{Book Reviews} The Horror! The Horror! A little more Bloody Mary … and a visit to Hell House.

This week has been FULL of reading books! And I love it! Nothing says fall (or winter!) like curling up on the couch with a mug of tea and a good book! A little trickier now that I have a little guy to chase after, so I take advantage of naptime. Especially this week when I want to gobble up as many horror stories as I can!

hell houseFirst off, I downloaded an audiobook from Hoopla, a pretty awesome service from my local library. I was trying to find something good and spooky and Hell House by Richard Matheson seemed like just the ticket. I mean, ghosts? A haunted house? Just what I like!

In the end, this one was just okay for me. It was good, but I do tend to multitask a lot while listening to an audiobook, so listening to horror means that I don’t get creeped out that much. Though, when it comes to haunted houses, this one wasn’t bad! It definitely had its spooky moments.

The only thing I really didn’t get with this is why it had to do a LOT with sex. Is that an adult book thing? I say “adult” but mean just a grown up book, not that kind of an adult book. I find that when you get into the adult fiction in this kind of genre, it always has some kind of sexual aspect to it. I mean, I guess you could say it worked in this story, but I didn’t much care for it. I wanted different kinds of scares, personally.

I also really had to laugh towards the end — and you might want to not read this part if you don’t want to be spoiled — since it was set up so horribly, in my opinion, for something bad to happen. Matheson goes on and on about how things are good and life is good and all is well not and blah blah blah … I mean, if you’ve read any horror story, you just know that’s a set up for something bad to happen.

End spoiler.

So yeah, Stephen King might have had a few quotes about this being good, but it was just okay to me. Nothing over the top scary or anything. Maybe something was lost in translation with the audiobook? Maybe it’s better read on paper? Who knows. If you like haunted houses and demons and sex, well, this one’s for you. It definitely had its creepy moments and the characters weren’t too bad. It takes place in 1970 and I didn’t find that it was too old school or anything. I just think when it comes to haunted houses, there might be a better book for me out there.

say her nameNext up, I read ANOTHER Bloody Mary book. Remember, I just finished one earlier in the week? Well, I read some reviews saying Say Her Name by James Dawson was way better, so I picked it up at the library and decided to give it a go.

Like most horror novels I’m really looking forward to, I decided to start this one as I went to bed. The husband was watching a TV show, so it was just me in our room, with the little lamp on. As I mentioned in my review of Mary: The Summoning, I remember doing the whole Bloody Mary thing as a kid and I think the worst part of that is the anticipation. Within the first 50 pages, this book does a really good job of building up that anticipation. So much so that I got up to use the bathroom and had to turn on the light when I went in because I was just a little creeped out.

Not to mention the fact that I avoided looking in the mirrors when I was reading. Oh, and I should mention that I went back to bed afterwards and cuddled under the covers, was reading a particularly spooky bit, AND THE FREAKING POWER GOES OUT. Yup. This one was definitely much scarier than the last one.

Part of my wonders if it’s because this is a foreign book. It’s like watching foreign horror movies, they’re always so much scarier than American made movies. Maybe because the American ones are all about gore and shock, where as the foreign ones try to dig a little deeper psychologically? I felt like that’s what this book was doing. It didn’t have a chuckling Mary or anything super over the top, but it was one of those books that made you think there was something standing behind you just waiting to pounce. It made you think there was something in the mirror — just in the corner of your eye — that you know is there but you’re trying not to see.

I think my only complaint is that the story is outlined very much like the movie The Ring. You see Mary and then she sends you message to say that she’s going to get you in 5 days. There’s even the nosebleed part. BUT, even though it had major similarities to the movie, it was still pretty creepy. Maybe it’s because I find that movie super scary and can only watch it during the day (I know, I’m a wuss) but I felt like it only lent even more creepiness to the story, being so similar.

So if you’re looking for a good Bloody Mary book, definitely pick this one up! And be sure to not only start it, but to finish it in bed, at night, terrified in the dark. My body wanted to sleep facing towards the bathroom when I finished, but I’ll admit that I cuddled just a little bit closer to my husband the night I finished. It really freaked me out!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? 

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{Book & A Cuppa #2} Wednesday’s Book & Tea

It’s Wednesday! Another day to share with you what I’m reading and what’s in my teacup! 

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It’s gloomy and snowy here today … the perfect weather to snuggle up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a blanket. AND since it’s Halloween, you’ll see that I have another spooooky book on the go!

Super delicious, and one that took me by surprise, today’s tea is Coco-Sweet Sencha:

Coco Sweet SenchaWhy did this book take me by surprise, you ask? Well, it’s because I never was a big fan of green tea until I tried Steeped Tea’s green teas. Before that I was always oversteeping my tea bags and I always found green tea to be (for lack of a better word) gross. And super bitter.

Sencha is typically one of those teas we tea people recommend to tea drinkers who like a traditional green tea – nothing fancy. Sencha is something that my dad would probably like, since he’s very much a traditional green tea guy. Me? I like someting with a little bit more of … something. So when I got this tea, I was very skeptical. So much so that I didn’t even try it. I made samples out of it instead, just assuming that I wouldn’t like it!

The other day I decided to give it a go since I was looking for a green tea to drink, I’d drank all my other ones plenty of times and I just needed something different. This one said it had coconut in it, so I thought, “I love coconut! Let’s do this!”

BOY WAS I SURPRISED!

This tea is a perfect blend of green tea and sweetness. The smell is INCREDIBLE. The taste even more so. I could seriously drink this stuff all day long — and I have! Since green teas can be steeped three times! Now I’m just sad that I used most of my bag for samples — I’ll be ordering a HUGE bag of this one for sure next time I order!

Now, onto today’s book!

This past week I’ve been gobbling down scary book after “scary” book (the second one in quotations since some of the books are supposed to be scary, but just aren’t), and just started one today that looks super scary — and I’m just going by the cover for now!

the dark betweenHere’s the synopsis:

A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

Isn’t the cover just super creepy? I love that this story revolves around ghosts and seances … it seems perfect for this time of year! I can’t really say much else about it, since I’m only a chapter in, but I sure hope the pages inside the book jacket live up to that cover!

Have you read The Dark Between? What’s in your tea cup this morning? Want to participate in Book & A Cuppa? Share what’s in your teacup and what you’re reading by linking below! 

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{Book Reviews} Yes! Finally some decent horror!

So my last two “horror” books were flops, but I was happily surprised by the next few I tried! Sure, neither of them were sleep-with-the-lights-on scary, but they definitely both had that creep factor.

through the woodsThe first one I want to highlight is Through the Woods by Canadian author Emily Carroll. This is a graphic novel that is guaranteed to spook your socks off. At first glance when you open it up, it looks like it could be for kids, but it DEFINITELY isn’t. I don’t know what it is about graphic novels, but I always just assume that they’re for kids. This one has some adult themes and is almost Gaiman-esque in its execution.

The illustrations are bold and gorgeous. I love that Carroll uses lots of bright colours (albeit in the darker variety of colours, like reds, blues, etc.) and everything in the book is so vivid to look at. There’s a beautiful flow to the whole book, an almost old-school, gothic quality.

AND this is a collection of short stories told in graphic novel format. All are very, very spooky. My favourite story in the book is about a woman who marries a man and starts hearing voices in the house, coming from the walls. Slightly gory, this one will get the hairs on your arms to raise … it’s not for the faint of heart!

Beautifully haunting, this is a book that will stick with you and maybe creep into your dreams at night. Worth not just one read, but many more after! I’m lucky my library had it — and that they found it! Apparently it wasn’t where it was supposed to be on the shelf. I would’ve hated to miss out on this gem!

the madman's daughterThe next book was a gift to me from Teresa (@NeedNewSpace). I had commented that I really wanted to read The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd and she sent me an extra copy she had! Yay! Of course, then it sat for about a year on my shelf and I finally, finally got to it this week! Why did I wait so long?

The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, a book I have not read, but one that I’m very much interested in now. This book was just plain creepy and weird! It’s a beautifully gothic tale about a girl who had fallen from society after her father was caught doing something illegal — vivisection, or operating on animals without anaesthetic. Super creepy, if you ask me. Anyway, she feels like her father is still alive and her suspicions come true when she finds an old childhood friend who had been a servant of her father. She’s taken to a mysterious island where nothing is as it seems.

Everything about this book was gorgeous! It even has a bit of a love triangle which I wasn’t totally against (and you all know how I hate love triangles). The islanders were creepy, Juliet’s father was downright strange, and even her love interests had their interesting quirks to them. The entire story was just a bit disturbing (and at times a little gory!). This book is even part of a series, which again I’m totally okay with because that means I get to experience more of Megan Shepherd’s gorgeous writing! Not to mention the ending that I started to suspect would happen (about a few pages before it did) … I need more!

I love a good gothic novel, so reading this one after reading Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor was just what I needed. It really made me want more of the genre. I find that there are YA books that very much seem like YA but I find that once you get into the gothic novels there are ones that stand out and seem older than they are, in a good way. This is definitely one of them and I look forward to getting the next book in the series!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? 

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