Freeks by Amanda Hocking

9781509807659
Click to order from Waterstones

Mara is the daughter of the fortune teller of Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, a carnival full of misfits whose talents veer over into the supernatural. As such she has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where she can listen to Madonna instead of cleaning out the tiger cage.

They’re all struggling financially so when the small town of Caudry, Louisiana offers them a big pay-packet for a weeks work they jump at it. When they get there Mara meets local-boy Gabe, and loses one of her best friends. But are the two connected?

Soon after another performer is mauled by an unknown beast. The carnival realises that there is something very scary lurking in the town and they begin to suspect they have been lured there. They can’t just leave so they have to get to the bottom of things which means Mara has to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Regular readers will know that I’m not that into shlock horror but I can be persuaded by a good one and this one has certainly done that. First of all it’s a perfect YA book – an ordinary girl that just wants to fit in but can’t because of parents, a fit boy promising love but with a hint of danger thrown in, the extraordinary future beckoning and the potential to fall and lose it all.

Secondly the horror in it is done very well, the pacing is great – even in the more relaxed moments I was still a little tense and had to keep going to see what would happen, the horror is gruesome but not titillatingly so but most importantly the author offers several nods to the cliche’s of the genre without actually jumping into them. This was brilliant, it showed how much she respects her readers.

The final thing which pushed me to fall for this book was the fact it was set in the 80’s and the music and culture of that decade are woven throughout. Brilliant not only because the 80’s really was the era of shlock horror but also because I’m an 80’s girl! So i definitely recommend this for Young Adults in their 40’s 😉

Overall it’s a fun, pacy read with likeable characters. Definitely potential for a sequel or series to come out of it too.

4 Bites

NB I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The BookEaters always write honest reviews.

GemBookEater
I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

imageJack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances while researching the occult for his new book.  A social media oversharer, he’d just caused outrage by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy and there was a storm of controversy over forty seconds of chilling footage that he claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

What exactly happened to Jack in the days that followed was a mystery- until now. This book, compiled from the files he’d been writing for his new book as well as testimonial from people that saw him in those last days, reveal the terrifying details leading to his death.

Jason Arnopp is a seasoned writer of the creepy – he’s written Dr Who and Friday the 13th books as well as the gritty urban drama ‘The Man Inside’. So if you like scary stories, Jason is the man to deliver them to you.

This story is gripping, I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of horror but the blurb on this was so good I couldn’t resist! The set up of the story was brilliant too, his estranged brother is the person compiling this and you could feel the antagonism between the two of them even though you are not seeing them together.

As you may expect, Jack Sparks is more than a bit of a shit, so I was looking forward to him getting his comeuppance very early on. We do get to see a little of Jack’s softer side her and there, but not so much as to make you cry at his death!

The supporting characters are great, and I’m particularly happy that the author is not afraid to break stereotypes and write strong, intelligent women.

There was only one part of this book that I felt didn’t work so well. At one point someone is trying to break down Jack’s psychological defences to help him escape possession. This bit felt too rushed and a little too obvious. Breaking him down should have been harder.

That aside this is a thoroughly entertaining read with good characters, some great wordplay and a little food for thought. Just don’t read it at night on your own!

4 Bites

 

NB I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The BookEaters always write honest reviews

GemBookEater
I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.