2 stars · adult · fiction · Uncategorized

“The Curse of Crow Hollow” | Wish I DNF’d

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The Curse of Crow Hollow

author : billy coffey

pages  : [paperback] 416

summary :

With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

review :

The Curse of Crow Hollow was such an interesting concept. In the end, though, it just ended up being a disappointment that I wish I’d DNF’d halfway through. Although there are creepy parts to this story, a lot of it ended up being fairly predictable.

Crow Hollow is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone else. They all go to church, twice Sunday and usually every Wednesday too. Gossip is the best form of entertainment. Maybe the safest. Because everything starts to fall apart in Crow Hollow when four teens decide to spend a night camping by the abandoned mines. A witch lives out in those parts–one who curses them when they’re led to her land by a trail of strange, almost horseshoe like prints.

The book starts out like it’s going to be a spooky paranormal read. There are the tales about something terrible living in or around the mines, the witch, the curse. I was really excited to read more when the curse first struck at church the morning after the teens’ sleepover. But everything afterward was a little bit of a letdown. The book tries to do something cool, making everything believably a curse while simultaneously making you think that the town is just crazy and essentially under some mass delusion that is really why the curse is escalating. But once you need to think that everything that happens will also be within the general realm of possibility, it all gets to be so predictable. And the hints that the narrator drops throughout the book–like that death is coming or that certain characters “won’t live to see the next day”–doesn’t end up building suspense. It just made me wonder why they would mention such a thing hundreds of pages before it would eventually happen.

The conclusion to the book wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped it would be, either. There was a little intrigue as the narrator to the book is finally revealed, because the book is set up like someone is telling an outsider to the town all that has happened there. Everything else was just . . . not satisfying enough because it was something you could see coming before the book was halfway over.

I really wanted to like this book. It seemed like it was going to have a lot of creepy, mysterious, and possibly horror-movie quality elements to it. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this one.

2/5 stars

5 stars · fairy tale · Fantasy · horror · Uncategorized

Through the Woods — a graphic novel that will terrify you

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Through the Woods

author : emily carroll

pages : [hardcover] 208

summary :

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

review :

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I spotted it on a Barnes & Noble shelf, coveted it, and never thought that I’d ever be able to afford it. Which ended up being true, because I happily found that my school library had procured a copy of this book recently and I was the first person to check it out. With how long I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Through the Woods, it did not disappoint. In fact, these five horror stories left me shivering long past when I was supposed to get to sleep.

These are no normal retold fairy tales. They’re the kind of things you’d rather not hear, because more often than not there are no happy endings, and no guarantees that the characters you fear are not walking among you–or maybe waiting underneath your bed. That’s the kind of story Carroll is not only great at crafting, but illustrating. Yes, this graphic novel isn’t exactly ‘graphic’ in its horror, really, but sometimes the creatures it leaves up to your imagination is far worse than what is pictured on the page. I love how she turns that around on the reader, so in the end you aren’t sure of what, exactly, you’re afraid of, just that something is very wrong. Much like most of the protagonists in the stories feel. Before terribly creative and terrifying things happen in their lives.

Some of the tales reference easily recognizable fairy tales and others seem to have emerged on their own with no immediate influences, though through the tone and artistry they feel as ancient and warning as some of the oldest known fairy tales. I love that Carroll was so easily able to adapt an approach that brought back some of the gruesome aspects of original fairy tales but spun it all so that this storytelling is wholly her own.

I could gush about it forever, really, because the illustrations are amazing, too. I love the way the text itself because an image in the story, playing with the figures depicted. Sometimes changing color and size to indicate what is speaking and how the reader should feel about what is said. It’s such a layered book that I feel has been severely overlooked, and now I’m going to go and push it on all of my friends.

So, yes, of course, I recommend Through the Woods–just don’t read it on a dark and stormy night, when you’re home alone.

5/5 stars

 

4 stars · horror · mystery · paranormal · young adult

Servants of the Storm blew me away

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Servants of the Storm

author : delilah s. dawson

pages : [hardcover] 376

memorable quote:

I miss the days when I could wake up from a nightmare and call out, and someone would hold me close, make me feel warm and safe.

favorite character : baker

summary :

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite café. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

review :

I went into this book basically knowing nothing about what might happen and think that I liked it more from not having any expectations, from wondering alongside Dovey what could be true or hallucinations. So, if you’re interested in reading this book, I’d say dive right into it without too much reading from summaries/reviews.

When I started Servants of the Storm, I expected a mystery with a little intrigue. I expected everyone to think that Dovey was crazy and to spend the entire novel trying to figure out whether or not she really should go back to taking her medication. Somehow I missed the big old ‘horror’ sticker stuck to the copy of my book, when I took out a few novels that have been on my TBR list for ages (so long that I don’t even remember where I got the recommendations from in the first place!).

If you’re into paranormal, demonic, mysteries, this is the one for you. It creeped me out to the core. It really is like reading a horror movie, once you get about 50 pages into the book, and I never saw it coming. The things that the demons in Savannah like to do are horrifying, yet oddly fascinating, and you just can’t look away. I really like the world that Dawson constructed in her book because all of the rules about demons, their servants, and everything in between was easy enough to understand. I’m not learned enough in more demon novels to know if this is typically how they’re dealt with, but it was enough to give me shivers at night. I don’t mind things that can hurt you, even kill you–but once some creature starts messing with immortal souls? Nuh-uh. Goodbye.

Still, as much as it horrified me, I loved it for what it was. Except for the ending. Um, this book was published two years ago, ends like it’s setting itself up for a sequel, and then . . nothing. No sign of a sequel that’s even being written, let alone set to be published. Which is incredibly frustrating!

4/5 stars

 

book tag

10 Books I though I’d hate but didn’t

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1. The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. I wanted to read this book and simultaneously dreaded it. I can read or watch horror without a problem if it’s a slasher film. Something dealing with the paranormal/vengeful spirits? Nope. Nope. Those things are much harder to kill. But The Suffering is like horror for people like me. Okiku, the main character, is honestly one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s a vengeful spirit, and terrifying to look at, but she kills murderers and rescues people, as well as the souls of the dead! How much more awesome can you get?

2. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. I honestly started reading this and thought that I would DNF it after the first few chapters because I really wasn’t enjoying myself. I’m so glad that I stuck with it! I thought that it was going to be a normal story about a Southern belle and, I’m sorry, that just doesn’t interest me. But this book was so much more!!

3. The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. I hadn’t read much historical fiction and had read another book by de la Cruz that I’d absolutely hated. Little did I know that this would quickly become a favorite of mine!

4. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Okay, honestly I’m all about authors writing books set in the same world as their previous series–IF they still have original ideas and writing. I didn’t even enjoy the original City of Bones trilogy so I don’t understand the hype and masses of books that are coming out of that–but . . For some reason, I read the prequel trilogy, and while they aren’t favorite books of mine they were actually pretty good!

5. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. This was in my stages of me thinking I was “too cool” for contemporary. And then Katie McGarry reminded me of how good a contemporary novel could be.

6. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Again, this was an author I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy, and I was over vampires when I read this. It was SO. GOOD. I still can’t handle it.

What books have you read that have surprised you?

5 stars · horror · young adult

REVIEW: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

The Suffering

The Girl from the Well #2

author : rin chupeco

pages : [paperback] 272

memorable quote Someone nobler than me might have given Okiku the final peace she deserves.

favorite character : okiku

summary :

Over the last year I’ve gone against faceless women, disfigured spirits, and grotesque revenants. Some people keep dangerous hobbies; skydiving and driving at monster truck rallies and glacier surfing. Me? I cast my soul into the churning waters of potential damnation and wait for a bite.

It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.

When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’, both must resolve their differences and return to that country of secrets to find her.

Because there is a strange village inside Aokigahara, a village people claim does not exist. A village where strange things lie waiting.

A village with old ghosts and an ancient evil – one that may be stronger than even Okiku…

review :

 Okay, I’m not usually one for horror books, but this YA novel and its companion have me hooked. I seriously hope that the author writes more. I don’t think that you necessarily need to read the first book, The Girl from the Well, to enjoy The Suffering, but trust me, you’ll want to read both. Book one gives backstory for Okiku and Tark, how they meet, and sets the precedent for their beautiful little relationship. Book two picks up about a year or two after the first book ends. There are new bad guys to exorcise, ancient evils to fight, and some drama between Okiku and Tark as well.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but the horror movies that often scare me the most are the ones with ghosts like Okiku. Just the idea of them is . . . well, there’s a reason why people make so much money scaring the pants off of viewers with ghosts like that. But Okiku is on, like, a whole other level. I love her so much more than I’ve loved any other character in a while. Much more than Tark (okay, he’s cool too, but OKIKU). I could read a whole series just about how her mind works. And I think it’s so awesome how a character who’d be the antagonist in practically any other horror novel is actually the ghost kicking bad guy booty in The Suffering. Okiku experienced terrible things before she was killed; now it’s her life’s goal to avenge other victims and rid the world of murderers. Tark joins her in this, which is why he is also awesome.

Sorry. Enough fangirling. The Suffering has a creepy setting that I feel like a lot of people have heard about lately, either through social media, movies coming out about it, or just articles online. Aokigahara is a place I might enter if I had Okiku by my side, but . . . see above for what my worst fears in horror movies are and imagine an enter forest filled with them. In this book, it’s speculated as to whether the forest draws in lost or lonely souls and that’s what leads so many to commit suicide there. It’s terribly devastating that a place like this exists in real life. In the book, a ghost hunting crew from a TV show thinks it would be a great idea to head into the forest to film Aokigahara and an ancient village inside that may or may not have ever existed. I can totally picture this happening in real life. And of course, the ‘ghost hunters’ are NOT prepared to meet any real ghosts. But that’s their own fault.

I don’t want to give any of the plot away but it’s incredibly detailed and creepy and sad. Most of the ghosts that are around in these books never deserved to die and were nothing in life like they are as spirits. Tark needs to figure out how to pacify the spirits, save everyone lost in Aokigarhara, and make it out alive. You won’t want to put this book down because there are so many twists and turns, you’ll never see this ending coming.

I loved this book so much and want everyone to give it a chance! I feel like even people who don’t often like horror might like to give this book a chance. It’s a real twist on everything you might expect to get out of a book like this.

5/5 stars

2 stars · horror · young adult

Asylum by Madeline Roux

 

Asylum 

Asylum #1

author : madeline roux

pages : [hardcover] 313

favorite character : abby

memorable quote No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.

summary :

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

review :

Asylum tries to do something that too many horror stories have done before. An asylum is a terrifying place. I hate the concept of losing control over what happens to yourself, both physically and mentally. There are plenty of stories about sane people being tormented in asylums, tortured patients coming back to haunt the living, and dead doctors attempting to experiment on intruders in closed asylums. Roux’s novel plays on all of that, though not in a new, exciting light.

I think that I could have forgiven the contrived horror if the characters had been more distinctive; I never truly got to know them because too much about the book was never explained in order to fixate on things that might make situations creepier to the reader. Despite the pictures cleverly inserted in the book to make the reader see what Dan is finding in this closed asylum turned dorm, I never found myself truly scared or afraid for these characters. And I’m usually someone who can be kept awake at night by anything.

Without a horrific plot or interesting characters, what does Asylum have? An unrealistic setting. No sane college campus would put student in an old asylum without clearing out the building first! They can’t honestly expect that teenagers wouldn’t go poking around where they don’t belong. With all of the medical instruments and other deadly stuff in the basement, that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. It was odd to me that Dan and his friends were the only ones interested in and fixated upon the fact that the building used to house mental patients. Well, maybe not so surprised because we don’t really get to hear about any students other than Dan and his two friends.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for a frightening story that’ll keep them up at night. I can’t really think of who this book will appeal to. Apparently there’s a sequel to this, which I might pick up out of pure curiosity to see where else this plot is going to go. It kind of ended itself in Asylum, so I don’t see why book two is necessary. I think this horror series is one you can skip.

2/5 stars

promotion

The Girl from the Well: Book Trailer Reveal!

Hello readers! Today is the release date for The Girl from the Well, a great YA horror novel that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat-and will keep you up at night, too. I read it, loved it, and know you should check out the giveaway I’m currently holding so you have the chance to win a copy of this book for yourself.

To tide you over until you have this book in hand, check out this awesome book trailer! I just love how much time and effort is being put into awesome trailers these days and this is no exception.

Go to Goodreads and add The Girl from the Well to your to-read shelf!

4 stars · horror · young adult

Giveaway + Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well

release date : August 5

author : rin chupeco

about the author Rin Chupeco: Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.

pages : [hardcover] 272

favorite character : okiku

summary :

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

review :

I have a love/hate relationship with scary stories. I’m absolutely captivated by them during the day, when I’m reading them. Then at night I’m haunted by what I’ve read and the creatures that I can conjure up in my mind. That’s part of what made The Girl from the Well so terrifying for me; every portion of this horror story is so well-told that I could perfectly picture the spirits as well as the gruesome acts that occur within these pages. This book is not for the faint of heart; it isn’t like a horror movie where you can look away when things escalate. No, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the page once the truly creepy events of the book start.

