Slade House

Title: Slade House

Author: David Mitchell

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal

Length: 233 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

In an alley, there is a tiny iron door that only shows itself on certain times and is only visible to certain people.
If you happen to be one of them, be careful. Slade House has two inhabitants who will want you to stay forever.

Review:

Ok this review is going to be different because I simply have to gush over this amazing cover:

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Not only is it absolutely gorgeous but it also conveys the feeling of the book splendidly.

And inside… Inside you are able to glimpse something that is one of the many secrets of the book in a chilling design:

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Also gorgeous!

Alright, enough gushing, on to the proper review.

Slade House is a difficult one to review. There are some books where you just can’t say much without spoiling the experience because the unveiling of the mysteries at the pace that the author presents them is what gives it such power, and this is one of them.

What I can tell you however is that it is a deliciously magical novel. For me, it was absolutely riveting, fast-paced and most of the time I was completely enthralled by the narrative. And every time I thought I knew what was happening, doh! Nope, the author got me.

I had heard good things about David Mitchell and this was my first experience with him. I can definitely say I would love to read more by him.

There were a couple of things I did not understand and if you have read the book I would love for you to let me know:

If it is said that Gordon did not call the handyman then that means he never left the orison that first time, right? Not like anyone else did. So how did he write the report describing the little door then?

It is said that one of the twins creates the orison and we don’t see much of that one during the interaction with their guest. I got the feeling that that twin does all the work keeping it up and whatnot. However, in some cases both Norah and Jonah appear, especially in the first one with Nathan. So how exactly does it work?

I was confused as to why they had to wait 9 more years after Freya. Does the door only open on that specific day at the end of October?

Norah kept arguing with her brother but I never got what alternative she was proposing. If they left, their bodies would age and rot, so what could they do?

Also, I was not a fan of the open ending and it makes me wonder if there will be a sequel, though it doesn’t look that way.

Other than that, this was an amazing read, highly recommended if you are looking for a magical tale with a chilling touch.
A solid 9 out of 10.

Read from Mar 3rd to Mar 4th, 2017

GR Review

The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother

Rating: 4.5/5

From IMDB:
A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life.

Review:

Boy, am I glad I watched this in daytime.

To say The Eyes of My Mother was chilling is a gross understatement. To think that a child could evolve into something that morbid is absolutely terrifying and even though this is fiction it definitely had me wondering about all sorts of things.

The fact that the film is entirely shown in black and white added to the isolated and grisly atmosphere. The sounds, especially the wind, had much the same effect. And the way the scenes were filmed, following Francisca around, emphasised her gracefulness in all movements, regardless of whether affection or horror inducing.

Being Portuguese, it bothered me that the mother and child characters did not speak the language well, especially when the grown Francisca was obviously native. However, they were both amazing and I only wish I could have seen more interaction between them.

From then on, most of what happens is very disturbing but also very subtle, requiring you to use your imagination to fill in the gaps. I had not even grasped that Francisca’s mother had died until a couple of scenes later. However, there is also plenty of gore, even if muted thanks to the B&W, and the result of this delicate balance is a gruesome film that I am so glad I managed to watch, as it is truly special. There is such a psychological depth to this movie, and a perfect balance between macabre and normalcy that I never knew was possible in a horror film.

Even if not perfect plotwise, The Eyes of My Mother will surely stay with me for a long time. It is one of the few I can safely say I would like to watch again.

Now let’s just hope I won’t have any nightmares tonight.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Genres: Horror | Magical Realism

Length: 165 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After meeting Lord Henry Wooton, young Dorian Gray engages in a self-destructive lifestyle.
If only his picture, an unparalleled work of art, could take the consequences instead of his youthful body…

Review:

The Picture of Dorian Gray is quite a work of art. From that first chapter I was enraptured, and I found the way our main character and his picture were introduced quite ingenious.
The main characters were quite entrancing, particularly Sir Henry Wooton.

However, at times I found it too philosophic, particularly after halfway or so. Sir Henry’s lines that I had previously enjoyed became overbearing, and the long flowery descriptions about perfumes, jewels, music and christian artefacts caused my attention to wander, making the book’s meagre 165 pages stretch on and on.

Also, I found characters repeatedly telling Sir Henry that he did not really believe what he was saying annoying after a point, and I found myself thinking that there was much talk of sins being committed but not much was shown in that sense. Though I appreciate the level of subtlety throughout the story, I believe further descriptions along those lines would have helped me form a better image of the de-evolution of Dorian Gray.

There is so much more to The Picture of Dorian Gray than a magical painting. Even though the ending was predictable I still think it is worth reading and contemplating. And it is quite amazing how contemporary this theme is, in a society which obsesses over youth and beauty more and more.

Read from Feb 22nd to Feb 26th, 2016

GR Review

Wicked Prayers

Title: Wicked Prayers

Author: S.D. Moore

Genres: Horror | Paranormal

Length: 246 pages | 3753 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.5/5

 

Premise:

It all started with a priest not being able to let go of his wife and now dark forces are awakening in Autumntown.
Can the evil be stopped?

Review:

I usually read while eating. Couldn’t do that with this one.
Man, there were some disgusting bits.

Wicked Prayers started really well for me. That prologue immediately grasped my attention.
But shortly after it all went downhill.

I just could not appreciate the characters. The dialogues felt like right out of the crappiest B-movie and the plot was so messily constructed that I could not enjoy the book.

When I was coming to roughly halfway through the book it started to majorly drag out for me. There were pages and pages of useless dialogue and I often innerly yelled Come on, get to the juicy part already and cut it out with the crappy attempts at humour!

The more I read the more it felt like a parody of a horror book instead of a proper one, with soldiers throwing lines like No hot girls are getting eaten on my watch! or Yeah the frickin Beast is a beeeast!

There wasn’t even a proper evolution. One minute the characters did not believe in anything supernatural and then next they are (especially our main character Del) experts on how to kill the ‘monsters’ and how to make the Beast weaker.

I had to keep fighting the urge to skim through the text and trudged through most of the book. More and more characters kept being introduced (or rather dumped into the story) and I just could not keep track, nor felt any will to catch up by that point.

The ARC needs major editing. Lack of punctuation, missing words and misspells (even with main characters names) were just a couple of issues I constantly found.

Wicked Prayers is one of those reads that has so much potential but when you don’t have believable characters it is just ruined, at least for me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Feb 7th to Feb 11th, 2017
GR Review

Doll House

Title: Doll House

Author: John Hunt

Genres: Horror | Thriller

Length: 204 pages | 2972 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Olivia is excited to move to uni and live on her own but on her first night she gets abducted by two man in creepy masks.
She wakes up in a pink cell with bolted pink furniture. Olivia is now their doll.
What she endures is not for the faint of heart.
Can she ever escape? And if so, will she ever be able to lead a normal life?

Review:

Doll House is definitely not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of explicit violence.

When I read the blurb for this book I thought that this could be an episode right out of my favourite show, Criminal Minds. A pink cell, two sickos wanting to make this girl their doll – I wondered what made them tick.

The more I read the more disappointed I would get. The characters felt flat, and not only do we not get to know how these guys came to think the way they did but we also do not even find out how they met and teamed up.
And it is indeed creepy to read a man gets an erection every time he thinks of maiming a girl but after a while it is just not enough.

There were other ways in which the psychological aspect majorly lacked. I could never even relate to any of the characters. Harry did not sound like the middle-aged adult he is supposed to be and Olivia just sounded fake, like the author worked too hard to make her sound like a heroine.
Even the constant swear words, which I usually don’t notice because they blend in with the stories when properly used, stood out like a neon sign because they did not add anything.

The writing drove me insane since I kept reading the same things over and over again. Because of that, the book actually dragged on for me.
It also sounded very immature, especially when the voice turned to Harry, or the police detectives, who I just could not take seriously.
Even the attempts at humour were too silly to be funny. Example:

Sargent: So? You’re sure he’s not our guy?
Detective: I’ll be sure when we get DNA. But I’d have to say, at this point, his story checks out. We’ve proven that much of it.
S: Poop.
D: Yes. Poop.
S: Call if you need anything.

The lack of punctuation was an issue as well. The writing just felt clumsy.

Example:

After Davis left Olivia closed the door and locked it behind him. She felt exhausted and leaned her heard against the door, her head swimming with information.

Still, Doll House has its qualities. This is not a book just about twisted men abducting and exerting extreme violence over young women. It’s about what happens if the unthinkable becomes real and the captive breaks free. Would you be able to lead a normal life? Especially if the person who caused you so much pain was still out there? Would you ever feel safe?

It does explore these questions so not all is bad and I am sure several people will enjoy it very much. Unfortunately I did not find it memorable at all and could not help finishing the experience feeling disappointed, especially since even the last line seemed corny.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Feb 3rd to Feb 6th, 2017

GR Review

Split

Split

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

Review:

Out of all eleven movies I really want to watch this is probably the one I was looking forward to the most. The trailer was just so exciting! The pace seemed amazing.
However, it didn’t quite deliver for me.

There were lots of good things. First of all, I believe it is safe to say this is the role of James McAvoy’s lifetime. Even though we only get to see 8 of the 23 (or is it 24?) multiple personalities, what we are presented with is utterly brilliant.

There was depth to the movie. We are told bits of Casey’s past that serve to give important background to the character, even though they are never too obvious.

The tension is palpable in several scenes and you’re constantly on tiptoe, never knowing what comes next.

As in all horror movies there are scenes where you just can’t help wonder what the hell the character is doing. Why didn’t Casey open the car door when she obviously had plenty of time but most of all why Doctor Fletcher didn’t leave the premises when it was obvious Dennis was going to let her, and get proper help for the girls she knew were in danger.

It’s a pet peeve of mine when the trailer features scenes that don’t appear in the movie. In this case, it was Casey saying that the flowers meant they were special.

The film wasn’t very well balanced, in my opinion. The pace that seemed so well accomplished in the trailer just wasn’t. It was quite slow in the beginning and also there were scenes where Dr Fletcher spoke for what felt like forever.

Split was an exciting film but there was much too hype around it. It’s exciting but not mindblowing.

Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Title: Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 565 pages | 7940 locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

Book 3 of the Lake of Sins takes place four years after the events of the previous one. While High Hugh Truent was in prison for claiming that all classes were genetically similar, the world outside changed radically. A war is looming… and the allied classes need Hugh.

Review:

When I first looked up the book details I thought whoa, 565 pages, that is going to take me a while. But it went by so fast! I never imagined I would finish in just three days.

I cannot say this enough, L.S. O’Dea is such a talented writer. The pace is relentless but that does not mean that the world and character development is not satisfying, on the contrary. There is a lot going on but it is quite easy to follow and it only made me want to know what happened next.

It’s a YA book, not my favourite genre, so there will always be things I don’t particularly like as the characters end up sounding too dramatic for my taste. Trinity ticked me off a few times but I enjoy to see her keep growing.

There were quite a few repetitions – a lot of disgusted looks, for instance, and the way Hugh kept correcting mother to Sarah and father to General Truent when he found out the truth just felt forced and overdone, just like the excessive compliments on both Trinity and Hugh. I feel that their actions say enough, we don’t need to be told several that Trinity is brave and honest, even through the voice of another character, or that Hugh really doesn’t want more deaths on his conscience.

All in all I had a really good time reading this. Some parts made me laugh out loud, which earned me quite a few puzzled looks on the bus ride home, while others had me biting my nails. Some scenes were just so tense that I figuratively stood on my toes.

I can honestly say this is amongst the best YA reads I have stumbled upon and encourage you to pick up these books. This series has all the ingredients to become an epic.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 25th to Jan 28th, 2017
GR Review