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.


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.


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."


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.


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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

It is the sweltering summer of 1997, and Karen is a straight-laced, straight-A university student. When she meets the impossibly glamorous Biba, a bohemian orphan who lives in a crumbling old mansion in Highgate with her enigmatic brother Rex, she is soon drawn into their world -- but something terrible is about to happen, and someone's going to end up dead. Already drawing comparisons to Barbara Vine, Tana French and Sophie Hannah, Erin Kelly is an extraordinarily talented new author.

Review:  I just couldn't finish this book. I really wanted to like this story but it was very dull and long-winded. I love when stories are descriptive and set up with great imagery but the author went into detail about everything, the color of the walls down to what a street lamp looks like, etc. It was just too much and took away from the story. 

The characters were boring and uninteresting; the fact that the main character, Karen, seems to be infatuated with another woman, Biba, a wild child, whose the opposite of her or maybe what she wishes she were more like has been done so many times. 

This is the first book I haven't been able to finish, I made it to chapter 8 and then gave up on it. At this point, I don't even care to know what the great mystery is or what tragedy occurred. I also bought another book by Erin Kelly at the same time that I bought this one. I can only hope the other book is better.