Atomica Review (Sci-Fi Thriller)

Atomica Synopsis: In the near future, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behaviors cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity, and perhaps identities, of the two employees onsite.

Tagline: Earth needs a hero.

Release Date: March 17th, 2017 | Runtime: 81 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring: Tom Sizemore, Sarah Habel, Dominic Monaghan

Watch the Atomica trailer.

Disclaimer: I received a free press-screening of this movie through a publicity company. This does not impact my review.


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An Interview with Dagen Merrill, Director of Atomica

Banner for Interview with Dagen Merill

Atomica, a sci-fi thriller starring Tom Sizemore, Dominic Monaghan, and Sarah Habel, was released in theaters on March 17th. It comes to VOD March 21st. I was lucky enough to screen a copy of Atomica for review (look for that review tomorrow), and interview the director of the film, Dagen Merrill.  He was gracious enough to give some in depth, great answers to my questions, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Dagen Merrill is a director and producer, known for Beneath (2007), Broken Hill (2009) and Murder in the Dark (2013). – IMDB

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Grimm House Review (Children’s Dark Fantasy)

When Hadley’s parents leave on a cruise and then are reported lost at sea, her perfect world is turned upside down. In a flash, she is whisked away to a new life of drudgery at Grimm House where she waits on not one but two persnickety old aunts. As she grudgingly fulfills their commands of cooking, cleaning, and even after-dinner-dancing, she comes to suspect the aunts are really witches who are scheming to take the thing she loves best. With only her wits and the help of some unlikely new friends, Hadley makes a plan to escape Grimm House and find her way home before it’s too late.-Goodreads

Book cover for Grimm House

Grimm House Review

 

Grimm House was a great, creepy kids dark fantasy. Karen McQuestion used several familiar elements from fairy tales and added a few twists of her own. She does a good job of keeping it right on this side of being too creepy or sad for a kid’s book. There are definitely dark elements, but nothing that’s truly scary. The ending also nicely resolves an ‘ashes’ problem that could have worried kids later.

Hadley is a good character. She’s a budding ballerina who pretty much has it all. Her parents have the money to enable her to reach for the stars. They love her, and each other. She lives in a nice house and has best friends. Things seem pretty much perfect for her. She doesn’t know hardship. Not until the Grimm sisters show up. And then her life gets turned upside down.

The ‘lessons learned’ in Grimm House are timeless. Someone or something stepping in to give a ‘favored’ character an appreciation for what they have. Making them understand how good they really have it. The only difference is that in Grimm House, Hadley never comes across as the bratty character we want to see get her comeuppance. Instead, right from the beginning, she’s just a sad kid missing her parents. Still, she learns the lesson she’s meant to learn and is presumably all the better for it. And then, of course, there’s Hadley learning to depend on herself. To shore up her insides and become a confident little girl who realizes she has the power to help herself.

The ‘unlikely new friends’ mentioned in the synopsis really are unexpected. Their introduction made me giggle. Adults who have seen the old movie Joe’s Apartment are going to get a laugh out of this book. (And if you haven’t seen that ridiculous movie, you need too!) Help definitely does come from unexpected places.

Grimm House is well-paced and easy to lose yourself in. It is a children’s book, but a surprisingly enjoyable one for adults to read too. I found myself invested in how Hadley was going to escape the situation.  Karen McQuestion is a talented writer. Grimm House is suitable for ages 7+, I believe.

4 Star Rated Grimm House Review

Title: Grimm House | Author: Karen McQuestion (site) | Publisher: Nightsky Press | Pub. Date: 2015-12-1 | Pages: 202 | ISBN13: 9780986416460 | Genre: Children’s Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #11

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

03/11/2017 – 03/17/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

Well, we’re really getting into it now, aren’t we? I can feel you holding my hand but not quite so tight, if you please. Wait. That’s not your hand?

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This is Sci-Fi, Issue 6: Atomica, New York 2140, They Call Me Jeeg

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Sci-Fi post on Sci-Fi & Scary
This is Sci-Fi is a sampling of science fiction news across the mediums. From movies to books, to real life, and any bits in between that I can think of to list. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s happening, but it should whet your appetite!

This is Sci-Fi’s Quote to Consider

 

“Science Fiction: Any scientific acclaim that omits God.”
― Johnny Hart

Science Fiction Movies

Sci-Fi Movie Suggestion of the Week:

Movie cover for Starship Troopers Starship Troopers was released in 1997 and is a movie that you can either watch at face value, or delve a bit deeper into it. Personally, I watch it for the cheese, and nothing but the cheese, so help me bug. Its based on the Robert Heinlein novel by the same name. Lots of gigantic bugs, lots of bad lines, and if Casper Van Dien floats your boat, you’ll be extreeeeeeeeeemely happy.

Synopsis: Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival.

Watch the Starship Troopers trailer.

 

 

Opening this week (March 17th)

Atomica Synopsis: In the near future, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behaviors cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity, and perhaps identities, of the two employees onsite.

Starring:  Tom Sizemore, Sarah Habel, Dominic Monaghan |

Watch the Atomica trailer here.

Side Note: My review for this movie will be coming out on Monday. I watched it a couple weeks ago and it was very well done, absent of cheese, and interesting. I’d definitely recommend it.

 

Movie cover for They Call Me JeegThey Call Me Jeeg Synopsis: Enzo, a lonely and misanthropic small time crook, uses the superpowers gained after falling in the Tiber river to chase down a crazy gangster called “The gypsy”.

StarringClaudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli

Watch the They Call Me Jeeg trailer.

 

 

 


Featured Science Fiction Art


Underwater Robot Doodle + daily sketch update by Emoonya on DeviantArt

Just generally a well-done drawing that caught my eye.


Science Fiction Books

Book cover for New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonNew York 2140: A new vision of the future of New York City in the 22nd century, a flooded, but vibrant metropolis, from Kim Stanley Robinson, the New York Times bestselling author of science fiction masterworks such as the Mars trilogy, 2312, and Aurora.

The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever. Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.

Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.

And how we too will change. – Goodreads  — Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for Pilot X by Tom Merritt

Pilot X:  What would happen if a time traveler lived in a world where time could not easily be changed and if it was changed, it might destroy everything but himself?

Pilot X just wants to fly a time ship. Specifically the Verity. But the Guardians of Alenda, rulers of his people, throw him in the middle of a time war. When he makes peace they don’t seem pleased. In fact, his own people treat him like the enemy. – Goodreads

Amazon | B&N

 

 

 

The Return: During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappearing from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.- Amazon  — Amazon | B&N

Coming Soon: Flames of the Rebellion, The Beachhead, Nemesis, Infinity Engine, From Ice to Ashes

 


The Sci-Fi Zone: Science Fiction Songs

I was listening to my player in the car the other day and got to thinking just how many songs have a sci-fi theme to them. So, here is my list of the top sci-fi songs. They are in no certain order. I’m starting with Rush’s 2112 simply because it has the longest explanation to it. So let’s rock on with our bad selves!

  • 2112 – Rush – The song is set in the year 2112.  In the year 2062 several planets came under control of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The story of the song is told through an unnamed Protagonist’s point of view. The peace and happiness of their ‘utopia’ is meely an illusion as everything is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.

I. Overture: The song is made up of several different movements. Overture is mainly instrumental with a sung “and the meek shall inherit the earth” at the end.

II. The Temples of Syrinx: The Priests of the Temple control every aspect of the population “we’ve taken care of everything, the words you hear, the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to your eyes”. They do this with the help of “our great computers, fill our hallowed halls”. Their ‘equality’ is illusory.

III. Discovery: The Protagonist finds an old guitar in a cave behind a waterfall. He teaches himself how to tune and play it. He can’t wait to show it to the Priests, thinking they will be amazed and pleased with his discovery.

IV. Presentation: The Protagonist performs before the Priests but they are not as pleased as he’d hoped they’d be. They dismiss the guitar as “another toy which helped destroy the elder race of man”.The Protagonist tries to convince them otherwise “listen to my music, hear what it can do, there’s something here that’s strong as life, I know that it will reach you”. They crush the guitar and dismiss the Protagonist.

V. Oracle: The Dream: The Protagonist wanders hme and has a vision that he at first passes off as a dream, yet it seems so vivid and real. An oracle shows him what life was like before the Solar Federation took over. A society where individuality and creativity flourished. He also learns that the “elder race of men” was not destroyed but “left our planets long ago” intending to return home and “tear the Temples down”.

VI. Soliloquy: The Protagonist returns to his cave to brood and think. His spirit and soul are oppressed, thinking of the bland life under the Solar Federation. The movement ends as the Protagonist takes his own life.

VII. Grand Finale: The closing movement is an instrumental with the Solar Federation being attacked and conquered by an unknown entity. It closes with the words – “Attention all planets under the Solar Federation: We Have Assumed Control”. And that, friends, is the end of the song. In the actual song the unknown entity is ambiguous as to whom is taking control and what their intentions are. However, in a later interview, Peart (songwriter) states that he intended it to be a good ending. The attacking entity is the elder race of men returning and successfully deposing the Solar Federation.

 

  • Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe – Benevolent aliens, The Children of the Sun, take the people of Earth aboard their spaceship and into space with them.
  • In the Year 2525 – Zager and Evans – A song about the future and possible repercussions of the advances of technology. For a song written in 1969 it’s predictions are scarily accurate.
  • Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult – It’s Godzilla. What more can I say? Godzilla’s awesome. The only thing I’ll add is if they do another movie…Less people, more Godzilla bad-assery!

“Oh no! There goes Tokyo! Go, go Godzilla! History shows again and again, how nature points up the folly of men.”

  • Twilight Zone – Rush – Yup, Rush is back again. This time with a song about (you guessed it) one of my favorite shows of all time – The Twilight Zone.

“A pleasant-faced man steps up to greet you. He smiles and says he’s pleased to meet you. Beneath his hat the strangeness lies. Take it off, he’s got three eyes. Truth is false and logic lost, now the fourth dimension is crossed.”

“You have entered the Twilight Zone. beyond this world strange things are known. Use the key, unlock the door, see what your fate might have in store.”

 

  • Endgame – Megadeth – A very bleak look at one of many possible futures for this world. You can always count on Megadeth for a good dose of Dystopia.

“Attention! Attention! All citizens are ordered to report to their

District detention centers!

Do not return to your homes,

Do not contact anyone!

Do not use any cellular or G-P-S devices!

Surrender all weapons at once!

Attention! This way to the camps!”

 

  • Blood Gulch Blues – Trocadero – I tried not to include theme songs from shows but this (and the one below) are just too excellent to ignore. So, I give you Blood Gulch Blues, theme song of Red vs. Blue.

Roses are red

And violets are blue.

One day we’ll cruise down Blood Gulch avenue

It’s red versus red

and blue versus blue

It’s I against I

and me against you…

  • Iron Man – Black Sabbath – A man who traveled through time to save the future of mankind and was forgotten and discarded by those who sent him. And now he wants revenge.
  • The Great Unknown – Iron Maiden – I hate to do another dystopic song but the title fits so perfectly with the world as it is right now and hey, you can never go wrong with Maiden.

So, those are my choices. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them! I’m always on the look out for new music.  – GracieKat


Science Fiction on the Web

Science Fiction Book Club Meeting!!

Do you Dare to Discuss Science Fiction? It’s not too late to join us, right here on Sci-Fi & Scary, on March 22nd at 7 PM EST when we discuss Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin Kiernan.

Agents of Dreamland is 4 bucks on Amazon, and its less than 125 pages long, so it’s a very quick read. Feel free to register for the forums (it’s free!) and join us for an hour-long discussion on the book.  I can tell you right now that opinions on the book are very mixed amongst the group that’s agreed to participate already, so it’s definitely going to be interesting!!

