Scarlet's Web



"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me."

Review: Mirror Image by Michael Scott

Mirror Image: A Novel - Michael Scott

I received a free copy of Mirror Image from the publisher in return for an honest review.


I was excited to make a start on Mirror Image because mirrors are one of the few things that easily freak me out. I was looking forwards to immersing myself in a story that had the potential to put me on edge, unfortunately, that didn't happen. It took me 4 days to read 325 pages, kinda says it all really.


The book started off well but I soon found my attention wandering. I couldn't bring myself to care for any of the characters, they were flat and unappealing. The reasonings behind the characters actions were insubstantial, I felt like they were just going through the motions for the sake of the story. Where was the fear? The inner conflict? The panic? There was nothing of substance driving them, they came across as puppets playing out a story rather than real people living through the story.


Throughout the book the reader is taken back and forth between several different timelines. The timelines reveal the history of the mirror, how it came to be, and the characters that have been a part of its story before the present timeline. For this format to work the different timelines need to come together, to flow into each other and build a bigger picture, a more in-depth understanding, but in this case they felt disjointed and too separate from one another. The ending felt rushed and thrown together. I think I was holding out hope that things would come together in the end and that it would at least be worth the reading time invested. It wasn't, it lead to even more disappointment


There was also quite a few inconsistencies and plot holes, as well as many spelling mistakes, typos, wrong words etc, which really didn't help improve the reading experience.


Not one I would recommend.




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Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

"...from what little I know of the outside world, I am fairly certain that my comrades and I live in hell. For most of us, the hell is in our bodies; for others, the hell is in our heads. And there is no mistaking that, for each of us, hell is in the empty, clinical, perfectly adequate, smudgy, off-white brick walls that hold us in here. In spite of my intelligence, I'm forced to accept that I'm one of the lucky ones."


I received a free copy of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko from the publisher in return for an honest review.


The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is such a harrowing read but at the same time it's both inspiring and full of hope. I fell in love with Ivan's voice he's a strong, unique and interesting character and his life both inspired and saddened me. It's a very poignant story told by a very memorable character that brings out a whole gamut of feels: heartache, sadness, joy, anger, hope, humour, and more.


I feel like I want to say this is a hard book to read but it's not. That is due largely to Ivan himself, his character approaches life in a very unique way and through his humour and stubbornness the shocking and heartbreaking story of his life is made more bearable and easier to read. Ivan shows us that a little bit of kindness can go a long way and even though this is a fictional story I'm sure much of it has gone on at some time or another.


The writing style is unlike anything else I have read and I highlighted so many passages and sentences while reading. One that particularly stood out for me was "How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?" Which seems such a small and insignificant line to stand out amongst so many touching and insightful passages in this book but as a reader this really resonated with me. Most will know the saying "Too many books, so little time", as someone who lives and breathes books, the thought of only ever being able to pick up one more book, for it to be the last I ever read, I find that such a daunting prospect. There's a finality to it that I find very haunting and scary.


I don't often re-read books but this is one of those books that I know will draw me back to it.


Highly recommended. I'm off to buy myself a copy for my shelves.





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Review: Tradition: An Easter Nightmare by Kyle M. Scott

Tradition: An Easter Nightmare (Razorblade Candies Book 4) - Kyle M. Scott


Tradition: An Easter Nightmare starts out innocently enough but soon things quickly take a turn for the worst and before you know it you're cringing as the horror of what's taking place slaps you in the face. I really enjoyed it, it's a quick horror short that really packs a punch.



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Review: Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows by Jack Rollins

Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows: A Jack Rollins SHORT STORY - see description (Dark Chapter Press Unlimited Book 1) - Michael Bray, David Basnett, Jack Rollins


Jack Rollins has a unique style that I find very appealing, he paints vivid pictures of lives lived long ago and surrounds me with the sights, sounds and smells of another era. It's like going back in time and experiencing them for yourself.


Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows may only be 31 pages long but those 31 pages contain a great story. You'll find yourself transported back in time to an era where hard work, myth, and superstition are at the forefront, and where there are unimagined dangers lurking just out of sight.




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As part of our Shakespeare Lives programme, we are retelling three of the Bard’s most iconic plays through the lens of Instagram! Set throughout Europe, these modern adaptions will inspire and intrigue. This is where you can catch up with the stories so far, and on Instagram you can follow @britishcouncileurope to watch them unfold in real time…

Review: Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent

Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror - Jason  Parent

I'm a huge fan of werewolf stories, I'm talking proper werewolves not over-sized puppies playing at being werewolves, so I couldn't resist this one especially as it's written by one of my must read favourite authors.


Where Wolves Run was a unique, interesting and fast read. The pacing of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself having to resist the urge to peek a little further down the page and having to purposely slow down as I was in a rush to see what happened next. I particularly enjoyed Konrad's character, it was refreshing to have a character who wasn't aware of what was going on and totally unprepared for what was ahead. Konrad having no prior knowledge of what he's dealing with allows the reader to join him on his journey, to learn along with him and to relate to his experience more as a result.


There was one thing that I feel spoiled it a little for me personally and that was how Konrad's father was referred to as Father rather than by his name. It didn't ruin the story but it did make him feel somewhat less of a person. However, it did put more focus onto Konrad so perhaps it was intentional.


I really enjoyed the ending. I usually have an idea of what I want the conclusion to be when reading a book and I love it when things get turned around and an author throws in a twist that takes things in a whole different direction from what I had envisioned. At first I was a little disappointed but as it sunk in I realised that it worked much better than what I had been expecting.


Definitely one I would recommend.




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Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror by Jason Parent

Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror - Jason  Parent


It's such a lovely night tonight, going to grab a shawl and curl up on the lounger outside and dive into this one.


Went out for lunch and to drop off a few books at the book exchange to make some room on my shelves, came back with more books (bye bye free shelf space) and this lil guy. Now he needs a name.

71% done with The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach


"How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?"


Review: The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi


I received a free copy of The Night Parade from the publisher in return for an honest review.


I have had Ronald Malfi recommended to me several times and somehow I have never managed to get around to reading any of his work. Darn have I been missing out!


The Night Parade was not what I was expecting. I think I go into stories set around a virus with preconceptions, I feel very much been there, read that already but not this time. The writing style and the character building in this one drew me in right away. All preconceptions disappeared and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


This isn't an easy light read that you can just sit back and enjoy. The story has a heavy foreboding atmosphere that builds more and more as you read further. You're never quite sure what's ahead for the main characters, you know that whatever is coming can't be good but at the same time you are hoping for that small chance that things will end up ok. I found myself thinking ahead to all the possible outcomes, analyzing all the little details, trying to pick up on any clues that would prepare me for a happy or sad conclussion, while at the same time trying to stop myself from having a quick peek further down the page. I felt like I had to prepare myself because I was so invested in the characters.


The main characters are very well written and easy to relate to. You want them to succeed, to be safe, to get to safety and that happy ever after but there is so much happening and the action and danger just doesn't let up. You are kept on the edge of your seat, anxiously following their story, helpless and unable to help but at the same time eagerly looking forward to the next obstacle in their path. I read it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down, there was no safe place for me to leave the characters.


Definitely one I would recommend.





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Review: Fell by Jenn Ashworth

Fell - Jenn Ashworth


I received a free copy of Fell from the publisher in return for an honest review.


Fell is beautifully written and was a pleasure to read. Jenn Ashworth creates many haunting, beautiful and vivid pictures and has a wonderful way with words. I particularly loved how the house was portrayed, the descriptions of the decaying house really brought the place to life. But, I struggled to connect to her characters. The characters were individual enough but I couldn't picture them, I couldn't relate to them or get to know them on the level that I felt was needed. They were, literally, characters on the page, they didn't have enough substance or colour to make them stand out.


The book is narrated by the ghosts of the main characters parents and although I did enjoy them taking me through their lives, I found them rather flat and emotionless at times. The distance between them and what they were watching felt huge, like they weren't a part of what they were reliving, I wanted more emotion from them. It was like they were watching someone else's lives, reliving someone else's memories, not their own.


I am left with many questions. Every page read as though it was floating on the surface of something deeper. The book doesn't tell a full story, nor does it give me enough to fill in the gaps. Who is Tim really? What exactly is this strange power he has? What happened to Annette between then and now to make her the way she is? What was the fortune teller hinting at with Annette and her gifts? Is Annette's gift part of what drew her parents back? What was it that Tim saw in Annette?


I kept reading on expecting to learn more, to have answers to these questions. I set my hopes on there being some big finale that rounded everything off in the end, but the story just kind of fizzled out.


Fell wasn't an awful read, the writing alone was worth the time invested but the story itself felt superficial. Rather than having experienced a journey along with the characters, I feel instead that I was sat on the sidelines, watching their life story through a window.




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I got a nice book delivery this morning. Read them all already but wanted copies for my bookshelf. How cool is that copy of dark matter with the red page trim!!

Review: Stolen Away by Kristin Dearborn

Stolen Away - Kristin Dearborn


I received a free copy of Stolen Away from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Stolen Away publicity blog tour in which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.


Stolen Away is a hard one for me to review. I did like the story and I wanted to finish it but when I put it down I wasn't compelled to pick it back up. However, when I did pick it back up I slipped easily back into the story so I'm a bit conflicted.


The premise was interesting and different from most books covering this topic, and the characters, although I didn't particularly like them, were well fleshed out. The two main characters have a history together and we learn throughout the book just how much they have been through as a couple and how that history affects the choices they make during the current storyline. Some of their choices annoyed the heck out of me though and there were little things like how Trisha goes from her breasts being painfully engorged and having to express milk to ease the discomfort, to it not being mentioned at all, like she just turned off a tap. Or the interlude chapter for example, it was good by itself but the character it was referring to hadn't felt a part of the story for some time and it wasn't until I was a good bit through it that I realised it was Cherry, then she just disappears again for another long period of time. It pulled me out of the flow of the story. A similar thing happens with Barlows character, not in such an abrupt way as with Cherry but it has the same affect on the flow of the story.


The whole time I was reading I was very aware of everything going on around me, a good book draws you in and drowns that out, it wasn't holding my attention enough to have that effect. I felt at times like I was reading a nastier paranormal romance rather than a full blown horror story, which it shouldn't have because the demon rapes the main character to get her pregnant in the first place. I think it's because of the whole inner dialogue she had going on when she thought about what happened and how she looked at the time, and also the the fact that she refers to him as her demon lover. He raped her, there was nothing lover like about it. Especially after the event itself. I can understand it from the point of view of him playing with them, seducing them and pulling them in but afterwards, after the event itself, he's an abuser not her demon lover.


There were points in the story that I think stood out and were more what I would expect and hope to find in a story like this. The scene with the dog, the exorcisms and Tabatha's character come to mind, these were for me the better parts of the reading experience. Overall there wasn't the level of fear and terror I would expect. There were some nasty events and the characters had their lives turned upside down but I would have liked to have seen the emotional panic, terror and fear ramped up a bit more.


All in all it was on OK read and I'm glad I picked it up but I much preferred Dearborn's previous book Woman in White.




Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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My curiosity is killing me!


My Son's advanced higher exam results have been sitting on the table taunting me all day and the lazy sod is still in his bed. It's almost 5pm!!


I'm dying to know how he got on.


Just gonna put this here cause yeah... less than a week since last wave of our favourite MEME was doing the rounds... you guessed it. There's a new one!!

What exactly makes a female lead stand out for you?


I am in the process of typing up a review for a book I have recently read where I found the female lead to be extremely well portrayed and written, and it got me thinking. As a female I find that many strong females in fiction are portrayed in ways that are rather cliche or stereotypical and I'm curious to know your views.


What exactly makes a female lead stand out for you?


How would your ideal strong female character be portrayed?


What are the cliches or stereotypes that you see being used?


How overused do you find these stereotypes and cliches?





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A Boy Made of Blocks by Stuart Keith
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