Reviews and Eric Keys

First, let me explain why I’m suddenly on a reviewing kick when I hardly ever review anything. I recently participated in a blog tour with Jenna Fox, Dylan J. Morgan and Eric Keys. I was intrigued by these authors and the stories they told. I’ve known Jenna for a while now and was so taken by her newest story, Conceiving Evil, that I had to share my thoughts. (You can read my review here .) Dylan J. Morgan’s story, Flesh, was also added to my To Be Read list and I figured I should probably review that as well, since I liked it. (You can read my review here.) As for Eric Keys, he mentioned he was going to release Psalm of Hate as an ebook, and I am impatiently waiting for that, so when he directed me toward some of his other work, I didn’t hesitate to buy them. And I’m glad I did.

All three of these authors have helped me – gone out of their way to help me, in fact. So this is me returning the favor and helping them get the word out about their own stories. My reviews are always honest, and I am somewhat relieved that I liked all the books I’ve read by these authors. Their stories are also perfect for this time of year – Halloween – and I’m in the mood to read some scary things. I couldn’t have chosen better.

 

g&b

 

Macabre, gruesome, deranged… Grace & Blood is certainly not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the erotic horror genre, and that’s what this story is, I can’t think of a more classic example.

Grace & Blood is a short story that stays with you a long time after you’ve finished the tale. It’s the kind of story that invades your psyche and ushers in nightmares. It’s the sort of erotic horror that drills down into your own dark side and makes you vaguely uncomfortable – because you will enjoy the story, even though you know you shouldn’t.

When we meet Grace, we know right away something is wrong with her – she’s creepy without being overtly so. Without giving away too much, Grace then experiences a break from reality/possession by a supernatural evil – it’s difficult to say which because we see the events from her point of view, which clouds the issue. Seeing from her POV is also a stroke of genius, because it lends an authenticity to the story a 3rd person POV would never have.

Eric Keys evokes gruesome, horrific imagery, but even more effective is the voice of the story. Grace & Blood is written in such an exuberant tone that I couldn’t help but imagine Mr. Keys cackling in evil glee as he typed it – a tone which adds to the horror very effectively as it relays Grace’s excitement and enjoyment of what is going on.

All in all, Grace & Blood did exactly what a good erotic horror is supposed to do – it makes you squirm. It’s a quick read though not necessarily easy to read, depending on how well you embrace the dark theme, and definitely gives you a bit of a mind f*ck.

You can find Grace & Blood on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L9S5K8E

 

glory

 

The tarot card The Tower was the image I ended up with at the end of For the Glory. It’s a card that signifies the destruction of the old and the rebuilding of the new, which may be painful but necessary in order to create a better foundation. To me, The Tower is also a prison, all the things we were taught, all the decisions we made, etc., that trap us in a life that may no longer be the right one for us. Only by submitting to the destruction can you gain freedom. An odd analogy perhaps, but fitting for this story.

 

Lizzie is a girl who hates everyone, including herself, so she’s not entirely likeable, but we do come to a point where we see why she is the way she is, and can’t help but sympathize. There were a few reasons given for her hatred – fear and a lack of self-esteem – but to me it seemed her hate sprung from being consumed by the others in her life. She’d been taught or bullied into thinking the way she thought, and was always held back in some way – I got the distinct sense she was trapped – and it wasn’t until Saul turned her fears back on her that those barriers started to collapse. Saul swoops into her life and becomes her Dom, and somewhere along the way teaches her that giving up the control, and the fight for control that had built her cage of hate, was the only way to set herself free.

For the Glory is not being marketed as a horror, Eric Keys’ specialty, but, to me, it still seemed to subtly fit the genre because of the theme it explores – that of embracing an inner collapse. This story does contain hate speech, which makes it a little difficult to read but portrays Lizzie’s mental state and even becomes Saul’s weapon of choice. There are BDSM themes, but not really hard-core, mostly limited to spanking.

Once again, Mr. Keys wrote a short story that stayed with me for a while after I finished reading. Maybe that’s his true specialty – shining a light on the dark places hidden within our humanity.

You can find For the Glory at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MWJ7HYE

And you find Eric Keys at his blog http://erickeys.wordpress.com/

Flesh by Dylan J. Morgan

flesh

I am exceedingly happy that Flesh was my first experience of Dylan J. Morgan’s storytelling. Flesh is a story about a creature I have long been fascinated with, and I was not disappointed with Mr. Morgan’s telling of the tale. He had an unusual spin on a legend too many fail to relay properly and developed an excellent mystery that I didn’t figure out until very close to the end.

Flesh takes place in a tiny little town of apathetic murderers. There is something stalking the woods, eating people, and the panicked townsfolk are saving themselves by baiting the creature with visitors and passerby. Personally, there has always been something about cannibalism that has touched a core of horror deep within myself and so Flesh really sent some chills down my spine.

“In the darkened corner of her living room the same white illumination she’d seen beyond her window drifted into the room: a thin tendril resembling a wisp of fog.”

Taken out of context, this line from Flesh may not seem terrifying, but when I read it I broke out in goose bumps. It’s a scene that destroys the illusion of safety a home provides and emphasizes a feeling of inescapable horror. And that speaks to the theme of this book; Dylan J. Morgan did a wonderful job of flaunting the impossibility of success against what the townspeople faced.

If you’re looking for a hero, it will take you a long time to find one. Mr. Morgan starts his book off with a scene that not only wallops you over the head, but creates a mystery that drags you deeper and deeper into the events taking place. Admittedly, the next few chapters are very descriptive, which slows the story down, but I believe that description was necessary to provide insight to the characters and their actions. Things speed back up in Chapter 5, a place where I found myself completely hooked, hoping Sheriff Andrew Keller could rise to the occasion and save the world. But, like I said, it takes a while for a hero to emerge.

There were a few things that struck me as inconsistent in the timeline of events, but these were easily moved past in favor of the story as a whole. Mr. Morgan does a great job of packing emotion into every scene and more than once I found myself sitting up straighter, fidgeting in my seat, and taking deep breaths to calm myself. While too many books are predictable, Flesh kept me guessing and I truly enjoyed not knowing which way Mr. Morgan’s story would go.

In short, Flesh is a wonderful example of its genre and I look forward to reading everything else Dylan J. Morgan has to offer.

Buy it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Flesh-Dylan-J-Morgan/dp/1494952424/

 

Conceiving Evil – a rare review

ac

 

What would you do if you lived in a world without hope? If the economy tanked and all around you people were starving, living on the streets, and you had no one to fall back on? What would you do if a powerful, wealthy man propositioned you, asking you to be his mistress and promising to take care of you in every way.

Except sex. No sex until he asks his wife for a divorce.

Let’s say you agree, because the man is everything you thought you’d never have, and he promises to give you the family you always wanted. Let’s say you believe in everything he stands for, and he’s actively working to make the world a better place, a place filled with new hope.

What would you do when you found out he wasn’t exactly what he seemed?

In Jenna Fox’s new book Conceiving Evil, Abby Torrance found herself in just such a situation when the influential Dorian Lincoln swept her off her feet. Abby was alone in the world and down on her luck. She is a woman most of us would be friends with, and maybe we even know (or are) women like her – fighting to survive in a world gone mad. Dorian is a darker character that, in spite of the mystery cloaking him, reaches out for you from the pages through Abby’s eyes and her support of the plans he has to save the world. He also gives you the impression of honor – he’s trying to find a morsel of happiness while still being fair to his wife, who he claims to be emotionally unstable.

I will freely admit that Jenna Fox is my friend, however I very rarely review books, even hers. But I had to review this because I was completely captivated from the first sentence. Jenna sent me an ARC, and I am so glad she did. Jenna gets better with every book she writes, and this is her best yet.

Conceiving Evil was extremely well written, fast paced and hot enough to melt a winter’s snow. Jenna gave a truly fabulous balance of tease and follow-through, with characters so well developed I felt like I knew them. They were relatable; I could understand and appreciate every decision they made and even at the very end, with a wonderful twist few authors would dare to add, I was rooting this couple on.

This is a dark romance, maybe even a twisted romance, and while I was screaming out loud for Abby to open her eyes and see what was going on in front of her face, I was still hoping she and Dorian could make things work. I will not reveal the ending, but I will say that it was both entirely satisfactory and truly chilling. It’s the kind of ending that makes this story unforgettable, a fantastic erotic horror that will make you think about what you would do in Abby’s place long after you finish reading.

If I could give this story double the stars, it would definitely get 10. As I can only give it five, that will have to suffice, but this is a highly recommended read and I can’t wait to see what else Jenna Fox comes up with in her writing career.

Preorder today at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N4KQK9S

Conceiving Evil goes live on October 16, 2014 and you can find Jenna Fox and a list of her other books at www.jennafoxwrites.blogspot.com