A Barbaric Yawp

the ever expanding McHughniverse

"Definitely an author to watch." -Novel Addiction


"Jessica McHugh is wise beyond her years...and demented beyond even mine." -

John Edward Lawson, author of "The Troublesome Amputee", "The Plague Factory", "Pocket Full of Loose Razorblades", & more


"There is nothing formulaic or overused about Ms. McHugh's plots."
-Amazon.com


"McHugh steadily ratchets up the tension with one question leading to yet another until all is revealed and you find yourself saying 'AhhhÖ'"
-Alternative-Read.com


"I have yet to read a book by this author that hasn't left me going 'Whoa' at the end."-Novel Addiction

"I loved the book for the characters. Jessica does a wonderful job with her descriptions." -Babs World of Book Reviews  -Want2Dish.com


"Truly wonderful and original." -Novel Addiction 

"McHugh's imagination and captivating descriptive writing shine." -Amazon.com

"McHugh has stories to tell and that she can tell them with a vitality and energy that is enviable." -Want2Dish.com


"Ms. McHugh is inventive and full of surprises." -Innsmouth Free Press

"She really enjoys what she writes and it shows." -Cheryl's Book Nook

"The way Jessica McHugh builds the tension...is really close to brilliant." -I <3 Reading



"There's no doubt Jessica McHugh is someone who knows how to build strong characters and a vivid setting." -Lindsay & Jane's Views and Reviews


"The writing is imaginative, the dialogue is the type that readers will love." -The Falcata Times

"With each book I read by Jessica McHugh she makes it higher up on my list of favorite authors." -All Things Books


"To say the writing flows is putting it mildly." -Novel Addiction

"The settings described in the book were vivid and felt as though I could step into them through the page." -Amazon.com

 "Jessica McHugh has such an authentic and original writing voice." -I <3 Reading



"Jessica McHugh seems intent on giving Oates, King, Cartland and Roberts a run for their abundant money." -Want2Dish.com

"The imagery was fantastic, putting me right into a world I hope I never have to live in." -Amazon.com


"Outstanding characterisation." -The Falcata Times


"The very reason that it's a good thing for readers that indie publishers exist." -Book Reviews Weekly





SONG OF EIDOLONS

(Amanda Toth, Novel Addiction)
"Song of Eidolons" features excellent characters, not just the good ones, but the deliciously evil villain as well. Delaney's feelings, emotions, and complex history are completely breathtaking, to say the least. And Dags, her grandfather, is so noble and yet so.. not. The story itself is epic and emotionally moving. A tale that blinds you with it's brilliance and magnificence.

"Song of Eidolons" is written beautifully, similar in style to the high fantasy novels I read and loved so much when I was younger. To say the writing flows is putting it mildly.

I wish I could talk more about how truly wonderful and original this story is, but I'm afraid of giving away too much. And the shock and awe of Delaney Lortal's origin and creation are not something I would want to steal from any reader. So go read the book, really.


FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). I'm still a little speechless and flabbergasted by how good this book was. Delaney's story and life are so deep and enchanting, this is definitely a book for my keeper shelf!

RABBITS IN THE GARDEN

(Amanda Toth, Novel Addiction)

I always find it a little tough to review the books I really, really love. I don't want to gush, and what I love about it is always so hard to put into words. I've had that problem with the other books I have reviewed by Jessica McHugh. Her writing style is unique and so incredibly powerful - there were times while reading this book that I was physically shaking - from fear, anger, and plenty of other emotions. Jessica McHugh has a way with words, of crafting the text into something that will make you really feel it.

I absolutely loved Avery Norton. My heart ached for her, and for what she lost out on because of her mother. And on that note, I cannot properly express how much I hated the mother, Faye Norton. These two characters, for good or bad, will stick with me for a long time. And their ending (which I won't give away) was as truly epic as they deserve. The entire cast of characters were brilliant, and to watch Avery's transformation from an innocent young girl to someone so.. well, indescribable, it truly was amazing to watch.

Maybe this sort of novel isn't your idea of a good time, and I can't really blame you for thinking that, I've done the same thing in the past. But I have yet to read a book by this author that hasn't left me going "Whoa." at the end. Every reader gets into a reading rut now and again, feeling like you're reading the same thing over and over - maybe it's time to try something new. So give "Rabbits in the Garden" a shot - and then come back here and tell me about your experience with it because I can't deal with this alone, people!

Cover Loving: I'll admit it, this cover confused the heck out of me until I read the book. However, now it makes total sense.. creepy, creepy sense. But this cover is limited edition! According to the author, "Rabbits in the Garden" is going to get a facelift (or a new face) so go get your limited edition copy now!

Recommendation: Fans of Speculative Fiction, or maybe darker fiction in general will definitely want to pick up "Rabbits in the Garden" by Jessica McHugh. With a flowing, unique writing style, the author will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Final Rating: FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). Once again, Jessica McHugh blew me away. An excellent story that had me practically shaking with emotion. Be sure to pick yourself up a copy asap - and rush to get the limited edition Rabbit cover!



(Babs' World of Book Reviews)

Talk about an interesting read, this is it!

I loved the book for the characters.   Everyone in the story has their part and played it well.  Jessica does a wonderful job with her descriptions.  I could picture the Asylum and what the kids there went through or watching Avery's mom throw her under the bus so to speak. I also liked the fact anyone could really put themselves in Avery's shoes and feel the same way she did.

A wonderful scary, mysterious read that sucks you in.




I fell in love with Rabbits in the Garden from page one. The storyline is thrilling, suspenseful and highly original. But itís truly the characters that make this book. Averyís motherís behaviour seems odd from the start, but I never paid much attention to it until it developed into plain disturbing. She has a firm belief in loyalty to one partner, sheís a very devote person, and wants Avery to believe in the same principles as she does. Sheís very suspicious of Averyís relationship with her neighbour Paul, although the two hardly did anything more than hold hands and share a brief birthday kiss. But Averyís mother isnít just delusional and paranoid, or slightly disturbed. The way Jessica McHugh builds the tension in this novel, by slowly revealing the amount of insanity that is possessing Averyís mom, is really close to brilliant. I was both amazed and pitrified as the events unfolded, and the absurdity of the situation became clear.

I thought the scene with the corpses in the shed/basement was both gruesome and terrifying and really, really well-written. It felt more like being in a movie than like reading a book, and I imagined the heroine in the horror flick putting her hands on things hanging in her way in the dark, without any real clue as to what they are. And then when realisation hits her, the amount of terror she experiences is overwhelming. Naturally, this happens to Avery too, and her emotions, shock and despair are really well described in this scene. Itís probably my favorite scene from the entire book, and from a book as good as this one, thatís saying something.

Although life is far from easy for Avery, she has a very strong and willful personality, and I could not help but think she must have inherited some of these characteristics from her mother. Her sister Natalie, is a lot less determined and headstrong than Avery, perhaps thatís one of the reasons why their mother never saw her as that much of a treat. The scenes in the mental asylum were very authentic as well. I could imagine being there from the way Jessica McHugh described the building, the patients and the doctors. The sence of injustice I got at Averyís treatment was so strong and profound that I found myself occasionally raging at the system, the police and Averyís lunatic mother.

I enjoyed the fact that the author doesnít only focus on Averyís trials in the mental asylum, but that she provides her with a cast of friends with their own share of troubles. All the characters, from the protagonists to the janitor of the asylum (so to speak, there isnít any janitor actually mentioned) were very well defined, with their own set of distinct personality traits and their own history. Jessica McHughís writing style is very fluent, very gripping, and the storyline is amazing enough to keep you glued to your chair for well over two hours. By the time I had finished reading, I had long left the day-to-day world, and entered the scary, threatening and terrifying world of mental asylums and delusional mothers with gruesome hobbies. When I turned the last page of the book, it did take me a couple of minutes to let go of the suffocating and slightly unnerved feeling I had felt the entire time while reading, and to relax again. I had barely noticed, but my muscles had tensed and I had crawled on the far edge of the  seat on the train, practically hiding myself in the corner. I love it when a book does that.

Rabbits in the Garden doesnít have the most gorgeous cover in the entire world, but this is one of those books that you really cannot judge by its cover.  The storyline is paralyzing, the writing style is flawless, the characters are bizarre, intriguing and sometimes even down-right terrifying.  This is horror the way it should be Ė crawling under your skin slowly, from page one till the very end, and turning the world as you know it into something scary and unfamiliar. The kind of book that, after reading it, makes you look at people and think Ďwhat the heck goes on in their mindí and wonder if maybe one of them is as sick and disturbed as Averyís mother. The sort of book that doesnít let you go, but keeps you in this tightening grip for a long while, and sometimes makes you question your own sanity.

If Hollywood finally grows tired of those zombie-apocalyptic novels, or those scary-monster-ones and needs a really good horror book to turn into a script, then I would recommend Rabbits in the Garden (if I had any connections with Hollywood directors, that is). Itís a master piece in the horror genre, and it left me very impressed. Feel free to read it for yourself, but donít blame me if you have trouble sleeping afterwards, or if you start wondering if perhaps that old-fashioned and firm-on-principles lady in the apartment downstairs really is a serial killer, and you could be next on her list.

THE SKY: THE WORLD

(Amanda Toth, Novel Addiction)

Holy cow! This is one of those books that amazes you.. how so much could happen in so few pages.

This book was so complex, so awesome. There is just so much to this book that it's amazing how much action the author jampacked into 159 pages. The beginning of the book is heavy with details, and there was a time or two I forgot just which brother was the main character, but once past the detail-heavy intro, it was like a switch flipped. Suddenly I couldn't put the book down - I just had to know what was going to happen to Jack and his crew, what Jack was getting himself into, who was Dr. Azaz, really?

The world in "The Sky: The World" is complex and breathtaking. There are a whole different set of rules to Azazian England, such as "triaps" - babies born from physical love, as opposed to being conceived in the fertilization pool - are not allowed to be in the airforce, and are looked down upon. Doctor Azaz and his creations have bettered the world in so many ways, and yet they have also turned so many natural processes into something disgusting and frowned upon.

And the characters - so incredibly deep and fascinating. Jack has so many vices, so many regrets, so much that would make someone want to pity him. But at the same time he's such a strong person, proud, that the reader can't help but love him, and root for him as he takes on a task he doesn't quite believe he's right for. But he's so honored, how can he say no? Every so often, readers come accross a character  they would want to study, want to delve a little deeper into his psyche - I think Jack Racine is the perfect example of this.

I'm so glad I got the chance to read "The Sky: The World" by Jessica McHugh. This is definitely an author to watch for any fans of good fiction.

I'm going to rate "The Sky: The World" a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). It sucked me in, I loved it, and it was quite the wild ride. As mentioned, this is definitely an author to watch, people! I hope you all get a chance to read "The Sky: The World" (or anything/everything else by Jessica McHugh)!




(Gareth Wilson, Falcata Times)

Whilst not every author manages to sign a deal with one of the big houses, some of the smaller independent ones like Reliquary Press have managed to score some serious talent. Thatís what occurs within this title by Jessica McHugh, the writing is imaginative, the dialogue is the type that readers will love and when backed with a decently paced plot as well as some outstanding characterisation makes this a difficult title to put down.

While the title was one that I wouldnít normally seek, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing and with so much happening in a novella format in such quick succession. It was enjoyable, it was a title that gave me a satisfying read and above all else it was a title that meanís Iíll have to look at the independent a little more often.


 


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(Jamie Ratliff, Book Reviews Weekly)

I read a lot of struggling authors and sometimes itís hard to get through some of the books. The Sky: The World was not one I struggled with.

The Sky: The World was very enjoyable, and I am surprised that itís not been picked up by a bigger publishing house. The Sky: The World is currently published by Reliquary Press, an indie publishing house. For me, this book is the very reason that itís a good thing for readers that indie publishers exist, otherwise we might not get the chance to read great stories by great authors like The Sky: The World by Jessica McHugh.

 

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(Mike Griffiths, Innsmouth Free Press)

The Sky: The World  is a short, intense and entertaining book, the kind you might like to read in one sitting if you had the chance. With summer heading toward us, this would be the perfect book for a trip to the beach or a vacation. Jessica McHugh takes us to a fantastic world, similar to the alternative realities created by Michael Moorcock, particularly in his Warlords of the Air series.

Ms. McHugh is inventive and full of surprises and takes the reader into a world that is hard to second-guess and predict. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys exploring new worlds and unraveling intricate plots. The book is unique and I look forward to exploring more of what this author has to offer.