Tag Archives: horror

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker Review

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

A half Reaper, Half-Shinigami warrior must find her place in the underworld and life as a whole while trying to earn the trust of the Goddess of Death in 1890’s Japan in author Kylie Lee Baker’s “The Keeper of Night”, the first in the series of the same name.

The Synopsis

Julie Kagawa meets Scythe in this captivating and evocative journey into Death’s domain as one soul collector seeks her place in the underworld of 1890s Japan. Book 1 of a planned duology.

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough yearns for the acceptance she has never found among the Reapers who raised her. When the Shinigami powers she can no longer hide force her to flee for her life, Ren and her younger brother—the only being on earth to care for her—travel to Japan and the dark underworld of Yomi, where Ren hopes to claim her place among the Shinigami and finally belong.

But the Goddess of Death is no more welcoming than the Reapers who raised her, and Ren finds herself set on an impossible task—find and kill three yokai demons, and maybe, just maybe, she can earn a place in Death’s service. With only her brother and an untrustworthy new ally by her side, Ren will learn how far she’ll go to win the acceptance she craves, and whether the cost of belonging is worth any sacrifice.

The Review

Wow, that was truly a captivating and visceral reading experience. The author has expertly crafted an original YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction horror tale that will not only entertain audiences but introduce many readers to the rich mythos that exists within Japanese folklore and the culture as a whole. The balance of Asian and European mythology that the author explores is great, but what really is amazing to see is how the European lore is very much a secondary component to the narrative, serving more as a stepping board for the character’s beginning arc rather than taking up the majority of the novel’s mythos. 

The characters were so unique and rich to watch unfold. The protagonist herself was interesting, as she really toed the line between morality and her dark origins the further and further she went on her journey. Seeing how her brother and this new ally of Ren’s served as devil and angel on her shoulders throughout this journey, highlighting the hardship of having others tell you who you are while you are in the middle of trying to decide that for yourself. 

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and emotionally driven YA Fantasy and action novel, author Kylie Lee Baker’s “The Keeper of Night” is a must-read novel for YA Fantasy and horror fans this fall! Incorporating truly chilling mythology and brilliant character growth, the shocking final chapter and cliffhanger of an ending will have readers on the edge of their seats, eager for the next entry into this amazing duology. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kylieleebaker.com/

Twitter: @KylieYamashiro

Instagram: @kylieleebaker

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56030267-the-keeper-of-night

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-keeper-of-night/9781335405661 

Porter Square Books: https://www.portersquarebooks.com/signed/signed-keeper-night-hardcover

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335405661

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-keeper-of-night-kylie-lee-baker/1138317760?ean=9781335405661 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Keeper-Night-duology/dp/1335405666/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+keeper+of+night&qid=1613326691&sr=8-2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kylie_Lee_Baker_The_Keeper_of_Night?id=6asJEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ph/en/ebook/the-keeper-of-night

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/dk/book/the-keeper-of-night/id1540957269

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Q&A with Kylie Lee Baker

Q: What was the hardest scene to write in The Keeper of Night? What was the easiest?

A: The opening scene was probably the hardest to write because I had to introduce a complex magic system. The Reapers control time, and that kind of power makes the story vulnerable to a lot of plot holes if you don’t word it carefully. It’s such a powerful tool that it raises the question of why there’s ever any conflict at all, or why any battle is ever hard for Reapers. I needed to address that very early on so the whole world wouldn’t fall apart, while still making the story move forward. 

The easiest scene to write was an argument between Ren and Neven, when Neven tries to dictate Ren’s identity, and Ren responds: “Why am I the only one with no say in who I am?” That was one of the first scenes I wrote, and it contains a lot of my raw feelings about how biracial people are treated. Very little of the dialogue changed from the first draft of that scene. The challenge, then, was to build up the rest of the book to bring the reader to the point where that question, and that very emotionally charged scene, made sense. 

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)?

A: I wouldn’t really call these hidden secrets, but a lot of details about the British Reapers are a huge nod to the Black Butler anime, which fans of that show might notice. For instance, the Reapers in The Keeper of Night are known for their poor vision, much like the Reapers in Black Butler who all have to wear glasses, which are important details in both stories. Neven’s love of cats came from Sebastian Michaelis, the titular character from Black Butler who is inexplicably obsessed with cats. Another reference (unrelated to Black Butler) is to Alfred Lord Tennyson–Ren often refers vaguely to themes in his poetry, but she’s talking specifically about a poem called “Love and Death” in which love defeats death, which is something she probably should have internalized a bit sooner. 

Q: What do you hope people remember about The Keeper of Night?

A: I hope people remember how complex, traumatic, and powerful Ren’s existence as a biracial character is. I hope that this gives people more respect for the uniqueness of biracial identity, and that biracial readers feel solidarity in their struggles. 

Q: Did The Keeper of Night have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: I listened to an acoustic cover of Sia’s “Elastic Heart” and Billie Eilish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” a lot when writing, because those songs reminded me both of Ren’s vulnerability and thirst for power. I also distinctly remember sitting in a coffee shop in Seoul listening to RM’s “Tokyo” while writing some of the first scenes in Japan. It has a very cold, lonely, wistful atmosphere that I tried to emulate. 

Q: What is your dream cast for The Keeper of Night?

A: This question is hard to answer, partially because I don’t often imagine real people when writing, and partially because the pool of mixed race white/Asian actors who you can discover through a quick Google search is much smaller than for actors of other races, not even taking into account things like age or face shape. The closest I can come for Ren is Pom Klementieff (who plays Mantis) with black hair. I know she’s Korean, not Japanese, but she also grew up estranged from that culture, much like Ren. Timothee Chalamet with blonde hair is probably the closest match for Neven, since I’ve heard a lot of people say he looks like he should have been a wealthy Victorian child, and Terada Takuya for Hiro–he’s very silly at times, and very sharp at other times, much like Hiro. 

Enjoy this Exclusive Excerpt from “The Keeper of Night”

chapter two

At the far edge of London, somewhere between nightmares and formless dreams, the Reapers slept by daylight.

The only way to enter our home was through the catacombs of the Highgate Cemetery, through a door that no longer existed. It had been built there long ago, when the Britons first came to our land and Ankou carved a hole in their world so that Death could enter. But humans had sealed it shut with layers of wood, then stone, then brick and mortar, all in the hopes of keeping Death out.

By the nineteenth century, humans had mostly forgotten about the Door and what it meant. Then, when the London churchyards began to overflow with bones, the humans had searched for a place just outside of London to bury their dead. By chance or fate, they’d built their new cemetery right on top of the Door. It turned out that Death drew all of us close, even if we weren’t aware of it.

No streetlights lit the path through Highgate at night, but I didn’t need them to find my way home. Before I’d even passed through the main gate, Death pulled me closer. All Reapers were drawn to him, our bones magnetized to the place of our forefather. As soon as I entered the cemetery, a humming began just under my skin, like a train’s engine beginning to whir. My blood flushed faster through my veins as I brushed aside the branches of winter-barren lime trees and low-hanging elms. My boots crunched shattering steps into the frosted pathways as I ran.

I stumbled through jagged rows of ice-cracked tombstones on uneven ground and through a village of mausoleums, finally reaching the gothic arched doorway of the catacomb entrance. The pull had grown unbearable, dragging me along in a dizzy trance as I descended the stairs into the cool quietness of damp bricks and darkness. The labyrinth would have been unnavigable if not for the fervent pull.

At last, my hands came out to touch the wall where the Door used to be, but now there were only damp bricks and an inscription on the arch overhead that read When Ankou comes, he will not go away empty in rigid script. I dug one hand into my pocket and clutched my clock, pressed my other hand to the bricks, then closed my eyes and turned time all the way back to the beginning.

Time flowed through the silver-and-gold gears, up into my bloodstream and through my fingertips, dispersing into the brick wall. Centuries crumbled away, the mortar growing wet and bricks falling loose. One by one, they leaped out of their positions in the wall and aligned themselves in dry stacks on the ground, waiting once again for construction. Objects were easy to manipulate with time, for I could draw from their own intrinsic energy rather than siphoning off my own. Rather than paying in years of my own life, I could borrow years before the bricks crumbled and quickly repay the debt when I put them back.

I stepped through the doorway and the pull released me all at once. I breathed in a deep gasp of the wet night air, then turned around and sealed the door behind me. The bricks jumped back to their positions in the wall, caked together by layers of mortar that dried instantly, the time debt repaid.

The catacombs beyond the threshold spanned infinitely forward, appropriated as resting places for Reapers rather than corpses. Mounted lanterns cast a faint light onto the dirt floors and gray bricks. It was almost Last Toll, so only the last Reapers returning from the night shift still milled around, their silver capes catching the dim light of the tunnels, but most had retreated to their private quarters for the morning.

I turned right and hurried down the block. The low ceilings gave way to high-arched doorways and finally opened up to a hall of echoing marble floors and rows of dark wood desks. Luckily, there was no line for Collections this close to Last Toll.

I hurried to the first Collector and all but slammed my vials into the tray, jolting him awake in his seat. He was a younger Reaper and seemed perplexed at having been awoken so unceremoniously. When his gaze landed on me, he frowned and sat up straight.

“Ren Scarborough,” I said, pushing the tray closer to him.

“I know who you are,” he said, picking up my first vial and uncapping it with deliberate slowness. Of course, everyone knew who I was.

He took a wholly unnecessary sniff of the vial before holding it up to the light to examine the color, checking its authenticity. The Collectors recorded every night’s soul intake before sending the vials off to Processing, where they finally released the souls into Beyond. He picked up a pen from his glass jar of roughly thirty identical pens, tapped it against the desk a few times, then withdrew a leather-bound ledger from a drawer. He dropped it in front of him, opened the creaky cover, and began flipping through the pages, one by one, until he reached a fresh one.

I resisted the urge to slam my face against the desk in impatience.

I really didn’t have time to waste, but Collections was a necessary step. I didn’t consider myself benevolent in times of crisis, but even I was above leaving souls to expire in glass tubes instead of releasing them to their final resting place, wherever that was. And besides, a blank space next to my name in the Collections ledger meant a Collector would pay a visit to my private quarters to reprimand me. The last thing I needed was someone realizing that I’d left before Ivy could even report me.

But when the Collector uncorked my fourth vial and held it up to the lamp, swirling it in the light for ten excruciating seconds, I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision.

The bells of Last Toll reverberated through the bricks all around us, humming through the marble floors. In this hazy hour between night and day, the church grims came out in search of Reaper bones to gnaw on. Night collections had to be turned in by then, while day collections had to be processed by the First Toll at dusk.

The Collector sighed as he picked up my fifth vial. “I’m afraid I’ll have to mark your collections as late.”

My jaw clenched. “Why.”

“It’s past Last Toll, of course,” he said.

My fingers twitched. The lamp on the Collector’s desk flickered with my impatience, but I took a steadying breath.

“I was here before Last Toll,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.

“According to my ledger, your collections still have not been processed,” he said, spinning my fifth vial in his left hand.

I sighed and closed my eyes. Of course, I knew what he was doing. Chastising a “latecomer” would earn praise from higher management. It was the easiest way for him to climb the ranks—to exert his power over the half-breed. He would be praised for his steadfastness and gain a reputation as a strict and immovable Collector, while I could do nothing to complain. I could explode his lamp and send glass shards into his eyes, but that wouldn’t make him process my vials any faster. The fastest way to get out of there was subservience.

“Forgive me, Reaper,” I said, bowing my head and dropping my shoulders. I let my voice sound timid and afraid. “I apologize for being late.”

The Collector blinked at me for a moment, as if surprised that I’d given in so quickly. But he looked young and power-hungry and not particularly perceptive, so I wasn’t too afraid that he’d see through my tactic. As expected, he sneered as if I truly had offended him, finally beginning to process the fifth vial.

“It’s a great inconvenience to both Collections and Processing,” he said, “though I wouldn’t expect a half-breed to understand the workings of the educated Reapers.”

The only believable response to his goading was humiliated silence, so I hung my head even further and tried to make myself as small and pathetic as possible. It wasn’t hard, because the memory of the night’s events was still wringing my heart out like a wet rag and my skin prickled with nerves so fiercely that I wanted to claw it all off and escape before Ivy could find me, yet here I was, brought to my knees before a glorified teller. I imagined being a High Reaper, being able to reach over and smash his face into his blotter and shatter his owlish glasses into his eyes for delaying and insulting me.

His lamp flickered more violently and he paused to smack it before finally finishing with my last vial. He placed all seven in a tray and pressed a button that started the conveyor belt, sending the souls down to Processing. The moment he put a black check next to my name in the ledger, I stood up straight and turned to leave.

His hand twisted into my sleeve, yanking me back.

I shot him a look that could have melted glass, but he only pulled me closer.

“There’s the matter of your sanction,” he said.

“My sanction,” I said, glancing around the office to see how many people would notice if I simply twisted the Collector’s neck. Too many.

“For your tardiness, of course,” he said, smirking sourly. From his position stretched across the desk, the lamplight caught in his glasses and turned them into two beaming white moons.

The standard punishment for failing to make curfew was a night on the pillory, hands and feet nailed to the wood and head locked in a hole that was just slightly too tight, letting you breathe but not speak. The other Reapers could pull your hair or pour mead over your head or call you a thousand names when you couldn’t talk back. But the worst part wasn’t the nails or the insults. It was the Reapers who did nothing but look at you and sneer like you were nothing but an ugly piece of wall art, like they were so perfect that they couldn’t fathom being in your place. And far worse than that was my own father and stepmother walking past me and pretending not to see.

“Come back at First Toll,” the Collector said. “We’ll find a nice place to hang you up by the Door.”

It took every ounce of restraint I had left to keep my expression calm. This was the part where I was supposed to say, Yes, Reaper, and bow, but he was lucky that I hadn’t smashed his glasses into his face with my fist.

As if he could smell my defiance, he pulled me closer. His glasses fell out of the lamplight, revealing a deep frown.

“Scrub that look from your face,” he said. “Remember that I’ll handle your collections in the future.”

The future, I thought.

Luckily, I didn’t have a future.

The light bulb flashed with a sudden surge of power, then burst. Glass shards rained down over the desk, forcing the man to release me as hot glass scored his hands. Some of his paperwork caught fire, and he frantically patted out the flames with hands full of shards.

“Yes, Reaper,” I said, bowing deeply so he wouldn’t see my smirk as he sputtered about “bloody light bulbs, I knew we should have kept the gas lamps.”

Then I turned and rushed off to the West Catacombs.

Excerpted from The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, Copyright © 2021 by Kylie Lee Baker. Published by Inkyard Press. 

Interview with Tamel Wino

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

– I stumbled into writing in elementary school. Everyone in class had to write a poem, in celebration of Independence Day. I was shocked and thrilled that my poem was one of the very few that got picked to be submitted to a local newspaper agency. It was never published but ever since then, I started writing and experimenting more. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book

-I’m a big fan of ‘the Moth’ podcast. One of the episodes is about a female African writer who had to move heaven and earth just to publish her book. That truly inspired me to publish my own book.

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

-I want the readers of my book to walk away with gnawing uneasiness. Realizing the vileness that lurks within certain people. And wondering what if.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

-I’ve been reading horror for as long as I can remember. Growing up with and devouring the works of the lords of terror (King, Koontz, Barker, Poe, etc.) immensely influence my own writing.

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

-It’d be really intriguing to probe more into their motives, intentions and turning points.

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

-I’m never been very active in social media. Just really started using it recently. Instagram is my preferred platform.

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

-Perfect first drafts don’t exist. Everybody has great stories to tell, more often than not, it’s down to timing, luck and perseverance to fish them out.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I see myself exclusively writing short-form fiction. Currently working on my third collection in the same vein as the first two.

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic shows and traveling.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekleipsis29/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ekleipsis29/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ekleipsis29

Website: https://ekleipsis.ca/

https://books2read.com/links/ubl/38dQwZ

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Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft by Bill Richardson Review

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

A chance at finding some semblance of security and newfound purpose in his life takes a dark turn when Dr. Max Heller must lead a ragtag group of people against malevolent entities in author Bill Richardson’s “Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft”. 

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The Synopsis

21st CENTURY LOVECRAFT

A terrifying evil wants to enter our world, and Dr. Max Heller and the Hell Fighters are the only ones who can stop it. Heller is a man of science but when he stumbles upon something that defies all logic, he must put aside his old ways of thinking and plunge into the unknown.

In the tradition of HP Lovecraft comes a tale of cosmic horror that will have you on the edge of your seat. There are things in the universe beyond our understanding, malevolent entities of immense power. Can Heller and a ragtag group of townspeople prevail against such beings? Find out in this gripping tale filled with horrors more frightening than any nightmare.

The Review

This book hits readers immediately with a punch! The author brilliantly alternates the pacing according to the atmosphere of each chapter, slowly introducing readers to the protagonist before unleashing all hell on him and forcing him into a shocking fight for his life. Honestly, some of the most compelling reads and even films/shows that have drawn me in over the years tend to be cosmic horror. From classic H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King’s The Mist and even more modern tales like Stranger Things, the combination of exploring what lies just beyond our universe and the fight for hope and life in the face of overwhelming horror is so highly creative and vastly open for new stories, and this author has found the perfect take on this iconic storytelling device.

What really stood out to me was how much humanity the author was able to infuse into this cosmic horror adventure through such strong character development. A truly great horror story infuses the narrative with emotional storytelling through personal character growth, and the author did this brilliantly, especially with protagonist Max Heller and supporting characters like Lydia and the Hell Fighter Club. These personal and emotionally-driven character interactions not only opened up the mental and emotional journey they were on but also did a great job of bringing thought-provoking concepts and scientific theories such as other dimensions/universes into the conversation while delivering a chilling and haunting atmosphere. 

The Verdict

A chilling, horrifying, and entertaining Lovecraftian-style horror thriller, author Bill Richardson’s “Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft” is a must-read horror story this fall season, and one of 2021’s best horror reads overall. Brilliant character development, shocking twists, and turns as the mythos of this haunting world is developed, and an open-ended finale that both closes a chapter in the character’s lives and leaves open the possibilities for more, this is a novel readers do not want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Most people want you to be just one thing, but unfortunately I’m not. I work in many genres, many media and many voices. I’m an award-winning filmmaker, an artist, playwright, poet and author. I do humor, horror, poetry, history and more. I create work that is serious, uplifting and explores important questions and I do things that are just pure entertainment. Some of the things I’ve done have been deep and thoughtful, and some just plain silly and fun. If there is a unifying thread, it is that I am a storyteller. And one of the main functions of stories is to aid us in making sense of the world. Stories help us deal with things we are frightened of – whether that’s a creature in the night or death. Stories also help us deal with the cares of life by understanding them or just being distracted from them. Our lives are varied and complex. At times we are happy or sad, challenged or victorious, high or low. So it is not surprising that the things we create should reflect that complexity and diversity. That’s how it is with me. Now if you want information on some of my specific accomplishments then just keep on a readin’.

As a filmmaker I’ve produced feature films, documentaries, commercials and TV series. I’ve appeared on numerous national TV shows including CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, American Pickers, Nat Geo’s Diggers, Discovery Networks’ Blood Feuds and America: Fact or Fiction and the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum. My films have been used as teaching tools at such prestigious universities as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and Marquette, and are part of the U.S. Library of Congress holdings. I’ve been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and hundreds of other newspapers. I’ve published fiction and non-fiction through Random House and other companies. I’ve been a featured speaker nationally and internationally. My work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and I’ve done covers for books, magazines, movies and graphic novels. I’ve even appeared onscreen in four internationally distributed feature films.

https://bilrichardson.com/

Ékleipsis: the Abyss by Tamel Wino Review

TRIGGER WARNING: SOME STORIES MENTION OR INCLUDE THEMES OF SUICIDE, ABUSE, AND BODILY HARM. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Author Tamel Wino returns with six new stories of desperation and destruction as humans find themselves nowhere to turn other than downward in the upcoming short story collection, “Ékleipsis: the Abyss”. 

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The Synopsis

The seed of evil has been planted …

What will happen when its roots take hold?

Ékleipsis: The Abyss is the second short story collection by the award-winning author.

Tales of depravation and insanity are woven together with unrelenting style and depth, scrutinizing human nature’s degeneration when compromised by tragic, vicious circumstances.

These complex, wretched individuals and the irremediable conditions they are desperate to claw out of—or into—invoke the unfathomable question: What devastation are we truly capable of when left with no way out but down . . . into the obscurity of the abyss?

The Review

Such a fascinating and engaging read. The author has done a brilliant job of following up the first collection of short stories with new tales of darkness and desperation that really delve into the darkest parts of human nature. The author’s ability to draw out this theme in each story while maintaining a healthy dose of haunting atmosphere and emotional character development was amazing to read. 

The twists and turns the author employs throughout this narrative are what will really wow readers. Each story features a truly gripping and gut-wrenching narrative that shows just how far people who are pushed to the brink are willing to go to fight and claw their way out of a situation. These stories are not the rise and victory of a hero, but instead a reflection of the chilling world we are living in today, and how unexpected meetings and moments in life can take truly drastic turns.

The Verdict

A brilliant, chillingly creative, and entertaining yet haunting read, author Tamel Wino’s “Ékleipsis: the Abyss” is a must-read collection of horror and thriller reads. Perfect for the arrival of the fall/spooky season, readers will be both emotional and enthralled by the author’s creativity and passion that radiates throughout each story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic shows and traveling.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekleipsis29/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ekleipsis29/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ekleipsis29

Website: https://ekleipsis.ca/

https://books2read.com/links/ubl/38dQwZ

Gaslight Paradise by Walrus Review

Three people discover how far they would go to live forever as they discover the sinister motivations behind an innocent seeming party in author Walrus’s “Gaslight Paradise”.

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The Synopsis

What would you do to live forever? Three very different people contemplate this question after it is posed to them at a lavish party where everything is more sinister than it seems.

The Review

This was the perfect fusion of otherworldly fantasy, historically-driven sci-fi, and old-time mystery thriller horror stories all in one delicious literary bite. The authors known as Walrus have perfectly captured both a humorous tone amongst the cast of characters and their interactions with one another and a haunting note of terror in the spine-chilling behavior of the “party hosts”. 

The mystery of the doors that take the trio of protagonists to this “party” is inviting and entertaining, to say the least. The author’s ability to translate fantasy, horror, and sci-fi in a mature and adult way was great to see, as so many stories delve into the YA world for these genres that getting a more adult turn in this genre was a breath of fresh air. 

The Verdict

A heart-pounding, chilling, and engaging sci-fi and fantasy read, authors Walrus and their book, “Gaslight Paradise” is a must-read novel. The story is invigorating and does a great job of adding a new twist on the class thriller-mystery genre. The shocking revelation of this party’s origin will stay with readers long after the book’s end, and the cliffhanger of an ending is open-ended enough for fans to want more but mysterious enough to be a brilliant conclusion as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Walrus was once believed to be an urban legend. Very little is known other than Walrus is said to sleep very little, eat very much, and write far more than is healthy for the normal mind.

To bestow a great story on the world is Walrus’ only wish.

https://mindofwalrus.weebly.com/

Interview with Author Noelle Ihli

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


I wrote and edited for other people long before writing under my own name. But after fifteen years in marketing content and editing (all while hurrying home to finish the latest thriller or horror novel on my nightstand) I decided it was time to tell my own stories.  

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I can’t get enough of scary things. And that includes haunted houses. The effects are sometimes so real that I couldn’t help but wonder if these attractions could be a real target for the right sociopath. If I screamed for help, would anyone really notice? After all, everyone around me was screaming. A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to a sprawling outdoor haunted attraction in Albion, Idaho (the inspiration for The Thicket“). The old buildings and history were supremely creepy. And there’s this image burned into my mind of a security officer looking down at his phone while a person with a chainsaw chased a screaming girl around the dark campus. They were actors, of course. But the screams sounded real to me. And of course, nobody did a thing. Because we all trusted it was part of the fun. 

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


Sometimes there’s a very thin line between our fascination with horror and reality. One person’s scary story is another person’s actual nightmare. And in this novel, the two sides of this dynamic intersect: Norah’s horrifying tragedy becomes this mythical, exciting draw for horror-lovers and thrill seekers who want to attend the “real” haunted house.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve loved scary stories for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I checked out every single book in the library’s “Scary Stories” section (there weren’t that many; it was an elementary school). And I’ve been reading horror and thrillers ever since. That said, I’m a total wimp and I check my locks three times every night. 

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

That’s a hard one. I love Norah so much, so I’d have to choose her. But what to ask? I’d really like to know (given the scene at the cemetery) if Norah and Taylor rekindled their friendship. 

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


Facebook is still such a great place to connect with other amazing authors and readers. I’m gathering the courage to venture onto BookTok (so watch out!) but for now, Facebook is where I’m at! 

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


Just do the next thing. Don’t let the distance between where you’d like to be and where you are keep you from just taking the next step. 

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m hard at work on my next thriller/horror novel. Look for it in early 2022! 

About the Author

Noelle’s two great passions are murder and horses (separately, never together).

Noelle is a boy-mom to Luke and Max, and a cat-mom to Michelle. When she’s willing to wear pants (which is less often than she aspires to wear them), she can be found in mom jeans. Her husband Nate is the best person she knows.

Grolar: Half Grizzly Half Polar Bear by Thorsten Nesch Review

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

When a child reveals a discovery to their parents near the edge of the woods, the family discovers a darkness threatening to overtake them all in author Thorsten Nesch’s “Grolar: Half Grizzly Half Polar Bear”.

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The Synopsis

Grolar:

half grizzly bear, half polar bear

Jon lost his job in Vancouver and finds work at a small gold mining camp. His wife and his young son join him. When the toddler shows them what he had found near the tree line, they know, there is something dark waiting for them.

The author Thorsten Nesch lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He is an award-winning and traditionally published author. His novels are read in schools in Europe.

The Review

A truly gripping and chilling horror and thriller, author Thorsten Nesch expertly makes his way from YA into the adult mystery and suspense genres. The true terror that brings the horror genre into this narrative is the real-life inspiration for the “monster” of the novel, the self-titled Grolar. The descriptive imagery the author infuses into the narrative really brings this terrifying animal to life, but the way the author delves into the mind and behavior of the beast is what gives weight and gravity to the situation for the characters. 

The thing that fascinated me was the way the author managed to balance the narrative with more intimate and gripping personal drama. The characters, their fractured bonds, and the motivations each had for being at the site of this book’s main setting really elevated the danger and fear that the bear’s attack left on them all as the narrative progressed. 

The Verdict

A memorable, frightening, and entertaining read, author Thorsten Nesch’s “Grolar” is a must-read novel! Fans of the horror genre and creature-feature style narrative will absolutely become enthralled with this story. This novel is for the Canadian wilderness what Jaws was for the ocean. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Since 2014 I live in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

My stories received literary grants and awards nationally and internationally. In the last years I did more than 1500 readings in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and on two cruises.

My first novel was nominated Best German YA Debut and I won the Hans-im-Gluck-Award 2012

Jury: „His style is a stroke of luck for literature“

http://thorstennesch.com/

The Thicket by Noelle Ihli Review

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

A young woman struggling with the loss of her brother in a heinous crime returns to the place he lost his life, a haunted attraction in their small town, in hopes of discovering what exactly happened to her brother. However she isn’t the only one, as thriller seekers hoping to keep the place open arrive, as does the mystery killer who caused the chaos in the first place, in author Noelle Ihli’s “The Thicket”.

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The Synopsis

Would you recognize a real scream on Halloween?

That’s the question haunting Norah Lewis.

She can’t shake the guilt that’s stalked her since the night her brother was murdered. She heard —and ignored—his last screams. Just like everyone else at the Thicket, a haunted attraction in tiny Declo, Idaho.

But as Halloween approaches, Norah’s personal tragedy is overshadowed by a media circus. Parents’ groups and PTAs lobby for a shutdown while thrill seekers far and wide clamor for a chance to visit the notorious haunted attraction.

Many of Norah’s classmates eagerly plan a visit. And, reluctantly, so does Norah, who is driven to retrace her brother’s last steps.

But the man in the grainy security footage whose masked face is plastered across the news hasn’t chosen the Thicket at random.

And, like Norah, he’s planning a return visit. 

The Review

What a truly amazing and inviting horror read! Horror fans everywhere will love this intricately detailed and plotted thriller. The author does a great job of painting an image of the narrative in the reader’s mind, delving into our modern world’s obsession and love of all things terrifying and macabre. As a fan of haunts myself and with friends who run a haunted attraction, I could relate to the life and atmosphere of these attractions clearly. 

