‘Nightmare’ by Chad Nicholas – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This book is currently on sale until October 6th – you can get two dollars off the ebook version through the link at the bottom of this review!

***

It was hard to breathe inside the grave. The cold touch of the soil surrounded him like a casket, numbing his body as he lay there motionless. Suddenly, he regained consciousness. He tried to breathe, but instead dirt poured into his mouth, gagging him. He opened his eyes, only to see complete and utter darkness. The ground above crashed down on him, causing his bones to crack under the weight.

He tried to fight his way upwards, but with every inch he gained, he could feel himself slipping back into unconsciousness. His lungs began collapsing, causing his chest to burn as if it was filled with hot embers. He could taste the rough, freezing dirt as it poured down into his throat, choking him. Still, he continued to crawl his way upwards, inch by inch.

Finally, he felt the dirt part above him, the chill breeze hitting his hand as it emerged from the dirt. He summoned what little strength he had left to pull himself up out of the ground.

Synopsis –

Had it come back? No, it couldn’t have. He had buried it for good. Or at least that’s what Scott told himself. But what if it had? Was that why the scarecrow now watched him?

But the more Scott tries to ignore it, the more the evidence begins to pile up. So do the bodies. Because sometimes, the dead don’t stay buried. Sometimes the monster survives.

As the bodies mount, and the secrets of his past grow more haunting, Scott must do whatever it takes to save his family. But what if by doing so, they find out what happened all those years ago? What if they realize what he did?

Scott learns that there is no escape from his own past, or the crows that have crawled out of it. He can only watch, as his life is turned into a living nightmare.

Thoughts –

Nightmare is exactly what the title tells you it is. This is a type of novel that you’ll probably want to read more than once, filled with details heavy in importance, but obscured until the very end. The story of a man and his horrific childhood trauma, Nightmare deals with grief, mental anguish, and fear for the ones we love.

The story progresses from the usual day to day of the family, to a darkness growing between husband and wife, slowly seeping out from the repressed memories of his childhood. Something broke off inside him the day he was taken captive and it is something that he still struggles with. As events take a turn for the worst it is unclear whether our protagonist is dreaming, hallucinating, or whether there is someone stalking him and his family.

Nicholas does a great job of juggling the different elements of the story and creating compelling characters. Though, for me, the ending doesn’t have quite the payoff that I was expecting it to, there is a resolution for the characters that makes sense, and overall the story comes together with few loose ends.

Nightmare is sure to live up to it’s name.

About the Author –

Chad Nicholas is an author who enjoys writing mysteries and thrillers. He also has a love for writing horror novels, despite the fact that he has to watch horror movies in the daytime, like a coward, or else he gets nightmares.

Speaking of Nightmares…

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

‘Food Fright’ by Nico Bell – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

***

Virginia, 1995

Cassie Adler gnawed her thumbnail until she tasted blood. Crickets chirped as a slight breeze cooled the September night air, cutting through the thick Virginia humidity. She shifted on her feet and looked past the dim streetlights lining the parking lot of Rochelle High School. A truck’s high beams switched to low as it drew closer.

Her chest tightened.

This was a mistake, but she’d come too far to wimp out now. Heather and her friends would never let Cassie hear the end of it if she didn’t follow through with the plan. Besides, this is what she wanted, right?

To be one of them.

Because if she belonged to their group, the teasing would stop.

No more jabs, about her loser father.

No more jokes about Cassie’s skeleton build or frizzy brown hair.

No more mocking her mom, who spent more nights sleeping in the county jail than her own bed back at home.

Cassie just needed to complete this one small task and she’d finally be in their circle, no longer standing on the outside.

Synopsis –

High school junior Cassie Adler just wanted the bullying to stop. She thought gaining a spot on the varsity soccer team would whip up instant friends, but it isn’t until the popular girls need Cassie’s help that they acknowledge her presence. Cassie reluctantly agrees to participate in a prank that turns sour fast. Now with blood on their hands, she and the popular girls race to cover their tracks. But something savage knows what they’ve done, and it’s hungry for revenge. Can Cassie redeem herself before it’s too late, or will her deadly sins ketchup to her?

Thoughts –

Food Fright is a 90’s camp horror that takes the phrase ‘death by chocolate’ quite literally. Nestled among the stress of high school politics, a hierarchy obsessed gang of witches, and one poor girl who just wanted to make friends on the soccer team, this is a story that will have you reaching for the snacks and getting concerned at every gurgle of your stomach thereafter.

Cassie as a main protagonist is a typical down trodden teenager who hates the popular girls almost as much as she wants to be them, desperately trying to make right what she did wrong. Ms Bower is your not quite so average teacher with a dark background, a yearning to belong, and not quite as well put together as her students might seem. With misplaced magic, murderous desserts, and teenage angst, Food Fright is a campy, violent (with fudge in place of blood) story of revenge that will have you laughing, rolling your eyes, and forever suspicious of a croissant that smells just a little too irresistible.

Nico Bell manages the characters well and keeps the tone of the book anxious, thrilling, yet as light as a French pastry much of the time. The reader is pulled into the story from the off with a familiar setting and characters, but a unique method of murder for the poor girl caught up in her own high school tragedy.

A palate cleanser for any horror fan.

About the Author –

Nico was born in New York, in 1983.

Nico started her writing career as a Christian fiction writer under a different name. She was a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer Genesis Contest, a finalist in the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Music City Melody of Love Contest, a finalist in the Splickety and My Book Therapy Flash Fiction contest, and a finalist in the RWA Great Beginnings Contest. Her flash fiction has been featured in Splickety, and Spark.

Her love of psychological thrillers and twisted plots led Nico into the world of horror where she unleashed her unsuspecting characters. Her stories have been published in several collections including The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories, Drabbledark Anthology and her debut novel Food Fright was released on March 26, 2020.

For more, find Nico on her website, twitter or instagram

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

‘Nocturnal Blood’ by Villimey Mist – Review

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

You can also see my video review of books 1 & 2 in the series on my BookTube channel here or read the review of Book One, ‘Nocturnal Blood’ here.

20200820_213852_0000

 

***

 

Violence doesn’t worry me anymore. It happens all around and I know there’s nothing I can do to stop it. In my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, news about another war or another violent shooting has become part of the daily routine. We have the highest crime rate in the country, with 813 violent crimes per 100,000 residents – hearing there’s been another murder or that another person has gone missing doesn’t surprise me anymore. I’ve seen those acts of violence happen to others. They’ve happened to me as well. 

Maybe I had it coming. I think I’m a pretty clear target. I might as well draw a big, red circle on my forehead. Anyone could take advantage of meek little me. 

 

Synopsis –

Anchorage, Alaska. A place where people don’t care if someone goes missing. A place where Leia Walker tries her hardest to hide from the world, wanting a normal life without anxiety and OCD.

But Leia’s bubble pops when an old friend is back in town and twists Leia’s reality . A bloody event proves what Leia is scared to learn—Sophie Gardner, her old high school friend and saviour from the bullies, is a vampire.

Forced to run away with Sophie, Leia’s life takes a terrifying turn when vampires and hunters come after them.

The only thing preventing them from losing themselves is their friendship..

But will it be enough to escape the inevitable blood bath?

 

IMG_9111

 

Nocturnal Blood, the first book in the Nocturnal series by Villimey Mist, is a vampire YA novel that doesn’t hold back. Filled with blood, guts, tears, and a friendship that goes beyond the simple ties of right place, right time, Nocturnal Blood is the story of a journey of two friends, thrust into a violent and unrelenting world that wants both of them dead. If you’re squeamish about blood, I’d perhaps sit this one out.

