Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fragged By A Fragment

Bairn works at a small way station on the planet Ahbe. Not exactly happy living under his boss’s thumb, the boy’s life takes a turn after a chance meeting with a strange alien.

Between Planet and Sky by Adam Archer is all setup and no story. I loved the alien planet setting and I think it will appeal to a lot of Star Wars fans, but just as the story begins, it's over. A type of mercenary is introduced, followed by a moment of introspection by Bairn, and then it literally says "the end."

I read this on a Kindle, and it said 60%...I continued forward, only to find another incomplete story. I really don't understand why authors publish fragments instead of putting more time and effort into a great story idea.

Bairn is such an interesting character, as well as his boss, it's an absolute shame Archer didn't write a real story.

As always,

Monday, July 30, 2018

Only Eleven Years Old

Faced with his parents' divorce, eleven-year-old Lucas runs away from home in the hope that his family will get back together to find him. While walking through the empty streets, he is picked up by a mysterious woman, who offers to take care of him and provide him with a loving family.

The boy then wakes up in shackles, confined to a bed in a decrepit house in the middle of nowhere and will have to face his deepest fears in order to survive in his new home.

Madhouse by Miguel Estrada begins with one of the most sinister sentences I've ever read:

"At only eleven years old, Lucas would live through all the horrors the human being is capable of."

This novella had me wondering if I would be able to make it to the end. As a mother, anything with the suffering of children is a tough read. Knowing "Lucas would live through" gave me some comfort, but left me wondering what condition Lucas would be in after the nightmare he's put through. Estrada's ever-increasing suspense overwhelmed any attempt to predict what would happen next. I felt as helpless as Lucas...more so, in fact.

Of course, I also wondered how his kidnapping would affect his parents. Nothing could have prepared me for the final blow delivered by the author. In hindsight, Estrada left a clue here and there, but, even after reading through a second time, the final horror remains shocking and I am fearful of the adult Lucas might turn into.

As always,

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Family Secrets Unearthed

Fifteen years have passed since Alex Fisher was taken into care. Now, returning to his hometown, he’s back to attend his abusive father’s funeral. However, it’s not only the old man that’s been buried deep. 

As Alex revisits his childhood haunts, he’s troubled by nightmares and startling flashbacks, memories he didn’t even know existed. 

What really happened to his younger brother? Why did his mother leave her boys to a monster? Alex must work to unravel his past before he can truly move on with his future.

Not My Brother's Keeper by Karen A Foster is an excellent crime-drama about a young man named Alex, haunted by his childhood memories. He thought his family fell apart because of the abuse his father heaped on everyone, but flashback nightmares suggest something far more sinister. After his father passes away, leaving many unanswered questions, Alex wonders what secrets he might find in his childhood home.

The author weaves misdirection, flashbacks and suspense together to create a heart-breaking mystery surrounding a severely dysfunctional family, focusing on the personal drama of the last Fisher. I've enjoyed Foster's short stories in the past, but I think she needs to redirect her talent into longer stories such as this one. Not My Brother's Keeper is her best work yet.

As always, 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Four Ways To Hell

The Corn Wife by Cliff Wallace is a collection of four supernatural short stories...

ASHES: A misogynist is hunted down by a woman tortured and murdered by him.

FOLLOWERS: A thief is stalked and soon realizes he's made one mistake too many.

THE CORN WIFE: A woman tries a new procedure to get pregnant and her husband thinks the price is too high.

WHAT REMAINS: Two sisters inherit a home from their long-lost uncle, only to regret ever setting foot inside the place.

Ashes and Followers are my favorites, but all four tales are full of terror-inducing suspense. I recommend this collection to all horror fans.

As always,

Friday, July 27, 2018

Read A Story, Help A Hero

The Somme Offensive, 1916. Harry Doyle is a young, overawed British infantryman struggling to come to terms with the insanity of war. His main objective is staying alive, and getting back home to his family in one piece. But his hopes begin to diminish when he realises the full extent of the misery and destruction around him. And the German war machine isn't the only thing he has to worry about. Something else is preying on his friends and comrades in the trenches, picking them off one by one. Something no amount of military training can prepare him for.

