My Rating: 5 Stars
This book includes everything I enjoy in a story: a good, scary Gothic tale set in Victorian times.
The story starts with Elsie Bainbridge, a young woman that is recovering in the hospital, unable to speak about a number of murders that she’s accused of committing. Since she doesn’t speak a word, she’s advised by one of the doctors to write down her story. Elsie is a recently married and recently widowed young woman that moves to her husband’s old estate, The Bridge, in order to bury him and give birth to her child. Surrounded by her husband’s cousin Sarah and three servants, Elsie begins to realize that in the walls of the old estate dark secrets are whispered in its walls. From strange figures of children and maids painted in wooden boards which seem to watch every move and seem to never stay in their designed place, to some old diaries that described the horrific events that took place in the beginning of the Bainbridge family’s downfall, Elsie slowly begins to transform from a confident and bright young woman to a broken shell governed by nightmares of past events she doesn’t fully understand.
A creepy Gothic horror novel that left me afraid to look at the walls and the paintings of my house for too long. It’s a deeply unsettling story that I will remember for a long time as being one of the books that made me be afraid of the dark for a few nights.
The setting is perfect for me, it hold everything for this novel to be a true horror story. It takes place in 1866 in Victorian England and in an old estate that has more history than its inhabitants realize until it’s too late. The story-line is solid and all the historical facts make this novel memorable in many ways. It’s a psychological horror story that develops perfectly from beginning to end, suspenseful until the very last page. The fact that the author started with the end, the reader is fully aware from the first page that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.
The style of writing is brilliant and it creates this atmosphere of suspense within a complex plot. I’m an admirer of the authors that manage to recreate a Victorian novel with all the phrase structure and vocabulary that truly brings the reader closer to the plot and its characters. The way that Laura Purcell writes builds up the horror throughout gets the reader completely addicted to the story even if deep down they're waiting for something scary to take palce.
The characters are amazing and as mesmerizing as the plot itself. Elsie is a great character and it’s impossible for the reader not to get involved in her story and feel for her as she walks down a dark path without realizing. Her transformation from a strong woman to a depressed, hollow, traumatized, mute, full of scars character is both admirable and scary.
A brilliant, creepy novel that will scare any reader out of hers/his wits. I highly recommend this novel for the fans of the genre and of Victorian fiction.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Bloomsbury, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
A great read! A mix between different genres that blend perfectly together and with a style of writing that got me hooked from the beginning.
Arriving in a new school, Annie feels out of place. When she meets Elsie, she is forced to become her best friend. Her new friend soon begins to reveal that her character isn’t at all pleasant: she is controlling, spiteful and demanding, but at the same time, she is violently bullied. When Annie ends her relationship with Elsie and joins the opposition, things take a turn for the worse: Elsie dies of influenza… and she comes back to haunt Annie. How do you release a vengeful ghost when its anger is aimed at you?
This suspenseful novel is a page-turner with brilliant descriptions and amazing characters.
The setting was very well picked; the reader is taken back to 1918 during the World War I where political tension runs high, the talk of war is current and the Germans are considered the enemy. The descriptions allow the reader to live the story instead of just reading it. The storyline is solid and its depth reveals a few brutal events and behaviours that took place during that time. There is a mix of genres that is perfectly balanced and they all come together to create a historical ghost story.
The novel is fast-paced; I couldn’t find a moment it slowed down even for a moment, one of the reasons the book was so hard to put down.
The characters are the best element in the novel for me. They are very well developed and defined not only in behaviour but also in dialogue and their actions. I must admit I found it impressing that the author managed to do this with so many characters and not once lose track or diminish their presence in the story. Elsie is a character that I couldn’t help but sympathise with. In my opinion, her actions and behaviour come from her lack of attention and acceptance and her loneliness. If she never got anything positive out of human interaction, she wouldn’t know how to actually establish contact in a friendly way in the first place. She has a difficult character, but she was also a victim. Annie is a good main character and she struggles to fit in. In the end, she chooses to be part of the bullies group and it becomes her downfall. She does learn from it though, which was a satisfying point personally. Annie and Elsie are the pole opposites of each other both in personality and behaviour, like good and evil. However, I think the point of the author is that none is really good and no one is really evil, at least not without good reason.
A great read, one that I recommend to all the fans of a good ghost story with historical highlights.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Clarion Books. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
You know when people say that you should never judge a book by its cover? Well, this is definitely one of those cases! I must warn you right now that this book is brutal, very very graphic and definitely not for the faint of heart! I had to stop reading it and start with something lighter to be able to go through with it.
Olivia is about to start a new phase in her life: university. After her father drops her off at the campus dorm, Olivia takes a stroll in the university grounds only to be kidnapped by two masked man and thrown in a van. When she is finally able to see, she finds herself in a room that looks like the interior of a doll house; everything is pink: the bed, the walls, the furniture. Olivia quickly realises that there is no room to escape and the daily visits of her abductors show her in the most brutal way that she is at their mercy. In a house where several young women are abused and raped daily, Olivia spends five years confined in that pink room. Will she ever be able to escape?
Dark and disturbing doesn’t even begin to cover this novel. When I was younger I had nightmares about a white van and it still haunts me today. I can assure you that after reading this, I will run for the hills if I actually see one. My heart was beating on my throat for most of the reading and the level of psychological and physical horror of the story is both admirable and scary. Even though this is fiction, I know that these events actually take place around the world, and that’s why for me it was so hard to read. It’s like facing a reality that we just keep in the back of our brains.
The style of writing is great, pulled me completely into the story. There was this constant morbid curiosity to know what was going to happen next even though I knew nothing good was waiting around the corner.
I definitely want to read future novels of John Hunt but I do have hopes for something less dark and traumatic. I recommend this book to fans of hardcore thrillers with very detailed, disturbing descriptions. But again a warning, this is not for the faint of heart.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Black Rose Writing, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
I am a big fan of the dystopian genre. For me it’s both interesting and scary to think of which realities might actually happen and how humans deal with the changes. This is one of the reasons I really enjoyed Aftermath, since it’s more focused on the re-building phase than the actual moment of the apocalypse.
Aftermath takes place in a near-future where the world is broken and people are divided. After the fall of several bombs in the different areas of the US territory, people must adapt to a new environment and fight for a new order in society and government. Through the eyes of seven characters, you will be taken on a journey through human nature and instinct of survival in a world where the person to trust is oneself.
I really got into this novel and after I started I finished it quite quickly. The setting is brutal: it really brings out human nature and what we are willing to do to survive, instincts that only manifest in extreme cases. I think this setting really got to me since I believe it’s very possible to happen in the future, taking in consideration the daily news and ongoing wars.
The style of writing is very good and the story-line is very clear and easy to follow. I could see and feel the dedication and the passion of the author on the novel. I got a bit lost in the beginning while reading the past of the characters but in the end I think it was a very good way of showing not only the story of each character, giving them depth; but also to have a better idea of what happened before the bombings. The organisation of the factions was very cleverly thought and described but at the same time a bit brutal, since the people captured by a fraction have absolutely no choice but to submit and obey.
The characters are all unique in their one way and they all contribute to the story, which proves the good technique of the author when it comes to not leaving loose ends. I didn’t feel like a character was more important than others at all.
The ending was shocking and the cliffhanger was painful to deal with! I want more! I am hoping that the author continues to write in this style and that a second volume is on its way. I recommend this book to fans of dystopian literature that goes more in depth to the characters than the actual apocalypse.
I want to thank the author Joe Reyes for reaching out to me and sending me a free copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Engaging, addictive and amazingly written, Reckless had me glued to its pages! I’ve read Inkheart a few times and I can’t help but simply fall in love all over again with the writings of Cornelia Funke.
Once upon a time, a young boy named Jacob discovers this alternative world where he may escape his troubled past. For years he jumps back and forth between worlds becoming a master in finding lost enchanted objects until that faithful day, the day his little brother Will follows him into this magic world. But appearances are deceiving: this world is a very dark and dangerous place where happy endings aren’t waiting in the end of the story. When Will is viciously attacked, Jacob races to save his brother life before he becomes a blood-thirsty monster with skin made of stone.
I can’t get enough of the dark-fairytale world, Mirrorworld. It’s scary, creepy and it is really the worse that can happen in the stories that are supposed to end with “and they lived happily ever after”. It reveals the true meaning of the stories that we all know so well, in my opinion. There are new characters, new monsters but at the same time there are also those beloved characters from Grimm Fairytales, so it creates some familiarity.
The style of writing is amazing. I would have read it in German if I knew the language better, but with the English translation I still got to understand and really feel the story.
