A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

source: purchased
title: A Head Full of Ghosts
author: Paul Tremblay
published: May 2016
genre: horror
pages: 285
first line: This must be so difficult for you, Meredith.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

My thoughts:
I purchased A Head Full of Ghosts because I wanted to dive into something scary. This was my first time reading Paul Tremblay and the premise looked good. Plus, this is what Stephen King said about this book: “A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare”. If that’s not a horror recommendation I don’t know what is.

The book centers around twenty-something Merry Barrett as she tells a writer named Rachel the story of what happened to her family when she was just eight years old. Rachel is going to write a book on the Barretts. When Merry was eight her fourteen year old sister Marjorie started exhibiting symptoms of demonic possession. The Barrett family was having financial difficulties at the time because the dad John Barrett lost his job. When Marjorie begins acting strange it puts a strain on the entire family. She was talking in bizarre and weird voices, cursing and having erratic outbursts.

After treatments from the doctor didn’t work, the family obtained help from the Catholic church. After observing Marjorie, Father Wanderly got permission to perform an exorcism. On top of all this, the Barrett’s got a tv documentary deal so there was a film crew living in their home for a few weeks filming the family daily. The Barrett’s agreed to the documentary which aired weekly and made them somewhat infamous because they needed the money. The exorcism is aired on tv.

I enjoyed how the author pulled me in here, Merry tells a terrifying story and I was on the edge of my seat while reading. She’s an endearing character and you want her to be okay but she is an unreliable narrator so you never truly know what happened.
I wondered where Paul Tremblay would go with the story because halfway through I started thinking this book could easily start to resemble a retelling of The Exorcist which is of my favorite horror novels. I was not disappointed. This one does throw nods to The Exorcist but manages to remain original.

The book culminates into a nice cringeworthy twist at the end that left me speechless. The twist is what seals the deal. I also enjoyed how the book plays with you a little as you read, you never really know what is truly going on. I wondered whether Marjorie was really possessed or mentally ill or maybe both. I feared for Merry and her interactions with her older sister in that state were scary but also sad. Merry idolized her older sister like most little sisters do. I also really enjoyed the whole reality tv twist to the story due to the documentary about the family being filmed.

A Head Full of Ghosts was fantastic horror and I recommend it to fans of the genre. This one is not for the faint of heart some of the scenes are shocking. Ugh, the basement scenes. I wanted to hide under the covers.


“In a way, my personal history not being my own, being literally and figuratively haunted by outside forces, is almost as horrible as what actually happened. Almost.”- A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

I sneak into your room when you are asleep, Merry-monkey. I’ve been doing it for weeks now, since the end of summer. You’re so pretty when you’re asleep. Last night, I pinched your nose shut until you opened your little mouth and gasped.”- A Head Full of Ghosts



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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.



Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan





source: free ARC via Meryl Moss Media
title: Her Three Lives
author: Cate Holahan
genre: thriller/suspense
pages: 338
published: April 20, 2021
first line: She would make them late.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars


blurb:
Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

My thoughts:
Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan was a thrilling read that had me hooked from page one. Having read and enjoyed One Little Secret a few years ago by this same author I was curious about this one.

As the book starts off Jade Thompson and her fiancé Greg are getting ready to go out one evening. Greg opens his front door thinking there is a package delivery and he ends up the victim of a brutal attack that leaves him nearly dead with a brain injury. Two attackers enter the house and also steal Jade’s expensive engagement ring but nothing else. Jade is also injured in the attack.

As Greg begins the healing process with the support of his ex-wife, his two children and Jade, the question of who tried to kill him is at the forefront. Greg installs security cameras in his home but they only make him increasingly obsessed and paranoid. He is also suffering from PTSD after the attack.

The detectives assigned to the case are leaving no stone unturned. They start looking into Jade’s line of work as a social influencer and a blogger hoping to find any clues in some of the comments on her blog posts.

I sat down one Saturday afternoon with Her Three Lives and finished it up the next morning. After being in a book slump for months it was refreshing being able to find myself so immersed in a thrilling read like this one.

I had no idea who attacked Greg and Jade. As the story unfolded I started to dislike Greg more and more. A successful architect in his late fifties he is in the process of getting a divorce when he meets Jade. He is smitten with her and I think by six months into the relationship they are engaged. Jade is thirty something and close to her mother but estranged from her father.
I found this quote in regards to how Jade feels about her father particularly insightful:
“She hadn’t known her father long enough to truly love him as an individual. If anything, she loved him as an idea”.-p141, Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan

Jade is the opposite of Greg, her family is from Jamaica, she is a social media influencer/blogger and it seems that she’s his mid-life crisis relationship in some regards. Jade can take of herself financially but Greg is wealthy and makes millions on commission on certain accounts so Jade definitely has motive to have him murdered. These two are both hiding some secrets.

