Book Review: “The Halloween Children” by Brian James Freeman & Norman Prentiss

“The Halloween Children are watching me. They’re watching us all …”

halloween childrenThis novella reminded me a bit of a Jack Ketchum story. The first 2/3 of the book is spent exploring the characters – in this case a quite dysfunctional family. A constant sense of dread continues to build as questions are strung throughout the narrative like carefully placed decorations, until you reach the end which comes screaming at you like a freight train lifted from its tracks.

The narrative point of views, in flipping from Lynn and Harris’s perspectives, worked extremely well as you couldn’t fully trust either of the two narrators. The savvy reader begins to get the real picture of what’s going on by what’s NOT being said. I’ve always enjoyed the unreliable narrator motif, and it’s used here in quite a unique way that’s not fully understood until you reach the end.

But the ending — I’ll admit, a few times I grew a little weary of the bickering between the two parents, but this has one of the best endings for a book I’ve ever read. The thematic metaphors woven throughout one of the most tragic and shocking finales you’ll find … as I was reading I felt as if my jaw kept dropping lower and lower. Beautifully crafted, this is horror that will affect even the most jaded of horror fans.

A fantastic collaboration between two amazing authors, this is a book that will stay with you long after you close the final page.

“You’re all guilty. You’re all the Halloween Children.”

NOTE: This book will be released June 7th, by Random House and their Hydra imprint. You can pre-order a copy here.

** I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Because Who Doesn’t Love a Free Book?

Sadly the word FREE, as it goes with offering a product, often assigns a “value-less” attachment to whatever is being offered. Ebooks are no different, and with the desperation many authors face in trying to attract readers, it’s no surprise that this trend has affected — and disrupted — the wonderful world of reading.

There are, however, times when great books are offered at heavily discounted prices.

Recently, Amazon has introduced a new program called Prime Reading, in which Amazon Prime members can “borrow” up to ten ebooks at a time for absolutely no cost to the reader. Thousands of books are plugged into their rotating carousel of available books each month and, much like borrowing a book from a library, readers can check one out but WITHOUT accruing late charges.

My novel, HOUSEBROKEN, was a part of the introductory Prime Reading program when it first launched, and it was a great way to introduce my work to new readers during that time frame. Well, as the carousel continues its rotations, I thought I’d make you lovely readers aware of a few books you can download today for free that are part of this program, books you won’t want to miss.

Books You Can Download for FREE w/ Amazon’s Prime Reading:

1984First, do yourself a favor and pick up George Orwell’s fantastic dystopian novel, 1984. If you haven’t read this one yet, you’re in for a treat. In today’s world this little classic is looking more and more prophetic, and not in a good way.

 
Unpaved SurfacesFor a chilling character-driven suspense read, make sure you grab Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces. About the deconstruction and reconstruction of a family who has a child go missing, it’s a fantastic read.

 

melophobiaAnother dystopian novel that’s near and dear to my heart is Melophobia by James Morris. About a world where music is banned and musicians are fugitives, this one takes some surprising turns. Definitely one of my top reads for 2016.

 

twistedAuthor Andrew Kaufman has a dark thriller in the vein of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island that’s available. While I preferred Lehane’s execution, Twisted is still a great psychological thriller definitely worth checking out.

 

freelancer.jpgOff the beaten path from my normal dark reading, for fans of YA & sci-fi, I found Freelancer by Jake Lingwall a particularly clever novel. He’s created a futuristic world with hackers and drones and a protagonist you want to root for.

 

lewisAnother genre-blending novel is Forever by Linda Cassidy Lewis, who combines a gripping love story with a dark tale of possession. This definitely went in directions I wasn’t expecting and is an extremely memorable read.

 

Support an Author and (Potentially) Receive a Free Book!

Haunted HouseOutside of the Prime Reading program you’ve got an opportunity to help a fantastic author win a contract through the Kindle Scout program. Norman Prentiss’s novel, Life In a Haunted House, has been on the Hot & Trending list since it debuted on Kindle Scout and his campaign is up in a matter of days. By taking a moment to nominate his book, if it wins you’ll pick up a free advanced copy (and I’d be earth-shatteringly shocked if this one doesn’t win). Plus it’s just fun to help a deserving author along their road to success.

Check out his campaign and click nominate here. And if you dig what he’s doing with this release, he’s also offering three shorter tie-in novelizations which are also currently available for free. Check them out below:

* “The Lake Monster” — https://instafreebie.com/free/PMtEs

* “The Dungeon of Count Verlock,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9

* “The Space Visitor,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9 

My Own Free Offerings

Lastly, (if you aren’t sick of free stuff by now — I did warn you!!) if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, I’m currently offering 3 free eBooks as a Thank You for subscribing. The First Book in The Creation Series, The Creation: In The Beginning; my short story The Lines (The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title); and an exclusive story that’s only available through my newsletter, entitled “Patterns.”

I only send out the occasional update through the newsletter to announce new releases, contests or sales. Subscribe here and I’ll get your free books on their way.

See? Whoever said free wasn’t a good thing?

Newsletter Books

 

Book Review: Odd Adventures With Your Other Father by Norman Prentiss

odd adventures.jpgI rarely get on the “Buy This Book Now” train, but Odd Adventures with your Other Father is one I would recommend to just about everyone I know. It’s not a book that shouts at you, but is one that was crafted with love and time and expertise rarely seen these days.

It’s the story of a father recounting his tales to his daughter of her “other father,” his partner who passed away when she was young. But there’s so much more going on within these retellings, much of which isn’t fully revealed until the end.

(Speaking of the ending, this is one of the best endings I’ve read in a novel — beautiful and touching, it was quite simply magical.)

What Prentiss accomplishes with this novel, beyond the clever storytelling and great characterizations, is a reverent look back at the challenges homosexual couples faced in the past, without ever getting on a soapbox about it. There’s no preaching here, but what you’ll find is a love story interwoven within these “odd adventures” that is as touching as it is poignant. In fact, I would highly suggest this read for any readers who do struggle with understanding or accepting homosexuality. It may just open your eyes and help you appreciate those who are different from your own ways of thinking without the heavy-handedness you might expect.

Beautiful, haunting, and cleverly told, this has made it onto my shelf of favorites for the year.

Book Review: Invisible Fences

Genres are funny things. They sort of remind me of the factions in that one book / movie with that one girl where you’re either Dauntless or Timid or Grumpy or Sleepy. But you can’t be more than one thing, right? I mean, that’d be crazy.

fencesThe publishing industry loves genres because it helps sell books, but I tend to find the lines blur a lot more than you’d think. Enter “Invisible Fences” by Norman Prentiss, which is categorized under the genre of “Horror” but which reads more like Literary Fiction. Not “boring” lit fic, btw; this is tantalizing prose with a story so deceptively simple that you don’t even realize you’re reading a ghost story until its conclusion.

The blurred lines of memory and reality converge upon an unassuming protagonist as we follow him from childhood to adulthood and, in some ways, back again. For a novella to touch upon so many thought-provoking themes and yet do so organically, is quite an accomplishment. Life, death, addiction, guilt, contentment, and the “invisible fences” created to keep us in our own little protected corners of the world. Prentiss weaves his tale with an unseen current that pulls you along without even realizing you’ve slipped into its clutches.

This was a gem of a novella, regardless of what genre you categorize it under. And definitely an author I’ll be reading more of soon.

With that said, Prentiss currently has a book up on Kindle Scout with 3 days remaining for his campaign. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t chosen by Kindle Press. Head on over and nominate the book as you’ll most likely pick up a free copy for doing so. Plus you’re helping an author out, which always feels good, right? Right? RIGHT?!?  🙂