#BookReview THE BUS ON THURSDAY by SHIRLEY BARRETT

ABOUT THE BOOK

That’s when I literally had thoughts of becoming a nun, because I thought, Well, I’m never going to have sex again. If I become a nun, I would at least have somewhere to live.


It wasn’t just the bad break-up that caused Eleanor’s life to unravel. It was the cancer. And the demons that came with it.


Freshly single and thoroughly traumatised from the ordeals of breast cancer, Eleanor Mellett starts a new job as a teacher in a remote mountain hamlet. It’s certainly peaceful enough, almost too peaceful. But what’s become of the previous teacher, the saintly Miss Barker, who has disappeared abruptly under mysterious circumstances? And what’s with all those locks on the door? And what the hell is that bus doing idling outside her house late, late at night?


Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in Twin Peaks. Darkly funny, deeply unsettling and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a strange and wild ride for all fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, David Lynch and Stephen King.

PUBLISHED BY ALLEN & UNWIN

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
hive.co.uk
whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you like your books full of dark humour and with a surreal, weird vibe, then I can’t recommend this highly enough! I fell in love with Eleanor right from the off as she faces life being single and being a cancer survivor and her cynical and funny approach to life was a joy to read, especially at the beginning where I found myself laughing at her thoughts and exploits on every page! Her world just turns very dark when she finds herself in a new town as a teacher, to replace Miss Barker who has disappeared without a trace!

Talbingo is the town and has a Twin Peaks kind of vibe! There’s very little going on and often very few people around. The missing teacher was just the sweetest according to those who worked with her and the children who idolized her and her stickers, so living up to that is something that is proving very difficult for Eleanor to deal with. But she has wine!! She seems to be able to cope with anything when she’s had a drink or three!

The more she finds out about some of the children and the old teacher then the darker the story becomes! The weird stuff just keeps getting weirder and this does detract from the story a little but still makes for very entertaining but unsettling reading! In Eleanor you have a character who isn’t in the most stable of places mentally or physically and is very prone to making rash decisions, and the stuff she finds herself involved with isn’t helping keeping her from looking back on things that happened to her or helping her move on emotionally! And the characters around her aren’t what you consider normal anyway!! Wherever you think the story might go, then you’d probably be wrong!! It was one of those books that is difficult to forget once you’ve finished as you can’t believe some of the things that went on within the pages of this book!!


★★★★

Readers Imbibing Peril XIV – I’m signing up! #readingchallenge #ripxiv #bookblogger

With 20 Books of Summer just finished I’ve been looking for another little reading challenge to see me through – and the lovely Nikki of The Secret Library Site reminded me that this reading challenge is back so here I am to sign myself up!

It’s the 14th year of the challenge, wonderfully hosted by https://readersimbibingperil.com/ and here’s a little bit more about it – maybe you’ll sign up too!

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.Suspense.Thriller.Dark Fantasy.Gothic.Horror.Supernatural.


The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

The goals are simple. 

1. Have fun reading.

2. Share that fun with others.

I like a flexible and fun reading challenge so have been having a rummage through my bookshelves, and took a trip to the local library and have picked out a few possibilities that I’m hoping to get to over the next 2 months! And we all know what I’m like with lists so I’m sure different books may/will be chosen as and when! Will see how the mood grabs me!!

MEMENTO MORI by PAUL HOLBROOK

Whitechapel, London 1877
Sibelius Darke is a man rising to the top of his profession. He is a photographer by trade, but the subjects of his pictures are quite unusual, for they are dead. Darke offers a unique service; family portraits taken with the recently deceased.
The rich and the powerful wish to acquire his services and he is only too willing to do what he must to attain his dreams.
However after hearing a warning from the mouth of a dead child, a monster begins to stalk the streets, killing children. A beast from Darke’s own childhood nightmares.
Seen as a suspect in the eyes of the police, can he stop the killer himself? Or will it take and destroy everything that he holds dear?

Memento Mori is a Supernatural Murder Mystery Novel set in Late Victorian London. Mixing Finnish mythology with 19th century degradation and depravity, Memento Mori tells a story of murder, madness and corruption at the heart of Victorian high society.

WE by YEVGENY ZAMYATIN

We takes place in a distant future, where humans are forced to submit their wills to the requirements of the state, under the rule of the all-powerful Benefactor, and dreams are regarded as a sign of mental illness. In a city of straight lines, protected by green walls and a glass dome, a spaceship is being built in order to spearhead the conquest of new planets. Its chief engineer, a man called D-503, keeps a journal of his life and activities: to his mathematical mind everything seems to make sense and proceed as it should, until a chance encounter with a woman threatens to shatter the very foundations of the world he lives in.

Written in a highly charged, direct and concise style, Zamyatin’s 1921 seminal novel – here presented in Hugh Aplin’s crisp translation – is not only an indictment of the Soviet Russia of his time and a precursor of the works of Orwell and the dystopian genre, but also a prefiguration of much of twentieth-century history and a harbinger of the ominous future that may still lay ahead of us.
 

THE SHINING by STEPHEN KING

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

THIS CENSUS TAKER by CHINA MIEVILLE

For readers of George Saunders, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell, This Census Taker is the poignant and uncanny new novella from award-winning and bestselling author China Miéville. After witnessing a profoundly traumatic event, a boy is left alone in a remote house on a hilltop with his increasingly deranged parent. When a stranger knocks on his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation are over—but by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? Is he the boy’s friend? His enemy? Or something altogether other?

MR GODLEY’S PHANTOM by MAL PEET

A haunting masterpiece from storyteller Mal Peet. Part ghost story, part detective novel and part something else entirely, Mr Godley’s Phantom is something of an enigma, with its own distinctive fifties flavour of cigarettes, petrol and mystery.

THE GIRL WHO COULD MOVE SH*T WITH HER MIND by JACKSON FORD

For Teagan Frost, sh*t just got real.

Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers—a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.

But then a body turns up at the site of her last job—murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name—and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding…

Full of imagination, wit and random sh*t flying through the air, this insane adventure from an irreverent new voice will blow your tiny mind.

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So I may to get all of these, or may just read 1!  I’m just looking forward to a few different reads over the next 8 weeks  Just hope they don’t scare me too much……..

#BookReview Haverscroft by S.A.Harris #bookblogger #Haverscroft

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ —Angela Clarke, Sunday Times Bestselling Author.

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

PUBLISHED BY SALT

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

WHSmith

MY REVIEW

A classic ghost story with a modern twist – and I loved every single scary, creepy moment of it all!!! Every noise I now hear in the house has me worried…..

Kate is married to Mark, and with their 2 children they move to Haverscroft in what seems to be a bid to save their marriage and start afresh in a new village. But Kate is increasingly spending more time alone with the children in their new home, as Mark is busy living away during the week with work, and her state of mind appears to be unravelling as she’s starting to see things, hear things, smell things… it is a figment of her imagination or is their new home genuinely haunted and trying to force them out.

The relationship between Kate and Mark is at the centre of this story and brilliantly looks into suspicions, mental health and how parents can play off against one another to look the good guy in the eyes of their children. With Mark away, Kate is troubled by him not answering the phone when she tries to call so that is setting off her doubts on his actual whereabouts. Their new home has always had a strange and unsettling feeling to her and the children and the more time they spend in there, the more that feeling intensifies – and the question of what is in the locked attic doesn’t help matters! The previous owner, Mrs Havers, had to move out because of her health but is keen to talk to Kate about the house and the longer the story goes on, the more you understand why she is so keen to share her thoughts to the new owners and as Kate delves more into the past of the house and local area the more she becomes driven and obsessed with finding out the truth about so many things.

The contributions from the children were some of the most chilling aspects for me! The things they talk about and that they see really add that edge to the ghost story and I think if I was living there I would have run out after a couple of days!! With history repeating itself you really just lose yourself in wondering what terrifying moments await them all.

I loved the setting and the pace of this story. The fear didn’t let up and the questions and doubts about Kate and her frame of mind played so well along the children and their perception of what was happening. This house full of dark secrets really had me petrified and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us with her next book!!

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#BookReview The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell #bookblogger #TheDevilAspect

About the book

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum 

In 1935, Viktor Kosrek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 


Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 


Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

Published by  Constable

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk

WHSmith

waterstones

MY REVIEW

Madness and Murder – what a belter of a combination!! And this book has it in bucket loads and kept me terrified and looking over my shoulder at every opportunity!