About the characters, Jacob is definitely the type of character that I enjoy reading about. He demonstrates his love and worry through actions and not words and although sometimes it seems like he doesn’t care at all, his actions show the bravery one needs to have while facing adversity. He is a great anti-hero with all the qualities and flaws that come with the title. However, Will is the opposite of his brother, and I think the intention was to have on one side the boy that suffered through hard times and tries not to grow attached to people, whereas on the other side, the young, innocent, untainted boy that just wants his brother’s attention. They complete each other perfectly and together they have this amazing brotherly bond that I couldn’t get enough of.
An amazing book that I will definitely re-read soon and that I recommend to all the fans of a dark world of tales!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Breathing Books, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Die Laughing (Harley Quinn: Rebirth #1) by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti & Chad Hardin (Illustrator)
My Rating: 4 Stars
The first Rebirth comic that I actually loved! Wow, Harley Quint is definitely my favourite anti-hero and in this comic makes her justice!
For the story arcs I just have one phrase for you: Harley Quint, aliens, zombies and her own personal gang. Craziness, humour, action! What’s not to love?
The art of the comic is amazing. The colours, the drawings of the characters together with the witty and humours dialogues create the perfect combination for an addictive read. I took my time to appreciate the art though, even in the parts where it gets really bloody. Harley’s character is very well drawn, specially her crazy expressions in particular moments, like in life-risking situations and when she’s hungry (it’s actually pretty funny too).
I really like the gang Harley put together. They all get along perfectly and it was surprising to see that they actually get along even if they’re all crazy I their own way. The loyalty amongst them was a pleasure to see and read, specially the seen where Harley gets herself in a pickle and they’re there to back her up even when they stare at death right in the face.
The only thing I didn’t like very much is the sexual vibe between Harley and Poison Ivy. Their friendship and bond is unique and powerful but let’s not exaggerate either. I did like to see Harley with Deadwood. I was surprised with the chemistry they have and thinking about, they would make one hell of a couple!
Loved every page and I can’t wait for the next volume! Definitely recommend it!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher DC Comics and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Old-fashion horror at its best ! Haunted houses, prison torture, monsters and creatures that brought fears I had as a child to light! The cover is amazing, beautiful, daring and creepy all in one!
“Doorways to the Unseen: 6 Tales of Terror and Suspense” by James Dermond is a collection of horror tales that gave me goosebumps! The tales are very well written and the style is very good, I really got into the stories and their characters. I must admit that the endings were a bit disappointing but still fun to read.
My favourite tales were:
- The Drowned Man, a lake house with a haunting story and a deadly ending;
- Grandfather’s Cane, a tale of warning and caution for the living;
- The Plague, a sudden wave of madness that consumes the people of a small town, turning people into monsters;
- Returned to Dust, a tale of punishment over the punishers inside a prison.
These short stories are great and each one proves to be unique and engaging. It’s a very easy novel read, the stories flow quite nicely and it’s very entertaining. I definitely want to the read more from James Dermond in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later!
My Rating: 4 Stars
Beyond the Absurd was a delight to read. Being a fan for the Theatre of the Absurd, specially Waiting for godot by Samuel Backett and No Exist by Jean-Paul Sartre, I’m familiar with the style.
These 12 short stories, focused on the absurd, take the reader in a journey to the deepest and darkest corners of the human mind and actions, and the paradox of human choices and opinions. These tales are a mix of genres that go from fantasy and sci-fi to dystopia and even humour.
Alexander Tomov is a great writer and his writing style is amazing. The language is simple and it completely matches the simplicity of life and the banalities of our daily lives. I must admit that in the beginning I got a bit lost since I didn’t know if the stories were somehow related or not. It’s nothing that can’t be clarified with an introduction to the book. Furthermore, I think that a quotation on the subject or theme in the beginning of each story could help the reader to understand the story better.
Some of the stories were really creepy like “The machine” that can create the ghost of someone for your past or the 4-year-old boy that committed suicide because he hated the world since he was 2. My favourite stories were “The Taxicab” and the “Firekeeper”. These two stories are related to the thing but in a different perspective: time. They’re about travelling to the past or the future and an old-man that can burn ghosts from the past. For me, it’s about that human desire to relive distant memories with people that are lost and the inability to aspect that our past, no matter how dark, is what makes us who we are now.
The story that really made me laugh is the devil having an orgy in the United Nation’s room since hell is out of room and “Heaven has gone bankrupt” from the lack of pure souls. A story about power and how leaders only take notice to the details that are in their interests.
These are the type of stories that made me think and to see the absurdity of life, the contradictions of what we see and choose to see has banalities. For example, the end of world, the death of children, how we would like to change something in our lives but don’t and then wish to change the past. Tomov inserts tiny details that complete the short-stories and make them even more human.
It was a great reading that I recommend for the fans of the absurd. I’ll definitely keep an eye open for Mr Tomov’s future works.
I want to thank the author Alexander Tomov for his advanced copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was a burst of colour in my readings! Amazing novel with amazing characters and a story-line that kept me clued to its pages! I could taste the circus life and colours with this brilliant show of imagination!
Freeks tells the story of the Gideon Davorin’s Travelling Sideshow, a circus where acts are real magic. Each sideshow presents different wonders, from levitation to necromancy and fortune telling and each member of the carnival has their own set of unique talents. All expect Mara, a young girl that travels with her mother in the circus and, even though she loves her carnival family, dreams of a normal life. That dream seems very far away, still the circus settles in the small town of Caudy, Louisiana and Mara meets Gabe. But something is amiss. Something is set in getting rid of the Freek sideshow and will stop at nothing to have that wish fulfilled. What or who is it? When members of carnival are attacked and one disappears, Mara must make the choice to stay and fight or run away while discovering that “normal” isn’t really her thing.
Where to begin? The mystery plot was very well thought and beautifully written. The mix between mystery and supernatural in the circus setting was perfect. The mystery plot left me clued to the pages. The style of writing was very good, easy to follow and the descriptions were very well made, especially of the characters and the different settings of the story. The unexpected twists are the bit of pepper that the story needed to become even more addictive.
The protagonist, Mara is a great character and I loved her way of thinking and seeing things. She’s impulsive but acts with her heart and the way she built the relationships with the rest of the members of the carnival is heart-warming and it definitely creates a sense of union. With Gabe on the other hand, I thought their romance was a bit rushed, I would have liked to see more build-up of their relationship and how their perspective of each other changed when they got to know each other better. Still, they make a cute couple. I’m not a fan of romance, but since in the novel the romance doesn’t take the front stage, I was still able to enjoy it.
A very enjoyable read that I recommend to the fans of the carnival world, the supernatural and mystery!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher St. Martin's Griffin, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
A great creepy and humours story!
The novel follows the ghostly adventures of Devin, a teenager that see ghosts and his group of friends as they face the supernatural. Devin is taunted at school and called “Ghost Boy” when his talent comes to light through the social media, and if that wasn’t bad enough, add a not-very-nice boss in the coffee shop where he works. The best way to deal with these problems? To go on an adventure with his friends and explore a haunted house because, seriously, ghosts can be better than people… right? When Devin is attacked inside the house, things reveal themselves to be more complicated than they first thought and it’s up to Devin to use his talents to solve the ghost mystery.
One of the first things that pull me into a story is the writing style, and in this novel it’s brilliant. The plot is very nice, the descriptions pulled me into the story and it was like I was also there walking through the dark hallways. It’s impossible to get lost in the story, you get taken on a journey that in some occasions really made my skin crawl. It was impossible to stop reading, it’s a fast-paced adventure that left me hungry to know what would happen next.
The characters are incredible and the group dynamics was very well thought and described. One of the things I liked the most was the fact that all them knew about Devin’s ability and didn’t make a fuss about it. That’s what true friendship is, accepting even the weirdest part of someone and still stay. All of the characters have something unique and their way of being compliments the story perfectly. Clive is a music composer with a taste for dark themes, Rex is the nerdy character that loves technology, always open to an adventure; Ramona, Devin’s boss, the picture of insufferable boss with a love for nasty comments; Nayra, a blogger with a passion for Wicca and the supernatural with a very unique taste for clothes and Emily, the only person in class that defends Devin from the verbal attacks.
Their interactions and dialogues are hilarious and brilliantly written, especially between Devin and Nayra and Clive and Rex that always do something with the right intentions but somehow always end badly.
This novel has everything: suspense, adventure, humour, horror, all mixed together perfectly. It goes from moments of tension to hilarious dialogues that only add colour to the story and makes you love the plot and the characters even more. It’s impossible not to laugh.
A fan of adventures and supernatural with a tad of humour? I highly recommend this read! Absolutely amazing!
I want to thank Brian K. Henry for the opportunity of reading his novel in exchange for an honest review.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.