Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Monsters In The Clouds by Russell James [4.5 stars]

From the Description
Paleontologist Grant Coleman and activist Janaina Silva are recruited by Thana Katsoros for a top secret expedition, one in search of a live Apatosaurus on a plateau deep in the Amazonian rain forest.

But their plane crashes short of their destination, and the entire group faces a terrifying fight for survival. This isolated area hosts unknown animals more fearsome than they’d expected, including giant ants and flesh-eating pterosaurs.

Even worse, Katsoros’ agenda has more to it than meets the eye, and Grant soon fears that it doesn’t include all of them getting back alive. Will any expedition members survive to be rescued, or will they be devoured by the creatures indigenous peoples call the monsters in the clouds?
Publication Date: January 29, 2018
Publisher: Severed Press
Publication Length: 142 pages
I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novella. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
Monsters In The Clouds is a rip-roaring adventure complete with nefarious villains, giant insects and prehistoric creatures. Grant Coleman is just as much fun to follow as he was in Cavern Of The Damned, Janaina is a great character as well. The setting is exotic, mysterious and full of things that want to eat you,,,, what could go wrong? The action starts as soon as the party arrives (with a bang!) and doesn’t let up. I can’t wait to see where Russell James takes this fantastic duo next! Fans of Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones will love this book. Grab this 4.5 star read and hold on to your seat!
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About the Author

Russell James was raised on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Dark Shadows, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight.

He has published six paranormal thrillers with Samhain, as well as the novella Blood Red Roses. He has published the short story collections Tales from Beyond, Deeper into Darkness and authored and edited the collections Out of Time, Still Out of Time, Centauri Station, and Outer Rim. His short stories appeared at Daily Science Fiction, Tales of Old, Encounters, In A Land Far Away… He founded the Minnows Literary Group.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.” They share their home in sunny Florida with two cats.

Drop a line at or drop by the website to kill some time with some short stories. You can also find Russell on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.


"James has a talent for combining action-packed vignettes into a powerful, fast-paced whole."
—Library Journal on Black Magic

(Five Stars, A Night Owl Top Pick) "I loved the story so much that I’m eagerly waiting to read more from him. He carefully and very intricately wove his storyline to have elements of mystery and suspense throughout. I now have a new favorite book I’ll read over and over again."
—Night Owl Reviews on Dark Inspiration

"The book had me at the edge of my seat. The writing is so vivid I even jumped a few times. If you're a fan of the genre, love ghosts and are drawn to the supernatural, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book!"
—Long and Short Reviews on Dark Inspiration

Q-Island is a top-notch novel that needs to be at the beginning of every apocalyptic/horror/thriller fans reading list. It's action-packed, violent, frightening and completely captivating, and seriously deserves Hollywood's attention.
- David Bernstein author of The Unhinged and Amongst the Dead

James creates powerful intimacy and terror....This is a seriously creepy page-turner that will keep readers up all night.
- Starred review from Publisher's Weekly surprised me at almost every turn. I hated having to put it down, and eagerly anticipated jumping back into it. Not only has James written a fantastic book, but he has also earned a reader for life in me.
- Horror Buzz

A riveting and impressively well-crafted action/suspense novel, Q Island is an exceptional read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for community libraries where it will prove to be an enduring, popular addition to their collections.
-Midwest Book Review

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Crabian Heart by Erik Hofstatter [4 stars]

From the Description
Irena and her thirteen-year-old son Aleš are refugees living in a lonely seaside town of Dover, England. Aleš has never seen an ocean, let alone one that glows purple when he’s nearby. On a local beach, he befriends the ostensible Mother of Crabs, an amputee with rigid demeanour and unequivocal warnings. Soon, purple crustaceans crawl behind his every step and women with pincers threaten to recondition his sensitive heart.

Erik Hofstatter is a dark fiction writer and a member of the Horror Writers Association. Born in the wild lands of the Czech Republic, he roamed Europe before subsequently settling on English shores, studying creative writing at the London School of Journalism. He now dwells in Kent, where he can be encountered consuming copious amounts of mead and tyrannizing local peasantry. His work appeared in various magazines and podcasts around the world such as Morpheus Tales, Crystal Lake Publishing, The Literary Hatchet, Sanitarium Magazine, Wicked Library, Tales to Terrify and Manor House Show. Other works include The Pariahs, Amaranthine and Other Stories, Katerina, Moribund Tales and Rare Breeds.
Publication Date: November 12, 2017
Publisher: Parallel Universe Publications
Publication Length: 100 pages
I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novella. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
The Crabian Heart is a creepy little tale of a boy finding his first love only to discover that she’s not quite who or what she seems to be. Aleš is a thirteen year old boy who comes to Dover with his mother. You can feel Aleš loneliness as he struggles to find his place in this strange new town. Then he meets Enola, a young girl who steals his heart. He is surrounded by characters that are slightly odd and menacing, purple crabs that swarm and follow him, giving this tale an aura of danger and uncertainty that keeps you on edge. I thoroughly enjoyed the creeping sense of dread that permeates the melancholy atmosphere of this novella. A solid 4 star read.
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About the Author

Erik Hofstatter is a schlock horror writer and a member of the Horror Writers Association. Born in the wild lands of the Czech Republic, he roamed Europe before subsequently settling on English shores, studying creative writing at the London School of Journalism. He now dwells in Kent, where he can be encountered consuming copious amounts of mead and tyrannizing local peasantry. His work appeared in various magazines and podcasts around the world such as Morpheus Tales, Crystal Lake Publishing, The Literary Hatchet, Sanitarium Magazine, Wicked Library, Tales to Terrify and Manor House Show. Other works include The Pariahs, Amaranthine and Other Stories, Katerina, Moribund Tales and Rare Breeds.
You can find him at or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
"Like Stephen King and Clive Barker, Hofstatter has a voice that is distinctive and highly engaging, and, like those maestros, is certain to become a major writer in the world of horror." ~ Starburst Magazine

"Erik Hofstatter certainly shows talent." ~ Scream Horror Magazine
"Hofstatter is that rare type of genre writer who’s willing to take a risk, a trait that works in his and his readers favor." ~ Shotgun Logic
"Hofstatter continues to impress with stories that pull no punches, and travel to some genuinely dark places." ~The Eloquent Page
"An audacious exercise in schlock-horror, gleefully twisted." ~ Gary McMahon, author of The Concrete Grove Trilogy
"Erik writes the kind of old school horror fiction that is rarely seen these days, making him a rare breed himself." ~ Paul Kane, author of The Rainbow Man
"This tale of mounting dread and unusual horror creeps in like a night fog and wraps itself around your throat, and when its icy tendrils recede, what is left behind will shock you." ~ Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower Trilogy

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen [5 stars]

From the Description
A boy in a basement, a man in a booth and a darkness that threatens to swallow them both...

New York audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah head to his hometown of Maple City to help Peter's ailing father and to put a recent tragedy behind them. Though the small, Midwestern town seems the idyllic place to start afresh, Peter and Hannah will soon learn that evil currents flow beneath its surface.

They move into an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town—a house purchased by Peter's father at auction and kept secret until now—and start to settle into their new life.

But as Peter sets up his recording studio in a small basement room, disturbing things begin to occur—mysterious voices haunt audio tracks, malevolent shadows creep about the house. And when an insidious presence emerges from the woodwork, Peter must face old demons in order to save his family and himself.
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Harmful Monkey Press
Publication Length: 274 pages
I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
The Nightmare Room is one creepy little gem! This fast paced ghost story will have you hanging on every word as you try to solve the mystery surrounding the eerie old house. Peter and Hannah are both believable and likeable characters thrown into a nightmare inducing situation. Chris Sorenson has created a haunting that was terrifying without being clichéd interspaced with moments of levity and sorrow and enough twist to keep you guessing until the horrifying end. This novel had me looking up to make sure that nothing was lurking in the shadows and dying for more when I turned the final page. I highly recommend this fantastic 5 star read!
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About the Author

