Thursday, March 26, 2015

Purgatory Behind These Eyes by Doug Rinaldi [4 stars]

From the Description:

Inspired by the perversity of human nature and the darkness that dwells within us all, this collection of work by horror author Doug Rinaldi is a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Purgatory Behind These Eyes' imaginative diversity will pull you tightly into the depths of hopelessness while challenging your vision of reality, making the improbable and impossible become truth

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion.

Purgatory Behind These Eyes is a short story/dark poetry collection. Most of the stories in this book were really good. Then there were the others,,,, pure brilliance! My favorite story was Winter's Thaw which is a look at one of the scariest (to me) Native American legends around. It had me hooked from the first sentence! Annual Seed made me cackle at the dark delights to be found in competitive gardening. Blood In, Blood Out is a throwback to the old school horror that made me love this genre in the first place. My favorite poem in the collection was From Soiled Heart To Infected Tongue, what can I say, it just spoke to me. A fabulously twisted 4 star read.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Visiting The Sins by Melanie Denman [4.5 stars]

 From the Description:
In her riotous debut novel, Melanie Denman probes the silent sacrifices of motherhood with unflinching honesty and warmhearted amusement. Set in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, Visiting the Sins is a darkly funny story about mothers and daughters, naked ambition, elusive redemption, and all the torment it s possible to inflict in the name of family.

Down through the decades, the lofty social aspirations of the feisty but perennially dissatisfied Wheeler women Pokey, the love-starved, pistol-packing matriarch; Rebanelle, the frosty former beauty queen turned church organist; and Curtis Jean, the backsliding gospel singer are exceeded only by their unfortunate taste in men and a seemingly boundless capacity for holding grudges. A legacy of feuding and scandal lurches from one generation to the next with tragic consequences that threaten to destroy everything the Wheeler women have sacrificed their souls to build.
Author's Bio:
Melanie Denman is a native of Nacogdoches, Texas and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. An eighth-generation Texan, and a former banker and cattle rancher, she currently lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working on a second novel.
Connect with Melanie: Website and Facebook
I received an ARC of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my opinion of this book. You can find the tour schedule and rafflecopter giveaway here.

Visiting The Sins is not the normal type of book I would read so I didn't expect it to capture my attention so thoroughly. The story is about the lives of several generations of women from an East Texas family living in a small town. Told through a series of vignettes from the perspectives of the different women.

The characters in this novel could have been taken from my own family. When I was reading this it felt at times like I was sitting around the kitchen table with my own Mamaw and Mama having coffee and sharing family stories. The writing had a whimsical, down home feel that will draw you into the lives of these ladies and makes you want to stay awhile to catch up on what their up to. By the end of the book I had laughed and cried along with them all and it made me glad I had taken a chance on this wonderful book. Fans of such classics as Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias, or if you just love a great family story, will want to give this book a chance. You won't be sorry you did! A solid 4.5 stars.

Buy the Book:

Author's Website


Barnes & Noble

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lycan Tribe: The Punishment by Rhue P. McDonough [3.5 stars]

From the Description:

Kaitlin O'Keeffe was living a near perfect life at her desert ranch with a wonderful cowboy who shared her love of horses and rodeo. She thought it would last forever. And it would have, except an evil to terrifying to speak of, rose up from her past..
They all think she's crazy...maybe she is. Can her psychiatrist pull her through? Or will the Irish priest be her champion Who will stand by her to the end?  Fear is a luxury she can't afford!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the story.

