Review – The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char
by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char Goodreads Description:

Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.  (read more)

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Horror
My Rating: **** (4 stars)

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Forsaken by J.D. Barker

Forsaken
by J. D. Barker

Forsaken (Shadow Cove Saga, #1)

Genre: Horror
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Book 1 of The Shadow Cove Saga

Forsaken is a book partially based on characters and events from the Salem witch trials. Some of these events find their way into the latest novel by best-selling novelist Thad McAlister.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.

Inspired by Actual Events
Excerpt from the Journal of Clayton Stone – 1692
She was examined today without torture at Shadow Cove township on the charge of witchcraft. She said she was wholly innocent of the crime and has never in life renounced God. I watched as they brought her out. A poor, sickly thing, worn by her time behind the walls of her prison. Her bared feet and hands bound in leather, her clothing tattered to that of ruin. Despite such condition, her head was held high, her eyes meeting those of her accusers. She still refuses to provide her name so we remain unable to search baptismal records, nor has her family stepped forward to claim her as their own. We have no reason to believe she is anything but an orphaned child. I find myself unable to look at her directly in the moments preceding her trial. She is watching me though; with eyes of the deepest blue, she is watching me.

Thad McAlister, Rise of the Witch

When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft. (read more

Throughout the story, the author allows you glimpses into the past via excerpts from Clayton Stone’s journal, showing you important events that happened in 1692. These journal entries give you just enough information to keep you guessing and add to the suspense when you are reading about the present. There were some good twists and a nice salute to Stephen King (one of my favorites) that made this even more fun to read. This was a great stay-up-all-night-reading type of spooky story, and I recommend this book to any fans of horror novels, witches, or things that go bump in the night. I will also be on the lookout for book #2 of the Shadow Cove Saga, to find out what happens to Ashley and Rachael!

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Review – The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

The Dead Lands
by Benjamin Percy
The Dead Lands

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Genre: Horror / SciFi / Fantasy
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

The Dead Lands is at its core a story of survival in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles – survival not just of a few individuals, but of humanity itself.

Synopsis From Goodreads:
In Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.  (read more)

The story starts out in Sanctuary, and then hops back and forth between there and the group of escapees who have set off in the hopes of discovering something better. Each member of the scouting party has his or her own personal reason for fleeing Sanctuary. For some, the struggle with their decision to leave causes them almost as much grief as the monsters, inhospitable climates, and other people they meet along the way.

This book had both the horror-road-trip feel of The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and the find-other-survivors-and-keep-the-human-race-going vibe of The Passage, by Justin Cronin. (Both of which I highly recommend if you have not already read them!) It was a suspenseful, thought-provoking tale and I really enjoyed it.

I do think that the way the story wrapped up, there might be a possibility of a little more Lewis and Clark (not to mention Gawea) in the future. I’m not sure that’s what the author was getting at, but I can hope….

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