Posts Tagged ‘witches’

Goodreads.com Description: “From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.

Inspired by Actual Events
Excerpt from the Journal of Clayton Stone – 1692
She was examined today without torture at Shadow Cove township on the charge of witchcraft. She said she was wholly innocent of the crime and has never in life renounced God. I watched as they brought her out. A poor, sickly thing, worn by her time behind the walls of her prison. Her bared feet and hands bound in leather, her clothing tattered to that of ruin. Despite such condition, her head was held high, her eyes meeting those of her accusers. She still refuses to provide her name so we remain unable to search baptismal records, nor has her family stepped forward to claim her as their own. We have no reason to believe she is anything but an orphaned child. I find myself unable to look at her directly in the moments preceding her trial. She is watching me though; with eyes of the deepest blue, she is watching me.

Thad McAlister, Rise of the Witch

When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft.

But was it really fiction?

He inadvertently opened a door, one that would soon jeopardize the lives of his family.

She wants to come back.

At home, his wife struggles to keep their family alive. Secretly wondering if she caused it all…a deal she made long ago. A deal with the Forsaken.”

About the Author

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.
jd

Jonathan Dylan Barker holds a B.A. in English from Beaumont University and currently lives in Shadow Cove, Massachusetts where he is hard at work on his latest novel.

Find J.D. online:

Website: http://jdbarker.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker?_rdr=p

Twitter: @J_D_Barker

My Review

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

For Mature Readers: 18+

If you read J.D.’s bio and got the chills, wait until you read this book!

Forsaken was the creepiest, freakiest story I’ve read in a LONG time. Seriously, the book gave me chills. That sensation didn’t leave when I clicked off my e-reader. The image on the last page gave me one of those shocking scares that lingers for a while.

Barker’s story was actually the second book I’ve read this year by a male author with similar qualities: 1) the main character is a man who is also an author, 2) the character had a wife with two children of the same sex (in this book, the second child had yet to be born), and 3) the setting is a small town. This book, however, was off the scale creepy.

Forsaken was a page turner focused on a witch trial in 1692. The author wrote her story and now strange, inexplicable things are happening to him and his family. Sorry, I can’t give you more than that without spoiling the story. And, this book deserves to be read without spoilage.

Personally, this is one of those stories that would make a good scary movie. There are witches, rituals, minions (not the nice ones), and a lot of freaky crap happening. Barker writes with such vivid details making the characters and scenery leap off the page.

The story, itself, was very unique and well-crafted. I’ve read my share of witch stories and I’ve even read about a few witch trials (I was actually fascinated by them in junior high). Never had I read anything where nightmares of the main characters came true. It was a story within a story.

And, the characters were so well-developed. Barker’s writing delivered thoroughly fleshed out personas. I felt I understood their motivations, their fears, and even their hopes.

I’m a big fan of Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone”, and this story was a modern version on steroids! I highly suggest not reading this book before bedtime. I did and always had to pick up something else to clear my mind before turning off the lights.

I loved the creep out factor in Barker’s book and can’t wait to read more by him.

Rating

5 hands up5 hands up5 hands up5 hands up5 hands up

(5 Hands=Excellent; 4 Hands=Pretty Good; 3 Hands=Good)

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I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads.com Description: “Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear. Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him. But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate. Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.”

My Thoughts:

Superb…well-written unique debut!

I loved reading Virginia Boecker’s The Witch Hunter. I’ve read my share of books about witches. This was far from the usual fare of witches trying to stay away from executioners. I had not read anything about the executioners themselves. I would have never imagined an elite ‘task force’ within the king’s army designated for capturing those practicing witchcraft. Genius!

Boecker presented readers with well-developed characters–Elizabeth Grey, John Raleigh, Nicholas Perevil, George and Fifer. Elizabeth, the young witch hunter, is a force to reckon with. She’s strong, intelligent and willing to sacrifice herself for others. John, a young healer, has a heart of gold. You can’t help loving him. I love Nicholas and his last name (looks like a play on the words ‘pure evil’). He doesn’t live up to the propaganda surrounding him. George and Fifer are great friends to have.

Even the villains are great in this prolific story! Lord Blackwell has a serious dark side that needs to be extinguished. He’s deceptive and only has loyalty to himself. Caleb, the best friend with a new role, is more of an unwilling sidekick for Blackwell. He’s the product of his own ambition.

Boecker’s details were astounding. Anglia is medieval England. I was transported to that time period without much effort on my part. I could easily envision the town square, the witches chained to stakes and even the smelly, dank prison cell. It’s obvious she did extensive research on this time period. The clothes, the building interiors and even the gardens read true.

I’m now wanting to read more about revenants thanks to Boecker. After reading about Schuyler you won’t think about spirits the same way (there’s a difference between a revenant and a ghost).

There is a valuable lesson in The Witch Hunter which Elizabeth learns towards the end–be careful who and what you believe in. I love how Boecker unfolded the message without constantly banging it over the protagonist’s head.

If you haven’t added The Witch Hunter to your must read list, what are you waiting for? It’s a magical story full of suspense, betrayal and intrigue. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in Elizabeth Grey’s life!