I started this short novel expecting a werewolf story. That isn't what I got. Lycan Tribe is a psychological horror story that may have paranormal causes. The story is well written but I felt very disconnected from most of the characters. I think that this may be because of Kait's reaction to the actions of both Stan and Dr. Rhodes. The horror aspects of the story were very well done. They gave the story a claustrophobic feel that worked really well with Kait's storyline. Despite my disconnection from the characters I found Rhue P. McDonough's story to be an interesting read. A solid 3.5 star read.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Steve Alten

Author Bio:

Steve Alten grew up in Philadelphia, earning his Bachelors degree in Physical Education at Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Delaware, and a Doctorate of Education at Temple University. Struggling to support his family of five, he decided to pen a novel he had been thinking about for years. Working late nights and on weekends, he eventually finished MEG; A Novel of Deep Terror. Steve sold his car to pay for editing fees. On September (Friday) the 13th, 1996, Steve lost his general manager’s job at a wholesale meat plant. Four days later his agent had a two-book, seven figure deal with Bantam Doubleday.
 MEG would go on to become the book of the 1996 Frankfurt book fair, where it eventually sold to more than a twenty countries. MEG hit every major best-seller list, including #19 on the New York Times list (#7 audio), and became a popular radio series in Japan.
Steve’s second release, The TRENCH (Meg sequel) was published by Kensington/Pinnacle in 1999 where it also hit best-seller status. His next novel, DOMAIN and its sequel, RESURRECTION were published by St. Martin’s Press/Tor Books and were runaway best-sellers in Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Italy, with the rights selling to more than a dozen countries.
Steve’s fourth novel, GOLIATH, received rave reviews and was a big hit in Germany. It is being considered for a TV series. MEG: Primal Waters was published in the summer of 2004. A year later his seventh novel, The LOCH, hit stores — a modern-day thriller about the Loch Ness Monster. Steve’s eighth novel, The SHELL GAME, is about the end of oil and the next 9/11 event. The book was another NY Times best-seller, but the stress of penning this real-life story affected Steve’s health, and three months after he finished the manuscript he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Steve’s ninth novel, MEG: Hell’s Aquarium, is considered to be the best of the best-selling MEG series. Steve says his best novel is GRIM REAPER: End of Days. The story, a modern-day Dante’s Inferno, takes place in New York when a man-made plague strikes Manhattan.
Steve’s novels are action-packed and very visual. He has optioned DOMAIN, MEG and The LOCH to film producers. Steve has written six original screenplays. His comedy, HARLEM SHUFFLE was a semi-finalist in the LA screenwriting contest, his comedy MINTZ MEATS was selected as a finalist at the Philadelphia film festival as was his psychological thriller, STRANGLEHOLD. Steve’s reality series, HOUSE OF BABEL won at Scriptapalooza. He has also created a TV Drama, PAPA JOHN, based on his years coaching basketball with Hall of Fame coach John Chaney.
Over the years, Steve has been inundated with e-mail from teens who hated reading …until they read his novels. When he learned high school teachers were actually using his books in the classroom (MEG had been rated #1 book for reluctant readers) Steve launched Adopt-An-Author, a nationwide non-profit program designed to encourage students to read. Teachers who register for the program (it’s free) receive giant shark posters, free curriculum materials, student-author correspondence, an interactive website, and classroom conference calls/visits with the author. To date, over 10,000 teachers have registered, and the success rate in getting teens to read has been unprecedented. Steve now spends half his work week working with high schools. For more information click on

As an author, Steve has two goals. First, to continue to work hard to become a better storyteller and create exciting page turning thrillers. Second, to remain accessible to his readers. Steve reads and answers all e-mails, uses the names and descriptions of his loyal fans as characters in all his novels, and even hires readers as editors, depending on their particular expertise.


1. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am 55 years old, married with two kids, and have been writing thrillers since 1995. My first novel, MEG was a best-seller.

2. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Workout, watch TV, spend family time.

3. How long have you been writing?

Since the summer of 1995 when I read a TIME Magazine article on the Mariana Trench and decided to pen a novel about a prehistoric giant Great White shark called a Megalodon.

4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

The article inspired me. When I read Peter Benchley’s novel, JAWS, I became a shark fanatic. When I read his novel, White Shark, I was convinced I could do better.

5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?

Receiving a publishing offer for a new book.

6. What books do you enjoy in your free time?

None. I used to read a lot, now I spend days reading and researching so there’s no time. Plus I want to retain my inner voice.

7. Who is your favorite author/book and why?

You mean after me? I’m a fan of Tom Clancy, Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, and I love the book Dracula, by Bram Stoker.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t write about what you know, write about things you like to read, then do the research.

9. How important is it for an author to love and research their material?

For me, it is the most important thing. Research is the key to fleshing out my stories. Writers Block is simply a lack of info in your brain, research fills it. 

10. Could you tell me a little about your writing coach program?

WRITING COACH is a program where I help new writers who have a basic premise to flesh out their story, create a beat sheet, treatment, and ultimately write the book. I may spend a year or two with each writer. Eight out of the 20 clients I accepted into the program have been published so far. Cost of the program - $3300.00.

11. When I was a kid reading was my escape from the stresses of school and growing up. Can you share a little about your Adopt-An-Author program?

Adopt-An-Author is a free nationwide program for middle and high school teachers looking to entice their reluctant readers to read. The program began when I became inundated with emails from teens telling me they hated to read—until they read MEG. Then teachers emailed me, telling me they were using MEG in classrooms to great success. So I created the non-profit to offer teachers everything they’d need – free curriculum materials, tests, quizzes, vocabulary lists, free posters, plus direct contact between students and authors via email, skype, visits, and in-class calls. In 1999 there were a dozen teachers registered. Today there are over 10,000!

12. Can you tell us about any of your new work?

East Antarctica is the coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Marine biologist Zachary Wallace has been recruited to join two other scientists aboard a tiny 3-man submersible tethered to a laser which will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an Extraterrestrial object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man. In writing VOSTOK, I spent over twenty hours interviewing Dr. Steven M. Greer, the world’s foremost authority on Extraterrestrial Intelligence Last week, Obama Advisor John Podesta revealed that his biggest regret since leaving office was “keeping the UFO issue a secret.” Dr. Greer was the person who provided the extensive briefing to John Podesta on UFOs shortly after President Obama took office in 2009.

13. In VOSTOK you combine characters from both The Loch and The Meg series. As someone who adores all things sea-creature (specifically Megalodon) I'm dying to know what got you interested in this type of aquatic life?

JAWS started things off. This led me to read real shark attack stories, which led me to Megalodon. When I was thirty-five I read a TIME article about the Mariana Trench and the MEG seed was watered.

14. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?


By email at or via my website at where you can watch my book trailers and sign up for free monthly newsletters.

You can also find Steve Alten on:

Facebook and Twitter

VOSTOK by Steve Alten [4.5 stars]

From the Description:

East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.
In this sequel to The Loch and prequel to the upcoming MEG 5: Nightstalkers, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten offers readers a crossover novel that combines characters from two of his most popular series.
Steve Alten is the New York Times and International bestselling author of fourteen novels, including the MEG series about Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70-foot, 100,000 pound prehistoric cousin of the Great White shark and Domain trilogy, a series about the Mayan Calendar’s 2012 doomsday prophecy. His work has been published in over 30 countries and is being used in thousands of middle and high school curriculum as part of Adopt-An-Author, a free teen reading program, which he founded with teachers back in 1999.

With VOSTOK Steve Alten has combined two of my favorite worlds. The sequel to The Loch also includes Jonas Taylor and the Tanaka Institute from the Meg series. Filled with the action and terror that comes from mankind meeting creatures from the Mesozoic era, aliens, and a shadow government with it's own secret agenda. This book carries you from Scotland to the Antarctic and places beyond in a non-stop thrill ride. You won't want to put it down. A fast paced, super fun read! Do yourself a favor and grab this (and the rest of these two series of novels) 4.5 star read.

I received an ARC of this novel from  iRead Book Tours. This in no way affects my review or opinion of this book.

Where to buy the book:

Book Trailer:

Prizes: ​One of 100 (or more) print copies of VOSTOK Open internationally. Ends April 18.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Orphans Of Wonderland by Greg F. Gifune [4 stars]

From the Description:

Pray it's only paranoia. Twenty years ago, journalist Joel Walker wrote a book about a ritual killing. It exploded into a bestseller and became part of the mass Satanic hysteria of the 1980s. However, his story and the evil he investigated were real and left him the victim of a nervous breakdown. For the last two decades, his has been a quiet existence far from his former home in Massachusetts. But when one of his childhood friends is brutally murdered and rumored to have been involved in bizarre medical experiments, Joel is lured back to find out what really happened. Joel must delve deep into the darkness once more, investigating all the way back to his own childhood, and the secrets he and his old friends buried there years ago. But where do paranoia and madness end and real evil begin? With the Orphans of Wonderland.

Orphans Of Wonderland is a twisted tale of cults and the occult, of mind control and secret organizations. The horrors in this book were disturbingly insidious because many of the things touched on were real life horrors. Greg F. Gifune blends the everyday horrors with the supernatural ones brilliantly. The writing was great and the characters were believable. A scary 4 star read.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Stillwater by Maynard Sims [3.5 stars]

From the Description:

A modern ghost story. Life was good for Beth, once. Now a car crash has left her confined to a wheelchair. To help her recuperate and rebuild her life, she's leased Stillwater, a house with a lake in the countryside. But her dreams of peace and quiet are thwarted when she realizes she's not alone. A girl who once lived at Stillwater-until she drowned in the lake-has never left, and she does not seem pleased by Beth's presence. Beth sets out to solve the mystery of Stillwater. But can she find a strength she doesn't know she possesses as she fights the fury of the dead girl, and tries to establish herself as the true mistress and keeper of the Stillwater house and lake?

With Stillwater you get an eerie ghost story. The characters are believable and the atmosphere is creepy. I was hooked right away and couldn't wait to see where the story would go. I expected an exciting conclusion. Unfortunately I didn't get it. The ending was anti-climatic for me. I still enjoyed this novel but the final confrontation between Beth and the ghost that haunts her house just fell flat to me. I would still pick up another Maynard Sims book but this one only gets 3.5 stars.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cult Of The Black Jaguar by JG Faherty [5 stars]

From the Description:

In the depths of the jungle lie mysteries drenched in blood.

Ethan Foster has spent a lifetime as a guide and bodyguard for archeologist Heathcliff Pascal. They’ve survived more adventures than they can count, but now, deep in the jungles of Central America, they discover a secret hidden from the world for centuries: the Cult of the Black Jaguar, presided over by an immortal goddess whose beauty is matched by her cruelty. She needs the blood of a virgin to bring her army back to life, and she’s found one in Heathcliff’s daughter, Jenny. It’s up to Ethan to stop her. It might seem an impossible task, but Ethan has secrets of his own. Dark secrets.
Before the night is over, blood will be shed, and only one man—or monster—will survive.

Cult Of The Black Jaguar is a fast paced story that is full of action, adventure, horror, and even a hint of romance. A throwback to the stories I loved when I was growing up. The characters were people I want to go exploring jungles with, and the monsters were fabulous creatures out of myth and legend. I was having so much fun reading it that I didn't want this story to end! A super fun 5 star read.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jagger by Kristopher Rufty [4.5 stars]

From the Description:

Other than the trailer park left to her by her deceased daddy, Amy’s favorite treasure is Jagger, her 180-pound bull mastiff. One day while she is away, Clayton, her best friend’s scumbag boyfriend sneaks into her yard and takes the dog. His prize fighting pit bull was killed during its last match, costing a lot of bad people a lot of money. To make up for his dog’s losses, and to save his own life, Clayton enlists the help of a medical student dropout to turn Jagger into a killing machine by pumping him full of experimental drugs and muscle enhancers. Now Jagger is a monster, a beast that can’t feel pain, with an unquenchable thirst for blood. He quickly breaks out of his pen and starts making his way home, tearing apart anyone in his path on his way to the one he feels has betrayed him the most—Amy.

Kristopher Rufty is a great author, and he's proved it once again with his latest book. Jagger is a fast paced thrill ride full of terror. I was hooked from page one. The characters are easy to care for, or hate in some cases, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Parts of this book had me in tears. They were truly horrifying and hard to read as a dog lover but worked in this story. If you love horror, especially animal attack horror, you'll want to grab this book! A solid 4.5 star read.