Thursday 31 March 2016

REVIEW: Mark Matthews - All Smoke Rises: Milk-Blood Redux

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Wicked Run Press
Publication Date: 8th Feb 2016
Pages: 151


A copy of All Smoke Rises: Milk Blood Redux was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Mark Matthews, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Wicked Run Press.

I have only read one other thing by Mark Matthews. It was the first part to this story, Milk-Blood. I found it harrowing and disturbing to say the least and to be honest, had no idea what to write in the review for it and sat staring at a blank screen for ages before it came to me. Mark contacted me to see if I fancied a go at the sequel. I thought this was incredibly brave of him to do considering my last review was a bit odd.

It wasn’t a scathing negative review but after just reading it back, it didn’t make much sense either. You can read the review here. Offering me a second pop at his work wasn’t an opening I was expecting so how could I refuse?

Let’s see what I thought of this one.

Lilly’s story has been told in Milk-Blood. But is it just a story. The person who wrote it has just broken into your house and left Lilly’s body in your kitchen along with the manuscript for the story.

You must read it and decide for yourself what needs to be done with Lilly’s body.

Like many of the decisions made for Lilly during her life, this is one you cannot take lightly.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #26 - John Connolly - Signed Stuff

#26 in the Show-Off and Tell feature is one that is a little bit different. It’s a couple of signed invites from John Connolly. There is a bit of a story behind this one.

It was April 2014 and the new John Connolly book was due out. He was doing a book signing, in my current home town of Newcastle. This would be the first opportunity I would have to meet the man himself, so decided to go along.

I decided to take along my then bolshie thirteen-year-old son, really just to give him something to do on a dreary Saturday afternoon.

When we got to Waterstones where the signing was taking place, I was a bundle of nerves. I was actually going to be in the same room as one of my absolute heroes, and I couldn’t cope. My son was very nonplussed at this and extremely embarrassed. The lady from Waterstones was getting everyone in the queue for the signing. She came to us and asked where my book was. I apologised and said I didn’t have one. She told me I would have to leave if I didn’t buy the book to get signed.

I had no money on me, and no bank cards or credit cards to pay for the book. I looked at my son and he was gutted, for me. He could see the tears welling in my eyes at the fact my chance of meeting my hero had gone.

We left Waterstones and went across the road for a coffee. I at least had some cash to treat him to a Starbucks, just not a book for my hero to sign for me.

I sent a text to my wife to tell her what had happened and her being her, got straight on to John’s publicist to see if they could sort something. She was in America and could do nothing but tell us to go back and try again. I didn’t have the heart. I was gutted and embarrassed and just wanted to go home and lie down in a darkened room.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

REVIEW: Ray Garton - Vortex

Genre: Horror
Publisher: RGB Publishing
Publication Date: 13th March 2016
Pages: 114


A copy of Vortex, was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Ray Garton, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by RGB Publishing.

Someone tipped me off to this story coming on Facebook and to the fact that Mr Garton was looking for some reviewers to pick this up and give it a little whirl. I have read a couple of other things from Ray Garton. His short story, The Guy Down the Street in Widowmakers, and A Flat and Dreary Monday Night in Cut Corners Volume 2, (review here) from Sinister Grin Press.

I absolutely loved them so jumped at the chance of reading Vortex. This book was originally published 2014 by Cemetery Dance in a limited edition and has just become available on EBook. Judge for yourself from the review whether you should pick it up or not.

Friday 25 March 2016

Happy Easter Everyone!!

Confessions is on holiday but will be back

Tuesday 29th March!!

Thursday 24 March 2016

COVER REVEAL: Motorman - Robert E. Dunn

One of the many things that I love about having Confessions of a Reviewer is getting the opportunity to meet and interact with new people in the writing world.

This happened very recently when I made a new acquaintance in writer, Robert E. Dunn. Now, I am sorry to admit, I didn’t know much about Robert before we virtually met but things have changed quite dramatically in that department over this past few months.

Robert has been a tireless supporter of Confessions, retweeting every single one of my Tweets on Twitter and sharing all the posts on Facebook. For this, I thank you sir. Support like yours means a lot to me.

So, time to give something back? Well, yeah, but I don’t really think of this as giving something back to Robert. I feel like he is giving to Confessions once again.

He asked if I would like to involved in the cover reveal for his new novella coming out in May. He won the stupid question of the day award that day.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you the cover for the new novella from Robert E. Dunn, Motorman.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #25 - J.R. Park - Upon Waking

#25, can you believe we have reached the quarter century already?

This week’s big show-off is a book I read recently that still brings tears to my eyes. Upon Waking by Justin Park.

This was my first foray into the writing world of Mr Park. I had sampled his wares, so to speak, as one third of the wonderful Sinister Horror Company, with the production of such beauties as, The Black Room Manuscripts: Vol 1. If you like anthologies, this is one for you. Super stories and all proceeds go to charity

Also watch out for Vol 2 coming soon with another fantastic line up.

So, back to Upon Waking. Why did it bring tears to my eyes?

Number one was this beautiful hard backed copy that appeared out of nowhere. I was so grateful to Justin for this one.

This is my copy:

Monday 21 March 2016

REVIEW: Kyle M. Scott - Consumed Volume 2: A Horror Anthology

Genre: Horror / Collection
Publisher: Kyle M. Scott
Publication Date: 28th Nov 2015
Pages: 163


A copy of Consumed Volume 2: A Horror Anthology was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Kyle M. Scott, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Kyle M. Scott is another name I have seen around a lot but never read. It wasn’t until this anthology was sent to me that I realised I already have another title featuring him on my Kindle. The nature of an ever growing to be read pile is that, sometimes, you never know who you have and who you don’t have.

After discovering the other title and who else was involved in it, I had a little bit more interest in this one. You know what it’s like when you read someone new. A little bit of trepidation when you step into the unknown realms of reading someone you are not familiar with, and know not what to expect.

As I always say though, a short story collection is a great way to pick up a feel for the way someone writes.

Here goes!

Friday 18 March 2016

REVIEW: Martin Mundt - Synchronized Sleepwalking

Genre: Horror / Collection
Publisher: Dark Arts Books
Publication Date: 23rd Oct 2015
Pages: 256


A copy of Synchronised Sleepwalking by Martin Mundt was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publisher, Dark Arts Books, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

So, I get an email from John Everson at Dark Arts asking if I would be interested in a copy of Synchronised Sleepwalking for review. I have heard of John and indeed Martin in the circles so I was interested to take a look. When I discovered there were twenty-seven tales in this one, I was a little put off. That means a lot of work for someone like me who reviews each individual story.

Then in another email from John he stated: “I think it’s a pretty special, unusual book!” Interest piqued!

Each review will be a little shorter with there being so many but let’s see just how unusual this book really is!

Normally I give each story two ratings, a general rating for the story and one for the horror or thrills or humour. Each story in this collection is so different, they cannot possibly fall under one category. The feeling I kept getting was bizarre.

So for my second rating for each story, it is a bizarreness rating. This will include horror, thrills, humour and weirdness. If this doesn’t make sense, I apologise but I know what I mean and you will too when you read it. Mr Mundt will certainly get it!

Thursday 17 March 2016

REVIEW: Pembroke Sinclair - Life After the Undead

Genre: Horror / Zombies / YA
Publisher: Booktrope   
Publication Date: 27th Oct 2015     
Pages: 248


A copy of Life After the Undead was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Pembroke Sinclair, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Anyone who visits the blog regularly will know I love to discover new authors. Pembroke Sinclair is the second name in a couple of weeks that I am sure many of you will not be familiar with. I certainly wasn’t when she sent me an email to see if I would like to review this one. I agreed, then discovered it was being marketed as a young adult book. Instant panic. Young adult books normally don’t do it for me. I had already agreed though. What had I let myself in for?

Krista is fifteen years old. Life is trudging along as normal. A normal morning, waiting for the bus to school, suddenly starts to go awry when the bus driver runs from his vehicle, being chased by pupils.

She quickly realises something is drastically wrong and tries to convince her “friends”. They don’t believe her. They should have. She runs and survives for the minute. They don’t.

Krista must now try and escape with her mom and dad. Things don’t work out that way though and she finds herself on her way to Florida. She is alone and afraid. How will she survive her new Life After the Undead?

Wednesday 16 March 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #24 - Dark Chapter Press - Scream Horror Mag

#24 in the Show-Off and Tell feature is slightly different. This week we have pictures of Issue 34 of Scream Horror Mag.

Why…..I hear you ask?

Well, in sticking with most of my posts this past week, it’s all about the wonderful fellas at Dark Chapter Press and in particular Mr Jack Rollins.

I make no secret of the fact that I love their books. For some strange reason Mr Rollins seems to like my reviews of his books and has used a couple of quotes from my reviews for a couple of his books.

Now he is an up and coming publisher with high ambitions, ones that I truly believe he will attain by the way, so where does an up and coming publisher pimp their wares to try and get the best publicity? Well apart from the just around the corner and brand new Confessions of a Reviewer Website, Scream Horror Mag is a pretty good place to start.

This is Issue 34 that the Dark Chapter Press advert was in:

Tuesday 15 March 2016

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #27 - Pembroke Sinclair

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Pembroke Sinclair

The Past

For as long as I can remember, my mom always had her nose buried in a book.  I have vivid memories of her sitting on the couch, turning the pages, and being lost in whatever world she was reading about.  Our house had several bookshelves, but she would go through so many, books would be stacked on the floor beside the shelves.

