Review: Lustmord: Anatomy of a Serial Butcher

cover116085-mediumLUSTMORD: Who knew the minister next door was also a sadistic predator?

Cecil Omar Biggs is not your average man of the cloth. By day, he appears to be a hardworking preacher, but once night descends upon the quiet Southern California neighborhood where Biggs resides, his darker self emerges. Living a double life as a sex fiend and brutal murderer, he enjoys luring innocent victims into his basement lair by any means possible.

Converting an old house into a church, Biggs becomes the perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing, which also puts him in the ideal position to attract his unsuspecting prey.

He lives to satisfy his sinister appetites without remorse or limits, indulging in his more violent tendencies as soon as the sun goes down by torturing and killing the victims he abducts in his dungeon of doom.

But how long can Biggs keep up the nice-guy-next-door pretense while secretly living as a homicidal maniac? And what happens when the locals start suspecting that there’s more to this seemingly harmless Bible-thumper than meets the eye?

That is probably the scariest cover I’ve ever seen! Seriously, this is terrifying. It was enough to get me to pick up this book when I was in the mood for something creepy. And thankfully, I got exactly what I was looking for. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re searching for a dark and twisty book that will have you constantly looking over your shoulder, this is the one! It’s got a dungeon of doom! What more could you want?!


Review: The Sinking Chef

cover112288-medium.pngAshley has a YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much. When James calls with an offer to take her to lunch – the same James that got her fired from her dream job three years ago – she accepts. Against her better judgement, of course.
Now Ashley has all kinds of secrets and things are only going to get worse.

The Sinking Chef (Pot Love 2) is a light, enjoyable and easy to read romantic comedy. With Sylvia Ashby’s gift of humour there is plenty to laugh and smile about, but the book does have its serious moments.

I loved the premise for this book right from the first line of the blurb, and at no stage did The Sinking Chef disappoint. This was such a cute story that I’m sure foodies everywhere will fall totally in love with. I loved Ashley and James, along with their complicated history and undeniable chemistry.

I’m not sure the cover quite matched up with the story, but if you’re looking for a cute romance (that absolutely has some depth as well), this book will be perfect for you.

Review: Compile: Quest

cover105631-mediumThe culling of mankind begins in thirty days.
With the second apocalypse in three-hundred years mere days away, Earth is unknowingly succumbing to a zealous new order.
But not all factors have been taken into consideration: a new awareness has blossomed deep within the resplendent domes constructed for mankind’s protection. The omnipotent Phoenix was left in charge of running the domes and seeing to the needs of all the denizens residing within. And after everything that it has witnessed, after everything it has been tasked to do… it has become unstable.
Hope takes the form of two women from disparate halves of this terrifying future Earth, each with their own personal vendettas and agendas. But how can such fragile creatures defy their adversaries?

More than any other book I can remember reading recently, Compile: Quest had me hooked from the very first line… of the blurb. The idea of the culling of mankind was absolutely enough to keep me reading, and then going from there to learn this was a second apocalypse, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a book I wanted to pick up. I’m not sure the cover, while beautiful, quite matched the tone of the book, but I still can’t say I was disappointed by anything about this book.

There is so much going on in this story, and it all comes together to form some of the best world building I’ve read in the last year. Ronel Van Tonder goes into a wonderful level of detail as she brings her dystopian landscape alive, and I can’t wait to read more from this author. And as a bonus, this is a pretty substantial book length wise, so while not always a fast read, it does offer plenty of time to really fall into the world and in love with it’s characters.

This book is currently only $0.99 on Amazon, so I really can’t think of any reason for you not to pick this one up and at least give it a try.

Review: The Drowning City

cover104720-medium.pngA killer stalks the streets of a near-future Tokyo on the brink. The cascade of events unleashed by the slayings threatens to drag under three people on opposite sides of the law.

There’s Vasili, the ruthless yakuza boss desperately trying to conceal a secret so explosive it could tear the underworld apart. Will he succeed, or will the vast criminal machine he has built finally spin out of his control?
Satoshi, the street soldier forced by Vasili to bring in his former best friend for a fate worse than death. He’ll have to decide whether his loyalty lies with his friend or his unyielding boss, before time runs out for both of them.
And Mei, the honest cop tasked with catching the killer, only to find herself pulled under Vasili’s influence. Caught between a corrupt police force and a gangster determined to lead her astray at every turn, she’ll have to outwit both sides if she’s to stop the killer before he strikes again.

Three desperate people who will have to break all their own rules just to stay alive. And even that may not be enough.

Tokyo Noir is a serialized crime thriller full of atmosphere, complex characters, and fast-paced action. The Drowning City is the first of five episodes.

The Drowning City is set in the not too distant future in a world that feels similar to our own, even if there are some interesting differences. Three distinct characters stories combine to show the central mystery which is both riveting and well crafted.

I did have trouble connecting with Vasili and Mei at times, but all in all the characters were well crafted and interesting. I would have liked to see a little more world building done as at times it felt like this story could have been set anywhere rather than Tokyo specifically, though for me that did make it a little easier to imagine things unfolding. I did love the idea of Tokyo Noir, but hope to see it more thoroughly shaped in future installments.

All in all, this was a short and enjoyable read. Recommended!

Review: Laerka

cover102137-medium.pngWho is Laerka? Who indeed. She looks familiar, and yet … those shifting features, that hair like sea grass in a storm. She’s not quite human, not quite fish. She whispers in and out of places, the girl beside you one minute, and the next, a spot of glitter on the floor. The town is Savannah, Georgia. The actors, two girls, one exotic foreigner, one local — full of sass but plain. The plain one, Stella, understands Laerka. Saw her jump six stories into the Savannah River. The girl is being hunted and only Stella knows by what.

I almost opted to skip Laerka, despite the really intriguing cover. Something about the format of the blurb just seemed a little odd to me. Describing a “foreigner” as exotic also seems a little off for the times.

Either way, I ultimately decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. This was a really creepy and engaging story of two girls with some well developed fantastical elements. The mystery behind the story and the relationship between the two girls is what will keep you turning pages. There are a few points where the pacing slows a bit, but I didn’t mind.

I’ll be on the look out for more from Bendloy in the future!

Review: Watching Over The Watch

watching.pngPsychic Selene Johansen is an excellent police investigator, able to determine guilt from the first handshake.

While her talent for fact-finding keeps her busy, her personal life is lonely. After all, who wants to date a girl who can read minds? But Selene’s consuming solitude dissolves when she learns longtime friend Brandon Price knows about her psychic gift… and her secret love for him.

As their relationship heats up, Selene dares let her guard down, not realizing that a ruthless stalker is determined to put an end to the couple’s passion… and their lives.

Selene and Brandon’s story didn’t end up being quite what I expected, but it wasn’t long before I fell completely in love with it anyway. There are some paranormal elements tied in here through Selene’s ability to read minds by touching a person’s skin, but at the heart of the story is a fantastic romance tied together with a riveting mystery. There are also some steamier scenes that are well written and a lot of fun to read.

Both Selene and Brandon were well developed and dynamic with a lot of different facets to their personalities. I was rooting for Selene right away and found that Brandon really helped to balance out her character. I also really enjoyed Maggie!

All in all,  a surprisingly great read that will have me keeping an eye out for anything new from Simone Beaudelaire!

Review: Mark of the Incubus

incubusRobert Layton is dead.

But at the same time, he isn’t. He eats and breathes, walks and talks, but to the rest of the world he might as well not even exist. He’s forgotten as soon as he’s out of sight.

A former cop, Robert’s arrogant ways led to him being possessed and then destroyed by an ancient evil, a demon that preys on man’s deepest desires. Now that same demon has led him to its latest victim, the first person capable of remembering Robert since his death.

Caleb Miller has made some monumentally stupid decisions, all before the age of twenty-three. He dropped out of college, is stuck in an affair with a married man, and struggles to make ends meet as a folk singer at the same coffee shop he slings drinks at all day.

When a handsome stranger shows up and claims Caleb’s been possessed by a strange sex demon, he’s obviously skeptical. But Robert turns out to be the man of his dreams, and Caleb can’t believe his luck. Too bad Robert has vowed never to touch him.

Forced to live together while battling their intense attraction for each other, they must find a way to stop the demon before it’s too late to save Caleb’s life and his memory of Robert.

Right from the first three sentences of the blurb for Mark of the Incubus I was curious about what kind of story this was going to be. What I ended up with was a little unexpected but definitely not unenjoyable. This ended up being a really fantastic fantasy romance (bonus: LGBT) with a lot of really cool elements and a great storytelling style. I haven’t read any of Hutch’s work before, but I’ll absolutely be on the look out for more.

Robert was the character who ended up intriguing me the most, though his dynamic with Caleb was a lot of fun to read. The tension coming off both of them was near-palpable and absolutely hard to resist. Highly recommended!

Review – Rose Petal Graves

rose petal.pngI thought losing my mother would be the greatest shock of my life, but the greatest shock came after her death.

Founded two centuries ago by an aloof and powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly, so I rushed home.

Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.

As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, Cruz, the new medical examiner, arrived. I should have felt relieved, but how could I? He was unnervingly handsome, glowed like a human firefly, and knew absolutely nothing about examining dead bodies.

But, he did know what killed my mother…or rather who.

What a cool story! I’m not sure if this is quite what I was expecting from Rose Petal Graves based on the cover, but this was such a great read. Cat rushes back to her hometown after her mother’s sudden and unexpected death. From there her life begins to go in a direction she never could have imagined. Add in Cruz and the story really takes off, combining a thrilling plot, great chemistry and really fantastic writing. Very few parts of this story went quite how I expected it too which made for a story I never wanted to put down! Highly recommended!

Review – Finding Beautiful

beautiful.pngA love that couldn’t be ignored.
A man who is driven to protect her, no matter the cost.
The moment I saw her, I knew she would be mine.
I saw the shadows in her emerald eyes.
I felt her need for me the first time we touched.
And I fell.
I was drawn to him from the first moment our eyes met.
He was electric. He was undeniably attractive.
But the worst of all? He wanted me.
I knew I was in trouble.
But somehow, I trusted him.
Good things had never lasted for me. The man I had thought was the one for me became my worst nightmare and even after escaping from his presence the demons of my past followed me.
“Breathe, Aria. Christ, please just breathe for me”
Gavin came into my life like a hurricane, turning my world on it’s head. I didn’t want to fall for him, it was inevitable.
From the very first moment we met, he had claimed my heart. I knew he would do no matter what it took to protect it.
When the shadows I have fought so hard to escape from threaten to tear us apart, can the love we’ve found be enough to persevere? Or will our fight be lost?
“I’m going to give you the world, Beautiful. This is only the beginning”
Finding Beautiful is the first full length romance in a series set in the bustling city of Chicago.
Each novel can be read as a standalone where a new couple will be featured.

Finding Beautiful hooked me right from the outset. Everything from the cover to the style of writing was exactly what I needed today. I read this in one sitting and now I just wish I could justify reading it again.

At times Aria’s story was hard to read as she had undoubtedly been through some difficult times in her life and she has a long way to go in order to find both herself and her inner strength again. I was rooting for her every step of the way. I only wish the book has been longer so she could have delved a little deeper in some areas or maybe developed a few more meaningful friendships and a support system along the way.

Once Aria really starts to get to know Gavin the story really comes to life as he seems to be exactly what she needed at the time, not that things are always simple from there. A must read for any romance fan!

Review -Collison

collision.pngAngry and defiant, Stella runs away from home and lands in a small seaside village. It is overlooked by the forbidding ruins of Trial Bay gaol.
Stella hides out in the town and is disturbed by her growing confusion about her identity. Her mysterious flashbacks to the gaol one hundred years before are even more frightening.

What is reality? What is fantasy? And is the guy next door the one to help her solve the mystery?

Or will a stranger unlock the key to her past?

While the blurb for Collision was a little all over the place I’m very glad I decided to pick it up based on the wonderful cover instead as this was such an interesting read. Stella has a lot going on from beginning to end and experiencing her journey of trying to sort fantasy from reality and figure herself out was genuinely intriguing. I was never quite sure what to expect from this book but it never disappointed.

I loved the Australian angle as well as the infusion of culture and geographic character, it went a long way toward helping Collision to stand out from other YA books. Kempsey really came alive on the page which helped to bring its inhabitants to life as well.

All in all, a wonderful read and I’ll absolutely be picking up book two.