Friday, 30 October 2015

The Demon's Grave by E.M. MacCallum - Review

The Demon’s Grave, by E.M. MacCallum
Published:  Amazon Digital Services May 31, 2015,
Smashwords May 2015
Pages: 289 Adobe Digital Editions
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Source: Xpresso Book Tours, via NetGalley

When strange shadows and messages plague Nora's daily life she fears for her sanity. To escape questions from her family, Nora joins her friends on a weekend getaway. Despite not liking Aidan Birket, Nora finds his remote, Victorian house charming. Until they discover the marble doorway on the third floor and, against Nora's better judgment, they open it.

Drawn into an unfamiliar place called the Demon's Grave, the group face a charismatic demon and a set of Challenges. Six nightmarish realities for the six of them is the punishment. Those that make it to the end can go home, but those that don't will be his forever. Friendships are tested, secrets revealed and sacrifices will be made.

Nora battles zombies, doppelgängers, eyeless bikers, and the demon--whose interests are more than just a game of cat and mouse. If it's all in her head, then it should be easy. But, if not, it means the demon knows everything and her past and the death of her twin sister.
Happy and safe Halloween all! My review to set the mood here is The Demon's Grave.

I’m going to look at the prologue later in my review since this section is quite different from the main story. After the prologue, author MacCallum starts the reader out with modern-day Nora receiving spooky messages from the beyond in mysterious ways. Unbeknownst to her, she’s not the only one. The writing style here has kind of like a New York, Italian ginette feel to it that’s snappy, funny, and fast moving though this settles out after a while. I like the overall directness of conversations and events.

Nora and friends head out to Aidan’s parents’ Victorian fixer-upper just outside of town for a party night, and discover a strange door upstairs. They’re drawn through it into the darkness and the fun party gets totally derailed. Non-stop action ensues as the demon of the portal besets them with challenges based on their worst nightmares and secrets.

Through this madness, Nora and Aidan discover each other. What a challenging way to begin a relationship! They battle their way through pretty much every Indiana Jones scenario and then some throughout the book.

Back to the prologue. The author begins with a ceremony of sacrifice to a demon that is botched and not accepted. This section is written in quite a different style to the rest of the book and in of itself is a little bit choppy. I found this part so different in style, I wonder if it’s written by the same person. But it’s tied in neatly to the storyline at the end of the book.

Despite the disjointed prologue, and initial writing style cultural time warp feel, somehow the author manages to make this a page turner and I wanted to find out where the crazy ride was going to end. Demon’s Grave is an interesting, action-packed novel that left me wanting to know more about what’s with Damien. Cool unexpected ending!   4.0 stars

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Gathering Darkness - Review

The Gathering Darkness, by Lisa Collicutt
Published By:  Curiosity Quills Press, Sept 22, 2012
Pages: 305 PDF
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Curiosity Quills Press

They say "third time's the charm", and for sixteen-year-old Brooke Day, they had better be right. She’s been here before, twice in fact, and an evil demon-witch wants her dead a third time.

When Brooke is forced to leave Boston for the small town of Deadwich, she thinks her life is over. Before long, her new friends start acting strange—downright evil. But worse than that, nightmares she’s had her whole life become reality.

Enter Marcus Knight; popular, hot, and the only person Brooke can trust. Not to mention, they’ve shared the same nightmares.

With the discovery of an ancient Celtic amulet, Brooke and Marcus unravel the secrets of her past, which reveals the key to her future.

As the equinox approaches, darkness and light merge for the first time in a century. Soul mates reunite. Magic awakens.
I’m excited to be starting my Halloween week reviews with The Gathering Darkness, with thanks to Curiosity Quills Press for a reading copy!

Brooke Day is sent to her aunt’s in Deadwich for the next school season, and given a part-time job at the spooky Ravenwyck Inn. This means a new high school, friends, boys, and all the social awkwardness of fitting in. Right away Brooke starts to have creepy visions, and returning nightmares. She and high school hottie, Marcus Knight, find an ancient Celtic amulet during a party weekend that seems to bind them together somehow and the story unravels around the amulet.

The Gathering Darkness is an entertaining, easy read about reincarnating lovers who have found each other again in a new life in order to vanquish old betrayals and ancient witchcraft reaching out to destroy them in the present.

Overall, I found the cute social awkwardness of young love and teen life to be a little more than I was expecting. Somehow I did not want to think that Brooke is just 16. Or maybe I was lucky/clueless at 16 to not really be fazed by all of the stuff.  For me, in this case, less on this is better for good writing.

Early on in the story, the Celtic amulet plays a large role, giving way in the second half to witch lore and dark practices, so intriguing to readers with an interest in witchcraft.

As Brooke and Marcus begin to realize that something bigger than them is going on, I really like that Marcus brings Brooke to see his uncle, a wiser/mature person for help, though in some ways this gives an easy, fast explanation about what’s happening to them. Marcus I think is a really nice guy.

I enjoyed the creep factor descriptions, especially of Maggie, Ravenwyk’s owner, that hint at what she really is. Maggie is a great villain who will do anything to attain her own interests.

Brooke’s fairy origins are intriguing, though I feel that this hampers rather than helps define her character and draws away from the core story. Her fairy blood becomes essential but this story element I think could have been handled in a different, more intrinsic way that would have made the story more concise.

So, I felt the story and plot line were interesting and secondary characters okay-decent. I think the 16 year old group will really vibe with this, and recommend reading this interesting novel to all young at heart.  3.75 stars

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

the Iron Web-discovery Cover Reveal

Excited today to share cover reveal for my new novella!
the Iron Web
Planned publication date is October 22.
Genres:  Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Novella of about 34,000 words.
Self-published at Amazon Kindle ebooks
Bryn’s never been a regular sort of small town Welsh girl. She’s intrigued with ancient manuscripts, scrolls, and arcane secret books. When Penrith University library acquires the mysterious N800 texts, being junior librarian gives her quick access to the texts and she starts to spend all her spare time studying their strange and frightening message.

The very secretive Luxent is also interested in the N800. Daveithe draws Bryn into the underground group as they fear that One Earth Dynamic, the global agency that tracks all human life, has insidious ties to an ancient evil written about in the N800 and they need her help to expose it.

Terrifying secrets about One Earth Dynamic are brought to light when gorgeous OED fugitive, Curran Reithe, runs to Luxent for sanctuary. And Bryn’s strange ability to throw condensed light becomes a weapon in a growing struggle for supremacy between natural earth magic and other-worldly forces as new truths emerge.

But Bryn’s rising emotions for Curran and learning the true reality of the OED can only lead down one road, and that goes straight into an ancient and evil web.
Cover design is by me using photo editor iPiccy, images from Pixabay. More details will be in the frontispiece.

I hope you will join me for release day, October 22, 2015!