It was the atmosphere and characters that really drew me into this narrative. The author managed to capture the unique mindsets of teenagers who have trouble thinking past their own needs or desires, while the chilling mind of the killer and what created his need to kill were both fascinating and haunting. Nora will break your heart, as she evolves over time from a former moody teenager who is faced with regret and pain at her brother’s loss, to a horror heroine facing her brother’s killer head-on. 

The Verdict

A memorable, engaging, and chilling horror/thriller, author Noelle Ihli’s “The Thicket” is a massively entertaining novel of 2021, and a great first novel in the author’s fictional writing career. One of my top choices for the horror novel of 2021, this novel will stay with you long after you have read it, and the author perfectly captures the tone and feeling of tension that both the haunt and the killer bring into this narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Noelle’s two great passions are murder and horses (separately, never together).

Noelle is a boy-mom to Luke and Max, and a cat-mom to Michelle. When she’s willing to wear pants (which is less often than she aspires to wear them), she can be found in mom jeans. Her husband Nate is the best person she knows.

Pretty/Ugly by Jennifer Anne Gordon Review

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

Two people struggling with loss and loneliness must face a dystopian nightmare in author Jennifer Anne Gordon’s “Pretty/Ugly”. 

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The Synopsis

Pretty/UglyInteritus: noun. ruin; violent/untimely death, extinction; destruction, dissolution.

Omelia fills the empty place in her heart with Instagram clicks, likes, and subscribes, hiding the scars of grief under a mask of makeup, cloaked in an online personality. She yearns to be someone new: a girl in a magazine, a character in a book, a beauty queen. Anything not to feel, to be numb, but the sharp pain accompanying the red spot on her face cannot be ignored. Nor can the black, spindly tarantula-like vines that creep up the side of her face and the fever she spikes, forcing her to confront the fact that the person she has become may not be who she is at all.

Dubbed ‘the New JFK,’ Sam is the heir apparent to a powerful but emotionally distant political family, living the life he neither dreamed nor wanted. He sleepwalks through his days filled with self-loathing, rage, boredom, and an ache under his heart that reminds him that he is not complete. He is roused from slumber when a political scandal erupts that coincides with the end of the world. Too many Adderall and Old-Fashioneds leave Sam wondering, is he crazy or haunted? When lives are emotionally ended in childhood, it takes an apocalypse to see the ephemeral beauty of living again.

The Review

Another fantastically haunting and memorable read from author Jennifer Anne Gordon. The story fits perfectly into the pandemic era we’ve all gone through this past year and a half. The chilling setting of a dystopian world that has ended after a pandemic really brought the horror aspect of this novel, gripping the reader in a story that captured the suddenness and quick pace that an illness can take the world. 

The characters really brought the heart to this narrative. The protagonists, in particular, two very broken and lonely people who find themselves living lives not their own, really speaks to the idea of isolation and public perception versus reality. The losses they share and the terrifying way they meet one another turns their tale of survival into one of personal connection and hope. 

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The Verdict

A gripping, engaging, and emotional tale of horror, survival, and rediscovering life again, author Jennifer Anne Gordon’s “Pretty/Ugly” is a must-read horror novel of 2021. It perfectly captured the raw emotions and fear that so many have felt over the course of this pandemic and the isolation and loss that can come from it. The stories haunting end and visceral writing does a great job of leaving glimmers of hope and life mixed into this terrifying world, leaving readers wanting more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jennifer Anne Gordon is a Gothic horror novelist. Her work includes Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) which won the Kindle Award for Best Horror/Suspense for 2020, and From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel book 1), and When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel book 2).

She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer is one of the hosts as well as the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network, as well as the Co-Host of the You Tube Channel “Talk Horror to Me”. She had been a contributor to Ladies of Horror Fiction, as well as Horror Tree.

Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.

She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.

She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a comic book dealer, a painter, and burlesque performer and for the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.

When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’ ok these are not great tricks.) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.

She is a Leo, so at the end of the day she just thinks about her hair.

https://www.jenniferannegordon.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/pretty-ugly-by-jennifer-anne-gordon