Book Review: Institutionalized: Stories of the Deranged and Demented

Title: Institutionalized: Stories of the Deranged and Demented

Authors: Richard Chizmar, Ronald Kelly, R.E. Sargent, Steven Pajak, Rebecca Rowland, Mike Duke, Scott Harper, Jill Girardi, Richard Clive, Jeremy Megargee, Janine Pipe, LP Hernandez, Scotty Milder, Renee M.P.T. Kray, Brandon Scott, David Rider, Asman Brian



Insanity has me by the throat. I wish it’d squeeze a little harder.

They call me crazy, but who are they to judge? I’m not crazy. They are. I’ve tried to reason with them, but they won’t listen. Yet. One day, they will hear me, and one day, they’ll be sorry.

This is no way to live, being locked up like an animal. And I’m surrounded by lunatics. The scary girl in the corner who hears voices, the burly bald guy who lashes out with violent tendencies, the quiet redhead who lights fires, or the Rob Zombie look-alike that is rumored to have murdered his entire family. Is this real or one sick and twisted nightmare I can’t wake up from?

Institutionalized is the latest anthology from the creators of The Better Off Dead series. This installment brings you stories of the mentally unbalanced, the damaged and disturbed, and the criminally insane. Some are locked up. Some are not. We recommend you sleep with one eye open.

With stories by Richard Chizmar, Ronald Kelly, R.E. Sargent, Steven Pajak, Rebecca Rowland, Mike Duke, Scott Harper, Jill Girardi, Richard Clive, Jeremy Megargee, Janine Pipe, LP Hernandez, Scotty Milder, Renee M.P.T. Kray, Brandon Scott, and David Rider.

Foreword written by Brian Asman.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Tales of madness galore!

I adore this collection by Sinister Smile Press. The variety of stories from creatures to slasher means it has a little something for everyone.

My top three favorites from the collection:

  • Out of the Box by Renee M.P.T. Kray

In this story, a woman finds a piece of her childhood after her mother passes away. A box. But not just any box. A box her mother used to seal away her imaginary friend. Who may not be so imaginary after all.

  • Lab Rats by Jill Girardi

A grad student uses rats to research the correlation between intelligence and diet. What happens when the testee becomes smarter than the tester?

  • Memory Eater by Jeremy Megargee

An elderly woman finds herself facing a creature who lives in her mind. Not just any creature, one that destroys memories and won’t stop until she’s lost everything that makes her who she is.

Book Review: Battle of the Immortals

Title: Rise of the Immortals: The Battle for Gritheim

Author: Anna Allen



Book one: Rise of the Immortals

In a world of rising magic, an unseen battle commences. The Gods of Gritheim release their instruments – for good and evil.
While many scoff at witchcraft and sorcery, Josse and Leonné have witnessed it firsthand. Thrown together by prophesy they must learn to wield their secret magic, to defend not only themselves but the kingdom of mortals. Wraiths, known as Drackarts, do the bidding of Guiscard D’Abernon and his sorceress wife, Orella, but the masters behind these puppets are the ones set on its destruction.
The Immortals of Gritheim are on the rise, seeking ultimate power and control; they care not how many thousands will be slaughtered in their path. Only the Redeemers stand in their way.
Josse and Leonné must overcome their dislike of each other, for their world is at stake.
For fans of thrilling epic fantasy that will keep you turning pages!

My Review

5/5 Stars

Compelling and powerful, Rise of the Immortals pulls you in from the very first page.

A story of good versus evil, ghosts, and magic come together to tell a powerful story full of vivid details and imagery. Though it is a fantasy novel, the author did a great job of introducing everything and everyone without long info dumps or bits of exposition. Important details were easily worked into the story, slowly building up the fantastic world her characters find themselves in.

I especially loved the magic system.

Josse and Leonne, the two main characters, are their own bit of fantastic, and I loved the way the author built the trust between them.

This book is a fantastic choice for fans of dark fantasy.

Grave Dangers is Out Now!

After a year of spreading the word, I’m excited to announce that Grave Dangers is live now on all your favorite book platforms! Snag your copy of this 1000+ page of creepy goodness for the limited time launch price of just 99 cents!

What’s dead doesn’t always stay buried.

Whether it be in a small town, an abandoned asylum, or a bustling city, no one is safe from the ugliest parts of human nature. A social media influencer, a college student, a detective – titles make no difference when death plays Russian Roulette.

Question is, who will be next?

Fourteen bestselling authors offer up their sacrifice in GRAVE DANGERS, a collection of thriller, horror, and suspense stories that will chill you to the bone and encourage you to double check that window lock.

Fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, and Joe Hart will love these heart-pounding, terror inducing stories!

Scroll up and one click today to lose yourself in the mystery of this limited edition thriller, suspense, and horror collection.

Authors included in this set are: Maegan Beaumont, S.K. Gregory, Kayla Krantz, Elena Blake & Killian Wrathmore, Melissa Keir, Jennifer Wedmore, Chandara Blackwell, Zaire Knight, J.C. Layne, Sheri Chapman, Spiro Griffith, Doyle Fawcett, and Lori Joseph

Book Review: Gross Out

Title: Gross Out

Author: Duncan Ralston



A brand-new extreme horror novel from the twisted mind that brought you Woom.

Revenge is on the program at this year’s Splatterfest convention!

Horror authors, critics, and fans from all over the world have gathered to share stories, enjoy each other’s company, and to take part in the yearly Gross Out contest, a fan favorite. 

But some attendees have arrived with ulterior motives. Clay Kayden, whose story at the last in-person Gross Out contest got him “canceled”, wants to tear down the convention from the inside. Moira Mead is desperate to impress her favorite horror director, who’s promised to option a story based on the weekend’s readings. And Clay’s former mentor, Guest of Honor David Ennis, just wants to find his muse again…no matter the cost.

In a weekend filled with violence and horror, no one will be spared from trauma, and only one author can reign supreme.

Gross Out features characters and situations from the novella Woom. While this not a direct sequel, it does continue Shyla and Angel’s story from that fateful night in Room 6 of the Lonely Motel.

WARNING: Do not buy this book if you have a weak stomach, if you’re easily disturbed, or if you’re looking for a light horror listen. THIS IS NOT THAT BOOK. Seriously. You’ve been warned.

My Review

5/5 Stars

For an extreme horror book, this story was a lot of fun. In a way, it felt like catching up with old friends, and it sort of was when taken into the account that some of Ralston’s characters from another book, Woom, had a role in this story.

I loved the shenanigans that each character got themselves into. This book was almost like listening to someone’s real convention experience. Loved every minute, especially the gross out shorts sprinkled throughout. They were creative and cringy and the perfect amount of gross.


Book Review: The Bodyguard’s Convenient Marriage

Title: The Bodyguard’s Convenient Marriage (A Second Chance at Love Book 2)

Author: M.L. Tompsett



Contemporary second chance at love
What does an independent, strong-minded ex-FBI woman have in common with a wealthy businessman-playboy?
A marriage of convenience.
What could go wrong?

✓ Action
✓ Drama
✓ Passion
✓ Action Fight scenes
✓ Love
✓ The need to strangle your brother-in-law with your bare hands…

Too busy for love. A woman scorned is deadly.

Three rules to stand by:
Don’t mix business and pleasure.
Don’t get involved with a client.
Don’t get married.

Never one for relationships, hard-working retired-FBI agent Essy Raiker has made it her mission to be the best bodyguard in the business. Complete the contract. Don’t get attached. Don’t fall in love. Rules to live by for a kid starved of love and abandoned into foster care. That is, until the day Declyn Bianchi hired her, changing her life forever.

More than bullets fly hot and fast when Essy faces her estranged husband.

Declyn Bianchi is fed up with his high society family controlling his life and the reckless antics of his trouble-seeking identical twin. Dekk’s prayers are answered in the form of a sinful-looking body—his new bodyguard, Essy Raiker.

Family is everything to Dekk. So, when their safety is threatened, he risks danger to save them. Then the family he thought he could trust betrays him, and he turns to his estranged wife for help.

Can Essy risk rejection and let Dekk in, exposing her fragile heart? Can Dekk reveal his feelings for Essy and protect his heart from breaking again?

Who is behind the attacks against the Bianchi family? And can they be stopped before everything Essy and Dekk value is lost?

Not all secrets remain dead and buried. Some lurk beneath the surface, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Passions burn deep in this second chance at love.

HEA is included, but, make sure to have the tissues handy.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Essy’s job in the FBI have seen her through many situations. Being ghosted by the man she married out of convenience isn’t one of them. When a plot to kill him and his brother comes to light, he finds his way back into Essy’s life.

I always love a compelling story with a strong kickass female lead. Essy is that and so much more. I loved her down to Earth direct thinking and the way she’s not afraid to take control of a situation. Her and Dekk’s rollercoaster attraction gave the story so many dramatic moments I had a hard time putting it down.

I couldn’t wait to get to the heart of the story and find out how many mysteries one family could truly possess.

Book Review: Drowning in Oceans of Black

Title: Drowning in Oceans of Black

Author: Brandon Ford



Minutes gone. Hours lost.

For Paula Carson, a living hell becomes all too real when she experiences unexpected blackouts. Without warning, her world sinks into a cavern of darkness, and she wakes screaming, icy cold terror pulsing through her veins, with no memory of preceding events.

As instances become more frequent, Paula seeks the aid of Dr. Maggie Butler, award-winning psychiatrist, who introduces her to the powers of hypnosis. Each session helps Paula piece together an ever-expanding puzzle. As she slowly finds the answers she seeks, Paula falls from a dreaming nightmare into a waking one, where she is forced to question both her sanity, as well as her willingness to trust those she’s closest to.

Drowning in Oceans of Black is a terrifying thriller which follows one woman’s battle for answers in a world where she’s lost all sense of control, and her body is no longer her own.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Woah. That’s the lasting thought I have after finishing this story even though it’s been days since I turned the last page. I devoured this book in one session because I couldn’t seem to put it down. It was powerful and gut wrenching, a real emotional cocktail.

When the book starts, we’re introduced to Paula who lives in a seemingly perfect world with her lover Dwight. The biggest issue she faces are the blackouts. Blackouts that have plagued her life for ten years. They terrify her to the point where she feels like her life is controlled by them. Getting to the bottom of what’s causing them will mean tearing her entire world apart.

Like always, my favorite part of Ford’s books is the gradual feeling of dread he weaves through the story and the way he takes such seemingly normal worlds and breaks them down into chaos.  

This story was particularly scary because trafficking circles are a rising problem and a real thing that anyone can fall victim to under the wrong circumstances.

A heavy thing to digest. This book really leaves the reader with the thought that you never really know anyone as well as you think you do.

The Sage is Out Now!

Guys, I’m excited to announce that The Sage, the final book in the Witch’s Ambitions Trilogy, is out now on Amazon.


The final battle approaches!

After joining the Elemental Coven, young witch Lilith’s eyes were opened to the truth that the Council has always been desperate to keep hidden. With only two Covens still standing, Lilith’s world is in danger of collapsing… and so is the Elemental Coven. After a mysterious illness begins to infect the Coven, witches are dying, and not even coven leader Willow’s power of resurgence is enough to save them.

After the Battle of the Grove destroys Lilith’s good leg and her ability to walk, she faces an internal war about her future that consumes her, dragging her further and further into the darkness. Willow is desperate to help Lilith find the light because Lilith isn’t just her sister—she’s the Elemental Coven’s last hope for survival. As the Sage’s ex-apprentice, Lilith is the only witch capable of taking down the ancient ruler.

As the war destroys the last of the covens, Lilith knows there is only one way to end the chaos for good—a final showdown against the Sage that only one of them will walk away from.

Start the series for Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Book Review: Mickie Mckinney: Troubles with Teamwork

Title: Mickie McKinney: Boy Detective, Troubles with Teamwork (Mickie McKinney: Boy Detective Book 2)

Author: R.L. Fink



Mickie McKinney is no longer Maple Ridge Middle School’s one and only private detective.
Now there is a certain blonde by the name of Sam Hayes to share the office with, and the cases, who
keeps giving away the candy! So when Angus McDermitt hires Mickie to help him ask Kailani
Groom to the school dance, Mickie sees it as an opportunity to work one last solo case. Too bad
for him, Kailani is the girl of his dreams.

My Review

5/5 Stars

A cute story about teenage detectives. I loved the characters and their world.

The mysteries were fun, and I love the way the author developed their friendship throughout the story. I hadn’t read book one before reading this one, but it works as a standalone, though I must say I’m curious now about book one.

All in all, this is a solid middle grade book.

Book Review: A Bouquet of Viscera

Title: A Bouquet of Viscera

Author: Bridgett Nelson



An overzealous vigilante, who sees her victims’ auras, finds herself in a very uncomfortable situation. A young woman, injected with a microchip in a futuristic America, develops unusual and grisly cravings. Four high school graduates end up on the menu of a giant, mutant sea creature. Diary entries share shocking and disturbing confessions…but who is the author?

Bridgett Nelson, a fresh new talent in the world of horror, makes her debut with this short fiction collection containing these stories and more! These gory tales of revenge and retribution are sure to terrify and delight readers in equal measure.

Before opening the pages of A BOUQUET OF VISCERA, be sure to take a deep, calming breath. Because these nightmare scenarios, and many others, are lurking under the covers and waiting just for you.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Macabre and intense, A Bouquet of Viscera is a fantastic collection of extreme horror. With plenty of blood, gore, and suspenseful plot twists, each story will hook you and hold you hostage. From deadly fungus, to underwater monsters, and deranged psychopaths, this book has something for everyone.

If I had to pick a favorite in the collection, I’d say I enjoyed “The Show Must Go On” on the most with “Political Suicide” a close second.

If you’re in the mood for something dark and wicked this poky season, you won’t be disappointed with this selection!