5 Stars, Eric Arvin, Horror, Reviewed by Lisa, Wilde City Press

Release Day Review: The Rascal by Eric Arvin

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TheRascalCover200x314Title: The Rascal

Author: Eric Arvin

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 61500 Words

At a Glance: For fans of horror, The Rascal is a must read.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Lana is a faded movie star who lives alone in a big house on a hill that overlooks the sea. She has lived this way since the death of her daughter and the disappearance of her husband.

Jeff and Chloe are a couple who live in a cabin below the big house. It was Chloe’s idea to strengthen their marriage; but she sees now that it isn’t working. Jeff has become obsessed with the cabin and the old water well. Chloe only sees strangeness around her.

One night while talking on the computer with Ethan, Jeff’s brother, a feeling of dread comes to the fore. When Ethan sees a figure behind Chloe, he leaves his boyfriend and baby and sets out to save Jeff.

Chloe, Ethan and Lana come together to fight an evil that would destroy Jeff. Will they succeed or will all of them fall to the taste of a young cannibalistic ghost?


Review: As you would do with any review, bringing your personal preferences into account, I’m going to start out by asking you to take into consideration that when other girls were reading Forever and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, I was under the covers and sleeping with the lights on, reading The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror and every single Stephen King book I could get my hands on while watching movies like The Other and The Omen on late-night television. In other words, the horror fiction genre has been a staple of my avaricious reading habits almost from the time I started devouring chapter books. So when I say Eric Arvin’s The Rascal is a brilliant book, it comes from the perspective of someone who is perhaps a little more demanding in what constitutes a chilling mindfreak of a horror story. The kind of story that when the writing leaves off, the imagination takes over, which is all the fun of reading horror.

The Rascal, in fact, reminds me a lot of the earlier days of Stephen King: Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematary, The Dead Zone. Arvin offers us, from the outset of this novel, a macabre glimpse of what’s to come, then eases back, eases us into a placid sense of menace. Do you remember the scene in It, when the little boy is sailing his paper boat in the rain swollen gutter? It’s this innocence juxtaposed with the utter certainty that evil isn’t far away which informs every great horror novel—it’s the loss of innocence that terrifies us. Not even youthful innocence lost, specifically, but the absolute stripping away of everything that means safety and security to us. The Rascal is a book that takes any shred of hope we may have for its characters and grinds it under its heel.

There is a certain foreboding wrapped up in the rather uneventful, small town of Wicker when we visit with Jeff and Chloe Cane, the place they intend to make their new home, to try to craft a new beginning from the wreckage of their marriage. Wicker is much like any little burg on the map—insular, friendly on its surface. But deep down, you know there are secrets… With names like Bad Luck Hill and No Hope Creek, we know the calm idyll is nothing more than an illusion and that the danger is only going to grow as the story progresses.

It does.

The little cottage on Bad Luck Hill is the place that should signal a fresh start but quickly becomes a harbinger of ill omen. It’s the place where peace and hope are nothing but dead and bloated corpses, suffocated by dread and misery. It’s the place that can make even the most jaded cry out to a god they don’t believe in. This is where we find Jeff and Chloe and the former actress, Lana Pruitt, who sold them the little cottage situated between the deadly cliffs and the dark woods—even knowing there was a resident evil lurking there.

If you’ve ever read Woke Up In a Strange Place, The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men, or Wave Goodbye to Charlie, you’ll know the hallmark of Eric Arvin’s writing is his ability to turn a phrase just so, so that you suddenly see everything you thought you knew from a different angle. “Possession is nine-tenths of the law” – it does not mean what you think it means. For Jeff and Chloe, who are adventure tour guides, it’s the greatest irony that Death is the one journey for which they could never have prepared. Life is the one adventure they may not survive.

In the end, when love has been tested, faith has been broken, hatred has been simmering so close to the surface that one need only stare into the abyss to see that misery stares back, it’s how much one is willing to sacrifice for the sake of an estranged husband, and, for Ethan, an estranged brother, which brings this story’s evil to its conclusion. I love this book. I yelled at it, cursed at it, I shuddered at every single visual Arvin paints into an atmosphere that’s permeated by dread. There are things that go bump in the night. Then there are things that want you to suffer unimaginable horrors. That’s the rascal. He is the symbol of lost innocence, of evil, of insanity, of retribution. The rascal wants his pound of flesh in a most literal and chilling way.

And Eric Arvin delivers.





