Month: December 2015

Hellscapes, Volume II by Stephen Zimmer

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My Review:

What’s great about Hellscapes Vol 2 and the Hellscapes series is that each chapter feels like a different style of hell, and what I mean by that is that each scape is so different from each other and that’s what makes it great. All the stories in this book were great I especially enjoyed “Above as Below” and “Spots Don’t Not Change.” What I thought was great was that each person we follow start not remembering anything and as we go into Hell they remember what caused them to go to Hell in the first place. The one thing that I missed from the first volume was that it was that none of the stories connected like in Vol 1 but it was still really enjoyable and well written. I look forward to the next volume of Hellscapes.

5 out of 5 stars

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A Cure for Madness by Jodi McIsaac

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Description from Publisher:

“Clare Campbell has worked hard to create distance between herself and her troubled family. But when she receives news of her parents’ murder, she’s forced to return to the quiet town of Clarkeston, Maine, to arrange their funeral and take legal guardianship of her unpredictable and mentally ill brother, Wes.

While Clare struggles to come to grips with the death of her parents, a terrifying pathogen outbreak overtakes the town. She is all too familiar with the resulting symptoms, which resemble those of her brother’s schizophrenia: hallucinations, paranoia, and bizarre, even violent, behavior. Before long, the government steps in—and one agent takes a special interest in Wes. Clare must make a horrifying decision: save her brother or save the world.”

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this book, it was interesting and had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the relationship between Clare and Wes, they cared about each other. The disease in the book Gasperau is terrifying. One of the most terrifying thoughts that came out of reading this book is whether or not letting your family member go through a operation that could cure the world but they would be impaired for the rest of their life. The book comes out on January 19th 2016.

4 out of 5 stars

Starstruck by Lesley Davis

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Description from the Publisher:

“Actress Cassidy “C.J.” Hayes is famous for her role in The Alchemidens, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable, but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her, but can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?”

My Review:

I really enjoyed this story, it was well-written and full of suspense. The characters Cassidy and Aiden felt like real people in a scary situation and I enjoyed reading about their relationship. The character Adam was the perfect villain for the story, he was creepy and self-centered. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. The book comes out January 18th 2016.

5 out of 5 stars

Sisi Empress on Her Own: A Novel by Allison Pataki

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Description from Publisher:

For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner.
 
Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but also with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Sisi grows restless, feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the striking Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows.

Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against the conflicting desires to fight to keep her family together or flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself?

Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria’s “Mad King Ludwig” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe’s grandest sites—from Germany’s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England’s lush shires—Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided. Allison Pataki renders her novel in captivating prose and rich period detail, delivering an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner.  ”

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book, it was fascinating to read about a historical figure I had never heard about before. The book itself is really well written and once I started I couldn’t put it down. The author had a way of making the characters relatable to modern day. Overall I really enjoy this book and recommend it. This book comes out on March 8th 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Southern Haunts: Magick Beneath the Moonlight by Alexander S. Brown

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My Review:

Magick Beneath the Moonlight is the third in an anthology called Southern Haunts:
Granny Wise was a very well written story, I liked the Granny Wise character and was interested to learn more about the legend of Granny Wise. I liked that the couple that sought Granny’s help were different in the beginning vs the end. I thought the husband was going to be a full on evil man but Granny was able to find good in him.
Live Big is a great story that works as a psychological thriller or a supernatural story. The one complaint that I had about this story is that it didn’t feel like a witch story as much as a possessed doll or mad gone insane story.
The Priestess’ Trunk was not what I expected, in a very good way. The story is about a boy named Jamie who just got a new stepmom and a new house, during the time where he looks around the house he finds a locked door that he becomes obsessed with and inside is a trunk. I found this story to be well-written and was very impressed with it.
The Witch of Honey, Kudzu, and Coyotes I liked that there were stories that connected to each other. The characters were well written and I loved that the witch in it toyed with the narrator. I also liked the use of coyotes as companions for witches, it was a bold choice that seemed to fit.
The Untold Tale of Wiccademous, I really liked this one, from the legend of Isabel and her friend Odine to the twist at the very end of the story. The main narrator seemed to follow the scary movie trope that when someone tells you not to go into the woods the first thing you do is to go into the woods.
Vengeance is about a woman who has been able to speak to ghosts all her life, and she’s telling the story of the witch. Both characters were awesome and I hope there’s a sequel for this one.
The Jar, I found this one fun and would make a great horror film, it’s about a boyfriend and girlfriend going on a date and ghost-hunting until things turn weird. Overall I found it a fun read and would like to read a sequel for this one as well.
La Voyante, I really liked this story what I liked about it was the main character Cass was a person that I could relate to in the beginning. I wondered what she was going to write for the end of her story and when it ended it did not disappoint.
Cursed was a wonderful period piece with a bunch of twists and gory deaths, I enjoyed this one very much.
Secrets of the Heart, was fun as it starts with a tense situation and ends with a bang. I liked the character Colleen and felt bad for her when her husband abandoned her. None of the other character were good people and I think that was what the author was going for and it worked well.
Tell Me Where He Lies, I did not feel bad for Max at all and was glad when he got what he deserved.
The Shadows, that was a really sad story, no one in this story had a happy ending, I loved the cursed plantation that carried on to an asylum. It was really well-written that I felt bad for all the characters in the story.
Docta Bones, it was an ok story it wasn’t my favorite as I felt it was a little hard to read but it was good.
I liked In the Dark, it felt different from the other stories and I liked that it was about a witch and her apprentice in multiple parts.
The Apartment House, what was great about this one was that there was a story sectioned into apartments and the killings are based on the person’s interest. I found Apartment 2 the most disturbing as we watch the lady commit suicide without wanting to. I also liked that the killer got his in the end.
Without Xango There Is No Oxalla, what was great about this story was that it was about Spanish witches seeking revenge and I liked that it was different from the other stories in the series but fit anyway.
The Bone Picker Witch, this story was wonderful it was filled with Native American lore and had the evilest character I read in this series. I felt so bad for Fala and her child and glad she got revenge on Mitchell.
Dances With Witches I liked the story, it followed the theme of this series with revenge. Jethro is a killer that tangled with the wrong woman, and paid the price for it. Overall I enjoyed reading this story and look forward to more from the author.

Overall I really enjoyed the collection of stories and loved the first two and found this to be a worthy book in the series. I would have liked more stories on different witchcraft besides voodoo but I still enjoyed the whole a lot.

5 out of 5 stars

The Haunting by Alex Bell

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Description from the Publisher:

“Some curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…
A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.  ”

My Review:

I loved this book, and during reading I thought it would make a great movie. I thought the characters were well-written and loved the character Emma, I enjoyed her relationship between her and her dog Bailey, though her relationships with Jem and Shell were great too. The atmosphere was spooky and unsettling. I hope that there is a sequel as I would buy it. This book comes out on February 11th 2016.

5 out of 5 stars

Poisonous Muse by Sara L. Crosby

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Description from Publisher

“The nineteenth century was, we have been told, the “century of the poisoner,” when Britain and the United States trembled under an onslaught of unruly women who poisoned husbands with gleeful abandon. That story, however, is only half true. While British authorities did indeed round up and execute a number of impoverished women with minimal evidence and fomented media hysteria, American juries refused to convict suspected women and newspapers laughed at men who feared them.

This difference in outcome doesn’t mean that poisonous women didn’t preoccupy Americans. In the decades following Andrew Jackson’s first presidential bid, Americans buzzed over women who used poison to kill men. They produced and devoured reams of ephemeral newsprint, cheap trial transcripts, and sensational “true” pamphlets, as well as novels, plays, and poems. Female poisoners served as crucial elements in the literary manifestos of writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe to George Lippard and the cheap pamphleteer E. E. Barclay, but these characters were given a strangely positive spin, appearing as innocent victims, avenging heroes, or engaging humbugs.

The reason for this poison predilection lies in the political logic of metaphor. Nineteenth-century Britain strove to rein in democratic and populist movements by labeling popular print “poison” and its providers “poisoners,” drawing on centuries of established metaphor that negatively associated poison, women, and popular speech or writing. Jacksonian America, by contrast, was ideologically committed to the popular—although what and who counted as such was up for serious debate. The literary gadfly John Neal called on his fellow Jacksonian writers to defy British critical standards, saying, “Let us have poison.” <i>Poisonous Muse </i>investigates how they answered, how they deployed the figure of the female poisoner to theorize popular authorship, to validate or undermine it, and to fight over its limits, particularly its political, gendered, and racial boundaries.

<i>Poisonous Muse </i>tracks the progress of this debate from approximately 1820 to 1845. Uncovering forgotten writers and restoring forgotten context to well-remembered authors, it seeks to understand Jacksonian print culture from the inside out, through its own poisonous language. ”

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a fascinating read. The topic was interesting and included pictures and lines from the books that included the poisonous muses. What was great was that each section was about a different type of poisoner and felt like they all fit in the book. Overall I thought the book was great and look forward to more from the author in the future. This book is out to the public April 15th 2016.

5 out of 5 stars

The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy

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Description from Publisher:

“In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.

Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…

Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer. ”

My Review:

This novel based on Lizzie Borden's life was beautifully written 
and well done, the pain that Lizzie felt was clear and I did feel 
bad for her in the end. It seemed like Lizzie in the novel 
just wanted to be loved and in the end she was abandoned, and that 
was sad. I couldn't put the book down and really enjoyed it. This book 
comes out January 26th 2016

5 out of 5 stars