A Variable Darkness by John McIlveen ~ 2021


These tales had me absorbed ... appreciating the dark

Publisher: Haverhill House Publishing LLC; 1st edition (February 4, 2021)
Publication date: February 4, 2021
Pages: 274
Hardcover - 978-1-949140-26-2
Paperback - 978-1-949140-25-5
Cover illustration and design © 2021 David Dodd
Illustration for Got Your Back © 2016 Dyer Wilk
Introduction: Tony Tremblay
Afterward: Izzy Lee

"A digital version was provided by John McIlveen in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

5 Stars

John McIlveen
When award-winning author John McIlveen had asked me to read his latest collection of horror, I received a couple of phone calls from some Canadian friends of mine across Lake Erie saying they heard a resounding "Yes!" come out of me.

Well, have you read Hannahwhere (2015) by this guy?

All the hype, all the talk, nominee for the Bram Stoker Award (HWA) in the First Novel category, the Drunken Druid Award for high literary merit. No? - well then ... you should.

Folks gather 'round, please ~

Having a penchant for horror, I enjoy being in the element of the macabre for a few hours here and there; escape reality and slip into the reality of an indubitable fantastic fictional horror read. And hell,  this collection of short-story horror had satisfied my need to have absconded from my domesticated duties and settle deep into my library, looking forward to an abyss of dark thoughts from an author that I know would do the trick.

McIlveen always delivers ~

..."We must never undermine the free will of another soul," she stressed. "There within lies the darkness." ... 

Folks, A Variable Darkness, John McIlveen has penned stories that had literally made me pause after each tale with a shake of my head here and a shit-eatin' grin there. McIlveen comes up with such a fantastic dark way of getting a different view/opinion across to the reader.  After each tale, you just want to jump into the next story. Yes, clear your schedule for a couple hours, I'm just giving you a heads up.

From the beginning, with the story titled, Eve, through to the last tale, Triggers, every story is its own variable darkness. Thirteen folks, 13 tales of darkness. McIlveen brings his character developments and their dialogue to an evocative atmosphere as in a harbinger warning you of the feelings you will own after reading these tales. And, a realization of reality you knew already existed. Only told differently ~ One can surely say, McIlveen has his own voice and style. Glad I came across his works through this trek in life.

When I had finished the tale Eye of the Beholder, I wanted to ask McIlveen, how many more of these stories are there? And, my dear audience, after you read the tale, you'll understand that is a very important question to ask ~

Yes, I shook my head slowly and grinned a lot during this collection.

With his grasp of understanding the human psyche, very much in a social conscience style, he holds nothing back from throwing in dark darkness into a story. After you're finished with these tales, you will realize McIlveen has the ability to take an issue or a situation and twist his dark imagination into it, leaving you, the reader, appreciative of the twisted mind he lives with that he shares with the world.

And, a damn good read under your skin.

I also appreciate McIlveen peppers his friend's names and their nearby places into the stories he writes. Makes me wonder during his tales, how his friends feel about their 'participation'. More than likely, they beam. Hell, after all, McIlveen Has Their Back ~

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I would suggest and highly recommend ~

Here's where you can get your fingers on A Variable Darkness:
  • Amazon  ~  Hardcover $27.95  ~  Paperback $17.95  ~  Kindle $7.99   USD
  • Barnes & Noble  ~  Hardcover $27.95  ~  Paperback $17.95  ~  NOOK $7.49  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:

Connect with John

John M. McIlveen is the author of the paranormal suspense novel, HANNAHWHERE  -Winner of the 2015 Drunken Druid Award (Ireland) and Nominee for the 2015 Bram Stoker Award.

He is also the author of two story collections, INFLICTIONS, and JERKS AND OTHER TALES FROM A PERFECT MAN and the well-received novelette GOT YOUR BACK.

A father of five daughters, he works at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and is CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Haverhill House Publishing LLC
He lives in Haverhill, MA with his wife, Roberta Colasanti.

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~ Folks, enjoy my review of HANNAHWHERE along with my interview ~

A fast-paced emotionally complex intriguing read. Flooded with social issues of child abuse, child neglect, drug addicts, murder, and love with a dash of hope.

The ending is quite satisfying knowing there is a smile with relief as madness sets in.

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One of Us: A Tribute to Frank Michaels Errington by Kenneth W. Cain, Stephen King, +8 more ~ 2020


This anthology will become another one of your treasured reads.

Dedicated for Frank


Author: Kenneth W. Cain, Stephen King, Pete Kahle, Todd Keisling, Tom Deady, Josh Malerman, Paul Tremblay, Jonathan Maberry, Jeff Strand, Tim Waggoner
Publisher: Bloodshot Books (November 14, 2020)
Publication: November 14, 2020
Pages: 556
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1947522361
ISBN-13: 978-1947522367
ASIN: B08P844F5K
Editor: Kenneth W. Cain
Cover & Interior design: Todd Keisling | Dullington Design Co.
Editorial assistance: Somer Canon and Jacque Day
Photos: Frank Michaels Errington, Tony Tremblay, Kenneth W. Cain, Patrick Freivald, and doungjai gam bepko

"A digital version of One of Us was provided by Kenneth Cain in exchange for my honest review alongside my thank-you for asking, John McIlveen."

all the Stars

Kenneth Cain
Kenneth W. Cain
When I had been contacted by award-winning author John McIlveen (Hannahwhere 2015) on a review for this fantastic tribute to Frank Michaels Errington, I smiled with a saddened heart.

Folks, Frank was a man whom you would have loved to be your neighbor. Yes, he's one of those guys.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Frank, albeit on Facebook, and I enjoyed his presence.  Yep, I had thought, he's one of those guys.

Learned he did reviews for Cemetery Dance Publications;

Off I went and visited his blog, Frank Michaels Errington's Horrible Book Reviews - yep, he's one of those guys.

In the beautiful heartfelt Foreword by Todd Keisling, Todd mentions attending his first writer's conference and felt a bit out of his comfort zone. He was pacing the lobby to find a cellular signal looking for his friends and he must have looked a bit dazzled ~ when he heard a voice ...

Frank had rest assured Todd he was already among friends. "You're one of us."

You see folks? He's one of those guys.

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Right off home-plate, I would like to thank all of the contributing authors for their work. These stories I have read from you guys, thank you, and let me say, wow, this anthology rocked!

Folks, One of Us is an astounding read compiled by some of the best writers of our current time. Some whom you have never heard of until now. (hey, I'm in the same boat too) Sure, you must have heard of those authors that are mentioned above, but, I'm telling you, you'll have to pick up this read and introduce yourselves to these authors that make up the rest of this delicious anthology. I have the penners listed below.

This anthology will become another one of your treasured reads.

Stephen King
As I read each one of these tales, in the back of my mind throughout the story, how did Frank touch this author's life? I knew damn well, it felt warm to them, and so, I take it as this is the tale they gave to Frank as a thank-you. Folks, these tales have hit it out of the park. A few of them will make you shake your head and grin, some will make your eyes widen, one you'll laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh -

Without putting a review on all these tales, rest yourselves, this anthology is chock-full to fill your need for horror and dark fantasy.

At the end of every tale, I wanted to have met Frank in person more and more. I imagined him at a writer's conference, sitting there with his grin, completely enrapt in his element. Same kind of atmosphere as a kid in a candy store? I would think so.

The more my eye came across authors talking of reviews, the more my eye came across Frank's 
Todd Keisling
name. What folks have said of him, man, such respect was thrown his way.
Folks, The Deadliest Review by Jeff Strand makes the statement of how Frank had such an impact on the horror community. Was some of it out of fear Mr. Strand? Or, dare not to keep approving?  Ah yes, dare not. Frank made a review, the review.

Folks, there are 56 tales of horror and dark fantasy to indulge your appetite in for those days you want to get in some really damn good reading.  The contents of tales within the covers are peppered with anecdotes to Frank from various authors/friends which made the read feel so complete to me. You are going to enjoy each of these stories.

I did and I am.
This anthology has become under the category - a re-read.