 

Over the River (Horror)

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through the tear and bloodstained snow…

Joslyn Faust passed away in 1940, after losing all but one of her children to death. The Weatherby Mills history books paint her as a kind, generous woman, willing to lend a hand to any one of her neighbors. Weatherby Mills lore, however, blames her ghost for the deaths of at least four men.

That’s where Delilah Isles and Milly West come in.

Working for the New England Spirit Society, the women have seen many violent and cruel attacks by human spirits and non-human entities. After all, the most violent and disturbing cases come to them. They know the myths about Joslyn Faust, so when the case comes their way they are both anxious to start investigating and uncertain whether or not it’s a case for N.E.S.S. But the first time they set foot on the Faust property that uncertainty is vanquished, because Joslyn Faust turns out to be a whole lot darker than they anticipated.

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Proof of Concept Review (Sci-Fi Drama)

Book cover for Proof of Concept by Gwyneth JonesProof of Concept: On a desperately overcrowded future Earth, crippled by climate change, the most unlikely hope is better than none. Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant. The Needle is one such dream, an installation where the most abstruse theoretical science is being tested: science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasible.

When the Needle’s director offers her underground compound as a training base, Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it’s only because her brain is host to a quantum artificial intelligence called Altair.

But Altair knows something he can’t tell.

Kir, like all humans, is programmed to ignore future dangers. Between the artificial blocks in his mind, and the blocks evolution has built into his host, how is he going to convince her the sky is falling? – Goodreads


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Discussion: The Absence of Non-Impactive Abusive Behavior in Books

Earlier this week I was reading a book where the primary villain of the book was also a domestic abuser. His girlfriend put up with being hit and the like because ‘he gave her what she needed in bed’. Other than the fact that this was acknowledged (he smacked her around, she acknowledged some of the behavior was unhealthy, etc.), it didn’t really play a part in the book. Now, while I ranted about the use of sexuality and sex in the book, I did not directly address this in my review. Because this question occurred to me:

 Is it wrong to demand we not see evidence of unhealthy relationships in books where destroying/getting away from/overcoming those relationships is not the goal of the book?

The book that most people are going to think of when it comes to this question is probably Fifty Shades of Grey. However, in that book, the relationship (unhealthy, unrealistic, and twisted though it might be) was the primary focus of the book. This is not a discussion post about books where the unhealthy relationship is the main factor.

But it’s not just romantic relationships in books either.

For example, alcoholism is not necessarily a precursor to physical, sexual, or mental abuse, yet it is not possible to have a healthy relationship with an alcoholic. When you hear people talk about their alcoholic parents, they might say “Well, s/he never beat me or anything like that, but…” And that but tells you everything you need to know.

The fact is, unhealthy relationships are a part of the real world, and one might argue that to keep fiction realistic, we should not exclude the mention of unhealthy relationships.

This is one of those things where I think it’s easy to act/speak out against something you disagree with without stopping to consider if you’re truly being reasonable.

Bad people exist. And the things they do aren’t always necessarily of the murder, robbery, and mass destruction variety. Sometimes they present perfectly normal on the outside, and then they go home and knock the ever-lovin’ hell out of their partner. Maybe they don’t even physically touch them, but they get their rocks off by making them feel like they’re worthless. It happens. So why are we so against it being portrayed casually in fiction?

Graciekat says: I think that the portrayal of unhealthy relationships should be present. I think trying to get into the psychology of the victim and yes, even the abuser as well, can be very important. My issue with some of the more recent examples is that it’s not being portrayed as unhealthy. They’re being portrayed as the normal and something that should be aspired to. Abnormal and unhealthy is being portrayed as romantic, loving and charming. I think the responsibility of the author lies not in trying to leave them out, but rather in how they are portrayed. It can be challenging.As Lilyn said above, it’s very easy for a person to rationalize an unhealthy relationship or habit of any kind. A skilled author can explore those rationalizations through the eyes of the character or the people around him/her. I do not think that it’s necessary to glamorize or shrug off the effects of it, even if it’s a side character with little to no plot motivation. Whether or not the characters in question overcome their challenges or roles is immaterial but in how the author as the omniscient narrator (barring first person) chooses to present the behaviors.

