Book Review: Tryst (Based on Actual Events) by Aaron Eldritch

Based on real events, this dramatized nonfiction describes the paranormal events experienced by four young men during a transformative period in their lives. What starts as youthful innocence grows darker and more sinister as the question of malicious forces and even trickery emerges. Will the bond of these four withstand the trials of fear and doubt that await them?

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I really enjoyed this book. It got pretty suspenseful towards the end. Maybe I liked it because I’m a believer. The world is too huge to only have humans, I think. So, it was fun to speculate if these paranormal/supernatural events really happened or if the author exaggerated to make his book more interesting. I thought it was cool that the main character had the same exact name as the author; that’s why I’m assuming the book is about his own experience.

My favorite lines: 1) “You’re not crazy, Greg,” Derik insisted. “It’s his house, remember? Not you.” 2) “It seems so…intentional.” 3) “He hoped that Aaron had somehow done it, even if it meant that Aaron was capable of such a cruelty.” 4) “Sometimes you just want so much to be something special…To stand before the unknown, one amongst the lucky few.” 5) “He had never stood before that house alone in such darkness and took this as a sign of grim things to come.”

I didn’t know why the expression “in disgust” was used often. I didn’t really know what the characters were feeling with that description: shock? confusion? anger? Since the omniscience point-of-view was used, readers got a glimpse of the whole picture. Yet, I still want answers (that’s just my INTJ curiosity taking over haha). Was everything caused by aliens? Demons? A supernatural game? I could definitely picture this as a sci-fi movie as I was reading.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Whispers In the Dark by Laurel Hightower

***I received a free copy and am giving an honest review by choice***

Rose McFarland is a trained killer–a Memphis S.W.A.T. sniper with a secret. Her team knows about the burn scars that lurk under her clothes, a legacy of the house fire that killed her father and brother sixteen years before. Her supervisors know that she spent two years in a rehabilitative facility, healing and learning to cope with the emotional trauma of the fire. But no one knows about the visions that drove her there, angry spirits that consumed her childhood, alienated her from her family and made her doubt her own sanity–the Whispers. When Charlie Akers, a half-brother she never knew, ends up on the wrong side of Rose’s rifle, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that puts her family in the middle of increasingly dangerous paranormal visitations. Charlie won’t stay dead, and soon ghosts from Rose’s past are creeping back into her life. People she’s killed in the line of duty, family she thought long buried, every one of them under the influence of Rose’s greatest fear, the Whispers themselves. As the walls between our world and the world of the dead grow thin, Rose will have to face her old nightmares to stop the Whispers from breaking free. If she can’t, it won’t just be Memphis that falls to the dead–there will be no safe place left on earth for the living.

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I liked this supernatural story. At first it read very slow for me, like it was a drama, showing Rose’s relationship with her ex-husband and best friend. I wasn’t scared at all even though the story was labelled suspense and horror. But, the story began picking up at 23% and the action was pretty good. Plus, I was finally starting to get a little scared. Only read during the daytime 🙂

The story was mostly told through Rose’s first person point-of-view. When Zack was taunted by a ghost who ended up not being his brother, the scene had me sitting on the edge of my seat, chills going down my spine. I felt bad for Luke after a very touching scene involving him and Agent Neal.

The plot was interesting. It was cool that Rose’s son could hear the Whispers too. Poor kid. The author did a great job with tension throughout the story. Agent Neal was especially creepy, but I understood his motives.

I’m not sure why Rose kept using character’s full names if the narration was in first person. It kind of made it seem like she had distant relationships even though the scenes clearly showed how close she was to her family and coworkers. I liked Rose, but she infuriated me so many times. She didn’t seem proactive at all in stopping the Whispers. Character after character kept telling her she needed “to close the door.” I’m not sure why she waited and waited and waited before doing any research.

My favorite lines: 1) Zack lingered, watching, waiting. Hoping. 2) A shadow, darker than the rest of the night. It moved, swayed. Waited.

I loved the ending; the story ended on a very high note. Interesting villains throughout the story. Good plot, nice tension.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: In the Devil’s Dreams By Troy A. Scott

While visiting his mother at her secluded Waldport cabin, an English teacher is awoken in the night by screams. Something gigantic is heaving itself against the rickety front door, relentlessly pounding and scratching–and shrieking his name. The hideous creature seems to know everything about the man, and takes special interest in his wife’s deteriorating health.

On the other side of the world, a bleary-eyed detective works late, desperate to avoid the recurring dream of his fiancee’s murder. But when a bloodied child stumbles into the Pine Rest Police Department and collapses, the detective finds himself facing off against his worst nightmare.

In the Devil’s Dreams is the story of three broken people and the boy who links them. The lives and nightmares of the characters are elegantly interwoven, and the story is revealed through multiple points of view.

I enjoyed this book that was based off the author’s nightmares he had when visiting his mother’s home. It left me wondering: how much was imagination, and how much was real-life events? Dun, dun, dun…

It was cool that the book also had illustrations. It helped the suspense come alive. The main character promised his mom he’d never enter the woods alone. Once he reaches her home, he saw a monster named Gorleth, who reminded him of his wife. His depressed, suicidial wife. So he ran away into the woods. A ghostly figure, reminding him of his wife, haunted him. He ended up joining forces with a cabbie, who was running away from something too. It was cool how each character’s journey eventually crossed paths.

My favorite lines: 1) “I feel like we’ve been apart a thousand years,” he said. “But I promise you, I won’t lose you again.” 2) “And it was dark. God help me, it was dark.” 3) “He knew her. The monster knew my wife.” 4) “Approaching the brink of a panic attack, I staggered away from the scene like a drunk.” 5) “I can smell you,” he growled. “You can’t hide.”

I loved the author’s voice. He had a great writing style, but after awhile all the characters’ first person accounts sounded exactly the same, like they all had the same voice. 

My favorite character was the cabbie. He seemed to know some of the answers, regarding the woods. Those woods were spooky! The author did a great job of capturing the characters’ fears. Those monsters and ghosts were relentless!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: It Began With Ashes By D.E.M. Emrys

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

Peace in Wroge came at a price.

The cost?

War.

Wroge was divided by the Saive War. The Arneuton kingdom enslaved the Keltir clans into their invasion, and swept across the territory, converting and conscripting the weak, culling the strong. Five Years of war, the blood of four races, millions of deaths. The Arneut conquered. The Keltir were released from their imprisonment, but the Vikir and Narz were forever banished from Wroge’s borders.

Draven fought for peace. He fought another man’s war and paid for his freedom in blood. But even peace comes with its price. Taxes to another man’s king. Draven’s fight might have ended with the Saive War, but the struggle to afford safety for his family is far from over.

When the Vikir threaten Wroge’s northern border they come with a debt of their own. And it’s not taxes they’re after. They come because of the Keltir’s betrayal in the Saive War. They come from blood.

But Wroge’s fate won’t be decided by ageing warriors and old grudges. The lives of four young men, divided by peace, united by conflict, will shape the future of the war torn land.

‘It Began With Ashes’ is the story of how life’s greatest struggle is to accept who you are – a tale of broken promises, bitter grudges, and brotherhoods bound in blood.

16172345I enjoyed this 23 chapter book. My favorite lines: 1) It had gone too far for sense now. 2) The darkness offered no answer. It had taken everything from him. 3) “I was thinking on my feet–the plan was to find Draven, and he’d come up with the real plan!” 4) “Those Gore things may be demons for bedtime fables to scare the young but it t’ain’t just beasts roaming the forest no more.”

The tax collector, Draven, was away on a mission when his town was invaded by Vikings. Kale, his 12 year old son and Morgana, his wife, along with other people from the village were in grave danger–either they’d be killed on the spot or kidnapped and tortured.

I thought it was brave the way Kale and Morgana stepped up to the plate to protect their friends. Draven must have taught them well.

I loved that the plot was action-packed. Kale and his friends were little boys but had to grow up fast! Deuk was Kale’s best friend. He went crazy and slit another kid’s throat in front of the adults. That was a very intense scene. For the most part, I sat on the edge of my seat because no character’s life was guaranteed.

Besides suspense, there were also bits of humor with Draven’s co-workers, so I even laughed a little.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Helens of Troy By Janine McCaw

This is another book where I’m breaking my own rules. I’ve never visited Janine McCaw’s website, but ThatFantasyBlog  recommended the story to read in one of their book reviews. Respecting their decision, I decided to try out Helens of Troy, which is the tenth book of my reading challenge.

Here’s my thoughts:

“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Fifteen year old Goth-chic Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch. All on the first night!

But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having–the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy–because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.

Then there’s the little match between Helena and Gaspar Bonvillaine, the teenaged vampire who is learning to feed on young prey. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.

To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether its time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy.”

I really enjoyed this 32 chapter book. Since the author lives in Vancouver, if she ever sees Jensen Ackles or Jared Padalecki, please let each actor know I love them! I loved that there was a part in the story where Helena comments to her daughter that she should upgrade to Dean’s car. I loved that the two adults watched Supernatural. You can’t go wrong with that LOL.

My favorite scenes were 1) Ellie and Helen’s trip to Troy in the van. Their conversation was hilarious. 2) Ryan and Ellie’s walk home from the football game. 3) Tom’s baby-sitting escapades before Stan gets snatched by the vampire. My favorite exchange:

  • “You’re sixteen. They’ll toss you in the slammer.”
  • “I won’t go to jail,” Tom assured him. “Stop watching old movies so your vocabulary has a chance to meet this century. Okay.”

In fact, the dialogue was very realistic and entertaining throughout the novel. Janine McCaw has a gift of keeping conversations going without it becoming boring page after page. I enjoyed the sarcasm, and readers get a sense of the characters’ personalities by the way they talk and their body language. My favorite characters were Helena, Ellie, and Ryan. The author also has a wonderful talent of creating complex characters, therefore making them relatable and three-dimensional. It was cool to see them outside their comfort zone.

I laughed from beginning to end. The jail scenes were funny, especially when Ryan had to use the bathroom. The novel also had cute elements; it was adorable that Ryan (a teen) had a crush on Helena (a grandmother). And, it was so sweet that Mr. Wagner had a crush on Helena too. I felt bad that he died–it was eerie that he was the dead man on the porch for Halloween. Talk about trick-or-treat.

The format issues (no paragraph indentations, a tiny bit of head-hopping–no scene breaks) was worth getting past. It was refreshing to see all the characters working together to protect themselves instead of waiting for help. The poor police were hopeless LOL. The ending scene where the characters band together to save Ellie from Gaspar was awesome.

  • I have to admit that even though Gaspar was the villain, I felt sorry for him. Being a Leo, I can relate to being misunderstood. All the answers were revealed at the end. I was surprised of all the twists! The clues throughout the beginning and middle were very subtle; it was a nice job of keeping the mystery going.

I enjoyed the cliffhanger. It promised something interesting will happen in England. I can’t wait for the next book to find out!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on Janine McCaw or Helens of Troy, please visit:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby