Detective Alex Hunter stumbles into darkness after a drunk driver careens into his wife and daughter, killing them instantly. Off the force, two years pass and he lands in private investigations and the edge of the underworld. When Arthur Garland offers him just the kind of job he can’t turn down, all hell breaks loose. Not only is Garland’s past unsettling, he is also the owner of a new property Alex is buying on Crystal Creek. He’d been turned on to the sale by a mysterious figure so now with every nerve firing and red flags flying, the wiry detective has a mystery to solve – one that he is already in too deep. Discovering how this all started with a detective not unlike himself over a century ago does little to soothe his soul. Then, and now, the answer to the mystery of Crystal Creek may lay with a phantom man wearing an old black hood.
CS Caspar’s novel, Hoodie Black, starts out with a tone not unlike an autobiography told in first person. The supernatural, however, has already come knocking within the first page. Deft descriptions of street trash mingle with demons from the start, I was taken with this dark view of the world. With a distinctive noire flair, the tale unfurls smooth as a red carpet making it easy to stroll on in to this tale and take a seat.
Harkening back to the best Twilight Zone or Creepshow stories, there are ghastly legacies, surreal paintings, tales regaled and of course much of that creeping darkness to be found. And not to say that lightly, Hoodie Black starts out with so many of the genres fairest delights like this so it easily hooks any fan of mystery and horror. On top of all the modern notes this story hits, there is an ancient foundation like something from the Brothers Grimm or older fables, the storytelling quickly becomes deeply layered, making any reader curious how it is all going to converge and when. Truly one of the more remarkable tricks is creating tension simply with that idea – how will this converge and when – CS Caspar has accomplished this tension in the first fifth of the novel.
For some, the tiptoe between a hard-boiled thriller and fairy tale or religious elements may be off putting. The tone may take a little to get used to once the book is at full speed since we are so accustomed to being in one state or genre instead of three at once. For those that enjoy genre-bending dark fiction, Hoodie Black is a very fun read. Culminating in battles between the very ideas of good and evil we are taken between first person narration and a more comfortable third-person point of view. The landscapes and surreal time-bending lend themselves to being wrenched from one mode of storytelling to the other and this should keep the most finicky of readers rapt with attention.
Pages: 219 | ASIN: B07M74MVB9
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A dark otherworld exists alongside ours, because the true meaning of our convictions lie in the rhythm of time. What we believe is time, may find its answer in our greatest fears.
I am ancient evil. A malignant, vile creature older than humanity. Legion is my name and my power originates deep inside the primitive core of your fears. I exist because you live between the spaces of Light and Darkness. You are here, steeped in half light and shadows, but at the same time, somewhere else living in denial . . . Hoodie Black
Crystal creek isn’t like any other house. Victor Garland, built it for his mad son Harrison.
It all started long before 1835 when Harrison disappeared and no one could find him. However, eight days later, he returned home, a little starved, a little dirty and a little mad. . . and he didn’t come alone.
It’s 2015 when Alex Hunter, a private detective, still grieving the loss of his wife and only daughter, buys the long abandoned Crystal creek. And it isn’t long before he meets the former owner, Victors` great grandson, Arthur Garland. Arthur leads Alex into an incredible story about the house, a family curse, a murderous ancestor, and a past that won’t let go.
While murders are piling up, and Alex’s former convictions about the house are crumbling. Two immortals come to his aid. One is an Assassin, the other an Angel. When the Assassin offers Alex a deal, and if he succeeds, he will have the chance to turn back time and save his wife and daughter from the accident. He accepts the challenge. However, as we all know. Everything comes at a price.
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As an Evil Force grows within the “Nown” World, peaceful nations wage war on one another, for no apparent reason.
Meanwhile, Karen (Formerly Ka-Ron the Knight) returns home after her adventures and accepts her new identity as a woman. She learns that in her absence Idoshia has become a fallen, conquered nation and the Royal Family are prisoners in their own castle, leaving her as the people’s one and only hope. She battles everything from Elves to Vampires with the soul of her beloved country at stake, in what will be remembered as “THE LURKER WAR.”
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In the science fiction genre, many stories share similar plots. The authors, Grant Elliot Smith and Steven H. Stohler, in their co-venture, Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest, expertly utilize concepts from great sci-fi classics. With this they create a very entertaining story that keeps readers rooting for the protagonist, Rathen, and his crew throughout their quest to vanquish evil from their world and other worlds in the galaxy.
The story begins roughly a year after the first book left off in a dark scene where Rathen and his companions—Bandark and Rulo—nervously approach a terrible foe that is capable of destroying the group with his magical ability that allows him control of many elements and also the dead. The result of this meeting then forms a core group that joins in a quest in search of a powerful book called The Book of Ziz that will allow its wielders to vanquish a terrorizing deity known as Gothoar. The story has much more depth as the characters face personal issues and other forms of conflict as the story unfolds.
One concept that makes this book a great read is the discussion of social dynamics through the interaction of fictional races. The group contains several humans, a lich, a half-orc, and people from other worlds in their fold. Therefore, the authors found a way to talk about and resolve racial conflicts. The details of the story show that some people have to live in certain neighborhoods and have to be defensive regarding their heritage. Thack, a capable warrior who is half human and orc, has apparently had a history of racial persecution because he chose to live in an area away from his home where he has found acceptance, but with the introduction of a love interest, feels defensive about his mixed heritage to seek acceptance.
Other social issues like gender disparity are discussed. Caswen—a healer—and her sister Drynwen—a protector—feel gender bias in their organization and have to fight harder to receive missions than their male counterparts. This book seeks to show that the bias others hold can often overshadow dreams and skills. The sisters get their opportunity to sharpen their skills on the road. They find their niche amongst the team allowing them to shine brighter than many of their order back home.
Rathen is able to shed new light on old tropes. Most everyone is familiar with the hero and company on a quest to save the world from destructive foe. The story adds plenty of depth through the implementation of human nature with nonhuman characters and the exploration of human tendencies like the search for redemption, acceptance, contentment, immortality, and even revenge in some cases. Smith and Stohler did a fantastic job telling a story that goes much deeper than the words on the pages; their work sticks with their readers well after the words are read.
Pages: 282 | ASIN: B07HWNK13Z
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Right from the very beginning the book has an air of suspense. The plot unfolded easily and the characters were easy to understand and like. All of this led me to flipping pages quickly. We are immediately introduced to Talwyn Sevi and her mother and sister running through the woods. The author expertly narrates how the three had been running away, passing through the woods and even hiding. I had no idea what they were running from but my anticipation was high, and I wanted to know more.
The story got juicier when I got to know Talwyn’s age. She was over three hundred years old, and all she was having were memories. The other interesting thing was that the events in her dream-memory had happened when she was just 8 years old. That was such a long time to remember some things. I loved that during their time, her people could live for over eight hundred years. I tried imagining how life was for them, and how they viewed life seeing that one could live for centuries. The other exciting thing was that Talwyn’s people didn’t experience adolescence until they were twenty-five or thirty years old. Thinking about it, it made sense because a thirty-year-old could not be described as a full adult considering how long they lived. This is reminiscent, for me, of the depth of lore found in well developed series like Dungeon’s and Dragons, or The Lord of the Rings series.
I enjoyed Talwyn character, she was not only loving but also cared for the people around her. I loved her sense of humor and how she was able to bring moments of levity into dark situations. Her whole personality was lovely. I, however, didn’t understand why she kept questioning her clear memory. As much as some of the things she remembered were unpleasant, I would not have minded having a memory as good as hers. Overall, Talwyn was my favorite character. Anwyl was another character I admired (I know, it sounds like every character is my favorite). Being the greatest metallurgist the seers had ever seen was an achievement. Anwyl was the only being Talwyn had who had been allowed access to the mountain. I love that he was useful, as most fantasy novels give someone a job with no real use; he mined rare metal and made whatever the dragonkin needed. I really loved the traits in the characters. That the shifters could shift between human and animal form at will was eccentric, but amusing regardless.
The Dragon Shifters At Southgate: Seers Book II is a creative piece of literature with an action-packed plot and well developed characters in a world with a rich backstory. This book has an enthralling story line that constantly hints at something larger. The author’s writing style is simple, making it easily accessible by anyone, and her way of narrating the story naturally capture’s the reader’s interest.
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House of Pain is a uniquely creative story unlike any fantasy story I’ve come across. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
For the setting of this story, I imagined what could happen if we continue the self-destructive path we seem to be walking. Wars, hatred, greed, power-hungry politicians. I’ve always worried about the possibility of a nuclear war, but what if Mother Nature herself finally got fed up and decided to help wipe us out? The little, insignificant people are usually the ones who suffer most. I imagined those in power wouldn’t hesitate to call on demons for help if they thought they could maintain control over them. And, as with most arrogant people, they have no idea what they’re getting into.
Maggie is a human-demon hybrid who grew up in a whorehouse, but still manages to hold onto her humanity. What were the driving ideals behind her character?
Maggie represents all of us who struggle with our dark half to hold to good. It would have been easier for her to let go and embrace her evil side, but she held tight to her dream of one day having a family to love and who loved her. Of course, as in real life, she couldn’t fight this battle alone. Maggie understood the concept of love and goodness because center stage in her horrible childhood were three men, her handlers, who pushed her toward another path, one where she didn’t need to hurt others. Under almost impossible circumstances, they helped her develop a conscious, gave her choices. Though obviously exaggerated with Maggie, I used my own struggles trying to raise my daughter to show the difficulties we face as parents in today’s world. There are so many distractions fighting for our children’s attention, and much of it not good. It’s difficult to try to keep them on the right path?
The world in this story is a dark post-apocalyptic Earth and I enjoyed the unique backstory. Did you develop the backstory before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
The backstory came first. Watching the news, it worried me to think about a possible nuclear war and what it would do to our planet. I also noticed that we appeared to be having more and more natural disasters and I wondered if Mother Nature had finally had enough of our abuse and decided to fight back. But no matter what happened, I imagined some people would find a way to survive. But how? This is where the demons came into play and the people who thought they could control them. There will always be evil in the world, but I believe there will always be good too. The real question is can good win over evil? I believe it can. Maggie became my representation of this battle. Daniel, her love interest, and his young son were her reward for holding strong. They gave her hope for a new and better life, one I think we all strive for.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I’m working on a Science Fiction Romance called Claimed by Nicolai right now. It is an alien abduction story involving a young woman from Oregon. My novels tend to revolve around the woman in the story, how she must fight for her own path in life and not just depend on a man to provide what he thinks she needs. Love can develop from this struggle, but it needs to be a relationship where both parties are equal. Claimed by Nicolai will be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing sometime in the spring of 2019.
Maggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.
The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.
Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks them to House of Pain, not realizing a trap is being set for him. Though tortured, Daniel refuses to break when they try to force him to prostitute himself—until a beautiful blonde woman is brought into the room, her power stripping away his self-control.
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I immediately liked Asuf the moment I started reading the book. On their hunting spree with Valhelm, the latter confessed how scared he was to hunt. He mentioned that he had heard stories, unpleasant of course and that something could be lurking around the part of the caverns the two were hunting. Asuf shut his partner down, Saying that whatever Valhelm was on was weakness and unacceptable. I like bold characters in books; Characters like Asuf, who are not frightened by minute issues. Though a little bit aggressive, I admired how Asuf demanded respect. He instilled a little fear in Valhelm when speaking, in that Valhelm felt inferior in his presence.
The book gets to be more interesting as one reads on. I like how the society in Igor Valec’s book held authority in high regard. A subject could not address the king in any manner. They had to use the appropriate title when speaking to those at the throne. One could also tell the mood and tone of the subjects Vis a Vis the king.
King Lortar’s reaction to discovering that there was a heathen cult in the kingdom was priceless. How and where was that? I appreciated Valhelm for informing Lortar about this cult. As they were speaking, one could feel Lortar’s concern in his words. He was worried that Valhelm had gone on his own to do the hunting. I enjoyed the conversation that followed as everyone was given a chance to air their views.
Damnation: A Grimdark Fantasy Political Drama is not your average book. Through the story, the author incorporated themes of leadership, family relations, and infighting among members of the same society, politics, and fantasy. Every chapter built on the story and tension of the last chapter, so as you read you always felt like something was about to happen.
Igor Valec’s character choice was marvelous. Looking at how the characters were distributed across the book, I have to admit that the author took his time to select which traits to give who. Hirr Valhelm remained my favorite character. Other characters I found interesting include Vost Kon Schmitt, Wiktor Kon Oydrich and Lady Eidi Kon Huss and of course King Lortar. I found the kingdom’s way of dealing with criminals and those who went against the king intriguing.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story. The characters in the book are fascinating. The plot is superb and the writing style is amazing. I loved every page of Damnation. The book is action-packed, with suspense, adventure, drama, twists, and turns.
The book is fairly long, at 600+ pages, but this story does not feel overwhelming. I felt that opposite actually, the ending leaves you on a cliffhanger and I wanted more. This leaves the book open for a followup book to start, what could be, a fantasy series with a deep backstory and dynamic characters.
Pages: 644 | ASIN: B07HVHVDDY
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House of Pain, by Denna Holm, is a dark, provocative and devilish book that will leave you lusting for more! The novel opens with a brother and sister cowering before a terrifying demon to whom they have made a promise. They must deliver on this promise or spend eternity kept alive simply to be tortured by this diabolical creature. Their promise comes in the form of the beautiful Magdalena, Maggie, who is half human/half demon. Although raised in a whorehouse she is our lovely virgin full of kindness but also the ability to suck life from people through sex! Holms paints a grim story of the future and it is not one of hope but one in which humans and nature have destroyed the Earth and demons can enter the planet and are on the cusp of entering to stay.
