Tag Archives: horror

Wolf at the Door by Joel McKay Review

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

An attempt at a lovely Thanksgiving dinner takes two drastic turns as family drama erupts and a deadly encounter with a werewolf throws the entire dinner for a loop in author Joel McKay’s “Wolf at the Door”. 


The Synopsis

All Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad for her no one else wanted to be there. By the time the turkey is carved, old grievances, bad behavior and crass remarks have transformed her dinner party into a disaster. And then a werewolf shows up to do some carving of its own.

Wolf at the Door is a fast-paced, absurdist take on modern creature horror, levering humor and action to highlight how one family comes to grips with what really matters in life.

The Review

This was one of the most unique and charismatic dark comedy horror novels I’ve read in years. The clashing dynamics between this cast of characters immediately stood out to me above the monstrous aspect of the narrative. The unique tensions and awkward moments that the holidays lend to themselves in a family dynamic or large dinner gathering is iconic comedy gold, (looking at you, Christmas Vacation), and the use of this dynamic between this cast of characters gave some heart and humor to the characters who find themselves caught up in this horrific nightmare. 

The blend of unique setting with the holiday dinner theme and blood-chilling horror made this story shine so brightly. The juxtaposition of how the holidays can bring out the worst in some people, especially those with underlying tensions, and the explosive entrance of this werewolf attack made this such a gripping and brilliantly creative storytelling device. Yet the author also did a great job of capturing the horror aspect of the narrative too, building upon the classic and iconic “creature feature” genre and adding a depth of character to it to make those bloody scenes more impactful.

The Verdict

Haunting, chilling, and entertaining, author Joel McKay’s “Wolf at the Door” is a must-read horror comedy. The story works well as a short story or novella, and yet hits the reader with an impact that can be felt from a novel or even a film script, bringing a greater sense of imagery and atmosphere that keeps the reader invested in this story as the narrative takes off. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Joel McKay is an award-winning writer and economic development professional. He calls Prince George, B.C. home, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Wolf at the Door is his first novella. His most recent published fiction was the short story Number Hunnerd in Tyche Books’ anthology Water: Selkies, Sirens and Sea Monsters.

The inspiration for his fiction is drawn from the landscapes and people of British Columbia, particularly the province’s vast, untamed and often misunderstood north. It’s the small towns and the people who call them home that inspired the good ol’ boys featured in Number Hunnerd, or the cool, crisp evenings and early sunsets of October that planted the idea for werewolves at a Thanksgiving feast.

Joel is passionate about Canada, its history and the history of the peoples who have called it home since time immemorial. As far as he’s concerned, New England has got nothing on Northern B.C. when it comes to perfect settings for supernatural tales.

In his spare time, Joel is an avid fly fisherman, mountain biker, hiker and reader. His work as an economic development professional, public relations specialist and journalist has earned him numerous national, provincial and local awards and recognitions.


Ghost Mark (Dark Dreams Book 2) by JP McLean Review

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

After surviving a kidnapping and a dangerous killer, a young woman who is able to dream walk into the past finds herself hunted by a man whom she had tried to help in the past, and she must take her most dangerous journey yet to fix the mistake she made in author JP McLean’s “Ghost Mark”, the second book in the Dark Dreams series.


The Synopsis

Jane’s nightmares are back—and this time, they’ve unleashed a brutal killer.

Jane Walker’s nightmares aren’t imaginary—they’re glimpses into the traumatic past; and the past can be dangerous, especially now that Jane’s protective birthmarks are gone.

Worse, she’s no longer invisible within her dreams—and learns this the hard way while using her power to incriminate a ruthless killer. Inadvertently revealing her ghost form, she launches him on a relentless hunt to track her down.

Even more disturbing, Jane knows this man. She once tried to use her power to save him from injury, but instead set him on a path of violent crime. Now, he’s targeted the man she loves, and Jane must keep one step ahead of this cold-blooded assassin before he gets rid of Ethan permanently.

Jane has one last chance to fix the mistake that altered this man’s history, but that means taking her most dangerous dream journey yet—one from which she might never awaken.

Ghost Mark is the second installment of the Dark Dreams Series by JP McLean, an author whose writing the Ottawa Review of Books calls “relentless and original.”

The Review

This was such a powerful and engaging blend of occult horror and urban fantasy. The adrenaline-pumping, action-packed narrative does a great job of layering the story with tension and atmosphere. One thing that really stands out to me about the author’s work overall that really was represented greatly in this read was the way in which the author is able to incorporate these fantastic and powerful elements into a very gritty and realistic modern-day world. The unique way that the narrative fuels this relatable setting and makes the more “supernatural” elements of the characters and their story direction was terrific to see come to life.

That uniqueness also translated so well with the character development as well. The evolution of protagonist Jane and her powers was incredible to watch unfold over the course of this narrative. I also loved the multiple POVs that the author used, allowing readers a different perspective from each character and how they are impacted by the events happening to and around Jane. The themes of violence in an urban setting, the impact of violence on women and children at an early age, and the power of dreams felt so pronounced and natural to the world the author crafted together, making this a true gem of a novel. 

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, author JP McLean’s “Ghost Mark” is a must-read upcoming occult horror and urban fantasy read, and the perfect next chapter in the Dark Dreams series. The balance struck between character growth and world-building in this narrative was inspired, and the twists and turns that the story takes and the cliffhanger of an ending will have readers hanging onto the edge of their seats, eager for more from this incredible author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your book or grab your copy on November 1st, 2022! 

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean is a bestselling author of urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers. She is a Global Book Award winner, a CIBA finalist, and has received honours from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and the Victoria Writers’ Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart and fun.

Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP has lived in various parts of North America, from Mexico and Arizona to Alberta and Ontario. JP holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. She had a successful career in Human Resources before turning her attention to writing.

JP lives with her husband on Denman Island, which is nestled between the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.

When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com

A Time When Demons by Holly Rhiannon Review

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

A rebellious teen witch hoping to avoid the patriarchal pitfalls of Wicca society finds herself drawn into a dark world after a magical prank goes horribly wrong in author Holly Rhiannon’s “A Time When Demons”.


The Synopsis

Life as a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

While it’s true that Aeres Cadogan has inherited a host of powers other young women could only dream of harnessing, these abilities come with a heavy burden: the burden of Wicca society.

Wicca society’s got it all: standards set by an ancient magickal patriarchy. Arranged marriages. Even familial expectations to care for dangerous paranormal anomalies which would otherwise terrorize the mortal population.

Rebellious and head-strong Aeres has managed to avoid these aspects of her society for 19 years.

But one fateful night at the club, a magickal prank goes terribly wrong.

When a man nearly dies, Aeres is plunged into a dark new domain where betrayal and death are all too real. To get out, she must harness her abilities and set her world right once again… all while avoiding an impending marriage and facing off against one of the greatest serial killers the world has ever known.

Trigger warnings:

Death and graphic depictions of murder

Self harm and near-death (for magickal, not suicidal purposes)

Drug and alcohol use, incl. mention of GHB

Temporary non-consensual imprisonment in a small space

The Review

This was such a rich and beautiful story. The author did an incredible job of balancing world-building with thoughtful character development. The imagery and rich settings the author brought to life on the page felt alive in the reader’s mind and allowed the mythology of the author’s story to feel more natural and engaging overall. The balance didn’t stop there, however, as the author found a great harmony between the horror and fantasy elements of the mythos with the YA drama and emotional character growth that made the reader truly care for this story. 

As someone who is greatly interested in different cultures, history, and true magick and Wicca society in my personal life, I was in love with the character development and mythos that the author built up in this novel. The way the magical society of Wicca reflected so many things in life, from family expectations to a more patriarchal society and the need to adapt and grow as a people so everyone feels represented, was so refreshing to see in this type of story. Aeres in particular was such a well-rounded protagonist, and the steady evolution of her character over the course of the story kept me entranced as a reader.

The Verdict

Creative, entertaining, and mesmerizing, author Holly Rhiannon’s “A Time When Demons” is a must-read occult horror and fantasy drama of 2022. The rich chemistry between these characters, along with the chilling atmosphere and shocking twists and turns in the narrative all lead to an explosive conclusion that will leave readers eager and wanting more from this incredible author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Holly Rhiannon is a life-long writer born in the frozen climate of Winnipeg, Manitoba. There, she spent her formative years hiding out indoors avoiding colder-than-Mars temperatures and tearing through multitudes of notebooks, constantly creating.

During her time in Winnipeg, she became certified in photography, attended a few years of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba, ran a successful alternative art event and self published one novella and two graphic novels.

In the vein of other artists hailing from this strange Canadian city, Holly attributes much of her skill to regular hibernation and introvert tendencies. Also like many artists from Winnipeg, Holly moved away.

The year 2015 brought with it the opportunity to relocate to Montreal – a move which brought fresh inspiration into Holly’s life and allowed her to hone and rediscover her creative brand. Most importantly, the field which has always been closest to her heart: literature.

These days, Holly is a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, a promoter and marketer of romance authors, and devotes as much time as she can to helping fellow writers succeed via her YouTube channel and Discord community.

A Time When Demons is her debut full-length novel for young adults.


Delta by Tom Starita Review

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

Tensions mount in one man’s life when he discovers a young girl locked in his basement soon after the loss of his daughter, claiming to in fact be his daughter, and he must decide if fate has brought his daughter back to him or if he is slowly losing his grip on reality in author Tom Starita’s “Delta”.


The Synopsis

Jason Carico is a grieving father, desperately trying to come to grips with the loss of his eight-year-old stepdaughter, Delta, who drowned two months ago.

But if she’s dead, then why is there a little girl claiming to be Delta locked up in his basement?

Desperately wanting to believe her, Jason attempts to live a normal life while hiding his nightmare below. His anxiety explodes when his late wife’s sister appears on his doorstep. Can he trust her? Would she believe him? And what will the police think if they ever find out the only African American man in town has a white girl trapped in his basement?

The haunting motto of Mother’s death cult tolls throughout the book, “The Universe has a plan, independent from the wants of man.” 

The Review

This was such a chilling and haunting read. The tension and heart-pounding suspense the novel’s narrative brings to life was the perfect way to marry both the horror and thriller genres that this story needed. The pacing the author set up perfectly allowed readers to develop this compulsive need to understand the circumstances surrounding this strange and troubling situation, as one minute readers see a tale of a man who has captured a young girl in his basement, and in the next a disturbing cult has set their sights on the same girl, and in the next a powerful force of nature threatens to converge on everyone at once.

This book’s narrative was definitely character-driven, and the characters really elevated the tension and atmosphere of this gritty suspense thriller meet horror read. The emotional pull of these characters, from Jason’s fractured psyche and desire to “protect” Delta, to Colleen’s struggle to right a grievous wrong and stop the madness she suspects is happening, really kept me invested in the narrative. 

The Verdict

Haunting, engaging, and thrilling, author Tom Starita’s “Delta” is a must-read horror suspense read of 2022. The chilling atmosphere the author’s use of imagery creates and the shocking twists and turns that leave readers on the edge of their seats, eager for a second book, made this story shine so brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Tom Starita is the author of three novels, “Two Ways to Sunday,” “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated,” and his latest “Delta.” When asked for her thoughts about him, Oprah Winfrey said, “Who?” Tom Hanks refused to respond to an email asking for a quote, and former Mets great Mookie Wilson once waved to him from a passing taxi.

Originally from Staten Island, NY, Starita has now found a home in Connecticut with his amazing wife Shannon, their beautiful daughter Chloe and their potato of a dog Lola. But, most importantly, he loves the New York Mets.


The Cannibal’s Guide To Fasting by Dana Hammer Review

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

After being infected by a disease that turns people into cannibals, a former scientist turned bodybuilder living in a government rehabilitation facility for cannibals must stop a powerful cannibals rights group that his recently infected brother has joined in author Dana Hammer’s “The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting”. 


The Synopsis

Igor Fenenko, a former research scientist, is a scary, scary man. Not only is he a massive bodybuilder with a spider tattooed on his face, but he has also been infected with Pestis Manducans — viral cannibalism. Igor tried to resist indulging, but his research specimens smelled so delicious. Who did it hurt, really, to nibble a corpse?

Caught, disgraced, and sent to a ‘rehabilitation’ center, Igor is now forced to live in a government-mandated Containment Center. He spends his days pressing wildflowers, growing blueberries, and doing his best to avoid human meat. More than anything, he wants a cure for the virus that has ruined his life.

Igor’s brother, Karl, is also infected with Pestis. But unlike Igor, he does not live in a Containment Center. He lives down by the river, where he runs a cannibal rights group. At first, the group seems harmless enough, if a bit creepy and overzealous. But when Igor discovers their evil practices, he is forced to intervene.

