Ravaged (The Hunger #3), by Jason Brant


A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon:

Welcome to the mountains of Pennsylvania, one of the last vestiges of the human race.

Lance York, a self-described loser in another life, has rediscovered himself in the midst of the apocalypse. Along with a cadre of other survivors, including the hardened, sexy Cass, Lance has taken refuge in a compound, struggling to survive the onslaught of monstrosities descending upon them each night.

The horrors that have devoured mankind are changing, their minds rebooting like a computer. Intelligence, the lone advantage of the humans, is returning to the infected. They ravage the compound with calculated, precise strikes, chiseling away at the defenses Lance and his friends have erected.

With the help of new ally, Major Frank Colt, the flickering flame of the old world must fight to stave off the extinguishing tidal wave of the new one.

My take:

I was lucky enough to be chosen to beta read this book by the author.  This is the third book in The Hunger series, and I didn’t think he could top book two.  Book two was a fast-paced Hell ride through an apocalyptic nightmare.  I was wrong.  Book three blew me away and had me thinking of the book when I had to put it down and walk away and deal with real life.  I desperately wanted to lock myself away from everyone and read this book in one sitting.

The “Vladdies” as they’re referred to in the book are changing yet again.  They’re becoming more than just killing and eating machines, they’re thinking and communicating with each other.  Lance, Cass, Eifort, Doc Brown and the rest of the bunch found safety in the second book, but their safe haven became more of a trap once the Vladdies started planning ways to breach the security measures.  A rouge but small band of “military” also moves in to complicate things.  Making matters even worse, Cass is pregnant, making Lance’s need to protect her even stronger.

This book had non stop action, from beginning to end.  I barely had time to catch my breath before being dragged into the next crisis.  This is definitely a book for those who hate filler fluff, as there is absolutely none in this entire series.  I held my breath one minute, and laughed the next.  I was terrified to read the next page, and even cried a little at the end.

My fiance, who doesn’t read at all, paid rapt attention to my narration of this entire series as I’ve read it so far and insists that Jason needs to find a way to make these books into a movie.  I usually balk at those comments, but I tend to agree with him on this one.  I’d love to watch this and the last two books as movies… as long as:

1. Jason writes, directs, produces and casts said movie
2.  It’s a huge epic movie leaving absolutely NOTHING out.

I give this book 5 heart pounding stars out of 5

Dark Playgrounds By Benjamin Daniels


Buy on Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Playgrounds-Benjamin-Daniels-ebook/dp/B00IAR44I4/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

A Review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from the Amazon website:

Have you ever believed that your life is too hard?
Ever think that it is impossible for anything horrible in this world to happento you?
It’s always a friend of a friend, someone you don’t know, whose tale is dark and dismal,
a tale about wild and wonder that you just can’t believe.
There is always a story to tell, but this is one that must be told.
It is a tale filled with heartbreak, lost hope, and shattered dreams.
This is the story about the life of a small but happy boy,
who must learn the lessons of life well before his time. When reality turns to nightmares
and nightmares than become reality, he had to learn to survive. Everything is always by choice,
but this is the hand that life has dealt him. Always having to pick the lesser of two evils.
This path is dark but one that has an ending by choice. Follow the trials
and tribulations of one man as he grows and, ultimately you will find him, and
maybe then you will understand why he lives in his Dark Playgrounds.

My take:

This book is a wake up call. A true story of a life affected by choices made by the author and circumstances beyond his control. It is a story that everyone should read, of love and loss, of childhood hurt, teenage angst, and adult anger and loss. A story of a man who maybe trusted the wrong people and made a few decisions that weren’t in his best interest, but impacted his entire world. A story of friends gone too soon, and a child whose father just wanted to be an involved parent.

I have walked a lot of the same path the author has myself, and this book hit me hard in the heart. I have felt the hurt, the resentment, the anger, the fear, and I have wanted to end it all. I’m glad I didn’t, and I’m glad the author didn’t either. Every parent should read this book, and I believe every teenager should, too. I think  sometimes focus too much on day to day struggles and lose sight of what their children are going through. I also think teens sometimes forget that an impulse decision they make may alter or even end their lives completely.

Another wonderful aspect of this book is that ALL proceeds from the purchase of this book are going to The Yellow Ribbon Suicide prevention foundation. You can find their page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yellow-Ribbon-Suicide-Prevention-Save-A-Life/345052469216

This book hit me on such a personal level that I have to give it 5 out of 5 stars!



Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection

Visualize a world where space travel by the common man is as normal as getting on a plane, life has been discovered on other planets, humans travel light years to find their soul mates, technology exists along the lines that we have only imagined, and a passport will take you anywhere.

Your task for this anthology is to tell a story of adventure and love in a fantastical world. Use your imagination and come up with the futuristic aspects. Make believe a world that will wow us and have us wishing we could live there. Show us that, in a vast universe, love has no boundaries, and that worlds are just waiting to be discovered…

This is an adult anthology, so some light sex and intimate situations will be likely.  But sexually disturbing scenes and those sensitive in nature will not be accepted (we have a right to refuse anything we deem inappropriate).

This time there will only be TEN stories chosen.  Each submission will be provided to the judges without title or author information and will be chosen blindly based on story alone.


Submission Guidelines

Please look over the submission guidelines below and make sure that your story is formatted according to the specifications. Stories submitted that do not follow the guidelines will not be considered for the anthology.

  1. WORD COUNT: at least 5,000 but not to exceed 12,000 words.
    1. Document: Microsoft Word Document (doc/docx) is the ONLY file type accepted
    2. Font: Times New Roman
    3. Paragraph indentations: 0.5” (page layout > first line indent) *Please DO NOT use tabs or spaces*
    4. Margins: Normal margin settings (click on page layout > margins > normal)
    5. DEADLINE: Contest runs from January 1 – February 1.  All entries must be turned in on or before February 1st.  No exceptions.
    6. CONTRACT & COMPENSATION: You must sign a contract if you are chosen to be in the anthology.  Due to the adult nature, no participants under the age of 18 will be accepted.  There is no monetary compensation. The winners will receive one paperback and eBook copies, plus lots of great exposure!
    7. LIKE US: You must be following Cynthia Shepp’s Facebook because that is where all the contest details and announcements will take place.
    8. SUBMISSIONS: Please send all submissions to anthologies@indiestylepress.com with the following information:
      1. SUBJECT: Stardust
      2. FILE: Your story attached using the guidelines above (please make sure your story title is included in the file)
      3. BIO: A brief bio up to 100 words
      4. DEDICATION: A brief dedication up to 50 words
      5. SOCIAL LINKS: Two social links you wish to share (example: website/blog and Facebook links)
      6. BOOK LINK: The ASIN number of one of your published books you wish to link to on Amazon
      7. CONTACT INFORMATION: (this is for private use and will not be shared with the public) email, full legal name, pen name, mailing address



Ash by Jason Brant



A review by Terri Kinckner

Synopsis from Amazon:  

Some things should remain a secret.

My name is Asher Benson, and I can read your mind. Sounds great, right? It’s a nightmare. Every skeleton in your closet, every condescending thought flitting through your head, blares in my mind like a foghorn when you get close to me. I’ve been living in relative solitude for half a decade, scraping by with copious amounts of alcohol and self-loathing.

This morning was like any other, until a senator shot himself on live television and an entire floor of government analysts committed mass suicide. That was the rough start of a horrible day.

Now, I’m on the run with my only friend, an old Army buddy-turned-detective, as cops, spies, and a mind-controlling terrorist chase us through Baltimore’s violent streets. The government discovered my secret, and they’re upending Heaven and Hell to take me out. 

My take:

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I honestly loved it!  I read the original novella, Echos, a long time ago and enjoyed it tremendously, but thought there could have been so much more to Asher Benson.  I was hoping for a sequel, but this is so much better!  I really got to know Ash better in this book, and his “friends” in this story are completely original and wonderful characters!

Ash is a horribly flawed person, though not through any fault of his own.   He’s an alcoholic who lives in squalor, and barely gets by on his disability check.  After suffering an injury in Afghanistan, he awakes to the realization he can hear people’s thoughts.  All of them.  Alcohol and isolation helps him to drown them out and numb himself.  A routine beer run changed his life when he walked past a bank and heard the terrified thoughts of the bank patrons as the bank was being robbed.  He stepped into the bank and his world turned on its axis.

Government corruption, espionage, a mass-murdering psychic, and a whole lot of action make up this book.  It was incredibly well written and had me on the edge of my seat (literally).  The thing I love the most about Jason Brants book is that his characters always make me laugh, even in the worst situations.  This book is no different.  The characters are completely different, yet meld together perfectly to create a comedic masterpiece in the midst of complete terror.  That’s the only way I can think to describe them.  Brilliant!

I am really hoping to see more of Asher Benson and his interesting group of friends, and the ending of this book seems to leave that possibility open.  I have my fingers crossed for many sequels!

I give this book 5 stars out of 5!

Consumed (The Hunger #2) by Jason Brant



A review by:  Terri Kinckner

(I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest, unbiased review)

Wow.  Where do I begin?  This book takes off exactly where Devoured (book 1) ends.  This is not really a stand alone, so I recommend that you read the first in the series before this one.  Actually, the awesomeness of this book doubles when you read Jason’s short story, Lotion, that was in Cynthia Shepp’s Apocalypse Anthology.  Lotion was the story that started this entire series, introduced us to this world, and to a couple of the characters.  This latest installment in this series does not disappoint!

The action was intense and pretty much nonstop throughout the book.  That’s not the only great thing about this story.  This book is well-balanced.  What I mean by this is that the characters are written beautifully and grow through the story, the action is intense, the horror is vividly real, and there is just enough humor and even the occasional “Awww” moment to keep the scary stuff from overwhelming the reader.  This book has it all!

When this book starts off, Lance and Cass, Eifort and Dr. Emmett Brown (haha), are living on the Duchess, a boat, in the middle of the Allegheny River to avoid the victims of the Xavier virus.  These vampire-like once humans have taken over the night and have infected or eaten the majority of the population.  When their boat is destroyed, they have to move on and find another safe place to hide out from the monsters.

To make matters worse, a militia-like group of survivalists headed by a psychopath named Ralph are on a mission to wipe them out, too, thanks to Lance unwittingly angering Ralph in a restaurant in the previous book.  This just adds to the horror, as the group of four can’t seem to avoid one nightmare encounter after another.

There are several moments of hilarity in this book.  The banter between Lance and Cass had me laughing even through the scary moments, the Doc Brown and Back To the Future references and jokes made this geek giggle, and the daily ham radio reports from the Wild Man of Monroeville.  The Wild Man seemed to know exactly what was going on in the Pittsburgh area from his seemingly impenetrable hidden location, and his descriptions of the people and events had me literally laughing out loud.

There are some serious developments in this book that I didn’t see coming, and wow… that’s all I can say about that without giving away spoilers.  The end of the book had the stories coming full circle, with characters from the short story Lotion making their appearance, and the ending really threw me for a loop!  I didn’t want to put this book down, and re-read several sections after I finished because I simply was not ready to be done with these wonderful characters in this frightening but realistic world!


I give this book 5 stars out of 5!

Grownups Must Die, by D.F. Noble



A review by Terri Kinckner


I love when I’m reading a book and I forget that I’m reading. This book did that! I was both horrified and intrigued the entire time I was reading. This is definitely worth reading if you like horror.

Imagine a world where grown ups have gone insane. This is what happened to Jake, Dean and Alex. All three boys were struggling with personal issues. Jake’s father was deployed overseas and his mother was abusing prescription pills and sleeping around on his dad. To make matters worse, his best friend, Ronnie, was killed by a neighborhood thug. Dean was dealing with an abusive stepfather and a mother who was too weak to protect her son. Alex was a bit of a nerd and never really fit in with other black kids, or any of the kids at school. The three found friendship in each other and it’s a good thing, because they really needed each other when their world turned upside down.

The day after a signal from outer space was heard, electronic devices started going haywire. The static sound transformed adults into absolute monsters. They tore their own eyes out and attacked their own children. After saving a group of kids on the school bus from the deranged driver, Jake headed back to school to look for Dean and Alex, both of whom were still at school. Meanwhile, Dean had managed to save several kids in his detention and rescued Alex from the library. Jake came to the rescue in town, where Dean and Alex were being attacked by the grownups.

This book had me repeating to myself in my head “this is only fiction” the entire time. The author did a wonderful job creating these middle school characters. This is NOT a book for children, though! The absolute nightmare world they now faced would drive most adults insane. The action in this book was intense and graphic… a perfect combination! The great thing about D.F. Noble’s books is that even with all of the terror, there is always some humor. This is also true with this book. I found myself terrified one minute and laughing the next!

I give this book 5 terrifying stars out of 5!

Shine Not Burn, by Elle Casey



A review by:  Terri Kinckner

I will start out by saying that yes, Elle Casey is my favorite author. She writes amazing YA books and although I’m almost 40 years old, I will buy and devour each book the day it is released. That being said, I usually HATE romance books! I’m not sure why, except that maybe they gave me unrealistic expectations of what love was when I read them as a teenager. I now know that romance novel-type love is possible (although not nearly as perfect), but I still can’t bring myself to read romances…until now.

Elle has a knack for creating strong female characters with just enough flaws to make them endearing and believable. Andie is no exception! I loved her from the very start! I could relate with her childhood, and I even understood her need to create a life plan and stick to the script. I was absolutely shocked when she went to Las Vegas and threw that plan out of the window, if only for one night. I actually high-fived my kindle for that one! Of course, if I ever came across a Mack in real life, I’d certainly put my life plan on hold, too!

Speaking of Mack… I just ignored the last three letters of his name and named him Mmmm. It fits! I love nothing more than a sweet, honest and HOT country boy (I’ve got one myself). Mack is the kind of man that loves completely, hurts deeply, and knows exactly what he’s doing under the sheets. For a country boy, he’s also well-educated, which surprised Andie. The personalities of these two characters fit each other like a glove! It was a perfect balance of strengths and weaknesses.

I absolutely adored Mack’s family. I wanted to find them and invite myself to dinner! The love in that household, and the way Maeve kept all of those men in line and managed to do it so gracefully, made me smile. Even Boog, the “man bear pig” brought a smile to my face. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, just because Elle wrote a romance book does NOT mean that she isn’t going to fill it with her wonderful colorful banter and unique expression. This book has Elle written all over it and there were moments that had me laughing out loud, grabbing for tissues and sobbing, and even fanning myself while debating whether I should put the book on hold and go spend time with my “Mack” or not.

I read this book in almost one setting. I would have, had I not brought a bottle of wine out to my deck with me to read under the stars. That book was distracting… I kept refilling that glass until the bottle was empty! Although I usually am not a fan of romances, I will not hesitate to read more of this genre…as long as Elle writes it!

I give this book 5 holy hot wow stars out of 5!