Eventide by Sarah Goodman #bookreview #YA #historicalfiction #supernatural #TuesdayBookBlog

MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES

Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.”

After reading some heavy fantasy books, I was in the mood for something different, and the atmospheric cover and intriguing description of Eventide immediately caught my attention.

With Verity and her sister arriving on an orphan train in Wheeler and then sent to different families, you immediately sympathize with them.  Small towns always seem to hold the biggest secrets, and this one is no exception.  With the locals warning Verity not to venture into the woods, it reminded me of the movie The Village, which excited my supernatural-loving soul.  From the first page, the author does a wonderful job establishing an atmospheric setting, and fans of this genre will be thrilled with several spine-tingling scenes.

The characters are all well-written, and Verity finds some very likeable, supportive friends, but I especially adored Big Tom and Hettie, the couple who take her in to work on their farm.  The found family dynamic between them is so heart-warming, and one of my favorite parts of the story.

All of the long-buried secrets and scandals are revealed by the end, but the author holds back just enough to keep the reader guessing until almost the last page.  With this book releasing in early October, it would be a perfect one to curl up with on a chilly autumn evening.

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

 

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu #bookreview #YA #contemporaryfantasy

From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death.

Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link’s close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what’s more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest.

As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link’s younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.

Unfolding over a year and told through multiple POVs and a dream journal, We Were Restless Things explores the ways society shapes our reality, how we can learn to love ourselves and others, and the incredible power of our own desires.

The beautiful cover, mention of a drowning on dry land, and the victim contacting his friend from beyond the grave were what drew me to this book.  I’m always intrigued by the supernatural.

It’s not exactly what I expected.  The writing is incredibly lyrical and flows with some beautiful passages and vivid descriptions.  Noemi is quirky, creative, and loyal – all qualities I admire about her – and handles a conversation about asexuality brilliantly.  I’d expected the storyline to lean more heavily on the mystery of Link’s death, the strange texts Noemi receives from someone claiming to be him, and the disappearing lake.  All of that was part of the plot, but another very large portion is made up of the three (four, really) characters in love with Noemi (which seemed a bit excessive) and her feelings about them.  At times, it seemed as if I was reading two different stories.  The POVs primarily rotate between Noemi and Jonah, but the inclusion of Amberlyn’s POV in a few chapters puzzled me since they didn’t add anything to the plot.

Each of these characters experience grief in different ways, and some of their conversations are emotionally heavy and brutally honest.  They’ll make you think.  One character has an especially difficult life that tugs at the heartstrings, and I just wanted to hug him.

With an unusual storyline, poetic writing, and slower pace, there’s much to enjoy about this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to readers looking for an action-packed thriller as it sways more toward contemporary fantasy.

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

 

Calling #Horror, #Thriller, and #Paranormal #IndieAuthors for #BadMoonRising

It’s that time again – Bad Moon Rising is coming!  Thirty-one authors for thirty-one days in October.  If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal/supernatural books and would like to be featured, send me an email.  FREE publicity, book sales (hopefully!), new authors to follow, and more books added to the TBR – what’s not to like?

Each post will feature one of your releases, a blurb, author bio, social media links, buy links, and a short interview.  If you’d like to include a giveaway or have alternative ideas for your post, I’m always open to suggestions.

This is the sixth year of Bad Moon Rising and spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’d like to be included, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com.

I’ll be traveling today, so I probably won’t be able to get to emails until tomorrow.

A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2) by Marcia Meara #bookreview #suspense #supernatural

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with The Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power to change the world for everyone he meets, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.

Is it possible to join a fictional family?  I’d love to join this one and live in the mountains of NC.

Several other readers’ reviews have mentioned how Rabbit stole their heart – I’m no exception.  He’s such a wonderful character – wise beyond his years despite his limited education, empathetic, loving, appreciative, and an excellent judge of character.  He’s an old soul in the body of a 10-year-old boy, and I just wanted to hug him and protect him from the world.

I was so excited to be back with Mac and Sarah, who I got to know in the first book, as well as Rosheen and Handsome.  They’re two of my favorite furry characters, and I adored how quickly Rosheen took to Rabbit and felt so protective of him.

Parts of Rabbit’s story are tragic, but overall, this is a heart-warming, feel-good read with some pretty suspenseful moments and magnificent character development.  I can’t wait to continue the series.

Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter #YA #historicalmystery

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I’ve had this in my TBR for a while and listened to the audiobook during a road trip last fall.

While the narrator’s voice for Abigail is perfect, it didn’t work for me with Jackaby’s voice, but that’s a personal issue.  I appreciated Jackaby’s straightforward manner and the way he approaches the case.  His interactions with some characters are prickly at best, but also amusing.  Abigail is an adventurous soul and determined to live her own life and not abide by the expectations of others.

This was an entertaining enough read while driving, but I identified the killer very early in the book.   I hoped for red herrings to steer me in the wrong direction or an unexpected twist – but neither happened.

With several books in the series, it’s popular with readers, so I’m probably in the minority on my opinions.  I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, supernatural suspense read.

 

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!

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry #YA #supernatural #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
 
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

This book deals with some heavy subject matter – a family grieving in various ways after the tragic loss of their sister.

For me, the bonds between the sisters are one of the highlights of the story.  Sure, they have their squabbles, but will also defend each other until the end.  Each has their own distinct personality and way of dealing with grief – some in not the most healthy ways – and I appreciated the different POVs of each sister.

My favorite parts of the story are when Ana’s ghost tries to communicate with her sisters – I always love the addition of anything supernatural – and it’s the primary reason I requested this book.  Without giving away spoilers, one situation involving Ana left me hanging at the end, and I would have liked to know the outcome.  Some parts, while interesting, felt a little disjointed and didn’t really come together for me.

This is a well-written, quick read (I read it on a two hour flight), but a dark, heavy tale of grief and loss with a supernatural twist.

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

 

 

End of Day (Hode’s Hill #2) by Mae Clair #bookreview #supernatural #suspense

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?  

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

This review was meant to be posted months ago, so I have no idea why it was still in my review draft folder.  Maybe it’s fortuitous, because the first book in this series, Cusp of Night, is free, and this book and the last, Eventide, are $0.99 through February 25th.  Take advantage of this deal now – you won’t regret it!

I loved the first book in this series and was so excited to read End of Day, I made it my choice for book club.

This is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, dreary night.  Some scenes will send chills up your spine and have you glancing over your shoulder to make sure no one’s there.  With book club members, it spawned spirited conversations ranging from genetics (an odd choice, I know) to our beliefs in ghosts and mediums.  For this horror fan, it was a highly enjoyable meeting.

As with the first book in the series, I especially enjoyed the alternating timelines and how Gabriel’s fate was gradually explained.  I remembered Dante from the previous book and looked forward to learning more about him.  He’s now one of my favorite characters in the series, and his scenes with Elliott in the role of a substitute father figure warmed my heart.  Jillian’s tragic circumstances immediately pulled me in, and I count her therapy dog, Blizzard, as one of the best bookish furry friends I’ve read.

End of Day is a compelling blend of paranormal, thriller, and mystery, and although part of a series, can easily be read as a standalone.  I  highly recommend this well-written, atmospheric read.

The Last Christmas: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson #bookreview #supernatural #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Jack is back.

Wilson never said he was through with Repairman Jack. He said he was through turning in a new novel every year. He also said when a story came along that was right for Jack, he’d write it.

The Last Christmas is that story.

It’s late December between Ground Zero and Fatal Error, a winter of discontent for Jack who’s perhaps spending too much time hanging at Julio’s. An old contact, Edward Burkes, convinces him to take on a missing-person fix. As usual, nothing is as it seems, and the missing person isn’t exactly a person. In fact, it’s like nothing anyone has ever seen.

And in the middle of all this, the mysterious Madame de Medici hires him to safeguard a valuable object. Simple, right?

Not even close.

Yep, Jack is back and, as usual, weird trouble is on his heels.

Many years ago, a friend loaned me Conspiracies, the third Repairman Jack novel. I was immediately hooked and scrambled to read the first two in the series.  Since then, I’ve remained a loyal fan and have read every book, as well as Repairman Jack: The Early Years.  I was distraught when I’d believed the last book of the series had been written a few years ago – so imagine my excitement when I saw a new Jack book on NetGalley!

Repairman Jack is hands down one of the coolest characters I’ve ever read, and it was such a treat to hang out again with him, Abe, Gia, Vicky, Julio, and Parabellum again.  This latest “fix” involves some genetic engineering, but still ties in with the overall arc of the series.  Jack using his powers of “persuasion”, sweet moments with Gia and Vicky, discussions over food with Abe, nail-biting close calls – it’s all here.

This series is classified as horror – not the gore variety – but closer to supernatural occult.  If that’s even a category.  If you enjoy intelligent MCs, otherworldly themes, exciting action sequences, and memorable characters, look no further.  Repairman Jack will always be at the top of my list of favorite books.  Jack is back!

