Jinxed

Jinxed was written by Thommy Hutson and first published in 2018. It is a horror story which focuses on a teenager and her friends as they are hunted by a masked serial killer. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s other work to full appreciate it.

The Trask Academy is one of America’s wealthiest and exclusive art schools. Teenagers who attend there are ear-marked to become the celebrities and Broadway stars of the future, and the best of them can expect to be scouted at the school’s annual showcase. Layna is disappointed when she loses out to her friend Sydney, but totally understands why. Sydney is stunning and talented, while Layna is at the school on a scholarship. However, she receives her chance a few days later after a tragic turn of events.

Sydney is found dead, apparently having thrown herself from the window of her dorm. Although the school is keen to write this off as an isolated incident, Layna and her friends can’t quite shake off their doubts. Sydney showed no sign of being unstable and was really looking forward to the showcase. It’s not long before their fears are justified when another of Layna’s friends mysteriously vanishes from the library.

The group soon discovers that they are completely isolated as the school is on a remote island and the phone lines are down. As a killer in a theatre mask stalks the halls, Layna comes to learn that he has some connection to both her and an unperformed play written by a former student. However, as the killer continues to strike those close to her, she realises that she must find out what that connection is and unmask him before the curtain falls on her forever…

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Spotlight – Jinxed

This post is brought to you in association with Xpresso Book Tours. Look out for my full review on 9th April!

Author:  Thommy Hutson

Genre:  Horror

Page Count: 246

Release Date: 13th March 2018

Synopsis:

Break a mirror
Walk under a ladder
Step on a crack

Innocent childhood superstitions…

But someone at the Trask Academy of Performing Arts is taking things one deadly step further when the campus is rocked with the deaths of some of its star students.

Layna Curtis, a talented, popular senior, soon realizes that the seemingly random, accidental deaths of her friends aren’t random—or accidents—at all. Someone has taken the childhood games too far, using the idea of superstitions to dispose of their classmates. As Layna tries to convince people of her theory, she uncovers the terrifying notion that each escalating, gruesome murder leads closer to its final victim: her.

Will Layna’s opening night also be her final bow?

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The Change 1-3

The Change is a series of loosely connected horror novellas that were written by Guy Adams and all published in 2017. They take place in a post-apocalyptic world where reality has been warped and impossible monsters now roam the streets. The series currently consists of six instalments: London: Orbital, New York: The Queen of Coney Island, Paris: A City of Fools, London: Dirt, New York: The River That Runs Both Ways and Tokyo: Noriko’s Story. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at the first three novellas only.

Nobody who witnessed The Change lived to tell the tale. Those who saw the strange creatures appear in the sky died instantly, and anyone who watched the footage of the event on YouTube was sent irreparably insane. The only thing that the survivors know is that The Change affected everything. Reality was rocked by the event and the streets became filled with danger. In this new world, anything is possible and even the most innocent looking creature could hunger for human flesh.

In England, a young man awakes on the motorway to find that he has no memory of what had come before. His only clue is a journal written by a man named Howard. Assuming that this belongs to him, Howard began to travel towards London in the hope of finding out who he is. On the way, he meets a teenager named Hubcap and his biker friends at the Kingdom of Welcome Break. However, they soon find themselves hunted by a terrible monster made of flesh and metal.

In New York, Grace desperately tries to find passage to Riker’s Island in search of her missing brother. With the assistance of an insane priest who believes himself to be God, she seeks out the Queen of Coney Island – the only person with the power to grant her request. However, the Queen does not offer her services for free. In return, she wants to Grace to perform a simple task for her. However, in this strange new world, even the simplest of things can have deadly consequences.

In Paris, Loïc is forced to leave his subterranean home when his friend Adrien is kidnapped by the Impressionists – odd creatures made out of paint. He follows them to their lair in the Louvre where he discovers that they are subjecting people to a fate worse than death. As he tries to get Adrien to safety, he learns that the surface world is more dangerous than he could imagine. It’s not long until he finds himself fighting for his life at the foot of a sentient guillotine and desperately trying to escape from the revived Grand Guignol…

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dEaDINBURGH: Vantage

dEaDINBURGH: Vantage was written by Mark Wilson and first published in 2014. It is a horror story, focusing on two teens as they try to survive in a zombie infested Scottish city. The novel forms the first part of the Din Eidyn Corpus series and is followed by dEaDINBURGH: Alliances (2015), dEaDINBURGH: Origins (2015) and dEaDINBURGH: Hunted (2016).

For hundreds of years the plague mutated beneath Mary King’s Close, slowly reanimating the long dead victims and giving them a hunger for human flesh. When they first began to rise from their graves, people initially thought it was a hoax. It wasn’t until the disease began to spread and the power went out that they realised how much trouble they were in. Soon after, the government walled Edinburgh off from the rest of the world. At first, the survivors believed that a rescue would come. However, as the years ticked by, they soon realised that they had been abandoned.

Joey MacLeod was born within the zombie-infested city and has never known a different life. He has been raised by the Brotherhood – a sect of monks who worship the zombies – and fears the day that they will force him to take his vows, giving up life on the surface forever. Alys Shephard’s life could not be more different. She has grown up as part of an all-female commune and been trained since childhood to protect herself from both zombies and men. Alys feels nothing but contempt for the Brotherhood, until the fateful day that Joey saves her life.

An unlikely friendship is forged between the two, but it is put to the test when a sinister man named Bracha targets the people closest to them. Learning that Bracha is searching for a cure for the disease, the two of them set off across Edinburgh to find it and have their revenge. However, to locate Bracha they will need to cross into territory belonging to the Exalted – a cult who believe that the living should be fed to the dead…

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Ultimate Sacrifice

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ultimate Sacrifice, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Ultimate Sacrifice was written by S.E. Green and first published in 2017. It is a mystery novel with horror elements, focusing on a family whose lives are turned upside down when there is a grisly murder on their property. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s previous work to fully appreciate it.

Vickie fears the worst when she sees her twin brother Travis stumble out of the woods, covered in blood. However, she could never have imagined the horrible scene that he discovered. Their neighbour’s four-year-old daughter has been brutally murdered in what looks unmistakably like a Satanic ritual. To make things even worse, the murder took place only a short distance from her home and the killer could very well still be lurking in the forest.

As the police and media descend on her home, Vickie starts to realise that they are the number one suspects. Yet, how can that possibly be? Her family are all valued members of the community. Her parents are happily married and they all attend church every Sunday. Yet it’s not long before a mysterious stranger posts a blog that contains all sorts of sordid imagines of her parents, uncle and brothers. Suddenly, Vickie’s family don’t seem very squeaky clean after all and seem to come under even closer scrutiny.

Not content to let her family’s reputation be dragged through the mud, Vickie begins to investigate for herself and starts to uncover some sordid facts about the history between her parents and the victim’s mother. It seems that nobody is quite who Vickie believed them to be, but would that give them motive to kill a helpless child?

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Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Silver Eyes. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones was written by Scott Cawthorn and Kira Breed-Wrisley and first published in 2017. It is the direct sequel to The Silver Eyes (2015) and is loosely based around the hit video game series. The story picks up a year after the events at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, following Charlie as she is once again forced to face the dark events of her past.

Following her near death at the hands of the psychotic Dave Miller, Charlie is doing her best to forget what occurred at Freddy Fazbear’s and get on with her life. She’s accepted a place at college and has decided to learn robotics so as better to understand her father’s creations. She seems to be well on her way to getting her life back on track when the killings start.

Charlie would like nothing more than to delude herself into thinking that there is no connection, but the wounds on the corpse are unmistakable. She knows that they were caused by the springlocks inside one of the animatronics, yet the spacing of the cuts suggests that they were made by a suit far larger than any she has seen before.

When a body is found that looks suspiciously like Charlie, she starts to realise that the robots may be coming for her. It’s up to Charlie and her friends, John and Jessica, to find out why before it’s too late. However, in order to protect Charlie, they may have to seek the help of some old enemies…

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American Monsters

american-monsters

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews for these novels [here] and [here].

American Monsters was written by Derek Landy and first published in 2016. It follows the continuing adventures of Amber and Milo as they try to find a way to finally stop Amber’s twisted parents. The book forms the final instalment of The Demon Road Trilogy, and is preceded by Demon Road (2015) and Desolation (2016). I’d strongly advise that you read the books in sequence if you want to have any idea of what’s going on.

Amber is struggling to come to terms with her new role as the Shining Demon’s representative on Earth. She’s stronger than ever, her demonic side fuelled by vials of her benefactor’s blood, but using these is starting to come at the cost of her sanity. And then there are the things she must do – things that enable serial killers to go on killing. She knows that she needs to find a way to break her contract before she completely loses her soul.

And then there is the problem of her parents. Bill and Betty are still on the run and know that they’re living on borrowed time. When Amber finally catches up with them, they cut a deal. They know that they won’t live long while the Shining Demon is still in power. They want Amber to deliver the monster to them so that they can devour him and take his place. If Amber can do that, they promise that they’ll leave her alone to live her life.

