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)

Trapped in Room 217 -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review ***spoilers***

Trapped in Room 217

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Thomas Kingsley Troupe

“Jayla Walters isn’t sure what to expect when her father’s job uproots her and her brother, Dion, to Estes Park, Colorado. But right away, something doesn’t seem right with their hotel. Jayla soon discovers that their home for the week, room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, is the most haunted place in all of Colorado. Barely asleep the first night, Jayla watches a ghostly woman walk toward her bed. And the ghost visits her room every night. What does the ghost want? And what happens when Jayla and Dion get in her way? 

Every state has its own spine-tingling stories of ghosts and mysterious hauntings grounded in its regional history. The Haunted States of America series uses real-life ghost lore as jumping off points to new, chilling tales. But beware: sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.”

Thank you to Netgalley for this copy of ‘Trapped in Room 217’ to read in exchange for an honest review.

This is a great little read, a short story based around the true haunting of a room in a popular haunted hotel. This is based on The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where the author did actually get to stay overnight, just sadly not in the room itself.

Jayla and Dion (I love this kid, he packed nothing but books) head to Colorado with their father for work, also meaning that spring break starts early for them. They arrive at The Stanley Hotel, and are pleasantly surprised at how grand it appears. Immediately though, they are disturbed by an eerie feeling. It seems the other guests know something they don’t.

In the middle of the night Jayla is awoken by a chill, the room has turned icy cold. She and Dion are frightened by a figure in their room, the ghost of Elizabeth Wilson, a maid at the hotel from the early 1900s.

The story goes on to see Jayla take it upon herself to ‘release’ Elizabeth from room 217, but of course it’s not quite that simple.

I love things like this, ghost stories based on true events. I think in another life I would have ended up as a ghost hunter on a show such as Most Haunted, but anyways, enough about me.

The ending was a tad anti-climatic, but that was down to the author staying true to the history of the hotel. It would have taken away from the real life story to have this turn into some sort of Poltergeist style haunting. Over all though, it’s an enjoyable story, well worth an hour of your time.

4/5

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 Toy Thief (October 2018) – ***Minor Spoilers***

The Toy Thief

4*

D. W. Gillespie

Flame Tree Press

 

“As a girl, Jack lives with her father and brother after her mother passed away during childbirth. Her father is a well-meaning construction worker who treats her more like a roommate, while her brother, Andy, is an introverted loner prone to violent outbursts, a virtual mirror to his sister who is outspoken to an extreme. The story opens on a sleepover with nine year old Jack and her close friend. While putting on a pretend show, the two girls leave a video camera running, and when Jack replays the tape the next day, she sees her friend’s toy being snatched off the end table and out the back door by a swift, nearly unseen hand. Excited and bewildered, she tries to show the tape to her thirteen year old brother, Andy who is still furious about the spat he and Jack got into the night before. Without another word, he smashes the tape of the intruder. That night, determined to catch the creature she now calls The Toy Thief, Jack sets up a series of traps, all of which fail miserably. Once she awakens in the middle of the night, she finds her friend’s toy has returned, brought back by The Toy Thief, an impossibly tall and rat-like creature with glassy eyes. Just then, Andy steps out of his room, and as The Thief flees in a panic, Andy realizes his sister is telling the truth. The two of them are able to surmise that The Thief most likely travels through a tangled section of woods called The Trails, and they go out in search of it. After returning unsuccessful, Jack awakes the next morning to find Andy missing from his bedroom. As her father informs the police, Jack knows it’s up to her to find him. Jack must venture into the dark place WHERE TOYS GO to get him back. But even if she finds him, will he ever be the same?”

 

It’s the defining moments in our lives that what make us who we are. They shape us, mould us and manipulate us into the person we are today. A lot of those moments happen during childhood, during the period of our lives that we are most malleable, most impressionable, and most innocent.

I particularly liked the format of this book, the storytelling in the shape of a woman recalling a traumatic event from her childhood. One that will have shaped her somewhat, and made her the person she is today. It read really well, flitting between the past and the present. You could have almost been sat across a table in a greasy spoon from her, listening to Jack’s dark tale.

It was more than a story about a lurking monster; it was about family, and the bonds that hold us together as well as drive us apart. The sibling relationship between Jack and Andy was touching, how it ended was heartbreakingly sweet I felt. The family unit was the main focus of the book from my perspective. The challenges of a widowed father, raising two children after his wife has died during childbirth, and the difficult relationship between brother and sister that ensued. Andy had known his mother, Jack had not. That difficult resentment, when you love someone but you struggle to get past something that you know deep down wasn’t their fault. That’s the relationship between Jack and Andy, turbulent and angry, but at the same time a deep loving bond. It was really well thought out and written I felt. I had a real empathy for the whole family.

The Toy Thief itself, the monster, is deliciously creepy in so many wonderful ways. The perfect manifestation of a childhood nightmare, it’s the monster coming to take your most precious toys. It was a darkly creepy creature, hiding in the shadows, just waiting for its moment to strike. I really loved it. It’s that monster under the bed scenario, or in your closet maybe. It’s that underlying fear that something is watching, waiting, and you are afraid to fall asleep in case it gets you in the night. I appreciated the hidden depths too; it was a great touch that made it an even more frightening experience.

This is a great read that plays on our most innocent fears. It hits home in many ways, both good and bad. This is a wonderful scary story, definitely worth a read.

Available for Pre-order from Amazon, The Toy Thief hits the bookshelves 18th October 2018. Check it out.

 

4/5 – very very creepy.

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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Cadies & Witchery Tour -Review

The Cadies and Witchery Tour – Edinburgh 2018

https://www.witcherytours.com/

 

What is a ‘cadie’? According to the Collins dictionary it is defined as: (Scottish) “a person in a large town or city in the 18th century who was on the lookout for chance employment, for example, as a messenger.”

 

So, let me set the scene:

20th April 2018, a lovely spring day, as a treat for my soon-to-be husband, I took him on a weekend getaway to Edinburgh, a place neither of us has visited prior.

For our first night there I had booked us on the 7pm ‘Ghosts & Gore’ tour, run by the award winning Cadies and Witchery Tour Company.

This was a first for us both, a walk-along street tour, described as “suspenseful and mirth filled”, taking place along the famous Royal Mile, the main artery running through Edinburgh’s Old Town. Here, the cadies are going to tell us about some of the gruesome and somewhat gore filled history of Edinburgh. We weren’t sure what to expect, but I assure you, it didn’t disappoint.

Our tour begins just a stone’s throw from the historic and dominating Edinburgh Castle. Our pre-purchased E-tickets tell us to meet outside ‘The Witchery by the Castle’ restaurant five minutes before the starting time. We arrive promptly at 6.55pm and don’t have to wait long. Chatting with fellow tour goers for a few minutes, we soon spot our well dressed guide making his way up the hill towards us. This would be the long deceased and infamous cemetery director, Alexander Clapperton.

The tone of the tour isn’t too serious, it’s very open, fun, and not to mention inclusive – audience participation is a must. We are taken on a spooky trip through the cobbled closes of Edinburgh’s old town, and through to the old courtyards. Here we learn about the history of the dwellings, how they would build them continuously on top of each other, expanding the city upwards rather than outwards. We hear tales of how the lowest classes would have to live at the top of the dwellings, and the highest of classes at the bottom. Of course, the higher you are, the more likely you are to die when the over-tall buildings eventually and fantastically collapse.

We are introduced to several figures from history including the ‘mad monk of Cowgate’, who was badly burned in a 17th century monastery fire. We are also introduced to Agnes Fynnie, a woman who was thought to be a witch, burned at the stake in 1641, and Jimmy Tamson, who had a short career removing and then burying the dead during the black plague of the 17th century. Finally we have Rhuari McLeod, a very animated highlander with lots to say regarding the invasion history of   Edinburgh.

This tour is full of torture, plague, witch-burning, grave robbing and hangings. Not to mention that if you are lucky you will be invited to test some of the old style torture devices.

The Cadies and Witchery Tour is a very interesting, fun and eye opening delve into the dark and murky past of Edinburgh. This is a family friendly experience, and a great introduction to the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

The Cadies and Witchery tours run daily. The length of the tour is approximately 80 minutes from start to finish, and begins from the Witchery by the Castle restaurant, located at 352 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

 

(https://www.thewitchery.com/). Prices are very reasonable, £10 for adults, £7.50 for children, with discounts for group bookings.

This is a highly recommended activity if you like gore, ghosts and giggles.witchery-tours-christmas-card-2003

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(Images courtesy of https://www.witcherytours.com/enter-our-lair)

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