Saturday, June 10, 2017

Game Review: Outlast 2

Outlast 1 is a brutal game that focuses quite a bit on cringe-worthy and gory scenes. I did note at the time that women and children were conveniently missing from the game which is explained in a throw-away line that might as well be 'um, they're around somewhere, probably behind the camera'. In Outlast 2, it seems that they have overcome this hurdle and now we get to see women and children getting killed or tortured. So...yay for progress?

I'm not really going to touch much on the controversial scenes in the game, besides the fact that Outlast 1 was already trying to push this envelope (full frontal male nudity in the first few levels, and a REALLY cringe-worthy torture scene in the DLC), and everyone suffers equally in the second. There's a reason why this is 18+, and it fully deserves this rating. Surprisingly however, when I think of this game, I don't think of 'controversial and edgy' but usually 'boring and annoying'.

You play as Jack, a reporter who has crashed landed near a cult-village and the people seem to think your arrival will bring the apocalypse. Jack cannot fight and has to run or hide (similar to the last game) but this happened so often it soon became a chase simulator more than anything else. The stealth section feels cheapened as there are some enemies that are able to catch you for no other reason than they are pre-programmed to do so, because there is no way they can otherwise spot you from half a town away. There was a fair amount of running in Outlast 1, but this was often broken up by the atmosphere, exploration, and the friendly NP's. It wasn't always clear whether or not the inmates would attack or try to help you or just act crazy. But in this town? One friendly resident who is quickly killed off.

We do go into Jack's past memories of a school in order to break up the chasing every now and then, and while it is admittedly terrifying and atmospheric in the better parts of the game, it doesn't tie into the main game at all. The idea is that Jack is gradually losing his sanity and can't tell the difference as the game progresses. It gets to the point when he thinks he is still a child, and calls his wife a different name. But in the next scene involving the main plot, Jack suddenly snaps back to reality and sounds perfectly sane without explanation. Even with the religious overtones of the flashback, it doesn't really connect to the main ending at all.

FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 5: Good atmosphere and ideas don't work well with the characters, the flashbacks, and the gameplay. The antagonist is a religious zealout, but isn't compelling in the slightest.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: From the Shadow by Jessica Jesinghaus

What makes a man a monster?

For too long Jacob has lived in isolation. Forsaken by God and cursed by a Shadow, he is doomed to a eternity of solitude with only the demons of his past for company. For nearly two hundred years, he has longed for that which he knows he can never have: forgiveness, love, and redemption.

A chance encounter could hold the key...

When Jacob meets Lynn, she shines a ray of hope across his bleak existence. But will she be strong enough to shoulder the truth of his past? Can she forgive the horrors he has wrought? Can she help him come to terms with his past and move with him into a brighter future?

An old nemesis threatens...

Confronted by an ancient enemy, Lynn and Jacob travel halfway around the world. There, they face the daunting task of sifting through ancient history for clues to their tormentor's weaknesses and a way to loose his grip on their future.

What good can come From the Shadow?

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book.

From the Shadow is a unique book in that a great deal happens in it, especially within the first few chapters. Jacob is a monster who tears into Lynn's friends (literally!) who are in the woods camping. Shortly after this Lynn is turned into a similar monster herself. This by itself could be enough plot material to fill a significant portion of the book-how Lynn deals with this new transformation, how she deals with what Jacob has done to her friends, etc. It's a very interesting situation that appeals to my love of complex monsters. I would have liked to see Lynn given more time to deal with this in the woods, but like I said a lot of things happen in this book quickly, a majority of which goes into Jacob's past and why he was turned into a monster to begin with. Without going too much into spoiler territory, I also really liked the character of Johanna, a woman from Jacob's past. She has an interesting backstory and it was neat to see how it developed over the years which made her into a complex character.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Book Review: The Human-Undead War Dark Intentions by Jonathan Edward Ondrashek

In 2041, vampires are discovered and humanity is thrust into a blood-soaked battle for supremacy.

