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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Killing the Unicorn by Lizella Prescott @lizellaprescott

Killing the Unicorn
by Lizella Prescott

Excited to be spotlighting Killing the Unicorn today.  The premise sounds amazing and I'm intrigued with a few key data points the author sent me:  "...characters are flawed, dysfunctional and sometimes downright deceitful...this is not a depiction of sane, healthy polyamory.." and more... well that just made me tingle a little and extremely curious about this book!

Continue below to learn more and stay tuned for my review of this!

There's also a link to read the first chapter!

Publisher:  Hungry Lizard Press
Publish Date:  August 20, 2018
Kindle Edition
Genres: Domestic Thriller, Suspense



Since having twin daughters, Helen has lost her waistline, her libido, and her edge. Mann, her wealthy, high-flying husband, has tried to be patient. But he needs more than she can give. A lot more. 

When he asks to open their marriage, Helen agrees. She would rather bend than risk a high-stakes divorce.


When Mann connects with Julia, Helen is relieved. At first. She likes Julia, a gentle woman with a tragic past. But her husband is moving fast. Too fast. And a series of odd events unnerves Helen and makes her wonder if Julia could be a threat to her children or even her life.

As Mann falls deeper into love, Helen becomes obsessed with Julia even as she doubts herself. To protect her children and her sanity, Helen must discover the truth: is Julia a danger to her family, or is she?

About the Author:

Lizella colors outside the genres. She writes a dark blend of suspense, fantasy and experimental short fiction. She also dabbles in domestic noir, Greek mythology, and Dystopian. You can discover her work and weirdness on Medium and her website.
When she’s not dreaming up new ways to torture fairy princesses, Lizella writes corporate copy under a different pseudonym and tries to keep up with one husband, two kids, and four large dogs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

#allthebookreviews: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware @scoutpressbooks @ruthwarewriter

The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware

Thanks so much to Scout Press for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

Jessica and I are big fans of Ruth Ware and are so excited to be reviewing her latest work!

Continue below to get our full thoughts.

Publisher:  Scout Press
Publish Date:  May 29, 2018
384 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

My Review:

The thing with Ruth Ware, is that she builds this perfect atmosphere for the set she's trying to create.  In A Dark, Dark Wood, we had that hen party drama that, let's face it, is always fun to read.  In The Woman in Cabin 10, we have the ship and tense feeling of someone going overboard at any given moment and then in The Lying Game we get back to a group of women and all the drama that can entail.  With The Death of Mrs. Westaway, now we have a setting in an old worn down house where a family that's basically all estranged with each other congregate over the will of their matriarch... who certainly doesn't seem loved by any.

Hal thinks there's a case of mistaken identity when she gets a letter about an inheritance she may have from the late Mrs. Westaway.  The longer she is around the family and the further she digs in to their history, the more she gets a sense of unease that even her tarot cards can't help figure out.  

I do love the way Ware writes.  It's easy to follow, it flows and she will always be an auto-buy author for me.  While I did enjoy this story, I wasn't ever shocked with any of the news and didn't quite get that "thriller" feel.  Honestly, I think my favorite scene is when she does a reading for Kitty as somehow that's when I felt most connected to Hal.  I was engaged in the story but I never felt that HOOK... that need to know.. that OH MY GOD WHAT'S HAPPENING?!  That's not to say that isn't a good story.  It absolutely IS.  The atmosphere is fantastic.  However, I did feel that some parts dragged, but honestly - what type of family reunion doesn't - am I right? 😉

All in all, another top notch story from the amazing Ruth Ware.  This didn't quite work for me as well as some of her other books but it certainly doesn't take her off my top women thriller writer's list either.  I just can't see that ever happening.  

Perfect for lovers of that gothic suspenseful read around an old house full of secrets.


Jessica's Review:

I've loved reading Ruth Ware's books and she has become an insta-buy author for me. So, naturally, when I saw she had another coming out I had to grab it! THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY is more in the psychological suspense genre and I flew through it.

Hal, a tarot card reader, has received a letter explaining that she has just been granted a substantial inheritance. After investigating a little further, she quickly realizes that this was sent to her by mistake, but that there is the potential she could still claim the money. The more time Hal spends with the late Mrs. Westaway's family, she begins to feel uneasy about the entire situation. Is this truly a case of mistaken identity?

Ruth Ware does a great job with the flow of this book. It's the right pacing that will keep you flipping those pages and will pique your curiosity. I found the tarot card element really interesting, mainly because that's not something I know too much about. While this didn't have the crazy twists in it, I was still invested in Hal and in the story. If you're looking for a twisty thrill ride, then this might not be the right one. However, if you're looking for an eerie and suspenseful read with a sense of unease and dread, then grab this one for the summer!

If you're a fan of Ruth Ware then you can't miss this one.

I give this 4/5 stars!

REVIEW: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker @randomhouse @KThompsonWalker

The Dreamers
by Karen Thompson Walker

Thanks so much to Random House for this gifted copy in return for my honest review.

What a unique vision of a contagious sleeping sickness that rock a town.

Publisher:  Random House
Publish Date:  January 15, 2019

320 Pages
Genre:  Literary Fiction

A mesmerizing novel about a college town transformed by a strange illness that locks victims in a perpetual sleep and triggers life-altering dreams—by the bestselling author of The Age of Miracles, for fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Elevenand Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned. Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what? Written in gorgeous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking novel that startles and provokes, about the possibilities contained within a human life—in our waking days and, perhaps even more, in our dreams.

My Review:

Santa Lora, California.  Mei finds she cannot wake up her roommate who has been sleeping all day.  She's transported to a hospital where she continues to sleep.  Professionals cannot figure out why she won't wake up.  Her eyes move as if in REM sleep and they find her brain is working as if it is in a coma and she is dreaming in a heightened state.  Then another falls asleep.  Then another. Then another. Welcome to The Dreamers.

This is such a unique take on how what appears to be a viral phenomena can impact individuals and the town as a whole.  Paranoia and fear grip the citizens of Santa Lora.  Chaos thrives as quarantines are placed.  No one wants to feel like a rat trapped in a maze.  Others want to try and do what is right by taking the infected to the hospitals (that are quickly running out of room).  Some say screw it all and escape quarantine to try and save those that are lost throughout the city while in their sleep state.

There is a wide cast of characters riddled throughout this book.  While we get intimate moments with certain characters, we also get a panoramic view of what is happening throughout Santa Lora.  This really helps to keep the book moving at a fast pace.  In the midst of all this chaos, we also get moments where we realize life just doesn't stop to negotiate these new experiences.  Babies still need to be fed.  Animals still are hungry.  Love blossoms.  First kisses happen.  

What I found the most interesting was the dreaming aspect.  Dreams are such amazing things.  Our brain takes in so much of our surroundings and we only use a very small percentage of what our brain can actually do.  Each person's body chemistry is different which makes us all such unique individuals.  Who is to say how an unknown sleeping virus can impact each individual differently. 

"It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence as a dream" - Edgar Allan Poe

The Dreamers definitely puts you through the gauntlet of emotions.  The author takes you on a journey where you get to explore what may be real versus what is just a dream... what you perceive to be reality.  Not quite a dystopian book, but an exploration of an unknown and how it affects us on a chemical and emotional level.


SPOTLIGHT: To the Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury @karenkingsbury @howardbooks

To the Moon and Back
by Karen Kingsbury


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a brand-new love story in the Baxter Family collection about two people who lost their parents in the same national tragedy – two people desperate to find each other and the connection they shared for a single day…a day that changed everything.

Publisher:  Howard Books
Publish Date:  May 29, 2018
384 Pages
Series:  The Baxter Family #3
Genres:  Christian Fiction, Romance

Purchase on AMAZON

Brady Bradshaw was a child when the Oklahoma City bombing took his mother from him. Every year, Brady visits the site on the anniversary to remember her. A decade ago on that day, he met Jenna Phillips, who was also a child when her parents were killed in the attack. Brady and Jenna shared a deep heart connection and a single beautiful day together at the memorial. But after that, Brady never saw Jenna again. Every year when he returns, he leaves a note for her in hopes that he might find her again.

This year, Ashley Baxter Blake and her sister Kari Ryan take a spring break trip with their families that includes a visit to the site to see the memorial’s famous Survivor Tree. While there, Ashley spots a young man, alone and troubled. A chance moment leads Ashley to help the young man find the girl he can’t forget—Jenna Phillips.

Ashley’s family is skeptical, but in the end everyone comes together to support Ashley’s efforts to find the girl and bring them together. But will it work? And is a shared heartache enough reason to fall in love?

Deeply emotional and beautifully romantic, To the Moon and Backis an unlikely love story about healing, redemption, and hope that springs from the ashes of a tragedy.

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books are being developed into a TV series slated for major network viewing sometime in the next year. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months. Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty-nesters, living in Tennessee near five of their adult children.

Learn more about Karen’s books and upcoming projects and speaking events at or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Ghost Virus by Graham Masterson @HoZ_Books @GrahamMasterton

Ghost Virus
by Graham Masterson

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for GHOST VIRUS.
Thank you to Head of Zeus for this gifted copy. 

Publisher:  Head of Zeus
Publish Date:  May 1, 2018
Kindle Edition
400 Pages
Genre: Horror

The girl had been staring into her mirror all morning before she picked up the small bottle of sulphuric acid and poured it over her forehead.
Samira was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. What could have brought her to this? DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of Tooting Police suspect it's suicide. But then a meek husband kills his wife, and the headteacher of the local school throws her pupils out of a window. It's no longer a random outbreak of horrific crimes. It's a deadly virus. And it's spreading. Somehow, ordinary Londoners are being infected with an insatiable lust to murder. All of the killers were wearing second-hand clothes. Could these garments be possessed by some supernatural force?
The death count is multiplying. Now Jerry and Jamila must defeat the ghost virus, before they are all infected... 

About the Author:

Graham Masterton was born in Edinburgh in 1946. His grandfather was Thomas Thorne Baker, the eminent scientist who invented DayGlo and was the first man to transmit news photographs by wireless. After training as a newspaper reporter, Graham went on to edit the new British men's magazine Mayfair, where he encouraged William Burroughs to develop a series of scientific and philosophical articles which eventually became Burroughsi novel The Wild Boys. At the age of 24, Graham was appointed executive editor of both Penthouse and Penthouse Forum magazines. At this time he started to write a bestselling series of sex 'how-to' books including How To Drive Your Man Wild In Bed which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. His latest, Wild Sex For New Lovers is published by Penguin Putnam in January, 2001. He is a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, Woman, Woman's Own and other mass-market self-improvement magazines.

Graham Masterton's debut as a horror author began with The Manitou in 1976, a chilling tale of a Native American medicine man reborn in the present day to exact his revenge on the white man. It became an instant bestseller and was filmed with Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Burgess Meredith, Michael Ansara, Stella Stevens and Ann Sothern.

Altogether Graham has written more than a hundred novels ranging from thrillers (The Sweetman Curve, Ikon) to disaster novels (Plague, Famine) to historical sagas (Rich and Maiden Voyage - both appeared in the New York Times bestseller list). He has published four collections of short stories, Fortnight of Fear, Flights of Fear, Faces of Fear and Feelings of Fear.

He has also written horror novels for children (House of Bones, Hair-Raiser) and has just finished the fifth volume in a very popular series for young adults, Rook, based on the adventures of an idiosyncratic remedial English teacher in a Los Angeles community college who has the facility to see ghosts.

Since then Graham has published more than 35 horror novels, including Charnel House, which was awarded a Special Edgar by Mystery Writers of America; Mirror, which was awarded a Silver Medal by West Coast Review of Books; and Family Portrait, an update of Oscar Wilde's tale, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was the only non-French winner of the prestigious Prix Julia Verlanger in France.

He and his wife Wiescka live in a Gothic Victorian mansion high above the River Lee in Cork, Ireland.

My Review:

I have heard amazing things about Graham Masterson so was very excited when I had the opportunity to read one of his books.  Now, I realize the synopsis speaks of second hand clothing and the possibility of them being possessed but I don't think I was quite ready for the read that I received.

This is part police procedural, part horror and part silly.  Personally, I read this as almost a satire to what we would expect from a true horror book.  The "horror" part is in the gruesome death scenes - and don't get me wrong - I LOVE a good, gory and bloody death scene.  This is where it ended for me in terms of horror.  I just can't picture clothing racing after me as scary - I find it more comical than anything.  Though to be honest, I'll probably be steering clear of second-hand stores from here on out. 

I was enraptured with the scenes and how the clothing would possess the wearer and how they attached themselves to their prey... but after a while this did get a little repetitive and I found myself skimming through certain parts.  Mindy, bar far, was the scariest part of this possession - but I always find children a bit scarier than anyone else.  

While this did get a little farcical at a certain point, I have to give credit to creating such a unique storyline.  Once I rid myself of thinking of this as true horror and took it to a more satirical side, I began to enjoy the book further.  If you can look past the fact that this is about demonic second-hand clothing, then this can be quite the fun ride.  Personally, I think this would have worked better as a novella or short story. 

Beware the clothing that you buy.  And if you're feeling hungry.... well, try not to get caught, ok? 😉

Read this for the shocking death scenes.  If you're a lover of frivolous horror, then this will be perfect for you.

Friday, May 25, 2018

REVIEW: Between the Sea and Stars by Chantal Gadoury @CGadouryAuthor @parliamentbooks

Between the Sea and Stars
by Chantal Gadoury

A heartfelt thank you to Chantal for this copy in return for my honest review.

Not only is she one of the sweetest people on Bookstagram, but she is an extremely talented writer!
I previously read her book, The Songs in Our Hearts and absolutely ADORED it.  See my 5 Star review HERE.

Continue below for a synopsis, the trailer and my review!

Publisher:  The Parliament House
Publish Date: June 19, 2018
Kindle Edition
Series:  Book 1 - Lena 
Genre:  Fantasy

A Legend, 

A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More... 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy? 

My Review:

There is no doubt that Chantal is a wonderful story teller.  This is my second book by her and I've been sucked right in from page one each time.  

We have The Little Mermaid feel with Lena, who just wants to see what it's like on land... to be human.  She feels stifled under the sea and doesn't want to just be another wife.  She's a merrow who wants more.  Stubborn to get her way, she's not prepared for what she actually gets.

There's a lot of things in this book that are easily predictable.  You can never run away from your problems and Lena finds herself basically in the same predicament on land as she did in the sea.  What's great about this book is the author's way of pulling you right in.  It reads fast and had me swiping pages with a fury to see where it would head.  I didn't even care that I pretty much knew what was coming.

The ending is SUCH a cliffhanger!  Normally this irritates me, but I found myself still trying to swipe left hoping that somehow I would will more pages to appear.  Alas, this did NOT work (but I still encourage you to try this - maybe you'll have more luck 😉).  

As with most of these types of reads, the women are put in a secondary role and we see a lot of male characters in this story.  The women are there to take care of them and play their roles.  Remember, this is almost like a Disney story and that's to be expected.   It's how we get characters such as Lena, who rebel against this stereotype.  A fairy tale where Lena is there to save herself, not to have a man do that for her. 

I absolutely adore books about mermaids and this one delivers.  Engaging, fantastical and whimsical.  Chantal brings us a rich fairy tale where sometimes getting what you want comes at a cost you can never run from.  I need book two, NOW!


#allthebookreviews: Everything That Folllows by Meg Little Reilly @harpercollins #mirabooks @MegLittleReilly

Everything That Follows
by Meg Little Reilly

Thank you to Mira Books for these copies in return for our honest opinions.
Jessica and I are in agreement with this one!
Continue below to get our thoughts on this suspenseful read.

Publisher:  Mira Books
Publish Date:  May 1, 2018
320 Pages
Genres:  Psychological Suspense, Contemporary


For fans of Megan Abbott and Chris Bohjalian comes a novel of moral complexity about friends who must choose between self-preservation and doing the right thing in the wake of a fatal boating accident. Set in the moody off-season of Martha’s Vineyard, Everything That Follows is a plunge into the dark waters of secrets and flexible morals. The truth becomes whatever we say it is…

Around midnight, three friends take their partying from bar to boat on a misty fall evening. Just as the weather deteriorates, one of them suddenly and confusingly goes overboard. Is it an accident? The result of an unwanted advance? His body disappears quickly, silently, into the dark water. The circumstances are murky, but what is clear is that the other two need to notify the authorities. Minutes become hours become days as they hesitate, caught up in their guilt and hope that their friend has somehow made it safely to shore. As valuable time passes, they find themselves deep in a moral morass with huge implications as they struggle to move forward and live with their dark secret.

My Review:

I'm having a hard time putting this really in a thriller category.  I think psychological suspense may work for this but for some reason I keep leaning more towards the contemporary side.  One fatal accident and the decision to not call the authorities lead to disruptions in their relationships, work lives and within themselves.

This is a moderately paced book and the author does a fantastic job putting you into Kat's mind and she struggles with her conscious throughout.  Kat and Hunter saw Kyle fall over the edge of the boat during a stormy night and did nothing.  Sean, Kat's boyfriend, suspects something is going on with Kat and Hunter... after all there is a certain intimacy in sharing such a large secret.  But not everything is as it seems.  Keeping secrets, however, has a way of manifesting into every aspect of your life.  Is there any way to get past this feeling?  Paranoia sets in and now everyone is the enemy. 

I really did enjoy the atmosphere of this book.  I struggled with Kat and Hunter throughout their process.  What I didn't quite understand was Ashley - I did enjoy her role in the book but felt towards the end it all was just a bit too... easy?  If you've read the book then I think you'll know what I mean. 

A character driven novel that focuses on the mental gymnastics that one tends to do when one lie piles on top of another.  Suitable for those looking for a lighter "thriller".  Two roads diverged... which path would you take?


Jessica's Review:

Despite having her other book sitting on my shelf, EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS was my introduction to Meg Little Reilly. I had heard good things about her other book so I was excited to jump into this new thriller. I will say that I wouldn't classify this as a thriller - probably more along the lines of a drama or suspense novel. I think that will definitely help with the reading experience going into it with that in mind!

Three friends are partying and enjoying each other, after a night of drinking they decide to head back to their boat. When one of them goes overboard and disappears into the water, the other two hesitate to call the authorities for rescue. They simply hope that he has come ashore safely. When that doesn't happen, they decide to keep this dark secret to themselves.

This book dives into the consequences as well as the mental strain the characters experience because of this secret. One choice and one event can forever alter your life, and once the paranoia sets in things start to go downhill. This book keeps a good pacing, but it's anything crazy fast. If you're looking for a lighter suspense novel then this would be the perfect choice!

I give this 3.5/5 stars!

#allthebookreviews: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay @wmmorrowbooks @paulgtremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World
by Paul Tremblay

Thank you to William Morrow for these gifted copies in return for our honest opinions.
This book completed WOWED US!  Put this on your TBR immediately!

See Jessica and I's 5 Star Reviews below!

Publisher:  William Morrow
Publish Date:  June 26, 2018
288 pages
Genres:  Horror, Suspense, Fiction, Thriller

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

Jessica's Review:

I had heard nothing but great things going into THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and I was anxious to get started. Holy crap, guys. The first chapter alone pulls you in instantly and the suspense created in the last couple pages of chapter one was insane. Literally felt my heart racing as the chapter continued and that didn’t quit for the rest of the book.

We are introduced to Wen, she’s almost 8 years old, and she’s playing her front yard trying to collect grasshoppers. The sweetness ends about there and then the tone completely changes. Like I already mentioned, the end of this first chapter the suspense and ominous tone takes over.

The emotions and themes throughout this book are insane. We come across loyalty, sacrifice, the strength of your beliefs, and the importance and love of your family. Wen and her fathers, Eric and Andrew, were brought to life in this novel – you’ll definitely fall in love with this little girl. Tremblay does an incredible job bringing you through an array of reactions and plenty of WHAT THE HELL moments. I know for a fact I said that out loud a couple of times.

I don’t want to give away much because this is one you need to fully experience. If you’re a horror fan or already love Tremblay’s work, then this is a no-brainer. I can see this being a buzzed about book this summer!

I give this 5/5 stars!

My Review:

I typically write my reviews as soon as I'm done reading the book so my thoughts are fresh and I say exactly how I felt as I turned that last page. With this one, I'm glad I took the night to mull my thoughts over. Tremblay has outdone himself with this book. The blurb on the back cover sums it up perfectly: a "...gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse and survival..." You really don't need to know anything more than that before going in.

The beginning starts off innocently enough as we get introduced to the adorable 7 year old Wen catching grasshoppers... and by the end of that first chapter the ominous and creepy tone sets in and that's it. You're done. You may as well cancel any plans you have and just read until you're done. Otherwise the story will just cling inside your brain and you'll hear that buzzing sound until you complete your mission! 

The characters are brought to life in such a way that you almost instantly feel a connection to them. I fell in love with Wen immediately and then her fathers secondary. As for the rest of the crew - I was torn. I love them but I hate them... but I love them... I think. Or not. I don't know! At one point I had to grab the pint of chocolate ice cream out of my freezer and eat my feelings as I kept reading. GAH! (true story)

Look, this book has a LOT going on - it's a tale of faith, loyalty, love and sacrifice. Tremblay punches you right in the gut a few times and I heard myself gasp out loud a few times. I had visions of The Strangers in my head during one of the scenes which then turned into a cult like phenomenon which then turned into what-the-hell-is-actually-going-on?! I'll admit, I was a little bit plundered by the ending.. which is what I needed to simmer on, even though I already knew it was going to be a 5-star review. In retrospect, it's brilliant... bloody brilliant when looking at the grasp of the entire story arc. 

As a final note, I don't know about the rest of you but Leonard had the same voice in my mind as Leland Gaunt and Charlie Manx. Haha! I heard a rumor this was coming to the big screen and I'm EXCITED about this news! 

Lovers of horror touched with home invasion apocalyptic suspense will be absolutely thrilled by this page turner of all page turners.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

REVIEW: Witch Hunter by J.Z. Foster @jzfosterauthor

Witch Hunter
by J.Z. Foster

Many thanks to the author for this copy!
What a fantastically comedic horror book to read... and I hear he's working on book two now 😃

Publish Date:  January 9, 2018
Kindle Edition
294 Pages
Series: Volume 1
Genres: Horror, Dark Comedy

A Dark Comedy with twists and turns!

The world is lying to you. Is that news? It must be very upsetting. 

Richard Fitcher found it upsetting. 

He’s a witch hunter who doesn’t believe in witches, and tonight he’s taking a reporter and her cameraman on a witch hunt. He’s all ready to jazz it up with spooky noises and a gimmicky magic ritual that locates witches. People like that kind of crap, right? But there’s a problem. 

It worked this time. 

So now Richard is forced to call up old knowledge and power he didn’t believe to be real, challenging things that crawled out of the pit, if he has any hope of surviving the night. But this loser might actually find some value—the pit does have a tendency to shave off your uneven edges—if it doesn’t kill you. 

Either way, it’s a lovely night for a witching. 

My Review:

A Witch Hunter who thought he was more role playing than real and who jumped at the chance to get some camera time with a reporter and her cameraman.  Turns out, things are much more real than he had imagined and now he must use what little skills he has to keep them all alive.

Richard is a funny character - he's part bumbling idiot, part wholesome hero and part the average guy who is trying to do something large with his life.  There were some face palm moments in the things he said or did but overall I found him to be a very lovable guy.  I always think that after watching Supernatural over and over again that if put in a situation where I had to fight any monsters, I would know EXACTLY what I had to do.  This is how I felt Richard was.  He practiced with things he didn't think was real and now had to implement his skills into a real life situation.

There's definitely a LOT of comedic relief in this book - as a matter of fact, I would consider this more comedy than anything.  Negotiating with a Wight with snacks! Ha!  The only character I found myself getting a tad bit irritated with was Minge - though I heard him in my head as a Bobby Singer type, I was exhausted hearing him say "son" and "boy" with almost every sentence. 

Foster can definitely write a story fluidly and this book is highly entertaining.  The cover gives it a more ominous feel than what the story provides and it wasn't until after I finished reading and realized even the first line in the synopsis calls it a "dark comedy", that I realized this is what the book is SUPPOSED to be. 

I definitely would've liked a little less levity and a little more horror with a fangy bite!  But that's just how I prefer my horror.  I'm VERY excited to read The Wicked Ones and Mind Wreck by Foster as these seem to be more on the darker, macabre side that will cater further to my black heart.

If you're looking for a dark comedy that'll have you laughing more than scared, this is definitely the route you should take!


SPOTLIGHT: The House Always Wins by Brian Rouff @brianrouff

The House Always Wins
by Brian Rouff

Happy to be spotlighting Brian Rouff today and his book, The House Always Wins.  Continue below to learn about the book, the author, the inspiration behind the book and a Q&A!

Publisher:  Huntington Press
Available NOW
326 Pages
Genres:  Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Anna Christiansen’s small-town life is about to go haywire. A young reporter stuck in a dead-end job, Anna falls head over heels for an interview subject, the bass player in an upand-coming alt band. In short order, she pulls up stakes, moves to Las Vegas, gets married and pregnant, and buys a big fixer-upper haunted by the ghost of a Sin City racketeer.

That’s when she gets notice from a corrupt casino owner that he’s buying up all the properties on her street to make way for a parking lot. But Anna has poured her heart and soul into the house and digs in hard to fight the system — not the easiest of tasks in a city where bribery, mayhem, and murder are standard operating procedures.

Can Anna’s tough-guy ghost provide the help she needs to prevail in this dangerous catand-mouse game? Will Anna’s life be left in ruins? Or worse?


The house in “The House Always Wins” is based on an old fixer upper Brian Rouff and his family lived in from 2002-05 on St. Louis Ave. in Las Vegas. Purchased cheap because it needed a tremendous amount of work, it was an entertainer’s house — previously owned by Jack Eglash, a noted producer of musical shows on The Strip — who had worked with everyone from Sinatra and Elvis to Carson and Rickles. 

“It was a cool, old, one-of-a-kind house,” Rouff said, “with state-of-the-art appliances from 1960. That house, I always felt, was haunted.” 

The St. Louis house was full of strange noises. Lights left on would be off, and drawers distinctly remembered to be open would be closed. There were even patches of strange temperature changes. 

“It’s an old house; you could make a logical case for everything, but that’s not a book,” Rouff said. “I started thinking, ‘What if it’s haunted? And what if a young couple bought it? And what if it’s a friendly ghost? And what if he’s a dead mobster who helps them fight a corrupt casino owner who will stop at nothing to get the house?’ Now that’s a book.” 

Back story

“The House Always Wins” is 10 years in the making. After self-publishing his last book, “Money Shot,” author Brian Rouff took a few years off. 

“I thought I was out of ideas. And energy,” he said. “But the idea for ‘The House Always Wins’ crept up on me and started tugging on my sleeve. … It’s the most personal of my books. It’s based on a real house we lived in. And the ghost’s early backstory is my father’s story growing up in Detroit during Prohibition.” 

Rouff began writing in fits and starts in 2007 before the Great Recession brought progress to a screeching halt. 

“As a small business owner, the recession was all-consuming,” he said. “I just didn’t have it in me to keep working on the book too. It was always in the back of my mind, though, and I kept taking more and more notes and throwing them in a manila folder. Eventually I thought, ‘If I die before I finish this book, I’m going to be pissed.’ I really needed to finish it.”

Finally the economy leveled out, and he read what he’d written. Like most authors would do, he promptly threw it all away because he didn’t like it anymore and started from scratch. 

Because Rouff travels so much for work, “The House Always Wins” was written largely on the road — in hotel rooms and on airplanes. The book was finally completed in November, at which point he began talks with an old friend, Anthony Curtis, the founder of gaming book publisher Huntington Press. Curtis mentioned that the company had just partnered with PGW (Publishers Group West), one of the leading book sales and distribution companies in the United States, and was planning to re-launch its fiction division. 

“The stars lined up just right,” Rouff said. “I’m really pleased that Huntington Press picked this up. As the local publisher that specializes in Vegas and gaming, they really get our city and what I do. They changed very little, whereas someone from out of town wouldn’t have gotten all the inside references; they would have seen it as fat that needed to be trimmed. It was a really good fit. Exactly what I was looking for. And the timing couldn’t have been better.”

About Brian Rouff

Brian Rouff was born in Detroit, raised in Southern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 1981, which makes him a longtimer by local standards. A 1977 UCLA graduate with a degree in communication studies and a minor in journalism, Brian has spent his entire professional career in media and advertising. In 1987, he founded his own marketing firm, serving clients in such diverse fields as hospitality, computer consulting and sports information. In 2003, he merged his company with Imagine Marketing (now Imagine Communications), where he serves as managing partner. 

Brian is also a professional public speaker, having facilitated hundreds of advertising and marketing workshops during his 35-year career. He has also become a regular contributor to 

In 1999, Brian decided to fulfill a lifelong dream by becoming a novelist. His first book, “Dice Angel,” is a quirky mystery that gives readers a behind-the-scenes peek at the Las Vegas that exists beyond the Strip. “Dice Angel” is currently the top-rated Las Vegas book on, with a 4.8 average customer rating based on 127 reviews. 

Brian’s second novel, “Money Shot,” is the story of an unhappy middle-aged man who wins a chance at redemption by attempting a million dollar shot during halftime of the NCAA basketball tournament. 

His third novel, “The House Always Wins,” released in October 2017, is a Las Vegas ghost story based on an actual haunted house the author and his family lived in during the early 2000s. 

Rouff also contributed a chapter to the Las Vegas serial novel “Restless City.” 

On a personal note, Brian is married with two grown daughters and five grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, movies, music, sports, and the occasional trip to the casino buffet line.


Q: You’re an ad guy. How did you get into writing? 

A: Like most people, I always thought I had a novel or two in me. But I never got a chance until my mid-forties. By that time, I had spent more than two decades in the ad biz, writing every imaginable type of promotional material: TV and radio commercials, brochures, press releases, newsletters, you name it. It paid the bills but none of it was for me. Excellent training, though. It teaches you to get to the point fast. 

I tell people that writing novels about Las Vegas is how I handled my midlife crisis. Safer than a Harley and cheaper than a divorce. Beyond that, I wanted to write books that really capture what it’s like to live in this crazy town. Most books and movies about Las Vegas are written by “carpetbaggers,” folks who come here for a week or two and think they’ve got a handle on this place. I remember one famous author wrote about the “on ramp to Maryland Pkwy.” Stuff like that makes me crazy. 

Q: You’re a 60-something man. What made you write from the perspective of a 25-yearold woman? And what was that like? 

A: It was definitely a challenge. In my other books, the main characters were jaded middleaged men who knew Vegas inside and out, so I’d already told that story more than once. I wanted to do something different. Not only is Anna a young woman, but she’s new to town. She allows my readers to see Las Vegas with fresh eyes. 

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by young women — I have two grown daughters, and most of my colleagues at work are young women. So I would constantly ask, “Do young women know this?” “Do young people still talk like this?” “Do you know this reference?” “Do you know this movie?” It was very important to me to not slip up in that respect. I wanted to see if I could pull it off. 

Q: What was your writing process for this book? 

A: This book was different for me; I wrote it out of sequence. If I was inspired, I just wrote it, trusting the universe that I’d be able to stitch it together in some manner that made sense. That gave me a few sleepless nights. It’s also the only book I’ve written where I knew the ending in advance. So I wrote it first. 

Q: You’ve said this book is your most personal, which one wouldn’t assume since the protagonist is a young woman. So what does that mean? 

A: The beginning story is my dad’s story. He grew up side by side with The Purple Gang, Detroit’s Jewish version of the Mafia. In fact, they made the Mafia look like Boy Scouts. When I was young, he told me all kinds of cool stories about them. He was invited into the gang, but he knew there wasn’t a lot of future in that. It wasn’t for him. Which is why he lived to be 87, I guess. 

Dad’s been gone 20 years, and I haven’t heard those stories in at least 40 years. But the unconscious mind remembers everything — and what it doesn’t remember, you can Google. 

Q: How did you come up with the ghost’s personality? 

A: In addition to The Purple Gang, the ghost in the book is based loosely on Meyer Lansky and Moe Dalitz. A dead racketeer, he teaches Anna some lessons on how to fight the system. Like many Las Vegas scions of the community, he was on the wrong side of the law back in Detroit, but he reinvented himself here and became an honored, upstanding member of the community. Part of the lure of Las Vegas is you can reinvent yourself. 

Q: How do you see yourself as an author? 

A: There are many authors whose names are practically synonymous with a city they write about. There’s Elmore Leonard and Detroit; Laura Lippman and Baltimore; Carl Hiaasen and Miami. In Las Vegas, I feel there’s a vacancy, and I want to fill it. I’ve been here 36 years, and I’ve been paying attention and taking notes. I have an in-depth appreciation of the city along with an awareness of the usual annoyances. In my books, the city becomes its own character. 

I’m not there yet, but I think I can be. 

Q: How would you sum up ‘The House Always Wins’? 

A: I would describe it as a David and Goliath story that’s a fun and nostalgic blend of fantasy and reality.