Showing posts with label ghost story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghost story. Show all posts

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Review Time! - Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Title: Say Her Name

Author: Juno Dawson

Genre: YA, Horror, Ghost Story

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I read Hollow Pike (UK - US) by Juno Dawson ages ago because a paperback copy in my local library had purple-edged pages.

So I picked it up because, y'know, I'm easily amused/attracted by pretty colours. Lucky for me, that book rocked.

So, since then, I've wanted to read the rest of Dawson's books - and I eventually got around to this one! (Again, lucky for me!)


People fool around with it all around the world - say 'Bloody Mary,' five times, in front of a mirror, at midnight, by candlelight.

Then her ghost is meant to show up... apparently.

People do it all the time. Nothing ever happens... right?

So, when Bobbie and her friends agree to it as a dare, nothing will come of it... right?

Or so they think. But time's running out.

In five days, she will come.

Best bits:

I loved this book - hands-down loved it!

It could have been soooo clichéd - but instead, every time it started to ever-so-slightly veer in that direction POW! - a new twist.

(Yes, I just used 'POW!' - In a book review. Deal with it.)

The characters were fab, believable, and not intensely stupid. (Which is always good.)

Bobbie? I loved her. She was really relatable and quite bookish (yay!) without being pretentious.

She's also really sweet - which is always nice - but not boring, which was a relief (yay for nice-but-not-boring characters!!!!!)

(Yes, I've had coffee. Coffee is good.)

The plot a) keeps you guessing, and b) refuses to be held down by all the urban legend Bloody Mary stuff that came before, while also not ignoring it.

(Which is skilful - and impressive. *Nods approvingly.*)

This was one of those books which was like: one more chapter - just one. And six chapters later, you're still there, and still reading.

And while it is creepy, it's not so creepy that you want to give up half-way through. (But then, I like horror, so other people may have a different opinion.)

I'll say it again: I loved it ;)

Not so great bits:

There's not a lot of things I can really argue with here...

It does deal with subjects that a lot of people may find distressing: references to self-harm, abuse, murder, suicide, etc. etc. But it doesn't feel overly-heavy with it.

And if you have a mega-fear of ghost-girls, mirrors, and/or ghosts in general, this is probably not your book.

There's some mild violence, gore, etc.

There's also some mild swearing (cr*p, etc.) Honestly, I doubt it'll bother anyone, but if I don't mention it, someone's bound to come back on me about it. Because that's usually how my luck goes.

Oh, and there's some references to sexy-times, but nothing overtly graphic.

I guess my only real issue is the whole absentee-parents thing that YA gets away with a lot.

But as that trope goes, I really can't argue with the way it's handled here - the boarding-school deal-y neatly sidesteps the issue.


I loved this book - it's fresh and original where it could've been clichéd and rusty, it draws you on, it has great characters...

Basically, this is a great YA horror. And I definitely recommend it.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Books On My 'To-Buy' List

Do you have a 'to-buy' list?

My 'to-buy' list isn't quite the same as my tbr - if I bought everything on my tbr I wouldn't have any money left for things like... food.

Some of them are on my tbr, obviously, but a lot are books that I've already read but want to own so that I can re-read them, or just because I want to know I have them (Don't judge me!)

I really want these books... I'll just have to save my pennies!

straight james gay james cover

Straight James/Gay James by James Franco (UK - US)

You may have noticed, but I really love this book. That's why I want to own it. I want to have a nice paperback copy in my hands :) That came out decidedly weirder than how I intended it to sound.

crimson peak cover
Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder (UK - US)

I've seen the film (UK - US) (Tom Hiddleston - yes, please!) but have heard very good things about the novelisation - which caught my attention, because normally people are a bit like 'Ehhhh...' when it comes to novelisations.

20th century ghosts cover

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (UK - US)

I've read this twice from the library. I love Joe Hill. I love short stories. I love Joe Hill short stories. I really want this book.

locke and key 1 cover

Locke & Key: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (UK - US)

Joe Hill + graphic novels = one happy reading addict!

shutter island cover
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (UK - US)

Another book I've borrowed from the library not once but twice, and one I was first inspired to read by the Leo DiCaprio film (UK - US) (yes, sometimes I watch the film without having read the book - please don't hurt me!)

It also started my Dennis Lehane addiction; Leo has a lot to answer for.

live by night cover

Live By Night by Dennis Lehane (UK - US)

Another Lehane book to feed my junkie habits. This is book #2 of the Coughlin series (you can read my review of book #3 'World Gone By' here.)

I love Joe Coughlin; I shouldn't because he's a gangster. But I love him.

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

This is Halloween! - Top 5 Spooky Hidden Gems

'Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange?'

I thought that for Halloween I'd highlight some books that either get overlooked or unfairly forgotten. I'm something of a fan of all things horror and gothic - so I'm going to give you fair warning that these books are not for those who scare easy. If you've got the stomach for it, then read on...

1. For the Rock Fan - Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Judas Coyne is an old rocker with a thing for collecting macabre and occult objects. He may have just bought the real deal.

This was the first book I read by Joe Hill. This was the start of my love of his work. I adore this book. It may be too scary/spooky/grim for some - Hill has horror running through his veins - but for anyone up for a walk on the darker side of life, I seriously recommend this. The quality of the writing speaks for itself; this is easily one of my favourite books.

2. For the Scandi-Noir Fan - Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

1981. Sweden. A bullied twelve-year-old, Oskar - finds a friend, Eli. Eli is not all she seems. And people are dying.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. Fair warning. These are not the vampires who sparkle - these are the kind of vampires based in the gritty realism of Scandinavian winter. It also involves some fairly uncomfortable social problems - including a character who is a paedophile. While Lindqvist's deftness with difficult topics is evident even through the translation, this is still highly disturbing fair.

3. For Your Inner Goth - Florence & Giles by John Harding

New England in 1891. Neglected by their guardian, Florence and Giles have made their own entertainment. But then there's what happened to the last governess, and Florence's suspicions of the new one.

This book has a fabulous twisted feel to it - truly gothic. Inspired by The Turn of the Screw, and devilishly readable, all fans of spooky period drama, and things that go bump in the night, will be thrilled. This isn't particularly long, and has quite a fast pace to it; plus some real page-turning credentials.

4. For the Movie Fan - The Crow by J O'Barr

Eric Draven has a score to settle. The Crow has brought his spirit back to wreak his vengeance.

Born of grief, and plagued by it's own mythos, The Crow has developed something of a life of its own. Long before the film which would be Brandon Lee's last, there was the graphic novel. This is not a happy book. It is graphic. It is violent. There is rape, drugs, and murder. For all that, there's something about which is sublimely beautiful - it's a piece of art. I had the great pleasure of meeting James O'Barr once (one of my heroes, if you must know) - and he is a genuinely lovely person, despite everything he's been through in his life.

5. For All Horror Fans - NOS4R2/NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Some people creates worlds in their heads. Vic McQueen has her bridge, Charlie Manx has Christmasland.

You can find my full review of this novel here. This is another fantastic book from Joe Hill. It's long, but very much worth the read. I do recommend that if you're not ok with having your childhood memories possibly irreparably ruined, you read this at any time except Christmas. I'm just saying.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Reviewing the Evidence! - Printer's Devil Court

Title: Printer's Devil Court (US Link)
Author: Susan Hill
Genre: Horror, historical fiction, ghost story

A few starting notes:

This is a novella from modern master of the period ghost story, Susan Hill - author of similarly spoopy (I'm sorry purists - I, of course, mean spooky) tale, The Woman in Black.


Hugh Meredith is a medical student at the turn of the last century (I think - it's never made all that clear to be honest,) when his fellow students suggest something which usually ends so well - raising the dead. Cue poop hitting fan and ghostly goings-on.

Best bits:

The atmospherics are pretty damned awesome here - this is something that Susan Hill can do. Gothic setting? Check. Shiver down my back? Check. Ghosties? Check.

It's also illustrated - giving it an authentic-style old-timey feel in its mimicry of the old plate illustrations in Victorian/Edwardian books/periodicals.

The entire thing is inherently readable - short, illustrated, and gothic. Awesomeness.

Not so great bits:

There's no excuse for the degree of typos folks, there's just not. You say there are two other doctors and then name three? It will jar you right out of the story. It's just not on, and I hope it's different in other editions.

The time-frame is never made all that clear - and I have some time perception issues that would've benefitted from clarity. Also, what level of technology and setting are we supposed to be imagining? Time period makes a difference when you're writing historical fiction - you can't leave it all fuzzy-wuzzy and up in the damned air!

Also, given the subject matter, I would've expected some mention of Mary Shelley - whose book Frankenstein was definitely in print at the time in which this is set; bit of an ever-loving heffalump in the room.


I enjoyed this - if it wasn't for the practical problems (typos, fuzzy time-periods, etc.,) I would've looked on it far more kindly, but it is inherently a very good book. Any fan of gothic horror and/or ghost stories will love it.