Seven years later, the Human-Undead War rages on. Brian Koltz, the lead scientist and negotiator for the Undead Relations Committee, believes he holds the solution to peaceful cohabitation. However, he is unable to recreate the platelet mushroom due to its mysterious origin and government disapproval of using a human body as its engine.

When Brian is kidnapped and introduced to the Undead Patriarch, Barnaby, the seemingly caring vampire makes offers Brian can't refuse if he wishes to achieve his vision of peaceful coexistence. Reluctant yet hopeful, Brian agrees to the offers and befriends the misunderstood Undead leader.

But as the war takes on new heights and Barnaby's dark intentions become exposed, can Brian find it in himself to forsake peace and undo a sinister plot before the world is plunged into darkness forever?

Blogger's note: Moderate spoilers below.

The cover is good but doesn't quite catch my eye too much. I do like that it's somewhat mysterious what the monster is and the color balance works fine. But at the same time, he is in a typical monster pose and the background isn't that striking. Overall it works, but it isn't really that unique.

There is a great deal to like at the start of The Human-Undead War. A man (John Ashmore) who is struggling with marital problems goes on a diving adventure with his friends and ends up in a mysterious cave with strange creatures. He manages to kill one of them, which inadvertently starts the human-undead war. From there, the book splits into two different stories-the scientist Brian's point of view and the overall war between humans and vampires (good news if you like a high-paced action plot). There are also some great character actions with Barnaby and John as well, who survives to become a pawn to Barnaby.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Denby doesn’t know how he got on the Marian. He just woke up one day inside the body of its captain.

The Marian is unlike any ship Ethan has ever seen. It crawls on long, metal legs over dunes of salt in search of water, despite laws granting exclusive harvesting rights to a corrupt organization known as HydroSystems Worldwide.

HydroSystems is closing in, tensions are mounting aboard the Marian, and on top of all that, Ethan is beginning to think the dreams he's been having aren't completely harmless. If he doesn’t get home soon, Ethan could die inside someone else’s body in this wasteland of a world. The only way back seems to be through the Cloud, but how can he convince the crew to take him there when it means confronting a dangerous cult and venturing into a place where the very fabric of reality has worn thin?

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book

I am not usually a fan of black and white covers, but in this case it works, especially with the font choice and the contrast to the second book (which has a younger version of Ethan and red text).

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Hi everyone,

You might have noticed that I haven't posted anything in what...three weeks?

Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way of this blog, and I have a bad habit of just falling off the grid. Rather than let that continue, I thought I would take the time to explain why that is. Some reasons are deeply personal and I won't get into very much, others I will.

2016 has not been a great year overall, despite the release of my book. There has been significant personal problems during this time, and I have also had some professional set-backs in the form of rejection letters. And just when I thought I couldn't be hit with anything more, in came the election results.

I won't get into my political opinions too much-it's pretty obvious on my facebook at any rate. But once the results were in, I am sure many people felt like they suddenly lost their best friend, the big brother who is always was a good person and would always have their back. Now that pillar of strength is suddenly cracked. America might not be such a great neighbor, after all. Maybe they'll be something bad. I have had plenty of pro-Trump supporters explain to me why that is not the case, and they make a convincing argument. But everyone can agree that the world is living in a very uncertain time, and the negativity on facebook is beyond incredible. People are tearing themselves apart. For that reason, I am severely limiting my time on facebook just to avoid it.

I am genuinely trying to avoid a 'woe is me' post, but this has resulted in delays as a result. When this month started it was very hard to get a good night's sleep, and every day was spent either receiving more bad news or worrying about something. Some days it was even hard to get up in the morning, let alone do anything else.

But...I am healing. And so is the world, after receiving the election news. The best way to describe it is going through a bad breakup. Everyone is dealing with it in a different way. Some people will take a long time, others no time at all. Some people are happy, some don't care, others are rioting, others are quietly despairing in their homes. And some people may never recover. Speaking personally, today is the first day I was able to write something new. I have a review video that is 99% completed. I can only dust myself off and try to continue as best as I can. But please bare with me in the meantime.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: The Vigilant Schism by MG Sanders

A hated bully’s ghastly - yet deserved - decapitation.
An eccentric siliconaire's one million dollar reward.
An otherworldly cast of suspects screwing everything else up.

A justifiably grisly crime begs to be solved in THE VIGILANT: SCHISM, the first book of a psycho-thriller serial where the paranormal interact with the living - usually without their knowledge. A horrific murder sets sixteen-year-old Beth and others on a riveting quest to find the killer, yet instead they discover that no one is what they seem, especially Beth. As they explore the unseen lives of those around them, it becomes evident that something sinister - something irrevocable - is happening in Beetle Oaks.

Someone is righting wrongs.

A psycho-thriller populated with a bizarre cast of characters, THE VIGILANT serial will appeal to those unafraid to consider the revolting depths of the shadows crawling behind friends and neighbors.

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book

The cover is simply beautiful, and I could gush about it all day. Since one of the main characters is the spirit of someone horribly murdered, the cover is very fitting as a ghost could spend a great deal of time behind the curtain. Well done!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Author Interview: CK Stone and Tia Tormen

Natasha: Tell me about yourself. How long have you been writing? When you are not writing, how do you like to spend your spare time?

CK: I'd love to say I've been writing since I was able to pick up a pencil and put words on paper, but that might be a bit of an exaggeration. I've written stories since I was a kid and kept a journal since I was in college. Oy, a long time… As to what I do when not writing--I do all the rest of the things that keep my life interesting: Tang Soo Do, Haidong Gumdo, Parsec - a sf/f/h group here in Pittsburgh, Confluence - our annual SF/F/H conference, eating, sleeping, and working my day job. As to spare time--that's really funny.

TIA: I always wanted to grow up and become a writer, but my priorities were to my five children first. I used to make up bedtime stories to tell them and envisioned myself becoming a children's book author someday. After the children were old enough, I started attending a writing and critique group and learned a lot about the craft of writing. Then along came CK and Hidden Design and we've been working on that together for quite a few years. I have been taking Tang Soo Do Karate since 1992, but took a 19 year break and only started studying again a couple years ago. I also take Haidong Gumdo sword classes, attend and help run a writing and critique group, I work as a make-up artist and photographer on the weekends, do video editing when I have time, and work a PT day job. Any spare time I have available is spent promoting Hidden Design, the Prophecy and learning how to professionally publish books.

Natasha:  Tell us a little about your book series Hidden Design, the Prophecy. What was your favorite scene to write? What was your least favorite scene?

CK: I think one of my favorite scenes to write was the dinner party scene.  Mikki Daneen, our main character, has dinner with a local TV Celebrity and his producer/girlfriend. There is a little friction and a lot of wine, sake and beer.  A lot of fun.

Least favorite?  I would have to say my least favorite scene is the initial meeting between Jacques, a prospective client who is manager for another client/friend of Mikki's  and Mikki. She is trying to be business-like, mostly because she has some other things on her mind and he has heard too much about how Mikki works and wants to find out if it's true. Let's just say I didn't find him a particularly sympathetic character in that scene.

Natasha: Do you have any other exciting projects coming out?

TIA: Always! Right now we're working on the second book for Hidden Design, sub title TBD, and a novella titled, "The Write Lovers." We have had The Write Lovers on the back burner for some time now but it is almost completed.  The novella should be available by summer 2017.

Natasha:  Do you have any advice for other authors trying to get published?

CK: Keep writing! Don't lose heart! Help is on the way! We all get discouraged and we all feel like we're beating our heads against the proverbial wall. The best piece of advice, and one I give to myself all the time: keep writing and keep submitting.

Natasha: What genre is your book?

TIA: Hidden Design is listed as a Contemporary Fantasy-Thriller, but is a bit more cross-genre than that. It has been described by readers as a paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, magic realism, erotic thriller and paranormal thriller. We had a hard time settling on a genre because there really are so many different elements written into the story.

Natasha: What is the best way for readers to reach you? (links for twitter, facebook, etc)

Tia Tormen can be found on:
Her website:
Amazon author page:

CK Stone can be found on:

Our Blog:

An ancient Prophecy, foretold millennia ago . . .  
Child of the traitor
Conceived in betrayal
Shall pierce the veil
And destroy the hidden   

Mikki Daneen is living the life she's always dreamed but she hides an extraordinary gift--the ability to perceive her clients' most intimate desires. A secret liaison brings death and destruction to Mikki's life, but she's not the only one in danger. Mikki must uncover the secrets of a culture she never knew existed, and expose the true betrayer.
Hidden Design, The Prophecy, is a full-length contemporary fantasy/thriller novel that contains elements of romantica.

The story is set in New York City where Mackenzie Daneen is a successful interior designer, in part because she can psychically link into the most secret desires of her special clients and give them exactly what they want. Mikki is on top of her world until an old boyfriend/FBI agent asks her to glean details on a kidnapping suspect, Seth Harkinson, by using her psychic ability. When she learns more than she bargained for, her life starts falling apart. Through Seth, she uncovers the truth; she may be the child the prophecy speaks of. She runs for her life from a demon-possessed beast that is hell-bent on hunting down and killing the innocent children who possess magical gifts; children of whom the prophecy may speak.

While she and Seth fight for their lives, they discover they have a connection that runs deeper than either of them imagined. Will her psychic visions be able to help them find the evil that is driven relentlessly to slaughter, before it's too late?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Book Review: The House That Death Built by Michaelbrent Collings

Getting in was easy. Getting out... will be another matter.
It was supposed to be just one more job: in, out, and millions the richer. But when four thieves break into THIS house, they discover the owners were ready. And waiting.

Now, the thieves find themselves in a deadly maze of traps. Traps designed not only to steal their lives, but their sanity.

The only way out is the front door.
The only way to get there is to survive.
And the only way to survive is to be willing to do anything, to suffer all... and to lose everything.

The cover is pretty simple, but overall I like it. The old 'less is more' holds true in this case, and the font and splash of red work very well here.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. MichaelBrent Collings is a bestselling author, and there are plenty of quotes in the first few pages from various review sites praising this book. Is he the next king of horror as Media Mikes claims? Eh, time will tell. But I can firmly say that this is a book that almost excels at every turn.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Novella Review: Empty by Ty Arthur

There are terrors still waiting to be discovered in the vast emptiness of space. After millennia of travel through the void, man has convinced himself he is master of the stars.

Down-on-his-luck, stuck performing punishment duty in the lower levels of the Penrose, Junior Engineer 3rd Class Hansen wants nothing more than to see the wreckage of a newly discovered ship dating back to man's earliest deep space explorations.

The engineer is about to get his wish, and in the process come face-to-face with a long-dormant horror waiting patiently for the perfect vessel. What he'll uncover in the darkness will threaten to consume him, body and soul.

I really like the cover on this one-the artist did a great job with a scene that could easily fit in the novella, with perfect detailed coloring and shading. Judging by the expression on the man's face, however, a small part of me wonders if this cover would have worked even better tied to a comedy, which Empty is certainly not. That is a minor opinion however, and it certainly works a million times better than the cover on my ARC copy (which was a big white page of nothing!)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Promo: Halloweenpalooza IV

Official article here and posted with permission: 

October. It’s the month when the smell of pumpkin is in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot makes it awfully difficult to creep up on someone and wield a chain saw, but don’t worry! Until the snow falls and muffles the approach, stay inside with us! We have 31 brilliantly twisted authors that are ready to dish out all you can handle in the thrill department and more. Our promise? Relentless horror guaranteed to freeze your brain and make your tongue fall off! And we mean it, too!

This is HALLOWEENPALOOZA IV: The Stalking Moon, and if you’re a lover of horror, you’re in the right place. We have 31 authors … did I say 31 again? No! Not 31 … this year we have 33 authors that are ready to blow the top of your head off! That’s right! We’re so jam-packed with talent that we’re starting this event in September, but that’s not the only surprise! Ready for it? Hope you’re sitting down!

This year I’m honored to announce that … Mr. Jack Ketchum will be participating in this rodeo! YES! The scariest guy in America (according to Mr. Stephen King) will be here to offer up his brand of scary and it’s spelled t-e-r-r-o-r-i-f-y-i-n-g! It’s fair warning, and to the legion of fans that love standing knee-deep in his kind of psychotic, he’s giving away some awesome prizes!