Proceeds from this book will be donated to the Help for Heroes foundation.

No Man's Land by C.M. Saunders is an action-packed novella about a young man's epic battle for survival in No Man's Land, between the British and German trenches, during WWI. He is tasked with doing a recon mission to discover why previous teams disappeared without explanation.

As far as war stories go, Saunders does an amazing job of capturing the psychological aspects of trench warfare, as well as humanizing a part of history on a very personal level. However, the author doesn't stop there...Saunders introduces a supernatural element to the danger Harry must face alone. With several rumours about the German soldiers having been mentioned before Harry volunteers, the nature of the enemy he engages remains a guessing game until the end.

While this story is perfectly thrilling as-is, I am hoping the author will consider a sequel...the storyline is just too damn good to be left on the battlefield. I love Saunders writing style and look forward to reading more of his work throughout the year.

As always,

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Another One For The Top Ten List

A meek employee perpetrates a workplace massacre, knowing he can dispel away the consequences with the two most powerful words in the universe.

No Thanks by Antonio Simon Jr. is a very original flash fiction story about a man who is clearly fed up with everything about his life. His explanation of events leading up to his office shooting spree is an excellent example of a narrator who can't be trusted and, yet, Simon's disgruntled worker is very convincing.

As always,

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Story, New Style

In this short horror tale, an aspiring writer drives a hard bargain to achieve the bestseller he's been longing for.

Muse by D.W. Nathan is a flash fiction piece about an author and his muse, struggling to come to an agreement over a story idea. While captivating from beginning to end, I wish more had been revealed about the nature of the muse. The ending is shocking.

This is a story I would specifically recommend to other authors...and this is a thousand times better than Nathan's story, Cursed.

As always,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mother's Encouragement

There are two types of tree people: The Pure Ones and the Corrupted Ones. The Pure Ones take over the bodies of the recently deceased. The Corrupted Ones kill people and take them over. The two types are at war. Amelia, a Pure One, elicits the help of Momo and Tyler, survivors of Reclamation Project 1, to combat them and perhaps take care of them once and for all.

Adirondacks by Jerry Gerold is the third story in the Reclamation Project series. I was beyond excited to discover characters from both of the previous stories crossing paths and joining forces. After reading the first two stories and knowing what the Corrupted Ones are capable of, Adirondacks had me freaking out every time a struggle happened.

I think Gerold's writing style is much improved since he first began this series...a perfect balance of action and interaction between characters. I can't wait for Gerold to continue the series!

As always,

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Meaning To Tree Hugger

There are trees growing beneath the city streets, trees with human-sized pods growing from them. They need human bodies. Yours will do just fine.

Reclamation Project 2: Abandoned Subway by Jerry Gerold is part of a tree-people series by the author, but this installment functions as a stand-alone. While the story provides insight on the new species and the threat from the Corrupted Ones, it has nothing to do with the events in the first Reclamation Project with Momo.

In fact, Abandoned Subway is more like scifi-horror-erotica than the previous mystery-thriller, as the Corrupted Ones have a rather invasive way of spreading. The storyline is captivating, but I think having Amelia's POV, in addition to Duncan's POV, would have added some extra depth.

The series continues with Adirondacks...

As always,

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Short and Sweet

Sometimes life's most tragic events help you find your way. When Cecilia Marsh returns to Langley Mills, Wisconsin after the death of her father, she rediscovers a town that hasn't forgotten her. Through a tapestry of memories, she begins to understand that roots, while invisible, run very deep indeed.

Finding Home by Nicki Greenwood is a "second coming" of age story. The author has perfectly captured the sentiment of getting away to appreciate what you left behind. When Cecilia returns to her hometown, she has the benefit of 20+ years of hindsight and experiences to help her discover what she needed all along.

