Category Archives: Book Reviews

THE DOVER DEMON by Hunter Shea | Horror Book Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

Review and giveaway of Hunter Shea’s novel The Dover Demon based on the cryptid legend.

 

Enter the giveaway and win an autographed copy of The Dover Demon! https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ddcb86932/?

EARTHLY CONCERNS by Xavier Axelson | Horror Novella Review & Giveaway

When asked if they would give their life for the one they love, most people will automatically answer yes without really thinking about what that entails. In Earthly Concerns, Xavier Axelson doesn’t let us off so easily.

EarthlyFinalAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Seventh Window

Earthly Concerns is told from the point-of-view of Anson, a psychic. Anson lives by the credo “If you can see, you have to help.” He is put to the test when his former lover, Barrett, asks him to use his gift to find his missing daughter. Anson knows that by agreeing to help he puts his heart at risk, but his beliefs  and his love for Barrett leave him with no other choice.

This is the second Axelson book I’ve read and so far, it’s my favorite. I also read his werewolf novella, Lily. You can read my review here. Like Lily, Earthly Concerns is a gay erotica about a missing girl, but that is where the similarities end.

Earthly Concerns is unlike anything I’ve read. Axelson teases out details about the girl’s disappearance to build suspense and keep the reader guessing. The atmosphere is at once haunting and otherworldly. We’re given very little information about what took the girl. Axelson uses our fear of the unknown and of forces greater than ourselves to turn our imagination against us. He preys upon our darkest fears and insecurities. The being that took the girl is described as a dark shapeless mass, a demon. I like that Axelson kept the creature’s origins and motivations ambiguous. This allows us to better relate to Barrett’s sense of desperation and helplessness. We learn that Barrett was given a choice between his life or his daughter’s. Near death and faced with unimaginable hell, Barrett chose himself.

Barrett is not a bad man. He’s human and while we all want to believe that we’re better, that we would choose differently, I don’t know that anyone can be sure without experiencing this choice for themselves. The choices are always easy until they’re ours.

This is a well-developed, character-rich story. Barrett and Anson contrast well and are characters that readers can empathize with.

While, Earthly Concerns is an erotica there is really only one sex scene. This is a very intimate scene that helps the reader to understand Anson’s conflict. The scene is a flashback to his past relationship with Barrett that plays in Anson’s mind as he tries to help Barrett. I was also able to understand through this scene and other flashbacks, why Anson still carries a torch for Barrett. There is a great deal of passion and emotion between these characters. Anson sees a side of Barrett, that is rarely revealed. It’s the best part of Barrett, the part Anson fell in love with.  For that reason, I would say that Earthy Concerns is as much a romance as it is erotica. What’s more the erotica/romance feels like a natural part of the story and helps to amplify the greater supernatural conflict of the story.

As someone who usually avoids erotica (I haven’t even read 50 Shades) I was pleasantly surprised by this story and would recommend it to any fan of paranormal horror looking for an original story, rich in atmosphere and emotional depth. Earthly Concerns will move and scare you in equal measure. A must-read for paranormal erotica and romance fans.

EARTHLY CONCERNS
AUTHOR:
 Xavier Axelson
PUBLISHER: Seventh Window Publications
RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2012
GENRE: Horror/Suspense, Erotica, Romance, Paranormal
LENGTH: 75 pages (ebook)


About the Authorxavier

Xavier Axelson is a writer and columnist living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include The Incident, Velvet, and Lily. Xavier covers Fringe Culture for the Los Angeles Examiner.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway

Enter to win either an ebook of Earthly Concerns. Anyone may enter. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, Hook of a Book Media, hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI0/

Xavier Halloween Blitz graphic


Review Clause: The publicist provided me with a review copy of Earthly Concerns in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was provided.

LILY by Xavier Axelson | Horror Novella Review & Giveaway

I’ll be honest. I don’t usually read erotica, but the premise of Xavier Axelson’s Lily drew me in so I gave this short novella a read. I’m glad I did.

Lily CoverAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Seventh Window

Lily is about loss—not the grief that comes with death, but the painful yearning of separation. Pryor suffers this loss when a wolf drags his young daughter, Lily, away. Single-mindedly, he searches for her, but instead of a girl he finds a wolf with fur that looks and smells like Lily’s hair. He hears his daughter’s voice in the forest and she tells him that she will return for one night on Father’s Day, the night she was taken.

While the word “werewolf” pops up a few times, this is not a typical horror tale. Every scene featuring Lily is eerie—especially the climax when Lily returns, but the story is more concerned with Pryor. Throughout the course of the novella, we see how finding love has helped him to cope. We meet Ned, a silversmith who crafts a necklace for Pryor in memory of Lily. Pryor desires Ned and finds that his lust is a welcome distraction from heartache. He pursues the relationship and as he falls in love with Ned, his heart begins to heal.

I loved that this story avoided clichés & stereotypes. The characters and the plot kept me guessing right up until the end. Too often authors paint parents one-dimensionally —particularly in the horror genre. Pryor is a fully realized character. He is vulnerable in a way that father’s are rarely depicted. Pryor’s reawakened sexuality stirs up conflicting feelings of guilt and relief.

This is a story you can easily read in one sitting. Axelson’s writing is well-paced and poignant. I saw the forest he described vividly. Reading his words, you smell the wind and feel the crunch of leaves beneath your feet. His talent for description carries over to the erotica. The sex scenes are graphic and abundant. Erotica fans will not be disappointed.

Personally, I was more interested in Pryor’s relationship with his daughter and wanted more backstory. I was left with too many unanswered questions. I wanted to know how old Lily was, if Lily had any other family, and what Lily’s childhood was like before she was taken. There were many instances where the erotica felt forced and took away from the slow-building suspense of Lily’s impending return.

As for Pryor and Ned’s relationship, I wanted more romance. There was too much focus on their physical relationship and very little devoted to the emotional aspect. I was left wondering why these characters were together. In places, I felt Ned was too pushy and at times abusive towards Pryor. In one scene, Ned pushes Pryor into a car, hitting Pryor’s head in the process. I had a difficult time seeing how this relationship evolved beyond escape to lasting love.

What I liked about the Ned storyline was Pryor’s realization that he could be a lover and a father. One did not cancel out the other. Also, in taking care of himself, Pryor is able to offer his daughter the selfless love she needs.

I recommend Lily to fans of gay erotica that are looking for an original, multi-layered story, rich in atmosphere and character development.

LILY
AUTHOR:
 Xavier Axelson
PUBLISHER: Seventh Window Publications
RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014
GENRE: Horror/Suspense, Erotica
LENGTH: 53 pages (ebook)


About the Authorxavier

Xavier Axelson is a writer and columnist living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include The Incident, Velvet, and Lily. Xavier covers Fringe Culture for the Los Angeles Examiner.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway

Enter to win either an ebook of Lily. Anyone may enter. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, Hook of a Book Media, hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI0/

Xavier Halloween Blitz graphic


Review Clause: The publicist provided me with a review copy of Lily in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was provided.

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Avenging Angel by Catherine Cavendish

Be careful what you wish for.

Dark Avenging Angel by Catherine Cavendish is part revenge thriller, part tragedy. It’s what you would get if you mixed a cocktail of Jane Eyre and “The Monkey’s Paw” with a dash of Death Note. Intrigued? You should be.

Dark Avenging Angel by Catherine Cavendish

Samhain Publishing | Amazon Barnes & Noble

Like Jane Eyre, the novella follows the tragic life of a woman named Jane. It begins in the 60s when Jane is a child living with her abusive father. A mysterious hooded woman comforts her. Jane calls her an angel. The “angel” carries a ledger and tells Jane that over the course of her life she can add three names and those souls will be punished. There is, however, a price to pay and the Angel always collects. Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Dark Avenging Angel by Catherine Cavendish

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

Creepy kids? Check. Haunted house? Check. Eerie doll? Check. If a chilling ghost story is what you’re looking for, Ronald Malfi’s Little Girls has all the ingredients to keep you up at night.

Little Girls smallAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

In Little Girls, Laurie returns to her childhood home after the death of her estranged father. Her father suffered from dementia and believed something was out to get him—right up until his suicide. Returning to the house brings up old memories and Laurie’s husband and daughter worry for her mental state. She can’t bring herself to tell them that her neighborhood friend died on the property when she was a child—a girl that looked remarkably like her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail.  Is Laurie succumbing to her father’s illness or is Abigail a ghost from the past? Continue reading BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Little Girls by Ronald Malfi