BOOK DESCRIPTION: Mandy, a nurse at Freeport Hospital, is sent down to the under-construction third floor to gather supplies. To her surprise, she encounters a little girl there. At first, she believes the child has simply gotten lost, but in a split second, the little girl disappears and gives Mandy the fright of her life and starts Mary O’Reilly’s next supernatural case.
Mary and Bradley, with some surprising help, discover there are thirteen ghost children stuck in on the third floor. Together, they work to solve the mystery of their deaths and help them find the light.
Things are hectic in the Alden household, too, as Baby Mikey is due to arrive soon, and that means big, big changes for everyone.
MY REVIEW: As always, Reid has crafted a lovely story full of heart, love, and surprise. I never get tired of this series; in fact, I eagerly await each new installment. This one especially!
My favorite thing about this series is how, while it deals with the spookiness of ghosts, they are more about family, friendship, and doing the right thing. These books are always heartwarming, sometimes tearjerking, and always uplifting in the very best way.
Reid’s writing style is my favorite. It’s easy-to-read and to get absolutely absorbed in. There are no unnecessary details, and her characters quickly become like friends. You feel like you actually know (and love) these people, and it’s easy to become invested in their lives.
This particular installment (The 20th! Wow! Talk about stamina, Mrs. Reid!) we see Clarissa’s growth as a person, Mary coming to terms with massive changes in her life, and new additions. All of this, even the disappointments and scary situations, are handled with consideration and unconditional love.
Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I know I can count on a Mary O’Reilly novel to give it to me.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: A team of college students is assembled to work on a new sort of security system for airports and shipping companies. Their project goes haywire, though, when they accidentally create the Transporter, a time machine that goes back 1000 years.
It can only go back 1000 years wherever it is placed, but even this is a huge scientific development.
Australia, the UK, Canada, and America come together to send a group of Special Forces officers back to Saxon England hoping for the men to merge with the people and teach those in the present time more about them than they already know. Using twenty-first-century technology, they send daily reports back to the present.
But these officers quickly learn they need more than high tech gear to make it in the eleventh century.
MY REVIEW: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Once you figure out what’s actually happening in this book, it becomes a really fun read. For the first 5% or so, I had a hard time following exactly what was happening, but I’m glad I stuck with it because this book has a lot of heart.
It flips back and forth between the perspectives of those in the present and the officer(s) they’ve sent back to the past. It is a little muddy at first what’s happening, and how these two perspectives are connected, but it eventually becomes sparkling clear.
I found this story to be extremely innovative and fun. Imagining a time machine that only goes back to a certain time period is different from most anything I’ve ever encountered before and adds a compelling perspective.
Also, the characters in this book are endearing and quite charming. I am not super knowledgeable about Saxon England, so it was fun to learn about those who lived then, and their social structure.
It was a tad confusing having a Michael and a Mike both with ‘H’ last names. I found myself having to stop and think about which character was which a few times. I think it would have read better if the names were a little more diverse.
All of that being said, this is a great read if you enjoy both historical fiction and sci-fi. It’s a lovely meld of the two genres.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Set in 1952, Private Detective Richard Saussure is hired to solve the mystery of why Lord Hugh Hurlingthon can’t die. Pulling Saussure out of his comfort zone, 213-year-old Lord Hurlingthon challenges the detective, and Saussure isn’t going to back down. His reputation is to always solve the case, after all.
In this dark paranormal mystery, Richard Saussure will have to dig deep into his own past and ask for the help of his favorite enemy: Dr. Annette Kensington, a forensic doctor whose thirst for justice equals her despise for Saussure.
MY REVIEW: ‘Immortal Bones’ is an interesting take on immortality, morality, and family.
Trinidad Giachino has crafted characters with bold and distinct personalities. Detective Saussure is sassy, witty, and just enough of a jerk to make you like him. Dr. Annette Kensington gives him back exactly what he gives her. Their relationship is a delightful exchange of insults combined with respect.
Lord Hurlingthon is a soft and sympathetic character. From the onset of his claim to of immortality, I believed him. Giachino’s vibrant description of his corpse-like appearance further solidified his believability.
I felt like the ending was a bit rushed compared to the pacing of the rest of the novel. Also, I hope the druid makes appearances in future novels, otherwise I didn’t feel like that storyline was quintessential to the plot.
Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read.
I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts.
•everyone starts small. just because you’re not big now, doesn’t mean you’ll never be. and if you’re just starting out, keep in mind those bigger blogs have been writing for much longer than you. building a following takes time.
•there will always be someone who enjoys your writing. every like, reblog, and comment is one person who enjoyed what you wrote and i can assure you they want more! and remember, not everyone remembers to leave evidence that they liked your writing or they might just be too nervous to interact with you. invisible fans exist, and you’ve got them.
•going along with that last one, your writing has the potential to help others! you could write about a minority, or maybe you could publish a little something comforting at the exact time someone else needs it. and most of the time, when you affect someone like this they’ll tell you, whether it be through tags, or a private message or whatever. that’s an amazing feeling.
•getting a compliment from someone becomes a sure-fire way to make your day better. nothing feels greater than seeing a comment from someone saying how much they love something you worked hard on. maybe write down these comments somewhere, so you can look at them when you’re feeling negative about your skills as a writer.
•writer’s block is not the end of your writing career. it sure feels like it sometimes, but everyone, even the popular writers you look up to, suffer from writer’s block. everyone puts out work they’re not 100% satisfied with sometimes, and that’s okay! when you get out of this slump, your writing will be better than ever before and you’ll enjoy it again. keep writing through a block so you can get there sooner.
These are the things I think about when I feel bad about my writing, so I hope they can help someone else too.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Go on a hair-raising journey from the scorching ashes of Pompeii, to a mysterious lakebed, and through a disturbing maze-like bunker. Will the story of a girl freed from her chains lift your spirit? Would you believe that good luck has its downsides? Encounter horrors hiding in plain sight within this collection of twelve tales of terror designed to shock and frighten you.
You might discover fears you never knew you had.
MY REVIEW: I read ‘From the Ashes of Pompeii and Other Dark Tales’ as part of the NoSleep Podcast Book Club.
I am familiar with Lyset’s work after having been listening to the NoSleep Podcast since its infancy. Lyset crafts creepy worlds in a way that seems almost effortless making for excellent reads (or listens!)
This collection includes the stories:
From the Ashes of Pompeii – This story details a museum curator who is forced to take over an installation on Pompeii after her co-worker originally in charge kills himself in a brutal way. As she prepares herself for the exhibit, she discovers there is a dark secret tied to the artifacts intended for display, and perhaps her co-worker’s death wasn’t as cut-and-dry as she’d originally thought.
This is a cool story. Lyset has taken a familiar and tragic piece of history and spun an intriguing supernatural element into it.
I Thanked the Man Who Murdered My Only Friend – In this tale, a man becomes friends with the bartender at his favorite watering hole. They’ve known each other for years, so he thinks he knows the barkeep well. But when he falls asleep in the bar and finds his only friend murdered, he learns that no matter how long you’ve known someone or how kind they’ve been to you, they can still surprise you.
I remember this story from the podcast. Reading it for myself, though, after having already heard it did not dampen my enjoyment of it. This is a tale that makes you think about the people in your life because the truth is you never really, truly know someone.
The Mercy Ship – The Mercy Ship sails the seas giving free health care to those who can’t afford it. When it first docks, a father takes his ailing daughter there in hopes of some answers and help. They tell him to bring her back when they dock there again in a couple of months so they can perform a surgery on her. He does as he’s told, but when the ship arrives for a second time, he gets a bad feeling in his gut. Something terrible has happened aboard The Mercy Ship.
This is a sad tale and a believable tale. Sometimes, the scariest monsters aren’t paranormal – they’re human.
Studio Audience – What if you had a constant studio audience reacting to your life in your head? That’s what this story proposes.
I like stories that turn the absurd into horror. They work wonderfully when well done, and Lyset has done this one well. What a true torture a condition like that must be. Who’s in that audience?
Girl in the Shed – A young man stumbles upon a little girl chained up in a dilapidated shed in the woods. Vowing to save her, to become the hero, turns out to be a really, really bad plan.
I remember this story, too. The main character’s actions make complete sense. Who wouldn’t do what he does if confronted with the same situation? And no one could possibly expect what his actions will result in.
Isolation – While attending a tour of a 50s-era nuclear bomb bunker, the main character decides to depart from the group and explore on their own. Doing so results in them getting locked in the place and bearing witness to true horrors.
I had heard this story, too. The atmosphere in this tale permeates your skin. The scare dives deep, and I’ll bet you’ll be thinking about this story long after its finished.
I Used to Hack Baby Monitors – A group of teenage boys decides they are going to screw around with new parents in their city by hacking into the frequency of their baby monitors and saying creepy things. One boy, though, gets more than he bargained for.
Yet another story I’d heard before. (Manen Lyset’s stories get around, if you know what I mean!) This story, in particular, freaks me out. I do *not* like baby monitors. The devices in themselves are scary as all get out to me. Especially the video ones. I can’t help but imagining hearing or seeing something unwanted and unexpected through them.
A Sunken Dock – Needing a break from the hectic-nature of our modern world, the character in this story turns to camping in the woods. While there, they discover a half-sunken dock. Inspecting it turns their whole world upside down.
This story wasn’t anything like I expected. In the very best way. It’s mind-boggling and a really fun read.
Good Luck – There’s a superstition that says saving a ladybug’s life grants you as many years of good luck as spots on the bug’s carapace. But luck is subjective, as the person in this story quickly discovers.
This is my favorite story in the collection. The concept really messed with my head, and that’s exactly what I want from my horror fiction.
The Gardener – A terrible drought has befallen a farming community, and this brings out The Gardener. Beware!
This story is body horror done well! The descriptions are so vivid they actually made my skin crawl. Love this story!
The Serpent of Bourbon Street – A party-goer has looked forward to attending a Mardi Gras celebration all their life hoping for the experience of a lifetime but, during it, they get the fright of one instead.
This was my least favorite story in the collection, but it’s still an enjoyable read. It did not stick with me the way the others did. I had to go back and reread it before writing this review because I didn’t remember it enough to write about it.
The Pigeons Around Here Aren’t Real – Two pest control people believe they’ve found the perfect solution to a growing pigeon problem – using fake eggs to convince the birds they are nurturing more offspring than they are. They buy the eggs from an unknown online dealer, though, and that proves to be really, really bad news.
This story perfectly examples what it’s like to buy goods online sometimes. You think you’re gonna get a silky, blue, formfitting gown but, instead, you get the equivalent of a blue potato sack. Only in this story, the consequences are far, far more reaching.
Pick up this collection. The stories will remain with you, like a dark and creeping shadow.