This Week in Books 26.10.16 #TWIB #HorrorOctober

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Greetings blog friends. I can’t believe the month is almost over. And what’s even more surprising is that apart from the two books I’m currently reading… I have read ALL the books I intended to for Horror October. I think that’s a first!

The bad news is that I haven’t got much further in my current books than I had last week. I’ve been busy blogging and watching horror films and well, not reading. Oops. It’s all good though, I am now on the home straight and determined to finish them both by Halloween. It helps that I’m actually really enjoying them both. 

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Now:  Hunter of the Dead ~ Stephen Kozeniewski // Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs

Still going on these…almost there…can do it. 

Then:  The Travelling Bag and other Ghostly Stories ~ Susan Hill

I am also behind on reviews and still haven’t got this one up…but expect it later today. Hopefully. 

Next: ??? 

Well, it’s back to regular old ARCs I guess. I have quite a few due but either The Witches of New York by Ami McKay, or Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick will be next.

Next week I’ll be back to taking part in Waiting on Wednesday and also adding my new books to this post.  

 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look. Also, don’t forget to vote for your favourite short horror story here!

#HorrorOctober Week 3 Round-Up

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It’s been another busy week of bloody blogging – only 1 week to go! – so here’s a handy summary in case you missed anything. Wouldn’t want that would we!? (Titles link to the posts)

Horror October Week 3 (15th – 21st)

 

Review: Reckless ~ Cornelia Funke

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Flash Fiction Battle:

Entry #1: The Secret of the Basement

Entry #2: Come in Here

Entry #3: The Quiet Life

Entry #4: Wake Up Mommy

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This Week in Books 19.10.16

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Spotlight: In the Service of the Boyar by Jason Graff

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Posts from around the blogosphere

Short Story Review: Getting it Wrong by Ramsey Campbell – Bibliobeth

How to Survive a Horror Story – A Kernel of Nonsense

Halloween Book Recommendations – The Book Addicts Guide

Review: Goosebumps Series – Aussie Owned and Read

How Horror Fiction Can Make us Better Writers – Warrior Writers

Spooky Mint Mint Millionaires Shortbread Recipe – Claire Huston

#HorrorOctober 2016: Week 2 Round-Up

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It’s been another busy week of bloody blogging – it’s going so fast – so here’s a handy summary in case you missed anything. Wouldn’t want that would we!? (Titles link to the posts)

Horror October Week 2 (8th – 14th)

 

Review: The Daemoniac

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This Year in Horror (thus far): Part 1

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Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended Horror Reads

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This Week in Books 12.10.16

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This Year in Horror (thus far): Part 2

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Spooky Posts from Around the Blogosphere

 

If you would like a spooky link adding to next week’s wrap-up, drop me an email on lipsyylostnfound[AT]GMAIL [dot] co{DOT}UK

UP NEXT ON HORROR OCTOBER: The Flash Fiction Battle commences. ALL NEXT WEEK

This Year in Horror (thus far): Part 2 #HorrorOctober #BookReviews

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I’ve enjoyed some great books that fall under the vast umbrella that is horror this year. Here are the rest of my 2016 ‘horror tag’ reviews. If you missed the first part, click here.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Original review posted: April 13th 2016

canyouTitle: Can You Keep a Secret?
Author: R.L Stine
Series: Fear Street Relaunch #4
Format: Digital ARC, 784 pages
Publication Details: April 12th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre(s): Horror, YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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R.L. Stine has built his legacy on scaring children and teenagers. Now he’s back with another spine-tingling tale of horror in this new Fear Street book about temptation, betrayal, and fear.

Eddie and Emma are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emma discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag filled with hundred-dollar bills. Thousands of them. Should they take it? Should they leave the money there? The six teens agree to leave the bag where it is until it’s safe to use it. But when tragedy strikes Emma’s family, the temptation to skim some money off of the top becomes impossible to fight. There’s only one problem. When Emma returns to the woods, the bag of money is gone, and with it, the trust of six friends with a big secret.

Review

This is the second of the new Fear Street books I’ve read and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them both. Can you Keep a Secret? was a bit on the tamer side as far as the horror element is concerned, but it made up for it with an intriguing mystery. 

