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#NightmareBeforeHalloween
review
OutsmartYourShelf
44 | Jools Sinclair
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Pickpick

I first read this about 10 years ago so thought it was time for a re-read. I'm not as easily impressed as I was back then, so I'd probably rate this at a 3.5🌟 now. There's not much backstory given (there is a reason for that that the reader finds out later) & it makes the narrative a bit disorientating as the reader works out what is happening. The twist is still good though.

2015 review: A promising start to what looks to be a good YA series.

OutsmartYourShelf Kept me interested in reading it and had a nice twist at the end. Liked it so much I've just bought the rest of the series.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/809933624
Read 31st Oct 2023

Readathons 150 pts
Post 1pt
Words 870 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 1041 pts

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8mo
TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
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23 likes5 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

Hannah has some misgivings as she leaves for a luxury weekend away with her husband, her brother Mako & his wife, & best friend Cricket & new squeeze. As the six friends arrive, the weather changes & the group are stuck in the isolated cabin. Furthermore there's something a bit off with their rental owner & the house has a tragic backstory. As the weather cools outside, inside tempers heat up, & it seems someone has a deadly agenda. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf This author's books seem to be a bit hit & miss for me: I really liked Under My Skin but wasn't keen on Last Girl Ghosted. This one sits in the middle, it's quite good but I didn't really like it much. The characters are necessarily mostly unlikeable & the reader experiences most events through Hannah's eyes but the second strand of the story which is told by a character called Henry takes you out of the secret-filled cabin which dilutes the 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf tension. The stories do eventually dovetail but it only partly works. 3⭐

TWs: self-harm, infidelity, miscarriage, drug use, violence, animal cruelty/death.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4804684971
Read 27th-30th Oct 2023

Readathons 600 pts
Post 1pt
Words 2370 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 2981 pts

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8mo
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30 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

Following the loss of a lucrative contract due to internal rivalries, a group of seven feuding office workers are sent on a team-building weekend by their boss. On the way there the private plane develops engine trouble & the group wake up marooned on a deserted tropical island. There the rivalries become magnified as the group struggle to locate water, food, & shelter plus look for a way off the island.
(Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf The synopsis to this sounded great but it never really got going for me. The tensions were pretty petty & became annoying really quickly. It's quite a short book at just over 200 pages & I think the characters weren't really given time to develop so the reader isn't really invested in what happens to them & the conclusion was very quick. It was OK but I think many things could have been improved on if it had been slightly longer. 3⭐ (edited) 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, BooksGoSocial, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5876804406
Read: 27th Oct 2023

Readathons 192 pts
Post 1pt
Words 290 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 493 pts

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27 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

A book of 13 haunting stories which all involve fishing of some description. Now I'm not the least bit interested in fishing but I do like a book which deals with hauntings & water. These were mostly a mixed bag, with the one about a Victorian serial killer, & another about a group of friends out fishing in a boat with a broken radio being the standouts for me. (Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf None of them were particularly chilling but some have the reader tempted to 'bite' only to deliver a sting in the tail. If you are a keen fisher then these may appeal to you a little more. 3⭐

My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5922816112
Read 24th-26th Oct 2023
(edited) 8mo
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review
OutsmartYourShelf
The Dark | Linda Cargill
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Panpan

Bianca wakes up in hospital & is confused as to how she got there. She is told that she was babysitting, someone broke in & killed the maid, Mrs Ingersoll, & tried to kidnap baby Katie. Bianca grabbed Katie & ran to get help but can't remember any of this. Now she is terrified of the dark but when her memory starts to return, the killer is worried that Bianca will be able to identify them & decides to shut her up for good. (Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf I think this is possibly the worst book in the Point Horror series. I've read most of them & I can't remember another that made me want to speedread through it like this did. Almost no characterisation, everyone was really shouty, prone to sudden violence, & really weird. Very much doubt I will bother with the sequel. 1⭐

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5937920166
Read 28th - 29th Oct 2023

8mo
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25 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Pickpick

An in-depth look at the roles women played in the British Intelligence services in both World Wars. Far from being confined to being secretaries or typists, sometimes these roles concealed jobs working in decoding, setting up & running spy networks in Europe, & even being parachuted into occupied territory to work undercover. These women were hardworking, courageous, intelligent women who put their lives on the line for the Allies. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf The author has obviously carried out painstaking research in putting together the stories of these forgotten women. It's a fascinating subject but at times, the writing was a little dry to read with many dates, names etc to remember. Overall it's an informative read & these women deserve to have their stories told & their sacrifices acknowledged. 3.5🌟

My thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Yale University Press, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
8mo
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review
OutsmartYourShelf
The Twelve Days of Murder | Andreina Cordani
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Pickpick

A group of friends from university days are invited to a Christmas Masquerade murder mystery break at a remote hunting lodge. At the last one, the 'victim' disappeared from a locked room & was never seen again. This time it is based around the song 'Twelve Days of Christmas', i.e. Lord Leapworth. As the game begins, past secrets are revealed & friendships are strained until on Christmas morning, Lady Partridge is found hanging from a pear tree.

OutsmartYourShelf The present narrative is told from the point of view of Charley, the outsider in the group of friends. Charley came from a working class background whilst all the others were from rich families & she was treated rather badly by most of the group. Even in the Christmas Masquerade she is playing 'Miss Colly', the only servant in the game & her costumes are dull & boring. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf The reader gets some background from chapters set twelve years ago one from each of the friend group & as their secrets are gradually revealed you see that none of them are particularly nice people . I did actually guess the guilty party but not the whole reason. I thought it was a diverting, entertaining read & if you like 'locked room' murder mysteries I would recommend this one. 4🌟
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Bonnier Books/Zaffre, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5641748023
Read 17th-20th Oct 2023

Readathons 585 pts
Post 1pt
Words 2310 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 2906 pts

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(edited) 8mo
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26 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Pickpick

The third book sees Harry, Hermione, & Ron about to start their third year at Hogwarts. On the way there they encounter Professor Lupin, their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, when a Dementor, one of the feared guardians of Azkaban searches the train. Harry seems to be the worst affected of anyone. It seems that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban & is after Harry to take his revenge for what happened to (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named & the Dementors will be a fixture around the school for a while. The story also takes in werewolves, secret maps, animagi, the trial of Buckbeak, & Gryffindor's quest to win the Quidditch Cup.

This is a re-read & my original rating of 4 stars stands. I'm not a big fan of the Buckbeak storyline in general (Buckbeak is fine, it's the whole 'animal in peril' thing) & I don't particularly like Professor Trelawney
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf (I agree with Hermione's assessment here). On the plus side, there's Quidditch, the Marauders' Map, & the introduction of characters (Lupin, Black, etc) who will appear in further books on the side of either good or evil. It's not my favourite of the series but it's still good. 4🌟

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/747560089
Read 14th-19th Oct 2023

8mo
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33 likes8 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
When Ghosts Call Us Home | Katya de Becerra
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Pickpick

Sophia Galich was twelve when she starred in her older sister Layla‘s amateur horror movie 'Vermillion' filmed in the house their parents were renovating. Originally owned by a rich couple who held wild parties & seances until the tragic death of the wife, it stood empty for years before the Galich family moved in to renovate it. The movie gained a cult following online alongside a website which people use to travel 'The Path'. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf Layla disappeared two years ago & it seems that she was still obsessed with Cashore & Vermillion & the last known sighting of her was at the house. Now seventeen, Sophia agrees to star in a remake being filmed at Cashore in the hope that this will lead her to the truth of what happened to Layla.

This had a slow start but once it got going it was a good read. The narrative is told from Sophia's point of view mostly in the present,
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf although the reader experiences Sophia's returning memories as she starts to film the remake. Suspicious of everyone & their motives, including Arthur the director's son, as they start to film scenes Sophia starts to remember more of what happened five years before & realises her sister wasn't telling her the complete truth. She also realises that she is now travelling The Path - but what or who is at the end? 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf It wasn't terrifying but it was a spooky unsettling read. 3.5🌟

My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Macmillan Children's Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5761905163
Read 13th-17th Oct 2023

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review
OutsmartYourShelf
My Brother's Keeper | Tim Powers
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Pickpick

The Brontes & werewolves - even before starting it, I knew this would be either a triumph or a disaster. It's definitely going to polarise opinion as it's a required taste, but I loved it. I particularly like the way that the author wove actual events into the supernatural narrative, such as when Branwell paints over himself in the portrait of himself & his three sisters. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf Branwell comes off the worst here as he comes across as petulant, cowardly, & self-centered & I really didn't like him. The others were as you would expect & I felt the author got Emily's character just right. Read it with no preconceptions & no expectations of what a book featuring the Brontës should be like & you may be pleasantly surprised. I thought it was extremely entertaining. 4.5🌟

8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publishers, Head of Zeus/AdAstra Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5722038873
Read 12th-14th Oct 2023

Readathons x Hours Read 902 pts
Post 1pt
Word Challenge 3160 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 4083 pts

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8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publishers, Head of Zeus/AdAstra Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5722038873
Read 12th-14th Oct 2023

Readathons x Hours Read 902 pts
Post 1pt
Word Challenge 3160 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 4083 pts

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24 likes9 comments