Book Blitz: Love, Murder and Mayhem – an Anthology edited by Russ Colchamiro

~ Book Blitz ~
Love, Murder & Mayhem
 
About the Book
Love science fiction stories that all include elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?
 
Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!
 
With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ
Colchamiro.

 
You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.
 
 
About the Editor:
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.
As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.
 
 

Dark and sad, Paige Dearth brings out a part of life that many don’t see, in her book When Smiles Fade!

About the Book:

When Smiles Fade

Emma’s father’s coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

 My Thoughts:

What would you do if your only option to survive is to do anything? Would you resort to killing the people who hurt you to protect the ones you love? What does it mean to be hated and hurt? How do you live in a family devoid of the basic emotion that connects them, love and trust? How does your upbringing shape who you ultimately become?

These are the kind of questions that this book raises and answers in some ways. There cannot be a right answer, it’s more of a perspective which the author brings out in a gentle manner. This is required when dealing with topics of abuse and hurt. Paige Dearth introduces us to Emma and her younger sister, who are subject to severe abuse from their father, with a mother who turns the other way through all this. To be frank, it is expected that the children will be traumatized, and that is putting it mildly. These experiences can change a person and the author portrays the same through the protagonist, Emma. She is strong-willed and resourceful while at the same time has a pleasing personality. It becomes difficult to dislike her or condemn her actions when she is after all doing her best to survive.

The people the sisters encounter along the way leave profound impacts on their lives. Some help them and end up becoming life long friends while the others end up somewhere in a ditch, and that’s putting it mildly. Everyone craves normalcy and a mundane life at times and the sisters are no different. However, tragedy seems to strike  so many times, it’s a wonder that they still find reasons to smile. In the end, Emma has the last laugh, but it was worth it all.

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The final question of “Will she find redemption and be happy?” is answered and I really enjoyed the way the story ended. It proved that Emma is a survivor and this is an inspiring thought. There is a lot to learn and understand in this book and I strongly recommend the same to all.

Book Review: The Last Soul: A Reaper Novella (Reapers Book 1) by Lena Hillbrand

About the Book:

The Last Soul: A Reaper Novella (Reapers Book 1)

A nameless reaper finds the last living human and harvests his soul for her master, expecting the reward he promised–freedom. But Lucifer is a clever master, one who isn’t ready to let a subject regain free will easily. The reaper’s only hope is to find the angel who witnessed the harvesting and convince him to testify on her behalf. Without proof, she is at the mercy of Lucifer, and at risk of spending eternity in the depths of her own personal hell.

My Thoughts:

This is a short Novella which portrays heaven and hell in a different way. It is well written but took me a while to completely understand the context and characters. There are abrupt jumps or shifts in situations and character discussions. This makes it difficult to understand and may serve as a deterrent to reading this. The story talks of angels and reapers, and how Lucifer controls the reapers, focusing on finding and harvesting the last living soul on Earth. However, looking past the small flaws, this story is written in a fresh new perspective which makes it worth a try, especially since it is a very short story.

Book Review: Fraternity of Fractures by Mark Pannebecker

About the Book:

Fraternity of Fractures

Justin Sunder and Phoenix are master cat burglars and best friends until Dylan Panicosky enters their circle of hedonism and crime. Set in the blighted city of St. Louis in the ‘80s, Fraternity of Fractures is a love triangle played out in an urban setting full of nocturnal adventures, drugs, sex, and danger, with all the players fractured in their own way.

My Thoughts:

This is a rather dark story that delves into the minds of people and shows us the ways of criminals. The author portrays crime as an art, describing it with great care and attention to detail.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story as it was a little confusing. The style of writing is very different and the characters themselves, though clear about their lives are confusing. After a while, it became easier to settle into the story and follow the lives of the characters. There are a variety of character types in this story adding more color to the general mix and helping to setup the scenes.

One thing that stuck with me was the way the author played out the love triangle. It was masterfully crafted with a clear direction. The author does not beat around the bush and make it a messy affair. The focus on crime is the basis on which the rest of the plot is built and the turn of events eventually will give the reader the kind of closure that one can come to expect from this author’s style of writing.

An overall interesting experience, this story delivers what it set out to, with a mix of crime, romance and some dark humour thrown into the mix. It is from a rather different perspective having characters who are flawed just like we are, making it easy to relate to them and understand what makes them tick. Once you get used to the writing, and look past all the heavy description, the story is worth the read!

Book Review: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

CHAMELEON

By

Zoe Kalo

4019c-chameleon

Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural

Word count: 55,000

Release date: February 2017

Premise:

Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

My Thoughts:

A dark psychological thriller, this story has just the right amount of paranormal and psychosis to spook the reader a little. The story emphasizes on the bonds people form in life and how each one affects the person. Keeping secrets, guarding them at the expense of others’ lives also plays a major role in the plot line. The story is well written and will send chills down your spine at some places. It is easy to relate to some of the characters, their feelings and thoughts.

The author has a unique style of expression which is evident across all her works and is quite pronounced in this story. She has ensured that this book is as different from the others and that the reader will be hooked until the end. There is no stopping once you take the first step into the story.

As Paloma tries to deal with the death of her father, she encounters a group of girls who share strange bonds with each other at an isolated convent. She is sent there by her mother and step-father, with the intent of reform. Little does she know that she will stumble upon some well kept secrets that threaten to come out once she is there. Who knows to what extent a person will go to protect the ones they love and their secrets? The author also highlights the power of suggestion and how trust plays a major role in a persons life. As dark and tragic as this book may be, it has a lot of lessons that are relevant. Though a little slow on the uptake, give the story a chance and pursue it.

A wonderful read, with well developed characters, the right amount of darkness associated with them and the plot, this is worth a read!

Book Review: Granjy’s Eyes by Matt McAvoy

About the Book:

Granjy's Eyes

Meet Ollie.
Well-educated and spoilt – a rich kid, fun-loving party-goer and brutal sociopath. Ruthlessly arrogant Ollie takes what he wants, when he wants it. But Ollie’s going to learn, the hard way, that for every action there’s a consequence, and for every bounty a price.

Because living with Granjy isn’t the bed of roses he thought it was going to be; the blind old lady sees everything – sees him – and most of all sees the monster he is becoming. It was she that made him rotten-to-the-core, and now his payment is due – Ollie will tear apart his own dark soul, and Granjy will teach him new meaning of the word ‘remorse’.

My Thoughts:

I come away with mixed feelings after reading this book. At the end, I just gave a sigh of relief that it is over. Some parts of the book had me cringing in horror and wonder at the kind of things the protagonist gets up to. More than that, it amazed me to read about his justification and rationalization of various events.

Our protagonist lives with his grandmother for a good number of years after being kicked out of his parents house. The dynamics between Ollie and his grandmother is weird enough to raise eyebrows, but is well portrayed in the book. However, it is sad that even though Granjy knew everything about Ollie, she didn’t have the mental strength to stand up to him and put him right, and in the end it cost her dearly.

Ollie is a self-absorbed, money minded and materialistic human being, used to getting his own way and not being accountable for anything he did. This is re-enforced when his grandmother always stands up for him and seems to always see the good in him. This particular relationship and Ollie’s ideas will be severely tested later on in the story. The author’s style of writing is quite different and it took me some time to get into the book. It feels abrupt and there seems to be a lack of flow between chapters. This isn’t that much of a problem since the plot seems to flow on in a clear direction.

The characters are interesting and developed to some extent, though there could have been some more depth given to Ollie. There are many incidents that are not even described enough but are mentioned quite extensively, seemingly to make the reader imagine additional details by themselves. The author maintains the pace of the story and the atmosphere quite well. The story moves at a steady pace, the destination becoming clearer and clearer as we progress, with a climactic ending that I am sure no-one will see coming.

A decent pick-me up for those who enjoy psychological thrillers which also touch upon horror.

Book Review: Amelia’s Children by Greta Cribbs

About the Book:

Amelia's Children

In 1985 Amelia Davis is brutally murdered in the woods outside of Laurel Hill. Her killer is never caught. Thirty years later, David Jenson comes to town on what he calls “personal business”, though he won’t tell anyone what that business is. Could he have some connection to the town’s most infamous cold case?

Sarah Hathaway has just returned to her hometown in the wake of a failed acting career. When she meets David she is immediately drawn to him, but it is the mystery of what exactly brought him to Laurel Hill that keeps her up at night. Determined to find the answer, she embarks on a journey into the unknown that will change her life forever. Along the way she discovers truths about Amelia’s death that prove more sinister than anyone ever could have imagined.

Find the book on

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26872424-amelia-s-children

Amazon.in: http://amzn.to/2e37WM7

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Amelias-Children-Greta-Cribbs-ebook/dp/B01663954Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1477887054&sr=8-1

My Thoughts:

I am rather hesitant when it comes to reading books in the genre of paranormal fiction. I have read only a few books in this genre since the plots are sometimes rather hard to digest. However, when Greta contacted me regarding reading and reviewing her newly released Primogénito: The Fuentes Legacy I went on Goodreads to check out her page. It was through this that I came to know of her first book. The synopsis of the plot had me hooked.

The story is actually well written and though it  is in the paranormal fiction category, the concept was believable and well laid out. The plot follows David Jenson, who comes to Laurel Hill on “personal business”. He starts asking random questions and meets some people from the town. When he meets Sarah, she is drawn to him and her intrigue causes her to put some of the pieces of the mystery together. Her line of questioning makes David consider his connection to Amelia Davis, a lady who was brutally murdered thirty years ago, and who case was never solved. Throw in some strange occurrences and we have our paranormal part of the plot kick in along with the beginning of what might turn out to be a great romance.

The story is fast-paced, and the plot is rather clear. The author sticks to the same with no unnecessary deviation. There may be a few places where the plot feels slightly cliché, but it is easy to overlook this. However, a small point that stuck with me is that there is some amount of repetition of certain points in different places. It feels as though the author is trying to ensure that the reader has understood quite clearly and sometimes it becomes a little annoying. This doesn’t take away the focus on the story and the reader should just persist on and enjoy the journey. Overall, this is a rather enjoyable read and would be loved by everyone who enjoys this genre.