Chris Sorensen spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including the award-winning The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplay including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project.
You can follow Chris on his WEBSITE, Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads

Praise for The Nightmare Room
"This is one haunted house that had me running for the door! Blood frozen. Spine chilled. A must read." - Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching and The Jersey Devil

"Chilling one moment, terrifying the next, The Nightmare Room will have you shopping for a nightlight." - Nick Sullivan, author of Zombie Bigfoot

"The Nightmare Room pulled me in right from the start with believable characters and a central mystery that forced me to keep reading to learn more. Prepare for all night reading once it enters its second act and then prepare to stay up all night hearing the sounds in your own house! A real delight for horror fans!" - Kendal Sinn, screenwriter of Nailbiter, Shadow Falls Memorial

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Al-Mehairi [5 stars]


From the Description


Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.

In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.

In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.

Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.

With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.


Publication Date: October 9, 2017

Publisher: Unnerving

Publication Length: 177 pages


I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this collection. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.


Breathe. Breathe, Erin Al-Mehairi’s debut collection, is a treasure trove of poetry and short stories. Both are filled with heart wrenchingly raw emotion that takes you from fear and despair, longing and loneliness and ultimately hope. Within these pages you’ll meet a guardian watching the night for danger, a woman running for her life from an unnamed threat, a little girl whose favorite crayon hides a dark and desperate truth. My favorites in this collection are Night Stalked, Dandelion Yellow, and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tale. At times this book moved me to tears with the heartfelt truth and pain expressed in these pages, at others it made my pulse quicken with fear and anxiety over the plights of the characters. Breathe. Breathe is a must read for fans of dark prose everywhere. A phenomenal first collection that leaves me anticipating what Erin Al-Mehairi will do next! A solid 5 stars.


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About the Author


Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication and marketing fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, a publicist, and an editor among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations.

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor for authors, publishers, and others. She also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor. Her third pursuit is writing her own works for publication. She volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her Marketing Morsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.

Breathe. Breathe., published by Unnerving, is her debut collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories and has been an Amazon best-selling paid title, debuting at #2 in Women’s Poetry. She is also featured in the anthology from Unnerving called Hardened Hearts, which published in December 2017. Her story “Dandelion Yellow,” from Breathe. Breathe. is also featured in the My Favorite Story anthology of the Project Entertainment Network, which published also in December of 2017.

You can e-mail her at and find her easily at You’ll also find her on GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.





“Erin paints scenes and evokes emotions with precision and skill. These are the kinds of stories and poems that tighten your chest and leave you holding your breath.” – The Scary Reviews


“Breathe. Breathe. is as honest and raw as writing gets. Erin bares her soul with these poems, particularly during Act 2 in which the verses take on a much more personal and reflective nature.” -The Grim Reader


“Breathe. Breathe. is a great collection of poetry and short fiction. The poems are dark and vivid. They touch at the core of the human condition. The poems are gritty and chilling. You can feel the doom and dread in each of the poems. Breathe. Breathe. is an emotional rollercoaster. The characters are troubled, and the author gives them just enough depth.” – Cedar Hollow Reviews


“I am certain many readers {and not only female} will find themselves breathing shallower, or holding their breath, as the vividness of these scenes awakens memories. Other readers who may not have these particular types of painful memories, will nonetheless wince in empathy. I am equally certain very few will walk away untouched, and very few will forget.” -The Haunted Reading Room


“Raw, risky, and brave.” – Selcouth Station


“I feel the poems are at their best when folkloric in nature - I particularly like "Ningyo's Misfortune", "The Driftwood of Wishes", and "Offerings to Nang Tani". The short stories "Destination: Valhalla Lane Loveless, Ohio" and "Life-Giver of the Nile" are both clever and brutal, and the standout.” – Julie K. Rose, author of Oleanna and Dido’s Crown


“Wow. This collection really leaves bruises on the soul. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, yet, I found myself glued to the words and emotions pouring out of this author. The short stories were great too. My favorite was "Lunch Served at Noon", as it had a Twilight Zone-ish quality to it. To fans of dark literary fiction and poetry, I recommend giving Breathe. Breathe. a try.” – Tim Meyer, author of Sharkwater Beach


