Prophecy Girl by Ravin Tija Maurice – Review

An interesting combination of crime mystery which eventually moves towards magic and vampires…

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Main character and narrator Camille Bishop is a private investigator who has just been given the responsibility of taking on solo cases. There is a lot going on in her mind and life; from being involved with a good for nothing junkie boyfriend to still going through the motions of grieving for her deceased parents. Although Camille appears as tough she can’t seem to break away from the toxic relationship with ‘Jesse’ and always seems to give him another chance until events out of her control force her to break away.

The story unfolds slowly with the introduction of multiple characters that revolve around Camille from father figure/uncle ‘Ted’ to computer whiz ‘Q and even rockstar and latter love interest ‘Fray’ ‘; I found the greatest strength this book had was it’s array of characters and their interaction with each other. Very early on readers are teased that something is lurking in the shadows and watching Camille which eventually begins to suggest the existence of vampires.

Much of Camille’s journey reads and feels like a crime mystery which struggles to find a destination with the vampire stuff only briefly mentioned (although clever in execution) while the MC tries to move on in life. It isn’t until the final quarter that everything twists and becomes way more interesting. Revelations lead to answers about Camille’s mother and finally we see the prophecy part of ‘Prophecy Girl’.

From what begins as a very realistic crime caper becomes a story of magical powers and vampires; something I struggled a little to believe seeing as it was quite late introduced but overall made for an interesting read. The ideas of realistic crime being fused with magic and vampires is an odd but unique pairing. Author Ravin Tija Maurice has obviously worked hard to execute this and has done so by way of a well written novel. 

4 Stars – A thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review. Looking forward to reading the sequel. Review also published on Amazon UK and Goodreads – Rock and roll man! 

 

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Within the Dark Places by Duncan Thompson – review

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

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As an avid fan of horror, I don’t scare easily but ‘Within the Dark Places’ is the closest to terrified I’ve been for quite some time whilst reading a book.

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

It reads like a modern horror flick by way of a well written page turning style giving the reader no rest-bite between the sometimes graphic but always creepy fate in which the characters face. And believe me it does get graphic in a few places. This one isn’t for the faint of heart but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good scare.

Its paranormal and ‘creature feature’ combined with some of the usual tropes seen in horror but some cliches will always work and they do so very well here. Although this novella is on the short side, the whole story is delivered effectively and makes for some great horror reading.

4 Stars – I have already added the sequel to my TBR list! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro – Review

A unique young adult fantasy story with multiple characters…

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Blue Rabbit is an intriguing tale that follows a group of school friends who discover a gateway that leads to another world. As the story opens we learn that they have been visiting this place hidden in the Knoxville trees that seems like a forest but is a world totally different to their own full of creatures and immersive imagination by the author. A school kid called Mike follows this group one night and is seemingly captured by the creatures that reside in this other world and becomes a missing person. It’s up to the group of friends to find out where Mike was taken and look for a way of bringing him back, that is without knowing much about this other world.

The strength of this story comes from the multitude of great characters that help tell it. Five friends; Erika, Haley, Nathan, Sandra and Dorian all seem to take it in turn at the beginning stages to tell the story although Erika eventually breaks away from the group and becomes the lead somewhat with her assured confidence and even sarcastic style; something I enjoyed, even if she did come across as a being full of herself. And to begin with I wasn’t sure about any of the group, but over the course of the story they earned my affection, Sandra and Nathan’s chemistry over the course of the story added to the many dimensions of believable and relatable characters this story has. These five friends and their journey together and as individuals makes for some rewarding reading much like the book as a whole which is highly readable and immersive.

There are several original concepts that carry the story to a level that becomes quite epic in the latter stages with some action and real tension leading towards saving the day and world. Other characters such as ‘Riven’ and ‘Chloe’ really galvanized this story as a character led adventure with twists, turns and plenty of drama.

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?”

4 Stars 

Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place – Review

Urban exploration horror filled with tension and some truth…

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Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion. Their destination the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane; a real place with a real history that can be described as harrowing to say the least.

Exploration of abandoned places is a specialist niche in the genre of horror and one which I very much enjoy. Films such as ‘Grave encounters’ and ‘House on Haunted Hill’ come to mind but in terms of books, Building 51 is the benchmark and makes for a roller coaster tension filled read.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways.

The overall flow of the book is cinematic and even nods to the horror movie rules, some of which the characters unfortunately fall into. Many horror stories tend to run out of ideas near the end but not in Building 51 where the strong premise stands all the way to the end.

5 Stars – a great read that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of horror and the urban exploration genre!