Book Tour: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Hello dear readers, before I begin I want to just let you know that I received this book as part of a book tour with The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. 

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

Title: Harrow Lake
Author: Kat Ellis
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

If you enjoy this review, make sure to follow me on social media.
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The Horror Genre

So I am still new to the horror genre. It’s not a genre I have read a lot of books from, so maybe I have set the bar too high, I’m not really sure.

When I thought about horror books, I had assumed that I would be losing sleep, seeing things in the dark, and being generally scared by what I was reading.

When I was reading Harrow Lake, I never really had those moments. I never felt like this Mister Jitters was going to keep me up at night. I never felt the fear.


On the shorter side

I am still on the fence on how I feel about the length of Harrow Lake. Coming in at 368 pages, that is plenty of time to scare someone, but it’s not too long that the horror turned into annoyance.

Harrow Lake didn’t seem to find a good balance in my opinion. There were times where I was annoyed, but then moments later I felt like I had hope that there was going to be something scary just around the corner.


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Felt empty

The overall story itself felt kind of empty and full of holes. The whole premise of the story makes no sense. I don’t think the protagonist would be sent off to her grandmother’s house when her father got hurt.

If he was going to get better in just a few days, she could have stayed at home and someone could have watched her.

Even if that was the case, and she was shipped off to her grandmother’s, there are too many moments in the story that happen just for the sake of happening. There isn’t much rhyme or reason to it all, and the most description we get is “this place turns people bad”.


Scares seemed vague

The most “scared” I ever got when reading Harrow Lake was one of the first scares. The evil monster was still new, and we didn’t understand it yet.

After that, the scares seemed excessive, like they could be avoided with a bit of reason from the protagonist.

When a “scary” moment did happen, it felt like the writing just wasn’t developed enough. Like we were only getting the very surface of what was going on, and that didn’t go deep enough for me.


I’m sorry to say that I didn’t like this book. I always feel bad when I get a book from an author and didn’t like it.

If you enjoyed Harrow Lake, let me know why! I want to hear your thoughts about it.
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My First Real Glimpse into Horror: Night Shift by Stephen King

Title: Night Shift
Author: Stephen King
Rating: ★★★★☆

Hello dear readers, I hope you’re okay with a little bit of spooky, because I took a bit of a dive into the horror genre with Night Shift by Stephen King.

I’ve read a bit of horror before, but not a whole lot, so when the wonderful Judith Rowe approached me about a buddy read for Night Shift, I knew I had to take part.

Make sure to check our her blog and her twitter page!

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Since this book consists of several short stories, Judith and I discussed each story, and boy did we discuss a lot.

Judith has a two-part post discussing the book more in depth based off of our analysis. It’s really quite amazing and thought provoking, so please go check them out.
Part 1
Part 2

I had a lot of fun reading and discussing with Judith, so please go check out her content. She analyzes books on a whole different level from a lot of book bloggers I’ve seen.

If you’ve read any of these short stories, or any Stephen King, let’s talk about it in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media. I’m always down for a good book discussion!
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Nightshift.jpg

Here is the list of short stories in this book:
Jerusalm’s Lot
Graveyard Shift
Night Surf
I am the Doorway
The Mangler
The Boogeyman
Gray Matter
Battleground
Trucks
Sometimes they come Back
Strawberry Spring
The Ledge
The Lawnmower Man
Quitters, Inc.
I Know what you Need
Children of the Corn
The Last Rung of the Ladder
The Man who Loved Flowers
One for the Road
The Woman in the Room

I won’t be covering each story in depth, but isntead thebok as a whole, so I hope you enjoy!

My First Dive Into Horror

Like I said, this was my first real dive into the horror genre, and Night Shift definitely made me want to read a full horror book. I liked the reveal of what the “monster” of the story could be, so I think the slower process over an entire novel could have a really satisfying ending to it.

I’m not sure I want to read another King book, or branch off to another author, but King has definitely got me interested.

I think I am glad that this was the first pick of mine for horror, because it gave me a chance to read different types of horror. There was a bit of gore, some mystical, some magical, some monsters, and some who knows what. It was nice seeing a little bit of everything, because I think King does a wonderful job at showing his range of writing skills.

Night Shift ebook by Stephen King
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King’s Endings

From what I’ve been told, King is “famous” for his endings. I’ve seen people complain about his endings, and I’ve seen people praise them. If I had to pick a side, I think it would be on the complain side.

