Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimar McBride

I'm a horror chick at heart but every now and then I do like to delve (sheepishly) into the world of literary fiction. There's been so much praise for this book and of course for the writer, Eimar McBride who on an over crowded stage has invented an entirely new way of writing. Released just last year The Lesser Bohemians has won the James Tate Black Memorial Prize, long listed for the Bailey's Women's Prize, Goldsmith's Prize and the Bord Gais Irish Novel of the Year.

The cover is gorgeous, simple but really eye catching. This book is quite unlike anything I have ever read before. The language reminded me a little bit of Ulysses by James Joyce. At first it was really hard to get into and to be honest a couple of times I gave up, but I persevered.


Because there was something really compelling about the writing, half poem half prose, and after a while I got into it and then, I really got into it. It quickly became one of those books where I couldn't put, where I set my alarm clock earlier in the morning so I could spend more time with this delightful book. I actually felt a bit sad when it finished. Sometimes I get so involved with a book it is hard to say goodbye to the characters I've gotten to know so well. I'd love for there to be some sort of follow up as I felt like there is still a story to be told here.

So this is written like a stream of conscious and I think its utterly genius because no one actually thinks in sentences, so in her writing we're truly inside the main characters head, thinking every she thinks, and you get really involved. I found the writing really moving as it feels so real. You feel like you're going through everything with her.

So a bit about the book, set in London during the 90's, an 18 year old Irish girl comes to London enrolling in a drama course. Not long after she is introduced to the party scene and there she meets an actor twenty years her senior and already in the public eye. This story follows her transition from a simple country girl into a woman. She yearns for life, passion and adventure and to be free of herself.

She soon becomes involved with this older guy. He's brooding and dangerous but she can't help herself. Although this is no glossy romance you'll find in the chick lit section. This is a real romance where each side is obnoxious and toxic, they hurt each other with their cruel games but yet each time they return to one another.

It's a really raw honest writing about the truth of falling in love for the first time which is never perfect its often not the final love, as illustrated int his book through the other characters. Unless it is a pure sort of love that a father would feel for his child.

As a writer I really admire McBride's boldness to write something so new and bold. There must have been quite a few moments where she questioned herself what she was doing. It was a risky book to write as it is so pioneering but it was a risk that has really paid off. She has also written another book, A Girl is a Half Formed Thing which I can't wait to get read.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Apparitions - Aphotic Realm Magazine

Aphotic Realm is a brand new magazine dedicated to strange and sinister fiction. Recently they have produced their first issue themed around - Apparitions. If the first issue is anything to go by this horror fiction magazine is going to be making some big waves on the horror scene.

This issue is available both in print and kindle but do buy it in print it is worth every penny. The content is absolutely divine. The magazine is full colour and in each page you can see the love and care that has been poured liberally over each page. Each story comes with it's own illustration, shout out to Gunnar Larsen for his amazing artwork.

So before I'd even started reading the stories I absolutely fell in love with it!

First off I started reading Dustin Schyler Yoak, one of the editors. I did think it was strange at first that the magazine would  start straight away rather than a brief introduction from the editor  as what I was reading was clearly the first horror story. However I soon found out it was a real life event as experienced by Dustin himself and I really felt shivers down my spine! So just a note of warning,
there are real life ghost stories in here and they're not pretty!

This is a really strong anthology, I really enjoyed all the stories in there, no duds whatsoever. Voices by Thomas Elson makes a really strong start. It's one of those stories that you have to read again straight away! Blue Vial by Tevis Shkodra is a heart wrenching tale of love and loss which I found incredibly moving.  The Shadow on the Stairs by Brianna Fenty is just downright terrifying!!!!!! I absolutely adored Waternish Boy by Christopher Stanley who focuses on ancient Scottish folklore. Untethered by Ron Heacock is amazing. This was my favourite tale, ( a very hard choice, all were amazing.) I was genuinely sad when it ended and was left needing to know more. This is one story that I could see being turned into a full length novel! Whispers Beyond the Veil by Chris Martin is a terrifying true account of an American haunting.

If a Ghost Comes Knocking by Steve Carr is a really sinister tale that proves ghosts aren't as harmless  as they look. Steve Hosking goes for a fantasy horror feel with The Princess & The Tower which takes a familiar fairy tale and turns it on it's head making it into something really original. Former Self by Kenneth Tilford JR is a great cop tale with a spooky angle to it. Rosanna Fields by Thor Morten (whoa cool name!) is a really epic tale, don't want to  say too much about it in case I give too much away! Finally A.A.Medina tells us of his spooky encounter which is just really disturbing!!!!

There's also an interview with Roland Mann: Comic Book Creator, Author, Editor and Professor and has some really good tips for writers and how to make it big. Gunnar Larsen shows off his artistic prowess with some super creepy art. Matt Peters owner of Beating Windward Press offers his tips and advice to writers.