From the very beginning I wasn’t sure of what to think of Okiku. We’ve all been taught by books and horror movies that terrifying-looking ghosts are out to get you, but what if there was one that was only out to avenge those who, like her, had been murdered? I’ve never read a story where the ghost is portrayed as a kind of murderous heroine. I loved reading on to find out more about the ghost’s past, especially because as a reader we witness firsthand her vengeance. Even knowing that it is a child killer being hunted doesn’t make the entire experience less shocking.

What I also found interesting was that a select few people in the world had the ability to see beings like Okiku. Depending on how old they are or where they originated, these people have different reactions to her. Through these encounters we also get to learn more about our narrator. Although she speaks in first person, she doesn’t willingly say much about herself and has been dead for so long that it’s obvious she’s lost a lot of what had made her human. She hardly understands people anymore and it’s worse because her appearance frightens those who can see her, even if she is not hunting them.

Even if this book did scare me and maybe kept me up for a few nights, I’ll forgive it because it had such an interesting storytelling structure, great characters, and I absolutely loved the ending. Sometimes when it comes to horror stories I feel like the end can only go one of two ways and The Girl from the Well chose neither option. The ending really surprised me but left me satisfied. That’s something that I tend to worry about when it comes to horror but my worries didn’t come true!

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a frightening story to keep them up at night.

4/5 stars

This book was amazing, so don’t you want a copy of your own? Enter to win a finished copy of The Girl from the Well! Click the Rafflecopter link below. US & Canada only.

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2 stars · horror

Christine by Stephen King

Christine

author : stephen king

pages : [paperback] 411

favorite characters : dennis & leigh

memorable quote I think part of being a parent is trying to kill your kids.

summary :

Evil is alive in Libertyville. It inhabits a custom-painted red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury and the teenage boy, Arnold Cunningham, who buys it from the strange Roland LeBay.

Helped by Arnold’s girlfriend Leigh Cabot, Dennis Guilder embarks to find out the real truth behind Christine and finds more than he bargained for: from murder, to suicide, and a strange feeling that surrounds Christine — she gets even with anyone that crosses her! Can Dennis save Arnold from the evil that is Christine?

review :

Every so often I pick up a Stephen King book and it’s usually either a hit or a miss for me. I love the ideas and the concepts but sometimes it either takes too long of a buildup to get to the horror aspects of the book or everything is greatly paced. Unfortunately for me, this book was more like the former.

Christine was very well-written with interesting characters but throughout most of the pages nothing much was happening. Sure, sometimes this built up a little interest, but at times it just made me want to skip through and see what exciting thing would happen next. A few times I did this and realized that I wasn’t missing anything important by not reading a few pages here and there. While I was usually able to stop myself from giving into the temptation to do so, it was frustrating.

I think that this book would have been much better if it was a little shorter and less drawn out. I really did like the writing here so I know without a doubt that Stephen King is very talented and I know that I’ll end up reading more in the future. I just am not sure of how many I’ll enjoy and what will end up disappointing like this one.

2/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Carrie or The Green Mile.

3 stars · horror

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Full Dark, No Stars

author : stephen king

pages [hardcover] 368

summary :

A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.

1922
The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage

review :

I love reading Stephen King books because they’re really starting to get me into horror as well as bringing me into the mindset that both YA and adult books can be enjoyable and the reader doesn’t have to prefer one or the other. King does a fantastic job of creating his stories, drawing the reader in and allowing them to feel along with the character what is happening. There’s a certain skill in his slow build-up of tinier details that can be appreciated just as much if not more so than in your face gore and scare tactics.

I love how in each story a different character is presented. A murderer, a victim, someone who stands aside while another’s life is destroyed, the relative of a victim. Literally as soon as I would finish one of the stories and think to myself that I’d like to here something from some generic character perspective, it would be there right in the next tale. The differences between all of them as well as the qualities that link them together make each story captivating and different.

My favorite had to be Fair Extension, though it was also one of the harder ones for me to read. The cruelty of it got to me more than flat-out murder did, which was completely unexpected for me and a show of great writing on King’s part.

I recommend this both to fans of short stories and Stephen King fans. This isn’t my favorite work of his but as I’m expanding my horizons and looking into more of his books, it has me looking to read more.

4/5 stars