Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Book Review: The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill

Yeah, I don't know why I keep reading Susan Hill either.


From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black. 

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building. 

In 'The Front Room', a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead. 

A lonely boy finds a friend in 'Boy Number 21', but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.


So I have a hate-hate relationships with Hill, I find her horror to be boring and pretenious, with a lack of sympathic characters. I have reviewed two of her works (read 4 I think): The Small Hand and The Woman in Black. This book contains four short stories, which feel Hill's abandoned works. Some of them don't feel like they have proper endings. Unlike my usual way of reviewing short stories, I'm reviewing them indivdiually from memory instead of writing mini-reviews as I read them.

The Travelling Bag: So this is the Victorianish set and we learn the story of someone getting revenge and then random fear of moths for no reason. This has a weird Narractive vice as someone telling their fellow club memember the worst, spookest case they ever worked. How he knows the information he does is never explained and doesn't feel like him actaully tellling the story. This feels like a series idea and I thought all the stories were going to be told as if they were cases this guy had, had, but no it was just one off. It adds nothing, but set up for disappointment. If we had just been the actual story instead of the weird narractive vice, I would have enjoyed it better. 2/5 stars for sweeping bodies.

Boy Number 21: This is the worst story. So very little happens in it and I was expecting something big with the set up. Big problem is a bigging up to nothing. Not a field trip and a possible pyschotic break. 1/5 stars for sqused Sandwiches.

Alice Baker:  This is probably the best. It doesn't have a weird narractor and a concise ending that makes sense. It also from a female character's POV and it wasn't Hill's typical, terrible ghost motivation. This one takes place in an old office building where a new staff memember cause a stink. I Not sure why it's was the one left out of the burb. 4/5 stars for Office Politics.

The Front Room: It's Hill's favourite thing. A spiteful person for the sake of being spiteful. Then she a spiteful ghost. A family does a nice thing by taking in an old lady, the father's step-mother. Most of it is set up and then dur-dur-DUR. 1/5 stars for only a shower.

Overall, I give this book 1/5 stars for mediocre nonsense. This book is just bad. There's one story that's worth a read but the others' are Hill's typical mess of a work, except some of these feel like Hill just gave up and declare them short stories instead.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Book Review: Fleshmarket by Nicola Morgan

Fleshmarket does not contain cannablism. Only Jokes about Cannabism,

"Footsteps echoed through the towering corridors as the woman walked...followed by her silent family. No One could touch her. She touched none of them. She was different. Robbie, young as he was, felt it...had felt her pain as if it was his. It had burned him and left its mark. The mark was the empty space where his real mother had been. The place where she had left him.'

It is Edinburgh, 1828 and Robbie is haunted by the horror of his mother's death at the hands of the famous surgeon, Dr Robert Knox. The Operation was intended to save her life. Instead it brought her intolerable pain before it killed her. Now her family is torned apart, and living in appalling poverty. A desperate Robbie is intend on Revenge on Knox. But how far is he prepared to go - and what will he lose in the process?


This is a book I wanted to read since 5th Nov 2007 when I heard about, brought it 7 years later and read it almost 10 years later. It sounded cooler, I tried to buy when I heard about it, but I don't think I had enough money on me. The lady selling the books also seem confused that I would want that one also.

So this book is about Robbie who blames his family's poverty on real historian person Dr Robert Knox. The book goes during the birth of Modern Medicine, as in they didn't know about bacteria and inflections yet. Nor much about the Human body as no one was willing to have their body cut for science as religion says that you need your body to rot for God for some reason.

This book does have lot questioning of God, because of the time period and the list of bad things that have happened to our main character. It's a few pages of the book, and think is reflective of the time the book is set. The bodies rotting for god does come into play of the plot. If you recognize Doctor Know, then you probably guess how it relates. I didn't and strangely I never guess what a book called Fleshmarket set in 19th century would involved such a famous Edinburgh thing so I will leave you to discover it or already know.

I think a big problem is that Robbie is a bit desperate to blame Knox for his problems that it comes across as dumb. Yes, he 14 and hormonal, but there's several "error of my ways" moments that happen in this book. He also abandons his 8 yr old sister several times, making him unlikable.

Overall, I give this book 3.5/5 stars for bread barrow. I prefer Nicola Morgan's The Highwayman's Footsteps series better than this book. It was okay, I don't know if Young me would have liked it better. If more a fan of historian fiction involving real people then this might be the book for you.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Book Review: Sleepless by Lou Morgan

Don't take pills you brought off the internet...that ain't googable victims.

The real nightmare begins when you’re awake…
 
Young, rich and good-looking, Izzy and her friends lead seemingly perfect lives. But exams are looming – and at a school like Clerkenwell, failure is not an option. Luckily, Tigs has a solution. A small pill that will make revision a breeze and help them get the results they need. Desperate to succeed, the friends begin taking the study drug.

In terms of don't mess with drugs messages that have appeared in Red Eye books this is the better one. So this was one of the first Red Eye books that were published and I have owned a physical copy since then. It's one of the better ones, so it shame I left it for so long. I have read all the Red Eye books now but Fir by Sharon Jones (working on it).

The Red Eye books are quite happy to have terrible ending which is one of the reasons I appreciated it. The characters stop sleeping and therefore go insane. There are some background stuff hinted at and I feel like we don't get a straight answer about. It doesn't matter.

The Horror starts after Lizzy and her pals take terrible smelling pills (the first major red flag) and after the horror of exams, the shadowy images start appearing from the group and they turn against each other.

The book is in first person, in Lizzy pov, which works well, especially when they start betaying each other. 

Overall, I give it 4/5 stars for .I think I rank it under Frozen Charlotte but higher than the other four stars books in the series ( Flesh & Bones, The Haunting and Charlotte Says). Actually, I don't know. The Red Eye Series started badly for me, but overall the series on avange the series sits at 3.6. Yeah, one star can really tank an avenge when you do the maths. It could be rounded to 4 stars which is what the series actually sits at for me.

I technically got this book for Review off of NetGalley from the Publisher Stripes. But I was gonna do this anyway and this is my own mission now.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Book Review: Monsters by Emerald Fennell

In my tourist trap of a town, the body showed up at the lake.


This is a murder mystery from the pov of someone who likely behind a murder mystery when they grow up.

I found the writing style in the opening to be off-putting as it read "special needs" (fake) that a certain book I hate wrote in completely. The style gets better as it goes on, I don't know if changes or I got used to it. The book is completely from the point of view of the girl, with her dead parents and neglectful at best aunt and uncle.

This deals with a lot of things common to Serial Killers, I didn't enjoy of how much of a follower the girl was, as I don't buy that narractive that female serial killers need a male counter-part to wake the killer. It seems more sexist than fact, a way to get less time when you're caught and is why female serial killers are likely to get a way with it as we speak.

The resolution was okay, it was set up fine, There was a part I just didn't buy. The journay was better than the end.

Overall, I give this 4/5 stars for obvious deads. This was an interesting book that plays with clichés and does a decent job of it. If you have a fascination with death and serial killers, then this is worth your time.

I got this book for review off Netgalley and published by Hot Key Books on 3rd September 2015. (I got it from the library recently so I'm finally getting to it.)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Book Review: Daughter of Burning City by Amanda Foody

Especially, if their don't have physical eyes.


This book was rather disappointing. The concept is cool, but the execution is poor and weird. Information is repeated at nausea and is even on the same page sometimes.


I personally found the world building to be problematic. Up-mountains are religious and unenlightened. Here I am Up-mountainer, that sure sounds like propaganda about Northern people in Europe. It hard to win these things as I don't think the author is likely to have realise this. This probably could have been solved by being more creative and more fantasy based than Up-Mountainers a.k.a. you mean the North and the main character is from the East so Asian or the middle East. It's backed with how the characters are described as look as well. Others might not read into this. On the fantasy front, it's always the ones that live in the mountains that savages and uneducated, so it just stereotype carried from others' works. Other parts of the world building were interesting such the idea of the traveling city and aspect of the magic.
This book is a murder mystery, with conspiracy, the ending of this book is dumb, but also really sad and depressing. (also, Spoiler: incesty). The main character generally comes across as being sad. She has no friends her own age and spends most her time with people she made up and therefore, how much control does she actually have over them.

It's told from Sorina Point of View, she an okay protagonist. The characters are fine. I don’t care much about characters that died or were threatened.

There's some diversity with different Sexuality with lesbian and a character hinted at as Demi-sexual. A first, but you can also read into badly if wanted due to how this book ends. The Traveling city is also meant to be diverse with different people, but mostly Down-mountainers. A lot of characters have deformities, some magical and some if not for magic would be a disability. The main character has No Eyes, but can still see. I guess it fine and does talk about how Sorina is treated.


Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Lamest Show in the City. This book was either going to be amazing or disappointment with the cool concept it had. Sadly, it was a disappointment for me. I didn't enjoy the reading process of that much and some of the author's choices I really didn't like. It was an okay read.
This book was rather disappointing. The concept is cool, but the execution is poor and weird. Information is repeated at nausea and is even on the same page sometimes.


I personally found the world building to be problematic. Up-mountains are religious and unenlightened. Here I am Up-mountainer, that sure sounds like propaganda about Northern people in Europe. It hard to win these things as I don't think the author is likely to have realise this. This probably could have been solved by being more creative and more fantasy based than Up-Mountainers a.k.a. you mean the North and the main character is from the East so Asian or the middle East. It's backed with how the characters are described as look as well. Others might not read into this. On the fantasy front, it's always the ones that live in the mountains that savages and uneducated, so it just stereotype carried from others' works. Other parts of the world building were interesting such the idea of the traveling city and aspect of the magic.
This book is a murder mystery, with conspiracy, the ending of this book is dumb, but also really sad and depressing. (also, Spoiler: incesty). The main character generally comes across as being sad. She has no friends her own age and spends most her time with people she made up and therefore, how much control does she actually have over them.

It's told from Sorina Point of View, she an okay protagonist. The characters are fine. I don’t care much about characters that died or were threatened.

There's some diversity with different Sexuality with lesbian and a character hinted at as Demi-sexual. A first, but you can also read into badly if wanted due to how this book ends. The Traveling city is also meant to be diverse with different people, but mostly Down-mountainers. A lot of characters have deformities, some magical and some if not for magic would be a disability. The main character has No Eyes, but can still see. I guess it fine and does talk about how Sorina is treated.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Lamest Show in the City. This book was either going to be amazing or disappointment with the cool concept it had. Sadly, it was a disappointment for me. I didn't enjoy the reading process of that much and some of the author's choices I really didn't like. It was an okay read.

I got this book off of NetGalley for Review and it's published by HQ on

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Book Review: Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

My Nana is out on that Isle somewhere...in pieces.

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes. 


Another Red Eye book and the Prequel to Frozen Charlotte. The last book ends with a set up for a sequel, but I actually forgot that I said I would rather a prequel. Past me got what she wanted I guess. I would have to read Frozen Charlotte to see how much this book links up but there are nods to the first book in this.

Jemina is our leading lady and like most Edwardian girls without family, she needs to find work and she takes a job she barely qualified for as a teacher at Bordering School in the Isle of Sky. It's terrible, with abusive headmistress and her spooky past catches up to her.

We learn what's the deal with Frozen Charlotte books are and we get some fun Victorian ghost fun. The Victorians were obsessed with ghosts, it one of their many quirks. This book actually place ten years after Queen Victoria died, but who cares about any of the Edwards. I know I don't.

I don't care for Henry calling Jemina "Darling Girl", is he a middle-aged man? Did other young people really refer to people their own age as that? Weird thing: None of the main characters that ain't antagonists appeared to be from the Sky or Scotland. I mean this is for plot reason I guess, but why?

Overall, I give it 4/5 stars for Tiny Wigs. Alex Bell continues to be my favourite of the Red Eye writers I have read. This was decent addition to the Frozen Charlotte lore and I love them more now (but still would advise against listening to them, I'm hoping to finally read the other books in the Red Eye series before Halloween (I was an idiot who missed out on getting Fir by Sharon Gosling for review. Oh, well.) Strangely enough, it's the other female writers that I've not read yet. Though, I do own books by all of them (including the only Red Eye books I have physical copies of).

I got this for review off of NetGalley and it is being published by Stripes Publishing on 7th September 2017.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Book Review: I have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

Maybe this book should be called I have all the secrets.

I have no secrets of my own.
I can't do anything without someone knowing about it.
I can see, though, and I can hear, and sometimes
people forget that.
Sometimes people talk about me
as if I'm not there.
I hate that. 
And sometimes people tell me their secrets.
Dan did.
And I can't tell anyone.
I wish I could do something.  

This novel is told from POV of someone with cerebral palsy on the extreme end. It's done okay. She does feel like a person and full out character. Jemma is fourteen and has own stuff going on.

Jemma is also forested by a family who forest two other children with specials needs, an autistic non-verbal six-year Finn and Olivia whose nine and something going with her, which was interesting to see as I've not came across another book YA that had the main character in that situation as portrayed positively. It was nice to see that dynamics.

The mystery/thriller side is kinda slow as Jemma is unable to communicate to people in anyway, so a lot of it is just her frustration and overhearing things. I do feel like the ending was bit of cop out, but this is on the young side of YA.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for nose technology. This was an interesting idea and I'm glad people with disabilities getting to be in Thriller-est books instead of just standard contemporaries, while straight contemporaries are fine (usually too romance heavy for me), but they often just about people's problems and not tracking much besides that, no conspiracy or magic. Though, this book's plot is heavily reliant on her disabilities, I still enjoyed it.

I also did a video review.

Book Review: The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Let's kill people instead of solving our personal issues.


This books torches on a lot of stuff: problematic nature of monity, religion being wielded as a weapon and other fun triggering things.

Our main character is a killing machine, literally designed to be a biological entity that exists to destory threats of her charge.A lot of the novel deals with her humanity and whether she capable of loving someone else or if she has emotions at all.

The characters are okay. Lot of politican movements go on, so most characters have flaws and aspects that make them unlikable. I didn't really like any of them. Am I diabolic? The inclintate of like, but I never feel that invested. The relationships are done pretty well though, and there is a nice complex nature of characters. Nemesis makes a good protagionist.

The world building is done pretty well. With the royal family having such an euphansis and ignoring how science works, it feels very medievel while in space.  There is a religion where the comiso is god (makes sense compare to some other things). Some extreme jumps in logic in it, but those are common when it comes to religion. Gender roles do and don't existed in this novel, all the people with power are male, e.g. the emperor,  listed senators are male. Its not addressed as being a thing and there are powerful women, but more behind the screnes than in name.

Time for Rachel Verna points out something stupid (you decide if me pointing it out is stupid or the book is): Nemesis has no tear ducts...If I throw dirt in a diabolic's eyes, wouldn't they be blind until they wash their eyes out manually? Why would anyone take away a fighter's defenses? I know it all about how she has no emotions, therefore she can't cry, but tear ducts have a biological function other than showing emotions. Also, crying can itself be a defense for girls/children. It just seems dumb to do in practice.

The plot is mostly politican moments with romance throw in. It does raises questions about the value of love. I probably have liked this better if it wasn't romantic love that was the emphasis. Convenient stuff happens for a certain character that would almost be impossible to predict properly.  Feels slightly rushed at the end, but was probaby was the best ending place.

Overall, I give this book for 4/5 stars for nano hair. I understand this was written as a standalone and works as one, but I am keen to see what the future holds for Nemesis and this world.

 I got this book for Review from Netgalley and its being Simon and Schuster UK Children's