The second issue of Aphotic  Realm is due out October - November 2017 and I just can't wait!!!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights

Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights is a really astounding debut collection from Hindered Soul's Press. This is a relatively new indie horror publishing company formed in 2016 and they have really started off with a bang.

I have to admit I do love reading short horror fiction and had to buy this one even though I have so many queued up on my kindle. It features 25 brilliant dark tales and many of the authors featured in this are really starting to make a name for themselves. This had to go straight to the front of my kindle queue.

What's great about this anthology is that there is a really wide range of horror styles, some are scary, some are weird whilst others are creepy and some have a really beautiful feel to them. There is something for everyone because we all have our own preferences.

There were so many that I really enjoyed and whittling them down into my favourite pile was really very tough as the bar has been set really high.

Highlights for me include Shelf Life by Gary Buller. A tale that every man can relate to. Every story that I've read of his is utterly brilliant and if you liked Shelf Life you will love his other recently published tale, Wicked Congregation featured in the Monsters Exist Anthology by Deadman's Tome.He also has released his own short story anthology, Mechanisms of Despair, and all proceeds go to two great charities; Sarcoma UK and The Alzheimer's Foundation.

Magic Hour by Christine Makepeace was another favourite, it stood out to me through it's beautiful ethereal writing and is a really original tale. An author I'll  definitely be keeping an eye out for.

Baby Bird by Craig Bullock was also exceptionally creepy and scary, loved it! Sometimes when I read short horror tales I think wow that tale would make a brilliant film and Baby Bird was one of them.

Degeneration X by M.R Tapia had a really cool sci-fi horror feel unlike anything I've ever read before. Tonight Forever by William Marchese was deliciously dark and features a very dark messenger indeed.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Theresa Braun. is a tale set in the heart of swinging London of a down and out trying to get his life back and making quite the deal!

Hindered Souls is out now and available on Kindle and in paperback. Buy it now!

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Grimhaven Disaster by Leo X.Robertson

This story was crazee!!! I've never read anything like it before.

Leo X.Roberston is an author I discovered after reading his amazing short story Kelpies, as featured in the Monsters Exist Anthology from Deadman's Tome. So I leapt at the chance to have a sneak read of this before it officially comes out in August 2017 from Unnerving

Never before have I read a horror story set in an abandoned nuclear energy plant which immediately stresses me out. Why would anyone ever think it a good idea to go poking around there? Nuclear energy really unnerves me, it's power is just so deadly, the side-effects last for hundreds of years. It's a naturally occurring energy source but just seems so at odds with what nature has to offer us.

When not being an author, Leo X Robertson moonlights as a process engineer and he's used his technical know-how and flair into writing a really believable book on the dangers and mysterious qualities of "the ineradicable nature of radiation's insidious spread!" This is a great blend of horror and sci-fi and makes for a really cool what-the-fuck?! read.

The story centres around Themis and his friends who are celebrating the end of high school by spending a lost weekend in an abandoned nuclear energy facility. Abandoned because it was the site of an infamous nuclear accident in which his grandfather, Socrates lost his job and really fell from grace. But it's not going to get in the way of them having a great party before they all ruin their lives by becoming adults.

It's an odd choice for a party but then again Themis has been through an odd upbringing full of misery, murder and nuclear obsessions. He has many repressed questions about his childhood and family and here seems to be a good place to finally awaken the past and conduct some thorough soul searching. Also he really wants to get it on with Zara in the weirdest place possible.

He's still haunted by the ghost of his crazy scientist grandfather who believed that hidden in his bloodline was the ability of radio-kinesis - the ability to control radioactive materials using only the power of the mind.

Events escalate pretty quickly through this great dark edgy tale. It pulls you in straight away as it's really original and quirky. If you've never read indie horror fiction before this is a great place to start.I found it really imaginative, very dark with some sly dark humour. I particularly loved all the gruesome radioactive descriptions which has really reaffirmed my suspicions about nuclear energy and has me pinning all my hopes on mankind being able to utilise solar and wind sources of energy for the future!

Leo has a really good narrative and I can't wait to read Bonespin Slipspace (wow what a title) his previous novella from Psychedelic Horror Press

On a side note, this novella is being released by Unnerving who also publish their self titled Unnerving Magazine. It's a fairly new venture and has already featured some really talented indie authors, I've recently read the second issue and its brilliant. So if you really like indie fiction and want to show your support buy the magazine. It's available on kindle and in paperback, very really priced and if you subscribe it's even cheaper.