I loved the setting in a creepy old castle which is now home to the criminally insane – The Devil’s Six – and Dr Viktor Kosarek is a young psychiatrist is brought in to use new techniques to try and uncover just what made these people commit such horrific crimes. i loved how we got to hear the backstory of each of the Six while the Dr interviews them and the author pulls no punches in describing some of the gruesome crimes they committed! This is not a book to be read before bedtime!!

Meanwhile, there is a murderer on the loose, known as ‘Leather Apron’ who butchers his victims, and Kaptain Lukas is in charge of trying to get to the bottom of who this vile creature is and if there is any link to those inside the Asylum. There are links also to murders committed in London by Jack the ripper with the brutality used so this is another connection that needs to be looked into and the story allows for different avenues to be explored both from the police point, the psychiatrist view and that of the criminals themselves.

As Dr Viktor delves further into the past of the Six, he hears how each of them are convinced it wasn’t them committing their crimes but the devil himself. I really enjoyed his time spent with these six characters – they all could have had their own books written about them with the lives they’d led, and the lives they’d taken, but it was so interesting to see them up alongside one another so that Dr Viktor could see what links he could find between them all.

There is a great mix of a very strong plot line with this book alongside those of flawed characters throughout who had suffered in their pasts, and setting it in a dark period of history allowed there to be many twists that lead the reader up the garden path, so to speak, and I found it to be one of those books that you lose yourself in and one of those stories that stay with you for some time after you finish reading the last page! Beware the devil!!!

My thanks to the Author and Publisher for the book in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★

#BlogTour The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett #BookReview #ThePaleOnes

Extremely excited to be the latest stop on this Blog Tour for THE PALE ONES by BARTHOLOMEW BENNETT. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!

About the book

Pulped fiction just got a whole lot scarier… 

Few books are treasured. Most linger in the dusty purgatory of the bookshelf, the attic, the charity shop, their sallow pages filled with superfluous knowledge. And with stories. Darker than ink, paler than paper, something is rustling through their pages. 

Harris delights in collecting the unloved. And in helping people. Or so he says. He wonders if you have anything to donate. To his ‘children’. Used books are his game. Neat is sweet; battered is better. Tears, stains, broken spines – ugly doesn’t matter. Not a jot. And if you’ve left a little of yourself between the pages – a receipt or ticket, a mislaid letter, a scrawled note or number — that’s just perfect. He might call back. 

Hangover Square meets Naked Lunch through the lens of a classic M. R. James ghost story. To hell and back again (and again) via Whitby, Scarborough and the Yorkshire Moors. Enjoy your Mobius-trip. 


“To a soundtrack of wasps, The Pale Ones unsettles in the way of a parable by some contemporary, edgeland Lovecraft, or another of the authors the used-book dealers in this story no doubt seek out, Arthur Machen. The unnerving images which flicker in a sagging English landscape of charity shops, seaside bed and breakfasts and amusement arcades, washed with stale beer, linger in my imagination ages after reading.” ANTHONY CARTWRIGHT, author of Heartland, BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime 

“THE PALE ONES reads as if Samuel Beckett decided to write a horror story after reading a bit of Aickman and Lovecraft. Its shifting landscape of English B&Bs, tawdry seaside hotels, and tatty pubs is haunted by glimpses of outlandish beings, half-forgotten wishes, and the forlorn ghosts of unfulfilled desires. It’s an outstanding debut.” Gary McMahon

Published by Inkanddescent

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bartholomew Richard Emenike Bennett was born in Leicester, the middle son of an American father and English mother. He has studied and worked in the US and New Zealand at various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk and call-centre rep, project manager and J-Badger (ask your dad), painter and decorator, and (very slightly) handy-man. Before that, and some now unimaginable time ago, he graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling.

He loves the Goodreads site, and is especially grateful to the Never-Ending Book Quiz for introducing him to The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis.

The Pale Ones is his first published work, although he has been writing fiction continuously, long-form and short, since 2002. Currently he is at work on a novel about three children who experience a long, wintry December filled with gifts. Of the unusual variety. And trials. Of the trying variety.

Currently he lives in southeast London, with his wife and two young children. He is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group, and since childhood, a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a short novel that is compelling and will leave you feeling strangely unsettled, then look no further! It’s here! It doesn’t scare you though shock and gore, but creeps under your skin and messes with your mind and will leave you a little concerned everytime you may find yourself browsing through the books in a charity shop! If someone points you towards a certain book on the shelves while you’re there…. run!!

