Read This Not That! A Roundup of Thrillers, Chillers and Ghostly Delights

Well hello there, my lovely readers! So sorry it’s been a zillion years since my last post. Life is crazy. You know how it goes. I may be a busy bee, but there’s always time for reading. These past few months, I’ve tried out a few new authors. Some are going in my top 10 list…others not so much. Here are a few hits and misses from my reading list.


Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

23746004 Wow- what a rollercoaster ride! From start to finish, I was glued to this story, dying to know who was taunting Tessa Cartwright with the little yellow flowers that haunt her dreams every night. The only survivor of a serial killer, she is known as a “Black Eyed-Susan.” This name is given to all the girls who died horribly at the hands of a child-killing monster. The author expertly shifts the story back and forth between grown-up Tessa and teenage Tessa as she struggles to overcome the unimaginable horrors she witnessed as an abductee.

Now with a teenage girl of her own, she must work with forensic scientists to catch the killer before her kid suffers the same fate of those hollow-eyed girls.  The stakes get higher when an innocent man accused of the killings is about to walk the green mile. Since Tessa’s memory is rather spotty, it’s hard to tell if we can rely on her for answers. Could she be the one planting those flowers outside her bedroom? Is she really being haunted by the ghosts of the dead girls, or are the voices just in her head? Hard to say. You’ll have to read the book. Trust me, it’s worth your while.  The ending is a real kick in the pants!

Thirteen Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt

24727118This was the perfect audiobook for a little road trip to East Texas and back. Filled with malevolent ghosts, magic and mayhem, this book made the miles fly right on by! The story begins when Luke Manchett inherits a boatload of ghosts from his dead father. You see, his estranged dad was a famous TV ghost hunter, who accumulated quite a bit of paranormal baggage throughout the years. Since he couldn’t take them with him into the netherworld, he dumped his burden on his hapless son, along with stacks of cryptic notes and a magically locked copy of The Book of Eight.  Gee, thanks a lot, deadbeat dad.

Poor Luke has no idea what to do with the eight unruly ghosts (aka hosts), and things go from bad to worse when they realize that their new necromancer is totally clueless. Gee, this kind of reminds me of what my sixth-grade class used to do to our substitute teachers. But I digress…this is a very fun supernatural thrill ride that is sure to please fans of Neil Gaiman. If you enjoy atmospheric horror stories set in foggy ol’ England –complete with overgrown cemeteries and spooky manors—this book is for you. I highly recommend saving it until Halloween.  Oh and for all my fellow dog lovers, there’s a furry sidekick named Ham who plays a key role in the story. Dogs rule and ghosts drool!


The Hand that Feeds You by A.J. Rich

23492651Oh dear…I really wanted to like this book. My dad insisted that I read it because the mystery centers around animal rescue. To the author’s credit, I commend her for addressing breed discrimination and giving some love to pit bulls. I truly believe this book is meant to win over animal lovers, but surprisingly it had to opposite effect.

The lead character, Morgan, went from hero to zero as soon as her dogs were in peril. At first I thought she was great. She rescued two pit bulls from death row and gave them a cushy place to stay until they could find a forever home. But it didn’t take very long for Morgan to slip right off her pedestal when she described the dog-hating, manipulative asshole she was about to marry. Why would an educated, animal-loving woman shack up with a man who mistreats her dogs? Major red flag! Well according to her master’s thesis, she’s a perpetual victim. Since she’s powerless to her psychosis, she inevitably puts herself into harms way—from jumping into a car with rapists to hooking up with strange men on Tinder dates. Her reckless behavior is apparently out of her control.

So yeah, this woman is an odd duck, and she gets even more strange as the story unfolds. While her poor dogs get framed for murder, she checks herself into a mental hospital for a few weeks. Eventually she decides to do something about her dogs and hires a lawyer. Hooray – she’s finally taking action! Well, not so fast. You see, she’s much too concerned about the hot lawyer flirting with the animal rights activist lady. In between court hearings, she’s empowering herself on skanky one-night-stands. You go girl. Unfortunately (spoiler alert) her sweet pit bull was sentenced to death due to breed discrimination. She was sad for maybe a nanosecond, but then she went back to crushing on her lawyer. Ugh. There’s a reason why this woman had no friends or family that cared to stick around. She’s awful, and I’m really surprised I stuck with her throughout this mess of a story.

How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle

23615098In all fairness, I will tell you up front that I only listened to two hours of this thing on audio until I decided I couldn’t stand the main character any longer. This girl is AWFUL! Supposedly she gets better as the story unfolds, according to my fellow reviewers. I hope that’s true, but I just don’t have that kind of patience.

The unfortunate lead character of the story, Jesse, is a self-righteous god-fearing mean girl who treats everyone around her—even her own mother—like garbage. In the very first chapter she slut-shames her mom (who, I should add, is going through a breast cancer scare) for having some fun on a Friday night. Then she belittles her fellow waitress for wearing designer jeans—and just when she couldn’t get nastier, she brags about how she antagonizes of her brothers’ many heart-broken girlfriends.

I’m pretty sure I met this girl in school—the one that has a mustache and devils horns scribbled all over her picture in my high school yearbook. I have no desire to cross paths wiith that girl ever again, and therefore I had to let Jesse and her little clique go on their roadtrip without me.


One thought on “Read This Not That! A Roundup of Thrillers, Chillers and Ghostly Delights

  1. My favorite sentence you wrote out of the 3 reviews, ” Gee, this kind of reminds me of what my sixth-grade class used to do to our substitute teachers. But I digress…”

    …and I totally would not have finished reading the 3rd story about the mean girls unless I was assured that in the end, a fair justice would have been exacted for her life lesson. Ugh!

    I enjoyed reading all 3 reviews… you always make it interesting.

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