Tag: horror

Top Ten Tuesday – Chilling Hop Tu Naa Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post subject is Halloween themed since we’ll be celebrating Halloween (somewhat differently than most years, I expect) later this week.

We don’t call it Halloween here on the Isle of Man. Instead, we call it Hop Tu Naa. All in all, it is very similar to Halloween, but if you do want to have a skeet (that’s Manx for having a nosey) at the difference between the two celebrations, you can find out more on the Culture Vannin website.

For today’s post, I wanted to put together a list of recommended reads if you are looking for inspiration this Halloween/ HopTu Naa. There are some classic horrors here, as well as a few thrillers if that is more your bag and last, but not least, there’s a bit of a parody read if you want a lighter tone.

 

IT – Stephen King

Goodreads – IT

Welcome to Derry, Maine …

It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

 

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

Goodreads – Pet Sematary

The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed’s rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed.

 

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Goodreads – Frankenstein

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.

Based on the third edition of 1831, this volume contains all the revisions Mary Shelley made to her story, as well as her 1831 introduction and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s preface to the first edition. This revised edition includes as appendices a select collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 together with ‘A Fragment’ by Lord Byron and Dr John Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre: A Tale’.

 

The Stand – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Stand

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

Imagine… Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine… Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine… Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Imagine… Something that will change everything… And having to save everyone you love.

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J F Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

Goodreads – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

“Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day . . . quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant.” – A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

This inventive debut twists together a thriller of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

Recommended in The New York TimesThe GuardianHarper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vulture, BookRiot, and more.

 

Mindworm – David Pollard

Goodreads – Mindworm

The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

 

Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett

Goodreads – Reaper Man

‘Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’

But it can. And it has.

Death is missing – presumed gone.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime?

You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls – there’s no telling what might happen!

Particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…

 

 

I hope you found some reading inspiration from today’s Top Ten Tuesday list! If you have read any of these books or have any other suggestions in the comments, please share it with us.

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/07/2020

Happy Friday everyone and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! I certainly am!

Before we start wishing our lives away though, it’s time to share the opening lines of another fantastic book. In my Sunday Summary post last week I set the criteria that this week’s featured book would be one I physically own. I’ve had a quick peruse and found an intro with a particular line I love. It was the selling point for making this today’s chosen book.

Can you guess what it is, or who it is by?

 

It was her third time with live ammunition… and her first time on the draw from the holster Roland had rigged for her.

They had plenty of live rounds; Roland had brought back better than three hundred from the world where Eddie and Susannah Dean had lived their lives up until the time of their drawing. But having ammunition in plenty did not mean it could be wasted; quite the contrary, in fact. The gods frowned upon wastrels. Roland had been raised, first by his father and then by Cort, his greatest teacher, to believe this, and so he still believed. Those gods might not punish at once, but sooner or later the penance would have to be paid… and the longer the wait, the greater the weight.

 

 

 

So, what book am I featuring in today’s First Lines Friday post?

 

The Waste Lands – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Waste Lands

In the third novel in King’s epic fantasy masterpiece, Roland, the Last Gunslinger, is moving ever closer to the Dark Tower, which haunts his dreams and nightmares. Pursued by the Ageless Stranger, he and his friends follow the perilous path to Lud, an urban wasteland. And crossing a desert of damnation in this macabre new world, revelations begin to unfold about who – and what – is driving him forward.

 

I absolutely love the last line of that extract. Don’t you?

I’ve read the first couple of books in the Dark Tower series already. This is the next one I am due to pick up. I bought the rest of the series a good few months ago (pre-pandemic) with book vouchers I had. Since I started the series in paperback (as I love Stephen King and I tend to buy physical books of favourite authors) I like to be consistent. I read in all methods, but if I start a series in one way then I have to finish it all in the same medium.

Stephen King’s writing is some of the best and fantasy is my favourite genre of all-time. I really couldn’t ask for more with this series! I am seriously going to have to pick this up soon; it has been over a year since I read the previous book The Drawing of the Three. I wouldn’t have guessed it was that long ago!

Have you read The Waste Lands or any other books in the Dark Tower series? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Dead Tell Lies – J F Kirwan

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for The Dead Tell Lies by J. F. Kirwan. It is books like this that make me very happy to be a book blogger and to have a place to tell people that they really must, absolutely and unequivocally read a certain book. I finished The Dead Tell Lies less than half an hour before writing this post and I can hand on heart say that this is one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read!

Before I get stuck in with rambling about just how great it is, I want to say a massive thank you to the author and to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read this book and take part in the blog tour. If you haven’t been following it or want to check out more details/opinions of the book, you can check out the other participants of the tour at the end of the post. Please go and check out their posts as well! There are also more posts coming up in the next few days, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for those too!

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J. F. Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

For me, the best indicator of a good psychological thriller is how obsessed you become about trying to work everything out. If it occupies your mind even when you have to put down the book to do the mundane things, you’re on to a good start. Find one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until all is revealed, and you are onto a winner! The Dead Tell Lies is both of these things. I have been thinking about it almost constantly for the past two days, the timeframe over which I have read the majority of the book.

The Dead Tell Lies is a psychological thriller in the literal sense; our main character Greg is a criminal psychologist, renowned for putting away six serial killers throughout his career. He has the scary ability to get into the mind of a serial killer to unravel their motives and use it to get them off the streets for good. When his wife turns up dead with the classic signature of The Dreamer’s killings, it seems that things have gotten personal.

Greg is a really likeable character. He’s wickedly smart but just as human and vulnerable as the rest of us. I think that is the part that appealed to me as a reader. He is the personality we get behind emotionally. When he summons his ‘cold fire’, his semi-detached emotional drive, to get under a serial killer’s skin and crack the case, he’s a completely different man. We stand firmly behind him as his motives are to save lives by catching the killer, but his demeanour and mental state when he is “in the zone” is unnerving!

The Dead Tell Lies is packed full of action and there is never a dull moment. It’s easy to pick up but impossible to put down once you are in the thick of the narrative and dying to know what happens next. The book is also very cleverly written. I found myself trying to find hidden clues and working out the subtext constantly, but alas, authors only leave behind clues for the things they want you as a reader to know! It makes it all the more exciting when it’s time for the big reveal.

With the way this book ended, it could equally remain a standalone or become part of a series. I seriously hope for the latter because I would love to don Greg’s shoes again and delve into another captivating thriller. I have already added another series written by this author to my TBR having loved this so much! I’ll just have to pick that up and cross my fingers in the meantime…

 

Author Bio

J. F. Kirwan is an insomniac who writes thrillers in the dead of night. He is also a psychologist, and has drawn upon this expertise, including being taught by a professor who examined serial killers for Scotland Yard, to pen the crime/mystery/thriller The Dead Tell Lies for Bloodhound Books. He wanted to shed light not only on the darkness of serial killers, but of those who track them down, who must inevitably step inside the serial killer’s worldview, and may not come out clean afterwards. He is also the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins (66 Metres, 37 Hours and 88 North). His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Jo Nesbo. He is married, and has a daughter and a new grandson, and lives between Paris and London.

Social Media Links –

www.jfkirwan.com

@kirwanjf

https://www.facebook.com/kirwanjf/

First Lines Friday – 19/06/2020

Hi everyone – it’s the end of the week and I’m looking forward to sharing another First Lines Friday post. It has been nearly a month since my last post and I’m glad to be getting back into it! Today’s featured book is the second novel I have by this particular author. I read and loved the first book of hers and I have discussed it on my blog many times. I bought my copy of this second book not that long after, although I am still yet to read it.

Are you familiar with it based on the introduction?

 

Never go back. That’s what people always tell you. Things will have changed. They won’t be the way you remembered. Leave the past in the past. Of course, the last one is easier said than done. The past has a habit of repeating on you. Like a bad curry.

I don’t want to go back. Really. There are several things higher up on my wish list, like being eaten alive by rats, or line dancing. This is how badly I don’t’ want to see the craphole I grew up in ever again. But sometimes, there is no choice except the wrong choice.

That’s why I find myself driving along a winding A-road, through the North Nottinghamshire countryside, at barely seven o’clock in the morning. I haven’t seen this road for a long time. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen 7 a.m. for a long time.

 

Would you like to find out which book I am featuring this week?

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Taking of Annie Thorne

The new spine-tingling, sinister thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man.