As always,

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Oh, Come ON!

Jason can't sleep. Every night the monster in his closet wants to eat him, but he is always rescued by his parents. However his parents are getting annoyed with the late night wake up calls to come to his aid. When his father learns that the monster that is coming for him is one from his father's own horror films, he decides to take Jason to the studio to face his fear.

When The Demons Know Your Name by Jason Davis is another example of a parent dismissing a child's fears. I know it's fiction, but I can't stand how the parents in these kids of stories seem to forget what it's like being a kid with kid problems. I love how Jason's dad finds out the hard way his son is not simply having a nightmare.

While I usually enjoy the author's writing style, the ending is very disappointing. Not only does Davis skip a large portion of events, but the narration hints at an explanation which is never delivered. After the detail put into most of the story, the vague ending is inexcusable.

As always,

Friday, July 20, 2018

Butter Those Buns

Ever wake up with the feeling that something bad is going to happen? Well, Robert has, and at first he thinks his illicit affair with one of the owners of the B&B has been discovered and everything is about to come crashing down around him. Thankfully, his secret is safe, but what The Fates have in store for him is far worse than anything he could ever have imagined.

Hungry For More by Michael J Evans is a flash fiction piece about a man consumed by guilty thoughts. He is so certain his lover's wife has found out about their ongoing affair, he fails to see what his instincts are really trying to warn him about. Too bad Robert hyper-focused on the wrong person.

This isn't necessarily the author's best work, but his distaste for people in general still makes for highly entertaining fiction. I swear Evans creates characters just so he can make them suffer and die...and I will keep reading his horror as long as he keeps writing.

As always,

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Story

You wake up in a foreign country. You can’t see, because there’s a bag on your head. You can’t move, because you’re shackled to a chair. There is a missing warhead set to explode. The people who put you here want it, and are willing to do anything to get it. This what Charlie Benson is faced with.

The Chair by Landon Wake isn't really a horror story...more like a crime-drama. As a result, not at all what I expected when I did a Kindle horror search on Amazon.

Even for a crime drama, the story is pretty dull. Just a guy getting tortured for information...the torture's not even original. The characters are all stereotypical and without any personalities that stand out.

I think the POV should've been told through one of the agents. Have one of them begin to second-guess Charlie Benson's identity.

As always,

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wicked Wednesday: Marital Issues

Marrying above your station is never easy. The money, the great house, the gorgeous wife, and the mind-blowing sex, they all come with a price tag. That was something Howie didn't realize when he entered into this relationship. But now it's time to pay the piper and the price is more than he is willing to pay. Is there an out, or will Howie find out what happens when he refuses to make the expected payment?

The First Suitor by A.P. Sessler should be considered a warning about marrying someone for a reason other than love. Sessler deftly uses little details as a trail of crumbs for readers to follow along, until they are hopelessly trapped within the story, along with Howie. Unfortunately those crumbs weren't filling enough.

While there is plenty of foreshadowing and frustration to go around, the only action in the story takes place in the bedroom. With the introduction of Nicholas and his "marital counseling," I thought Howie would become the new Elise, or maybe "Lily" would be short for Lilith, but no such luck. The author kept the storyline fairly simple, which is a shame because Sessler's work is so much better when it's complicated.

I recommend readers instead pick up a copy of The Stain in the Stairwell to see the real horror Sessler is capable of delivering.

As always,

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

When A Breakup Gets Messy

Ian Barnes and his girlfriend Sarah Haley are heading back to Ohio University after a brief trip home before exams and homecoming, only to be run off the road by Sarah's vicious ex-boyfriend Daniel Smythe.

Hunted through the woods by Daniel and two of his Pi Iota Gamma brothers, Ian and Sarah find there are worse things in the Ohio woods than murderous frat boys--the pint-sized monsters known as the Melon Heads!

