The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

“Whatever this is, it comes over them quietly: a sudden drowsiness, a closing of the eyes. Most of the victims are found in their beds.”

Friends, I was so incredibly excited for The Dreamers as I am a sucker for infection stories and the premise of this one sounded so interesting. While the writing is beautiful, I found the story had too many characters and suffered from a lack of a clear narrative voice that ultimately made it difficult for me to connect with and care about the characters. There’s a reader for every book, but unfortunately this one was not for me.

The Dreamers is told in third person omniscient with many characters to follow as the sickness makes its way through the small college town. While this narrative voice works in a lot of stories, for me it did a disservice here. I found the plot to being mostly telling instead of showing, and unfortunately the downside of having a myriad of characters to follow in this narrative voice means you don’t really learn much about their thoughts and motivations. Ultimately, I didn’t care for any of them and I feel like the perspectives lacked any sense of urgency, which is something that I would have loved to see as a focal point of the perspectives.

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Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

“Of such small moments are disasters made.”

Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of right book, wrong reader.

“Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads.”

Lisa Morris is an 8 year old girl on vacation in Florida. She is starting to feel a little sick, but it is their last day and she doesn’t want to miss out on going to the amusement park for one last time. By the time she gets home to California, she’s very sick and thanks to trams, rides, and airplane rides — so are hundreds of others. Lisa’s Patient Zero of the Morris Disease outbreak and the first casualty. The world is forever changed.

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The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

“This is not a good house.”

The House by the Cemetery was a book that I wanted to adore with all the recipes of an interesting story: an abandoned, dilapidated house that is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a witch and the greedy hubris to capitalize on the past to create a Halloween attraction of the haunted house. Unfortunately this book failed to live up to my expectations; the writing felt disjointed, the plot was predictable, the characters were one-dimensional whose decisions made no logical sense, and there were a number of plotholes in the book that constantly prohibited me from getting into the story.

The old house at Bachelor’s Grove has been abandoned and locked up for decades, local legends telling stories of the ghosts that haunt the place and rumors of ‘satanic rituals’ being done there.

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The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

My initial thoughts when seeing this blurb was “Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity? Don’t mind if I do!” Despite being a paranormal skeptic, I cannot get enough of ghost stories; however, The Dark Beneath the Ice missed the mark for me. Drawn in by the premise of missing time and paranormal activity, these elements are very much there but to me that wasn’t the main focus of the story. It is as much of a family drama about the breakdown of a family and the struggles of divorce on a family as it is a supernatural story.

The silence still clings to me. If I close my eyes it’s there waiting for me, filling my mouth, heavy as water. Ready to swallow me again.

The opening lines captivated me straight away, and it is clear that Bérubé is a talented writer who has a poetic way with words.

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The Night Crossing by Robert Masello

“At night, the shadows run free.”

Friends, I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of The Night Crossing for review as I love spooky stories and historical fiction. A mysterious golden box, London in the late nineteenth century, and an evil that must be overcome are all ingredients that I love and I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met: I found the writing a to be a bit lackluster and I struggled to connect with the characters. While I found the overall plot to be interesting, I struggled to find the desire to read… and the last 25% of the book infuriated me to no end.

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