The world outside sounds menacing as loud thunderous cracks rained down on the home. In the middle of this fierce raging storm with no electricity, siblings Zack and Daniel turn to their father, John Malone. Feeling the boys are now old enough to learn the truth about his childhood, John decides to share a family secret that he’s kept locked away, a secret that changed John’s life forever.
In a small Pennsylvania town called Lizardville, a young boy named Johnny and his friends set out on a weekend camping trip along the banks of Big Fishing Creek. On the first night, as the boys gather around the campfire, Parker shares a story that happened nearly eighty years ago, the legend of the Ax Factory murders.
Soon after, strange, mysterious things begin to happen. Little do the boys realize they have awakened the spirit world! Jimmy, unable to sleep, comes face to face with a ghost named Annabelle. She is searching for something and knows the boys are hiding what she seeks. Could the secret lie in an old puzzle box?
Reviewed By Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite "5 Stars"
Lizardville by Steve Altier is a very entertaining ghost story for young adults. Even though I am not exactly a young adult anymore, I really enjoyed it. It is a dark and stormy night when the power goes out and John decides to entertain his sons by telling them a story about his younger days. Lizardville is the name of the town where young Johnny grew up. It is also where he and his friends stumble upon a ghostly mystery.
Lizardville reminds me of a cross between the movies "Stand by Me" and "The Goonies." I liked how Altier made this book a story within a story. I often forgot this while reading and each time the adult John would appear, it would remind me that he could possibly be exaggerating his story. The adventures Johnny and his friends went on made me wish I was one of the gang. Having an old dam as a clubhouse sounded awesome. I liked how Altier reminded the reader that the currents near the actual dam are very dangerous. The one thing that really stuck in my head from this story is that whenever I see a crow I wonder who it is.
If you like ghost stories then you should read this one. There is very mild swearing in the story and I think it would make a good book for young adults. I would like to read more of this kind of story from Altier in the future.
Other books in this genre:
Ever wonder if mermaids are real?
Skye sure believes. She is one, and she’s recounting their history for the young mermaids.
It’s a history full of heartache and bad choices, in which a tribe—once holders of the sea’s secrets—become a part of her.
Mermaids are real, but what Skye wants to know is if humans are everything she’s dreamed of.
He Who Seeks Power, Seeks Destruction.
Over 1000 years ago, nearly all the ancient wizards were destroyed after the Wizard Wars. However, the one who started the War still remains, having worked his will in secret. If he can find the last Dragonwand, he will regain his powers as the dark dragon. Unaware of the Dragonwand or the betrayer, sixteen-year-old Markus is looking for a wizard who will give him a letter of recommendation for the College of Wizardry. During his journey, he stumbles upon Tolen the Wise, who sends Markus on a quest to end the darkness and find the Dragonwand before it gets into the wrong hands. As Markus discovers growing powers and makes allies, will he find what he needs to complete Tolen’s task, or will the ancient, dark wizard uncover the Dragonwand and forever change the fate of the land of Gallenor?
Charlotte brushed her shoulder-length, golden blonde hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear while the sea breeze tried to blow it back. Her heart leapt at the sight of a ship out at sea as it rolled in the swell of the rising tide. Could it be a pirate ship? Why hadn’t she been more vigilant? If they came ashore there would be little chance of escape.
She spotted a smaller boat rowing towards her, heading straight for the beach. Her breath caught in her throat. What should I do? Is there enough time to save my little sister? Beth looked oblivious to the danger, chasing after a feather that blew away in the wind. By the time she reached her sister, they would be in clear view. Maybe I should save myself. At least one of us might survive. No. She couldn’t possibly leave Beth to the mercy of those murderous pirates.
Time ran out. It was now or never. The boat reached the shore, and its dubious occupants began to clamber out.
The loud cry made her jump. She snapped back to reality and spun around.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Her mum let out a frustrated sigh. She placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the car park at the edge of the beach. “Can you help take some of this stuff back to the car, please?” She handed her an armful of bags stuffed with damp, sandy towels. “We’ve still got a lot of things to do before we go home tomorrow, and you haven’t even bought anything for your friends yet. If you get your skates on, you’ll have enough time to pop into the shops across the road.”
Charlotte wrinkled her nose at the thought of their holiday coming to an end, and cringed at the prospect of going back to school the following week. She scooped up her own towel and trudged through the sand, mumbling how unfair it was making her do all the work even though she was only ten. “I notice Beth’s not helping.”
Her dad grinned as she struggled to the car. “We’re going to grab some food. Take-away, nothing but the best for the last day,” he said as she reached him.
“Not McDonald’s again, Dad,” she remarked with a hint of sarcasm, dumping her load on the floor.
“No way! Fish and chips tonight.” He wore his silly grin that never failed to make her smile.
“Whatever!” She smirked. “Mum said I could have a quick look at the gift shops just across the road.”
He put the discarded bags into the car and slammed the boot. He slid his sunglasses up to his receding hairline, slipping his hand into his jeans pocket. “Do you need any money?”
“Nah, it’s okay. Mum gave me some yesterday.”
“Are you going to take Beth with you?”
She folded her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. “Do I have to?” She loved her six-year-old sister to bits, but she was the most annoying person in the whole world. “I’m not going to get much shopping done with Beth tagging along.”
His face brightened with a grin. “I’m only pulling your leg.” He nudged her playfully. “We’ll take Beth with us and meet you back here in ...” He paused to gaze at his watch. “Let’s say, in about fifteen minutes, okay? Don’t go far!”
She sighed with relief. “Okay. See ya later.” She left, fumbling through her pockets to check she still had her money.
Crossing the road, Charlotte admired the pretty seaside town lined with buildings all the way to the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. Interesting old houses displayed colourful shop fronts, and a local market filled any spaces in between. She ambled along the well-worn paving stones, not really paying attention to the task of buying gifts for her friends. With her hands in her pockets, she wandered past stalls that spilled out across the path, packed with beach balls and buckets and spades.
She paused for a moment outside an arcade, drawn by the sounds and flashing lights that filled the air around the neon-lit building. Fighting the urge to spend the last of her money on a teddy-grabbing machine, she continued to trudge up the hill, losing interest in her mission with every step.
Halfway along the road she stopped, stepping into an alley to shelter from the glare of the sun. She leaned her back against the bright-red tiles that decorated the archway. Each one contained a small figure. They reminded her of characters from a fairy tale. She turned to examine them closely, running her fingers over the textured surface. Something about them held a strange attraction.
She gazed into the alley. It led a fair way back, but in the gloom she could see the front of a grubby-looking shop with a large ‘Sale’ sign in the window. She strained her eyes for a better view, and wondered if she should have a look just in case she could pick up something unusual for Mum. After a moment’s thought, she decided she had nothing to lose and wandered a little closer, checking over her shoulder as she went.
Reaching the glazed shop front, Charlotte stood on tiptoes to see over the half-frosted glass that obscured her view of the inside. Despite being taller than most kids her age, the contents of the store remained a mystery. She paused at the door before giving it a shove and peering through the gap. Inside, it looked much smaller than expected, with tall shelves standing against the outer walls, each laden with an assortment of objects that appeared better placed in a junk shop.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, but curiosity urged her forward. She stepped inside. An old-fashioned till perched in the centre of a small counter at the far end of the shop. Behind it hung a set of drab curtains with tiny pinholes, allowing slivers of light to seep through. The whole place had an air of gloom and smelt musty and damp.
“Hello. Are you open?” Charlotte called out.
When no one responded, she browsed the shelves, discovering some odd, hand-carved figures, similar to the characters on the decorated tiles around the archway outside. She picked up one that resembled a garden gnome and turned the carving around, searching for a price label. Nothing. That’s not much help. She placed the grotesque figure back down.
A bright flash caught her eye when she turned to leave. She stared at a small bookcase resting against the back wall beside the counter. A gentle glow of green light illuminated the shelves, tempting her to venture further and take a closer look. She crept through the aisle and bent down to examine a small, glass snow dome nestled amongst a variety of clay pots. It looked out of place with the other articles displayed in the shop.
She reached out and touched the surface with the tips of her fingers. The cool surface tingled, a strange yet alluring sensation. With a quick check over her shoulder, she picked it up and tipped it upside down. She cupped the delicate item in the palm of her hand and held it close to her face. No snow.
Inside the crystal orb, a tiny globe like a miniature planet revolved in slow motion, casting eerie shadows against the dreary walls. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is beautiful,” a gruff voice sounded.
She spun around and stumbled back a step. Behind the counter stood a large figure wrapped in a gray cloak, similar to the drab curtains that hung behind him. From what she could see of him in the gloom, his scruffy, charcoal hair hung down to his shoulders. Dark eyes peered out below bushy eyebrows, making his thin face look gaunt and pasty. She shuddered. He gave her the creeps, popping up from out of nowhere and staring at her as though he had never seen a customer before.
“I am sorry if I surprised you. I did not mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” he said, as if reading her mind. “You are very welcome here.”
She put down the small ornament and walked along scanning the contents of the shelves, picking through the strange collection of knickknacks. The entire time, she sensed the old man’s stare following her. She considered leaving, yet the eerie glow from the snow dome kept drawing her gaze back to the bookcase. The temptation from its hypnotic light got the better of her, and she walked back to pick it up again. “How much is this?”
A broad smile lit up the man’s face. “Take it, child. I have no use for it in my shop.”
Her eyes widened. “What, for nothing? I must give you something for it. I’ve got money, you know.”
The old man shrugged. “Well, if you are that keen on striking a deal with me.” He raised one of his bushy eyebrows. “All I will ask is for you to take great care of such a beautiful item. Promise me you will be good and always tell the truth.”
“I always tell the truth anyway. I hate liars!” she declared, a little puzzled by such a strange request. “Is that it? Is that all you want?”
He bellowed with laughter.
She placed one hand on her hip. “What’s so funny, then?”
“I am sorry.” He leaned closer across the counter. His weather-beaten face creased with concern. “Telling the truth is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you find yourself in trouble.” His expression lightened. “I am Goffer, the shop keeper, and if I am not mistaken, you will find yourself in trouble if you do not hurry. Time is getting on.”
Charlotte glanced at her watch. “You’re right!” She rushed to the door in a fluster, but stopped before leaving. “Thank you! Thanks a lot. That was really nice of you.”
Goffer stood motionless, barely visible in the shadows. “I would not be so quick to thank me just yet.”
“Layna, you need to calm down. Do that breathing thing again.”
I blinked, startled to find the chair tipped over, the computer screen shattered . . . my hands bloody. I hadn’t even noticed, hadn’t felt it.
I sank to my knees, no longer caring about anything. Let Miles see me crumble. Let him have ammo to use against me. Nothing mattered.
“Layna,” he said quietly, his voice more soothing than anything I had ever heard.
My eyes flicked in his direction, surprised to see him crouched there, his hand extended through the bars of his cell. Without a clear thought, I reached out and laid my hand in his. I had never needed anything as much as that small contact.
He didn’t speak. He just crouched there with my hand in his, his eyes understanding.
Ten years ago, Argus Gunther escaped Hawkhurst, thinking he had left behind a desolate life and a forsaken name. Though, when he is lured back to complete a contract, Argus discovers he can't bury the past so easily. Pulled instantly into Hawkhurst's daunting political games, Argus is forced to navigate through his nightmares. Now, while in search for his freedom, he must decide whether or not there are worse fates than death. The Hawkhurst Saga is the accumulation of the three stories: A Midwinter Sellsword, Gladiators and Thieves, and Ashes to Ashes.
Abe staggered along the old road, a shadow of what he had been. His hair was disheveled, his eyes were dull, and his gait suggested one much older than his thirty years. No signs existed to tell him if he was going the right direction, but according to the copy of the handmade map that he’d been given, he was heading toward Geddon, California. He couldn’t reach it soon enough. It was hot. It was dry. He had run out of the meager provisions of water that the Ra had given him. He was miserable.
Still, he was thankful. The Ra had left him alone on the road and he preferred it that way, regardless of how poorly they’d provisioned him. It was as if they didn’t care one way or the other if he survived his mission.
His mission: he shook every time he thought of it. He was to infiltrate the enemy where they were strong, in Geddon, and when the time was ripe, assassinate their leader. He disdained it. He was not a murderer. Sure, it had all been explained to him. This was war. He was a soldier following orders.
The description of the leader made his job even more distasteful. Their leader was a woman, a hundred-year-old woman. He would know her by her unusual brown eyes.
He hadn’t received the mark of the Ra, so he didn’t see how he could be in the army. He would receive it after his mission was complete. It was a mark he no longer wanted, yet one he saw no way of avoiding.
He wondered how he would be received at Geddon. He felt dirty, as if the stench of the Ra was upon him. Would the enemy notice the stench? Would they see him for who he was? A snake in the grass waiting to bite? But he was being fanciful. Of course they couldn’t smell the stench of the Ra. It was a stink only he could smell. It leached to him from within.
As he walked the desert road, he had time to plan. I’ll claim to be a defector, he decided. If they can tell I come from the Ra, I’ll claim to be a defector. He thought about it as he trudged along. He needed to make sure there were no holes in his strategy. He couldn’t think of any, but then, dehydration was hardly conducive to brain activity.
He stared ahead as far as he could see. He strained his eyes until they stung. As he gazed into the distance, the road seemed to take on a life all its own, shimmering and wiggling as if electrified. It was a result of the heat, he told himself; still in his dehydrated state, he wondered.
He wore denim jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Despite the heat, he refused to remove his clothes. They were the only thing protecting him from the sun. Perhaps it was because the Ra were foreigners to Earth, or maybe they didn’t care about their human charges, but they also hadn’t provided him with a cover for his head. That, along with the lack of water, played havoc on his body.
He walked on. No, he trudged, his legs barely picking themselves up for the next step, and when they came down, landed haphazardly, chaotically.
With every yard, it became increasingly difficult to keep his path straight. He was unsure if he was unsteady or if the road itself wobbled and veered. Several times, he stumbled into the culvert that hugged either side of the deserted two-lane highway.
The highway itself was hard to follow. Sand dunes covered entire sections and it was clear no one had driven down it for years, maybe even decades. It made sense. Only an abandoned road would lead to a secret city like Geddon.
Something flickered above him. He glanced up, just for a moment. The sun above was too bright for staring. He could only see that something, some things, circled above him. Their shadows contrasted darkly against the bright sky. He couldn’t tell what they were. He kept walking.
A breeze blew, an unpleasant dry breeze. It blew away what remnants of moisture remained within him. He stumbled. He fell. He rolled into the bone-dry culvert and got a mouthful of sand. He spit out the wad, but a grainy coating stuck to his tongue and refused to leave.
Even when his body settled to a stop, his head continued to spin. His perception danced and wavered, as if he were drunk. He knew dehydration was the mastermind behind his state of being. However, basic thinking was now being trumped by the more primitive attributes indicative of a dying man.
He rolled onto his back, telling himself he would only rest a moment. He looked up into the sky and felt the desert rays bake him.
That strange flickering persisted. He stared hard, no longer caring if the sun burned out his retinas and realized what those strange dark bodies were. They were buzzards. The scavengers circled above him, effortlessly riding the hot-air currents that pushed up from the desert floor. He knew these creatures to be skittish. They would descend to him eventually, when they thought it safe, after he was dead. Lucky buzzards, he thought. They won’t be waiting long.
He would have shed tears at the thought of his impending death, but had no moisture for their creation. Still, he lamented his future which now appeared quite short. He heard a noise. He turned. He saw. Crap!
The reptilian face before him appeared larger than life. It flicked a forked tongue. Its eyes were like pearls with elliptical pupils. The image of it shimmered in the desert heat. It took a second for Abe’s dehydrated brain to register what he was looking at. At first, he thought it was Lucifer, but then he noticed the eyes were not as powerful. He was face to face with a rattlesnake. Its tail was vibrating, its rattle sounding.
In his delirium, he wondered if the snake really existed, or if it was just a byproduct of his altered state of thinking. He watched the pit viper levitate away from him arching into strike mode. It seemed real. A snakebite was the last thing he needed. Sure it would bring his death quicker, which was the only thing he had to look forward to, but it might make the process that much more painful, which he was not looking forward to at all.
The snake was poised, but did not strike. Again, Abe questioned the reality of what he was seeing. If it was real, what was it waiting for?
He couldn’t stand it any longer. He had to know if his predicament was real. Slowly, he reached out his hand knowing he would grasp empty air or get pierced by venom-dripping fangs.
As he reached out, the rattling intensified. The head of the snake retracted back almost to its tail. Abe stopped mid-reach. His tension was maxed. Everything froze. His hand, the snake; even the air around him felt still as if he existed within a hiccup of time. He didn’t know what to do. His moisture-deprived brain was unable to make a decision.
"You've come to the Rims. This is the place of High Adventure!"
It all began with One Last Errand (SylverMoon Chronicles Vol V). Before Dungias, before JoJo Starblazer, before the games being played to change the known universe... First there was a single young boy touched by fate.
Orphaned at a very young age, Valian Styrke found himself in a realm far away from where he was born. Adopted and raised by the House Jhormynn, Valian was part of a world to which he never truly belonged. A world that tried to label him - a world that tried to change him.
But Valian kept to his heritage; he maintained his identity and most importantly, he kept to the dedication of courage and honor demonstrated in his parents’ final act... A dedication and loyalty which will be tested time and time again in his quest to become the man his parents meant him to be. In the Inner Rim Empire, there is a paragon of skill and power called the KnighT. Valian is but one hopeful, seeking his place in their number.
If you could describe Uri’s home with a few words, it’d be sterile, bare and spartan. Almost militant. It reminded Del of the early days, back when he’d steal glass from the barracks and keeps of human kingdoms before the Glass Wars diminished their numbers and put the faen into power.
Nothing was out of place here. His clothes were organized into two sections: patrol Uri and magistrate Uri. Light armour and leather on the left and garish robes and ceremonial trinkets on the right. No Glass Crown.
A mouse would be hard-pressed to find a crumb of food in the kitchen. The floors were scrubbed, the table clean and polished, and the scent of citrus lingered in the air. No Glass Crown.
Upstairs was, as expected, equally tidy. Saria’s bedroom would seem chaotic compared to the order of Uri’s, and all she had was a bed and a book of poems. The sheets were pressed and fitted tight around a bed that’d hold no more than a single person. If Uri had anything going on with Renny, it sure as hell wasn’t going on here. Perhaps they rolled around on the floured floor of her bakery. An image both amusing and disturbing. No Glass Crown.
Del returned to the kitchen and grabbed a glass along with the bottle of wine beside it. He pulled the cork out with his teeth, spit it onto the floor and filled the glass, putting his feet up on the table. A small consolation for a fruitless search, but a deserved one nonetheless. He had after all saved Uri’s life.
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
Being princess of the underworld has its perks, but being imprisoned for all eternity with undesirable duties cast upon her is not one of them.
When Dhellia runs away from home, she never expects her father, Lucifer to become her brutal enemy.
Little does she know that when she abandons her birthright to the underworld, it comes at a heavy price. Fighting for her life and on the run, Dhellia must discover powers she never knew she had to survive.
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When Glints Collide takes a group of unknown to lesser-known writers (myself included) and combines their talents into an eclectic anthology of Sci-Fi, Horror, Paranormal