Creepy House and a Scene not to be read at 1 AM…

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Evil doesn’t always look scary .Built at the turn of the twentieth century by one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, tucked away in the pristine Pocono Mountains, Summer Place, a retreat for the rich and famous, seems the very essence of charm and beauty, a scene borrowed from a wondrous fairytale of gingerbread houses, bright forests, and glowing, sunny meadows. But behind the yellow and white trimmed exterior lurks an evil, waiting to devour the unwary . Seven years ago, Professor Gabriel Kennedy’s investigation into paranormal activity at Summer Place ended in tragedy, and destroyed his career. Now, Kelly Delaphoy, the ambitious producer of a top-rated ghost-hunting television series, is determined to make Summer Place the centerpiece of an epic live broadcast on Halloween night. To ensure success, she needs help from the one man who has come face-to-face with the evil that dwells in Summer Place, a man still haunted by the ghosts of his own failure. Disgraced and alienated from the academic community, Kennedy wants nothing to do with the event. But Summer Place has other plans . As Summer Place grows stronger, Kennedy along with the paranormal ghost hunting team, The Supernaturals, sets out to confront and if possible, destroy the evil presence dwelling there. But sometimes in a paranormal investigation, the ghosts hunt you… (From Goodreads)

The beauty of reading horror books is this: even though you’ve probably read this same thing or read the same horror book with similar plots, cookie cutter characters, etc, what really matters at the end of the day is; does it provide you with enough chills and creep factor to get you reading?

Thankfully, this one delivers!

The plot is pretty standard; haunted house that is on the market but nobody buys it. It needs a super cleansing and a group of people are gathered and led by a Professor who’s looking out for redemption. It seems pretty much like a typical horror plot out there but it’s well written and the flow is consistent. That being said, the real action starts about the last third of the book. Think of this book as an introduction to a cast of characters, and what their ‘gifts’ are like. Their background stories are provided, and everything leading up to the night at the house is well done. It prepares to reader as to what to look forward to (with some creep factor in between)

So let’s get to the creep factor. It’s definitely there. The descriptions and events happening is enough to give the reader chills and leaves it to their imagination. There’s plenty of loud noise moments, evil laughter, and things going bump in the night to contribute to the enjoyment of reading this book.

One particular moment that got me on edge was this part:

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I thought this particular passage was perfectly written and it still clings to me even after finishing it. It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about something coming at me via the stairs.

The characters could have been better now, perhaps because it’s an introduction to the group but there’s not much substance to them (at least to some) I was a bit disappointed in George and Leonard because they had a lot to contribute but it seemed to have fizzled out when it really counts. For the most part it’s mostly John, Jenny and Gabriel in the spotlight. They’re all pretty much likable and their own storylines are good to read to provide more ‘fleshing out’ of the character.

It’s a solid horror story with a good ending. Of course it looks like there’s a second book coming out and I’m going to go and read it. I enjoyed this one immensely.

I give it a 10 out of 10.

 

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Paintings and children make this one pretty eerie…

48fc036cb417fe6596d4b637051434f414f4141.jpgYou’re living the dream…A beautiful house, a loving wife. Two kids, a dog, and a tenure track professorship teaching art at the local university. Your name is Daniel Rineheart. You’ve got it all….But All Dreams Must End. For this autumn heralds the arrival of a mysterious painting. No name. No date. No signature or frame. A disturbing work of grotesque perfection: two children with cruel eyes, a window onto an endless field, and a dying tree on top of a hill. A work of art… that changes with each viewing.

So Begins The Nightmare……Where wretched children crawl from a canvas prison to stalk the quiet halls of this happy home….Where painted clocks tick-tock away in the dark hours before dawn, and a missing dog whimpers from between the walls….Where all answers lead to a dark artist and an impossible creation, a cursed canvas with a twisted past……And A Horror That Will Devour All. (From Goodreads)

The horror aspects of this book was really good. It was creepy enough to give you the heebie jeebies and anything to do with strange looking paintings and children always make things more creepier than they should be. (The Shining, anyone?)

I can’t really say I like Daniel as a character. He had it coming to him. It was an awful cruel thing he did and he deserved every last bit of it. None of the characters really stood out here since Daniel was really the center of the plot, but wow Karina. You’re just some kind of special aren’t you? She played on Daniel’s sympathy until he realized she’s completely bat crazy and well, you walked into that one didn’t you? This is what happens when you want the cake and the cherry on top. Just don’t do it. However tempting that is.

