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review 2017-07-09 00:00
Woman In White
Woman In White - Kristin Dearborn Woman in White wasn’t nearly what I was hoping it would be. I had been looking forward to reading this book for over a year now, and when it was on sale, eagerly snatched it up. I thought surely I was in for a treat because while I was familiar with the lady in white myth, I hadn’t really read a full book based around it. And I still haven’t read a full book around it. So, yes, I’m a tad bit disappointed.

And I can’t even really talk about the most awesome part of the book without spoiling something! Argh! Let’s just say that Kristin Dearborn had the most inventive take on the Lady in White myth that I’ve ever read. It made me perk up and pay attention to Woman in White. Unfortunately, this aspect of the book was the only thing I wanted to pay attention to. The rest of it was pretty much an insertion of cliche stereotypes, mostly of the small-town variety, and boring human drama cast against the backdrop of this massive snowstorm. Been there, done that, in pretty much every winter-weather horror tale ever.

To me, the potential of this book was hidden by too much people drama and not enough monsters. It is okay if that’s what you’re looking for, but it left me the bitter taste of a good idea being wasted.(Yes, I’m a blood, guts, and gorehound with a dash of supernatural. I can’t help it.)

So overall Woman in White had a lot of potential and a great view on the myth. If the author had chosen to spend more time drawing out the reveal of what the woman in white was, I think it could have been more fun. Instead, the reveal, and everything felt a bit rushed. Unfortunately, as it was, a cool take on the myth is just not enough to make it stand apart from the crowd, especially when the rest of the novel falls so flat. It has too many cons and not nearly enough pros to make it something that I could recommend.
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review 2016-08-10 01:42
Stolen Away - Kristin Dearborn

We've all done things we've regretted, especially in our twenties. Sometimes you're looking to let off a little steam, maybe forget all about the one that broke your heart. Trisha is not different. A single mom who's lived a hard life filled with hard drugs. When her and her boyfriend, Joel, break up because he's bailed for another woman, Trisha decides that she's going to party her ass off at a club and hook up with someone to forget about him. She accomplishes all the above and hooks up with a guy that has DEMON tattooed on his back. DEMON gives Trisha some Extacy like she's never had before. This stuff was potent. How else would you explain his skin turning red and horns emerging from his head while her body turns into sometime reptilian with iridescent scales? After the crazy night of rough sex with DEMON, Trisha ends up pregnant with his baby. She decides to clean up her life, no drugs, get a decent job and become a real mother to her daughter and newborn baby boy, Brayden. All seems like it's looking up until the night she's awakened by her daughter screaming. When she enters their bedroom, she discovers that the baby is gone and her daughter says that a monster took him away. DEMON has returned to claim his son. With nowhere else to turn, Trisha enlists Joel's help to return to the life she has tried so hard to put in the past to get Brayden back.

 

Kristin Dearborn has concocted an excellent tale of demons infiltrating our seedy underworld, taking what they want and no one being the wiser. Stolen Away isn't a story with superhero angels and devils. Demon and his entourage feel like people we've all seen at the clubs. Kristin and Joel haven't made the best choices, but they're trying to do the best they can. By showing their flaws, Dearborn gives the story a sense of every day realism which, in my opinion, is the only way to pull this story off. It's gritty and grimy, just like the real world. I have to admit, I couldn't quite get into Dearborn's earlier story, The Woman in White. The characters felt too wooden and unreal. With Stolen Away, I'm pleased to announce that there isn't even a slight hint of that. This one is the real deal and if you're looking for a tale about demons, go ahead and pass up the subpar Horns by Joe Hill and pick yourself up a copy of Stolen Away. It's the best story that I've read in 2016.

 

 

5 cloven hooves out of 5

 

 

This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2016-08-09 19:22
Review: Stolen Away by Kristin Dearborn
Stolen Away - Kristin Dearborn

 

I received a free copy of Stolen Away from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Stolen Away publicity blog tour in which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

 

Stolen Away is a hard one for me to review. I did like the story and I wanted to finish it but when I put it down I wasn't compelled to pick it back up. However, when I did pick it back up I slipped easily back into the story so I'm a bit conflicted.

 

The premise was interesting and different from most books covering this topic, and the characters, although I didn't particularly like them, were well fleshed out. The two main characters have a history together and we learn throughout the book just how much they have been through as a couple and how that history affects the choices they make during the current storyline. Some of their choices annoyed the heck out of me though and there were little things like how Trisha goes from her breasts being painfully engorged and having to express milk to ease the discomfort, to it not being mentioned at all, like she just turned off a tap. Or the interlude chapter for example, it was good by itself but the character it was referring to hadn't felt a part of the story for some time and it wasn't until I was a good bit through it that I realised it was Cherry, then she just disappears again for another long period of time. It pulled me out of the flow of the story. A similar thing happens with Barlows character, not in such an abrupt way as with Cherry but it has the same affect on the flow of the story.

 

The whole time I was reading I was very aware of everything going on around me, a good book draws you in and drowns that out, it wasn't holding my attention enough to have that effect. I felt at times like I was reading a nastier paranormal romance rather than a full blown horror story, which it shouldn't have because the demon rapes the main character to get her pregnant in the first place. I think it's because of the whole inner dialogue she had going on when she thought about what happened and how she looked at the time, and also the the fact that she refers to him as her demon lover. He raped her, there was nothing lover like about it. Especially after the event itself. I can understand it from the point of view of him playing with them, seducing them and pulling them in but afterwards, after the event itself, he's an abuser not her demon lover.

 

There were points in the story that I think stood out and were more what I would expect and hope to find in a story like this. The scene with the dog, the exorcisms and Tabatha's character come to mind, these were for me the better parts of the reading experience. Overall there wasn't the level of fear and terror I would expect. There were some nasty events and the characters had their lives turned upside down but I would have liked to have seen the emotional panic, terror and fear ramped up a bit more.

 

All in all it was on OK read and I'm glad I picked it up but I much preferred Dearborn's previous book Woman in White.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2016-06-24 20:35
Review: Stolen Away by Kristin Dearborn
Stolen Away - Kristin Dearborn

Kristin Dearborn first came to my attention earlier this year with the DarkFuse release, Woman In White. I liked that one well enough, but noted in my review that, "I could have gone for some deeper character explorations...and I could have used way more of the supernatural aspect." Apparently, Stolen Away was the Dearborn title I was looking for!

 

Trisha is a recovering addict and single-mother to Kourtney. Her and the ex, a tattoo artist named Joel, aren't on the best of terms, but after her son is kidnapped, the two find themselves reunited to protect their daughter and find her missing boy. Unfortunately, this abduction has a few wrinkles to it, not the least of which is that Brayden's father is a demon. Like, a literal demon. You know, from Hell. In his human form, he even has a tattoo on his back in big bold letters that say DEMON. So, yeah.

 

Dearborn delivers the goods with the supernatural aspect here, keeping the nasty stuff front and center. There's a lot of great demonic stuff happening herein, from possession and exorcisms, to our tattooed body-modder anti-heroes learning the ropes on all-things underworld, along with some half-demon ass-kickers and a scene or two that pay lovely homage to John Carpenter's The Thing.

 

Dearborn brings the action front and center, but also gives us a reason to care for Trisha and Joel beyond their positions as beleaguered parents. Both have a history with one another, and are in various stages of recovery from their drug-fueled past and questionable decisions. These aren't spit-shined do-gooders, but damaged goods that have been in rough spots and are still trying to do right by themselves and those around them, and not always succeeding.

 

I also really dug the subtle layers of feminism that Dearborn wove into her tale. This is a story about loss, but it also has strong elements of female empowerment, bodily autonomy, and combating rape culture and harassment (sometimes directly and violently). It's really awesome stuff, and, in my view, helped raise the narrative to a higher place thematically, putting it up above more pedestrian demon-hunting stories. I hesitate to call it "message fiction," since Dearborn keeps these things on the down-low, and because fiction with any kind of a message, either overt or not, apparently makes some sensitive readers sad and squeamish. Stolen Away, though, does have some vital commentary on the role of women in society, and it's refreshing to read demonic horror fiction where women aren't reduced to mere sexpots ripe for exploitation or in need of saving by either the big strong man or religious righteousness. Again, it's subtly (and suitably) handled but well-worth noting, and Dearborn incorporates it beautifully in order to serve the story and highlight the particular, and multiple, brands of horrors she's working with here.

 

[Note: This book was provided for review by Hook of a Book Media and Publicity.]

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review 2016-03-29 20:33
Woman in White - Kristin Dearborn
Woman In White - Kristin Dearborn

What is the woman in white? Ahh...that is a very good question and the answer is a slippery one. Just when you think you have it, it gets away from you.

 

Rocky Rhodes, Maine. Yes, it is a goofy name for a town and the inhabitants know it and make fun of it. It is set in the middle of nowheres-vile Maine north of Bangor. Population - not very damn many. Cell phone service? Fergetaboutit. Ain't happenin. If that isn't bad enough, how about adding a snowstorm so powerful that everything is shut down and covered in a thick blanket of the white stuff? Dennis is on his way to his girlfriend's trailer for a little gaming and some fun when he goes off the road to avoid hitting a woman standing in the middle of the snow storm with no shoes on. The next day, all the authorities can find is his abandoned Camry with an interior covered in blood. Bring in the forensic specialist and the state cop, who happen to be having an affair with each other. After inspecting the crime scene, things aren't adding up right. Where is the body? Why is there more blood than a human body holds and why is it devoid of any DNA markers? And why are all the subsequent victims all male?

 

Woman in White is my first forray into Kristin Dearborn's writing. She's a talented author that can really make you feel frostbitten by the way she makes the snowstorm it's own separate character. Kudos also for taking elements of The Thing, The Blob, and Ghost Story and making it her own. The downside for me were some of the characters. While Nate was one nasty bastard that I actually loved to hate, Lee was an annoying cardboard cutout. I mean, whoever heard of a prissy, spoiled forensic scientist? All in all, it was still decent read that will chill you down to your bones.

 

3 1/2 Frostbitten Toes out of 5

 


** This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

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