It’s a story of an old bookseller, Harris, seemingly passing on knowledge and tips to the young used book dealer he sees in a charity shop.  Harris is a very odd character – he has his mysterious ways and seems to strike up dodgy deals in dodgy places and persuades the young man to travel with him up North  to pick up some new stock, and in return he’ll get first pick!

It’s while they’re travelling and stopping off that the madness and descent into darkness begins!  It’s all written very subtlety in an almost ‘blink and you miss it’ style, but I loved that you were looking out for clues as to what Harris was really up to, enjoying the weird twists foisted upon you and just had that general sinister feeling throughout of what Harris really was involved in and where it would all lead to!

Such a fascinating, disturbing and quirky little book – it’s definitely one to get you out of your comfort zone and gets you to enjoy (if that’s the right way to describe a horror story!_ a different kind of storytelling!

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#BookReview The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements #ripxiii

About the book

The Coffin Path is an eerie and compelling seventeenth-century ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of Michelle Paver and Sarah Waters, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

Published by Headline Review

Purchase Links

Hive.co.uk

Waterstones

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Creepy, chilling and compelling! That’s how I’d sum up this dark tale from Katherine Clements!

You can’t get a better setting than an old house set on the moors and that is where you’ll find Scarcross Hall, which is home to Mercy and her father. The moors are all she’s ever known and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family there despite the hostile surroundings, and when lambs from their flock start being found horrifically slaughtered the rumours begin again that dark times are set to follow, as they had done many years earlier to a previous family.

Things begin to go missing from her home, there are strange noises, ghostly figures watching over her – is she losing her mind or are these things really happening? With the arrival of a stranger, Ellis, he joins the family to help work on the land and this doesn’t go down too well with those already working there. He is an enigmatic character but proves his worth when times turn darker.

There are so many interesting characters to follow in this story – Mercy is a strong female who thinks she can face everything alone and doesn’t like to be proved wrong, but shows her softer side when dealing with young Sam who has his own tragic past. Her father is not a well man and has many secrets, his housekeeper Agnes doing her best to keep the household together, and the mysterious Ellis. I loved how the story flowed – the horrific slaughter of the lambs happened so randomly but the rumours of the dark past of the moors quickly filled the villagers with fear and Mercy is left to try and figure out why this is happening – is it something she’s done? Is the land cursed?

I really enjoyed this despite the unsettling feeling you got to share along with Mercy and the others. It’s full of folklore and amidst the bleak setting of the moors it really sets the story up as one where you can’t turn the pages quick enough to find out what will happen next!! A perfect halloween read!!

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#BookReview The Corset by Laura Purcell #PublicationDay #TheCorset

About the book

The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions.

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Published by Bloomsbury

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

Waterstones

Goldsboro Books – signed edition

MY REVIEW

This was such an eagerly anticipated read for me after being terrified by The Silent Companions, and although The Corset didn’t have that same horror element for me, it still had so many chills and creepy moments that I raced through it and loved being transported back into the world of Ruth and Dorothea.

They are very different characters and that’s the strength of this story. You get to enjoy their very different outlook on life brought together by Dorothea visiting Ruth in prison and listening to her story in the hope that she can get to the bottom of why some people behave the way they do, by using phrenology. Dorothea is one of those people who thinks there is good in everyone, so although she is horrified by the story of Ruth and her crimes she is equally fascinated.

Ruth on the other hand has a very matter of fact approach to her life. She tells her life story to Dorothea in such a distanced manner that it adds to the chills while you are reading. Her life, at times, was terrifying but she seemed to process it all in a different way and that makes you question her sanity and innocence. It’s all very unsettling to read but the more you learn of Ruth and her past, the more you begin to understand why she maybe turned out the way she did. A very tough childhood full of poverty and bullying, seems at odds with the ease that she takes to embroidery work. And as a keen cross-stitcher myself, I now can’t pick up a needle without thinking of Ruth and her story!!

Ruth led a very grim life and, for me, that made her story more compelling than that of Dorothea. Dorothea and her life story were quite well guarded and I would have liked more of her past to see what led to this ‘need to know’ why people do things they do.

I loved the whole feel of this book with its’ attention to detail of the history, the backstory was enthralling and having 2 such strong female characters was also a strong plus point for me. It was dark and full of revenge and just kept me gripped!! Cannot wait to see what Laura Purcell writes next as she’s definitely become one of my favourites!

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