Genre: Horror

Guest Review: Pride & Prometheus by John Kessel

Posted February 12, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 16 Comments

Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a great weekend. We are starting off this week with Sophia Rose and her review of a Historical Fiction Novel/Classic Retelling. Enjoy!

Guest Review: Pride & Prometheus by John KesselPride and Prometheus by John Kessel
Series: standalone
Published by Saga Press on February 13th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Classic Retellings
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Dark and gripping and tense and beautiful.” —Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Pulitzer Prize finalist for We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves
Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein as Mary Bennet falls for the enigmatic Victor Frankenstein and befriends his monstrous Creature in this clever fusion of two popular classics.
Threatened with destruction unless he fashions a wife for his Creature, Victor Frankenstein travels to England where he meets Mary and Kitty Bennet, the remaining unmarried sisters of the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. As Mary and Victor become increasingly attracted to each other, the Creature looks on impatiently, waiting for his bride. But where will Victor find a female body from which to create the monster’s mate?
Meanwhile, the awkward Mary hopes that Victor will save her from approaching spinsterhood while wondering what dark secret he is keeping from her.
Pride and Prometheus fuses the gothic horror of Mary Shelley with the Regency romance of Jane Austen in an exciting novel that combines two age-old stories in a fresh and startling way.

One glimpse of the blurb telling me that this was a mash-up of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I had to read it. Two powerhouse classics with vastly different settings and atmosphere had me so curious about how the author would pull it off.

I confess to a little trepidation, as well. Both are powerful stories with different themes so I was crossing my fingers that one would not suffer at the expense to the other.

Well, never fear, the author had a different approach that really worked to blend the stories. This ended up being more of a P&P sequel mashed with the Frankenstein story. A person who has read or watched the movie adaption for Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein would get more out of this, but I think someone only slightly familiar would get by just fine. Instead of the main Austen heroine, the author plucked out a secondary character from P&P to become his female lead across from the male leads of Frankenstein. A story swirling around Mary Bennet and Victor Frankenstein and his monster actually had even greater appeal. Mary suited the tragic heroine role more than any other of Austen’s Bennet sisters.

The atmosphere of this story is not light and it’s not a romance though it has romantic overtones. The atmosphere is toward the romantic tragedy side with a bittersweet flavor. Mary is a middle-aged spinster who is the odd-(wo)man out in her family. She’s changed and grown and become a better person though very much the Mary people will recognize, but everyone in her life is so busy about their own affairs that this goes unnoticed. She’s ripe for something new in her life- an adventure. The plight of Victor Frankenstein and his monster bring that.

Victor is nearly at the breaking point. He didn’t set out to play God and pay the price, but he did and now he has a monster threatening to kill after having already killed if he doesn’t provide the creature with a wife like him. Victor encounters the rare Mary Bennet and her family and spies his opportunity. Meanwhile, his creature watches with impatience and loneliness. He is angry at Victor’s rejection and leaving him to fend for himself in a world that is disgusted by him and reviles him.

The pace is mostly slower with a few spikes of excitement. It’s not true horror, but more gothic in air. Much of the story is more embedded in the Frankenstein tale and, as I did when I read that the first time, I sympathized with the creature more than his creator. I’m not a Victor Frankenstein fan.

I really only had one niggle and that was that I found the ending abrupt. This was probably on me because I was reeling from the last revelation that came just before that and perhaps wanted something more or different. That said, the ending was consistent with the story itself.

So, all in all, I thought this was a moving story- more thought-provoking than anything else- and definitely one I was glad to have read. I think it will have niche audience appeal toward those who enjoy the classics particularly those of a brooding, darker tragic tone.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.



MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Posted November 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

MARY: The Summoning by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: ,
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

This book follows a girl named Shauna and her best friends, Jess, Kitty and Anna. Jess develops this obsession in summoning Bloody Mary and says she actually knows the correct way, all the girls have to do is follow the rules and not let go of each others hands.

Well, Jess becomes overly aggressive about her obsession over Bloody Mary and ends up holding back a few things she refused to tell the girls. One of the summonings gets out of hand and they bring Bloody Mary into their world through the mirror. Mary tags Shauna and when the spell goes wrong, Mary does not return to her world and ends up haunting Shauna through the mirrors and anything “shiny”

Now Shauna is mad at Jess for being so careless and lying, but also enlists her in the help of finding a way of getting Mary off her.

This was a quick read and it was okay. It was most definitely creepy and as I was reading this during Halloween, it definitely bought out all the freaky parts.

Some parts and descriptions, particularly of Mary, made my stomach turn.

Like the other girls, I found myself frustrated and angry with Jess because of what she had done. I found her to be a horrible friend.

Overall, like I said, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough, I got the creepy and the freaky out of it, but also some frustration as well. Not sure if it will hurry me to pick up book two anytime soon though.



Halloween and Book Reviews

Posted October 31, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Happy Halloween everyone! If you are into the spooky fun, I hope you have a good day today. It’s exciting for us because we get to take our little man around for a short trick-or-treat so it should be exciting for the whole family. At the moment, I have reviews two spooky reads for you today, enjoy! Let me know what you will be doing tonight!

Halloween and Book ReviewsNightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Series: standalone
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 346
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

Marin lives on a Northern island where there is 14 years of light and 14 years of night. Every 14 years the people who live on the Island during the day must get on ships that come to pick them up and travel away from the Island, leaving their homes in the dark. Before they leave, they must clean the houses from top to bottom, leaving it spotless and just the way it was when they first arrived on the island.

When the boats arrive to pick people up, Marin realizes that her best friend Line is missing and with the help of her twin brother Kana, Marin hopes to find Line before the boats leave them behind.

But what happens when the worst comes to life?

This was such an interesting read.

I liked the setting, it seemed very creative and unique. 14 years of light, 14 years of darkness? I found myself really hooked wondering what exactly was going on, on the island when the darkness set. That alone had me flipping through the pages to get to the bottom of it.

Kana, Line and Marin were enjoyable enough characters to follow. I had to remember at times that they were pretty young.

That being said, I should also mention that this book is mostly a survival book. Because these three kids basically get left behind, by accident, they have to find their way off the island and avoid this thing that is suddenly hunting them. On top of it, Line is injured and something is going on with Kana that the other two don’t realize for a while. Add it together and it was pretty fast paced, I get through it quickly enough and I found that I was really enjoying it.

Of course, this isn’t without gripes. I wanted more world building, I did not think we got the whole background of the island clear enough. I also failed to understand why there was like 14 years of light/dark and the place they were going be on has like 3 days light/dark, that seems geographically impossible? Or is it just me, thinking the way planets would spin?

Also, it was a little weird how quickly these kids came into doing something violent to survive without like freezing. I guess it’s because you have to do what you got to do in the moment of danger or fear, but I pictured myself in that moment and I honestly felt like I’d just freeze up. My survival instinct isn’t all that great heh.

There was also this background with Kana I did not understand how he came to be because of how the creatures of the island interact, but I can’t get into much of this due to spoilers.

Overall though I am not going to complain too much, I did really enjoy this. It’s a quick paced read and I am looking forward to picking up other books by these authors.

I rounded the rating from 3.75 to 4 because I was in a good mood today.

Halloween and Book ReviewsThe House Next Door: A Ghost Story by Darcy Coates
Series: standalone
Published by Black Owl Books PTY LTD on March 15th 2017
Genres: Horror, Ghosts
Pages: 282
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I live next to a haunted house.

I began to suspect something was wrong with the gothic building when its family fled in the middle of the night, the children screaming, the mother crying. They never came back to pack up their furniture.

No family stays long. Animals avoid the place. Once, I thought I saw a woman’s silhouette pacing through the upstairs room… but that seems impossible; no one was living there at the time.

A new occupant, Anna, has just moved in. I paid her a visit to warn her about the building. I didn’t expect us to become friends, but we did. And now that Marwick House is waking up, she’s asked me to stay with her.

I never intended to become involved with the building or its vengeful, dead inhabitant. But now I have to save Anna… before it’s too late for the both of us.

Jo lives home next to a haunted house. For years she has seen families move in next door and leave in the hurry in the middle of the night shortly after the movie. The entire neighborhood avoids it, including Jo’s own cats. The lights turn on randomly at night, the doors slam on their own, and birds keep flying into it and breaking their neck.

Now a desperate young woman moves in and Jo cannot help but feel protective of her. There is something Anna isn’t telling her about her own past, that she wants to avoid, and the house is the only sanctuary she can afford. Anna is sweet, timid and remakes dolls, a perfect soul for the ghost to cling onto.

This was an interesting read. It was definitely a creepy ghost story, very chilling, very atmospheric, with a few scenes that made my stomach turn. It does have scenes with animals getting hurt in it, and those animals are usually birds that fly into the house. If that disturbs you, just be aware.

I only read this book once in the night and decided not to do that again. It most definitely gave me a nightmare.

The writing was good. It was my first Coates reads and it won’t be my last.

There were a few things that I had a gripe with and one of that was the fact that when Jo googled the house online, she couldn’t find anything about it. When she spoke to her neighbor, the neighbor told Jo that when the store broke it’s all the news spoke about on the TV, so I would have thought something would have been found online.

Second, there was a scene with Anna’s ex, who does not have proof that Anna lives in the house but goes through her trash one night and finds something in it and assumptions fly and the girls end up in danger. The whole thing was just weird for me.

Overall though, if you like ghost stories, this was a very creepy but interesting read.





2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted October 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: 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.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

Cas Lowood has an unusual vocation, he kills the dead. Something he inherited from his father and his father’s father before him, a sort of family business that he feels only they can do.

Cas kills ghosts using an athame knife that he believes only he can really kill with. A knife, he inherited upon his father’s death/murder in order to train and continue the family line of work. Protecting people from ghosts who get stuck in a killer loop and hurt innocent people.

One day he gets a tip from a person online and Cas sets out to a town where the ghost of Anna Korlov viciously murdered many people that have dared to set foot into her house.

In order to find out more about this dangerous ghost Cas accidentally befriends a boy named Thomas and a girl named Carmel who, after an unfortunate line of events end up helping Cas discovered the truth behind Anna and why she is the way she is – something that Cas has never seen before.

This started out strong. I was really enjoying this. Anna Dressed in Blood was EXACTLY what I wanted when it came to chilling, creepy ghost stories right before Halloween.

Unfortunately, what started out strong, creepy, and exciting fell a bit flat in the end for me.

First, the book feels like the author combined the two books into one. There was suddenly a different storyline thrown into the mix upon the group solving the Anna situation. I felt like that could have been a whole different book, but I guess the author needed this in order to set up book two.

The book reads as a mature young adult, I wouldn’t recommend this for younger audience due to some of the violent and even some graphic scenes in this book that even made me squirm. This book has a few gory scenes in it.

I really wanted to love this more and I was almost ready to give this 4 stars, but than this unnecessary thing happens in the end with the cat and it totally killed the mood I was rolling with. I was like, what, why… Let’s just say I was not expecting unnecessary violence towards animals in YA, so not only did that throw me off it kind of killed it for me.

I know a lot people love this book, it is definitely creepy, atmospheric, even scary at times. It reads a lot like a movie and you could almost picture the book as a movie, but again, it had certain parts that just did not work for me.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Published by Quirk on June 7th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

After his grandfather’s death, sixteen-year-old Jacob manages to convince his father to take him to a remote island off the coast of Whales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of an abandoned orphanage and suddenly maybe his grandfather’s stories weren’t just made up. Maybe he told the truth.

As Jacob explores the ruins he comes across an abandoned chest, where he discovers more pictures of the children that his grandfather told stories about and when a group of that children cross his path – Jacob is stunned that they are still alive.

This was… Interesting. It’s hard to give a blurb for the book without making a mess of it. I don’t like the blurb from goodreads, not sure that works for it either.

I got the wrong impression of the book coming into it, not only from the blurb on Goodreads, but also probably from the people who pushed this as a spooky read. Yes, it’s a bit atmospheric, but it’s strongly character driven, and I did not find most of this book spooky.

Jacob was a hard character to like. I found him boring and extremely one dimensional, lacking depth and emotion.

The romance in this book was really weird and if you think about it, really awkward.

Yes the book became a bit more spine tingling in the back, but it was short lived.

In the end, I think the book lived up to the wrong kind of standard. I might have enjoyed it more, but I found the book hard to enjoy from the MC perspective. I enjoyed some of the ending, but by that point I just felt like I wanted to get through it. Besides all of this, I think this is a case of more me than the book and I still recommend it for the people who enjoy Young Adult and Paranormal, because it is definitely original.





3 Quick Novella Reviews

Posted October 17, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

3 Quick Novella ReviewsThe Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Series: Molly Southbourne #1
Published by on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror
Pages: 128
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southbourne.The rule is simple: don't bleed.
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she's been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.
Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she'll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

For as long as Molly can remember, she has been watching herself die. Whenever Molly bleeds, another molly is born and is set on trying to destroy her.

Because of this, Molly lives on a farm with her parents and isn’t allowed to go anywhere. She also has to follow a certain set of rules.

But as Molly gets older, she trains to take care of herself and eventually her parents – although reluctantly – allow Molly to attend college. Unfortunately for Molly, she cannot escape who she is, no matter where she goes.

If you are looking for something bloody for Halloween, this is a good quick novella to pick up. I found the story interesting, albeit a bit on
a stomach turning side, as some of the scenes for me personally were a little much to read.

The story was quick and the concept I felt was really good, but it left me with a lot of questions. I know this is part of a short novella series, but I didn’t understand why this isn’t a fully composed book. I really wanted to know why this was happening to Molly, why the molly’s kept coming even if she wasn’t bleeding at some parts, and also why the one molly was different. Plus, why they want to kill her?

Too many whys.

Also, there is a bit of a language translation issue for me. The mother is supposed to speak Russian and Ukranian and keeps calling Molly Dorogoy. This isn’t conjugated properly, as Molly is a female the female version of that endearment would have been Dorogaya. It might not matter to some, but it is suppose to be the feminine version if used correctly.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King, Richard T. Chizmar, Maggie Siff
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Pages: 2 hrs and 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.

12 years old Gwendy Peterson takes the suicide stairs every day in hopes to eventually lose weight. One day she meets a strange man at the top of the stairs, who offers her a Button Box, insisting that the box belongs to Gwendy. In her gut, Gwendy believes that the Button Box is truly hers and spends years protecting the box, knowing that if fell into the wrong hands it could destroy everything.

This was a great quick listened. I enjoyed the story a tell, reminiscent of Pandora’s Box. Gwendy was an easy character to like and I enjoyed her growth through the years and how her age effected her reaction to the Button Box.

The story is set in Castle Rock and a large part of me was hoping this would be a more atmospheric kind of read.

Overall, the story was quick and enjoyable. I was a bit confused by the ending and it did leave me wanting more. I was expecting a lot more to happen as far as the box was concerned, and I also wanted to know more about the mysterious stranger.

Maggie Stiff did an amazing job narrating the story. I hope she does more audibooks in the future.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsHalloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton, Mark Allan Gunnells, Brian James Freeman
Series: standalone
Published by Random House Publishing Group - Hydra on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Short Stories
Pages: 165
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammonChocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.
THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin LuciaFather Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.
DEMON AIR by John R. LittleFear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa MortonTrick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.
#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan GunnellsSome people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

Not sure I have much to say about this. Some of it was enjoyable. The story about the author and Halloween Murders was interesting, albeit a bit confusing in the end. I wanted the book to be more Halloweenish in it’s feel, but some of the stories were just downright sad. The first story was sad and the story about the father and his son was really sad.

I liked the last story in the book about the Mexican ghost. I thought it was creepy enough to be interesting. Even so, the story had a few problematic concepts.