Kali Ma: A Collection of Short Stories – Book Review

Kali Ma: A Collection of Short Stories by El. T. Fullah is an unfortunately short but exhilarating trip through quick stories that cover a range of topics from martyrdom to fullmoon cannibal cult spiders. Yes, that’s some far-ranging topics to cover in a book of short stories, but there is differently something in this array of horror to suit even the pickiest of horror consumers.

The length of this book is small, a whole 49 pages. These stories are less short stories and more flash fiction. Flash fiction is not a general reader popular term. Referring to these quick and entertaining works as short stories makes sense due to these being horror stories and some pretty adult content. You may not want to let your kids near this one. Some of the topics will make you uncomfortable. Others may make you question people around you. By the way, “A Village With Only Men” made me laugh, but others might get uncomfortable.

As said in the first paragraph, this book is, unfortunately, short. It took me about an hour to read at a leisurely pace. This is my only complaint about Kali Ma. I hope the author will give us more of these, as I would certainly enjoy reading more of their work, as I am sure many others would.

Payback – Book Review

(Warning this review contains the use of one curse word.)

Payback by Michael Botur is the second book in the Lockdownland series. This gritty thriller follows Eden Shepherd as she does her best to recover from not only being in the dreadful survival dome of Moneyland and than being imprisoned after a rough kangaroo court session. Eden is finally free. Though not really. While she was locked away, most of the world seems to have finally downloaded, the singularity happened years ago, and humanity has finally given in and accepted the virtual life. Eden wants to find her dad and settle somewhere with her family naturally, but that goes differently than planned.

Now I am going to be honest upfront. This book, and the series in general, is not for the weak of the heart. If you are offended by anything of a dark nature, skip this series entirely. Michael Botur’s work is not for you. However, if you enjoy exploring the gritty, dark, and disgusting aspects of the human soul, you are in for a real treat. This book uses a lot of foul language and has some simple rough descriptions of bodily functions, violence, and implications of sex. What one would expect from the end of humanity as a mother tries to survive it with her daughter. This book also contains a few ‘holy fuck’ moments. Why the use of a curse word here? Because honestly, that is the best way I can describe it. I won’t tell you what it is, but I had to put the book down, refill my drink and take a few moments regarding what I just read. If you have read this book, you know exactly what I am talking about.

So, with descriptions and warnings out of the way, is this book worth picking up? Well, as long as you consider what I told you above, I suggest this novel. You are in for a roller coaster of a ride. Please pick it up. You will not regret it.

Game Changers of the Apocalypse – Book Review

Game Changers of the Apocalypse by Mark Kirkbride is undoubtedly a colorful novel. Your usual zombie Apocalypse made more confusing and complicated by a break-up weeks before a wedding, a printer spitting out a story of the future, and honestly, a day that just keeps getting worse and worse, and we have the book. That seems like an oversimplified synopsis of this book, and it certainly is, but it is tough to give you more details without filling the first paragraph of this review with spoilers. Nevertheless, this was one of the more entertaining Apocalypse books I’ve read in the last few years. And there have been a lot of them in the previous few years.

The main thing that stands out to me about Game Changers of the Apocalypse is the characters. Greg and Polly, the main characters, are so messed up and stuck in their heads that you can only think of them as real people. Fictional characters are very rarely this flawed. At the start of the book, I will admit I found Polly insanely annoying. However, as the story progresses, it starts to make sense. Polly and Greg seem so emotionally at odds that it’s a wonder they managed to stick together long enough to get engaged. But how many times have we thought that of real couples?

Like with most fiction stories, this one requires a certain level of suspension of belief to enjoy. However, even if you do not believe that there is some omnipotent being that could end the world and write about it, you can certainly feel it in this novel. It is evident from the start that someone watches the main characters throughout the ordeal, challenging their every step and rewriting when they think they have escaped. An odd concept for an end-of-the-world story but an exciting and original idea.

Pick up Game Changers of the Apocalypse for a zombie game-changing read.

Inhuman Acts- Book Review

So when you spend most of your time reading and reviewing books you find that there are very few truly original feeling stories these days. Most authors take an idea that’s been done and put their spin on it. This is simply how it goes these days. As they say, its all been done before. Except perhaps it hasn’t. With Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French you will not experience this issue. Was all that set up necessary for me to tell you that Inhuman Acts is an original story worth picking up? Damn right it was, allow me to explain.

So when you read the back cover of this delightful book the first thing you may think is, with zoonotic diseases creeping in to humans are we dealing with some kind of zombie novel? Or perhaps, is this concept hitting a bit too close to home with the virus scares of the last few years? Well to answer the first question, no we’re not dealing with zombies here, we’re dealing with living people affected by rabies! Which is highly unlikely to happen in real life. And if you are worried about this book bringing up reminders of COVID, I wouldn’t worry much, the infected animals and people in this book are not experiencing any similar. You can still get that delightful reading escapism from this fantastic novel.

Now that I have covered that lets cover a couple other things. So characters, how do they feel? They feel real. Their personalities, jobs, internal conflicts, its all real. While we may not all be cops or ecological scientists, but the characters are written in a way that we can certainly understand the issues they are going through in this story. The story itself? Fantastic, and a must read. A curious thriller with just enough description to make you cringe and shiver but not be able to put the book down!

Pick up Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French, and tell your friends to do the same!

Another Slice of Fear – Book Review

Another Slice of Fear by Andrew Allen Smith is a colorful anthology of thrilling short stories that range the spectrum of fear. Each of these short works of fiction brings up some sort of emotion that leaves you with an emotional response. Smith brings us a variety of genres touching fear, these short stories seeming to range from the traditional horror story to some with a more contemporary fantasy feeling. Yet despite the range in sub-genre feel, they are all stories that make you feel a sliver of fear in one way or another. It may not all be things that go bump in the night, though we are given some very impressive monsters, Andrew Allen Smith certainly does his job of making you feel.

Another Slice of Fear By Andrew Allen Smith was one book I inhaled quickly. Its collection of fear-inducing stories each affecting my emotions as I read through them. Some ended in fear, others excited because the fear was conquered and others curious because there seemed to be such an open ending that full novels could have been taken from it. One story in particular ‘Monster’ was such an emotional ride that I went back to read it a second time and I will probably go back and read it again in the near future. Fear is a curious emotion and you do not always feel it at the object that you think you would. Andrew Allen Smith pinpoints the parts of each story that will make you feel it. The man knows fear and each story had a point that just wiggles inside of your mind and makes you wonder.

Reviewed for Reader’s Favorite

Devil in the Red Dirt – Book Review

The Devil in the Red Dirt is a historical fiction novel by Michael P. Smith taking place in Australia in the mid-60s. It follows a corrupt detective, a damaged but well meaning detective and an aboriginal man who had lost his identity as they search the gorgeous and troubled physical and mental landscape of Australia seeking the demented killer of innocent children who seems to have people in power covering their tracks.

The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent read. It covers some incredibly difficult topics ranging from racism to child abuse to death and drug use. These difficult topics are covered in all their filthy detail, making sure this novel not for the faint of heart. If any of the topics mentioned this book easily disturb you, this book is not for you. However, I found the disturbing nature of the story made it an excellent work of fiction, and more so, an excellent mystery. Smith does an excellent job of leaving you wanting to know more and how this villain will pay for their crimes, or if the morally bankrupt society they live in will win out!

As stated before, The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent, though very dark, novel. The story is well written and the main characters, who are all well rounded and twisted enough to feel real. The side characters are equally intriguing. Smith has provided us with a cast of colorful and realistic criminals, creating a fantastic display of the Australian criminal world in the 60s. Even when the story slips away from the main characters, you can find yourself still interested in the activities of the background cast. This means the story avoids the dull and mind numbing side stories that can often pop up in a novel’s supporting characters. The lives of each person mentioned form in to a wonderful over arching tapestry of human failings.

The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent book that fans of historical fiction, crime, or mystery could enjoy. Though don’t go in to it if you’re too squeamish about the dark side of the human species.

I got my copy of Devil in The Red Dirt from Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/the-devil-in-the-red-dirt-mike-smith#review

The Descent a story from Ékleipsis the abyss – A Review

This time of year, October, if you are reading this at another point in time, I like to seek out scary and thrilling reads to get in to the seasonal mood. So upon being asked to review one story from Ékleipsis the abyss, a collection of short stories by Tamel Wino, I thought, hey great timing! After taking a very brief look at what was offered, I agreed to read and review The Descent, a story about a pilot who risks his life to save someone from certain death and finds himself needing to seek that thrill again. That sense that he is defying death by the skin of his teeth.

This is a short story, so a lot is packed in to the page count. The main character, Chris goes through some serious emotional ups and downs. He is a naturally selfish person, ending up always putting himself before everything else, even when he seems to have everything in order, he ends up back tracking to his selfish ways. This story is told in the first person, so the tale is all from Chris’s point of view. You briefly hear his opinions of the side characters. They are as colorful as one can assume after getting to know the main characters.

Now as for the thrill Chris seeks, and readers of horror often look for, oh, oh you will get it! You will get it in the most jaw dropping way. This story was amazing, and it ended with me on the edge of my seat. This is well worth the time to read. When I have a chance, I will go back to read the rest of the stories in this book as well!

Separated By Evil by J.M. Hart – ARC Review

Separated by Evil is the newest addition to J.M Hart’s Chronicles of the Supernatural series. A fantastic book series and probably my favorite current series, following the adventures of a group of young people striving the save the world from the very forces of hell. A huge expectation for anyone, let alone teenagers. This series has always been an emotional ride, and this newest addition to the work is no different, in fact Separated by Evil seems to be the most emotionally packed of the series so far.

Bringing us back to the estate to focus on the adventures of Casey and Sophia, after the last two books, focused on the adventures of other members of their group. We are walked through the spiritual bond of the characters as they do their best to help a group that they seem to be led to aid by the will of God. Though demonic and paranormal difficulties, the pair strives to save the people in need.

So what did I think of it? Oh boy, this newest addition to J.M Hart’s amazing serious was hard to get through. Not because it was bad, far from it, but because of the emotional wreck the characters go through, which, after reading the entire series, I have become attached to. So watching the pain and death that strikes the characters at every angle leaves you both exhausted and excited to see what happens next. In that line, the climax of the story leaves one stunned, and for me at least, in tears and wondering what will happen next in this exciting series.

So is Separated by Evil worth reading? That would be a big yes! Much like the rest of this series, Separated by Evil is a fantastic read for fans of paranormal and horror novels. I have said it before and I will say it again. Pick up this series!

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