Book Review: The Haunting of Hurst House (Mercy Willow Book 1)

Title: The Haunting of Hurst House (Mercy Willow Book 1)
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon

When she moves to a small coastal Cornish village, Mercy Willow hopes to start a new life. She has a brand new job as an estate agent, and she’s determined to put the past where it belongs and get on with building a new future. But will that be easy in a village that has more than its fair share of ghosts?

Determined to sell the un-sellable Hurst House, Mercy gets straight to work. Hurst House was once the scene of a terrible tragedy, and many of the locals believe that the place is best left untouched and undisturbed. Mercy, however, thinks it just needs a lick of paint and a few other improvements, and that then she’ll be able to find a buyer in no time.

Soon, Mercy discovers that parts of Hurst House’s past are still lingering. Strange noises hint at an unseen presence, and an old family secret is about to come bursting back to life with terrifying consequences. Meanwhile, Mercy herself has a dark past that she’d rather keep hidden. After all, her name isn’t really Mercy Willow at all, and she’s running from something that has already almost killed her once.

The Haunting of Hurst House is the first book in the Mercy Willow series, about an estate agent in deepest Cornwall who develops the unusual ability to communicate with ghosts.

The Haunting of Hurst House is the first book in the Mercy Willow series, a series about real estate agent Mercy Willow. Running away from her past, Mercy is desperate to build a new life for herself working as a real estate agent in a small village. Unfortunately, her new career isn’t off to a great start, so Mercy vows to herself that she will do the unthinkable.

She will sell the house no one can sell. Hurst House. Scene of a terrible tragedy, a house that has lain abandoned for years. If she can sell this house, then she can sell any house.

But Hurst House isn’t an ordinary house. Strange noises haunt its corridors, during the renovation, items move from one room to another over night… Then again, Mercy Willow is no ordinary real estate agent, either, so if anyone can pull this off, it’s her.

I liked parts of this book, but other parts were just too far-fetched. The twist about the family who had lived in Hurst House just seemed too impossible for me, not believable at all. Apart from that, I liked the story overall and Mercy is an intriguing protagonist because there’s obvbiously parts about her that the reader doesn’t know yet. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series.

Book Review: Spirits of the Cage by Richard Estep and Vanessa Mitchell

Title: Spirits of the Cage
Author: Richard Estep and Vanessa Mitchell
Genre: Nonfiction, True Haunting, Ghosts & Hauntings
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When single mother Vanessa Mitchell moved into a historic cottage in Essex, she had no idea that a paranormal nightmare was about to unfold. The cottage, known as The Cage, used to imprison those accused of witchcraft back in the 1500s. From her first day living there, Vanessa saw apparitions walk through her room, heard ghostly growls, and was even slapped and pushed by invisible hands.

Unable to handle the dark phenomena after three years, Vanessa moved out and paranormal investigator Richard Estep moved in. Spirits of the Cage chronicles the years that Vanessa and Richard spent in The Cage, uncovering the frightening and fascinating mysteries of the angry spirits who lurk within it.

In Spirits of the Cage, investigator Richard Estep and his team of US and UK-based investigators heads off for a stay at  The Cage, a haunted medieval prison now turned into a cottage. Back in the 1500s, The Cage had been used to imprison those accused of witchcraft, who later met a grisly fate, being killed often by hanging.

Nevertheless, single mother Vanessa Mitchell bought the cottage several years ago. First, she lived in it with a friend, and even during those times, they witnessed several paranormal events, like objects moving on their own, a death certificate of the previous owner showing up out of nowhere, apparitions, even shadow people and ghostly growls. But when Vanessa’s friend moved out, leaving her alone in the house, things got progressively worse. And when Vanessa became pregnant, she basically barricaded herself in a single room in the house, refusing to go anywhere else. Things got even worse when her child was born.

Part of the book is told from Vanessa’s POV, through flashbacks. The other parts involve the investigation carried out by Richard Estep and his team. Through various methods, one more scientifically accurate than the other, from Ouija boards to letting the ghosts move the body of one of the investigators, over the course of several days, the team investigates the haunting. No real conclusions are given though, and by the end we don’t know much more about the spirits living in The Cage.

I liked reading about the investigation, the different methods they used, and I also enjoyed Vanessa’s story about what she went through. Some of the events seemed a little over the top, but since it apparently happened to lots of people, I’m willing to give the story the benefit of the doubt. However, I would’ve liked to read more historical research about The Cage, and it surprised me neither Vanessa nor the investigators did a lot of historical research prior to entering The Cage, or Vanessa during the time she was there.

The writing was a bit sloppy at times, but I didn’t mind that much. The book was entertaining and some parts were even scary – the part about the old woman looking like a mannequin staring out of the top window at passersby in vehicles, that part really terrified me. I get goosebumps even thinking about it.


Book Review: Ghost Box by Chris & Paulette Moon

Title: Ghost Box
Author: Chris Moon & Paulette Moon
Genre: Nonfiction, Ghosts & Hauntings
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 1 star
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Chris Moon was the first investigator to use the celebrated device known as the ghost box to facilitate real-time two-way communication with the spirit world. In Ghost Box, Chris shares the extraordinary spiritual contacts he’s made with the box during investigations of famous haunted locations such as the Sallie House and the The Lizzie Borden House, and when using the box to communicate with Abraham Lincoln and JFK, shadow people, UFOs, and spirits that want to talk during his frequent gallery readings.
Based on Thomas Edison’s designs for the “Telephone to the Dead,” the ghost box—also called Frank’s Box after it’s designer Frank Sumption—has been used to communicate with an incredible variety of spirits and astral beings. This book shares the fascinating story of how Frank’s Box came to be and explores the startling truths behind the spirit world’s plans and techniques for fostering contact with paranormal investigators, psychics, and people from all walks of life.

Ghost Box is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s hilarious because the claims stated within the book are so over the top, so outrageous, so out of this world that it’s hard to take anything the author says (or the authors say, considering this book is written by two authors, a mom and son duo), seriously. At the same time it’s heartbreaking because these authors host sessions that supposedly connect people with their deceased loved ones, through a device that can scarcely accomplish such a thing, and through wild interpretations of what the device says.

So the ghost box, the number one topic of this book, was created by Frank Sumption, which is  why it’s often called “Frank’s Box”. The ghost box is based upon a model created by Thomas Edison, the famous scientist’s “telephone to the dead” (which by all accounts and as far as I can tell based on my research) was never even a concept Edison worked on. Anyway, Frank supposedly created this device and by flipping through random radio channels and frequencies, ghosts can pick a frequency and then somehow communicate with ghosts. I’m no scientist,  but I wouldn’t have minded a more thorough explanation of how the device works. We do get a few pictures of the ghost box version 1, 2, 3 and so on, but no clear explanation of what exactly the device does and how it operates.

Chris and Paulette Moon and their team are wholeheartedly convinced the ghost box communicates with the dead. They travel across the USA trying to share that vision. They often do readings in public for large groups, and then also do private readings that some internet research told me are rather pricey. I understand having to cover costs and a wage for oneself to live on, but if you’re doing this out of the goodness of your heart, then you shouldn’t charge exorbitant prices. Just my opinion. I hope for the people who connected with their loved ones through this device that they in fact did connect with the people they loved, and that this isn’t some kind of scam.

Moving on, the ghost box I’m willing to accept up to some degree. I don’t know how it works, the way explained to me in the book I’m quite skeptical off, but whatever, I’m no scientist and no medium so I’m giving the author the benefit of the doubt there. Not so much on all his other claims.

The author uses the ghost box to connect with famous people who’ve passed away. Lizzie Borden in the Lizzie Borden house, for example. The ghost of Sallie in the Sallie House (well, not that famous but most paranormal investigators have heard of this case). Two girls who were murdered in what is now an inn. And… don’t fall of your chair. JFK. John F. Kenny. The late president. And Thomas Edison himself. And JFK’s wife too, by the way.

As you can imagine, my skepticism grew with every chapter. JFK revealed his murder was a conspiracy right after the author had a hunch the murder didn’t happen the way it was shown in a museum near the murder location. Lizzie Borden never said if she did or didn’t kill her parents, and the author apparently didn’t even ask – he was too busy having a shouting match with Lizzie’s father. Thomas Edison showed him how to improve the ghost box.

Oh, did I mention the aliens? He was able to communicate with aliens using the ghost box. So either those aliens are on the same frequency as the deceased, or NASA should buy a ghost box. Like, right now.

Each story got more and more sensational, and I grew more and more skeptical. In the end, I was just rolling my eyes. It’s these sensational stories that make me question if the ghost box works at all. I would’ve been far more eager to believe it did had the sensationalism been cast aside, but it’s quite obvious the author wants to use this book to become famous and book more readings rather than actually help people with deceased loved ones.

I did some research and found an article online about someone who went to one of Chris Moon’s readings and saw the ghost box in action, and was rather dissapointed by its use. The box was just babbling things, and Chris Moon was apparently the only one who could make out what the spirits were saying. The spirits didn’t act very credible either, not in the way you’d expect spirits to act.

I’ve seen other paranormal investigators use the ghost box, admist other tools like EVP, heat cameras, the flashlight test, and so on, where the results are mixed. As you can expect in any paranormal investigation, sometimes the ghost box does seem to allow people to talk to sentient beings (possibly spirits) and sometimes it’s just gibberish. Just like those other tests sometimes work and sometimes don’t work. Ghosts aren’t always ready to play.

While the book didn’t change my opinion of the ghost box, and I also feel like I don’t know much more about it, I’m more than a little skeptical about ghost boxes now.

Book Review: Confrontation with Evil by Steven A. LaChance

30268338Title: Confrontation with Evil
Author: Steven A. LaChance
Genre: Nonfiction, True Haunting, Exorcisms
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 2 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Known as the 1949 St. Louis Exorcism, the story of possessed child Roland Doe was immortalized in the groundbreaking novel and film The Exorcist. Much has been written about the case, but the truth has been shrouded in secrecy…until now.
Join Steven A. LaChance, as he shares the shocking evidence for how a family’s grief over the death of an aunt progressed into a full-blown demonic possession. While the conventional story is that Roland Doe brought the demonic infestation upon himself, LaChance convincingly suggests an alternative interpretation, and provides new insights into the nature of possession itself.
The events of 1949 culminated in grueling exorcism rites, but the story doesn’t end there as LaChance guides readers through the stunning aftermath that forever changed the Catholic church and the city of St. Louis.

In Confrontation with Evil, Steven A. LaChance investigates the 1949 exorcism on Ronald Doe (pseudonym), a young boy who suffered terrible fits, and was seemingly under demonic possessoin. This case inspired the 1973 movie, The Exorcist. LaChance researches the people involved in the case, their motivations (from the boy’s mother, who seemingly deliberately contacted spirits or demons, to the priests putting their own souls on the line to help the boy). One of the priests left a diary of the events, and through that diary, LaChance discusses what happened to the boy.

The last third of the book is spent on a rundown of the places involved in the exorcism, which the author visits now decades later. He even manages to find some paranormal evidence in some of the places, and communicates with a spirit who he believes to be Father Bowdern, one of the priests involved in the case who passed away.

Now, while sometimes bordering on being entertaining, overall the book is kind of dry. It doesn’t really offer a lot of new info, especially to people who’ve read or investigated anything related to exorcisms before. It’s just a feeling of ‘same old, same old’. There’s no real emotion behind it. First that happened, then that happened, but the author never really manages to make any of the people involved sound realistic in his writing. I know it’s nonfiction, but I can’t sympathize with people if I just hear a rundown of what they did. “The boy had a seizure, the boy had a fit, the boy cussed”, and so on, doesn’t really make me sympathize with the boy. The writing just wasn’t on par, and didn’t make me feel involved in the case.

The author also comes up with some wild – really, really wild- theories, starting with how the mother invited the demon into their house (which I was somewhat willing to believe) to the Vatican willingly allowing the devil to possess a priest so they could do research, to the devil infiltrating in the Vatican itself, which was just waaaay too far-fetched for me.

Also, repetition. Some parts of the book were really drawn out, and repetitive. If you don’t know anything about the exorcism case, this is a good place to start, but if you’re already quite aware of what happened in 1949, you won’t learn a lot of new things.

Book Review: Haunted Bridges by Rich Newman

28700191Title: Haunted Bridges
Author: Rich Newman
Genre: Nonfiction, True Haunting
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 1 star
Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Restless Spirits and Supernatural Thrills

More than 300 bridges with eerie phenomenon that span space and time

Across the country hundreds of bridges harbor some of the creepiest paranormal activity known to man. Invisible hands reach out and touch unsuspecting travelers. Residual ghosts haunt scenes of murders, accidents, hangings, and suicides. At some bridges a voice cries out in the darkness that sends a chill down the spine of anyone who hears it.

Haunted Bridges tells the kinds of stories that are told in hushed tones around hearths and campfires as we ponder the unknown late into the night. The stories are at once mesmerizing, unique, and unexpectedly familiar, as if we all know deep down that fate keeps some spirits bound to earth. If you can endure the fear and you don’t look away, you will experience the dread and mystery of the unexplained.

Cities and states are listed for 324 public locations so readers can look up specific bridges.

When I started reading Haunted Bridges, I was really curious. I had thought the book would tell stories of the hauntings related to the bridges, focus on the background/history of the bridge, tell readers the location of the bridge, and ideally also provide some witness accounts, or the author’s first hand experiences.

Uhm, not so much. First, the book is really quite ambitious. It focuses on more than 300 bridges, but only shares a page at most about each bridge. The stories are repetitive and boring, so much so that it would be better if the author focused on 2-3 bridges per chapter, and then just added in a paragraph along the lines of “(insert numerous other bridges) share a similar story. You can visit them at (insert locations)” or something like that. Now, it’s basically the same after the discussion of a bridge or two, and I found myself skipping entire pages.

The book has zero thrill factor. It’s actually quite boring. The information is short, and you scarcely find more than you would have found by a quick Google search. More information on a smaller number of bridges would be a lot more interesting.

This book is an example of where the author chose quantity over quality, providing the reader with a dry run-down of haunted bridges that makes for a dry, dull read. I didn’t finish this one, just skimmed through it.

Book Review: Dark Spirits by Stephen Lancaster

26796653Title: Dark Spirtis: A Man Terrorized by the Supernatural

Author: Stephen Lancaster

Genre: Nonfiction, True Haunting, Ghosts & Hauntings

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Stephen Lancaster has been investigating haunted locations for the past 15 years, and these are some of his darkest cases, which have an eerie connection/familiarity. It also focuses on how the cases/investigations affect his life and what happens when an entity follows you home.

In Dark Spirits, Stephen Lancaster talks about some of his scariest cases to date. From a haunted plantation house to a spirit that possibly followed him home, all the cases are memorable. Some are a bit over the top, and don’t seem all that believable, but I’m willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt.
I do feel that in some cases, as with the spirit possibly following the author home, there might also be an edge of paranoia to the stories. Even if something is haunting you at home, it’s a bit irrationable to immediately think it’s the same ghost you met x number of days/weeks ago somewhere else. I didn’t immediately see why it would be that ghost, and not something else.
Anyway, despite showcasing the author’s scariest adventures, I wasn’t really terrified – not even freaked out to admit. Most of the accounts were just too over the top, and the repetitive writing (serioulsy, things were repeating A LOT of times) made the book lose its tension, and it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped and anticipated.
Nevertheless, if you enjoy true haunting books, I would recommend you give this one a shot. The writing isn’t bad, and the stories are entertaining.

Book Review: Something Wicked by Debi Chestnut

26796654Title: Something Wicked
Author: Debi Chestnut
Genre: True Haunting, Ghosts & Hauntings, Non-Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 1 star
Purchase: Amazon

Forget what you know or think you know about negative entities. Unless you are one of the few who have encountered a demon, it’s almost impossible to grasp the depth and scope of such pure evil and how these creatures can enter someone’s life and completely turn it upside down. Something Wicked explores the topic of negative energies, dark forces, and exorcisms with fresh eyes so that you may come to your own conclusions.

I read a few books by Debi Chestnut already, and usually I find them quite enjoyable. However, Something Wicked missed the ball for me. I didn’t enjoy the book at all. From the synopsis, I thought the author would give an explanation about negative entities, more in particular demons, and then would go on to detail some cases she worked on. While the author does mention some cases, it’s rather vague, and doesn’t give out a lot of details, making it rather boring.

I understand the need to protect the people involved, but still, if you don’t give out any details whatsoever and just a basic rundown, then it makes for rather boring reading. Also, the book was very, very repetitive. It paraphrased sections from what the Vatican said about demonic possession, for example, and then underneath, explained the already paraphrased sections again.

It just felt as if someone without any experience could’ve written the same book. It all stayed very much on the surface, rephrasing knowledge already known to most people with an inkling of interest in the paranormal world. The writing was dull, and it’s more than a manual than anything – except not a very enjoyable manual to read.

I have to say it was a dissapointment, and I expected more. I read it to the end because I forced myself to, but I didn’t enjoy it at all, in fact, I was bored ofr most of it. I would muh rather recommend “Stalking Shadows” or another book by this author.

Book Review: Tales of the Possessed

28575691Title: Tales of the Possessed
Author: C. Torrington
Genre: Nonfiction, Demonic Possession
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 2,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The idea of people possessed by evil spirits against their will is as old as the hills. Often there is thought to be a special way a person has become possessed. It might be the result of a curse cast on them by a sorcerer, or some unfortunate mishap such as stepping over a dead body. Or the demons can have been invited, in a Satanic ritual. More often, at least in recent Christian tradition, there is no initiating moment that can be identified – they just find their way in, like disease. From Pearl Curran, a housewife living in St Louis, Missouri, who soared to fame in the second decade of the 20th century as the amanuensis of ‘Patience Worth’, a writer who had died in the 17th century, to victims of Dissociative Personality Disorder (thought to have inspired Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde), this book examines demonic possession from every angle.

Tales of the Possessed wasn’t quite what I expected. I expected an in-depth account of several demonic possessions, including some real life experience or at least an interview with a person who claimed to be possessed. However, the book is more of a historical account. It focuses on several famous possessions that happened over the centuries, such as the stories that inspired The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and the history of the nuns who got demonically possessed back in the seventeenth century, supposedly by a priest – I’m sure if you’ve read a few articles about exorcisms, you’ve come across the Loudun Possessions already.

However, the book is short. Too short. The information in its pages is far from new for anyone with an inkling of interest in the subject. The research is not satisfactory – most of what I found in the book could be lifted right form the Wikipedia page – I’m not saying that’s what happened, but I didn’t find any information there that I couldn’t find just by browsing Wikipedia on the subject. I had expected at least some more research, something that wasn’t readily available online.

More than anything, the book reads like an overview of cases without going in too much detail of what really happened. It prompted me to read up on several of the cases, but I found the book lacked a lot of information and only briefly touched the surface of the history of demonic possession.

Mini-Reviews: Haunted by the Abyss, The Haunting of Tenth Avenue Theater, The Mirror Chronicles


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Haunted by the Abyss

Tite: Haunted by the Abyss

Author: Sarah Soderlund

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Journey into the terrifying abyss, where malevolent spirits and otherworldly beasts lurk. From childhood experiences with demons and aliens to a Missouri cemetery filled with phantom drums and territorial ghosts, these first-hand accounts of paranormal phenomena will chill your bones and thrill your mind.

Sarah Soderlund, also known as Paranormal Sarah, has been psychically gifted since childhood. Her intuitive abilities, coupled with her education and extensive astral world investigative skills, provide a unique and fascinating perspective into the supernatural. She describes not only what happened in her haunted childhood home, but also why some houses are “alive” and how ghost energy can slam doors, whisper your name, or even manifest as a full-blown or partial apparition. Haunted by the Abyss takes you deep into Sarah’s investigations, where you’ll discover that these stories aren’t just scary . . . they’re real.

Review: An interesting account of Sarah Soderlund, Paranormal Sarah as she’s nicknamed, her gift to see spirits and her experience with the supernatural. She talks about the things she went through growing up in a haunted home, and then her experiences afterward – and she sure has a lot of experience. The book was an easy, quik read, but entertaining nevertheless.

The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue Theater

Title: The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue Theater

Author: Alex Matsuo

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 2,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Is San Diego’s renowned Tenth Avenue Theater home to an unlikely cast of ghosts—and if so, what has kept the spirits of the dead bound to this venue of entertainment and illusion? From reports of a child’s tragic death on the premises to a suicide stemming from overwhelming guilt, there is grief, turmoil, and unfinished business lingering within these walls.

Alex Matsuo, an actress by day and a ghost hunter by night, was granted unlimited access to the haunted property where she has performed as an actor and staged professional readings of her plays. Investigating the popular and thriving theater she has always considered home, Alex must unravel the turbulent history of the building in order to find out why the ghosts of the Tenth never want to leave.

Review: Having never heard of this theater or the ghosts that haunt it, I was intrigued to learn more. However, the story involved a lot more around the author and her thoughts, feelings and perceptions than it did around the ghost stories. The actual history and research of the ghost sightings was also not extensive enough, as if the author just briefly glanced over it. The writing wasn’t stellar either.

The Bell Between Worlds

Title: The Bell Between Worlds

Author: Ian Johnstone

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Half of your soul is missing.
The lost part is in the mirror.
And unless Sylas Tate can save you, you will never be whole again.

Sylas Tate leads a lonely existence since his mother died. But then the tolling of a giant bell draws him into another world known as the Other, where he discovers not only that he has an inborn talent for the nature-influenced magic of the Fourth Way, but also that his mother might just have come from this strange parallel place.
Meanwhile, evil forces are stirring, and an astounding revelation awaits Sylas as to the true nature of the Other. As violence looms and the stakes get ever higher, Sylas must seek out a girl called Naeo who might just be the other half of his soul – otherwise the entire universe may fall…
Review: Sylas felt like a real person, so alive and realistic that I could just picture him being an actual person. He was flawed too, and those flaws made him more realistic. The writing was haunting and imaginative, and the story unique and original, with excellent world-building. The only downside I’d say would be the author’s tendency to use long descriptions sometimes, derailing the narrative.

Mini-Review: Encounters with Spirits, Chronicles of the Unexplained, As Red as Blood


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Encounters with Spirits

Tite: Encounters with Spirits

Author:CAN ũa Waya

Genre: Non-Fiction, Spirituality

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

I have never been to heaven and neither have I ever been to hell, but both have come to me.

Amidst an exotic landscape of distant lands, intra-clan rivalries, and family legacies begins the honest, humble, and achingly sincere autobiography and testimony of CAN ũa Waya. While most stories begin in the “ordinary world,” Waya’s ordinary world was populated by witchdoctors, werewolves, and shape-shifters.

In this book he tells of his life in which spirituality—in some form or other—has been inextricable from the everyday events of his life since earliest childhood. Waya has experienced the many faces of God as he journeyed through complicated relationships with his family and encountered both catastrophic and mundane obstacles, yet he still arrived at an unconditional, unshakable faith in God.

Though Waya examines demonology, extraterrestrials, and the occult with an uncommon intimacy, his main goal and purpose is to point those seeking lasting freedom from demonic oppression to Christ Jesus, whose compassion remains unchanged.

“Do you want to be helped?”

I answered and said, “Yes. Please help me, Lord.”

And that was all the praying I did that morning.

There may be no prayer dearer to the heart of God.

Review: An okay read, but very wordy, and a little over the top for my tastes. I find it hard to believe some of the things the author experiences. I can live with spirits and demons, but werewolves? Witchdoctors? I was skeptic, and the book didn’t convince me to change my view.


Title: Chronicles of the Unexplained

Author: Gary Gillepsie

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Chronicles of the Unexplained presents a lifetime of true paranormal experiences. The stories are from a broad range of individuals, many of whom would be the last people you would expect to be willing to communicate with anyone on such subjects. The true tales are interspersed with the story of the author’s own battle with a not-so-hospitable entity and the unforeseen circumstances that were associated with the completion of this book.

Review: An okay read of true haunting tales, but not a lot of details on them, and no references or investigation into any of the hauntings. Most interesting were the stories that did come with witness interviews, and the ones the author personally experienced.

As Red as Blood

Title:  As Red as Blood

Author: Salla Simukka

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

Review: A fast-paced read that is miles away from an actual fairytale retelling, but still somewhat intriguing. Lumikki is an engaging, complex main character and the Finnish setting offered an extra layer. However, Lumikki’s skills are over the top (James Bond can hold no match to her), and the villains are completely laughable. Everyone except Lumikki seems to miss half a brain. Interesting, but not my cup of tea.