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."

180/344 pages read of You Will Grow into Them Malcolm Devlin

You Will Grow into Them - Malcolm Devlin

 

The world is a far stranger place than we give it credit for. There, in the things we think familiar, safe, are certain aspects. Our fears and desires given form. Moments that defy explanation. Shadows in our home.

 

In Malcolm Devlin’s debut collection, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the everyday. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and London lycanthropes become the new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them.

 

Taking weird fiction and horror and bending them into strange and wondrous new shapes, You Will Grow Into Them follows, in the grand tradition of Aickman, Ligotti and Vandermeer, reminding us that the ordinary world is a much stranger place than it seems.

 

 

As is usual with short story collections I will post an update periodically with my thoughts and ratings as I am reading and then review the book in its entirety when I am finished.

 

1 - Passion Play - 3 stars.

 

This was an Ok story. Not exactly sure what happened to Cathy, not sure if I'm supposed to. I loved the idea behind the story though. Creepy concept.

 

2 - Two Brothers - 3 stars.

 

Well written stories so far. They give just enough to unsettle you while allowing your imagination to fill in the gaps.

 

3 - Breadcrumbs - 4 stars.

 

Some weird mix between Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Feels very fairytalesque and very imaginative. Has she grown up, shed her childhood and become a woman? or, is she just dreaming? Think I may read this one again.

 

4 - Her First Harvest - 4 stars.

 

Kinda gone off mushrooms now. Interesting but strange concept and visually enchanting.

 

5 - We All Need Somewhere to Hide - 5 stars.

 

Beauty is only skin deep, a person's character is where true beauty lies, but how deep does our love for someone truly go... This is my favourite so far.

 

6 - Dogsbody - 3 stars.

 

Not sure what to think about this one. I would have liked to know the why behind what had occurred. I enjoyed it though. You shouldn't always assume prejudice is at play, you're not always the victim you perceive yourself to be.

 

 7 - 10 Still to come

 

 

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My daughter and I came across this in the local Asda tonight, lol.

Review: Dark Asylum by E. S. Thomson

Dark Asylum (Jem Flockhart) - E. S. Thomson


I would like to thank Little Brown Books and Constable for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

For a good few years I have avoided historical fiction, it's a genre that I used to read a lot of but found myself losing interest in. There was plenty of it out there but I just wasn't feeling it - they were all starting to run into each other, none stood out and I felt that they all read much the same. That is, until I came across E.S. Thomson's debut novel Beloved Poison and was blown away by how fantastic the book was. So fantastic, in fact, that it was my top read of 2016 and I have been recommending it to everyone ever since.

 

I was like a child on Christmas morning when Dark Asylum landed on my doorstep, but I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first because I was scared it wouldn't live up to the first book. I needn't have worried, I loved it every bit as much as Beloved Poison.

 

It was such a joy to be with Jem and Will again and to be back on the streets of Victorian London. The sights, the sounds, the streets, the smells, the mood, the atmosphere, all so vivid that I was transported easily to another time and place. Like with Beloved Poison, the world around me ceased to exist while this book was in my hands.

 

The author's knowledge of medicine and of the time period is clear to see in the historical detail within the story. It's also clear that she enjoys what she does and has put a lot of love and dedication into the book.

 

And can I just point out that cover! This is one of the rare occasions where you can safely judge a book by its gorgeous cover and know that the story inside is every bit as amazing.

 

E.S. Thomson has made me fall in love with historical fiction all over again.

 

Highly recommended. One of my favourite reads of 2017 so far!

 

 

 

 

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Review: Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley

Beautiful Sorrows - Mercedes M. Yardley


I received a copy of Beautiful Sorrow through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

 

I don't often read short story collections and when I do I tend to read them one story at a time in-between reading other books, but in this case, I was so captivated by the individual stories that I read them one after the other. They were all enjoyable but my favourite has to be The Boy Who Hung the Stars.

 

Beautiful Sorrows is the first of Mercedes M. Yardley that I have read and I have to say her writing is truly beautiful. It has a wonderful peculiar and ethereal quality to it. In fact, many words came to mind while reading: poetic, haunting, mystical, melancholy, surreal, to name a few. Her style truly is unique. I've never read anything quite like it before. Not only were her stories beautiful but they were also heartbreaking, chilling, and dark, all at the same time.

 

Reading Beautiful Sorrows was like experiencing the wonder and beauty of fairytales for the first time as a child, but in grown up form.

 

 

 

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BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime - Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

 

The author of the global phenomenon 'The Girl on the Train' returns with 'Into the Water', her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.

 

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

 

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from-a place to which she vowed she'd never return.

Beware a calm surface-you never know what lies beneath.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08npnhg

 

 

Review: Skitter (The Hatching #2) by Ezekiel Boone

Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) - Ezekiel Boone


I would like to thank Atria Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

Skitter is book two in The Hatching trilogy. Having read and loved book one I was keen to make a start on book two. I enjoyed the first book but hated that it finished on a huge cliffhanger so you can imagine how disappointing it was to discover that the author leaves the reader hanging on the edge of yet another cliff at the end of the second book. I hate cliffhangers, they are annoying and frustrating and put me off reading more of the series because I feel like the author is trying to manipulate me into buying their next book- want to know what happens next? Yes? Great! Come back in a year and give me X amount of pounds and maybe I'll tell you more, and if you're lucky I might throw in yet another cliffhanger just for shits and giggles so you'll buy the next one after that. If your book is good, that alone is enough to make readers want to pick up the next one.

 

Skitter suffers from middle book syndrome. It wasn't as engaging or as fast paced and it also lacked the action and danger that was prevalent in the first book. It didn't have the same effect as the first book, I wasn't anywhere near as creeped out by it. It only progresses the storyline a few steps forward and you learn a little more about the spiders, but a little, and a few steps are not enough. It hardly progresses at all and nothing is resolved. It felt like a placeholder, something to keep the wolves from the door until the final book is released. There was nothing to get my teeth into, nothing to make it stand out on its own. It read more like an extension of The Hatching rather than an individual book. It picks up from where The Hatching left off and slowly ambles along for most of the book, the pace does pick up very near the end but very quickly leaves the reader hanging onto yet another stinking cliffhanger.

 

I have to say, I feel rather disappointed and let down by Skitter. It was OK but I expected more. I will still read the next one, it's the last in the trilogy so surely there won't be a cliffhanger, right? I hope so!

 

 

 

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I received a lovely surprise in the mail today from the wonderful Jason Parent. It has pride of place on my mantel beside all my other favourite books!

Review: Jackals by Stuart R Brogan

Jackals - Stuart R Brogan


I have to say, I'm kind of fed up with a lot of the horror books lately. A large proportion of the horror released of late has been either the same old stories told in a slightly different way or are labelled as "extreme horror" and are full of violence and gore thrown in for nothing more than shock value with no real plot to speak of. But, I'm glad to say that that wasn't the case with Jackals.

 

How far would you go to protect the ones you love? Who can you trust when the seeds of corruption and violence have wormed their way into every crack?

 

Jackals was one heck of a wild and gory ride. It's most definitely not a book for the faint of heart. The action kicks off in great gory detail almost immediately and keeps you on the edge of your seat to the very end. The author takes the reader on an action-packed adrenaline ride to the deepest darkest depths of depravity and exposes the sadistic, twisted, and primitive side of human nature.

 

"They are without doubt some of the most dangerous people out there and the worrying thing is that ninety-nine percent of the population doesn't even know they exist..."

 

Nobody is what they seem. Take nothing, and no one, for granted. Heroes and villains emerge in the most unlikely of places. There is no safe place for the reader or the characters. The twists and turns keep you on your toes, they mess with your head, you're never quite sure what's around the corner or who's going to turn on you next.

 

Definitely one I would recommend.

 

 

 

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70% done with The Night Brother by Rosie Garland

The Night Brother - Rosie Garland

 

I've not read anything like this before, it's so unique and unusual and I honestly have no idea where it's going. I want to fly through the pages but at the same time, I want to savour it and make it last longer.

Fibro Fog Derp of the night...

 

I made myself a warm drink, carried it through to my chair and proceeded to get all comfy.

Reading blanket = ✔
Cat settled on my lap = ✔
Book I'm currently reading = ✔
Reading playlist loaded = ✔
Warm drink = WTF?

 

On reaching for my cup I discovered the freshly boiled kettle sat where my cup should have been. As if that wasn't bad enough, my hubby had obviously watched me carry the kettle through and not thought to say anything lol.

 

 

100% done with Dark Asylum by E. S. Thomson

Dark Asylum (Jem Flockhart) - E. S. Thomson

 

I started reading this last weekend after being so excited to get started, but unfortunately my mother-n-law lost the last wee bit of mobility she had on the day I started it and as her primary carer I had to abandon all chance of reading anything until I could get her sorted into a new routine and adapt to the extra care she now needs.

 

I finally got to pick it up again this afternoon and flew through it in one sitting. I was a bit apprehensive because I loved the first book in the series, but I'm glad to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was every bit as good as the first.

 

Review to come.

Review: The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida's Story

The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida's Story - Andrea C. Hoffmann, Farida Khalaf

 

I would like to thank Square Peg for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

This is the story of what happened to Farida after she was captured: the beatings, the rapes, the markets where ISIS sold women like cattle, and Farida's realisation that the more resistant she became, the harder it was for her captors to continue their atrocities against her. So she struggled, she bit, she kicked, she accused her captors of going against their religion, until, one day, the door to her room was left unlocked. She took her chance and, with five younger girls in her charge, fled into the Syrian desert...

 

I honestly don't know what to say about this book, or even where to start with reviewing it. It feels wrong to try and break it down and comment on writing style, star rating, etc.

 

This book really brings home how easily your life can change. One day you're enjoying the long hot summer days and the next you and your family are fleeing for your lives. Farada could be your daughter, your sister, your niece, she deserves to be safe, to live without fear just like everyone else. The suffering she endured was atrocious, yet she never gave up. Her story is a remarkable story of hope, faith, courage, and strength. It's not an easy read, but it is important that experiences like Farada's are told. It is important that the world is made aware of the atrocities that are occurring in order to better understand the horrors that refugees are running from.

 

The Girl Who Beat ISIS is a book that everyone should read.

 

 

 

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Review: The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder's Sister - Beth Underdown

 


I would like to thank Penguin Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

The Witch Finder's Sister is a fictional tale based on the life of Matthew Hopkins - a witch hunter believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646. The story is told through the eyes of his sister Alice who experiences his obsession first hand and recounts the tale to the reader.

 

Initially, when I first started reading the book I thought I was going to love it. The writing style appealed to me, it felt like Alice was talking directly to me and I was excited to read more. But, unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. It concentrated too much on Alice's emotions, inner thoughts, and memories. She was a bystander lost within her own past and present, looking in rather than looking out at the horror of what was actually taking place. There were so many missed opportunities to escalate the storyline and to ramp up the tension, but they were missed because of the way the storyline advanced in regards to Alice's character.

 

As a reader, I only got little peeks into the true horrors of what Matthew was doing. Right before the witch hunts approached their worst, just when things were starting to get interesting and were really about to kick off, the author decided to lock Alice in the attic, which of course resulted in the reader being locked in that attic alongside Alice.

 

What happened in that dark attic? Not much at all - meanwhile, Matthew and his witch trials are causing chaos. The trials are approaching their worst, hundreds of women are being killed, months of mayhem and murder are taking place, and the reader is sat in the dark with Alice. There was so much going on outside that attic that the reader was excluded from, all the chaos and horrors that would have made this a book to remember, and instead we're given a just few pages of Alice in the dark. What a let down that was.

 

The book is categorised by the publisher as being adult general fiction, mystery, and thriller, but to be honest there wasn't much mystery or thrills to be found. The pacing was very slow, there wasn't enough action, and characters were hard to connect with. The ending, in particular, had me rolling my eyes.

 

Not one I would recommend. The blurb and the cover quotes promised much and delivered little.

 

 

 

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I'm reading Dark Asylum by E. S. Thomson

Dark Asylum (Jem Flockhart) - E. S. Thomson

 

 

 

I've been looking forwards to sitting down with this book all day.

 

The family have been warned not to interrupt me if they value their lives as I won't be held responsible for my actions if they intrude on my reading time.

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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My review copy of Dark Asylum by E.S. Thomson arrived today, I'm totally fangirling right now! Beloved Poison was my top read of last year and I'm itching to jump into the next one asap!

 

How stunning is that cover, the flame actually glows and flickers when you look at it through a camera, on the cover itself the flame is white.

BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime - The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

 

Moving between Essex and London, myth and modernity, Cora Seaborne's spirited search for the Essex Serpent encourages all around her to test their allegiance to faith or reason in an age of rapid scientific advancement...

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ktxqq

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