Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-12-12T191801.133
Series:
Washington Poe #2 (Read my review of book one here!)
Release Date: December 12th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Review

When I picked up The Puppet Show (book one in the Washington Poe series) I had no idea what to expect. I finished up with my mind completely blown and The Puppet Show racing to the top of my favourite crime books. My expectations for Black Summer were incredibly high, I couldn’t wait to see what was next in store for Poe and Tilly and honestly if it’s possible, Black Summer is even more brilliant.

This book pretty much consumed my life while I was reading it. I had a few bleary eyed days because I stayed up way too late reading it and I almost missed my bus stop on more than one occasion. Black Summer is a fast paced, addictive read. It’s a wild ride of a book, and you definitely won’t want to get off. This instalment follows Poe as one of his cases comes back to haunt him. Jared Keaton is in prison for murdering his daughter, he’s there because Poe helped convict him. But when a young woman announces she is Jared’s daughter alive and well, Poe finds himself mixed up in the investigation once again but this time it could be the end of his career.

I won’t say too much more about the plot because it’s definitely best left for the reader to enjoy. It’s a gripping story, with plenty of twists and turns that I definitely didn’t see coming. Black Summer could also be read as a standalone if you haven’t picked up The Puppet Show, but they are both highly addictive and well worth the read.

One of the things that really makes this story for me is the characters. Poe and Tilly are a brilliant partnership, it’s fascinating to watch them interact and I loved seeing their relationship develop over the course of a second book. They’re both vivid, well fleshed out and great protagonists. Tilly is definitely one of my all time favourite characters, there’s no puzzle she can’t solve.

Black Summer is an exhilarating read and if you’re looking for the perfect books to binge read over Christmas, the Washington Poe books are a must buy. Your only problem is going to be waiting for the release of book three in 2020!

5 stars

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-11-20T180345.833
Release Date:
October 22nd 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.

Review

Copy of book cover (88)Ghoster is the kind of book that hooks you in right from the very beginning, and absolutely does not let you go. The story follows Kate, a young woman who is moving in with her boyfriend Scott. When Scott mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing behind but his mobile phone, Kate has no choice but to start looking through his social media and online profiles. Strange things start to happen that Kate can’t explain and the deeper she digs into Scott’s past, the more she begins to realise she didn’t really know him at all.

Ghoster is a smart and engaging tale and one that I found difficult to put down. It’s incredibly well paced, heightening the tension as Kate attempts to uncover the mystery behind Scott. Ghoster really felt like a brilliant fresh perspective on the mystery genre and I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. The story is one of obsession and the effects being so present online can have on us. It’s a really fascinating read and there are some moments that will definitely send a shiver up your spine.

The story has a really realistic and plausible feel to it, and I think that’s part of what makes this story so chilling. I really liked Kate as a main character and I enjoyed watching her unravel this puzzle. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between Kate and Scott and how it has changed over time. As always with a mystery/thriller I love it when I’m completely surprised by the turns it takes, and I definitely felt that way with Ghoster. It was an intricately woven tale, and I didn’t want it to end.

Ghoster is the perfect read for a dark and chilly evening. It’s intense, exciting and unforgettable. But be warned, it will have you reading well past bedtime and you might just need to sleep with the light on.
4 stars
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Book Recommendations: Halloween Edition!

Book Recommendations: Halloween Edition!

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I’m back with a new book recommendations post. This time we’re talking spooky reads that are perfect for Halloween. I absolutely love doing a readathon on Halloween, it’s a great time to get comfy on the couch with some candles, a blanket and a cat, so I thought I would recommend some of my favourite spooky books that would be perfect this Halloween.

Copy of book cover (80)1. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
I finished this just recently and absolutely adored it. Set at Yale University, it features magic, mystery and the dark underworld of the Yale secret societies. I got completely sucked into this story and ended up flying through it. It’s gripping, dark and deals with some really tough themes, but it was a brilliant read and definitely a new favourite of mine.

2. The Monster of Elendhaven – Jennifer GiesbrechtCopy of book cover (81)
This is quite a short little book that I ended up reading in one sitting – perfect for a readathon. The story follows a man hungry for revenge on those who wronged him, and his companion who cannot die. It has a really vivid setting, and excellent world building, especially in such a short book. It’s a gruesome and compelling tale, and one I highly recommend.

3. The Deathless Girls – Kiran Milwood Hagravebook cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932
This one isn’t so much as scary as it is captivating and engrossing. The story is a reimagining of the brides of Dracula and the events that lead them to become immortals. It’s a beautifully told Gothic tale and I was absolutely hooked. It features some stunning writing and a fantastic cast of characters. I also really liked the romance in this story – which is something I don’t say very often!

4. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley JacksonCopy of book cover (83)
I couldn’t resist throwing a classic into the mix. Shirley Jackson is an author I have been a bit hit or miss with. I enjoyed The Missing Girl, didn’t really get We Have Always Lived in the Castle and loved The Haunting of Hill House. This is by far my favourite, it’s dark, creepy and a brilliantly weaved tale.

5. Tunnel of Bones – Victoria SchwabCopy of book cover (84)
This is the second instalment in Victoria Schwab’s middle grade ghost hunter series and if you haven’t read book one I highly recommend both.  The first is set in Edinburgh and the many haunted places within the city. This instalment is set in the creepy Paris catacombs and really brings these places to life, I really loved following Cassidy and her ghost best friend as they tackle ghosts and save the world as we know it.

6. Sanctuary – V. V. JamesCopy of book cover (40)
I still think about this book even though I finished it months ago. A story of murder, revenge and witchcraft, this book will have you on the edge of your seat right till the very last page. In a world where witches live and work alongside humans, the murder of a young high school student leads everyone to start pointing the finger at witches. But who really did it? and was Daniel as innocent as he seemed? Full of twists and turns, this is one of my favourite books of the year.

7. The Furies – Katie Lowebook cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250
This is another book I could not put down and is absolutely perfect for Halloween reading. The story of a group of high school students who believe they have ability to cast spells and enact revenge on those who wronged them. This is a stunning debut with vivid characters and an unforgettable plot.

8. Night Film – Marisha PeshlCopy of book cover (56)
I was a bit late to the Night Film party but my god I’m glad I finally picked this book up. The story follows disgraced detective Scott McGrath as he attempts to understand the suicide of Ashley Cordova, the daughter of a reclusive film maker. As he delves deeper, he learns it might not have been suicide and Cordova might have been messing with something far beyond our understanding. This story felt so real I wanted to google the characters so I could watch the movies.

Copy of book cover (60)9. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
Looking for a crime thriller fix this October? The Puppet Show definitely has you covered. The first in a new detective series, this book is full to the brim with shock twists I would never have seen coming and is full of plenty gory moments. It also features a brilliant crime solving duo and I can’t wait to pick up the next instalment in the series.

10.  Dead Voices – Katherine Arden Copy of book cover (82)
This one is a bit of an honourable mention because I’m actually in the middle of reading it now. This is the second instalment in Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces series. This middle grade series is so fun and full of spooky goodness. The first book features plenty of eerie, spine tingling moments and I am loving Dead Voices so far.

So there you have it! Those are my recommendations for spooky reads this Halloween. If you’ve read any great creepy reads recently I’d love to know what they were, and if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Spookathon TBR!

Spookathon TBR!

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Things have been pretty busy at the moment and I haven’t been posted (or reading) as much as I’d like, but I’m hoping a Halloween themed readathon will be just the thing to get my reading back on track. I’m going to participate in Spookathon, the readathon run by BooksandLala, running 14th-20th of October. My TBR is going to be these beautiful books:

Read a thriller: Final Girls – Riley Sager
Copy of book cover (75)Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
 
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Read something with red on the cover: This Lie Will Kill You – Chelsea Pitcher
Copy of book cover (76)Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Read something with a spooky word in the title: The Witch of Willow Hall – Hester Fox
Copy of book cover (77)Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Read something set in a spooky location: The Lost Ones – Anita Frank
Copy of book cover (78)Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

Read something you wouldn’t normally read: Unexplained – Richard Maclean Smith
Copy of book cover (79)Based on the ‘world’s spookiest podcast’ of the same name comes Unexplained: a book of ten real-life mysteries which might be best left unexplained. . .

Demonic possession in 1970’s Germany.

UFOs in Rendlesham forest.

Reincarnation in Middlesbrough.

To this day, these real life mysteries and very many more evade explanation.

Based on one of the most successful paranormal podcasts ever, with over 10 million streams and downloads to date, Unexplained consists of ten chapters focussing on a different paranormal event, from Australia to Germany, the UK to Zimbabwe, using the stories as gateways to a journey beyond the veil of the uncanny, exploring what they reveal of the human experience.

Taking ideas once thought of as supernatural or paranormal and questioning whether radical ideas in science might provide a new but equally extraordinary explanation, Unexplained is The Examined Life meets The X Files.

So those are the books I’m hoping to tackle for Spookathon! If you’ve read any of them I’d love to know what you thought, and if you’re participating, definitely let me know what you’re planning to read!

Blog Tour: The Tenth Girl – Sara Faring

Blog Tour: The Tenth Girl – Sara Faring

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-09-23T134852.016
Release Date:
September 24th
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 464
Find it On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was sent an E-ARC of this via Netgalley from FFBC
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Review

Copy of book cover (71)This is the kind of book that will have completely divide opinions – some are going to absolutely adore it, and others will struggle. I found it a really intense, twisty read with so many shock surprises that I didn’t see coming.

The story follows a young girl called Mavi as she escapes the strictness of her home life to be a teacher at an elite Argentinean boarding school. When she arrives at the school she attempts to cope with the strange goings on, with people going missing, students and teachers acting in strange ways and rumours of the mysterious others. Mavi has to find the secrets hiding in the school and stay alive in the process.

I must admit that the blurb and the gorgeous creepy cover really lured me into this book. It has a fantastic gothic setting that I completely fell in love with as well as some brilliantly complex characters. Mavi was an excellent protagonist and I really liked her.

The best thing about this book is definitely the atmosphere. I’m a big fan of horror novels and this definitely has some really spine tingling moments, and I felt really uneasy reading some of the more intense scenes. It’s a brilliant piece of writing that will absolutely have readers on the edge of their seats. I really enjoyed Sara Faring’s writing style and I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.

The story is quite quick paced, with plenty happened to keep you coming back for more. I did feel like some of the twists were in there just to shock you, and didn’t add all that much to the story line. I did really enjoy the Argentinian myths element of the story. It was creepy and fascinating and something that I had never read about before.

If you’re looking for an intense and addictive read that is absolutely perfect for Halloween/Autumn, you should definitely pick this one up. A dark and chilling Gothic thriller, with beautiful writing and an excellent setting.
4 stars

July Wrap Up!

July Wrap Up!

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I’m a bit behind on posting wrap ups so I thought I would do a quick post of all the books I read in July! I moved house in July and things were a bit manic so I only managed to read a few books.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2501. The Furies – Katie Lowe
The Furies follows a girl named Violet who is starting at the elite Elm Hollow Academy. There she is befriended by a group of girls who attend a study group focusing on Witch trials and the occult. The girls start to believe that magic is real, but when a former member of the group turns up dead, Violet starts to wonder if she can trust these girls, and what really happened to Robin. I adored this book so much. It’s definitely a favourite of the year it was dark and intense and I completely fell in love with the characters. I can’t wait to read more from Katie Lowe. Full review can be found here! (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (30)2. Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer
My quest to broaden my reading and try and read things outwith my comfort zone meant I picked up this gorgeous little book of poetry. Poetry isn’t something I read much of but I found myself really enjoying this powerful collection mixing feminism and Greek mythology. I definitely found some of the passages quite inspiring and I really want to try and read more poetry in the future. I love the eye-catching cover too and if you want to read my full thoughts you can check out my review here. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (70)3. Wanderers – Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig is an author I’ve always wanted to check out so I jumped at the opportunity to read his laterest book Wanderers. This story was completely unlike anything I had read before and it had me hooked from the outset. The story a group of people who wake up one morning and just start walking. Nothing will stop them from walking and if they are restrained things start to go wrong. The story follows the loved ones of the walkers, attempting to stay with their family and keep them safe. This story was so addictive and even though it’s a tomb I raced through it. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I’ve already forced several family members to read it. (4.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (56)4. Night Film – Marisha Peshl
This is without a doubt my favourite thriller of all time. I got this book for Christmas and picked it up on a whim, but I’m so glad that I did. The story follows the murder of a young woman who’s father is a famous and reclusive film director. Disgraced investigative journalist Scott McGrath starts looking into the case after his previous investigation into the Cordova family cost him his job. As he delves into the mysteries surrounding the family he starts to wonder if there’s more to them than meets the eye. I honestly couldn’t put this book down, I loved it so much. I was constantly questioning what was real and what wasn’t. There are tons of really spine tingling moments and I genuinely had to google to see if Cordova was a real person because the story felt so real. Night Film is a brilliant brilliant read. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (69)5. Lies You Never Told Me – Jennifer Donaldson
Lies You Never Told Me is a fun and fast paced YA thriller. The story follows two seemingly unconnected characters and the relationships they develop – one a young girl with her drama teacher and another a young boy with a manipulative and controlling girl. As both try to escape from their relationships things get more and more out of control. The story is interesting, with quite a few plot twists but felt very much like your typical YA thriller. The characters were quite one dimensional and I guessed the ending quite early on. (3/5 stars) 

So those are the five books I read in July! Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought and what books you’ve been reading and loving recently!

Blog Tour: A Shadow on the Lens – Sam Hurcom

Blog Tour: A Shadow on the Lens – Sam Hurcom

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-09-08T223719.935
Release Date:
September 5th 2019
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.
He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.
Someone had been watching us.

1904. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.

Review

Copy of book cover (55)This is the dark and creepy tale of Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers who is sent to Dinas Powys in Wales after the body of a young woman is discovered in the woods. Her body is found bound, mutilated and burnt, so the police turn to Bexley to solve the case. As Thomas begins to uncover the case, he finds the locals reluctant to help and a growing sense of unease in the village – could there be more to this brutal murder than Thomas first thought?

This is quite a short book, but it absolutely packs a punch. It’s really dark and eerie, a murder mystery with just that hint of the supernatural. If I hadn’t read this already I would definitely have read this on Halloween because it’s that perfect spooky story. I loved the setting of this story. This sleepy little village where everyone knows each other. As Bexley tries to uncover the secrets behind the murder I loved the way the tension climbed as that feeling of unease grew and grew.

Thomas was a really interesting character and I found the Victorian forensic photography so interesting. It was something I didn’t know much about so I really liked seeing him carry out his work. The author has a gorgeous writing style and some of the scenes (particularly the one in the basement!) really sent a shiver up my spine.

There are plenty of twists in this that I didn’t see coming, and a fair few scary moments. It’s a quick read because it’s so easy to fall into the story and I am really looking forward to reading more from this author. A Shadow on the Lens is a fantastic debut, a chilling read that fans of Gothic horror will absolutely adore!
4 stars