The Rascal is available for purchase here (watch for other e-tailer purchase links soon):

Wilde City Press

Wilde City Press

Amazon Pre-Order Here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

3 Stars, JJ Black, Reviewed by Lisa, Totally Bound

JJ Black Takes The Action To The Underworld In “Ask the Oracle (Revelations: Book One)”

“The path to paradise begins in hell.” ― Dante Alighieri

Title: Ask the Oracle (Revelations: Book One)

Author: JJ Black

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 130 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: When you absolutely have to know…

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All Romance Ebooks, Self-Published, Taylor Law

“My Lord’s Judgment” – In Which Taylor Law Takes That Falling In Love Thing Literally

“For then we certainly come under judgment, but that the redeemer and the judge are the same.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Samael is an angel, and not just any angel but one of Heaven’s most feared and fated angels, who now stands accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He is awaiting his Father’s punishment, and when you have a Father like Samael’s, judgment is sure to be swift and the sentence severe.

I love stories of fallen angles for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the idea that there is an unseen force which creates a universal balance between the angels above and the demons below, and that equalizer is the fallen, the in between, the ones stripped of their wings and their powers that now walk the Earth as they’ve been condemned to do for their transgressions, mortal yet something more. Samael’s punishment is exacted, and he comes crashing down from the heavens into a dirty back alley Dumpster, landing nearly on top of Brandon, a man who’s gotten himself into all kinds of trouble with the wrong kind of people.

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Extasy Books, RJ Scott

There’s Magic And Mayhem In “The Demon’s Blood”

“Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; wherever there is opportunity, there lurks danger. The two are inseparable.” ― Earl Nightingale

BLURB: Asherkan Iblis is a blood demon, a slave to elves and a soldier. He keeps the fact he has royal elvish blood a secret. His half brother returns to broker peace but reveals he is actually there for much more and Asher faces a decision that could lead to his death.

Simeon Blue, brother of the leader of the Feline Guild, mountain lion shifter, is tasked to accompany Phin on a mission over the Red Mountains and into the Second Kingdom. He has to talk to the Guild but all they want to do is stay in isolation and his mission is fraught with danger.

When Simeon is wounded Asher hides him and suddenly, next to a kings death, a cousin’s hate, and Ludvik’s black magic, love falls on the agenda.

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Devon McCormack, Self-Published

Roles Get Flipped In Devon McCormack’s “Clipped”

“Demons are archetypes. They live in all of us.” – Author Unknown

To start, this was a very interesting read. There’s a lot of very fast paced action, a lot of sex, and a lot of characters to keep up with. Oh, and did I mention, a lot of sex?

Kinzer, one of the main characters (there are a lot of characters in this story), wakes up with his wings clipped and finds he’s been sold to a place called Jerry’s. Jerry is a pimp who sells his whores out to the most unsavory clients who can do just about anything they want. Kinzer isn’t human, he’s an immortal who has lost his lover, Janka, his wings, and all of his immortal powers.
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All Romance Ebooks, Jordan L. Hawk, Self-Published

Reaper of Souls (SPECTR #3) – In Which Gray Is The Color Of Temptation

No man knows what he will do till the right temptation comes. – Henry Ward Beecher

All the experts agreed that vampires weren’t real. Which is exactly why vampires exist—not because the experts say they didn’t but because chaos theory said they could, the underlying order to it being that when humans think they know it all, nature is always glad to prove otherwise.

Gray is living proof—well, sentient proof, at least—that vampires can and do exist, and he now treads on a different plane of reality than he’s ever done before. Where before he was the pilot of the dead bodies he possessed, he is now the co-pilot inhabiting the very alive and aware consciousness of Caleb Jansen, the formerly unregistered mal and guy who has become a reluctant but very useful tool for SPECTR, the guy who isn’t as much human as he is advanced human these days, the man for whom the parasite is becoming the symbiote, which is causing all sorts of interesting scenarios in his relationship with his exorcist boyfriend John Starkweather. Only Caleb doesn’t quite know it yet.

This wouldn’t be a Jordan L. Hawk book if a few boo-wigglies didn’t come out to play, now would it? Well, this one’s no different, and this time it appears to be an incubus demon that has a particular fondness for sucking the life right out of some folks, and it seems playing a sedate little game of cat and mouse with the good guys isn’t quite satisfying enough for it. No, this time the demon’s calling goes beyond the desire to play at a little mischief with poor pitiful humans. This time there are political consequences to consider, when fanaticism and prejudice ride into this Technicolor world on a monochromatic horse and insist that tighter restrictions need to be placed on the paranormal community, and we all know that where politics are involved, hypocrisy isn’t far behind. After all, politicians and ambition go together like self-serving interests and…well…politicians.

It’s a race for Caleb, Gray, and John to hunt down the hunter and stop it before it has the chance to kill again, which means they need to discover who summoned it and to what end. There are some critical moments and some crucial timing involved in their hunt, moments in particular in which Gray, the drakul with the far keener sense of humanity that many humans, becomes the difference maker between life and death when John is tricked into forgetting Exorcist Rule Number One: You don’t really think I’m telling you what that is now, do you? So, I’m evil. Read the book.

Caleb just wants his life to be normal again, but normal is so mundane. Why else do we readers insist upon living other people’s lives and existing in alternate realities but to escape into the worlds in which the impossible is possible and the definition of normal can mean anything from summoning demons to summoning the magic necessary to thwart them? Thankfully, there are authors out there who are happy to oblige our obsession.

Reaper of Souls is the summit, it’s the place where Jordan L. Hawk has decided to shove us off the edge of the cliffhanger, and all we can do now is hope that our fingers are either strong enough to hang on or the ripcords on our patience parachutes don’t decide to malfunction before she deigns to deliver us from the anticipation of discovering what’s next for John, Caleb, and Gray, as the forty day time limit for exorcism draws ever closer and Gray becomes ever more addictive and impossible to resist.

Not for Caleb and John.

For me.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Reaper of Souls (SPECTR Book #3) here:

JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t… Such Is The Life Of A Demon

The path to paradise begins in Hell. ― Dante Alighieri

It’s difficult being a detective with the Paranormal Enforcement Agency when your only claim to anything even remotely magical is that your mother happens to be a Valkyrie, which means you happen to be half immortal. At least, it’s a bit of a thorn in the side of Detective Lars Thornsson, seeing as how being the son of one of Odin’s “choosers of the slain” didn’t gift him with any sort of special powers to aid him in his career; it just made him gorgeous and large, which, if you stop to think about it, could really come in handy in some instances; say, when you’re hunting a succubus who’s draining the souls out of men through their…well…their little soldiers.

Rael is a saucy and sexy little minx of a demon, one who defies labels, seeing as how he’s a succubus rather than an incubus. But, really, who cares about the label? It’s the suspect behind the latest rash of succubus murders that counts, and Rael happens to have found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, when Lars and his partner Rochelle show up at the scene of the latest soul-sucking (emphasis on the sucking part) crime only to find a dead body, and Rael doing what he does best.

Well, it doesn’t take long for Lars to discover that Rael’s a rather pacifistic demon—he’s a lover not a killer—and while he’s certainly capable of murder, he simply lacks the motive and the malevolence to commit such a crime. He’s just far too busy being adorable and irresistible to be a villain, but that’s not much of a character defense, and Rochelle remains not only unconvinced but unenthused, as well, by…yeah, pretty much everything. Honestly, if she weren’t one-hundred percent human, she’d make a very convincing demon herself. She pretty much rocks at the giving of hell.

So, what’s a sex demon to do when he needs to feed but is capable of sucking the very life out of a human? Well, luckily for him he finds a half-immortal Viking who can take everything Rael can dish out. And luckily for Lars, the demon he finds utterly mouth-watering is willing to be a one-man-demon for the right man. And, yes, Lars is absolutely the right man. They’re meant for each other like a starving demon at an all-you-can-eat buffet of sex, they are.

JL Merrow has written four stories, each set in a world of magic, a place of witches and their familiars, of demons and vampires and pseudo-genies who grant questionable Wishes, a place where nothing at all is alien as long as it has a green card. There are crimes to solve, crimes in which the suspects aren’t always the worst of the bad guys, really. In fact, some of them are downright loveable—if only to the good guys who find them so.

A Calling for Pleasure, A Blast from the Past, A Wish Too Far, and A Glutton for Punishment are brimming with mischief and mayhem, offering more than a few chuckles along, with some downright laugh-out-loud moments, too, courtesy of JL Merrow’s clever ways, and the wicked tongues that wag their way through these deliciously demonic tales.

If you love a paranormal story that doesn’t take itself at all seriously, if you’re looking for a little tongue planted firmly in the cheek take on demons and sex, and demon sex that burns hotter than hellfire, then I suggest you give Damned if You Do a good seeing to. It’s devilishly fun!

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Damned if You Do here: