicit brings to mind the more interesting (and disgusting) of Richard Laymon’s work.

This is a story of vengeance sought and delivered. A young woman’s spirit cannot rest with the atrocities committed against her. Her insane rage knows no bounds, and that is how a young girl – Alice – finds herself in the mix. She’s survived by wit and will, and even found herself caught up in an attraction that makes no sense.  It is perhaps her very survival which puts her in the spirit’s path of devastation.

Fury is the definition of paranormal horror in the violence that the vengeful spirit wrecks, but it is made even worse by the evil acts of humans. The two together combine to make a story that horrifies even as it entertains. I wouldn’t recommend Fury for everyone, but instead for people looking for a bit of a darker read than they usually get. Available on AmazonFury is available now for those who can handle it.

4*

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT FURY by @JoanDeLaHaye #Horror

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs at http://teripolen.com/

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Teri has been reading Fury by Joan De La Haye

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A young girl is brutally murdered. Two rival crime bosses fight for dominance on the streets of South Africa’s capital city. The city’s underground film industry is set ablaze. An angry spirit bent on revenge is on a murder spree. And Alice, a university student, is caught in the middle of a bloody
battle for survival. Their fates all intertwine in this tale of vengeance and fury. – Goodreads.com

As a warning to those who don’t like their horror on the gory side -this book is probably not for you.  The first several pages are particularly graphic and difficult to read, but those scenes also enable the reader to understand Angela’s need for revenge.  And what a revenge tale it is.

Although Angela is alive for a very short time, the author does an admirable job with her characterization – if that hadn’t been well-established, it would be difficult for the reader to identify and sympathize with her.  There’s also a nice twist I didn’t see coming, but it makes for some interesting dynamics.  The author’s convincing portrayal of Andre’s drug addiction adds to the level of carnage in a different, but highly effective way.

There are some areas that could have used a little more editing with tense changes and incorrect word choices.  In one scene, a person flings a match onto some gasoline, and in another clenches their hands – but it had already been mentioned this person has no hands.  I also found some of the dialogue a little unbelievable, but overall, this is a story die hard horror lovers would enjoy.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT FURY by @JoanDeLaHaye #Horror #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Fury by Joan De La Haye

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Fury by Joan De La Haye

3.5 stars

Set in the mean streets of Pretoria, the story starts with Andre, a smack addict who will do anything to get his fix ~ including supplying girls for the makers of snuff and sexual torture films.  He entices Angela, who is murdered in the most brutal way imaginable; the only trouble is, she keeps coming back to remind Andre of what he’s done….

….enter Alice, Andre’s next ‘mark’, an art history student who has a bit more about her than the usual victim.  Alice is caught in the middle when un-dead Angela wreaks havoc to extract her revenge.

This is horror at its most grisly, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever been more keen to point out that a book is not for the faint of heart, and you definitely shouldn’t read it while you’re eating.  If you’re a fan of films like ‘Hostel’ and ‘Saw’, and if you didn’t have to shut your eyes in the more revolting bits of ‘Trainspotting’, you’ll like this.  That is all I will say!

It’s an interesting portrayal of human life at its most debauched, and Andre’s junkie torment is expressed so graphically that it should put anyone off even mildly addictive prescription drugs (!). There’s a good twist at the end, it’s a decently thought out story and not badly written, certainly not boring, though I found some of the dialogue a little unlikely and there are lots of repetitions that should have been sorted out in redrafts and editing.

I found it just okay, but I imagine it will tick the boxes for lovers of no-holds-barred, gruesome horror.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT FURY by @JoanDeLaHaye #Horror #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Cathy has been reading Fury by Joan De La Haye

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The prologue sets the scene as the mutilated corpse of a young woman rises and sets off on a dark quest for vengeance. While on a night out with friends, Angela meets Andre and is persuaded to go home with him. Only she isn’t going to Andre’s home. Andre is a junkie who will do anything for his next fix and that includes supplying girls for the worst kind of depravity. Angela is tortured viciously and murdered, what’s left of her wrapped in plastic bags and dumped. Angela finds herself in some sort of limbo, dead yet determined to make those responsible pay.

For all this is very disturbing and chilling (I did struggle a little with the beginning) I still found myself caught up in the narrative. There’s a lot more to the story than torture and bloodshed. When Andre supplies another young woman, Alice, the dynamics have changed and she has a chance, if she can bring herself to take it. It’s a harrowing and tense tale, probably not for those of a squeamish or nervous disposition, and there are adult themes running throughout. The story veers into darkness and more violence as Angela goes on a rampage, wreaking havoc with her murderous payback, while Alice is caught in the middle of an epic supernatural battle with nowhere to run.

I enjoyed the setting and societal glimpses. The characters are depicted extremely well, ranging from very scary through to pitiful, including loathsome and lots in between. Not much, if anything, is held back and I’m glad I read this in the daylight. There’s a great twist in the tale that I didn’t see coming and which makes Angela’s ordeal all the more horrifying. If you like well written, full on horror, with substantial amounts of gore, this is for you.

“A twisted tale of revenge that will haunt your dreams.” – Paul Simpson, Sci-Fi Bulletin

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT FLESH by @dylanjmorgan #Horror #amreading

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison has been reading Flesh by Dylan J Morgan

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I love a good horror story. I grew up devouring Stephen King books and I’ve never found another author that does small town spooky oppressive atmosphere, flawed but sympathetic characters and downright ‘bump in the night’ scares so well. So Dylan J. Morgan had a lot to live up to.

He has the small town atmosphere down perfectly. Vacant and its flawed inhabitants are compellingly drawn and easy to picture. I was torn between sympathy and frustration at Sheriff Keller and despised the deputies and the town mayor. Keller in particular was a complex character – beautifully done, he is the epitome of a man struggling to come to terms with his past, a man who knows his life has been a waste, who knows that he is weak, and yet still has that shred of humanity that has you rooting for him and wanting things to be alright.

The threat that the town faces is well -portrayed and satisfyingly scary, and the opening of the book is a real hook, paving the way for the gruesome secret at the heart of Vacant. The writing itself is technically flawless. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue authentic and the amount of gore pitched perfectly.

The only sticking point for me is the motivation of the ordinary townspeople. I didn’t quite buy that they would agree so whole-heartedly with how the police, preacher and major choose to deal with the threat to their town. These are nice, normal people. I’m not saying they can’t agree to it, only that I wanted to know more clearly why they had – why they were so convinced that this was the only option. There is scope perhaps for the religious element to be played up a bit more here. What Stephen King always does so well is make you believe that ordinary people can do dreadful things. And while this book was a compelling, competent and really enjoyable read, I didn’t completely believe it.

4 out of 5 stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE PLAYGROUND by @Virgilante #Horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs at http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com

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Karen has been reading The Playground by C.S Boyack

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Book Description

The hottest toys of the Christmas Season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except, the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power. To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

My Opinion

This book introduces Tommy Fazio, seemingly a ruthless and greedy business man with a plan. Three different plot lines – cleverly built – guide you through the story; meet Chloe, Gina and Clovis – be intrigued.

With The Playground, C. S. Boyack provides three cleverly elaborated plot lines, each of them drawing you deeper inside the story. I was drawn into the plot lines right away – very close to the respective protagonists; sometimes a creepy sensation. Each of the plot lines ‘felt’ different; resulting in a very intense story. I had a great time reading The Playground. It is a very enjoyable read. This is for you if you like paranormal/supernatural stories with a streak of horror, very likeable characters and food for thought.

This is a book to read again. Highly recommended.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT RESTHAVEN by @ErikTherme #YA #Horror #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

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Barb has been reading Resthaven by Erik Therme

I’m not usually a horror fan, so when Erik Therme sent me his new release I had to first think about YA horror as a genre. [See Chunky Teen Soup and other #YA #horror tropes.]  But I was interested in the book for two reasons. The first is that I read his debut novel Mortom (see my review here) and called it one of the most well-written books I’ve ever not liked.

The second is the way he published the book. It went through the 30-day reader-selection process at Kindle Scout and was selected for publication after making it to the final stages. Kindle Scout says, “Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.”

[NOTE: for more on Erik’s publishing journey, see Crowdsourced publishing: An Iowa City author’s journey with Kindle Scout]


Blurb 

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The last thing Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt–especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge of town. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doors are now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee is about to learn that not everything that goes ‘bump in the night’ is imaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.
 
  • Book Title: Resthaven
  • Author: Erik Therme
  • Genre: YA Horror
    Length: 220 pages
    Release Date: Kindle Press (April 12, 2016)
    Purchase Links: Amazon Universal Link

4 gold starMy Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Resthaven

I have a little problem with Erik Therme’s books. I think they are terrifically written books with a great sense of pace and individual style and full of characters I really do not like. At all.

In Resthaven, the main character is fifteen-year-old Kaylee, who has transferred to a new school following her parent’s divorce. She’s furious at her parents, misses her old life and friends, and mortified when her mother forces her to attend a party given by one of her wealthy new classmates. Kaylee’s seething resentment holds the other girls up to a toxic lens as each of them reveals their own personal tragedies. She’s especially furious when the hostess takes them to an abandoned retirement home on the grounds of her house and sends them off on a scavenger hunt. Very soon the girls find themselves locked inside the crumbling structure, only to discover that they aren’t alone.

Author Therme ticks off the standard YA horror tropes is businesslike fashion. The building itself is not only abandoned and derelict, but almost completely dark because boards have been nailed across all window openings. The girls split up almost immediately, and despite the way they tell each other on a regular basis to stick together, they each keep heading off alone, facing the inevitable injury and danger as the building’s secrets are revealed.

And that’s where things got interesting for me. The girls are by turns mean, cowardly, jealous, self-serving, capable of betrayal, stupidity, empathy, and the occasional nice gesture. Each of them is aware that she is outside of the popular crowd. Indeed, there is apparently another party that day to which none of them were invited. In other words, they are like almost every teenager anywhere.

The stakes rise steadily as the dangers multiply. And without providing spoilers, I can say that when it comes to the usual tropes we expect to see—characters bonding under adversity, perhaps forming romantic attachments as one girl’s twin brother arrives, or facing a pivotal dark moment that turns this into a coming of age story—well, those things don’t actually happen.

Instead we get characters who behave realistically under increasing pressure and danger. They struggle to make what they encounter fit into their world view, with only limited success most of the time. And at the end three of them take away the one thing—friendship—that, I believe, each wanted most of all.

So, yes. I don’t like horror. I don’t like the girls in Resthaven. But I do like Erik Therme’s writing. As I said about his last book, it’s just that good. Therme is not interested in having the story “cure” any of his characters’ problems. Most people aren’t any better off at the end than where they started, and character development is at best subtle. Therme is a writer who is more interested in poking his characters—poking them hard and then even harder—to see what they’ll do.

But unlike his last book, this one holds out some promise of the characters bonding as they are instead of as they are changed into by their experience. I would give Resthaven four stars. These characters aren’t for everyone. They certainly aren’t warm or adorable, or even particularly likeable. And the structure of the story itself—no chapter divisions and little imposed editorial structure—might not appeal to everyone. But if you like good writing, a sense of pace, plenty of atmosphere and danger, and a strong voice, then I recommend Resthaven.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com