Tag Archives: dark humor

Exit Wounds by Annie O’Neill Stein Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman who grew up in a volatile household struggles with addiction through dark humor and strength learned only through her childhood in late author and actress Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds”.

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The Synopsis

Born to shanty Irish on one side and Park Avenue privilege on the other, Laura navigates a turbulent childhood filled with the alcohol-fueled abuse of her volatile father and her mother’s excessive drinking. As the middle child of three girls, she assigns herself the role of her mother’s protector, who dies when Laura is thirteen, leaving her heartbroken and adrift.

Insecure, anxious, and fearful, she tries drugs, random sex, and a sequence of lovers. Along the way, she becomes a successful painter and has a bad first marriage. Nothing, however, seems to assuage her emptiness and her sense of loss. Eventually, she marries a caring man and has a loving daughter. It is only at the end of her life, and by way of an unusual and unexpected turn of events that she is finally able to make peace with herself, to let go of the feeling that she never really grieved, and said goodbye to her beloved mother, and to appreciate that though we work at love and acceptance, sometimes the most wonderful experiences in our lives come in unanticipated and unsought ways. 

The Review

This was such an incredible story. The natural way the author was able to infuse humor, even dark humor, into such a heavy and serious subject matter was great to read, as it allowed for a more human connection to the subjects and themes the author was exploring. The heart and passion for which the author wrote were felt on every page, and the rich imagery really brought out the protagonist’s story to life in a very vivid way.

The heart of this story rests in the rich character growth that the author was able to develop. The relatability and nearly historical aspect of this narrative really brought these characters to life. The way the author was able to delve into the emotional journey that the protagonist went on was so heartfelt and allowed readers to connect to the narrative. The amazing way the author wrote this journey in a way that felt like a collection of short stories and yet made the narrative feel cohesive was truly incredible.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, author Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds” is a must-read novel. The rich character dynamics and beautiful cohesion of dark humor and emotional storytelling made this a beautiful and thought-provoking journey. I am truly honored to have been able to read this novel. I learned recently that the author had recently passed, but the family had wanted to keep pushing and promoting the author’s work as the book launched, and I hope you all will join me in supporting the author’s literary work and her family as this story sees the light of day. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I moved to Los Angeles in the early 80s as an actress, during the great migration of NY actors to LA. Talk about being a dime a dozen. After many small parts in TV series, from Miami Vice to Charlie’s Angels, I decided to follow my true passion, writing.

I found my mentors at UCLA, Eve LaSalle Caram, and Kerry Madden, studying with them both for several years. Being accepted to Sewanee Writer’s Conference to study with Alice McDermott planted the seed for Exit Wounds, my novel (forthcoming by The Permanent Press: 9/6/22).

Having written for several magazines, More, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Distinction, Folks, and being a regular contributor to Huffington Post for several years, helped me hone the skills to attempt to write my novel.

Word; do the homework!
One of the things I’m proudest of is leading creative writing workshops with foster teens for five years, and editing and publishing Beauty From Ashes, short stories, and poetry written by foster youth.

I live in LA with my husband and have two grown daughters. Although I would love to pretend I live in the French countryside. On this website, I’ll be sharing info on books, articles, photos, and anything I think worthy and uplifting. I‘ll share feelings about the state of the world trying not to point fingers or be judgmental. How to do that and be honest may be hard but I said try.

I’m a huge advocate of kindness. Kindness, gratitude, and the belief that we’re all on this planet to help each other.
Enough about me.

https://www.annieoneillstein.com/

Everyday Monsters by Travis Betz Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man seeking vengeance after his parents were framed for a horrific crime is forced to share a body with the incorporeal form of an ancient creature in author Travis Betz’s dark horror comedy, “Everyday Monsters”.

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The Synopsis

Derek Stabbers wants revenge. He’s been planning to get it ever since his parents were convicted of the brutal murders of several neighbors. The state blamed mental illness; Derek blames monsters.

Paxton Hellswood wants to be left alone. She’s barely made it out of the house in the hundred years since she was reborn from the dead, and that’s just fine by her. She’ll take the comfortable embrace of her couch over human interaction any day.

After a series of violent misfortunes, Paxton’s incorporeal form becomes stuck inside Derek, forcing the two enemies to begrudgingly share a body.

Together (as one), they embark on a hilarious and poignant journey that ultimately proves there’s no such thing as monsters—just a world full of terrified creatures all hungry for a connection.

The Review

This was a fantastic read. Fans of dark humor and horror will absolutely love this roller coaster of a read, from the vast amount of supernatural creatures and elements the author infuses into the story to the complex way the author blends humor with deep looks into the best and worst humanity has to offer. 

The story starts off running, introducing hilarious and unique elements to the supernatural story that readers won’t be able to stop chuckling about, from unexpected animals vampires fear to hybrid creatures and secret human servants who get caught up in the middle of this chaos. The best part of the novel however is the very visual way the author writes the book. Each chapter feels like the next scene in a cinematic experience, easily painting an image in the reader’s mind.

The Verdict

An exhilarating, action-fueled and darkly humorous horror novel, author Travis Betz’s “Everyday Monsters” is a must-read book. The author perfectly captures a unique voice that explores humanity in a funny yet gritty way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy of Travis Betz’s “Everyday Monsters” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author and filmmaker Travis Betz has been enjoying a growing audience for years with his cult feature films, Lo, The Dead Inside, and Joshua, as well as his popular series of construction paper short films.

Travis has had screenplays on both the prestigious Blacklist and Hitlist, the former currently in development with Red Hour Films. He has written and developed projects for Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Amazon Studios, Shudder, Comedy Central, BOOM! Comics, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, and more.

https://www.instagram.com/travisbetz/

Zombie Turkeys (The Life After Life Chronicles, #1) by Andy Zach Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young, small-town reporter finds himself following one of the more bizarre apocalyptic scenarios one could imagine, a horde of zombie turkeys, in author Andy Zach’s humorous horror novel “Zombie Turkeys (The Life After Death Chronicles #1)”. 

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The Synopsis

Sam Melvin, an underachieving e-reporter from a small town, changes forever when he meets turkeys that won’t stay dead. You can shoot ’em, chop ’em, burn ’em—they come back stronger. The undead plague of poultry spreads uncontrollably, rocking the whole country. As Sam tracks down the zombie turkeys and how to eradicate them, his editor, Lisa Kambacher, nags him to turn his stories and expenses in on time. During their years of working together, Lisa has mellowed from bitchy into an irascible pinchpenny.

Lisa snipes at Sam for plebeian writing but uses her intelligence to pursue the lucrative carnivorous turkey story. Sam and Lisa ricochet across the landscape, tracking turkeys and fleeing the bloodthirsty hordes. Careening from shell-shocked grocery store owners fighting turkeys crawling out of refrigerators, to machine-gunning turkey farmers, to secret militia, Sam and Lisa doggedly report. Throughout the turkey apocalypse, they dare ravaged cities, plow knee deep in gore and corpses, and upload streams of zombie turkey video news to the world.

With paranoid militias clashing with the federal gover¬¬¬nment and unkillable turkeys, Sam and Lisa doubt their ability to survive. Sam and Lisa have no superpowers. If you have a heart condition or lack humor, you should not read Zombie Turkeys, no matter how much you want to find out what happens.

The Review

What a humorous dark comedy! The author does a great job of creating a one of a kind horror story that captures the essence of films like Sharknado while also bringing an even balance of humor and horror to the narrative. 

The characters were well rounded and unique for a story set in the dark comedy genre. While given enough depth to care for them, the author did a great job of crafting the characters to give room for the ever-growing threat of the zombie turkeys and the hilarious circumstances that brought these creatures to life. 

The Verdict

A humorous, well-written and evenly paced read/listen, the audiobook version of author Andy Zach’s “Zombie Turkeys” is an instant hit! The first in the Life After Life Chronicles series, the book keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The narrators do an excellent job of capturing the characters and their personalities, and readers will not be able to get enough of this amazing audiobook. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 9/10

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About the Author

Having conquered paranormal animal humor in his first series, Andy Zach launches into middle school superhero genre with Secret Supers. Four disabled seventh graders all get superpowers. Who knew a disability could be so useful for hiding a superpower? But the four friends, Jeremy, Dan, Kayla, and Aubrey confront problems that can’t be solved by superpowers.

With his first book, “Zombie Turkeys” Andy blazed new ground in paranormal humor. The second book in his Life After Life Chronicles, “My Undead Mother-in-law” expands the zombie plague from turkeys to humans, with hilarious results. You can find both volumes on Amazon Kindle, Createspace print, and Audible audiobook editions.

Not content to keep in zombies earthbound, Andy puts them afloat in his third book, “Paranormal Privateers”. Just when you thought every funny zombie trope had been explored, new humorous horizons open up. You can get “Paranormal Privateers” in Kindle and print formats. The audiobook is available now on Audible.

Andy Zach was born Anastasius Zacharias, in Greece. His parents were both zombies. Growing up, he loved animals of all kinds. After moving to the United States as a child, in high school, he won a science fair by bringing toads back from suspended animation. Before turning to fiction, Andy published his Ph.D. thesis “Methods of Revivification for Various Species of the Kingdom Animalia” in the prestigious JAPM, Journal of Paranormal Medicine. Andy, in addition to being the foremost expert on paranormal animals, enjoys breeding phoenixes. He lives in Illinois with his five phoenixes.

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