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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-11 00:32
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
A Head Full of Ghosts - Paul G. Tremblay

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's something wrong with fourteen-year-old Marjorie Barrett - her mental health seems to be declining, yet treatment from medical professionals isn't helping her one bit. Desperate to pull through the tough time where money is dwindling and Marjorie's sanity is failing, the Barretts decide to sign up for a reality TV show, where the "possession" of their daughter can be documented every minute of every day.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

This was Horror Aficionados' January group read! Once again, a book that wasn't even on my radar, and I never expected to like it as much as I did. What I assumed to be a story of a typical, run-of-the-mill possession, turned out to be a very thought provoking tale about the hardship (and destruction) of one family. It also touched upon several controversial subjects relating to religion and the patriarchy that dominates the Catholic faith. There certainly was a narrative here that presented itself in the form of blog posts that were periodically included amongst the chapters, and whilst the posts themselves were rather long-winded, they added a contextual dissection of events, often including an abundance of pop culture references. I found that my appreciation of these interruptions varied - one moment I enjoyed Karen's rambling, the next I felt disinterested.

Back to the story itself - Merry's account of her younger self instantly pulled me in; I found how her eight-year-old mind worked to be endearing, despite at times seeming to have a great deal of maturity for her age. What she, as a child, had to go through was nothing short of appalling, but rather than some evil force being the obvious villain, it was a lot more close to home, or should I say, close to Merry.

The plot heavily relied upon the interpretation of the reader, as it's essentially up to you to make your own conclusion as to whether Marjorie was indeed inhabited by some demonic entity. As for me - I leaned toward the non-supernatural explanation. There was just nothing concrete; she didn't display anything remotely inhuman. Sure, she appeared to be knowledgeable, but as stated in the book, she owned a laptop and spent most of her time on it, and we all know that literally anything can be found on the internet if you know where to look. I believe that she was a very sick girl that was exploited for money. A blunt way of putting it, but it's the ugly truth - in the face of serious financial struggle, her parents made a decision to forgo conventional medicine, and instead used their own daughter's aliment to save their nice house. What thus followed was the moronic reliance upon a priest and the accommodation of a TV crew. If you haven't already guessed, I one hundred percent believed the parents to be at fault. They were the villain.

Of course, I could be completely wrong in my thinking and theory. Perhaps Tremblay's intention was indeed to tell a tale of a devilish presence residing within a teenager. I'd just have to question the lack of paranormal activity if that were the case; unlike The Exorcist, there was nothing that couldn't be rationally explained. It also crossed my mind how unreliable Merry was as a protagonist. She admitted to making things up, to embellishing the truth, and it struck me that she probably had some mental issues of her own. The very last twist only proved how inaccurate her initial account turned out to be.

In itself, fellow reviewers tend to either love or hate this one. In no shape or form would I describe it as poor, quite the contrary. I couldn't wait to pick it up and continue reading, despite little happening in the grand scheme of things. It's not full of blatant scares and gore, but a slow burn of the foolishness of humankind.

Also, reality shows are stupid.

In conclusion: A different sort of horror; one that made me think and question everything. My first experience of this author, and it won't be the last!

Notable Quote:

"On the last day, their father left the house to go find food. He told Merry not to open the front door no matter what and to stay out of the basement. Hours passed and Merry didn't know what to do because Marjorie was coughing and moaning and speaking gibberish. She needed food, water, something. Merry went down into the basement to look for some secret stash of food that they'd forgotten. Instead she found tips of the growing things poking out of the basement's dirt floor. She watched them grow and grow, and as they grew, they pushed up a large shape out of the dirt, and it hung off the growing things like a broken puppet. It was the body of their mother."

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/11/a-head-full-of-ghosts-by-paul-tremblay
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review 2018-02-01 21:48
Full Exposure - Tracy Wolff

Serena Macafee is running from a tragic past that she would prefer to forget but can't. It's hard to forget being there while your twin sister was being murdered by Damien LaFleur. Instead she throws herself into her work as a photographer. Her latest assignment is with Kevin Riley, famed reclusive sculptor in the wetlands of Baton Rouge, who happens to be drop dead gorgeous and looks like he could provide her some extra benefits! ;)

After spending more time together, things quickly heat up between Serena and Kevin. Kevin realizes that he wants more from Serena than she wants to give but he is going to be patient. As Kevin tries to break through Serena's defenses, he realizes that someone is out to harm her. The incidents seem to be happening since Damien was recently released from prison. Serena and Kevin, along with the Baton Rouge law enforcement, try to figure out if Damien is really involved.

After a final, explosive ending, Serena and Kevin were finally able to have their happy ending. I really enjoyed Kevin. He was a sweet, caring guy who spoke French to Serena all the time.....so sexy! He was just the type of guy to bring Serena back to really living her life again. Overall this was a quick, interesting read with a twist of a mystery added in.

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review 2018-01-31 00:00
Luckiest Cowboy of All: Two full books for the price of one (Happy, Texas)
Luckiest Cowboy of All: Two full books for the price of one (Happy, Texas) - Carolyn Brown Jace Dawson is all shook up. The one that got away returns with a surprise he hadn't saw coming that packs a punch he won't soon forget. Luckiest Cowboy Of All is the latest in the endearing Happy, Texas series. This time around it's Jace who receives a TKO to the heart in this sunny and funny heart eclipsing read. Young love turned into adult heartbreak when Carlene Varner walked out of his life. Fast forward ten years and one precocious secret later and not only is the whole town talking, but the lovebirds may be on their way to a second chance. Carolyn Brown delivers the best desert ever. Double the guilty pleasure and none of the unwanted calories.
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review 2018-01-18 16:41
Scrupulous title
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
  • 1922: Three quotes to define it:

 

"And is there Hell, or do we make our own on earth?"

"The dead don't stop"

“Poison spreads like ink in water.”

 

  • Big Driver: The post reaction was full truth, from the confusion, pain, wound-licking, hiding, weighting paths, shying from the future shame to rage and wanting to get back, all the steps. The gun-totting revenge a real pipe-dream.

 

  • Fair Extension:

"This isn’t some half-assed morality tale."

Said the devil.

 

  • Good Marriage: Holy Molly, this one was disturbing and twisted and awesome. My favorite of the collection.
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text 2018-01-18 07:35
Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 368 pages.
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King

I’m a businessman now, but at one time I was a humble salary-man. Got fired before striking out on my own.

 

*snicker* Well, that's one way of putting it (since I'm pretty sure it's the devil spouting the line).

 

I'm leaving my thoughts on Big Driver for later (personal trigger special, yay!)

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