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.


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!

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Book Review · Books

It’s Getting Harder and Harder To Tell the Two of You Apart by Casey Renee Kiser and Johnny Scarlotti [BOOK REVIEW]

It's Getting Harder and Harder To Tell the Two of You Apart by Casey Renee Kiser and Johnny Scarlotti poetry book review blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

I don’t always read poetry, but I won “It’s Getting Harder and Harder To Tell the Two of You Apart” by Casey Renee Kiser and Johnny Scarlotti through a giveaway on LibraryThing.

And if you are already familiar with my “reading rules”, you know I try and read every single book I have ever received, because it’s only fair. And sometimes, the most unexpected books and the ones we don’t actively search for tend to surprise us the most. That happened with this book as well!

“It’s Getting Harder and Harder To Tell the Two of You Apart” is written by two authors – two amazing writers of poetry, who have a very similar style of horror and suspense, but also very distinctive differences in their writing style too. The book is split in two parts, and we get the chance to explore both worlds. 

Part 1 – Casey Renee Kiser

The first part of the book was written by Casey Renee Kiser, and my favorite poem was “I am not a ghost yet”. It is morbid and powerful, and I loved the way the feelings and scenes were amplified in a morbid sense. I love the brutality of the writing. 

“Everything was beautiful the day you died”,
You said as you touched my cold hand. 

Part 2 – Johnny Scarlotti

I could instantly see the difference in the poems between the two poets, but at the same time, also admire how similar their styles and themes are. I find Johnny’s writing very creepy, much creepier than Casey’s. Especially when the mood suddenly changes and the random “haha’s” and “woahh’s” in the poems appear.

Now I’m dashing through the park clipping
Children’s kite strings
Ha ha, that’s what you get, you little freaks!

It felt like I was reading the secret diary of the Joker. Either him, or Pennywise. It was so fucked up, but it read as the new normal, which is what a psycho would think and feel. It was creepy, it was wrong, but at the same time it satisfied my curiosity. I think that may be the same curiosity that makes me watch true crime shows, crime confessions and old interview with Ted Bundy. And I really enjoyed it. 

If I could change anything about my experience with this book, I would have read this for Halloween. I think it would have been the perfect experience, next to a lot of red candles and dim lighting, alongside some quiet creepy music. 

I would recommend “It’s Getting Harder and Harder To Tell the Two of You Apart” to all fans of horror poetry – it is dark and twisty, brutally honest and creepy, and it will pull you over to the dark side, even for a day. 

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Book Review · Books

Moore Field School and the Mystery by Liam Moiser [BOOK REVIEW]

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Moore Field School and the Mystery by Liam Moiser is the first book of the Moore Field School series. We follow the main character Samantha, whose parents are teachers at her school, Moore Field School.

When Moore Field School is about to close down, the headmistress, Miss Moore, moves the school to Lakeview to start again. And Samantha and her parents move too. 

Before the first term, the students go to a camp, where they hear about a haunted house. Samantha and her best friend, Jessica, somehow end up in the middle of this mystery. 

My first thoughts of this book were that I find this little school cute, and the mystery of the haunted house quite interesting. 

However, other than that, I am afraid not many things really appealed to me. 

First of all, Samantha doesn’t look like or act like a little girl. She has conversations with her parents in a very unusual way. Who talks to their parents in such a way, in a middle grade book for children?

“Okay, since you are both insisting, I’ll go and get my musical sheets whilst you settle yourselves down in the living room.” Samantha smiled; she really did want her father and mother to listen to her music. 

Aside from the characters and their language, there are a lot of scenes and acts in the book that I cannot find the logic of: 

Miss Moore, the headmistress, is closing the school down because of the lack of pupils going into the private school. She is then moving the school into another town, which is a few hundred miles away. And she wants the old students to keep going to this school. Why would I want my child to keep going to a school that will now be hundreds of miles away? And yet, parents agree to this…

Both parents and teachers don’t seem to care too much about their pupils. Samatha and Jessica wander off, almost drown, get lost twice, and when they return, they are simply greeted as if nothing major happened. Also, the teacher that was supposed to be guarding them and fell asleep and lost them twice gets out of the whole mess without being in any trouble. 

I really wish I enjoyed this book, but it made me cringe and wince all the way through on how pompous and unrealistic it was. Luckily, it is quite short, so I got through it quite fast. Whew. 

I don’t think I will be reading the rest of the series unfortunately.

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Book Review · Books

Dracula by Bram Stoker [BOOK REVIEW]

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Dracula by Bram Stoker is the ultimate horror classic of all times. This is where it all started. A tale about a creature that feeds on the blood to survive, but also a tale of friendship and love, described and presented in a way we rarely have a privilege to see these days. 

If Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series pop to your mind when you first think of vampires, this book might feel extremely slow to your taste. However, if you want to experience the real horror and the building tension through many diary entries – you will enjoy this book completely. 
I am a fan of both, and I had moments where I fell in love with the detailed explanations of weather and whereabouts. But the setting of writing many polite letters to people dear to the characters also made me cringe. I suppose a cringe can’t be all bad for a horror book though? 
Through many diary entries of various characters, we follow their experience with the Count Dracula. Young Jonathan Harker is sent to go to Transylvania and arrange for the apartments the Count Dracula  wants to buy in London. During his stay, he faces many unusual things. Meanwhile, his fiance Mina and her friend Lucy are in London, and Lucy is facing some unusual experiences herself, when Dr. Seward arrives to help better her condition.

“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”

I knew what I was getting into, and I believe knowing this is a classic, and not a fast-paced romance with a paranormal twist put me in the right mood from the very beginning, so I was aware of what I was going into, and I really enjoyed it!
Dracula as a character is so mysterious, so powerful, very feared and secretly admired. I both loved and hated the fact that we don’t get to really see much of him, but we have to be satisfied with what the other characters are going through. And even though, he continues to be a shadow, a fear, a thought of everything they are doing. He is always there, even when he isn’t, and it requires great skills as a writer to create that presence for a character.
The characters of Lucy and Mina were very interesting – from a time perspective. How things have changed for women in all these years. What women were doing and thinking at that time, and how different it is now. I suppose I could make all the comparisons in the world – but one thing stays true will all classic books – they leave a mark of the time they were written, and this mark always gets better as time goes by. 

“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way – even by death – and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.”

I am glad I read Dracula, and I will try to read more classics in the new year. The writing style, the past of them, they remind you to take a big breath and acknowledge many things you take for granted in today’s world. In a world of page-turners, you sometimes need a slow book that makes you think deeply.

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Book Review · Books

The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell was a very pleasant read for me for many reasons! I am so glad I got the chance to read it!

The Plot

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum.

Psychiatrist Victor is starting a new job in the Asylum where the Devil’s Six are – Czech Republic’s most dangerous murderers. Victor has a theory by the name of the Devil Aspect, where he believes that is manifested in these six murderers. He believes it comes out in certain circumstances, making these people commit crimes, but not being aware they have done it. Something similar to a split personality, but in this case, the murderers think that the Devil is next to them, and he is making them do all these things.

My thoughts

This book was such a pleasurable roller coaster. I wasn’t able to put it down and I read it in only a few days. The writing is unbelievable and I am going to be picking up other books from this author, for the sole reason of his writing. The Devil’s Aspect was so intriguing and it kept me on my toes at all times. I found it extremely enjoyable.

The blend of mythology, culture and psychology is perfectly put together, and having lived in the Balkan countries, I can easily relate to many of the culture aspects. It was perfectly described and I felt as if I am in 1935 together with the characters. The time and place are wonderfully written, with incredible accuracy.

The ending was the most pleasurable, and without spoiling anything, I will only say a few things… Be ready for everything to happen. This book has many twists and many scenes where dangerous things are happening. A lot of intensity which I devoured with great pleasure. If you are coming for an adventure, you will get even more that you bargained for.

Proceed at your own risk! And good luck!

Thank you to the team at LoveReading UK and the author, Craig Russell, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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