Melon Heads by Matthew W. Quinn is one frightening situation after another. Daniel is a violent psycho, hell bent on ruining the couple's road trip. His plans for Sarah and Ian had me sick to my stomach. I was more concerned with the psycho ex than the Melon Heads.

While this works perfectly as a stand-alone short story, the concept of the Melon Heads would make a great mini-series or even a full-length novel. This is also the kind of story which would make a great SyFy movie.

As always,

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Collapse of Society

The world around ten-year-old Sunni Brown is crumbling. War, disease and crushing poverty are everyday realities. For a while, she counts herself amongst the lucky. But will she survive when she's forced to live in an abandoned parking structure?

The Shelter by SunHi Mistwalker is a prequel to the novella, New Hope City. This short story reveals how Sunni's childhood quickly falls apart, as America suffers a socio-economic collapse. With an absent father, a drug-addicted mother and predators all around her, the little girl soon finds herself exploited for scraps of food.

The story is a great intro to Sunni's coming of age, but also functions well as a stand-alone story. Mistwalker provides disturbing insight into an issue already taking place in the States.

As always,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sci-Fi Sunday Short

Are we alone in the universe? When an alien materializes in the lobby of the Sheriff's department in Searchlight, Nevada, NSA Head Agent Dale Hunter, and his partner, Agent Jerry Rafferty are about to discover the answer.

The Interview by Steven Pajak is a science fiction short story about an alien being interviewed. During the process, "ALF" reveals the Earth will be devastated by a global war and all life will be reduced to mutated abominations.

The pace is slow, much of the story is predictable and/or cliché and I don't even recognize Pajak's writing style anymore. I think Pajak needs to stick with the horror genre...his previous work is far better.

As always,

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Steampunk Short Story

Cast out of the craft hall in his prime and bitter from his many losses, a blind artificer has taken on an apprentice to make what he no longer can: a device that will enter him into the Grand Competition.

The Artificer’s Apprentice is a short story set in a medieval city where magic and technology blend seamlessly and the Artificer guilds make handsome profits keeping the city's systems running. The leaders of these guilds have complete control over their members, but one man is about to challenge that authority.

The Artificer's Apprentice by DJ Edwardson is a short story with a steampunk theme. Talomai has had his life ripped apart by the guild, only to lose his eyesight as well, but he retains his incredible skill nonetheless. He's bound and determined to exact justice for the wrongs done to him and, instead, exacts something far more valuable.

While the ending is fantastic, I felt like I really had to work to get there. I understand wanting to describe the inventions, but there is an overabundance of descriptions, taking away from the personal aspect of Talomai's conflict. I think this would have been better as flash fiction piece, with more focus on the characters instead of the objects.

As always,

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cold Snap

A group of College students decide to spend their Winter break up in a cabin... in the woods... in the middle of Winter... Well this is obviously going to go well...
The events that occur in this short story take place from the diary of our protagonist Alice. It might be best if they decide to stay inside though... As the winds bite...

Winter Usurpations by Cj Evans is not what I expected...I thought the danger would be a Yeti or Bigfoot, but Evans surprised me by mixing classical horror with a modern setting. This is a good story, but it could've been a great story with another round of editing to polish it up. Alice doesn't put very much emotion into her diary entries, considering the ongoing situation with her friends. Plenty of suspense, but not enough terror.

As always,

Thursday, July 12, 2018

When Even Death Can't Stop Someone

A paranormal investigator tries to help a boy deal with the ghost of his dead, but still abusive father. Of course, the investigator has a secret of his own.

By Death Abused by Gary Jonas is a flash fiction piece about the worst kind of ghost dad, still terrorizing his children from beyond the grave. I appreciate the way the author avoids going into detail about the abuse...what little is revealed is horrific enough. It's not difficult to imagine the physical and psychological trauma inflicted on Paula and Davey.

