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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-21 19:02
The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen
The Nightmare Room - Chris Sorensen

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After a personal tragedy strikes Peter and Hannah Larson, they find themselves picking up their lives and moving house. Said house isn't what it seems - something lurks within, seeming to originate from the dark and gloomy basement. As the presence continues to focus upon the two, its determination only grows, causing obvious and damaging rifts between husband and wife. It appears to already know Peter in some intimate way, and shocking, deeply hidden secrets soon come to light.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Chris Sorensen for giving me the opportunity!

This turned out to be an extremely difficult book for me to form a solid opinion on and subsequently rate. After a lot of thought, I came to the conclusion that I didn't really consider this one an outright horror novel, at least in regards to my own personal taste. When I instead thought of it as a supernatural tale with some horror elements, it made better sense in my mind. You see, in no way did I at all feel that uncomfortable, yet riveting unease that comes with something that ticks all the right boxes in the scary department. The typical tropes were there; the ghostly encounters, the ominous house, but something also felt missing and I had one hell of a time trying to figure out what. It could've been the absence of a sufficient build up, where time is given to properly establish a sense of dread, or maybe the haunting scenes merely didn't offer anything frightful. Essentially, it wasn't my sort of horror, I'd even go so far to say it was relatively tame in the scheme of things, yet I did appreciate the storytelling - twists included.

Peter and Hannah Larson were the sort of married couple you'd roll your eyes at - they were sickeningly perfect for each other. Their chemistry jumped out from the page, and despite dealing with the anguish of great loss, they found strength. They, of course, had their faults, which became evident throughout, but that only made them more relatable as people. I liked them, and I especially liked what Sorensen did with Peter. What revolved around Peter were secrets heavily linked to his past, and whilst the revelations kept coming, I too shared in Peter's shock. The two other characters that had a significant presence - that being Riggs and Ellen Marx, added a pleasant sprinkle of entertainment. I notably enjoyed Ellen's legitimacy at being an expert; she was no quack. If I could, I'd read a book all about her.

Despite the cleverness of some aspects, I can't deny that I felt that the story dragged at times. For me, there's nothing worse than feeling the onset of boredom, and there were moments that came dangerously close to that. I felt that the first half in particular could've used more time with the couple in the house, and less time in the Blind Rock bar for instance, which is where my interest really waned. I understand such scenes were for the benefit of character development, but my engagement primarily lay with Peter.

Sorensen's imagination certainly took me by surprise as I reached the end of Peter and Hannah's ordeal. Granted, the conclusion was all rather complicated, perhaps a little too complicated to understand right away, but it surely had a distinctive quality. It's rare that I come across an ending that changes everything so drastically, to the point where I need to pause and ponder over what I just read. I applaud the bold approach to implement such a memorable outcome.

In conclusion - Whilst the horror elements didn't do it for me, I mostly liked the story and background. It definitely had its ups and downs, but Sorensen is one author I'll be keeping my eye on.

Notable Scene:

The woman rushed toward him, and for a second he thought she was going to strike him him. Instead, she took his head in both of her hands and pressed her mouth over his. Peter felt her inhale abruptly - a reverse resuscitation.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/21/the-nightmare-room-by-chris-sorensen
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review 2018-04-14 22:27
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories - Alvin Schwartz,Dirk Zimmer

Note: Review of the reillustrated 2017 version

 

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I found a copy of this book at the library the other day. The title sounded familiar, but I didn't recognize the illustrations, so I figured it was a book I'd heard of but never read. I just got around to reading it and realized it's a reillustrated edition of a book I read as a kid. 

The stories are okay. They are all very, very short. I think when I read them as a kid, they were creepier for two reasons. One: I was a very easily-scared child and am a slightly braver adult. Two: the illustrations in the original were much scarier. These new ones are cute Tim Burton-y versions of the originals. Much less creepy and more cutesy. They aren't bad, but definitely make the book a lot less scary.

Having said that, "The Green Ribbon" and "The Night It Rained" will always stick with me. They aren't scary, just good in that sad, creepy way.
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review 2018-03-31 18:35
Room For A Bride, Faith Johnson
Mail Order Bride: Room for a Bride: Clea... Mail Order Bride: Room for a Bride: Clean and Wholesome Western Historical Romance (Busy Brides of the West Series Book 2) - Faith Johnson

I really enjoyed this Historical Western Romance. I voluntarily chose to review this and I've given it a 4.5* rating. This pulled at my heartstrings from the beginning. This heroine has lost so much and yet she pulled herself together and decides to move on, literally to the west for a new start. It was a lot different than she was used to, but it didn't stop her. A wonderful ending. This is also the 16th book of the Sweet Romance Collection. So on to the next.

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review 2018-03-25 17:28
The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr

I am gobsmacked by this book.

 

I don't know where I picked up the notion that Carr wrote noir, but I cracked this book open expecting dames and hardboiled, hard drinking private dicks and speakeasies. It's hard to imagine how I could've been less accurate. The Hollow Man had gothic overtones, oblique references to vampires and supernatural happenings, direct references to the ghost story writer M.R. James, and an extremely snowy, almost Victorian, London atmosphere.

 

In other words, the background stuff was right up my alley.

 

Attach this to not one, but two, miraculous mysteries, and a main character who reminded me strongly of Nero Wolfe, although I can't precisely put my finger on why, and a chapter that waxes eloquent on the locked room mystery and my, oh my, did I enjoy this book. The solution was very well done and - thankfully - did not involve an icicle in any capacity whatsoever.

 

Unfortunately, this book is not available on kindle and appears to be out of print. I picked up my copy on amazon for under ten bucks, but it looks like the edition that I read isn't available for anything less than $90.00 at this time. I would definitely recommend checking it out, if you can find it.

 

"But, if you're going to analyze impossible situations," interrupted Pettis, "why discuss detective fiction?"

 

"Because," said the doctor, frankly, "we're in a detective story, and we don't fool the reader by pretending we're not. Let's not invent elaborate excuses to drag in a discussion of detective stories. Let's candidly glory in the noblest pursuits possible to characters in a book."

 

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text 2018-03-25 03:19
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 224 pages.
Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr

This is not even remotely what I was expecting - for some reason I was convinced that this was sort of a noir-style mystery. I am really liking it - it's got atmospheric gothic overtones!

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