Mini-Review: Babylon Terminal, Nausea, The Darkest Corners

minireview

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.

Babylon Terminal

Tite: Babylon Terminal

Author: Greg F. Gifune

Genre: Horror

Rating: 3,5 stars

In a nightmare world of darkness and violence lies a city that is home to those who inhabit the dreams of the living, those who sleep in daylight and struggle to survive the night.

But there are some who break the rules, who believe there may be something better out there beyond their city of dreams, those who run in search of a promised land of sunshine and peace.

Enter the Dreamcatchers, an elite law enforcement unit assigned to hunt down runners and bring them back, dead or alive. Monk is one of the best, a dark and brooding, by-the-book Dreamcatcher with a reputation for extreme violence. But when his enigmatic wife Julia runs, Monk must break the rules himself, and find her before fate or his fellow Dreamcatchers do.

In a hallucinatory quest for redemption, Monk chases the woman he loves across a city of nightmares and into the wastelands, where unimaginable horrors and wonders await them both, and soon learns there are realities far deadlier than their prison of darkness, his love for Julia or a life together in the light.

This is the world of darkness, of endless night and doomed dreams. This is the beginning and the end.

This is Babylon Terminal.

Review: Another dark, thrilling horror novel by Greg F. Gifune. The writing is stellar, and the characters are so realistic they might as well crawl out from the pages. The only downside was that the plot was hard to follow at times, with the “dream within a dream” quality of the plot, and it was hard to know what was real and what wasn’t. I would’ve liked to know a bit more about what was truly going on, though.

Nausea

Title: Nausea

Author: Ed Kurtz

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Dark Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Since the night he made an ill-advised decision to commit a pair of revenge killings, Nick has made his living as a professional murderer. Early on, he dispensed with guilt or emotion. But after a routine hit gets messy, Nick gets sick and the conscience he thought he’d killed, along with dozens of other marks, comes creeping back into his brain.

Now Nick’s profession and life are on the line, and he has begun stalking a perfectly innocent couple to see if he can snuff them out without the slightest hint of remorse…or if the humanity he worked so hard to suppress is making up for lost time.

A dark noir novel about human connection and repentance, Nausea is the story of a sociopathic killer in a war with himself, a war in which the lives of an uninvolved couple hang in the balance.

Review: Nick is a cold, professional killer for hire who feels no remorse. His latest job does make him feel something, though. Reluctant to think he losing his ability, he starts tracking a young couple to kill, just because he wants to know if he can. When the past creeps up on him, Nick will have to face some demons. Nick was an intriguing, well-crafted character, and the author did an amazing job of making me feel for him even if he was a deranged killer. The writing was impeccable. however, the time slips were slightly confusing, hence why no five stars.

The Darkest Corners

Title: The Darkest Corners

Author: Kara Thomas

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Review: A slow start, but gradually grows into a thrilling, suspenseful read. The character dynamics were very intriguing, and the character themselves were complex and engaging. The story had some amazing twists. Also loved the focus on the girl’s friendship rather than romance for once. However, the ending was a bit of a let down.

Mini-Review: The Girl You Lost, Quiet Neighbours, A Cure for Madness

minireview

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.

The Girl You Lost

Tite: The Girl You Lost

Author: Kathryn Croft

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Eighteen years ago your baby daughter was snatched. Today, she came back. A sinister and darkly compelling psychological thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Girl With No Past. Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them. Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her? When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her baby and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts. Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory. Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her?

Review: What would you do if your child, who went missing at only six months old, turned up on your doorstep? Simone and her husband Matt have to figure out if Grace, the woman who says she’s their long-missing daughter, is in fact telling the truth. The writing was all right, but you have to suspend credibility a bit – no one calls the cops at the appropriate times, and the characters didn’t always seem realistic.

Quiet Neighbors

Title: Quiet Neighbors

Author: Catriona McPherson

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

It’s the oldest bookshop in a town full of bookshops; rambling and disordered, full of treasures if you look hard. Jude found one of the treasures when she visited last summer, the high point of a miserable vacation. Now, in the depths of winter, when she has to run away, Lowell’s chaotic bookshop in that backwater of a town is the safe place she runs to.

