Static by Christina Engela – Review

Page turning space sci-fi full of chills and fun from beginning to end…

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Christina Engela delivers a fun but chilling book that contains many of the familiar horror story tropes only now they are in space and on distant planets of the haunted/abandoned persuasion. 

For what reads and feels like an anthology of shorter stories they are all linked by their events and of course ‘Captain Stuart Flane’ who by the end of it all has probably seen it all. From space ‘zoms’ to possessed dolls and ‘toys’ all the way to an abandoned formerly colonized planet that’s now inundated with ghost types playing havoc with furniture; our hero ‘Flane’ can only explain this stuff to the higher ups in the least absurd ways possible.

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy. There’s mystery, suspense, a lot of fun and of course that element of the unexpected which will keep readers turning the pages. Many of the sub genres of horror are represented with hauntings, zombies, possessions and urban exploration all of which are set in the science fiction universe of the ‘Panic! Horror in Space series’.

4 Stars- Thank you to the author for providing an e copy. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nocturnal Farm by Villimey Mist – Review

A flawless and fresh vampire tale full of mystery and unexpected twists…

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Although it may appear to begin rather slowly the reader is introduced to a world where main character Leia Walker is still reeling from her previous encounter six months before and it casts a shadow over her life. This slower pace works incredibly well in depicting Leia’s struggle with not only what happened in the past but to also highlight her anxiety and OCD which she is fighting everyday. She is stronger in this story and displays a realistic amount of character development. For readers who haven’t experienced the events of ‘Nocturnal Blood’ or haven’t read it for a while are reminded during this opening which gives this story it’s own stand-alone power.

Most sequels struggle to live up to the first experience while attempting to be bigger where as Nocturnal Farm carves it’s own unique and sometimes unexpected path without just throwing more vampires and action into the mix. It’s grounded and realistic for a story in this genre. There is a genuine original story where the plot is carried by a rescue mission which differs from last time with the two girls on the run concept.

Villimey Mist has found her voice in writing and delivers a story that is well structured well paced. There were portions of this book where I could have easily been reading a high end fiction story about the likes of ‘Jason Bourne’ as he explored a European city looking for answers much like Leia Walker. We get more from characters who perhaps played minor roles last time while also being introduced to some newer fresh faces. In this world of ‘Vampires’, ‘Sangues’, ‘Ghouls’ and ‘Hunters’ is a a lot of potential that is used well in this book. The journey to the ending was carried by several twists and revelations finally closing with a ‘what if’ scenario that has most probably been burning in the back of most readers minds leaving it very much open for another sequel. 

Nocturnal Farm is a book I would highly recommend!

5 Stars –  A fantastic read, thank you to the author for providing an ARC. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads. 

 

 

 

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly – Review

Chilling, immersive and full of tension. Everything you want from a crime thriller…

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For a book that I read in just under an hour it sure packs one hell of a chilling punch. From the very beginning this story plays with the imagination while also delivering an ever so well written ride that will have readers turning the pages. The use of description by Mallory Kelly is atmospheric and suits the creepiness that comes with the cornerstones of horror to many, clowns and haunted houses.

There has been a murder which is shrouded in both mysterious and suspicious circumstances. It’s up to detective duo ‘Shirley’ and ‘Carter’ to get to the bottom of what is going on in this small town where nobody seems to be of any help. With a potential killer still on the loose the owner of the haunted house intends to keep its doors open to the public in what makes for a great conflicting premise.

Exploiting the concept of what is real and what isn’t keeps the story immersive and readable throughout and even though it is short that is just one of the many qualities. In the latter stages there is some real tension as the characters literally fight for their own survival.

5 Stars – Looking forward to picking up the other books in the series. Review left on Goodreads and Amazon UK 

 

 

 

MIND: Two Short Tales of Horror by E.H Night – Review

Two deep descriptive accounts that play with the imagination…

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For two quite short tales E.H Night has proven that sometimes less can be more, especially in this capacity for this is a reading experience that is unique and imaginative. The descriptive and deep style of writing has a way of surrounding the reader while also giving plenty of room for the imagination to run wild. It’s almost like these stories simply suggest what is happening and our imagination’s fill in the rest – this is a form of story I hold in the highest regard.

