Book Review: Why She Lied by Julie Coons

Author: Julie Coons
Release Date: 3rd March 2019
Genre: Psychological thriller, Dark Fiction, Crime, Adult, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 183
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
Will she have to lose her child to save her child?
The day she tells her boyfriend she’s pregnant, is the same day he tells her he’s been accused of molestation. His trial is set to begin the following day.
She needs answers…
To get them, she tricks her boyfriend into signing a release form, giving her full access to all of his legal documents. She uncovers the truth, he’s guilty.
To save her unborn child from this monster, she gets an abortion.
FIVE YEARS LATER and still rebuilding her life, Julie finds out her ex-boyfriend has just become the most wanted man in America, involved in human trafficking. When detectives ask for her help locating him, she gets drawn into a baffling mystery. What began as a seemingly simple search soon turns into a much darker reality.
Someone from her past is watching…
Bit by bit, the tapestry of her own secret childhood begins to unravel. What she learns about her past will haunt her forever: family isn’t always what it seems.
Can she help bring this predator to justice, or will she die trying?

WHY SHE LIED is a gripping psychological thriller full of mystery, intrigue, and buried secrets.

REVIEW

★★★★

Why She Lied by Julie Coons is a refreshing new dark psychological thriller with a great concept, a nicely executed plot and decent characterization. This book had just the right amount of complexity to make it an engaging read without being too overly complex.

Overall, this book was a gripping thriller. The characterization wasn’t exactly spot on, but I cared for the main character, Julie, enough to read through the entire book with interest. The layers of background made her a likeable lead and, although the flashbacks and some character traits felt redundant, I felt she was a decent protagonist. Though, again, I wasn’t able to connect or relate to her entirely for some reason.

The writing was good for most parts, though at times the narration felt redundant and there was more of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing.’ As it was on the simpler side, the reading was easy and the book, because of the tight pacing, turned out to be a surprisingly quick read even for a less-than-200-pages-book.

I liked this book and would recommend to all thriller lovers, especially the ones who love reading dark thrillers with layered and complex characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon
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Book Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

AuthorJoe Hill
Release Date: 24th October 2017
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Dark, Short Stories
Series: 
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 448
Publisher: Gollancz
Blurb:
Four short novels from the author of THE FIREMAN and HORNS, ranging from creepy horror to powerful explorations of our modern society.
One autumnal day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails, splinters of bright crystal that tear apart anyone who isn’t safely under cover. ‘Rain’ explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as clouds of nails spread out across the country and the world. Amidst the chaos, a girl studying law enforcement takes it upon herself to resolve a series of almost trivial mysteries . . . apparently harmless puzzles that turn out to have lethal answers.
In ‘Loaded’ a mall security guard heroically stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun movement. Under the hot glare of the spotlights, though, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it…
‘Snapshot, 1988’ tells the story of an kid in Silicon Valley who finds himself threatened by The Phoenician, a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid that can steal memories…
And in ‘Aloft’ a young man takes to the skies to experience parachuting for the first time . . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapour that seems animated by a mind of its own.

REVIEW

★★★

This book turned out to be an okay read. I had a lot of expectation from this one, mostly because I had heard a lot about Joe Hill’s writing but also because he is one of the offsprings of my favourite writer. Overall, I liked the concepts of the stories, but what I did not like was the way they started to feel “lost” after a good beginning. The writing was good, no doubt, but the narration seemed to have faltered a lot as the story reached a certain point and then it went downhill from there at a fast speed.

Snapshot – 3/5 – Being a king fan, I felt this was very much like his works. I liked this story, but do feel that the ending was a slog. Hill could have totally ended the story 10-20 pages before and it would have been a great read rather than having over-stretched it.

Loaded – 1/5 – I read the first 2 pages and I left it there itself. I didn’t find the writing very appealing in this one nor did the story made any sense to me (I mean it is a short story, it has to make some sense in the first 2 pages, right?!) So… DNF

Aloft – 4/5 – A very good story. I loved the backstory more than anything else but overall, I really enjoyed this one. This book was a big relief and felt like a glass of chilled water in the desert heat as after such average stories, it was good to read something Hill is famous for – his unique imagination and style.

Rain – 3/5 – I really liked the beginning of this story and thought that this one would be my favourite one from this collection but towards the end, it started to feel like a burden and I was not sure where was it even headed to (something that I felt in the first story, Snapshot, too.)

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: The Subject And The Scientist by Montana Stayer

Author: Montana Stayer
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Dark Fiction
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 187
Publisher:
Blurb:
The Scientist’s daughter was dying and he was desperate to save her by any means necessary. He illegally and artificially created the Subject, the perfect donor body, but was taken by surprise when the Subject turned out to be a fully conscious child. Faced with the choice of taking care of the child he accidentally created or saving his daughter, the Scientist chose the latter. He kept the Subject locked in the basement with full intent to kill her to save his daughter.
The Scientist’s plan ultimately failed and his daughter died, leaving him with the “thing” meant to save her.
It’s been years since his daughter died and the Scientist has kept the Subject locked up alone in the basement, refusing to acknowledge that she is a child and treating her strictly as an experiment. He keeps a rigid routine when visiting her and attempts to be completely objective, which proves to be difficult as the Subject has grown to be a very friendly child who insists on trying to build some sort of relationship with him.
Nothing’s changed in a long time. The Scientist begins losing sleep because of his worsening mental and emotional states and his exhaustion leads to mistakes, which cause problems with the Subject. When the Subject’s health starts rapidly deteriorating because of him, the Scientist’s forced to reconsider his objectivity but he is adamant about remaining indifferent, endangering the Subject’s life.

Review

★★★

The Subject And The Scientist by Montana Stayer is an unusual sci-fi tale about a man who does something he never intended to do and then ends up, quite unhappily, living with the consequences of his acts.

The plot described in the blurb of the book is simple enough, but the story is not; it is way more than one might expect after reading the summary. For one, the emotional aspect of the story was something I really found interesting, especially the detachment of The Scientist, the lead character, towards the girl, The Subject.

The writing style was simple and okay but the characterization was something I wasn’t overly impressed with. Overall, I feel that the story demanded two very, very strong characters to take the story to another level and that was something I found missing. The ending was different and made sense.

I’d recommend this book to light sci-fi fans and readers of the dark genre.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: Something Needs Bleeding: The Final Novel by Thomas Singer by Christopher Long

Author: Christopher Long
Release Date: 28th September 2015
Genre: Horror, Dark
Edition: E-book
Pages: 334
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.

Review

Something Needs Bleeding by Christopher Long is a compilation of horror stories by  Thomas Singer, a talented but recluse author and wanted who wanted these stories to be published and read by his readers only after his death.

The fact that this book has stories by a dead author who wanted them published only after his death is disquieting in itself. I did feel a queer feeling when I finished reading the introduction and started reading the first story and once I got started there was no turning back. The uncertainty that these stories could very well have been real experiences of the author made my nerves stand on end throughout the book.

I liked the introductions by Christopher Long, mostly because they added a layer of intrigue and uneasiness to the stories that followed. They were also quite informative, as not having known Thomas Singer at all, they helped me know a lot about him and hence, develop a connection with the stories. They added a layer of intimacy between the stories and the reader and it felt like I’ve known Singer all my life.

The stories… well, they were all masterpieces. And I say this being a horror author myself. They weren’t outrageously spooky or even scary, but they were quite firm in holding the reader’s attention and the detailing and the easy flow of the writing and the beautiful progression of each and every story was spot on and more than enough for me to give this book a full 5/5 rating.

In fact, I’m going to dig up other books by Thomas Singer and read them all because his writing deserves to be read and relished. I’m sure he’s smiling from up there reading this review and I hope that he did not meet his end in the way one of his stories end (Something Needs Bleeding – 3rd incision.)

I found each and every story to be a work of genius. I loved each and every single story and I found myself completely losing in them and losing the track of time. The narration (and the first person POVs) were written in such a way that it made me feel as if I was right there and it was all happening right in front of me. The imagery (the proper term for what I just said) was superb!

I’d recommend this book to all the horror readers and to those who won’t mind reading dark and creepy stuff. If you love the horror genre, then you simply can’t afford to miss this one.

More from the author: Author Interview: Christopher Long

Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Jane Jordan

Author: Jane Jordan  
Release Date: 26th November 2016
Genre: Dark Thriller, Historical
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Black Opal Books

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Annabel Taylor, a beekeeper’s daughter, grows up wild and carefree on the moors of England in the late 1860s, following in the footsteps of her mother, a beautiful witch. Annabel’s closest friend is Jevan Wenham. The son of the blacksmith, he lives his life on the verge of destruction. His devotion to Annabel is full of twists and turns as brutality melds with deepest desire. But when Jevan is forced to travel to London to receive an education, Annabel is devastated.
Then Alex—heir to the Saltonstall legacy and son of Cerberus Saltonstall, the wealthy landowner of the foreboding Gothelstone Manor—comes into her life. Alex is arrogant and self-assured, but he cannot stop thinking about the outspoken girl he encounters on the road to Gothelstone. Not only is he bewitched by Annabel’s beauty, he feels drawn to her by something he can’t explain. Alex and Annabel are socially worlds apart, but that doesn’t stop him from demanding her hand in marriage. When Annabel refuses, she is forced into an impossible situation. Jevan believes she has betrayed him, regardless of the fact that her decision saves him from the hangman’s noose.
As a devastating love triangle unfolds, disturbing revelations thrust Annabel into a startling reality, where nothing is as it seems. Now both her life and Jevan’s are in danger, and her fledging powers may not be enough to save them…


Review

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Jane Jordan is a historical book that was a bit of a heavy read, at least for me.

I did have a lot of expectations from the book, but when I started reading the book the writing itself failed to pull me in and this happens very rarely with me. Needless to say, it proved to be a hard read for me and in spite of trying my best, I was not able to connect to the lead the way I should have and, as a result, the rest of the book obviously started to feel like a drag.

Though I must say that the story is unique, in spite of the cliched love triangle. I really wish I was able to connect to the lead because then it would have been a much pleasant read.

This book has a lot fo positive reviews, so I’m sure that Historical Fiction lovers might actually like this book. But it wasn’t for me.


Goodreads and Amazon

Novella Review: Fly And Other Stories

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Author: Anneliese Poelsma 
Release Date: January 12, 2015 
Series: None
Genre: Short Stories |Dark Fiction | Psychological Fiction | Adult
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 68
Publisher: Self-Published 
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

A book of six short stories.

Winner of the 2014 Ada Cambridge Prose Prize, ‘fly’ tells the story about a power struggle between two women whose relationship is doomed from the start yet neither can let go, one because of a desire for power and control, the other because of an inability to let go of her need for escapism and change.

‘I live in the bathroom. My husband locked me in here in a fit of rage…’
Winner of the 2002 Verandah Literary Award for fiction, ‘I Live in the Bathroom’ is an unsettling psychological tale about a woman’s disturbing fight to retain her sanity in a domestic setting gone awry. After being locked up by her grieving husband, she takes us on a dangerous journey into the bugs and viruses of the human mind as she struggles to make sense of her reality and the consequences of her dark feelings of jealousy and rejection.

Jennifer… an innocent, socially awkward woman being bullied by her chic office colleagues, or an obsessed, narcissistic stalker capable of the darkest of deeds?

‘Where Maisy Went’
Longlisted for the 2014 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.
Desperate for a baby of her own, a stroll through the inner city gardens turns into an impromptu kidnapping for middle-aged, mentally challenged Georgia. Ill equipped for the sudden demands of motherhood and with the mind of a child herself, Georgia unwittingly embarks on a journey towards infanticide.

The food the food the food…
‘Skin’ tells the story about the role food can play in the struggle against self-loathing, the fear of rejection and the fight for control and preservation of self in the face of psychological manipulation and abuse. Skin outlines one lesbian woman’s battle to free herself not only from the power of false love but the demands of a society and its concepts of what constitutes feminine beauty.

‘Jump’
One man’s search for his family in a busy shopping center becomes a search for meaning and purpose in his life. As he loses hope at every wrong turn and the resulting disasters continually test his lacking confidence, the man must decide if his life is worth the continued struggle against disappointment, disapproval and death.

‘fly and other stories’ explores human strength and fallibility in the face of failed emotional connections. It investigates the fragility of sanity and the desire to hold onto hope, sometimes where there is none. Each character seeks to achieve a sense of self-improvement, freedom and happiness, sometimes successfully, sometimes misguided, sometimes with horrific consequences as they struggle to force their worlds to make sense.

Rating

5-stars

Review

Fly And Other Short Stories is a short-stories collection of 6 brilliantly written short stories. The main theme of the story is exploring the dark rooms inside a person and the author has done it to perfection.

I enjoyed each and every story and was left craving for more. All the stories were short, to-the-point and smart. I really liked reading them and they really creeped the hell out of me (yeah, I just made that up. But you get the drift, right?)

To be honest, when I first saw this book on Goodreads, I had no idea what to expect from it. I mean the name itself felt bizarre and then as soon as I read the blurb, I was sold! I immediately accepted the review request and now, that I’ve read it, I’m really happy that I read it.

If you like the works of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn then this book is a must read. It’s a novella, but it packs a serious punch. All the stories are 5/5. In fact, they are so good that I can’t even pick a favorite one.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of dark fiction, especially those who have a thing for creepy stuff and don’t mind the negative side of things.

You can also read this review at:
Goodreads and Amazon

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I sit on the edge of the couch, perched and stiff.

Highlights: Brilliant storytelling.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant short story collection.

Book Review: Pet Sematary

Pet SemataryAuthor: Stephen King
Release Date: January 1, 1983 
Series: None 
Genre: Thriller | Fiction | Paranormal | Horror | Adult | Fantasy | Zombies | Suspense | Dark-Fiction 
Pages: 465 
ISBN NO.: 978-0-340-95146-0 
Publisher: Hachette India
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Blurb

The house looked right, felt right, to Dr. Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago.

Book Review: Skive

skive 
 Author: Paul Adam levy
 Release Date: April 19, 2014
 Series: None
 Genre: Dark-Comedy | Fiction 
 Edition: mobi
 Pages: 114
 Publisher: Self-Published
 Interest: Requested by author
 Source: Author (Thanks a lot Paul!)
 Buy it here: Amazon
 

Blurb

Skive is a black comedy that introduces a dysfunctional man who, disillusioned with his boring, hum drum life working in a supermarket, is thrown into panic when an unexpected opportunity is offered to him. Suddenly, he feels trapped in a life he wishes to escape.

Book Review: Girl Nevermore

22931555Genre: YA | Contemporary | Dark-Fiction

My Rating: 3 + 1/2

Read my review of Girl Nevermore at JC’s Book Haven.

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

Blurb: Last week, Cooper Mesa was a quiet, studious bookworm.
This week, she feels unworthy of love or forgiveness.
When Cooper’s twin sister, Kayla, tries to end her own life, Cooper blames herself. If only she had paid more attention…
Desperate to understand her sister’s decision, Cooper starts down a dark path, discovering her own inner turmoil. Losing herself is easy, but finding a reason to live is becoming impossible.