Emma, her boyfriend Eddie and four friends find a briefcase full of money in the woods and they agree to keep it hidden and then share it when they feel any danger or chance of exposure may have passed. But can they trust each other?

When the inevitable happens and the money goes missing Emma and Eddie don’t know who to believe, and to make it worse they’re pretty sure the people who hid it in the woods in the first place are on their tails. It’s not long until they realise just how out of their depths they really are. 

I enjoyed the thriller-aspects of this story, and as a result the pages flew by. The scarier elements that you would expect from a Fear Street novel came from nice touches like Eddie working in a Pet Cemetery, and Emma’s debilitating nightmares about wolves which get worse as the tension mounts.

As always, R.L Stine’s writing feels effortless and is easily relateable. Like his other books they have just enough violence, suspense and and horror to keep you interested whilst remaining suitable for all ages. I would have liked Can you Keep a Secret? to have been a little darker, however.

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Fellside

Original review posted: 25th May 2016

fellsideTitle: Fellside
Author: M.R Carey
Series: N/A
Format: Hardback, 496 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Orbit
Genre(s): Horror (Supernatural); Mystery
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads 

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Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

Review

Not only did I really enjoy The Girl With All the Gifts, but Mike Carey visited the prison I work in to help us celebrate World Book Night so I was hoping I would LOVE this book. Unfortunately, I can’t quite say that, but I definitely didn’t hate it!

Fellside started off great. Jess is a heroin addict who burnt down her flat, killing a little boy in the process and in turn is sent to Fellside prison. The prison – a scary enough prospect as it is – also appears to be haunted, and the little boy Alex is never far from Jess’ side. 

This was one of those books that I had no idea where it was going – which I love. It never felt like it was just about Jess’ time in prison, or about it being haunted, it was something different altogether. But as exciting as that was, I felt I was being constantly let down by the direction it took.

I loved the eerie parts of the story, such as Alex taking Jess through the other prisoner’s dreams; the dreamscape thing on the whole was a really interesting concept and described perfectly by Carey.

But then there was this whole prison drug dealing storyline with corrupt officers and scared doctors working with the prisoners for profit or sex and it just bored me. I don’t know if it’s because I work in a prison (and I’m sure to some extent these things do go on), but I didn’t find it interesting at all and didn’t think the story needed it. 

Also, Carey refers to prison officers as guards throughout which put me off slightly. I don’t know anywhere in the UK that uses that term. 

Overall, I think my main problem with this is that I didn’t like any of the characters. I did grow to like Jess more as it went on but it was too little too late.

I did enjoy the mystery though, and that’s what kept me reading. I needed to know who Alex was and whether Jess would get her appeal. 

I feel like Carey is turning into a new Stephen King for me. I enjoy his books a lot but something always lets them down, usually the ending. The same can be said here. I felt like the book should have ended much earlier than it did. No stone was left unturned, it just went on and on until everything was wrapped up a little too perfectly. I’m pretty sure I felt the same about TGWATG too. 

That said, I’m still really interested to see what he comes up with next, and it was lovely to meet him. I even got him to sign my copy.🙂

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The Last Days of Jack Sparks

Original review posted: May 30th 2016

jacksparksTitle: The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Author: Jason Arnopp
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 336 pages
Publication Details: July 28th 2016 by Orbit (first published March 3rd)
Genre(s): Horror; Supernatural
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.
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Review

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is a book of many things. It’s part horror, part mystery, part thriller, and it’s hilarious in a deliciously, dark manner. 

Jack Sparks is a famous (or perhaps more infamous than anything) journalist. His ego is as huge as his reputation and he’s the perfect anti-hero.

Jack has a lot of crazed followers but even more haters. When he announces on Twitter that his new book will be ‘Jack Sparks on the Supernatural’, the reaction goes viral. His fellow atheists and believers in science are outraged…because what does a devout atheist have to say about something so ridiculous? And the believers out there are outraged because who is he to investigate something he can’t even let himself believe. 

Of course, being an egotistical glory-hunter and fame-seeker, this only spurs Jack on. His first big mistake is attending an exorcism in the middle of which he breaks into laughter. Then a mysterious video appears on his own YouTube channel which he has no idea how it got there. The video is hella eerie and appears to show a genuine, very pissed off ghost. This time Jack can’t ignore it, but investigating it will be his ultimate downfall.

I absolutely loved this book. Jack reminded me a lot of Mystery Man from Colin Bateman’s novels of the same name. He is a lovable rogue. He is completely hopeless but you can’t help but root for him. It made me laugh how he rationalised everything he saw. No matter how bad the ghost/poltergeist/possession -whatever you want to call it- got, he always had an answer. But deep down, Jack Sparks knows differently. 

I’m loathed to give more of the plot away as I don’t want to ruin it, but believe me when I say that Jack Sparks… is about a lot more than an atheist exposing supernatural phenomenon.

For the most part, I found this book riveting. It made me LOL in one breath and recoil from creepiness in the next. I also adored the relationship between Jack and his room-mate Bex, and finally realising how unreliable Jack is as a narrator. 

Most of all, I think the way this story was written is genius. The majority of it is made up of Jack’s manuscript which he was typing as he went, up to moments before he died. It even includes notes to his editor which are also hilarious. He’s such a dick!😉

The rest, which is where we can compare ‘truths’ is made up of Jack’s brother’s commentary, email exchanges and Jack’s confession at the end. This style had the potential to go so wrong, and I’ve hated the use of emails and texts in books before, but here I thought it extremely clever.

I originally rated this as 4/5, but in writing this review I can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. So have ALL THE UNICORNS WITCHES HATS, JACK SPARKS. 

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Have you read any of these? 

Top Ten Tuesday:Unread yet highly recommended horror books #TTT #HorrorOctober

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… all about recommendations. 

I’m going to tweak this week’s topic a tad and go for books I haven’t read yet but have been recommended to me, whether it’s by fellow bloggers, friends, websites or the ‘if you liked this try this…’ type of thing. As I’m in the midst of Horror October, I will of course be narrowing it down to realm of horror and its close affiliates. 

NOS4A2 ~ Joe Hill: I’ve only read Horns by Joe Hill and really enjoyed it. I was recently recommended this by a fellow blogger who said it was one of the scariest books she’s read. That’s pretty high expectations to live up to.

Misery ~ Stephen King: I loved the movie but haven’t read the book, and so many people have told me I have to. I’ve heard a few of the differences already too, so I pretty much know what to expect, which is probably why I haven’t got round to it yet.

Phantoms ~ Dean Koontz: Again, I’ve seen the film and loved it. I imagine the book is better though.

Heart-shaped Box ~ Joe Hill: Another Joe Hill book I’ve been told I must read. This time by my friend who really enjoyed this book.

Battle Royale ~ Koushun Takami: I’m not sure about this one. I’m usually the one recommending this to the Hunger Games fans out there, but I’ve only seen the movie which is amazingly brutal! I’m a fraud, I really should read it. But I’ve been put off by people saying it’s hard going because of the translation.

The Funhouse ~ Dean Koontz: I haven’t actually read any Dean Koontz which is quite shocking really. I’ve been told to read this one because of my fear of clowns. Aren’t my friends so nice.

Live Girls ~ Ray Garton: I have no idea who recommended this book to me, but I do remember that the conversation was about underrated vampire novels.

Anno Dracula ~ Kim Newman: Lots of blogs and people have recommended this to me and I really want to. I just haven’t got round to it yet.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray ~ Chris Wooding: I was recommended this after enjoying his book Poison. I’d love to read more by this author, and this one sounds great.

Sleepless ~ Lou Morgan : I read Frozen Charlotte and loved it so I’ve been told I must read the other Red Eye titles. I recently bought a 4 book set of them and Sleepless sounds the best.

What books have you been recommended but still haven’t read!?

Join in and leave a comment!

Up Next on Horror October: This Week in Books 12.10.16

WWW Wednesday 22.10.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday! Here are my answers this week:

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Currently Reading:
I just started Killer Spiders by Lex Sinclair…I HATE spiders so I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. Oh yes I do, Horror October of course! Not much to report yet other than it being very King-esque. There is a large cast of characters and it’s very descriptive. I’m yet to be hooked in though.

Recently Finished: I finished Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner which was a gruesome, action-packed Mermaid story. I really liked it. Check out my my review here.

Up Next:
I actually got through my Horror October reads quicker than I expected…I’m just a bit behind on the reviews, but watch this space. The books on the list that are left are An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman, and Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory, which is an ARC. They both look great!