Recommended Halloween Horrors for New Adults and Mature Readers (17yrs+)

PumpkinTo celebrate the month of Halloween this year we thought we would share with you a selection of books suited to the Halloween theme. Yesterday we posted our Recommended Halloween Horrors for Young Readers, Teens and Young Adults (11yrs+), and today we are recommending reads for the more adult reader. The books that have been selected are some that we have reviewed or are hoping to review in the not too distant future!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Caroline and Tina 🙂

Demonica_Cover_(Resized)Demonica by Will Davis (reviewed by Caroline)

Dark, psychological, modern day fairy tale and horror

When spoilt eighteen year old Miranda suffers a terrible accident she survives, but her face is hideously scarred.

Unable to bear what has happened to her, she locks herself away. Her only companions are Veronica, her cruel and beautiful mother, and Nelly, the sympathetic housekeeper.

As time passes Veronica inflicts cruelty after cruelty on her disfigured daughter. Lonely and filled with despair, Miranda is astonished when Bernard, Veronica’s handsome younger boyfriend, takes an interest in her circumstances.

For Bernard believes there is an operation that can restore Miranda’s face. But it will involve committing an unspeakable crime. A decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life…

In the tradition of Angela Carter and Daphne du Maurier, Demonica is a terrifying modern fairy tale.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon (reviewed by Caroline)

Terrifying tension, horrific, violent and gory, with some humour

In 1691 the town of Crossfall taught the witch Thessaly how to die. They beat her, they shot her, they hung her – but nothing worked. When they finally tried to bury her alive Thessaly set the field against them. The first man died as a gust of wind harrowed the meat from his bones. A root,flung like a dirty javelin, cut a second man down. Many more deaths followed. The Preacher Fell impaled the witch upon her very own broom but she dragged him down into the field to wait for three more centuries.

Three hundred years later Maddy Harker will murder her bullying husband Vic. She will bury him in the field as she buried her abusive father years before that. The very same field where the revenant spirit of Thessaly Cross lies waiting.

In three days Vic will rise again – a thing of dirt, bone and hatred.

Men will call him the Tatterdemon.

And hell – and Thessaly – will follow.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

on-the-lips-of-children_1On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews (reviewed by Caroline)

A Marathon like no other

Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man.

He’s planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.

During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn’t imagine: skinning unexpecting victims for food and money.

And Macon, and his family, are next.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Control (The Soul of Voodoo, #1)Control (The Soul of Voodoo #1) by M.C. Lavocat (reviewed by Caroline)

Dark paranormal horror with romance and comedy

‘Control’ is a paranormal romance, about three lives that are thrown together in a desperate battle where love and lust are the catalysts that release a blood voodoo curse so dark that it could alter their destiny, as well as time itself.

******************

After spending three stale, miserable years in a neuroscience doctoral program, Cecelia Milonas throws caution to the wind and walks out; right into the arms of the man who has had the starring role in her panty-melting fantasies for over three years.

Andre St. Clair had never shown any romantic interest in Cecelia or anyone else, so she had resigned herself to the role of fangirl and very willing employee, since moving to New Orleans and into the apartment above his restaurant. Cecelia thinks that their relationship is a fantasy come true, but neither are prepared for a desire that burns hot enough to ignite a hatred, long thought dead.

As if one gorgeous man and deathly struggle aren’t enough, in walks Lance Bradley, with whom she has some kind of freaky-deaky, psychic-hotline connection that is determined to pull them together no matter who gets torn apart in the process.

So, nothing is easy in The Big Easy, where the past and the present are caught up in a struggle so dangerous and deadly that it’s changing destiny, and possibly time itself.

Author post by M.C. Lavocat

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, #1)The Moon Trilogy by Tim O’Rourke (reviewed by Caroline)

Paranormal horror adventure

When eighteen-year-old Winter McCall is offered a chance to leave her life of poverty behind on the streets of London, she reluctantly accepts, and moves to a remote part of the south west of England.

Here she takes up the job as housekeeper to the young and handsome, yet mysterious, Thaddeus Blake.

Warned that he has some curious habits, Winter soon realises that not all is as it firsts appears at the remote mansion where she now lives and works.
Blind to the real danger that she is in, Winter finds herself becoming attracted to Thaddeus.

With nowhere to run and no one to turn to, she slowly succumbs to his strange requests. But none of them are as strange as his requests for her to stand each night in the moonlight.

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3)

Author post/bio by Tim O’Rourke

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, #1) is available at Amazon for £0.77/$1.24 at the time of writing. (Please be aware prices are subject to change.) Check it out at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The latest release, Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3) is also now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The Purple HazeThe Purple Haze (short story)/After the Haze (sequel/full novel) by Gary Richardson (reviewed/to be reviewed by Caroline)

Crime thriller to action-packed horror

In the small town of Leyland, a group of thieves plan to pull off their final job and steal three million pounds from a bank. The job seems to be a success, until the alarm is tripped and the police surround the building. A standoff ensues, and the police try to negotiate a resolution before the thieves begin to kill their hostages.

Things take a strange turn, however, when an eerie purple mist renders everyone unconscious. When people begin to wake up, they find that they are among only a small few who haven’t been killed and mutilated by the mist. Then, the dead return to feed on the living, forcing the surviving police, thieves and hostages to band together in a bitter struggle for survival.

The Purple Haze is available at Amazon for £0.99/$1.69 at the time of writing. (Please be aware prices are subject to change.) Check it out at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The sequel, After the Haze, is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Cursed: A Werewolf's TaleCursed: A Werewolf’s Tale (Cheyenne Clark, Werewolf #1) (otherwise known as ‘Frostbite’ in the US) by David Wellington (reviewed by Caroline)

 Urban fantasy with panic and horror

For Cheyenne Clark, there’s a bad moon on the rise . . .

There’s one sound a woman doesn’t want to hear when she’s lost and alone in the Arctic wilderness: a howl.

When a strange wolf’s teeth slash Cheyenne’s ankle to the bone, her old life ends, and she becomes the very monster that has haunted her nightmares for years. Worse, the only one who can understand what Chey has become is the man–or wolf–who’s doomed her to this fate. He also wants to chop her head off with an axe.

Yet as the line between human and beast blurs, so too does the distinction between hunter and hunted . . . for Chey is more than just the victim she appears to be. But once she’s within killing range, she may find that–even for a werewolf–it’s not always easy to go for the jugular.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies (Scary Tales, #1)That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White and Zombies (The Scary Tales #1) by Rob E. Boley (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Zombie horror with a twist to the Snow White fairytale

The zombie sequel to Snow White begins where the classic fairy tale ends, with the Prince’s kiss waking Snow from her cursed slumber. Snow wakes up, but she doesn’t wake up right.

Now a deranged zombie, Snow infects both the Prince and the seven dwarfs’ leader. That leaves the young dwarf Grouchy, who is secretly in love with Snow, to find a cure for her malicious curse. So begins an epic journey that pits the lovesick Grouchy against dwarf-hating human soldiers, Snow’s ever-growing zombie horde, and his own bad temper. But when Grouchy and his motley crew of survivors escape Snow’s clutches and seek refuge in a nearby human village, he soon finds that her affliction has spread faster and further then he ever could have imagined. Snow is hell-bent on spreading her horrid curse across the land, and it’s up to Grouchy to stop her before it’s too late.

So begins THE SCARY TALES, a dark fantasy series featuring mash-ups of traditional fairy tale characters and classic horror monsters.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Stilts ResizedStilts (Tessa Dark Trilogy #1) by Tim O’Rourke (reviewed by Caroline)

Edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, excruciating excitement

‘Stilts’ is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy by #1 bestselling author Tim O’Rourke.

While eighteen-year-old, Tessa Dark was serving her prison sentence for murder, the world beyond her cell walls changed forever. The thunder came and destroyed the world she had once known. 

Trapped inside the prison and faced with no future, Tessa’s only glimmer of hope is her friendship with fellow inmate Joe McBride. 

Despite Tessa’s fear, Joe decides to go beyond the prison walls to seek help. But when he fails to return, Tessa is determined to go and search for him. 

To gain her freedom, Tessa must first learn to walk, run, and fight on stilts if she is to survive the new and terrifying world on the other side of the prison walls.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Child of Woe, Dark Hunter (Children of Woe, Dark Hunters Book 1)Child of Woe, Dark Hunter (Children of Woe, Dark Hunters #1) by Simon Goodwin (to be reviewed by Caroline)

A horror journey through hell

The reports were growing in number: the Dead rising, zombies attacking people, others being found across the world drained of blood, and still others being torn apart by supposed wild animals in the middle of big cities. Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves and they are just the beginning.

