The Haunting Season

The Haunting Season

The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto
Published by Skyscape
Ebook
Published 31 October 2013
362 pages
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Able to talk to ghosts, Jess quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects, who have their own “gifts.” One is possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. To escape, Jess and the others must open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that seeks to hold them in.

OPENING 

Siler House loomed before them, dark, and inscrutable despite the late afternoon sun.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I love spooky stories set in creepy houses so The Haunting Season was a must read now for me. Sinister happenings in houses with dark histories are among my favourite things to read. The Haunting Season is an example of the best of this type of horror fiction. It reminded me a lot of one of my favourites, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This is meant as a compliment. Believe me. I was hooked from start to finish. This book haunted me (excuse the bad pun). The Haunting Season had a lot of intense moment especially towards the end. What I really liked is the fact this book is grounded more in reality than other similar books. It’s not all ghosts and demons and creepy crawlies. The Haunting Season starts slowly but fairly rattles along and I found myself engrossed 30% through and couldn’t stop reading. This is a great book. Read it now!

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Quieter Than Killing

Quieter Than Killing

NETQuieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary
Published by Headline
Ebook
Expected publication 9 March 2017
416 pages
NetGalley

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I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing. 

OPENING 

He’s washing the car – slapping water, sloppy.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I’m a HUGE fan of the author. Her debut, Someone Else’s Skin remains one of the best and most original thrillers I’ve read in recent years. Quieter Than Killing did not disappoint. Original, intense, addictive and disturbing – I could not stop reading. I loved all the twists and turns and sub plots and characters that just turn up for a few pages and turn everything upside down. Yes, there are worse things than murder. I loved the fact Marne’s messed up relationship with her psychotic adoptive brother still affects her on every level and there are massive issues that may never be resolved. It makes Marnie all the more human. What will happen in the next book? I cannot wait to find out. There are hints of dark revelations to come about Marnie’s parents so who knows what madness awaits? What a great book. Loved it. LOVED IT. No, really. THHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIISSS MUCH…

RATING

5 STAR RATING

The Killing Bay

The Killing Bay

The Killing Bay by Chris Ould
Published by Titan Books
Ebook
Published 21 February 2017
352 pages
Review copy

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I was given a copy by the publisher and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

When a group of activists arrive on the Faroe Islands to stop the traditional whale hunts, tensions between islanders and protestors run high. And when a woman is found murdered, circumstances seem designed to increase animosity. To English DI Jan Reyna and local detective Hjalti Hentze, it becomes increasingly clear that evidence is being hidden from them, and neither knows who to trust, or how far some people might go to defend their beliefs.

OPENING 

HE WORKED ON HIS KNEES NOW, AS IF PRAYING.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I enjoyed The Killing Bay a little less than its predecessor, The Blood Strand. I really like the setting. Faroe is brought to vivid, memorable life. Faroe reminds me a lot of the setting for Camilla Lackberg’s novels. I really liked the characters. They were well-written, interesting and in some ways mysterious. The plot has some good elements. A lot happens and questions are left unanswered. I felt the novel is bit bogged down in the middle and could have done with some chapters being cut that seemed like fodder and didn’t drive events. The novel is so enjoyable that this wasn’t as much as an issue as it could have been. I love the setting and the intriguing characters. I look forward to the trilogy’s conclusion. What I like about The Killing Bay and The Blood Strand is that despite the often grim subject matter neither book gets too dark or depressing and there is a lot of fun to be had reading both books. The Killing Bay is well worth a read if you want something different from the usual blood and guts crime novels with interchangeable urban settings.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

Moranifesto

Moranifesto

NETMoranifsto by Caitlin Moran
Published by Ebury Press
Ebook
Published 9 March 2017
448 pages
NetGalley

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I was given a review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

‘I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?’

When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.

Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…

This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.

And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place.

The polite revolution starts here! Please.

OPENING 

So, welcome to my second collection of writing.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I’ve been a fan or Moran since I read her novel How to Build a Girl a few years ago. Moranifesto is a little different – non-fiction, a collection of essays and thoughts on a diverse range of contemporary subjects as diverse and wide-ranging as periods, Girls, Benedict Cumberbatch and the Syrian refugee crisis. The humour I loved in How to be a Girl is here in truckloads. Moranifesto is one of the most enjoyable non-fiction books I’ve ever read. A lot of her thoughts mirror my ideas and hopes and beliefs so I was engrossed from start to finish. There are a lot of funny moments in Moranifesto but there are some sad ones as well. This book speaks to everything I love and loathe about modern life and being a woman and being working class. One of the most enjoyable things about this book is how real it is and how painfully human Moran comes across as. I cried a bit when Moran said exactly everything I feel about the culture of blaming victims for being raped. On every level, it felt like Moran could read my thoughts as I sat engrossed in Moranifesto. This is amazing. Read it fear my (tiny) wrath!

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Life Of Pi

Life Of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Published by Canongate Books
Ebook
Published 9 May 2002
482 pages
Digital library book

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a story within a story’.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

One boy, one boat, one tiger . . .

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan — and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

EXTRACT 

My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I loved the movie so I knew what to expect reading this but I enjoyed the book a little more. This is an extraordinary book, funny sad, dramatic and quite ridiculous all at the same time. It took a while to get into. I wasn’t enjoying it until the ship actually sinks around chapter 18 and things really take off. Until this point I was getting frustrated waiting for something to happen. Then the boat sinks and magic happens. I read the remaining 80+ chapters in a couple of hours, dazzled, bewildered and madly in love. Life of Pi is hugely enjoyable, the kind of book you can get lost in and feel cheated when you reach the end. I didn’t want Pi to be rescued. I could read this great book a thousand times without growing tired or the characters or the story. I really enjoyed reading about Pi’s life on the life-boat. This part of the book was quite gruesome at times and becomes to get more and more ridiculous and surreal. Unmissable.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Neon Soul

32334099Neon Soul by Alexandra Elle
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Ebook
Expected publication 21 March 2017
160 Pages
Netgalley

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NET

I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

In short, powerful verses, Alexandra Elle shares a hard-won message of hope.

Alexandra Elle writes frankly about her experience as a young, single mother while she celebrates her triumph over adversity and promotes resilience and self-care in her readers. This book of all-new poems from the beloved author of Words from a Wanderer and Love In My Language is a quotable complement to her beautiful blog and Instagram account.

EXTRACT 

From Neon Soul

Lately, I have been longing for something to fill me and light my world on fire again.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

This is my first time reading the poet. One thing I will add before my review is that this book has the sub-title ‘a collection of poetry and prose’. I read the whole thing and have yet to find any prose. The poems were, for the most part enjoyable. Elle uses simple, easy to understand language in the short poems scattered through Neon Soul. The themes explored are universal and represent something almost anyone will be able to get on board with and relate to. The poems are of varied length from two lines to almost a full page. I enjoyed the poems but didn’t find them particularly emotional or deep. For the most part, the poems all looked identical on the page with lines containing the same number of words creating a choppy look. I’d have preferred more variety in the way the poems were structured as they were very ‘samey’. I did really like the poetry prompts at the end. Overall, Neon Soul was enjoyable if a little simple for my tastes.

RATING

3 STAR RATING

The Girls

The GirlsThe Girls by Emma Cline
Published by Chatto & Windus
Hardback
Published 14 June 2016
355 pages
Library book

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

OPENING 

IT BEGINS WITH THE FORD idling up the narrow drive, the sweet drone of honeysuckle thickening the August air.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

The Girls is based on The Manson Family. I loved this novel and would highly recommend it. I found Russell and the cult unsettling yet fascinating at times. Russell is portrayed as someone who is charismatic and who has a magnetic personality a certain type of person is drawn to. This explains why Suzanne and Donna and Helena and eventually Evie follow him like little puppy dogs. In real life Manson probably had a similar personality. I found this creepy but fascinating as well. Maybe this explains why serial Richard Ramirez aka The Night Stalker (serial killer, rapist and burglar) had teenage girls throwing their pants at him. Anyway, I digress. I loved the structure of The Girls with chapters set in the present showing Evie, now an old woman forced to confront her past thanks to a group of inquisitive teenagers alternating with chapters about Evie’s past showing how she got involved with Russell because of her crush on Suzanne and how she narrowly avoided being involved in the murders. I was chilled to the bone by how close Evie came to being involved in the murders and how years later she isn’t sure what she would have done if she’d been there. The characterisation is spot on in The Girls and Cline is talented writer. I had a great time with her debut.

RATING

5 STAR RATING