Review: Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

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Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop

By John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

Retired stage magician Dr. Marvelry prefers to stock his antique store with strange and occult items. He has always enjoyed meeting odd people and hearing their stories, the legends attached to mysterious objects. A phonograph that seemingly replays a tragedy. Fertility dolls that are more than decoration. A bedeviled mannequin. These are just some of the relics this eccentric shopkeeper has collected over the years.

No two customers will have the same experience in his curiosity shop — some walk away satisfied, others are never heard from again. But one thing is certain – when you purchase an item at this store, you often get more than what you paid for.

Follow Marvelry and his hexed objects through twelve tales of suspense, magic, terror, and transformation. Meet his new assistant, fellow illusionists, and some irregular characters along the way. Whatever macabre artifact of the human psyche you’re seeking – you’ll find something special in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

This novel is a collection of 12 short stories which centre around Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop which is a second hand store unlike no other – in that your purchase could kill you! The short stories are either unsuspecting customers dealing with the consequences of their purchases, being connected to a customer in some way or Marvelry’s own experiences.

This is very well thought-out and put together collection of tales. Short story telling is an art that the two authors have clearly mastered. Each tale was wonderfully imaginative and a fun read, with an unexpected twist at each end.

Marvelry himself was…well as curious as his shop! I couldn’t decide whether he knew just what the object he was selling could do or whether he really didn’t know at all. Either way, I found him to be rather likeable and endearing in a quaint old-fashioned way. I also liked that some of the stories were about Marvelry himself so I gained some more insight into the character.

Overall Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop is an excellent read and one that I recommend to lovers of short stories and spooky tales.

Review: The Heaviness of Knowing (The Conscious Dreamer Series #1)

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The Heaviness of Knowing (The Conscious Dreamer Series Book #1)

by Sharolyn G Brown

You can’t unknow the truth.

Roxal has spent her life using her Dream Traveler ability in service to Trebor’s gods, The Keepers. Even after she learns they aren’t all powerful like she was taught, she dutifully continues to manipulate an Earth woman named Lauren to do their bidding. Roxal’s content pretending to be a loyal follower, until her mate’s activities with a rebel faction put both of their lives in jeopardy.

Meanwhile on Earth, Lauren is struggling to find balance at work and at home. To make matters worse, she develops an acute case of insomnia which disrupts her life. While trying to cure her condition, Lauren discovers that not only do aliens exist, but that she’s been in contact with one for most of her life. And that’s just for starters.

Now Lauren’s world is turned upside down. And Roxal has to figure out if she can harness the survival instincts which before told her to hide and use it to now fight for her survival.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Heaviness of Knowing on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

The Heaviness of Knowing is the first novel in The Conscious Dreamer Series which centres around two main characters. The first, Roxal, is an alien from the planet Trebor who has spent her entire life serving Trebor’s Gods, the Keepers. Roxal is a traveller which means that her task is to connect with a human from Earth and assist her in creating technology that will aid Earth’s development and prevent it befalling the same fate as Trebor. However, Roxal soon learns that everything that she has been brought up to believe is a lie and with her mate, Edo and other resistors, they defy the Keepers and are branded as traitors.

Roxal’s human connection is a girl called Lauren who is under pressure from her Boss to finish the microchip that Roxal has been helping her with in her dreams. Due to their connection, Lauren develops life-threatening insomnia and when seeking help she learns the truth about the company she is working for, her childhood ‘imaginary’ friend Roxy and Trebor’s true intensions towards Earth.

The Heaviness of Knowing is a fantastic science fiction novel. The world-building is excellent, as are the main characters and I struggle to pick a favourite between the two of them. I had wondered if the switching between the two of them might be distracting but it’s certainly not the case at all as the changing perspectives are crucial to the story development and I really enjoyed getting to know the both of them better. There is just the right balance of action and the pace is steady, making this a real page turning. I was disappointed when it end and am really looking forward to reading book 2!

Review: The Lost

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The Lost (Zombie Ocean #2) by Michael John Grist

7 billion zombies. 1 little girl.

When the zombie apocalypse claims America, only 1 in 10 million survive.
Anna is one of them. She’s 5 years old. She likes banana milkshakes and Alice in Wonderland. She’s alone in a world full of danger that she cannot understand.

Will she survive?

‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before, packed with gore, twists and the delightfully surreal.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Lost on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

The Lost is Book Two of Michael John Grist’s Zombie Ocean series and takes the bold step of telling the apocalypse through the eyes of a child.

Anna is only five years old when the apocalypse strikes. Left alone when her father is infected, she follows the cairns that Amo has left in search of him and the other survivors, whilst also determined that one day she will be reunited with her father.

I must admit when I started reading I was sceptical about how this novel was going to work with such a young protagonist and I am pleased to say I was blown away by this excellent read. Grist cleverly likened a lot of Anna’s experiences to the character Alice from Alice in Wonderland and the innocence of her young years was captured perfectly. Anna is a very determined and headstrong heroine, traits that were clear when she was a child and leading to her teenage years. This and her enduring love and wish to be reunited with her father makes her a very well-developed and likeable lead.

On her journey Anna discovers more about the zombies which adds to the overall series and she comes together with many of the other characters and forges her own relationships with them.

This is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series.

Review: The Express

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The Express by R.K Howard

Are you ready for one hell of a bumpy ride?