This was what was modelled for me, so I wanted to be the same.  I too wanted to bury my face into books and lose myself to multiple worlds.

When I got older, I realized that she was devouring Romance novels.  And that was fine.  Everyone is allowed to read whatever they want.  I wanted to mimic my mom, but I couldn’t stand reading Romance.  It wasn’t my cup of tea.  Instead, I found Christopher Pike.

He was my all-time favorite author, and I read every one of his books.  We didn’t have Amazon back when I was reading him, so whenever we went to the mall, I made a beeline for the bookstore to see if they had his new novel in.  Rarely was I disappointed.

Monday 14 March 2016

REVIEW: Jonathan Janz - Children of the Dark

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 15th March 2016
Pages: 398


A copy of Children of the Dark, by Jonathan Janz, was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

So, you all already know I love to get ARCS from Sinister Grin. Brilliant books, brilliantly put together. The first they sent to me this year, The Black Goat Motorcycle Club, was a perfect example of that. I love getting Jonathan Janz books as well. Fresh and exciting writing. When I got wind a few months ago that Sinister Grin had signed Mr Janz it was an exciting time for me, wondering if I would get sent his stuff as an ARC.

Well would you believe it, I did. So this begs a question then: what is this collaboration going to be like? Is it going to pay off for both author and publisher?

Let’s find out.

Will Burgess is fifteen years old, living in Shadeland. It’s a place with a history.

A couple of histories. One, the most famous serial killer in their part of the USA and two, a history that goes back hundreds of years concerning The Children who, legend has it, live in the caves that stretch underneath most of Shadeland. The first is definite because the killer is in jail. The second has never been proven and is very rarely spoken of.

History is about to be relived though as the serial killer, Carl Padgett, has escaped from prison and no one knows if he is on his way back to Shadeland. Will and his friends, Chris and Barley try not to worry about the escaped convict as they do what teenage boys do and try to woo some girls they think are hot. Problem is those girls already have boyfriends that aren’t very nice.

Problem two is the fact the killer looks like he is indeed on his way to Shadeland. Problem three is the fact there is something else hiding in the hollow.

What follows is a journey for the kids down many paths they could never have imagined or even believed. It’s no longer a question of who will get the girl, but who will get out alive.

Sunday 13 March 2016

REVIEW: Dark Chapter Press - Kids

Genre: Horror / Anthology
Publisher: Dark Chapter Press
Publication Date: 15th March 2016
Pages: 316


A copy of Kids was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Dark Chapter Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Anthology number three this year from those cheeky chaps at Dark Chapter Press. I have said before, and I will say it again, I think Dark Chapter Press are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. They put their heart and soul into the books they produce and it shows.

The first I read was last year and it was Kill For A Copy. You can read my review of it here. The second was only a few weeks ago, Eight Deadly Kisses. This was a double whammy because not only was it exclusively featuring women writers for Women In Horror Month, but all proceeds from it are going to the charity Camfed. You can read my review of it here.

Kids is one I was looking forward to because it has some authors I read before in the aforementioned anthologies but it is also co-edited by Stuart Keane. I wanted to see what he could produce from the other side of the table given the fact his writing is superb. There is also the fantastic input of Mr Jack Rollins, a man proving himself to be a big force in both the writing and publishing worlds.

So what did I think? Let’s see!

Thursday 10 March 2016

REVIEW: Russell James - Dark Inspiration

Genre: Horror / Paranormal
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: 7th Feb 2012
Pages: 248


I received an advance copy of Dark Inspiration by Russell James from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain Publishing.

Russell James is another name I have seen a lot of but never got around to reading. I liked the look of this one when it came up on NetGalley so decided to jump right in. This is what I thought.

Doug and Laura Locke live in New York. He works for a newspaper doing the sleaze column and she is a teacher. They have lost their way a bit with life and with each other.

After a near death experience for Laura, they decide to up roots and go for the quieter life where Doug can write his novel and Laura can love life again.

Moving to Tennessee, they buy Galaxy Farm. A house with a history. A history that is currently secret to Doug and Laura. A secret that is going to come back to haunt them, quite literally.

This was an interesting little story. I say little story because even though it comes in around two hundred and fifty pages, it is a very easy book to read and will feel a lot shorter. Well it did for me anyway.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #23 - Stuart Keane - Grin

#23 in the Show-Off and Tell feature literally only arrived with me yesterday. What was even better than that was that it was a total surprise.

Grin by Stuart Keane.

Mr Keane apparently felt sorry for me and thought I was being a right miserable twat so he would cheer me up with a copy of this! I couldn’t be more delighted right now and I aim to be a miserable twat as much as I can in the future.

I am absolutely delighted to be able to add this to my signed shelf for more than one reason.

The first reason is obviously because it is a beautiful book. Trust me this one is superbly produced.

This is my copy:

Tuesday 8 March 2016

REVIEW: Dark Chapter Press - Eight Deadly Kisses - An Anthology

Genre: Horror / Anthology
Publisher: Dark Chapter Press
Publication Date: 13th Feb 2016
Pages: 141


A copy of Eight Deadly Kisses was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Dark Chapter Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

This is the second anthology I have read from Dark Chapter Press. I know David Basnet had a lot of input into this one from an editing point of view so I was intrigued to find out how that worked out for him. Plus, I make no secret that I think Dark Chapter Press are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. They put their heart and soul into the books they produce and it shows.
Eight Deadly Kisses also has two other great things going for it.

Number One is the fact that it was released as part of Woman in Horror month so all of the contributors are, you guessed it, women!

The second thing is that this book is Dark Chapter Press’s first foray into the world of charity.

Dark Chapter Press and the writers gathered in this anthology have committed to supporting CAMFED, a charity providing education for girls and young women in Africa, to build brighter futures and to encourage the development of female leaders. All money received by Dark Chapter Press from sales of Eight Deadly Kisses will be donated to CAMFED.

For more info on CAMFED, please visit here.

To donate to the Dark Chapter Press Just Giving page, go here.

So how did this bunch of ladies do then? Let’s find out!

Monday 7 March 2016

REVIEW: J.G. Faherty - Death Do Us Part

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 5th Jan 2016
Pages: 84

I received an advance copy of Death Do Us Part, by J. G. Faherty from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain Publishing Ltd.

J.G. Faherty. Another name I have seen a lot of on Facebook and Twitter, but have never read. Spotted this little novella on NetGalley and thought it would be a good way to introduce myself to his work. I made the mistake of noticing some ratings on Goodreads for it. I generally don’t like to do that before reading a book. Although some of them seemed to be lowish scores, I went at it with a very open mind.

This is what I thought.

Art Stanhope’s wife, Catherine, commits suicide. He finally thinks all of his troubles are now over. It wasn’t the best of marriages and was on the verge of total breakdown.

When he gets together with Catherine’s sister, Missy, his life changes direction and the living hell turns into a hell after death for himself, Missy, and his son Connor.

Thursday 3 March 2016


It gives me the greatest pleasure to let you know of something exciting in the pipeline for a new audio book coming out later in the year.

New, up and coming author, Kevin J Kennedy is delighted to announce to you all that his book, The Tale of Sawney Bean, will be released later in the year and narrated by none other than the voice of horror, Chris Barnes!

Wednesday 2 March 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #22 - Daniel Marc Chant - Mr Robespierre

#22 in the Show-Offs is quite possibly the poshest man in English indie horror writing, Mr Daniel Marc Chant and his wonderful book, Mr Robespierre.

Dan makes up one third of the Sinister Horror Company where he helps produce some wonderful books for you and I to read. He is however an extremely accomplished author in his own write and is definitely on the up and up in the indie world.

Mr Robespierre is a fantastically written homage to 80’s horror films. Written in the vain of Poltergeist or The Amityville Horror it tells the story of a family terrorised in their own home by demons of the past and a pesky cat.

Mr Robespierre came out in the number one position in the short story category on Confessions’ end of year lists in 2015 and very deservedly so.

This is my copy:

Tuesday 1 March 2016

REVIEW: Glenn Rolfe - Things We Fear

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 1st March 2016
Pages: 85


I received an advance copy of Things We Fear by Glenn Rolfe from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain.

In this past twelve months I have read a few offerings from Glenn Rolfe. Abrams Bridge (reviewed here), Boom Town (reviewed here) and Blood and Rain (reviewed here). Blood and Rain ended up in my top five horrors for 2015. It was superb and such a leap of improvement on his writing from the earlier books. That means that whenever something new comes out from him I will automatically pick it up. I was hoping for more of the same with Things We Fear.

Schools out for summer but it’s not the kids celebrating that. Teacher Emily Young is aiming to enjoy her summer break. Her Ed Tech, Aaron Jackson, is aiming to enjoy his too and would be delighted if Ms Young would spend it with him, but he’s too nervous to ask her.

Matt Holmes is another teacher in the school. He is also aiming to enjoy Emily but in a completely different way. You see Matt is a killer of the serial kind and Ms Young is on his to do list.

He doesn’t bank on her and Aaron getting together though. This doesn’t pose a huge problem. As long as he can take Aaron out first.