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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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text 2018-09-07 08:00
Friday Reads - September 7, 2018
Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets - Svetlana Alexievich,Bela Shayevich
The Siren - Kiera Cass
An Affair with Mr. Kennedy - Jillian Stone
A Touch of Midnight - Lara Adrian
Black Rose - Nora Roberts
Wolves at the Door - Skye Jones
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

This week I watched as my daughter (my youngest) went into her first day of Kindergarten. Now that both kids are in school, I have some time for myself which means going back to the gym and volunteering at the library again. 

 

I read more books this week than I did for all of August. Seems Halloween Bingo is the cure for my reading slump. But now I have to review a bunch of books. For non-Halloween Bingo reading, I am working my way through Secondhand Time. For H'ween Bingo reading, her is what I am reading this weekend and into next week:

 

1. The Siren by Kiera Cass (Fear...Deep square)

2. An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone (Darkest London square)

3. A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian (Relics and Curiosities square)

4. Black Rose by Nora Roberts (Ghost Story square)

5. Wolves at the Door by Skye Jones (Cryptozoologist square)

6. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Creepy Carnivals square)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-30 21:44
The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

David Caine's latest project lands him in Virginia, in what's aptly named the Alexander House. The task is simple and familiar; to disprove the presence of spirits whilst documenting his findings for publication. As the mystery begins to unravel, David discovers that the house and nearby Rappahannock River share a meaningful part of his own history, as well as possessing a horrific one of its own.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Flame Tree Press for giving me the opportunity.

I’ll just come out and say it; I didn’t love this book. With all the glowing praise that’s been saturating social media, I expected to be blown away, or at least highly impressed, but I just wasn’t in the long run. Of course, as with anything and everything I read I’m going to try and express my thoughts as best I can, and understandably, there will be spoilers. First of all, the beginning struck me as intriguing - there were all these elements that seemed unrelated yet no less interesting in their own individual ways, but the strength of the start waned as something in particular became apparent the further I progressed. It was the bizarre interactions between characters that just seemed off and left me scratching my head. I just didn’t understand the confrontational approach of nearly every single new person in David’s life; for no reason that I could discern they treated him poorly and judged him considerably. The dialogue seemed almost forced and contrived, as if the sole intention was to leave him a sputtering mess, and rather than finding humour in the derision, I instead felt a monumental amount of confusion. I often wondered if it was merely the fact that he was a successful man, or even just because he was a skeptic, but whatever the case, I believe Janz didn’t at all clarify or explain why David was supposed to be so unlikeable in the first place.

As any other human being, he had his flaws, but I certainly didn’t think he deserved to be condemned for them. More often than not, he did the right thing in the situation, yet was chastised for it. By now I think I’ve made it crystal clear that this bothered me, as did the general consensus surrounding Anna’s death, however thankfully that more or less changed. I prefer verbal exchanges that flow naturally, but here they felt unrealistic and needlessly dramatic. I however did take pleasure in some of the banter, primarily with Mike Shelby Jr. and Ralph.

 

Also, I just have to add that there’s nothing wrong with someone who doesn’t want to be in a serious, committed relationship. I honestly felt that this whole novel put too much emphasis on disgracing the main character, and perhaps even the male gender, which in itself is very odd. Perhaps my verdict is a little harsh and absurd, but my opinions are my own.

The supernatural aspects were entertaining, but I can’t say they instilled fear or dread within me. Whilst the history surrounding the peninsula proved compelling, by the end I regarded everything as a bit too much. Considering how rife the paranormal activity was, I was surprised David had never before experienced anything like it in his entire career; he activity hunted for such encounters, and they weren't subtle here, but full-on in your face with outright corporal madness. There were multiple entities at once, and they were the opposite of shy and insubstantial, so it was hard to swallow the premise overall.

I know I have a lot of complaints, and I'm clearly in the minority when it comes to this beloved book. Janz is a good writer, otherwise he wouldn't be as successful as he is right now. He was able to include some suspenseful scenes laced with the depravity of a town's gruesome past, which I welcomed, but ultimately, it comes down to The Siren and the Specter just not being my sort of story.

In conclusion: I changed my rating to better reflect my thoughts, but even though it was largely a miss, I still wish to seek out more from Janz. What became problematic for me was the aggressive tone that dominated the dialogue, as well as the overload of supernatural phenomenon.

Notable Quote:

Though the notion of a house having a personality was antithetical to his beliefs, he did like to think of a house as possessing character. A home's character, he'd decided long ago, was best discernible in natural light, not a harsh electrical glow.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/08/30/the-siren-and-the-specter-by-jonathan-janz
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text 2018-08-28 18:45
Halloween Bingo Pre-Read!
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

 

I started two books over the weekend that would be eligible for Bingo this year, so I was thrilled to discover that we had permission to start one read for the game!

 

 

I've decided on Jonathan Janz's The Siren and the Spectre which comes out next week! 

 

For now, I've decided to use it for the Supernatural square. 

 

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review 2018-07-26 21:28
4.7 Out Of 5 "Pirates vs Sirens" STARS
Daughter of the Siren Queen - Tricia Levenseller

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~BOOK BLURB~

Daughter of the Siren Queen

Tricia Levenseller

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The capable, confident, and occasionally ruthless heroine of Daughter of the Pirate King is back in this action-packed sequel that promises rousing high seas adventures and the perfect dash of magic.

 

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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What an awesome ending to this duology.  I love these characters Alosa is a fiery girl pirate, whose not afraid to do what needs to be done.  I love how she interacts with her crew. Rilen is freaking adorable…love him.  I also loved the sweet, but not sickly sweet, romance between these two.  If I have any complaints about this second book at all, it's Alosa's indecisiveness or waffling regarding her feelings for Rilen.   How could anyone doubt his loyalty?

 

It feels like the author really loves the Pirates of the Caribbean and this story was born from that love.  I recommend it for your pirate fix, as long as your not looking for the bodice-ripping pirates, because this keeps it pretty PG…maybe, slightly PG-13.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.7STARS - GRADE=A

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 5/5

The Feels~ 4.5/5

Pacing~ 5/5

Addictiveness~ 5/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope. I believe this is a duology.

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Book Cover~ Love it…reminds me of my fav scene in Finding Nemo…"I wanna touch the butt…"

Narration~5 for Marisa Calin, she was quite amazing, actually.  Perfect for this series.

Series~ Daughter of the Pirate King #2

Setting~ The Ocean

Source~ Audiobook (Scribd)

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