I’ll give it to King, some of his endings were brilliant. They left me with a sense of dread or fear, which is doing exactly what they needed to do.

BUT, I would only say that about maybe a handful of the stories at best. Most of them seemed out of place or unnecessary, like King was trying to give you that sense of dread, but he was just trying too hard. It almost ruined some stories for me to be honest.


What Horror Means

I hadn’t realized it before, but the “horror” genre can be very diverse. It’s not just a spooky monster stalking a group of teenagers. It can be people being slaughtered, an eerie town in the middle of nowhere, a rat that won’t stop growing.

I know people praise King as an amazing author, and I would totally agree. With 20 different stories, King manages to come up with 20 unique ideas to tell, each so different than the others that you wouldn’t know they were by the same author.

I’d have to say that the mystical horror seems to be my cup of tea, but a close second is the real horror. I like the mystical horror, because my mind goes to a million different places making up all the answers I know I won’t get answered for me.

I also like the idea that horror can be based in reality. It can just be a guy with a weapon or a bit of political power. If anything, that horror is scarier because it can be real.

The Great Stephen King Re-read: Night Shift

Overall

Overall, I loved this book. I loved exploring a whole new world with each new story, and then having it finish right before my eyes just as I was getting hooked.

I am a sucker for short stories, and a book filled with them was an awesome experience for me, and being able to discuss it with Judith just added to the experience. She’s a horror master, so getting her input on thoughts I had was much appreciated.

Book Review: Bullets, Teeth & Fists 3

Title: Bullets, Teeth & Fists 3
Author: Jason Beech
Rating: 4 / 5

She’s heavily pregnant. She’s handcuffed to a pipe. The clock is ticking.Belle, the heavily pregnant wife of an important man, is bundled into the back of a car, held against her will, and cuffed to a pipe in an abandoned apartment … and her waters are about to break.Belle is desperate for her baby girl to survive and live a better life than she ever had. All she has to do is get one of her kidnappers onside. All her husband has to do is pay the ransom.Will he?The latest in the Bullets series is here – 20 exciting, violent, and sometimes heartbreaking short stories of noir and pulp fiction. Put your gloves on, it’s bloody round here.

I’ve never read a book with a title quite like this one before, but I got basically what I expected out of it. When you find a book called Bullets, Teeth & Fists, you expect a character struggling and fighting to their absolute last breath…and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was sent this book as a part of a blog tour by Blackthorn Book Tours, and it was my first blog tour with them. I think this is actually the first “horror” book I’ve read through and reviewed, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Bullets, Teeth, & Fists is a collection of short stories, and they aren’t what you expect from your normal horror stories. Some make the hairs on the back of your neck crawl straight up in an instant, while others keep you up at night with a sense of dread hanging over you.

I’m not sure if one story stood out on its own as something amazing, or as one I will remember for a long time, but instead the entire books makes your skin crawl from start to finish, and I mean it in a good way.



There was one aspect of this book that really made me enjoy it though, and that was the lack of answers.

Some stories in the book tell you what you want to hear. You get the ending, whether you want it or not.

Some stories you don’t. You don’t get the ending you wanted, or didn’t want. You get nothing, except you imagination wondering how it all ended.

Each story is very well written. Sometimes there is more detail than you wanted, but you’re never wanting for more.

Each of the characters are well written, even if it is hard to follow them at times.


Some of the stories have characters with the same name, and at first I was confused because I thought it was the same person.

I’m not sure why that decision was made, but in my opinion it wasn’t a good one. It just seemed sort of odd that you would include the same names for characters in the book.

The book itself could have used another round of proofreading. as there were several typos. This took away from the story a bit, but it was still enjoyable as a whole.


I definitely recommend Bullets, Teeth, & Fists 3 to anyone who likes the dark and gritty stories. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Let’s connect on social media so we can talk about it!
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March Madness (2)

Hello again dear readers. You are only a day and a bit away from the weekend! Just don’t forget to enjoy the moment while you’re looking to the horizon.

If you missed last week’s March Madness post, you should probably go check it out here.

To simplify it for you, I want to hold a March Madness tournament, but for books.

I narrowed the books down into four more popular categories, each having 16 books.

I decided on these genres and these books doing some pretty thorough research into popular books in each genre.

I will make a post about the rules for this, and what will be happening during March a few weeks before it goes live, but you can check out the list of books in each genre down below.


These are the 16 Books in each of the four categories:

Horror

  1. Rosemary’s Baby
  2. The Haunting of Hill House
  3. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
  4. Carrie
  5. Dracula
  6. Frankenstein
  7. Pet Semetary
  8. The Shining
  9. Let the Right One In
  10. Gothic Tales
  11. The Exorcist
  12. Interview with the Vampire
  13. Ring
  14. The Turn of the Screw
  15. The Woman in Black
  16. The Tell-Tale Heart

Mystery

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  3. Gone Girl
  4. In Cold Blood
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  6. The Hounds of Baskerville
  7. The Girl on the Train
  8. Rebecca
  9. The Firm
  10. Murder on the Orient Express
  11. Davinci Code
  12. And Then There Were None
  13. The Godfather
  14. The Alienist
  15. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  16. A is for Alibi

Fantasy

  1. The Lord of the Rings
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Assassin’s Apprentice
  4. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  5. The Lies of Locke Lamora
  6. The Name of the Wind
  7. The Eye of the World
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  9. Malazan Book of the Fallen
  10. American Gods
  11. Mistborn
  12. Wizard’s First Rule
  13. The Golden Compass
  14. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  15. Outlander
  16. Eragon

Science Fiction

  1. Dune
  2. 1984
  3. Ender’s Game
  4. Brave New World
  5. Starship Troopers
  6. Fahrenheit 451
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale
  8. The War of the Worlds
  9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  11. Star Wars
  12. Slaughterhouse-Five
  13. Watchmen
  14. The Martian
  15. The Hunger Games
  16. A Wrinkle in Time

If you like the idea of this March Madness for books, please follow the blog, or find me on social media!
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Scary Movie Weekly Update

So as I previously mentioned, I decided to watch a scary movie every day for the month of October. Without going too deep into the psychological effects I am already noticing from doing this, it has been a good experience.

I don’t watch a lot of scary movies, but the handful that I have watched this week have been good.

I won’t be giving a 500+ word review on each movie. I’ll give a brief summary of the movie and then a 5-star rating as a scary movie and then a quick thought that I had.

October 1: Overlord

★★☆☆☆

On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines and soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. 

Overlord wasn’t a bad movie. If I was rating it as a movie overall I’d give it a 3.5. It’s an alternative history type war movie, and those always are welcomed in my mind, but it’s not a very scary movie. More so just thriller and monsters.

October 2: Hellfest

★★★☆☆

On Halloween night, three young women and their respective boyfriends head to Hell Fest — a ghoulish traveling carnival that features a labyrinth of rides, games and mazes. They soon face a bloody night of terror when a masked serial killer turns the horror theme park into his own personal playground.

Though this wasn’t the scariest movie I have ever seen, what I really enjoyed about it is that one of the main characters actually uses her brain and thinks about how they can stop the killer, instead of just making bad call after bad call.

October 3: CAM

★☆☆☆☆

A camgirl has her principles, until a mysterious woman who looks just like her takes over her channel.

Honestly, not a great scary movie at all, and only marginally better as a movie in general. I don’t really understand how this came up as a google search for scary movies, but I’m sure someone knows why. It’s a movie about a distant perspective, and theres a bit of thrill to it but overall not great and not scary.

October 4: 23:59

★★☆☆☆

An Army recruit is found dead one minute before midnight on an island military training camp. The gruesome incident reveals a terrifying secret, and his fellow soldiers have to confront their deepest fears.

I was a bit worried about this movie at first because I heard great things about Asian Horror movies, but I was woefully underwhelmed . There was too much buildup for what the scary ghost was, and when it finally appeared I didn’t find it to be that scary. I think the idea was good, but the storytelling just wasn’t there.

October 5: The Blair Witch Project

★★★★☆

Found video footage tells the tale of three film students who’ve traveled to a small town to collect documentary footage about the Blair Witch, a legendary local murderer. Over the course of several days, the students interview townspeople and gather clues to support the tale’s veracity. But the project takes a frightening turn when the students lose their way in the woods and begin hearing horrific noises.

I’m a sucker for a good found footage movie, and The Blair Witch Project does a good job. The older quality cameras and the slow buildup of the horror really did it for me. I’ve heard it’s not the scariest movie out there, but I turned a light on in my apartment mid-way through watching this.