Tag: 4.5 stars

Audiobook Review: Buried by Sian B. Claven

Buried
Author: Sian B. Claven

Narrator: Chris Slone
Published:  October 15, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 10-11, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

Home is where the heart is … or the hatred.

You can feel the love and care someone puts into their home just by walking into it. Equally, you can feel the hatred and malice when you step into a home where dark deeds have been done.

Alex and his team of so-called paranormal investigators are given the opportunity of a lifetime when they are able to film inside one of the most haunted, and cursed, locations in their area.

The Jackson Mansion.

The thing that makes this mansion truly unique is that it is built completely underground. Determined to uncover the dark secrets of the mansion’s past, and prove himself a notable investigator, Alex doesn’t care what it takes. The mansion, however, has other ideas, as well as some rather restless occupants.

Jessica’s Review:

Kim has previously read  Buried and her review is here.

This is my first full length novella from Claven and WHOA!!! Until this one, I have only read two of her short stories, and I cannot wait to read more from her! I have had Buried on my kindle for a while, but was kindly sent an audiobook version from the author to listen to.

Claven can truly write horror!  Buried take the ‘haunted house’ trope and amplifies it by 1000!  I did not know what was going to happen next as I listened to this novella or anticipated how it would end.  I recall my mouth dropping a few times as I listened, and had to make an effort to concentrate on driving as I listened and was fully involved in the story. I had recently been involved in an accident where deer were involved and the car that hit me ran, so I didn’t need a repeat accident in my new-to-me car! (Please note that all 4 deer and myself were fine, my poor little Saab was not so lucky). 

Please note that Claven will not be for everyone.  Her writing is very dark, twisted, depraved, and also unique! There were a couple of erotica parts in Buried which I could have done without, which gives my rating of 4.5 stars. I would say this novel would be for 18+ due to the contents involved. 

As previously mentioned, I was sent the audiobook version from Claven.  Honestly, it took a little while for me to get used to the narrator’s voice. At first, I did not really like his voice as for me his voice had a bit too much of a ‘southern twang’ to it, but after a while I was able get past that and ended up enjoying the narration as Slone really performed!  

Please note that Claven is from South Africa so some vernacular in the novel is from her country.  I have read books from other authors in South Africa, so this did not stick out for me. 

Reader discretion is advised before you pick up Buried. If you can handle it, you will be in for a wild ride of not knowing what to expect!  Buried is far from your typical haunted house novel and those out to discredit ghosts!

Buried is recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Short Story Review: The Ritual: A Holiday Folk Horror Story by Michael R. Goodwin

The Ritual: A Holiday Folk Story
Author: Michael R. Goodwin

Published: December 25, 2021
17 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

“Let us bow our heads and close our eyes,” the villagers chanted, “for the Bell waits not for the one who dies.”

In the square, the villagers had gathered for The Ritual, which hasn’t been performed in more than thirty years. Only those old enough to have been at the last one knew the full gravity of what was to come. Everyone (even the children) knew why they had gathered, but there was only so much that could be conveyed through the retelling of a tale.

Some things you had to see for yourself to truly understand.

Kim’s Review:

I’m a huge Shirley Jackson fan: I remember reading The Lottery back in high school and I loved it. (See mine and Jessica’s double review here). For some reason, my mom is still freaked out by that story. But that’s neither here nor there. The Ritual was simple and effective. Similar to The Lottery, but definitely its own story. I know y’all know exactly what I’m gonna say, “I need more information!” Well, you’re right. This could easily be stretched out to a full length novel and I would totally read it! But, it’s an easy to read short story that I really enjoyed!! Definitely a good one for any level horror fan!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]

#DIverseathon2021: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus
Series: Life of a Cactus #2
Author: Dusti Bowling
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Published: September 17, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  July 21-25, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars     

Book Description:

The sequel to the critically acclaimed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus follows Aven Green as she confronts yet another challenge: high school. “High School. Two words that struck fear into the heart of every armless middle schooler I knew. Which was me. And like two people online.” Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school . . . with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

Jessica’s Review:

Aven is back in Momentous Life and now she is starting high school… And it is not going how she wanted.  Connor has moved 30 minutes away, so she doesn’t see him like she used to. Now her main friend is Zion (“from The Matrix, not the Bible”). Zion is overweight and heavily bullied because of it. Zion was a minor character in the first novel, and Connor was the focus with his Tourette’s Syndrome.  Aven clicks well with Zion’s whole family, which includes his older brother Lando (Yes, from Star Wars. Their parents are total science fiction nerds and it has rubbed off on the boys).

High school brings some new challenges: a much bigger school with students who have not seen Aven before. Momentous Life shows how cruel kids can be to each other. Despite her challenges, Aven stays who she is.  Aven meets a girl who is home schooled and works part time at Stagecoach Pass and they also become friends. 

We also get more of Stagecoach Pass and Henry who is much older and dealing with dementia. We also get more of Josephine who lives in a retirement community and she is just an older version of Aven! You can’t help but love Josephine!

After loving Insignificant Events, I had to read this second novel in the series.  This was also a #Diverseathon2021 read for the month of July (the prompt is a main character with a physical or cognitive disability). I listened to the audiobook version as I did with the first and it was also narrated by Karissa Vacker, who did a wonderful job again. I did miss Connor as we did not get as much with him due to his move.  I really enjoyed these two novels and would love to see more of Aven as she grows up: Going to college, getting a job, etc.  I can see that once Aven matures into an adult that she will be a very confident woman despite her lack of arms.  Aven is very much a character that kids can look up to.

Despite being freshmen in high school now, there is still a bit of immaturity in the novel that revolves around them being adolescents, but this novel is definitely appropriate for middle schoolers.  This is definitely a book series for children who have a disability that shows them they are still 100% a person.

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus is recommended! 

***
#Diverseathon2021:

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

July’s host is Kesara at readswithkesara over at Instagram. She is having a giveaway of One book valuing up to $20 from the Book Depository or Amazon (for US based winner)  Be sure to check out her Instagram for full details on that giveaway.

Be sure to check out her YouTube Channel!
***

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]