Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review: EMPTY EYES by Nancy Gray

Empty EyesEmpty Eyes (Spine Chillers)

by Nancy Gray

Genre: Horror

Age category: Middle Grade

Release Date: October 26, 2018



Blurb:

“You will face a difficult task in the future. The card is reminding you that every person has a part of themselves they like to hide. Even when times are hard, you must not lose yourself.”



Ian frowned as Mrs. Marcas read his fortune. The school Halloween carnival was supposed to be the highlight of Halloween, but something about the card he picked seemed ominous. As he headed for the storyteller, things quickly took a turn for the worst when the school bullies chased him into an abandoned house. Inside, the children with EMPTY EYES decided to make Ian their friend. A black living mass twisted and coiled in his chest and closed in on his heart. Time was ticking away with every infected beat, and if Ian didn’t act quickly he really would lose himself forever.




You can find the Empty Eyes on Goodreads



You can buy Empty Eyes on Amazon



My review: Every year, Ian looked forward to the Halloween Carnival. It was just another night of eating candy and playing games until his mom picked him up. In the end, he didn’t expect to be chased down by bullies, forcing him to hide out in what appeared to be an old, abandoned house. That’s where he meets the kids with the black eyes, eyes that looked almost empty. They wanted Ian to be their friend. But evidently they did something to his heart, because there was a black mark on his chest and it looked like it was…moving. What’s going on here? Was Ian having a heart attack?



But then Ian was realizing that he was changing, growing more sinister. And his eyes—they were turning black! He didn’t want to be a monster. What could he do?



I thought this was a pretty good read. I liked the gremlin effect in the boy and I think the story could’ve done more mischief with it. Some kind of reckless chaos. That would’ve been fun. It just seemed that Ian was pondering a lot over what he was turning into. But it’s still a good read.



My rating: 4 stars




Nancy GrayAbout the Author:

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.



Other Works by Nancy Gray:

Blood Rain

Blood Moon

Blood God

Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow

Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf

Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond

Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes

Spine Chillers: The Firefly



You can find and contact Nancy Gray here:

- Website

- Blog

- Facebook

- Goodreads



Review: THE KRAMPUS by Nancy Gray

The KrampusThe Krampus (Spine Chillers)

by Nancy Gray

Genre: Horror

Age category: Middle Grade

Release Date: December 12, 2018



Blurb:

Christmas is a time of peace and good dreams, but for Nick it would soon become a nightmare. When he starts skipping classes to hang with the bullies at school, strange things begin to happen.



A horrifying apparition haunts his dreams and tears his Christmas stocking into shreds! Finally, the beast crashes through Nick’s bedroom window, throws him in a sack, and spirits him away to its lair.



Nick finds himself in a world of perpetual twilight where he will have to find his way home before becoming trapped forever, or worse. THE KRAMPUS is hungry, and the oven awaits a fresh meat pie!




You can find The Krampus on Goodreads



You can buy The Krampus on Amazon





My review: It’s the holiday season and Nick was being anything but nice with him skipping class to hang with the school bullies. Upon getting caught by the teachers, Nick spots a stranger in a mask. Were they being watched?



Having to deal with his angry parents only made his day worse…until he sees the face in the flame…and hears noises in the chimney? Could it be Santa? This was no Santa. It was a monster!



From that point on, Nick was in a frenzy.



He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! (Creepy song, by the way.)



It would seem Nick was having a hard time being good this year. The whole time he was getting punished for something.



A nice, easy read.



My rating: 3 stars





Nancy GrayAbout the Author:

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.



Other Works by Nancy Gray:

Blood Rain

Blood Moon

Blood God

Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow

Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf

Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond

Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes

Spine Chillers: The Firefly



You can find and contact Nancy Gray here:

- Website

- Blog

- Facebook

- Goodreads



Review: THE BEAST OF BLACK POND by Nancy Gray

The Beast of Black PondThe Beast of Black Pond

by Nancy Gray

Genre: Horror

Age category: Middle Grade

Release Date: 15 October 2018



Blurb:
“Mrs. Snider,” Duane asked. “Do you know anything about Black Pond?”

“There isn’t some monster drowning children. It’s a dangerous, polluted pond,” she said.



But there is a monster that lurks silently in the water, watching and waiting; hungry for its next meal. Duane has seen THE BEAST OF BLACK POND, and the beast has his scent. The beast hunts him from the pond, to the lake by the dam, even to his own swimming pool. Duane will need all his wits, and the help of his friends if he wants to avoid being pulled under to a watery grave.




You can find the Beast of Black Pond on Goodreads



You can buy The Beast of Black Pond on Amazon





My review: It all started with a prank in the pool by Duane’s little sister. He almost drowned, so it wasn’t funny.



While hanging out with friends, he thinks he sees something by the pond.



The pace is rather slow. It just seemed like the kids are constantly talking. When does the beast come out?



Not too exciting.



My rating: 2 stars




Nancy GrayAbout the Author:

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.



Other Works by Nancy Gray:

Blood Rain

Blood Moon

Blood God

Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow

Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf

Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond

Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes

Spine Chillers: The Firefly



You can find and contact Nancy Gray here:

- Website

- Blog

- Facebook

- Goodreads



Review: THE FIREFLY by Nancy Gray

The FireflyThe Firefly (Spine Chillers)

by Nancy Gray

Genre: Horror

Age category: Middle Grade

Release Date: November 19, 2018



Blurb:

Leila’s sister has come down with a terrible fever that the doctors can’t explain. It started with the fireflies that mysteriously appeared in November, and then when she was visited by “the bug man.” When Leila confronts the FIREFLY that has made her sister sick she must make a terrible choice to save her sister or offer it another victim to satiate its terrible appetite! The monster needs to feed on blood and it needs another body to inhabit. His eyes are set on Leila!




You can find The Firefly on Goodreads



You can buy The Firefly on Amazon




My review: Fireflies! Leila loved to catch them. She didn’t expect to see a scary face in the woods. That’s when her little sister started having dreams about the Bug Man; the next morning, she gets a fever.



The way this thing starts almost sounds like the previous stories—with a face. I don’t even understand how the kid gets sick. Must’ve been the bug that flew in. Well, at least, Bug Man actually made an appearance in his grotesque and slimy form. What did Bug Man do to her sister?



Her sister’s fever was getting worse and time was running out. This definitely had a race against time.



All in all, an okay read.



My rating: 3 stars





Nancy GrayAbout the Author:

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.



Other Works by Nancy Gray:

Blood Rain

Blood Moon

Blood God

Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow

Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf

Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond

Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes

Spine Chillers: The Firefly



You can find and contact Nancy Gray here:

- Website

- Blog

- Facebook

- Goodreads



Review: ONCE UPON AN EQUINOX by Dovie Ruth

Once Upon An EquinoxOnce Upon An Equinox (Mystic California Cozies #1)

by Dovie Ruth

Genre: Dark Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Age category: New Adult, Adult

Release Date: August 31, 2019



Blurb:

When Delaney Fox made up her mind to attend a session at The Tilted Plume Writers' Retreat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, she had no idea how winding and treacherous the road was going to be. Eerily, none of the other students showed up. And perhaps Delaney should have stayed home, too. After all, she was five months pregnant.



Mavis Beasom, a renowned romance writer, enjoyed the life of a hermit at her glorious but isolated retreat, She was a towering and formidable woman nearing sixty, and she was certainly not one to mince words. She made no attempt to hide her black cape with the pointed hood.



Delaney wasn't interested in writing romance novels. She wanted to become a terrific author of thrillers. She had even brought along her unpublished novel in hopes of getting some advice.



Mavis soon made it clear that she had another agenda. She had lured Delaney to The Tilted Plume to be the thirteenth member of her own coven for an imminent celebration of the spring equinox.



To insure Delaney's participation, Mavis locked the heavy front cattle gate to her wilderness property. She also refused access to her landline, which was the only means of communication with the outside world.



When Delaney asked to leave the retreat, Mavis gave her student an amused look. “If you’re going to be a writer who's up to snuff, Delaney, you’re going to have to experience things outside of your own sheltered life. Tonight, you will participate in a rebirthing ritual. Ostara is the perfect time for you.”



“Ostara?”



“The spring equinox, my dear.”

~~~


My review: Delaney was a mother-to-be and an aspiring writer. After years of writing, she have yet to see any of her stories published. Perhaps a writer’s retreat would help.

Story certainly was promising, but it did have a lagging start. I mean, it takes her a while before she even gets to the retreat. Perhaps there was a little too much time spent on the landscaping. Did we really need to see pictures? This was supposed to be a mystery, right?

It takes a while in the story for the reader to realize that Delaney had stumbled upon a coven of witches, who were looking for a new recruit.

The writing was pretty good, and I liked the premise, but the overall execution could’ve been quicker and more focused.

My rating: 3 stars



You can find Once Upon An Equinox here:

- Amazon

- Bookbub



Dovie RuthAbout the Author:

From the time Dovie learned to write, she took solace in her pen. Children in her family were to be seen, not heard. She was fearless in her observations –– even with the knowledge that her journal would be breached periodically and read aloud to the family.


But nothing stopped Dovie's quill from dissecting the guarded veils of family life, the hidden stories that swam in academic fishbowls, and the nature of the universe. Fueled by the transgressive examples of Sylvia Plath, Ken Kesey, Shirley Jackson, and John Steinbeck, Dovie has inked her observations about courage, mental illness, disabilities, alternative lifestyles, the dark side of academia, and the baffling fit of traditional religions in the modern world. She was also fascinated with the weavers of mysteries such as Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, and of course, Carolyn Keene.



The subject matter of the author's novels might be heady, but Dovie Ruth's stories are delivered in a lively, juicy, provocative tone that leaves the reader questioning the status quo.



You can find and contact Dovie Ruth here:

- Twitter

- Amazon

- Bookbub