Monday, May 25, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Cliffhouse Haunting by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Cliffhouse Lodge is a hotel with a dark past. In the 20s, a spirit known as the Blue Lady was spotted just before a murderer dubbed the Bodice Ripper struck on the hotel grounds. Now, guests of Cliffhouse are once again reporting Blue Lady sightings. These are soon followed by murders that have the Sheriff of Cliffside baffled. The owners of Cliffhouse think the murders have a connection with the Blue Lady and help the Sheriff to figure out the mystery.

That description of the The Cliffhouse Haunting makes it sound darker than it is. Although it has some gruesome murder scenes and features a psychotic killer, it's also quite humorous. Especially the chapters involving a character named Constance Welling. Pardon me - Constance Welling, authoress. The humour element of the novel sets it apart from other haunted hotel novels. I spent a good chunk of the novel laughing rather than being scared. That being said, a few of the murder scenes did make me gag a bit. The murderer in this novel is truly sadistic.

The characters are what make this novel a good read. I loved all the chapters involving a crazy guest of Cliffhouse named Constance Welling. She's definitely one of those characters that you want to see killed, making it even sweeter when/if it happens. Dr. Siechert, who carries a severed finger around in his pocket, is another funny character, but in a more darkly humorous way.

If you're looking for a book that makes laugh on one page and cringe on the next, you've found it. The Cliffhouse Haunting is an entertaining novel and is available for a mere $5 on Kindle.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon

I usually choose books to read based on the season, and try to read a Christmas-themed horror novel each December. This year I read Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon. The Elf on a Shelf is already disturbing - watching you and reporting back to Santa - and this novel takes it to a whole new level of creepy with a demonic version.

Santa's Little Helper is a toy elf and book that appear on the doorsteps of four families in a small town called Peculiar. The children in each family quickly realize there's something sinister about the elf and get rid of it. But they find out it's not that easy to get rid of him when he comes back to terrorize their families.

The book has some unsettling scenes with Santa's Little Helper taking the shape of the children's worst fears including an abusive father and Special Ed (a corpse named Ed which I found to be pretty scary). The chapters involving being snowed in with Santa's Little Helper were also creepy - especially when the power went out.

There were a few too many characters. I had difficulty keeping track of which child belonged to which family. And since each chapter features a different family, it took a while for me to remember what happened four chapters ago. I think the novel would've been more effective with just one or two families. It was also unrealistic that each of the 5-year-olds could use such a large vocabulary - it would've been easier to believe if the kids had been older.

The ending feels abrupt and I wish there had been a better explanation of the origins of Santa's Little Helper. There's a bit of backstory about how Peculiar is a town where strange things happen, but I still wanted to know more about the origins of Santa's Little Helper.

Despite those few complaints, Santa's Little Helper is a good Christmas horror read. I realize it's a little late to review this, being Christmas Eve and all, but I just finished reading it today.  

Rating: 4/5

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Hope everyone has an awesome night! I'm staying in and watching horror movies tonight. What are your Halloween plans?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Update #3

Woohoo I made it to the end! I didn't read as much as I would've liked because I kept getting distracted by my boyfriend, but I still had fun.

Total pages read: 713

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  The last two hours.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I Am Legend was really suspenseful and interesting.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. Thought everything was great.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The cheerleaders were awesome.
  5. How many books did you read? 3
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and Big Driver by Stephen King
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? I Am Legend
  8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked all of them. 
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely participate again as a reader.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Update #2

I'm still awake, but I'm getting pretty tired. Right now I'm drinking a Starbucks energy drink, but it doesn't seem to be helping much. Also, this morning when I woke up my throat hurt a little bit and it has progressively gotten worse. Now it's painful to swallow and my whole body aches. But I'm so close to the end that I feel I might as well just stay up. Plus, I just started reading Big Driver by Stephen King (a novella in Full Dark, No Stars) and I really want to see what happens next.

I finished reading I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and I can't believe I've been a horror fan all these years and never read it. It's amazing - if you're a horror fan and somehow haven't read it yet (like me), do it now.

Books read: Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Total pages read: 515

Snacks consumed: Bits & Bites, Starbucks energy drink, green tea

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Update #1

So far, I haven't gotten much reading done because my boyfriend has been a huge distraction and I'm pretty annoyed with him. I forgive him though, because he made a delicious dinner. He made thanksgiving calzones, which are basically thanksgiving leftovers inside a calzone with gravy to dip it in. My boyfriend just went out for a while, so I should be able to get more reading done now.

I've only finished one book, Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I loved it. I thought I probably would because I love Jason Segel. A boy enters the Netherworld - a place where nightmares live - to face his fears. Really awesome book, I definitely recommend it. I can't wait to read the sequel next year!

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
I just finished Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Next I'm going to read Psycho...or I Am Legend...or The Haunting of Hill House - I haven't really decided yet.
2. How many books have you read so far?
Just one.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Umm...it's hard to choose. I'm looking forward to reading all of them! Maybe Full Dark, No Stars because I just noticed that the movie Big Driver is recording on my DVR as I type this and I really want to watch it tomorrow, but I need to read the book first.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Yes! My boyfriend is on vacation this week and is spending it at home, so he's been talking to me all day and watching things on TV that he knows I want to see so I ended up trying to read and watch TV at the same time, which didn't work at all.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
That I've only read one book so far. I really need to stop getting distracted so easily.

Mmm...thanksgiving calzones

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

It's that time again! Today I'm participating in Dewey's Read-a-Thon and am going to attempt to read for a full 24 hours. I managed to stay up the whole 24 hours last time, so hopefully I can do it again.

Here's what I plan on reading today:

  1. Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
  2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  4. Psycho by Robert Bloch
  5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  6. The Haunted by Robert Curran
  7. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
  8. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (or at least A Good Marriage and Big Driver so I can watch the movies soon)
  9. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
  10. The Haunted Forest Tour by James A. Moore and Jeff Strand
Obviously, I won't read all of these, but I had a hard time choosing which books to read today, so I decided I would just add lots of books to my stack and have lots of choices. I chose mostly horror classics that I haven't read yet, because I thought it would be the perfect time to read them with Halloween coming soon and just because I love horror.

Here's the snacks I plan on eating:

  • Bits & Bites
  • Screme Egg brownies
  • assorted Halloween candy
  • assorted K-cups
  • Starbucks Doubleshot Vanilla Energy Drink
I didn't get many snacks, but my boyfriend will be home today, so I planned on him providing most of the food (he's a really good cook).

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Oakville, Ontario
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller because I really wanted to read it and my boyfriend got it for my birthday and gave it to me a day early so I could have it for the read-a-thon.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
The Starbucks energy drinks because I'm addicted to them. Oh, and the Screme Egg brownies because I made them special for today.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Tomorrow is my birthday! I will be 27-years-old. Yep, I would rather read for 24 hours for my birthday than party. I'm not much of a party girl.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I want to read more than I did last time, so I'm going to try to focus on reading rather than doing challenges.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

Remember when a "monster" washed ashore on a beach near Montauk, New York in 2008? Everyone speculated on the origins of the creature and most believed it to be a bloated animal carcass. But some remain convinced it was an experiment gone horribly wrong at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is located near Montauk.  The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea builds a fictional story around this bizarre urban legend.

It's summer in Montauk and there's more to find on the beach than sandcastles and sunbathing beauties - one night, two bodies are discovered torn to pieces. When police receive several reports of animal attacks, they assume the same animal is responsible for the deaths. But the creature running amok in Montauk is far worse than a rabid dog.

There are many books about creatures ruining summer fun - Jaws, Night of the Crabs and Slime come to mind - and The Montauk Monster is a great addition to the list. What sets this novel apart from other creature features is this monster isn't your typical animal, like a shark or crab. And the fact that the monster in the book is based on a true story makes it all the more unsettling. The conspiracy theory surrounding the "Montauk Monster"and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (I learned all about this when I watched Unsealed: Conspiracy Files on Netflix) gave this novel an interesting twist.

The Montauk Monster is an action-packed novel that would make a great movie - it reads like a better version of one of those cheesy Syfy creature features. Definitely recommend reading this on the beach this summer.

This post is part of The Montauk Monster Tour. Check out the other posts here.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

I did it! I can't believe I made it to the end! I could barely keep my eyes open from 3:00 am until now, but I somehow managed to push through it. I started reading Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road at 6:00 am on my Kindle and turned on text-to-speech because my eyes were getting blurry. 

I didn't quite make it to my goal of four books, but I came pretty close - three, plus 30% of Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road. I also didn't read as many pages as I did during the other Read-a-Thons I participated in, but that's just because I had to do a few things in the morning and didn't really start reading until around 1:00 pm.

Total pages read:  551

 End of Event Meme
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I became really tired around 3:00 am.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? From the books I read today, Voracious by Wrath James White was pretty awesome. I also recommend The Castle of Los Angeles by Lisa Morton, Die, You Bastard! Die! by Jan Kozlowski, Suffer the Flesh by Monica J. O'Rourke and Population Zero by Wrath James White.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. I thought everything was great!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I thought the mini-challenges were fun - a nice break from reading.
  5. How many books did you read? Three
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, Voracious by Wrath James White, The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Voracious by Wrath James White
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely. I would be a reader again.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Update #3

I'm still awake! I don't know for how much longer, since I've been struggling to keep my eyes open since 3:00 am.

I finished reading The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon. It's very similar to Off Season by Jack Ketchum, but I didn't enjoy it as much as that novel.

Books finished: Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, Voracious by Wrath James White, The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon

Total pages read: 501

Snacks consumed: Bugles, pizza, cheese & crackers, iced coffee, Reese egg (it sounds like a lot, but it's been several hours since my last update)

Next up: Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road by Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, J.F. Gonzalez, Bryan Smith, Wrath James White, Nate Southard Ryan Harding, Shane McKenzie (if I can manage to stay up any longer)