The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp #BookReview #Horror

jacksparks

Title: 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 

bookdepo

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, JACK SPARKS. 

unicorn rating

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead #YA #BookReview

glitteringcourtTitle: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…
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Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Glittering Court. I really enjoyed some of Mead’s Vampire Academy books but this sounded like a huge departure from that. It does however have a stronger fantasy element than I expected from the synopsis. 

In a nutshell, our protagonist runs away from an unwanted arranged marriage by pretending to be her servant Adelaide. Adelaide has been invited to join the Glittering Court, a kind of a finishing school / brothel where poor but pretty women are educated and polished up in order to be sold off to the growing number of noblemen in ‘The New World’. The only problem is that ‘Adelaide’ already knows everything there is to know about being a lady and mustn’t be discovered.

I like Richelle Mead’s writing a lot; it feels so effortless making it easy to get swept away, which is what happened here. In fact it was going pretty great, along with a nice potential love interest between Adelaide and Cedric – until that is – we’re hit with a whole religious angels-vs-demons-secret-heathen-backstory/infodump thing. Ugh.

I mean, the religions were touched on very briefly at the beginning and I realised that the Glittering Court wasn’t just a case of being set in the past, but in a different world,  yet it still felt very out of the blue and unnecessary to me. I thought it was a perfectly good story without trying to put a fantasy spin on it.

Overall, The Glittering Court was enjoyable, but not without its faults. The world-building wasn’t thorough enough for me and it felt confused. The fantasy elements seemed to have been dumped in at the last minute.

However, it was still fun and I’m interested to see if the companion novels shed more light on what Mead was trying to achieve here.

unicorn rating 3

 

Good Girls Gone Bad: The Merciless by Danielle Vega #YA #BookReview

themercilessTitle: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Series: The Merciless #1
Format: hardback, 279 pages
Publication Details: June 12th 2014 by Razorbill
Genre(s): YA; Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned…

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
 
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
 
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
 
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Review

As a huge fan of YA (obvs) and horror I’m always excited to see YA horror books (Yorror as I’m now calling it) published, as they’re few and far between. It took me a while but I’m so glad I eventually got round to buying a copy of this- especially the awesome pink leather hardback version, which is pretty epic!

The Merciless isn’t a case of your old-school Goosebumps or Point Horror. It’s actual horror, that I imagine some parents wouldn’t be too happy about their teens (and certainly pre-teens reading. I kind of wish this book existed when I was 15 because man, I would have lapped it up then.

The Merciless is about a group of ‘good’ girls who take it upon themselves to exorcise the demon out of bully Brooklyn. A prank gone wrong? Revenge gone too far? There’s a whole lot of blood, torment and, well, torture, and the whole way through you’re left thinking ‘are they really doing this?’ 

I can definitely see where they got the whole ‘Mean Girls meets Stephen King’ tagline from. Unlike Stephen King however, this book is severely lacking in the character development department. But you know what? I kind of didn’t care. It would have perhaps made it easier to believe if we knew more about protagonist Sofia before she became friends with the ‘mean girls’ and got involved in the whole Satanic mess, but it wouldn’t make much difference, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment overall.

Like Mean Girls, this book is pretty shallow. But what it lacks in depth it makes up with in relentless action and chaos. It’s also mightily swift in pace. I definitely struggled to put it down, in fact I’m pretty sure I only put it down once. 

I also really enjoyed the sort-of-twist, and although most of the book felt predictable, it was quite easy to second guess yourself and end up with a genuine surprise on your hands. 

I’m already looking forward to the second book. I just hope Vega can develop the characters a bit more. 

unicorn rating 4

The Merciless is out now, and the second book will be released July 5th

The Reckoning Stones by Laura DiSiverio

reckoningstones
Title: The Reckoning Stones
Author: Laura DiSilverio
Series:
Edition: Digital Review Copy, 360 pages
Publication Details: September 8th 2015 by Midnight Ink
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

After accusing the pastor of her close-knit religious community of molesting her, fourteen-year-old Mercy Asher is branded a liar and publicly humiliated. She runs away on the night someone beats the pastor into a coma and kills his wife.

Two decades later, Mercy has become Iris Dashwood, an emotionally troubled but brilliant jeweler. She thinks she’s in control of her life until news of Pastor Matt’s miraculous awakening broadsides her and leaves her unable to design. Iris returns to Lone Pine, Colorado, determined to confront her past to restore her creativity.

Iris reconnects with her mother, best friend, and boyfriend who harbor secrets she must unearth to find a killer. In the final reckoning, the truth may cost more than she anticipates. Will it bring redemption…or devastation?

Review

The Reckoning Stones is a tightly woven, compelling mystery set in a tiny community in Colorado. But Lone Pine isn’t your average community. It’s inhabitants are all deeply religious and must live within certain rules and strict codes of conduct.

Iris, hasn’t been back to Lone Pine for twenty years, but she can’t put it off any longer, she has to face the very thing she ran away from, she has to free herself of her past.

Initially, I wasn’t sure about this book at all. I was intrigued by the synopsis but the first few pages really failed to pull me in. However, something finally kicked in a few chapters later and I was hooked.

I’m not religious in the slightest, and this book certainly made me glad of that; it doesn’t exactly paint a good picture of people of faith (albeit extreme faith). Lone Pine is much more than a community, it’s more like a cult which lives by, and governs its own rules, and that’s what I found really interesting about it (I’m strangely obsessed with cults btw).

I was with Iris the whole way through. I felt so sickened by what had happened to her all those years ago, and how the community still ostracised her. I liked that she was a complex character who was so strong in some ways, and so vulnerable in others.

Overall, I thought The Reckoning Stones was a great mystery, and one that I became completely engrossed in. It’s about facing your demons, overcoming your past and getting what you deserve, no matter how long it may take.

unicorn rating 4

Lazy Saturday Review: There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff

thereisnodog
Title: There is no Dog
Author: Meg Rosoff
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 243 pages
Publication Details: May 1st 2012 by Puffin Books
Genre(s): YA
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Imagine that God is a typical teenage boy. He is lazy, careless, self-obsessed, sex-mad – and about to meet Lucy, the most beautiful girl on earth. Unfortunately, whenever Bob falls in love, disaster follows. Let us pray that Bob does not fall in love with Lucy.

Review


I’ve been wanting to read more Rosoff since I saw her at YALC last year, and read How I Live Now shortly after. I loved that book, it was full of big ideas, complex themes and was completely absorbing; Unfortunately, I didn’t feel quite the same with There is no Dog!

I thought the synopsis sounded amazing, what if God was a lazy-ass, petulant, teenage boy whose sole goal in life is to get his end away? Amazing right? Gahhh it really should have been, but instead it was just…weird.

It has all these great ideas, but they never seemed to go anywhere. I felt like this was a neat little short story that had been dragged out and the meaning got lost somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and often funny, but it could have been so much more!

unicorn rating 2

Book Promo: Frey’s Saga ~ L.K Hill

Welcome to another book promo/spotlight on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

This one got my attention because, er NORWAY, VIKINGS, and PAGANS, plus all that snow! I’m still wishing for snow, clearly it’s not gonna happen as it’s basically Spring already, so I guess I’ll settle for this instead…

About the book

freysaga
Title: Frey’s Saga

Author: L.K Hill

Series: N/A

Editions: hardback, Paperback, e-book 204 pages

Publication Details: August 15th 2012 by Xlibris Corporation

Goodreads

Amazon

L.K. Hill weaves an adventurous tale of a young orphaned monk’s life in Norway following his capture by Norse seafarers. During his captivity by the Vikings in the small coastal village, Frey struggles to survive within a world of raiders, berserkers, thralls, wolves, death, murder, battles, gossip and treachery, all while finding courage, love and family.”

A young boy named Frey survives the slaughter of his parent’s village by unknown raiders, as he and his two sisters run for the nearby woods, while his parents and the villagers sacrifically give their lives to allow the children to escape. In fear, Frey runs endlessly for many days until he stumbles upon a monestary and is taken by a band of Vikings and introduced to the horrors of being a Christian in a Pagan World. He finds his own virtues as a slave, and the salvation of his father’s past teachings. In time, he finds respect, and is given his freedom from those who enslaved him, and eventually finds love in the arms of the Chieftain’s daughter.

Meet the Author

L.K. Hill is a certified nurse’s aide and graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has written numerous short stories, and has strong interests in Paganism and Viking culture. She is married with two sons, and is a lifelong Connecticut resident.

Say What?

Here is a gentle fantasy (well, there is a berserker, some hungry and battle-glad wolves, a despicable lout of a “bad guy”, raiding, murder, and spies) which I could not put down.”

– Jane (Amazon)

Lazy Saturday Review: Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus & Julian Sedgwick

dark
Title: Dark Satanic Mills
Authors: Marcus Sedgwick & Julian Sedgwick
Illustrators: John Higgins & Marc Olivent
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 176 pages
Publication Details: November 2013 by Walker Books
Genre(s): Graphic Novel; Dystopia
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young girl’s journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the north. Framed for a murder she did not commit, the innocent and beautiful Christie has no other choice but to run for her life. Both a cautionary tale and a rip-roaring road trip, Dark Satanic Mills is altogether an intelligent, captivating and thrilling ride – The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, told in exhilarating shades of light and dark.

I’m not a regular graphic novel reader, but I’m a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick so I was intrigued to see his work in this format.

Dark Satanic Mills is set in future Britain and whilst on the run, protagonist Christie happens upon a document that could unravel the hold the True Church – a kind of religious fascist dictatorship – has over the entire nation.

With the help of do-gooder Thomas, Christie heads to the north, through dark, desolate streets and violent gangs, to spread the truth about the True Church.

I loved almost everything about Dark Satanic Mills. The story was dark and full of action, and I loved that I knew all of the locations in the book, being a northerner myself. The artwork was gloriously grim, and I loved the William Blake references (it’s based on his poem Jerusalem).

The only thing that I didn’t like was that I was left wanting more. Much more! It didn’t feel like a complete ending, which is fine if they continue with the story but I don’t know if that’s on the cards.

This graphic novel will take you on a journey through a scary, broken Britain. A journey to discover the truth. Don’t forget your helmet!

unicorn rating

Dark Satanic Mills is available from Waterstones now.