Publisher: Candlewick Press

Early Review – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin, #2) by Lindsey Barraclough

May 6, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin, #2) by Lindsey BarracloughThe Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
Series: Long Lankin #2
Published by Candlewick Press on May 10th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Horror, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Long Lankin

two-half-stars

A spine-chilling companion to Long Lankin, here is the story of a wronged witch’s revenge, spanning generations and crossing the shadowy line between life and death.

In 1567, baby Aphra is found among the reeds and rushes by two outcast witches. Even as an infant, her gifts in the dark craft are clear. But when her guardians succumb to an angry mob, Aphra is left to fend for herself. She is shunned and feared by all but one man, the leper known as Long Lankin. Hounded and ostracized, the two find solace only in each other, but even this respite is doomed, and Aphra’s bitterness poisons her entire being. Afflicted with leprosy, tortured and about to be burned as a witch, she manages one final enchantment—a curse on her tormentor’s heirs. Now, in 1962, Cora and Mimi, the last of a cursed line, are trapped in an ancient home on a crumbling estate in deepest winter, menaced by a spirit bent on revenge. Are their lives and souls forfeit forever?

Long Lankin Series

Early Review – Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1) by Lindsey Barraclough

Long Lankin (Long Lankin #1) by Lindsey Barraclough [PurchaseMy Review]

style-3 (2) review

‘I am bound here, for as long as there are Guerdons in the world, I must be in it. And they have returned to the marshlands – to me.’

 It’s been four years since Cora and Mimi lived to tell the tale of Long Lankin. The two girls survived, however, the scars they acquired are hidden beneath their skin. After their father recently came into an inheritance, their Auntie Ida’s rundown mansion, he tells them that they’re moving to the village of Bryers Guerdon. Right back to where it all happened. Long Lankin may no longer be a threat, but he wasn’t the only one left to fear. 400 years prior, a woman by the name of Aphra Rushes loved a leper who was known by the name of Long Lankin. She was sentenced to death at a young age for murdering an infant and his mother, a spell with the intent to cure Lankin which had gone awry. With her dying breath she placed a curse on the Guerdon line, who were responsible for her death. Flash forward to the Halloween of 1962 and her ashes have risen up from the ground to fulfill the curse that she placed on the Guerdon family before she was covered in pitch and burned at the stake.

‘I am the dust of charred bones and ash.’

I’ve considered Long Lankin to be one of my all-time favorite gothic horror stories and news of a follow-up story had me most eager even if I didn’t understand the necessity. There’s a wonderful air of mystery to The Mark of Cain, a constant sense of impending catastrophe. The writing itself is eloquent and I delighted in the eerie events depicted: the old derelict mansion that was unsettling on its own yet the girls’ memories of their time spent there made it even more so, their temporary guardians that caused more discontent than comfort due to their forever absent father, and the strange items that they would find around the house like the bundle of twigs tied with red twine or the archaic symbols sketched on the doors. The pacing felt constantly off and I ultimately feel it should not have taken all 496 pages to reach the point we did. The slow-pacing could have been easily made up for if that sense of impending catastrophe was heightened just a smidge more.

The story is told mainly from the point of view of Cora who is now fifteen years old and is struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy for her eight year old sister Mimi. The only trouble is, since Mimi was taken by Lankin she returned a changed child, able to see things normal people cannot. Including the current terror haunting them in their new home. Because we’re told this story from the POV of Cora, there’s a bit of a disconnect of knowledge that keeps the reader in the dark since Mimi refuses to discuss anything with Cora. What I’m assuming was intended was to add even more mystery to this story, but it only caused the story to falter leaving it feeling all very subdued as if Cora wasn’t actually experiencing it all firsthand. Regardless of the fact that Mimi is only eight years old, having the story told from her point of view would have been a vast improvement.

I’ve come a long way in the horror genre since I read Long Lankin back in 2012. In that review, I even admit to being “a big weenie” which I definitely wouldn’t describe myself in terms of horror stories anymore. Back then it took some serious encouragement to read horror and now I’d consider it one of my favorite genres. Long Lankin was a most unsettling read, yet The Mark of Cain just didn’t manage to leave me with the same impression. I think it would be appropriate to actually describe this as more Gothic vs. horror for curious readers. This may not have completely worked for me, but this is a Gothic thriller that will no doubt please many.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin #2) by Lindsey Barraclough

March 18, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin #2) by Lindsey BarracloughThe Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
Series: Long Lankin #2
Published by Candlewick Press on September 22nd 2015
Pages: 496
Genres: Gothic, Horror
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Long Lankin, The Mark of Cain

A spine-chilling companion to Long Lankin, here is the story of a wronged witch’s revenge, spanning generations and crossing the shadowy line between life and death.

In 1567, baby Aphra is found among the reeds and rushes by two outcast witches. Even as an infant, her gifts in the dark craft are clear. But when her guardians succumb to an angry mob, Aphra is left to fend for herself. She is shunned and feared by all but one man, the leper known as Long Lankin. Hounded and ostracized, the two find solace only in each other, but even this respite is doomed, and Aphra’s bitterness poisons her entire being. Afflicted with leprosy, tortured and about to be burned as a witch, she manages one final enchantment—a curse on her tormentor’s heirs. Now, in 1962, Cora and Mimi, the last of a cursed line, are trapped in an ancient home on a crumbling estate in deepest winter, menaced by a spirit bent on revenge. Are their lives and souls forfeit forever?

About Lindsey Barraclough

Lindsey Barraclough was born in Essex. She worked as a music teacher and lives in London with her husband and their five children. Her debut novel, Long Lankin, was published in 2011 to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, the UKLA Children’s Book Award, the We Read Prize and the Southern Schools Award, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Book Prize. It was also named one of the best 100 YA novels by the American Young Adult Library Services Association.

You guys remember this??

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Long Lankin (Long Lankin #1) by Lindsey Barraclough {PurchaseMy Review}

If not, fix that. If you do, how exciting right?!?! I’ve been stalking watching this authors Goodreads page since I finished Long Lankin hoping and wishing for more books from her. And not only is it more but it’s a companion novel too. Cannot wait.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – More Than This by Patrick Ness

July 19, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – More Than This by Patrick NessMore Than This by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick Press on September 10th 2013
Pages: 480
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Monster Calls

four-stars

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . .

‘Haven’t you ever felt like there had to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, and if you could only get to it…’

Imagine you wake up unaware of where you are or how you got there but the last thing you remember is dying. You died, yet somehow you didn’t because you’re obviously still alive, right? But imagine that you wake up in a world that seems strange; off somehow. And you can’t find a single soul, it’s as if the world has been completely emptied leaving only you. This is the situation Seth finds himself in.’He can feel himself teetering again, an abyss of confusion and despair looking right back at him, threatening to swallow him if he so much as glances at it.’This is such an engrossing tale. I was riveted and couldn’t put this down. I went into this with a completely different set of expectations but they were completely dashed. The beginning of this tale had the same feel of quiet desolation that The Road has and I was enthralled, but Ness turned this into a total game. Just when you think you finally have a grasp on what’s really going on he not only removes some vital piece of evidence but completely transforms the landscape. And this happened many, many times. I was still attempting to get a good grasp on what was truly happening with only 5 pages remaining. It’s tagged as YA but involves such a sophisticated storyline that makes it vastly different than anything out there. I can’t think of a single book to compare it to and that’s a wonderful thing. I hope that the YA designation doesn’t deter typical adult readers. I hope that the philosophical designation doesn’t deter YA readers. Suffice it to say, this book needs no designation and is something that I recommend to all for the mind-boggling experience this entails.’Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”More Than This’ is an incredibly multi-layered and surprisingly philosophical story about how your outlook and interpretation on life has the power to change…everything. It’s about living life and realizing that there is always something more to live for and always… more than this.

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Early Review – Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1) by Lindsey Barraclough

January 5, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1) by Lindsey BarracloughLong Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Series: Long Lankin #1
Published by Candlewick Press on July 10, 2012
Pages: 464
Genres: Gothic, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Mark of Cain

four-stars

When Cora and her little sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their great-aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Idas life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces arrival has reawakened an evil that has lain in wait for years. A haunting voice in an empty room; a strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard; mysterious words scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . all point to a horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries, a truth that Cora, along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, must uncover before its too late for Mimi. A compelling, atmospheric novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft, and revenge, Long Lankin is a truly stunning debut from an exciting new writer.

‘Everything was all right until they came.’

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to live with their Great-Aunt Ida, it is clear from the start that they are neither wanted nor welcome in her house. For the time being the children must stay with her but she immediately sends word to their father that he must come get them, and he must come get them now. Cora, intrigued by the mysteries of the house despite their Aunt Ida’s constant demands to ‘not do this’ and ‘not do that’, begins searching the house and the closely residing and equally mysterious church. Cora gleans information from various papers found in the house, from the local neighbors, and from strange carvings like the words ‘Cave Bestiam’ which is found in several locations. Cora finds out more than she bargained for: that her and her family are intertwined in the mystery, that no one is safe, and that there really is something very real to fear.

I found the writing to be quite gripping and reminded me at times of Susan Hill’s writing in The Woman in Black. I’ve read several books that write using multiple different points of view and they’re not always done as well as could be. I believe it takes a talented author in order to make a multi-point-of-view story not seem too terribly overwhelming; this is definitely one of them. The main focus is on Cora and Roger but you occasionally get an unsettling view of Cora’s Aunt Ida and the occasional glimpse into past events.

Okay, so, I’ll admit it. I refused to read this alone. I also required a lot of sunlight. And yes, I’m a big weenie. It wasn’t exactly creepy the entire time though. It was a bit like riding a wave, honestly. The book would lead up to a scene that would have you trembling in your boots and then everything would suddenly relax again and you’d be lulled into a false sense of calm before the next swell. Then the monster under the bed would jump right back out. Okay, comparing Long Lankin to the monster under the bed makes him sound like one of those monsters from Monsters Inc. Long Lankin… was not cute, fuzzy, or funny. Long Lankin was one scary mo-fo that I hope I never have a chance encounter with in a dark alley. Or in my bedroom. (Mental to-do list: nail windows shut before bed).

Cora was quite a spirited little girl and didn’t run in fear of anything, including Long Lankin on a few occasions. Cora? Pretty much my hero. She was an awesome big sister who didn’t shrink in fear of anything when it came to saving her little sister Mimi. Now Roger… Roger was damn adorable and the frosting on the cake/story. I loved how the occasional funny lines from Roger that were thrown in managed to lighten the overall tension that the story exudes.

So the ending lost a star for the overall rating because I can’t help but feel that the ending left a bit to be desired. Predictable is the word that primarily comes to mind. I would have loved some cool crazy twist to it or have some rabid monkey show up (okay, maybe not a monkey… a lion?) Anyways, it seemed far too expected and I kind of sighed in disappointment when I was done. Still have plans to nail windows shut though.

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Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

October 13, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 2 Comments

Book Review – A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick Press on September 15, 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: More Than This

five-stars

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I can understand now why many readers had difficulty reviewing this book now that I have read it myself.

The Story
Conor, a 13 year old boy dealing with his dying mother and absent father is visited by a monster one night who says that he will tell him three stories and then Conor will tell his story. Confused by the monster’s presence and his purpose for being there, the monster simply says:

’Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.’

Who is this monster and what is his purpose? This is the basis of the story so I won’t ruin it for those of you who have yet to read this. With that said, the monster was such a revelation to me as I was clearly anticipating something different. Not bad different, just different.

Overall Thoughts
This was a beautiful yet heartbreaking tale of a boy having to survive the hardships of life at a very young age. This is a children’s book and the writing is very simplistic and straight forward; however, it can still be fully appreciated by all, so please don’t let the targeted age group dissuade you. Be prepared to need a tissue (or give) as this is a tragic novel that will have you feeling it completely. I know I did.

After taking the advice of a GR friend (Wendy :D) I held off on reading the e-book until I got my hands on the real book. Let me tell you… the illustrations are truly amazing and brings something wonderful to this story. They are an experience in and of itself. (See her wonderful review with a few of the illustrations and a link to the webpage of illustrator, Jim Kay, here.

As I finished this book, I turned to look at my boyfriend and the look on my face must have said it all. He asks me if I’m okay. I wasn’t sure how to answer him. It brings out an abundance of emotions and makes it difficult to fully comprehend how exactly you’re feeling.

A very valuable lesson is in between the pages of this little gem. When your monster comes and visits you in the night, how will you respond? Will you turn it away and refuse to accept its existence? Or will you accept it for you and what it is? This is certainly one book that I plan on purchasing so I can go back to it time and time again. Definitely a must read for anyone.

’You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.’

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