Review: Fungoid by William Meikle

32610842

Published by DarkFuse

5 stars

Synopsis:

Review: The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer

 

32061163

Published by Carina

5 stars

Synopsis:

The chilling new horror from bestselling author, Helen Phifer, is the perfect Halloween read.

1931, Mother Superior Agnes offers sanctuary to a desperate young woman fleeing for her life. Only to wake in the morning to discover a terrible fate has befallen one of the Sisters – in a room locked from the inside. Agnes can’t help but fear that she has allowed a great evil to enter the convent, but she has no idea how far reaching the consequences of that one fateful night will be…

Over 80 years later, Kate Parker, divorced, alcoholic, and broke, moves into the dilapidated old convent she dreams of turning into a bed and breakfast, whilst changing her life. Although the locals refuse to go near the place at night, Kate is determined to stay while the renovations take place. But when she starts to hear strange noises at night, and the crucifixes she had removed reappear on the walls, Kate starts to suspect she is not entirely alone in her new home.

A chilling and disturbing new novel from the bestselling author of The Ghost House.


goodreads

different-amazon-logo


**Thank you to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for an honest review**

You know when you pick up the perfect book to read at the perfect time? I don’t know if it’s because I’m a former convent school girl or not, but this book scared the living crap out of me.

I couldn’t bring myself to put this book down until I’d finished it, but that also meant that I was too creeped out to go to the bathroom while the house is empty – as we all know, houses are only haunted when you’re home alone, desperate to pee and freezing your arse off.

The book is set in the present day, with flashbacks and diary entries spanning the 80 year history of the haunted convent.
Kate has had an awful year, fraught with tragedy and personal disasters – so when she gets the chance to buy the house of her dreams to turn into a B&B and begin her future, she  feels like she has a clean slate.

Of course, things are never that simple. So when things start moving around by themselves and she hears strange noises at night while she’s alone in the house, she starts to think that she’s losing her mind.
That is, until she reads Sister Agnes’ diary that has been left in the house unread for decades – there’s something sinister in the house and it’s ready to cause some carnage.

Kate is a troubled character, which I think is what makes her so perfectly equipped to deal with the horrors going on in her new home. Her entire life has gone to hell in a handbasket in the past year and she’s still standing, her ability to survive trough sheer grit and determination is impressive while still being believable. Who’d be scared of hauntings when you have a bastard of an ex husband denying you custody of your children?

Phifer has a knack for atmosphere and suspense, I’ve never had real goosebumps before while reading a horror novel but this one did the trick. Though the story felt like it was following a familiar path, it did have a number of unexpected plot twists that kept me hanging on right until the bitter end.

 

 

 

Review: Funeral Games by Colin Heintze

29875864

Published by Curiosity Quills Press

3 stars

Synopsis:

Ingerval is the Country of the Dead. Despised by the wider world, blighted by history, since the beginning of time it has honored one law: the Dead rule, and the Living submit. No one remembers why Ingerval nobles return as ghosts after their deaths. To enjoy a brief life of pleasure and plenty, followed by an eternity of reigning from beyond the grave, is the fate of all Ingerval lords. All but one.

As the youngest son of the King’s third wife, Syphax never thought he would amount to anything. He is content to live out a contemplative life free from the scourges of power and politics that infatuate his peers. But, after answering a summons to the Palace – a sprawling, ever-expanding repository for Ingerval’s ghosts – he finds himself at the heart of a dynastic struggle centuries in the making.

Funerals are happy occasions in Ingerval, and the King is planning for his to be the most decadent in the country’s long memory. He does not know that, unlike every lord before him, he will not return to rule alongside his ancestors. He will die the true death, sparking a succession crisis that throws the noble families into chaos. Amidst the violence and intrigue, Syphax alone asks, “What really happened to the King?” The deeper Syphax digs, the more he realizes these events are connected to others dating back to the founding of his father’s dynasty.

Let the games begin.


goodreads

different-amazon-logo


** Thank you to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for an honest review**

Dammit. I was lured in again by the spell of a beautiful cover and didn’t stop to check whether or not it was a YA.

In Ingerval, people with noble blood choose when they die so that they can be sure to leave behind attractive ghosts. Commoners die a true death and don’t linger around afterwards, which is a bit of a sore point for society.

Syphax, youngest prince of Ingerval knows that he will never become king so he spends his time following more academic pursuits and generally doing very little, content in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter to anyone what he gets up to. However, during his stay at the Palace for a funeral, he finds himself walking into one mystery after another which eventually unveils a huge political scandal.

The character development in this book was pretty poor, truth be told – Syphax isn’t a particularly strong main character and the supporting characters aren’t really able to offer enough to make up for this. Syphax starts to redeem himself by sticking up for the neglected ghosts and making sure that their quality of ‘life’ is improved in the areas of the Palace that no-one visits, but at the same time he’s pushed around by all of his peers and mocked by his love interest and her friends.

Later in the story we meet an obnoxious poltergeist called Ives, who somehow manages to flip from being a really nasty piece of work to a misunderstood antihero as soon as it becomes necessary for the plot to proceed.

Despite the incomplete characters and an excess of adjectives, this story really was based on an amazing premise. Heintze is very talented at the art of world building, creating a creepy atmosphere in the Palace of the Dead and showing us a world where death doesn’t create all people equal.

I reckon fans of YA and people less obsessed with character development will really enjoy this book, so get ready to spend some time in a haunted castle!

Review: The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

30052003

Published by Jo Fletcher Books

3 stars

Synopsis: 

The bestselling author of Richard & Judy Book Club hit The Cold Season returns with a chilling mystery – where superstition and myth bleed into real life with tragic consequences

Pretty Lizzie Higgs is gone, burned to death on her own hearth – but was she really a changeling, as her husband insists? Albie Mirralls met his cousin only once, in 1851, within the grand glass arches of the Crystal Palace, but unable to countenance the rumours that surround her murder, he leaves his young wife in London and travels to Halfoak, a village steeped in superstition.

Albie begins to look into Lizzie’s death, but in this place where the old tales hold sway and the ‘Hidden People’ supposedly roam, answers are slippery and further tragedy is just a step away . . .


goodreads

Amazon


**Thank you to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for an honest review**

congrats

This is an excellently written and thoughtful book, written in an authentic 19th century English style it tells us the story of a young woman murdered by her husband, through the eyes of her cousin who goes to make her funeral arrangements.

Though the specific year isn’t noted (actually, it might have been but I missed it), the story is set in the 1800s during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Albie, our protagonist, rushes off to the Yorkshire as soon as he receives news of the death of his cousin. He has fond memories of her from their youth and in the absence of any other family, he takes it upon himself to make sure she is put to rest respectfully and to make sure that justice is served to the one responsible for her death.

Coming from London and a wealthy family, he underestimates the power of superstition that still rules the rural North and after spending time in the cottage of his deceased cousin, he starts to wonder if perhaps there is something to the old stories.

This book was really different to classify in terms of genre, Goodreads calls it ‘mystery’ and ‘historical fiction’ but I’m leaning towards ‘literary fiction’. I found my attention wandering while reading this book, and though I recognise that this book is going to be very well received for a number of reasons…. I didn’t really enjoy it all that much.

I might just be getting lazy and genre-bound, reading paranormal fiction and horrors like it’s going out of fashion but this book was hard work to read and I felt that not enough really happened to make it worth my while putting that much effort in. Ok, I’m definitely getting lazy but I think there’s a reason that language has evolves do much in the past 200 years  – it’s now possible to convey more in fewer words, and that’s something that I really appreciate about the modern world.

If you’re a big fan of classics in the style of Wuthering Heights (without the whirlwind romance), this book might be right up your street. I’m sure that most people will love this book so I would love to hear your thoughts if you do pick it up!