One of my fellow bookworms thought maybe it had something to do with the train wreck mentality coupled with the few books the average person reads per year.  Ie: If we’re going to read about bad crap, we want that bad crap to be the primary focus of what we’re reading. 

It’s sort of funny to be writing this up because as people who read a lot of horror you’d think we’d see pretty much everything. But that’s not really the case at all. Even in horror, while you might see rape, murder, and general evil – you don’t see a lot of casual mentions of bad relationships that don’t have a direct impact on the plot.

Another question that pops up as a direct follow-up is then: When authors do have abusive or destructive behaviors in books, and it’s not about them… are they tacitly saying that these behaviors are normal? I want to say of course not. I think most people will say of course not. But there’s also people who genuinely believe that violence in old-school cartoons like Tom and Jerry led to increased incidences of violence from kids. So….  Maybe authors don’t mention abusive/destructive relationships because they are afraid of this backlash?

Overall, it’s definitely a question to chew on for a while.

 Is it wrong to demand we not see evidence of unhealthy relationships in books where destroying/getting away from/overcoming those relationships is not the goal of the book?

When authors do have abusive or destructive behaviors in books, and it’s not about them… are they tacitly saying that these behaviors are normal?

Mind you, we are not arguing for the inclusion of these types of relationships in books. Merely wondering about their absence.

What do you all think?

 

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Judgement Night

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Judgement Night

Carl Lanser – Nehemiah Persoff
Captain Wilbur – Ben Wright
Miss Barbara Stanley – Deirdre Owens
Major Devereaux – Leslie Bradley
Potter – Hugh Sanders
First Officer McLeod – Patrick McNee
Lt. Mueller – James Franciscus
Narrator – Rod Serling

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Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it. This Tuesday we’re revealing our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR (To Be Read) list. This list is ever changing, ever growing, but always filled with good books. If you’ve read any of the ones on our list, feel free to rave (or rant) about them below.  These books are all books that have already been released in 2017, but didn’t hit our radar immediately.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of www.brokeandbookish.com


Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

Book cover for The Golden GateThe Golden Gate by Robert Buettner

Release Date: January 3rd, 2017

Synopsis: LIVE FOREVER—OR DIE TRYING. When the world’s richest man is the victim of a car bomb and literally blown off the Golden Gate Bridge the attack is attributed to terrorists and the world moves on. But some still wonder. Was Manuel Colibri targeted because, as Silicon Valley rumor has it, he was about to make the dream that people alive today can live to be one thousand come true?

Two people are pursuing the truth. Tech journalist Kate Boyle and recovering Iraq war veteran Ben Shepard race through the Bay Area chasing the only clues the reclusive Colibri left behind. They discover not only each other but a cosmic secret that can change human history—and may cost them their lives.

Thoughts: Reviews have compared it favorably to the DaVinci code, and have said that even though the narrative seems a bit meandering, it pays off in the end. While I’ve never read Buettner before, this one is looking steadily more appealing.

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Lotus Blue

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Thoughts: Reviews are generally favorable for  Lotus Blue, but there are several complaints/concerns about the fact that there are too many characters. This makes me a bit reluctant to buy Lotus Blue, but it’s definitely listed as a library-read for me.  || Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman’s Daughter by Gavin Smith

Release Date: January 6th, 2017

Synopsis: Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Storrow, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?

Thoughts: Reviews say its classic military sci-fi (Yay!), the main character is crazy (likened to Harley Quinn), and it sounds like utter madness with a great narrator for the audio book. …………. I’m sold. Amazon

 

 

 

Book cover for The Keeper of Portals

The Keeper of Portals by VS Nelson

Release Date: January 28th, 2017

Synopsis: Everything in the universe is maintained by its own keeper, from the most insignificant insect to time itself. When 15 year-old Martin moves into a stately home that’s dangerously overhanging a cliff, he meets the Keeper of Portals and learns of the mysterious door at the end of his bedroom.

One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom is open. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Upon discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel gain the ability to control time and travel through portals.

After being attacked by hordes of brainwashed villagers, Martin and Isabel learn that the master of the house has a devious plan, one the keepers are powerless to stop. Martin and Isabel must jump between the present day and the 17th century in order to hide from the twisted master, avoiding past versions of themselves, as powerful keepers thwart them at every turn. But as items from the future begin to bleed into the past and the present day is plagued by malfunctioning portals, Martin and Isabel’s only option is to confront the master – the Keeper of Questions.

Thoughts: Even though this is sci-fi/fantasy, which is not a line I like to cross much, it’s a middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy book. That’s enough to make me sit up and pay attention. I know I’d looked at this book before, but I had never caught the middle-grade thing. I have now, and now I need to read this. Reviews are generally positive, stressing that you keep in mind that this is not a book for adult readers. || Amazon | B&N

Book cover for Memento Mori

Memento Mori (Anthology)

Release Date: January 23rd, 2017

Synopsis: Memento Mori: A Digital Horror Fiction Anthology of Short Stories
If you’re looking for an array of Horror stories to sink your teeth into, look no further than Memento Mori…pay the Ferryman, and prepare to take the ride of your life.

The title, Memento Mori, is Latin and literally means: “Remember you too must die.” An ominous-sounding phrase, the saying derived from Puritan settlers who would often display tokens of death as a reminder to the living of the fragility of life…not to mention the eternal punishment awaiting those who wallowed in wickedness.

Death has always been a fascination to the living, meaning different things to different groups of people. Edgar Allan Poe nailed it when he said: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”

Thoughts:  The cover is creative, I like the title and I really, really like themed anthologies – GK

Amazon 

 

Book cover for The Folcroft Ghosts

 The Folcroft Ghosts by Darcy Coates

Release Date: January 10th, 2017

Synopsis: Tara and her brother Kyle are sent to stay with their estranged grandparents when their mother is hospitalised. May and Peter Folcroft are warm and charming at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, seems idyllic.  But strange things start happening.  The swing moves on its own. Peter paces around the house at night and is obsessed with the lake where his sister drowned. Doors slam. Indistinct figures glide through the fog.

When a storm cuts the phone line and blocks the only road to town, May shifts from doting to obsessive. Tara and Kyle try to keep up the pretext of a happy family, but an empty journal and locked room provide clues to the unforgivable lies, secrets and decades-old murders entwined with the Folcrofts’ history.  Worse, the ghosts are growing agitated. Tara must confront the restless spirits if she and her brother have any hope of leaving the house alive.

Thoughts: I love the sepia-toned cover and the story features two of my favorite things: locked rooms and creepy journals.- GK  ((Lilyn: In the interest of full disclosure, I *have* already read Folcroft Ghosts but did not review it on the site. It was a good read!)) || Amazon

 

Book cover for Black Feathers

Black Feathers (Anthology)

Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.

There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the lifeblood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.

Thoughts: The cover is beautiful and Ellen Datlow usually puts together a pretty good collection

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Hekla's Children

Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: A decade ago, teacher Nathan Brookes saw four of his students walk up a hill and vanish. Only one returned – Olivia – starved, terrified, and with no memory of where she’d been. After a body is found in the same woodland where they disappeared, it is first believed to be one of the missing children, but is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior, nothing more than an archaeological curiosity. Yet Nathan starts to have terrifying visions of the students. Then Olivia reappears, half-mad and willing to go to any lengths to return the corpse to the earth. For he is the only thing keeping a terrible evil at bay…

Thoughts:  This was actually just mentioned on this site, in our last “This is Horror” issue. I love a mix of creepy and history so this seemed very interesting to me (and you gotta love the creepy ‘the well’ cover).

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