Book Review

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James- 5 Stars

 

This was so creepy! A cold case mystery,  the paranormal, & dual timelines? Sign me up!

In small town Fell, New York, weird things happen at The Sun Down Motel. Doors open and shut, the smell of smoke wafts around, but no one is there. All of these things happened in the 80’s and they’re still happening in the present day when Carly shows up searching for answers about her aunt Viv who worked at the motel back in 1982. Carly’s just lost her mom and wants to know more about her mom’s sister, the aunt she never knew. Carly makes friends with a couple of locals and digs right into the library’s archives, but the real answers lie within the motel…

If you like strong Nancy Drew type heroines check this one out! 

Book Review

Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Gold-4 Stars

This story was dark, sad, and unsettling. Lauren Tranter has just given birth to twins. The delivery was traumatic, and of course the subsequent nights bring stress with the learning to breastfeed, sleep deprivation, and just learning a new process in general! So when Lauren calls for help saying she’s locked in the maternity ward bathroom with her twins because a woman is trying to take them and replace them with her own “creatures,” everyone chalks it up to postpartum anxiety and exhaustion. No one believes her, but a detective named Joanna Harper, feels for Lauren and wants to help her and not simply call it a case of paranoia.

I loathed Patrick, Lauren’s husband. My heart ached for Lauren. Being a mom, I can relate to Lauren especially from dealing with postpartum anxiety myself. It’s hard to distinguish at times what you’ve conjured in your head vs. what is really going on around you. The author did a great job portraying new parent life in a haunting but realistic way.

This is definitely a story that will stick with me for a long time-as well as have me checking my babies! 😉 Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for my copy.

Book Review

Book Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams- 5 Stars

This book is terrifying, tense, and action packed! It’s actually more gruesome and gory than I anticipated which made it even more frightening!

Darby is traveling from college to visit her mother in the hospital who is dying. A terrible winter storm is coming through which ends up stranding her in a rest stop with four other people. Desperate to find cell service and check on her mom, she winds through the parking lot looking for a signal when she sees a young child locked in a cage in the back of a van! Obviously she can’t get a cell signal to call 911, so she sends a text with her location in hopes it will eventually go through. But who inside the rest stop is so evil they’ve kept a child locked in a cage? Who can she trust enough to share what she’s discovered and hopefully find an ally?

As the night goes on it becomes obvious the stranded travelers are in terrible danger. The snow storm is so bad, and they are in such a remote area, it will be hours before emergency services will come. Over the course of the evening the terror and gore go from 0 to 60 in one scene! I really liked Darby and while she made some stupid choices at times I applaud her for everything she did at whatever cost, to protect the kidnapped child. Don’t read this one before bed!

Book Review

Book Review: Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things #1) by Gwenda Bond-5 Stars

I’m a huge fan of the show Stranger Things so I was really excited my library had this available! If you thought Dr. Brenner was evil in the show, just wait until you read this! This book was dark and creepy-in a different way than the show, with the monsters and the Upside Down, in that the book really dives in to the Hawkins Lab and you see what Dr. Brenner really does to these people. We get the back story on Eleven’s mom Terry which is insanely fascinating to read about after seeing her in such a state on the show! What I loved most about this book, and honestly love the most about the show, is the friendship dynamic. The group of friends in the book is somewhat similar to the kids’ friendship on the show and I ADORE IT.

The evil that goes on in the Hawkins Lab at the hands of Martin Brenner is so twisted and horrifying. Terry and three other young adults get sucked in to this nightmare hoping they can do something good, something BIG, at a time when young men are being drafted and sent off to Vietnam. At first they just wanted to make some extra cash, but it isn’t too long before they are too far in over their heads and it will take something drastic for Dr. Brenner to let them get out of this experiment.

The good thing about this book is you don’t have to be familiar with the show to understand it. Sure, it gives a lot of history and more understanding to the show, but if you like horror and science fiction books in general you can read it without being confused.

Book Review

Book Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins-3 Stars

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Well, this was a letdown. I was really excited for this one but it was rather strange. I think it was supposed to be scary but it was more so just sadistically weird and rather gruesome, especially for a YA, so it seemed odd.

Makani has moved from Hawaii to small town Nebraska and is hiding a dark secret. High school students are individually being murdered in gruesome ways, and as the body count gets higher, Makani fears for what might happen if her past is found out.

It was pretty gruesome but it wasn’t a frightening thriller which is what I prefer, suspense and thrill over gore. I did like the relationships between Makani, Ollie, and her friends and the revelation of the killer was interesting but I felt the overall ending and book as a whole fell flat for me.

Book Review

Book Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner-4 Stars

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UNSUB is a terrifyingly graphic, gruesome, intense, suspenseful crime thriller! This one kept me awake at night!

As a child, Caitlin Hendrix learned the horrors of an unsub who eluded the cops, mostly her detective father, Mack, for years. Dubbed “The Prophet,” this serial killer committed ritualistic, gruesome murders.

After a 20 year hiatus, more people are found dead bearing what looks like The Prophet’s signature. Could it be a copycat, or has he started killing again after so many years lying in wait? Fueled by this case and her father’s dedication to it, Caitlin is a narcotics detective but dives headfirst into the search for The Prophet. Her father is retired, but she feels so close to this case from childhood she feels she has a leg up and can stop this sadistic killer once and for all.

The Prophet is evil but intelligent and taunts law enforcement to the brink of insanity. More than once Caitlin is at risk for losing her life but she just can’t back down until The Prophet is stopped.

The thing I liked most about this novel is the fact there is a great plot and story-line between Caitlin and her father, as well as the history of The Prophet-it’s not just a play by play of the evil he’s committed. The characters are well thought out and developed also. The author has a way of writing about this sadistic serial killer that just makes your skin crawl but leaves you furiously turning the pages looking for answers! I highly recommend if you’re a fan of the show Criminal Minds and crime thrillers.

 

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Book Review: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar-4 Stars

Having never read anything by Stephen King I was a little worried that this might be too scary or gory, but it’s not! It’s just a little spooky and thrillery.

Gwendy’s Button Box is a short story about a young girl named Gwendy, who, right before school starts, decides she is fed up with fat jokes and wants to get healthy, so she runs the suicide stairs up Castle Rock daily. One day, a man in a black hat invites her to sit and talk with him. Mr. Farris claims Gwendy is the perfect recipient for a button box he has. The box has various colored buttons that correspond with all of the continents, as well as levers, a black button, and a red button. The red button is the only one Gwendy can push multiple times and wish for whatever she desires. The levers dispense a tiny, intricately detailed animal shaped chocolates and Morgan dollars of very high value.

Gwendy notices her life slowly begin to change for the better after acquiring the box. But at what cost? Just how magical and powerful is this box?

For a short story I was still pretty thrilled and entertained. I found myself thinking WTF multiple times but I found the ending lacking and abrupt. Overall, still a pretty decent mind boggling read.

Book Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty-5 Stars

Goodreads Summary 

Serafina and the Black Cloak is a middle grade fantasy novel set at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC during the time that the Vanderbilts lived there. Serafina and her Pa secretly live in the basement of the Biltmore, as her Pa is the maintenance man. Serafina is a little different than most kids her age. She roams the halls of the Biltmore at night, catching rats and peeking on the guests during their parties and dinners, envisioning herself as one of them, or being friends with some of them. She has never known her mom, she is missing a toe on each foot, she’s super tiny, and she has really unique golden amber eyes. One night while roaming, she sees a creepy man in a black cloak take a girl who was staying at the estate.

Children continue to go missing, and Serafina strikes up a friendship with Braeden, the Vanderbilt’s nephew. Serafina can’t imagine what/who this person is in the black cloak, and is determined to find out and save the other children and protect herself. There were kind of two mysteries going on in the book-the black cloak, of course, and Serafina trying to figure out what she really is. Her friendship with Braeden was so sweet and genuine and just shows how two children from different social worlds, who look different, can see through to the heart of each other and become friends.

Even though this is marketed as a middle grades novel I didn’t find it to be too juvenile. I could not put it down! It was the perfect mix of suspense, horror, friendship, and magic! All of the main and supporting characters were perfectly developed and described to aid in the flow of the storyline. The climax of the novel surprised me, so kudos to Beatty, because I had not figured out the mystery of the black cloak nor Serafina’s heritage until it unraveled in the forest!

I may be biased since I’m from the area and I love going to Biltmore, but I highly recommend this novel!

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley-thank you!!

Book Review

Book Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd-4.5 Stars

a cold legacy Goodreads

What darkness began, only madness can end. 

I have been waaiiiiiiting for this book to come out for what feels like ages!! I really enjoyed the first two in this series, The Madman’s Daughter, and Her Dark Curiosity. This is the final book in the Madman’s Daughter series that revolves around the life of Juliet Moreau and the repercussions of her father’s “science.” The books are full of drama, danger, suspense, thrill, romance, and gore. They are all also based around classics- The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein.

I LOVE the main character, Juliet. She is a total bad A, strong, female lead! My other favorite character is Balthazar, one of Juliet’s fathers’ creations. He is so precious and kindhearted, but strong and willing to do whatever needed to show his loyalty. While I did like this book, I only gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 because I didn’t care for the ending. It wasn’t necessarily a cliff-hanger but I don’t feel like loose ends got all the way tied up. If you’ve read it you know what I mean, I just want to stay spoiler-free!

The way Shepherd created the world of Juliet, Elizabeth, Hensley, Montgomery…etc… around Frankenstein was pure magic. It was superb. Not a cheesy retelling, but not a far-fetched take on the classic, but simply perfect, how she weaved the story of Elizabeth von Stein’s family into Juliet’s world. This book makes you think though. What IF you had the power and resources to bring a loved one back? If you weren’t guaranteed they would be “normal” would you still take that chance, just to have them back? Would you? Is it playing God? Is it evil or wrong? I found myself flinching at certain points in the book because the surgeries/procedures were quite gruesome and graphic, but I couldn’t look away. The way Shepherd describes certain procedures is so detailed, you feel like you’re in the laboratory watching everything unfold!

Juliet definitely struggled with some conflicting decisions, especially after a shocker about her father, but through everything she’s seen and done since book one, I feel like she accomplished what she wanted, and that was to find herself, to discover who/what she really was. You choose your own fate.  I just want more than this ending gave me!! *SOBS*

Lies, mysteries, secrets, danger, good and evil, right or wrong, magic and science, life and death… that’s what you’ll get when you read this series!! Highly recommend!

Book Review

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy, Book 2) *Spoiler-Free*

Goodreads synopsis: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16182304-her-dark-curiosity?from_search=true

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.
As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.
As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.
With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

 

Book 1 in this trilogy was based off of The Island of Dr. Moreau, and this one The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I hadn’t read The Island of Dr. Moreau, but I have read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I really like how Shepherd takes classic horror stories and expands them into a brand new trilogy, complete with it’s own gruesome, juicy bits.

Wow. This book started off with a sentence that set the tone for the entire novel: “The air in my crumbling attic chamber smelled of roses and formaldehyde.” The first thing that came to my mind was that describes a funeral. From the start, Her Dark Curiosity (from here on, HDC) evokes a sense of death, dread, and morbidness. Juliet says the winter in London is a deadly time…and how true she is. I also love the first part of the summary: To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it. After reading the novel, that statement cannot be more true!!

So, some back-story here. I read the first book in this series last year, I spotted it while browsing the new arrivals shelf at my local library and I immediately had to read it. And it was SO. GOOD. It was twisted and weird, but I loved it.

In HDC Juliet is back in London, having set fire to her father’s island laboratory and, thinking her love Montgomery is returning with her, sets sail back to London. Except…Montgomery betrays her, and stays behind. Edward Prince, the monstrosity Juliet’s father successfully created, is dead, so Juliet believes. Juliet was adopted by Professor Victor Von Stein, a former colleague and friend of her family. She has lavish dresses, attends parties, is well fed on French cuisine, yet she sneaks away to a decrepit attic loft to experiment with serums to heal herself with.

I really like Juliet. Sometimes while reading books where the MC is flawed and struggling I have to bash my head against the book saying things like “You’re an idiot, why?” But with Juliet, I felt everything she did was justified. Sure she is flawed and twisted, but as she said in the first book, she is her father’s daughter. I think she is a very strong female, having gone through unthinkable horrors but she still pushes on. She never plays the damsel in distress. I like how she struggles with feelings (mostly brought on by The Beast) of how she is twisted inside like him, and I kiiiinda want her to just bust out her madwoman-ness… She is a kind, caring female, but she still has glimmers of darkness that she feels frequently. As to stay spoiler free, I won’t say who said this to Juliet, but I completely agree with their statement that she “see[s] a chance for redemption in even the darkest beast.” (295) I love that quote about her! Basically, the book deals with Juliet’s past coming back to hit her head on, and she has to decide how she’s going to deal with it. Murders are happening in the city, and they are slightly linked to her… Also back to the scene is Juliet’s best friend, Lucy. In the first book I didn’t care too much for Lucy, but after finishing HDC I really like how she is developing. She becomes a very strong, supportive friend.

Overall, I think I liked this book better than the first because of all the juicy twists! And I can’t wait for the last book, especially now that it’s based off of Frankenstein!