Webtoon Wednesday: My Deepest Secret Review

Warning: This review will have some mentions of animal abuse, so if this bothers you, I suggest that you don’t read this review or this Webtoon!

I typically don’t like Drama/Thriller Webcomics or Webtoons, but I found myself drawn to this one. Emma is a sweet girl who has a boyfriend named Elios. They met while working at a coffee shop and have been together for several months, but Emma is still too scared to get close to him. He is so handsome, everything he does makes her freeze up, but she loves being his girlfriend. Emma thinks that her boyfriend is perfect and could do no wrong. The readers see another side of Elios.

In the first episode, a stray cat pees on Emma’s shoes and grosses her out. Emma leaves to clean off her shoes in the shop, leaving Elios outside with the cat for a few minutes. As the two pass a trashcan, readers see the body of the cat laying next to the can, spattered in blood. I was totally not expecting this for the first episode, but this was how readers know that something is definitely not right with Elios.

This Webtoon will bounce back and forth between the POVs of Emma, another character that she meets in the beginning episodes, and a general POV that just gives more information about the story from no specific character’s viewpoint. There are some points in the story where you can see what Elios is doing, but there isn’t anything besides a few flashbacks that are actually from Elios’ POV so far. I’m expecting more of his POV to be in the next season, where things kick up a notch from the look of the cliffhanger.

The only complaint I have about this comic is that it seemed to be moving a bit slowly. We are 39 episodes in, and the author is currently on a break, but I don’t think that Emma thinks that anything is really off about Elios yet. Only a bit off, even though readers know he has done a lot of messed up things already. I also wish we knew a bit more about what happened to Emma when she was a child. We only have flashbacks of some sort of traumatic experience, but I feel like telling the full story of her childhood would greater enhance the reader’s understanding of why Elios has latched onto her so and why she feels so connected to him.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this Webtoon to anyone looking for a dramatic thriller with some horror elements.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 paintbrushes

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Killing Floor 2 Review

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When I received Killing Floor 2 in a mystery bundle, I was instantly saddened. I personally am not a fan of horror games, so I thought that I would never be touching this one. Now, after playing it for 4 hours straight on Sunday, my opinion of this game has definitely changed for the better.

Killing Floor 2 is less of a horror game and more like COD Zombies. It has some blood and gore, but it doesn’t have jump scares and scary passageways. What also helps is that you are always playing with a team, so your focus is on the game and staying alive rather than on the creepy monsters around you. My only suggest would be to not play this game if you are afraid of clowns, this game seems to love the clown zombies the most.

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I think one of my favorite parts about this game is the different maps. The first map I played with my friend was a Christmas-themed one. The zombies didn’t look festive, but you were in Krampus’ lair. Creepy Christmas rock music played throughout the match, and little threats from Krampus to the elves were written throughout the workshop. Then, there was the Santa’s Workshop map where you escort a carriage with a bomb throughout the map. This one had the epic Christmas music PLUS Christmas-themed zombies! I think my favorite zombie on this map was the gingerbread man.

There is voice chat in this game, but it isn’t used very frequently. If you would like to just be able to play on a team without having to talk to people, that is fine as well. You will do fine on your own as long as you stay fairly close to your teammates or have upgraded guns. And the teammates in this game are pretty welcoming to newcomers, and the healers seem to also be fairly good. It was easy to get very sucked in!

This game also has a system of “perks” almost like Dead By Daylight. The more matches you play, the more XP you get, and you can add perks to your classes. This makes the overall game easier to play, and makes you want to stick with one class long enough to get more and more perks for it. This system also makes me want to play Dead By Daylight, which I have been putting off for almost two entire weeks!

My only real complaint would be that the bosses seem a bit repetitive. I know I have to up the difficulty, but I thought that there would be a bit more random-ness to the bosses. I played the game for 4 hours and had about 6 or 7 matches, and fought the same boss in 2 and then another boss 3 times in 3 different maps. Would be interesting to at least be able to see how the different bosses work and tick.

Overall, would definitely recommend this one. Follow my stream https://www.twitch.tv/briennaij to see when I am going to play this live next!

Overall Rating: 10 out of 10 controllers.

Dead Steam Review

DeadSteam: A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural

Dead Steam is a dreadpunk short story collection. What is dreadpunk? Dreadpunk is Gothic-inspired horror and dark fantasy. It is not the same as steampunk, which is usually a reimagining of history with fantastical machines that run on steam. Dreadpunk is a reimagining of history with a horrifying collection of terrible monsters and gory deaths. It is not too far off from actual history to be honest, but instead of the monsters being crazily powerful men with tools of war, the monsters are vampires and zombies.

This book had some stories that truly made me cringe from the gore, some that made me say “ooh that was a good one” and a few that made me think “what did I just read?” To be honest, for a person that doesn’t typically enjoy horror, these were not so scary that I stopped reading at any point. A few were gross, yes. A few were suspenseful, yes. But I feel that a true horror fan would not be scared by these stories. If I read a scary story, I will usually have dreams about that story. I read some of these at like 11 PM in bed with all the lights off, and I still wasn’t scared! If you are looking to be scared, this may not be the collection for you.

The one short story that really stuck out to me was “The Hunger” by Ross Smeltzer. This short story tells their tale of an Inspector who goes through a horrible attack and wakes up to find that he is no longer his normal self. This story is probably one of the goriest and it was probably one of the only ones that shocked or scared me in the collection. I would recommend checking out this collection just to see this short story, and to see a few of the really good others.

I would say that this is a good short story collection. Most are well-written and tell a complete story. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is the best horror short story collection, as a true fan of horror might not feel this as being scary enough. Therefore, I would only recommend this book to anyone looking for a gorier and less scary horror short story collection.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books

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Death By The River Blog Tour Plus Review

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Death by the River.JPGSYNOPSIS

Some truths are better kept secret.
Some secrets are better off dead.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

My Review

Even though the synopsis has a trigger warning, I want to emphasize it here. Even though the characters in this book are technically in high school, this book deals with some very dark issues. This is DEFINITELY not a YA novel. This has graphic depictions of sexual assault and abuse. I will be discussing these depictions to some extent in this review. That being said, if you feel that you can handle this, then read on.

This book is told from multiple points of view. The three main viewpoints are Beau Devereaux, Leslie, and Dawn, Leslie’s twin sister and Beau’s girlfriend. This is definitely the best way to tell this story, as the readers are able to see what Beau is thinking, and then compare it to how close the other characters are to solving the mystery. You are left in the dark about certain things, but you aren’t left in the dark about everything. This also allows you to see what the twins are thinking as they fight with each other.

Beau’s point of view was a bit skewed to me. He viewed himself as a victim, and there was a storyline about him trying to fight to follow his dreams and not join the family business. I wasn’t sure whether to feel bad for him or not, given the type of person he was. It also made it clear that he suffered from some sort of mental illness, and while it is debatable to make the “villain” have a mental illness, it sort of worked to make the story seem like it was set in the real world.

Now onto the gritty stuff. I was definitely not expecting the sexual violence scenes to be so graphic. There’s one scene that happens within the first 20% of the book, so it isn’t even a spoiler. It is told from Beau’s point of view, and you only saw the effect on the girl after the fact from the point of view of other characters who talk to her. Even as a person who doesn’t consider herself to be easily affected by scenes in books, I had to skim through these parts. They were simply too graphic for me to read. For the most part, since I didn’t harp on these scenes, I still thought that it was an excellent horror thriller.

This book does raise important issues about how abusers start.  Leslie is verbally harassed by Beau throughout the entire novel, and her boyfriend knows about it, but nothing would have really been done if they had tried to report Beau. If Beau had gotten in trouble at the start of the novel, he wouldn’t have had the chance to hurt anyone else.

The other parts of the story were addictive, and I couldn’t put the story down once I started to read it. I thought that the very end of the book seemed to be a bit rushed,  but the build-up to the climax was well-paced, and the events immediately after the climax were well-paced.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an adult horror novel but who isn’t affected by graphic sexual violence scenes.

I received an advance copy of this novel and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

Praise for DEATH BY THE RIVER

“… a thrilling psychological work … Catching the current vogue of teen psycho and revenge tales like Bates Motel and 13 Reasons Why … a horrifically brilliant book … Beau Devereaux could have easily been a clichéd psycho, but the plot constructed around him and his development during the novel really shone as a masterpiece of character creation … much in the style of Dexter or Hannibal.” ―K.C. Finn, Multi-Award-Winning Author

“Rare is the story that simmers and rises to a boil so naturally and constantly that the reader manages to be repeatedly shocked … a full-speed rollercoaster that doesn’t slow down until the final page. Employing an evocative setting, powerfully defined characters, and taking along hard look at the darker side of human desire, this novel will catch your breath and hold it until the very end. RECOMMENDED” ―Michael Radon, US Review

“While the authors have written a chilling story here, there’s more to Death by the River than thrills. It’s actually a fascinating study into the effects of good and bad parenting on children. Do it badly and parents, children and society as a whole pay the consequences. This book is not just an exciting read; it’s a sobering one.” ―Viga Boland, Retired high school English teacher and Author of No Tears for my Father: Viga’s true story of incest

“While the story follows compelling characters, it also plunges readers into an intriguing setting. It is ironical that the horrors are taking place along the river that runs so close to a seminary, an establishment that should evoke a powerful sense of God and reverence for life. The characters are sophisticated and readers will learn to honestly hate the villain of the story — he is well imagined and developed with skill. In a subtle way, the authors allow his crooked mind to reveal itself. Like most serial killers, he is a charmer and an intelligent young man, but beneath the cool surface is a cauldron of simmering evil. Weis and Astor have written a riveting crime tale with strong psychological underpinnings. Death by the River is ingeniously plotted, written in gorgeous prose, and featuring a strong conflict that propels the narrative forward. The suspense intensifies as the story moves on, with the reader always feeling as though something awful could happen at any moment, and this feeling grows in intensity until the explosive climax. A real thriller!” ―Romuald Dzemo, Readers’ Favorite

“A suspense-filled thriller steeped in equal parts atmosphere, insanity, and revenge.” ―Mary Ting, Award-Winning Author of ISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network

“Weis and Astor have created something so dark, edgy, and gritty, it will stay with you long after you close the book.” ―Julieanne Lynch, Dragon Award Finalist: Horror (2018)

“… a crime thriller that pulls readers into the twisted mind of the protagonist and holds them engaged till the exhilarating finish. The writing is flawless … Death by the River is psychologically engaging, emotionally rich, and utterly absorbing.” ―Christian Sia

Giveaway Banner Two.JPGABOUT THE AUTHORS

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.

Lucas Astor, Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Weis and Astor’s first collaboration was the multi-award-winning Magnus Blackwell Series.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM ALEXANDREA WEIS AND LUCAS ASTOR

WEBSITE: http://www.alexandreaweis.com/
TWITTER: @alexandreaweis
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1211671.Alexandrea_Weis
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexandreaweis/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/alexandreaweis/

 

Giveaway Banner.JPGGiveaway

–Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 2 Winners will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.a Rafflecopter giveaway

ENDS: NOVEMBER 12, 2018

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Butterfly Bones Review (With Spoilers)

Butterfly BonesBethany should be dead, just like the doctors predicted.

But along came the butterflies, altering the order of nature.

And now nature is hell bent on revenge.

Because when fate’s path is disrupted, it’s only a matter of time before balance must be restored.

At birth, Bethany Keatley was diagnosed with a rare bone disorder and sent home from the hospital to die. Despite losing her mother to cancer before she turned two, Bethany defeated her prognosis and now, at fifteen, with hindered growth making her appear ten years old, she is alive and well thanks to the hormone injections which her scientist father developed.

But if growing up isn’t hard enough already, being small makes her a target and a social outcast. The only way she’s been able to escape her high school tormenters so far is by working hard, achieving good grades, and through her unusual friendship with star football player Jeremiah Wright. That is until a misunderstanding with new girl Zoey Margold. Beautiful and brazen, Zoey and her followers make it their focus to break Bethany.

