Book Review: The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

I was given this book to make an honest review through NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates.

Ten years ago, Faith survived a brutal set of murders. She’s the only one who did and nobody believes her story. She’s left mentally unstable and alcoholic by what she’d seen as a child. She’s released from a mental institution close to the anniversary of the event. As she investigates the crime herself, the more she finds out, the less able she is to trust anybody.

My first thought is that this is an easy read and I read it quite fast to the end. You do want to know who was responsible and get to the end of the mystery. That was the main drive of the book and it was done well. However, I wouldn’t read another book by this author. I didn’t feel the book was strong enough for me. While the structure was sound, it was the bits that make it up that didn’t feel right to me. Faith is someone we need to be rallying for, she’s our main character but I didn’t like her. She’s in her 20’s now for goodness sake and she acts like a spoiled brat. Her choices were self destructive and leaves a trail of unrealistic carnage in her wake. I understand and empathize with broken characters but this one really needed a slap. I felt many other characters were cookie cutter ones, 2D and undeveloped. There was so much convenience in the plot line, for example how easy is it to just put someone in a mental institute? Apparently very easy when your mother is a psychiatrist. I know it’s in the US maybe it is much easier than here in the UK when you have to prove you are unable to make your own decisions. Who gets released from a mental institute and then left on their own, when apparently you can get put in a mental institution as soon as you disagree with someone? (conveniently with a car, a flat and a timetable to follow). It rankled and felt lazy. It had so much potential other than that. So I will only give it a 3/5. There are lots of people who have reviewed it and loved it, but this is my honest opinion.

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Movie Thoughts: IT (2017)

I’m not going to give you a re through of the story because there is enough out there to already know. Instead I’ll just express me and my families feedback. IT was always going to be a hard movie to remake as I’m a big Tim Curry fan. I can never think he would be replaced. However, I was also intrigued by the re-imagining of such a book as Stephen Kings IT. It was great that it reminded me of those 80’s movies I love so much. We noticed than there was certainly a Japanese horror influence, for example the hair in the sink part and the basement scene. What did I think of Bill Skarsgard? Creepy certainly, removing the cheese that Tim Curry may have played up to. He’s also Floki the boat builder and Eric the vampires brother. I also loved Hemlock Grove, sod the critics. He was unsettling, strange and disjointed.

The boy said he wanted it as a series. He enjoyed it but commented he wanted there to be a slower character development and story. He also snarled at what he viewed as key scenes from the original being missed out. So don’t expect a straight up remake. It is causing major debates in the house husband is pro-2017 IT and the boy is pro-1990.

I fell asleep towards the end but that was the result of me not being well or just getting old, not the movie. Maybe it was slightly too long, more build up and less climax may have worked better. However I will give it an 9/10. It is one of the better of the horror movies of 2017 (not that there was much competition). Why did I give a 9/10? I had a nightmare about it that night. Do you know how it is to unsettle me into nightmares or to scare me? Bloody hard that’s what!

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Book Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

My last review was of Shani Struther’s Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story. Kill Creek by Scott Thomas is another haunted house tale, yet very very different. While Eve is a cosy by the fire mystery, Kill Creek by Scott Thomas is a monster of a horror fest.

Four authors of types of horror are asked to spend Halloween night at a supposedly  haunted house as part of a social media/big brother type event. It’s when they go home the horror begins as the house insidiously gets into their heads.

I give this book a 5/5. The characters might be cliches in the terms of horror writers profiles. I mean I could certainly link them to real life horror writers. They were certainly well developed and I cared for them and their outcome. There may have been some lost routes along the way but when the author gets into the nitty gritty, it gets gory and ghostly. I don’t think you ever understand completely the origin of the horror in Kill Creek (and I may suspect it’s a premise that has been used before but I can’t quite put my finger on it). It is a good solid well written horror with everything I ask for: gore, ghosts and great characters. I found some of the descriptive writing really drew me in and although I found myself wondering how some of the characters managed to keep moving, it’s no more than any horror movie. In fact, this should be a horror movie. Please make it!

 

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Book Review: The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

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The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is a ghost story based in the Yorkshire moors in the 17th century. Mercy Booth is mistress of her home and the land around it, in all but name as her father is getting older. Scarcross Hall, which lies on the old coffin path, her home,  is said to be haunted. It’s said to be cursed. Mercy refuses to let the stories and her own experiences scare her from her home.  When a stranger comes calling, mysterious coins appear and blood is spilled, her world starts to be turned upside down.

This book has the feel of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and some of the writing evokes Karen Maitland in my mind. Wonderfully descriptive, I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a damn good ghost story and mystery. When I started to read it, I didn’t think I was in the mood for a historical novel. How wrong I was. I couldn’t put it down. I felt I was there on the moors, being watched by the unseen. The slow build of dread increases steadily. This is a proper ghost story. I loved it!

5/5

Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story by Shani Struthers.

I’ve not been posting because of the festive period, which has been extra busy as it’s my youngest sons birthday today. During the craziness I came across Eve : A Christmas Ghost Story by Shani Struthers. It sounded like a story I’d enjoy but I was wary as having tried the first of the Psychic Survey series I just couldn’t get into it.

Theo and Ness, two psychic investigators are called upon to help a haunted town. Thorpe Morton had in 1899 been the scene of a terrible tragedy, where 59 people died in the village hall while celebrating Christmas Eve. The towns people are haunted in different ways and there is an underlying evil twisting the women’s fears against them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this story, having struggled with the first in the Psychic Survey. This cosy little story may encourage me to try the series again. I felt it was more of a cosy ghost story, which was lovely at this time of year rather than a horror. It kept me guessing throughout the story-line and most of the characters were like-able. I sometimes felt throughout that I should already know something about the main characters, which as this is supposed to be a standalone novel was odd. This might have just been me and until I read more of Shani Struthers work I won’t know the answer to this. I thought there might be more substance to it and maybe it didn’t tell anything new or groundbreaking but sometimes that’s not what we want.

I give this a 4/5. I really enjoyed this well written tale. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the descriptive setting. It made me want to read more which is always a good thing. For 99 p on kindle I thought it was a bargain. If you a winter festive ghost story, this might be for you.

 

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Christmas Week

I thought I’d do an update as I haven’t posted for a little while. Christmas or Yule is nearly here. We celebrate both, one to celebrate family and Yule also celebrates our wedding anniversary (13 years this year!).

The reviewing has gone by the wayside as I have so much to do. I’m currently reading Kill Creek by Scott Thomas . It’s a monster of a haunted house novel and I’m enjoying it very much but I don’t want to review it until I reach the end to see if it keeps up with the standard set at the beginning. It’s taken me longer than anticipated to read. I wanted to get into the Christmas “spirit” so have also started Shani Struther’s, Eve – A Christmas Ghost Story. This was free on kindle unlimited to my delight. Now, I tried the first of Shani Struther’s Psychic Surveys before and I couldn’t get into it. This time round I have slipped straight into the story.

I’ve finished the final episode of Stranger Things 2 and how I loved it! I felt at the beginning it would never match the first but loving the new characters and the evolution of Eleven.

I may not get a chance to post much over Christmas as I have a family funeral and many things to do. So in case I don’t get a chance, Merry Christmas and a blessed Yule to you all xxxx

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Movie Review: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

We went back to the 80’s with Silent Night, Deadly Night. Billy and his family go on an annual see crazy grandpa trip at a mental institute one Christmas Eve. Grandpa seems catatonic but when the parents back is turned he gives Billy some seasonal advice. There is a dark side to Santa Claus. You might get a present if you’ve been good but he’ll punish you badly if you’ve been naughty. Uber cute little Billy is scared out of his stockings by this. On the way home his family stop to help a broken down Santa at the side of the road. Santa is actually a criminal, who had just held up a gas station. Billy runs and hides. As he watches, Santa kills his parents. Billy and his brother get sent to an orphanage run by sadistic nuns. Well, one sadistic nun, the others are OK. Mother Superior thinks she can punish Billy’s fears from him. Not a good plan. Flash to the present and Billy has been given a job as a warehouse assistant in a toy shop….at Christmas and when their Santa breaks his leg, of course it’s Billy who gets the job. It does not end well, as he starts to punish the naughty (cue boobs and teenagers).

I wasn’t sure the boy would enjoy an 80’s movie but he loved it. The cheese, the horror and the retro. We found it really enjoyable. It was a good laugh, a fun slasher with some good deaths and a great back story. Alright, the layer of cheese was thick but we’re still giving it a respectable 7/10. It doesn’t hold up with age as well as Nightmare on Elm Street but the fact it was banned added to its cult status. On a side note, the babysitter, Denise was played by a scream queen from the 80’s, Linnea Quigley. While looking her up, I found out she did a horror exercise workout. How awesome is that?! I may have to get it. MV5BMjRjNjI4ZmEtMDRmOC00MWZlLThiNzEtNDcyZGJhNzA5YzY3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQ2MjQyNDc@._V1_UY268_CR3,0,182,268_AL_

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Book Review: Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson

Christmas Days

I wanted a book of short stories that contained a Christmas ghost story or two and this book was just right. In fact, the majority of the stories had some kind of ghost or supernatural element. The stories are interspersed with recipes for the 12 days of Christmas, which sound delicious if I could be arsed to make them. It would make a lovely Christmas gift, in it’s blue and silver binding and with the recipes. I also liked the introduction as Jeanette Winterson has done her research of the origins of Christmas, going back to the Pagan days and deities that have made up the celebration we have today.

“The SnowMama” made me want to cry. It was a touching tale of giving love. There was a twisted version of the mistletoe bride. I loved “Dark Christmas”, it was a proper goosebumps kind of ghost story, as was “A Ghost Story” (obviously the clue is in the name), I could feel the cold seeping through the pages. “The Second Best Bed” was another creepy festive tale.

I didn’t know what I was getting when I ordered this book and prepared myself to find maybe one or two stories I enjoyed but I was happily surprised there were more stories that were my creepy cup of tea than I expected. Definitely a 5/5.

 

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Movie Review: All Through the House (2016)

 

Five year old Jamie Garrett was disappeared from her room. That was fifteen years ago and now horror strikes the town again. A masked Santa is brutally murdering women and castrating men. Rachel Kimmel has come home for Christmas and finds herself in the middle of the horror.

There’s a distinctly 80’s vibe about this movie. You know those terrible 80’s movies that were so bad  they were good? Kind of like that but less of the good. The acting is pretty terrible. The deaths became samey, but then they will if the killer only uses a pair of garden shears. There was lots of blood spurting from mouths. There were also lots of boobs. Jamie’s mum is very scary with her house full of mannequins. The boyfriend googling information and relaying it over the phone was very convenient, what happened to the data protection act. I miss the days when people would make the effort of going to the library and use the microfilms to read old newspapers. These kids don’t even make an effort. It’s a small town, surely everyone would have been talking about Jamie’s dad going to prison? These things don’t get forgotten. The police must need to go back to police school because apparently “He did it” is enough to send someone to jail and when Rachel’s mum disappeared, well nobody looked for her very hard. The boy says the acting is cardboard and the fight scene was just “ewww”. When he says ewww he means “meh”. It was obvious where one character was pausing for the other to make their move.

In my opinion this movie is a bag of peni and only a 3/10. If you like your cheese ball 80’s horror, there are a number of unintentional laughs and may be worth watching for that.

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Movie Review: A Christmas Horror Story

Oh what fun! A Christmas Horror Story is a horror anthology, combining 4 stories in one. To start with you have William Shatner on the radio. This sets you up for the kind of movie it is, humorous and a little tongue in cheek. The first story consists of teenagers investigating the murder of another teenager, a year ago in the basement of their school…then they find themselves locked in. The second story is of a couple and their child who go looking for a Christmas tree and decide to trespass on land to get one. The little boy goes missing. The third story is a family down on their luck and Krampus comes a-calling. The fourth story was probably our favourite, where Santa battles zombie elves.

While some of the stories lack originality,  I mean zombie elves! That’s a new one for me. Some of the gore is cheesy and special effects rubbery in places. However, it was such fun. My son was rooting for Santa against the elves. There were several WTF moments. It was Christmasy and gory and didn’t take itself too seriously. However, the actors were great for the most part so it didn’t fall into a farce, there was enough serious and horror moments to hold it up.

It was a great start to a Christmas horror marathon. Definitely give it a watch. 8/10. 

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