Reviewing the Pages: By Dawn’s Bloody Light

What if the deadliest people in a serial killer story…weren’t the serial killer?

A small Midwestern college town.  A series of murders that ape the Jack the Ripper killings.  Then Laney Miller is butchered just after dawn in front of a second-hand bookstore.  The one witness didn’t see anything…except Laney getting dragged out of her car and murdered by an invisible force.

One that carries a straight razor.

It’s a town that has attracted the weird and strange as far back as the eighteen hundreds.  Since then disappearances, murders, suicides, and kidnappings have only grown worse.  Especially targeted are a group of local girls that carry the same face…

Laney’s face.

Laney’s girlfriend Joy and her friends decide to find the seemingly-supernatural killer and take him down before he strikes again.  

In as violent and bloody a manner as possible.

By dawn’s bloody light…they will have revenge.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free through InstaFreebie in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Deanna Knippling is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors, even if I’ve only read a few pieces of her work.  By Dawn’s Bloody Light is a quick little foray into supernatural horror, and makes me want to know more about the history of the town, and some of the locals described within.  There’s one character in particular that gets so much buildup at the very beginning, and while I was immediately suspicious of them, their actions only dispel my suspicions of them by a little bit.  The brief hints of lore that get dropped about the mysterious happenings in town make me want to know more about the town and it’s deep and bloody secrets.  Who or what started all of this? Is it older than time itself?

If there’s anything I disliked about this read, is the reveal of the killer.  It got dropped on us like Dorothy’s house on the Wicked Witch, and felt a little…lacking.  I was invested in the supernatural aspect of the killings, only to be let down a little bit.  But even with the reveal, I really enjoyed this read.  I do hope that there are more stories in this unnamed Midwestern town, revealing more about the…weirdness that plagues this town.

If you like supernatural horror that give some creatures a different twist, and a read with diverse characters, than you should check this read out.  Sure, it’s short, but it does pack quite a punch.  Enjoy the scares, even if nobody wants to talk about them.

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2-A Fragmentary Passage: The Perfect Bridge

Hello everyone! The FINAL final Kingdom Hearts game review (up until III finally drops), and it’s all about…

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And before I begin,

The game is short.  My file says it took me about five and a half hours to play the game, but I did go out and hang out with a friend for about an hour and a half or so and just left the game on, so total actual play time isn’t that long.  But, what it lacks in length, it packs a tremendous punch in story and tying all the threads together so we can dive right on into III without any effort.

So, the main story follows the tale that Mickey is telling Riku and Kairi about Aqua, and how she is lost in the depths of the Dark World.  And throughout Mickey’s tale, Aqua goes to three of the worlds that have been lost to the darkness in the story that we have been to before…Cinderella’s world, Snow White’s world and Sleeping Beauty’s world.  Along the way, we meet Heartless old and new, including our first ever boss Darkseid, or multiple versions of it anyway.  We then get the help of King Mickey, and we end up on the Destiny Islands, where we get a little more detail into the ending of Kingdom Hearts I with Riku and Mickey closing the door.  Though, I don’t remember if Mickey wasn’t wearing a shirt in the ending of the original game…

Then, there’s that ending.  If that’s a nice little bow to top off a package, I don’t know what is.  Acting as what should be an introduction into III, we see Riku and Mickey get new garb and take off to the Realm of Darkness to finally retrieve Aqua.  Kairi, along with Lea/Axel, will train under Merlin to be Keyblade wielders.  Meanwhile, Sora, who has lost most of his abilities (again!), is tasked to start gaining those back, and what better way to do that than to visit an old friend…at Olympic Coliseum.  Which is where I hope the game starts us out, is at Olympic Coliseum.  That would be pretty awesome.

But, another thing I really appreciate about this game is the fact that we are getting a taste of what KHIII may have in store for us.  I love how the game plays on Unreal Engine 4, and how the world just looks in general.  Sure, we have gotten teasers of it in the previous Kingdom Hearts III trailers, but still…just being able to PLAY using UE4 and just seeing the beauty of the world makes me really anxious for KHIII now.

Well, enough from me.  You’ll just have to play the series to pick up on all of the nuances that this series provides.  I’m not able to do it justice.  But, until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

 

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance: Fractured in More Ways Than One

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  This round:

Yes.  Dream Drop Distance.  The last full release game in the Kingdom Hearts universe, at least as of this writing.  It’s been a very long journey to get here, and man, do I have to say that this game does feel rather…disjointed.  Now, yes, this game was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS, and so a lot of the actual gameplay is a little disjointed when it comes to the Flowmotion and Reality Shift commands that we get in the PS4 re-release as a part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

Now, I do mention that this game is “fractured”, and it is.  In more way than one.  But, before I begin…

There.  This game is fractured primarily in it’s personal story by playing as both Riku and Sora trying to make it through their Mark of Mastery exams.  But, as soon as the first world, we learn that there’s something a bit…amiss here.  Sora and Riku never really interact with each other in person, only seeing each other through a portal in one world, and reaping the benefits of their actions in other worlds.  That, all comes to a head in The World That Never Was, when you finally realize that Organization XIII, yes, the “same” Organization that Sora and Riku “defeated” at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, is after Sora.  Looking to make Sora a “vessel” (I’ll explain shortly).  The story ends with Riku becoming an official Keyblade Master, while Sora looks to strengthen himself on his own personal journey.

That brings me to Organization XIII, and trying to use Sora as a vessel for a piece of Xehanort’s heart.  One of 13 pieces.  Does anyone else think that’s just a little bit…overkill? I mean.  Look at Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter.  He has seven Horcruxes, and in the end, it backfired on him because of the power of love conquering all in that case.  Here, it’s 13 dark entities, each bearing a little piece of the original.  How is this going to work out in the end? Will that little piece of heart get destroyed when the bearer gets defeated? Or will it return to Xehanort? And we only see a select handful of characters here…Young Xehanort, Ansem, Xemnas, Xigbar, Master Xehanort, etc, all in the name of resurrecting Kingdom Hearts and the [chi]-blade, uniting the seven Keyblade users of light and the thirteen seekers of darkness, with Sora seemingly being the key to it all.  And it will all come to a head in Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts III can’t come soon enough, and if what I’ve read about Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage is true, we can get a taste of just what Kingdom Hearts III is going to be like.  But, I’ll tell you more about that in the next review.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Reviewing the Pages: Ten Minutes to Deadtime

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Terry’s alarm keeps waking him at 3.33 every morning. The problem is, he never sets it for that time. On one occasion he wakes up and something is very different. And that’s when his life begins to unthread…
 
Already struggling to balance work and home life, can he overcome the evil that has awakened?

Super short, and while certainly interesting, I felt like there wasn’t much here to tie into the Shadow Fabric Mythos. Sure, we get the Witchblade and what could only be alluded to as the Shadow Fabric, but that’s about it. Sure, the scares that we get here are good. But, in terms of the Mythos, there’s some things that are left to be desired. If you need a quick read, and are hankering for some scares (and a little bit of bewilderment), then this read is for you. And, as a bonus, you don’t need to have read The Shadow Fabric in order to understand anything in this story.

Well, here we are.  Another story in the Shadow Fabric mythos.  And my, do we…not get a lot.  At least, in terms of the Mythos.  Sure, the Witchblade makes an appearance, though for a much sinister appearance than it does in The Shadow Fabric.  But, I have many, MANY questions to ask this story, and there’s just not that many answers.  For example, why 3:33 am? Besides the whole “it’s the Witching Hour and 3:33 is that perfect witching time” (or something along those lines).  Why is the Witchblade suddenly sinister, or is it much darker forces that have the Witchblade at work here? Are the Forgotten the souls that have been stitched together into the Fabric? As I said, so many questions that don’t have much of an answer here.  And that’s ok.  There really doesn’t need to be too many questions answered.  Let’s just hope that a lot of these are connected in one way or another later on down the line, maybe in a unified short story collection, or a sequel novel?

Either way.  For those wanting a quick and easy read, then you should pick up this read.  It may leave you with a lot of questions, but trust me, this whole series is full of them.

Reviewing the Pages: Night Shift

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More than twenty-five stories of horror and nightmarish fantasy transform everyday situations into experiences of compelling terror in the worlds of the living, the dying, and the nonliving.

“Jerusalem’s Lot” Previously unpublished
“Graveyard Shift” October 1970 issue of Cavalier
“Night Surf” Spring 1969 issue of Ubris
“I Am the Doorway” March 1971 issue of Cavalier
“The Mangler” December 1972 issue of Cavalier
“The Boogeyman” March 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Gray Matter” October 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Battleground” September 1972 issue of Cavalier
“Trucks” June 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Sometimes They Come Back” March 1974 issue of Cavalier
“Strawberry Spring” Fall 1968 issue of Ubris
“The Ledge” July 1976 issue of Penthouse
“The Lawnmower Man” May 1975 issue of Cavalier
“Quitters, Inc.” Previously unpublished
“I Know What You Need” September 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan
“Children of the Corn” March 1977 issue of Penthouse
“The Last Rung on the Ladder” Previously unpublished
“The Man Who Loved Flowers” August 1977 issue of Gallery
“One for the Road” March/April 1977 issue of Maine
“The Woman in the Room” Previously unpublished

Night Shift is a collection of twenty short stories that are all designed to fill you with terror and dread. And it does a very good job of that. Whether it’s continuing on with some of the stories in his already extensive library; or creating new stories that will become a part of horror culture, in both good and bad ways. There are a lot of stories here that have become either big screen or made-for-TV movies, or either TV shows or mini-series. Each one of these short stories contain the right amount of horror for the length that the story was. Which is good. Sometimes there’s too much horror in a short piece, and not enough time within the pages to dissipate it. For those of you who like short horror, and haven’t read many from Stephen King, then this read is one worth checking out.

Well, there’s not much more that I want to elaborate on.  I will add in my thoughts on the individual short stories as I had posted them during the course of my reading through this book.

“Jerusalem’s Lot”–King dipped into Lovecraftian horror with this one, which ties in to ‘Salem’s Lot in a way.

“Graveyard Shift”–What is it with rats and horror? In this case…the rats ARE the horror.

“Night Surf”–A precursor, or prequel-in-idea story to The Stand, the horror isn’t in the horror of catching A6, it’s the human fear of dying.

“I Am the Doorway”–not even space can escape King’s touch of horror. Couldn’t imagine having that happen to me.

“The Mangler”: almost by pure chance, a demon possesses a powerful machine and causes havoc.

“The Boogeyman”–a very…unique take on talking to the monster. Lots of in-depth analysis to be had here.

“Grey Matter”–not much I can explain about this one. Man drinks a foul beer and becomes a giant grey blob that is starting to divide.

“Battleground”–I love this story! Such a fun concept.

“Trucks”–What happens when an unexplained event causes machines (in this case, tractor-trailers) gain a mind of their own? This short story gives us an idea.

“Sometimes They Come Back”–Ghosts and demons, a perfect horror mix with childhood trauma as the catalyst event for it.

“Strawberry Spring”–Interesting premise for this tale. Weather phenomenon causing one person to get…murderous? Ending leaves the story in ambiguity.

“The Ledge”–Well, what would you expect when you try to run away with the wife of a criminal syndicate boss that has known to be a little sadistic? With the crime boss’ penchant to lie, the ending is a little ambiguous.

“The Lawnmower Man”–This is what happens when you let a Greek god start a lawn service.

“Quitters Inc.”–Interesting short story. Unlikely to happen in today’s society, but still, interesting concept.

“I Know What You Need”–A little bit of black magic to gain love? Don’t you know that any sort of magic won’t get you love?

“Children of the Corn”–Religion and horror don’t mix very often, but it can certainly be scary.

“The Last Rung on the Ladder”–A story, which while the premise is more suspenseful than terrifying; it’s the underlying terror of drifting apart and the guilt of not contacting loved ones before they leave our plane of existence. A theme that hits to close to home this week.

“The Man Who Loved Flowers”–This story almost didn’t seem like it was going to have a tinge of darkness in it, until the very end.

“One for the Road”–So, we got a prequel for ‘Salem’s Lot, and now we get a sequel…of sorts. More like a small continuation of the story that falls a few years after the ending.

“The Woman in the Room”–Horror based in reality can always be the scariest, and watching a loved one wither away can be downright terrifying.

Reviewing the Pages: I Died Yesterday

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Revenge. Respect. Regret.

Sometimes doing the ‘right’ thing brings out the wrong in people.

I Died Yesterday – A evening with an old friend becomes a morning after that lasts for ever.
Chopper – A young man’s pursuit of his dream unearths a nightmare.
A Decision at Dusk – If you could bring someone back from the dead, would you use the power to help or hurt?
Sunflower – When the establishment fights back, they break more than the rules.
A View – Some noises are best left uninvestigated.

These stories are not happy, but they leave their mark. Some are set in our world; some are set in an alternate world (that of the Lords of Misrule series). This anthology combines dark humour, psychological terror, horror, and a splash of brightly coloured gore. It packs an emotional punch made even more harrowing by the paper-thin divide between reality and fiction.

Five uniquely individual short stories; each one uniquely crafted to bring a different sort of horror to the reader. As the author mentions, two of the short stories are not of our world, and I felt that those are the “weakest” of these five stories. I only say that they are the “weakest” because I don’t know the world that they are based in. However, they are not bad stories at all. Some of the references and things in those stories are lost on this reader, which I may have to remedy one of these days. But, other than that, the three stories based in this world are incredibly horrifying. Sometimes you can see the twist coming; but other times you won’t see it until it’s right on top of you. And it’s exciting. I would highly recommend this short story collection. Borrowing this from R.L. Stine: “Reader beware, you’re in for a scare.”

Wow.  That first story man.  That was BRUTAL.  At the very beginning of “I Died Yesterday”, you would have thought that the MC of the story was the one that died.  But then, it changes.  Quickly.  The MC is very unreliable, and even though you can figure out the ending, it’s the way that Graham gets to it is suspenseful.

The second short story, “Chopper” was much more confusing, and wasn’t as…enjoyable…as the first (not that the first story’s subject material was enjoyable, but it was a good story).  Our narrator here is not as unreliable as the first one, but isn’t all there with his imagination running wild.  I was excited about the twist that I wasn’t expecting to come out of this, which made the ending that much more interesting.

“A Decision at Dusk” gives us a unique perspective into necromancy, even if the story doesn’t flat out say it.  I like the premise that this druid is battling with resurrecting her brother vs the happiness of her niece, while also flaunting that she does this again and again to the man that killed her brother.  Though, the jaunt down to the village at the end gave me something to think about.  One little line made me pause…and think.  Is there more to Mia than we thought? Is that why the rumor about arms most prevalent? Another excellent story here.

“Sunflowers” is another horrifying tale.  This time, I’m unsure on just who to blame here.  The MC seems to have gotten herself into this mess by sticking her nose into business that doesn’t belong.  That leads her to getting kidnapped, tortured, and maybe even raped? I’m not sure about that last bit.  But, the unspeakable horror comes at the very end.  I was wondering where all this was going with the mentions about her brother.  Another hair raising story.  Just don’t take this one lightly.

“A View” is a read that reminds me of something that I think about constantly, and talk to people about on a regular basis.  If a character doesn’t do this particular action, would we actually have a story? This is one of those cases.  If our MC, with a very distinctive body…modification, wouldn’t have tried to satisfy his curiosity, would the ending of the story be different.  There are so many questions that I have that I want answered, and I’m not going to find them in these pages.

Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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The war against Voldemort is not going well: even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of The Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet …

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Harry struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry’s life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes.

With Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort, and thereby attempts to find what may be his only vulnerability.

Probably the darkest entry in the series, Half-Blood Prince is a gritty look into the darkest times of the Wizarding world. With Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters finally out and wreaking havoc again in this edition, the now sixteen year old Harry struggles with balancing post-OWLs schooling with Quiddich, friends, extra lessons and his own blossoming internal feelings. The description of the “monster” within Harry in terms of his feeling for Ginny is accurate.

This book will pull at your heartstrings, as it caused me to tear up at the very end, even after having read this book at least once or twice. That’s how you know that a book is good. It gets deep inside of your soul, and never lets go. Rowling is a masterful storyteller, and while there are some moments that will irritate you, it works to get you invested in the story.

If you haven’t gotten into this series by now, this would be a BAD book to jump into. Go read the others first before coming back to this one. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

For those of you who haven’t read this yet, than this ENTIRE review series has been a spoiler, and with that, I’m sorry.  That being said, the actual death of Dumbledore didn’t move me to tear up.  What did was Fawkes’ lament afterwards.  The sorrowful song that I imagined in my head would have probably caused me to cry if I would have heard it in person.

Also, the end of this book sets the stage for the final book.  Throughout the entire thing, we keep getting mentions that Harry is the ‘Chosen One’ to take down Voldemort, once and for all, or fail trying.  We also get an incredible amount of backstory through moments in the Pensieve along with corresponding tales from Dumbledore.  It makes the inhuman monster human, almost.

Harry continues to frustrate me with his single-track mind once he finally sets his mind to it.  This time, it’s trying to catch Malfoy in the act of doing something…Dark.  Yes, I did just use the term “dark” in that way.   ‘Cause that’s what Harry keeps going on and on about.  That Malfoy is up to no good and Harry REALLY wants to catch Malfoy in the act, to prove himself right to others for a change.

However, the other major story here is love, and how it does take awhile to blossom.  In this case, it’s both Ron and Hermione going on their separate journeys in possibly finding love.  While it’s clear to the reader that Hermione does like Ron in more than just a friend way, Ron’s a bit more thick-headed about it.  Then again, when hasn’t he been thick headed about Hermione? Then, there’s Harry and Ginny finally getting together.  While Ginny has always been infatuated with Harry, Harry has only now found feelings for Ginny.  As I said in my Goodreads review, the description of Harry’s monster within is surprisingly accurate.  Love feels that way sometimes.

I hope that you have continued to enjoy these books well after you have read them the first time.  I’m loving the dive back into the series, and I’m anxiously awaiting diving into Deathly Hallows.  If you’re reading through the series folks, and are starting this book, then you might want some tissues…you’re gonna need them.