You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.
Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.
Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…
From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.
The Queen of tension, darkness and horror is back! And I loved every single minute of it – even if it did take me down some very dark paths! I’m not easily shocked but this book had those moments that leave you gasping! And wondering where the flip the story would lead you to next!!
At the heart of the story is a family where all is not well. Mum, Dad and 2 daughters and the exploration of family dynamics within that group. It also looks into the past of the characters so you can see where some of their irrational behaviour comes from. The parents came from unstable backgrounds and that childlike approach becomes only too clear in the way they can be so cruel to their children. Rob sees something in the girls, Callie especially, that scares her so takes her on a trip to the Mojave desert and all becomes clearer why as we see it’s where Rob grew up and had things in her own childhood to deal with.
It’s a story that is meant to make you feel uneasy!! There are some very dark subjects explored and through the characters you get to see things from different perspectives and feel just how toxic a situation can become from past traumas. It’s a wonderful exploration into the different sides of people and what they can be hiding and how it all comes out in the end, no matter how hard they try to escape it.
The pace is wonderful – it builds up slowly and then bursts into life with revelations galore. It is disturbing but that just made it even more exciting for me. The author wasn’t too scared to push a few boundaries and explore the darker side of life and how personalities are formed and acted upon. Loved it!!
A lush historical adventure that’s equal parts Gothic horror as it is tale of lost love, this first book in THE GIFT trilogy follows an optimistic yet cautious American ethnologist on her journey from St Dunstan’s Prep in Michigan, to the warm tropical shallows off the coast of Honduras, and the tors of Germany’s Externsteine, uncovering clues to the identity of the man who saved her from the Crimen one fateful night. All clues lead to Folkestone, England where she is reunited with the man she has sought for nearly three decades. But, is their reunion the end, or merely the end of the beginning?
The North Atlantic, 14 April 1912.
Amid the chaos of the sinking Titanic, a young Eleanor Annenberg meets the eyes of a stranger and is immediately captivated. As the ship buckles around them, she follows him down into the hold and finds him leaning over an open sarcophagus, surrounded by mutilated bodies. She catches but a glimpse of what lies within before she’s sucked into a maelstrom of freezing brine and half-devoured corpses.
Elle is pulled out of the water, but the stranger – and the secrets she stumbled upon – are lost. Unintentionally, however, he leaves her a gift; one so compelling that Elle embarks on a journey that pulls her into a world of ancient evils, vicious hunters and human prey to find the man who saved her that fateful night.
From trench warfare at Cape Helles in 1915 to a shipwreck in the tropical shallows off the Honduran coast, from a lost mine beneath the towering Externsteine in a Germany on the verge of war to the gothic crypts of Highgate Cemetery in London, Elle gets closer to a truth she has sought for most of her life. But at what cost? Gifts, after all, are seldom free.
I love reading books that are a little bit different, and that’s definitely what you get with this one! It’s part historical, part gothic horror and full on adventure!! Ooh and it has maps!! Always a big plus with a big sprawling kind of story!
The story starts aboard the Titanic, where Eleanor is captivated by a stranger. What she finds beneath the decks when she follows him down there is the stuff of horror – and the fun and games begin with the author taking the reader on an epic journey across the globe, over many years and you’re always guessing as to what role Eleanor has to play and what she saw that night has in store for her as she moves forward with her life.
She is one of those characters that definitely grows on you as you get to know more about her. She isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers and there’s always that sense that some want her stopped as she may be interfering in things! And this is what sets up the story nicely for the rest of the trilogy to come and I look forward to seeing what adventures the author takes us on next in this raw, mysterious and dark journey!
Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales, UK. He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for THE HAND OF AN ANGEL came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.
Mark’s new novel, The Shadow Man is a terrifying horror thriller imagining what would happen if you found out the memories of your childhood were untrue, and that something sinister was lurking behind the facade of your life. Could you face what had happened back then? Could you face The Shadow Man.
Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story.
An isolated 400 year old waterfront property in a rural Welsh village… what could possibly go wrong??!! I am so glad I read this book with all the lights on and during the daytime!! Even now I am still wincing at weird noises around the house….. just in case the witch has decided to come and haunt me!
Victoria and Gabe are both writers, and they find themselves moving to this new property to try and help them move on from a tragedy. But you can really tell that this grief goes deep and it’s very hard to move on. The locals aren’t too welcoming and soon talk turns to the witch that haunts the property!! That would see me running for the hills! But Victoria and Gabe aren’t put off by these tales….. and then the weirdness starts up at home!!
There’s noises, strange sightings, messages left on the wall….they begin by trying to be rational about it all but it soon turns much darker and Gabe is left to find out more about the past of this home in the hope he can put an end to it all, whilst Victoria seems to become more fascinated by this ghostly presence.
It was wonderfully descriptive throughout, that really helps put you at the centre of the action and leaves you with chills as the darkness that surrounds them takes hold! I also loved the flashbacks to the past to tell the story of Morvith and could have happily read more tales of her and the goings on of the past!
It’s a book to frighten, to shock and to entertain and I loved every single minute of being scared and chilled to the core!!
So excited to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for ROSIE SHADOW by LOUISE WORTHINGTON. My thanks to the author, publisher and Helen Lewis for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Whatcha crying for, sissy? Why don’t you grow a pair?’ Rosie says to her mother…‘Send me to school and I’ll rip off your arm! Beat you with the stump.’
Abandoned by her terrorised mother at the age of six, Rosie Shadow will do anything to win the affection of her father Archie, an undead cannibal in charge of Her Majesty’s Prison Shortbury, now operating as a visitor attraction.
Clare is sent reeling into Archie’s arms with the grief of losing her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident when he collides with an ancient yew tree.
The secrets in the Medieval dungeon beneath the prison are under threat when Clare becomes suspicious of Archie’s true identity and his progeny.
Holy Moly!!! Where to even begin?! Other than you need to read this in the daytime, and steer clear of creepy kids FOREVER!!! My chills were chilled constantly throughout this book and I’ve still got some images in my head that I really wish weren’t in there after reading this!! But it seems I like to be scared witless as I couldn’t put it down!! The characters are so compelling, and weird!, that you just want to know all you can about them and see if you can work out just how the story would play out… it didn’t go as I imagined!!
The book starts off fairly tamely with a young mother not coping too well with her demanding child! Rosie is 6 and still being breastfed, and rules the roost over her poor mother Elly. When Lennie finds out he’s Rosie’s dad, he goes for a visit… Rosie doesn’t take well to this ‘man’….
The story also adds into the mix the old prison, where Clare takes visitors for tours and works for Archie, who is one of those characters that makes your skin crawl instantly! Rosie is the creepiest, freakiest child you are ever likely to meet! You feel nothing but sympathy for her mum who has to endure horrific treatment and witness her outbursts. But there are chilling characters galore throughout the book, and just when you think you’re horrified enough, there’s another twist to the tale that leaves you slightly more sickened than before!
This was a story that was utterly unique and enthralling in its’ own weird way!! It was creepy AF and I’m eager for more from this series!! What does that say about me?! I’m slightly concerned LOL!!
If, like me, you like your books dark, twisted and unpredictable then this is the book for you! It’s billed as a gothic thriller, but I’d add psychological horror to the mix as well – it’s a real mind f*** in all the best possible ways!!
And that of course makes it very difficult to review without giving anything away! It centres around a house that is next to the woods. There’s a man, Ted, who lives there with his daughter and a talking cat Olivia – genius move adding a voice to the cat by the way!! – and very little is known about him. He keeps himself to himself – he was a suspect in a horrific crime years ago and that has left him wary of everybody. His pleasure in life is to feed the birds. And one day, these birds are poisoned in his garden…. his nightmares begin again and he feels like he is being watched.
Dee moves into the area, desperate to find news of her sister who went missing many years ago. She is convinced Ted knows something about it and will do all she can to find out the truth.
What follows is a fascinating and disturbing story that flits between now and then, as the past sets the tone for the present and the fates of characters play out in chilling fashion – a real stuff of nightmares!!
It’s one of those books that I can’t wait to go back and read all over again! Brilliant!!
My thanks to Viper Books for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.
It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.
Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.
Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.
Because something was coming.
Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.
Making them cheat. Making them steal. Making them kill.
Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.
My first Will Carver book – definitely not my last!! This was bloody brilliant!!! It was dark, twisted, thought provoking, absorbing….. it’s fair to say I loved it! And I thought the narration on the audiobook was top drawer!
This is a book narrated by Evil!! Yep, you read that right! And Evil has a lot to comment on as he watches over the goings on Hinton Hollow as darkness hits the inhabitants which sets off a chain reaction of more twisted goings on that affect everyone and leaves them all reeling, and leaves you wondering just what darkness will happen next!
Evil explains how people are! He often doesn’t need to manipulate them much, just a little gentle nudge and their own freewill surfaces and shows their true colours. And in the world we live in right now, this book hits home in more ways than one! I never thought I’d be so in agreement with Evil and his perceptions on humanity! Not sure what that says about me!!
The sequence of events are terrifying as they unfold. Someone is picking their victims carefully and it seems nobody is safe. And the perpetrator is seemingly untouchable with little clue as to their motives or identity. There are little hints and flashbacks, but the action mainly takes place over just 5 days. The darkness and the horror seems unstoppable and with Evil narrating, this just adds to the tension and the utter unpredictability of it all.
A truly unique story and I cannot wait to go back and read more of this series – and see what else Will Carver has lined up for us with his future books!! Loved Loved Loved it!!!
Hello and welcome to my post for the Blog Blast today to help share the love for this rather creepy and haunting read from Tom Fletcher. My thanks to the author and Milly Reid for the copy of the book! Here’s a little bit about the book before my review….
A deeply atmospheric literary horror novel about the nature of repressed guilt, grief and fear.
Daniel once had a baby brother, but he died, a long time ago now. And he had a wife and a daughter, but that didn’t work out, so now he’s alone. The easy monotony of his job as a milkman in the remote northwest of England demands nothing from him other than dealing with unreasonable customer demands and the vagaries of his enigmatic boss.
But things are changing. Daniel’s started having nightmares, seeing things that can’t possibly be there – like the naked, emaciated giant with a black bag over its head which is so real he swears he could touch it . . . if he dared.
It’s not just at night bad things are happening, either, or just to him. Shaken and unnerved, he opens up to a local witch. She can’t t discern the origins of his haunting, but she can provide him with a protective ward – a witch-bottle – if, in return, he will deliver her products on his rounds.
But not everyone’s happy to find people meddling with witch-bottles. Things are about to get very unpleasant . . .
Witch Bottle is literary horror at its finest, perfect for fans of Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney and Starve Acre.
This is a a story with an air of menace throughout – and I loved it! It’s dark, unsettling and liable to take you on a very dark journey! It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat and was really unsettling and I think that’s why I couldn’t put it down once I’d started.
It really explores the human emotion of loss, of grief, of loneliness and of self preservation. Those times when you need to take yourself off and be by yourself, and when you push others away in your times of need as you’re in fear of hurting those you love. The main character, Daniel, a milkman, is just one of those people who has faced tragedy in his life, and while trying to get his life back on track he encounters a local witch who he comes to see as a ray of light in these darker times, but she’s involved in making ‘witch bottles’ which are supposed to protect people from nightmares and harm….not all those in the area are as understanding as he is of ‘witchy’ ways so more strange things begin to happen and there seems no escape from them.
This is a really different read – there’s a lot of time devoted to the milk round he is on as it becomes his life. Out on the road by himself, spending too much time in his own head and the strange things he encounters along the way. It’s not a scream out loud horror, but it’s one of those really unsettling reads that you never quite know just where it is going to take you.
The more you learn about Daniel and his past, the more you begin to understand his current state of mind. I sometimes even wanted just a bit more shock from the story as it was often a bit of a slow burn. That didn’t distract from the overall feel of the story as it was just so different from my recent reads, and nothing prepares you for the twists and turns along the way!!
I really did enjoy the contrasts of his normality – the daily milkround – alongside the darker struggles he faced daily. Seeing how those traumatic events from his past had taken their toll on him was the chilling aspect of the story. A haunting, dark and twisty story!!
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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……..
‘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.
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!!