Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: The Ghost Hunters

Author: Neil Spring
Pages: 513
Published: October 2013
Genre: Adult, Horror, Mystery
Rating: 5/5

The Ghost Hunters is a fictional memoir of Sarah Grey, assistant to one of the most renowned ghost hunters in all of England, Harry Price. Sarah began working as a model, but changed careers to become a secretary for Mr. Price.

Mr. Price receives tons of letters and inquiries asking for his assistance in investigating supposed haunted houses. After experiencing his own losses, Harry Price went from complete believer to one of the most die-hard skeptics of paranormal activity. Known for uncovering fake psychics, Sarah has witnessed first hand the lengths Harry will go to, even against a friend, in order to ensure that the truth is upheld.

After receiving a letter from a frantic journalist who had visited the Borley Rectory, Sarah presents the case to Harry but is ignored. Later, Harry is again approached about the presence of paranormal activity within the Borley Rectory and agrees to investigate. Thus begins the most trying few years of Sarah’s life as she accompanies Harry through the Borley Rectory multiple times while coping with the loss of her father and attempting to protect her grief stricken mother.

This is definitely a novel that the reader should go into without having much background on the plot. The Ghost Hunters was a beautifully written and eerie novelization of the events at the Borley Rectory and the life of Harry Price. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this novel and while it did take about 150 pages for the plot to really pick up, I was creeped out multiple times in the beginning.

Neil Spring did an excellent job of bringing the Borley Rectory to life for the reader in a way that leaves you very unsettled after finishing the story. A must read for any horror buff.

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Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: The Merciless

Author: Danielle Vega
Pages: 279
Published: June 12, 2014
Genre: YA, Horror, Thriller
Rating: 5/5

The Merciless by Danielle Vega has been receiving a ton of hype in the book community since it was published this past summer and honestly, it’s for good reason. As an avid horror reader I was skeptical that this novel would live up to the hype for me. But thankfully, I was proved wrong as I rated this a novel a 5/5.

Sofia is a new girl in school and is trying to make it through the next six months with no problems so that when she moves away again with her military family, she won’t have any problems. After cutting her finger open in the lunchroom, a girl named Brooklyn approaches her and gives her a bandaid. Brooklyn seems nice enough and Sofia thinks she might actually have made a friend.

Riley inserted herself into Sofia’s life with no input from Sofia on the first day of school. After Sofia discovered a dead cat behind the bleachers, Riley approaches her and informs her that Brooklyn is most likely responsible. Riley then introduces Sofia to her group of friends and proceeds to inform her that Brooklyn used to be friends with them but has since “changed”.

Sofia is wrapped up in Riley’s delusions about Brooklyn before she can get away. This novel has been compared to Mean Girls, but I honestly think Mean Girls seems like a kids movie compared to the brutality in this novel.

I felt myself cringing multiple times after reading the climax of the plot and enjoyed every second of it. Danielle Vega has entered the horror genre in a brilliant way and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: The Nightmary’s

Author: Dan Poblocki
Pages: 336
Published: August 24, 2010
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5

The Nightmary’s tells the story of a little boy named Timothy as he tries to uncover what is causing his horrific nightmares. On top of having nightmares, his best friend Stuart is now mad at him for being assigned to another partner for a class project.

Abigail is the new girl in school and has been trying her hardest to remain unseen. Things were going according to plan until Timothy got assigned as her partner. After choosing a painting at the local museum to use for their project, Abigail is hit with a water balloon. Now everyone knows who she is and it’s all Timothy’s fault.

Timothy and Abigail have a pretty rocky start, but quickly find out that they are experiencing the same thing; they’re being tormented by nightmares that are controlled by someone with a grudge against them.

They must work together to discover who is behind these hauntings while trying to survive long enough to finish their class project.

This book was pretty creepy. I read the majority of it at night and immediately regretted that as Dan Poblocki does an excellent job of creating a terrifying atmosphere where ghosts run rampant. Definitely enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: Of Monsters and Madness

Author: Jessica Verday
Pages: 288
Published: September 9, 2014
Genre: YA, Horror, Retelling, Gothic
Rating: 4/5

A new horror re-telling of Poe’s classic Annabel Lee, Jessica Verday was able to create an incredibly creepy atmosphere in an area close to home.

Of Monsters and Madness takes place in the 1820’s in Philadelphia. Drawing from historical accounts of Poe’s whereabouts, Verday told the story of a young girl named Annabel Lee after she moved to Philadelphia to live with her father and encountered a young Allan Poe.

Shortly after Annabel’s mother passed away, Annabel was shipped from Siam to Philadelphia to live with her grandfather and father whom she had never met before. Arriving in Philadelphia, Annabel was eager and excited to meet her family, but was quickly met with an irritable and hostile man for a father. Determined to make him proud of her, Annabel begins lessons with Mrs. Tusk to learn proper etiquette for females at the time.

While being told all of the rules she must follow, Annabel is informed that a serial killer is on the loose and she must not venture out at night by herself since the city is not safe. In an attempt to uncover the mysteries surrounding her fathers work and the off-limits basement room under the kitchen, Annabel realizes that the murderer may be closer to her than she ever thought possible.

A super fun and quick read, Of Monsters and Madness was an enjoyable take on the life of Edgar Allan Poe. Definitely enjoyed reading this one and look forward to more from this author.

Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: Nyctophobia

Author: Christopher Fowler
Pages: 320
Published: October 7, 2014
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

Nyctophobia is the new horror novel from author Christopher Fowler. Callie, an architect, recently got married to the man of her dreams, Mateo and together they moved to Spain. Callie and Mateo decided to split up and look at potential houses separately and then discuss them together later on in order to save time since Mateo travels a lot for business. After having a tour of the Hyperion House, Callie knows this is the place she wants to live.

The Hyperion House  was built against a cliff face and was constructed in such a way as to maximize the amount of ambient light in almost every room of the house. Windows were put in at weird angles and there was a room specifically created for what everyone believes was a telescope.

After showing the house to Mateo, the two agree to purchase the house and move in right away. Things seem to be going well for Callie. She’s in a loving relationship, she’s far away from her insufferable mother, Anne, and she has a new project to keep her busy while waiting for Mateo’s daughter to arrive in a few weeks; writing a story on the history of Hyperion House.

Soon after, things begin to change. Callie discovers rooms that are kept permanently locked within the house and the caretaker of the house for whatever reason, is incredibly reluctant to open them. She continuously tells Callie that they are meant to be that way and have been locked for years.

If only Callie would have listened to her, none of the terrible things that were to come would have happened.

An incredibly creepy and beautifully written story from this author. I’ll definitely be looking into reading more of his work!

Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Blog Tour | The Carpathian Assignment by Chip Wagar

Author: Chip Wagar
Pages: 326
Published: May 28, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Adult
Rating: 4/5

The Carpathian Assignment follows the story of Kalvary Istvan, who has been promoted to the Chief of Police in the “Carpathian city of Bistritz”. Shortly after arriving, Istvan is informed of a potential serial killer that has been active in the area for a lengthy amount of time.

A group of Roma citizens have been residing in the Carpathian forests for a long time away from the influence of the citizens of Bistritz. They have an uneven relationship with outsiders and so the disappearance of Roma people has not been thoroughly investigated until now.

Potentially hundreds of individuals have gone missing and there is only one suspect, the mysterious Count Dracula that has control of the Roma people. Now Istvan and his colleague, Gabor Kasza, must work together to uncover the whereabouts of Dracula and his followers in order to bring him to justice. Not as easy as it sounds when Dracula has an unknown amount of followers and any number of potential homes throughout the world.

I originally received this book from Netgalley for review and was then approached to see if I wanted to take part in the blog tour for this book. I quickly agreed and could not be more satisfied with my first experience taking part in a blog tour. The Carpathian Assignment was a fantastic new additional Dracula lore that has inspired so many novels and movies over the years. A perfect Halloween read for this month and one that I definitely recommend picking up.

Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: Say Her Name

Author: James Dawson
Pages: 240
Published: June 5, 2014
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5

Say Her Name was my first experience reading James Dawson’s work and I’m completely hooked. A YA re-telling of the Bloody Mary legend, Say Her Name provided just enough of a creep factor mixed with some cheese to make reading this book at night a super fun experience.

Bobbie and her best friend Naya attend a boarding school where there is a clear hierarchy between the “cool kids” and the “others.” Typically their circles don’t intermix, but one Halloween night at a party in a graveyard, Naya and Bobbie agree to a dare. After one of the popular girls tells the legend of Bloody Mary and says that the legend is based off of a girl that went to their school, Naya, Bobbie, and a local boy named Caine, agree to stand in front of a mirror and say her name five times to see what happens.

They all assumed it was just a story to freak people out and that nothing would happen, but they soon find out how wrong they were.

I can’t say this was my favorite horror read of the year, but it definitely provided enough horror thrills reminiscent of movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer to make any horror fan enjoy it.

Say Her Name was a quick and entertaining read that is sure to get anyone in the Halloween spirit.

Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews · October 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bargaining

Author: Carly Anne West
Pages: 384
Published: (Anticipated February 17, 2015)
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5

After finishing this novel, I’m in a similar boat as some other reviewers in that I wanted to like this book so much. The cover is gorgeous, it was incredibly eerie, and was a very creepy idea for a YA horror novel. But the writing for some reason just wasn’t working out for me.

The Bargaining told the story of a young girl named Penny that can’t seem to find anyone who won’t give up on her. After befriending a girl named Rae that did everything possible to destroy the person Penny was, Penny’s life began spiraling out of control. Previously living with her mom, Penny was then passed on to her dad and step-mother, April, to finish out the school year.

April is a realtor that buys houses and then flips them for profit. After informing everyone over dinner that she had purchased an old abandoned home called the Carver House, April decided that she would take Penny with her for the summer to live in the home while they fix it up.

Just outside of the North Woods, the Carver House was clearly inhabited by someone or something prior to Penny and April moving in and Penny finds an old mural of a young boy painted on the wall in one of the rooms.

This novel had so many intertwining story lines and elements of paranormal creepiness that I typically love in horror novels. The actual writing was also very eloquent and easy to read, but something about it was vague and at times confusing. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint what exactly was vague about it, but I felt that there was something missing from this story that kept me from fully enjoying it.

Granted, this copy that I reviewed was an ARC and therefore there may very well be changes to the final story. But for now I have to rate it a 3.5/5. Definitely has potential and I am now going to look into the other works from this author.

Horror Reviews · Kids Books · October 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Substitute Creature (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4)

Author: Charles Gilman
Pages: 171
Published: September 24, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5

The fourth installment of the Lovecraft Middle School series continues the story of Robert, Glenn, Karina, and Robert’s pet rats, Pip & Squeak as they battle against the evil Professor Tillinghast that has been slowly taking over the school.

After a huge snow storm traps Robert and his friends inside Lovecraft Middle School with the creepy new substitute, Ms. Carcasse, Pip & Squeak inform Robert that they need to show him something. He has had a sense that something was off with the substitute the entire time, but was unable to figure out exactly what it was until he saw that it was snowing inside the chemistry lab.

I have absolutely loved the Lovecraft Middle School series by Charles Gilman. One of my first experiences with middle grade horror and I’m definitely satisfied. The fourth book did a great job of continuing on with the story, however, the only aspect of the book I didn’t enjoy that much was the lack of focus on the substitute as a minion of the main protagonist. She was almost just an extra character that didn’t get fully developed. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book very much.