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Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated in Frank's name to the American Transplant Foundation

Highly recommended folks

Frank Michaels Errington

Here's where you can get your fingers on One of Us: A Tribute to Frank Michaels Errington:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $5.99 ~ Paperback $19.99 ~ USD

~ Stories, Poetry, and Anecdotes by ~

Alan Baxter * Matt Bechtel * doungjai gam bepko * John Boden * Geoff Brown * Kealan Patrick Burke * P.D. Cacek * Kenneth W. Cain *Somer Canon * Christa Carmen * Catherine Cavendish * Greg Chapman * Richard Chizmar * Tom Deady * T. Fox Dunham * Robert Ford * Christopher Golden * J.F. Gonzalez * Mark Allen Gunnells * Jeremy Hepler * Pete Kahle * Nicholas Kaufmann * Shane Douglas Keene * Todd Keisling * Stephen King * Curtis M. Lawson * Evans Light * John R. Little * Chad Lutzke * Jonathan Maberry * Josh Malerman * Alessandro Manzetti * John McIlveen * John McNee * Tim Meyer * Lee Murray * Paul F. Olson * Kelli Owen * John Palisano * Jason Parent & Kevin Rego * David Price * Anthony J. Rapino * Hunter Shea * Rob Smales * Wesley Southard * Jeff Strand * Brett Talley * Sara Tantlinger * The Sisters of Slaughter * Richard Thomas * Paul Tremblay * Tony Tremblay * Joshua Viola * Tim Waggoner * Terry M. West * Douglas Wynne * Stephanie M. Wytovich * Mercedes M. Yardley

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeny ~ 2018

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Author: Alice Feeny
Publisher: Flatiron Books; First Edition (March 13, 2018)
Publication: March 13, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250144841
ISBN-13: 978-1250144843
Jacket design by Steve Attardo
Jacket photography  © Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images
Author photographer: Brian Grant

4 Stars

This book fell off my TBR pile onto my lap and screamed, "READ ME!"

See the source image
Alice Feeny
Alice Feeny's debut domestic psychological mystery thriller is a brilliant twisted read that will make your jaw drop when you come to the end.

First and foremost when I read the blurb for this tale, she's in a coma and she lies? Became a 'had to read' and I loved it!

Alice Feeny is a New York Times best-selling author of Sometimes I Lie, I Know Who You Are, His & Hers: A Novel and soon she is among many authors of an up and coming historical YA psychological mystery that is yet to be titled.

Sometimes I Lie is narrated by the main character Amber Reynolds and is told
in alternating time frames: Now (in a coma), Then (a week before the coma), and Before (Diary entries when she was a little girl ten years of age). The tale opens with Amber awakening in a coma in the hospital and can hear everyone around her, yet, they don't know. She can't speak, see, or able to move. What is being said Amber cannot believe nor can she remember how she got into this state.

Though she does have an inclination her husband, Paul, had something to do with it because she heard the doctor ask him why his hand is bandaged and how did Amber get those bruises and markings that were not from the accident? His demeanor was restrained on purpose I felt. Yes, it made me do the "Hmm".

Folks, Amber is trying to remember if her husband is having an affair with her sister Claire. Claire is married to David. What kind of accident was she in? Was it an accident or...? Why and what happened at work? Her boss, Madeline—her terrible terrible boss what is up with her? Who in the hell is this person who keeps visiting her while she is in the hospital? Whispering in her ear. Touching her. Who is this person?!

The plot was astounding because it kept getting thicker as the tale went along. Then about 80% in the plot was so thick it really did get confusing—even for the most erudite readers mankind has to offer. Character name changes and twists coming to visit 'left-field' I was intrigued to the point of a grin and a shake of my head on every page. Every page folks ~ until the end, then, my jaw dropped.

I had so many questions rolling around in my head and had no answers being answered. Twisted. So, I kept reading...

Now remember folks, she is a self-proclaimed liar. But, is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth? Nothing is what it seems. And, as you read, you'll find out you have no idea who to trust and who not to trust. I have a feeling as you read along and you start to build trust in one of your characters, well, be prepared. 

The atmosphere during the Before chapters had me going/rooting for Amber when she was young. What I thought was a trademark, when Amber wrote in her diary, she had always numbered three things to surmise her thoughts. Made me think to myself and kept in the back of my mind, "there are always three things". Another, "Hmm". Did it help me try to figure out this tale? Hmm.

The settings were very imaginable, two thumbs up.

The character development stayed linear and I thought that was intentional. Especially for Amber since she portrayed obsessive-compulsive disorder and the secondary characters were nothing more than one-dimensional. Again, thinking that was intentional. Then there is Amber's close friend Jo—she has depth. She's deep.

This read is a mystery that will work your brain and maybe in the end you might want to go back a few chapters to reread them to satisfy the 'What?!' that will hit you. I know a few folks like the simple closure of all the unanswered questions to a mystery in the end, but, this one I enjoyed immensely because it made me think. It made me pause.

There are a few parts in this tale that were not explained, so, I accepted the most logical answer for my brain as the story unfolded. For example, a house was burned to the point of it being uninhabitable, yet, later in the tale, a person was living in that same house.  Okay, the house was rebuilt. Right? Well, of course, Jeff, because a person is living in it and the staircase is there! There were some questions of Amber's ex-boyfriend, Edward, and his tanning bed and that's all I'm going to say on that note for the simple reason authors work hard for twists.

This is a tightly woven compelling twisted read with a couple of unexplained holes folks. The holes were not all that detrimental to the tale as a whole, just to let you know. Hell, just put two and two together. It is a debut and I am not an editor. I'm a reader. The end is left open for a sequel and I wonder if there will be one? If there is, it'll be another smash hit for Ms. Feeny.

Some scenes are sexually graphic so a warning goes out there for you folks that don't care for those scenes in your read. I would suggest skimming those parts for this is a really good mystery not to pass up.

Recommend? Hell, it would be great for discussion that would go 'round & 'round at your Book Club meetings!

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Here's where you can get your fingers on Sometimes I Lie:

Amazon ~ Hardback $7.00 ~ Paperback $7.99 ~ Kindle $9.99 ~ USD

Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $26.99 ~ Paperback $14.99 ~ NOOK $9.99 ~  USD

IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:

Alice Feeny
with her new 2020 release
His & Hers

Connect with Alice

Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent fifteen years at the BBC, where she worked as a reporter, news editor, arts and entertainment producer, 
and One O’clock News Producer.

Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was a New York Times and international bestseller. It has been translated into over twenty languages and is being made into a TV series by Ellen DeGeneres and Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Alice has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside. She writes in her shed with her dog; a giant black Labrador who is scared of feathers.

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Readers, keep your eyes peeled for this:

The following synopsis is yet to be titled ~

Crime reporter Britt Montero gets more than she bargained for when a serial killer picks her as his confidante in the tenth book of an acclaimed mystery series from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Buchanan.

Five years ago, a newly reunited family a Marine, his loving wife, and their baby girl set out on a road trip only to vanish. Their bodies were found two weeks later, gruesomely murdered. Their unrepentant killer was put behind bars and sentenced to death. Shortly before his execution, he reaches out to the only reporter he ever allowed an interview Miami News reporter Britt Montero.

Britt is no longer with the paper and tells the murderer she wants nothing to do with him. But when a book editor from New York asks her to write a book about her crime reporting, Britt mentions her recent correspondence, and the editor persuades her to visit him on Death Row.

Reluctantly pulled back into the fray, Britt is horrified to learn the killer has a few revelations: He had a female partner on the murders. She was never caught, and she remains dangerous, armed, and on the loose. From an author who is a master of her craft, Dead Man's Daughter is an exciting new installment in the Britt Montero mystery series.

Authors include:
(To be confirmed)

Karen M. McManus · Alice Feeney · Alex Michaelides · Genevieve Cogman · Stuart Woods · Claire Douglas · Laura E. Weymouth · Joan He · Charlie Donlea · Robert Bryndza · Megan Miranda · Holly Jackson · A. J. Finn · Meredith Tate · Catherine Steadman

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The Good Girl by Mary Kubica ~ 2014

“I’ve been following her for the past few days.
I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works.
I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared.
But I will.”

Author: Mary Kubica
Publisher: MIRA
Publication: Original edition (July 29, 2014)
Pages: 352
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780778316558
ISBN-13: 978-0778316558
ASIN: 0778316556
Author photographer: Sarah Jastre

5 Stars

This novel was ripped and read from my ever teetering TBR list and so I may be prepared for my conversation with Ms. Kubica

Mary Kubica
Folks who know me, know I love debuts. For me, it's a bit like sticking your toes in the water before jumping in and swimming in the pond. After reading this read, I'd swim in Ms. Kubica's writing for hours on end.

Gratefully, she has a few:

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six novels including The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don't you Cry, Every Last Lie, and When The Lights Go Out and her new release, The Other Mrs.

Her debut, The Good Girl is a page-turner of a kidnapping that did not go according to plan. With only a handful of characters, Ms. Kubica pens such an intriguing tale of mystery, I must warn you, you will not want any interruptions while you are entertained.
Give yourself a couple of minutes, I'll give you a quick synopsis of this read you'll enjoy as much as I ~

Mia Dennett, the neglected daughter of a distinguished Chicago judge, James Dennett, is the victim of the kidnap. This story is told in alternating first-person perspectives, before and after Mia is recovered. Eve Dennett is the mother of the victim, Colin Thatcher is the kidnapper, and Gabe Hoffman is the detective that will get to the bottom of this come Hell or high water.

Mia has a somewhat of a boyfriend who at times keeps to their dates and more often then none doesn't for one reason and the next. One night while Mia is waiting for him and becomes a no show, she meets Colin. The scene that takes place at the bar, Mia feels comfortable enough with Colin to leave with him for a one-night stand.

Later that night, she finds herself being thrown into Colin's truck and instead of being handed over to the man that had hired Colin for the job, they head out of town. Ending up in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, where the emotional psychological roller-coaster starts for Mia. And Colin. And folks, the season is heading toward winter.

Eve and Detective Hoffman are determined to find Mia where Eve's husband, Judge Dennett is pretty much in the background and stays aloof. He has a demeanor of being 'greater than thou' and demanded some questions from the detective not to be bothered with. After all, they are the "perfect" little family and they do have an image to uphold in the eyes of society. Even Mia's older sister, Grace, who was off at college following her daddy's footsteps in the field of law seems not as terrified as one should feel when their sister goes missing.

But then, during this whole read nothing is quite as it seems.

Ms. Kubica's style in writing keeps you close to the characters and taunts the reader's anticipation of trying to figure this mystery out with a flair of penmanship that is sublime. To add to the going back and forth of before and after Mia's recovery, you also have subplots that add some flavor to the mix.

Colin's mother plays a part where I found a liking toward her yet I did have a suspicious eye on after the introduction. There is also a love story going on, actually two love stories, one going sour and another sweetening. And let's not forget the enigmatic man going by the name of Dalmar with the unforgiving black eyes who had hired Colin for the kidnapping. He has his agenda one would think he wants to maintain.
Folks these subplots wrap up nicely too, in the end. Love how your thoughts you still have in the back of your mind when you're nearing the end all get answered.

The characters' growth in this tale is a minimum. I find Eve a bit meek and submissive as with Mia. Gabe's strong character stays linear throughout. Even Colin's character stays pretty much the same other than he grows with inter-monologue thoughts. And this bully, Judge Dennett; he stays a polished arrogant ass.

The atmosphere made the settings radiate off the pages from the characters. With the bitter cold of winter in Minnesota, you could easily imagine what Mia and Colin went through in that secluded cabin. Especially Colin's fight with his inter-monologue. How lonely and distraught Eve was during the whole read and with Gabe, his determination; both personal and professional.

One keynote in this tale I enjoyed was Mia's dialogue - it was next to nil. I thought the three other characters narrating this story did a superb job of communicating with what was going on with Mia. And with the 'before and after' effect in this style of writing, the reader has no worries about what is going on with the victim. None so ever.

As the ending comes to a close, all the loose strings are tied neatly to a nice bow. Secured, and with the epilogue making a safety knot that you won't see coming, you'll close this book and say the same thing I'd said, "Damn, that was a read!" By the way folks, it's not a cliche when it's meant as the real thing.

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I have had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Kubica one evening in late April, via Zoom, answering questions that added depth to this fantastic story of a kidnapping gone awry.

She tells us it all started with an atypical plot. A kidnapping plot that is not actually what it seems, but as she wrote, the characters told her the story, other than the other way around.
Mary had never been an outliner, she would write a chapter, and then it would just take off from that point. She likes the spontaneity of writing. She remembers she had talked with "20 different writers and pretty much they collectively said there is no right or wrong way, you just pick a method that works for you."

One of Mary's biggest challenges in writing The Good Girl was finding the time to write. Her daughter was just a year old and her son was yet to be born. It took her five years to write this novel. Starting early in the day, while her young children were still "sleeping in" she would write. Starting around 5 a.m. with her first cup of coffee, she had the freedom to bring a new life into this world - The Good Girl.

Another one of her challenges was keeping this novel a secret. Other than to her husband, she wanted to keep it a secret from her family and friends until it was actually published.
That in my opinion folks would be daunting in and of itself. But, after 70 or so rejections from her queries, she could excitedly announce to her family, "Look what happened!"

Mary had chosen to write The Good Girl in three different segments, merging them all together upon completion: Eve and Gabe in the Before chapters, Eve and Gabe After, and finally, Colin Before. Telling a story altogether different than the individual parts.

Ms. Kubica wanted to become a writer at an early age of around eight or ten years old and then around the age of twelve, she and her cousin Carrie had a sleepover at their grandparents' house, where Carrie produced her first manuscript for Mary to read, and she remembers "holding the crisp computer paper (the continuous feed paper with perforated edges) and thinking: this is where books come from." It was then she knew she wanted to become a writer.  In the months ahead she would steal away with the family's typewriter to her bedroom to write in private.

However, writing was more of a dream or hobby and less of a career.  Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. Although she loves teaching, she is now a former high school history teacher.

As I read The Good Girl there were some off the wall questions that rolled through my curiosities as a reader. As Mia and Colin were at the secluded cabin in Minnesota, does Mary camp? Since Mia was a talented artist, does Mary draw? Was there a different title she started out with? She smiled with the first question and told of how she remembered one night while she and her family camped, a rainstorm came and their tent collapsed in the middle of the night (and it was her last night camping) and with her knack for drawing, yes she does, but, not very good.

To the question of a different title, yes. At first, the novel was going to be called Migration. Once she had an editor, "the editor made it very clear that was a terrible title." Once all the edits were done they had put their heads together and came up with a handful of titles. The Good Girl, The Good Daughter, The Perfect Daughter. They were all pretty much similar. When they had talked with marketers and all collectively voted, The Good Girl won. This book came out about two years after Gone Girl and Gone Girl was hugely popular. She voiced herself with some concern with the similarity with Gone Girl. But she remembers someone had said by the time this novel comes out, everyone would have forgotten about Gone Girl. Still, she had voiced that Gone Girl was "soooo huge", she thought that Gone Girl will never go away. (by the way, folks, Gone Girl and The Good Girl are very different reads)

There were many parts with this Zoom meeting I cannot talk about for the sole reason I will not give away any of the twists nor the ending, but, it was enlightening for me to hear 'behind the scenes footage' of how these twists and this book became to be. For example, who the kidnapper was actually going to be and then not. Mia was going to be one of the main narrators, but...
With the character Colin, how she became closer to that character as she wrote and then...
Ms. Kubica states she has a very close relationship with her characters. Taking ordinary characters and putting them in not so ordinary situations.

And, she loves book clubs with all the input from the readers. I totally agree, because just as Edmund Wilson had stated: No two persons ever read the same book.

With all novels, there is one part I find folks hardly ever talk or ask about: the dedication. The Good Girl is dedicated - For A & A ~ I had an inclination A & A stood for her children. She smiled brightly and confirmed my gut feeling.


Mary, on behalf of the Madison Public Library and myself, I would like to thank you for your time. Such a great great time with you. I enjoyed myself immensely with the smiles and all the laughs. I wish you all the best with your writing career.

~ Folks, if you want a read to kidnap you from your daily doldrums of reality, you've come upon it. Highly recommended read. 

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Here's where you can get your fingers on The Good Girl:
  • Amazon ~ Hardback $15.59 ~ Paperback $10.94  ~ Kindle $7.99 ~ USD
  • Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $24.95 ~ Paperback $15.95 ~ NOOK $7.95 ~  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:

Connect with Mary

Mary Kubica is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including THE GOOD GIRL and her new release, THE OTHER MRS. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature.

Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL was an Indie Next pick in August of 2014, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel, and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014. Mary’s novels have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide.

She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children.

Read an excerpt from The Good Girl
on Mary Kubica's site

by Mary Kubica on Goodreads

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Spirits by Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel ~ 2019

A hauntingly delicious horror ride

Author: Sheri Sabastian-Gabriel
Publisher: Haverhill House Publications LLC
Publication: July 22, 2019
Pages: 213
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1949140083
ISBN-13: 978-1949140088
Cover illustration & design: Dyer Wilk

4 Stars

Without my stack collapsing, this was ripped from my TBR list ~

Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel
Victoria Garrett, is also known as Tori throughout the tale, is a young woman not being able to live with the fact she hit and killed a teenaged girl, Lexi Perez, with her car. Turning to the legal medicinal liquid to quell her pain, liquor, she quickly spirals downhill and her life becomes a weekend read that will envelop you fighting for the protagonist.

Becoming a self-induced souse, Tori loses her prestigious VP job, and not wanting to listen to all the gossip from her 'so-called' friends at work, she decides to get away from it all. To a memorable place from her childhood, Cape May, New Jersey.

But, before she goes, there has been a stalker stalking her for over a year. And, this stalker she knows all too well. The mother of the child she killed, Carla Perez. She's been watching Tori, seeing what her life became after the so-called 'accident' and it was plain to see Tori was drinking to excess. Why? Carla ran a few ideas through her head, but still, those reasons still didn't add up to equal justice in her child's name. Carla comes face to face with Tori one night in a lounge, "My daughter died, and you walk free, living life like nothing ever happened. ... "I ought to beat the living shit out of you," Carla growled.

Carla Perez had other plans, she went to see Miss Tanuja. A West Indian lady living in the inner city. Miss Tanuja asks what she needs and after a moment, "Revenge.", Carla wants revenge against that bitch who took her baby from her. Miss Tanuja asks Carla if she is familiar with bhoot. A Spirit. Soul. Ghost. Yes, ghost. After instructing Carla on how this bhoot could terrorize and haunt and letting her know of its limitations, Carla took herself on a mission.

Now, Tori believes she can get her life back on track and continue life in a some-what respectable way in Cape May. It is during the off-season for the tourists and some elbow space is what the doctor in her has ordered.

She arrives and spots a B&B called the Seaside House. It is run by a motherly older lady by the name of Amelia Warren. Now, Amelia came across to me as a fragile little old thing and (no spoiler here) has a backbone. And a strong bone that is and more than likely a foot that will kick you straight from where you came from if ever you cross her path. I personally like people like her.

Amelia is lonely and she is heartbroken after the death of her husband from the Big C, cancer. Tori asks if she was taking anyone in and after the two of them settle on a price, Tori lugs her one piece of luggage inside. Now, it's off-season, and not too many folks are around and Amelia is thinking she can become friends with Tori. She quickly finds herself with a loose cannon. Tori is losing all sense of reality as she immerses herself deeper and deeper into her drinking habits.

This tale is filled with demons you see being so damn drunk all the time. Some real, some not so real ... or are they? Tori finds herself surrounded. And it's driving her mad. I personally could see Carla smirking in the background. Wait a minute, is it Carla or is it Tori's reality?

Read on reader ~

Spirits has a handful of characters that play well together in the story-line. One, in particular, is a gentleman running a comic shop by the name of Chris Silver, a.k.a. QuickSilver. He has this innate desire to right the wrong he sees during his trek in life and it gets explained why in a heartfelt way. He becomes a favorite character for me during this read. It is the most upstanding way of how Chris and Tori meet for the first time. Years later, their paths cross again and Chris believes he can save her from the Hell she is putting upon herself.

The sub-plots work nicely within the story folks. Also, with all the characters adding for a fullness, you can rest assured the settings and atmosphere narrative are there in the read. The theme of this tale Ms. Sebastian-Gabriel nails it, as I have seen some inebriates demonstrate. So, I believe she is spot on.

This tale is more than a ghost story folks. It is a tale of a surreal look at addiction and how one is coping with guilt. What was very well done, it is written with, I believe, an intentional sense of getting close to the reader's emotions and feelings. Seamlessly, you are wrapped in some parts of the story of what Tori is going through. Kudos on those notes.

The ending leaves me to believe there is another story with a certain character. And with the MC, Tori, I don't know how to say what I believe without giving the ending away. So, I'll just put a cork in it and let it ferment with you all.

So now the big question, would I recommend it? Well, folks, 2019 was a good year ~

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Here's where you can get your fingers on Spirits:
  • Amazon ~ Hardback $24.99 ~ Paperback $16.95 ~ Kindle Unlimited $0.00 ~ USD
  • Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $27.95 ~ NOOK $7.99 ~  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:

Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel

Connect with Sheri

Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel's fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies over the past decade. Her debut novel Spirits was released in July 2019 from Haverhill House Publishing. She lives in the Northeast with her partner, the writer Matt Bechtel; her three children; and an 80-pound lapdog named Nya

Folks, enjoy my interview with Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel

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The Dystopian States of AMERICA by Matt Bechtel ~ 2020

You may be repelled, you may be shocked,
you will certainly be horrified, but,
you will read every last word.

This is NOT our future

Editor: Matt Bechtel
Publisher: Haverhill House Publications LLC
Publication: February 28, 2020
Pages: 396
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1949140199
ISBN-13: 978-1949140194
Cover Design and Interior Artwork: Matt Bechtel
Introduction: Christopher Golden

50 United Stars

Matt Bechtel
After a quite frank and open voice of an introduction from New York Times best-selling author Christopher Golden, comes a slew of authors voicing surreal tales of current disturbing times.

Each tale is peppered with a personalized voice from each contributing author.  These are many independent authors I have heard of from all over the social media outlets and was eager to read some of their handy-work.  And, now is prompting me to pick up some of their tales.

Many of these tales throughout this collection of short stories had me shaking my head and grinning.  Many of them left me realizing just how truthful these stories are - without the fictional demented imaginations from the author's story-telling of course.  What else are many of them made me angry.  Angry to a realization that we have many in office directing us into an oblivion course of mayhem and some cases to extinction, because - simply put - they are clueless.
Just as this person who is currently running for the United States Senate did not know the Federal Reserve is a different entity from the government!  This person is running for the Senate folks!  A straight-up fact.

Christopher Golden
Tale after tale, this anthology will wake you.  The authors each took a topic/subject of a newsworthy item and told you an amazing twisted fictional tale, only when you get done reading it, you'll reflect that that is actually what the hell is going on.  It is only peppered with their take on how to incorporate fiction to get their point across to readers.

Folks, if your into horror and tales from another dimension and are hep to the reality of our current worldly affairs, this anthology is a must-read.  It will break up the pang of the doldrums you are faced with on a daily basis, if not on an hourly basis.   You will see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel of what we need to decipher from which is a true fact and from what is not.  For the sole reason, what you will possess in your attitude after you read each of these tales.

Remember the times when we heard the news from the governments of the world and we would, for ourselves, opine what we will decide?  Times have changed and now are forced to hear what the governments decide is the truth, and sadly for many, for their own personal gain - instead of for the people. Your neighbor, your friend, your loved one.

Ah, the dystopian states we live in.  Yet, this is not our future.  The future is not as bleak as it looks from these current times.  Rest assured folks.  Rest yourselves with that assurity, because, you have a voice.  Give a fuck - same as these fantastic authors I have read are doing.  Use your voice.

Recommend? -  Yes, I highly recommend these not so fictional tales ~

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All proceeds from The Dystopian States of AMERICA will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation, donations to which fund the ACLU’s litigation and public education efforts. As such, all contributing authors have donated their work to this anthology without payment.

Here's where you can get your fingers on The Dystopian States of AMERICA: A Charity Anthology Benefiting the ACLU Foundation
  • Amazon ~ Paperback $19.95 ~ USD

The contributing authors:

Passage of Life: Stage 1 — Underground by Abby Bechtel • No One Who Runs is Innocent by Bracken MacLeod • Artificial Unintelligence by Linda D. Addison • Fake News by Tony Tremblay • Frontrunners by John M. McIlveen • Carving Out the Other by William D. Carl • The New Corbridge Free State by Dana Cameron • What You Need by Hillary Monahan • Abbatoir Blues by James A. Moore • Pigs by GD Dearborn • Divided We Fell by Hildy Silverman • Before I Formed You In The Womb I Knew You by Michael Rowe • For Want of Blue Eyes by Stephen Lomer • Antibodies by Justine Graykin • Blue & Red by Wrath James White • The Rules Are Different Here by Nadia Bulkin • Abandonment Option by Lucy A. Snyder • Close Your Eyes in Peace Tonight by Craig Wolf • Passage of Life: Stage 2 — Exiting by Abby Bechtel • Deep, Dark by Jonathan Maberry • the revolution will be in color by doungjai gam • Heart of ICE by Jeff Deck • African Twilight by Michelle Renee Lane • Xenophobia by Billy Martin • How All This Ends by Brad J. Boucher • The Twenty-Second by C.M. Franklyn • On a Dusty Trail by Cat Scully • Six Plus Four by Matt Bechtel • Scarves by Elizabeth Massie • The Sick House by Josh Waterman • Enemy of the People by Dan Foley • Abortion Diary by KL Pereira • Drive by Tim Lebbon • The Night Listener by Chet Williamson • We All Live Under the Sun by Errick A. Nunnally • Revolt by Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel • Passage of Life: Stage 3 — Molting by Abby Bechtel

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