Although both of these stories are very different they are linked by their sensibility to the environment of the earthy surroundings. I managed to read both in thirty minutes and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something different, descriptive and on the darker side.

5 Stars – Reviews via Goodreads and Amazon UK 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT1

Yes I know this is an end of the year review type post and we are in late November but… I’ve read a stack of awesome books in the past twelve months and by that I am talking from the end of last November all the way up to the end of this November so that’s a year right? Anyway I’ve got a lot to get through because I’ve read a lot of good books and all of them are independently published. This is part 1 of hopefully 2 posts; we’ll see how many I can cram into one entry… so here goes!

 

last driver

On this day exactly a year ago I posted a review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler a fellow blogger who has put together a story of the future which is realistic in a kind of sinister but fun way… for what is a shorter book it’s an enjoyable story about one man who is looking to relive his glory days of when you could actually drive a car instead of having a computer do it for you. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. 

undertown

For this next book I was taken back in time to the prohibition /crime wave era of Chicago in what is a clever fusing of history and horror/ the paranormal. To quote my review of Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore  it’s a ‘perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.’  

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Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe is about a lot of different things. This well structured story is both brutally graphic in some parts while also managing to make the reader genuinely laugh during other portions. It’s an easy to read story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft’ that I couldn’t put down in the latter stages!

alien diraries

I thoroughly enjoyed The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin – a clever and original story with a rather unique premise. The book unfolds with a back and forth style via diary entries from 1700’s which are then complimented by the main narrative which is set in present day. To quote my review it’s a ‘gripping original tale that nods to some important history as well as taking the reader on a journey through time. I even found there to be some great references to writing and reading in general all of which tells me the author has spent a great amount of time and effort constructing a story that everyone will find enjoyable.’

Nocturnal blood

Let’s talk about Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist which isn’t just a vampire story, it’s so much more. The main character suffers from anxiety and OCD which is not only brave for the author to include but very important also – issues like this must be talked about more. To quote my review Nocturnal Blood is a ‘highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist.’  * This is part of a series with part 2 coming soon! 

51

Now if I could choose a genre to call home it would be horror and Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place is right up my alley… so let me tell you why. This book is a cross between urban exploration, tension filled horror and just a dusting of truth because it is set in a real place. Building 51 see’s a group of friends who go to check out an old mostly abandoned hospital and things start to get just a tad harrowing. It’s cinematic and immersive so I recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of story!

blue rabbit

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?” of course I am quoting Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro which is the first real fantasy book I have read. With a multitude of great characters this story unique and later on becomes pretty epic. A group of friends have discovered a gateway to another world where someone follows and goes missing. It’s fun, colourful and immersive. After reading it I would happily say that this is my type of fantasy! * This author has a new release coming in December which I am currently reading an advanced copy of, it’s just as enjoyable… 

kali

Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh may appear to be just another fantasy/teen novel but it is so much more! This is a story of warriors, heritage and demons with plenty of action. What starts out as in introduction to just an ordinary world follows into the rabbit hole of magic and mythology which is also cleverly linked to the Hindu faith. *  Part one of a series, having already read part two I shall be looking to read the final part next year! 

Quantum Series #1 - Black Sunrise 2019 - front

Black Sunrise by Christina Engela is not only a fun, quirky and imaginative foray into science fiction, it’s also part 1 of the ‘Quantum’ series which I have delved into over the past 6 or so months – I still have 2 left to read hopefully before the end of this year. All of Christina Engela’s books promote positive and modern messages about being inclusive while also being fun. Black Sunrise is just the beginning of that and if you like sci fi you will love this!