Having the story told from Davey's POV brings a perfect balance of fear and determination, as the young boy is determined to protect his teenage sister. I only wish more had been revealed about the investigator, Sherrod. I'd like to know why he felt he owed "paybacks." I'm not sure if he is trying to make up for something he did or not.

As always,

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Surprise! Dark City, New Day (Part 4 of 4)

WARNING: I strongly suggest you read my previous reviews of the Dark City series, before you read this review: 1) Dark City Dark Night, 2) Dark City Darker Night, and 3) Dark City Darkest Night which has been revised and renamed, Dark City Dark Day.

The final chapter of the Dark City stories. Jo Lamp's niece Yima has become very independent and fearless. They visit a growing community outside the Dark City and his niece meets a young man, who becomes her friend and first love. Lamp becomes the community's constable after he and his niece rescue a girl from two kidnappers.

New Day is the fourth and final installment of the Dark City series by Abe Evergreen, and full of new developments. A lot has changed for Lamp and Yima, while a few things have, unfortunately, stayed the same. While some survivors are attempting to rebuild, others are violent for the sake of violence.

Evergreen has declared this the final chapter, but I haven't had enough of the Dark City. Perhaps, the author would consider writing another series, set in the same dystopian society, but from a completely different viewpoint. I'd love to know Grit's story!

If this is the grand finale, I'm good with how Evergreen chose to wrap up this series.

As always,

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Abe Evergreen Shakes Up The Dark City Series!

WARNING: I strongly suggest you read my previous reviews of the Dark City series, before you read this review: 1) Dark City Dark Night and 2) Dark City Darker Night.

Originally in the Dark City series by Abe Evergreen, the third installment was titled Dark City Darkest Night. You can read my original review here. I felt the author had radically changed his writing style and I was left thinking the series ended as a disappointing trilogy.

Imagine my surprise when I did an Amazon search on Mr. Evergreen to see what else he'd written lately and found, not only a fourth installment, but a new third installment. Darkest Night is nowhere to be found.

The third part of the exciting Dark City stories. After saving his niece's life in Dark City Dark Night, and rescuing her in Dark City Darker Night, Jo Lamp and his niece, Yima, fight to survive in the Dark City.

Dark Day by Abe Evergreen is a thousand times better than Darkest Night. Evergreen reworked the character Yima, so she appears to be a conflicted teen, rather than a brat with a bad attitude. The result is Yima's coming-of-age in a post-apocalyptic society, emphasizing the family drama which has always surrounded Lamp and his loved ones.

Evergreen delivers one hell of a gunfight as well, when a clan of scavengers attack Lamp in effort to kidnap his niece...not to mention the author's suspenseful mix of horror and science fiction in this dystopian series. Dark Day proves to be just as thrilling as the first two stories. I can't wait to read the fourth installment!

As always,

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Murder

On the stage of an abandoned theater, the Mixologist sits slouched in a red, velvet-lined chair. In his hand, he holds a glass filled with a viscous, red concoction. Countless scars mar the flesh of his arms, and his mouth and cheeks are splattered with the crimson liquid.

Behind him, a body dangles by its ankles, creaking as it sways above an ornate, glass decanter. The bottle’s narrow neck captures only a fraction of the mixture draining from the throat of the corpse.

The Mixologist takes a sip from his glass and grins, already thinking about mixing up his next drink.

The Mixologist by Neefu is a flash fiction piece centered around a man who likes to drink a specific mixture of blood, but he's not as discerning as he believes himself to be. While the character, Cummings, transcends both vampire and serial killer in a creative way, the writing style is sloppy.

The POV switches between Cummings, Jonathan and Meagan, which is fine, but towards the end, the POV switches yet again and it simply doesn't fit with the previous POVs. I think it would have flowed more smoothly if all of The Mixologist had been told strictly in third-person narration.

Last, but not least, I tried to google Hyra for a proper sense of the name, but couldn't find any reference to the way it's used in the story. I think Neefu needs to include an author's note at the end. I feel the name would've had more of an impact, if I was familiar with the source.

As always,

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Speculation in Science Fiction

Do you ever get that sense of deja vu...a feeling that you've experienced something before? As computers get more and more complex, they are able to replicate the nature of reality in ever finer detail. How would we recognize if we were living in a computer simulation – a highly accurate world of virtual reality? Perhaps this isn't your first time...

Reality Check by David Brin is not a story so much as an extrapolation attempting to wake the reader up from a simulation of their own making. While providing basic elements, such as characters, theme, and setting, Brin fails to provide anything resembling a human connection, resulting in a cold, unfeeling narration, which is rather monotonous.

As always,

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Lunar Faerie Circle

Avery Rush is on an expedition into the moon's own version of the Bermuda Triangle - a mysterious region of the lunar surface where many a vessel has disappeared - though he is skeptical they'll find anything at all. But the fantastic world on the other side turns out to be full of surprises and dangers that may prove too much for this seasoned pilot who thought he'd seen it all...

OtherPlace by Michael D. Britton is a short story which takes place in the future. Space travel, everything from luxury cruises to shipping livestock, is a common occurrence. Avery, the pilot of a lunar vessel, is tasked with exploring the infamous Circle of Doom.

The mix of science fiction, fantasy and mythology had me spellbound as soon as the action began. While very little is revealed about the nature of the Circle, I still enjoyed the time twists throughout the story.

I can't remember how I found OtherPlace, but I would recommend it as YA fiction.

As always,

Friday, July 6, 2018

Blood Runs Cold

Jess is hoping to help kick her sister Tess' drug addiction by locking them together in their grandparents cabin. After a snowstorm blocks them in for a week or so, Jess' plan is so far working. One that is done behind her sister's back. But soon, Jess realizes they aren't alone in the secluded cabin like she had initially thought. Something horrifying stalks them in the snow. Something invisible.

It's Right There - Can't You See It? by N.C. Brooke is a story best read during a winter storm, rather than in the middle of summer, but it creeped me out just the same. While the snow stalker is fascinating, the story structure is a little too sloppy. There are many references to the sisters' grandparents, which don't seem to serve any purpose. I had hoped the family had some kind of history with the stalker...I expected Tess to share a flashback concerning her grandpa.

I also think bringing more characters into the story, besides Everett, is a weird choice. Mary's actions made no sense to me at all. Why did she run outside? The couples were behaving so strangely, I thought maybe they had ties to the stalker, but nope...just some random extras in the story. If the story had been limited to the three main characters, the storyline might have made more sense.

I enjoyed Voices In The Sea by Brooke much more.

As always,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Choosing The Post-Apocalypse

It’s 2168, and twenty-two-year-old Sasha Roborovskiy’s life is in freefall after the death of his beloved grandmother. He falls into a routine of drunken ambivalence, running internet scams in his filthy Moscow apartment. When he happens upon a bizarre website on the darknet offering him a start at a new life with a research team in the lawless wastelands of America, he sees the chance he needs to turn himself around and be someone Grandma would approve of. However, the opportunity comes with a catch, and Sasha’s not sure it’s one he can live with.

One Way Ticket by Alia Hess is a prequel story to her Travelers series. Sasha lives in a heavily regulated society, where people are chipped, forced to take medication and have their every move tracked by the government. His existence seems so miserable, especially after he loses his grandmother, I don't blame him for choosing to move to a new community in the post-apocalyptic United States.

This prequel is a great way to hook readers into reading the series. Sasha is a very relatable character, wanting to improve himself and his life...and who hasn't thought about starting over somewhere new? Even with the dangers facing Sasha in America, better to risk your life doing something than allow yourself to waste away doing nothing.

As always,

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th Disappointment

American Horror Stories

"The Lady in Lavender"
Callie was horrifically abused by her husband in the late 1800’s. She was helpless in how to protect her children or herself and poisoned him. Because of her guilt she came back to haunt the area where she lived. 

“A Scarecrow for Maggie”
Maggie, an artist at heart makes scarecrows for the locals where she lives in Kentucky to make extra money. When she starts making money from her scarecrows, things start getting nasty.

"A Little Trick or Treat Surprise"
When Maddie takes her children trick or treating for Halloween she finds that not everyone is like the loving people in her family.

"Be Careful about the Promises You Make" 
Have you ever wondered what happens if someone who promises to come back from the dead really does?

American Horror Stories by Shana Dines is a collection of attempted short stories featuring female characters suffering various types of abuse. I say "attempted" because the lack of professional editing is painfully obvious, and, no, I am not referring to mere typos.

The first story glossed over the abuse, the self-defense, the main character herself, and even the ending with little Sara, which I expected to be the crucial point...instead, the lack of both details and suspense leaves readers with a severely underdeveloped plot.

The second story went downhill fast when it is revealed the main character married her cousin because "she really didn't know she had a choice." More time is spent listing the incest-rape encounters with her dad and brothers. I expected something paranormal, only to discover an alternate ending, which the author should have used in the first place. (If you want your characters to have a happy ending, maybe choose another genre to write.)

The third story stood out from the rest. It's more of a novelette than a short story, with a romantic theme, rather than horror, not unlike a condensed coming of age story. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unnecessary details. I don't think the entire relationship history is necessary at all. A few flashbacks might have been a better way of helping readers understand the mindset of Maddie, before her encounter with the neighborhood sicko.

The last story had me convinced the author has a fixation with sexual deviancy. Rather than invest in an editor and submit these stories in the erotica genre, Dines labeled her work "horror," even though there is little to no suspense, minimal action and a pitiful cast of characters.

If the author is serious about writing, I strongly suggest getting an editor for future projects.

As always,

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

At The Water's Edge

The moment Joseph sees the girl he knows she doesn't belong in the hospital. But what can a simple orderly do? When he discovers a chance to heal, can he find the courage to cure the girl's true sickness?

The Dying Girl by Erik Lynd is a flash fiction drama about an orderly attempting to grant the dying request of a young woman. I thought I knew where Lynd was going with the story, since the author likes to blend mythology into his stories, but he managed to surprise me.

The ending is blunt and brutal...I wish Lynd could've revealed more about the patient and the events that led to her being locked up. This could easily be extended into a novella and I would happily read such a book.

As always,

Monday, July 2, 2018

Descent Into Madness

Into the Astral Lands is a cosmic horror short story centering around one man's struggle to keep his humanity while he fights to escape the gaze of entities that seem to exist beyond the confines of time and reality. Can Adam hold onto his sanity, or will he lose his wife, child, livelihood, and sense of self to the Astral Lands?

Into the Astral Lands by Eric Malikyte is a Lovecraft-styled short story, filled with despair, confusion and tentacles. Adam is the main character who comes to realize he's not only lost control of his life, but he has also ceased to be the center of his own universe.

The author mixes cosmic terror with metaphysical monstrosities to unravel and terrorize Adam's grasp of reality. While humanity thinks of itself as top of the food chain, Malikyte shows readers how fragile the human mind really is with Adam's journey into the astral lands.

As always,

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Enslaved by Aliens

A morality tale set in the not too distant future, after earth has been conquered and enslaved. Humans and other alien races are being used to deconstruct the earth for resources by the invaders.

How far would you go for the promise of Eden?

Promises of Eden by Charles Hash offers a frightening glimpse into an alien post-apocalypse. This scenario is worse than any zombie apocalypse I've read. Aliens have conquered Earth and enslaved the human race, as they have on countless other planets.

Slaves live under miserable conditions in the mining tunnels, and they don't even have the option of committing suicide, thanks to the scientific advances of the alien technology. Escape is impossible, or is it?

Hash has created a number of diverse alien races, with great detail. I felt the confinement of the slaves, as if I was suffering alongside with them. If you are claustrophobic, this story will leave you breathless.

As always,