Aided and opposed by rich eccentrics who have their own agendas, Igor must use his brains and muscles to find a cure while fighting the urge to turn brains and muscles into a delicious lunch.

The Review

I absolutely loved this novel. The author did an incredible job of crafting a narrative that felt alive on the page. The character growth and dialogue felt very natural and captivating, albeit a little bit fantastic given the nature of the narrative. The atmosphere and imagery used to bring this story to life were so vivid in their delivery that readers instantly felt transported as if Igor was standing right there in the room with them.

Yet it was the themes the author explored that really allowed the plot to shine through. The use of themes that explore humanity’s propensity for judging and alienating an entire group of people based on preconceived notions about who they are and what they are capable of was felt heavily in this read, and it played so naturally with the very horror-centric idea of a cannibal virus. The way the author mirrors the world’s mistrust of cannibals both past and present with the way even Igor is perceived by others because of his appearance and his insecurities, as a result, to be viewed in a certain light really did a great job of reflecting this thought-provoking story device.

The Verdict

Haunting, impactful, and engaging, author Dana Hammer’s “The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting” is a must-read bio-horror meets literary fiction read. The authors writing style allowed for a good balance of humor and wit with the more serious and macabre aspects of the cannibal storyline, while also showcasing a very human and emotional narrative of the power of judging others and how it impacts the world as a whole. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today or pick up your copy on September 6th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Dana Hammer is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and screenwriter living in Anaheim, California.


As Fast As She Can by E.F. Schraeder Review

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

Two young women dive deeper and deeper down into a blood-soaked world of carnage as they give into their unquenchable new appetites in author E.F. Schraeder’s “As Fast As She Can”.


The Synopsis

Living in a quiet house on the outskirts of town, Ginger isn’t like

the other girls.

When she wakes up and discovers the unthinkable about her

adoptive parents, she runs away and goes on a rampage straight

to the only friend she has. Can she control what they both become?

With a violent, growing hunger and more questions than answers,

Ginger has nowhere to turn.

The Review

This was a shocking, pleasantly campy horror read! The humor and dark comedy aspects of the narrative are felt instantly, as the protagonist joke and go out for a “night on the town” as they make their way through a barrage of victims to satiate their appetites. And yet the charm and heart of their bond are felt instantly, as is their surreal approach to their newfound status as a zombie…of sorts. 

The mythos and world-building that the author was able to put together in such a short amount of time made this such a powerful read. The theme and atmosphere the author crafted out of this novel made this story feel like a late ’80s era horror comedy with an LGBTQ twist. The story moves quickly, and as the characters and world expand, so does the mythology surrounding their hunger and status in the world of the living, making this a shockingly delightful read. 

The Verdict

Haunted, entertaining, and brilliantly written, author E.F. Schraeder’s “As Fast As She Can” is a must-read horror novel that cannot be missed. The dedication to the genre and the almost cinematic way the story is written will keep readers invested in this story until the bloody end. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

As Fast as She Can - E. F. Schraeder

E. F. Schraeder has a new lesbian horror / coming of age book out: As Fast As She Can.

Living in a quiet house on the outskirts of town, Ginger isn’t like the other girls.

When she wakes up and discovers the unthinkable about her adoptive parents, she runs away and goes on a rampage straight to the only friend she has. Can she control what they both become?

With a violent, growing hunger and more questions than answers, Ginger has nowhere to turn.

Universal Buy Link


As Fast as She Can meme - E. F. Schraeder

Two dozen camps dotted the acreage around the five-mile perimeter of the lake. The trails that linked the parcels were scarcely marked. Off season, only half of the cottages would have guests, and even fewer would have phones or cell coverage. The land was big enough and remote enough for the girls to stay lost.

Cory and Ginger approached the first camp they saw and crept outside, peering into the windows to see what awaited them. Cory tripped over a rusted canoe leaning against the side of the house. As it crashed to the ground, a light flared on in the back of the house, illuminating the fifteen feet to the shed behind the house.

Cory yelped. “Shit.”

“Shh,” Ginger whispered. She set a hand on Cory’s shoulder. “They’ll think it’s an animal.”

“It is.” Cory bared her teeth and snarled. Cory crouched, her small frame hunched against the peeling blue paint of the cottage. Her slender shoulders pulled up, and the heavy gray hood of her sweatshirt drooped over her head. A shadow across her face accentuated the wide-eyed expression.

