Book Review · Books

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]

I had the amazing opportunity to participate in another instagram readalong – this time reading House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland with some amazing bookstagrammers. Huge thank you to the team at Tandem as well as the publisher Hot Key Books or sending me a copy of the book to read and review!

About The Book:

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 352

Format I read it in: Paperback

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.

My Thoughts:

I loved the mystery that surrounded the Hollow sisters and their disappearance. It gave me a Stranger Things vibe and the writing was beautiful!

I loved the relationship that the sisters had with each other and I also appreciated how complicated their relationship was with Cate. Once I finished the book, I was able to fully understand the reasoning behind it, and I loved how this was represented in the book. It must be so hard for Cate to have done what she was doing all her life, and I was really amazed by her character!

You can feel the suspense from the very first chapter.

It grips you and it doesn’t let go until the very end! Reading this book as part of a readalong was so hard. Imagine only having to read 50 pages a day, when you just want to devour the whole book in one evening. I am not sure where I acquired the patience I needed to be able to resist finishing this book early.

My favourite character was Iris.

I loved how she grew as a person throughout the book. So did Tyler, even though, let’s be honest – he wasn’t a very important character in the first place. I felt like his presence was unnecessary at times, and he seemed to have existed in the book to just assist with one thing around the end. A bit convenient in my opinion.

One of the favourite parts about this book is how I started reading it and I formed certain opinions about certain characters. And as I kept reading, these opinions changed so dramatically, but in such a natural way. By the end of the book, I felt like I was a completely different person as well.

I was left slightly unsatisfied with the ending, as it doesn’t quite end. I feel like there is still some room left for perhaps another book. If so, I’ll be the first in line to read it. But if not, I liked how it leaves us to determine what might be happening in the future, with a slight guidance on what the character’s plans are.

If you’re one of those people that love searching for clues and answers, you’ll have so much fun reading this! I went on a wild paranormal adventure entangled with myths, fashion and wild flowers. House of Hollow is certainly one of my favourite titles this year.

Rating:

★★★★

About The Author:

Krystal Sutherland is an internationally published author. Her first novel, Chemical Hearts, was published in over 20 countries and was named by the American Booksellers Association as one of the best debuts of 2016. The film adaptation, produced by Amazon Studios, stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Euphoria); Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird US. In 2018, she appeared on the annual Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home. Her next novel for young adults, House of Hollow, is set for publication by Penguin in spring 2021.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor [BLOG TOUR]

I am delighted to be part of the huge blog tour for The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor. Huge thanks to Gaby from Michael J Books, for this amazing opportunity. If you have a chance, please go and check out the other participants as well!

★★

The Burning Girls was the first book I read from C. J. Tudor and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the horror elements, as well as the multi-layer mysteries over the years, and the many plot twists. It is definitely a thriller you will not want to miss this year, and I’ll certainly pick up more books by the author. I was only disappointed with the very end of the book, and I’ll elaborate more on the why’s below:

Synopsis:

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest…

My Thoughts:

From the very first moments, The Burning Girls grips you and doesn’t let you go until you’re finished. I started this book very late, and was quite certain I’d miss my blog tour deadline as well. But I was so intrigued by it, that I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a day.

I loved Jack and Flo, and their mother-daughter relationship.

It shows quite well that it doesn’t matter what profession the parent might be having, the children always treat you the same. The need for attention that they’ll never admit to, the secrets they will keep from you, and the mischievous ideas they are going to come up with.

When they move into the new village, they both feel both excited and sad. It’s never easy to leave behind a life you’ve created, especially for a teenager like Flo. Going into a new school, meeting new friends, being distant to the old friends – it’s all very scary at first. And through Jack, we can see how she feels about it all as well – not happy that she’s leaving, but also trying to make it the best experience at the time.

The horror and mystery elements come very early in the book, which is something I really enjoyed. I was very intrigued with not one, not two, but three mysteries that were going on, all in the same town, and all not quite resolved. Those parts, where more clues would come, or something supernatural would happen would be my favorite scenes in this book, and I was eagerly waiting for more. The atmosphere was spooky and very uncomfortable at times. I mean, you only need to imagine a chapel, burning girls and paganism, and you get the idea.

I also liked the town setting, and their behaviour.

Everyone in the small town seemed to be hiding their own secrets, and doing their best to protect them, and this part reminded me a bit of Tana French’s The Searcher. You could feel the townspeople’s animosity in every interaction, and you can’t help but get the chills.

To conclude, this book did satisfy my needs for horror, mystery and plot twists. I definitely did not expect all of those plot twists that came my way, and the book just kept surprising me in a spectacular way. I definitely recommend it to all fans of horror, mystery and thriller, it’s a book that you will devour!

The Disappointment:

My disappointment at the end of the book was huge, and it was the only reason this book went from 5-stars to 3-stars. I can’t share my full thoughts, because of obvious spoilers, but I will do my best to do this right. If you have read the book and want the full notes, please send me a message.

As soon as I read the last few chapters, we end up finding an answer to a mystery that was lingering from the very beginning of the book, and throughout. But knowing what we know now, it feels as if the whole book was a lie, and I cannot really trust a particular character because of it. The knowledge made me question my whole opinion of the book and left a bitter taste in my mouth, and that’s the only reason why I can’t give this book a higher rating. I feel that many things could have been written in a different way, and from other people’s perspectives.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter [BLOG TOUR]

I am so happy to be participating on this blog tour for We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter! Huge thank you to the team at Andersen Press and Kaleidoscopic Tours, for sending me a copy of the book. Please check out the other participants as well.

★★★

Inspired by a true story of the Fox sisters, the girls who made their fortune in 19th century America by speaking to ghosts, We Played With Fire is a story you won’t want to miss!

Synopsis:

Maggie has witnessed impossible things. But no one believes her, and now her family has taken her away to spend the winter upstate in a remote, freezing farmhouse.

Bored and angry, Maggie and her younger sister Kate start to play tricks: rapping on the floorboards above their parents’ bedroom, cracking their toes under the table, and telling tales about noises in the night. Then the house starts to make sounds of its own. Neither Maggie nor Kate can explain it, but it seems as though someone – or something – is trying to speak to them…

My Thoughts:

We Played With Fire takes a much more serious and realistic approach on the subject of ghosts and people being able to speak to them. What starts as a game begins to grow into something much more and gets out of hand very easily.

“Besides, it’s not wrong to deceive people if they want to be deceived.”

Maggie is quite a unique character; kind and thoughtful, yet strong-willed and not afraid to speak up for what she believes in. She is very observant, and through her eyes we can see things that many people would usually rather ignore. This was something I really admired about her! We can realise early on how affected she actually is from being banished from her town and being labelled of doing something she is sure she didn’t do.

I loved the spontaneous spookiness in the book and the uneasy atmosphere.

During their seances, we are aware that the girls love to pull pranks, and create the random knocks to make people believe there are ghosts in the room. But as readers, we don’t get to know whether something is a prank or a supernatural activity, which leaves us wondering. The mood fills with intensity and these scenes managed to make me shiver many times. It’s such a gripping and eerie novel and I think people would really enjoy reading it during Halloween.

“She remembered hearing somewhere once that when somebody died you should open a window to let their soul out.”

Aside from the spooky elements, this book covered many different topics that are very important, especially today! Activist against racism and slavery existed, but it was led by white people who didn’t let people of colour to speak at events on topics that concerned them directly. The corruption of the church and their propaganda against not only people like the Fox sisters, who talked to ghosts, but against anyone that disagrees with their agenda. And the fact that women weren’t treated as equals, and their opinion, knowledge, experience wasn’t even taken into consideration. I found myself so infuriated with these issues. But also glad that they were mentioned in the book, so we can highlight them, and start discussions.

“When a person is determined to see the world in one way, they won’t allow anybody to challenge it. I’m sure it’s a kind of illness.”

We Played With Fire is a magnificent book!

The perfect eerie book to give you the shivers and transport you to a 19th century. Imagine an old house full of candles and knocking sounds coming out of nowhere. If you love horror and ghost stories of the past, pick up We Played With Fire today!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy is the first book I read this year, and my first 5 star as well. I am now confident that 2021 won’t be that bad. I knew I was going to enjoy it, I just didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. Huge thank you yo Kaleidoscope Tours and Scholastic Press, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Synopsis:

Niamh just moved to London, with the hope to pursue acting, meet friends and have fun. When she starts making new friends and these women keep getting attacked and murdered, she realises that this might be all somehow connected to her. Because all women that are being attacked look very much like her.

My Thoughts:

Last One to Die is suspenseful from the very beginning, because Niamh knows that she’s in danger. She just doesn’t know what/who the danger is. Trusting people is hard and so is making new friends again. And as the book goes on, the intensity increases and the stakes get higher.

It’s so hard to write a spoiler-free review for this book, because I want to share everything I felt while reading it. Niamh was a character I really liked, and she was very easy to relate to as well. I went in for a YA thriller and I got a supernatural horror that kept me on my toes.

The friendship with Jess, the family closeness and the love interest scenes were a wonderful addition to the suspense we get, like breathing a bit of fresh air as well. I loved it when scenes made me giggle or give me the butterflies. It was very light as well, which helped break the scary moments and make you believe everything was good, before another plot twist happened.

I also loved the history element too.

The library, the museum, the old scary stories that happened in the part and brought eeriness… These were some of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

This is one of those books where you’ll have a theory, be eager to know the villain, and see your theories change at least three times. I made so many prediction, and got it correct in the end, but even then I still had to wait until the end to confirm it and get a satisfying explanation.

If you love YA thrillers, with horror elements and supernatural moments, don’t miss this one. This trope is now on my books. It might even be my favorite genre if my next reads are good as well. Cynthia Murphy as an author is also now on my list. I will make sure to read the next book she writes! I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley

Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

Reading Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley was a unique reading experience for me. Starting right after Halloween, it was the perfect eerie continuation of the spooky reading mood. Thank you to the teams at Tandem Collective and John Murray Press, for sending me a gifted copy of this book.

Synopsis:

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror. 

My Thoughts:

The writing in Starve Acre is so descriptive and very atmospheric. You can feel that odd vibe coming from the house and the field, as well as from the characters. The plot flows nicely and it’s quite an easy and fast-paced book to read. The plot twists and escalations are unexpected, and the author leaves a lot of questions unanswered, leaving it to the reader to form a conclusion. When we chatted in the readalong group, it was interesting to see that everyone had different perceptions of different scenes, which was quite intriguing to see.

Starve Acre focuses on grief. It shows that no two experiences can be the same, and that people react very differently. It also showed the evil in a way I have never seen it written before. Such horror, such cruelty, no remorse. Just pure darkness. It made my stomach twirl a few times, and I actually enjoyed it.

Even though Starve Acre left me shocked and speechless in the end, this was a book I really enjoyed and devoured with pleasure. If you are looking for a gothic horror read this winter – this is the perfect book for you!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US

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