Posts Tagged Horror

Satan’s Mirror – Roxanne Smolen

Storyline: Roooooooxxxxxxxxanne! You don’t have to turn on the red light! Wait… I mean, Ms. Roxanne Smolen’s Satan’s Mirror really captures the essence of evil and the enduring faith of mankind. Not much to do with *ahem* ladies of the night or Sting…

Emily has the world figured out: she’s a skeptic through and through. Nothing is as ever spooky, scary or terrifying as it seems. Emily is the host of an investigative show that disproves urban myths and unravels mysteries for the world to see.

When her boss gives her a lead to follow down in sunny Florida, things take a decidedly dark and evil twist. Ghosts, demons and disappearances abound as Emily tries to unravel the mystery of Satan’s Mirror. A local legend that has otherworldly beginnings. Only when her own life begins to fall apart does Emily start to believe that something beyond rational explanation is the cause of the horrors…

Can Emily’s sense and sensibilities keep her safe and help her find her missing daughter? Will she be able to find the strength in herself to do the impossible to fight the evil incarnate and maintain her sanity?

Grammar/Spelling: I didn’t notice any grammar or spelling issues. Yay!

Character Development: Emily is an interesting woman. She’s smart and determined and not easily swayed by the world around her. She even goes so far as to insist that her daughter face her fear of monsters headlong (much to her dismay as these kinds of monsters aren’t exactly Sulley and Mike Wazowski). It was definitely easy to see the strength in Emily and even when she was in the horrors of hell – making her way to save her daughter – she tried to help everyone that she met. Even at the risk of running out of time and getting caught herself.

Writing Style: The book could use a good hair cut with a pair of carefully wielded surgical scissors.  What I mean by that is: it has too much ‘fluff’ for my tastes and what I mean by ‘fluff’ is ‘extraneous description’.  If it was a little less wordy, it would be more appealing to me.  The method works well for Stephen King, apparently; but, I do find myself skimming in The King’s books simply to get past the ‘fluff’.  I prefer a little less talk and a lot more action.

On the other hand, there are several instances where a lack of description really takes away from the story. For example, Emily decides to hide out at a bar in St. Augustine and the author describes what Emily ordered and she also mentioned that it looks like there is a stage for a live band (but not that one is performing). From this description, I wasn’t really able to garner if Emily was actually able to “hide” in plain sight; meaning that I didn’t know if the bar was busy or if it were empty and if she even did a good job at avoiding the police. It seems as if she’s describing something for a report.

Continuity:  No issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 3+

I would say that this is a good novel to read for anyone who is interested in the paranormal and proving or disproving faith. Satan’s Mirror presents us with an interesting take on the concept of hell and an all too familiar story about a woman fighting her way through her own skepticism and trying to save herself from Satan himself.

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A Game of Blood – Julie Anne Dawson

Storyline: Miss Julie Ann Dawson has really nailed it in her action-suspense-thriller A Game of Blood.

Detective Mitchell is having a rough time right now. After a miscarriage and a battle with breast cancer, his wife leaves to “find herself”. Then a series of missing girls leads Mitch to the rather eccentric and wealthy vampire (do they come any other way?), Darius Hawthorne.

Darius has grown bored in his old age and he decides that the good detective would make the perfect nemesis. As their game of bat (see what I did there?) and mouse escalates, it appears that there are even greater monsters than the charming Darius for Mitch to fight.

Will they ever be able to come to an agreement? Can Darius stop killing teenage girls in order to gain Mitch’s help? Will Mitch ever be able to stop trying to kill Darius (and clean up his foul mouth)?

Grammar/Spelling: I noted some minor grammatical and punctuation errors throughout. There were a few instances when certain words were left out – nothing that the average reader wouldn’t be able to figure out.

One other thing I noticed was with the usage of certain words: suppose versus supposed and use versus used. I recommend having a beta reader read the dialogue out loud to tighten up that issue. Nothing too noticeable and it certainly did not detract from the overall story.

Character Development: I loved these guys! Most authors will sort of let their secondary characters fall to the wayside because they spend so much time and effort developing their main characters. But, Miss Julie easily developed and portrayed her secondary character’s roles. Mitch’s partner and his family acted the way I would expect them to. Even the DA – who wants to be political, but realizes it can’t always be that way – is great.

Of course, I’m partial to the spirited, charming and downright delightful Darius Hawthorne. (But, maybe I’m biased because I’ve interviewed him before…) He really brings a new meaning to anti-hero. Despite his rather disturbing proclivity for murder, I would still categorize him as more mischievous than malevolent. (Don’t tell him I said that though – he might feel as if I’m somehow insulted him.)

Writing Style: Twists. Turns. Surprises. I’m rarely caught off guard by plot turns (the last time I remember being surprised was when I got Sixth Sensed [Yeah, I just made that into a verb. You’re welcome to use it whenever you blow someone’s mind.] by Bruce Willis and that kid – but that caught everyone off guard. Too bad he was a one-hit wonder…but I digress…) and there were more than a few twists that surprised even me!

The overall pacing is wonderful and moves along very well.

Continuity:  No issues with continuity.

Overall Rating: 5+

Cha! Like I’d expect anything less from Miss Bards & Sages herself! From her amazing storyline to her memorable non-vampire characters to one of my favorite characters ever, Miss Julie has truly outdone herself with A Game of Blood.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, except those who are in love with sparkly vampires – this story lacks any of those nice “vegetarian” vampires – and younger children (language, adult situations, etc.) because not only is a great story, it’s an awesome twist on two of my favorite genres: horror and vampires.

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