A man’s daily commute becomes a hellish nightmare in this harrowing account of a bus crash that transforms a fateful ending into a painful beginning.

Based on an age-old premise with a fresh narrative that visits the undesirable side of life after death.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

The Express on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

There is an art to the short story and R.K Howard’s tale of an ordinary man’s every day commute turning into his last has successfully mastered this. Many authors try to pack too much into a small word count and either the flow of the story or the characterisation suffers as a result. This certainly isn’t the case here.

The Express is a quick read that breathes fresh life into the ‘what happens when we die’ question that all of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives. The protagonist discovers the truth when the bus that he is travelling on is involved in a fatal collision.

There is no getting away from the dark subject matter, but R.K Howard has successfully blended sarcastic humour to add some degree of relief. And nicknaming regular fellow commuters is something that we all do in real life!

A fantastic, quick read!

Review: Vacui Magia: Stories

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Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson

L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter’s quest to understand a father’s guilt and a mother’s supernatural infidelities, or a woman’s violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Vacui Magia: Stories on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 stars

Vacui Magia: Stories is a collection of magical and supernatural themed short stories.

Each tale is very different and all are extremely well-written. The atmosphere of the tales is dark, with plenty of suspense, twists and turns. The characters are written in a way that you are on occasion doubting that what they are exposed to is real and feeling their inner conflict as they experience similar uncertainties. Each story is well-paced and quickly draws the reader in. Some of the endings are a little ambiguous and leaves it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions, which adds to the magic of the tale.

Vacui Magia: Stories is a highly-recommended read for all fans of dark magic and supernatural.

Review: God of Ruin by Michael John Grist

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God of Ruin (Ruins Sonata #3) by Michael John Grist

In the battle to defeat King Ruin and protect the Bridge between souls, ex-Arctic marine Ritry Goligh tore his own soul into pieces. Now those pieces, embodied as six rugged marines spread across the tsunami-blasted world, are adrift without Ritry to guide them.

Their captain, Me, is addicted to dying in raids against the remnants of King Ruin’s army. Ray longs for the love he lost. Far seeks the mythical heart of the Bridge, So is lost to her calculations, while twins Ti and La have split as far apart as possible. They trudge from bunker to bunker blinded by loss, mopping up holdouts from the war.

But the war isn’t over. It’s only just begun. From the ashes of King Ruin’s defeat a godlike power rises, one that understands the Bridge better than Ritry ever did, and means to bring a flood so vast it will erase every soul from history. Me’s only hope is to ascend to godhood himself, before everyone he loves is washed away forever.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

God of Ruin on GoodreadsGod of Ruin on Goodreads


Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 Stars

God of Ruin is the final instalment of the Ruins Sonata Trilogy and picks up where King Ruin left off. The seamless transition means that you are immediately drawn back into the struggle for all humans’ souls.

For me God of Ruin is the perfect conclusion to this outstanding trilogy. Action-packed with underlying poignancy throughout, this final instalment cannot fail to disappoint. I’m reluctant to say too much as I don’t want to give away any of the twists, but I will say that Ritry’s chord are determined to ensure that his sacrifice at the end of Book Two will not be in vain. Their determination against seemingly insurmountable odds and much personal loss makes this novel almost impossible to put down.

I highly recommend the Ruins Sonata trilogy to fans of science fiction, that is filled with action, suspense, loss and plot twists aplenty!

Review: Boy Versus Self by Harmon Cooper

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Boy Versus Self by Harmon Cooper

There are moments when a creation pushes its creator to the brink of their imagination, to the fine line between true ingenuity and blistering insanity. Boy is such an artist, an artist who can’t seem to shake the demon he has himself created – Glass Wings. With his career taking off, will Boy overcome the darkness within? Will he reconcile with his family, his sister, his demons? And the people surrounding him – his erotic novelist girlfriend with violent night terrors, his drug dealer friend, the married Irish woman who brings him to New York, the mysterious Japanese man financing his art – where do they fit in all this? Will he ever be able to tell them the truth?

A serrated existence that runs from Texas to Mexico, New York to Tokyo, BOY Versus SELF is a disquieting journey into the mind of a penniless artist as he struggles with shocking hallucinations that could kill him. The novel is a psychological coming of age story full of suspense, horror, struggle and ultimately, triumph.

True fear is easily created and rarely destroyed. True art is always the opposite.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodread Link: Boy Versus Self


 

Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Rating: 5 Stars

Boy Versus Self is a part psychological horror, part paranormal novel. The protagonist, known only throughout the novel as Boy, is an artist who is tormented by visions of ghosts and a terrifying monster whom he calls Glass Wings. Glass Wings first appears as an apparition devouring his sister’s glass collection, but as the novel progresses Boy is continuously haunted by its presence.

Boy Versus Self is a very original and cleverly developed novel. The main character and those supporting characters who are closest to him are referred to only as Boy, and Mom, Girl (his sister) and Friend. Not knowing the real names of the characters isn’t really that critical and the lack of them actually adds to the atmosphere and tone of the story. Told entirely through Boy’s eyes you get a real sense of his struggle against his visions and also his real life problems to do with his family and relationship.

I really enjoyed reading Boy Versus Self. It is a very unique, compelling and dark read. The ending is left open, but not frustratingly so, and I highly recommend Boy Versus Self to lovers of horror and paranormal novels.