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……..

#BlogTour #BookReview THE OLD DRAGON’S HEAD by JUSTIN NEWLAND #LoveBooksTours #JustinNewland

Delighted to bring you my thoughts today on THE OLD DRAGON’S HEAD by JUSTIN NEWLAND as part of the fabulous Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Kelly of  LoveBooksTours for putting it all together and letting me be part of it!

Blurb

Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.


In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts.

When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

Purchase on Amazon UK

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Show me a book with a dragon in it and I want to know about it! And this fabulous adventure didn’t let me down as it had a little bit of everything in there for me to enjoy – mystery, humour, fantasy, power struggles and good old fashioned treachery!

At the heart of the story is Bolin who is coming to terms with having strange visions and headaches and wondering what to make of it all. He lives a simple life as a fishermans’ son so to have visions is something unheard of. There has always been a dragon master around but none has been seen for 20 years – with it comes great power.

AT the same time there’s an awful lot of power struggles going on with various other characters. And woe betide you if you get in the way! As Bolin goes looking for answers, we also find the character Feng looking to find answers to the goings on in his life and there are plenty of people who don’t want them to find out the truth.

With the threat of the Mongol Army attacking the town never far away, he tension is always rising and I loved all the little subplots coming together and keeping you on your toes as to where the story was going, and what secrets from the past were next to be revealed – and what consequences they would lead to!

This book was an enjoyable mix of history with the supernatural and was really well paced. Destiny plays a big part in this story too and I’m hoping there will be further adventures featuring these characters so we can watch them on their journey!

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#BookReview Things In Jars by Jess Kidd

About the book

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

Published by Canongate Books

Publication Date – 4th April 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Goldsboro Books  – signed first edition £14.99

hive.co.uk  £10.99

waterstones  £14.99

MY REVIEW

Move over Sherlock, Bridie Devine is the new super sleuth in town and I adore her! Jess Kidd has created another dark and wonderful tale set in Victorian times that explores the disturbing disappearance of a young girl, who has been kept hidden away because she’s ‘different’ – she feeds on snails, has an unusual appearance and is also said to possess powers.  The family she is stolen from are never too forthcoming with details about her, so it’s left to Bridie to uncover the dark story behind young Christabel, and that leads Bridie to look back on her own childhood too.

She isn’t alone on her quest as she is joined by the rather wonderful   Ruby, a ghost-boxer who appears in Bridie’s life at a seemingly random time! Is there more to his story than meets the eye?! He adds many lighter moments throughout with his comments and observations but also shows sensitivities which are very touching.

As she confronts many repulsive characters on the search for Christabel, the look back on her own earlier life is also a fascinating glimpse into why she feels so connected to this poor girl and why she is determined to try and save her.  

And while there is much love for Bridie and her quest, the evilness of many characters throughout is another success of this book! The levels of depravity that some of them sink to is eye-wateringly shocking and I just found myself wishing for karma to deal with them as soon as possible – in a very unpleasant way!!

I was utterly riveted by this story! And switching the story from the now timeline to Bridie’s past added more as she also had a very unconventional upbringing which explained her outlook on life – and death – now!  The more she uncovers about various characters, the more you left to be staggered by the goings on and I found that I had my heart in my mouth with the dramatic ending.

  I would love to say more about this book but am sure I would include a spoiler or three, so I’m just going to have to say if you love your stories dark, dramatic, mysterious, macabre, weird, wonderful, tense and thrilling then look no further!!

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#BlogBlast The Burning House by Neil Spring #BookReview @QuercusBooks #BurningHouse

About the book

It was a victimless crime…

Estate Agent Clara is struggling to make a sale. With her abusive ex-husband on the brink of finding where she’s hiding, she needs to make a commission soon or lose her chance to escape.

Boleskine House on the shores of Loch Ness has remained unsold for years, and Clara is sure that an ‘innocent’ fire will force the price down. But the perfect crime soon turns into the perfect nightmare: there was a witness, a stranger in the village, and he’s not going to let Clara get away with it that easily…

From the bestselling author of The Ghost Hunters, The Watchers and The Lost Village comes a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller

Published by Quercus Books

Publication Date – 29th November 2018 – ebook

                             21st March 2019 – paperback

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Wow! What a tense and chilling read that was!! From the start you are thrown into quite a chain of shocking events  and the consequences of these are felt throughout the book, and leads to some very dark places for some of the characters!

Clara Jones seems to be doing her best to put an abusive relationship behind her by hiding away and creating a new life for herself.  And life as an estate agent brings her to Boleskine House, a substantial home in an idyllic spot on the banks of Loch Ness, but it’s a house with a very dark past and legends last a long time in this part of the world.  She decides to take matters into her own hands to try and get a quicker sale and this leads to devastating consequences!

Oswald is a man on a mission – and his mission is that he must own Boleskine.  For what purpose it is unclear to begin with , but Clara soon finds herself drawn into an extremely unsettling and disturbing world – one she’d thought she’d left behind when she left London.

There are a number of characters in this book who are deeply unpleasant, and that just adds to the bleak and terrifying situations that poor Clara finds herself put in.  It’s one of those books that just gets your blood pumping with all the action and alarming dark twists and turns!  The action never seems to let up and I found myself gasping in shock  on many occasions throughout! It’s one of those books that definitely leaves a lasting and chilling impression!

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#BookReview The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley

About the book

The final book in the award-winning Spirits series. 

Sequel to High Spirits – Georgina Hawtrey-Woore Award winner 2018. 

Rob Keeley is back with the fifth and final instalment in his award-winning Spirits series. The series allows young people to learn more about other times, as well as the time in which they live.

“Nazis alone were dangerous enough, but Nazis with the powers of ghosts… of evil spirits…” 

Britain. The present day. The world we know. Ruled by the Nazis. 
Victorian England. Edward Fitzberranger is soon to become ill and die. But could there be another way? 
The Middle Ages. Sir Francis Fitzberranger is about to marry… but finds himself shifted in time. 

The barrier into the spirit world is finally breaking down and no one in the mortal world is safe. History must be set back on course and prophecies fulfilled. The Grand Defender is needed. 

As Ellie works with an underground resistance movement and with the spirit world too, she is about to discover her true destiny…

Published by Troubador

Purchase Links

Troubador Bookshop

Amazon UK

Book depository

waterstones

MY REVIEW

The boundary of the spirit world is broken – and what a way to finish this fun and educational supernatural series!

The action in The Coming of the Spirits is fast paced and full of intrigue as Ellie prepares to right the wrongs of history being changed by her previous encounters with times gone by! And she gets to meet up with old friends as well as make new allies as she faces up to some troubling times.

I came to this series late but have enjoyed every step along the way as the author has mixed great storytelling with learning about various times in history so well. You end up becoming fully invested in the character of Ellie as she faces challenging decisions, and I have to admit that I may have even shed a tear with certain events in this book! I loved the mix of jumping back to various timelines, with Ellie dealing with her own personal issues with her family and the scary prospect of aging 2 years every night!! Time definitely does fly in this book!

There’s so much for children to learn and take from this series in general, and it’s a perfect book for parents to enjoy with them as The Coming of the Spirits is full of pulsating action and touches of humour to lighten some serious issues and developments. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Ellie, her family and all the characters that became her friends over the years!



My thanks to the author and publisher for sending a copy of the book my way in return for a fair and honest review.

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#BookReview A House of Ghosts by W.C Ryan

About the book

A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions.

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . .
.
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

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Almost unbearably creepy and beautifully written’ Liz Nugent, bestseller author of LYING IN WAIT

‘A splendid tale of wartime skullduggery, featuring both kinds of spooks – perfect fireside reading’ Mick Herron, CWA Gold Dagger Award Winning author of DEAD LIONS

‘Hugely enjoyable, A House of Ghosts has the bones of a taut thriller wrapped up in the gorgeous romance of its ghostly island setting’ Jane Casey

‘Perfect for a dark and stormy evening: a truly creepy and ingenious ghost story and murder mystery with an irresistible setting’ Ragnar Jonasson

Published by Zaffre

Publication Date – 4th October 2018

Pre-order links

hive.co.uk  £9.95

waterstones  £12.99

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition  £12.99

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MY REVIEW

This is an eerie and engrossing story set against the backdrop of The First World War, and featuring the imposing Blackwater Abbey where Lord Highmount has lived for many years with his family, and has now invited a select few to join him for a weekend to contact the spirits so he and his wife can reconnect with those he has lost.


I knew very little of this book going in, other than it has a stunning and striking cover, and within a few pages I found myself captivated by the setting of this home sitting on an Island off the Devon Coast, and the mixture of characters who all found themselves heading there for a paranormal weekend. The story is mainly told from the points of view of Lord Highmount, Kate and Donovan who have their own very mysterious backgrounds of which you learn more about as the story unfolds.

Kate is such a fascinating character. Working in intelligence,she is selected by her boss to go on this weekend to gain some valuable knowledge from some of the other guests, alongside her ex fiancee! Not a ideal set up! She has a history with the Highmount family too so that makes it an even more difficult task for her to complete. She is being looked after by another interesting character, Donovan, who is also there to oversee the goings on but from the servants side of things. They find they soon have more to investigate when one of the party is killed!

Kate also has the ability to see ghosts so while she is at Blackwater Abbey she is continually seeing things that others don’t and this adds another intriguing element to the mix in this story! It really blends the mix of the supernatural, history and mystery so well together. It’s one of those books that you can form your own opinion on a variety of characters as you read, working out who is trustworthy and who to be wary of. I know I was proved wrong on a number of occasions as to who I trusted!

The seances seem to change the sceptics minds amongst them but it also sets off a chain of darker events and this keeps you with that very unsettled feeling as you read. It’s one of those books that you read that really draws you into that world, as if you’re a fly on the wall overseeing all that happens around you and I loved the escapism that this story helps create. A really enjoyable read!

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My thanks to the publisher and Readers First for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

RIP XIII – The Reading Challenge

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about reading some of the scarier titles on my bookshelves, and thanks to Jessie at Dwell In Possibility I have been made aware of the RIP 13 challenge! One I’d never heard of before but it sounds perfect and lots of fun!  Hosted by Readers Imbibing Peril, this is the 13th year they’ve hosted the RIP challenge and it’s as simple as this;

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.

There are no set targets so you can join in as much or as little as you want – that sounds like my kind of challenge! So here’s a look at some of the books I’ve picked out to hopefully pick up between now and the end of October when the challenge finishes! Click on the title for a link to the GoodReads page!

The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

Revival by Stephen King

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan

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Have you read any of these?! I just hope they won’t be too dark and scary! I’m sure there may be some other additions to my list along the way – we will see where my RIP13 path takes me!