Book Review: A COLD SEASON by Alison Littlewood

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Publisher: Jo Fletcher
Released: January 1, 2012
Source: Review copy from the Amazon Vine Program

Cass is building a new life for herself and her young son Ben after the death of her soldier husband Pete, returning to the village where she lived as a child. But their idyllic new home is not what she expected: the other flats are all empty, there’s strange graffiti on the walls, and the villagers are a bit odd.

And when an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm maroons the village, things get even harder. Ben is changing, he’s surly and aggressive and Cass’s only confidant is the smooth, charming Theodore Remick, the stand-in headmaster.

Not everyone approves of Cass’s growing closeness to Mr Remick, and it soon becomes obvious he’s not all he appears to be either. If she is to protect her beloved son, Cass is going to have to fight back.

Cass realises this is not the first time her family have been targeted by Theodore Remick. But this time, the stakes are immeasurably higher…

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A COLD SEASON is a spooky tale set in the remote English village of Darnshaw. After losing her husband in Afghanistan, Cass and her young son Ben relocate to Darnshaw in hopes of starting a new life. Once they get to town, it’s clear there’s something amiss. It begins to snow, and it continues to snow until Darnshaw is cut off from the rest of the world. No one can go in or out. No phones or internet. And then Ben falls in with a creepy group of boys, and he begins to change.

I loved the frigid atmosphere, the heavy sense of foreboding, and the undercurrent of malevolence woven throughout the story. The author wrote in a way that made innocuous things and occurrences spine-chilling. While the build up was engrossing, I was a bit disappointed in the rushed ending. I was hoping for a big surprise twist, but it played out as expected. I also would have liked the villain’s back story and relationship to Cass and her family to have been fleshed out more.

Overall, A COLD SEASON was a pretty good Gothic suspense with plenty of creeptastic moments. I liked the snow – probably my favorite character.

Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: MERRYWEATHER LODGE – ANCIENT REVENGE by Pauline Holyoak

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Series: Merryweather Lodge, #1
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Released: October 15, 2010
Source: Review copy from author

Emily couldn’t wait to visit her Aunt and Uncle in their quaint and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. But it doesn’t take her long to realize that her fairytale kingdom has a sinister twist. One night in her attic bedroom she is confronted by an evil entity that would taunt her for the rest of her stay and long after that. Who is this hideous creature and what does she want? When Emily meets the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur she is infatuated, consumed with lust and an odd familiarity, as if they had met before. Will he be coaxed by the peculiar old gypsy to enter the dreaded woodlot? Can the bloody ancient curse be removed before it’s too late? And will Emily ever get to feel his lips on hers? A chilling tale of love, passion, sorcery and sacrifice; laced with mystery and tied with humor. Inspired by the author’s own experiences in a remote little cottage near Stonehenge.

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Pauline Holyoak has crafted a thrilling tale of vengeful ghosts, ancient magic, secrets, betrayal, and past lives. Just a warning…don’t read this book while alone at night! There were a few spine tingling scenes that had me jumping at the slightest noise!

At 14, Emily travels from her home in Canada to the English countryside to visit her aunt and uncle on their farm called Merryweather Lodge. Emily soon gains the attention of two ghosts – a mysterious young girl and a terrifying creature Emily is certain wants to kill her. Could these spirits be connected to the string of murders in the area? Only one person is willing to believe Emily’s story – Jonathan, the teenage son of her aunt and uncle’s neighbor. Emily is certain she knows him, but how? Determined to lay to rest the ghosts of the past once and for all, Emily returns to Merryweather Lodge five years later. She is reunited with Jonathan, and together they uncover how their past lives are entwined with the restless spirits haunting them today.

Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge, the first of a new trilogy, is a completely engrossing story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Pauline Holyoak described the places, events and characters so vividly, I could easily picture myself there. When Emily felt the cold chill of a ghost nearby, I could too. I would describe Emily and Jonathan’s romance as flirtatious in this book. Nothing hot and heavy yet, but it establishes the foundation for things to come. With its suspenseful, fast paced plot and colorful characters, this book will appeal to a wide rage of readers, including fans of mystery & thrillers, suspense, and paranormal romance. It’s also a must for those interested in Celtic and Druid magic (like me!).

Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy of her book.

My Rating: 4½ Stars