The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts is the sequel to City of Ghosts, which I reviewed earlier. I loved the first book, but I liked the second book even more. This time, the book isn’t set in China (one of my favorite parts about book one was the implementation of Chinese culture) yet it still features a foreign culture, since most of the book is set in Venice, Italy, and the island of Poveglia. I’ve always been a big fan of Italy. I once visited Venice and I loved the city, so I certainly didn’t mind the different setting.
Kate Carlsson is a medium, and desperate to retrieve a young girl’s soul, she heads to the haunted isle. She uncovers some shocking truths about the island that challenges her own beliefs and morals, and even her own life. Kate was already one of the characters in City of Ghosts, and I was glad to follow her along now in this second book. Jackson, the main character of City of Ghosts, is also back for round two.
The writing was excellent and I was drawn into the story right away. Poveglia is an actual island – I’d heard about it prior to reading the book, as I’m a huge history / ghosts / legends buff, and I loved the author had picked this setting. The characters were complex and intriguing, even the villains. The storylines were engaging, and the book kept me guessing. An excellent pageturner!...more
City of Ghosts in the first book in the GhostWriters series by J.H. Moncrieff. It’s a supernatural suspense featuring ghosts, conspiracies and murder. The setting and characters were very intriguing and I felt immersed in the world of this series almost right away.
Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city Hensu when he slips away form the group, determined to spend the night and then record his ghostly experiene. He meets Yuèhai, a woman who can tell him all about the city’s secrets. But the more Jackson uncovers, the more he finds himself at risk, with betrayal waiting around every corner. From the moment Jackson runs away from the group, the atmosphere becomes eerie and unsettling.
Jackson is a flawed individual but I liked him that way, the flaws made him seem more realistic to me. The setting was great, I loved getting to know the Chinese culture as I’m not all that familiar with it. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the way they see ghosts, and some of their ghostly legends and tales.
This is a chilling ghost story in an unique setting with engaging characters and excellent writing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal mysteries, and I look forward to the second book....more
The Keys to the Sun remnids me of a fun mix of Scooby-Doo meets The Originals. The Originals because it features vampires, the supernatural, and New Orleans, and Scooby-Doo because the main characters are self-proclaimed sleuths who want to find a long lost pirate’s treasure. Three teens and aunt Ruby face off against the powers of good and evil, as the treasure turns out to be much more than they could’ve ever imagined.
So, I have to admit, I was kind of jealous. Lucas and Parker Chance get to stay in an awesome, ancient house, along with their new friend, Nicole Wells, and then they get to go treasure hunting. Isn’t that every kid’s dream? It sure was my dream when I grew up, to find a treasure, and then suddeny find myself on a quest to saving the world.
Either way, the story is imaginative and creative, and the author did a great job describing the characters and making them feel like realistic human beings. I also loved the explorations of the city, New Orleans, and the French Quarter in particular. I’ve always wanted to visit the city – and now I could, in my imagination, at least.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone who enjoys the supernatural, and everyone who’s ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt....more
In A Slaughter of Angels, Rian MacCaren is the owner of the Midnight Agency, a private investigation company specializing in the kind of cases the police can’t solve. He’s a Nephilim, and he deals in the paranormal. His latest case is nothing out of the ordinary, for him at least. Girls from a local club have gone missing, and Rian has to find them. When the girls turn up dead, and the culprit appears to be something more than human, Rian might be in for more than he bargained for.
I absolutely love books that mix detective novel with paranormal. Rian’s unique abilities, such as being able to connect to what the dead girls experienced by touching them, brings an extra layer to the book. Rian isn’t afraid of swearing, and he does fit the brooding loner type. He reminded me of the detectives in noir novels, except of course with the paranormal element.
The plot was entertaining, the pacing was spot on, and overall, I really enjoyed this book. The author did a great job describing the setting, and introducing the reader to the characters....more
In The Journals of Bob Drifter, protagonist Bob Drifter isn’t your ordinary substitute teacher. People around him keep on dying, for a very good reason, but this could make Bob’s life surprisingly complicated when the cops become suspicious of the high amount of dead people that cross his path. When his secret becomes endangered, Bob struggles to accomplish his task, fulfill his mentor’s wishes while at the same time protecting his students and just about everyone else.
What a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read. It’s an amazing, fast-paced book that doesn’t slow down until the end. Bob is an intriguing character, very brave, cares a lot about others, and I also loved the fact he’s a teacher. The world building was intriguing and I enjoyed getting to explore this world.
If you love paranormal thrillers, I highly recommend this one....more
I’ve read several books by Catherine Cavendish so far and Dark Avenging Angel, while not being my favorite of the bunch, was a good addition my growing collection of reads by this author.
Jane has a horrible life. Her Dad is a filthy, mean, evil man who likes to hurt her mother and occasionally her too. He wants her to be the very best at everything but instead of providing support, he provides criticism. Then an angel shows up, at least Jane thinks she’s an angel, and she promises to take revenge on her father, on Jane’s behalf. All she needs is Jane’s permission to writes her father’s name in her ledger. Jane refuses at first, but the more her father torments her, the more she wants to give in. And when she does, she has no idea of the terrible things she’s unleashed. She must choose three names total. Three names of people who will suffer at the hands of her dark avenging angel.
The premise was original and entertaining, so I was looking forward to diving in and enjoying the story. It is quite enjoyable too, although the book seemed to rush a little fast through Jane’s life. On top of that, despite everything that happened, I couldn’t feel that sympathetic toward Jane. I’ve no idea why. I mean, she goes through hell during her childhood and when she grows up, life doesn’t threat her much better, but yet I had trouble emphatizing with her.
The writing is good, the plot is fast-paced, and ultimately it’s a solid dark revenge story. Whatever you do, you better not mess with Jane....more
I have to admit, I accepted Spinner for review because the main character has a disability, and we don’t see that often in YA, especially not in a YA thriller. But I also liked the idea of spinners, the ancient evil, humans out stalking him for his powers, and basically, everything about the book sounded great. I was a little nervous to read it because I had high expectations, but boy, I certainly wasn’t dissapointed.
A spinner is a person with a healing ability. Unfortunately Alex can’t use that to heal himself. He’s stuck to a wheelchair and has been since birth. On top of that he’s in the foster system, and his current foster parent is a sadistic woman who physically abuses the kids in her care. But unfortunately that’s not the end of Alex’s troubles yet. His teacher is murdered, an ancient evil is unleashed, and it’s up to Alex and his classmates, a self-proclaimed group of misfits to find out who is behind the murder and how to stop the unleashed evil before it’s too late.
