Monday, January 29, 2018

A Serial Killer's Gruesome Tale



I've mentioned this book in a post when I finished reading it, but never blogged a review for one of the best horror stories I've read in the past few years!

Warning - Only read it if you don't mind getting into the details of one sadistic and twisted serial killer. The book is graphic but also reveals an original plot, as we follow two threads until they meet,  two sides that basically reveal the extremes of good vs. evil.

Mr. Midnight written by Author Allan Leverone 


This story is told from the dark side, a horrific thriller (in a good way) revealing the antagonist's perspective completely. Again - warning - nothing is held back.

It's a winner for horror readers, a tale filled with unexpected twists, some expected suspense, and not withholding any of the gore. Fans of Criminal Minds or the various CSI TV series will enjoy the look deep inside of the killer's psyche.

The paranormal ability shared by the protagonist and the killer is an interesting new perspective, as they both experience 'flickers'. There is not a doubt, he is a  monster, and as I read the story I felt real horror and fear for Caitlyn, the good protagonist turned victim. 

This book is a page turner for sure.
Here's part of the book's description:
 "Given up for adoption just hours after her birth, thirty-year-old Caitlyn Connelly has longed her entire life to uncover her family history. Subject to bizarre and inexplicable visions, Cait is desperate to learn whether her biological mother can provide any insight as to the origin of her unusual ability.
When a local investigator learns Cait was born in a Boston suburb, the Tampa lawyer wastes no time booking a flight to the East Coast. In Boston, with the city under siege by a killer known as "Mr. Midnight," Cait's visions intensify, morphing from merely annoying to graphic and terrifying.
Worse, Cait begins to realize she shares a strange psychic connection with the depraved sociopath; a connection that may just get her killed.
As Cait and the murderer are drawn inexorably toward a violent confrontation, unraveling a decades-old mystery might be the only thing that prevents her from becoming the next victim...of Mr. Midnight."
 The author, Allan Leverone, has penned a few other books in the supernatural/paranormal genre but by far this is the scariest. Leverone has also penned a suspense thriller and spy series starring the character Tracie Tanner, a cold-war time piece.
Look for all his other titles and follow this NY Times best seller's new works.

Keep reading - Keep writing!


Monday, January 22, 2018

Gripping Thriller With Heart: Short Review of A River Is Dark

A heartbreaking thriller book that you should read.

The River Is Dark (A Liam Dempsey Thriller Book 1) will keep you suspended in a web of doubt, have you questioning what is normal, and you might end up shedding a tear or two by the end.

The River Is Dark
- A Thriller - written by Joe Hart


A great book to read, the best plot I've read in awhile, and an excellent thriller. 
The writing is crisp and authentic.

The prologue takes the reader into the scene of a murder and instantly thrown into the story. A confused young boy is traumatized by his witness to the murder of his parents.

Then in chapter one, we meet the protagonist, the haunted Liam Dempsey, who travels to Tallston to find out about his brother's murder only to discover there have been other murders in the small city.

The mystic of the story mounts as we are introduced to an array of interesting characters, all with difficult situations, and some sad circumstances. This well-paced story will keep you turning pages. The more we learn about Liam, his problems and shortcomings, the more we appreciate his strengths. The most revered is his ability to love even after being rejected, perhaps that's why he is able to accept others around him who are far from perfect.

As I have said, this is not only a conspiracy thriller, it also is a heartbreaker. You'll jump in your seat and then later grab the tissues. This book evokes the reader's empathy, you will think. After reading this story you will reconsider the definitions of normal and beauty. You may even re-discover the meaning of true unconditional love.

I highly recommend this book.

Check out the other books by Joe Hart
Sign up to his mailing list at his website. http://www.joehartbooks.com/


Keep Reading - Keep writing!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Review of ~ The Chemist

Intelligent protagonist evolves into a better person while facing death daily


I gave this book 5 stars.

An excellent story, written with a great pace and the narration was spot on. The female protagonist, Alex, evolves into a better survivor than she thought possible. The character is an original (ex-government operative who worked to retract information via a lab) and she (many aliases at first) kept on developing as the plot evolved.

Alex, her true identity, has unique skills but meets someone who can actually challenge her in ways she never thought possible. After a difficult past, Alex now faces a difficult romance which evolves after some unfortunate events. The characters accept the situation and move past issues, but that's only one side of the novel.

The danger piles on and the characters struggle to survive, both killers and nature. They move from place to place while on the run and meet unusual accomplices. The four-legged assistance is a nice addition to the character list.

This book is packed with twists, unexpected solutions showing off the character's strengths, and has a great ending. I may listen to it again, or perhaps read it this time. I'll be watching for more Alex stories.


If you've read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books and think that she's only about teenage love, think again. Like in her book, The Host, The Chemist is a solid read, good writing with tension, developed characters, and compelling story. I highly recommend this book.


Add a copy to your library - the audio version was excellent. Available in other formats as well.



The Chemist  Audiobook – Unabridged

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

IN THE WOODS Murder In The North East Kingdom by Zguta

Book Release Today!

I am happy to announce that my novel
IN THE WOODS Murder In The North East Kingdom is now available in eBook format. #MurderMystery #thriller 

I worked on this story for years, it actually started out as a blog post which I abandoned, and later I was inspired to change the location and develop the character into the novel it is today.

The main protagonist is a strong female role model, no fancy fighting and far from perfect, but she does do battle within herself while she investigates a death.

A role-playing game staged in the remote woods of the North East Kingdom, turns into a deadly pastime when a killer uses the game as a means to seize his victims. 

A dead body is discovered in the woods by Samantha Tremblay, a Forest Ranger who works at Maidstone Lake. The locals call her Sam. She swears to bring the killer to justice for the victim but soon finds herself in over her head, as she works alongside New Hampshire Trooper Zachary Gerard assigned to the case. More bodies turn up and motivation to solve the crimes mount. 

Old secrets get in Sam’s way, and she isolates herself from others. Haunted by unanswered questions about the past, she lives with cracked relationships—between herself and her father—her friends. Mourning her mother, Samantha feels a pull toward her heritage, the Abenaki tribe, but is afraid to open that doorway. Could the tribe help discover the answers to her quest for the truth?

Pulled emotionally from all directions, Samantha Tremblay searches for answers to find a killer, and to discover herself.


I hope you grab a Kindle copy HERE and enjoy the book. 

Also available here at Smashwords. For those who prefer a more physical reading experience ⤍ the paperback will be available soon.

Help me spread the word and Thank you for sharing my news! 

Keep Reading - Keep Writing!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review of Island of the Dolls - One Scary Tale

Island of the Dolls

by Jeremy Bates 




If you enjoy horror stories involving creepy places then you'll enjoy this tale and all the other stories written by Jeremy Bates. I am a fan of Bates, and all the books I've read by this author pull the reader into the suspense, drench you into the scene, and keep your heart pumping while emerging into the action that lurks around the next corner. In this story the protagonist is very human, vulnerable and in the end gains something. There is also another story thread that relates to the present story and the switching back and forth was smooth and placed in the appropriate moments on the timeline..




 The setting is the Island, a horrific place where childhood tragedy is glorified, as if that could ever help, and invokes the slanted surreal feeling to everything that happens at that place. The details are creepy. The pace of the action is intense (some fights, some sex) but the characters unfold slowly, peeling away layers of themselves the more you read on, until the deeper troubles and reality surfaces, and the reader will say, "yes, that makes sense". Something different in this story from other books written by Bates is the happy ending. But after the whirlwind of horrific cruelty that some of the characters had to endure, I think it is wise to give the guy a break.

I recommend all the Jeremy Bates books, especially this one. But be forewarned - you'll never look at a doll in the same way again.


Read more thriller and horror stories by award winning Jeremy Bates, a USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and novellas 


Find them here: Books by Jeremy Bates








Friday, March 24, 2017

Outlander Book Series - My Reviews

I have already posted a review for The Outlander Book 1

and you can read it here:  https://elisabethzguta.blogspot.com/2016/04/outlander-book-review.html

Here are a few more thoughts of mine about the books. I hope you find my short reviews an enticing glimpse and encourages you to read them if you haven't already. I know some fellow readers who began the series and gave up after a few books. It is a long series, but I found the payoff worth every word. You may notice that toward the end I began listening to the books via Audible. The experience was better while reading, however, the audio books were done well. (I missed reviewing book 5, but it was as good as the others)

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, Book 2) (Paperback)

Great Character-Driven Story

After reading the first book we have come to expect a story with in-depth characters and meandering plot, and this book delivers. The pace is character driven and very creative. Excellent time and setting descriptions, and very enjoyable travels. Bravo, looking forward to next story in the series.

Voyager (Outlander, Book 3) (Paperback)

Captivating Suspense

The suspense continues with book three Voyager. The story goes from the 1700's to the 1960's and then back again. The reader experiences the troubles of Jamie and his tribulations after the battle of Culloden. Lots of pain and dark thoughts are touched, so not for the faint of heart. Also, the reader is plunged into the world of Claire and daughter Brianna in the 1960's. We see their relationship with each other and follow their search to find answers in the written history of Scotland.

It is a precarious situation, balancing the truth with what the heart yearns. The pace is often fast, yet the author is laborious with words, at time verbose, but I could not skip a sentence. Every character and new place is described in detail and lends to the reason I became so involved with the story of their lives.


This is not a quick read, nor a book to skip through parts because each detail quickly propels into a turn of events. Suspenseful, emotional and heart rendering situations throughout. The ending reveals clues to future scenarios and definitely hooks the reader into the next book, which I am currently reading. Well done and captivating characters.


Drums of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4) (Paperback)    

Unexpected situations - New friends & enemies

The book Drums Of Autumn opens in Charleston, June 1767 with scorching sun and new troubles to overcome. Claire and Jamie drench the reader with a wide-screen description of new places with their travels. The humid weather and torturous journey, plagued with escaped criminals, theft, and humbled introductions, lands them on the doorstep of Jamie's aunt from the McKenzie side. Then chapters bounce forward to the late 1960's for a bit, and the other story thread of Brianna and Roger, not quite the mirror image of her parents' love story, however similar in some ways. The influence her parents had on her relationship in itself could be a long discussion.

There is a large cast of characters, and the reader sees each of their growth as they plow their way through perilous situations with action. The characters old and new are larger than life. We meet Jamie's Aunt Jocasta and her glorious estate which also causes personal dilemma to our heroes when faced with the immorality of slave owning. They retreat to the mountains and stake a claim, and create their own homestead. Old friends come to visit. The reader is drawn to Jamie and Claire just as they are. Once again, Claire heals all and survives despite herself while Jamie shows his physical and moral strength and leadership qualities. . . Until he messes up big time. 

Finally, Jamie sees his illegitimate son again and spends some time comforting him after losing his mother. Also, he meets his daughter, Brianna. Even though they are miles apart and from different times, their shared sensibilities are evident. When Jamie assumes Roger a rapist due to a name mix-up, he condemns him to be a slave for the local natives.
 
From the midpoint of the book until the end terrible situations happen and the pace quickens. Each main character, Jamie, Brianna, and Roger, being strong willed and dynamic in their own right, bring lots of action packed adventure. Also some heroic acts by the other characters like Ian and John Grey. One of my favorite scenes took place at a Mohawk camp where they were holding a Jesuit. I would have liked to have read more story about Father Alexandre. He was an interesting new character; however his presence was short-lived, so there will never be more to learn about him. I also liked the scene when Brianna faced Bonnet and the scenes where John Grey gave her emotional support. It's refreshing to read about characters living by their high morals.


This story had many character arcs and some unexpected situations which kept me reading. The author does get a bit long-winded in some of the scenes; however, it's worth the time for the overall story. The ending was a trite too Pollyanna-ish. But after everything the cast went through, they deserved a happy moment. Very exciting book - I'd recommend it to anyone who likes action adventure and/or historical fiction. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
  

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, Book 6) (Paperback)

Still Gives Thrills & develops the relationship

 This novel is exactly what fans expect from Diana Gabaldon's books. Well developed characters fill the pages with plenty of family drama, insightful and heartfelt moments, as well as developed settings based on intense historical research. While reading there is no skipping over scenes because the next exciting incident and plot twist can happen in a flash. This story reads authentic and tells of the challenges faced in the times while continuing our favorite couple's journey. Claire and Jamie Fraser's adventure of life in the wilderness (Fraser's Ridge) is filled with compassion and drenched in realism. Definitely an exciting book to read.

An Echo in the Bone: A Novel (Audible Audio Edition)

Intense Drama Continues - Book 7

More drama as Jamie and Claire try to get back to Scotland to retrieve his printing press. Detoured, they land in the middle of battles for the Revolution in New York, where Jamie is once again leading the soldiers but this time he has worries for the survival of the other side as well.

More characters are introduced along the way as well as more insight into William, Jamie's illegitimate son. We say good-bye to some of the favorite characters that we've grown fond of as well. Drastic measures are taken, as always in these books, and the ending left me wanting to reach out for the next book in line.

Great drama, though the writing is a bit verbose at times.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander (Audible Audio Edition)

Best Saved for Last - Enthralling Last Look- Book 8

So this is the last book (so far as we know) of the Outlander series "In My Own Heart's Blood" which ended the family saga while the reader could still imagine more drama in their futures. I like when an author leaves an opening for our imaginations instead of leaving with an absolute ending. We know by the previous books that the Fraser family have a lot more to do and given the strong characters we've read so far, the reader can infer that more of life's drama awaits them with open arms.

The Outlander series is a great story line, each novel gave details of personal tragedy and happiness, and this last book was filled with the same: lots of plotting, strong dialogue, deep character development, and visual scenes that the reader can embrace. Of course, the scenes are packed with history as well. However, I didn't feel compelled to check them to know for sure accuracy. It doesn't matter because it's a fantasy story that will pick up the reader and carry one away to another world, just as we like our stories to do.

I recommend this book - if anyone gets stuck on a previous books, I implore you to keep reading.

The ending is worth the hours spent. Who knows, someday the author might pick up the story line again, it is a possibility, or we can just continue to let our imaginations go on with our own made-up scenes . . .

I Hope you enjoyed my reviews - You can find the books here: OUTLANDER

Keep Reading - Keep Writing! 


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review of A True Gothic Tale

Within The Glass Darkly: Volume 1 of the Glass Darkly Gothic Vampire Series
written by William Gareth Evans
 
 
This book is truly written with Gothic flare but can pass muster for today's discerning horror thriller reader. The atmosphere is an extra character, and the plot is well paced and challenges the nerves.
 
It has been awhile since a book in the Gothic genre has entertained me so well. The story rings true, all the expectations of an old-fashioned horror tale are met. Unlike the old books, this story held nothing back. The macabre was presented to the adult reader in an honest manner while adhering to the conventions of a real Gothic horror. Great scenes and descriptions of churches and Paris streets, developed characters with love interests and secrets, and let's not forget the heroes and villains who jump off the page.

Don't read this book in the dark.

I first read the short story Carmilla by J.S. Le Fanu since the author did get inspiration from that short story and used the character General Spielsdorf, as his protagonist, and the Karnstein brother and sister as antagonists. The author, William Garrett Evans, breathed new life into these characters and submerged them into a twisting plot that kept a good pace. The horrors were over the top, just the way we like our Gothic fiction.

I will begin the second book in the series, compelled to see what develops for General Theodore Spielsdorf and his new associates introduced at the end of the first tale. It suggests an even deeper, mystery with much more to come . . .
 
I'm looking forward to reading book two.
 
More about the author:

William Gareth Evans is from Wales and trained as a professional actor, he has worked in theater and television. He has written, produced and directed touring shows with his own company, and now is an associate director of a successful London based management for professional performers. 'Within The Glass Darkly' is his first novel. As a writer/lyricist, he has been involved in many musical theater productions, including two previous shows that were broadcast on BBC and independent radio in the UK.
 
'Dracula' was his first collaborative musical theatre project this century. The professionally produced CD is available from the Dracula musical website http://www.dracula-uk.com/ and other online stores. The professionally directed video of "Within My World" from the musical has been continuously broadcast on the O-Music channel during 2009. It is also available to watch via the internet.
 
 
 
 
William's company co-produced a feature length horror movie by an established and award winning screenwriter/director which was released in 2010. William is currently working on another novel and has just written new material for the complete Dracula musical recording.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Quick Review- Letters To The Damned by Austin Crawley


Letters To The Damned by Austin Crawley

This book is an old fashioned creepy tale that will immerse you into the world of an old village and pumps the imagination with pictures that move, disappearing sounds, magic ceremonies and vague threats by bulls.

The author brings dimension to the character Cris Lopez, not the usual type to be venturing into an English village alone on vacation. There's charm in the details of the village, and definitely loads the atmosphere with mystique.

The story has an authentic Gothic feel to it for those who like the old fashioned tales. It doesn't have a fast pace but it didn't lag either.

A few elements in the story were confusing, and maybe they were meant to remain that way, or maybe a follow up book - perhaps. In my opinion, there were some chances missed in the story to build up the suspense. The characters' emotions could have been shown more intensely, and then this would have been a terrifying tale. At times the small everyday minutia became a little redundant and took the focus away from the protagonists emotional pull, but not long enough for me to give up on the story. I wanted to finish the book and find out how it fleshed out.

Over all, a good read. If you enjoy pondering what lies in the mist, and don't worry about perfection with an author, then this story is for you. I think this author is someone to watch for future books.

Keep reading - Keep writing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Outlander Book Review



My Review of 'Outlander'

(Book One)



This story swept me right along with the characters, across the Highland countryside, while plunging them into the deepest core of degradation, then lifting them to the ecstasy of humanity—all in one book. This volume is a cross between historical fiction, thriller adventure, and romantic tragedy. The reader will discover more about the Scottish clans and truly feel as if sitting beside them. Although this is the first book by Diana Gabaldon in this series, the author managed to deliver a full and hearty plot, wonderfully described characters each with their own unique strong voice, and many swings up and down, pacing an epic adventure. The protagonists, Claire and Jamie, are bigger than life. I am adding the next book in the series to my must read list. I highly recommend this novel—great reading!

Synopsis for book one:

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another... In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.



Currently reading book three. . .

Although a bit late to the bookshelf, this historical, fantasy series grabbed my imagination. No - I haven't watched the TV series, and don't plan to until I've read all the books in the series. There are eight to the series so lots more to read. The historical relevance and flavor is supremely done.

Anyone interested in the historical fiction genre should check these great stories out if you haven't already.

Check out more about the books here:
 Outlander (8 Book Series)

Friday, April 1, 2016


The Hitler Deception: A Tracie Tanner Thriller (Tracie Tanner Thrillers Book 4)

by Allan Leverone


Another exciting Tracie Tanner thriller, where the plot keeps rolling into another dimension of impossible, keeping the strong heroine, Tracie Tanner CIA secret operative, working through dilemmas, which she must overcome to survive. She is quick to assess her surroundings and the situations she finds herself in by her resourcefulness. The other characters in the story also have deep roots and feel real, giving the book great dimension.


As always dealing with her boss, CIA Aaron Stallings is problematic. Worse, her new assignment in Wuppertal, West Germany has pitfalls from the start. She is thrown into a situation where Intel is sketchy, there’s no time for even minimal planning, and reconnaissance is nonexistent. Tanner relies on her instincts to get the job done, but with her skills, that’s enough.

Her new partner, Matthias Gruber, is an unknown in the deal, but they decide to work together, both dedicated to get the job done**spoiler alert**—Eliminate Hitler.

Even more surprises arise, and the mission keeps morphing into something new to overcome, right until the very end.

It is evident that the author researched which adds to the validity. The outrageous claims seem imaginable, once the story unfolds. The tension is well paced throughout and hooks along the way, keeping the reader riveted to the pages. There are many punches enacted in these action scenes, but still with a reverence for saving innocent lives whenever possible, which I applaud. 


I recommend this story for those who enjoy action-packed thrillers.

 




Follow Allan Leverone's other work as well . . . Here  on his Amazon Page




Friday, June 12, 2015

Series Review of Beck Casey Thrillers: Fallout, Final Epidemic and more-by author Earl Merkel

Wonder what makes a series successful?

Me too, so I read as many series as possible. Here's a great political spy series - Beck Casey Thrillers!



Fans of the TV show 24  you'll love Beck Casey! 

Check out my review and visit Amazon if you think you'll enjoy the thrills too.

Fallout (A Beck Casey Thriller)

Kindle Edition
by Earl Merkel (Author)


Always on the move. . .

Another great Beck Casey story that pivots in various directions, until multiple strings meet and intertwine for an explosive conclusion. Followers of the series would expect nothing less. The story melds many political threads, foes and allies. The reader will get a close look at the threats and motivations of the characters as the plot pushes forward. Never a dull moment, from assassinations, buildings blown up, to computer viral threats. Even though a genre spy story, there are some unique characters in this book, using friends to fill in the ranks needed to pull off this complex story; like mine, a bomb tech, shows up in chapter 63! The plot uses all forces, from CIA, FBI, Mossad, MI6 and more . . . Definitely an insane political ride with surprises at every step. A great political thriller for the serious reader.