Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz #BookReview #BlogTour (@JonathanJanz) @flametreepress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WolfLand #horror

Wolf Land Cover

Aside from a quaint amusement park, the small town of Lakeview offers little excitement for Duane, Savannah, and their friends. They’re about to endure their ten-year high school reunion when their lives are shattered by the arrival of an ancient, vengeful evil.

The werewolf. 

The first attack leaves seven dead and four wounded. And though the beast remains on the loose and eager to spill more blood, the sleepy resort town is about to face an even greater terror. Because the four victims of the werewolf’s fury are changing. They’re experiencing unholy desires and unimaginable cravings. They’ll prey on the innocent and the depraved. They’ll settle old scores and act on their basest desires. Soon, they’ll plunge the entire town into nightmare. 

Lakeview is about to become Wolf Land.    

Delighted to be taking part in my third blog tour of the week for the fabulous Flame Tree Press, and this one is for Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz. My thanks again to Anne Cater for giving me a place on the tour and to the publisher for my proof copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Firstly, I must apologise for the lateness in posting this review today, events have overtaken me and I lost control of the timetable. I know we all have days like this so I hope you can forgive me. Now about the book…

Wow, what a read this is. I have never read anything by this author before, not being a huge reader of horror, but I have heard my fellow bloggers praising him as being an exciting voice in the genre and now I can see why. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like this book before.

It might seem like a fairly straight forward premise, werewolf terrorises small town and turns a few people, but the story is way, way more complex and involved than that. Far from being a very basic horror story, it explores the basest nature of what drives us as human beings, our really, primordial desires and what would happen if we were stripped back to our most powerful instincts. Lots of food for thought.

In addition, Jonathan’s writing is very lyrical and descriptive, almost poetic in places, which is not something I expect particularly from horror, unless I am reading Stephen King who excites me as much with the beauty of his prose as the thrill of his stories, but I think this author may well match up to Mr King in this regard. There were phrases and images that really stood out to me from the writing as beautiful and insightful and something I wanted to savour for the pleasure of his use of language. This may well be me showing a certain literary snobbery towards horror that is underserved, and I apologise if this is an unwitting prejudice I have been harbouring as this book has proven that it is baseless.

That being said I must also point out that this in no way detracts from the fact that this is a full on horror story, without a shadow of a doubt. The author goes all out with the graphic gore, vividly and eloquently described. The violence is visceral and leaps of the page, grabbing you around the throat and shaking you for attention. In fact, the horror is made even more horrifying by the beauty and power of the prose, not less so. This really is not a book for anyone who is squeamish at all, so be warned. Die hard horror fans will absolutely love it.

I found the story compelling and fascinating and I was thoroughly absorbed and hooked by the story to a degree which again surprised me. I thought the juxtaposition of the horror against the innocence of the funfair was inspired; the whole thing just worked really well. Great characters, great plot. This is a dense read though, it took me a while to get through it in a way that really allowed me to savour everything about it, this is no insubstantial horror snack of a book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with a strong stomach, a love of language and someone looking for really great quality horror.

Wolf Land is out now and you can get a copy here.

Please do follow the rest of the tour for some alternative views of the book from my wonderful fellow bloggers:

Wolf Land Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. 

His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal. 

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. 

Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. 

Connect with Jonathan:

Newsletter: Newsletter Sign Up

Facebook: Jonathan Janz

Twitter: @JonathanJanz

Instagram: @jonathan.janz

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Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk #BookReview #BlogTour (@Brain_Kirk) @flametreepress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WillHauntYou

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Today I am delighted to be taking part on the blog tour for Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Flame Tree Press for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Will Haunt You Cover

You don’t read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror.

Jesse Wheeler―former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead―was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean.

But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real―and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past.

Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare. The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end.

That’s when the evil comes for you.

I don’t read a lot of horror, it’s not really my favourite genre, so I may not be best qualified to advise horror aficionados on how this compares to the best of the best. However, every now and again I do enjoy a bit of scary literature , Stephen King being a particular favourite, so I’ll do my best to review this book based on what I, as an occasional horror reader, thought of it.

The book starts out with a clever premise. If you read the book, you are going to be in all sorts of trouble. Of course, none of us believe that, do we? And human nature being the contrary way it is, we are always going to be more inclined to do something we’ve been told not to do, so read on we do. But a tiny part of us might just we wondering, what if this were real? That’s the genius hook. This is what the protagonist, Jesse, has done, before the start of the book. And then he finds himself in all kinds of said trouble, of course.

This book works on the basis that the person behind the book takes control of us once we have read it and then forces us to take part in a sinister game, culminating in us having to write another version of the book. Every person’s story and experience will be different, so every person’s book will be different and as soon as you start reading, there is no going back. Your version of the story will be different to Jessie’s but, once you have read what happens to him, you will be worried about what awaits you. It is a clever mind trip for sure.

This book is a mix of psychological, supernatural and horror and it really messes with your head. It is really hard to tell what is real and what isn’t, and the author does a great job of putting the reader in Jessie’s shoes (because, you know, now you have started reading, this is coming for you too!) and making you feel the confusion, disorientation and horror that he feels. The writing is very vivid, and very graphic. This author has a very twisted mind, which I am sure is considered an asset in the horror world!

I’ve never taken drugs, but I imagine this book reads like an extremely bad acid trip. It certainly scared me, I had a disturbed night’s sleep when I finished reading it and I’m still not managed to wrap my brain around everything that happened, particularly the ending. The book starts out fairly straight forwardly but gets more and more bizarre and nightmarish as you go through until you won’t know which way is up by the end. I’m sure fans of the Saw films would really enjoy the book, it has a similar vibe.

I’ve read horror books before that have really disturbed me greatly, to the point at which I wish I had not picked them up. Whilst being deeply unsettling, this book did not cross the line for me and I would feel safe recommending it to occasional horror readers such as myself, as well as anyone who really enjoys the genre.

Will Haunt You is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, please check out the tour poster below:

Will Haunt You Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Brian Kirk Author Picture

Brian Kirk is an author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, We Are Monsters, was released in July 2015 and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.

His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies. Most recently, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, where his work appears alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors, and received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year compilation.

During the day, Brian works as a freelance marketing and creative consultant. His experience working on large, integrated advertising campaigns for international companies has helped him build an effective author platform, and makes him a strong marketing ally for his publishing partners. In addition, Brian has an eye for emerging media trends and an ability to integrate storytelling into new technologies and platforms.

While he’s worked to make this bio sound as impressive as possible, he’s actually a rather humble guy who believes in hard work and big dreams. Feel free to connect with him through one of the following channels. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.

Connect with Brian:

Website: http://briankirkblog.com

Twitter: @Brian_Kirk

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Tempted by….Being Anne: Help The Witch by Tom Cox @cox_tom @Williams13Anne @unbounders #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #HelpTheWitch

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Inspired by our native landscapes, saturated by the shadows beneath trees and behind doors, listening to the run of water and half-heard voices, Tom Cox s first collection of short stories is a series of evocative and unsettling trips into worlds previously visited by the likes of M. R. James and E. F. Benson.

Railway tunnels, the lanes and hills of the Peak District, family homes, old stones, shreds fluttering on barbed wire, night drawing in, something that might be an animal shifting on the other side of a hedge: Tom has drawn on his life-long love of weird fiction, folklore and nature s unregarded corners to write a collection of stories that will delight fans old and new, and leave them very uneasy about turning the reading lamp off.

I know this is usually a Monday feature but yesterday was impossible so I’m sharing it today instead. Surprise! A change is as good as a rest, they say, and I’m relaxing into the Christmas holidays.

Anyway, today on Tempted by…. I have Help The Witch by Tom Cox and the review which inspired me to buy it was this one written by Anne Williams on her blog, Being Anne. Anne is a hugely respected and inspirational book blogger, who also talks quite openly about things going on in her life in general so you really feel like you get to know her through her blog. I have been lucky enough to meet her in person and she is as lovely as she comes across on the blog. her reviews are always very detailed and honest about what works in a book and what doesn’t, so I completely trust them. No flannel here!

This was the main draw of the review for me, the pulling out of the positives and the negatives; the emphasis on what worked for her and what didn’t; the quirkiness of the stories. I do like a short story collection that you can dip in and out of when you are short on time or don’t have the brain space to embark on a longer literary journey and these sound like something out of the ordinary. I’m very drawn to something a bit different, although I’m not sure I will read them late at night while I am on my own! This book was published by Unbounders and I have found that their unique publishing model have produced some very diverse and interesting books this year, including some of my favourite reads, so I am looking forward to dipping in to this over Christmas.

If, after reading Anne’s review, you would like to get your own copy of this book, you can buy it here. And please do visit Anne’s wonderful blog, Being Anne, and get to know her, I know you’ll love her too.

 

Tempted by….Zooloo’s Book Diary: Cotton Tale by E. C. Fisher @ECFisherAuthor @zooloo2008 #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #CottonTale

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A private jet violently crash-lands on a deserted island. Captain Newton and his stewardess Rebecca are reluctantly forced to band together with the Vanderbach family as a means of survival.

They soon discover the island holds a dark secret the mainland has kept hidden since the 70s. Something monstrous was genetically engineered nearly forty years ago that even nature couldn’t destroy. Now it stalks the group as they venture further into the jungle in search of rescue and escape.

Can the group of misfit survivors manage to work together to find a way off the island? As the tension, suspense, and horror rise, they realize time is not on their side … the ravenous creations are drawing closer, and their appetite is insatiable.

Two firsts on the Tempted by…. feature today, as this is the first time I have featured an e-book purchase and also the first time I have included a novella rather than a full-length novel, so well done for standing out from the crowd, Zoe! Today I have Cotton Tale, a short horror story by E. C. Fisher.

This book was brought to my awareness by this review by the lovely Zoe over on her blog, Zooloos’ Book Diary. When one of your favourite bloggers starts a review with ‘Holy Mother of OMFG!’, it makes me think that this might be a story I want to pick up and take a look at. When I read the blurb, it sounded like it might be a cross between Lost and Stephen King’s Langoliers and Zoe obviously really enjoyed it, so I didn’t think I had much to lose for the cost of a short e-book. I don’t read enough horror, and this should be a quick one so I am looking forward to squeezing it in to a free hour. After reading Zoe’s review, I don’t think I will read it at bedtime when I’m on my own though!

For those of you who have not come across Zoe or her blog before, you must check her out, I promise you will absolutely adore her. She is always so enthusiastic about what she reads, and books in general, and she is an absolute dynamo with her content; there is always something new and fun and interesting to see on her blog. She is completely lovely, and a huge supporter of fellow bloggers and I love her to bits.

Watch out for my own review of this novella – coming as soon as I can find a gap in my blog tour schedule to fit it in. In the meantime, if you would like to grab a copy for yourself, you can download it here. It is free if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Tempted by….I Should Read That: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand @clairelegrand @HarperCollins @IShouldReadThat #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #SawkillGirls

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Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: The newbie. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: The pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: The queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives; a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.

Continuing my series spotlighting fabulous fellow book bloggers who have enticed me to buy books on the back of their reviews, today we have Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, as featured in this blog post by Justine on her wonderful blog, I Should Read That.

I really enjoy reading Justine’s reviews as she tends to read very different books to the ones I normally choose, so her blog opens up some different options to me and I am very keen to widen my reading horizons based on the recommendations of other bloggers whose opinions I trust. Justine is refreshingly honest in her reviews but always constructive and I respect her opinions.

When I read the review for this book, the first thing that drew me to it was the very striking cover art which I just love (we all know what a sucker I am for an attractive cover!). I was then intrigued by the description of the book as a mixture of Young Adult and horror. I don’t read a huge amount of either, so I thought this was a book that would be something different to break up my usual genre choices, and Justine’s description of the writing led me to believe it was a book I would enjoy. Although there were some negatives in the review, these actually made me want to read the book even more, to see if I could spot which aspects Justine is referring to her in her review and whether I agree with her.

I am looking forward to getting around to the book soon. If you would like to get your own copy of Sawkill Girls, you can find it here.

Make sure you check out Justine’s wonderful blog here. I love her tag line – ‘Books, cats, nonsense.’ Pretty much all you need for contentment!

Bucket List Entry #2: The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, USA @StanleyHotelCO @VisitTheUSA @StephenKing #StanleyHotel #VisitTheUSA #bucketlist #travel #wanderlust #StephenKing #TheShining

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My second bucket list entry may again seem like an odd choice, but I think I have been inspired by the approach of Halloween and the fact I am currently reading a book set in another creepy hotel. Bucket List Entry #2 is The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The hotel, with 142 rooms, opened in 1909 and has been popular ever since as it stands only five miles from the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park and has beautiful views over Lake Estes and the Rocky Mountains. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

That all sounds very lovely, Julie, I hear you say, but what is so special about this hotel to make it worth flying thousands of miles to see? Well, I am sure most you will already know – it is because this hotel was the inspiration for The Overlook Hotel in one of the most famous books by one of my favourite authors, The Shining by Stephen King.

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Any Stephen King fans are probably already familiar with the story behind the inspiration for The Shining. In the autumn of 1974, Stephen and his wife, Tabby spent one night at The Stanley Hotel. The hotel was just about to close down for the winter and, on check-in, King and his wife found they were the only guests and had this huge hotel to themselves. They wandered the long, echoing empty corridors and ate dinner alone in the vast dining room, where all the other tables had the chairs put up on them. Their dinner was accompanied by recorded orchestral music. That night, King had a dream in which his three-year-old son was running through the corridors of the hotel screaming. He was being chased by a fire hose. The dream woke him with a jerk, in a sweat, and he sat in a chair looking out at the Rockies and smoking. “By the time the cigarette was done,” King says, “I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

The Shining was published in 1977 and was a huge success, being made into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1980. Room 217, the room occupied by King that night, features heavily in the book and is now the most requested room at the hotel.

So, The Stanley Hotel has become a place of pilgrimage for Stephen King fans, as well as standing in a US State that I have yet to visit and is high on my bucket list. Then, earlier this year something else happened at The Stanley which made me want to visit even more. To see what that was, check out the video below:

Imagine being in a place where you have wildlife that close to the doorstep! The opportunity to possibly see wildlife so up close and personal adds even more to the lure of the area. I’m not sure I can sell ghosts and black bears to my other half as appealing holiday attractions so this one may need a little more work, but I’ll get there one day!

Is there any destination that has inspired a novel that you would like to visit? I’d love to hear your literary destination bucket lists.

For more details about The Stanley Hotel, please check out the hotel website.

Purgatory Hotel by Anne-Marie Ormsby #BookReview (@AMOrmsby) @crookedcatbooks #HalloweenReading #booklove #PurgatoryHotel

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“Dakota Crow has been murdered, her body dumped in a lonely part of the woods, and nobody knows but her and her killer.

Stranded in Purgatory, a rotting hotel on the edge of forever, with no memory of her death, Dakota knows she must have done something bad to be stranded among murderers and rapists. To get to somewhere safer, she must hide from the shadowy stranger stalking her through the corridors of the hotel, and find out how to repent for her sins.

But first she must re-live her life.

Soon she will learn about her double life, a damaging love affair, terrible secrets, and lies that led to her violent death.

Dakota must face her own demons, and make amends for her own crimes before she can solve her murder and move on.

But when she finds out what she did wrong, will she be truly sorry?”

Having been offered the chance to review this book, I decided it would be a good one to read around this time of year when we are all looking for something spooky or scary to get our pulses racing as the nights draw in and, having read it, I can confirm it will definitely do that, but it also offers so much more than simple scares.

This is an intelligent book, which explores a lot of fairly existential questions in a really innovative storyline and I was very drawn in to the story and the questions raised, to the extent that I am still thinking about some of them today. The story is quite disturbing, as you would expect from the cover image and the blurb, and it does not pull back from giving you uncomfortable and graphic detail, but it is not sensationalist for the sake of it. There is a point to everything in the story, and a very provocative and inciting point which I really enjoyed about the book.

The setting is a hotel in the Afterlife where people who have done bad things in their life on Earth are stranded, trying to work out what they did wrong and how to atone for their crimes so they can get to Heaven, so this place is full of the worst people who lived on Earth and many of them are really not interested in atoning at all. Dakota is stranded amongst these terrifying people, unaware of what has happened to her and desperate to find out what happened so she can get out. But sometimes the truth hurts.

The author manages to build a very disturbing and sinister world in this hotel that will work its way under your skin and into your subconscious and give you the creeps. I was reminded strongly of the Hotel Cortez in Season 5 of American Horror Story. But more than that, the process that Dakota has to go through after death was ever more chilling and raised the hairs on the back of my neck as I read this under the covers.

One minor issue I had was that the book possibly started to drag in places three-quarters of the way in when I would have liked more drama and less of the reading, and I think the author could have gone even further with some of the interactions with the other patrons of the hotel, to really bring the horror of this place to life. I also felt that the storyline regarding Danny was slightly too much of a coincidence and could have been omitted without affecting the book at all. However, this did not really detract from the overall power of the book for me and I was gripped from start to finish.

The author was very skilled in her use of imagery and language to bring this original world to frightful life and the characters were really well-developed and authentic, despite being deeply flawed. I really believed in them, even though they were in a largely fantastical environment. The story development is skilful and the overall book works really well. I can highly recommend it. It would particularly appeal to fans of Stephen King, I think; someone who is looking for a horror story with a little bit more to it.

Purgatory Hotel is out now. To get it in time for Halloween, order it here.

About the Author

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On a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost.

Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both.

She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday.

In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication.

She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books.

Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher.

Anne-Marie moved to London in 2008 where she lives to this day, amidst books and DVDs, with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Anne-Marie:

Website: https://www.annemarieormsby.com

Facebook: Anne-Marie Ormsby

Twitter: @amormsby

Instagram: @pirateburlesque

Goodreads: Anne-Marie Ormsby