Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Review: The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

My Rating:

I received a free copy of The Jersey Devil from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. I'm also participating in the publicity tour run by the lovely Erin over at Oh, for the Hook of a Book. If you are interested in following the tour you can do so with these hashtags: #TheJerseyDevil #HunterShea #legends #monsters

Hunter Shea is fastly becoming one of my favourite horror authors. I can almost always be guaranteed a good read when I pick up one of his books. I say almost always because out of the five I have read so far there has only been one that wasn't really to my liking.

The Jersey Devil hooked me right from the start. It's fast paced, gripping and had me on the edge of my seat. Everything about this book was bang on. The characters were appealing and well fleshed out. The atmosphere and tension had me glued to the pages and there was always something happening or something just around the corner. I genuinely felt scared for the characters throughout this story. It was brutal, full of violence, gore, and monsters. Everything I love to see in horror. I loved every second of it and devoured it in one sitting.

Highly recommended.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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The Jersey Devil, Synopsis

  • File Size: 1261 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle (August 30, 2016)
  • Publication Date: August 30, 2016
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services 


Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth...


Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth...


It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey...


Hunter Shea, Biography

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow-up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned – “A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, un-agented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be one-half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


Praise for Hunter Shea

Shea delivers a tense and intriguing work of escalating tension splattered with a clever, extensive cast of bystanders turned victims…An otherwise excellent, tightly delivered plot…Fans of cryptid creatures are likely to revel in this love letter to a legendary menace.”– Publishers Weekly
Bloody good read! This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre
Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast


Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.  
Media, information and graphics provided by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity

Want to feature this book/author?
If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Jersey Devil in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at Thanks!

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Review: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

A Boy Made of Blocks - Stuart Keith

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

My Rating:

I received a free copy of A Boy Made of Blocks from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I haven't had any personal experience with autism, I've never known anyone who has been diagnosed with autism, or anyone who has personal experience of the struggles and emotions that come along with it. The author does an outstanding job of getting across to the reader just how difficult this disorder is to live with, and despite my lack of personal experience, and as a parent, I could relate to how difficult a journey it must be.

Even though I did enjoy it and found myself picking it up every spare minute I had free to read, there were a few things that cropped up which prevented me from giving it a higher rating than 3 stars.

There were times where I felt things dragged a little and that some of the outer family drama really wasn't needed. The relationship between these outer characters just didn't feel right, they came across forced and unnatural at times. I feel that some, if not all, could have been weeded out. The growing relationship and the journey of Sam and his father was enough on its own, the rest felt like padding and it distracted from the main story.

There were situations where Sam seemed to jump ahead in his abilities to cope that felt unrealistic. He liked routine and structure but then was able to cope with things that were very spur of the moment and unplanned. Like I said before, I have no experience with autism but this just didn't sit right with me.

I have played Minecraft with my own children for many years (since before the official release when it was still in the late alpha/early beta stages and we still play together even now) so I have a decent knowledge of the game. There were quite a few inconsistencies and mistakes made when referring to the game itself. The book clearly states they are in peaceful mode because Sam is scared of the monsters but, within less than a page later a creeper appears. They eat for health which in peaceful mode isn't possible, or necessary. They also spend time opening multiple chests and finding treasures in them when in the village, where actually there is only one chest to be found per village. Sam builds machines with pistons and batteries, there are no batteries in Minecraft. Granted these aren't things that will ruin the story and aren't really important at all but, given the fact that the author states in the acknowledgements "I write about video games for a living, so our house is full of games and games consoles." I'm surprised to see these kinds of inconsistencies and mistakes.

Despite the above, I really did enjoy the book. It's a wonderful story that will bring both smiles and tears. It was insightful, thought-provoking and an emotional read, and I will admit to reaching for the tissues several times. You'd have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by this story.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Review: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old - Hendrik Groen, Penguin Books LTD, Derek Jacobi

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen

My Rating:

I received a free copy of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I wanted something fun and humorous to lighten the mood a little and I figured this would be the perfect book. It wasn't what I was hoping it would be at all.

It was billed as being charming, hilarious and laugh out loud funny but I'm afraid I didn't find that at all. The main character, rather than being funny and sarcastic, was instead an annoying, bitter, grumpy, cantankerous old man. I quickly got tired of his whining.

There was the odd amusing scene but there are only so many times that the same scenario can be funny. Repeating almost the exact same scene, but with different characters, quickly becomes repetitive and tedious.

Not one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review: Mirror Image by Michael Scott

Mirror Image: A Novel - Michael Scott

Mirror Image by Michael Scott

My Rating:

I received a free copy of Mirror Image from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I was excited to make a start on Mirror Image because mirrors are one of the few things that easily freak me out. I was looking forwards to immersing myself in a story that had the potential to put me on edge, unfortunately, that didn't happen. It took me 4 days to read 325 pages, kinda says it all really.