Our protagonist Leia (yes, named after THAT Leia) is a reclusive young adult dealing with myriad psychological issues, including anxiety. I can’t to her other diagnosis, but I can say that Leia’s experience of anxiety and it’s symptoms were very close to my own. felt reflected in her difficulties and worries around other people, yet her strength to keep going when the odds were stacked against her rings true as well – the irrationality of the disorder is presented brilliantly here. Still clinging to the friendship she had with Sophie, the girl who saved her from her bullies and took her OCD tics as just another part of her, Leia is overjoyed and traumatised when Sophie reappears after four years to save her yet again – though this time with fatal consequences.

On the other side, Sophie’s character is cool and tough, but just under the surface of that hard exterior is a girl who had to fight tooth and nail to survive as a monster she never wanted to be. Kidnapped and turned vampire as a teenager, she never got the guidance she needed, the protection she deserved, and as reckless as it may seem, she has now pulled her best friend Leia into the midst of a world gone mad, determined to cling onto the last vestiges of humanity she has left.

As far as friendship goes, this story is built on the unshakable bond of these two girls, the devotion they have for each other, and the lengths they will go to protect one another. Neither can make the journey that needs to be made alone, and for readers, despite knowing that you would be first on the lunch menu if you ran into these two, you want to root for them anyway, because they deserve a nice warm meal.

With a twist and an ending that was unexpected, Nocturnal Blood is a hard hitter for the first book in a series, and makes it all the more difficult not to immediately pick up book two.

 

dfw-vm-ns1-cover-mid

 

Nocturnal Blood is a vampire novel that takes the genre back to it’s bloody beginnings. An unstoppable thirst for blood, an unshakable friendship between two young women, and a fight to save both of their lives. Not for the squeamish!

 

About the Author – 

Villimey

Villimey has always been fascinated by vampires and horror, ever since she watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula when she was a little, curious girl.
She loves to read and create stories that pop into her head unannounced.
She lives in Iceland with her husband and two cats, Skuggi and RoboCop, and is often busy drawing or watching the latest shows on Netflix.
You can find her on her Twitter or her Instagram.

 

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

‘Dead Woman Scorned’ by Michael Clark – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

***

 

As strange as it sounds, Mildred Wells committed suicide in an attempt to reconcile with her son. 

Her thinking was that if they were kindred spirits, the healing could begin… or at least that was the idea.

The horrible truth that she wanted to ignore, however, was that any sort of reconciliation with Elmer would not be easy. He did not want her. Every time he saw her, he ran away. He was rightfully afraid of Mildred, but even so, she hoped deep down he could someday forgive her. 

 

Synopsis –

She’s back, and they’ll regret what they’ve done. Mildred Wells had a miserable life that carried over to a lonesome death. In the end, they betrayed her–played her the fool. She was the last to know, but there’s still time to catch up. She’ll formulate her painful plan as they live their lives in blissful ignorance. With no more family, only vengeance drives her; in fact, it’s all she has anymore. She would rather have rested in peace, but for Mildred, dying isn’t so easy.

 

20200707_163903_0000

 

Thoughts –

Dead Woman Scorned is the second in Michael Clark’s series and a step up from the first book. Maybe I just need to appreciate a romance more, but book two focused less on Holly and Tim’s burning love life and more on how Mildred Well’s came to be the infamous Mildred Well’s, which was a much more compelling and unsettling story for me.

Set directly after the first book as new homeowner Tim is busy redecorating and trying to forget the dangerous and dead woman who refuses to leave him alone, or stop throwing hatchets at him. Dead Woman Scorned takes the reader back to the young life of Mary, and her mother and sister, as she starts on a path that will eventually lead her to become a walking corpse that violently haunts a small New Hampshire property. A series of unfortunate and tragic events in her early life plant the seed of darkness and rage in her young heart, the knowledge of otherworldly magic cultivating this seed into a seething mass of roots that over time rot and infect her soul.

A terrifying and mysterious figure in Book One (you can find my review of book one here) Dead Woman Scorned manages to clear away some of the flies that swarm around Mildred and somehow make her even more terrifying. Tim and Hollie do make an appearance in this book, lulled into a sense of security in thinking that Mildred is finally gone, they soon realise that not only is she still stalking the property, but it seems like everyone in town is now learning her name and eager to get a look at the house of this local legend.

 

51b8lL7t9bL

 

A solid addition to the series, this one will wet your appetite for the darkness to come in Book 3.

 

About the Author –

19081392

Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based on. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba. The Patience of a Dead Man is his first novel, and Dead Woman Scorned is his second. Stay tuned.

 

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

‘Captivating Flames of Madness’ by Jeff Parsons – Review

*Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

***

 

May 24, 1944

The damp air smothered Hans with a slow asphyxiation of hot sweat, carbon dioxide, and diesel fuel. Each breath grew more and more tortured, not so much from the pervasive soggy drip of foul moisture clogging his lungs, but from the thought of what caused the U-292 German submarine to shudder, as if in anticipation. 

The U-boat was cruising along the surface in attack mode with other subs in the wolf pack. They preyed upon the merchant cargo ships that crossed the unforgiving sea from Newfoundland to England. Each time the ship shook, a torpedo was sent away through the frigid North Atlantic Ocean towards its hapless convoy target. 

Hans sat in the narrow toilet stall behind a flimsy curtain screen, leaning forward with his head cradled by his trembling hands, ashamed of his behavior, but unable to control it any more. He carefully eased a photograph from his uniform’s breast pocket. Stroking the portrait of his love, Greta, he wondered yet again how he was going to stay sane – U-boat service extracted a heavy toll upon him. 

He winced yet again… 

Hans thought he could hear the harsh shriek of the enemy vessels tearing apart after each torpedo hit, but he knew that was unlikely, for the submarine’s twin diesel engines were humming along at low throttle inn the nearby bulkhead compartment. 

He had heard that sound before, the dreadful shearing metal sound of sinking ships, and it haunted him. Like being underneath a waterfall, thunderous bubbling accompanied the dying throes of a merchant ship as it cracked open like a fragile egg shell, the deadly water flooding inside and the sailors within… he swore that he could hear the sounds of their lost souls screaming, just like in his nightmares. 

 

Synopsis –

What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?
If you dare, why not find out?

Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book – but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares…

 

20200605_183525_0000

 

Thoughts –

The Captivating Flames of Madness is an apt name for a collection chock full of twisted and deranged characters. Parsons builds each story on a solid premise, a straight forward tale that the reader can see coming, only to have him pull the rug from under their feet at the last second. There are twists, turns, and surprising endings in these stories, and all of them are darker than you might imagine. Whether it’s a mugging gone wrong in ‘Control‘ where drug addict Chelsea gets more than she bargained for in her search for another hit, or a wish for eternal life turning a hacker’s life upside down in ‘Nothing Personal‘.

Parsons strength in writing is creating a richly layered moment in time, a scene and situation that the reader can instantly step into and forget that they are reading a story – which only serves to make the horror that much more disturbing. Ghosts to Gods, madmen to madwomen, both ancient and modern evils, The Captivating Flames of Madness is a diverse set of stories, circumstances, and characters to lose yourself in.

A collection of over twenty tales of horror, darkness, and disturbed minds, The Captivating Flames of Madness is a generous offering of new and enthralling stories. Jeff Parsons takes you down many paths and turns, and is a writer I’d be happy to follow again.

 

39722058._SY475_

 

The Captivating Flames of Madness is a collection best read by candlelight, a darkness best enjoyed by fans of unexpected endings and mysteries in the shadows.

 

About the Author –

6860100

Jeff Parsons is a professional engineer enjoying life in sunny California, USA. He has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. You can find out more about Jeff Parsons and his work on the HellBound Books website here.

 

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com