Jude needs a bolt-hole; Lowell needs an assistant and, when an affordable rental is thrown in too, life begins to look up. The gravedigger’s cottage isn’t perfect for a woman alone but at least she has quiet neighbors.

Quiet, but not silent. The long dead and the books they left behind both have tales to tell and the dusty rooms of the bookshop are not the haven they seem to be. Lowell’s past and Jude’s present are a dangerous cocktail of secrets and lies and someone is coming to light the taper that could destroy everything.

Review: Would be an engaging novel, were it not for how the plot dragged, and the narrative was long and dull. It took forever before anything happened. The plot was extremely slow, the characters were flat, and there was not an ounce of suspense. When all was wrapped up, it was at least somewhat intriguing, so it certainly had potential. Had the sentences not been so weird, drawn out, and the author not gone to such lengths to just keep sounding poetic and lyrical, maybe I would’ve enjoyed it more.

A Cure for Madness

Title: A Cure for Madness

Author: Jodi McIsaac

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Clare Campbell has worked hard to create distance between herself and her troubled family. But when she receives news of her parents’ murder, she’s forced to return to the quiet town of Clarkeston, Maine, to arrange their funeral and take legal guardianship of her unpredictable and mentally ill brother, Wes.

While Clare struggles to come to grips with the death of her parents, a terrifying pathogen outbreak overtakes the town. She is all too familiar with the resulting symptoms, which resemble those of her brother’s schizophrenia: hallucinations, paranoia, and bizarre, even violent, behavior. Before long, the government steps in—and one agent takes a special interest in Wes. Clare must make a horrifying decision: save her brother or save the world.

Review: A fast-paced thriller about a girl coming to terms with the death of her parents just when all hell breaks loose, and everyone in town seems to suffer from schizophrenia. Clare must make a horrible choice. Took me a while to warm up to Clare, but I enjoyed up enjoying this book, and liked her more once I got to know her better. Fast-paced and suspenseful.

Mini-Review: This House, Little Secrets, The Sound of Time

minireview

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.

This House

Tite: This House

Author: Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Genre: Horror

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

“This house…lives on the edge of reality.”

What makes a haunted house? The unsettled spirits of the dead? Or the unsettled spirits of the living? When Joey Lodge sustains a severe brain trauma, his delusions take the form of an alien spirit that guides him in the creation of a haunted house. He begins to populate the house with ghosts of his choosing, from family members to criminals, until the line between fantasy and reality blurs and even his delusions start fighting back. As terror in the house ratchets up to a maddening pitch, the alien spirit has one shocking revelation still in store.

Review: An accident causes Joey severe brain damage, but unfortunately that’s not the only thing wrong with him and his dysfunctional familiy. Those people are horribly broken, and they already feel empty, soullless. The question of what makes a house haunted, the dead or the living, is an interesting one, but not enough to keep the book entertaining until the end. Soon enough, the plot becomes disjointed, with another storyline thrown in. The ending was all right, but it never went beyond a 3-star read for me.

Little Secrets

Title: Little Secrets

Author: Megan Hart

Genre: Horror

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

They’re not alone in the house. With a baby on the way and a brand new house, it seems Ginny and her husband, Sean, are on their way to a fresh start. But strange occurrences and financial strain seem determined to keep Ginny and Sean stuck in the past. Ginny begins to believe the house may be haunted…or that her husband might be trying to trick her into thinking so. As Ginny researches the house’s former owner and the tragedy that happened there, it becomes clearer than ever that something is in the house with them. The question is, who…or what…is it?

Review: I love a good haunting story, and Little Secrets definitely delivered that. Ginny and Sean were two interesting characters – something seemed off about them from the start, and that added to the suspense of the book, along with a slow build up. The story had a lot of twists and turns and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Sound of Time

Title: The Sound of Time

Author: Jeremy Essex

Genre: Horror

Rating: 2,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

“Is time just an illusion?”

