Monday, October 12, 2020

Book Review | Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Catherine House is horror/thriller novel by Elisabeth Thomas.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

A story about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.


Catherine House was recently chosen as a group read in the Ladies of Horror Fiction Goodreads group. I didn't manage to read it during the chosen month so I'm doing a little catch up now!

I listened to Catherine House on audio, and the narration was excellent. The narrator made this book so easy to follow despite how vague the story was. I loved the atmosphere, and I loved the school setting.

Overall, though, Catherine House didn't work very well for me. I feel like this year has been filled with ambiguous entertainment, and I am more than craving some straight forward stories right now. I think Catherine House will work best for those who like to read deeper and find the artistic meaning behind what is and isn't said.

⭐⭐★★★
2/5 stars

Jennifer

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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | October 11

I am really ready for hurricane season to be over! We got hit with another hurricane this week. This time we rode it out at home. We were only supposed to get tropical storm force winds in our area, but the weather folks got it wrong. There is no end to the gifts of 2020.

Finished Reading



I finished listening to Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas. I'll have my review posted tomorrow. ⭐⭐★★★

Currently Reading


The Return by Rachel Harrison Women's Weird edited by Melissa Edmundson

I'm still reading The Return by Rachel Harrison and Women's Weird edited by Melissa Edmundson. I'm enjoying them both.


Added to the TBR


Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher Helena by Claire L. Smith

Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker (aka Seanan McGuire) and The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher were both preorders that were released this week. I'm really looking forward to reading both of them!

Many thanks to CLASH Books for sending me a copy of Helena by Claire L. Smith. Helena releases this week!


So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | October 4

Were you able to see Mars next to the full moon this weekend? We set up our outdoor movie screen last night, and Mars looked incredible! I spent half the time watching the movie (and eating smores 😋) and half the time watching Mars.

Posted Last Week



Finished Reading


Dread Nation by Justina Ireland The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low

I finished reading Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. My ⭐⭐⭐💫★ review has been posted.

I also read The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low. I loved it, and posted a review for it as well. ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Currently Reading


The Return by Rachel Harrison Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas Women's Weird edited by Melissa Edmundson

I'm in the mood for thriller/horror this month so I picked up The Return by Rachel Harrison. I'm enjoying it so far. I can't wait to find out what is happening in this one.

I started listening to Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas. The narration is amazing, but the plot is lacking.

I also started reading Women's Weird edited by Melissa Edmundson, and it's amazing! I have a feeling I'm going to love this series.


So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Book Review | The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low

The Midnight Lullaby is a horror novella by Cheryl Low.

Everybody has secrets…

For years, Benedict Lyon has been living a lie. Not even his family knows the truth he's been keeping from the world. Only Emmeline knows his secret—and she's dead.

…some are darker than others…

When the matriarch of the Lyon family passes away, Benedict is summoned home for the funeral. Emmeline urges Benedict not to go, certain that if he returns to that house, neither one of them will escape.

…but are they worth dying for?

Their presence in the family home causes the spirit of Gloria Lyon to become restless, and as the remaining members of the Lyon family attempt to put their mother to rest, long buried secrets, some deadlier than others, are unearthed. Who will survive…

The Midnight Lullaby.


Thank you to Tammy for putting this novella on my radar! (And thank you to Grinning Skull Press for sending me out a copy for review!)

Ghosts have always been my favorite horror element so I get really excited when I read a ghostly book that brings something new to the table. The Midnight Lullaby did just that! I don't want to spoil anything for you, though. At 165 pages, The Midnight Lullaby escalates quickly!

This was my first book by Cheryl Low, but I'm definitely going to go back and pick up Infernal.

We are at the beginning of spooky season, and we are all going to be spending a lot more time at home this year. The Midnight Lullaby is on my list of books that I recommend you add to your horror pile this fall.

⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
4.5/5 stars

Jennifer

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review | Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation is a YA historical fiction/horror novel by Justina Ireland.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


Even though this is a zombie book, I knew going into Dread Nation that it would be light on the horror elements. I think that helped me adjust to the right expectations going into this. Thankfully there was a more to Dread Nation than the zombies.

Dread Nation was very successful at building the story over the course of the entire novel. I love when a book gets better and better and then thoroughly hooks me by the end. That doesn't always make for a quick read, and it did take me a while to get through Dread Nation. I was able to put it down and pick it back up again days later.

By the end, though, I was hooked and anxious for more. I'll be picking up Deathless Divide (the second half of this duology) soon so be on the look out for that review as well!

⭐⭐⭐💫★
3.5/5 stars

Jennifer

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