Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll, another book in ‘The Haunted States of America’ series, was a fun read. Robert the doll, over 100 years old and on display at the local Civil War museum, doesn’t like to be disrespected and you MUST ask his permission before taking pictures. Of course Al, a boisterous teenager who doesn’t believe in curses, takes Roberts picture and insults him just to add insult. What ensues is a tale of bad luck for poor Al as his days go from bad to worse, between bugs in his dinner, lightning strikes and flat tires – ROBERT DID IT all.
This is a fun short read, I like haunted dolls and all that business so it was definitely one for me. The book itself isn’t particularly frightening or anything but it is entertaining.
I’m rather enjoying this series of tales.
I would love
to see this made into a movie or mini-series (are you listening to this Netflix?).
The imagery and scope of the landscape, the nightmare sequences, down to the
descriptions of the characters (especially Meggie) is work of flawless art. This
book is a real testament to the ability of the author.
The scene is set from the beginning; creepy yet beautiful Scottish Loch, an old stone circle, a house in the middle of no-where (a glorious old building), Meggie the mysterious sister and not to mention the majestic stag. An accident on the way to the house for the groups post-graduation holiday results in a wrecked hire car and a dead stag. No one was seriously hurt… but the accidental killing of the stag sets of a chain reaction of supernatural events centered around Mike Carter (our main protagonist). Mike’s friends Alex and Kay, and girlfriend Helen are dragged through the ringer by his deteriorating state.
The mental collapse of Mike throughout the story is handled vividly yet with delicate ease. First the accident, then finding out his girlfriend is pregnant, as well as his drinking and weed habit, he steadily circles the pits of despair, not knowing what is real or what is a dream.
Hearthstone Cottage is a wonderfully written supernatural horror story that captures the Scottish charm and beauty effortlessly.
Janz is a descriptive master. He conveys a scene in total HD ultra having you almost believe you are living it. This was most defiantly the case at the gas station.
Joe, a family man with a young daughter, witnesses a young mother abusing her toddler in the back of their truck. He intervenes to help the child and sets a disturbing chain of events in motion.
Joe and his family are soon stalked and terrorized by the family of Angie, the young mother who took her own life after she lost custody of her son. They are members of a cult and will go to any lengths to get their revenge on Joe and to bring back their daughter.
The premise of this story is filled with promise. The wonderfully dark and sinister cover conveys this too. A family man, just wanting to do the right thing . What is that they say about the road to hell… ?
A thrilling read from the outset. The characterization is on point as always from Janz and the story telling, deliciously creepy with many layers of nasty.
Flame Tree Press just keep putting out great books (mostly). Janz is as always, a wonderful author.
I’m quite annoyed at myself that I couldn’t get into ‘House of Skin’ as much as I would have like. I have become quite the fan of Janz’s work lately, but sadly this isn’t one of my favorites.
I like the premise: Nephew inherits estranged dead uncles creepy estate. Town tarnishes nephew with the same brush as his not so nice uncle. Murder and ghostly goings-on ensue.
It has a really good start to with the despicable Ted Brand getting his comeuppance after the cheating philanderer messes with the wrong women.
I think, well for me, I believe this it where it went wrong. I was loving the Ted Brand/Julia arc, but I was a lot more interested in that than in the Paul Carver arc, who of course is our main character. I couldn’t really attach myself to the character of Paul the way I like in a book. For me to really, and I mean REALLY enjoy a story, I need to be 100% behind the characters. Without this I have a habit of losing interest rather quickly.
This is by no means a shot at the story or the author himself. I firmly believe Janz is a wonderful story teller, and this story is not completely terrible. It just wasn’t for me is all.
I am looking forward to my next Janz read, ‘Nightmare Girl’.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
“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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
you won’t be sorry. Find it here on Amazon:
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.
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.”
Spirits is a lovely and very spooky read. It is an anthology of ghostly tales
brought to life by some very talented authors.
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.