“You’re sort of hot when you’re hunting,” Ginger said. She bit her lower lip, immediately regretting the admission. Urgent, warm hunger pressed in Ginger’s stomach. She returned a low growl. “Let’s go,” she whispered, her voice hoarse.

They crashed into the front door, lunged onto the scrawny old man in the kitchen before he had time to squeeze the trigger of his shotgun. They tore the patchy pajama shirt from his lean body and shredded him in seconds.

“That’s it?” Cory asked. A dribble of saliva clung to her mouth as she licked her lips.

“Guess he lives alone.” Ginger wiped her face clean on her sleeve. They kicked through the house, looking for anything interesting to take. “Need a flashlight?” Ginger swatted the heavy silver flashlight that swung from a looped handle on a nail.

“No, I can see in the dark.” Cory paused. “Hey, I can see in the dark. Is that, like, a thing for us?” She smiled, her pupils returned to normal now that she’d fed.

“I guess. I don’t know. Not like I had a course in zombification before I got to you.” Ginger laughed. “How many camps are up here?” she asked.

Cory shrugged. “Hope there’s a bigger family or something we can sink our teeth into.” She rummaged through the old man’s desk drawers. She tossed stacks of papers onto the floor, they scattered in heaps. “Ah ha!” She pulled out a slim, golden-handled hunting knife. “Now this, I like!”

Ginger grabbed the knife, sliced a ‘Z’ shape into the air. “Nice, but I don’t think we need weapons.”

“Whatever. It’s still badass.” Cory tucked the blade into its sheath and undid her belt, slipping the knife holster into position at her waist. “Cool, right?”

“Okay, it does look badass. You’ve got a whole burnout serial killer look happening now.” Ginger clicked off the back porch light. “It’s really working for you.” She opened the door and waved Cory ahead of her.

“Hot, huh?” Cory winked as she walked by, her arm brushed Ginger’s hip.

Ginger let out a quick gasp before she could stop herself. Embarrassed that Cory had heard her and a little curious. She sighed. She wondered if something was going on between them, something way better than eating campers. Ginger bit down on the inside of her mouth briefly and giggled.

“Still hungry?” Cory asked.

Somehow, the question struck Ginger as flirtatious. She didn’t know what to say. I’ve got to be imagining this, right? Ginger shrugged, chasing behind Cory as she ran ahead in search of the next cabin. I mean, we’re pretty messed up right now . . .

For three hours, Cory and Ginger ransacked camps, devouring everyone they found, dragging the residents into the moonlight one at a time. The small camps around the pond were spread out, sparse enough among the trees to conceal the screams. As they gorged they left only blood and destruction in their wake.

Crickets fell quiet as the girls ran over boulders along the water’s edge. Their movements were smooth and silent. Cory stopped abruptly, balancing on one leg in a karate pose.

“>Ginger, do ya’ think the cops are after us?”

“Duh, of course they are! Or will be. Why?”

“I don’t know. It’s kind of awesome, that’s all.”

“Which part?” Ginger smiled.

“Well, the whole ‘killed my mom and took to the woods’ part, mostly. You know? Or is that like total after school special bullshit?”

“No, it’s way worse than some crap about bulimia or underage drinking.” Ginger’s laughter came in spurts. She wiped her brow. “I mean, I think we’re in a whole different league of problem children.”

“Hey, Ginger,” Cory said after a few moments of silence. “Aren’t we supposed to be like, all ‘uugh, brains’ and shit?” She waved her arms in front of her in a classic Frankenstein pose.

Ginger chuckled. This is perfect. The two of us against the world. What could be better? “No, I mean, I don’t know. We’re pretty quick though, right?” She pushed her hair out of her face and smiled.

“Totally!” Cory squatted low on the stone and then sprang up, kicking out one leg. “I’m like, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Zombie.”

Ginger fell over laughing. It took her a minute to realize Cory had run ahead to another camp. She pushed herself up onto her elbows and ran to the house. Cory was already inside by the time Ginger arrived.

“Look at him!” Cory shrieked with pleasure tugging the long, wavy blonde hair of a thin teenage boy out the front door. He struggled while Cory dragged him easily into the grassy yard.

A motion activated security floodlight clicked on and shone white in their faces. The boy wiggled and winced, tried to yank himself away from her, but he only managed to rip the sleeve off his shirt. Cory sunk her fingers deep into the joint of his rotator cuff and pressed her face into the wound until she felt the dull thud of bone crack against her teeth. “He’s cute. Let’s keep him! Can we keep him?” she squealed.

