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review 2018-08-29 02:19
Once Upon a Haunted Moor (Tyack & Frayne #1) (Audiobook)
Once Upon A Haunted Moor - Harper Fox

Well, that was definitely a short story. A little too short. There was next to no time to really get to see Gideon and Leander form any kind of connection before they're falling into bed together *yawn* and just as I was settling into the story and the mystery, they were over. 

 

And there may or may not be an actual monster on the moor. Since Leander is psychic, I don't know how far into paranormal/fantasy this series might go. 

 

I did like Gideon and Lee, and at least they're not already moving in together by the end of this, so hopefully that means actual relationship development is coming. Given the author, I expect nothing less. Isolde was a precious little pooch who's perfect just the way she is. :D

 

I'm not sure about Tim Gilbert as a narrator. He narrates well and clearly, but there were a couple of instances during the climax when it was difficult to tell who was talking, the protag or the bad guy, which was not really a time I wanted to be confused. His timbre of voice also sounds like he should be reading something much more serious, lol.

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review 2018-08-08 22:31
"Once Upon A Haunted Moor - Tyak & Frayne #1" by Harper Fox
Once Upon A Haunted Moor - Harper Fox

This novella has a little bit of everything: PC in a remote village on Bodmin Moor obsessed with finding a lost child, a psychic with cryptic clues, the possible presence of the Beast of Bodmin, family intrigue and a gay romance.

 

The romance is more central to the story than the possibly haunted moor. Our PC, son of a fierce Minister, lives in the house that used to be his father's, in the village he grew up in. He sees himself as the protector of the village and yet he is unable to admit his sexuality to the other villagers (all of whom have recognised his preferences for some time. The romance liberates the policeman from his doubts and his fears and enables him truly to be himself.

 

I thought the romance and the sex scenes were well done. I liked the intimacy between the two men: the way they talked to each other, the way they saw each other's strengths and their own weaknesses, the way they needed the comfort of the other's touch.

 

The crime plot was not complicated and was made even less so when it was solved by not-so-cryptic visions from the psychic. The atmosphere of distress and threat was well evoked. I didn't think the supernatural veneer added much.

 

If you have a choice between ebook an audio, I recommend you go with the ebook. The narrator of the audiobook does the dialogue very well but handles the rest of the text with random inflexions and a generic I-must-emote-more style that suggests a sight-read rather than a thoughtful delivery. The narrator seemed deaf to the distinctive cadence of Harper Fox's prose.

 

Although this was a pleasant read, it was a little too slight to make me keen to move on to the next book in the series.

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text 2018-08-04 22:58
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Once Upon A Haunted Moor - Harper Fox

This.novella is only two hours long yet, after less than fifteen minutes, I’m wondering if I can survive the narrator’s. I-have-a-posh-voice-so -I'll-just-busk-it approach.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-16 22:04
The Moor by Sam Haysom
The Moor - John Haysom

The Moor by Sam Haysom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taking part in a school trip, five teenagers and their teacher set out on a long walk across Rutmoor, thinking it to be a fun experience with friends. What they don’t expect is odd noises in the dead of night, and dead animals placed outside their tents. When tensions and tempers arise, the group soon begins to fall apart, until a dramatic turn leads them to fear for their very lives.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I never thought as I started reading this one, that I’d get so much enjoyment out of it. It took me by surprise; one of those moments that make this hobby so worth it. It all began with clippings from newspapers, written in a way that suggested they were merely pieces of a puzzle. Indeed, that set my mind ablaze with theories that wouldn’t subside throughout the entire book. I loved how it gave me a new perspective over the characters, how they interacted with each other, and in general how they were presented. Haysom was clever enough to give enough of a tease that pulled me in, made me want to know more, and I very much appreciated it. As I believe it, this is a debut novel, yet I wouldn’t have guessed. Many of the pitfalls new authors fall into - such as a lack of sufficient editing and typical horror tropes that are almost painfully overused at this point - were largely absent, giving an almost fresh take.

The atmosphere of Rutmoor, of how utterly miserable and arduous the travel became, it created vivid imagery in my head, and induced a very strong aversion to hiking. I can now say it's not something I want to do ever, in my lifetime. Honestly, the dynamic of the hiking group was a highlight; it had that pinch of realism to it. Each individual offered something unique with their personality, and like any real life circle, they all differed and even clashed together. Sometimes it was ugly, other times sweet, but most of all, their friendships were authentic. My favourite had to be Tom; undoubtedly the most sensible of the lot, followed by Matt and James. Even despite the young age of each, I was still able to relate. Yes, there was some immaturity - pretty much what you'd expect from teens, but it wasn't to the extreme.

The format of the plot struck me as quite different, in that rather than waiting until the end to reveal the big twist, it was just after fifty percent that it came into play. I can’t say it was unexpected - in fact, I had my suspicions much earlier, but I adored it regardless. You see, I much prefer when the direction of the story changes so drastically from my initial assumptions. If it’s done well, like it so wonderfully was in this case, then I feel like I’m kept on my toes, like I don’t have time to even look away. The question of survival played a significant part, as due to the parallel running chapters of present day (2015 to be precise), those that endured the horrors of the moor were made known, thus it was not the matter of who’s going to survive, but how do they survive.

The only thing that I found quite awkward, was the continual switch of past / present tense in the style of writing, however I understand it was used as a tool - to obviously convey the period of time, and perhaps even to alleviate confusion. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a challenge to get used to it.

In conclusion: I considered it a great story, and to be completely truthful, it soared above my expectations. With a slow beginning of character and atmosphere building, the story exploded into a creepfest that kept my attention. My applause goes to Haysom, and his impressive debut novel.

Notable Scene:

The rabbit's body was a mangled pulp of flesh, bone and hair. Its eyeless, earless face stared up at him from the grass. Patches of drying blood lay on the grass around it.
From somewhere behind Gary, a tree branch snapped.


© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/16/the-moor-by-sam-haysom
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review 2018-02-04 15:40
Agnes Moor's Wild Knight by Alyssa Cole
Agnes Moor's Wild Knight - Alyssa Cole

This was a quick read at about 38 pages. Agnes Moor is a black woman in King James IV's court, beloved by James and his queen despite her introduction to the court as one of James' "exotics". Agnes works as a diplomat, helping James in his quest to unite Scotland under his rule and to be looked at as a threat to English power. On a diplomatic trip to the Highlands, Agnes meets Gareth, newly minted earl and laird of his clan. They shared one dance and a pretty heavy conversation regarding their status as beloved outsiders, then parted. Flash forward to a tournament given in Agnes' honor, and Gareth decides to win Agnes' affections for good on the tournament field and the feast/after-party.

 

A decent read. Gareth was a little too perfect, but I loved Agnes! What a great heroine. The Scottish dialect was kept to normal levels. It was just too short to rate higher than average.

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