Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz #Review

The story immediately reminded me of the film, "The House on Haunted Hill." The 1959 version starring the incomparable Vincent Price, not the 1999 less-than-stellar remake. A group of people are invited to a notorious house by a famous and wealthy host. The last man standing, so to speak, wins the prize. In this case, the people are writers and it's a literary contest which promises riches and accolades to the victor.

Janz has done a great job of presenting a cross section of writers. Some are arrogant, while others suffer from crippling self-doubt. They all have one thing in common though. Each of them has something to atone for from their past. Mistakes were made, often tragic mistakes, and their host has big plans based on those mistakes. I can't say much more without giving away the scary, yet satisfying details.

This one was hard to put down. Being a writer myself, I identified with some of the characters and their struggles. I also have to to thank Janz for including a nod to Jack Ketchum, and an awesome "kick in the ass" quote from him..."Fuck fear," supplemented by a character saying:
"I'm talking about writing without fear. About sitting in front of the keyboard, and saying, To hell with it, I'm going to do this, and it's not gonna be perfect, and that's fine, it doesn't have to be. But I'm not going to sit here like a cowering dog. That's a sure road to failure. Writing without fear doesn't guarantee it'll be good, but it puts you in the game."
Words to write by!

If you have not picked this up yet, what are you waiting for? Janz just keeps getting better and better. Take my word for it.

Read my reviews of Janz's other work:

Wolf Land
Children of the Dark

About The Dark Game
Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells's most brilliant and horrible creation. The Dark Game. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Find out more about Jonathan Janz by visiting his website. Subscribe to his newsletter here.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn #Review

My thoughts
I won this book in a giveaway...a signed copy! I entered the giveaway because when I read witches and New Orleans, I immediately thought of Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches series and I was intrigued, as everyone knows Rice is one of my favorite authors. The similarities end at witches and New Orleans, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good story. While it had somewhat of a slow start, it eventually picked up momentum and I became engaged with the story. I've heard a few people mention that the story was hard to follow. I didn't find that at all. The individual story lines of each character/group of characters were interesting. Eventually, how they were all tied together was revealed. What a reveal it was! There are some genuinely scary moments as well, and a quite gory part toward the end (just to make anyone faint of heart aware...be prepared). In all, it was an enjoyable paranormal/horror novel.

This is the first book in a trilogy so I'm looking forward to reading the subsequent books. J.D Horn is also the author of the Witching Savannah series. I'm definitely going to check that series out as well.

First book of the Witches of New Orleans trilogy...

From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches. (Goodreads)

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