Category Archives: Paranormal

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from amazon)
Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind.

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother.

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she discovers she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love again.

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago…

Review

This is probably the best Linda Gillard I’ve read since A Lifetime Burning (which still remains my favourite). They both do have a supernatural element, although much stronger in this one.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry it has a similar gothic feel, and I always like gothic stories.

The love story was good too, strangely realistic, although the way it ended was a bit too perfect.

3.5/5

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Other Reviews:

The Little Reader Library

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

Weeks in Naviras- Chris Wimpress


Disclaimer: I was given this novel free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s late afternoon in the tiny fishing village of Naviras, where Eleanor Weeks is sipping wine and watching the ocean.

Even though she’s been there dozens of times, how she arrived that particular afternoon is a mystery to her. Until she remembers she’s the wife of the British prime minister, and that she’s just been killed in a terrorist attack.

As Ellie explores her personal afterlife, she recalls her troubled marriage during her husband’s rise to the very top of British politics. She remembers the tragedy and secrets which dominated the last ten years of her life, before recounting her role in a conspiracy which threatens to destabilise not just Britain but the wider world.

Review
This book wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected an introspective look back at what had gone wrong. Maybe a view other that Ellie’s at what had happened, and why. Possibly a detached look at what happened afterwards.
There was an introspective element, however that was about as far as it went. Mainly we saw Ellie exploring the world of her afterlife- but it wasn’t all that it seemed. Heaven? Maybe? Or hell? Either way there was something not quite right.
I expected, I don’t know. Something more political and less thriller. That doesn’t mean it was bad, just different. I think I might have prefered what I expected, however this probably is an easier read than the novel I expected, and it certainly kept you hooked.
There was a slight paranormal element which I wasn’t expecting, and which I still can’t quite figure out. If I’d known that there was a paranormal element I probably would have turned the free copy down. However it did make for a unique story, and I did rather enjoy it in the end
3.5/5
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Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review, Mystery, Paranormal

Bellman and Black- Diane Setterfield



Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge (by the publisher) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

As a boy, William Bellman commits one small cruel act that appears to have unforseen and terrible consequences. The killing of a rook with his catapult is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. And by the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, he seems indeed, to be a man blessed by fortune.

Until tragedy strikes, and the stranger in black comes, and William Bellman starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, he enters into a bargain. A rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Review

I was a little unsure about reading this book. I had read good reviews, but I had also read a lot of reviews which said it really didn’t match up to The Thirteenth Tale. I haven’t read The Thirteenth Tale yet (I just got it actually) and was worried that if I didn’t enjoy Bellman and Black then I wouldn’t want to read The Thirteenth Tale…and then I might miss out.

Luckily I enjoyed Bellman and Black quite a lot. It wasn’t a traditional ghost story, in fact you could almost think that it wasn’t a ghost story at all. Except that it at least has a paranormal element, if not actually a ghost element.
I’m not sure if I would call it creepy exactly. It’s more a bit…err….I can’t think of the word. It make you unsure, it’s seems like it almost could happen, except for some little things.

It did take me a little while to get into, and I don’t think I would have finished it so soon if I hadn’t been reading it in hospital. Having said that if The Thirteenth Tale is actually better then I think I may actually end up loving it.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.72)

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Other Reviews:

Words for Worms

Literary Lindsey

Under a Grey Sky

Silver’s Reviews

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Mystery, Paranormal

The Sleep Room- F.R. Tallis



Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the publisher (via netgally) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

As haunting as Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black and as dark as James Herbert’s The Secret of Crickley Hall, F. R. Tallis’s The Sleep Room is where your nightmares begin . . . When promising psychiatrist, James Richardson, is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime, he is thrilled. Setting off to take up his post at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, Richardson doesn’t look back. One of his tasks is to manage a controversial project – a pioneering therapy in which extremely disturbed patients are kept asleep for months. As Richardson settles into his new life, he begins to sense something uncanny about the sleeping patients – six women, forsaken by society. Why is the trainee nurse so on edge when she spends nights alone with them? And what can it mean when all the sleepers start dreaming at the same time? It’s not long before Richardson finds himself questioning everything he knows about the human mind as he attempts to uncover the shocking secrets of The Sleep Room . .

UK cover


Review.

When looking up this book on amazon I became glad that it had been the American publisher offering it on netgally because the UK cover is awful. Looks like some sort of 80s horror novel. If that had been the cover I wouldn’t have even looked at it, let alone request it.

I suppose that goes to show, you can’t always judge a book by its cover (although I can’t say I’ll stop- it’s usually a good indication of the type of book). You see, actually, I quite enjoyed The Sleep Room.

Right from the beginning I could see the gothic elements which reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre in particular. In fact to be honest at times it felt a little bit too like Jane Eyre- almost as if scene ideas had been picked out of the story.

Part of the reason I wanted to read The Sleep Room was the gothic element, but I was also interested in the psychological background.

Those were as it turned out the most interesting bits for me, the psychology section. I would have liked more of it actually, and I felt that Tallis didn’t feel that he had enough psychological knowledge to write a book based in a psychiatric hospital. I could kind of see tricks which meant Tallis didn’t have to show too much psychological knowledge. I’m a psychology graduate so I can’t help but be a bit critical of psychology elements in stories.

The overall thing I enjoyed rather a lot though, and the ending really made it.

4/5

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Filed under Fiction review, Mystery, Paranormal, Psychology (fiction)

The Returned- Jason Mott


the returned, jason mott, book, book cover
Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the publishers (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

All over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from the dead.
Exactly as they were before they died.
As if they never left.
As if it’s just another ordinary day.Jacob Hargrave tragically drowned over 40 years ago. Now he’s on his aged parents doorstep, still eight years old; the little boy they knew they d never see again. As the family find themselves at the centre of a community on the brink of collapse, they are forced to navigate a whole new reality and question everything they’ve ever believed.No one knows how or why this mysterious event is happening, whether it s a miracle or a sign of the end.
The only certainty is that their lives will never be the same again.

Review

Note: This book is not the same as French television show The Returned (which was recently popular in the UK) but is being made into a TV show by ABC in America with the name Resurrection. They do both however feature people coming back from the dead.

I first came across The Returned on Leeswammes’ Blog, and to be honest I read the review because I wanted to see if it was the book of the TV show.  Through reading it however I did become interested so decided to see if it was still up on netgalley- and it was (yay!).

The story was rather emotional. Firstly the idea of someone whom you loved coming back to life- and the same happening all over the world. How would you cope after you’d got over that loss? And how would the time in-between (when you have aged, but your loved one has not) effect your relationship? What if your loved one didn’t come back? Would you be questioning why, and wondering if they didn’t want to come back?

Then there was the problem of the suddenly rapidly expanding population. Were ‘the returned’ entitled to help in finding their families? Should their families be obliged to take them in? If they had nowhere to go should they be entitled to homes, and jobs, healthcare? Everywhere arguments are starting, fighting, riots, as people battle about what should be done with the returned. In America (where the majority of the book is situated) the returned are taken to internment camps, but more and more returned are turning up, and resources are stretch to the limit. It’s how you might imagine a refugee camp.

The main bulk of the story rests with Harold and Lucille Hargrave, whose son Jacob returns. Jacob drowned at the age of 8, but Harold and Lucille are now in their 80s. A lot of the story is how they balance their loss of Jacob with him returning, and sees how their relationship with him changes and stays the same.

There’s also a strong political element to the story, to do with how the government and the general population respond.

The chapters are also interspersed with short sections about other people who returned, and their stories.

At times the book is very emotional, it makes you sad, relieved, happy, and sometimes a little angry.

I would recommend reading the author note at the end too where Mott talks about his inspiration. It’s rather heart wrenching.

The Returned is the first in a series, but I really can’t see how it can be a series, it seems like a perfect stand alone book. I suppose if each book followed a different member of the returned?

4/5

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Sci-Fi

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger


her fearful symmetry, audrey niffenegger, niffenegger, book, book review, twins, dark, black, dark cover, girls, cemetery,

Synopsis (from amazon)

When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshold. But until the solicitor’s letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, either Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins hope that in London their own, separate, lives can finally begin but they have no idea that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt’s mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself.

As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn’t seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves together a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.

Review
Niffenegger’s previous novel, The Time Traveller’s Wife, is one of my favourite books. When I heard that she had a new book coming out I was super excited. But then the reviews started coming in, lots of disappointment. I started to doubt whether it was a good idea to read Her Fearful Symmetry. I was worried that I would be disappointed too. So it sat on my to be read pile for years (literally- it’s been there since before I started this blog, almost 4 years ago). There were a few times that I almost picked it up, then I finally decided I would, so here we are.
Well I can’t exactly say that I was disappointed by Her Fearful Symmetry (possibly because I was prepared to be disappointed) but I didn’t fall in love with it in the same way as I did when I read The Time Traveller’s Wife.
Some early points, especially when it came to the relationship between Robert and Elspeth gave me hope. Their relationship was maybe everyday, but there was something beautiful about it. In a way it’s a shame that their relationship didn’t continue because I think love may be Niffenegger’s forte- not sure how much of a novel a continued relationship would have given.
As I got a little further in I felt that my initial interest dropped off. It took me a long time to take to the twins, and the plot felt like it was dragging its feet a little, it was mainly the descriptions of Highgate Cemetery which kept me reading.
I am glad I continued reading however. I started to become more interested in the twins- especially Valentina, and more interested in the ghost story element too.
Towards the end I couldn’t decide whether to be disturbed or riveted.  There was a certain discomfort to the plot, but at the same time I wanted to see how things turned out. My feelings for the various characters changed somewhat
(highlight for spoiler)I found I really felt pity for Valentina. She was certainly misguided, but there was also an element of her being a bit controlling. Julia seemed to be the more controlling of the two twins, but I think Valentina was quite good at manipulating people.
As for Elspeth. Well she disgusted me by the end. I didn’t really believe that she’d had no control when it came to not being able to executing Valentina’s plan. After all she could put the kitten back. I think she tried but in a half-heated way. She didn’t try to push Valentina back into her body- as with the kitten, and I’m sure she had some sense that Valentina wouldn’t be strong enough to do it alone. Maybe she hadn’t planned to take Valentina’s body when she agreed to help her, but she certainly took advantage of the situation, and I find it hard to believe that the thought wouldn’t have crossed her mind.
Ultimately I wouldn’t call Her Fearful Symmetry a ghost story- although it had ghost story elements. It was more a story of relationships and families, and I think it’s better to approach it with that in mind.
4/5
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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

The Pearl Savage- Tamara Rose Blodgett


This book was read as part of the Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge. This month we were looking at blogs which review books we don’t normally read and read a book reviewed on that blog. I found a review of the third book in this series on Parajunkee’s View and read the first.

Synopsis (from amazon)

Seventeen-year old princess, Clara Williamson, lives an old-fashioned existence in a biosphere of the future.
When her sadistic mother, Queen Ada, betroths her to an abusive prince of a neighboring sphere, Clara determines to escape Outside where savages roam free.

Clara escapes tyranny only to discover the savages are not the only people who survived the cataclysmic events of one hundred forty years prior.

Once Outside, Clara finds herself trapped, unable to return to the abusive life of the sphere while facing certain danger Outside.

Can Clara find love and freedom with the peril that threatens to consume her?

Review

When I was younger I used to make up a story in bed every night whilst trying to get to sleep. It was a story which was basically the same every night, but changed and adapted over time. One thing stayed the same though. A princess who didn’t really want to be a princess, or at least not the princess her mother wanted her to be, but the people were important to her so she was looking forward to changing things once she became queen. At first The Pearl Princess reminded me a bit of my story, and I didn’t really like that. It was disconcerting and because I knew my story so well this one just didn’t meet up. It made it a little difficult to approach the book without a bit of a wonky view point, and early on I did consider giving up, but I did stick with it, and, generally speaking, I was glad that I didn’t give up.

I didn’t find that the writing of The Pearl Savage was particularly good. I found the battle scenes in particular lacked real action and weren’t very descriptive. However after a while the plot interested me enough to generally not be too bothered by the less than great writing. Only the battle scenes were really off putting.

The end was perfectly open for a sequel, although the books could easily have been closed as it was. It’s something that frustrates me a little as it means I want to read to some sort of conclusion but I really don’t think I’m willing to pay for a book in this series (the first is free on kindle). There are 4 books so far (with a 5th planned for release this year)and I certainly don’t want to be caught in a series trap.

2.5/5

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Other reviews:

Contagious Reads (Lori also reviews on Parajunkee’s View)

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal