Waiting for Wednesday: I am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Book Synopsis:

“A supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

This gripping conceptual horror takes you deep into one of the most macabre and unique imaginations writing in the genre. On family, on children, Lindqvist writes in a way that tears the heart and twists the soul. I Am Behind You turns the world upside down and, disturbing, terrifying and shattering by turns, it will suck you in.”

Why I need it:

What is going on in this novel?! Why has outside been deleted?! What did these families do?!
All of these questions I need answers for.

I am a huge fan of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s writing. Let the Right One In is probably one of my favourite novels and definitely my favourite vampire novel. You can read my review of it here. So it is safe to say that I am looking forward to his newest book.

The concept of this novel sounds like something from a Stephen King novel. It almost reminds me of The Langoliers with it being about a group of people who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world. Hopefully it won’t contain any of The Langoliers time-whimy plot nonsense because that was when that story reached the point of stupidity.

Will this book be another brilliant novel from a brilliant author? I guess we will have to see when it comes out.

I am Behind You is scheduled for release on September 7th 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

ARC REVIEW: Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:
“The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.
Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.”

Review:

Creepy dolls, ghost children and needles in eyeballs, what else would you want from a horror novel?

I read the first book Frozen Charlotte earlier this year and I was left dying for a prequel. I needed to know more about these creepy dolls. Where did they come from? Why did they want to kill people? Did I get what I wanted? Yes and no.

I got my prequel and it was just as creepy as I expected, but at the same time it was just a more detailed writing of events that were mentioned in passing in the first book. I enjoyed that but I would have liked a few more new things thrown in. That is the only negative thing I found about it. Other than that it was a brilliant read.

Even if a lot of it was a rehash of events mentioned in the last novel the book did have one new thing that made it stand out: A scary ghost. Yes the dolls are frightening but in this book there is also a ghost who visually is frightening. I am not easily scared but I wouldn’t want to see this ghost in person. I am not going to give spoilers, but ghosts who have their expression frozen like a death mask, especially when their death was horrible, are chilling. Imagine choking to death and your face being stuck like that forever. A pleasant image? No. Stuff of nightmares.

Also unlike the original book this novel contained a very realistic romance. I am not normally one for romance in novels but when it is realistic and isn’t getting in the way of the plot I can happily enjoy it. It was kept very to the side and was rather mature for the main romance in a teen novel and those traits made it rather sweet. If you aren’t big on romance you can enjoy this one without the annoying YA style love tropes being shoved in your face the whole time.

Warnings:

Will frighten younger readers, horror, threat, gore, animal cruelty and abuse.

Rating:

4 out of 5

I LOVED this book almost as much as I loved the first one. I would happily say that an adult would enjoy this simple horror read if they wanted something quick to fill an upcoming October night with. The perfect addition to anyone’s Halloween to-read list, but I would say, read the first book first, but that is just common sense.

Dark Reads of the Month: July

July was a mixed month for reading for me. I blame the sunshine. I read 6 books this month but none of them were books that I planned to read because I kept getting distracted by pretty short story collections and rereads. At least I had a great time.

I will have a few interesting new releases for you next month because Random House and a few other publishers have sent me a small pile of upcoming horror releases to read. I am sworn to silence about some them until the start of September. Just in time for my next Dark Reads of the Month. The rest will have to wait until October.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


I know I promised to read Cujo this month but I ended up rereading a different book about a killer dog instead. I am pretty sure I have read this book ten times already.

I picked this for this list because even though Sherlock Holmes is not a gothic character many of his stories contain elements that are found in gothic literature. It is like the plot of a gothic novel is happening around a non gothic character. If you haven’t checked out the Hound of the Baskervilles yet you need to. It is easy to follow even if you havent read any other Sherlock Holmes stories previously, as this was published when Sherlock was canonly “dead”, and secondly Doyle sucks at timelines. The stories are all over the place and some are even openly flashbacks.

Random fact: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was so bad at remembering his own story details that James Moriarty has a brother called James.

Some day I will stop being a living Sherlock Holmes ad, but this is not that day.

Dolly by Susan Hill


“The remoter parts of the English Fens are forlorn, lost and damp even in the height of summer. At Iyot Lock, a large decaying house, two young cousins, Leonora and Edward are parked for the summer with their ageing spinster aunt and her cruel housekeeper. At first the unpleasantness and petty meannesses appear simply spiteful, calculated to destroy Edward’s equanimity. But when spoilt Leonora is not given the birthday present of a specific dolly that she wants, affairs inexorably take a much darker turn with terrifying, life destroying, consequences for everyone.”

This was another reread. I didn’t really enjoy this book the first time I read it but I ended up loving it the second time around. I think when I first read it I was expecting more creepy horror but got gothic literature instead which I wasn’t in the mood for at the time. Sometimes you just need to come back to a book later with a different mindset. If you didn’t know already, Susan Hill is the writer of The Woman in Black.

The only real flaw that I found with Dolly is that it is billed as a ghost story but isn’t a ghost story at all. Yes it is horror but more in the usual vague gothic literature sense of horror. If you read a lot of gothic literature you will know the sort of vagueness I am talking about. A simple and enjoyable story about how someone’s internal ugliness will always find its way outside.

Travelling Bag by Susan Hill


I loved Dolly so much that I ended up reading a second Susan Hill book right after it.

The Travelling Bag is a collection of short gothic ghost stories and they are some of the best I that have read in a long time. I will admit that they are not the most inventive stories but they are sweet and simple. Sometimes you just need a straight to the post ghost story to flick through on a summer’s night or to add to your upcoming Halloween reading list.

One of the best things about Susan Hill’s writing is that her stories cover various time periods. Some stories are obviously set in the past, while others are more modern, and some are simply timeless with no obvious time period. My favourite story in the collection was Alice Baker. A ghost story set in a modern office work place. There is something special about a gothic story being set in modern times. They are usually all about old manor houses and people in billowy dresses, not an office building.

If you havent checked out Susan Hill books yet you are missing out.

So what was the best book you read this month? Leave me a suggestion I am always open.

As always feel free to add me on Goodreads  to keep up to date with what I am reading throughout the months, and follow me on Instagram @Belle_and_Books , where I post photos of whatever I am reading and my various adventures, like eating sandwiches in cemeteries. Seriously though…

…Cemetery Sandwiches.

ReReading Goosebumps: Monster Blood

“While staying with his weird great-aunt Kathryn, Evan visits a funky old toy store and buys a dusty can of monster blood, It’s fun to play with at first. And Evan’s dog, Trigger, likes it so much, he eats some! But then Evan notices something weird about the green slimy stuff it seems to be growing. And growing. And growing. And all that growing has given the monster blood a monstrous appetite…”

It has been a while since I last reviewed a Goosebumps book. Don’t worry, I still have a large stack of them to read my way through.

I had no memory of this book when I started it. When it came to Monster Blood I remembered more of Monster Blood 2 because of the killer hamster. That thing was plastered all over the merchandise in the 90s and as I child I loved hamsters. Monster Blood 1 I had no memory of.

I had low expectations when it came to this book. Lets face it, it is about two kids who buy a questionable tub of that slimy goo you always wasted your pocket money on as a kid and horror ensues. What could you possibly do with that? It sounds like a rather dull idea, and a giant ad for that pocket money eating goo.

I can say that I got what I expected from this book. It was probably one of the most uneventful Goosebumps book I have read so far. It didn’t have the scare factor of Welcome to Dead House and wasn’t as eventful as Say Cheese and Die. But it did have something those books didn’t: A twist ending.

Yes, Monster Blood actually had a pretty decent twist at the end that I didn’t see coming at all. Well done RL Stine. I am glad that I kept reading until the end. Goosebumps has been out for years but I am still not going to spoil the ending, just in case. This is still a spoiler free blog even when it comes to books that have been out for 20 years.

This was a very tame book horror wise so I would say that this book is suitable for any child who wants to brave a Goosebumps book. I doubt they will have nightmares, unless they have an extreme fear of green slime. With hardly any threat, no death and a relatable premise, Monster Blood is a safe read for all young ages.

Did you read the Goosebumps series when you were a child? Tell me about it. Which book gave you sleepless nights?

New Series: Frightful Fridays


Have you ever wondered about the real life horror stories that inspired popular horror fiction? The folklore, the haunted houses, crimes, urban legends and ghost stories that triggered the writer’s creativity. Well, this is what my new series will be about.

If you didn’t know already, I run multiple blogs outside of Spine Cracker. One of which is a very popular paranormal and folklore blog. I have been tempted for a long time to combine the two in some small way. After all, I usually review horror and dark books and the writers had to get their ideas from somewhere. And the inspiration behind some horror and thriller novels can be just as chilling as the works of fiction.

So this has lead to the creation of Frightful Fridays. Every Friday (or at least every Friday possible) I will choose a book and share some of the real life horror stories that inspired it. Maybe I will throw some historical true crime in there while I am at it.

A Disclaimer:

I am not going to claim to be the expert in everything and I am going to try to keep things as factual as possible. I don’t want to trivialise anyone else’s culture. I know I hate it when people do it with my own. Americans are usually guilty of annoying me with this constantly.

I will cite sources, be open to critique and additional information on anything. It will be fun to start a discussion and maybe you will add more interesting information to Frightful Fridays. Or hell, write your own Frightful Friday and link back. It would be awesome to read other spooky stories that inspired spooky novels because I don’t know everything.

So what do you think of this idea? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

Waiting for Wednesday: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Book Synopsis:

“Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.”

Why I need it:

I have never read a Stephanie Perkins book in my life but thanks to the book blogging world and its love for all things YA, sappy and wrapped in a sparkly pink cover I have heard of her. The reviews are usually positive even though her books are not to my taste at all. But here Perkins is trying her hand at horror and that finally got my attention enough to make me want to read one of her books. I love when writers branch out into different genres!

Slashers are my guilty pleasure. I usually love my horror complex and interesting but sometimes you just need some mindless gore and violence in your life. It is even better when that gore and violence comes with a side of mystery that keeps you wondering who the killer is throughout the novel.

I will admit though, this book sounds a lot like a rip off of the Urban Legends film series but I love that series and old urban legends so that doesn’t entirely put me off reading it. I don’t know about you but when I first heard the Babysitter and the Man Upstairs urban legend in primary school I lost sleep for weeks. The idea of not being entirely alone in your house has always frightened me so that made the title of this novel automatically stand out.

I am so excited for this book!

There’s Someone Inside Your House is scheduled for release on the 12th of September 2017

Are you a Perkins fan? If so let me know what you think of this genre change?

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

Waiting for Wednesday: When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Book Synopsis:

“Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead….

After her troubled older brother, Dashiell, dies of an overdose, sixteen-year-old Ruby is overcome by grief and longing. What she doesn’t know is that Dashiell’s ghost is using her nightly dreams of him as a way to possess her body and to persuade her twin brother, Everett, to submit to possession as well.

Dashiell tells Everett that he’s returned from the Land of the Dead to tie up loose ends, but he’s actually on the run from forces crueler and more powerful than anything the Bohnacker twins have ever imagined….”

Why I need it:

Evil siblings, enough said.

I have seen possession as a plot point quite a bit, in fact this novel sounds similar to Chucky without the doll part of the story, but the fact that this book is about a dead sibling makes it a lot more interesting. When it comes to horrible family members there is always a feeling of being trapped. They are your sibling, you are supposed to love them and mourn their passing. But what if they were a terrible person who is trying to possess your twin brother? The whole situation in this novel automatically makes the living characters seem trapped. That is why I want to read this book.

I am also curious about the fact that someone who died of an overdose is possessing people. Was it a suicide via medication or was it recreational drugs? If they were recreational and he was an addict that might make him use while possessing people. Imagine being possessed by a ghost that makes you use drugs. Now that is real horror.

Maybe I am reading into this blurb too much or those elements won’t be as well written as I would like, but I guess I won’t know until I read it.

When I Cast Your Shadow is scheduled for release in September 12th 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings