Saturday, 27 August 2016

Review: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen



The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old - Hendrik Groen, Penguin Books LTD, Derek Jacobi

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen

My Rating:



I received a free copy of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I wanted something fun and humorous to lighten the mood a little and I figured this would be the perfect book. It wasn't what I was hoping it would be at all.

It was billed as being charming, hilarious and laugh out loud funny but I'm afraid I didn't find that at all. The main character, rather than being funny and sarcastic, was instead an annoying, bitter, grumpy, cantankerous old man. I quickly got tired of his whining.

There was the odd amusing scene but there are only so many times that the same scenario can be funny. Repeating almost the exact same scene, but with different characters, quickly becomes repetitive and tedious.

Not one I would recommend.



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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review: Mirror Image by Michael Scott



Mirror Image: A Novel - Michael Scott

Mirror Image by Michael Scott

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Mirror Image from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I was excited to make a start on Mirror Image because mirrors are one of the few things that easily freak me out. I was looking forwards to immersing myself in a story that had the potential to put me on edge, unfortunately, that didn't happen. It took me 4 days to read 325 pages, kinda says it all really.

The book started off well but I soon found my attention wandering. I couldn't bring myself to care for any of the characters, they were flat and unappealing. The reasonings behind the characters actions were insubstantial, I felt like they were just going through the motions for the sake of the story. Where was the fear? The inner conflict? The panic? There was nothing of substance driving them, they came across as puppets playing out a story rather than real people living through the story.

Throughout the book the reader is taken back and forth between several different timelines. The timelines reveal the history of the mirror, how it came to be, and the characters that have been a part of its story before the present timeline. For this format to work the different timelines need to come together, to flow into each other and build a bigger picture, a more in-depth understanding, but in this case they felt disjointed and too separate from one another. The ending felt rushed and thrown together. I think I was holding out hope that things would come together in the end and that it would at least be worth the reading time invested. It wasn't, it lead to even more disappointment

There was also quite a few inconsistencies and plot holes, as well as many spelling mistakes, typos, wrong words etc, which really didn't help improve the reading experience.

Not one I would recommend.



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Monday, 22 August 2016

Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach



The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

My Rating:



"...from what little I know of the outside world, I am fairly certain that my comrades and I live in hell. For most of us, the hell is in our bodies; for others, the hell is in our heads. And there is no mistaking that, for each of us, hell is in the empty, clinical, perfectly adequate, smudgy, off-white brick walls that hold us in here. In spite of my intelligence, I'm forced to accept that I'm one of the lucky ones."

I received a free copy of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is such a harrowing read but at the same time it's both inspiring and full of hope. I fell in love with Ivan's voice he's a strong, unique and interesting character and his life both inspired and saddened me. It's a very poignant story told by a very memorable character that brings out a whole gamut of feels: heartache, sadness, joy, anger, hope, humour, and more.

I feel like I want to say this is a hard book to read but it's not. That is due largely to Ivan himself, his character approaches life in a very unique way and through his humour and stubbornness the shocking and heartbreaking story of his life is made more bearable and easier to read. Ivan shows us that a little bit of kindness can go a long way and even though this is a fictional story I'm sure much of it has gone on at some time or another.

The writing style is unlike anything else I have read and I highlighted so many passages and sentences while reading. One that particularly stood out for me was "How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?" Which seems such a small and insignificant line to stand out amongst so many touching and insightful passages in this book but as a reader this really resonated with me. Most will know the saying "Too many books, so little time", as someone who lives and breathes books, the thought of only ever being able to pick up one more book, for it to be the last I ever read, I find that such a daunting prospect. There's a finality to it that I find very haunting and scary.

I don't often re-read books but this is one of those books that I know will draw me back to it.

Highly recommended. I'm off to buy myself a copy for my shelves.




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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Review: Tradition: An Easter Nightmare by Kyle M. Scott



Tradition: An Easter Nightmare (Razorblade Candies Book 4) - Kyle M. Scott

 Tradition: An Easter Nightmare by Kyle M. Scott

My Rating:


Tradition: An Easter Nightmare starts out innocently enough but soon things quickly take a turn for the worst and before you know it you're cringing as the horror of what's taking place slaps you in the face. I really enjoyed it, it's a quick horror short that really packs a punch.


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Friday, 19 August 2016

Review: Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows by Jack Rollins



Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows: A Jack Rollins SHORT STORY - see description (Dark Chapter Press Unlimited Book 1) - Michael Bray, David Basnett, Jack Rollins

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows by Jack Rollins

My Rating:


Jack Rollins has a unique style that I find very appealing, he paints vivid pictures of lives lived long ago and surrounds me with the sights, sounds and smells of another era. It's like going back in time and experiencing them for yourself.

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows may only be 31 pages long but those 31 pages contain a great story. You'll find yourself transported back in time to an era where hard work, myth, and superstition are at the forefront, and where there are unimagined dangers lurking just out of sight.



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Review: Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent



Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror - Jason  Parent

Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent

My Rating:


I'm a huge fan of werewolf stories, I'm talking proper werewolves not over-sized puppies playing at being werewolves, so I couldn't resist this one especially as it's written by one of my must read favourite authors.

Where Wolves Run was a unique, interesting and fast read. The pacing of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself having to resist the urge to peek a little further down the page and having to purposely slow down as I was in a rush to see what happened next. I particularly enjoyed Konrad's character, it was refreshing to have a character who wasn't aware of what was going on and totally unprepared for what was ahead. Konrad having no prior knowledge of what he's dealing with allows the reader to join him on his journey, to learn along with him and to relate to his experience more as a result.

There was one thing that I feel spoiled it a little for me personally and that was how Konrad's father was referred to as Father rather than by his name. It didn't ruin the story but it did make him feel somewhat less of a person. However, it did put more focus onto Konrad so perhaps it was intentional.

I really enjoyed the ending. I usually have an idea of what I want the conclusion to be when reading a book and I love it when things get turned around and an author throws in a twist that takes things in a whole different direction from what I had envisioned. At first I was a little disappointed but as it sunk in I realised that it worked much better than what I had been expecting.

Definitely one I would recommend.



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Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi




The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi

The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

My Rating:


I received a free copy of The Night Parade from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I have had Ronald Malfi recommended to me several times and somehow I have never managed to get around to reading any of his work. Darn have I been missing out!

The Night Parade was not what I was expecting. I think I go into stories set around a virus with preconceptions, I feel very much been there, read that already but not this time. The writing style and the character building in this one drew me in right away. All preconceptions disappeared and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This isn't an easy light read that you can just sit back and enjoy. The story has a heavy foreboding atmosphere that builds more and more as you read further. You're never quite sure what's ahead for the main characters, you know that whatever is coming can't be good but at the same time you are hoping for that small chance that things will end up ok. I found myself thinking ahead to all the possible outcomes, analyzing all the little details, trying to pick up on any clues that would prepare me for a happy or sad conclussion, while at the same time trying to stop myself from having a quick peek further down the page. I felt like I had to prepare myself because I was so invested in the characters.

The main characters are very well written and easy to relate to. You want them to succeed, to be safe, to get to safety and that happy ever after but there is so much happening and the action and danger just doesn't let up. You are kept on the edge of your seat, anxiously following their story, helpless and unable to help but at the same time eagerly looking forward to the next obstacle in their path. I read it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down, there was no safe place for me to leave the characters.

Definitely one I would recommend.




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The Night Parade, Synopsis
 

  • File Size: 1261 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (July 26, 2016)
  • Publication Date: July 26, 2016
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services


First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .

They call it Wanderer's Folly--a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.

After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he's bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he's on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.

Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they're running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .


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Ronald Malfi, Biography 

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers,  including The Night Parade, this summer’s 2016 release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.

Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com.



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Praise for Ronald Malfi

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the words, the ending. Color me impressed.” –Melissa Reads on The Night Parade

“The Night Parade has a creepy vibe and some genuinely terrifying moments. I even teared up a time or two. It's everything I look for in a great read.” – Frank Errington on The Night Parade

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”
—Suspense Magazine


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Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.  
Media, information and graphics provided by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity
Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #TheNightParade #WanderersFolly #apocalyptichorror


   

Want to feature this book/author?
If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Night Parade or Ronald Malfi in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com. Thanks!





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