Author: Royce Prouty
Published: June 13, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2.5 stars
When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.
After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.
Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.
The poor man’s Historian is the best I can say. The first half had some major potential band I was really excited … but then the second half was such a let down! There was no real mystery, there wasn’t a quest, it just all felt so silly and inconsequential! And you’d think that having more vampires, some weird rituals, and a global conspiracy would make the story better! They didn’t. By the time I got 2/3s of the way through, I just didn’t care anymore and turned the pages in order to finish quickly.
Maybe if I hadn’t read The Historian, I would have liked it better. But I kept comparing them, and Stoker’s Manuscript didn’t even come close! Honestly, I can’t even say I’m glad I read it or recommend it to anyone. Just go read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and you’ll have everything and much more than what this book could give you.
The House of Whispers
Author: Laura Purcell
Published: June 9, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.
Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.
This was a weird one. I think my only real criticism is that the end was a little too open for my liking. I mean I liked it, but I wanted more. Morvoren House is one of those amazing old houses that I would love to live in and explore all its mysterious books and crannies. I’m not a huge fan of Hester’s character; she’s kinda stupid in many common sense ways and that brings her down quite a bit. But everyone else adds fascinating and complex issues. The story kept me guessing almost to the end and once everything started to fall into place, it was neat and clear! This is a perfect book for those who like those gothic mysteries!
Sister Funtime: A Smileyland Story
Author: Spencer Hamilton
Published: December 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“Welcome to hell, Sister.”
Sister Mary Matthew arrives on the steps of St. Teresa’s Joyous Youths Orphanage determined to be the children’s favorite nun. But she can’t seem to win over the head of the orphanage: stern, withered Sister Agatha Eustace, whom everyone secretly calls Sister Killjoy.
Mary tries to rise to the challenge, but things at St. Teresa’s feel . . . off. A mysterious benefactor. Sick children denied medicine. A crowded cemetery. Strange noises from the basement. Cruel punishments. Terrifying dreams.
Worst of all, her prayers remain unanswered. She feels as if God has abandoned her and everyone at St. Teresa’s. Until, one full-mooned night, a voice calls to her. A voice that claims to know her heart’s desire.
Before there was Smileyland, before Mister Smiley, there was a decrepit orphanage run by an evil nun and full of children who chanted:
“Sister Funtime, Sister Funtime, Sister Funtime!”
From the author of Welcome to Smileyland and The Fear comes the new religious horror novella, the latest entry in the Smileyverse. Come on in—and don’t forget to say your prayers.
Holy cannoli! Since this is a prequel written after the initial book that I have not read, I wasn’t expecting too much. I could not have been more wrong! This book was terrifying! Just enough paranormal to keep it from being a simple gore fest, but enough gore to keep it realistic. I want so badly to read Mr. Smiley, Hamilton’s original work, but I guess I have to wait until the next printing. But I am now emotionally invested and psychologically hooked! Nuns running orphanages is one of those tropes I adore, then you add in the horror elements and I’m happy! Plus, the cover is fabulous! I definitely recommend it to all the horror fans out there!