Prizes? Yes, prizes! Every author participating in this scarefest will be giving one or more of their books away! This is in addition to other giveaways occurring throughout the month! And in case you're new to this event, this is how to enter to win.

DAILY PRIZES: From September 29th through October 31st, I'll be posting a link to this blog on the Official FB Event Page every single day (as in “every single day”!) The post will be an interview, blog, or original short story written by the author featured on that day. The post will also reveal the title of the book being given away, how many copies, and what format are up for grabs. To enter, click back over to the FB Event Page (the Halloweenpalooza IV picture at the top and/or bottom of the page is linked to the FB event for easy navigation), and follow the instructions. Most times, it's as easy as commenting "I WANT TO WIN!" You have all day to enter--we draw the winners in the evening. If your name is selected, the prize is yours! It's that simple.

MONTHLY PRIZES: In addition to the daily prizes, there will be two monthly drawings as well. The first is the GRAND PRIZE. It includes a prize package that will be revealed on October 1st. The second contest is TWO AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS (one a galley proof) by a certain uber fantabulous author that will also be announced at the start of this event. Until then, I’ll let you guess who it is! *wink wink* Both contests will be offered through Rafflecopter, and will have options for you to increase your chances to win! The contests will run the length of this event, and the lucky winners will be chosen on October 31st.

For the full article please click here. Please check the facebook link for more updates.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Game Demo Review: Resident Evil Beginning Hour

I'm of two minds when it comes to the playable teaser for Resident Evil Beginning Hour. On the one's scary. Really scary. As in, edge-of-your-seat-terrified-to-see-behind-the-next-corner kind of scary. You play as a cameraman who is investigating a supposedly abandoned house with two other filmmakers. Bad things happen, and you need to escape the house while being chased by a madman who wants to 'welcome you to the family'. There are also clues left around the house that will either take players a really long time to figure out, or are currently not in play until another update to expand the demo (based on the fact that additional items have been added since E3, I'm guessing it's the latter)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Book Review: Dark Gods of Alter Telluria by Barton Paul Levenson

Pittsburgh astrophysics professor Milo Stanford finally had it good for a change. A one-year sabbatical to teach in London and a beautiful new girlfriend. No worries to speak of—until the day he lost it all.

Caught outside in a freak thunderstorm, Milo is struck by lightning and wakes up on the parallel world of Alter Telluria. Unable to return home, Milo must adjust to life on a new planet of nation-states that are ruled by supernatural beings, a strange, pseudo-Victorian culture, and a pantheon of dark gods who delight in wreaking havoc on the lives of the local denizens.

While struggling to adapt to his new situation, Milo is offered a position in the Scholar’s Tower by the vampire ruler Sania, Mistress of Lake Gulia. Despite his abrasive personality and lack of deference, he quickly rises to become one of her most trusted advisors.

When the ruling wizard of neighboring Carthusia kidnaps Sania in an attempted coup, Milo is chosen to lead a hazardous rescue mission into the stronghold of the wizard’s indomitable magic—where the dark gods are certain to test his mettle.

Can Milo rescue Sania and restore her as ruler of Lake Gulia, or do the dark gods of Alter Telluria have other plans?

The cover is very pretty. Great lighting, imagery, and the scene takes place in the book as well! This is the type of cover that will easily stand out on a bookshelf.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Author Interview: MG Sanders

Natasha: Tell me about yourself. How long have you been writing? When you are not writing, how do you like to spend your spare time?

MG: My two greatest passions have always been travel and writing. I've been doing both since I was a child, including scribbling out scary stories while traveling in the back seat of my parent's car. My earliest stories were about people who became lost in their own minds, which (excuse the pun) went right over the heads of my elementary school friends. When I'm not writing I tend to do a lot of exercise to offset the sedentary nature of the career. Favorites are hiking, swimming, walking and yoga.

Natasha: Tell us a little about your book series Vigilant. What was your favorite scene to write? What was your least favorite scene?

MG: The Vigilant serial is a psychological thriller about a teen who refuses to watch others be victimized and takes matters into their hands. One by one, the teen single handedly eradicates the deserving from the foggy northern coastal town where they live. As the reader delves into the haunted town of Beetle Oaks, a host of challenged characters who are not what they seem interact with each other in their quests to identify the killer.

I really enjoyed discovering the history of one of the more tortured characters, Fiammetta – a siren who lives as a fish in the ocean by day and walks the earth at night. Due to the curse put upon her centuries before, each full moon she is compelled to kill a man - causing no small amount of chaos as her body counts grow. Definitely my least favorite scene was the abuse and murder of one of the more sweet and tortured characters by a truly evil gentleman.

Natasha: You mentioned this is a new genre for you to write in. How has that been challenging?

MG: I have a successful memoir series under my real name, Marlayna Glynn, which was fairly effortless to put together. The five book series is a collection of true stories and I'm a natural storyteller. However, my four children and three stepchildren created the main characters in The Vigilant serial and I was very challenged to weave a story around such a complex and disparate set of characters. It was great fun though because my immediate family doubted I could pull it off! I've really enjoyed working with characters I did not know or create and being able to tell their stories.

Natasha: Do you have any other exciting projects coming out?

MG: In Game of Thrones style, I'm continually killing off characters in The Vigilant. As new characters are introduced in each book I get to lose myself in creating their histories. I envision side books about some characters and investigating just how they came to be what they are.

Natasha: Do you have any advice for other authors trying to get published?

MG: I have tons of advice! Arguably the most important is to get comfortable with marketing yourself and your works. You'll be doing a lot of it – more than you could ever realize.

Natasha: What is the best way for readers to reach you? (links for twitter, facebook, etc)




MG Sanders has always questioned the line between what's real - and the unseen world around her.

An award winning photographer and writer, she spent two years traveling the world to photograph religious ceremony, burial sites and ancient grounds haunted with history.

Author of psychological thrillers, MG's work has unleashed an unconventional cast of characters to the world. Her nightmare-inducing collection of psycho thrillers is sure to chill even the most seasoned horror and paranormal readers. Her first book of THE VIGILANT serial is exclusive to Kindle and soon to be in paperback.

Beyond reading and writing, MG enjoys hikes through the forest, travel to any new destination, and settling down late at night with a good ghost story. You name it, she's either read it or watched it, cutting her teeth on masters such as Stephen King, Robert Bloch and HP Lovecraft.

She resides with her soulmate, Allen, seven children and two cats.

Find out more at, and score the not-for-sale-to-the-public Prequel to THE VIGILANT series.

THE VIGILANT: SCHISM Book One and THE VIGILANT: CHASM Book two -- now available on Amazon!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Game Review: Asemblance

I originally ordered Asemblance since the trailer looked pretty spooky. But when it came down to it...there was only one spooky scene, and the game itself is not really a horror game. What it is, however, is a very interesting puzzle game. One that would be very difficult to win without tuning into a walkthrough online. When it originally came out, it took weeks for one hardcore gamer (TheBlueRanger) to find all of the endings, and even then I'm not 100% convinced all the secrets have been discovered yet. And in this case, even if a player looks at the walkthrough for the tough-as-nails 'white' ending, chances are they'll still need several tries to get it right.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Trillingham by W.Potocki

A monster proves a legend true.

Jen Nichols is living large and ready to enjoy the summer. Riding the unemployment train, a chance encounter with Hillboro’s newest resident alters her plans. While Jen insists the attack could have been fatal, everyone, including her boyfriend Phil, minimizes her claims. Even the police dismiss her account of what they consider a skirmish until a dead body surfaces. Half-eaten and discarded in a ravine, it’s the first clue that someone very evil is hungry. But who or what that someone is remains a mystery and shrouded in folklore.

A vandalized cemetery located hundreds of miles away may hold the key to solving the crime. The digging up of that unmarked grave has awakened more than the creature put to a permanent rest. But only a mother still grieving over the loss of a child understands the implications. As she sets out to stop more murders from happening, the only question for her is, will she be too late.

There are two covers available for Trillingham, and neither really catch my eye. The graveyard is the more accurate presentation of the events happening in the book (having a monster waking up from the gave and all) but the photo itself looks a bit blurry and ordinary. Having the text font be a dark shade might have made it more visually eye-catching, or having a splash of color in the picture itself might have worked, such as an unnatural glow of some sorts. The author has written other books where the cover is far more eye-catching. This is unfortunately is not one of them. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Game Review: Layers of Fear

Blogger's note: Sorry for the lack of updates, everyone. Busy month!

Layers of Fear can be considered as not really a game but an experience of how many jumpscares you can withstand at once. Ths game is extremely terrifying and keeps the horror fresh by introducing an element of madness at every turn. One moment you may be walking down a hallway, the next you may be repeating the same hallway over and over again while a phone rings that you can't answer. Scraps of journals inform the player that the main character certainly deserves some of the horror which occurs in the household.

But is it really a game? This game seems to borrow heavily from PT, which involves a lot of wandering around more than anything else, (not to mention the main character has a problem with alchohol and there is a psycho wife trying to kill you). As in PT, it is impossible to actually die in this game, as the player will simply wake up later. The puzzles are rare and there are three possible endings, depending on whether or not you try to follow your wife in the game. But besides a good element of exploration, that will be pretty much the only gameplay features in the game. And it's certainly difficult to explore when there are jumpscares happening at every turn!

FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5. This game is simply terrifying, but won't be a challenge to go through. I guess after the success of PT we should expect more games to follow this same trend?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: Harvest Night by D. A Madigan

Life is good in Redhaven -- taxes are low, schools are safe, crime is nearly non-existent. People say 'hi' to each other when they pass on the street, everyone has a smile for everyone else, and people still leave their doors unlocked at night.

Except during Harvest Time. For the affluent local families who actually run this lovely little town, the days between Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving weekend are the most wonderful time of the year... it's time of celebration and festivity, when Redhaven honors and memorializes its three hundred year old traditions with quaint, old fashioned ceremonial events and revels.

And if a few houses in Redhaven seem to mysteriously turn up empty at the end of Harvest Time every year, well, that's no problem at all. Nothing to worry about -- the Bank of Redhaven is always ready to extend low interest mortgages and business start up loans to any newcomers ready to settle down in this pleasant, friendly, comfortably old fashioned little town. Those houses never sit empty for very long... just as no one ever regrets moving to Redhaven for very long, either...

There are two covers to this book, and we're going with the one I like more. Everything in this cover is eye-catching and will certainly grab my attention in a bookstore. The moon and the symbolism get visual top marks from me. The alternate cover, with a tree against the moon, feels like it's missing something, and that certainly isn't the case here.

As to the writing itself all I can say 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review: Fright Tales by Eddie Morales

The cover is pretty nifty, although a small voice in the back of my heads wonders, 'Hm, should I be censoring this for its graphical content?' I don't believe that is the case, but kudos either way for an eye-catching cover.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Game Review: Outlast and Outlast Whistleblower

Rated M warning for the trailer. And this was the least disturbing one I could find!

Outlast and the DLC follow-up Outlast Whistleblower are hands down my favorite horror games to play in the recent years. In the first game, you play as an investigative reporter breaking into an insane asylum after receiving a lead, and in the second, you play as the person who gave the reporter said lead, who later becomes a patient at the hospital. In both cases you are armed only with a camera and...well, just a camera really. You cannot fight at all in the game. So when bad things come at you, the only option is to either run or hide. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Book Review: Strangely Twisted Vol 3 by RG Austin

The cover is...oh dear. Given that some of these stories features people in an 'out of world' setting, I would have expected having an atmospheric piece-perhaps something foggy with unknown creatures in the distance, or perhaps an eerie empty-looking building. What I did not expect was someone who arguably looks like a reject from Cirque Du Soleil to be on the cover. To be fair to the author, her previous books do have a more fitting picture on the cover. It just really misses the mark on this one.

Since this is a collection of stories I will be reviewing them on their individual merits.