Tag Archives: Supernatural

#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#InHerShadow by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for Mark Edwards latest book In Her Shadows, which is published on the Thursday 4th October but firstly here’s the book description…….

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Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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Mark Edwards books never fit neatly into one particular genre, and In Her Shadow is no different, is it a psychology thriller? Possibly, horror? it definitely has elements of that fit this genre, supernatural? there’s plenty of events that suggest it could be, see what I mean?The reader is never sure what the author has planned, and that’s one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of  this authors work, he turns the most ordinary events into an extraordinary tale. In Her Shadow is spine-chilling creepy, it’s one of those books where your nerves are frayed, the  slightest noise will make you jump, there’s a sense of impending doom which only intensifies as the plot thickens, it’s  a story that’s brimming with suspense, misdirection and the most delicious twists.   

Jessica is mum to  four year old Olivia who appears to be communicating with Jessica’s sister Isabel, but that’s where things take a creepy and disturbing turn as Isabel died four years ago when she fell from the balcony of her house. At the time the fall was seen to be a tragic accident but Olivia has other ideas and soon Jessica is convinced that there is something far more sinister behind her sisters accident. In Her Shadows reminded me a little of the film The Sixth Sense, it’s the one where a young boy talks to dead people, I got the same sense of unease whilst reading this book. Olivia’s character is definitely the star of In Her Shadows, I had permanent goose bumps as Olivia’s behaviour became more disturbing, especially when she started  sharing memories that only Jessica and Izzy would have known about. 

Familiar themes run through this book, family secrets, lies and obsession but Mark Edwards adds his unique voice making the themes his own. I loved the way the author always manages to make his books multi genre, and even with elements of the supernatural In Her Shadows felt frighteningly credible. Add into the mix unreliable characters that as the reader you find yourself  constantly doubting how trustworthy they actually are. The author also leaves little time to contemplate because as each chapter ends the plot thickens, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this read. I really enjoy the fact you never know what story will be hidden in the pages of a new Mark Edwards books, but one thing you can be guaranteed it will be a highly entertaining read. Definitely one for fans of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (4 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#BlogBlitz The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall @BloodhoundBook @annevansauthor #GuestPost

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysal #BlogBlitz. Published by Bloodhound Books The Bitter End is a supernatural thriller, I must say I do love the sound of this book, and hope to read it at some point in the near future. I do have a guest post from Ann Smith which I really enjoyed reading, I hope you do too.

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An Interview with my Character. 

For this blog, I decided to speak to Father Wallace Willoughby, the parish priest and a neighbour of the protagonist, Paul Christian. 

Although Father Willoughby is a diminutive little man, he’s something of a fire and brimstone preacher and his loud booming voice can rattle the windows! Even so, I didn’t expect the reaction I got from him. 

He glared at me through those small round glasses of his, his voice fairly controlled – for the moment. “I’m afraid this is not a book I approve of,” he said. “In fact, I’m horrified that you could write about such dark and dreadful deeds.”

“It’s just fiction,” I reminded him, but he cut me short.

“The Good Lord did not grant you your writing skills to produce such heinous characters or such odious atrocities… and have you no thought for me?”

“You didn’t like the role then?”

“Well at first yes, I was flattered that you’d created me and it all started so innocently. But I had no idea what you… and that other author fellow – Tysall, Robert Tysall, had concocted.”

“Yes, well, that was the idea,” I tried to explain. “You don’t want the reader to guess what’s coming.”

“I didn’t see what was coming!” he bellowed. “How could you? I remember when you used to write nice children’s stories.”

“I like to try different genres,” I said, smiling, hoping he’d understand.

 He shook his head. “Alas, it is done, and the book – what is it called again – Ah yes, The Bitter End, is published and available for the world to read. And read it they will. You mark my words. The devil works in mysterious ways.”

“But it’s a fight for good conquering evil, Father Willoughby,” I reminded him.

He didn’t seem convinced and was actually a little sarcastic. “So, it’s a happy ending for all of the characters, is it?”

I sort of hung my head in shame. “Well, no, but…”

He sighed. “I shall be praying for the saving of your soul, my child.”

“Oh! Come on!” I argued. “It’s just a fictional story…”

“I enjoy fiction!” he said in that booming voice. “I, just like the Holy Father in Rome, am extremely fond of television’s Father Ted for instance. But really, The Bitter End goes a step too far.”

There was a grimace on my face. “Er, so you won’t be in book two?”

The disdainful glance he cast me provided the answer. 

I nodded and said goodbye, deciding it was probably best not to tell him that while he wouldn’t be in book two, possibly his older, and slightly stranger brother would be.

Book description

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

 As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

 Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

 Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

 Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

 Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

 As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

About the authors

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Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-E vans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansau thor

https://www.goodreads.com/auth or/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

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Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/rober t.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHO TOS

If you want to follow the rest of the tour where you can read reviews for this book from some pretty awesome bloggers here’s the blog poster……

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The Retreat by Mark Edwards #BookReview #MustReads @mredwards

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Retreat published by Thomas & Mercer on the 10th May 2018. Fans of Mark Edwards are in for a real treat, before you read my review here’s the book description…….

Book description 

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. 

But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

8ECAEFD2-0923-4546-A2E8-C5A2349B4D11When I think of a retreat it conjures up images of somewhere quiet , an oasis where you can rest and reflect or write, somewhere you feel safe, well that was until I picked up The Retreat by Mark Edwards, who turns an idyllic setting into something far more sinister. Steeped in atmosphere and disturbingly creepy The Retreat is a reminder of why I’m such a fan of Mark Edwards writing.  Lucas, a horror novelist, arrives at the retreat hoping to write his next book, but within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of strange events, are the events linked to Lily a missing child? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

It’s great that the author doesn’t conform to a specific genre, with elements of the supernatural, horror and psychological running through its veins you are never quite sure where the author is heading with an unpredictable plot. Mark Edwards maintain the overwhelming sense of suspense and unease throughout. The tale is shrouded in local folklore, and spooky ghost stories, the author does a fabulous job in evoking the horror, the fear and trepidation around such tales.  

Told in the present peppered with chapters told from the missing child Lily’s POV you get a feel for Lily, her fears that are grounded in the folklore tales, her worries about her family, it was these chapters that I found the most intriguing and also the most creepy. These chapters were the ones that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, made me jump at every noise, and kept me reading long into the night (with the lights on of course!)

Steeped in atmosphere with a backdrop of creepy settings, and an array of characters who as the reader you can’t help but mistrust,  Mark Edwards has written another outstanding book. I never thought the author could top The Magpies one of my favourite books ever, well until now but The Retreat is definitely his best book yet, it’s unpredictable, engaging with one of the most deliciously satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommend. 

Print Length: 335 pages

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (10 May 2018)

Pre-order links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

https://www.amazon.com/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

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#TheHunger by Alma Katsu #MustReads @Almakatsu @PoppyStimpson @TransworldBooks

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As anyone who follows my blog will know I read and review mostly Crime and psychological thrillers, but once in a blue moon I like to step out of my comfort zone and read something completely different. When I saw the cover for The Hunger with “turn back or you will die” written all over it I knew it was a book I had to read even though I had no idea what it was about. So imagine my dismay when I read The Hunger book description and realised this book was part historical fiction, which is definitely a genre way out of my comfort zone. So I picked up this book with some, ok a lot of trepidation, did I regret it? Read my thoughts further down the post, but first the book description.

Book description

After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.

Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the brink of madness, the ill-fated group struggles to survive and minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements, to something more primal and far more deadly.

Based on the true story of The Donner Party, The Hunger is an eerie, shiver-inducing exploration of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

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The Hunger by Alma Katsu is part historical fiction and part supernatural/horror. Based on a true story the author has masterfully blurred the lines between fact and fiction, even the fictional parts seemed very credible which made this book even more chilling to read. Based on the Donner party’s tragic crossing of America in the 1840s, it follows a group of settlers who head across the unrelenting plains in search of new beginnings but find themselves hunted by an unknown prey.

The author has an extraordinary ability to describe her settings, and the difficulties faced by the Donner party with such conviction that I felt like I was there along side them, I felt their fear, despair, and paranoia growing as the ill fated party struggle to survive in a hostile environment. The first half of the book is slow but please don’t let that put you off, as the author builds tension into the plot through her characters, and the threat of the unknown as children start to go missing. Each pioneer has joined the journey for a very different reason and each one has something to hide, which brings an authenticity to the story so the reader feel as if they really know and understand the characters. As the book progresses the characters secrets are revealed fuelling the tension, mistrust and violence amongst the pioneers.

Alma Katsu’s writing is poetic at times as she describes a journey that causes hardship, hunger and madness. The writing is intense and steeped in atmosphere, as the reader the sense of foreboding grows. The Hunger is broken into months which I thought worked very well, it shows how relationships can fracture when faced with adversity and the lengths people will go to to survive.
As each month grows darker, the author describes the decline in the Pioneers,  hunger and fear begin to overwhelm them, with that comes discord within the party with themes of jealousy, lust, mistrust and the forefront.

As the pioneers find themselves stranded, starving and fighting for survival the horror/supernatural aspect of the novel takes over and that’s when The Hunger comes into its own. At this point the atmosphere becomes much darker, the sense of dread more palatable. The author has created a terrifying and deeply unsettling story, reminiscent of The Revenant with a hint of the supernatural, it’s a book that turned out to be a hell of a read considering I picked it up with reservations. Highly recommended.

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I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving The Hunger the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page and plus this one gave me a #Major #BookHangover something I don’t suffer with very often!

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Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Print Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Transworld Digital (6 Mar. 2018)