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Monday, 29 September 2014

Review: Whisper

Whisper by Michael Bray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whispers is one of the best ghost stories I have read in a while. It's hard to find a ghost story that is not just the same old story written in a different format and I was pleased to find that Whispers was not only original, but had both the paranormal and the more human side of horror.

It's also the first in a long time to have creeped me out. I read it in the dark during a long night of high winds, curled up on the sofa while the wind whistled down the chimney. If you have read or are reading this book, you'll understand how much that added to the creepy atmosphere while reading.

I enjoyed the switches between the different time periods, the snippets of back story which added to the growing tension of the main storyline, had me wanting to know more of the history of the house. The characters are believable and it's very easy to get drawn into the story and lost in their world. The tension builds at a nice pace and before you know it you find yourself listening for noises or checking the corners of the room.

Highly recommended and I'm keen to get my hands on book two.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Review: A House in the Country

A House in the Country
A House in the Country by Matt Shaw

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aww that ending. I love ghost stories and was really enjoying the book but I wasn't too keen on how it ended. There was potential there for a really good ghost story, lots of haunting and bump in the night stuff and I feel kind of cheated now in a way. Don't get me wrong the ending, although it felt a bit rushed, was still good and brought closure to the story in a very real way, it just wasn't what I was hoping for. I think it kind of ruined the creepy build up and I was dissapointed that it was something totally different than what the story was hinting at all along.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Monday, 22 September 2014

Review: The Skeleton Road

The Skeleton Road
The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Skeleton Road from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I wanted to like this book, I tried to stick with it in the hopes that I would get into the flow of the story as I progressed. I'm now 55% and I'm having to admit defeat and place this one on the did not finish pile. I just kept finding myself tuning out and skipping parts because I was starting to get really bored with it.

The characters in this story, just didn't work for me. I can honestly say there wasn't one that I could relate to or even like, in fact most of them irritated me. Karen for example, I like strong female characters in stories but being a strong female does not mean being a total bitch to almost every guy you meet. It does not mean treating them like they are thick or inferior. If anything it means rising above it all and setting an example, proving them wrong despite their attitudes. I get that it's not easy being a female in her position but cmon, making yourself exactly like the stereotypical male you dislike to start with and treating your male colleagues and others in the way you dislike them treating females, total hypocrite.

The male characters are all written like they are stupid and have no idea what they are doing. Again this is no way to balance the story to make the female characters look stronger. You don't need to make every male character sound like an idiot in order to have a strong female. I find it kind of insulting that the author wants me to believe than in order for a female to stand out she has to be surrounded by bunch of idiots.

The Scottish slang annoyed the hell out of me. For example "taking the mince" really? Talkin' mince, yes. Takin' the mickey, yes. Or the more commonly used here in Scotland "Takin' the pish" yes. Taking the mince, never heard a Scot say that ever.

This is supposed to be a psychological thriller, but it reads more like crime fiction. It's too slow for it to even come close to a thriller and as for being a psychological thriller, the only thing it did to my psyche, was put it to sleep.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review: Puzzleman

Puzzleman by Christopher Alan Broadstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Puzzleman from the author in return for an honest review.

This is a beast of a book, there is so much happening and it's got it's fair share of graphic and disgusting scenes. It felt different to read, it's original, it's complex and detailed and somewhat surreal. I honestly don't know where to start reviewing this one. It's 400 pages but it feels bigger and I did get kind of lost in the middle of it. The chapters covering the Greek and Roman history, although they were detailed to explain the story, they drew me out of the story at the same time.

The pipe world and the puzzleman are the stuff of nightmares, the book is gruesome, evil and stomach turning in parts. Definitely not a light read, you can't just pick it up and read without giving it your full attention. You need to pay attention, you need to digest what you're reading. It's like a puzzle you devour bit by bit as you read and just when you think it can't get any worse or any more gruesome, it does. It's not a book for the faint of heart. It's also not a book that I could sit down and read all at once, I found myself having to take breaks and think about what I had read at times. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I was trying to fit it all together, make sense of it in my head perhaps, it gets those brain cells working.

Puzzleman is a book for hard core horror fans who are looking for something a little different. It's the thinking mans horror. You know that feeling you get every so often, you want to pick up a book that's not just your every day run of the mill creeps or scares. You want a book that you can really get your teeth into, one that will stimulate those brains cells while still scaring the pants off you or turning your stomach and messing with your head.

Definitely worth a read.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Saving Grace Devine

Saving Grace Devine
Saving Grace Devine by Catherine Cavendish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Saving Grace Devine from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I'm always on the look out for a good ghost story and Saving Grace Devine turned out to be just that. If however, it's a scary hair standing up on the back of your neck ghost story you are after, I didn't feel that with this book. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I flew through the pages but it didn't have me checking the corners of the room or anything.

Saving Grace Devine begins it's tale in present time, where after losing her current job, the main character Alex goes on a trip with her husband. Her husband thinks she needs a break because of the stress of losing her job, but Alex is kind of haunted and her ghost, which only she can see, has made another appearance. While on their break Alex goes back in time to 1912 on a sort of impromptu quest in order to help another ghost called Grace who she met while there. It all sounds kinda huh? when reading that I know, but it actually all fits together well and makes a lot more sense when reading the story.

The plot held my attention and I really enjoyed the attention to detail in the time period Alex was transported back to. What I did find frustrating though was the relationship she had with her husband, he was so closed off to what she was experiencing, to the point that she couldn't even broach the subject with him and had to hide it. That just didn't feel right to me, they were close, they obviously had a great relationship and it was hard for me to believe that he wouldn't at least try to understand or believe.

All in all, it was a good read and the characters were believable for the most part. The ending though felt a little abrupt and sudden, it feels like there is more of the story to be told.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Monday, 15 September 2014

Review: Funhouse

Funhouse by Michael Bray

My rating: Currently Reading

I'm reading Funhouse inbetween full novels or when I'm just in the mood for a quick short story to read. I plan to update this review as I read each individual story in the collection.

1: Mr Ghoul's Quaint Little Ghost Train - This was a great wee story, never again will I look at a ghost train the same. These are a whole different type of skeletons.

2: 99.9AM - A radio station with a difference. Not as good as the previous story for me but still enjoyed it. It didn't go where I was expecting which is always a plus.

3: The Eye - Ugh now I'm going to be paranoid about checking the toilet bowl when using the little girls room. Thanks for that Michael lol.

4: Scarecrows - Scarecrows have always creeped me out. I grew up spending a lot of time on my great grandparents farm, my pop would hide walkie talkies in the scarecrows when he knew we were playing in the fields, his idea of fun. It's funny to think back on now but even to this day they give me the heebie jeebies. This story is kind of like my worst nightmare.

5: Hangman - This is one game of hangman I wouldn't like to play. I kept trying to work out the answer, no fair!

6: The Boy Who Saw Spiders - Ugh spiders. I was half way through this story and stopped to make a cuppa, when filling the kettle a huge freaking spider fell from it into the sink, scared the life outta me. Now I keep imagining I'm seeing the little sods everywhere! Not too sure of the ending of this one though.

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Review: The Devil Walks in Mattingly

The Devil Walks in Mattingly
The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Devil Walks in Mattingly from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Having read When Mockingbirds Sing and enjoyed it, I was keen to read The Devil Walks in Mattingly. When Mockingbirds Sing had mentioned, but not explained, something that had occurred in the town before and this book is the story of that event.

I really struggled to get into this one. It just didn't hold my attention and I am now after 2 weeks of picking the book up and only managing as far as 50%, having to admit that this is one for my did not finish pile. I hate not to finish a book but this one just isn't for me it seems. It feels like nothing is happening, the story progresses so slowly that I just lose interest and I can't connect to any of the characters.

I'm sure many would enjoy this book but I'm afraid I'm not one of them.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
You can also find me on: BookLikes

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