kau d'varza

Keeping with the sci-fi theme this next book I was given an advanced review copy of which certainly didn’t dissapoint. Kau D’varza: A story in the ChaosNova universe by David Noë is high-end space travel sci-fi of the finest persuasion. It’s one of the longer stories I have read this year but don’t let that put you off, longer reads mean more immersion and this one certainly draws you in. The story centres around a space station in the very depths of the stars where something is always happening. There is a multitude of characters, drama and mystery in what is a well thought out story set in a detailed world.

squatter in ldn

Last and by no means least is a book that is probably one of the most unique reads I have ever experienced. I say this because A Squatter in London by Irene Pylypec is an autobiographical diary style account of one young lady’s time spent in London after travelling from Canada during the 1970’s. To quote my review ‘the sights, the sounds, the tastes and the people are captured perfectly in what is a fantastic story of highs and lows for a young person trying to survive and figure out life.’ 

So that wraps up Part 1 of Awesome Indie Books I have read this year. Shout out to the awesome authors of these titles which I recommend highly! If you do buy one, remember to leave a review!

HERE’S PART 2!

 

 

Doctor Sleep – Movie Review

A perfect combination of homage to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick…

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Apparently this film isn’t doing well at the box office, that doesn’t mean a damn thing other than that most people probably haven’t read what is easily in my top 5 books of all time.

The movie translates rather well even if the book is of the typical Stephen King epic persuasion; there is only so much you can fit into a two and half hour run time and in all honesty they did a great job with this!

Ewan McGregor/ Obi Wan is perfect as an adult ‘Dan Torrance’ who has spent his life shrouded by the demons that haunted the Overlook Hotel while trying to control his extrasensory gift related to it known as the shining. That is while battling alcoholism; eventually he starts fresh in a new town and that’s when he starts getting messages from another who carries the same ability; enter ‘Abra’ played by Kyliegh Currann who may have actually stolen the show – like she does in the book but in this film more for her performance.

The world of the Shining is expanded via an organisation known as the ‘True Knot’. They feed on folks who ‘shine’ and so it’s up to ‘Abra’ and ‘Dan’ to team up and stop them because the ‘Knot’ are bad guys. This is essentially the plot but we get so much more, Rebecca Ferguson puts in an incredible depiction of ‘Rose the Hat’ and the ‘Knot’ are everything I imagined and pictured.

The last half hour of this film was a pure and wonderful homage to Kubrick’s masterpiece while also being wrapped up in the world Stephen King established. It’s a great sequel full of atmosphere, gripping performances, cinematography and dark imagination. Those who are into horror will enjoy this whether you have read or watched the first story; it doesn’t matter, this one will get ya!

4.5 Stars or 4.5 Here’s Johnny’s….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Evening & Cemetery House are FREE to download today!

Halloween approaches, the leaves have turned and the temperature has began to recede. While the shadows do their best to cast over everything it’s time to embrace the season and the unexpected because both Open Evening and it’s sequel Cemetery House are free to download today and tomorrow only! (this is a one off deal) 

dfw-lh-3dx2Every published author has that book which broke them into the world of story telling and Open Evening is that for me. It’s a story in which I am immensely proud of and I pretty much got to work on making a sequel for straight after; that was after penning Darke Blood which happens to be set in the same world now known as the ‘Order of the Following’. 

There are going to be more books based on these stories coming soon!

So what are they about? 

Open Evening and Cemetery House are two fast paced reads of the unexpected and survival. They are about so much more than the horror that is on the surface; they highlight the social struggle of growing up along with what it’s really like to go through high school. As much as there is terror and action, they are stories of friendship, coming of age and above all life. Much of the stuff in this book represents the years I spent at school – so it’s real to an extent. 

Its ‘Alien’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Blade’ all wrapped up in some Halloween spookyness!

A recent review of Open Evening: 

“If you ever found secondary school hard, then you’ll be able to relate to the main character. If you loved Buffy the vampire slayer, then you’ll love this book…”

You can download a copy of Open Evening here for free! 

Cemetery House then picks up literally three weeks after the events Open Evening. High School is over and those who survived have moved into the world of work while something else lurks just underneath the surface. Not only is this a sequel but in this one you get answers and the rabbit hole goes deeper into this world which will then lead into the Darke Blood sequel!

‘CH’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘House on Haunted Hill’ while continuing on from Open Evening.

You can download a copy of Cemetery House here for free!

A recent review of Cemetery House: 

“I really enjoyed this follow up to Open evening, gripping story definitely a page turner for me…”

 

This is probably one of the only times both of these books will be available together for free! 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… Part 2

As we crawl closer to all Hallows eve the leaves are turning and the weather is drawing colder. Shadows begin to cast over what was once light and in that darkness you’ll find the unknown. To compliment the season here are some more chilling book recommendations…

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What more could want other than a chilling story that contains some truth? Of course I am talking about ‘Building 51’ by Jennifer L. Place. 

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Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion of an abandoned former hospital for the insane. In terms of specific genre this one is literally right up my ‘alley’ and I loved every word. This is while being on the edge of terrified throughout.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways. Without giving any further spoilers I urge you to check it out, trust me you won’t regret reading this one!

 

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

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It’s the late 80’s in small town america where some young women have gone missing, one of them happens to look like the main character. What unfolds is a premise that fuses a guess who concept with a sophisticated slasher that delivers.

The Four Before Me by E.H. Night is book I found hard to put down with the many twists and turns along with elements of crime, mystery, suspense and of course some chilling horror. You could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new trust me.

 

‘Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you are placed in the collective ecosystem of a High School…’

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Every reader collectively rolls their eyes as I plug my own work… Let’s face it without Open Evening and it’s ‘success’ I would have shut up shop a long time ago and yes it’s my debut novel, yes my writing has moved on a lot since and yes it might be ‘tween’ level lame – but I still like it and what it has become.

‘OE’ is a high school horror with a twist that points towards the ‘Body Snatchers’ meets ‘Blade’ which then meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and the truth is, I poured a lot of my own high school experiences into this book, so the stuff without the blood thirsty monsters of holy hell contains mostly truth. It’s going to be free to download on the 21st of this month along with it’s sequel ‘Cemetery House’. Both of these books share the same universe as Darke Blood also! 

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

within dark places

Without taking anything away from any of the other books mentioned I have possibly left the most terrifying to last because ‘Within the Dark Places’ by Duncan Thompson sacred the shit out of me! And I mean that in the most sincere of senses because not only was I scared but I enjoyed this book, a lot!

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

 That wraps up part two of my chilling book recommendations for Halloween. Have you got any? Hit me up and I’ll check them out, my list is always looking for new reads! 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… part 1

Halloween is just around the corner and considering horror is probably my favorite genre in both cinema and reading here are some chilling books I’ve read over the past year which I recommend…

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“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

undertown

‘Undertown: A Novella’ by K.Noel Moore is a chilling and clever fusing of history intertwined with real events set around the historic crime wave/prohibition era of 1930’s America.

I found myself reading this novella in one sitting within a few enjoyable hours. There are plenty of references and terms used in the narrative which are authentic to the historic era with a handy reference/definition section placed at the end of the book (something I felt was a nice touch and shows the author has put in a large amount of care, research and thought into).

Overall Undertown is a perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.

 

‘In space, not all things were certain… not even death’

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Next up is ‘Demonspawn’ by Christina Engela which is a sci-fi horror space story with psychological mystery and suspense throughout. The somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space then stumbles upon another ship, derelict and just floating there…

The story reminded me of films such as Alien and Event Horizon but Demonspawn could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There were many concepts of the sci-fi genre in this book that were original and put together in a way not seen before anywhere else. You can grab yourself a copy here.

 

‘A slow burning tale that twists into the deep shadowy darkness of the unexpected…’

sitch

In Blood of the Sixth’ by K.R Rowe  there’s a lot going on under the surface of a story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft.

Blood of the Sixth has a complex interwoven plot which is delivered in a way that makes it an easy to follow read; something I imagine the author has worked tremendously hard to achieve. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out.

For some parts of my reading experience I genuinely laughed and others I found to be quite harrowing (again in a good way) as there were some real graphic violent portions all of which fitted well for the genres. The use of description in some instances has been painstakingly constructed and again the hard work by K. R. Rowe is obvious to see so trust me when I say this book is good!

‘A modern vampire story that takes the reader on a journey of twists and turns…’

Nocturnal blood

There are only a handful of authors out there who are keeping the vampire genre alive and one of them is Villimey Mist who presents ‘Nocturnal Blood’ a story than convinced me throughout the duration of my reading experience that it truly is a great addition to the genre!

I found Nocturnal Blood to be a highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist. Its also an important story in a sense that the M.C suffers from anxiety and O.C.D which is a brave thing for an author to write about!

The sequel is coming very soon so now would be a perfect time to grab yourself a copy!

 

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

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Wait what? Your plugging your own book in this thing? My answer to you is fu** yeah and why not! Keeping with the theme of vampire stories here’s mine. ‘Darke Blood’ is a story that reviewers have convinced me is worth reading – I personally thought for quite some time it wasn’t that great but some awesome people have left some awesome reviews for a story I literally had to find my inner author to finish writing it! The journey is turning out to be worth it in the end and the sequel is coming next year!

Here’s a recent review by Blair from the awesome Feed the Crime blog… 

And with that self promo I have no shame in this is the end of part 1, stay tuned next week for part 2! 

Have you got a chilling book rec? Drop it in the comments because here at the Hall of information we are always looking for more book reads!

‘The Stairs’- a paranormal account

The events relayed in this account are true.

 

There are unexplained moments that happen in our lives. Some remain that way forever in the back of our minds and on the fringes of belief. For the majority, these ‘events’ are far and few between but then again there are some exceptions. My second paranormal experience was just that; an exception to the rule. It also happened to take place in the vicinity of where my previous one happened. I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the paranormal simply because of this…   

In the summer of 2017 I joined my significant other, her family and friends on what had become the annual two week trip to the south of France. For those who read my previous account  you’ll know the setting; a picturesque converted farm sitting on the hills of beautiful countryside. It’s remote and peaceful. The weather hot nearly everyday although this year the presence of bugs was way reduced due to a late frost.

Our particular digs like the other years a ‘gite’ which could hold up to 12 and on this trip 10 of us were about to become 12 at the midway point of the holiday when my S.O’s sister and her other half would be joining us. Their room sat opposite ours and my S.O’s in the right hand wing of the place. We had a bathroom between us and little stretch of narrow corridor which then flowed out to the main staircase. This staircase was fashioned out of dark red varnished wood and the steps were separately slotted into the wall. Like I mentioned previously when someone would climb these steps it’s would be difficult to miss with the distinctive wooden ‘drumming’ and vibrations which resonated against the wall whenever they were stepped upon.

On the night before our new arrivals were due I had already gone to bed when I had the rather strong urge to pee. I eventually gave in to those urges and decided to get up, I put the bedside lamp on and made my way to the door which I unlocked and headed out into the dark corridor. At this time the whole place was dead quiet, everyone was in bed by now and so it was dark but the little light from behind me showed the way and so I went into the bathroom, before I walked in I noticed the open bedroom door in front of me where our new arrivals would be staying the next night. The room sat in the shadows and in my grogginess I shuffled into the bathroom and closed the door.

Being half asleep I took the decision to sit on the toilet and during so I heard the distinctive sound of footsteps drumming up the stairs. Was someone up at this hour? The steps pattered on wood as they continued from what I presumed was the ground until they reached our level. I had the distinct feeling someone was rushing into our wing of the gite and flowing past the door I was behind and into the vacant bedroom. What followed was a loud echoing slamming which sounded like what could have been a heavy door closing.

I finished my business and headed out into the corridor. Immediately I put the light on to see nobody in sight. I walked to the stairs to see nobody around. My inspection of the situation pointed towards nobody I knew being around at the same time. That slamming sound, so distinct and even harrowing, I am swaying towards belief that it was something not of this mortal coil.

Some encounters remain unexplained…