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie. I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

I feel like I am always saying this, but I can’t wait to pick this up and see how it compares with The Chalk Man. Honestly, that is one of the best books I have read lately, so I can only hope The Taking of Annie Thorne is just as good!

Thanks for tuning in to today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read the book or any others by C. J. Tudor?

 

 

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Book Review: Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Today’s book review post features a book I very gratefully received from Orion Books in October last year. I took part in a promotional competition by sharing a post on Twitter about the upcoming release and I was chosen to get an early access copy of the book via Netgalley! I have to say before I go further that my review is an honest one.

I did actually start reading this at the end of that month whilst on holiday, but it has taken a while to catch up with all my reviews to get my thoughts to you all. No doubt my Netgalley rating will look a little healthier after I share this with them. I’m not a big Netgalley user, but it does come in handy for blog tours and such.

Some of you may know Stephen Chbosky for another popular book he has written – The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I haven’t read this myself, so this was my first experience of his writing. As the genres of these two books are so different, I don’t think it matters whether you have read this, or any of his other books, or not.

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

Imagine… Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine… Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine… Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Imagine… Something that will change everything… And having to save everyone you love.

 

My Thoughts…

When the promotional email I received for the book likened Imaginary Friend to Stephen King’s IT, I had very high expectations of the complexity and creepiness of this thriller novel. Glad to say those expectations were met entirely, but what I didn’t expect was the length of it! Granted, IT is an exceptionally long novel at 1,396 pages. Still, Imaginary Friend weighs in at just over 700 pages. Compared to other horror/thriller novels I’ve picked up, it’s EPIC! There were some sections of narrative that were stickier than others to read. Could it be shorter? Perhaps. That said though, I do think it all adds up to the overall ending, so it’s not wasteful content. It’s relevance just isn’t known at the time.

The content of the book is sinister enough, but what gave me the chills more was the protagonist subject to the horror and paranormal goings-on is a child. It made me question what was going on; could it be nothing more than Christopher’s vivid imagination, or was it real? I can’t say this novel gave me nightmares because I’m not really affected that way when it comes to horror. I know it to be fiction and so it doesn’t bother me that way. Judging from other reviews though, not everyone can say the same!

As can be expected with such an epic, there are a lot of characters that play their part in this story. Whilst Christopher and his immediate family are probably the most developed throughout, there is still plenty of time put into the ‘minor’ or ‘supporting’ characters. The detail that went into establishing each of the characters and their relations with others to build the whole dynamic of the town is astounding. I feel like I know everyone like I’ve lived amongst them myself! I absolutely had my favourites – Ambrose, special shout out to you. I invested heavily with the characters, and knowing the plot is heading towards a cataclysmic event spurs you on to find out what happens!

There may be some readers that don’t like some of the religious undercurrents towards the end of the story. I’m quite happy to put out there that I’m not religious at all, but I didn’t mind its inclusion or influence on the plot at all. I personally think it made it more interesting.

Have you read Imaginary Friend? What did you make of the book?

 

 

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Book Review: These Are Not the Trinity Papers – Vale Zalecki

Today’s book review post features a science-fiction/thriller/horror novel that I gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis is really intriguing and very unlike anything I have ever picked up before. These Are Not the Trinity Papers is a real mix of genres, so even my best guess about what to expect from the synopsis was blown out the window… in a good way!

 

These Are Not the Trinity Papers – Vale Zalecki

Goodreads – These Are Not the Trinity Papers

Isaac Beringer knows the thesis he penned during his psychotic fit was utterly absurd and he was right to be laughed out of academia. Yet decades later, he finds himself summoned to the United States by Elias Cohen, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technological giant who just happens to be his biggest fan. Elias may be beautiful and brilliant, but Isaac knows he must also be extremely batty to consider Isaac’s thesis the greatest scientific work of the 21st century. He soon finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes; a rabbit hole that houses a sprawling neural network of servers designed to emulate human learning, human corpses 3D-printed with flesh and blood, and a monumental amount of effort to resurrect one particular person from the dead. And Elias isn’t even his only fan.

Isaac might have shaken off his insanity, but unfortunately, the world around him has just fallen in love with it.

 

Purchase Links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Isaac Beringer lives a reasonably quiet and comfortable life on his farm with his wife. He doesn’t remember much about his psychotic episode all those years ago but frankly, he is happy to forget about the whole damn thing. Other people have different ideas though. Isaac and his ideas have acquired an intense following and there are several parties interested in a piece of his madness. Yet some are willing to go further than others to get it…

I really enjoyed the futuristic world-building of the novel. The technology is more advanced but the world itself is very familiar and not-too-distant to what we know. In my opinion, there is the right balance of technological advancement; Isaac and Elias’ work fits in with the current climate as a feasible possibility but isn’t so far along that the reader becomes alienated from the setting of the book.

Isaac has lived without the technological frills the world at large is used to; his way of life is very much like our own now. As a character, he is very affable and relatable. Elias is at the other end of the spectrum, with every kind of technology at his fingertips. Elias introduces Isaac to a whole new way of living and lifts him out of his monotonous life. His position lends his character a degree of arrogance initially, but as the book progresses we see more of the man behind the billion-dollar company and more about his personal ambitions and motivations.

Those that like LGBT representations in books will enjoy a particular character relationship in this book. It’s a little unusual given the age difference between the characters as well. But at the same time, it felt completely natural. It isn’t forced in any way. Their situation draws them together and it feels right. You know sometimes how LGBT representation is championed as normal (which it is), but then hyped up so much that it stands out like a sore thumb? Yeah, me too. It’s so contradictory it bugs me. However, if you want to read a narrative where this isn’t the case, I’m pointing you in the right direction. I’ve seen the LGBT relationship in this book described as understated, but I don’t agree with that. I’d say other LGBT relationships are overstated… but that’s just my opinion.

I really enjoyed the blend of genres that came together in this novel. They complement each other really well! I had no idea where this whirlwind of a story was going to end up and I was surprised constantly by what happened next! I really didn’t expect some of the elements of the book, so it definitely has the capability to surprise most readers.

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

The Mentor is a chilling thriller novel that blends seamlessly into the horror genre. It’s not a book for the fainthearted, that’s for sure! It explores a sinister side of obsession and the consequences of depravity.

Today’s review is part for the ongoing blog tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. It’s my first time working with them, so a huge thank you for organising the tour and for providing me with a copy of The Mentor in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

Goodreads – The Mentor

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier. Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

 

Purchase Link:   Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

If you like dark thriller or mystery novels then The Mentor is a book I would recommend, provided you won’t be put off by gory descriptions. Describing the book as a twisty, nail-biting thriller is every inch the truth. I really liked the concept of the novel within this novel. Kyle recognises the book is reminiscent of a missing person case years ago. The girl who disappeared was Kyle’s girlfriend. As events unravel we can only discover what may be the truth behind the case as Kyle reads the manuscript. Effectively, Lee Matthew Goldberg cleverly interweaves the two plotlines together and in my opinion, was pulled off really well.

The Mentor boasts an eclectic range of characters. From intense personalities like William and Kyle to naive Sierra and hot-head Jaime, there’s a complete range present. Each character is portrayed believably; their character traits and mannerisms fit together perfectly to form whole, distinct identities. Even for the likes of Kyle and William, who I suggest are more alike than they would like to admit, have their own distinct voice.

The plot is so cleverly written especially in unravelling the truth of the crime William’s depraved book centres obsessively on. Knowing that both William and Kyle have obsessive personalities and a hand in the events that took place all those years ago, I started to question the truth. Can we trust our narrator? That’s a question I found myself asking and it added a whole new layer to the reading experience.

The ending is what earns the book it’s rating from me. Some of the build-up takes a little bit of time to set up, but the ending unfolded rapidly and unexpectedly! I couldn’t put the book down and read the last quarter in one sitting!

 

Author Bio

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.

 

Website – Leematthewgoldberg.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/leemgol

IG – https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG

First Lines Friday – 29/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that is currently on my TBR, or to be read list. Given the science-fiction theme I have been sticking to lately, I figured to share the opening lines of another book from the same genre!

Can you guess what it is?

 

I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time.

It’s our tradition, just the three of us – family night.

My son, Charlie, is sitting at the table, drawing on a sketch pad. He’s almost fifteen. The kid grew two inches over summer, and he’s as tall as I am now.

I turn away from the onion I’m julienning, ask, “Can I see?”

He holds up the pad, shows me a mountain range that looks like something on another planet.

I say, “Love that. Just for fun?”

“Class project. Due tomorrow.”

“Then get back to it, Mr Last Minute.”

Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Dark Matter

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

 

Purchase links:     Amazon UK     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s extract of Dark Matter? Is it on your list to read? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Book Review: The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Hi guys and welcome back to another book review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts with you about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. I actually read this at the end of July this year, so I had to pull my copy out to refresh myself on some of the details.

I have plenty to say though about this read, so shall we jump into my review?

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

 

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

 

My Thoughts…

First and foremost, how does this book only have 3.7 stars on Goodreads?! I demand to know because EVERY SINGLE blogger review I have read has raved about this book. And I get that too, I loved it! I think it’s a fantastic read! That I read this from cover to cover in three days is a testament to that fact. I’m pretty sure I had a good go at enthusiastically ranting about it to my parents too.

C . J. Tudor does a brilliant job of drawing you into the book from the very beginning. The dramatic events in the prologue and an accident at the fair in 1986 occur within the first 20 pages. From there, the story unravels in two timelines; continuing on from the fair in 1986 and the second thirty years on in 2016.

I really enjoy dual-timeline structured narratives. When written well, as The Chalk Man is, they interweave and spur you on to read the next chapter, and the next to see what more you can uncover. It also serves well to keep the narrative fresh. It works as a second perspective, even when you are using the same pool of characters to tell the story. I did not want to put this book down. I was captivated by the story and the unnerving events that haunt Eddie, Fat Gav, Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky from their childhood.

The re-emergence of the chalk men after thirty years is a mystery begging to be solved, especially when the murders begin. It’s a race against time to find the killer. The conclusion of the novel is brilliant and was totally unexpected! I have a bit of a gripe with thriller novels that claim I won’t see the epic plot twist. If you tell me that, I’m going to expect one! Half the fun is trying to follow the clues and make your own mind up without knowing ANYTHING about the ending. If I try to deduce the killer and I‘m wrong, or come up short, then even better! You know you succeeded in your plot twist. The Chalk Man makes no such claim so I had no idea what to expect!

The Chalk Man is definitely up there in my top reads of the year. I’ll be recommending it to anyone in the market for horror/thriller/mystery book recommendations!

 

If you haven’t read it already, seriously, please do! If you have, tell me what you thought of the book! I would love to hear from you!!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: To Snare a Witch – Jay Raven

Good morning readers! I hope you are having a thrilling day?

This post is my second book review and blog tour post of the week – today, I am featuring To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven. I read and reviewed a series of short stories also written by Jay Raven, called Game of Crones, earlier this year. Whereas Game of Crones is a collection of short stories, To Snare a Witch is more of a novella. At about 80 pages long, I found it to be a really easy read to get into and finish quickly.

Would you like to find out more?

 

To Snare A Witch: Book One – Bell, Book and Candle

A Chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge

No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.

But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe.

What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.

And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

I’m not in the habit of reading short stories or novellas, but I have really enjoyed reading those by Jay Raven. To Snare a Witch is a novella as opposed to a short story, giving you ample time to invest in the characters whilst still keeping things short and fresh.

I read this book practically in one sitting at the beginning of the month. The Gothic nature of this tale makes it very appropriate reading for the season, as it is the eve of Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa locally) today. The themes of the dark arts and witchcraft and their history in society are all incorporated into this sinister tale of blackmail. The horror element of the tale stems from the atrocious behaviour some are willing to go to in order to manipulate others to their desires.

This book definitely has adult themes, without going into too much detail. I wasn’t perturbed by it. In fact, I went into this with a very open mind and without really knowing how this tale was going to unravel. I was definitely surprised by some of the developments (in a good way!), which kept me on my toes and wondering what was going to happen next. This was far from a fairy tale or predictable read, which I really enjoyed!

Jay Raven has written and co-authored a number of books and having read Game of Crones and To Snare A Witch, I’ll definitely be reading more of his work in future!

 

Author Bio

Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.

If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.co.uk

 

Social Media Links – website http://www.jayraven.com

twitter: @JayRavenAuthor
facebook: www.facebook.com/fantasywriterjayraven/