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review 2018-09-15 00:19
The Siren And The Specter
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

David Cane has made a living exploring haunted houses. He has yet to find proof that the supernatural exsists but that may soon change. His latest project is to write about the Alexander house, a place that has a horrifying history for both Daid personally  and for the community surrounding it.

 

The Alexander House was built in the 1700's by a land baron. He used it as a home for his son who practiced black magic and murdered several people in the town near by. David is haunted by the home because 20 years ago he broke up with his girlfriend  who committed suicide in the house. Now his former friend Chris and his wife want him to research the house but they may have an agenda and David may find that the supernatural is real and he has to pay for his past sins.

 

The Siren And The Specter by Jonathan Janz is a haunted house story that rises above other haunted house stories. This book starts simple with a paranormal researcher spending time in a haunted house. Then it builds on that by adding layers with complex characters, plot twists and sub plots. What was really interesting was how every little detail adds to the whole story. For instance at one point we're introduced to a dysfunctional family and after that a love story. When we first got into it I wondered how does this add to the ghost story but it does and it makes the book better. 

 

My favorite part of this book was when David reads from a diary of a paranormal researcher who visited the Alexander House in the 1800s. The diary excerpts show how good of a writer Jonathan Janz is. The way the diary is written is in a style that makes it feel like it was from a different era and then we hear David's findings from the present day. Jonathan  uses two different writing styles and it adds a lot to the book.

 

The characters are brilliant also, they aren't all good or all bad, they have layers and come across as real. For instance the lead character  David is self-absorbed but as you get into his bacstory you see why he is that way. Then you have his ex-friend Chris who is a jerk but you see how he acts and knows he has a sympathetic side.Though some of his acts are unforgivable I found I could relate to him. The Siren And The Specter isn't just a good horror novel, its a good novel period. You don't  have to be a horror fan to like this one, if you love great writing you will love this book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-02 14:44
The Siren and the Specter - Review 3/5*
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

siren.jpg

The Siren and the Specter

Jonathan Janz

Publication Date: September 6th 2018

Flame Tree Press

 

 

I received this book courtesy of NetGalley and Flame Tree Press in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

This book has had a lot of love over social media and various book review sites; it has popped up on my news feed time and again with its 4 and 5 star reviews and I’ve seen numerous posts about how scary and terrifying it was, and I admit I was very excited to receive it in exchange for a review. I was a little late to the party with this, but thankfully it was still available to request via NetGalley.

 

To me, this was a story about a love lost, and the search for forgiveness, not from other people, but the journey to forgiving yourself. This was a story about moving on, finding peace, and closing the door on a dark chapter of your life.

 

Synopsis: “When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.

 

I enjoyed it, I really did, although I personally didn’t find it scary. From reviews I have read and various posts I have seen in relation to it, I had expected to be shaken to my very core by this one. To me it was a great story no doubt, with an eclectic mix of characters, ranging from the sweet, the decent, to the downright seedy. I found the majority of characters interesting; I became very fond of the lead protagonist, David Caine, as well as growing to love Jessica as the story developed.

 

Two characters I had problems with were Mr Templeton, the caretaker of Alexander House, and his daughter Alicia. To me, they felt to be ‘filler’; they seemed to serve only a gratuitous purpose. The discovery of Alicia’s severed head seemed to be inserted only for shock value and then her father who responds in anguish was a bit of a ‘blink and you miss him’ character, brought in to pad the scene out. One minute he was trying to kill David and Ralph, the next he was helping them escape the house. This was the one part of the book that felt a little messy to me, a tad pointless. Alicia’s character hadn’t been developed enough for me really to be bothered by her grim demise, it felt more like she was just introduced so she could be killed.

 

I wish more had been done with Ralph’s character. After the revelation of what he had done, or more accurately, what he had allowed to be done, I really wished that his story had been allowed to develop a little more. I would have loved to see a bit more before his confession, and a lot more after. I think he was a decent guy overall, he had just made a bad decision to get through life – don’t we all sometimes? We all have regrets, dark secrets that we want to stay hidden, sins we wish we could undo. A part of me wished that he hadn’t have been killed the way he was, but again, it developed the story somewhat with regards to David and the undoing of his perpetual scepticism,so I can see why it was played out in such a way.

