Thursday 29 October 2020

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 246

Publisher - Penguin Classics

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads


The best-known of Shirley Jackson's novels and a major inspiration for writers like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House is a chilling story of the power of fear.

Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers - and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. Twice filmed as The Haunting, and the inspiration for a new 10-part Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House is a powerful work of slow-burning psychological horror

My Review

This is a well love book by many and it is a new series on Netflix, kinda wish I had watched that then read this. Absolutely a slow burner, perfect for lying reading curled up on the couch, candle light and just absorbing. It is very sedate pace but has wee creepy elements to it and it builds as it goes.

I can't say I liked any of the characters that much and some of it read a wee bit soap opera type, personality flaws, issues. Some of their interactions with each other are just so weird, is it the effect the house is having on them or just who they are?

Defo worth reading, like I said so many people loved it. I liked the eerie aspect but that was really the only parts and to see where it was going. Feel a wee bit like I missed something, 3/5 for me.

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Tuesday 27 October 2020

In The Dark by Richard Laymon

In the DarkIn the Dark by Richard Laymon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 503

Publisher - Headline

Source - Bought from Waterstones

Blurb from Goodreads

Nothing much happens to Jane Kerry, a young librarian. Then one day Jane finds an envelope containing a fifty-dollar bill and a note instructing her to "Look homeward, angel." Jane pulls a copy of the Thomas Wolfe novel of that title off the shelf and finds a second envelope. This one contains a hundred-dollar bill and another clue. Both are signed, "MOG (Master of Games)." But this is no ordinary game. As it goes on, it requires more and more of Jane's ingenuity, and pushes her into actions that she knows are crazy, immoral or criminal--and it becomes continually more dangerous. More than once, Jane must fight for her life, and she soon learns that MOG won't let her quit this game. She'll have to play to the bitter end.

My Review

Jane plods along in her job, working a library, nothing really interesting happens. She finds an envelope waiting for her that changes that. It contains a $50 bill and an invite to "play" a game and directions where to find the next envelope. As Jane accepts and plays, I mean what harm could it do, she finds the clues and locations more dangerous but the money is bigger each time.

Oooft I think the thing about this one is it could happen to anyone, a random person inviting you to play a game, money, anonymity, excitement, danger. Jane is compelled to find the next and see if MOG (Master of Games) keeps upping the money. Despite things getting darker and much more dangerous Jane convinces herself she isn't doing anything wrong and can stop, if she wants.

I found myself getting frustrated at times with Jane, why why why would you put yourself through that, don't go in there, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!! In the same breath I couldn't put it down because I had to know what was next, who is MOG, why is this even happening and how far was Jane willing to go.

Holding my breath for some scenes, the book is brutal in some parts, disgusting, shocking, horrifying and just wild. If you have read Laymon before you know there is a mix of just about everything in store for you, if not, lace up your books cos it is a good one, 4/5 for me this time.

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Friday 23 October 2020

The Loch by Steve Alten

The LochThe Loch by Steve Alten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 5 days

Pages - 541

Publisher - Tor books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Incorporating the latest research and new evidence, that leads to real answers concerning the Loch Ness monster's identity, bestselling author Steve Alten weaves a tale of horror about the most publicized and controversial creature ever imagined.

My Review

A marine biologist Zach has a long history with The Loch heads down on a dive that ends in tragedy. Escaping death, screwed over by his colleague, career down the pan - when a blast from the past comes calling he heads back, to his past and The Loch. Something is attacking folk, Zach cannot escape from his past and now a huge problem with the water, not great for a marine biologist. Everything seems linked, Zach is going to need to face his fears and address his past if he has any hope of a future.

The underwater scenes on the initial dive I thought was brilliantly done, very atmospheric, spooky and then your worst nightmare. The flashes to the past and Scottish history I didn't get nor see the relevance but stick with it and all becomes clear, eventually.

I think this would make great for a movie on the horror channel, a creature feature. Lots of family drama, character issues as well as the man eating horrific monster. I like Alten's writing, well what I have read from the Meg series (who doesn't love a shark). I didn't love this but I liked it, if you are looking for a monster book and some theories for Nessie, give it a bash, 3/5 for me.

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Tuesday 20 October 2020

Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

Lost Souls (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein #4)Lost Souls by Dean Koontz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 350

Publisher - Bantam

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads


The war against humanity has begun. In the dead hours of the night, a stranger enters the home of the mayor of Rainbow Falls, Montana. The stranger is in the vanguard of a wave of intruders who will invade other homes . . . offices . . . every local institution, assuming the identities and the lives of those they have been engineered to replace. Before the sun rises, the town will be under full assault, the opening objective in the new Victor Frankenstein’s trajectory of ultimate destruction. Deucalion—Victor’s first, haunted creation—saw his maker die in New Orleans two years earlier. Yet an unshakable intuition tells him that Victor lives—and is at work again. Within hours Deucalion will come together with his old allies, detectives Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison, Victor’s engineered wife, Erika Five, and her companion Jocko to confront new peril. Others will gather around them. But this time Victor has a mysterious, powerful new backer, and he and his army are more formidable, their means and intentions infinitely more deadly, than ever before.

My Review

Book four in the Frankenstein series, if you haven't read other others you could get away with starting here but you will have missed so much. Victor survived - well in a fashion and his plan is back, worse than before, humanity is at risk and they don't even know it.

The invaders, mimics, replacers, replicas are back, more effective, organised and primed to do what Victor initially set out to do. With only a handful of people aware of what is going on humanities chances are slim but we have Deucalion and an unlikely couple of allies.

The book isn't really giving us anything new from the last three, we know the plan, we know the players and this is I think two years on from the last book. Its the earth shaking just as it had settled and the players involved thought everything was ok. It is almost, I felt, like a bridge book, bringing in a few loose ends, bringing everything from the previous together and building up to prepare for the grand finale. They have changed tactics a bit from the original series so that is new and all so brutal and methodical. If you liked the previous books I think you will "enjoy" this as part of the series. I have high hopes for the last book, I liked this I just didn't love it, 3.5/5 for me.

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Sunday 18 October 2020

Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 5 days

Pages - 382

Publisher - Signet Classics

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Dracula is perhaps almost as interesting regarded historically as the product of a specific time as it is engaging to continuing generations of readers in a 'timeless' fashion. In her introduction Byron first discusses the famous novel as an expression not of universal fears and desires but of specifically late nineteenth-century concerns. At the same time she is entirely attuned to the ways in which, however much Dracula is a Victorian text, Dracula is a very twentieth-century character, a representative of modernity and of the future.

My review

Guys this has been on my shelves for donkeys years! Cannot believe I hadn't read it before now :O We all know the story, we have saw the movies. Jonathan Harker is headed to meet and stay with Dracula as part of his job and Dracula is the client. This is a huge task for Jonathan and he is committed to doing a great job. As we all know who and what Dracula is but poor Jonathan does not and we follow his journey via his diary entries. We also hear from Mina, his fiance's through her diary entries, in fact all the entries/stories/sides of the tale are in diary format.

Atmospheric, spooky and although a bit of a slower pace than many of the books we devour nowadays it keeps your attention and the suspense throughout. I have just watched two of the movies (I had seen before) and it is interesting to see the changes and takes from the book, mostly it stays true to the important parts.

I am no a fan of the classics at all, I find them a struggle to get through yet I did enjoy this one, took me a wee bit longer than a normal book would, espesh one so thin. A different time and style of writing but I think if you are a fan of Dracula and don't mind diary entries style of writing you will also enjoy the book.

Perfect for this time of year, revisiting an old fave and of course Van Helsing is in it (I won't eve be able to visualize anyone but Price when I read him in books, indeed why would you want to). 4/5 for me this time, if you struggle with the classics but want to read one, look no further!

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Friday 16 October 2020

Dear NHS 100 Stories to Say Thank You - Adam Kay and various celebrities

Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank YouDear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You by Adam Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 408

Publisher - Orion

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Created and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million best seller 'This is Going to Hurt'), 'DEAR NHS' features household names telling their personal stories of the health service. Contributors include Joanna Lumley, Naomie Harris, Kate Tempest, Lee Child, Tanni Grey Thomson, Bill Bryson, Trevor McDonald, Jack Whitehall, Michael Palin, Stanley Tucci and many, many more.

All profits from this book will go to NHS Charities Together to fund vital research and projects and the Lullaby Trust which supports parents bereaved of babies and young children.

The NHS is our single greatest achievement as a country. No matter who you are, no matter what your health needs are and no matter how much money you have, the NHS is there for you. In 'DEAR NHS', 100 inspirational people come together to share their stories of how the National Health Service has been there for them and changed their lives in the process. By turns deeply moving, hilarious, hopeful and impassioned, these stories together become a love letter to the NHS and the 1.4 million people who go above and beyond the call of duty every single day - selflessly, generously, putting others before themselves, never more so than now.

They are all heroes, and this book is our way of saying thank you.

My Review

Someone said to me, if you work in the NHS and read this don't you think it is a bit self serving (or something to that effect). No! Yes the book is a Thank You to the NHS but it is about the people sharing THEIR stories, it is THEIR experiences and they just happen to be celebrities.

Working in healthcare, in any setting, if you don't work in it it is hard to explain. You are blessed, challenged, pushed, stressed, happy, sad, privileged and get to experience and share things that you otherwise, in any other job or walk of life you would not.

This book is a collection of many peoples stories, what happened to them and their experience in and with the NHS, there are poems too. The actual stories, some are heartbreaking, frightening, breath taking, very personal glimpses and snapshots into what these people experienced in their time with or appreciation of the NHS.

I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you work in the NHS, like healthcare stories, have an interest in celebrities - this book offers something for everyone. I felt quite emotive reading the personal accounts, peoples brushes with the NHS, no matter how you feel currently, the NHS is a special and precious service to many, 4/5 for me this time. I read tons of books across many genres but I do find true stories in health settings so interesting. Accounts and experiences are so varied, life is so precious, the old but for the grace of God go I.

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Wednesday 14 October 2020

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

The End of HerThe End of Her by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

It starts with a shocking accusation...

Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.

Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.

He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

How will it end?

My Review

Stephanie is exhausted, new born twins and her husband Patrick is working hard, the weans have colic and sleep is rare. They have always been a team and whilst things are trying they are managing until someone from Patrick's past comes back. She is beautiful, her accusations are horrific and Stephanie can't help but start to wonder if she knows Patrick as well as she thinks she does.

It is pretty well known, if you follow my reviews, I really really enjoy Lapena's books. I think she pulls you in and engages you quickly and has a knack for creating characters you either want to punch in the face, distrust, hate or sympathise with. The End of Her is no different, she creates a world of characters you fall into quickly, I felt for Stephanie, I hated Erica and the book spins the darker and selfish side of some people and look at folks morals or lack thereof.

There are a lot of subjects in the book that are hard hitting especially when the siren that is Erica shows up, she has zero morals and everything is there to be used to her advantage. Stephanie goes though a pretty tough time, two beautiful wee twin babies, sleepless nights, stress, self doubt as a mum and then the bombshell thrown at her wee family by Erica, ooft. My attention was grabbed very early on, if you have enjoyed Lapena's previous books you will this one too, 4/5 for me this time. Very much looking forward to her next and hoping it won't be too long a wait til we get our paws on it!

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Tuesday 6 October 2020

Wee October giveaway

Happy October guys, I LOVE October. It is the month of horror, scare & all things spooky.

I am the same come December but then it is Criimbo stuff. My o/h isn't into horror at all but indulges my love of tat and horror because it makes me happy. My Halloween decorations from last year are still MIA but I managed to get some stuff for the bathroom, so it begins.

October is one of my themed reads months so my current read is Bram Stoker's Dracula, I could have sworn I had read it but it turns out I have not, hoping to finish it today.

I know not everyone loves October/horror/spooky so I thought I would do a wee giveaway not horror related. For my spooky lovers there is still time to enter the competition for x1 horror character bookmark (winner chooses from those available which one they want), over on our INSTAGRAM page, as pictured below.

For this wee October giveaway I have the newest offering from author Katerina Diamond, a standalone, crime fiction, x1 paperback "The Heatwave" and one metal cat shaped bookmark, both as pictured below. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below. As always, the more entries you complete the more times you name is entered. Please only complete entries you have actually done, all winning entries are checked. Good luck and happy October xxx

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