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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Daughter Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner's family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn't right on the prairie. She's heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can't be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.


This book was so good, so simple, creepy and dark.  Now I wish I had bought it instead of just getting it from the library. I have a book test where I flip to page 69 and read, if it draws me in I buy it, if not I see if the library has it or I wait. There was so much talk about what a sinner the MC was that I wrinkled my nose and put it back on the shelf..... BUT I SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IT. Because the MC talking about what a sinner she is and the devil and how she is going to be punished was all part of a fascinating plot where you are never quite sure whether there is a devil living in the MC or she was just made mentally disturbed by severe isolation.

This book was simple, there was a decent cast of characters, all lovingly written but basic ( and they needed to be), a plain backdrop of a mountain and a prairie (though written in a beautifully sinister way) and a plot that had a few twists and turns but was steady. All these things set up a novel that was VERY successful.

This got 4.5 instead of 5 because there is a miscarriage scene that is VERY unbelievable, especially as a woman who has had several. A miscarriage at two or three months along doesn't leave your body in one big gush of stinky fluid with some mild cramping for an afternoon with NO WARNING. It is cramps off and on for a few days with maybe some spotting, then intense painful cramp like contractions where you bleed a lot, followed by bleeding and cramping for about another week. However if you don't care about this bit of inaccuracy then round it up to five lol.

I highly recommend this, especially for an October Halloween read.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

House of Darkness House of Light (Volume Two) by Andrea Perron

Roger and Carolyn Perron purchased the home of their dreams and eventual nightmares in December of 1970. The Arnold Estate, located just beyond the village of Harrisville, Rhode Island seemed the idyllic setting in which to raise a family. The couple unwittingly moved their five young daughters into the ancient and mysterious farmhouse. Secrets were kept and then revealed within a space shared by mortal and immortal alike. Time suddenly became irrelevant; fractured by spirits making their presence known then dispersing into the ether. The house is a portal to the past and a passage to the future. This is a sacred story of spiritual enlightenment, told some thirty years hence. The family is now somewhat less reticent to divulge a closely-guarded experience. Their odyssey is chronicled by the eldest sibling and is an unabridged account of a supernatural excursion. Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated this haunting in a futile attempt to intervene on their behalf. They consider the Perron family saga to be one of the most compelling and significant of a famously ghost-storied career as paranormal researchers. During a seance gone horribly wrong, they unleashed an unholy hostess; the spirit called Bathsheba...a God-forsaken soul. Perceiving herself to be mistress of the house, she did not appreciate the competition. Carolyn had long been under siege; overt threats issued in the form of fire...a mother's greatest fear. It transformed the woman in unimaginable ways. After nearly a decade the family left a once beloved home behind though it will never leave them, as each remains haunted by a memory. This tale is an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit on a pathway of discovery: an eternal journey for the living and the dead

Let me start with saying the first book was so awful it took me literally two years to finish the 502 pages that was the second volume of this story. You can see my first review HERE

I try to give props and a bit of leeway to self published authors as I am one, decent cover art and editing can be expensive and hard to come by. This was in desperate need of BOTH, how hard is it to buy a good image from Shutterstock, or even use a picture of the real damn house? This book needed about 300 pages of it simply cut away.

For example there are six pages devoted simply to a metaphor about a school.

The book starts out with just pages of prose, pages and pages of it. Stupid quotes that are supposed to relate to the story, family anecdotes (tons of names of people who are not important to the story) that don't move the plot along, though by this point I was leery that there even WAS a plot as the time line of events is a skewed. I could never tell how much time had passed or where among the sequences of events each chapter actually took place.

Example: we are in volume two and AGAIN talking about the day they moved into the house.

Here is a quote which makes me think the author was quite literally trying to make the sisters in this book read like characters from a Louisa May Alcott novel.

"Mr. Kenyon found endearing, as did anyone else who visited the farm, admiring their refined manners, good sense and sensibilities: Little Women"

What now? It's 1970 not 1870.

Sadly, hidden among all the crap are tidbits of truly scary stuff. I feel like this story did need to be told, but not by this author or without a REALLY good editor. There were also a few really well written paragraphs hidden in this second volume, the author might not be half bad if she had done an outline, stuck to the important stuff and had focused on the creepy house. I mean the WARRENS helped with this case and they are only in the end. Well except for a brief bit on page 34 where the author glosses over Lorraine Warren actually coming, by writing:

Lorraine  Warren had already come to call  

I had to stop and say, "What? When? Did I miss it amidst all the horrible prose?"

The girls and mom have SO many ghostly encounters it leaves one to wonder. "How many damn ghosts were IN this house?" Sometimes they are scared of them, other times they are just friendly little watching spirits.

There is a ton of talking about faith, church and God in the second half of this book as well, grated on the nerves a bit, especially the pages and pages devoted to the family being told they should worship elsewhere when rumors about their haunted house begin to circulate in town. (84% into the book btw.) Then many more pages about how the family's faith developed over the years.

Example of prose from last part of the book:
"It was a moment of realization, cosmic incident creating a seismic shift in her perceptions of the spirit world from core to crust. It was a revelation, a blessed event."

Finally Roger leaves, if you remember, the author spends the first novel describing their dad as the world's biggest asshat.  At about the last 10 % of the book he and Carolyn finally have a fight and he takes off, of course we must read about her "supernatural pain" for almost four pages. He comes back at some point but it's glossed over. The author does tell us Carolyn divorces him at some point in the future, I think after they have already moved from the house.

On page 429 we get some sense of time, the family moved from the farm in June of 1980...... However at this point Andrea is still telling the story, though I don't have any idea what is actually going on....

There are about three chapters right before the end of the book that have action in them, in as much as a resolution to the...I hesitate to use the word plot, climax or conflict. By this point I was so bored reading this I just wanted it to be over. Then there are about three additional chapters of just garbage before then book ends

You wanna know the ending? Do you? I will tell you then.


The last sentence?

There is no death. There is only transformation.


The Bathory Curse By Renee Lake (ME!! ) Out November 4th GIVE AWAY

If you would like a .pdf file ARC to review please let me know, if you would like to do a spotlight post or guest post to help me promote that would be lovely as well.

The cover has been changed on all editions, the first one was just to hold the place of this piece of beauty!

It is said that Vlad the Impaler's first wife jumped to her death rather than be with such a monster, however…

Princess Cneajna of Transylvania didn’t expect to be brought back from death’s door by an ancient Pagan Goddess. She certainly never asked to be made into an immortal witch. All she wanted was to live out her life the wife of Vlad the Impaler and mother of his two sons. However, now she has a new life, and with it comes the impossible task of breaking a centuries old curse placed on the women of her family. A curse that drives each one insane. To make matters even more complicated this is a family she didn’t even know she was related to: The Bathory’s


    Goodreads Book Giveaway

        The Bathory Curse by Renee Travis Lake


          The Bathory Curse

          by Renee Travis Lake

            Giveaway ends November 13, 2015.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.