Tag: Horror (Page 1 of 5)

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
by Kerri Maniscalco
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

 “Didn’t your family warn you against sneaking around at night alone?” he asked. “Dangerous things linger in the dark.”

Halloooo therreee. It seems I’m catching up and producing enough reviews to halfway feel like myself again!!!! And it. Is. GLORIOUS. And I’m so happy to be reviewing a book my dear friend, Brittney, has been unflinchingly begging me to read for ages. It’s not often I’ll pick up a book that has creepier tendencies, but when I do, they sometimes become my absolute favorites (a la Jazz from I Hunt Killers).

But where this book was strong in its witty writing and intriguing characters, there were also some flaws that I couldn’t help but to be bothered by (and the matter gets worse in book 2…but I wouldn’t let that effect the rating of this installment, of course!). As I always like to repeat: Let’s start with the sour, then we’ll get to the sweet. And oh, let me tell ya, Thomas was as sweet as it can get.

I stood, and Thomas joined me, eager to move onto our next mission.
“Hurry along, then,” I said, grabbing my orchid and securing it safely in my journal. “I want to sit by the window.”
“Hmm.”
“What now?” I asked, losing patience.
“I usually sit by the window. You may have to sit in my lap.”

I know this is going to get me kicked in the teeth, metaphorically speaking, for saying this, but I found that Audrey Rose really, really loved to get haughty about being a woman who deserved the same equality as a man. Now

I’m not sayiiinnngggg women shouldn’t be treated equally-I NEVER said that-howeverrrr, when a point is repeated, well, repeatedly, it begins to lose its importance. Just let the dead horse lay, as they say, and stop beating it. Like I said, I noticed it here in this book, but it didn’t really get on my nerves TOO BAD until book two. Or maybe I’m just confused because I read them so close together….either way, girl needs to stop. She’s said it enough I’m sure even the corpses she’s operating on got it through their thick, dead skulls.

“…the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

Secondly, I was so SOOOO excited and into her and Thomas’s banter. From the beginning (this is a plus) my heart went into overdrive when they first met, because Thomas was just an outspoken little soul who couldn’t help but to get under her (and everyone else’s) skin. But, again, being inside Audrey Rose’s head just kind of got….annoying. NOT BADLY SO, but enough that I balked near the end when she’d proclaim what a fiend and a scoundrel Thomas was. I ADORE Thomas, but sometimes saying things so much just ruins the whole effect-such is the case with her repetitive proclamations-both about Thomas’s idiosyncrasies and being a wholly capable woman who is able to handle herself just as the men do.

I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?

NOW. Onto the pleasant and sweet-Which far surpassed the sour.

All in all this story was super addicting. I loved the fast-paced feeling, yet it was handled in a manner in which you didn’t feel rushed. It was day-to-day and we were constantly on the lookout for Jack the Ripper. Shrouded in mystery, each page had me guessing who near Audrey Rose could possibly be the killer. You just knew it was someone she was in close proximity with, yet she was missing key clues to really pin it down. Was I right in the end? Yes and no. Was it somewhat obvious? Not particularly. But I did like how the author handled everything so that we constantly questioned everyone’s intent, were constantly second guessing ourselves, and really how it made me feel like a damned fool because I was like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

This story was also quite creepy-not in the way you will feel if you continue onto the second (castles and secret tunnels and creepy creepy crawlers, oh my!), but enough that it had me looking over my shoulder. Who said alleyways aren’t creepy? As the book came to its haunting conclusion, I began shaking in a way that I haven’t for a book in…I don’t know how long. I’m talking stomach flutters of actual TERROR, people, a dread I couldn’t grasp onto. Reading each page slower than the last not to savor, but because my fear had grown so immeasurable I could hardly breathe, for I didn’t know what horrors each new page possessed. That alone deserved 4 stars! However, this book caused loss of breath for two reasons, and one isn’t so scary as the last…

Thomas held a hand up, shaking his head. Fine. “What makes you sure I even need a partner? I’m quite capable of doing things on my own.”
“Perhaps it’s not you who would benefit from our partnership,” he said quietly.

Thomas. Thomas Cresswell. Be still my heart…sweet, cocky, and socially inept, this boy stole my heart INSTANTLY. It wasn’t so much that he was different or special or anything, but I suppose it’s just his mannerisms, the way he handled himself. I love that he knew he wanted to be with Audrey, so he went for it. He went in for the kill at each present opportunity, never once allowing her to believe he had any other intention. He knows what people say about him, and he knows what they think, but never once does he let it bother him…or is it more that he didn’t let his insecurities show? I think this defines Thomas to a tee-outwardly cocky, but a soft, insecure, unsure of himself boy who is fiercely loyal and only wishes to be accepted by those he loves. And….I simply adore him. What else is there to say? He’s simply marvelous and he would literally do anything to win Audrey Rose’s heart. He’d do anything to protect her, and his love is genuine. You can’t ask for more than that.

Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes”—he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper—“ you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”

This book was a nice little surprise-whenever you repeatedly hear something about a story, you really can’t expect much lest the hype monster devour you. But with this story I was pleasantly surprised and pleased beyond words. With a clever mystery, enrapturing characters full of banter, and nail-biting suspense, your heart will surely break for these spell-binding characters. And, if I’m being completely honest, I do have a soft spot for our MC because, well, her name is scary close to my baby girl’s name-Aubrey Rose. OOPS. So…there you have it. I’m biased and refuse to relent…and it doesn’t hurt that the author knows what she’s doing.

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BOOK REVIEW – Hellraisers (The Devil’s Engine #1) by Alexander Gordon Smith

BOOK REVIEW – Hellraisers (The Devil’s Engine #1) by Alexander Gordon SmithHellraisers (The Devil's Engine #1)
by Alexander Gordon Smith
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.

There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it's going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.

Review:

**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

That was the trouble with being a hellraiser.
Sometimes you got burned.

I think it goes without saying that I have really branched out on books I’ve read this year. I’ve fallen for crime novels, sci-fi novels, and, most recently, I’ve even fallen for some certain (ahem) steamier NA stories. My point is…I just enjoy reading. So when I was approached to read and review Hellraisers, I was all for it.

You can’t run forever

And that’s not even the best part-I have had this author on my radar for years. His book, Lockdown (look up and see if that’s the name or Escape from the Furnace), has been something I have wanted to try for as long as I can remember. But here’s the thing: It always seemed so scary. And anyone that knows me understands that I don’t do scary. So, needless to say, when I was asked to read this story that didn’t look nearly as terrifying…I was ecstatic.

I’ll find you

I was right to be excited for a chance to read a book by this author: From the first page I was hooked. Marlow’s story wasn’t addicting because he was the strongest, the most badass, the most amazing guy ever-No, his story was addicting in spite of that. Marlow is what you would call a troublemaker, getting kicked out of school after school after school, until now it’s the last straw and he has no where else to go. No friends and a mother who looks at him with eyes sad beyond their years because of how he is putting her through hell, he is desperate to make this final school work….even though he has already been kicked out and any chance of readmission vanished when he fled from the school grounds with a big F-YOU to the principal.

I’ll find you, and you will burn

But after the initial process of escaping a suffocating situation, Marlow slows down and realizes just what he’s done. Where does he have to go to now? What will his mother say? Hardly able to breathe without constant use of his inhaler, he’s hardly an impressive being-in fact, he’s actually a coward: Always running at the first sign of complacency, always becoming the troublemaker when he should be making it work. Marlow is nothing but trouble…but he’s about to see what real trouble looks like….and it’s not a kid with a bad attitude and an inhaler.

”Gonna throw the new dog in the pool? See if it drowns?”
“Call someone a dog too many times,” Marlow said, speaking slowly so he wouldn’t trip over his tongue, “and they might just start to bite.”

Walking into a situation better left in the movies, Marlow finds that he is in over his head. Strange creatures that can morph into about anything and rip your body to shreds in the blink of an eye, he has no clue what to do. A battle raging in front of him and, wait, is that a beautiful girl about to be impaled by one of said monsters?? Who better to be her knight in shining armor than Marlow??? 😉

”He’s clean,” he said. “Holding a pretty big torch for you, though, Pan. Just about all I could see in that simple little excuse for a mind.”
“Wait, no, what?” Marlow spluttered, and Pan turned away before he could see her cheeks boil.

Yes, Folks, believe it or not, Chelsea got her peril and a smidgen of romance. Okay, okay, it’s tentative, but come on! Who doesn’t love something to root for?? He is obsessed with the badass Pan and she…well…she despises him. Too jaded by the aftermath of losing people she has loved, she sees no point in making friends and getting attached, especially to the new loser who they have to lug around everywhere. But as her icy exterior begins to melt, she begins to find a little comfort in his company-He’s a goofball, but he still has a nice, firm shoulder to lean on…

Pan studied him for a moment more and he had the almost overwhelming desire to lean forward and plant his mouth on hers. It would be so easy, she was six inches away, and those lips were so full, slightly open…
“Do it and you die,” she said, reading his mind. She prodded him hard in the forehead and backed away. “Believe me, the Engine is a mean piece of work but I’m worse.”
“Do what?” he said as innocently as he could. “I wasn’t…”
“Sure.”

Apparently not one to shy away from gore (YASSSS), Smith excels in creating a truly gruesome atmosphere in which you can’t help but to cringe and go


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even though you know it’s coming. Well, that’s a lie, that first splatter of blood had me blinking profusely, making sure I was well and truly seeing what I thought I was reading, Not one to be outmatched by slasher filled horror flicks, Smith impressed me in a way I didn’t think I could be impressed-with blood and destruction. Bravo, Smith, I applaud you. What a pleasant, albeit disgusting, surprise.


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I’m not sure what’s to come with this series or where it will go, but I know that I enjoyed every single bit of the journey from page one to the end. I am not easily impressed these days by horror type books, so, to me, this was a complete breath of fresh air. I never once got the feeling I was going to be disappointed or bored with the story, and that is a common occurrence as of late. I loved the play on getting anything you ever wanted at a price…666 hours, to be exact. You get anything in the world you want….but only for that many hours, and then they come to collect.

Marlow smiled nervously at her and she almost felt sorry for him. Almost. The truth was he didn’t know how lucky he was. Right now he was a wheezing, trembling sack of flesh and bone and worry.
And in a few minutes he’d be a god.

And I may have guessed certain events that were going to happen long before they did, but, in a way, that made me happy. I was excited to see my twisted mind went hand in hand with Smith’s twisted mind and, in turn, we were weird twisted minds together. So…there’s that.

So, again, I am over the moon excited that I got asked to read this story and that it was as excellent as it was. It’s not often I adore my ARCs, so to open this up with a smile on my face and end it with an even bigger, more malicious smile on my face was an added bonus. If you are a fan of anything dark or ominous, or even adventurous, I’d venture to say you would probably enjoy this. As for me, I can’t wait to see where it goes next. I quite enjoyed those amazing final chapters. So many amazing possibilities and wonderful directions to go…I only hope my heart can handle it.

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake CrouchThe Last Town (Wayward Pines #3)
by Blake Crouch
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

haha nope.

Epic.
Unforgettable.
Gripping.
Intense.
INSANE.

I will come back and read this someday…and it won’t be soon enough.

GAHD I loved this. I wish I could un-read this series so I could go through the epicness again….Thanks, Dark Pup. For real.


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Ethan!!!!! I’ll miss you, ya surly little shit. Until we meet again.

BOOK REVIEW: Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake Crouch

BOOK REVIEW: Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake CrouchWayward (Wayward Pines #2)
by Blake Crouch
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I'll follow Anna's lead here- Don't read blurb

“Hell is coming to you.”

I have so much to say….but don’t I always??? I want to write an amazing, detailed, long review, but that wouldn’t do this series any good, I think. I believe that, while I would LOVE to go on and on and on about all the amazingness that is this series, it would stunt the curiosity I piqued in everyone with my first review of the beginning book. So, I’ll keep it short and sweet with just a few points to make things curiouser and couriouser for everyone that chooses to read this:

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.

Ethan: Ethan grew so much in this story. In book one, we didn’t know a lot about him, and we didn’t know what kind of guy he really was-What he was made of, if you will. We knew of his tryst, of his adoration for his wife. We knew he was stubborn beyond words…and that his determination, if nothing else, would keep him alive. So, essentially, in this one, we begin to see even more of his cleverness and quick wit, setting in stone his intelligence and willingness to make things right…and the helplessness….don’t forget his reluctance and helplessness. They go hand in hand with this story. Let’s see what he’s made of.

“Do you hear that?” Ethan asked.
“Hear what?”
For five seconds, Ethan was silent on the line. “That’s the sound of me not giving a fuck.”

Atmosphere: The atmosphere, while still eerie, is blown to bits in this one after the big ‘reveal’ of book one. I can’t say it’s as creepy as it was in the first installment, but there was still an underhanded malice that made you question where things were going and how things could possibly get better for the town’s residents. And since I am obsessed with my dear Ethan…this was a big appeal to me, the worrying.

 

For every perfect little town, there’s something ugly underneath. No dream without the nightmare.


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The Writing: Gahd, do I love Crouch’s writing. It’s virtually impossible not to become wholly immersed in this story with his writing style. In book one, sure, I could understand people not loving or being a bit put off about the amazing fragmented sentences (which I loved, if you can’t tell), but I never had a problem with them. In this story, I was so sucked in that I didn’t even notice it-I even picked up a new book because it was released yesterday (9/1) and thought, ‘Wait, this isn’t how you write!’ So, as you can see, I am in love with his writing.
A shiv straight into Ethan’s gut would’ve felt better.
He lost his breath.
Saw the world suddenly through a blur of tears.

Imagery: Beautiful. Vivid. Startling. What more can you ask for?
A millennium without air or light pollution made for pitch-black skies.
The stars didn’t just appear anymore.
They exploded.
Diamonds on black velvet.
You couldn’t tear your eyes away.

So, as you can see, I’m obsessed. So that’s how I will end this: Read it, don’t read it-that’s your call. But I, my friends, am knee deep, up shit creek, whatever phrase you wana use, in love with this series.

YESTERDAY IS HISTORY.

Obsessed.

TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY.

Obsessed.

TODAY IS A GIFT.

Did I mention I’m obsessed?


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BOOK REVIEW: I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver #1) by Dan Wells

BOOK REVIEW: I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver #1) by Dan WellsI Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver #1)
by Dan Wells
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer. Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells's debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

 

You are evil, said myself. You are Mr. Monster. You are nothing. You are me.

 

Well well well…what an odd slice of fun this was. Simplistic and understated, this book really doesn’t try to be anything other than what it says it is, making for not only a fun, easy read, but a very touching one, as well. It’s not easy to read about a diagnosed sociopath…well, at least not for the average person. For me? It felt more authentic and real. I became entwined and engrossed with this character in the early stages of the book, making it enjoyable from page one all the way until the end. And then there’s that damn middle part that just…ugh…it was so…ah, fuck it-It made me laugh. Hard.

“So you have coincidental links to two serial killers,” he said. “That’s a little odd, I admit, but I’m still not seeing a cosmic conspiracy against you.”
“My last name is ‘Cleaver,'” I said. “How many people do you know who are named after two serial killers and a murder weapon?”

I mean seriously?? He really went there? You’ve got to be kidding me. And yet….is it odd that, in the end, I kind of loved where this went??? I can now see why some people didn’t like the direction this novel took, but I actually, after my initial shock, LOVED IT! It took a bit, I’ll admit, to get past the absurdity with which this was presented. But let me ask you this: For me, being the type of reader that I am, why wouldn’t I love the fact that this little twist made it all the more perilous? Yeah, it was totally unbelievable. Yeah, it was an odd direction to go. And, yes, it will not be for everyone. But, for whatever reason, I decided I really liked it-Logic be damned.

I think that fire is more alive than we are-brighter, hotter, more sure of itself and where it wants to go. Fire doesn’t settle; fire doesn’t tolerate; fire doesn’t “get by.” Fire does.
Fire is.

I really did have an internal struggle on whether or not I liked what was happening in this one. I wrestled with the idea that, while I am in love with these types of books, this was really dumb. But it comes down to more than that, it comes down to if the positive outweighs the negative…and, for me, it did. And that big positive that made this whole book worth it? Our main character, John.

People scurry around, doing their little jobs and raising their little families and shouting their meaningless emotions to the world, and all the while you just watch from the sidelines, bewildered. This drives some sociopaths to feel superior, as if the whole of humanity were simply animals to be hunted or put down; others feel a hot, jealous rage, desperate to have what they cannot. I simply felt alone, one leaf sitting miles away from a giant, communal pile.

Emotionless, lacking empathy, and a social outcast, John was my favorite type of character, at the moment. Well, I like a little more empathy in my boys, but, hey-You get what I mean. Not without the quirky inner monologue or the twisted humor of the writing would this book have succeeded-of that I’m sure. John would not be a likable character to read about had we not gotten his odd rationalizations of the goings on around him or the way he views human flaws, such as love and loyalty. In a way, he’s broken. He longs to feel something, anything, if only to be like those around him-He can’t even cry. He gets jealous that others have this ability, and that’s why he is so fascinated with serial killers-weird sounding, I know! But, when you feel like you’re on the verge of being one yourself, it only makes sense to latch onto the one connection in this world you are sure is your only like to humanity.

“You’re weird, man,” said Max, taking another bite of his sandwich. “That’s all there is to say. Someday you’re going to kill a whole bunch of people-probably more than ten, because you’re such an overachiever-and then they’re going to have me on TV and ask if I saw this coming, and I’m going to say,’Hell yes, that guy was seriously screwed up.'”
“Then I guess I have to kill you first,” I said.

You heard me right-He thinks he is destined to be a serial killer. And, because of this, he has a set of rules he rigidly follows. And it has worked…until a serial killer comes to town. Every day his ‘monster’ threatens to leak out, to identify with this new murderer-sorry, sorry, not murder…SERIAL KILLER-in town. But when he finds out who is killing, he takes responsibility into his own hands. Who better to find a serial killer…than a destined-to-be serial killer?

“I’ve been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy,” I said. “Do you know what that means?”
“It means you’re a freak,” he said.
“It means that you’re about as important to me as a cardboard box,” I said. “You’re just a thing-a piece of garbage that no one’s thrown away yet. Is that what you want me to say?”
“Shut up,” said Rob. He was still acting tough, but I could see his bluster was starting to fail-he didn’t know what to say.
“The thing about boxes,” I said, “is that you can open them up. Even though they’re completely boring on the outside, there might be something interesting on the inside. So while you’re saying all of these stupid, boring things, I’m imagining what it would be like to cut you open and see what you’ve got in there.”

 

-lol, is it deranged I laughed and loved that?

Stellar, spot-on writing, wicked humor, and absolutely gruesome scenes that make you think deeper about life in general….I really liked this book. And, after looking at book two ratings and reviews, it seems book two is even darker, grittier, better. I cannot wait until I get the time to read book two. Because once John’s exterior cracked? I fell in love with him. I can’t wait to see how he wrestles with his dark side.

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