31 Oct 2018

Book Review / Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest death-defying scheme.

Published:     10th July 2018
Publisher:  Disney
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


I had so much fun reading this.  Like many many others, this is one of my all time favourite Halloween movies, if not one of my favourite movies of all time.  When I heard that this had been transformed into a book and not just that, there was a sequel to the story, I knew that I had to read that as fast as I could.

I listened to the audio book of this one and, to be honest, it has its good points and its bad points.  Let's start with the bad points and then work our way to the better points.  As this is a massive movie, I would have expected the audio book to have that same charisma and portray the many many larger than life characters.  Now, I am not saying that the audio book speaker was not good because she was but I would have loved to have had a bit more dramatic flair and more emphasis on the individuality of each of the main characters in this story, especially the witches.  Another aspect that I wasn't fond of was the fact that in the movie it has very rememberable songs like I Put A Spell On You and the lullaby that one of the witches sings to lure the children to them.  In the book, these were merely spoken rather than sung or even used music.  With the sequel, although I did enjoy it I would have loved to have had a different storyline.   From my experience of listening to this story, apart from a few tweaks it seemed to follow a similar storyline to the original story but not much variation.   For a sequel to a very popular story, I would have expected a similar feel to the first book but a sequel that moves the story forward, adds more depth to the world etc.

Moving onto the good things.  I enjoyed revisiting this story so much.  I didn't get the chance to watch it last year and purposefully did not watch it this year as I didn't wait it to 'interfere' with my enjoyment of the book by comparing one to the other.   With the sequel, I found the whole aspect of being so many years later and the 'next generation' are learning about the witches and seeing what happens if you make the mistake of waking them up.  In this sequel, we also find out a little bit more history of the witches and their family, with a surprising twist nearer the end.

Continue reading Book Review / Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

23 Oct 2018


Book Review / You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

Spine-tingling, chilling, and utterly compulsive, YOU LET ME IN is the stunning new novel from Richard & Judy Book Club author, Lucy Clarke
Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…

Published:     16th August 2018
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


Lucy Clarke is definitely an author that has a firm place in my most favourite authors list.  The only one left I have to read is Last Seen and I can' wait to dig into that one.

We follow Elle in this story.  She has just come back from being away for one or two weeks to her reasonably newly built house that she has been renting out while she has been away.  But there's something not quite right with the house and this is a feeling that she has right from when she steps through the door.   It seems that someone may be watching here or even in her house, both when she's not there and even possibly when she is.  Is she going mad or is there really someone out to get her? But it is  not only Elle's point of view we read in this story.  This story is split into two viewpoints, one, of course, is Elle's but the other could be the person who is watching her...

This book kept me right at the end of my seat the whole way through.  There are a vast array of characters that are featured in this book including next door neighbours, next door neighbour's son, her sister and brother-in-law.  Also, you have the family who rented the house while Elle was away.  All of them suspects...

Despite the fact that I had figured out what was happening about near the middle of the book, this was such an enjoyable read.  Full of suspense, twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!!!

Continue reading Book Review / You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

21 Oct 2018


Book Review / Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante

A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind.

Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable, and yet, as the months go by, she is able to cobble together some version of a job, of friends, of the possibility of peace.

And then, children begin to disappear. And soon, Jane sees her own pain reflected in all the parents in the town. She wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear all around her. But as the disappearances continue, she begins to see that what her neighbors are wondering is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss.

Half Moon Bay is a chilling story about a mother haunted by her past. As Stewart O’Nan said about Turn of Mind—this novel “blindfolds the reader and spins her around.

Published:     10th July 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


I had really wanted to like this book but, for me, it just didn't really hit the spot.  First off, I went into this book thinking that it was going to be a murder mystery where we follow the accused.  It really threw me when, as I was reading this book, this story was not really about the murder mystery, that was just a side story to me.  The main story of this book is more about following Jane from the start of the book where she has lost her daughter and decides to move to Half Moon Bay to get away from it all.  Now this part of the story, I really did enjoy.  This was the part of the story that kept me reading.  The character development from start to finish for the character of Jane was really interesting and just kept me guessing as to whether I really knew all I needed to know about this character or whether she was still hiding a lot.  I did also enjoy the way that the story had been written, a little bit jumpy and dotting from one part to another which, for me, just accentuated, where Jane was in her mind at the time.  All mixed up. 

I really wanted to enjoy this story but did find it confusing.  This is more about the psychological effect Jane's mind has on what she does, says or what other people perceive her to be rather than about a murder mystery.

Continue reading Book Review / Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante

16 Oct 2018

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Blog Tour Book Review / In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit…

Published:     2nd October 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


What an interesting and exciting read!  I read this in one sitting on a rainy Sunday.  

In this story, we follow Edie whose mother is a convicted serial killer.  That, right there, is surely enough to mess with her mind and affect her in ways that those of us with non-serial killer mothers would not be able to understand but the way this story is written it me, as a reader, right there in Edie's place trying to understand who she is and what she is up to.  Her way of coping is to keep and eye on and follow the families of her mother's victims, keeping journals of their movements.  A bit disturbing but at least, compared to what her mother had done, this was all she had done.  

By far the best part of the story for me was Edie's investigative mission and how she manages to find out all that she does.  I was really surprised by that twist and thoroughly enjoyed following Edie as she tried to figure out what really went on. 

Even though I was a little disappointed by the ending of this book and had wished there was a bit more of a conclusion, this was a thoroughy enjoyable read and would highly recommend it.  

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

13 Oct 2018

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Book Review / Hallowdene by George Mann (Book 2, Wychwood Series)

Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave.

Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig.

She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.

Published:     18th September 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books

Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Wychwood
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


I am so addicted to this series, I can't believe there are no more books out there to read yet!!!  Although this is the second book in the Wychwood series, you can read this independently of the first book if you want to although I would strongly recommend starting from the beginning.  That way, you can get a back story to the characters that are in this series and get a view of the 'bigger picture'.

This book takes us way in the past to three hundred years ago.  I absolutely adore stories like this, so already this book is golden to me.  You have the usual characters that I suspect will be the main focus of this series, Elspeth and DS Peter Shaw, and you meet more characters from this home town.  Some of these characters are just innocent bystanders and some of them are not so innocent and hold onto the history of their families for a long time!

In this second book, I got more of a sense of Elspeth's home town, how the people in it operate and a bit more knowledge of the past.  Such great history in this book and with the mystery of the past and present mixed in, it was definitely one of those stories that I could not put down.

I was completely addicted to this book and just could not put it down.  Can't wait for the next one! 

Continue reading Book Review / Hallowdene by George Mann (Book 2, Wychwood Series)
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Re-Read Book Review / Wychwood by George Mann

 Elspeth May, a young female journalist who never seems to be in the right place at the right time, suddenly gets her big break only to find that no one will ever believe her story.

When a local woman is found murdered in her own home, slashed viciously across the throat, the police begin a manhunt of the surrounding villages, unsure exactly of who or what they are looking for. Elspeth, accidentally first on the scene, finds her interest piqued, and sets out to investigate the details surrounding the crime. In doing so she finds herself constantly battling against Peter Shaw, a police sergeant working on the case and under suspicion due to a terrible incident that occurred during a previous investigation. More murders follow, each of them adopting a similar pattern.

What links the victims? And why are some of the local people trying to cover things up?"

Published:     12th September 2017
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher 

Previous Review:  Click here


The first time I read this book I really enjoyed it (my previous review can be found in the link above).  I had the opportunity to be able to read and review the second book in this series, Hallowdene and thought that I had better re-read the first book just to remind myself of the characters and the world they were in.  I have to say that I enjoyed this book so much more the second time around!  Having been about a year since I last read this book, I did worry that I would remember a lot of the twists and the turns but I really didn't and that was a good thing.  It was like I was going into this book blind or reading it for the first time.

What I found the most enjoyable about this book was the mixture of thriller and what I describe as folklore.  There are some parts of this book that can easily be explained but there are a couple of 'incidents' that I just cannot explain how what happened, happened.  

If I had to describe this book in a few words I would call it an energetic thriller with a dash of fokelore mixed in.  This book has a very spooky feel to it and is a great book to pick up this time of year!!

Continue reading Re-Read Book Review / Wychwood by George Mann

7 Oct 2018

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Trilogy Review / Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...

Published:     First book published in 2010
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 and 3, Infernal Devices
Source:  Owned


What I loved about this trilogy...  By a long shot, the best thing about this series is the world they are in.  Having just previously read The Mortal Instruments Series, The Bane Chronicles and Tales of the Shadowhunters Academy, I was deep into this world and was hoping that this Trilogy would add more depth to that.  This trilogy definitely did not disappoint me!  In this trilogy, we step back quite a number of years before the Mortal Instruments Series and get to learn a bit more about the history of the world and even how some things have come to be that end up being featured in the Mortal Instruments Series.  

I also loved the romance aspect of this trilogy.  You have a classic love triangle and, for me, it was really well developed and played out exactly how I would have hoped it did. 

What I did not like about this trilogy...  I really did enjoy this trilogy very much but it did take me a while to read, mainly because I felt that the pace of the stories in this trilogy were very slow.  Despite the fact that I was hooked by the story and the characters, it seemed like it was taking me ages to read something that really shouldn't have taken that long.  I felt that maybe the stories did not have to be 500 to 600 pages long but rather 300 to 400 pages long and it would still have been just as good.

In summary...   A really fun trilogy that has plenty of twists and turns.  Although a bit slow paced for me and each book could have been shorter, this is a trilogy that really adds to the depth of the Shadowhunters world and I really can't wait to read what comes next in this world. 

Continue reading Trilogy Review / Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare