Bark at the Moon

Stay chill, it's only a silly book review.

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.

Little Note

Reblogged from Twirling Book Princess:

After careful consideration I have decided that until BL gets a bit faster, a bit easier to navigate, maybe a better import function, to only post ARC reviews on here. I have already been doing that for the past few weeks, but now it is officially only those. 

 

Sorry to all my followers, I wish I could just post everything but with the enormous lag, the fact books are hard to find, and the fact BL just seems to be on a sinking ship, I just don't want to put more energy in it. I already have to find a big window of time to add reviews, and I want to spend that energy on my blog, my reviews, and my daily life. 

 

Be sure to check out my blog, I got daily new reviews, meme posts, and more on there. :)

 

Thanks to everyone following me, you are all the best, and you are the ones motivating me to at least post my ARCs on here.

Borrasca by C.K. Walker

Borrasca - C.K. Walker

 

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I'm using this one for my Scary Women Authors square.

 

I just realized that I have never reviewed a NoSleep production. That's going to have to change because they are doing some amazing work and I need to stop keeping them all to myself. I listen to a ton of podcasts but this is the one I look forward to every Sunday morning when I'm making breakfast or cleaning up someone's mess.

 

Borrasca is a longer story than typically found on the podcast. You can find it by checking out NoSleep S7 E25. You can also read it on reddit but I recommend you listen to the full cast audio production. It is fantastic.

 

“This story is about a place that dwells on the mountain; a place where bad things happen. And you may think you know about the bad things, you may decide you have it all figured out but you don’t. Because the truth is worse than monsters or men.”

 

When 9 year old Sam’s dad is reassigned to a new location as sheriff, for some never said wrong-doing, he packs up the family and relocates them to a sleepy little town in the Ozarks. Sam makes two new best friends who tell him all about the local legend they call “Borrasca”. Apparently, every now and again people hear screams in the woods and blame it on Borrasca. There’s also a weird treehouse that requires a certain ceremony to enter and leave . . . alive.

 

"Underneath the Triple Tree there is a man who waits for me and should I go or should I stay my fate’s the same either way.”

 

A few years later Sam’s older sister goes missing and he just knows, is absolutely certain, that she performed the ceremony incorrectly (or not at all) and hasn’t run away but has become the next victim of Borrasca. His dad, who is still the sheriff by the way, doesn’t believe him nor does he seem overly concerned that his daughter is missing. Perhaps she was just too annoying or maybe he’s hiding something . . .

 

More time passes, more teen girls go missing and very little is done about it by anyone except for Sam and his friend Kyle who have to do their own research. In a longer book, this likely would’ve annoyed me but that’s the joy of the short story format, there’s no time to ponder and get all worked up over plot points that seem to make no sense at all. When the secret is revealed, everything that happens prior; the strange conversations and the odd behavior of the adults, make all kinds of sense. It’s a dark, disturbing, horrible secret and not one I saw coming. This story may require a reread to catch everything said and done but I don’t know if I can bear it honestly. That ending, ewwww! 

 

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Kickstarter for a terrifying read

The Sadist's Bible - Nicole Cushing

Unlike the digital version, this print edition of The Sadist’s Bible will be a wholly unique reading experience which will include scene-specific typographic and graphic design, as well as in-book illustrations by artist Patrick McEvoy. The final product will be a 140 page book, the cover will be full-color and printed on 14pt cardstock and be covered in a Gloss coat.The inside pages will be a 70 lbs. paper stock. This Kickstarter is to fund offset printing require to produce a book of this high quality.


Nicole Cushing is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of Mr. Suicide. She has also written the Stoker-nominated collection The Mirrors and the Shirley Jackson Award nominated novella, Children of No One.


Various reviewers have described her work as “brutal”, “cerebral”, “transgressive”, “taboo”, “groundbreaking” and “mind-bending”. This Is Horror has said that she is “quickly becoming a household name for horror fans”. She has also garnered praise from Jack Ketchum, Rue Morgue, Thomas Ligotti, John Skipp, S.T. Joshi, Poppy Z. Brite, Ray Garton, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and Ain’t It Cool News.

A native of Maryland, she now lives with her husband in Indiana.

 

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

The Witch's Daughter - Marisa Calin, Paula Brackston

I saw this book on Overdrive and chose it for my Halloween Bingo “Witches” square for no other reason than the title and I guess the blurb sounded vaguely interesting to me, even though the reviews weren’t great. Turns out it was a decent read if you can get past the slow as hell start, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked for me if I hadn’t listened to it as an unabridged audio. Patience is a virtue that I don’t possess and I have too many books in the tbr pile to read before I croak.


But no one cares about all that.


After a slightly confusing and slow start with a distant narrator, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith finally introduces herself and informs us that her current age is three hundred and eighty-four years. She’s apparently immortal and hiding herself away because something evil is after her. How did this happen? Well, hang in there because we’re about to find out eventually.


The book is told in journal form and skips around in time. I believe the current timeline was 2007 but my memory is crap so I’m not certain. It doesn’t really matter anyway. In the current day, she is making herbal remedies and incense and living a quiet life when a lonely teen named Tegan befriends her. Despite the fact that she never gets close to anyone for reasons, she starts to teach Tegan the ways of the hedge witch and begins sharing her life story with her. These stories, journal entries and whatnot flash us back to important parts of Elizabeth’s life.


The first flashback was my favorite. It takes place during the plague. I don’t know about you, but those dark, terrible times fascinate me. She suffers great loss and grief and I may have even almost shed a tear. It was here that she finally comes alive as a character and events happen that shape the rest of long life. The present day version of Elizabeth is muted and meh but the past version is easily relatable and I felt her pain. So, without spoiling everything, I’ll just say that she must learn her magic from an evil-doer named Gideon if she is to survive in the world. Gideon is a master of the dark arts and uses them to his advantage. He’s a rapist and a mind-wiper and an all around selfish son-of-the-devil. She’s not at all happy about things but one must survive, right? One night she spies him in the woods dancing with demons, as one will, and screwing a few for fun, and she is scandalized and horrified by the sight. I actually wanted more of the scene but much to my dismay, she runs. He wants her back because she has power. She changes her name to Bess and then later to Eliza but always keeps the Hawksmith. It might’ve been smarter to go with anything else but I’m not hiding from Satan’s minion, so what do I know? Gideon always ferrets her out and she is forced to flee yet again. This game goes on for years and years and yet more years and is still going on in the current timeline.


I thought Gideon was an interesting character. He changes shape and does repulsive things and he has no remorse. None at all. I kind of enjoyed this, probably because I read so much horror fiction, but I can also understand why most people find him disturbing. He is. My biggest fear as I went along in this book was that an awful romance was brewing between these two and it would be revealed that he had reasons for his atrocities and all would be forgiven. This didn’t happen and I couldn’t be happier. He’s just a beastly beast, there is no romance and that worked for me. This book is far more tragedy than romance.


I’d give this book a 3 ½ but it's not good enough to bump up to a 4. The ending, in the present timeline, didn’t thrill me. I found the past bits much more interesting. The narration was above decent and kept me in the story, even during the slow bits.

3 down 2 to go!
3 down 2 to go!

The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston              The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea                Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

 

Witches: Done                    Free Space: Done                Classic:  Done

*Review soonish

Thief by Alexa Riley

Thief - Alexa Riley

Sean Sparrow is a thief planning to rob a bank. It will be his last job, he says. He intends to retire after this nasty bit of work and live a life of leisure with Tessa, the curvy bank employee. Only she doesn’t know any of this. She doesn't even know him!

 

Things start to get screwy the moment Sean sets his eyes upon Tessa’s luscious and virginal bod (he doesn’t ask around town, he just knows). He wants her and he cannot wait until after the heist to have her. He fully intended to woo her up after the theft because he’s a good guy and all but, alas, his dick cannot wait. They meet, 15 seconds later he declares her his forevermore and she thinks something like, “Oh my, you are the sexiest man I have ever seen, you couldn’t possibly want little ol’ meeee” and falls on for him. I think all of Alexa Riley’s heroes have a superpower that allows them to hypnotize virgins with one look from their sultry eyes.

 

Or perhaps it’s their way with the words.

 

You'll take me inside your little c*nt until I fill you with every drop of cum I have.”

 

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So, he breeds her (his words, not mine) until he figures she’s so deeply in love with his penis, she’ll forgive him when he later robs her bank, puts her life in danger and sweeps her off her feet and away to his private little island for a life of breeding debauchery. She’s in such a sex daze that she won’t complain, right? Still, she gets a little mad. 

 

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He apologizes and she tries to understand. 

 

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But she soon realizes it’s just who he is, all controlling and sexy and stuff, and he just can’t help that.  

 

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Debauchery and breeding starts anew. These books are full of WTFery but are so ridiculously hard to put down. I don't recommend starting one or you'll likely end up buying them all.

A new bookliker for my horror & scifi reading friends

She has a great blog and is just settling in over here. Please give Lilyng a warm welcome. 

2 Squares Covered, Go Me :) The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

As the title suggests, this book is all about The Jersey Devil. He with the scary goat/horse faced visage and foul breath, who haunts hapless humans out there in the Jersey Pines. After reading this story, I do believe his name suits him just fine. He is a horrible beast and the things he does made me shudder in revulsion. It takes a lot to do that to me but this book delivered in that department.

 

This is a crazy, gruesome monster book where the monsters are truly monsters and not some poor little misunderstood, mistreated creature who has been wronged by mankind. These things are Evil. The framework is about a family seeking out and seeking revenge on The Jersey Devil who did them a big wrong many years previous. What they find deep in the woods is far more terrifying and depraved than they ever could have expected.

 

Be warned, lots of people die in the most gruesome of ways, perhaps a small town’s worth of people. I do not exaggerate. Okay, maybe I do, but not in this case. The body count here is out of control and no living thing is safe, that includes animals and children too. It is a death free for all that is often pretty gross and unrelenting. I say this not to spoil your day or the book but only so you’ll guard your heart going in. This one is most definitely not for the faint of heart. Characters, oh-so-many characters, are introduced, given a little backstory and just when you start to fear for their lives and are secretly screaming at them to get the hell out of the woods right-this-second-you-dummies, they become a little snack for a hungry monster. This happens time and again which is probably one of my only complaints. Somewhere around the last third I became a little exhausted at meeting yet more new people knowing their fate was sealed up tight. It started to get a wee bit repetitive and predictable there for a bit but the end made up for it as secrets were revealed. I do love learning secrets.

 

I’m giving this a four because there aren’t enough truly horrific monster books out there in the world that have decent people at the core of the story and this one does both most excellently.

 

I read this book for Netgalley who provided me with this free copy (thanks Netgalley!) and to complete my free square for our Halloween Bingo, check out the Bingo fun in our discussion here if you haven't heard of it yet. 

 

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Freebie

Shifterella And The Billionaire Bear: A BBW Shifter Paranormal Romance (The Shifter Princes Book 1) - Sable Sylvan

Lookie what's free over @ Amazon US today!

 

To human waitress Eleanor, the Asher Ball isn’t the social event of the season, just another work gig, but when a mysterious older woman dresses curvy Eleanor up, Eleanor becomes the belle of the ball and catches the eye of Aspen Asher, billionaire bear shifter, heir to the Asher Lumber fortune.

Tall, muscular werebear Aspen is tired of attending his mother’s balls, but when he meets the short curvy girl who introduces herself as Ella, he know he’s found his fated mate. Kind, hardworking, and stunningly gorgeous, Ella is like nobody else he’s ever met in his privileged world, and he knows she’s the one.

Of course, Eleanor’s stepfamily refuses to allow anyone but their two tall, thin daughters near the shifter prince. Can Eleanor and Aspen find true love while Eleanor’s family works against her and tries to keep the two apart?

A turn of events forces Eleanor to live the ball early, before she has a chance to give Aspen her number. Will she ever see Aspen again, and will she get her happily ever after, with the help of a little “magic”?

If you love sassy BBWs, bear shifters rock your world, and standalone novellas with NO cliffhangers are what get you going, then check out the rest of "The Shifter Princes" by Sable Sylvan, exlusively on Amazon.com!

 

You're Welcome :)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

I read this for the "Classic Horror" square for Halloween Bingo.  

 

Because the world needs one more Rebecca review . . .

 

A shy young lady becomes friendly with a wealthy widower old enough to be her father. When her employer decides to pick up and relocate, Maxim de Winter proposes they marry rather than lose her to her job. She doesn’t quite expect this and doesn’t quite understand his intentions at first but no worries because he makes things clear, "No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool." Soon after, I guess to seal the deal, he calls her an idiot or something like it.

 

Now tell me, how could a girl resist that kind of romantic proposal?

 

She fancies herself in love.

 

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They marry and he whisks her away to his mansion by the sea. It’s so fancy it even has its own name, Manderley. From the moment the new Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, she is overwhelmed by its opulence and suffocating feelings of insecurity. She fears she will never be able to live up to the standards set by Rebecca, the former wife. Rebecca was beautiful, outgoing and everybody loved her. Rebecca’s presence lingers within every room of the house. Mrs. Danvers, the evil head housekeeper who adored Rebecca, makes matters just about as terrible as she can for the new wife.

  

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I felt so bad for the new Mrs. de Winter. She was young, naïve, cripplingly shy and completely unprepared for the social aspects at Manderley. She feels inferior at every turn and who can blame her? Her husband is overbearing and dismissive and kind of a jackass, if you ask me.

 

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Things are so bad she even compares herself to Jasper, the family dog, when her new husband finally sees fit to give her a little attention, “I was Jasper again.” My heart broke for her even as I wanted to scream at her to toughen the hell up.

 

Even though I thought Maxim was a terrible husband and I wished Mrs. de Winter had a stronger backbone early on, it did not take away from my enjoyment of the story. There is a feeling of dread that hangs over every crevice of Manderley and there are many ugly and juicy secrets that suited me just fine. I can see why this book has become a classic. It’s a pretty fabulous gothic and the villain is deliciously villainous! 

 

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The narrator, Anna Massey, brings the story to life and does an amazing job with all of the characters. There was never any question in my mind about who was speaking or who had just entered a room. Even as the last word was uttered, I was wishing for more and that’s not something that happens to me often. I’m the queen of “let’s get this thing done so I can move on to the next”. Now I can't wait to track down this movie!

A sad day for special snowflake business owners

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

Woo hoo!  I covered my first square. I was wondering if it would ever happen ;)  Tomorrow I may even have another.

 

Rebecca review coming as soon as I get my butt in gear.

The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi

Set during the onset of an apocalypse in the form of a plague, The Night Parade is part road trip, part survivalist thriller, part emotional relationship drama and, fortunately for me, all parts were good.

The plague is dubbed Wanderer’s Folly because it makes you lose your marbles before killing you. You might wander about in your undies and do such strange things like setting your house aflame or walking off a cliff before dropping dead. Yikes, I don’t know about you but those images haunted me. It was horrifying and scary and seeing as I love these types of stories, I was in it from the very beginning.

David has blood on his sleeve and is trying to outrun the plague and keep his daughter Ellie safe from an evil doctor. That’s all about all we know when the story begins. As things slowly unravel, we learn everything but it takes its sweet time getting there and I will not spoil the trip for you. The getting there is all the fun (well, fun isn’t exactly the appropriate word for this emotional and grief laden story). The book is filled is with scary people, frighteningly large bugs and lots of them, fatherly love and strange discoveries.

There is such pain and sorrow in both David and Ellie’s past and nothing but fear in their future but they manage to keep going. I enjoyed reading about them both. It’s a gripping and well-paced read that, unlike many of these types of stories, never forgets about its characters. The world may have gone to shit but humanity still survives. I recommend it highly and hope there is another book set in this world because there are a few plot points I’d like to see expanded upon. 4 ½ Stars

*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

"No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool.

 

 

Who says romance isn't alive and well?!

The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

I'm reading this one for my free square.  So far, it's a good old fashioned monster tale with no annoying characters. What a novelty :)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier


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I'm starting this on audio for my "Classic Horror" square. Happy reading,everyone!

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