The boy howled in agony, blood soaking his chest.

“He’s not a puppy, Cory. You can’t just decide to…” Ginger paused, watching Cory pull the boy back into her mouth. Ginger squinted at the boy and nodded. She pursed her lips like she was about to speak, but her expression went blank. She cocked her head to a distant noise. What was that? Voices? Ginger focused. There was nothing in the yard but corpses. Ginger tugged a tangle of auburn hair into a ponytail. She rested a hand on one hip then said, “If you like him, flip him.” She was surprised she felt so amicable to Cory’s idea, but maybe it made a certain sort of sense. Why not a third? Maybe three’s a charm.

The boy wriggled beneath Cory’s clutch for a few moments then the spasms settled. He groaned as if he knew the lucky ones died. Cory tore off the other sleeve of his blood-soaked shirt and gently wiped the mess from his shoulder.

Cory pulled out her hand from his shoulder muscles clenching a soft chunk of wet flesh. She lowered her lips to the fresh wound with a smile then pressed her teeth into him. A satisfying gush of blood spurted into her mouth. She moaned in satisfaction.

“Take it easy if you’re keeping him.” Ginger flung a dismembered hand from the boy’s father at Cory.

Author Bio

E. F. Schraeder

E.F. Schraeder is the author of the queer gothic novella Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021), which was an Imadjinn Award finalist in 2022. Schraeder is also the author of a story collection and two poetry chapbooks.

Schraeder’s recent work has appeared in Lost Contact, Strange Horizons, The Feminist Wire, Birthing Monsters, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Lavender Review, and other journals and anthologies. Schraeder’s nonfiction has been included in Vastarien: A Literary Journal; Radical Teacher; the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom blog, and elsewhere. Awarded first place in Crystal Lake Publishing’s 2021 Poetry Contest, E.F. Schraeder’s work also placed as a semi-finalist in Headmistress Press’ Charlotte Mew Contest (2019). Current creative projects a full length manuscript of poems and an unruly collection of essays. An ex-professor and youth librarian, Schraeder holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. and advanced degree in Library Science. An Active Member in the Horror Writers Association and a Lifetime Member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, E. F. Schraeder believes in ghosts, magic, and dogs.

Author Website: https://www.efschraeder.com

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989787.E_F_Schraeder?f

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/e-f-schraeder-2/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/E-F-Schraeder/e/B014YYIOK0?

Other Worlds Ink logo

Cardinals by Ian Conner Review

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

Two Scottish women who hope to stop an ancient vampire that nearly killed them discover she is on a path of revenge against God himself in author Ian Conner’s “Cardinals”.


The Synopsis

Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire. Over the centuries, she created other vampires. There are also those that she left for dead but survived her attack without being completely turned into vampires. These survivors are called Cardinals. Scottish Countess Kellena Donnachaidh and Lady Suzette Allard, our protagonists, are among these cardinals. They are searching out Asherah for a final conflict.

Asherah has discovered a way back to heaven so she can exact her vengeance. Using the Amulet of Cassiel she can call the Flaming chariot of Israel to return to heaven and exact her revenge on God.

Now, 3000 years later, the Vatican and other groups are working to destroy Asherah and the vampires., fearing their own destruction if she ascends, simply want to stop Asherah using the Amulet of Cassiel to re-enter heaven. The race and intrigue to recover the Amulet is full of intrigue, betrayal.

A completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.

The Review

The author did such an incredible job of crafting a memorable horror read. The mythos and world-building the author did in this novel were incredible, truly capturing the ancient origins of the world’s most powerful mythological figures. As a longtime fan of all things vampire-related horror, I loved this new take on vampire lore, delving into mythology and spirituality to explore the supernatural origins of the creatures. 

It was so amazing to read about these characters. The character development overall was just superb, as it allowed each character to have a chance to showcase their respective personalities and storylines. I loved the depth of backstory and richness of the antagonist’s story in particular, as readers discovered Asherah’s origins as God’s wife and the horrors that befell her for questioning him. What I really loved in particular about her story was that she represented a trope that has existed in our own world for so long, and that is the world’s tendency to always put the blame on women for life’s problems. From the Salem Witch Trials to modern-day America, women have always been the figureheads for life’s great tragedies in people’s eyes, and it’s something that needs to stop. The story is the perfect reflection of how we can be the cause of a villain’s rise to infamy. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, haunting, and adrenaline-fueled, author Ian Conner’s “Cardinals” is a must-read horror adventure novel! The unique mythos the author crafts, along with the in-depth character growth and emotional connection that develops between the narrative and readers made this a stellar read that I couldn’t put down. Be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Isabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.

Conner has authored several other novels 

     Cooper’s Ridge  –  Science Fiction 

     The Long Game – Political Thriller

     The Price of Partisanship – Political Thriller

     Solaris  – Political Thriller

     Griffins Perch – Epic Fantasy

     Ghost Witch  –  Horror

After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal.  He finds writing a cathartic way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.

Conner can be reached at Ian@BlackRaptorBooks.com


Interview with Author David A. Neuman 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m not sure when it began – perhaps in another lifetime – but one significant event sticks in mind: when in year six or seven, the teacher asked the class to write an essay on a topic of their choice, much to the student’s mortal objections, except for goody-two-shoes. I wrote about a tree in a field and described it to the inch degree. And – ta-da! – received top marks. Whether it be a tree or shadows lurking within other dimensions, the urge to present folks with a doorway in which to escape remains my driving force. KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES, however, remained mothballed for a decade until a lovely ex-hippy, ex-school principal, and all-around good guy – Hi there, Brian Harris! – suggested that I get off my butt and do something about it.

What inspired you to write your book?

Part of my childhood was spent in a house where unseen guests strutted about, opening and closing all amount of the doors and windows and even went as far as rescuing me, if not the entire family, from potential disaster. Awakening one morning, freezing cold – as my folks had made the mind-numbing decision of us moving us into the Adelaide hills where night temperatures kept one in cryogenic status year-round – I was greeted by several oddities 1.) My electric blanket had caught alight during the night and had burned a patch in the bedsheets and mattress and 2.) The electrical cords feeding the blanket had been unplugged and pulled from the socket. The rest of the family were still sleeping blissfully unaware when this discovery was made. Oh – and by the way, it’s not true, you know? The dead… they can hurt you just as easily. And badly.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Ah – you know, that is both an interesting question as well as one which draws out a simple answer: we are all in this together, and when we all start learning that – if mankind as a whole ever will – we’ll discover regardless of sexual orientation, of gender and desires, of likes and dislikes, of the color of our skin or the gods we genuflect to, each and every one of us experiences pain, love, happiness, and sadness and by turning one’s back on someone in need only cheapens humanity.


What drew you into this particular genre?

The undying intrigue in what lies beyond. I believe I just about absorb every ghost-hunting doco, paranormal doco, and everything in between which can’t be explained. Yep – it’s pretty much part of my DNA and scares the pants off my lovely GP whenever I ask for a blood test and he gets the results! There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that screams at us to take notice – or suffer the consequences of ignorance.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Huh – I’ve never given that a thought. The characters were such an integral part of my life for as long as I was with them through their journey. I guess I would ask both Joshua and Leon why the hell they just don’t open up about their feelings for each other. I could also ask Bob and Sue if there were any substantial differences between Adelaide and California. And, by the end of the ordeal, I’d ask each and every one of them how they were going to approach the rest of their lives having survived the ravenous horrors of another reality.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Ha-ha-ha! I’m on LinkedIn which automatically hooks up to Twitter, but I don’t seem to be very good at socials. I feel very clumsy as if I’m soliciting people in some weird way. There’s a giveaway I’m involved in at the moment on Crave Books in both sci-fi and horror genres and it took me an age to post the link on LinkedIn. Therefore, I’m pretty much talking to myself… seriously, I have a number of followers, and if we all got together we could have a quaint dinner party. But – boy howdy – I’d love these special people to purchase Kaleidoscopic Shades and then post a review. Who knows, that might even kick-start things.


What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Find your style, and avoid following a fad. Be yourself and express yourself in your own unique way. And don’t be fooled by marketers once you’ve finished. Check. Double-check and then triple-check. Never pay a cent until you know what that marketer can truly do for you besides a bunch of meaningless promises.

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

A second novel is now complete in manuscript form after some 14 months and 70 hours a week. It’s loosely a sequel to KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES and, hopefully, breaks the stereotypical rules of sequels in that it explores far greater avenues without becoming lost in its own importance or merely running over trodden grounds. THE PENNY ARCADE is, once again, a thriller/horror that carries a hint of a psychological thriller. It’s primarily set in rural surroundings and focuses on the unworldly happenings taking place on Solemn Street. Situated on the very outskirts of a little township, it has a playground – with one helluva nasty reputation. The only visitors that roam it now are bloodless and don’t particularly care for the slippery dips and swings, leaving them as sad, abandoned relics, in preference for exacting revenge. Whilst a hitch-hiker from Earth’s beginning once again rises to the surface to satisfy its dark needs.


About the Author

Born in Adelaide, Australia, David A. Neuman was gifted a vivid imagination that continues to this day to distort memories of childhood. In the late-seventies, he left Norwood High School as an underachiever after his parents had moved from the burbs into the hills. Too easily distracted. Too ready to dream beyond the windows of the classroom, and journeyed from one college to another, graduating from Flinders University with a graduate certificate in behavioral science. Though his visible passion lay in lending a hand to others overcoming their physical and mental obstacles, he remained a dreamer.

Turning to write early in life to express himself and give his imagination a playground upon which to run, odd scraps became serious tomes about 30 years ago and would have remained mothballed when the suggestion was raised that he should do something about it, debuting Kaleidoscopic Shades – within Black Eternity two years afterward.

David continues to live in Adelaide, South Australia, where he remains a child at heart, accepting everyone regardless of their sexual orientations and their take on this big, fantastical universe – understanding that each and every one of us is in this together.

Kaleidoscopic Shades: Within Black Eternity by David A. Neuman Review

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

A father must take his son back into his haunted past years after a near-cataclysmic event nearly destroyed South Australia and the world once more hangs in the balance in author David A. Neuman’s “Kaleidoscopic Shades: Within Black Eternity”.


The Synopsis

Twelve years following a cataclysmic event that took civilization to the brink of no return, the Triplow family has finally found peace. Settling in Corona, California, has ensured that the past horrors and madness remain relegated to another time, another place.

On the morning of September 7th, 2022, that false perception is shattered when Bob Triplow is forced to take his son back to his past, and the horrors of childhood – a place truly out of this world – where he will struggle for sanity, while his son, a mere child of ten, will be compelled to make decisions upon which six billion lives depend.

The Review

I absolutely loved this story. It is a horror meets paranormal thriller mystery read that readers won’t get enough of. The world-building and mythology the author develops are so rich and captivating. The exploration of other worlds, shady organizations that meet underground, and the concept of time itself coming undone all blended together beautifully and naturally in this read. 

What stood out to me was the character-building that the author did in this story. The frightful emergence of Patrick Nesmith, aka the Man in Black, was certainly memorable, but what really was amazing to read was the author’s ability to create a group of friends who held a camaraderie and strength, with each member of the group finding their own unique trait that made them stand out. It reminded me of Stephen King’s writing, as it had a healthy balance of horror and world-twisting shocks with relatable and memorable characters. 

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, author David A. Neuman’s “Kaleidoscope Shades: Within Black Eternity” is a must-read paranormal thriller and horror read! The blend of mystery and high strangeness was very reminiscent of projects like the Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks, but as a major fan of Stephen King, I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, as well as some Easter eggs from King’s own works, whether purposeful or not, such as the “Man in Black” villain in both King’s Dark Tower series and this book, as well as the group of kids facing a great evil found in books like King’s It. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your own copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born in Adelaide, Australia, David A. Neuman was gifted a vivid imagination that continues to this day to distort memories of childhood. In the late-seventies he left Norwood High School as an underachiever after his parents had moved from the burbs into the hills. Too easily distracted. Too ready to dream beyond the windows of the classroom, and journeyed from one college to another, graduating from Flinders University with a graduate certificate in behavioral science. Though his visible passion laid in lending a hand in others overcoming their physical and mental obstacles, he remained a dreamer.

Turning to writing early in life to express himself and give his imagination a playground upon which to run, odd scraps became serious tomes about 30 years ago and would have remained mothballed when the suggestion was raised that he should do something about it, debuting Kaleidoscopic Shades – within Black Eternity two years afterwards.

David continues to live in Adelaide, South Australia, where he remains a child at heart, accepting everyone regardless of their sexual orientations and their take on this big, fantastical universe – understanding that each and everyone of us are in this together.