“At times sinister, definitely dark, atmospheric and heavy with foreboding, this collection of poetry and short stories from Erin Al Mehairi touches our deepest fears. Murder, domestic violence and even an ancient Egyptian goddess all move within these pages where nothing is ever simple or straightforward.” – Catherine Cavendish, author of Wrath of the Ancients


It’s full of the unexpected – bits of lace cut through with the odd and the horrible and the beautiful. Through it all I sense the power of a survivor!! And I love that!”
—Sue Harrison, internationally bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky (Ivory Carver Trilogy)

"Breathe. Breathe. is at times haunting, visceral, bittersweet, and tender. Erin Al Mehairi bares her soul and invites readers to devour it whole."
—Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching

“Erin Al-Mehairi weaves a web of narrative and poetry both beautiful and nightmare-inducing in Breathe. Breathe., invoking heartache and the need to see through the shining masks life presents us to confront the darkness it truly holds.”
—Michelle Garza, co-author of Bram Stoker nominated Mayan Blue


"I loved Dandelion Yellow.  I was hyperventilating at the end, but it was such a beautiful, painful and artful tale. I'll be saying that last line to myself for weeks at least. Just beautiful.  I'm re-reading the rest.  One read just isn't enough because DAYUM.  Beautiful."
-  Somer Canon, author of Vicki Beautiful and The Killer Chronicles


"In Breathe. Breathe., Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi employs sharp, jagged words arranged in sparse, disturbingly visceral clusters to force readers to "breathe" through the fear and pain of abuse and personal terror. It's a sense reinforced by the deceptively quiet but disquieting story, "Dandelion Yellow." Filled with sharp sensory detail, the highlight is "Life-Giver of the Nile," an evocative circular time-shift tale in which an Egyptologist's soul is required by Anuket, ancient and modern goddess of the Nile, for a greater purpose. Whether in poetry or prose, dark kernels nestled within horror tropes indicate that Al-Mehairi writes from the gut and from the heart but with the fierceness of a survivor, the soul of a fearless champion. This mixed collection is a fine introduction to a strong, intriguing new voice in dark fiction." -W.D. Gagliani, Bram Stoker Finalist, author of Wolf'sTrap (Nick Lupo Series)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Episodes Of Violence by David Bernstein [4 stars]

From the Description
Amber had been looking forward to college life. She loved high school and was certain college would be even better, especially since she pledged one of the sororities on campus. At least that was what she thought, until one night her soul was fractured and darkness awoke within her.
Unable to cope, she returns home hoping to heal. Unfortunately, her hometown is wrought with brutal violence. People are being slaughtered in random fashion. The police are clueless. Despite the surrounding chaos, she is still determined to thrive.
However, when the violence shows up at her front door and rips her life apart, she realizes that the darkness within her is the only thing that will keep her sane and alive.
From the storyteller mastermind David Bernstein, author of Witch Island and A Mixed Bag of Blood, comes one of his most gut-wrenching tales yet. You might not sleep after this one.
Publication Date: October 15, 2017
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Length: 278 pages
I received a free copy of this book as part of the Episodes of Violence publicity tour, hosted by the wonderful Erin Al-Mehari over at Hookof a Book Media & Publicity and Sinister Grin Press. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review. Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #EpisodesOfViolence  #SinisterGrinPress
Episodes of Violence starts out with a bang and never lets up. Consider this review a warning to those of a more delicate nature, this one isn’t for the squeamish. But if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put this fast paced book down until you turn the last page. I found it a bit disconcerting to sympathize with Sage, Daemon, and Bobby. It’s always weird for me to identify with the ‘Bad Guys’. Amber’s story is heartbreaking and far too common in the world today. When these characters finally come together the action is explosive. I highly recommend this gripping 4 star read.
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About the Author
David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can find him at his WEBSITE, email him at , or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.
"David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, 'Be careful what you wish for.' Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…" —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight
"A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!" —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure
“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.”  —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden
"A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!" —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift