Attention Authors or anyone wanting a review: I am currently NOT taking on any more reviews at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm overwhelmed at the moment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{Book Review} The Dead Are Watching: Ghost Stories from a Reluctant Psychic by Debra Robinson

The Dead Are Watching: Ghost Stories from a Reluctant Psychic
by Debra Robinson
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Released: September 8th 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Paranormal
How I got it: NetGalley

Psychic Debra Robinson investigates hauntings and helps send spirits to the other side. A haunted factory owner's suicide and guilt over leaving his son permeates the building but lifts after Debra's assurances that his family is okay. A strange and terrifying investigation of an unreported murder with the body stuffed down an outhouse changes lives. Ongoing visits in Debra's own home keeps her family on edge. Terrifying and inspiring true stories pulled from Debra's life round out her new work with more evidence of the afterlife from those who've found that love survives beyond death.

Review: Ok the cover and blurb make this sound much more scary than it actually is. The book is basically a bunch of stories from Ms Robinson's experiences with the paranormal. While interesting, not really campfire material. I did like how the stories were of places that weren't famous, just regular old houses. I thought it was refreshing to read stories that didn't have demons, vortexes or spirit guides. Ms Robinson was knowledgeable yet not over bearing. She didn't seem to flaunt her gifts, but did use them to help people understand what they were dealing with.
I liked her writing style and storytelling ability. It kind of reminded me of being a kid and listening to the grown-ups tell of their own experiences. Yes my family had a lot of ghostly happenings, still does now and again. Over all I liked that Ms Robinson came across as someone looking for answers just like the rest of us.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

{Book Review} The House Where Evil Lurks: A Paranormal Investigator's Most Frightening Encounter by Brandon Callahan

The House Where Evil Lurks: A Paranormal Investigator's Most Frightening Encounter
by Brandon Callahan
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Released: September 8th 2014 by
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Paranormal investigation, ghost
How I got it: NetGalley

This is not a Hollywood tale; it is a true account of the most malevolent home that Brandon Callahan and his team have ever investigated. A former funeral parlor, the demon-infested property had a dungeon and a sinister past that included murder, suicide, and vile rituals.

When Brandon Callahan answered the homeowner's plea for help, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. A monstrously tall entity in a dark-hooded cloak moves through the embattled home it considers his domain. An expressionless phantom follows one of the investigators home. Innocent bystanders and paranormal investigators alike are plagued by physical attacks and bleed-through phenomena: inhuman laughter, bloody scratches, disembodied shrieks and growls, horrific nightmares, and escalating threats. The House Where Evil Lurks is Brandon Callahan's terrifying true story.

Review: I'm kind of torn by this book, I liked a lot of things about it yet was also skeptical on others.
I really liked that Mr Callahan just offers up the information he basically say here's what I did for better or for worst. He's not preachy or says this is how it must be done, just that he did things this way and maybe others can learn from what he did. I found this very refreshing as well as how he took most things with a "grain of salt" until the proof was staring him in the face. His tone and way of writing make it feel like he is right there telling you this amazing story. He brings his fellow investigators off the pages, making them feel real. This probably doesn't make sense, but sometime when reading or watching something the characters just feel fake. I didn't get that from this book.
I'm always skeptical about EVP's and the ghost box. I just feel that it's to easy to hear what you want or to want proof so bad that you hear something from nothing. There seemed to be a lot of EVP's and focus on the ghost box, yeah it's cool but hard to believe unless you can hear it for yourself. I don't know, maybe it's me but between this and the KII meters these ghosts just seemed way to chatty. There were a few other small personal issues, including what I felt was a stupid experiment. The Ganzfeld experiment is controversial and wasn't developed for paranormal investigation. I'm not going off on a triad, but I will say I thought it was dumb.
I did find it interesting that unlike many books and shows, this took place over several months of dealing with the same house and entities. Also the case is still open, they didn't banish or exorcise what ever was in the house which is usually how these books end. Despite my own personal quirks about things, I feel this is one of the best representations of an actual paranormal investigation I've read.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Book Review} Shattered Secrets (Cold Creek #1) by Karen Harper

Shattered Secrets (Cold Creek #1)
by Karen Harper
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Released: September 1st 2014
Genre: Fiction- Adult: Suspense, Romance
How I got it: NetGalley

Every town has its secrets…

Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek.

Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess.

Tess isn't ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she's certain it's related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for good….

Review: Tess returns homes to sell her families house after her mom dies. The small town of Cold Creek stirs up a lot of memories, most bad, for Tess. As a child she was abducted and managed to escape, but can't remember anything about the experience. When another little girl goes missing, Tess must face her demons and remember.
Tess is a feisty woman who is focused on the future. She didn't back down and stood her ground even when she was extremely scared. The chemistry between her and Gabe is great, I liked how they waited to act on their emotions not just jumping into bed at the first chance. Both characters were real and believable, having flaws and carrying baggage.  
I enjoyed the twists and turns the plot took, even if I did figure it out fairly early. Seriously the clues were right there, pretty obvious to the reader. The mystery ending was pretty twisted in a sense, but HEA was predictable. Over all a decent read, a nice mix of mystery and romance.

Monday, August 25, 2014

{Book Review} Stalking Shadows: The Most Chilling Experiences of a Paranormal Investigator by Debi Chestnut

Stalking Shadows: The Most Chilling Experiences of a Paranormal Investigator
by Debi Chestnut
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Relesed: September 8th 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Paranormal Investigation
How I got it: NetGalley

If the world of the paranormal were a house, Stalking Shadows would be its wicked basement. And like a basement full of sinister energy, this collection of true stories is powerful enough to snuff out your flashlight, leaving you alone in the horrible darkness.

Join psychic medium and paranormal investigator Debi Chestnut as she explores twelve terrifying true encounters with ghosts, dark beings, and negative entities. Discover an abandoned house of horrors that becomes more evil with every victim it claims. Follow a tortured spirit trapped in a forsaken mirror. Feel the savage pain of a distraught spirit that screams out in agony. Take a macabre journey through the unhappy realms of the astral plane . . . if you dare

Review: I usually have a hard time with psychics, but Ms Chestnut didn't come off as the other authors I've read who claim to be psychic. Her book is start forward, these are her stories and we can choose to believe or not. I really liked that while she stated she has spirit guides she didn't shove them down your throat. Her encounters were varied and it felt like she was trying to bring the reader into her world. Her tales weren't all scary poltergeist and demons, although it seems that no paranormal book is complete without one as she does have a demon or what she thinks is a demon in one story. I liked that these didn't take place in the same old places and where about Ms Chestnut and her team helping people, real people, deal with paranormal problems. The way she treated the spirits as if they were people and not entities to be studies or banished was refreshing.
I really enjoyed this book, Ms Chestnut is a wonderful storyteller, and was able to draw me into her world. I'd love to read more works by her in the future.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

{Book Review} Zomburbia by Adam J. Gallardo

by Adam J. Gallardo
Publisher: K-Teen
Released: August 26th 2014
Genre: Fiction- YA: Horror, Zombies, Post-Apocolyptic
How I got it: Netgalley

My name is Courtney Hart, and I'm here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I'd actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains.

I've noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that's even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing. .

Review: Courtney is semi-normal for a teenage anyway. She goes to school, works at a local burger joint, has a very weird relationship with her friends. Yet she also sells Vitamin Z, a drug made from zombie brains and lives in a world where zombies are the norm. I thought this book had a lot of layers, for a zombie novel. It's post zombie apocalypse, cities are off limits due to high numbers of zombies and people have moved out to the suburbs. For the most part things are fairly normal, kids go to school (although the school looks more like a prison), people hold down jobs (fenced in and with security guard to keep the zombies at bay), kids still get into trouble and do things they shouldn't.
Courtney is not a good role-model in any sense of the word. For one she sells drugs, granted she does this for college money but still it's drugs made from zombie brains. She does a lot of stupid things and just continues to dig herself into a deeper and deeper hole. As a character she likeable enough, but I couldn't feel sympathy for her on somethings. Her poor me act got under my skin, especially when she got herself into the situations in the first place. Under all the outward angst and general teen crap, there was a strong young woman and as the plot progressed we did get to see more and more of her.
I felt that the author was trying to deliver a message with this book, and whether or not he was I don't know but what I took away is no matter how far down you fall you can always get back up. Courtney lost a lot in this book and sadly that's what it took for her to get her life together. It also showed that her poor decisions effected not only her but everyone around her.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{Book Review} MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1)
by Hillary Monahan
Release:September 2nd 2014
Genre:Fiction- YA: Horror
How I got it: Netgalley

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

Review: First off, don't read this book alone, in the dark or before bed. It will scare the be-jeebies out of you. Being in a room with mirrors might also be a bad idea.
I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of Bloody Mary, even if you don't know the origins you've heard of the game. When stick your friend in that bathroom with a candle and say Bloody Mary three times, then scare the crap out of them. At least that was the version I heard. When I was like seven I had a friend who swore up hill and down he did it and saw her in the mirror. Being extremely gullible I avoided mirrors for a awhile after that and just for the record I have never actually tried playing Bloody Mary. After reading this I never want to, and yes I know it's fiction.
Four average teenage girls decide to summon Mary the right way, yes apparently we've all been doing it wrong. I actually liked how Ms Monahan added elements that are pretty common in dealing with ghosts to the process. Her descriptions of Mary were disturbingly well done and I was able to picture Mary easily. I actually listened to this via my Kindle at work and (if this makes any sense) saw it in my head. I guess what I mean is it was so well done I was able to picture what was happening in my head, like a movie, I was so into the book.
Shauna and her friends were well fleshed out as characters. I liked them and was able to feel for them as the book progressed, I found myself invested in what happened and even felt a little betrayed at one point.
There's a bit of a mystery to the book as well, as the girls try to figure out who Mary really was and why she's so evil. Now because I am a very curious person I decided to do my own research and see how much of the book was actual urban myth and Ms Monahan's own imagination. It's about 50/50, due to the overwhelming amount of info on the internet and the long history of the Bloody Mary myth I have to say that Ms Monahan did her homework on this. From what I found it looks like she pulled the most popular and horrifying aspect of the legend and put them in the story. Mixing those facts with a hefty dose of her own spin and this was an excellent book.
I'm really interested in seeing how the series progresses and will be keeping an eye out for book 2.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Survivalistas: Book 2- Lyric is out now!

For those who don't know or are new The Survivalistas is my zombie apocalyptic YA series. The Survivalistas: Book 2- Lyric has been out for about a week now available on Smashwords. I had some free time last weekend so I uploaded it. I waited to post about it because I wanted to share a teaser with you. The Survivalistas: Book 2.5- Mica is a short introducing Mica who is Piper's little sister. Piper is of course the main character of Book 3. I thought this would be a fun quick read to get you ready for Book 3, which I'm hoping to start posting as a serial over on Surviving Being Me soon. For now click on the covers below to get your copies of 2 and 2.5.

Don't forget to share the love and let your zombie loving friends know. If you are new to the series a link to Book 1 can be found in my sidebar. Books 1 and 2 in the series can be found on GoodReads, if you are so inclined leave me a review. I love hearing from other readers.