Cover Reveal Shinigami Eyes

I’m part of the Dark World Books cover reveal team for Cheree and Adam Smith’s Shinigami Eyes. Find details about the story and the authors below. The blood spatter against the simple black and white design gives me chills.

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ShinigamiEyes-Cover_PrintReveal

(Shinigami Eyes #1)
Most children hope to grow out of their imaginary friends.

17-year-old Rin Waters’ only hope is that hers doesn’t kill someone, especially when said imaginary friend puts a boy in a coma. Finding herself shipped half-way around the world—to Japan, of all places—she is forced to live with grandparents she hasn’t seen for ten years and a cousin she can’t even remember.
Rin would rather just forget about the one night that ruined her life and pretend her imaginary friend doesn’t exist—if it was only that easy. When manga-obsessed otaku, Matt, won’t stop pestering her about a manga that sees the future and the tragic accident she’ll be involved in if she doesn’t listen to him, pretending becomes quite a challenge.
Suddenly mysterious accidents begin to happen to students in her school, and Rin has to wonder what length Matt is willing to go to prove his manga is real. Is it all a sham or is there really something that wants to see Rin and her new friends dead?
Coming October 31st, 2014
Add Shinigami Eyes to your Goodreads list!

Cheree Smith
Cheree Smith lives in the coastal city of Newcastle in Australia where she is studying graphics design and photography. When she is not hard at study, she is busy writing paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults. She enjoys listening to and learning about legends and myths, watching scary movies and dreaming up new worlds where monsters can come alive. When she is not in her writing cave she can be found listening to music, even dabbling in the occasional writing of music or reading.
Website BlogTwitter Facebook Goodreads

Adam Smith
Adam Smith has always loved the Japanese culture, which began with his love of anime and manga. This helped him accomplish his goal of moving to Japan to become an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Iwate, Japan. When he’s not reading, writing or speaking Japanese, he is working on paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults with his sister, Cheree.
Goodreads

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Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (A sweeping epic tale that crosses centuries and genres)

If someone asked me what genre Outlander belonged to, I’d have trouble answering. Historical fiction, of course, with a strong romantic relationship at its heart, yet also fits into the fantasy and supernatural genre with a touch of science-fiction. Whatever the genre, all I can tell you is I found Outlander to be an epic tale that swept me along for the ride.

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The year is 1945. The war is over and Claire Randall has been reunited with her husband, Frank. She spent the past number of years as a combat nurse in France while Frank worked for M16. They go on a second honeymoon to Scotland, a chance to get to know each other all over again. There, Claire wanders up to the circle of standing stones and presses her hand to one of them. Her world tilts and she awakens in the same spot, some two hundred years in the past. How will she get back to her husband? How will she convince the Scots she isn’t an English spy? How will she manage in the year 1743?

Wow. I’ve fallen fast and hard in love with this book and I can’t wait to dive into the next one. I’m not sure how I would have survived reaching the last page if I hadn’t known there were a further seven books in the series! I don’t often give a book five stars, but with Outlander, I wish I could give more. It swept me up and tore my emotions apart. I loved Claire and Jamie and their relationship. Jamie is my new book boyfriend. :) He’s courageous, handsome, more forward thinking than most men of his time, and he loves Claire completely. And of course he’s also got that swoon-worthy Scottish accent! And he wears a kilt!!! Claire herself is a formidable heroine. She copes a hell of a lot better in the eighteenth century than I could ever imagine I would. She’s resilient, brave and strong, a force to be reckoned with. I am still shaking my head wondering how this book escaped my attention. It was published in 1991 and I cannot understand why I hadn’t heard of it previously.

This story contains romance, but it’s not a traditional romance. Romance books for me are the journey of a man and woman falling in love and getting together, and the book usually ends with “and they lived happily ever after”. Yes, Jamie and Claire are forced to get married and be together, but this story spans beyond that. For readers who aren’t too much into romance, note Outlander is a historical fiction piece. Want to know what life was like in the Highlands of Scotland in mid eighteenth century? Look no further. Given the time period, there is much brutality in this novel and the threat of violence and rape permeates through many of the pages, a word of warning…

I read the book on my Kindle and it was long. A quick Google search and it’s apparently 850 pages, and even at that length, I wanted more. Outlander now goes in my top ten favourite books of all time.

Check it out on Goodreads & Amazon.

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Have you read this? I’d love to know what your thoughts on this book are.

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Friday Music: Riptide

“Riptide” by Vance Joy has only been hitting the airwaves here over the past month or so, but it’s been out for over a year in Australia.  A few weeks ago I asked you what songs you were listening to this summer and a couple of you mentioned this one. “Riptide” has  a crazy quirky retro video and a melody that’s chilled out but has something deeper going on. One of my favourite songs of the year.

Here it goes.

 

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 What do you think? What song is stuck in your head today?

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Film Review: Lake Mungo – Deeply Unsettling

I thought I’d seen or at least heard of every ghost/haunted house film made over the last decade. Somehow Lake Mungo slipped through the net. This Australian mockumentary style drama kept me looking over my shoulder, peering into corners of the room and afraid to glance at mirrors throughout the film, and long after.

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220px-Lake_Mungo_Official_PosterSixteen year old Alice goes missing during a family picnic while she is swimming in a local dam. Her body is found soon after, an accidental drowning as everyone feared. Her family are unable to rest easy at the house in the weeks and months following her death. Her mother in particular finds her sanity disturbed by terrifying nightmares of her daughter standing at the foot of her bed, dripping wet and staring at her in a silent plea for help.

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Now remember, we do not see any of this. The story is narrated in a documentary style with actors portraying an average family. Their performances were so capable, I almost forgot what I was watching wasn’t real. We hear Alice’s mother’s heartbreaking story but we are left to imagine it, for the most part, for ourselves.

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The horror elements creep in through photographs and video imagery. A camera in the house seems to capture a shadowy figure moving from one room to the next, and in mirrors it looks like we are seeing glimpses of Alice. Out at the dam where she drowned, people report seeing a girl matching her description wandering about.

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As the film goes on, the sense that Alice was harbouring dark secrets in the run up to her death grows. Talking to her friends, the family learn that something happened on a school camping trip to Lake Mungo that spooked her. Mobile phone footage pieced together from her friends’ phones shows Alice leaving the group. Why did she walk off by herself? Why did she come back upset and missing her phone and jewellery? The family go on a trip to find out, and we stay with them step by step.

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Okay, one nagging question I had while watching this film was why would a family be making a documentary or participating in something like this? If you find yourself thinking the same, I suggest just look past it and allow yourself to become involved with Alice and her family’s story.

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I had goosebumps, shivers crawling down my spine, the hair on my neck standing up at times watching Lake Mungo. I can’t remember the last time a ghost story chilled me like this one did. There’s not that many in-your-face scary moments that make you jump, but there’s an underlying sense of unease throughout. This film is not just a ghost story, it’s a focus on one family’s grief. When you think of good haunted house stories, for me at least, The Conjuring comes to mind. And while that was excellent, it’s an altogether different breed to this. Lake Mungo is genuinely scary and I was unsettled for a long time after watching it.

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If you decide to watch this, give it a chance. It may start out slow, but stick with it and the twists and turns will reward your patience. ****

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Has anyone heard of this? What’s your favourite haunted house movie or book?
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Book Spotlight: Witch Bay by P.L. Crompton

Atmospheric mystery set among the ruggedly beautiful scenery of Wales.

witch bay

Okay, I’m a little biased when it comes to this book because I helped out with the proofreading, but for anyone who’d like to spend some time in Wales and enjoy the musical accent while sipping a hot cup of tea, Witch Bay is for you. I felt I was there in the village myself walking along the cliffs with Beth or strolling around with Gywn. The gentle pace and relatable characters made it a breeze to read. The Witch herself was suitably sinister – a beautiful but dangerous part of nature. The image of the yawning cave gave me chills.

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Blurb for Witch Bay

In a coastal village in Wales, someone is committing the perfect crime: people are disappearing without a trace. An elderly woman is the most recent disappearance. A day later, police find her body washed up on the beach. Senior officers record it as death by misadventure, but Village Constable Gwyn Thomas is certain her death and the other disappearances are connected.

Police suspicion is inevitable, but as with many crimes, an unintended consequence follows. This time the consequence has a name—Bethan, the dead woman’s niece. When she arrives from London to claim her inheritance, she refuses to accept her aunt’s death was accidental. Bethan begins hunting down and questioning village residents who might have information. As the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, suddenly the tables are turned. She discovers she is no longer the hunter—she is the prey.

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About Pam

pamFor several years, I wrote non-fiction articles published in Canadian and American magazines but my heart was really in storytelling.

Hi, I’m Pam Crompton. I grew up on the outskirts of a small village in Welsh farming country. When I was a little girl there was no television, and radio was limited to the news and music. For entertainment, people used to gather around the fire and tell stories or talk about something that happened just as they had from time immemorial. If I stayed very quiet, my mother would forget I wasn’t in bed and I could listen to the adults talk. Many of those stories stayed in my mind and eventually I included some of them in my collection Land of My Fathers.

Not all of the talk involved people we knew, a lot of it was folklore and history. I doubt there are many Welsh people who are not curious about and proud of their Celtic ancestry and who are not intrigued by Merlin. At school, history was my best subject; I found it fascinating.

When I left school, we moved to Carmarthen, a Welsh town named after Merlin, and history surrounded me, which I continued to study. I used some of this knowledge for my novel The Last Druid.

Although my most recent novel The Agency is set in Calgary, upcoming novels are set in Wales or England because those countries offer themselves as better settings to the stories I write than the wide open spaces of Canada.

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If Witch Bay grabs your fancy, you can find it on Smashwords or Amazon or visit Pam at her website here.

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