Tuesday, October 16, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz

I loved both Children of the Dark and The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz, so I was really looking forward to reading The Siren and the Specter, and it did not disappoint.

Alexander House is a famously (supposedly) haunted house, recently purchased by a couple planning to turn it into a tourist attraction. They ask David Caine, an old friend and skeptic who writes books that debunk famed "hauntings," to investigate Alexander House, hoping he will write about having a supernatural encounter in the house, thereby attracting tourists. David assumes this is like all the other "haunted" houses he's written about and is prepared to disprove yet another legend. But Alexander House has a dark past. It was the site of horrible crimes committed by Judson Alexander, a depraved man who still haunts the house, as David is about to find out.

This was a very spooky haunted house story. All the scenes with "the long bedroom" creeped me out so much. Judson Alexander was a great villain and I really enjoyed the parts of the book that spoke of the disturbing things he did in the past.

The only problem I had with the book was that the main character, David, was unlikable and I had a hard time understanding some of his motivations and his selfishness - at least until a bit of his childhood was explained later in the book. I had a hard time rooting for him, but I liked Sheriff Harkless and David's love interest, Jessica, so there were a few characters I could connect with.

The Siren and the Specter is an unsettling ghost story that would make an excellent Halloween read this October.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Second Wife by Catherine Cavendish

Crossroad Press has recently published new editions of five of Catherine Cavendish's novellas: Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail's Room, The Demons of Cambrian Street, The Devil Inside Her and this one, The Second Wife.

When newlywed Chrissie Marchant moves into Baron Grove, her husband Joe's home, it becomes apparent that he may not be completely over the death of his first wife. A large picture of Emily Marchant still hangs in the living room, the house is still decorated just as it was when she died and Joe refuses to change anything. After a few unsettling experiences are accompanied by Emily's signature scent of vanilla, Chrissie realizes that maybe Joe's first wife hasn't moved on either.

I'm a huge fan of Catherine Cavendish. This is the sixth book I've read by her and she never disappoints. The Second Wife is a creepy and atmospheric ghost story.

The characters are well-developed. Chrissie is a relatable protagonist and her reasons for not wanting to leave after her ghostly encounters are understandable (her sister lives on the other side of the world and Joe is all she has) and make the story more believable, keeping me from constantly wondering why she didn't just leave every time something freaky happened to her. I hated Joe and didn't understand what Chrissie saw in him...I guess he's a rich and handsome doctor, but keeping a shrine to your dead wife after you remarry is weird and creepy.

At 110 pages, this is a quick read and can easily be read in one sitting. The novella gets to the spooky scenes by the second chapter and never lets up the suspense until the satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended for fans of gothic horror, ghost stories, or anyone looking for a chilling read.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, July 23, 2018

24 in 48 Wrap-Up

Total time read: 18 hours and 40 minutes

Total pages read: 826

Books read: the last 100 pages of The Sitter by R.L. Stine, The Manitou by Graham Masterton, I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan, The Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engel Randall and Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul

I didn't post at all this weekend because I wanted to try to focus on reading but I still didn't manage to read for the full 24 hours.

I decided to start the readathon with a book that wasn't in my stack, The Sitter by R.L. Stine because I only had 100 pages left and I wanted to finish it. I think it's supposed to be one of his "adult" novels, but the only difference I could tell between this and a Fear Street book was the occasional curse word and sex scene. Disappointingly, there was the same amount of gore and deaths as in one of his YA books (and mostly animal deaths, in typical R.L. Stine fashion).

The book I enjoyed the most was The Manitou by Graham Masterton. It's weird, gory, creepy and basically everything I look for in a horror novel (and I love that stepback cover!). This is the fourth book I've read by Masterton and with this book he has earned a place as one of my favourite horror authors. The other novels by Masterton I've read—Walkers, Feast and Mirror—are all just as entertaining as The Manitou and I highly recommend all of them. I'm so happy that I was lucky enough to come across a bunch of Graham Masterton paperbacks at Value Village a few weeks ago!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

24 in 48 Readathon

Today is the 24 in 48 Readathon! Instead of reading for 24 hours straight, for this readathon, you have the whole weekend to read 24 hours. I'm going to try to read for 12 hours on Saturday and 12 hours on Sunday.

Books I plan on reading:
  1. The Manitou by Graham Masterton
  2. The Visitor by Chauncey G. Parker III
  3. Camp by Alan Saperstein
  4. The Bad Seed by Willian March
  5. Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge
  6. The Glory Hand by Paul and Sharon Boorstin
  7. Letters From the Dead by Campbell Black
  8. Last Summer by Evan Hunter
  9. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
  10. The Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engel Randall
  11. Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul
  12. Camp Carnage by Elliot Arthur Cross
I'm probably not going to get through all these, but once I started adding books to my pile I just couldn't stop.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey's Readathon Closing Survey

When I finished Blood Secrets by Craig Jones, I was struggling to keep my eyes open, so I just went to sleep. I probably would've fallen asleep earlier if Blood Secrets wasn't such a page turner. I read a few reviews that said it has a huge twist at the end and I had to keep reading to see what it was. I definitely didn't see that ending coming. I'm not going to say anymore because I don't want to spoil it.

Total pages read: 478

Closing Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Around 6:00 am I literally couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and I fell asleep

2. Tell us all the books you read!

Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks, Keeper of the Children by William H. Hallahan and Blood Secrets by Craig Jones.

3. Which books would you recommend to other readathoners?

I enjoyed all of them and recommend them all.
 
4. What's a really rad thing we could do during the next readathon that would make you smile?

I liked that the mini challenges ran through the entire readathon instead of hourly.
 
5. How likely are you to participate in the readathon again? 

I will definitely be participating in the October readathon.

Readathon Update

I'm still readathoning, but I'm getting pretty tired. I just finished reading Keeper of the Children by William H. Hallahan. It's a weird book about a man who's trying to get his daughter back from a cult led by a man who uses astral projection to animate marionettes, teddy bears, scarecrows, and other inanimate objects in order to kill people. Oh, and he has large, muscular cats to kill people for him as well. I love the cover of this book and I was surprised to find the scene depicted on the cover was actually in the book.

Right now, I'm reading Blood Secrets by Craig Jones.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Dewey's Readathon Mid-Event Survey

Wow, we're already halfway through the readathon and I've only read 1³/₄ books. Actually, the first one was only a 60 page short story, not really a book. Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks is a brutal, thought-provoking story about a future where the US is run by the alt-right and a young woman decides to commit suicide live on a TV show to win money for her family.

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Keeper of the Children by William H. Hallahan
2. How many books have you read so far?
1³/₄
3. What book are you looking forward to most in the second half of the readathon?
Blood Secrets by Craig Jones
4. Have you had any interruptions? How did you deal with those?
My boyfriend was being a bit distracting so I went to my bedroom to read and shut the door.
5. What surprises you most about the readathon, so far?
That I haven't fallen asleep yet.

Dewey's Readathon

Today is Dewey's Readathon! I will once again attempt to read for 24 hours.
 
Books I plan on reading:


1. Keeper of the Children by William H. Hallahan
2. Blood Secrets by Craig Jones
3. The Cellar by Richard Laymon
4. The Surrogate by Nick Sharman
5. The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine
6. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
7. Hellraiser Masterpieces Vol. 1
 
On my Kindle:
8. Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks
9. 1922 by Stephen King
10. The Con Season by Adam Cesare 

Snacks I will be consuming:



- Charcuterie board (with brie, apricot jam, water crackers, 
grapes, cantaloupe, prosciutto and salami)
- Potato salad
- Chips
- Reese Crunchers
- Chocolate bars
- Big Foot gummies
-Peace Iced Tea

Opening Survey

1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Keeper of the Children...I had it in my stack for the readathon last April, but never got around to reading it and seeing it mentioned in Paperbacks From Hell has made me want to read it even more.

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Everything on my charcuterie board...I love brie.

4. Tell us a little something about yourself!

I love yard sales and there's a giant one this morning that I can't miss, so I'm going to start reading a bit late this morning.

5. If you participated in the last readathon, what's the one thing you'll do differently today?

I want to read more than I did last time...I'm pretty sure I say that every time, but I'm really
trying to make a dent in my TBR mountain this year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Waking the Ancients by Catherine Cavendish

In 1908, Lizzie Charters accompanies archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus on a dig in Egypt, unaware of his obsession with Cleopatra and his plan to bring her back to life using Lizzie's body.

In 2018, Paula and her husband, Phil, have relocated to Vienna for Phil's job, signing a three-year lease a breathtaking mansion with a too good to be true price tag. Paula soon realizes the reason for the low price when Phil goes away on a business trip, leaving her in the house alone. Strange occurrences lead Paula to discover the previous owner of the estate was Dr. Quintillus, who is still trying to find a way to be with his love, Cleopatra, even through death.

I love Catherine Cavendish's writing. Including Waking the Ancients, I've read five of her books (so far) — Linden Manor, The Pendle Curse, Dark Avenging Angel and The Devil's Serenade — and I've enjoyed all of them. Cavendish is great at writing detailed descriptions that immerse you in the story and establishing an eerie atmosphere. 

The most important part of a novel to me are the characters and Cavendish writes believable and relatable characters. I've been trying to not only read more horror books written by female writers, but to also read more horror books with strong female protagonists, which all of Cavendish's books feature.

The plot of Waking the Ancients is unique, combining the real history of Cleopatra with a fictional story about the supernatural.

This book is the second in the Nemesis of the Gods series, but each can be read as a standalone novel. I haven't read the first book in the series, Wrath of the Ancients, and I wasn't confused at all, but I enjoyed this book so much I'll definitely be reading the first book. The third book in the series, Damned by the Ancients, will be released October 23 and I'm already counting the days! I highly recommend Waking the Ancients to anyone looking for a creepy supernatural tale.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, January 29, 2018

24 in 48 End Post

I didn't quite make it to the end, I read a total of 21 hours 18 minutes, so almost the full 24.

I read 4 and 3/4 books: Truth or Dare by R.L. Stine, Ladies' Night by Jack Ketchum, Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn, Those Who Follow by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason, and 3/4 of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. I read a total of 831 pages.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

24 in 48 Update #2

I'm still reading, I've read for 16 hours 45 minutes, so far. Since my last post I've finished two books, Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn and Those Who Follow by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. Both are creepy, engrossing reads and I recommend both of them.

I love horror books with a winter setting, so I knew I would love Woman in White. It's about mysterious disappearances that leave a lot of blood and no bodies in the small Maine town of Rocky Rhodes.

I enjoyed Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason's first book, Mayan Blue, so I was really looking forward to reading Those Who Follow and it didn't disappoint. It's about a man who can
travel from our world to another and leads a double life - in our world, he's your average guy and in the other he's a sadistic monster who tortures and kills.

Challenge: the first book on your shelves and the last book on your shelves.

This battered copy of Off Season
by Jack Ketchum is the first book
on my shelves because Jack Ketchum is my
favourite writer so I shelved all his
books at the top. 
Dope by Sara Gran is the last book on my
shelves because it's on my non-horror shelf,
the last (and smallest) of my shelves. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

24 in 48 Update

So far, I've read for 7 hours 45 minutes and I've finished two books, Ladies' Night by Jack Ketchum and Truth or Dare by R.L. Stine.

Jack Ketchum is one of my favourite writers and I was devastated earlier this week when I found out that he passed away. The Girl Next Door is my all-time favourite horror novel - it's the most disturbing book I've ever read and if you're a horror fan and haven't read it yet, then you should read it immediately. I highly recommend all of his novels, in addition to The Girl Next Door, Off Season, Red, Right to Life, Stranglehold and his short collection, Peaceable Kingdom are all excellent. The Girl Next Door, Red, Offspring, The Lost, The Woman and short story "The Box" were all made into great films as well ("The Box" was a segment in the film, XX).

There are still a few Ketchum books I haven't read yet, so I decided to read one this weekend, Ladies' Night. It's a gory and fun book about a toxic spill in New York City that basically turns all the women into zombies. If women going insane and murdering men in gruesome ways is your idea of a fun read, then I definitely recommend this book. I thought it was a very entertaining read.

Truth or Dare by R.L. Stine is a Fear Street book that takes place outside Shadyside in rich girl's ski cabin - or mansion - where a group of high school kids get snowed in...with a KILLER! I actually thought this was a pretty good Fear Street book, it's one of the few where I didn't guess the identity of the killer.

OK, back to reading now. I'm currently reading Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn and really enjoying it.

24 in 48 Readathon

This weekend is the 24 in 48 Readathon! The idea is to read for 24 hours over the course of the weekend, starting at midnight last night (I was in bed by 10:30, so I didn't get started yet). I plan on reading 12 hours today and 12 hours tomorrow.

What I plan on reading (most of these are on my Kindle):

That's my cat, Betty, photobombing
  1. Someone at the Door by Richie Tankersley Cusick 
  2. Truth or Dare by R.L. Stine 
  3. The Snowman by R.L. Stine
  4. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  5. Ladies' Night by Jack Ketchum
  6. Chills by Mary SanGiovanni
  7. Those Who Follow by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason 
  8. Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn
  9. Saving Grace Devine by Catherine Cavendish
  10. I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski
Snacks I plan on eating:


  • Spinach dip with pumpernickel bread
  • Sweet Marie Bars
  • Assorted T-discs
  • Starbucks Doubleshot Coffee Energy Drink
Challenge: What's the oldest children's book you have, or a book you've held onto since your childhood?


I don't have a lot of books from my childhood because I mostly just checked out books from the library and didn't own many, plus the ones I did own I lost in a house fire last year. But I brought this box set of Emily of New Moon books by L.M. Montgomery back with me from my a visit at my childhood home a few years ago with the intention of re-reading them (I haven't yet). I remember buying this box set at Chapters on a shopping trip to the city with my grandma (I grew up in the middle of nowhere). I was about 11-years-old and I was obsessed with the Emily of New Moon TV series on CBC and I wanted to read the books that the show was based on. I remember loving the books even more than the TV show.