Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller by Hunter Shea



They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller - Hunter Shea

They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller by Hunter Shea

My Rating:


I received a free copy of They Rise : A Deep Sea Thriller from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book They Rise blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

They Rise was my first read of 2016 and I knew even before finishing that it was going to be one for my Favourites of 2016 shelf. I couldn't put this book down - it was terrifying, it was engrossing, it was fascinating and I was "hooked" (see what I did there!). I loved everything about it.

They Rise is one of those books where I find myself struggling to really do the book justice and to express how much I enjoyed it. I think what really got to me, aside from the story itself, was the plausibility of it. The sea can be a scary force to be reckoned with on its own but throw in the horrors found in this book and you have a whole different level of scary. A "There's not a chance in hell that I would dip my toe in there, even if you paid me!" kind of scary. The whole time I was reading I found myself thinking that this could really happen, perhaps not to this extreme but something similar, which is a very scary thought that added so much more to the story.

They Rise creates an atmosphere full of fear, tension, and anticipation that along with its breathtaking pace will have you turning the pages desperate to know what comes next. But at the same time, because the characters are so believable and their fear so easy to relate to, you don't want to know what happens next because you are so wrapped up in them and their experiences that you don't want anything bad to happen to them.

On finishing this book I immediately told my daughter how good it was and that she should give it a read, she's on the same page as me, so to speak. Definitely one we would both recommend and an easy 5 stars.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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They Rise, Synopsis


Print Length: 162 pages
Publisher: Severed Press (January 4, 2016)
Publication Date: January 4, 2016

Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea. Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong.
Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red.
The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.



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Biography, Hunter Shea
Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn't just write about the paranormal - he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned - "A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!"

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D'Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man's land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he's happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray's Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow in on Facebook and Twitter.

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Praise for Hunter Shea

“This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster
Bloody good read!  This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre
Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

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Giveaway
Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card for joining this tour! Get extra entries for social media follows, but get extra extra entries for signing up for his newsletter and five extra entries if you review They Rise and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com!
 
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Media, information and review copy provided as part of the Hook of a Book blog tour by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.



Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley



The Loney - Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

My Rating:


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

I had really high hopes for this one because of all the great reviews and also because it won the 2015 Costa First Novel award but I found it to be a disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high.

In all honesty I think it was the writing style that kept me reading. The author did a wonderful job of creating a dark and dreary atmosphere, his ability to set the scene and describe the surrounding environment totally immerses the reader, creating the illusion of being present in the moment as if a character in the story as it happened. Or didn't happen in this case. Without this I don't think I would have finished the book at all.

I am left thinking Did I miss something or was there nothing to miss? The whole thing felt like a lot of plot holes thrown into a plot that was more hinted at than expanded on. It was all over the place and I was never really sure where it was going or why. The further I got into the book the more I found myself having to resist skimming pages. Nothing was happening, yet so many things were left unexplained. In the end it all felt rather pointless.

All in all it was an unsatisfying read and not one I would recommend.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Review: Desolation by Kristopher Rufty



Desolation - Kristopher Rufty

Desolation by Kristopher Rufty

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Desolation by Kristopher Rufty from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Desolation blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

I'm generally not a fan of home invasion story lines, I have read so many that I have become bored with them. Most seem to merge into each other creating a been there read it already feel but I was completely drawn into this one right from the start. The chilling atmosphere and descriptive scenes really captured my attention, I could picture everything so clearly.

I initially picked up Desolation with the intention of reading a chapter or two before sleeping but ended up reading it in one sitting. It's a perfect mixed bag of suspense, tension, horror and chilling emotional scenes that will keep you turning the pages eager to know what happens next.

There are twists a plenty to be found here and some grisly goings on that will satisfy many a horror lover. But, at the same time it's a heartbreaking and emotional tale of revenge and loss and the two intertwine nicely to induce not only fear and anticipation but also heartbreak and sympathy for the characters within the story. It's quite a roller-coaster of a ride. One minute you're grabbing onto the rails dreading what's round the corner, the next you're reaching for the hanky and full of remorse for disliking the characters previously.

Definitely one I would recommend.


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Desolation - Kristopher RuftyDesolation, Synopsis

Samhain Horror
PAGES: 266
ISBN: 978-1-619233-09-6
Trade Paperback (List: $15.95)

There’s no escaping your past. Especially when it wants revenge.

Grant Marlowe hoped taking his family to their mountain cabin for Christmas would reunite them after his alcoholic past had torn them apart, but it only puts them into a life and death struggle.  On Christmas Eve, a stranger from Grant’s past invades the vacation home and takes his wife and children hostage. His agenda is simple—make Grant suffer the same torment that Grant’s drunken antics have caused him. Now Grant must confront his demons head on and fight for his family’s lives. Because this man has nothing left to lose. The only thing keeping him alive is misery—Grant’s misery.

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Biography, Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Lurking Season, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often. 



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Praise for Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” --Jeff Strand

A Dark Autumn is a wild gender role reversal of ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and ‘Friday The 13th’ thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again.” --Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show

A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it’s got one of the best death scenes I’ve read in a long time!” --Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller

A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty’s prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!” --Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow

An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out...forget it!” –Edward Lee, author of Lucifer’s Lottery and City Infernal


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 Giveaway!!!

We have a lot of books to giveaway from Krist! We have two audio books, Oak Hollow and Pillowface in one link.  In the second link we have a signed print copy of The Lurking Season and two e-books, Vampire of Plainfield and Bigfoot Beach.

Winners are chosen random via rafflecopter and are given choice of prize of order pulled. Any questions on raffle, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com

Link for audio book giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI5/?

Link for print/e-book giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjMw/?



 

Media, information and review copy provided as part of the Hook of a Book blog tour by Erin Al-Mehairi from Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Review: The Damaged by Simon Law



The Damaged - Simon Law

The Damaged by Simon Law

My Rating:


I received a free copy of The Damaged in return for an honest review.

The Damaged is a dark and twisted tale centered around the two characters of Matthew and Tammy, who despite their inner conflicts manage to portray a semblance of normality to the world around them. But things are far from normal. Behind the scenes the two characters struggle to come to terms with previous events in their lives that have made every day a constant battle to appear normal and survive. The disturbing ways that the characters cope in secret and the way that things escalate once the two characters come together really makes for a gruesome and bloody story.

The Damaged stood out character wise for me. Too many books have nasty or mean characters who do horrendous things without rhyme or reason but that is not the case here. The characters are laid bare and I could easily understand why they did what they did. They are very well fleshed out and you get to know everything about them, their hopes and dreams, their fears and their innermost thoughts. The author does a wonderful job of making them both vulnerable and likable despite the gruesome events that occur, especially with Matthew's character. I couldn't help but like Matthew and feel sorry for him despite the things he found himself doing.

The Damaged is written well. The pacing is consistent, nothing is rushed or skipped and no questions are left unanswered. It is one of the the most complete stories that I have read in a while. I will admit to one episode of confusion while reading but that was cleared up in the conclusion of the book and there was one inconsistency that I came across although it's one that is easily overlooked and so small that it's nothing really.

The Damaged is an enjoyable story that at it's heart is a tale of love, betrayal and loss but in the most twisted and gruesome fashion.

Definitely one I would recommend for fans of horror and psychological thrillers.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Review: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen



Playing with Fire - Tess Gerritsen

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

My Rating: 


I received a free copy of Playing with Fire from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Playing with Fire is a hard one for me to rate. I was initially enjoying Julia's story but then it switched to Lorenzo's and although Lorenzo's story was as enjoyable as Julia's, they didn't come across as being linked to each other very much at all. I'm not a huge fan of dual story-lines, they have to be done extremely well for me to enjoy them, in this case they were each enjoyable on their own but felt like completely separate stories rather than two related timelines.

The ending felt rushed and implausible, quite frankly I felt Julia's conclusion was a bit of a let down. I was really hoping the two different timelines would come together a lot better than they did in the end but they remained as distant then as they were throughout the whole book.

I'm dithering between the two and three stars. Usually I love Tess Gerritsen books but this one didn't work for me in it's entirety. As a result I'm going for the two stars because of how separate the story-lines felt to each other, they just didn't mesh well at all in the end for me.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Project Apex by Michael Bray



Project Apex - Michael Bray

 Project Apex by Michael Bray

My Rating:


I received a free copy of Project Apex in return for an honest review.

Usually when I read the blurb of a book and see the words virus, government or anything along the lines of armed forces, I will move right on much like I do when I see zombies mentioned. However, I was offered a copy of Project Apex for review and as I am a fan of the authors previous works I thought I would give it a chance. Would Michael Bray capture my attention or would I zone out like I usually do when reading similar material?

Project Apex feels like a big story, there is so much to it but it doesn't feel that way while reading. There are a lot of characters, places and different aspects to the main story, yet they all flow alongside each other intersecting flawlessly without any confusion or time spent trying to keep the characters, places and story-lines straight. The writing style makes it easy to follow and a pleasure to read.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one, like I said it's not my usual cup of tea but I became totally absorbed in the story. The pacing was perfect, gradually increasing as the story progressed and it had me eager to keep reading just one more page. I found the character of Joshua intriguing, a lot of what he claims makes sense but does that justify his means? I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with this character, he means well initially but just how far is he prepared to go to share his gift with the world?

I think it's safe to say that Michael Bray captured my attention, not once did I find myself zoning out. In fact I'm itching to find out what happens next and looking forwards to the next installment.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Highlights of 2015



The Highlights, The Favourites and The Flops of 2015


I wanted to have this post ready to upload the morning after Hogmanay but I started the new year off with the mother of all head colds. I have been trying to fight off the cold since my little Niece lovingly shared it with me on Christmas day but it's gotten it's claws into me and is refusing to leave. As a result this post isn't just late but also shorter than I would like.

2015 wasn't a great year for me reading wise. I didn't find as many five star reads and a lot more of my reading choices were three stars or below compared to 2014. As a result my top books of 2015 are a lot easier to list than last year where I had quite a task to whittle my list down to just 10.

The latter part of 2015 was also a hectic time personally with a lot of family stuff going on that cut into my reading time. My daughter moved back home (all the extra washing, I'm drowning in dirty towels. Save me!) and my Mother-in-law has been very ill, we almost lost her at one point but thankfully things are on the up now though she still has a long ways to go to full recovery. I didn't reach my reading goals with so much going on but family always comes first.  I also took up tatting which I'm now totally addicted to and it cuts into my reading time too.

Before I go any further I want to say, Happy Hogmanay folks and many oh them. An' lang may yer lum reek!

Anyways enough rambling, time to talk books...

A few quick stats to start things off, they aren't 100% accurate as I still have a few books to rate and review from over the holiday period due to me being ill.

  • Books read - 145
  • 5 star reads - 23
  • 4 star reads - 42
  • 3 star reads - 35
  • 2 star reads - 14
  • 1 star reads - 24
  • Didn't finish - 13
  • Not rated - 6


Top Ten Favourites of 2015 or should I say top nine.

 

In order of date read rather than order of preference as they were all excellent reads in their own right.



1 - Nightfall Gardens (Nightfall Gardens #1) by Allen Houston (Click for review)

Unbeknown to Lily the Blackwood females are cursed, with her grandmother on her death bed, Lily is now the last female in the Blackwood line and her destiny awaits. Kidnapped by her Uncle, she is returned to Nightfall Manor to protect the world from the darkness, a darkness that holds all sorts of mythical beasts, fairy-tale nightmares and far worse. If Lily is unsuccessful the darkness and terror will be unleashed on the world outside the walls of Nightfall Gardens.

Nightfall Gardens is the first book in the Nightfall trilogy and is a wonderful, dark and imaginative tale. The author creates such an amazing spooky and gothic atmosphere full of all sorts of mythical and fairy-tale creatures. I devoured this book it was excellent. I would love to see this as a movie. It's been a while since I enjoyed a dark fantasy as much as I did this one. Nightfall Gardens was an easy 5 stars and was the first to make it to my 2015 favourites shelf.


2 - The Shadow Garden (Nightfall Gardens #2) by Allen Houston (Click for review)

The Shadow Garden is book two in the Nightfall Trilogy. Usually I find the middle book in a trilogy doesn't quite reach the level of enjoyment that I find in the first and last books, but with this one that was not the case. I moved onto book two as soon as I finished the first one and was pleased to see the same wonderful dark and gothic atmosphere is present in this one. The story was as imaginative, dark and full of wonders and horrors as the first one.


3 - The Labyrinth (Nightfall Gardens #3) by Allen Houston (Click for review)

The Labyrinth is the third book in the Nightfall Gardens trilogy and boy what a trilogy this was! I really can't do justice to how much fun and enjoyment that this trilogy brought me.  I don't think I have ever given 5 stars to every book in a single series, so doing so with Nightfall Gardens is a first for me, never mind all three making to to my favourites shelf. Two firsts!

On starting book one of this series I didn't realise just how much I would be drawn into the story and how everything else would be put on hold till they were finished. I read all three books in just over 3 days, I just couldn't put them down. I was fighting with myself the whole time, I wanted to put it down so it would last longer but I just couldn't stay away.

I would highly recommend this trilogy to those who like their fantasy on the dark side.


4 - Fire Girl by Matt Ralphs (Click for review)

Hazel who has been living in a beautiful magic glade has never ventured out into the real world but when her mother gets kidnapped that's exactly what she has to do. On her journey she comes across many scary people and demons and finds herself in some dangerous situations, but with her grumpy familiar by her side and a few friends she makes along the way, she's determined to save her mother.

 I had a lot of fun with this book. The interaction between Hazel and Bramley, her grumpy sarcastic little dormouse familiar, brought a smile to my face every time. The author creates a wonderful easily visualised world full of witches and demons, that has both a dark and sinister side to it but at the same time is full of adventure, love and promise. I can easily imagine a child being completely captivated by this story.

My immediate thought on finishing this book was that I hope there is going to be a sequel and I'm so pleased to see there will be. I also now want a grumpy little dormouse all of my own!


5 - PROTECTION by Kyle M. Scott (Click for review)

Celebrated author, James Kember, loves his son more than his own life. He'd do anything for him. Anything. He's made it his oath to protect eight year old Edward from the all the horrors of the world.  But something is coming for his little boy.
Something that watches.
And waits.
Something unimaginable.
Something inescapable.
Something that wants to carry his innocent child down into the darkness.
And it knows the way into their home...

Kyle Scott is one of my favourite authors, he writes the kind of horror that I grew up reading and that I still look for in every horror book that I pick up even now. He's one of the few authors who's books automatically go straight onto my to read pile without question.

I loved everything about this book. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and the temptation to peek further down the page at times was almost too much to resist. The twists frustrated the hell out of me, in a good way. Each time I thought I knew what was going on, the author about turned and threw it all back in my face. Everything I thought I believed about the characters and all the feelings I had come to associate with that belief were all turned upside down.

Kyle did such a wonderful job playing on my fears and emotions and grabbing all my attention, that I was left feeling rather emotionally traumatised at how the story ended.


6 - Moving by Jenny Eclair (Click for review)

Edwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it.

The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. 'People like a project.' But as Edwina takes him from room to room, she is transported back to her old life as a young mother. Back to her first husband Ollie and their twins, James and Rowena. Back to lies and dark secrets and to a stepson whose name Edwina cannot even bear to speak aloud.

As Edwina's story unravels she is revealed as a complex and intriguing person. Not just the 'frail old lady' trapped in her dated house, but a woman who has lived an extraordinary life, full of love and tragedy. Why is she now so alone? What happened to Edwina's family all those years ago?

A house is such a personal space, we invest time and energy into making it our own, filling it with love, memories and personal items from our lives.  In Moving the author does a wonderful job of expressing just how attached we become to our house and how our memories are so intertwined with the different rooms and to the every day objects within.

The interaction between the characters and the history and personal stories behind their actions makes Moving a very enjoyable read. Things are not always what they seem and Moving takes you behind the scenes, giving you a glance at the deeper picture.


7 - Seeing Evil by Jason Parent (Click for review)

 Fate in plain sight.

Major Crimes Detective Samantha Reilly prefers to work alone—she’s seen as a maverick, and she still struggles privately with the death of her partner. The only person who ever sees her softer side is Michael Turcotte, a teenager she’s known since she rescued him eleven years ago from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.

In foster care since his parents’ death, Michael is a loner who tries to fly under the bullies’ radar, but a violent assault triggers a disturbing ability to view people’s dark futures. No one believes his first vision means anything, though—not even Sam Reilly. When reality mimics his prediction, however, Sam isn’t the only one to take notice. A strange girl named Tessa Masterson asks Michael about her future, and what he sees sends him back to Sam—is Tessa victim or perpetrator?

Tessa’s tangled secrets draw Michael and Sam inexorably into a deadly conflict. Sam relies on Michael, but his only advantage is the visions he never asked for. As they track a cold and calculating killer, one misstep could turn the hunters into prey.

Usually it's the characterisation that makes a book for me but everything about Seeing Evil was a hit. I was gripped from start to finish. The pacing was perfect, the writing was smooth and a pleasure to read, which resulted in me being up all night reading and finishing the book in one sitting.

Seeing Evil is no regular thriller. The storyline reveals the very real human side of horror and the psychological torture and abuse that humans are capable of, but at the same time it has a paranormal feel to it. It's full of chilling and disturbing scenes and the author has done an excellent job of portraying the darker side of human nature.

"I knew upon finishing that it was perhaps going to be one of my favourites of 2015 but it wasn't until I tried to read another book afterwards that I realised just how much I had enjoyed this one. I couldn't settle into another book, I kept finding myself thinking about the characters in this one. It took me trying 3 different books before I could find something where my mind wasn't wandering back to Seeing Evil while reading." And as you can see it's on the list. There was never any doubt!



8- Blood and Rain by Glenn Rolfe (Click for review)

The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.
Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping.

Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend?

One night can—and will—change everything.

Blood and Rain has stand out character development and its packed full of horror and tension, with plenty of scenes that will have you cringing as you read. It has a very dark atmosphere at times and the forest scenes were done particularly well. I could visualise it easily... dark, rainy, sounds coming from every direction, something lurking close by ready to jump out any second. It really draws you in and keeps you on edge.

This is werewolves as they should be. They're not cute and fluffy, they don't remove their shirt every scene or stick their furry noses in unmentionable places. These are proper werewolves. They're scary, they're mean, they're violent and they're behind you! Only kidding. No, really... they're behind you...



9 - Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn (Click for review)

“Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years—then lets her go and takes another one.”   Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?

Took is a ghost story aimed at the younger audience and is just creepy enough without it being too scary. It has the touch of a modern day Hansel and Gretel with a creepy doll thrown in for good measure.

This book has a great atmosphere and I can picture it grabbing a child's imagination very easily. It strikes me as a book that they will remember fondly when they grow up and will probably find themselves looking for the scares this created in their young minds in future horror books when they are older.

I wish books like this were more readily available when my own children were younger, it's a great introduction to the more creepy and scary side of fiction for younger readers and they would have loved it.

Definitely one I would recommend. But beware, if you venture out into the woods you may find Bloody Bones on your trail.


Monday, 4 January 2016

Review: Sanctuary Bay by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns



Sanctuary Bay - Melinda Metz, Laura J. Burns

 Sanctuary Bay by  Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns

My Rating:


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

What stood out the most for me in Sanctuary Bay was the setting, the island created a feeling of isolation and helplessness that made the storyline more interesting. The characters however were a bit of a disappointment, I found them to be rather cliche as each filled a stereotypical role: rich girl, poor girl, popular girl, bad boy, etc. There was also the cliche love triangle that seems overly popular in young adult books which blends this book into almost every other young adult book out there for me. Same framework, different story.

The story itself was interesting and there was enough twists to keep me reading but it lacked depth and explanation. There was too much of a focus on the characters instead of what was going on behind the scenes at the school, which was the best part of the book in my opinion.

The pacing was inconsistent, it went from slow to perfect and then into overdrive. The book started out well, I was intrigued and interested after the initial scene but once other characters started to come into the story it slowed down quite a bit. The pace started to pick up around a third of the way in and stayed that way for almost the rest of the book until the ending which felt very rushed. The pacing in the last section of the book was too fast, like perhaps it had to be squeezed into a limited amount of pages, it didn't work for me.

All in all it wasn't a bad read but it wasn't a great read either. There isn't much in Sanctuary Bay that makes it stand out from other young adult books, it's built on the same framework as many others out there: stereotypical characters, girl meets boy, girl meets another boy, which boy will she choose.


Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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