Book Review: The Atrocities



Author: Jeremy Shipp
Pages: 104 (ebook)
Published: April 17, 2018
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Fantasy
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Ms. Valdez has taken a new job as a governess for Isabella. So far her experience has been…weird. After navigating a maze outside of the house where she was confronted with grotesque statues she was finally able to enter the home but has not yet been able to meet Isabella. No one will tell her much about the girl other than that she was in an accident and now needs help. Is this the job that she signed up for?

This one left me guessing the entire time. I was sure that I knew what the answers were going to be as I was reading and being introduced to each new character, but of course not. Shipp did a great job of taking some of the weirdest concepts and combining them with the traditional story of a new governess meeting a strange family. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and can definitely recommend it!


Book Review: Waiting for the Last Bus


Author: Richard Holloway
Pages: 177 (ebook)
Published: March 1, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction, Philosophy, Religion, Memoir
Rating:  3/5 (Did Not Finish)

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I wanted so badly to enjoy it, but unfortunately ended up DNF’ing at around 56%.

Richard Holloway is a Bishop that has spent decades assisting people to achieve a peaceful death. Waiting for the Last Bus is less of a memoir and more of a commentary on grief, forgiveness and religion. There were definitely parts of his writing that I enjoyed. For example, throughout each chapter Holloway would provide segments of poetry and other works to help demonstrate the concepts he was writing about which I felt added to the overall atmosphere of the book. And I did find his writing style enjoyable and easy to read.

However, at one point he writes about older adults being mistreated because of their age without ever explicitly referring to this mistreatment as ageism. I’m not sure what the disconnect was at that point in the book, but it was frustrating because I was really wishing he would call it what it was.

Additionally, for a while he speaks about whether or not humans are able to make choices in their life and then moves into asking for forgiveness. I really struggled with this section because it felt as if the author were saying that everything is completely out of our hands and we are incapable of making decisions (good or bad) which conflicted with other statements in the book up to that point.

Maybe if I considered myself a religious or spiritual person I would have enjoyed this more. But after a while I felt that the content became disjointed and I had a hard time keeping track of what he was trying to say.

Book Review: Thirty Hours with a Corpse


Author: Maurice Level
Pages: 224 (ebook)
Published: March 15, 2016
Genre: Horror, Short Stories, Gothic
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Thirty Hours with a Corpse is a brilliant collection of weird short stories from French author Maurice Level. While each story is its own entity that definitely makes the reader question humanity, there are some common themes throughout the collection (ex. criminal activity). This collection dives into some of the darkest parts of what humans are capable of yet somehow leaves you wanting more.

Despite how dark each story is, there really isn’t much “gore” to be found. Probably the stories that are the riskiest for those with weaker stomachs are ‘The Horror on the Night Express’ or ‘The Cripple’.

I would definitely recommend this short story collection for horror fans. Level’s writing is beautiful and I don’t believe I’ve ever read stories quite like his before.

Book Review: The General Theory of Haunting


Author: Richard Easter
Pages: 306 (ebook)
Published: December 24, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Gothic
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

I really enjoyed this one. The General Theory of Haunting is a new take on a traditional haunted house story. Partially set in the 1800s and in 2018, you follow a group of main characters as they navigate Marryman Hall in December 2018. While on a company retreat a group of fellow employees begin to realize there may be more to the Hall than they originally thought. The butler, Mr. Boulder, insists that the Hall is not haunted (because of course not), and is quick to explain away any suspicious noises they may hear in the night.

The setting bounces between present day (December 2018) and December 1810 as the Hall was first being built.

Definitely not the scariest or creepiest ghost story I’ve ever read, but it had enough of a spooky atmosphere to it that I found myself wanting to know what would happen next and I was pleasantly surprised.

ARC Review: The Seasons of My Mother


Author: Marcia Gay Harden
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Published: May 1, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Alzheimer’s
Rating:  4/5

I received this one as an e-ARC from NetGalley.

This was definitely not what I was expecting as far as a memoir about Alzheimer’s, but I really enjoyed it. Marcia Gay Harden’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, but the majority of the book is a beautifully written look back on her life with her mother and the impact that she has had on her life and career. She uses her mother’s love of flowers and the Japanese flower arranging art of Ikebana to move the reader through the ups and downs of her life as a waitress, then actress, mother and ultimately caregiver.

I really appreciated the focus that is given on her mother as a person rather than on Alzheimer’s as a disease. This is a great addition to the handful of books being written by family members on the topic and I’m happy to recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about how memory changes and what dementia looks like for families.

I had some issues while reading it, but nothing that was enough to totally take me out of the narrative.

Book Review: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Author: Cormac McCarthy
Pages: 309
Published: July 11, 2009 (First Published January 1, 2005)
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Rating: 5/5

This is the third book I’ve read from McCarthy and he never ceases to disappoint. A crime thriller that follows a man named Llewellyn Moss when he discovers the left overs of a heroin deal gone bad in the desert. Now on the run from both parties involved, Llewellyn has to decide if the decisions he has made thus far are worth it.

Told through multiple points of view, No Country for Old Men was absolutely fantastic. I had a little difficulty getting used to the writing style McCarthy used in this novel as he wasn’t a huge fan of punctuation. But after the first chapter it became increasingly easier to read and I flew through it. If it weren’t for McCarthy’s work I don’t know that I would ever have picked up novels with a western US setting. Now I’m hooked.

I loved this one.

Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Author: Lisa Genova
Pages: 292
Published: December 16, 2014 (First Published July 6, 2007)
Genre: Contemporary, Psychology, Adult Fiction, Medical
Rating: 5/5

One of the most difficult things I’ve ever read. I picked up Still Alice for a project during graduate school and never expected to love it as much as I did.

Alice has been a linguistics professor for Harvard for years. Known as a prominent academic and strict mother, Alice and her husband are well known in their fields. One day while jogging, Alice forgets where she is. This starts a downward spiral of forgetfulness, mistrust, and eventually leads to a career ending diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s. While Still Alice is a work of fiction, this novel read too much like a real life account of what someone may experience with this diagnosis.

Told entirely in Alice’s perspective, the reader follows Alice as her world crumbles around her and she struggles to find a way to cope with being treated like a child by her friends and family.

Gut wrenching and brilliant, Still Alice is a fantastic novel that I highly recommend.

Book Review: Ask the Dark by Henry Turner

Author: Henry Turner
Pages: 256
Published: April 7, 2015
Genre: Mystery, YA, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

Billy is known throughout his small town as a trouble maker. But now that his father told him they might lose their house, Billy is doing everything he can to make money in time to save it. That is, until boys start going missing.

Billy has his hand in a few odd jobs around the town, but has been so focused on saving his money that he didn’t realize he had uncovered clues to who was kidnapping the boys. That is, until he is confronted by the kidnapper.

Ask the Dark will take you on a crazy journey with Billy and his family as he tries to change the towns opinion of him, save his family home, and solve a kidnapping/murder at the same time.

I really enjoyed this story but sometimes the dialogue took me out of it. At one point near the end Billy is engaged in a sort of inner monologue that felt a little too cliched. But overall I highly enjoyed reading about Billy. Henry Turner wrote the entire book almost in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way where the reader is inside Billy’s head.

This mystery novel will keep you guessing up until the end. A fun new read for any thriller fan .

Book Review: The Silence by Tim Lebbon (ARC)

Author: Tim Lebbon
Pages: 400
Published: April 14, 2015
Genre: Horror
Rating: 5/5

One of the creepiest novels I’ve ever read. And the only novel to make me tear up.

I was sent an ARC for review from Titan Books.

The Silence is the new horror novel from Tim Lebbon that is sure to give you the creeps.

Ally is a teenage girl that wants nothing more than to be a journalist and she’s found a new story to follow. After a cave discovery in Moldova is broadcast on the news, both Ally and her father Huw become intrigued. While Ally is home with her brother, mom, and grandmother, she turns on the Discovery Channel to watch the live feed of the explorers at the cave site. While away on a business trip, her father Huw has done the same thing. Unknowingly they are both about to see something horrifying that will change their lives forever.

Now as the monsters that have been unleashed from the cave are making their way across the world, Ally and her family must decide if they want to stay in their home and wait it out, or try to make it to Huw’s parents old vacation home in Scotland.

No one knows what the monsters are. The only facts that have been shared about them with the world are that they are killing people and they hunt by sound. For Ally’s family this presents a challenge unlike what most other families will experience since Ally is deaf and her family can communicate through sign language.

Follow Ally and her family as they fight to survive in Tim Lebbon’s new fantastically terrifying novel, The Silence.

This novel was absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed every second of it and am now completely hooked on Tim Lebbon’s writing. The Silence is the second sensory deprivation novel that I’ve ever read and that’s partly what made it so terrifying. This is also the very first novel I’ve ever read that made me tear up. Which says a lot about Tim Lebbon’s ability to create characters that the reader can relate to. I highly recommend all horror fans read The Silence and gave it a much deserved 5/5.

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