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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
You can also find me on: BookLikes

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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
You can also find me on: BookLikes

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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
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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Review: A Place For Us Part 2

A Place For Us Part 2
A Place For Us Part 2 by Harriet Evans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of A Place For Us Part 2 from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Every family has their secrets and it's time for those secrets to be revealed. As the family come together for Marthas birthday party, tensions are high and secrets start coming out one by one. Yet something tells me there is worse to come.

I read part 1 of this 4 part serialisation last month and have been looking forwards to the next part since finishing it. I'm not a huge fan of stories done in parts this way as I sometimes find it hard to get back into the story. That was not the case with A Place For Us. I picked up part 2 and had no problem jumping right back into the story, it felt like no time had passed since the first part.

I find myself drawn to this story, to the richness of the characters, they are all so normal and down to earth and yet so captivating and full of depth. They each have their own individual lives and secrets that both binds them together as a family but also pulls them apart.

I'm really looking forwards to part 3 as I have the feeling we've barely scratched the surface of what's yet to come.

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

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Review: Girls Like Us

Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was invited to read and review this book by the publisher via Netgalley.

I struggled at first to get into this book, it took me a while to get into the flow because it was written in a way that portrayed a very heavy southern accent and it didn't feel natural to read. I read through 8% of the book and then put it down, not sure if I was going to be able to go back to it. I picked it up a week and a half later determined to give the book a chance and with a little perseverance I managed to get comfortable with the accent and writing.

The story switches back and forth between Quincy and Biddy. Biddy, starved of oxygen at birth, was abandoned by her mother and left in the care of her grandmother, a cruel woman who resented being left with a child who wasn't perfect. Quincy, who grew up being handed from one foster home to another after her mothers boyfriend disciplined her with a brick, causing trauma and disfigurement to her head and face. Both girls struggle to find their place in the world and each face different challenges.

The two girls, after graduating from their high school special ed class, find themselves placed together in the home of Ms. Elizabeth. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses have to learn to live together, to compromise and to cope in the real world. The story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, life is not easy and people can be cruel, but with a little support and the love of friends anything is possible.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book, it was a hard read for me due to the heavy accent and I understand why the use of words like "Retard" and "Speddie" but I still didn't feel comfortable reading them, it felt like I was supporting the use of the words, which I realise is kind of silly but it felt that way all the same. There was one scene in the book that seemed out of place, like it was either rushed or thrown into the story after the fact. The scene with Ms Elizabeth and the judges wife (don't want to give spoilers) didn't work for me, it kind of pulled me out of the flow of the story instead of adding to it in anyway.

I did enjoy it, it was both sad and uplifting it had me smiling and tearing up at points and I'm glad I stuck with it but I think the heavy accent ruined it for me.

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

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Review: When Mockingbirds Sing

When Mockingbirds Sing
When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of When Mockingbirds Sing from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I have only read a few books in the Christian Fiction genre, I tend to find myself shaking my head when the author starts to use the book as a way of pushing their beliefs on the reader, which thankfully this book didn't do. I'm not a religious person, I have always believed that going to church doesn't make you a christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic. I'll spare you my views on religions as that has nothing to do with the book. I just wanted to mention the above because despite my own beliefs, or non belief as far as religion goes, it had no negative effect on my experience reading this book

I didn't know what genre this book was in as it was the cover that initially drew me and the blurb piqued my interest further. When I then had a quick look at the ratings before requesting it, I noticed the genre and decided I would take a chance despite my previous experiences. I'm really glad that I did.

Leah is a shy withdrawn 9 year old girl with a stutter, she has an imaginary friend she calls The Rainbow Man. The Rainbow Man sings to Leah and she paints the pictures in his songs, pictures that tell of things to come. What ensues is a roller-coaster of belief and disbelief, a town divided, a story of faith, judgement, guilt, and forgiveness. Will the town believe before the storm hits, a storm so big that it may wipe their little town from the map?

I can't praise this book enough, the main character Leah is such a sweet little girl that you can't help but feel for. You just want to shake all the other characters and make them believe, to have them open their hearts to this little girls plight and story.

And poor Barney, he's had such a hard life. His store isn't making money, his wife stuck in a wheelchair from a stroke, he has bills to pay and a wife to care for. Can he believe in the promise of a little girl who tells him everything is going to be fine, he just has to believe.

Leahs dad isn't a religious person, he knows the negative side of religion, he's seen what kind of torture a person will live with because of their beliefs. Can he let go of his doubts for the daughter he loves, can he believe in something he can't see but that his daughter tells him is there?

There are so many great characters in this story. The emotion, descriptions, atmosphere and details in the book bring the town, the people and the story to life. The story seems a little slow to start but before long you are drawn in and find yourself engrossed in the tale and needing to know more.

I thoroughly enjoyed When Mockingbirds Sing and I will definitely be reading more from Billy Coffey.

There is a hint at another story, of something else that happened in the town of Mattingly before this story takes place, which is covered in the next book The Devil Walks in Mattingly.

Also a new book due out soon In the Heart of the Dark Wood, which continues 2 years on from When Mockingbirds Sing and tells the tale of Leahs friend Allie.

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

View all my reviews