Yet dealing with the bullies becomes the least of Bethany’s worries. The mice on which her dad tests the butterfly hormone are showing side effects no one saw coming, and now her plan to leave the small minded town of Springs, Georgia and become a scientist has all but shattered. Her world becomes a prison and her existence a life sentence.

But nature has her own plans for Bethany.

Haunting and twisted. Like nothing you’ve ever read before.

I had many, many problems with this novel. To keep everything in order, I am going to start with my issues about Bethany’s school life.

Zoey is horribly bullying Bethany every single day, just because she “embarrassed” her on the first day of school. Bethany looked almost lost in the sea of tall people because she had never reached maturity due to her bone deficiency. Zoey was nice when she thought Bethany was an elementary schooler who got off the bus at the wrong stop, but then she became mean when she realized that Bethany was a student in her class. For starters, if Zoey was going to be the mean “Queen Bee”, why would she care about a little kid getting off the bus at the wrong stop? She should have been in character from the start, and completely overlooked Bethany. Secondly, it wasn’t like Zoey was super secretive about her hatred for Bethany. She really didn’t have a good reason to bully Bethany, so the fact that the bullying went to such an extent was rather strange to me. Also, Where were the teachers in all of this. It was no secret that Bethany had a bone disease, so why was Zoey allowed to push and chase Bethany around. If she was a normal girl who was still weak even with medication, this type of bullying could have put Bethany in real danger. I doubt that this would have really happened in an actual school. If anything, Bethany might have struggled with being smothered by people trying to make sure that she didn’t get hurt.

Let’s also talk about Bethany’s relationship with her father. Even though her father was trying to do everything to keep her safe, there were only a few situations in the book where Bethany wasn’t hostile or rude towards her father. She didn’t like the fact that he spent all of his time in the lab, even though he was trying to create a cure for her. I get that he wasn’t always there for her, but her father was trying to help her. He wasn’t just getting lost in his work to be lost in his work. If anything, Bethany should have viewed him as a hero. Bethany always seemed to play the victim every time she was bullied, but then she turned around and made the only person who really cared about her as family feel horrible.

Then we get into the main part of the plot where the lab mice start to eat ravenously and then form cocoons. Bethany realizes that she is going to form a human cocoon, and she is going to need a huge stock of food in order to gain enough weight to form it without dying like the mice. Bethany’s father does the dumbest thing I have ever seen a book scientist do. He decides that he is going to try to use the hormone on himself, accelerate it so that he gets into a cocoon before Bethany, just so that they can see how many leafy greens she will need to eat to survive. I just don’t understand why he would do that. He knew this would most likely kill him, and then Bethany would be left to go through the change completely on her own. He basically just killed himself, and then said to his daughter “Good luck creating a cocoon, please burn my house and my body.” Bethany was forced to see his rotting corpse in the cocoon for a few days, or maybe even a week or two, before she started to form the cocoon herself. Then, she was in the cocoon for two months, as the body continues to rot. If seeing your father’s rotting corpse multiple times in multiple states of decay isn’t disturbing, I don’t know what is. Also, this is advertised as a YA book. I usually am not the police of YA fiction, but this type of goriness is usually left to NA or Adult books. It is also disturbing when forms her own cocoon, I had to stop reading it a few times.

Lastly, there is the boyfriend Jeremiah. Well, I don’t know what to call him. They started off as friends, but then they went into a painful cycle of “I like you but I don’t like you” for the rest of the book. I just wanted to throw the romance in the trash entirely.

I found myself really confused at the end of the book. This seems to be where the plot takes a turn for the worse. Bethany has completed her transformation, none of her old clothes fit, but her first thought is to go kiss Jeremiah. Not get herself checked out by a doctor, or even take the money her father gave her and try to start a new life. She wants to see the boy that she hasn’t seen for two months. For all she knows, he has moved on. Then it just seems to get all over the place, with strange details about the car and other things, and then it ends. This isn’t to say that the book had the best writing throughout, but this was definitely one of the most discombobulated endings that I have read in a while.

Overall, there just wasn’t much that I liked about this book. The bullying seemed “typical” but unrealistic for Bethany’s situation, she tried to play the nice girl but she really wasn’t, and she was horrible to the one person who would do anything for her. Then the Dad dies for no reason, leaving his daughter to fend for herself, and she wakes up from metamorphosizing for two months like nothing is wrong. The final sin is that the book doesn’t even really end, but instead leaves things open for the next novel in the series. I was reading these for a tour, so I did read the second book in this series! Believe me, it only gets worse from here.

Overall Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Butterfly Blood Review (Metamorphosis #2) (With Spoilers)

Butterfly BloodHER BLOOD. HER LOVE. HER FREEDOM.

“How many of my sins will have to be paid for in blood?”

Sixteen-year-old Bethany Keatley finally has the healthy body and looks she’s always desired. But the price she’s had to pay has left her traumatized.

The only thing making her battle on is the memory of that kiss with Jeremiah.

Now miles from him and living in Florida with an aunt she’s never met, shocking revelations about her parents are too much to bear. After collapsing from exhaustion and shock, Bethany wakes in a hospital bed awaiting test results—results that might lead to the discovery of her unusual butterfly blood.

But that’s the least of Bethany’s concerns when the doctor informs her she’s infected with a parasite and without immediate treatment she’ll die.

Too young to refuse and too weak to fight back, Bethany’s life once again hangs in the balance. Yet her scientific knowledge and suspicious nature lead her to unravel a horrifying web of lies.

Will nature intervene again, demanding another payment?

So now Bethany realizes that her father was a bit crazy. Apparently, he might have killed her mother by injecting her with the cancer cells that killed her, just so she would stay with him. Bethany’s aunt is not leaving anything out of this story that she tells her. I have to say, it was interesting to see Bethany’s father as the “bad guy.” Nevertheless, it explains some of the unstable things he did, such as killing himself trying to make a cocoon and nearly running Zoey over for bullying his daughter. Most normal parents would just go to the principal about a bully, he doesn’t do anything and then tries to kill the girl.

But I digress, even with this new addition to the already hectic plot, I find myself hating Bethany more and more with this novel. First, she finds out that she has spores in her lungs that could mean that she has a deadly disease. Rather than trying to work with the doctors to find a cure, she decides to leave the hospital and try to fly back to Georgia to tell Jeremiah that she loves him. Then her aunt calls her frantically and says that her disease might be contagious, and that she needs to get back to the hospital immediately. She thinks about all the people she coughed nearby and feels bad for possibly giving them a death sentence, but her love life is definitely more important. She slaps a mask on and keeps trying to board the plane in peace. Then she realizes in a shock that she might be a “terrorist” for bringing her deadly disease on the plane and starts freaking out, allowing her aunt to collect her and bring her home. Do YA authors honestly believe that teenage girls are this stupid? She’s literally willing to kill people to get back to this “boy” that she’s only kissed one time.

Also, don’t even get me started with Jeremiah’s “side” of the story. I don’t, I can’t understand what is going on. Did she infect him by kissing him and then he made a cocoon? Why are there voices talking to him? Why are they inexplicably connected to each other? This novel does not even try to explain this, not in any of the 57 alternating chapters. Then he is randomly burned and in a hospital for the rest of the book. I just, I don’t get it. I don’t understand what was going on with his character at all, and I won’t try to force myself to. Just know that every time the book switched to his POV I was completely confused and just wanted to get the chapter over with. Usually, when a book switches to the male love interest’s POV, it is to get information on how he feels about a situation or how he truly feels about the female main character. Instead, we get some sort of half-written mess and start losing our minds with Jeremiah.

Then, there is the evil doctor side plot. Now, I read this book, and I even read it slower than I usually read other books of the same length. I still don’t see how the evil doctor was important to the main storyline. I also don’t see how the FBI got involved in everything. By the time I got to the middle of the book, I stopped trying to keep track of the plot and instead just read the information on the page and flipped to the next one. Nothing made sense, not the conflict, not the romance, not the side plot.

I am so happy to finally be done with this series, and I am not even going to attempt to read the next book in the series. I am completely finished and was lucky not to read myself into a slump trying to finish these two.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 stars