Plot wise, it’s pretty entertaining and good stuff for a horror book. It does come off as reading a horror movie in print which is pretty good and frankly, if this ever was a movie, I’d probably watch it and enjoy it better. The ending was great and is everything  you would expect in a horror movie or book. There’s mystery elements into the book which does not affect the story that much and adds more intrigue.

Although the horror elements were good, the execution of the story could be better. I thought certain aspects of the plot were just there for convenience. There could have been more to the Mabel plot arc. It was just planted there with no real explanation except it was given about 2-3 pages but no real contribution. I wish there was more to it. It would have helped, and could have made the story much better.

Despite some of the shortcomings of the book, it was an enjoyable read. It was creepy enough to give you the chills and the ending was what you would expect in this genre. Recommended to horror lovers!

I give it a 6 out of 10.

 

Goats Just Don’t Look The Same…

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When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn’t possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees . . . (From Goodreads)

So you know when  you’re watching a horror movie and there’s an unseen being involved and you only catch little glimpses here and there throughout the film, and when you do actually see it you think (or more likely, scream out) WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

Yeah that’s basically what you get throughout the book. It could be similar horror elements like Blair Witch Project, only you do find out what it is towards the latter part of the story. (And it’s still pretty creepy to figure out and picture).

I really do enjoy the horror aspects in this book and the feelings it invokes. You can really feel the desperation, frustration, and anguish felt within the characters. Tempers flare and understandably fights happen from within the group. You feel Luke’s anger and his highs and lows as you follow him throughout this horror journey.

There’s not many twists or blindside moments in this book it’s pretty much standard that you would see in horror books but the setting is very well done. A remote forest in Scandinavia while there’s something big and bad out there provides great atmosphere for the dark and scary.

It does drag out through the last third of the novel where you just have to feel for Luke and you wonder how much the human spirit can take. The ending really should have ended about 50 pages ago and there is repetition through the novel that some may find a trial to go through when reading. It’s manageable most of the time but I was close to losing my interest towards the end of the novel but powered through. It was still an enjoyable read, and recommended for those that want a good solid horror.

I’ll be reading more of his books for sure. I enjoyed the thrill and can only imagine what his other books will be like.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Review of Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

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It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on. His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor. (From Goodreads)

 

It is recommended you read Anna Dressed in Blood before you read this one.

(Possible spoilers. You’ve been warned)

 

I loved loved loved this book!!! I demand another one! (although I believe it’s only a duology – for now)

 

The creepy factor was good and well done throughout the novel. (The forest part..oh my lord that was so well written I’ll be remembering that scene for a while now). This is definitely a book you would read for the fall, it’s got perfect atmosphere and mood. Cas as a character pulls the book through and does the book justice.

 

His relationship was Anna is well done. It’s bittersweet but you know it was bound to happen. As for the other characters, wasn’t too crazy about Carmel’s actions. What the heck…how she brushed off Thomas just made me so mad I wanted to go in and tell her to smarten up and stop being such a twit.  

 

Another character I enjoyed reading was Jestine. She’s a female version of Cas and it was nice of both of them trading barbs here and there. Wish we could see more of her (in the future perhaps? One day? Please?)

 

Overall, great ending, great read. Fighting scenes were also notable. Sad to see this go but who knows I hope to see Cas in the future!
I give it a 10 out of 10

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.
(From Amazon.ca)

This book has everything you want in the paranormal genre. This book was slightly different as it has a male protagonist instead of a female one (that makes up the majority of YA paranormal books) so that was a nice change. Plus, Cas is everything you want in a protagonist. He’s got the personality, he’s got the wit and the humor. He’s like the high school version of the Winchester brothers from Supernatural (except there’s only one of him, and two sidekicks).

The plot of this book is quite dark and has its moments of creepiness but it lightens up whenever Cas puts in a thought or two (his humor really is quite good). The description of Anna’s house and Anna herself are well done, other beings are also included and they’re just as creepy. The paranormal aspect of the novel was also well done. Anna is a ghost with personality, and as you get to know her through Cas, you start to like her as well. I really liked how she was written, despite her being a ghost, she was ‘fleshed out’ and didn’t have a cardboard personality. The other characters in the book are also fun to read, and all are likable. (Of the secondary characters, I liked Cas’ mom.)

I loved the ending of the book and it did catch me by surprise. Which is why I can’t wait to get my hands on the second one. This book was a great read, and nice to see a male protagonist lead, with a well written ghost story to accompany it. Most definitely recommended for YA readers.

9.5 out of 10.