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

#BadMoonRising: Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story by D.G. Driver #YA #ghoststory #supernatural

Happy Halloween!  We come to the final day of Bad Moon Rising where we’ve debated the pros and cons of vampires versus werewolves, Jack versus Carrie, aliens versus serial killers, and many other harrowing situations, while also discovering new authors and books.

Today’s author has already spent the night in a haunted hotel and says while it was spooky, she’d go for it again.  I’ve read her featured book (how awesomely eerie is that cover?), and it’s likely to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.  Even better, it’s also on sale until until November 8th – so what’s stopping you from curling up with this supernatural tale tonight?  Welcome D.G. Driver!

Would you rather walk through a haunted graveyard at midnight or spend the night in a haunted, abandoned house? 

I have spent the night in a haunted hotel before on a ghost hunt. While thrilling, it was definitely spooky. So, I think I’ll go for the haunted house, hoping that it has fewer ghosts to hide from and outrun than the haunted graveyard.

Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? 

Oh, I definitely choose vampire. Werewolves are messy and never remember what they’ve done. Plus, it seems like it hurts a lot turning into a werewolf. Vampires can be classy, if they choose to, and they can pick their victims and whether or not they’re going to drink them to death or not.

Would you rather boogie down to Monster Mash or get your groove on to Thriller?

Well, I was a teen in the 80s, so this isn’t a real question. Ha ha! I remember rushing home from school to see Thriller the first time on MTV. My theater friends and I danced to it around the track in the Homecoming parade one year. It will always be the best Halloween song.

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in the same setting, where would you choose?

When I was a teenager, I started writing a very Indiana Jones inspired story set in Hawaii, dealing with Hawaiian mythology. The story was probably awful, but I could get into living in Hawaii for a year and coming up with something interesting. Maybe another mermaid book.

What is your favorite cover of all your books?  Why?

The cover for Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story is my favorite. I think my designer, Caroline Andrus, who does all the covers of my books with Fire and Ice YA Books, really captured the tone and feel of the story. I like the greenish/gray tone of it, too. We went back and forth a few times until she nailed it.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Ooh, let me think about this. I wrote 3 full-length novels (1 horror, 2 fantasy) back in the 90s that I abandoned. I have 2 middle grade historical novels that were published in 1999/2001 by a tiny press that quickly went out of business. I have 3 more middle grade novels that are complete. I have some hope for one of them, but the others will probably never be published. I have a play that was produced but hasn’t been published. I also wrote a couple screenplays, and I’m considering turning at least one of them into a novel at some point.

One girl’s daring adventure turns into a long frightful night lost on the water.

Forced to leave the California beach behind to spend the summer with her grandma in rural Tennessee, Dannie is certain this will be the most boring summer of her life. Things start looking up when a group of local kids, mistaking her short hair and boyish figure, invite her on their ‘no girls allowed’ overnight kayaking trip. Obviously, her grandma refuses to let her go. But Dannie suspects the real reason is that the woman is afraid of the lake, only she won’t tell Dannie why.

Longing for freedom and adventure, Dannie finds an old rowboat hidden behind the shed and sneaks off on her own to catch up to her new friends. It seems like a simple solution … until everything goes wrong.

Dannie soon discovers this lake is more than just vast. It’s full of danger, family secrets, and ghosts.

Purchase Link

Lost on the Water – A Ghost Story is discounted to $2.99 through November 8th for Halloween season. (I believe by the time this post comes out it will have been transferred to Kindle Unlimited.)

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Water-D-G-Driver-ebook/dp/B07F983SKT

in print http://www.lulu.com/shop/d-g-driver/lost-on-the-water/paperback/product-23691615.html

Bio

D.G. Driver is an optimist at heart, and that’s why she likes to write about young people making an impact on the world. You’ll find among her books a teen environmental activist, a young girl teaching people about autism acceptance and to stop bullying people with special needs, a princess who wants to be more than a prize for a prince, a boy who wins a girl’s heart by being genuine and chivalrous, and a girl who bravely searches for a friend lost along the shore of a dark lake. She is an award-winning author of books for teens and tweens, but you’ll find some romance and horror stories published in anthologies, too. When Driver isn’t writing, she’s a teacher at an inclusive child development program in Nashville, TN. She might also take a break from writing once in a while to strut the stage in a local theater production. You’re guaranteed to find her belting out Broadway show tunes anytime she’s driving. Learn more about her books at www.dgdriver.com

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