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.



My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

source: review copy via NetGalley / Dover
title: My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright
genre: crochet patterns
published: Dover Publications; Translation Edition (September 18, 2019)
rated: 4 out of 5

blurb:
Add a little handmade warmth to Christmas with these charming crocheted decorations, toys, and charms. The projects include tree ornaments, a cuddly fox and animal Santas, a mouse quartet, a tabletop nativity set, finger puppets, gingerbread “hearts,” and many other delightful ornaments. These projects are suitable for crocheters at every level of experience — a How-To section explains the basic techniques, so even beginners can whip up many of these items. Each features detailed instructions and full-color photos of the completed piece. The handmade items will be lovely gifts with a personal touch for friends and family as well as keepsake additions to your own holiday decorations.

my thoughts:
Yay for Christmas crochet! This review is literally one year overdue so shame on me but I like to crochet something from the pattern books I receive for review so I didn’t want to share this one until I made something from the book.
My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright is a lovely pattern book to add to any crocheter’s collection. The festive patterns inside are whimsical and fun.

“At the coldest time of year, it’s especially fun to cozy up on the sofa, light a fire, and grab your crocheting. This book is full of patterns for a colorful and vibrant Christmas season and a festive,sparkling Christmas celebration.- “My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

The crochet patterns within these pages include cookies and sweets, an Advent Calendar, a cuddly fox, festive pencil toppers, small Nativity set, thermos cozy and several other gift ideas that would make for cute stocking stuffers and presents.
The well written patterns all come with clear photos. I love the presentation throughout the book it’s very festive. I’d say this is for the beginner crocheter through the advanced one as well because these are fun projects and most are not too time consuming so you can spend an afternoon whipping something up for yourself or a loved one without too much time commitment. This is a nice pattern book to bring out for crocheting while watching Christmas movies.


These wrist warmers look very cozy.

I whipped up the snowman jar cozy. The pattern was very simple and I tweaked mine a little to fit the smaller candle.






I think my snowman looks more like a penguin though lol.


Overall, this is a terrific crochet pattern book to add to your shelves. I recommend it! Special thanks to NetGalley / Dover for my copy.

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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 free review copy of My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright via NetGalley / Dover in exchange for my honest thoughts. 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. The photos in this post are mine and not to be removed from here.

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

brave
source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar
blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

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Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini

lincoln
source: free ARC via NetGalleyHarper Collins
title: Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters
author: Jennifer Chiaverini
genre: historical fiction
published: June 2, 2020
pages: 352
first line: A whimsical breeze rustled the paper beneath Elizabeth’s pen as she wrote in the garden, but she held the sheet firmly against the table with her left hand and it was not carried aloft.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstarstar

blurb:
The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood rich with history and suspense.

In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide.

Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her?

Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.

Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.

my thoughts:
I loved Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini and found myself immersed in the story-line while reading.

As Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters begins, Elizabeth Todd Edwards receives the news that her estranged sister Mary Todd Lincoln has been declared legally insane and is being committed to a mental institution after attempting suicide.

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Redeeming the Reclusive Earl by Virginia Heath

redee
source: free review copy via Rachels Random Resources
title: Redeeming the Reclusive Earl
author: Virginia Heath
genre: historical romance
published: April 1st 2020
pages: 288
first line: Three hundred acres…
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar

blurb:
His heart is a fortress.

And she’s trespassing!

After losing all he holds dear in a horrific fire, Max Aldersley, Earl of Rivenhall, shuns the world—until he catches Effie Nithercott digging holes on his estate! He banishes the intrepid archaeologist and the unsettled feelings she rouses within him. But she returns even more determined and infuriatingly desirable than before! He wonders just how deep she’s prepared to dig—so far she’ll reach the man beneath his scars?

my thoughts:
Redeeming the Reclusive Earl is the fourth book by Virginia Heath that I have read and it might be my favorite of hers so far.

When they first meet Max finds Effie digging on his property. She was granted permission by his late uncle years ago to dig up artifacts and she has been working on unearthing an archaeological site on the land that Max has now inherited. Archaeology is her passion. Eventually Effie wins him over and Max even starts helping her dig. A friendship forms between the two and soon romance begins to blossom.

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