Amber knows that her parents can’t be trusted, but there is one small problem. They’ve taken Kelly hostage and will kill her if Amber doesn’t deliver the goods within six days. With Kelly’s life on the line, Amber and Milo have no choice but to hit the road to find chains powerful enough to bind a Lord of Hell. However on the way they will encounter many old friends and enemies and, now that it’s known that Amber is the Shining Demon’s lapdog, it’s difficult to know who they can trust…

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Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

five-nights-at-freddys-the-silver-eyes

Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes was written by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley and first published in 2015. It’s a horror story set in an abandoned family restaurant and is loosely based around the video game franchise of the same name. The novel stands alone and at the time of writing no sequel has been announced.

Charlie didn’t have a happy childhood. Her mother left, her father committed suicide and, most horrifying of all, one of her closest friends disappeared without a trace. Michael was believed to have been snatched while eating at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza – a popular local restaurant – yet no trace of him was ever found.

Ten years later, Charlie and her friends return to the town of Hurricane for a memorial service for Michael. Reminiscing about the past, the group of teens decide to take a look for the old pizzeria. When they arrive, they’re disappointed to find that a mall has been built in its place and immediately abandoned. Yet as they explore, they make a shocking discovery. Freddy’s is still there, bricked into the wall of the mall but still entirely as they remember it. Even the animatronic mascots that it was known for seem to be in full working order.

The group return on subsequent nights to explore the abandoned restaurant, but as they do so things start to grow increasingly weird. Electronics malfunction, pictures seem to move and the robots begin to behave erratically. When one of the teens disappears, apparently dragged away by a mascot, the rest search frantically for him. What they discover sheds light on what happened to Michael all those years before…

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Dew from a Dark Mourning

dew-from-a-dark-mourning

Dew from a Dark Mourning was written by Brenda McGee Holdsworth and first published in 2012. It is a Christian horror story which focuses on a group of teenagers who are targeted by a faceless entity. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s earlier work to fully appreciate it.

Jessica is fifteen years old and wants to fit in with her friends. They’re all good teenagers but there is only one problem. None of them are Christian like she is and Jessica is worried that they won’t take her seriously if the find out. She is also nervous about whether her boyfriend, Maurice, is really into her. All her friends seem to be in close relationships with their partners, yet Maurice hasn’t even held hands with her.

However, Jessica’s worries turn out to be very small when she and her friends are stalked by a strange creature. The sinister being takes the form of a man but its face is oddly blurry and indistinct. When the being causes their car to crash on the way to the beach, Jessica awakes to find herself trapped in a shadowy world. The creature plans to take more than just her life and Jessica and her friends soon find themselves battling a monster with the power to turn their fears and insecurities against them.

Yet the being isn’t content in tormenting Jessica alone. It soon turns its sights on her family and other members of her community. Their enemy isn’t the kind that can be defeated by brute force, but is their faith enough to save them?

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Labyrinth Lost

labyrinth-lost

Labyrinth Lost was written by Zoraida Córdova and first published in 2016. It is a fantasy novel about a teenage bruja who is forced to travel across a hostile spirit world to save her kidnapped family. The story forms the first part of the Brooklyn Brujas series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Alex has grown up hating her family’s magic ever since an encounter with her Aunt’s reanimated corpse. Although her sisters – Lula and Rose – take pride in their abilities, Alex wants nothing more than to be normal. However, Lula is certain that her sister’s power is just being blocked and will try anything to get it to surface. What she doesn’t know is that Alex has been hiding a power so terrible that it scares her. She has kept her magic a secret for years, praying that it will go away.

After an incident at school, her secret is revealed. Naturally, her family is thrilled. She is an Encantrix – the rarest and most powerful of brujas – and her mother rushes to arrange Alex’s Deathday to call upon their ancestors to bless her powers. With no one listening to her fears, Alex finds herself confiding in a young brujo named Nova. Nova reveals to her that there is a way to ask the gods to remove a bruja’s power and Alex sets about obtaining the items to sabotage her Deathday. However, that’s when things start to go wrong.

As her spell backfires, she summons a terrifying apparition who drags her entire family into Los Lagos, the place where spirits wait after death. Alex learns that the being – known as the Devourer – will only hold on to her family until the next eclipse and then will feed on their souls. With Nova at her side, she travels to Los Lagos to rescue them. But Los Lagos is a world of hidden dangers, especially for one as powerful and untrained as Alex…

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