The Nursery (The Bayou Hauntings Book 3) -⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

The Nursery (The Bayou Hauntings Book 3)

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Bill Thompson

“A house that sat empty for fifty years as its dead owner instructed. A locked room with no key. A single father with eight-year-old twin girls. A nursery from long, long ago that no child ever played in.There are eerie things going on at The Arbors in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Architect Jordan Blanchard is joined by his friend Callie Pilantro (“Callie – The Bayou Hauntings 1”) and Landry Drake (“Forgotten Men – The Bayou Hauntings 2”) to learn the secrets of a domineering matriarch whose two husbands died in bizarre ways. They explore the house as someone watches from a hidden place high above. The Nursery, the third book in the series, will keep you up late at night wondering what’s behind the next door, what lies beyond the mirror and who hides and waits at The Arbors.”

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The initial grabbing point for me was the cover, I found it to be quite intense and thought provoking, and I’m always interested to read and good haunting story.

The first half of the book read really well. The story was developing nicely and the plot seemed to be going somewhere. I didn’t find myself at a disadvantage from not having read the first two stories in the Bayou Haunting series either – always a plus. What knocked it down to a three star review? The latter half of the story lost its way somewhat. It felt like it could have been wrapped up far quicker than it was. I found myself getting bored and wanting to skip to the end. I hate that in a book. I feel like I need to give a book my full attention, and I always feel dreadfully guilty when I am not enjoying the story.

As for the characters, Landry I found horrendously annoying – As I haven’t read his book, I can’t comment as to whether this is just ‘him’… But he was a pain in my side the brief times he appeared. The father of the twins, Jordan, I really couldn’t force myself to like him either. He just came across very contradictory. One minute nothing matters but his children, and the next, he is totally absorbed in work forgetting about them.

The setting, Louisiana, I found perfect. The descriptions of the area, that southern charm and atmosphere were there in the forefront. For me, sadly, that was the saving grace, it was well written and thought out. It seemed to be a combination of poor characters and a lazy plot that let it down for me.

3/5

Lesley-Ann

The Sorrows – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

The Sorrows

Image result for the sorrors jonathan janz


Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press
November 2018

“Ben Shadeland and Eddie Blaze are the hottest young music composers in Hollywood. Fresh off an Oscar nomination, they’ve just been chosen to score a big-budget horror movie by Lee Stanley, the most demanding director in film. But Ben, the creative half of the duo, hasn’t written a note since his wife divorced him and got custody of their three-year-old son.
Chris Blackwood is the gambling-addicted heir to the Blackwood fortune, which includes the Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California. The island and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome, unexplained murders in 1925, but Chris needs money, and to get it he allows Ben, Eddie, Claire Harden (an aspiring composer), and Eva Rosales (Lee Stanley’s gorgeous assistant) to stay a month in Castle Blackwood.
Eddie is certain an eerie, isolated setting is just what Ben needs to find musical inspiration for a horror film. But what they find is more horrific than any movie.”

Jonathan Janz himself said that the book explores the exploitation of innocence, and the evils surrounding this. This is exactly what I got from this book. The Sorrows is a somewhat harrowing and frightful journey exploring this exploitation from many viewpoints. We have several separate tales, all intertwining and weaving in and out of each other, culminating in a fantastic last quarter of the book.


I love a good haunted house tale, the old creepy buildings with hidden doors and basements you wouldn’t dare enter. The big castle in the middle of nowhere, surrounding by nothing but forest and a spooky cemetery. It’s perfect. To me, this book was perfect (bar the “” that appeared to be unfinished, and a few sentences that seemed to be missing – we can overlook this though as this is an ARC courtesy of FlameTree Press).


The characters were a*holes in some respects, apart from Ben and Claire (who made it yay), but to me, this made it all the more exciting. I love the bad guy, the horrid, annoying, full of himself/herself character. You can love to hate on them throughout the book, a part of you knowing and looking forward to them getting their comeuppance at the end; and Boy did Lee Stanley get his in the end. I was actually quite shocked by that. I totally loved it though and it was thoroughly deserved.


All the characters’ storylines played out roles in either the salvation or the exploitation of an innocent. Lee Stanley, a big name horror director and total moron. He has no conscience about using women, young women, who want to break into the industry, happily disposing of them when he sees fit. Richard Blackwood, exploiting a child (or so he thinks) to make himself a success in music. Eddie Blaze, a Hollywood composer with a dark secret. And Ryan, a pilot with a nasty side, using Ben’s ex wife just to get to her teenage daughter.


I loved, and really enjoyed reading how all the different elements came together. This is one of those books too, where it works to have intermittent chapters where we are reading about past events at Castle Blackwood through a journal. Sometimes I feel flitting between past and present, as well as several character arcs can be confusing. But here, it worked very well. I was dragged into the story from early on, becoming emotionally attached to the characters and couldn’t wait to see where this went. I wasn’t disappointed.


I highly recommend this book, I didn’t realise it was actually a re-release of Jonathan Janz’s first novel. So for a debut, this is great.


An overwhelming 5/5
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

The Frighteners – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

The Frighteners

Peter Laws

“The Frighteners follows the quest of Peter Laws, a Baptist minister with a penchant for the macabre, to understand why so many people love things that are spooky, morbid and downright repellent. He meets vampires, hunts werewolves in Hull, talks to a man who has slept on a mortuary slab to help him deal with a diagnosis, and is chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac through a farmhouse full of hanging bodies.

Staring into the darkness of a Transylvanian night, he asks: What is it that makes millions of people seek to be disgusted and freaked out? And, in a world that worships rationality and points an accusing finger at violent video games and gruesome films, can an interest in horror culture actually give us safe ways to confront our mortality? Might it even have power to re-enchant our jaded world?

Grab your crucifixes, pack the silver bullets, and join the Sinister Minister on his romp into our morbid curiosities.”

This was a fun and interesting read, delving into the mind of a horror enthusiast, the Sinister Minister himself, Peter Laws.

I have always been interested in the scary, the dark and twisted, the gothic, and the gruesome. I have always been ridiculed for it too. You know, I’m sure a lot of us have heard the same… “It’s a phase” “she will grow out of it” “why can’t you like nice things?” “You won’t meet anyone looking like that” “what’s wrong with you watching those kinds of films?” …the usual. I must admit I have gone to the ‘dark side’ with my outfits and bit since I started my current day job (legal cashier) and wear pretty dresses and the likes. I got many a surprised look that day from people who know me.

Anyways, moving on from my ramblings, the book, The Frighteners, it’s a fun read. It’s very much a memoir of Peter Laws’ life with the horror genre, mixed with a lot of researched facts relating to the macabre and the morbid.

It’s very well written, well laid out and a hoot to read. He has a great sense of humour I found and he knows how to spin a tale.

The book opens with his recounting of his bucket list birthday trip to Transylvania (what a treat). The excited recanting of the trip and meeting like minding people was a pleasure to read. You can tell straight away that Peter Laws is truly passionate about his love affair with the genre, it radiates so brightly through his writing.

There is a great deal of information within The Frighteners. The author has had many an experience, with death, zombies, werewolves, crypts and the likes. He gives us a wonderful descriptive read of all his encounters, and a very informed insight into the genre of the weird, the wonderful and the macabre.

I really don’t want to delve too much into the content as I feel I would spoil the read for you folks somewhat. I really recommend checking this book out though, it’s a wonderful read and a great glimpse into the mindset of the horror fan.

Seriously… you won’t be sorry. Find it here on Amazon:

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

The Haunting of Henderson Close -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

The Haunting of Henderson Close

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Catherine Cavendish

“Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.

Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?

The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.”

I knew I was going to adore this book before I read it, I just had that feeling. I was right. This was my first time reading Catherine Cavendish and not my last. This book hit all the right notes for me. I have so many happy memories of Edinburgh, including Old Town, Royal Mile, and of course, the infamous ghost walks through the old closes of the city.

Hannah has started her new job as a tour guide at one of Edinburgh’s famous closes. Henderson Close. She has left her old life, and moved up to Edinburgh for a fresh start. This is her ideal job, she loves drama and acting, and this is just perfect for her. The idea of these ghost tours is to gently scare the customers, while also giving them a peek into the dark history of Edinburgh’s Old Town. What Hannah didn’t expect of course, was to come face to face with actual ghosts, and an evil that has been following her for her entire life.

Catherine Cavendish does an amazing job within this book of giving you the feeling of being there, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, surrounded by the stench, the claustrophobic closeness of the buildings, the noise and the nervous uncertainty. She takes us on a journey though time, and into the midst of a murder mystery. Just who was Miss Carmichael’s killer?

This is what Hannah, George and Mairead must find out. A once sealed evil has now been released into their world. Their only way to stop it, find the killer, the one who got away, before it’s too late.

Everything about this book spoke to me. The characters are very real, with their distinct personalities shining through the pages, giving them life. The setting, the atmosphere of Edinburgh past and present is tangible. You can almost smell the manure, the human waste. You can hear the whinnying of the horses, the clatter of people. She brings Henderson Close to life.

Having been on a couple of the walking ghost tours while in Edinburgh last year, this was like going on a third. It was exactly like I was there again, gripping onto Andy as we stumbled through the closes, being treated to jump scares from our tour guides and nervously wondering if a ghost was actually there, watching me. I love how real it felt, Hannah and her co workers getting into character. Taking on the roles of people from the past, engaging the customers and taking them on a fun history tour with a few good scares thrown in for good measure.

The mix in the story between the late 1800’s and the present day was perfect. There was no confusion, I never once felt like I was getting lost with the story. The pace and flow are spot on. I particularly enjoyed the time-slips, Hannah and Mairead appearing to slip back into Henderson Close’s past. It was very exciting to read and the ending, my god, the ending was unexpected. I loved it.

If you have read Catherine Cavendish before, then I need say no more, you are of course going to be reading this book. If you have not, like me, then all I can say is that you are missing out greatly. This is a wonderful story, beautifully written, with real characters and a perfect setting. Plenty of scares and creepiness included. This is definitely going in my re-read pile. I loved it.

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Familiar Spirits -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review

Familiar Spirits

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Donald J. Bingle

“Magician and story-teller William Pack conceived of Familiar Spirits as an outgrowth and supplement to his spell-binding performances of magic and ghostly tales. Connecting with Writer on Demand Donald J. Bingle, they have invited a specially selected group of extremely talented writers to craft short tales and vivid manifestations to unsettle, spook, terrify, and haunt you in your dreams and in brightest day.

Sometimes when the dead are laid to rest in peace, they refuse to go into that dark night. Instead, they lie in the cold earth, agitated and restless, angry about the past, conjuring up lists of wrongs to right and enemies to fright. 

In Familiar Spirits, you will find previously untold tales of … rainy graveyards … musty attics … domestic abuse … love unending … speaking with the dead … vengeful ghosts … infatuation gone wrong … and lonely spirits. And, you will meet a mother who refuses to abandon her child … a jealous ex … a sailor who seeks to escape his watery grave … and your deepest fears.

Includes stories from Sarah Hans, Dolores Whitt Becker, William Pack, Lynne Handy, Wren Roberts, Kate Johnson, Cathy Kern, Ric Waters, TS Rhodes, Melanie Waghorne, and Jean Rabe.
 
What makes ghost stories give readers shivers more than any other stories? After all, vampire and werewolf and monster tales can be plenty creepy, too. Perhaps it’s because we always know, deep in the back of our subconscious, that vampires and werewolves and monsters aren’t real. They’re fiction. But, the same isn’t true for ghost stories. Almost every culture believes in ghosts and has myths and tales about them. Almost everyone has had, or personally knows someone who has had, a ghostly or supernatural experience. We believe in ghosts, so we believe in ghost stories. And that makes it so much harder to go to sleep after we’ve read what those familiar spirits may be up to in the midst of deepest night in the woods, down the street, and in our own homes.

Join with these authors to bring Familiar Spirits to life … or, perhaps, unholy afterlife from beyond the grave. Death is only the beginning for a familiar spirit, but it may be the end for those it seeks out on the mortal plane.”

Familiar Spirits is a lovely and very spooky read. It is an anthology of ghostly tales brought to life by some very talented authors.

First of all, many thanks go to Donald J. Bingle for my copy of this lovely collection to read in exchange for an honest review.

There are so many wonderful stories within this book, all of them I found to be good. Of course there were some which I preferred to others, but this is always the case with an anthology. I was pleasantly surprised that I in fact enjoyed them all greatly, I feel I can normally be a little hit and miss with these, I will love some, like most, and dislike the few. I love that this book hits all the right notes. Familiar Spirits contains a great cocktail of the paranormal. There is a wonderful mix of the creepy, the frightening and the strange, as well as doing an impressive job of incorporating some quite emotional stories into the mix.

The opening story in particular struck a chord with me, ‘The Cold Earth’, is a tragic tale of domestic abuse. Megan has been murdered and subsequently buried by her husband Tom under an old oak tree, in their back yard. This was after what felt like a lifetime of abuse, both physical and emotional. Megan is still there, under the tree, in spirit, if not more, she hears all and she is aware of everything that is happening around her, including when Tom brings home a new girl, Jessica.

Megan feels an overwhelming urge to protect Jessica from Tom. She knows far better than anyone what he is like and how far he is willing to go. This is a chilling story that comes to its conclusion in the most beautiful symmetrical way. Both the imagery and the prose merge together as one, like they are locked in a perfect harmony to create the most fitting ending.

Familiar Spirits is a perfect book for fans of ghost stories, the paranormal and anything generally spooky and haunting. It’s a lovely read, and very engaging from the opening.

4/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Coming in 2019 – 7 books in 7 days

I have set myself a little 2019 New Years challenge – to read 7 books in 7 days. I want to make the most of my week off work (I’m off for the first 2 weeks of Jan), and it’s a great opportunity to catch up on some reading. 

I have chosen 7 books from my reading list (see below), and I have to say, I’m very excited to do this. It will be great to be able to just sit down and read. Normally things such as work get in the way, only having time in the mornings and on lunch breaks, so this will be a welcome change. 

Jan 1st – Savage Species (Jonathan Janz)

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Jan 2nd – Junction (Daniel M. Benson)

Jan 3rd – The Haunting of Henderson Close (Catherine Cavendish)

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Jan 4th – The Frighteners (Peter Laws)

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Jan 5th – Sugar Skulls (M. R. Tapia)

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Jan 6th – I Can Taste the Blood (John F. D. Taff)

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Jan 7th – Kosmos (Adrian Lang)

Manifest Recall – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***minor spoilers***

 

Manifest Recall by [Baxter, Alan]

Manifest Recall

5* Book Review

Alan Baxter

Grey Matter Press

 

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

A SUPERNATURAL CRIME THRILLER FROM THE AWARD-WINNING MASTER OF DARK FANTASY

Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.

A contemporary southern gothic thriller with frightening supernatural overtones, Alan Baxter’s Manifest Recall explores the tragic life of a hitman who finds himself on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate. Baxter’s adrenaline-fueled approach to storytelling draws readers into Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis and through the darkest realms of lost memories, human guilt and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption.”

 

Manifest Recall, The Sopranos meets Sons of Anarchy, and gets all kind of twisted. This is a great read, a brilliant novella from Alan Baxter. May I just say a huge thank you to the author and to Grey Matter Press for sending me a copy of Manifest Recall in exchange for a review.

Eli Carver is having the worst day of his life. Who is he? What has he done? What or who is he running from? And who is the girl tied up in his trunk? He has no memory. He knows that something bad has happened to him, he just doesn’t know how bad. To make matters worse, he has the ghosts of the dead talking to him, mocking him, tormenting him. What has he gotten himself into? And how is he going to get himself out of this?

This is one of those books. You know the ones, the ones you cannot physically put down after you start them. You just have to keep going, keep turning the pages to see what comes next. The desire to put all the pieces together, to figure out what is happening right now and what happened before, it’s too strong. Before you know it you have finished the entire book and you just don’t know what to do with the rest of your day. This is one of those books.

I really don’t want to say too much about it, I don’t want to give too much away. This is a must-read, it’s a real edge-of-seat job, a proper page turner.

The writing style is excellent, the first person prose, it does its job of dragging you deep into the story. There is a brilliant claustrophobic element here; you are sucked in so deep you need to finish the story to climb back out again.

It’s excellent. Very stylish and very fast paced. Thrilling.

Find it here via Amazon (UK):

 

5/5

Thrilling from start to finish.

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

 

Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest

5* Book Review

  1. L. Davies

6th Books

 

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“Blissful beginnings for a young couple turn into a nightmare after purchasing their dream home in Wales in 1989. Their love and their resolve are torn apart by an indescribable entity that pushes paranormal activity to the limit. Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is the prequel to the bestselling A Most Haunted House.”

 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, 6th Books, for this ARC of Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest.

This terrified me, I couldn’t put it down. Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is an interview with a married couple, Dai and Anne (names changed so as to not be identified), recounting the dreadful days spent in their marital home. They are haunted by a malevolent paranormal being, tormented and almost driven apart by the entity. This book is the prequel – which happens to be featured at the end of this one – to G. L. Davies’ ‘A Most Haunted House’.

I really liked the style, the transcript, it really pulled me in, and I was immediately engrossed, desperate to find out what happened next. I was hooked from the get-go. It was really interesting, as well as frightening, the idea that this could be going on in the house next door and you wouldn’t know it. You might put banging and clattering down to just noisy neighbours with no consideration, or maybe they are having a clean out… you would never think that they were being haunted, not in a million years. Or maybe we don’t want to think that? Is it better that we live our day to day lives in the blissful ignorance that there is nothing else out there, nothing lurking in the closet or under the bed? Are we happier this way?

I honestly can’t say I’m 100% sure this is based on truth or whether this is a story in a ‘true life’ format. I am most definitely open minded, and I’m more to leaning that this is based on real events. If so, oh my god, I can’t begin to imagine how horrendous and terrifying this must have been.

I’m glad the original book was included, I hadn’t read this previously and it was interesting to see the similarities between both accounts, from different people in different eras. I also found the possible explanations for paranormal occurrences an interesting and insightful read.

For someone like me, a believer, this is a great read. It’s had me on Google, looking up the area and the paranormal goings on. It seems Pembrokeshire is a paranormal hotspot.

https://pembrokeshirebeyond.com/2015/05/22/the-pembrokeshire-haunted-road-trip/

I’m quite interested in this I must say.

https://pembrokeshirebeyond.com/2015/06/10/the-ghostly-monk-of-haverfordwest/

The story of the Hooded Monk of Union Hill in Haverfordwest is something that has grabbed my attention, the ghost hunter in me has decided to take a trip down later in the year, see some sights, and maybe spot a ghost or two. Of course we are already concerned this will end up the next big ‘found-footage’ film, my fiancé joking the sequel will involve his mother and uncle heading out looking for us.

Pre-order here via Amazon (UK):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Horror-Haverfordwest-G-L-Davies/dp/178535843X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539531159&sr=8-1&keywords=g.+l.+davies

 

A must read for any paranormal enthusiast.

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

The Kirkstone Pass Inn

 

 

Ruth Ray, a woman on a journey to visit her ailing father, taking her small child along with her. The walk from Patterdale took a turn bad, the weather changing for the worse. When she didn’t later return to her husband from her visit, he set out to search for her. Sadly, what he later found was her frozen corpse. Thankfully though, her child, wrapped up warmly and tight, survived the tragedy.

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To this day now, she still haunts the Kirkstone Pass inn, an old coaching inn dating back to the 15th century, with ties to an ancient monastery. It is said she is seen when bad weather is due, as a warning to the travellers of the Kirkstone pass.

Thank the good lord, we did not see her on our trip there. It was a lovely bright Sunday morning, and on our way home from a beautiful weekend away in Cockermouth (I know), we decided to stop by for a visit. My curiosity about the Inn had been peaked while I had been researching some haunted spots within Cumbria, and since it happened to be on our way home, more or less, we thought why not stop by.

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It is a very picturesque yet wild location, set at almost 1500ft above sea level.  While you are up there you are presented with some of the most glorious views of the Lake District.

It’s a bit of a steep trek up to the Inn, quite an exhausting trip, even by car.  The road up from Ambleside to the Inn is aptly known as ‘The Struggle’, and a struggle it is indeed.

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It has several resident ghosts; with reports of a young boy who had been killed by a coach outside, a woman who had been hanged at a nearby tree after the grisly murder of her own child, a reported grey lady, and a hiker who once worked at the Inn who is now believed to be responsible for the resident poltergeist activity.

The Inn itself nowadays is most frequented by tourists and hikers. It has 8 rooms and a larger bunkhouse that can be rented out which can accommodate up to 12 people.

http://www.kirkstonepassinn.com/accommodation.htm

 

It is highly worth a visit, whether you are fascinated by its haunted history, or to enjoy the glorious views and take some spectacular walks. It is a beautiful homely Inn with a wonderful friendly atmosphere, and we are so much looking forward to visiting again and this time staying overnight. If we are lucky, we may even experience some paranormal activity (as long as doesn’t end like the movies).

 

An absolute unquestionable 5/5, my only downside was we couldn’t stay longer and appreciate it more.

https://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/kirkstone-pass-inn-ambleside-cumbria

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g186319-d553397-Reviews-Kirkstone_Pass_Inn-Ambleside_Lake_District_Cumbria_England.html

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