This is a dreary story in many ways, due to the state of the world in which it is set and the predicament of many of the characters but also ends up being very much a love story. Yes, there are erotic scenes and themes, but this story is truly about the endurance of family and the strength of love. It is slightly odd to write that about a book which includes incubus’s and succubus’s, a whorehouse full of debauchery and more but it is truly fitting in this first novel in what seems will be a series. I can definitely see future challenges arising for our main characters as well as the possibility of the portal re-opening. Demons are quite clever, after all!
I was impressed with the originality of this story. I love when authors create truly original story lines. It felt like this was a story in which the author was truly enmeshed. I want to know how she got the idea for this story. It was so uniquely creative and unlike any other fantasy story I’ve come across.
As stated earlier, there are some adult scenes, which are done respectfully but not appropriate for people under 17. I loved Holm’s writing style. It was dripping with tension, drama, romance, and a dark-side that I truly found intriguing. Her story did not drag on, the scenes moved quickly, and I did not want to put it down. I found it quite easy and fun to read! Be certain you are one who is down for some macabre, some romance and some sexiness in this fantasy fiction novel.
Pages: 335 | ASIN: B07HLP7QN1
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Dark Karma is a fascinating tale of vengeance and dark magic by author, Laura Simmons. Laura Simmons does a beautiful job in creating an epic tale that creates an array of whirlwind emotions. Simmons’ writing is flawless and thought-provoking, great for any avid reader of suspense and mystery novels. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a novel that surrounds itself in magic, tension, mystery and revenge.
The narrative of Dark Karma is extremely captivating and strong. It has been written in such simplicity, but is highly effective for all readers. Luke Decker is introduced to the readers as the protagonist. He is banished by his evil enemy into a hell-like alternative dimension. Luke has to deal with the fact that his whole world has been turned upside down, and what is more, he is on trial for murdering his beloved Nina. However, the plot twists dramatically throughout the novel, and the reader is constantly left wanting more. I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next, but then just gave up and went along on this eventful and thrilling ride.
The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Laura Simmons structures her book beautifully and your imagination is left running wild. I think that the mystery elements in the book really kept me wanting more. Readers are able to dive into a world that is based on pure imagination. Simmons use of magic is embued with a dark energy throughout that is creepy, enticing, and begs you to keep reading. I think I read this whole book with a raised eyebrow. Dark Karma is a beautifully told story that, I think, is suitable for readers of any genre as it first focuses on telling a great story before delivering the unique qualities of it’s genre.
Dark Kara does an amicable job at creating an evil magical dimension that is just detailed enough to allow your imagination to fill in the blanks. The characters and the plot are strong, and Laura Simmons shows that she is a writer to be reckoned with. Overall, I think the story, twists, and characters are great, and I really enjoyed reading this book.
A fantastic attempt at creating a novel that blends and transcends genres. An enjoyable read which really dives into a different dimension, making the reader want to know more as the story progresses.
Pages: 192 | ISBN: 1977201555
Encore is Book 3 in the Agents of the Nevermind series brought to you by author, Tantra Bensko. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job writing a story line that intertwines themes of history, myths, politics, psychology magic, cultism, religion and romance. A clever author that sets out to achieve a contemporary love story with a touch of Gothicism. The author does a marvellous job at blending themes and motifs together in order to build up tension and create an epic dark read. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a psychological suspense story – guaranteed to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.
The narrative of Encore is imaginative and unique, which allows readers to really think about the importance of different aspects of their lives. The plot of this book mostly revolves around Colin, a Bennu performance troupe’s hypnotist who abducts Susan and takes her to a castle. This weird relationship sees Colin slightly fixated with Susan’s character, pretending to be her husband to solidify their romance. However, the story unfolds with lots of twists and mysteries that are questionable to the reader. The reader is constantly left wondering what is happening and why. This is a great feeling for a reader of the paranormal genre. What more could you possibly want?
The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Bensko structures her book clearly and it’s easy to follow. I think that paranormal activities are apparent throughout the book, which makes for a great read. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job at trying to write something for her readers that takes them out of their comfort zone and into something quite edgy and Gothic. Her writing is exceptional throughout the book and allows readers to fully engage with the topics being explored.
Having read this book, I believe it clearly captures the paranormal and suspense genres to an exceptionally high standard. I was hooked right from the opening chapters and was left overwhelmed and intrigued when I put the book down.
Encore is a dark read with dark characters and an ever-evolving plot. I think the author has done a great job at creating all sorts of emotions from the ideas of love as well as complete fear. This is a unique contribution to the world of Gothic literature and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Overall, Encore is an exciting and intriguing read that has opened my eyes to the world of the paranormal genre. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the paranormal world. Even if you aren’t that interested, I think it’s worth a shot, as I think you too will be impressed with the story of Encore.
Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07HQYNL7K
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