From the start, this was an amazing story, and it never becomes anything less than amazing. The cast of characters is great, the plot is enthralling, there were so many twists and turns that I had no idea whatsoever as to what would happen next, and the action never slows down. Despite everything that’s happening, there were some hilarious bits too where I even laughed out loud.
If you enjoy YA thrillers with a supernatural edge, then I highly recommend this book....more
The Family Tree is a rather unique horror story set in The Family Tree Inn, an inn that has been in Scott Belvedere’s family for ages but that he’s only recently inherited. So far the story sounds pretty familiar, but then it introduces a few enticing twists: the sap of the tree, its blood, is the secret ingredient behind his family’s ale, and it has more side effects than Scott has knowledge of. He moves to the inn to find out more about his heritage and to learn about his family, but he never suspected to end up knee-deep into a nightmare. As he discovers one secret after another, and he gets the feeling something isn’t quite right about the inn, he stumbles upon a horrifying truth that might cost him his life.
Let’s start with the good. The author includes several erotic scenes in the book, but they make sense – they’re there for a reason, it’s not just sex just for the sake of adding in sex. The characters are real, and they each have their own quirks and personality, however the reader doesn’t connect with them, which is probably a good thing. If anything, the more I got to know the characters, the more alienated I felt from them.
The downside was that I couldn’t relate to Scott either, who is probably the only character one should really relate to while reading this book. That’s the only downside I could find to the book though: the writing is excellent, the pacing is fast, and the story screams originality. Too bad I couldn’t relate to the main character, else I would’ve given this a higher rating....more
Conduits is a tale of Japanse horror, mixed with outstanding writing and an atmospheric, haunting setting. One of the best works on Darkfuse’s list this year, if you ask me.
Mara is a Japanese-American girl struggling with a dark past. She tries to stop the pain by cutitng herself, but ever since her boyfriend passed away, the pain hasn’t subsided, even when she cuts herself. Then she visits the most haunted place in Washington State, and what follows is a spiral of madness that lands her in a psychiatric ward. Her dreams are haunted by a strange house in the woods, inhabited by ghosts.
As Mara’s vision of reality crumbles, she’s forced to confront what happened to her older sister, and why the ghosts have chosen her as a counduit.
As I mentioned, the writing is great. However, the book would’ve been better if it had been slightly longer. A lot of things happen, and not everything is explored with the same level of detail. Overall, the story is great though, dark, hypnotic almost. It reminded me of “A Tale of Two Sisters”, a Japanese horror move that I absolutely loved, and that was creepy without adding gore, or anything of the sort.
Anyone who is a fan of Japanese horror, should definitely check out Conduits. Excellent writing, atmospheric story – I can’t wait to read more books by this author. ...more
Something Red is a lyrical, descriptive book, reminiscent of The Name of The Rose. It’s not too bad, but the plot doesn’t offer anything fresh, and the writing is so lyrical it slows down the pace. There are too many descriptions, and the plot drags along....more
In The Hexed, a murder takes place that is an almost exact replica of another murder that took place thirteen years ago. Craig Rockwell, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, was the one who discovered the first body, a friend of his. He can hear voices of the deceased, and that’s what brings him to the Krewe of Hunters, and what got him to find his dead friend in the first place.
Devin Lyle has returned to the Salem area just when a woman gets murdered nearby the cabin she inherited from her great-aunt. She’s an author who writes about the witch trials, and witches in general. When Devin is being led to a third body, and there’s some connection to the Salem witch trials and the murders, she can’t help but get involved.
The two “detectives” unravel clues from the past. The friends of Craig’s past are questioned, and old friendships are tested. Add in ghosts, and I’m sold.
At least, I thought I’d be. And the plot is pretty decent, I’ll give you that. I liked the tie-in between the witch trials, the murders and the ghost. I wasn’t too fond of the characters though – both Craig (or Rocky, as he calls himself) and Devin are paper-thin characters, with no real personality. Whatever personality they do have, never develops throughout the book. The writing wasn’t spectacular either, but it was good enough.
All in all, I did enjoy the book, and particularly that it focused less on romance, and more on plot....more
Hurry Home features an original mix of paranormal elements, solid writing and an enigmatic main character. Emmalyn Evans, aforementioned main character, grows tired of her father being overprotective over her, so she runs away, in search of adventure. Unfortunately, the world outside has more dangers than Emmalyn accounted for. When she meets Nik, a warlock with his own share of dark secrets, she feels an instant pull toward him. But with someone out to murder her, and with her father trying to track her down and bring her back home, going on an adventure is anything but easy.
Emmalyn is an enigmatic heroine. Her struggle for freedom felt very real, and she acted like you’d expected from any young adult. She was stubborn, determined, intelligent, and just a bit naive, which you expected from teenagers. Her thoughts of how her adventure would look like were very different from how things turned out to be, as can be expected.
Nik was awesome. He was mysterious from the start, charming, in that bad boy kind of way. He hid plenty of secrets, which made him more intriguing. Nik and Emmalyn had a lot of chemistry between them.
This was an intriguing and enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more books by these authors....more
In The Exiled, William Meikle starts out by introducing us to a seemingly-regular police investigation. Several young girls are abducted from various locations around Edinburg, and it’s up to detective John Granger and his brother, Alan, a reporter, to investigate the case. The abductor leaves behind corpses of black swans at each crime scene, and kidnaps the girl seemingly unnoticed. The brothers face a mystery of the likes they’ve never encountered before.
The investigation leads them to a farmhouse, where they catch a glimpse of the placethe girls have been taken. From this point, the novel transmorphs into a supernatural fantasy, when the brothers enter another realm to try find the missing girls. They end up in a land of myth and horror, a faerie realm known throughout Scottish history, a realm they never thougth could exist for real. There, they will have to battle the Cobbe, a mysterious creature guarding the realm.
William Meikle has a lot of imagination, and he expertly blends mythology, the supernatural, a murder mystery and horror. The plot was surprising to say the least, the characterization was excellent and the writing was solid as well. Another excellent horror novel from the Darkfuse line, recommended to anyone who enjoys the genre. ...more
All right, so I’m probably one of the few people who hadn’t heard of S. Ansky before reading this collection. Shame on me, I know. Anyway, The Dybbuk is actual a theatre play based on a folklore story S. Ansky gathered info for during his travels. The story is about a young bride who is possessed by a dybbuk – this can best be compared to an evil spirit, or demon. Her name is Leah’le, and she went to the graveyard before her wedding day, where not only she invited her mother’s spirit to attend the marriage, but also the spirits of a young couple who were murdered before their wedding could be consummated. She’s also drawn to one other grave, that of Hannan, a young scholar who as in love with her, and wanted her hand in marriage, but was refused so by her father.
Leah’le comes back from the graveyard a changed woman. A local sage tries to exorcise the Dybbuk who has possessed her, but fails, and is forced to call in the help of the rabbi. The rabbi decides that Leah’le’s father must appear before the court of rabbis, apparently upon the request of the spirit of Hannan’s father. What follows is a trial half debated in the world of the living, and half in the spirit world.
It’s certainly an intriguing story, and I wished I could’ve seen the actual play. This sounds right up my alley. I enjoyed reading it here though, but it must’ve been even more intriguing to see it on stage.
This collection also features other stories by S. Ansky, but the Dybbuk was by far the most notable one. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, mysticism and paranormal stories, then you’ll probably enjoy The Dybbuk and Other Writings....more
Despite having the feeling I was thrown in the middle of a sequel instead of the first book in a series, I found myself enjoying Blood Relations more than I thought I would. Main character Alex Winters can control fire. At least, he can control it half of the time. He took over the Russian district, and tries to survive in the middle of gangsters, prostitutes, and heck, even vampires. When we meet Alex at the start of this book, he’s already the leader of the district, but he has trouble keeping control of the different pawns in the game. When he runs into a vampire gang, things start to get serious.
Alex is a complex character. He’s an anti-hero. He was abused during his childhood, as are most of the main characters in this book. But despite all this, he put out his neck to save a bunch of children who went through the same things he did. Even though he’s barely sixteen, he acts at least ten years older, probably due to what he went through as a kid. I loved how Alex looks out for the others, even though obviously being very damaged himself.
But when the vampires turn against Mr. Lupino, one of Alex’s associates, and a man who he respects and likes, and they threaten the kids he swore to protect, Alex is willing to do whatever it takes to win this fight, without anyone else getting hurt.
The writing was great, and the characterization, especially of Alex, was spot on. It’s been a long time since I encountered a character who I liked so much. The plot could be a bit more complex, but apart from that, I loved this....more
In Finding Fire, Kenna believes she’s just an ordinary human being, until she opens up a letter left to her by her deceased grandmother. The letter reveals that Kenna is anything but ordinary. She’s not an only child, but she has four siblings. Born as quindruplets, they each possess an unique gift, an element which they can control. Her parents died in an accident, and her grandmother was only allowed to take care of one of them. Kenna’s brothers and sisters are spread across the globe, and if she wants to reunite her family, she’ll have to find them. She starts by searching for her oldest brother, Aiden, who controls the element fire. But finding Aiden isn’t as easy as Kenna hoped it would be, and there’s danger lurking in every corner.
Kenna starts off as a whiny, insecure girl who has the habit of talking to herself way too often. She spends most of the time in her own mind. I understand she took her Granny’s death harshly, but I kind of wanted her to be a bit braver, a bit more eager to take her destiny in her own hands. However, she undergoes a real character transformation as the story continues. By searching for Aiden and eventually meeting him, she becomes a stronger, more self-reliant and independent person.
I actually enjoyed the threat of the Restorers. The Restorers are people who’d like to destroy Kenna and her family. By searching for her brother, Kenna unwillingly stumbles upon these Restorers, and from then on, a wild goose chase begins, in which the Restorers chase Kenna and her brother and try to eliminate them. It adds a whole new dimension to the book, adding suspense and excitement.
I’m looking forward to reading the sequel to this book. While the start could’ve been better, it really picked up halfway through and ended up being an enjoyable read....more
In The Unholy, Claire Sanchez is the daughter of a curandera, a medicine woman. At age five, she sw her Mom getting murdered by an evil creature in the woods. Growing up, she’s never been able to shake the memory of that fateful night. She decided not to take up her heritage and become a medicine woman. Instead, she works as a psychologist and tries to help people in her own way.
On the other hand, we have the villain, Archbishop Anarch, who is the leader of some kind of cult. Anarch is truly wicked – he has no problem killing others when they stand in his way, or convincing people to kill themselves when he stands to gain money from it. His followers are tightly in his grasp, and he abuses his power at every turn. The only one who has some form of control over him, would be his mother. But Anarch is convinced what he’s doing is right, which makes him one of the worst kinds of monsters.
When the evil Archbishop turns his eye to Claire, she has to rediscover herself and her heritage to find against the powers of darkness, to protect herself, and the people she loves.
The theme of the novel is pretty basic, good vs. evil. But the author takes that theme, twists it around, comes up with intriguing characters who often walk the balance between right and wrong, and takes things to a whole new level. Anarch would be completely evil, in the eyes of most, yet in his own point of view, he is not. He knows his actions are wrong, but justifies them in the name of the greater good. There’s action, suspense, a hint of romance, and definitely enough darkness to share around in this book.
The writing style is very descriptive, almost poetic. On the downside, that means it’s a bit wordy at times. Once you bite through that though, and start focusing on the story, then the book becomes really intriguing....more
I reviewed the first book in the series, Blood Relations, a while back, and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading the next installment, Brothers in Arms. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
When we meet Alex here, a little over a year has passed since the events in the last book. He’s doing rather well for himself, and seems to have banned out some of the darkness he carried along with him every step of the way through the first book. He lives with his girlfriend, Lori, and their baby in a nice home, he works as the underboss for the Lupino group, which unfortunately forces him to make choices he isn’t always fond of, but which is, all in all, a good job. However, his relationship with Lori is difficult at best. Just like him, she suffers from good days and bad days, due to what happened to her in the past. But all in all, Alex is happy, and hopes things will settle down.
Unfortunately, his dream is shattered when a man from the GenEx group approaches him. The GenEx group has discovered others with similar abilities to his own – his ability to make fire with his mind – and they want to unite these individuals. Alex has a bad feeling about it from the get-go. He doubts they just want to gather them around for a nice chat. But even he isn’t prepared for what’s to come next, and the risks he’ll have to take to protect himself, his friends and family.
Alex has gone through a lot, and his personality has developed in a good way since the first time the reader meets him. Even in this book, he goes through a lot of character development. He’s complex and intriguing, and instead of getting to know him better, I feel like he gets more and more complex the more I figure out about him. I liked Lori too – her dark personality matches Alex’s own, and she struggles. She’s deeply flawed, but she tries her best to overcome the obstacles of the past.
This book offers a more complex plot than the first one, which was a great bonus. If I had to find one flaw in the first book, it would be how simple and straightforward the plot was. Not so here, hence the slightly higher rating.
If you like dark fiction, supernatural, and a good dose of action, then try out this series. You will not be disappointed....more
Dark Energy offers a great setting, with impressive world building. In the world author John O’Riley has crafted, there are magic users of different levels, and our main character, Josephine, is a level six wizard. But there are also vampires, succubus’s and even immortals thrown in the mix. There are different kinds of magic – white magic, which is very rare, for instance, and whih is practiced by Josephine’s boyfriend, Mark. Josephine is destined to be young forever, immortal in a way, but for once, here we have a character who actually acts like an old person stuck in a younger person’s body. Every time I read books about immortals, I’m surprised by how childish these immortals are, even though having lived for centuries. Not here – Josephine is in every way a grumpy old wizard, albeit a fun one.
It’s a little weird to see the relationship between Josephine and Mark, because he’s much younger than she is. In terms of how they look, they look more or less the same age though. And Mark tends to act like a person much older than his age – he’s very wise for his years. So after awhile, the weirdness disappears, and I actually started to like them as a couple.
The magical world created by the author for these novels is vast and impressive. Since I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, it was a little hard to follow, but after a few chapters, I started to get the hang of it. josephine and her friends kept being attacked by a construo letalis curse, which makes a human-looking creature that follows them, intent on killing them. The curse doesn’t stop until its target is dead, or the curse itself is destroyed. I loved this – it’s so fresh and original. There are other original elements in the book, and it really feels like a fresh breath through the supernatural genre.
A great book for fans of supernatural stories who want something new and different. The author did an outstanding job creating a magical world that feels fresh and original....more
After losing their baby, Meg and Harry move to a remote cottage on the northeast coast of England. This marks the start of Lurker, a novel that gets progressively darker and more threatening with every turned page.
Meg starts to explore the nearby area, and she stumbles onto a deserted eighteenth-century quarry mine where she hears eerie noises. With her husband often not getting home until late, Meg spends countless hours on her own in the cottage, which is fine at first, but when she starts feeling like something followed her from those mines, she wishes Harry would come home more often.
Muddy handprints appear on the side of the cottage, with no explanation. Strange noises keep Meg from sleeping through the night. And the real question is: what is real, and what only exists inside her mind?
We don’t really get to know Harry. He’s in and out of the picture so often that he doesn’t get the time to develop a full personality. Meg however, we get to know really well and it soon becomes clear her sanity may not always be crystal clear. That’s what makes this book intriguing. The monsters are unique and original, and their descriptions made my heart pound in my chest. The author definitely has a way with words, and with describing things vividly. However, the real question “is it real or is it all in her mind” is what really brings out the best of this book.
The final event can be interpreted in different ways, each way equally horrific. What was the author’s true intention, or how should it all play out according to the author? I’m not sure I want to know – I thought the different possibilities ending was quite satisfying as it is.
A delightful, spine-chilling, quick read, ideal for a dreary winter night....more
I was pleasantly surprised by The Goddess and The Great Beast. The setting is Baghdad in the middle of World War II, at least that’s where the story starts. Vivian, the hero of this story, is bored and spends most of his time hanging out with Farouk, a smuggler who also happens to be a member of a secret cult, which intrigues Vivian endlessly. He begs Farouk to take him to one of the cult meetings, and what he sees there, changes his life forever.
He takes a secret drug no one should know about it, and enters a hallucination about an ancient Babylonian Goddess. Afterward, he nags Farouk to bring him along again, and he does so, even if it’s against custom. But the further Vivian gets trapped into the world of ancient rites and customs, the more he feels the rituals may be dangerous. Until the goddess attacks him with a knife, then he decides it’s time to quit.
The goddess, Ishtar, continues to torment him though, while he travels through the Middle East. After the war, he settles down in London, convinced the Goddess has finally left him alone. He gets a girlfriend, JJ, and starts to enjoy life again. That is, until he meets Ishtar once again, this time as a singer in a London bar.
The story is unique and intriguing, and I had no idea what was going to happen next. The author has a way with words that is definitely intriguing to read. He knows his vocabulary well. The characters were also very interesting, especially Vivian. They’re not your standard cardboard cut-out characters. They’re three-dimensional, with enough qualities and flaws to make them stand out.
An excellent read, and one I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys supernatural thrillers....more
What an amazing, at times frightening, at times heartwarming, read. Blind Study introduces us to Alice, our MC, right away, but in the most dire of circumstances. Alice tumbles down a cliff trying to save a little girl, and spends the next year in a hospital bed. Even long after her injuries have healed, she’s struggling to cope with tremendous pain. The doctors are baffled, and no one is able to come up with a cure. Until she signs up for new, revolutionary pain medication.
The medication helps, but there’s a side effect no one could’ve dreamed of. Terrifying, vivid nightmares begin to haunt Alice every moment she’s asleep. In the nightmares she meets Riley, an Iraq war veteran who lost his legs in the war, and who participated in the new medication program as well. Riley and Alice grow closer to each other as they stand side by side to fight the nightmares.
When the nightmare realm starts to cross over with the regular world, Alice has to confront the creatures of her nightmares, or quit the drugs and go back to her solitary life, ruled by pain.
Alice has to make tough choices, and she’s in a tough position. The pain makes her a rather unlikeable character, but the guilt she feels afterward for what she’s done, instantly brings her back to the likeable side. She’s down-to-earth and realistic, but she has a rather dark and gloomy view on things, probably due to the accident. Riley is a lot like her, and that’s probably why they work so well. I really liked their interactions, the bond of respect they had for each other, and well, everything. For such a tough guy, Riley can be rather sweet, and that really warmed my heart.
The plot was quite original, and the story was refreshing and intriguing. It was fast-paced, and the writing was decent, ideal for a YA book.
One of my favorite YA reads of the year. If you’re in the mood for some chilling YA novel with supernatural elements and endaring characters, check out Blind Study....more
I love ghost stories. They’re my absolute favorite stories, so I’ve read a lot of them. I have to say that The Secret of Crickley Hall is one of the better ghost stories I’ve read. Next to The Woman in Black and The Shining, it’s one of my absolute favorites.
First of all, the setting, which is absolutely perfect. A small, quaint town, with a rather gruesome (but not too gruesome) history. In 1943, amidst World War II, more than forty people drowned when the rivers flooded. Eleven of them were orphans who resided in Crickley Hall, an ancient house built in ugly, grey stone, by no means a beautiful place. When The Caleighs move to Crickley Hall, they’re trying to get away from the events that tormented them back in London. Their youngest son, Cameron went missing, and there’s been no trace of him ever since. Gabe and Eve try to deal with it as well as they can, but losing a son is never easy. Eve tries to pull through for her daughters, teenage Loren and younger Callly, but her guilt for what happened to Cameron continues to haunt her.
The strength of this book is that a lot of it thrives on emotion. Crickley Hall is haunted, and we realize that soon enough, but more important is the feelings of the protagonists, their growing anxiety and fears. The haunting itself is subtle at first, but quickly expands, a little too quickly to really make me terrified, but it was done nicely all the same. The history behind the haunting is what intrigued me the most – what exactly happened that particular night? But I also loved The Caleighs, and I enjoyed being with them through their sorrows, hardships, and also newfound happiness.
The book isn’t perfect though, although it’s a great gothic horror story. The narrative sometimes derails in long paragraphs reading to nowhere, or switches point of view where it shouldn’t, moving on to different characters. I liked it when the author got into the head of the villain, but some perspectives were unnecessary and dragged on the story.
Like with my previous James Herbert novel, which was Ash, I couldn’t help but feel like the author deliberately made the story longer, using repetitive sentences and scenes, telling instead of showing, and sometimes even offering entire paragraphs of inner monologue. The Secret of Crickley Hall is a lot better than Ash though. Here we have an actual ghost story, ghosts with rules and boundaries, an ancient mystery to unlock and genuine characters with feelings and emotions. I was ready to stop reading Herbert alltogether, and only picked this one up because it was a very cheap book. After reading, I’m ready to give Herbert another try.
If you enjoy ghost stories, or paranormal mysteries, then you’re going to enjoy The Secret of Crickley Hall. It has it all, from an old, creepy mansion to a series of ghosts, some good, others plain evil, and a family trapped in the middle of mayhem. ...more
Of all three books, The Kingdom is my favorite. It starts out with Amelia visiting Asher Falls, a small community in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For Amelia it’s the perfect opportunity to get away from Charleston for a while, a welcome escape after the events that transpired in the previous book. She’s also eager to get away from Devlin, who is haunted by his own ghosts, something Amelia can’t have in her life right now. She goes to Asher Falls to restore a cemetary, but the moment she arrives in the small town, she notices things aren’t what they seem around here. The lake at the edge of Asher Falls harbors an ancient cemetery and the old town, which flooded ages ago. There’s a grave hidden in the forest nearby the cemetery Amelia came to restore, a well-kept grave nobody seems to know about. Strange creatures follow Amelia around, and the dead are more active here than ever before. Whatever secret Asher Falls harbors, Amelia is stuck right in the middle of it.
Amelia shines here more than in the previous book. She’s become this interesting person who is so real and solid I can almost imagine her as a real person as opposed to a book character. Her emotions are more streamlined than they were before, and at the same time more conflicted. She’s unsure with the whole Devlin situation, and although she’s glad to get away from him and his ghosts for a while, she also misses him. When she meets Thane, the grandson of the famous Asher family patriarch, the most influential family of Asher Falls, she’s unsure about him at first. He seems like your regular “got it all, thinks he can get anything” type, but the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes he’s much more than that. Thane too has secrets, most of them going back way into his past. And when Amelia starts digging for answers, she comes across some of Thane’s secrets, which put him in another perspective. I have to be honest here and say that I actually liked Thane more than Devlin. He seemed more dependable. With Devlin there’s always the issue of his wife and daughter, who passed away, and Thane was free of any such burdens.
The Kingdom takes it up a notch from The Restorer – it goes beyond everything The Restorer is. Asher Falls has a Silent Hill vibe going on. The town is nearly deserted, there’s a sunken graveyard which I have to say is pretty darn awesome, and there are secrets piled up everywhere in town. Add the creepy monsters that followed Amelia to the cemetery, the appearance of a girl ghost who killed herself years ago but can’t seem to find peace, and the Asher’s secrets, and you’re in for one hell of a ride. This book is sinister and dark, and it mixes everything from romance to thriller to a paranormal mystery. Only a handful of authors really manage to impress me with their writing, and Amanda Stevens firmly earned her place amongst them with this book....more
The Restorer is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Since I average 150 books a year, that’s saying something. I bought the first book in the series, was thoroughly impressed, and immediately went out to hunt for book two and three. This week I will review all three books, and give you my honest opinion about what I consider one of the best series ever. The only downside? I find it remarkably tough to write reviews about books I enjoyed immensely. Anyway, on we go.
Amelia Gray, main character, restores old graveyards, which instantly gives her one of the coolest professions ever. I’ve always been fascinated with ancient Victorian graveyards, and so is Amelia, which instantly made me bond with her. The second quirky thing about Amelia is that she sees ghosts. She’s seen them ever since she was a little kid. She tried to stay away from them and ignore them because her father told her to, but that doesn’t always work out. When the dead see you, they grow attached to you, they feed on your energy, and Amelia tries to avoid that. She spends most of her time on hallowed ground, such as graveyards, to avoid seeing the dead. If she’s not safe on hallowed ground come nightfall, things might get ugly.
Her ability to see the dead has made it difficult for Amelia to make friends and to date guys, so she’s a twenty-seven year old single woman who easily reminded me of “Bones” from the TV series. Intelligent, brave and actually a nice person, but someone who has trouble befriending people or dating people. I liked her personality, her attitude, her spark. She doesn’t see her ability as much of a gift, and to be honest, it isn’t really, at least not for her. It hinders her in everything she does or tries to do, sometimes even putting her on harm’s way. She’s the opposite of a superhero, her powers a true curse for her. I liked that. The tragic hero thing, a person who genuinely is hindered by her abilities, even though others might find them awesome.
At the beginning of the book, she’s working to restore Oak Grove Cemetery when a bound is recovered on the cemetery. This could be no news at all, if the body didn’t belong to a missing person and was quite recent. The detective on the case, John Devlin, is the kind of man Amelia could fall for. Southern charm, handsome, strong, intelligent, he’s practically every girl’s dream. But Devlin has his own ghosts to deal with, and Amelia has learned the hard way not to get close to people who are haunted by their past, sometimes quite literary. As a male lead, John Devlin doesn’t do that much though. I wanted to see more of him. The entire story is told from Amelia’s POV, which is great, but I would’ve liked a few more scenes with Devlin so I could have a better idea of his motives and what drives him.
When another body turns up at the cemetery and Amelia finds out the body the police found isn’t the first body to be discovered there, those are the first clues for one of the best mystery novels I’ve ever read. There’s an evil force at work in Oak Grove Cemetery, and Amelia may have to use her ability to communicate with ghosts if she wants to find the culprit before he finds her. Her safe harbor, the hallowed ground of cemeteries, suddenly isn’t so safe anymore.
The plot itself was pretty much kick-ass awesome all the way. The mystery was amazing, and I could barely keep up with the rapid pace, luckily interrupted with moments of self-reflection from the main character. Toward the end though, those moments started to annoy me. I was in the middle of the plot and boom, suddenly, Amelia started her self-reflection habits up again. Ugh. So not the moment. Luckily this was a small hindrance and not enough to make me dislike the book or something.
What I also liked is how this book mixes all sorts of genres. There’s romance, there’s a paranormal mystery, but there’s also a suspense novel, a thriller, and even a bit of horror here and there. I like books that break the genre boundaries, and in that aspect, The Restorer definitely succeeds.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys reading books with a paranormal element. Even if you’re not generally a fan of romance, the romance subplot is small enough here not to distract you from the main plot. If you dislike thrillers or suspense novels, the romance and ghosts may be enough to lure you in. And if you’re a fan of horror, then this book has something for you as well....more
First of all, I didn’t read any of the other books in the David Ash series. I came across this one in my local bookshop and I picked it up because theFirst of all, I didn’t read any of the other books in the David Ash series. I came across this one in my local bookshop and I picked it up because the synopsis intrigued me. A creepy, haunted castle. A parapsychologist with a disturbing past. A secret, elite organization harboring more secrets than the Illuminati. So far, it all sounded good. The only downside was the execution. I enjoyed the premise, but this book was so sloppily executed I had trouble getting to the end.
The plot is actually pretty simple and straightforward, which means there’s no excuse for why it takes 700+ pages to get to the end. David Ash is a seasoned ghost hunter asked to solve the gruesome mystery surrounding Cromraich Castle, a secluded fortress where one person has been brutally murdered by a ghost. Other, smaller events have happened in the castle as well and its inhabitants are terrified. Said inhabitants are a mix of wealthy people who did something wrong at one point in their lives, then vanished off the face of the earth and chose to spend their remaining days in the luxury of the castle. They’re protected by an organisation called “The Inner Court” who has roots dating back to the middle ages and blackmail material on every influential person including the royal family. Some of these people committed smaller crimes, whereas others commited full-on genocide. Not exactly the crowd I would like to mingle with, or would bother to save, but Ash doesn’t seem to mind all that much.
Parapsychologist David Ash is an intriguing and memorable main character. He struggles with a rather cliché drinking problem, and he’s lost many people he cares about. What makes him interesting was that, at the beginning of his career, he was very skeptical toward the existence of ghosts and supernatural phenomena. It was only when he saw for himself that he became a believer. I liked this aspect about him, as well as his sharp, analytical mind. Unfortunately, the rest of his personality fell flat. He’s described in such a dry, monotone way that he never came alive on the pages. He was never more than a figure in a book. Part of this is thanks to Delphine, his supposed love interest. Delphine is a psychologist and the moment Ash meets her, he falls for her. I can understand attraction, but true love at first sight? That’s so ridiculous I can’t believe a seasoned author wanted to pull that off. Also, Delphine has a problem with her lingering sexuality because at one point she spent a passionate night with her co-worker and head nurse of Cromraich castle, Rachel. She acts like she’s terribly ashamed for the act afterward, and that might very well be, but the way the author describes it comes across like A) women are only meant to be with men, and can’t have meaningful relationships with other women (mainly because during the sex scenes with Delphine and Ash, the author mentions how it finally felt right for Delphine and a whole lot of other crap like that, which makes it seem like same-sex couples are the spawn of Satan) and B) every lesbian is evil and jealous. It’s so ridiculous and offensive I couldn’t grasp why any editor would allow such crap to remain in a book.
Another problem is that the author constantly refers to the main character as “Ash”, which is his last name. It put such distance between the main character and the reader that it was almost impossible to cross the distance and get into the main character’s head. This could’ve been easily solved by calling him “David” instead. Also, David doesn’t act like an actual ghost hunter. He’s more busy probing his nose into the political mess going on at the castle than trying to solve the mystery. Talking about the mystery, it’s basically one huge joke. Nothing is ever truly solved. I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but there’s never given any actual reason for the murder at the start, and we just have to believe it happened completely randomly because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re given a stupid, annoying, ignorant, offensive explanation half-way through of how it is that the dark forces only gathered in Cromraich after hundreds of years, and at that point I was ready to rip my hair out. But more about that later: let’s focus back on the characters first.
Delphine suffers from major Mary Sue syndrom. She’s perfect. Except that she’s useless and a waste of pages. She has no purpose in the book except to cling to Ash’s arm and cry for help, and make for some disgusting sex scenes I skipped through. I had serious problems with Ash falling for her right away, and vice versa, as well. That’s just not believable. Especially since this book is for adults, and I expect a thirty or forty something man (I have no idea how old Ash is) to know better than to fall for someone right away. Especially since he’s supposedly gone through all this crap with past lovers. Anyway, I was kind of hoping something big would be revealed and Delphine would be on the bad side all along, but alas. Such clever plot devices clearly weren’t thought of during the writing of this book.
The second problem was that the author suffered from “God-syndrome”. He wanted to look into the mind of all occupants of Cromraich Castle. He switches perspective from Ash to one of the inhabitants every so often. We get into the mind of people like Ubuntu and Khadaffi, and it doesn’t help the plot one bit. If anything, it slows it down. I don’t want to look into these people’s mind – it adds nothing to the story. I want to know what Ash is thinking and what he’s doing, because by the end I had the feeling he hadn’t been doing much to solve the mystery.
Also, the people in the castle are clearly retarded, and with that I’m not meaning the ‘lunatics’ held in custody in the subbasement of the castle, but the staff and leaders. Seriously? If you have people suffering from mental illnesses, you do not stuff them in a basement in inhumane circumstances, in tiny rooms with no sunlight, barely any food or accomodations. We’re 2013, and shit like that, THANKFULLY, doesn’t happen anymore. The people staying at Cromraich pay enormous amounts of money to stay there or have their loved ones stay there, so I doubt any single one of them would be happy to know they’re kept like rats in a cage and treated worse than animals. When I came to these passages, I wanted to burn the book. I’ve never come that close to burning a book either. And you’d think that, even if the people doing these terrible, terrible things were evil enough to do them, at least Ash or Delphine, near-perfect Delphine, would try to stop them. But no. The moment Ash finds his way into the subbasement, he gets attacked by almost feral ‘lunatics’ who somehow managed to escape their cells. It would’ve been better if the author, before writing this utter ridiculous piece of crap, would’ve bothered to visit a contemporary asylum and see the workings there. I can’t believe anyone, even someone as powerful as the Inner Court, would get away with threating their patients like that nowadays. And I think Ash, as opposed to being a brave ghost hunter, is in fact the world’s biggest coward for not trying to do something about it.
Next up is the supposed culprit of the haunting. I’m going to start giving out some spoilers, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know them. It wasn’t that surprising though. The culprit is actually Hitler’s daughter, born from an affair he had with an English woman. Turns out that not only was his offspring a girl, but she was also handicapped. She has an ‘enormous head’, which makes me think maybe she has Down’s syndrome. In any case, she’s been held in a small, confined room in the subbasement without any sunlight or company ever since she was born. And the staff is SURPRISED that she tries to attack them. During this entire book, she’s painted as the ‘bad guy’, and I wonder why. At some point she was raped and gave birth to a baby. Nobody even saw the baby, except when it was dead. I can’t imagine what that poor girl must’ve gone through. She probably had no idea what was going on, and she did try her best. But then the author comes and adds some more gruesome details, trying to paint her as the bad guy in all this. She was an innocent child, and the staff of Cromraich decided to experiment on her, lock her up in a room without a toilet or proper bed, and then somebody raped her. If anyone is the ‘bad guy’ in this, it’s not her. And I wished the author would stop trying to make her into that, simply because she’s Hitler’s daughter.
Then there’s ‘the boy’. Oh, well, that certainly wasn’t a big surprise to me. The boy has a curious condition. His skin is so translucent you can see his veins, organs and what not. This is because he was born ridiculously early. Also, he’s a hermophiliac, which instantly said ‘royal family’ to me. So he’s apparently Diana’s son, but they never told her he was born alive because of his condition. We’re to believe in all this that ‘the boy’ is the good guy, and hey, he is. He’s pretty good and decent, but his treatment is such a stark contrast as to how Hitler’s daughter is treated that it made me even more angry. Why should he get all the love and care? Because his mind functions properly and his only special condition has to do with his body? Everyone deserves to be treated with the same care, regardless of who their parent is.
As you can guess, by now I was ready to torch the book. The plot was all over the place and quite frankly, made no sense at all. The book isn’t about a ghost hunter solving a paranormal mystery, as I’d hoped. The paranormal takes on such a small spot in this book it might as well not have been there. Even the haunting is random. The castle is apparenlty cursed because some lord was murdered there five hundred or more years ago. It has had a history of bloodshed and horror, and now the ghosts of the past decided to cling on to Hitler’s daughter to make their return into the world of the living. A hired assassin for the Inner Court is facing an illness and decides to kill his employers before he dies himself. His apprentice assassin gets killed by large cats stalking the territory of the castle for no reason. These cats apparently don’t work in packs, but now they do, and it’s never really explained why. All this together, you’d think there was some common ground. There isn’t. It’s like the author threw three or four random storylines together, without bothering if they worked or not. In my opinion, the book could use an entire rewrite, and maybe even cut some storylines because they offered little to nothing to the story.
Oh, and the end was so freaking confusing. SPOILERS ahead, so don’t read on if you haven’t read it yet. But Cedric Twiggs, the assassin, makes the entire castle explode by carefully-placed bombs and then goes back to the cabin, but why the heck is the decaying corpse of his apprentice there and why the heck is he still alive (zombie-alive though)? This makes absolutely NO sense. None of the other dead people in the castle come back to life either. Why he? Ugh. That’s just one of the major plot holes in this book, and I’m long done counting.
Last but not least, the writing. It took over a hundred pages for Ash just to get to the castle. The pace was slow, the writing repetitive and dense. Some of the sentences were wonderfully crafted pieces of art, but not everything needs to be described, and you don’t need half as many adjectives or adverbs as the author used in this book. Seriously. This book could’ve been easily 100 to 200 pages shorter, and the pace would’ve been much more consistent if the writing wasn’t so overly flowery and descriptive. It slowed down the pace so much that at times it was imbearable to read.
On top of that, there was no real, no real storyline, and that resulted in no real tension. For a horror or thriller novel, one of the most important parts is the tension. When I picked up this book, I fully expected to shiver in fear while reading. Alas, nothing of the sort happened. This book wasn’t scary. It wasn’t even suspenseful. It was nothing but shallow characters, a hollow plot and run-on sentences filled with adverbs.
I don’t recommend Ash to anyone, unless everything you’ve read so far sounds like you’d like to read it. But if you’re looking for a ghost story, then there are tons of books out there that are a million times better than this one. This book lacks in every single aspect, and I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities. It was a waste of twenty bucks, and a struggle to get to the end....more
he Vanishing Game left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and for most parts the writing and characterization were all righthe Vanishing Game left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and for most parts the writing and characterization were all right as well, but the book lost me halfway through. The pace was too slow, the writing a bit too erratic and the characters lacked depth and mystery. The mystery, which is the main part of this book, wasn’t that mysterious to me at all. The author does an admirable job waving in mystery with the other elements of the book, but the clues left were a bit too straightforward for my liking, and sometimes I hit myself over the head when the main characters, Jocelyn and Noah, couldn’t find it out.
The book has a few twists and turns, and some supernatural elements, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I thought it was very clever how the author had waved together the action and the background story. It never felt like info dump, not even when the characters revisited their past and talked about it. Jocelyn was an interesting character, but the one who truly shone was Noah. I liked him a lot, and wished more of the story had been told from his POV as opposed to Jocelyn’s.
I thought The Vanishing Game would be creepier than it actually was. There were some scary scenes, but nothing bad enough to make me bite my nails and curl under my blanket to cry.
I’m normally all for supernatural/paranormal, but in this case, it just doesn’t work. It had a good start at the beginning, but halfway through the book lost all its footings. I think this book would’ve been better off without the supernatural elements, and without the creepiness that didn’t deliver. The story of Jocey and Noah following Jack’s clue was intriguing enough. Sometimes I also felt like explenations were thrown out at random, and they left me going ‘whaaaaat’. But I can forgive those. The story was decent enough, and the characters interesting enough. Recommended if you want a quick mystery read, but don’t expect the next big thing....more
Let’s face it. Vampires are sissies, and have been for the last decade. Ever since the paranormal romance genre introduced us to the vampires in loveLet’s face it. Vampires are sissies, and have been for the last decade. Ever since the paranormal romance genre introduced us to the vampires in love with our heroes or heroines, vampires have been known as goody-two-shoes, true romantics at heart. We’ve forgotten the roots of these creatures. They’re not meant to fall in love or seduce our main characters. They’re meant to be terrifyingly scary, dark and dangerous, bloodthirsty murderers who maim and kill with a passion. No longer do good and evil overlapse in these creatures of the night. Instead, they’re delightfully evil, returned firmly to their roots in the deepest circles of hell. No sparkling vampires if you read The Darkening Dream, and to be honest, aren’t we all glad for that?
Not only did I find the sheer evilness of the vampires – evil just for sake of being evil, in some cases – utterly refreshing from the tame vampire characters we’ve come to know, I also thought this book offered an intriguing view on ancient folklore, and an unique approach to Salem at the beginning of the twentieth century. The main character, Sarah, isn’t exactly what you’d be looking for in a main character. She doesn’t have the typical attributes we usually seek for in a heroine. The turn of the century is a difficult era for the inhabitants of Salem. On the one side, progress happens more rapidly than it did before. On the other hand, people are keen on holding on to the past they’ve come to know and love. Amidst this constant battle between progress and tradition, one of the most ancient monsters this world knows decides to make an appearance: an ancient vampire, with his mind deadset on destroying everyone who crosses his path.
Sarah and her friends, twins Anne and Sam, become friends with Alex, a boy from Greece. Most of the book is written from Sarah’s POV, and other parts are from Alex’ POV. I liked Alex. He was different. Being a Greek immigrant now living in turn-of-the-century Salem, he had an unique look on things that I very much admired. I also liked his relationship with Sarah, and the growing attraction between them.
The Darkening Dream obviously isn’t something thrown together quickly to come up with a story. This is a bulky novel, well-thought-through from start to end, with an impressive backstory and lore. It wraps together vampirisim, ancient Egypt Gods, a magical horn belonging to an Archangel, warlocks, witches and more. Evil is delightfully evil. The worldbuilding is superb. The author obviously did a lot of research before getting started on this book.
It’s hard to classify this book. It’s YA, the main character is a young adult, but it’s not YA like we’ve come to known. It’s unique, even in this approach. The main characters don’t always act like young adults, and this book has such outstanding source material I have no doubt it could be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike. It’s too large to fit in one age category, just like you can’t easily fit it in one genre.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a five-star rating is that, at times, I found the narrative dragged a bit. I had trouble with some of the descriptions, and at first, I had trouble getting into the story. As soon as I delved further into the book, this changed though. It’s hard to get through the start, but this book gradually gets better, so don’t give up right away.
If you’re a fan of vampires or paranormal romance in general, try out The Darkening Dream. It’s new, refreshing, a major improvement from the YA vampire novels currently out there. It’s very dark, and definitely lives up to its name. There’s romance, horror, suspense, mystery, drama, a historical setting, memorable characters and a big bad you’ll never forget. I hugely recommend this to all fans of paranormal novels or vampire novels....more
I read The Woman in Black late at night, with the lights out except my reading light. Thank God, I wasn’t home alone. This novel was one of the scarieI read The Woman in Black late at night, with the lights out except my reading light. Thank God, I wasn’t home alone. This novel was one of the scariest books I’ve had the pleasure to read all year. It made shivers run down my spine, and occasionally I risked a glance behind me to see if some supernatural creature hadn’t crept up on me from behind.
The prose of this book is delicious. It reminds me of Edgar Poe, of Austen and Mary Shelley, a fluent narrative that is both entrancing and exciting. The story itself is both unique and familiar. A young lawyer named Kipps needs to handle an estate out in the country, after its owner, an old woman, passed away. When he travels there, he finds out that the old woman’s paperwork is in bad shape, and he needs to spend a few days in her mansion in the moors to make an index of everything she owned. Local villagers aren’t pleased to see Kipps go to the moors. At first, Kipps isn’t sure why, until he spends a day at the Eel Marsh House and finds out a thrilling but terrible secret that rocks the foundations of his very world. Eel Marsh House is haunted. Kipps has to find out by whom and why, before she extracts her terrible vengeance on him as well.
So this story has the basic shape of every gothic ghost story. An abandoned house in the moors, a young protagonist who does not believe in spirits until confronted with them, whose also brave and resourceful, and a tragic secret of the past that’s the source of all this ghostly activity. What The Woman in Black does with these predefined elements of horror literature, is reshape them and rebuild them, mold them into a story that is truly horrible and scary, eerie in its very nature, a sort of climax of everything the gothic horror genre stands for.
The characters are colorful and different. They’re standard prototypes and yet they’re not. The descriptions are amazing, and instantly transport the reader back in time. The setting is both tranquil and eerie, a perfect fit for the story unfolding in the background. The protagonist is both charming and endearing, both skeptic and a realist.
I’ve read the book, and then watched the movie. The movie doesn’t entirely follow the plot of the book, and that’s a shame. The movie ending felt flat, even a little lame, a stupid ending as opposed to the truly horrific ending of the novel, in true gothic horror style. Even if you’ve seen the film and were disappointed, give the book a try. The prose alone makes it worth reading, and the well-developed characters and multi-layered story only add to that.
The Woman in Black is one of my favorite books ever. I recommend it to all horror and ghost story fans. Ideal to read late at night or during a thunderstorm....more
This must be one of the shortest synopses ever, but yet it still intrigued me enough to request a review copy of this book through Netgalley. Let me sThis must be one of the shortest synopses ever, but yet it still intrigued me enough to request a review copy of this book through Netgalley. Let me start by saying that Kill Me Again did not dissapoint in the slightest. When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought this was going to be a ghost story, or at least a story about a girl who dreams about a past life. While that’s partly true, this novel is so much more as well. Alexis travels back to the town where her Mom grew up. But as soon as she arrives in town, it looks eerily familiar, as if she’d been there before.
According to her Mom, that’s normal because she went there once when she was a toddler. Eerily enough, while she was there, Alexis stumbled upon the body of a teenage girl, who drowned in a pond in the park. But as Alexis spends more and more time in her hometown, she begins to suspect the teenage girl drowning wasn’t a drowning at all. And as for her aunt Nan, Alexis isn’t entirely convinced Nan left home all those years ago.
Then another girl ends up missing, and eventually Alexis is the one to find her body in the same body she found that other drowned girl over a decade ago. As she begins to remember things she couldn’t possibly remember, Alexis grows convinced of two things. She’s the reincarnation of Nan, and she didn’t run away from home – she was murdered. And she wasn’t the only one…A serial killer is loose in the town of Oxford, and Alexis is the only one who can figure out who it is. Before it’s too late and she becomes his next target.
The author does a great job of describing the town of Oxford to the readers. I especially liked the “drowned” city, a part of the city flooded by water which now rests in an underground lake.
I really enjoyed Kill Me Again. All of the topics, from the romance subplot to a serial killer on the loose to reincarnation intrigued me. I was a bit dissapointed that ghosts didn’t play an actual part in this book, but I got over that quickly. Leslie Rule definitely surprises with sublime characterization skills, excellent prose and the ability to hold one’s interest until the very end, revealing the clues slowly enough to keep tension building. If you’re a fan of thrillers, ghost stories and paranormal mysteries, this is definitely a nice read. I hope Leslie Rule’s other book, Whispers From The Grave, is just as good....more