The book started off well but I soon found my attention wandering. I couldn't bring myself to care for any of the characters, they were flat and unappealing. The reasonings behind the characters actions were insubstantial, I felt like they were just going through the motions for the sake of the story. Where was the fear? The inner conflict? The panic? There was nothing of substance driving them, they came across as puppets playing out a story rather than real people living through the story.

Throughout the book the reader is taken back and forth between several different timelines. The timelines reveal the history of the mirror, how it came to be, and the characters that have been a part of its story before the present timeline. For this format to work the different timelines need to come together, to flow into each other and build a bigger picture, a more in-depth understanding, but in this case they felt disjointed and too separate from one another. The ending felt rushed and thrown together. I think I was holding out hope that things would come together in the end and that it would at least be worth the reading time invested. It wasn't, it lead to even more disappointment

There was also quite a few inconsistencies and plot holes, as well as many spelling mistakes, typos, wrong words etc, which really didn't help improve the reading experience.

Not one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Monday, 22 August 2016

Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

My Rating:

"...from what little I know of the outside world, I am fairly certain that my comrades and I live in hell. For most of us, the hell is in our bodies; for others, the hell is in our heads. And there is no mistaking that, for each of us, hell is in the empty, clinical, perfectly adequate, smudgy, off-white brick walls that hold us in here. In spite of my intelligence, I'm forced to accept that I'm one of the lucky ones."

I received a free copy of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is such a harrowing read but at the same time it's both inspiring and full of hope. I fell in love with Ivan's voice he's a strong, unique and interesting character and his life both inspired and saddened me. It's a very poignant story told by a very memorable character that brings out a whole gamut of feels: heartache, sadness, joy, anger, hope, humour, and more.

I feel like I want to say this is a hard book to read but it's not. That is due largely to Ivan himself, his character approaches life in a very unique way and through his humour and stubbornness the shocking and heartbreaking story of his life is made more bearable and easier to read. Ivan shows us that a little bit of kindness can go a long way and even though this is a fictional story I'm sure much of it has gone on at some time or another.

The writing style is unlike anything else I have read and I highlighted so many passages and sentences while reading. One that particularly stood out for me was "How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?" Which seems such a small and insignificant line to stand out amongst so many touching and insightful passages in this book but as a reader this really resonated with me. Most will know the saying "Too many books, so little time", as someone who lives and breathes books, the thought of only ever being able to pick up one more book, for it to be the last I ever read, I find that such a daunting prospect. There's a finality to it that I find very haunting and scary.

I don't often re-read books but this is one of those books that I know will draw me back to it.

Highly recommended. I'm off to buy myself a copy for my shelves.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Review: Tradition: An Easter Nightmare by Kyle M. Scott

Tradition: An Easter Nightmare (Razorblade Candies Book 4) - Kyle M. Scott

 Tradition: An Easter Nightmare by Kyle M. Scott

My Rating:

Tradition: An Easter Nightmare starts out innocently enough but soon things quickly take a turn for the worst and before you know it you're cringing as the horror of what's taking place slaps you in the face. I really enjoyed it, it's a quick horror short that really packs a punch.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Friday, 19 August 2016

Review: Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows by Jack Rollins

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows: A Jack Rollins SHORT STORY - see description (Dark Chapter Press Unlimited Book 1) - Michael Bray, David Basnett, Jack Rollins

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows by Jack Rollins

My Rating:

Jack Rollins has a unique style that I find very appealing, he paints vivid pictures of lives lived long ago and surrounds me with the sights, sounds and smells of another era. It's like going back in time and experiencing them for yourself.

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows may only be 31 pages long but those 31 pages contain a great story. You'll find yourself transported back in time to an era where hard work, myth, and superstition are at the forefront, and where there are unimagined dangers lurking just out of sight.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent

Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror - Jason  Parent

Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent

My Rating:

I'm a huge fan of werewolf stories, I'm talking proper werewolves not over-sized puppies playing at being werewolves, so I couldn't resist this one especially as it's written by one of my must read favourite authors.

Where Wolves Run was a unique, interesting and fast read. The pacing of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself having to resist the urge to peek a little further down the page and having to purposely slow down as I was in a rush to see what happened next. I particularly enjoyed Konrad's character, it was refreshing to have a character who wasn't aware of what was going on and totally unprepared for what was ahead. Konrad having no prior knowledge of what he's dealing with allows the reader to join him on his journey, to learn along with him and to relate to his experience more as a result.

There was one thing that I feel spoiled it a little for me personally and that was how Konrad's father was referred to as Father rather than by his name. It didn't ruin the story but it did make him feel somewhat less of a person. However, it did put more focus onto Konrad so perhaps it was intentional.

I really enjoyed the ending. I usually have an idea of what I want the conclusion to be when reading a book and I love it when things get turned around and an author throws in a twist that takes things in a whole different direction from what I had envisioned. At first I was a little disappointed but as it sunk in I realised that it worked much better than what I had been expecting.

Definitely one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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