Saturday, August 9, 2014

About that Night by Norah McClintock

In the depths of winter, a woman wanders off in the snow. She is a popular former teacher and wife of a local policeman. A full-blown search begins. Meanwhile, Derek is staying with his new girlfriend and her parents while his family is out of town. He can't believe his luck--Jordie is the hottest girl in school, and he's going out with her. When Ronan, school bad boy and Jordie's ex-boyfriend, shows up, Jordie decides that maybe Derek isn't the one after all. But before she can end it with him, Derek disappears. Did he run away? Or did something happen to him? Is there a connection between the two disappearances? As Jordie slowly starts unraveling the truth, she finds that nothing about that night is as it seems. When she finds Derek's body, suspicion falls on her. And then on Ronan. But Jordie knows she didn't kill Derek. And she is sure Ronan didn't. So who is responsible? And why was Derek marked for death?

Review:  I won this book through Early Reviewers at Librarything.com.   The summary of the story seemed interesting when I first read it, a mystery thriller.  I love mystery novels that keep you guessing throughout the entire story of what happened to the victims and who did it.  This book delivered on that very well.  

The author ensured that the story was exciting and intriguing from the very beginning, from the time a police detective's wife wanders off into the snow and is found with bloody knuckles to the death of main character Jordie's boyfriend, Derek.  Jordie's ex-boyfriend, Ronan, seemed like the most interesting character because of his quiet, brooding behavior which made the reader want to learn more about why he was that way.

The writing was easy to follow, laid-back and simple.  However, this book as it was intended, is definitely for the YA crowd.  There were times I felt like I was reading my kids' books and felt out of place.  I would recommend it as a good read for those 12 years and a little older.

3/5

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dark Echo by F.G. Cottam

Dark Echo is an unlucky boat. Despite this knowledge, Martin Stannard falls under her spell and prepares to sail her across the Atlantic with his wealthy father. But his lover Suzanne begins exploring the yacht's past. What she finds is terrifying. 

Because this boat isn't just unlucky, it's evil. It was built for Henry Spalding, a soldier and sorcerer who committed suicide yet still casts his malevolent spell nearly a century after his death. Suzanne must uncover his last, terrible secret before Dark Echo destroys the man she loves.


Review:  The cover art is hauntingly beautiful and the mix of cursive font next to the simple font works perfectly (yes, I'm a geek, I notice things like this).

The characters are well-defined.  Martin has always lived in the shadow of his successful, adventurous father Magnus.  Suzanne seems very intelligent and has a natural inquisitive nature which lends itself well to her skill as a researcher.  She also bears a striking resemblance to a lady named Jane Boyte who becomes a part of the mystery later in the read.  When the author was describing the beauty of Suzanne and Jane, it made me think of Snow White with the short black hair, fair skin, and red lips.  Henry Spalding, a wealthy businessman and former soldier, is evil to the core; he committed several satanic ritual murders in order to obtain immortality.  He was one of the owners of Dark Echo, a luxurious yacht which harbored the horrors of the past inside it.

The plot is intricate and well-woven together.  I enjoyed the scenes of the monastery and Suzanne's trip to an old city that once flourished in the 1920s where all the socialites and wealthy businessmen went for vacation.  Like the previous book, The House of Lost Souls, by F.G. Cottam, there is a journal chronicling past events which help solve the mystery of the haunted yacht.  There are also creepy scenes throughout the book such as strange smells and cries from a dog and a baby aboard the yacht, ghosts reflected in the captain's mirror, ghosts talking to Suzanne, a very frightening barn in the countryside of France with ghosts of soldiers laughing, etc.  This book is a must-read for supernatural horror fans.

4/5

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam

Just weeks after four students cross the threshold of the derelict Fischer House, one of them has committed suicide and the other three are descending into madness.

            Nick Mason’s sister is one of them. To save her, Nick must join ranks with Paul Seaton—the only person to have visited the house and survive. But Paul is a troubled man, haunted by otherworldly visions that even now threaten his sanity.

            Desperate, Nick forces Paul to go back into the past, to the secret journal of beautiful photographer Pandora Gibson-Hoare and a debauched gathering in the 1920s, and to the dark legacy of Klaus Fischer—master of the unspeakable crime and demonic proceedings that have haunted the mansion for decades.

            Because now, the Fischer House is beckoning, and some old friends have gathered to welcome Paul back. . . 


Review:  The cover is mysterious, creepy, and gorgeous all at the same time.  However, after reading the entire story, I'm still not sure who the person is supposed to be on the front cover of the hardcover edition?  I had high hopes for this book but it wasn't as great a horror story as I thought it would be.  It was more a tale about evil and how it can inhabit a home because of the evil people who dwell inside it.

The beginning started out creepy but then the story started to become chaotic as it reverted to the past to tell Nick's story which was bizarre and eerie and then Paul's story.  When it changed to Paul's story, it was confusing and I hadn't realized at first that it was taking place in the past.  Paul's past takes up most of the book which tended to drag along but it was interesting to read the lost journals of photographer Pandora who was involved with the evil men at Fischer House but suffered greatly from the guilt of what she experienced there.  This author enjoys detailing everything and like another author I just read, it got to be monotonous and made for a yawn of a read at times.

The story picked up in the last few chapters as Nick and Paul enter the Fischer House to retrieve the bones of a young boy named Peter who was sacrificed there decades earlier, to give him a proper burial.  However, the gift that Paul re-discovered about himself seemed anti-climatic.  Like other similar story lines, he realizes he's had the power all along to block out evil with his mind and overcomes the wicked homeowner.

3/5

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fiend by Peter Stenson

When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.  
   But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. 
   The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves. 
   And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins. 
   But is salvation just another pipe dream? 
   Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.


Review:  I mainly chose this book to review because it was about zombies. I'm a big zombie fan (walking dead tv series comes to mind), so I knew I just had to read this one. The premise behind this zombie story was a bit different, the fact that the main character, Chase, is a drug addict changes things up a bit. In fact, all the lone survivors happen to be drug addicts, including Chase's best friend Typewriter and his ex-girlfriend KK. Is there something behind this, are the drugs what kept these survivors alive? As you read further, you find out that the drugs have indeed kept them from turning into zombies.

From the first few pages, this book is riveting and action-packed. The first zombie encounter is with a little girl who Chase believes is innocent but soon realizes that she is not. Though, high on drugs, he's not really sure what he's seeing. After this encounter, the book continues on with a good balance of backstory, dialogue, and action scenes which are vital in a zombie story.  The end of the story was not what I was hoping for, I wanted to see survivors.  And I was disappointed when the story ended, still wanted to keep reading on about Chase, Typewriter, and KK.

This is a not a book for children as it contains foul language, lots of blood/gore, and sexual scenes. At first, I wasn't sure about the foul language but I think it fits with the characters, who they are, the drugs talking, etc. If you want a scary, exciting read, then this book will easily do.

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

4/5

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly

"A stunning look at human desperation, loyalty, and absolute terror" (Suspense Magazine) from the acclaimed author of The Poison Tree When Erin Kelly burst onto the scene with The Poison Tree, readers were left breathless and hungry for more. Maureen Corrigan at the Washington Post pleaded, "More, please, Ms. Kelly! Quickly!" A story of secrets and guilt, The Dark Rose is a mesmerizing follow-up that's every bit as chilling and atmospheric as her acclaimed debut.

Nineteen-year-old Paul sits in a stark interrogation room across from two police officers. What started as petty theft turned into murder; only terror and loyalty keep him silent. Louisa spends her days roaming a crumbling Elizabethan garden—until she meets Paul, who is a dead ringer for her long-lost love. Louisa starts to hope she can find happiness again, but neither of them can outrun his violent past.



Review:  I wasn't sure if I would like this book, only because I didn't enjoy The Poison Tree and couldn't finish it.  I purchased both books at the same time, so that is why I ventured into another novel by Erin Kelly.  This book was much more interesting to me; separate stories concerning a now middle-aged woman (Louisa) and a young man (Paul) who are both trying to escape the wrongdoings of their past who eventually collide into each others worlds and form a unique bond.  This is a book about regrets, guilt, and finally coming to terms with the past in order to move on with the present and plan for the future.

One of the settings takes place in an abandoned Elizabethan garden that Louisa is helping to resurrect.  I was hoping there would be more scenes in the garden because I love anything having to do with flowers but since it was in renovation stage, I suppose it wouldn't be mentioned that much.  Again, the writing was long-winded in certain areas but in this case, I didn't mind it too much.

The ending didn't turn out the way that I hoped, it was very tragic and sad.  Overall, a pleasing, steady story which is filled with mystery and lovely imagery.

4/5

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Missing of the Birds




~ Many thanks to editor Michael Lee Johnson, for accepting two of my poems (Ivory Tower and Catacombs, Paris) for his fine poetry journal, The Missing of the Birds.  It's a fairly new poetry journal which showcases wonderful short poems by some very talented poets.

~ I've begun reading another book titled, The Dark Rose, also by Erin Kelly whose previous book, The Poison Tree, I could not finish.  It's not so much that I think her writing is terrible, not at all.  I just wasn't interested in the characters and the story.  So far, I'm enjoying The Dark Rose.