House of Shadows by Darcy Coates #bookreview #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Sophie’s world is shattered when disaster bankrupts her family. She’s still reeling from the news when she’s offered an unexpected solution: Mr Argenton, a wealthy stranger, asks for her hand in marriage.

Marrying Mr Argenton will restore her family’s fortunes and save them from scandal, but condemns Sophie to a life in Northwood, a vast and unnaturally dark mansion situated hours from civilisation.

Sophie struggles to adjust to her new position as mistress over the desolate house. Mr Argenton’s relatives are cold, and Mr Argenton himself is keeping secrets. Even worse, the house is more than it seems.

Mr Argenton’s young cousin, Elise, draws terrifying images. Doors slam. Inhuman figures slink through the forest surrounding the house. A piano plays in the middle of the night. Blood drips from the ceilings.

Sophie is inevitably pulled towards the terrifying truth: Northwood’s ancient halls are haunted by the family’s long-dead ancestors. The malevolent spirits–produced by grisly deaths–resent her intrusion into their home.

Trapped in Northwood and desperate for an escape, Sophie’s fate is further complicated as she finds herself irrevocably drawn to the tall, dark-eyed man she married. She suspects her feelings are returned, but Mr Argenton is hiding the truth about the house–and his secrets are so dangerous that they might just be unforgivable. 

This is my second Darcy Coates book and I’ve come to learn there are two things I can count on – my enjoyment of her writing style and eerie covers perfect for what’s inside.

Reading The Amityville Horror many years ago made me a fan of haunted house novels.  I seem to gravitate toward them.  House of Shadows has a distinct gothic feel, an aspect which adds to the creep factor in my opinion.  When candles are your only souce of lighting, you never know what that light will fall on when you round a corner.  Or what it might miss in the shadows.

After marrying someone she barely knows and moving far away from her family, Sophie is immediately thrust into an unwelcoming sitation with Joseph’s relatives.  It’s also clear the staff are terrified of something and barely speak.  Sophie initially gives off the damsel-in-distress vibe, but when her back is against the wall, she comes through when it counts.

This is a quick read, but I wouldn’t have minded it being longer.  Once the climax is reached, pacing moves at break-neck speed, but the ending nicely sets up the second book.

If you’re looking for aggressive horror, this may not be the book for you, but if you enjoy some creepy-crawly moments that send chills down your spine with a touch of romance, you’ll settle in quite well with House of Shadows.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3) by Mae Clair #bookreview #supernatural #suspense

The darkness is coming . . . 

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

I’ve been riveted by every book in this series, but this one is probably my favorite.  Probably my favorite cover, too.

Mention a book featuring a haunted house, and I’ll snatch it up every time.  Madison’s house is most definitely haunted, and it’s pretty clear she’s not welcome.  Most people would tell her to leave, but after using nearly all her resources purchasing the new home, her options are limited and she chooses to find a way to exorcise the ghosts.  I was thrilled to see my favorite character from book two make another appearance.  With his extensive experience in dealing with spirits as a medium, Dante is brought into the house to determine exactly what Madison is dealing with and learns some frightening things.

As with the other books in this series, Eventide alternates between past and present, allowing the reader to learn the history of the house and the heartbreaking reason it’s haunted.  The jumps between timelines are seamless, and that story is just as compelling as Madison’s.  Be prepared for some spine-tingling, chill-your-bones scenes – this author is an expert at making you feel unnerved.

I’m sad to see this series end, and I’ll miss these characters who feel like friends.  Each of these books can be read as a standalone, so starting at the beginning isn’t required.  If you’re a fan of small town suspense with a supernatural twist, Hode’s Hill certainly delivers.  Highly recommended!

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon #bookreview #supernatural #mystery

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late . . . 

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

I’m really behind on my Jennifer McMahon books.  The last one I read was The Winter People, which was an easy five stars for me.  When I saw The Invited on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it.

This author is certainly talented at creating a chilling, atmospheric setting.  Forty-four acres of rural land, very few neighbors, and creepy bog?  Oh, and someone died by hanging at the bog?  Perfect.  Throw in a main character who uses building materials from allegedly haunted locations?  Disturbing.  The author also weaves in some spine-tingling visuals – nothing that kept me up at night, but I’m a horror fan, so that’s a difficult task to accomplish.

The characters are likable in the beginning, but once the supernatural events begin, they’re at each other’s throats.  While both Nate and Helen develop individual obsessions, the reader feels the same frustrations with them as the characters do with each other.  Honestly, if I was Nate, I probably would have tossed Helen out on her keester.  They’re also pretty slow to realize things aren’t quite right in their neck of the woods.

Maybe it was because I read an ARC, but several things are mentioned in the book that didn’t happen – events, something a character said, etc.  Like maybe the author meant to go back and add things during revisions, but forgot?

The Invited is a slow burn, supernatural tale that starts off a bit sluggish, but picks up around the 45% mark.  Enough hints are dropped that readers will probably figure out the twists before the ending, but it was an enjoyable read for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

Craven Manor by Darcy Coates #bookreview #horror

Daniel is desperate for a job. When someone slides a note under his door offering him the groundskeeper’s position at an old estate, it seems too good to be true.

Alarm bells start ringing when he arrives at Craven Manor. The mansion’s front door hangs open, and leaves and cobwebs coat the marble foyer. It’s clear no one has lived there in a long time.

But an envelope waits for him inside the doorway. It contains money, and promises more.

Daniel is desperate. Against his better judgement, he moves into the groundskeeper’s cottage behind the crypt. He’s determined to ignore the strange occurrences that plague the estate.

But when a candle flickers to life in the abandoned tower window, Daniel realises Craven Manor is hiding a terrible secret… one that threatens to bury him with it.

I’ve seen Darcy Coates books all over Amazon and Goodreads, and her eerie covers always catch my eye, but I’d never read any of her work.  After Craven Manor was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in the horror category, I knew it was time to change that.

My heart immediately went out to Daniel.  He’s down on his luck, with barely a penny to his name, but is so generous to others.  Maybe he’s a bit naive, but I awarded him bonus points for being an animal lover.  This author definitely knows how to set a tense, haunting scene – the imagery is wonderfully vivid, and the neglected grounds of the manor are easy to visualize.

The final battle, although furious, seems to stretch on for bit, but it leads to a satisfying ending.  I also found the relationship between Daniel and his cousin, Kyle, kind of weird, and never really understood it.

Overall, I enjoyed Craven Manor, and I’m sure it won’t be the last book I read by this author.

#BadMoonRising: Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster #childrensbooks #supernatural

Today’s guest is the author of a wonderful series of children’s books.  Readers call them ‘delightful armchair travel’ and a ‘fantastic adventure’.  As a bonus – they’re educational!  Amanda in New Mexico touches on the supernatural, and that’s the book Darlene Foster shares with us today.  She also tells a Ouija board story that will send tingles down your spine.  Welcome Darlene!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I would be the comic relief. I’m usually the first one to crack a joke when things are tense. This can be annoying to some people who think it is no laughing matter.

Have you ever played with a Ouija board?

My aunt and I played with one when we were children. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I do recall that my grandfather thought it was interesting and asked if he could have ago. He asked the board how old he would be when he died. It spelled out 78. He seemed content with that. He died at age 78 many years later. I have always assumed it was a coincident but now I wonder.

If you were paid to spend the night in a haunted house, would you do it?

I don’t think so. I get spooked quite easy. It would have to be a lot of money and I would have to be able to bring my hubby along and maybe my dog. Mind you, the money would come in handy. I may be able to collect material for another book. Ummm, I may have to think about this.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

I start with a location, usually a place that I have visited and found intriguing. Once I have the setting, I decide on an issue that a young person may encounter and work from there. I am a panster so the story develops as I write. Amanda is the main character and her personality develops with each book. She stays pretty well the same age but matures a bit as she travels and learns more about the world and herself. In Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, she finds her disbelief in the supernatural challenged. I visited New Mexico and loved it, but there was certainly an air of something other worldly about. In particular when we stopped in at The St. James Hotel in Cimarron which is well known to be haunted. I said to my travel companion, “I have to include this in an Amanda story.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I like to read, bake, walk on the beach, drive in the country, take my dog for walks, go for coffee with hubby and chat with friends. Of course I am always collecting ideas while doing these “non-writing” things.

What are you working on now?

The seventh novel in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action, is completed, has been beta read and edited a number of times. It is now at the publishers and will be released in 2019 after a few more edits. While waiting for its release, I am, as we speak, working on Amanda in Malta, which is turning out to be a great adventure for my main character. Amanda has many more places to explore yet.

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Excerpt

She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out. Amanda walked through the swinging doors into the restaurant. No one was there either. She went out a back door to the outside eating area and surveyed the empty tables and chairs. She stopped to listen. It felt like something was beside her. As she slowly turned to look, a huge bear leaned out a window holding a pie.
She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out.
“What’s wrong with you, Amanda?” Cleo appeared from around a corner. “You look like you just had a run in with a ghost. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe they exist.”
Amanda gave her head a shake. The window with the bear holding the pie was just a mural painted on the wall.
She laughed nervously. “For a minute I actually thought that bear was real. That’s a good painting.”
Cleo shrugged her shoulders up to her ears. “You thought the bear was real, but you don’t believe me when I tell you I see ghosts?”
“Where is everyone, anyway?” asked Amanda.
“They’re in the gambling room, listening to stories about the guys that have been shot here in this hotel. The boys think it’s cool but I think it’s depressing.”
“Did they talk about T. J. Wright, the cowboy from Room 18?”
“Oh, yes. Apparently, he harasses guests here all the time. But the ghost of Mary Lambert, who is called the protector, often chases him away. She doesn’t like her guests being upset. He sometimes goes into the room next to his and bothers whoever is in there. Room 19, I think it is. It used to be the room of Mary Lambert’s daughter.”
“Really?” Amanda paled. She remembered the rose scent in Room 19 and wondered if Mary Lambert had chased T.J. Wright away. That is if it was him, or rather his ghost, in the room with her.
Amanda flapped her hand. “No way! I don’t think so. It’s probably just a publicity stunt to increase business for the hotel.”
“Whatever,” mumbled Cleo.
The courtyard filled up with the other students.
“There’ve been some cool shootouts here.” Caleb walked over to the girls. “Have you two been ghost hunting? This would be the perfect place.”

Buy links

Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk
Kobo

Author Bio

Darlene Foster has dreamt of writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people for as long as she can remember. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. An avid traveler herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes it is never too late to make your dreams come true.

Social Media

Website www.darlenefoster.ca 
Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Ghosts of Manor House by Matt Powers #bookreview #RBRT #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Edmund and Mary Wilder are very much in love. But the death of their young son, Tommy, has shattered their family. Edmund is determined to bring them back together, drawing on the only bit of strength he has left—his love for Mary and their daughter, Stephanie. But Mary sinks deeper into depression while little Stephanie’s anger grows. Edmund flounders in his attempts to rescue his family from the brink of collapse and doesn’t know where to turn.

Then Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, a seemingly quaint Bed and Breakfast. This, she assures her husband, is the answer to all their troubles.

Edmund arrives ahead of his family to spend a couple days working on his long-delayed novel. But his growing curiosity about the old house leads Edmund to an encounter that will change him forever.

What will you sacrifice for love?

An old fashioned psychological thriller with a nod to Stephen King, Manor House will keep you guessing and compel you to turn the page to the very end.

A mother will sacrifice anything for her children. A husband will risk everything to save his wife. Manor House will take them all. – Goodreads.com

Give me a book featuring an eerie house and I’m a happy reader.  Ghosts of Manor House appealed to me based on the title alone.

The author does a wonderful job at conveying the emotions of grieving parents who’ve lost a child – my heart broke for them.  I also liked how the gruesome history of the tree was established in the prologue and gives a foundation for the mysterious happenings.  Once the family arrives at the house, you just know nothing good is going to happen.

After the first few chapters, there’s a sudden shift and for a while, it allows the reader to feel disoriented along with Edmund.  It’s easy to predict the path this story will take, but there are some tense, chilling moments along the way.

The book contains some formatting errors here and there, with two different characters speaking and the dialogue on the same line (which can be a little confusing), and sentences split between paragraphs.  Occasionally, the dialogue is somewhat repetitious.

This book doesn’t contain gore – it’s more atmospheric, with almost a gothic feel, so if you’re not a horror fan, don’t let that deter you from reading.  Although a quick read, Ghosts of Manor House contains powerful, heavy emotions and is a haunting, grim tale.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

#BadMoonRising Chauncey Rogers #IndieAuthor #thriller #horror #ghosts

It’s Bad Moon Rising Bonus Day!  Chauncey saw the call out for authors just a little too late to make the October list, but we can celebrate one more day, right?  Chauncey’s nightmare neighbor is one that hasn’t been mentioned here, but I loathed her with a heaping passion.  He’s also working on a project that will melt your heart.

I wanted to thank all the authors for participating in Bad Moon Rising 2017, and everyone who tweeted, reblogged, retweeted, or shared these posts in any way.  I hope you enjoyed yourselves, met some new authors, and added to your TBR piles.  Here’s Chauncey Rogers to wrap up Bad Moon Rising for this year!

Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.

Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse.

Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

Any paranormal experiences you’d like to share?

Once, while out driving with my brother and friend, a flying saucer flew over our car. We all saw it–a great flying disc, with colored lights around the bottom. It passed directly over the vehicle, flew out in front of us, then banked left and disappeared over some tree tops. The thing was flying rather low to the ground, not much higher than the trees. The experience lasted only a few seconds, but we all saw it, and we were all sober. Not sure what it was, but it was certainly strange.

What fictional character would be your nightmare neighbor?

Dolores Umbridge. I HATE this woman. She makes my favorite type of villain, because we’ve all known a real-life Umbridge or two, perhaps more; people who are entirely detestable. Anyways, Dolores Umbridge as my neighbor would be a nightmare. She wouldn’t even have to be a witch. In fact, it would probably be worse if she was in charge of the neighborhood’s Home Owners Association (which I’m sure she would be). A close second would be Mrs. Fanny Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you do?

There are so many things I’d like to see, and so many times and places I’d like to visit. Since you’re making me choose only one, I’ll go with something more simple and trivial (but still cool to me). I’d like to sit in for the first screening of Star Wars, back before it was Episode IV: A New Hope. Since apparently Disney is never going to release the theatrical version, going back in time is the only way to see it now.

What are you working on now?

A project for my three-year-old daughter. She wanted me to write her a Cinderella story, so I am (sort of). My take on the story is that a group of thieves/con artists are going to swap out the original glass slipper for one that they can fit into, and thus steal the prince and throne. We’ll see how it turns out!

Which horror/thriller novel do you wish you’d written?

Jurassic Park. The first book I ever read, and I still love this story, both the book and the film (which are quite different, but both wonderful). Michael Crichton was a brilliant sci-fi author in my estimation, and I feel that Jurassic Park was some of his best work. But the greatest thing about it is the simplicity of the idea: scientists clone dinosaurs to create a breathtaking zoo/amusement park. Brilliant. It’s a million-dollar idea, with wonderful storytelling to back it up. The legacy that it has spawned is well earned, though the sequel films and book never touch the magic of the originals.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?

My first novel was a (trueish) horror story about chickens. One of the characters is a rooster named Long Tail, and he’s probably my favorite character I’ve created thus far. He’s a bit of a divisive character among my readers, but I like him quite a bit. He’s an authority figure trying to protect traditions that are being forced out by better ideas, and he gets caught up in the back and forth, lost in both trying to be nice and trying to do his job.

Author Bio

Chauncey Rogers has bounced back and forth between the western and mid-western United States. He obtained degrees in history education, linguistics, and editing from Brigham Young University, and has been writing stories all his life. He considers himself a rather savvy story critic, and enjoys informal film and literature reviews.

He married in 2012 and has two children. His first novel, Home To Roost, was published in in March 2017. His most recent novel, Cleaving Souls, launched Oct. 10 of this year.

This holiday season, he plans on getting a pet rat.

Social Media

Twitter:  @ChaunceyRogers
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16620235.Chauncey_Rogers
http://chaunceyrogers.com

Buy Links

Home To Roost
Cleaving Souls

#BadMoonRising Darlene Foster #IndieAuthor #ChildrensBooks #ghosts

I’m always excited when a children’s book is featured during Bad Moon Rising – it’s important that the little guys not be left out.  I’m thrilled to have Darlene Foster back with the newest addition to her Amanda Travels series, released earlier this month.  She’s also hosting a giveaway on her blog – make sure to enter!

Thank you, Teri, for the opportunity to participate in Bad Moon Rising. It has been a month of fascinating posts.

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. She shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she sees ghosts. Although Amanda is determined to prove there is no such thing, she can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her.

Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb as they visit a rugged and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past.

Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Excerpt from Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind

She took pictures of the San Geronimo church and then continued on to a ruin tucked behind houses. Crumbling gravestones and weathered wooden crosses were scattered around the remainder of a damaged brick bell tower. Among the weeds lay broken gravestones and crosses that had fallen over.

Amanda felt a sudden sadness wash over her.

She pulled out her map and guide. It explained that the ruin was the original San Geronimo church, destroyed by the soldiers in retaliation for Governor Bent’s murder. Only the battered bell tower remained standing. The graves belonged to the many who lost their lives in the fight.

The sun went behind a cloud. Tall grass leaped around the crosses as the wind whistled a mournful tune.

Amanda shuddered. A harsh breeze pushed her forward.

Looking up at the sky, Amanda felt the wind push her again and she tripped over a rock. She stumbled hard into the low adobe brick wall surrounding the cemetery.

Another shove sent her right over the fence. Her head hit a fallen brick. She saw stars before everything went black.

Favorite Halloween costume as a child or adult?

My husband and I once attended a Halloween party as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I had the costumes made specifically for us and they were awesome. My head was still intact.

What fictional character would be your nightmare neighbor?

Annie Wilkes from Misery. As an author, I would be very frightened to have her living next door.

Favorite Halloween candy?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I would buy them to hand out and then eat most of them. I would also steal them from my kids´ loot.

What are you working on now?

I am working on Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action, book #7 in the Amanda Travels series. While in Holland she enjoys the brilliant tulips fields, charming windmills, wooden shoes and many bicycles. She also learns more about World War II and attempts to find out what happened to a great-uncle who went missing in action in that country many years ago.

When you finish a book, do you take time off or jump into another project?

I jump right into another project, usually one that has been simmering in the back of my mind for a while. There are many ideas lurking back there. It´s a scary place.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? 

In Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, I created a character called Caleb and I really grew to like him. He’s a funny, no nonsense guy that´s not afraid to take risks and is a good friend to Amanda. I am sure he will turn up in another book soon.

Author Bio

Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. With a desire to write since she was twelve, her short stories have won a number of awards. She is the author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky twelve-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include: Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube – The Sounds of Music and Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene, her husband and their dog, Dot, divide their time between the west coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, in Spain. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

Social Media

Website: Darlene Foster
Facebook
Amazon author page
WordPress Blog 
Goodreads
Twitter@supermegawoman

 Buy Link

Amazon