Categotry Archives: Horror

The Visitors

The Visitors Book Cover The Visitors
Catherine Burns
Simon and Schuster
September 26, 2017

“Once you start Catherine Burns's dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it's hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.” —Iain Reid, internationally bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue’s Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns’s debut novel explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces. Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....



Had I written this review as soon as I finished “The Visitors,” it would have been three stars.  I’m glad I waited, because this is the sort of book that sticks with you and chills you to the bone whenever you think about it.

It isn’t fast-paced, and honestly some of the scariest moments come when you identify with the loneliness of Marion.  Quite a bit of it is simply a slice of life type story with bits of the macabre tossed in.  I really don’t want to spoil anything.  If you are up for a slow-burn horror/ thriller, this is highly recommended.

Caution:  There are some animal deaths, though none particularly graphic.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Broken Glass (The Mirror Sisters, #2)

Broken Glass Book Cover Broken Glass
The Mirror Sisters, Book 2
V.C. Andrews
Simon and Schuster
February 28, 2017

Sisters until the end...

Which may come sooner than they think.

Under their mother’s watchful eye, identical twins Haylee and Kaylee Fitzgerald have lived their entire lives in sync. Never alone, never apart, everything about them must be exactly the same: clothes, friends, punishments.

One night, in the darkness of a movie theater, Haylee reveals that she’s leaving to meet up with someone she knows from online. But suddenly feeling ill, and not wanting to disappoint this older man, she convinces Kaylee to go in her stead. He’ll never know, and this way he won’t think she stood him up.

Kaylee reluctantly agrees to go, but when the credits roll and she’s nowhere to be found, Haylee confesses everything to her mom. With the manhunt on, Haylee knows everything must be done to find her sister. Still, for the first time in her life, she’s free from her twin, which, really, isn’t so it?



What can I say about “Broken Glass?”  I feel like this can sum it up for all fans of V.C. Andrews books: It is exactly what you want and expect to find in one of them, meaning creepy and a guilty pleasure. It’s a fun story that continues the story of Haylee and Kaylee, two of the world’s creepiest twins.  A perfect beach read.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunters #1)

Southern Spirits Book Cover Southern Spirits
Southern Ghost Hunters, Book 1
Angie Fox
Fantasy fiction
January 13, 2015

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she's saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick-she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can't refuse from the town's bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with. Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee's finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless-and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there's more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. There's a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?



“Southern Spirits” is the perfect cozy mystery for a rainy winter’s day.  There is plenty of humor, a pet skunk, and southern charm, along with the beginning of what promises to be a steamy romance.  Don’t be fooled, though, as there were some legitimate scares to be found.  A really fun adult mystery read!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Secret Life of Souls

The Secret Life of Souls Book Cover The Secret Life of Souls
Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee,
November 7, 2016

A gripping family drama that brilliantly explores the relationship between a young girl and her dog―and the mysteries that lie within.

At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves from protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world―and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and Mckee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions. With her telling instincts and her capacity for joy and transformative love, Caity joins the pantheon of great dogs in contemporary literature.
Eleven year old actress Delia Cross is beautiful, talented, charismatic. A true a star in the making. Her days are a blur of hard work on ­set, auditions and tutors. Her family―driven, pill­-popping stage mother Pat, wastrel dad Bart, and introverted twin brother Robbie―depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Delia in turn depends on Caity, her beloved ginger Queensland Heeler―and loyal friend―for the calming private space they share. Delia is on the verge of a professional break through. But just as the contracts are about to be signed, there is a freak accident that puts Delia in the danger zone with only Caity to protect her.



“The Secret Life of Souls” is categorized as horror, but I don’t think that is quite accurate.  Terrifying, yes, but not in the way the term horror would make you believe.

If you’re a dog lover, and enjoy reading books that can be tense and uncomfortable, this is the book for you.  The characters are engaging, the plot is steady, and the emotional resonance is strong.  My only complaint is that I wish the various points of view had a smoother transition.

Don’t hesitate to pick “The Secret Life of Souls” if you like animals or intense storytelling.  I highly recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Cabin

The Cabin
Natasha Preston
Sourcebooks Fire
September 6, 2016

A New York Times Bestseller!

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake

They think they're invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They've left me no choice.
It's time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can't wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead-murdered.

With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn't telling the truth. And Mackenzie's first mistake? Assuming the killing is over...



“The Cabin” was a solid four-star thriller up until the very end.  That doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable in a B horror movie sort of way.

The characters are the stereotypical mix that you come to expect from horror movies and fun, fast reading thrillers.  There were some plot surprises and enough creepy things to give you some chills.  Just.  The ending.  I can’t quite forgive that one.

Overall, “The Cabin” is a fun read for the Halloween season or any other time you’re feeling like a fun and breezy thriller.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence


Twisted Book Cover Twisted
Hannah Jayne
Juvenile Fiction
Sourcebooks Fire
July 1, 2016

Bex is ready to start a new life in foster care. There, she won't be known as a serial killer's daughter. Though her father was never tried for the murders attributed to "The Wife Collector," he disappeared after questioning. And Bex struggles with the guilt that she provided the circumstantial evidence that convicted him in the public's perception-and drove him to abandon her. But when a body turns up in her new hometown, all signs point to the Wife Collector. Bex's old life isn't ready to let her go. The police want to use Bex to lure in her father. But is she baiting a serial killer or endangering an innocent man?



“Twisted” fell far short of my expectations.

I had really high hopes for the book.  The daughter of a serial killer who is being stalked?  Yes, please.  Unfortunately, it read more like a somewhat poorly done script for a syfy horror movie.  Bex and the other characters fell completely flat, and there were quite a few inconsistencies in the story.  Don’t even get me started on the amount of stupid in the main character’s decisions.  I know all of this is typical of a low-budget horror movie, but books allow for development.  It would have been nice to see the author use it.

I wish I could recommend “Twisted.”  The premise was really promising, and I hope to see the author come up with another one that delivers more fully.

This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence

And I Darken

And I Darken Book Cover And I Darken
Kiersten White
Juvenile Fiction
Delacorte Press

In this first book in a trilogy a girl child is born to Vlad Dracula, in Transylvania, in 1435--at first rejected by her father and always ignored by her mother, she will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.



I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up “And I Darken,” aside from the story of Vlad the Impaler if he were female, but this book blew me away.

The main character, Lada, is a deliciously evil anti-heroine.  She is nothing like the typical YA version of a female character.  She’s plain, even ugly, and not in need of any boy.  She’s a badass.  A badass you never want to meet.  Her brother, Radu, is the sensitive and beautiful one.  There is romance, but like the plot, I don’t want to spoil anything.  I’ll just say I was pleasantly surprised to find a lgbtq character in the book.

I highly recommend “And I Darken” to anyone who enjoys a dark story and doesn’t mind gore.  That being said, I do want to warn that the publisher recommends the book for ages 12+, and I feel it would be a rare 12-year-old who will be able to handle the subject matter.

This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Gore, Disturbing Imagery

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl Book Cover The Awakening of Sunshine Girl
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Book 2
Paige McKenzie
Juvenile Fiction
Weinstein Books
March 1, 2016

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, "The Haunting of Sunshine Girl" has been described as "Gilmore Girls" meets "Paranormal"



“The Awakening of Sunshine Girl” is a great follow-up to “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.”  It has all of the humor and chills of the original, while furthering the story of how Sunshine came to be.

The plot breezes along at an easy to read pace that doesn’t slow down.  All of the favorite characters from the first book are back, just as enjoyable as before, along  with the addition of some new ones.  All of the history of the Luiseach was fascinating and made me want to learn more.

I wish I could say more but almost everything I can add would spoil the story in some way.  I’ll leave you with this:  you’ll probably wish you had the next book already in your hands when you turn the last page.

“The Awakening of Sunshine Girl” is a good choice for all of those who enjoy a good ghost story that, while it includes disturbing imagery, actually falls into the clean category.  Only minor language and a few kisses are involved.  It’s also perfect for reluctant readers, though be sure they begin with the first in the series!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Mild Language, Disturbing Imagery

The Devil’s Engine: Hellraisers

The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers Book Cover The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers
The Devil's Engine, Book 1
Alexander Gordon Smith
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
December 1, 2015

When a sixteen-year-old troublemaker named Marlow Green is trapped in a surreal firefight against nightmarish creatures in the middle of his New York City neighborhood, he unwittingly finds himself amid a squad of secret soldiers dedicated to battling the legions of the devil himself. Powering this army of young misfits is an ancient machine from the darkest parts of history. Known as the devil's engine, it can make any wish come true-as long as you are willing to put your life on the line. Promised powers beyond belief, and facing monstrous apparitions straight out of the netherworld, Marlow must decide if he's going to submit to a demonic deal with the infernal machine that will enable him to join the crusade-if it doesn't kill him first.
From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, here is the opening salvo in an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.



I really wanted to like “The Devil’s Engine: Hellraisers”.  The plot summary sounded promising.  It also sounded very unique.  Unfortunately, the promise of a good book fell flat.

That isn’t to say that parts of the book were not enjoyable.  The first quarter or so was non-stop action.  I wanted to know more about the characters.  Of course, this created an even worse disappointment when the rest of the book moved at a snail’s pace.  Seriously, it could have been trimmed seventy-five pages and nobody would have missed them.

There was a mystery as to what was driving the entire plot, and had the book dropped more clues it would have left me dying to keep turning the pages.  As it was, by the time I got near the end I didn’t care what was going on and as far as I was concerned almost all of the characters could be eaten by demons.  I wouldn’t have cared.  I wouldn’t have even sent virtual flowers to their funeral.

“The Devil’s Engine: Hellraisers” may be a good choice for those who don’t mind an original plot that drags out.  It wasn’t for me, though.  The audience is definitely more mature young adults, so please be careful if you are choosing a book for a gift.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Underage Drinking, Violence, Gore, Terrifying Imagery

Tell the Story to Its End

Tell the Story to Its End
Simon P. Clark
St. Martin's Griffin
October 20, 2015

"Tell the story to its end," says Eren with a grin.
His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night.
"When I reach the end," I say, "what happens? You'll have the whole story."
"Hmm," he says, looking at me and licking his lips with a dry, grey tongue. "What happens then? Why don't we find out?"

People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn't there, too. Why hasn't he come with them? Has something happened? Why won't anyone talk about it? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic...

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

With Eren to listen, Oli starts to make sense of what's happening. But Eren is powerful, and though he's willing to help Oli, he's not willing to do it for free; he wants something in return. Oli must make a choice: he can learn the truth -- but to do so he must abandon himself to Eren's world, forever.

From striking new voice Simon P. Clark comes Tell the Story to Its End; richly atmospheric, moving, unsettling, and told in gorgeous prose, it is a modern classic in the making.



“Tell the Story to Its End” is a short fantasy book with the horror elements of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale thrown in.  It is definitely something that leaves you with chills, and the tone is perfect for the weeks leading up to Halloween, as Eren is a truly terrifying character.

There are wonderful quotes about the process of storytelling sprinkled in among the story, and the main story itself is composed of the telling of several smaller stories.  I will say that it can be frustrating if you try to look into it all too deeply, as it can get jumbled and lead to quite a bit of a headache.  This one is better if you just go along with it and enjoy the words.  An added bonus is some beautiful artwork the pops up throughout the book.

I recommend “Tell the Story to Its End” for any middle reader or up who enjoys being a bit spooked.  It is also a good read-aloud for those with younger children who can still sleep if they hear a good ghost story.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Violence, Scary Imagery