About the Author

Leo X. Robertson is originally from Glasgow but now lives in Oslo where he works as a process engineer. His short stories have been featured in many publications such as Helios Quarterly, Deadman's Tome, Unnerving Magazine, Schlock! Bi-Monthly, Open Pen Magazine and many others. This is his second novella, his first was Bonespin Slipspace from Psychedelic Horror Press.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Crone by Jeannie Wycherley

So in a nutshell this is a book about witches and a kick ass woman!

Crone by Jeannie Wycherly came highly recommended through a book reviewer who has a great blog at The Grim Reader It's currently on sale for just 99p so I thought why not.

To be honest it was the word witches in the description, that did it for me. I love great stories with witches in it and also just look at the author's surname, Wycherley! Could a name be anymore witchy!?

What I really liked about this book is that it celebrates the strength that women possess, that we're always stronger than what we think we are. I guess most of us aren't as physically strong in the way men are but it doesn't matter as we're strong in other ways. As illustrated in this book, if we dig deep enough we have the power to heal ourselves and others even, to protect our loved ones and even to forgive. The main character, Heather, is a prime example of this. She's a very quiet heroine, not feisty and fierce like some people,(ahem Aefre) but she refuses to give in no matter how bleak and hopeless things look.

The characterisation of Heather was brilliant,she was so relatable and I could really see her as a real person. You can really feel her grief for her son, Max, and take pride in her desire to keep on fighting, in the hope she will learn to live again.

In contrast, Aefre is an example of that woman who cannot forgive and move on with their life. People say that hate is an acid which rots us from within and this saying really applies to her. But having said that she's a great character!

One thing I hate about stories with witches in them is that they are always portrayed as evil.I find this irksome as the reason so many women were persecuted in during the witch hunts was because men feared powerful women and their intelligence and sought to destroy them by either burning them or discrediting women. But in this book evil witches are nicely balanced with good witches who care.

I really enjoyed this book and read it in a matter of days. I just couldn't put it down particularly at the end. I kept thinking how the hell is Heather going to get out of this crazy situation. The plot was really clever, fantastical but really believable too. The ending was so great, all the little loose ends were tied up particularly with the White Cottage. I thought that was a really nice touch.

It was a book that is really easy to get into, it starts off fairly gently but really begins to pick up the pace particularly with the ending. I was torn between desperately trying to skim read so I could find out what happened but also wanting to enjoy it at the same time.

This is the first book written by Jeannie Wycherley I will definitely be keeping an eye out to see what she writes next. This is a one off book but the world that she has created is so cool she could easily write another one in that setting.

P.S. Does anyone know how to pronounce Aefre?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Independence Denied by Calvin Demmer

Independence Denied is the final instalment of Calvin Demmer's epic Dark Celebrations series which consists of twelve short dark tales - Hungry Ghosts , Labor Day Hunt , Trick or Death, Thanks Sinning, Three Dead Men, Happy Dark Year, Dying Valentine, Spring Outbreak, She Will Rise, Prom Screams, Unidentified Fatherly Object  and Independence Denied.

Dark Celebrations is a series I've really enjoyed reading and can't wait to see Calvin Demmer's future projects. Independence Denied is the darkest tale of them all in this series. We're introduced to Brad Marshall, just another regular guy looking forward to celebrating Independence Day.

But suddenly all hell breaks loose, there's multiple reports of earthquakes, tsunami's striking all four corners of the world. Brad Marshall just wants to bury his head in the sand than watch of the devastating news reports. Instead he focuses on work, on helping his boss, Professor Masterson studying shark behaviour, but that doesn't help matters.

He uncovers a vital piece of information which sheds light on recent events. How can he use it? Who can he trust?

About the Author

Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery and speculative fiction author. When not working, he is intrigued by that which goes bump int he night and the sciences of our universe. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including Under The Bed, Deadman's Tome, Siren's Call, Sanitarium Magazine, Morpheus Tales, Devolution Z and many, many more.

You can find out more about Calvin Demmer at

Twitter @CalvinDemmer

Dark Moon Digest Issue #27

Dark Moon Digest is a quarterly horror fiction magazine produced by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and is available to buy via Amazon or via Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Inside are some really good stories, I think nine in all and not one of them was a dud. There's a really fun feel to this magazine just full of really great horror tales that will make you wince and jump in all the right places.

For me, my personal favourites were; I Will Find Them All by Evan Kells, Lost by Rachel Watts and The Screaming by Leigh Harlen. Though I feel it's important to say I really enjoyed them all. There's a really diverse offering of tales featuring all sorts of creepy monsters, there's something in here for everyone.

As well as stories there's also articles from Jay Wilburn and George Lea as well as the first two chapters of Betty Rocksteady's new novella Like Jagged Teeth.

I bought this for my kindle and it came to under £3! I do love a bargain and will definitely buy it again in the future.