 

I really enjoyed the seedy Shelby family, Honey... oh dear lord, what a nightmare of a woman. Her bullish husband and her two innocent children, it was heartbreaking at times. Especially Ivy - the poor girl endured a lot. I really liked David’s interaction with them, the inner monologue of deciding what to do, should he go to the police or not. It really fitted well with the sad times we live in, with this kind of family unit being everywhere. The sad truth nowadays is you find yourself torn, you might want to help, take a child in and feed them, make them feel safe for a little bit, but you can’t. We now live in a world where if you so much as smile at a child you can be accused of all kinds. I have even read ridiculous news stories where a father was arrested for taking a picture of his own child in a park. We have created this madness, this world where we are all too scared of accusation and repercussion, to help people now. I appreciated that it was alluded to within the book, intentionally or otherwise.

 

The Siren aspect of the story is another part that I feel wasn’t touched enough on. We only receive a brief synopsis of this during the book, and it felt a little like a Marvel post credit scene at the end.

 

Overall I very much enjoyed The Siren and the Specter.  I have several issues with it, but with that, it’s a great story. It is about love and loss, as well as the sad truths of some families and the twisted way friendships can end up. It didn’t feel like a great ghost story, and I was definitely more interested and involved with the characters and the developing plot, rather than with the haunting, which just felt more like a secondary side story.

 

It’s a fantastic read despite what I found to be flaws.  It’s interesting and thought provoking and does have a few horrifying moments near the end.

 

3/5 – not terribly scary but a great story nonetheless.

 

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

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review 2018-09-02 05:44
Review of The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

 

The Siren and the Spector is a book that I am finding difficult to review. I want to say 5/5 because it’s Janz, and I love his writing, and I love his characters. I also want to give you an honest opinion, because without that there is no point in even reviewing books. I did love it, and I did have issues with it, and I’ll try to break that down some.

 

This book has all of the right elements that I want in a haunted-house-themed horror novel.  The atmosphere is there, the characters are complicated, and the ghosts are scary. That, by the way, doesn’t even begin to give you the story itself, which the entire premise is thought-provoking and well-written. My biggest issue was with the amount of characters/story lines that are packed into this book. Most of them work as a whole, but to me it feels like there is a lot that is sacrificed from the story when you are trying to lead in so many different directions. I want to know more about almost every character in here, including the main character, even though I personally couldn’t stand David. I feel like this could easily have been a mind-blowing book series. The bones of the story are solid, I would just liked to have seen more depth and history behind it.

 

This is the 8thbook that I have read from Jonathan Janz, who is without a doubt, one of my favorite authors. Do I recommend that you read this? Absolutely. I will continue to read any Janz books that I can get my hands on, because even when it’s not my favorite book of his, it’s still ten times better than most books that I read on a regular basis. Most people who read this have given it a 5/5, so perhaps I’m just biased to his previous work, but that’s for you to decide and I absolutely think you should.

 

I received an e-ARC of this from Flame Tree Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

 

@ 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum 

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text 2018-08-31 18:45
August 2018-That's A Wrap!
The Auctioneer: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Joan Samson
The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival - Terry Roberts
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni
Rogue Protocol - Martha Wells
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found - Gilbert King,Kimberly Farr
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Occasional Beasts: Tales - John Claude Smith
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea
Skullface Boy - Chad Lutzke
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

I read 11 books this month!

 

 

Graphic Novels

 

0

 

Audiobooks 

 

The Auctioneer by Joan Samson, narrated by Matt Godfrey 4*

Beneath A Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King, narrated by Kimberly Farr 4*

The Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff, narrated by Matt Godfrey 3.5*

 

Total: 3

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival by Terry Roberts 4*

Behind the Door by Mary SanGiovanni 4.5*

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells 4*

Occasional Beasts: Tales by John Claude Smith 4.5*

Creature by Hunter Shea ALL THE DAMN STARS!

Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke 4.5*

The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz 3.5*

 

Total: 7

 

RANDOM READS

 

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury 4*

 

Total: 1

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

(I'm failing miserably)

 

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

 

Running Total: 109

 

BRING ON HALLOWEEN BINGO!

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review 2018-08-31 00:31
The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz has penned a Laymonesque haunted house tale.....no, that isn't right. What we have here is a purely Janzian ghost story, because no one writes like Jonathan Janz. At turns both bone chilling and gut wrenching, where the sins of the past return to taint the present, while leaving one guessing as to whose sins they are....and whose pasts.
An excellent addition to the sub-genre, tautly written, that will leave the reader guessing.....and sleeping with the lights on.

Highly recommended.

This was an eARC from Netgalley

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