Greg’s family dynamics seemed realistic and he is still amicable with his ex-wife Leah. His daughter Violet openly dislikes and suspects Jade and she hopes her parents will get back together. Their son seems to be more accepting of the relationship. Speaking of the ex-wife Leah, that lady is ride or die when it comes to her kids.

Author Cate Holahan continues to pen thrilling reads with twists and turns that have you guessing until the very end. As the book went on I had no idea who attacked Greg until the author revealed it. It made sense and the story was wrapped up nicely and even culminated in a bittersweet ending.
I recommend Her Three Lives if you enjoy suspenseful thrillers centered around families.

“Sadness had replaced her anger. Sadness and shame.-p.303, Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan”

Special thanks to Meryl Moss Media for my review copy.


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About the Author:
Cate Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of domestic suspense novels The Widower’s Wife, One Little Secret, Lies She Told, and Dark Turns. In a former life, she was an award-winning journalist, writing for The Record, The Boston Globe, and BusinessWeek, among others. She was also the lead singer of Leaving Kinzley, an original rock band in NYC.
She lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters, and food-obsessed dog, and spends a disturbing amount of time highly-caffeinated, mining her own anxieties for material.-quoted from Amazon

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I received a copy of Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan from Meryl Moss Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the book I will receive a small affiliate commission.
The book photo is my own and is not to be removed from this post.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 4/11/2021: Updates

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Good morning all, happy weekend. It’s hard to believe we are halfway through April already. I like this time of year though, the longer days, the weather warms up and the flowers start to blossom…


I got my first dose of the vaccine two weeks ago. I’m not going to lie, I was excited but also nervous. Thank goodness it went well and my second dose is in a few weeks. I had minor side effects, mainly strong arm pain from my shoulder to my hand but once that peaked around 8 hours after the shot it started to get better and I was back to normal within 48 hours. I feel so much better just knowing I’m halfway there to being fully vaccinated. My husband got his first dose last week and had zero side effects.

On another note, I’ve decided I’ll be doing these Sunday updates every other Sunday because it fits a little better with my schedule. Plus, I’m usually a slow reader and I don’t like to only post Sunday updates with no book reviews in between.

Onto more updates…

in my mailbox this week (both perfect for National Poetry Month):

Impermanence by Ren Powell via Poetic Book Tours for an April 28th review.


Garden in a Seed by Nazanin Mirsadeghi arrived via the publisher for an April post.


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Recently on the blog
I shared my thoughts on Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore. This was nice contemporary romance with puppy rescue in the plot.


Coming soon:

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay . Um scared much? Yes. I finally started this one and am breezing through it, but I can’t read it late at night before bed like I usually do with my current reads.

Also, Dewey’s Read-A-Thon is April 24. Will you be reading along? I will be this year.


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Crochet
I’ve been working on a granny square shawl for the past several weeks and am nearing the end of the project. I wanted to use mainly Spring/Summer colors, mostly yellow. Here are the granny squares in progress and while being blocked.





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Watching:

My daughter and I are hooked on The Witcher on Netflix. Have you watched it? So good!

That covers my updates for now. Thanks for stopping by. What are you up to lately? Happy reading this week!



Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

Puppy Kisses (Forever Home Book 3) by Lucy Gilmore

source: free review copy via Sourcebooks Casablanca
title: Puppy Kisses (Forever Home)
author: Lucy Gilmore
pages: 352
published: June 30, 2020
first line: Stealing a dog turned out to be much easier than Dawn had expected.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

blurb:
Is it too much to want the dog and the guy?

I’ve never been one to take life too seriously. I’ve always been kind of a whirlwind free spirit―Dawn Vasquez, the girl with the sunny disposition and the flighty personality. But then an adorable golden retriever puppy in need of rescue crossed my path and everything changed. Now, I’m wondering just what life would be like if I put some roots down and offer Gigi, my rescue pup, the promise of a real home.

Unfortunately, as I’m about to hunker down for some full-time puppy love, Adam Dearborn, a hopelessly buttoned-up cowboy rancher, enters the picture and insists he needs a guide dog and it must be Gigi. I’ve got no choice but to fight for my puppy and convince Adam that there are plenty of other dogs who would suit him. But somehow, our little tussle turns into a serious attraction, and now I’m wondering if for the price of a kiss, I can convince this handsome, slightly stuffy cowboy to take on both the puppy and me, so we can all have the chance of a forever home.

My thoughts:
Puppy Kisses is the third book in the Forever Home series but I’m happy to say this installment reads fine as a stand-alone.

In this book Dawn runs a dog rescue/training service with her sister Lila where they train the rescues to be service dogs. Dawn rescues a mistreated lab puppy and brings her to Adam Dearborn’s ranch. Adam and Dawn have a past history together and the two still have chemistry and seeing each other once again stirs up old feelings. The plot mainly centers on Adam and Dawn rekindling their romance while Dawn trains a service dog for him.

First off, Adam is a great hero. He’s a cowboy, owns his own ranch and he’s blind due to meningitis as a child. His being blind is not mentioned too early on and you need to be paying attention as you read to pick up on it.
Dawn is an extroverted social butterfly and a free spirit. She and Adam compliment each other well since he’s more quiet and down to Earth. Dawn feels she will never settle down and sells herself short a little thinking she’s not marriage material. Adam is more work oriented and doesn’t really make time for romance. The story includes other characters like Adam and Dawn’s siblings that have been featured in the previous books and the author gives enough backstory to make this fine as a stand alone.

Puppy Kisses is pretty much what I expected when I chose to read this one; fluffy romance with puppies in the plot and a cute cowboy. While I enjoyed this one overall I found that the way Dawn and Adam met up again to be far fetched. It seemed like a stretch in order to get Dawn to Adam’s ranch and back into his life to rekindle their romance. However, once these two met up again the storyline flowed easy and this was sweet contemporary romance. The dogs in the storyline like Great Dane Uncle and Lab Gigi were also really cute. If you enjoy reserved but sexy heroes, sassy heroines and books with puppies in the mix you might like this one. I like the cover.

I’ll close with a few favorite lines from -Puppy Kisses (Forever Home Book 3) by Lucy Gilmore:
“All she had to do was walk into a room, and Adam forgot about anything and anyone else in it.”

“That was the problem with being rescued-with being loved. Once you got used to things like soft touches and family gathered around the dinner table, it was hard to let go of them again.”

“There’d been only him: Adam Dearborn, solid and stalwart, honest and real. He was the first man to offer her that-not some flashy lifestyle designed to charm her out of her panties, but just himself.”

Special thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for my copy of Puppy Kisses.

About the Author
Lucy Gilmore is a contemporary romance author with a love of puppies, rainbows, and happily ever afters. She began her reading (and writing) career as an English literature major and ended as a die-hard fan of romance in all forms. When she’s not rolling around with her two Akitas, she can be found hiking, biking, or with her nose buried in a book. – quoted from Amazon



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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my copy of Puppy Kisses (Forever Home Book 3) by Lucy Gilmore via Sourcebooks Casablanca. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 3/28/2021: Updates and Spring is in The Air

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….



Happy Sunday, hope you are well. It’s been a beautiful week here in Jersey with Spring officially making its appearance. We’ve been taking our daily walks and enjoying the nice weather in the mid- 60’s and high 70’s some days with it still brisk in the mornings and evenings. That’s Otis in the photo enjoying the view on one of our walks by the lake last weekend.

A few things have changed since my last Sunday update. I got notice we are not back due to the office now until May so more employees can hopefully get vaccinated in the meantime. SIGH OF RELIEF. I am so grateful. And I finally was able to book my vaccine appointments! My first dose is this upcoming Wednesday. Wish me luck. This means I will be fully vaccinated by the time I go back to the office building in May. How do you feel about the vaccine? Are you getting it or passing on it?

Onto more updates below
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In my mailbox:

Red Deception by Gary Grossman arrived via BookTrib/MeryMoss Media.


Author Ivy Keating sent me a copy of her latest Sarana and the Dark King



Currently reading:

I’m finishing up Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore which was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca. I tried to finish this one and review it last week but my thoughts will be up this week.



Watching: I watched Into the Wild which was sad but also inspiring. I teared up more than once and I ended up ordering the book Into the Wild based on Chris McCandless’ story. Have you seen the film or read this one?


Crochet: Here is an “Inauguration Bernie” I crocheted a few months back. Bernie and his mittens went viral and so did this crochet pattern. I ordered pliable crafting wire for his glasses and my daughter shaped them for me.








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That covers this week’s updates. What are you up to lately? Stay well and enjoy your reading this week.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.