Charles never believed the ghost stories about the old factory. As a psychology student, he understood the spooky tales told by the midnight workers were just the products of overtired minds. But when his company is hired to clear out the derelict old building, a small group of night workers become stranded in the isolated, mist-shrouded complex. Charles decides to conduct a psychological experiment to see if he can re-create the ghostly effects people have seen and heard over the years. But the experiment goes horribly wrong and something inexplicable happens. Now Charles is starting to believe as he finds himself fighting for his sanity and his life.”

Review: While the premise is intriguing, the story soon falls into repetition, and there’s not a lot of variation once the “experiment” beings. The start and end were quite good, but the middle part was just too repetitious to be enjoyable.

Mini-Review: After Dark, Led Astray, The Haunting of Melmerby Manor

minireview

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.

After Dark

Tite: After Dark

Author: James Leck

Genre: Young Adult, Horror

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fifteen-year-old slacker Charlie Harker is stuck in the sleepy town of Rolling Hills for the summer, helping his mom renovate his great-grandfather’s creaky old inn. It’s not entirely dull, thanks to Charlie’s new neighbor Miles Van Helsing, who insists there’s paranormal activity happening in Rolling Hills. Charlie chalks it up to Miles being the town nutcase. But many townspeople are falling prey to a mysterious illness, and wisecracking Charlie quickly gets wise?: there’s something sinister going on in Rolling Hills.

Review: Charlie is a refreshing character, sarcastic to a fault, but charming in his own way and I’m sure kids will love him. Miles Van Helsing is pretty awesome too, and the whole take on vampires/zombies is a great twist, but it all takes too long to get started. The start of the book is quite slow, and it takes too long for the action to get going. It’s a light read, humorous and enjoyable, but not really that suspenseful.

Led Astray

Title: Led Astray

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy’s most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan.

With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

Review: A collection of twenty-three short stories set in the paranormal worlds Kelley Armstrong has created. An eclectic mix, with urban fantasy series, ghost stories, some horror, it’s also a mixed bag in terms of quality. Some of the stories were amazing, and memorable, but others were a bit so-so. I generally enjoy Kelley Armstrong’s writing, but I prefer her novel-length works.

The Haunting of Melmerby Manor

Title:  The Haunting of Melmerby Manor

Author: David W. Robinson

Genre: Paranormal

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A haunted manor house and an angry, violent spirit.

It’s all in a night’s work for paranormal investigator, Lady Concepta Rand-Epping and her friends, Pete Brennan and Kevin Keeley. But when the nerve-jangling events at Melmerby Manor turn up 25,000 pirate video discs, matters become even more complicated.

Then the discs disappear and a body is left in their place. Aided by Sceptre’s ghostly butler, challenged by sceptical police officers, threatened by vicious gangsters and the rampaging ghost, their very lives are on the line as they attempt to uncover the dark secrets behind.

THE HAUNTING OF MELMERBY MANOR

A supernatural mystery with a serious vein of dark humour.

Review: Three unlikely allies advertise their services for paranormal investigations, and their first case is Melmerby Manor. The book is a bit of a mixed bag of genres. You have the ghost story, which was without a doubt the most interesting part of the book, but there’s also a detective story, and even some romance going on. It seems like the book itself doesn’t really know where it’s going. The humor was fun at first, but becomes tedious after a while. The mystery wasn’t that complicated either; I had expected more.

Mini-Review: Spore, Sanctuary Bay, The Thirteenth Coffin

minireview

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.

Spore

Tite: Spore

Author: Tamara Jones

Genre: Horror

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The dead are coming back.

Ten naked people walk from a cemetery into artist Sean Casey’s backyard: ten Spore People who used to be dead. One, Mindy, stays with Sean while trying to reclaim her life, but her ex would rather she return to her grave. Sean struggles to protect Mindy and other Spores while battling his recurring—and worsening—nightmares. Meanwhile, the media feeds a panicked frenzy that leads both the hopeful and hateful to Sean’s front door.

As the Spore fungus spreads, so does the fear. When mutilated children match Sean’s nightmares, he realizes his own worst terror may be closer than he thinks.

Review: The dead return, but with a twist. From the synopsis I thought I would like it but not love it, but I did love it! There’s so much going on and Tamara Jones is an excellent storyteller, and manages to combine multiple storylines into an amazing tale.

Sanctuary Bay

Title: Sanctuary Bay

Author: Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In this genre-bending YA thriller, will Sarah Merson’s shiny new prep school change her life forever or bring it to a dark and sinister end?

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah’s new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this “school” is something much more sinister.

Review: An amazing albeit at times slightly confusing read. The story is familiar: Sarah gets invited to a prep school and an island, and she goes, but when she’s there, strange things start happening and her ne”w friends act all kinds of weird. The characters were great, although I thought Sarah acted pretty self-absorbed every now and then.

The Thirteenth Coffin

Title: The Thirteenth Coffin

Author: Nigel McCrery

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Stretching along the shelf, standing upright, were twelve wooden coffins. Nine were closed, and three open . . . with little dolls standing inside them . . .

It was supposed to be the most special day of her life – until the unthinkable happened. Leslie Petersen is shot dead on her wedding day. With the bride’s killer vanished without a trace, the investigation into the murder grinds to a halt before it’s even begun.
But then, the decomposing body of an unidentified homeless man is found in an old Cold War bunker, and DCI Mark Lapslie makes a bizarre discovery. Hidden near the body is a shrine full of miniature wooden coffins. Each coffin contains a little doll, all dressed differently. One of the dolls is dressed as a bride – could this be a link to Leslie’s murder? And if so, who do the other dolls represent? Can Lapslie and his team stop the countdown of the ‘dying dolls’ before it’s too late?

Review: I loved how the book was based on a legend, but unfortunately I did not like the book as much as I had hoped. Despite that, a lot of people seem to like it, so please don’t let my review put you off from reading. I felt disconnected from the characters and wasn’t too fond of the writing.

Mini-Reviews: Convalescence, The Lives Between Us, Your Heart & Mind

minireview

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.

Convalescence

Tite: Convalescence

Author: Maynard Sims

Genre: Horror

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Who will protect the children?

Fourteen-year-old James has seen his family wiped out by tuberculosis in the England of the 1960s. When he is sent to the country to convalesce with his Uncle Thomas it seems a welcome respite. But his uncle is strange, and clearly has a dark secret. The huge house is secretive too, with whispers and cries in the night. Gradually James meets other children, some real, some apparently ghosts, but all of whom have been hurt by the uncle. Will James be next?

In an eerie novella of repressed depravity, Maynard Sims conjures nightmares from the fears of childhood.

Review: An excellent haunted house story. I felt sorry for James, who has been through so much already, and then is put through even more when he meets the kids that haunt his uncles home. I liked the depravity angle, the summer house having secrets too, and the gothic feel that hid in this novella. A quick, suspensful, chilling story.

Your Heart and Mind

Title: Your Heart and Mind

Author: C.J. Maritz

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self Help

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A reader-friendly self-help guide rated 5 stars by Readers’ Favorite. This thought-provoking book is about the choices and opportunities inherent in the human condition.

You, and your life, are the products of decisions made in the past. You made some of those decisions, and some were made by others. The effect of poor decisions would have compounded and diminished your greatness and state of your life.

In order to improve your experience of your life, you should focus on those decisions that are within your control. Your decisions on time, loyalty, reinvention, support, willingness, simplicity and other aspects can radically improve you and your life experience. You want to steer yourself in the direction that satisfies your heart and mind, and ensures contentment.

The book’s messages are to the point, impactful and powerful. The book is the second in the series. The first book is “YOUR Heart & Mind: 11 Tools To Improve Your State of Being, for Yourself & Others”.

Review:  I struggled to finish this book mostly because I felt like it didn’t give me any insights I couldn’t have already figured out myself. The arguments aren’t very deep, and the writing isn’t coherent either.

The Lives Between Us

Title: The Lives Between Us

Author: Theresa Rizzo

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

How far would you go to save the one you love?

Reporter Skylar Kendall has run from commitment all her life, pushing people away before they leave her, until her niece worms her way into Skye’s heart and settles in tight. Skye relaxes into a career she enjoys and relishes being a doting aunt.

Then her niece becomes gravely ill. Unable to bear yet another loss, Skye is determined to find a cure, but the girl’s only hope lies in the embryonic stem cell therapy Michigan Senator Edward Hastings repeatedly opposes. When Skye fails to find alternative treatment in time, she vows to end the senator’s political career.

Curious about the woman behind the scathing articles on his best friend, Mark Dutton pursues Skye. Dating Mark gives her access to Hastings’s life and secrets that would launch Skye’s career and satisfy her need for retribution… Only she hadn’t counted on falling in love.

Can she avenge the lives lost to politics at the expense of her new love and friends?

Review: The main character comes across as very selfish at times, and it’s hard to relate to her or understandh er point of view. The whole debate about embryonic stem cell therapy was interesting for a while, but got boring toward the end. I did enjoy the romance part, with Skye and Mark. Overall, not too bad, but I didn’t love it.

Mini-Reviews: Time to Die, Lost Girls, Sentinels

minireview

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.

Time to Die

Tite: Time to Die

Author: Caroline Mitchell

Genre: Paranormal, Thriller

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

He will predict your life… and your death. Don’t ever cross his palm with silver. He will reveal your most shameful secrets. He will predict your death. He is hiding a secret. He is hiding a monster. And all his predictions come true. Investigating a series of chilling murders, Detective Jennifer Knight finds herself tracking a mysterious tarot card reader known only as The Raven. As the death toll rises, Jennifer and her team build a picture of a serial killer on the edge of sanity, driven by dark forces. But these are not random killings. And the method behind the madness could be the most terrifying thing of all … Especially when it seems the death of one of their own is on the cards. Time to Die is an absolutely gripping serial killer thriller with a breath-taking supernatural twist. What readers are saying about Caroline Mitchell ‘This is a fantastically written story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and I really didn’t want to put it down’ It’s All About the Books ‘I absolutely LOVED how Caroline tortured me as I waited for all to be revealed … With a brilliant cast of crime characters, and a plot that was enough to make me feel dizzy, this was a compelling book that I just couldn’t get enough of.’ Becca’s Books ‘If you’re looking for a brand spanking new crime wave-breaker, then look no further than the obsessive-compulsive Detective Constable Jennifer Knight – a determined wearer of killer heels with an intuition like no other on the force’ Little Bookness Lane

Review: I love serial killer stories with a paranormal twist, and “Time to Die” certainly didn’t dissapoint. Jennifer Knight is one of the most intriguing detectives I’ve read about lately, and despite being strong and intelligent, I enjoyed how she also had some flaws. The serial killer in question was intriguing too, and I enjoyed how the author included tarot cards into the story. As a tarot reader, I loved seeing my two hobbies mix! The story was suspenseful from start to end, and I’m already looking forward to the next book.

Lost Girls

Title: Lost Girls

Author: Angela Marsons

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

The latest utterly addictive thriller from the No.1 bestseller Angela Marsons.

Review:  I requested this one because the two kids kidnapped and only one returns plot reminded me of one of my favorite Criminal Minds episodes. Boy, I wasn’t dissapointed in the least! The writing was excellent, the plot was brilliant and put me on the edge of my seat, and raised my heart beat to at least 150 for most of the book. The characters are amazing, the plot is fast-paced, the twists are surprising and all in all, this is an AMAZING book. If you love thrillers, I suggest you go read this one RIGHT now.

Sentinels

Title: Sentinels

Author: Matt Manochio

Genre: Horror

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

These are no ordinary killers.

They don’t distinguish between good and evil. They just kill. South Carolina’s a ruthless place after the Civil War. And when Sheriff’s Deputy Noah Chandler finds seven Ku Klux Klansmen and two Northern soldiers massacred along a road, he cannot imagine who would murder these two diametrically opposed forces.

When a surviving Klansman babbles about wraiths, and is later murdered inside a heavily guarded jail cell, Noah realizes something sinister stalks his town. He believes a freed slave who’s trying to protect his farm from a merciless land baron can help unmask the killers. Soon Noah will have to personally confront the things good men must do to protect their loved ones from evil.

Review: A fast-paced, gripping horror story set in 1870 that combines a great story with excellent characters. The time period, around the Civil War, was interesting too, and despite some historical inaccuracies, I did enjoy this. Horror the way it should be.

Mini-Reviews: The Dead House, If You Wrong Us, The Girl With No Past

minireview

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.

The Dead House

Tite: The Dead House

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

Review: I enjoyed the book’s unique format the most, with the newspaper clippings, screenshots…this gave the book a realistic feel. The main character is compelling, and the way the author describes her dissociative identity disorder added an interesting angle to the book. However, the reason why is a little flat, and the book lacked creepiness.

If You Wrong Us

Title: If You Wrong Us

Author: Dawn Klehr

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

“An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen lens.” – Kirkus Reviews

Becca and Johnny become entangled after a car crash steals the lives of two people they love. Officially, the crash is an accident. But Becca and Johnny are convinced: someone did this.

As they plot revenge against the person responsible, a bond—intense, unyielding, and manic—takes hold of them. And in an unexpected turn of events, they fall for each other.

Or so they think.

In an upside-down world where decay is beautiful and love and hate become one, Becca and Johnny find themselves grappling with reality. Nothing is exactly what it seems, including what they’ve come to believe about the crash. Question is: will they learn the truth before it’s too late?

No. The question is: when they learn the truth, will they care?

Review: The first half of this book had all the ingredients for being a fast-paced, chilling psychological thriller, but unfortunately this unraveled during the second half. The climax was underwhelming, and it didn’t tie up all loose ends. The dual narrative worked well, and the characters were intriguing though. Enjoyable, but did not fulfill the high hopes I had for it after reading the first half.

The Girl with No Past

Title: The Girl With No Past

Author: Kathryn Croft

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.

Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

Review: It seems the opinions on this book are divided, but I’m fairly in the “I love this” camp. The back and forth between past and present works surprisingly well, and I could really connect to the main character, and understand most of her motivations. The author kept me guessing until the end, and overall, this was an amazing reading experience.

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

minireview

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-Reviews: Blackhouse, Ghost Boy, A Tale of Two Mommies

minireview

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.

The Blackhouse

Tite: The Blackhouse

Author: Peter May

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When a brutal murder on the Isle of Lewis bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. But since he himself was raised on Lewis, the investigation also represents a journey home and into his past.

Review: Claustrophic, small town setting, a brooding detective haunted by the past, a brutal ritualistic murder, and excellent writing. All that mixes into a chilling, tense novel with a haunting climax. One of my favorites I read this year.

A Tale of Two Mommies

Title: A Tale of Two Mommies

Author: Vanita Oelschlager

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too.
True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”
A Tale of Two Mommies is intended for 4-8 year olds.
This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.

Review: A cute book about a kid with two mommies. We don’t always think about the consequences for kids, and how tough it can be for them to explain to other kids that they have two mommies, or even two daddies, and this book explains in a fun, cute way. The illustrations look lovely too.

Ghost Boy

Title: Ghost Boy

Author: Martin Pistorius

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin’s emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.
Review: A young boy falls prey to a mysterious illness, and is put into a home for people with disabilities. He’s trapped inside his own body, and it takes years before a friendly nurse figures out he can communicate, and is a lot more intelligent than they gave him credit for. The book is harsh too, and not just a hopeful story. There’s rape and horrible abuse, all in one boy – and then man’s – fight against darkness. A heart-wrenching story that I’ll never forget.