Book Review: The Stalker

Title: The Stalker (Secrets of the Home Wood #2)

Author: Julie Whitley

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QVCJBX

Summary

The secrets of the Home Wood, deep on the family farm, have spawned mystery and strife in the James family for generations. A mystical portal exists in the Home Wood. A few members of the James family have experienced the other side first-hand.

Two months ago, after finding his parents deep in the mysterious land beyond, Jonathon saved them from a coup by the evil half brother of the King of the Grue. He had every reason to believe the Three Kingdoms were at peace when his parents went back to fulfill their promise of rebuilding a school.

The arrival of a strange girl from the other side, lost and in need of help, soon shows Jonathon how very wrong he was. Jonathon must cross over again, and this time his grandfather and his best friend Marly are drawn in with him. What begins as a simple task of guiding the stranger back through the portal becomes a terrifying flight for their lives.

And the news doesn’t get any better.

The James family is about to be in the centre of an all-out war.

My Review

5/5 Stars

The very last thing that Jonathan wants to do is go through the portal again. Too many bad things have happened on the other side to people he cares about. Sometimes, decisions fall outside the scope of our control. He ends up going through the portal to help a woman in distress. What he doesn’t know is that his best friend has decided to follow him. The stakes are higher this time. Will Jonathan make it out alive or will he fall victim to the portal like so many before him?

I read book one some time ago, and now reading book two, it feels good to catch up with all my favorite characters again. What is supposed to be a quick and easy mission, quickly turns into a lengthy, dangerous journey. There’s a war looming between rulers. This time, there was much more danger, and I love seeing just how much all the characters developed because of it. Their journey introduces them to not only new friends but plenty of new enemies too. 

The Stalker is a fantastic sequel, this entire series a must read for those who love fantasy, drama, and suspense.

Book Review: The Devil’s Gospel

Title: The Devil’s Gospel

Author: A.S. Coomer

Narrator: Sean Duregger

Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Devils-Gospel-Audiobook/B08LQML9XC

Summary

Biology Professor Kevin Ballard finds his quiet life rocked by a series of vicious mysterious events. First, his mother is slain in his childhood home. Then, his girlfriend (and research assistant) is kidnapped from their cabin, and he finds that the plant he’s studying is apparently being used in strange local rituals. To top it all off, the police think Kevin is somehow involved.

Who wants to wreck his life and why?

My Review

4/5 Stars

This book gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “pay for your sins.”

Kevin is a successful biology professor. Problem is, his parents, who were strictly religious, frowned on his chosen profession. Kevin doesn’t let it affect him much, until news comes of his mother’s brutal slaying. When Kevin goes back home, his girlfriend is kidnapped, and he fears the people who slayed his mother are responsible. When he finds his mother’s journal, things start to come together, and he doesn’t like the story that it all tells.

Although this was a rather short listen, it was an interesting take on horror that took religion and obsession to new and terrifying depths. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, but I love the psychological aspects behind the not knowing. The characters in this story were well-fleshed out and felt real. Especially the people in the church. The whole icy tone of the town really added to the worldbuilding and the suspense.

Narration was a perfect match to the story.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Book Review: Devil’s Gulch

Title: Devil’s Gulch

Author: Various

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087WSQRHJ/

Summary

It was all in the name of science. Now someone has to clean up the mess.


Stan Armstrong dedicated his entire life to science. Branded as a maverick and a risk-taker by his colleagues, his unorthodox experiments and outlandish theories of time and space resulted in loss of funding and ultimately, his termination from tenure at the university where he’d spent his entire career.

Stan’s insatiable quest to explore extreme hypotheses and to prove the unproven were matched only by his neurotic lust to peel back the mysterious layers of time and space to expose the hidden secrets of the universe. Determined to continue his work at all costs, he uproots the life he once knew, liquidates his assets and builds his own lab on a desolate twenty-four-acre rural property in Devil’s Gulch, Utah, no longer bound by government regulation or the prying eyes of small-minded administrators.

Whether born from his profound love for science, or his enormous ego, Stan unintentionally unleashes something sinister in Devil’s Gulch—something that was never meant to walk this Earth.

Sinister Smile Press presents Devil’s Gulch, a horror novel written by Claire Brown, Matthew A. Clarke, T.M. Morgan, Chris Wilkerson, Chisto Healy, Kayla Krantz, Jon Miller, T.M. Brown, Mark Young, Bridgett Nelson, R.E. Sargent and Steven Pajak.

My Review

5/5 Stars

 *Disclaimer! I am the author of chapter number six in this story.*

Devil’s Gulch is a collection of gory horror, eerie suspense, and supernatural badassery. From the very beginning, we’re introduced to this otherwordly creature, and we follow it on a journey around the small town of Devil’s Gulch as it wreaks all kinds of havoc. For me, the story was less about the people involved and more about the creature itself. To me, it was the main character of the story.

Each chapter features a different location and group of Devil’s Gulch residents that the beast must encounter. While the middle chapters all offered a simple “arc” of events in them, I thought they each added their own little magic touch to the book whether it be awesome characters, powerful descriptions, needed comic relief, or wonderful dialogue. I thought every author involved added something unique.

The ending of the book was beautifully done and was probably my favorite part. Seeing the survivors of previous chapters coming together in a final showdown against the beast for control of Devil’s Gulch was just plain awesome. Not to mention the creepy cliffhanger in the epilogue.

If you’re looking for something outside the box and you’re willing to give a host of different authors a try, this is the perfect sample of horror.

Book Review: Captive

Title: Captive

Author: Sara Schoen, Tayler Henderson

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F7ZWMRW/

Summary

Cassidy Archer has always been known as a good girl, someone who followed the rules and always put others first. She helped whenever she could, and even went out of her way when someone needed her. She had a bright future ahead of her despite her hard past.

No one could have imagined she would be ripped from her life and held captive against her will. Except, she’s not the only one.

Other girls, who were also snatched from their homes, families, and daily lives, now surround her. They are forced to live in cages like animals and can only hope to survive another day. Escape has proven futile, and many have given up hope that someone will find them.

The worst part is none of them know why they were taken. They have nothing in common, except they look similar. Excluding Cassidy. She doesn’t match his type—fair skin, blonde hair, petite figure—at all. She has no family, no one is looking for her, but she’s constantly reminded that she wasn’t meant to be here. She was taken because she jumped in to save her friend from being kidnapped. Although she was a mistake, just like the other girls she has to fight to stay alive, even if he doesn’t seem to want her. Despite his distaste for Cassidy, he keeps her around, and she can’t figure out why.

Whatever it is, it’s not good news. Cassidy can only hope to survive long enough to find a way out, but as each day passes, she’s losing hope—fast.

My Review

5/5 Stars

 For Cassidy, her best friend, Julia, is her entire world. After losing her family to a series of accidents, Cassidy would be alone without her. She would die to protect her, and that’s exactly how she ends up kidnapped alongside Julia. When they wake up, they find they aren’t the only ones who have been taken. There are other girls in cages, sharing traits that Cassidy doesn’t possess: blonde hair and fair skin. All they know for sure is that once a girl is taken from the basement, they do not return.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found myself thinking about it even when I set it down. From the very first page, I was left wondering what it was that was going to happen to these girls and why they were chosen. The kidnapper, David, is mysterious in the way that he handles his business. One thing is for sure though, he’s frightening. The bit about Cassidy’s past was interesting, and so is the fact that she stands out from the other girls not only for her looks but her personality. She has a strong desire to survive, and that sees her through some pretty tough times. While the other girls crumble and come up with plans of their own, Cassidy bides her time.

I didn’t see the ending of the book coming at all.

Twisted and dark. 

Perfect read if you want a book that will take you by surprise.

Author Spotlight: Kayla Krantz

cassandraparkerauthor

Kayla Krantz is a proud author, responsible for a number of fantasy novels, and is fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all-time inspiration, mixed in with some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror, but somehow drifted into thriller and fantasy. She loves the 1988 movie, “Heathers.” Kayla was born and raised in Michigan, but traveled across the country to where she currently resides, in Texas.

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Book Review: Kill for Satan!

Title: Kill for Satan!

Author: Bryan Smith

Narrator: Sean Duregger

Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Kill-for-Satan-Audiobook/B08LZWN8RF

Summary

2019 Splatterpunk Award Winner for Best Horror Novella

On the night before Halloween, a Satanic mass is held deep in the woods outside a small American town. Followers of the dark faith are assigned a mission in a message delivered by the devil himself. On Halloween, they must deliver a bounty of pure souls to their dark master. By killing virgins. 

As Halloween begins, so does the all-day horror movie marathon hosted by Count Victor von Gravemore on Channel 39. Many will be watching as real horror invades their lives and screams ring out all over town.

My Review

4/5 Stars

When a group of Satan worshippers are ordered by Satan himself to kill as many pure souls as they can, havoc descends on an unsuspecting town.

Plenty of blood and gore with each kill having a unique touch. It was interesting to see who exactly made it all the way through to the end. I was both pleased and surprised to see there were characters who didn’t. This is a great book to listen to if you’re having one of those days where you want to shut the world out. I binged it in one sitting.

Narrator had an even pace and good pronunciation that went well with the story. It was easy to tell shifts in characters.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.