#BlogTour The Log House by Baylea Hart

Today it is time for some creepy horror vibes on the BlogTour for The Log House by Baylea Hart. It is a riveting combination of horror, apocalyptic and dystopian storytelling.

About the Author

Baylea Hart is an IT Technician by day, horror writer by night and a reader everywhere in between. In 2013 she wrote, directed and edited the short film Behind the Door, which won a Top 50 spot in the Bloody Cuts “Who’s There?” competition and as of 2015 has over 410,000 views on YouTube.

In October 2015 she won the Bristol Horror Writing Competition with her short story Jack in the Box, and her short story Eyes Open was published in the 12th issue of 9Tales Told in the Dark.

Baylea’s debut novel The Log House was published by Unbound in 2018.

Follow @bayleahart @unbounders #TheLogHouse

Visit bayleahart.com

Buy The Log House

About the book

The forest is a deadly place. Nobody knows this better than Penny. She has spent her whole life hiding in the darkness, shielding herself from the terrors that watch and wait within the trees. When Penny is abandoned and left for dead in the forest, she is forced to navigate this terrifying labyrinth in order to return home to her son and take revenge on the woman who tried to kill her. But the murderous creatures with the false smiles aren’t the only monsters to lurk in the forest, and some demons may be closer than she thinks.

Review

What’s interesting about this story is the way the negative aspects of human nature still shine through, despite the fact said humans are in a dire life or death situation. Instead of supporting and helping each other to survive under these extreme circumstances, they switch to survival of the fittest mode, which means sacrificing the weakest links.

The small pocket of humans we meet at the beginning of the story keep themselves locked away from the rest of the world. Everyone has to be inside by the time darkness falls and no source of light is allowed to be seen from outside the building. Outside, there is danger, death and terror lurking in the shadows. Monsters waiting to tear anything living from limb to limb.

When Penny is tricked into breaking one of the paramount rules of survival in their small community she finds out just how strong and determined she is when faced with a constant battle for her life. She is consumed with paranoia, pain and fear, but you know what they say – it isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Penny didn’t really evoke a lot of positive feelings in me. I found her quite selfish and self-absorbed at times. Perhaps understandable given the dark and dreary dystopian setting and fight for survival she finds herself in the middle of or do her almost narcissistic personality traits go back a lot further?

The author isn’t afraid to give the story the ending it deserves, very fitting for a dark fiction story. It is an interesting combination of apocalyptic, horror and dystopian fiction. What makes it even more compelling is the way Hart didn’t feel the need to make the main character sympathetic. She is brash, honest and ruthless.

It’s nice to see a breath of fresh air in this particular genre, and I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

Buy The Log House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound Digital (24 Jan. 2018)

#BlogTour Medium Wave by Rose

Today I am delighted to take part in the BlogTour for Medium Wave by Rose Zolock. Medium Wave is the story about a woman who makes the mistake of sneering at the dark by using it to make money and herself famous, then the dark comes looking for her…

About the Author

Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.

It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.

Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.

As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.

Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?

Follow @RoseZolock @caffeinenights

Visit rosezolock.com

About the book

Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.

‘This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently….’

Review

Scientists will tell you there is a logical explanation for every unusual occurrence or events very often described as psychic, unexplained or mystical. The majority of us want to believe in entities beyond our reach or in a higher power we cannot see or hear, and yet feel as if we it-they-him-her is there with us. It’s what faith and most religions are based on.

Fact and logic based arguments will apply scientific knowledge to any experience termed as impossible or mystical in nature, but the truth is not even scientists know or can explain everything, so perhaps there is some small avenue for the unexplained or mysterious events none of us have stumbled upon as yet.

Mediums and so-called psychics make a profitable career out of scamming the vulnerable. Let me say this though, some of their clients want to believe the dead can speak through someone, despite knowing it isn’t true. They want to be comforted by the thought that their loved ones are at peace and happy on the supposed other side.

Becky Moran is one of the really experienced cold readers, who makes a lot of money and celebrity from her status as a medium. It is kind of ironic that she ends up connecting with the dark side that she has sneered at in the past, and doesn’t exist according to her.

The dark, the occult and the evil finds a path to her via an ancient object, and after that door is opened Becky finds herself inundated with visions, images and new perceptions. Suddenly she can pass on real messages and interact with the other side. Sounds like a good business venture right, except for the fact evil seems to be trying to find a way to take control of her.

Zolock combines a gothic horror vibe with a paranormal urban fantasy. She plays with the aspect of our hidden fears and shadows in the dark like a violin virtuoso. Do you believe in monsters in the dark? Have you ever invited them in to play? Well this author invites them in, plays with them, and then hands them back to the main character and asks her to deal with them instead.

Buy Medium Wave on Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

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Quite a fascinating post-apocalyptic tale, set in a near future realistic scenario. The way Mandel has created a type of spider web of characters in an almost TV show like scenario.

The world as we know it has been reduced to a pre-technology, pre-electricity and pre-internet time. The population has been reduced to a minimum.

Survival has become a thing of the most ruthless, the fittest, and the ones willing to do anything to live a day longer.

The whole plot is set around and connected via one individual. Not the main character, but rather someone most of the characters, who play major roles in the story, have been in contact with. I thought it was an interesting way to go about it. A kind of six degrees of separation via one person.

To be completely frank, I thought the beginning was a wee it confusing, so much so I wasn’t sure where Mandel was taking it at all. Even when it became evident that it was going the apocalyptic route I still didn’t quite get why Mandel kept coming back to Arthur and Co.

I really enjoyed the idea of the Symphony.What a wonderful grand gesture of hope in an otherwise desolate world. A travelling company of musical artists and performers of Shakespearean plays. Art as a beacon of light and home comforts of a forgotten world.

Certainly a different way of going about it, and although it reminded me slightly of Revolution, it was a good read.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Convergence by Mike French

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Speculative fiction is often like brain gym. The author will often ask the reader to go above and beyond what they deem possible, credible, doable.

To get the bigger picture and a better understanding I think it would be advisable to read the first two books in the trilogy.
The beginning is a little bizarre if you have no previous information on the story. It could have done with a short re-cap or prologue at the beginning.

Pete and Durram play the most important parts and each scenario seems to feature one or the other. Even they have difficulty distinguishing between reality and an alternate universe.

In the midst of it all there is the love story between Pete and Durram. Reality becomes blurred and it doesn’t help that often neither the reader nor Pete can distinguish between the real and fake Durram.

The President gives in to the wiles of Bathsheba,and she plays her puppet on a string like a the violinist with an instrument. Interesting that Reagan has been chosen for this particular role, given the history of the man.

Kent is known not only for pirates coves, but also for being home to the Vatican and His Holiness the Pope. In this case it is more like the mafioso overlord overlooking the demise of society and forcing his views upon others.

You might have to sit back with a packet of  chocolate digestives and a pot of tea with this one. It may well tax your brain just a tad, then again isn’t that the whole point of speculative fiction, to venture into places quite extraordinary.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and Elsewhen Press.

Above by Isla Morley

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Morley has this knack of combining the most uncomfortable, taboo and heinous issues with the simultaneous feelings of morality, guilt, compassion and forgiveness. This author has the ability to cloud something which would seem like a straightforward crime, with doubt and uncertainty.

Above certainly fits into that difficult category. The reader and victim start out disliking and fearing the perpetrator and end up understanding the compulsive necessity of his actions, despite the deplorable nature of his crimes.

It is a tightrope walk of emotions; Hatred, disgust, anger, fear and hopelessness.  The reader sinks with Blythe into a hole of despair and can feel even ounce of hope leave her. Drip by drip,  day by day until suddenly years have gone by. We sit there with her deep beneath the ground. In darkness, listening to the silence of her tomb, knowing that no person will ever find her.

The fear turns into a Stockholm Syndrome like dependency. She resigns herself to her fate, especially when she has to consider that of her child.

This is when it gets interesting from an emotional point of view. She views herself as the protector, the mother, but in fact she has become the captor. She is now aiding and enabling her own kidnapper.

I think the real eye opener is possibility of the conspiracy theorist being right. That makes him look like a saviour instead of a criminal. The reader and the victim start to question the validity of their prior judgement.

As always Morley paints a frightening picture of the abyss of deviancy humans are capable of, with a large portion of apocalyptic terror.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Gallery Books via Edelweiss.