May in Review

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Truth be told, May wasn’t the greatest month in regards to my mental health. I think I had more bad days than good, but at least my reading didn’t suffer!

Oh, and look, that’s me!

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Visit Seรกn Oโ€™Connor’s website!

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 5)

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Kinfolk by Matt KurtzA fast-moving tale of survival, Kinfolk was exciting and addictive. I felt desperate to reach the end, as I was dying to know the final outcome. I’d not hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who relishes the chaotic backwoods, cannibal trope, yet it’s my opinion that this one offers a depth that many of its kind lacks.ย Read my full review here.

The Blood Lights by Elaine PascaleThe Blood Lights was beautifully written, and whilst I found the idea of mysterious lights causing a peculiar illness to be thought-provoking, I considered the payoff to be disappointing. The constant fluctuating between past and present also gave a sense of disorder. Despite the scenes I favoured being brought down by these complaints, it was worth the read overall.ย Read my full review here.

Will Haunt You by Brian KirkWill Haunt Youย was an outlandish read, with many twists and turns that married the bizarre and the ominous. Whilst I found enjoyment in the unpredictable sequence of events that challenged Jesse’s sanity, the ending, as well as some other aspects, didn’t quite do it for me. I would have preferred some semblance of understanding when I closed the book for the last time. As it was, more and more questions were piled upon a mountain of confusion.ย Read my full review here.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahonSometimes a book has such a promising start, and then gradually falls down a few rungs of the metaphorical ladder. The Winter People was a five-star read until a few select characters dumbfounded me with their questionable choices. Whilst these bouts of poor characterisation rubbed me the wrong way, as a whole, I enjoyed the read for the most part. I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to those that relish the quiet side of horror.ย Read my full review here.

Doggem by John F LeonardDoggem was an introduction to an interesting world, one with many secrets teeming beneath its surface. I truthfully had some issues, such as the sheer amount of factors that were mentioned yet neglected, but that’s short pieces of fiction in general; sometimes it’s difficult to connect entirely. I’d still however recommend it, for Leonard’s imagination is something to admire.ย Read my full review here.

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Doggem by John F Leonard

Doggem: A Tale of Toy Dogs and Dark DeedsDoggem: A Tale of Toy Dogs and Dark Deeds by John F Leonard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Doggem is an educational tool, used to help in the development of children. It’s George Gouldโ€™s turn to take him home for the holiday season, where he and his parents will pay a visit to his grandmother. As observed, not all is right in the Gould clan. Certain schemes are talked about behind closed doors, yet are heard all the same.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank John F Leonard for giving me the opportunity.


Doggem, despite its overall length, involved many elements within its pages, from the crimes of human greed, to the mysteries of an ancient forest. Whilst I can appreciate conveying so much in so little space, it struck me as a little too jam-packed, to the point I felt that particular aspects weren’t given enough justice. Joan Demdike, for instance, was such an intriguing character, yet her presence was so fleeting. If only she had been further explored, adding more meat to her bones, then perhaps I wouldn’t have been left so dissatisfied.ย The same goes for Jordemain Wood as a whole.

Saying that, the entity that was Doggem fascinated me a great deal. I couldn’t help but recall all those times wishing life into my own stuffed toys, yet that childhood fantasy brings with it a frightening prospect. Imagine a sentient mind stuck inside a thing as inconspicuous as a child’s plaything, seeing and hearing everything. It makes me uncomfortable, so I applaud Leonard’s ability in that regard. Doggem’s voice was distinct and memorable, and by goodness I wouldn’t hesitate to read a longer novel all about him.

In conclusion: Doggem was an introduction to an interesting world, one with many secrets teeming beneath its surface. I truthfully had some issues, such as the sheer amount of factors that were mentioned yet neglected, but that’s short pieces of fiction in general; sometimes it’s difficult to connect entirely. I’d still however recommend it, for Leonard’s imagination is something to admire.

Notable Quote:

Skin to skin contact with his wife had slowly dripped the devil into his soul.

ยฉ Red Lace 2019

Goodreadsย ~ย Twitter

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter PeopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nineteen-year-old Ruthie finds herself lost when her mother disappears without a trace. Now responsible for her sister’s care, Ruthie struggles to be the grown-up, especially when the discovery of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary opens up a world of the dead coming back to life. Unable to stop the secrets from coming to light, Ruthie’s determination to find her mother leads her to dangerous places.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)


May comes to a close, and so concludes the Ladies of Horror Fiction community readalong. I was completely captivated by The Winter Peopleย when I first began reading; its overall setting proved tremendously atmospheric. The season of winter has always had that extra special effect on my mood, possibly due to its unforgiving nature, and as a result I felt an abundance of creeping dread at all the unanswered questions that McMahon didn’t hesitate to tease. Possibly the best thing about it was the speculation and subsequent discussions surrounding it – my imagination did somersaults, coming up with theories I was sure held some accuracy. The shifting point-of-view and jumping back and forth in time simply continued to pique my interest; I couldn’t wait to learn more of the unfolding story. I would say it was the definition of a good start, therefore it’s just a real shame that my level of enjoyment declined somewhat as the plot continued to develop.

There were instances I had difficulty in suspending my disbelief as certain decisions the characters made struck me as completely nonsensical. For me to fully connect to the personalities on a page, I need to find logic in their actions. Without that, then my mind typically brands them as two-dimensional and it’s almost impossible to connect. This occurred more than once, and each time with a progressively weaker justification – such as dismissing the use of modern technology because… well, there wasn’t really an excuse given for that absurdity. I daresay plot devices don’t need to be so contrived.

If I move past what didn’t work for me, there was still plenty to like. The novel explored the subject of loss, and the turmoil that accompanies it. I really appreciated the emotional depth which took precedence; the bleak prospect of never again seeing your loved one speaking to human selfishness. These elements of realism were in stark contrast to my aforementioned complaints. Sara’s segments, especially, were extremely compelling and rife with heartbreak. The concept of the Devil’s Hand was also one I favoured. A mysterious, supposedly natural-forming structure at the epicentre of strange paranormal activity. There was obvious history there that was just out of reach, and I think I’ll be contemplating over it for a while to come.

In conclusion: Sometimes a book has such a promising start, and then gradually falls down a few rungs of the metaphorical ladder. The Winter People was a five-star read until a few select characters dumbfounded me with their questionable choices. Whilst these bouts of poor characterisation rubbed me the wrong way, as a whole, I enjoyed the read for the most part. I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to those that relish the quiet side of horror.

Notable Quote:

I killed myself again and again in my dreams.
I’d wake up weeping, full of sorrow to find myself alive, trapped in my wretched body, in my wretched life. Alone…

ยฉ Red Lace 2019

Goodreadsย ~ย Twitter