The Walls between myth and reality are faltering and soon those walls will be gone and the Earth will become a battleground of chaos. As governments falter and civilisation tips ever closer to the abyss, one man and his dog find themselves on a journey home. It is a journey that will take them through hell and back.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Bellmere Common: There Is Nothing Common about BellmereBellmere Common: There’s Nothing Common About Bellmere by Mark Steen (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Supernatural horror

Patrick never knew he had an aunt until he was told she was dead. No one had ever mentioned her. He organises a family trip to sort out the house she has left him. Everything starts off well, but it isn’t long before an old sinister family secret rears its demonic head, and his wife’s recurring nightmares turn out to be visions. There is death and destruction all around them. Who can they trust? Will they survive?

Review Excerpt’s

E. Kerry (Amazon.co.uk) – “I really enjoyed this book.
I read a lot and enjoy thriller and horror novels, this was a really good example of the genre. Plenty of bits that made me nervous to be alone in the dark, some really good twists (which I love trying to see coming nice and early to ‘beat’ the author to it when I can – I failed here!) and a shocking and dramatic ending.
Great debut novel and an author I will be watching out for in future!”

S. Pearson (Amazon.com) – “I enjoyed this story very much and found it to be engrossing and exciting.”

Violence and explicit scenes.

75,000 word length

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

For more great reads and best sellers in the horror genre for adults please visit Amazon UK or Amazon US.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

Milk – Blood by Mark Matthews **REVIEW**

Milk-Blood - Amazon new eyesBlurb: Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.

Review

Milk – Blood is a completely unique horror, mixing the physical tension of fear, dread and violence with psychological and social concerns of poverty, drug abuse and social care surrounding a motherless young girl, Lilly, who has been struggling with a terrible illness from birth and later comes to learn the true fate of her mother as well as becoming reliant on heroin.

There is a sense of darkness and eeriness in the setting alone, with the story based on a rundown street in Detroit in a poverty-stricken area where virtually every other home is boarded up, the homeless roam the road in need for shelter and crime and drug use is always an issue. Lilly has to walk down this road on the way home from school every weekday evening, with the dark house across the street and a strange, creepy homeless man calling to her. She is teased by school kids and returns home to be ignored regularly and yet still dealing with her illness and pain. And yet these latter issues are nothing compared to the horror she is to encounter deeper into the story.

I found the opening chapters alone of particular interest as Matthews has written the same scene but from each point of view, i.e. the mother’s and her partner’s. This enables the reader from the offset of the story to empathise as much as possible with both sides. I found these chapters, although very tragic concerning the death surrounding the mother, very beautifully written when it came to the partner taking care of the very ill newborn. Such a caring and gently written sequence is rare in many horrors. It is because of this that I believe Milk – Blood begins like a thriller which later develops into a horror.

To use a child, especially one so young and addicted to heroin, I thought was daring of the author in this type of horror and yet it plays out really well. There were moments earlier on in the story that I couldn’t quite comprehend the direction of the story, however these passed very quickly and as the reader continues the story opens out into a great psychological horror that will not disappoint the reader! Due to the content I would recommend that the reader is of mature age of at least 17yrs.

The homeless guy in the boarded up house across the street is also one that has his demons (and for me could have easily been a development of a scavenging character from one of Matthews’ previous books, On the Lips of Children). For he sees and hears more than you would expect. Whether it is partly due to his drug intake or a ‘gift’ he has it adds a deep sense of grittiness, mystery and fear and the reader cannot help but long Lilly to have nothing to do with this character. Of course, Lilly might just get sucked into some inevitable danger as the reader is pulled into the horror too.

Mark Matthews has written Milk – Blood in a clever manner, being able to use some personal experiences and developing them into a suspenseful horror. And not all meets the eye to begin with but as the story wraps up (which it does superbly well) the reader is treated to a little more and realises that there certainly is a purpose for every character mentioned! Despite there being many horrific and tragic scenes, the real horror is where the story takes us – the end result.

This is written in a fantastic way and I love how the reader has no sense of the bigger picture until the conclusion! Although my personal favourite book of Mark Matthews is On the Lips of Children, this one is very close, using a blend of horror from On the Lips of Children as well as the social and dramatic elements of the author’s Stray. (The links of Stray and On the Lips of Children will take you to my previous reviews and some background info on Mark Matthews with On the Lips of Children review.)

A copy of Milk – Blood was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Milk – Blood is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Milk – Blood was recently released in June 2014. The cover design is from Kealan Patrick Burke of Elderlemon Design, and the story was edited by Richard Thomas, Editor in Chief at Dark House Press.

The term upon which the title is based, “Milk-Blood” was made famous in the Neil Young Song “The Needle and the Damage Done.” A companion piece featuring a character from Milk-Blood, The Damage Done, is available for free on Amazon and has been receiving tremendous reviews.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

 

 

 

MILK-BLOOD by Mark Matthews released on 24th June 2014

Milk-Blood - Amazon new eyesAlready reaching the Top 100 horrors on Amazon upon it’s release, A Reader’s Review Blog is excited to provide the press release details for the supernatural horror MILK-BLOOD by Mark Matthews. I cannot wait to review this one in the next few weeks!!! But for now, check out the blurb and quotes from early reviews, as well as the links! Enjoy!!

One of the most anticipated reads of the summer.”The Horror Bookshelf

MILK-BLOOD, by Mark Matthews, is now available on Amazon. It is a tale of urban horror set in Detroit that may be unlike anything you’ll read all year. MILK-BLOOD is the follow up to On the Lips of Children,the author’s debut piece of horror. The cover design is from Kealan Patrick Burke of Elderlemon Design, and the story was edited by Richard Thomas, Editor in Chief at Dark House Press.

What’s it about?

Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.

The term upon which the title is based, “Milk-Blood” was made famous in the Neil Young Song “The Needle and the Damage Done.” A companion piece featuring a character from Milk-Blood, The Damage Done, is available for free on amazon and has been receiving tremendous reviews.

Praise for MILK-BLOOD

An incredibly powerful story and one of the most original horror novels I have read in years. Guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat!”—The Horror Bookshelf

“I had to keep on reading no matter what, not able to break its spell.” -Goodreads Librarian

The originality and tension of the urban horror story, Milk-Blood is evident on every page. Matthews takes you to some very dark places, twists and turns, with the rabbit hole going deeper and deeper, until there is no way out. Not for the faint of heart, this story of love, loss, family and acceptance is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.” — Richard Thomas, author of Staring Into the Abyss

What a dark, twisted and bizarre book this was. One of the most striking urban horror stories I have read in a long time.” Author Adam Light

“This is a helluva story. A discomforting tale of true inner city horrors, told by characters so real they pop off the page. Add the supernatural mix to the story and it really grabs you by the throat. Very much recommended!”— John F.D. Taff, author of Little Deaths

MILK-BLOOD

$2.99 for kindle

$6.99 in Paperback

You can also check out our review of On the Lips of Children, also by Mark Matthews.

MILK-BLOOD by Mark Matthews – COVER REVEAL

We are excited to reveal the cover for Mark Matthews’, author of On the Lips of Children, latest supernatural horror ‘Milk-Blood’. Not only are we revealing the cover and synopsis, there is also a chance to win a reader’s advanced copy on Goodreads as well as to download a short story that features one of the characters of Milk-Blood for FREE on Amazon. Please scroll down for more info. Enjoy! 🙂 Caroline and Tina

milk-blood3dcovercopMILK-BLOOD is scheduled for release in both digital and paperback on July 7th from Mark Matthews, author of On the Lips of Children. MILK-BLOOD is a tale of Urban Horror based on a true setting, and is what happens when a social worker and writer visit the inner city of Detroit.

“Milk-Blood is a discomforting story of real inner city horrors, told by characters so real they pop off the page. Add the supernatural mix to the story and it really grabs you by the throat. Very much recommended!” ~ John F.D. Taff, author of Little Deaths and The Bell Witch

The cover design is by Kealan Patrick Burke from Elderlemon Design, and the editor is Richard Thomas from Dark House Press.

What is it about?

Milk-Blood - Amazon new eyesLilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.
For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.

Advance review copies are available as a giveaway on Goodreads right now. Win a copy and add it to your To Be Read list: MILK-BLOOD.

ALSO…

A short story that features one of the characters from MILK-BOOD, The Damage Done is completely FREE on Amazon. Check it out here.

Follow the author on twitter: @matthews_mark

Or his blog here: www.markmatthewsauthor.com

MILK-BLOOD

The story you are about to read is entirely true. I know there was a disclaimer that called this a piece of fiction and that any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. It has to say that. So now if you are damaged while reading the story, I am no longer liable.

 

 

Stray by Mark Matthews

StrayA Gritty, Realistic, Touching and Emotional Journey (Recommended for more adult readers (17yrs+) due to the subject matter.)

Book Blurb: Therapist Tomas Cleaves is many years sober from his addiction but is now losing his mind. There are voices in his head and the occasional seizure, and then his wife has a miscarriage on the same day his client dies of a heroin overdose. Tom becomes certain that the addicts he treats must have infected the womb of his wife.

Lost and bitter after the miscarriage, Tom is in desperate need of a client who can give him some hope.

James White is one such client — a newly orphaned alcoholic dead bent on drinking again until he gets discharged and finds himself rescuing lost strays at the next door animal shelter. Can James find a reason to live by rescuing the throw-away pets of the city? 

A gritty novel with an edge yet surprisingly gentle and sweet, Stray will take you through the dog fighting dens and crack houses of Detroit where Stray souls can find connections in the most unusual of places.

Review

In between the fantasy, paranormal and romance reads I always enjoy a book that brings me back down to earth. Even though still a fictional story, Stray is a little more realistic, focusing on the unfortunates that are too easily pulled down into drug and alcohol addiction. However, amid the darkness and despair of some, Stray also offers hope and a brighter side with some very sweet, emotional and touching moments.

The story opens up following the Tom’s life, along with some of his clients. Tom constantly beats himself up. He’s trying his best to counsel his clients and guide them to a life of sobriety, yet he can’t control them. At times it seems that there is no hope for some of them. During the tragic times Tom tends to blame himself and links these moments with his wife’s miscarriage, thinking maybe if he hadn’t let his clients down the miscarriage wouldn’t have happened. The affect that this has on Tom’s state of mind is quite concerning. The voices in his head become more frequent and there are times when the reader may question whether Tom himself will remain sober or not.

Clearly there is a significant psychological element to this drama with Tom’s voices and seizures, the effect that the death of his clients have on him and his wife’s miscarriage. As well as the way in which love affects him – love for his wife, unborn child, clients and even those poor strays from the animal shelter opposite the treatment centre. It is these thoughts and feelings that help the reader to relate to the characters.

I was a little confused to begin with as it appeared that some areas of the story were a part of Tom’s memory as he reminisced, and then the reader would be brought back to the present. As the story continues it all becomes clearer and we follow each character’s life which later leads to a dramatic turn of events.

Although quite a serious read there are some heart-warming moments that provide the reader and some of the characters hope for a better future and faith that they can rise up from the rut they are stuck in by staying sober and rebuilding their life with work and relationships. James is a great example of this and my favourite character.

James leaves therapy and could go down either of two paths. He could return home and return to his addiction or he could explore a new life. After hearing the dogs in the animal shelter near to the Treatment Centre, he decides to take a look. In doing so he meets Rachel (Ra) and learns of a job vacancy that surely he’d be suitable for. During James’ time working for the animal shelter the reader has an incite into similarities between the strays and that of an addict. The stray dogs are occasionally re-homed, but many are given an injected drug to end their struggle.

Ra is another of my favourite characters. She is a saviour without realising. She helps rescue the strays of the city, including James. Is there hope for a little romance here? And in many ways, Tom’s character is similar to Ra, in that they both try to save lost souls by re-homing or therapy but sadly very few seem to move on to a better life. Stray is a perfect example of how a life can save another, whether it be through friends, family, children and/or indeed pets and animals.

One of my favourite aspects of Stray is the way in which each character’s story is connected to another. Some connections are more subtle than others but many are connected to Tom, Treatment Centre and/or the animal shelter and pet dogs that some of the characters have or have had.

Stray opens the mind to the ideas that some addicts may have – if things go wrong it must be their fault. It can appear to some that they have high ego’s in thinking that the world evolves around them by always thinking they are at the fore of all problems, and yet in contrast, they don’t deem themselves worthy. It’s a vicious circle, a dark rut that many find impossible to break free from. Stray shows the ups and downs -addiction at it’s worst and those that have beaten it.

Mark Matthews, a therapist himself, has written with delicacy and care. The dark moments are written in such a way that the reader is completely aware of the scene, however Matthews has written so carefully as to not horrify or appal the reader. I congratulate the author on writing in a very sensitive manner. For what is such a serious subject matter, Stray is quite refreshing at times albeit gritty and realistic.

A copy of Stray was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Stray is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker