Alone
When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Alone Details

TitleAlone
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
ISBN-139781492655473
Rating
GenreHorror, Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Alone Review

  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    If there is one thing that Cyn Balog is famous for it is writing stories that are completely bizarre in the most perfect way. I can always count on getting something completely unheard of and something that more often than not, will throw me for a loop and make me think about it long after.When I saw that her latest was a horror book, I knew, just knew I needed to read it and without a doubt would love it. And I absolutely did love it. It gave me chills, it made me think and it left me with an u If there is one thing that Cyn Balog is famous for it is writing stories that are completely bizarre in the most perfect way. I can always count on getting something completely unheard of and something that more often than not, will throw me for a loop and make me think about it long after.When I saw that her latest was a horror book, I knew, just knew I needed to read it and without a doubt would love it. And I absolutely did love it. It gave me chills, it made me think and it left me with an unsettling feeling I absolutely adored. It was everything I expected from this author writing in this genre and it was so much darn fun. I highly recommend it if you want a fast paced, easily read in one sitting horror story that will leave you reeling and wanting more and even slightly unsettled. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Fidan Lurin
    January 1, 1970
    Alone by Cyn Balog is altogether thrilling, curious and strangely beautiful. Balog goes beyond authors to create a story that leaves readers puzzled, relieved, frightened, traumatized. The plot is unheard of. The writing style is quick paced and slow to climax; a paradox yes, a mistake no. The characters are disastrous and unknowingly on their way to their fate. The feelings provoked are doubt, sympathy hatred for things unseen. This chilling tale starts with the disturbing infatuation of a moth Alone by Cyn Balog is altogether thrilling, curious and strangely beautiful. Balog goes beyond authors to create a story that leaves readers puzzled, relieved, frightened, traumatized. The plot is unheard of. The writing style is quick paced and slow to climax; a paradox yes, a mistake no. The characters are disastrous and unknowingly on their way to their fate. The feelings provoked are doubt, sympathy hatred for things unseen. This chilling tale starts with the disturbing infatuation of a mother who inherits and old mansion, affecting her children’s contact with the outside world, especially her teenage daughter, Seda. Through Seda’s eyes we are trapped within the creaking rooms and dusty exterior of this place she fears she must now call home. All is sad, but quaintly uneventful until a group of friends lose their direction on their way to a winter resort. When these teens enter the mansion seeking safety, it is without pause that they enter a faraway, yet so close universe where fun is mixed with fear, and life becomes death. Seda’s mom is a horror film teacher so what more of a blessing than to inherit a haunted mansion from her grandparents? With initial plans to sell the old, creepy dwelling, Seda’s mom becomes increasingly infatuated and turns what would become a historical monument for sale a home for her family. She loses her reluctance to put the home up for her comes at the cost of her husband and she is left to raise her three children on her own, but she seems perfectly beside herself with the idea.She comes up with quirky ways to keep her two twins and her teenage daughter entertained like hide and seek games and deliciously exorbitant meals each night. This way, she is able to extend the length of their stay in the home, tucked well away from the rest of the world with little human contact other than a ski resort miles away.Inspired by the paranormal horror thriller movies from back in the day, Seda’s mom risks the unity of her family to chase a spooky ideal that cannot be found, so she decides to create it herself.Seda is an awkward and lanky girl with troubles of her own. Her little secret is her imaginary “friend”, a potentially dangerous voice living in her veins and speaking in her ind, taking control of her with every opportunity. While it’s normal for small children to have an imaginary friend, Seda’s has stayed with her and if anything has turned into an enemy on its way into infecting her mind and contact with the world around her. She tries to hush the voice and longs to return home to Boston and live a real teenage life once again with slumber parties, boyfriends, and college applications. As the months tick by it becomes increasingly hard for Seda to keep in contact with her friends from high school and she furrows deeper and deeper into her own mind, forgetting what it feels like to breathe outside of this new universe of fear and horror. She spends lots of time alone wandering about the house, as there is little to do outside in the freezing blizzard cold.Everything goes just as it should – banal, solemn, isolated until Seda runs into a group of teenagers one day in the forest who have lost their way to the ski resort. It is with their appearance in the house that the mansion truly does become exactly what Seda’s mother was hoping for – a paranormally haunting disaster.The reader has to wait and make it through more than half the book to finally make it into the very core of the novel – a solitarily stifling murder mystery. The eerie tone of Balog’s writing leads the reader into a game of “who killed killed whoever got killed.” And who is the one tugging the stings of this puppet show? None other than Seda’s overwhelmingly fun, yet completely twisted mother. This late plot is what really saved the book. The beginning was slow with very little happening, which caused me to think the book was simply going to be static with little to no development. However what bothered me about this was that it almost seems as though the book should be separated. The writing style, pacing, and chain of events changes quickly and almost abruptly from a girl battling her internal demons to a girl and a group of lost teenagers unknowingly playing the characters in a fanatic murderous game. These two parts could have been woven much tighter together, therefore improving the overall quality of the story. Each part by itself I enjoyed but together, they were just too different and need polishing for greater fluidity. The spooky tone remains the same which draws both parts of the book together but that is not enough with a book which is supposed to be a murder mystery, entailing that there is action, which is not the case in the first sixty percent.The story is told through Seda’s point of view which I loved because gave me the chance to enter her world and experience life in the mansion, and feel the voice inside her being awakened as the days become darker and more enclosed. Seda doesn’t think of herself as likable, pretty or capable of ever again being a normal teenager. The ways he describers herself and views herself in comparison to others is almost heartbreaking because it shows the affects that an absence of human contact can have on an individual’s perceptions of him or herself.This book was scary and immensely curious. It was unlike any thriller I have ever picked up before. The tone, writing style, characters, events – everything – was unexpected and, while not as satisfying as I would have hoped, given the strange ending, left me with goosebumps and heart-pounding questions and possibilities, never to be confirmed, always to be pondered upon. A book that leaves you thinking about it, even after you turn the last page; even after you close the book and put it back on the shelf; even as you open your next read. This is exactly what I look for in literature, something that makes me feel. Little does it matter what it makes me feel. The point is, it makes me feel.
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  • Crowinator
    January 1, 1970
    Mini-review: This is the perfect set-up for a chilling tale -- an isolated mansion in the mountains, a lonely teenage girl with an oblivious family, and an unwelcome group of visitors trapped by an impassable blizzard -- and Balog puts its familiarity to good use, gradually building tension, manipulating reader expectations (through clever use of classic horror references), and subtly winding from one possible horror to another. She sets up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with Mini-review: This is the perfect set-up for a chilling tale -- an isolated mansion in the mountains, a lonely teenage girl with an oblivious family, and an unwelcome group of visitors trapped by an impassable blizzard -- and Balog puts its familiarity to good use, gradually building tension, manipulating reader expectations (through clever use of classic horror references), and subtly winding from one possible horror to another. She sets up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with a shocker. This mix of Clue, The Shining, and a host of other horror and slasher films could have been cliched--instead it felt surprising.Immediate reaction: That was such a pure and perfect reading experience, I don't know what to do with myself.
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  • Josiah
    January 1, 1970
    There's a special excitement to novels where the story isn't what it appears to be. Deception is hiding somewhere in the narrative, but where? Is the main character fooling themselves, or is someone else doing it? Is the conspiracy so broad that we're too close to the story to detect it? YA novels such as We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and After the First Death by Robert Cormier outwit us to chilling effect; storytelling doesn't get much better than when the b There's a special excitement to novels where the story isn't what it appears to be. Deception is hiding somewhere in the narrative, but where? Is the main character fooling themselves, or is someone else doing it? Is the conspiracy so broad that we're too close to the story to detect it? YA novels such as We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and After the First Death by Robert Cormier outwit us to chilling effect; storytelling doesn't get much better than when the big reveal blows readers' minds. Cyn Balog's Alone follows that pattern in the early going as fifteen-year-old Seda waits out a northeastern snowstorm in the Bismarck-Chisholm House, a huge mansion with a dark history. After her mother inherited the place, which had belonged to her aunt and uncle (who used it to host murder mystery parties), Seda, her two younger sets of twin siblings, and their parents packed up and left Boston to go assess the isolated mansion. They were going to sell it, but Seda's mother is so enamored of the place that she's kept them here for weeks. Seda's exasperated father took off and hasn't returned, and it looks like the marriage could be over. Seda doesn't trust herself or her mom these days, and she fears they might never return to Boston. When a pack of teenagers stranded in the snowstorm approach the Bismarck-Chisholm House, Seda wants to turn them away. Her mother isn't normal, and Seda has known for years that she herself has psychological problems. Her twin brother Sawyer didn't survive to birth; Seda absorbed him in utero, and his voice intermittently invades her mind urging her to do bad things. Upon seeing the teens who've come for sanctuary from the storm, Seda gets the feeling something terrible is about to occur, and Sawyer is rarely wrong. But Heath Hunter is friendly, coaxing Seda out of her shell. He and his friends play along when Seda's mother volunteers to set up one of the house's old interactive murder mysteries for them to solve. Seda, her siblings, and the newcomers will divide into teams and compete to figure out the answer before midnight. Seda is secretly thrilled at spending some time alone with Heath in the spacious house, but Sawyer was right to warn her. An actual murderer is spilling blood in the gloomy corridors of the Bismarck-Chisholm House, but who is it? Is the killing spree linked to Seda's own weird, veiled history?Alone had serious potential. The atmosphere isn't captivating, but a layered murder mystery in a spooky mansion could be exciting, especially when the main character is keeping secrets. The reason I rate Alone only one and a half stars is that I'm not sure the story makes sense. Plotlines crisscross so often that its hard to keep them untangled, and I'm not convinced the author succeeds in doing so. Nevertheless, there are surprises in store for unsuspecting readers, and Cyn Balog camouflages them well. This book isn't my favorite of its type, but I like it well enough. Fans of Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us might find enjoyment here. As for me, I'd certainly try another of Cyn Balog's books.
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  • Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books)
    January 1, 1970
    When Seda's mom inherits a creepy old mansion full of secret rooms and passages, Seda isn't thrilled to be leaving her home in Boston, but her mother swears it's just temporary. As more and more time passes, Seda's mom decides she wants to renovate in order to find the perfect buyer for the house, which means they'll be living there longer than expected. As winter sets in and a blizzard hits, a group of teens ends up stranded during the storm, and ends up staying with Seda and her family. When h When Seda's mom inherits a creepy old mansion full of secret rooms and passages, Seda isn't thrilled to be leaving her home in Boston, but her mother swears it's just temporary. As more and more time passes, Seda's mom decides she wants to renovate in order to find the perfect buyer for the house, which means they'll be living there longer than expected. As winter sets in and a blizzard hits, a group of teens ends up stranded during the storm, and ends up staying with Seda and her family. When her mom decides to set up a murder mystery for them to complete to stave off the boredom, Seda's nightmares may just become reality...I was really intrigued by the premise of Alone, especially because I always want to read creepy books around Halloween! I absolutely loved the atmosphere that Alone created. It was dark and creepy, and I felt a definite eerie vibe as I was reading it, which a lot of books fail to do for me, so I was thrilled with that aspect of the book! I really enjoyed the beginning of the book and the set up, and I absolutely loved the last 40%, but I did feel like there was a period of the book from 30-50% or so of the way in that it felt like not much was happening, and I was waiting for the main plot to start. Despite that, the book is short and engaging, so it's super easy to binge read! I won't spoil anything, but I absolutely loved the ending of the book, though I do have a few unanswered questions! I like that though - not everything needs a black and white ending. Overall, I loved the book and rated it 4 stars! I've had Unnatural Deeds by the same author on my to read list for a while, so I'll definitely have to get to that one soon! Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Fire, and Cyn Balog for an advanced copy of the book. It was my pleasure to provide an honest review. Alone is out today, so be sure to check this one out! 
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Young Seda feels so alone since her family has left Boston and is now living in a run-down macabre mansion with no-one nearby to help them. A snowstorm is coming, so now they're really trapped! Some teens arrive in need of help, but what lies ahead? Perfect creepiness for young adults. A nice little homage to "The Shining" for our younger readers.**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review**
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  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    So this is going to be one of those reviews which is hard to write because almost anything I say could give the entire thing away. Seda and her family, which consists of her mother and two sets of twins, move to a remote run-down home in the mountains which was previously used as a murder mystery B&B. That is important because all the creepy plots only add to the atmosphere of the dilapidated residence. Seda's father had no desire to stay on and left the family to return to Boston. Seda is l So this is going to be one of those reviews which is hard to write because almost anything I say could give the entire thing away. Seda and her family, which consists of her mother and two sets of twins, move to a remote run-down home in the mountains which was previously used as a murder mystery B&B. That is important because all the creepy plots only add to the atmosphere of the dilapidated residence. Seda's father had no desire to stay on and left the family to return to Boston. Seda is lonely and feels totally out of place. Seda is also haunted by her twin, which she reported absorbed in her mother's womb.One night a car full of teens breaks down and Seda finds them holed up on the property. They are eventually invited in to stay by Seda's mother and since Seda's birthday is right around the corner, a murder mystery party ensues - but is everyone who dies acting? This was a quick read and I think it's really suited to a shorter novel. It was also a great read for the Halloween season. However, it is one of the books which the entire time you are reading it you have a constant "WTF?" look on your face. I even asked my husband at one point if I looked as confused as I felt. I never really felt a huge attachment to Seda but I did feel for her being stuck in the middle of nowhere with her mother and a bunch of young kids. To say there is a twist at the end is probably the understatement of the year. The problem I had is a good friend of mine had read the book right before me and while she was careful not to spoil anything, the ending I had dreamed up was much different than the one which actually occurred. That being said, this book ALMOST got 4/5 and probably would have if I had enjoyed the outcome a tad better. However, it was a solid enjoyable spooky read for the Halloween season.I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and the published in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsMostly predictable, but I liked the ending.
  • Tabby
    January 1, 1970
    Received from: SOURCEBOOKS FireReceived Via: NetGalley.com Why this book?Seemed interestingWhat I thoughtThis book didn't really leave an impact on me. I'm forgetting it already, but I remember the twist was just really messed up. Especially because one guy seriously what an ass! I also didn't feel creeped out all.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineSeda's horror film professor mother has inherited a "house of horror" from an aunt and uncle, and has moved Seda and her younger siblings there to prep it for sale. She seems to be enjoying it to much to sell it, even though it is in the middle of nowhere and Seda hates being there. It doesn't help that Seda had a twin who didn't make it, and who sort of lives in her mind, making her think she is crazy, and definitely making her an unreliable narrator. When E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineSeda's horror film professor mother has inherited a "house of horror" from an aunt and uncle, and has moved Seda and her younger siblings there to prep it for sale. She seems to be enjoying it to much to sell it, even though it is in the middle of nowhere and Seda hates being there. It doesn't help that Seda had a twin who didn't make it, and who sort of lives in her mind, making her think she is crazy, and definitely making her an unreliable narrator. When college students get stranded near the house, the mother is reluctant to help them at all, but eventually does. Seda takes a liking to one of them, but the creepy house is creepy for a reason, and before long, things begin to go awry. Strengths: This reminded me of Poblocki's The Ghost of Greylock, Alender's The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, and R.L. Stine's books set in creepy houses in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit slow to build up, but was definitely nicely creepy all the way through. The idea of a "house of horror" from the 1980s was a brilliant scheme, and I did really enjoy all of those details. Lots of twists, and definitely a surprise ending. Weaknesses: Not a huge fan of the unreliable narrator, and the mother irritated me by her insistence on staying with the house even when it caused her husband to leave. What I really think: A bit brutal at the end, but I will have to buy this since my readers have an insatiable desire for scary books and murder mysteries.
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  • Brittany Lamb
    January 1, 1970
    Okay. So, it's been a few days (or six) since I finished this book. But I really had to get my thoughts together on this one. I am still struggling with the rating, because there are parts about this book that just scream, "3 STARS!", but there was so much that was good about this book, that I think I finally just decided to let it outweigh the bad (for the most part). Alright. No more stalling. Lets get to it. Venture on for lots of spoilers (because that's pretty much what I do in these re Okay. So, it's been a few days (or six) since I finished this book. But I really had to get my thoughts together on this one. I am still struggling with the rating, because there are parts about this book that just scream, "3 STARS!", but there was so much that was good about this book, that I think I finally just decided to let it outweigh the bad (for the most part). Alright. No more stalling. Lets get to it. Venture on for lots of spoilers (because that's pretty much what I do in these reviews...spoil it all). (view spoiler)[Balog sets this book up with 15 year old Seda who is on the verge of a birthday being stuck out in the middle of nowhere with her family in a murder mansion that her mother has inherited from her aunt and uncle. Seda's mother wants to stick around and make sure the house is sold to someone who will run it as the murder house it once was in its glory days. It snows, and some teen kids get trapped with the family. Murder (seemingly) ensues and readers are hanging on to every chapter to figure out exactly what the hell is going on in this damn book. So, lets start with the bad, because these things just keep plaguing me and I have to put the burden on to someone else. So... Seda is a little nuts. Like has an imaginary friend inside her who is supposed to be the twin she consumed in the womb before birth kind of crazy. Readers are pretty much just supposed to believe that no one realizes how off Seda is, even though she's like, REALLY FREAKING OFF. I had a really hard time understanding how someone who claims to have a normal, dreary existence back in Boston (I think that's where they were from...) is just suddenly so effing weird and standoffish and antisocial. It's like she's picked up these traits out of no where and we as readers are expected to just.. go with it. It made Seda extremely hard to connect to as a character, even though I have tons of social anxiety and might have understood at least some of her thought process had it not just appeared out of no where. Next up on the list of things that bothered me to no end: There is a whole damn moment dedicated to some dark, almost inhuman figure being spotted crawling and ducking behind a wall that Seda supposedly sees towards the beginning of the book. THIS NEVER GETS ANY EXPLANATION! THE STORY NEVER COMES BACK TO IT TO MAKE SOME SENSE OUT OF IT! I had hopes that the ending of the book would help me connect the dots but sure enough... Nope! Just left hanging on that one. I know, I know. I'm complaining about something really stupid that probably didn't bother anyone else. But come on now, you can't just act like there's an unworldly presence stalking the halls and then never come back to it. Just leave it out if you can't even explain it yourself, Balog. My last pet peeve for this one was the writing. I really didn't like it. Like at all. I adored the plot and I read the book in two sittings that took place all in 24 hours. It was such a great mystery that took me by complete surprise with the ending. But the writing... it was so choppy and made Seda seem so disconnected from the story. It was a let down, honestly. I would've probably sucked it up and gave the book another .5 had the writing not put me off so much. Ah, the disappointment...On to the good stuff!You will NEVER guess the ending! At least, I didn't. Making Seda believe she wasn't crazy and that her not-actually-dead twin brother was the big bad murderer all along was a good, predictable twist. But then changing it up to all just be a prank Seda's mother and student's pulled was really something else. It clicked in my head as soon as they yell their version of "Gotcha!" that we are now left to believe that Seda has actually killed two people. "Gotcha, your brother really is dead!" "Gotcha, that's not him you left locked in a freezer to die!" "Gotcha, no one's dead besides the people you killed!" WHO KNEW!? Not me, that's for damn sure. The missing father throughout the entire book is supposed to be this huge POS that left Seda's mother when she decided to stay at the mansion to fix it up, but it turns out... SEDA FREAKING KILLED HIM! I was not prepared. I really wasn't (Sidenote- if you didn't believe me about the spoilers, you should've turned back a long time ago. I'd say I'm sorry, but I did warn you). So yes, this mystery was planned out so well that I found it nearly impossible to put down, even with my hatred for the writing itself. Balog did such a great job of tricking me into thinking that the ending was going to be so predictable. All of her plot twists were so simple you could see them coming chapters away. But it is my own belief that she did this on purpose, to set you up. She makes you think you've got it allllllllll figured it out and then.... GOTCHA! Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to decide to add it to my would-recommend shelf. If anyone ever asks me for a good, quick thriller read, I will definitely be pointing them in your direction Cyn Balog. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Cillian
    January 1, 1970
    Keep your eyes peeled for this one, children. Keep it at the top of your TBR if you enjoy subtle terror, unreliable narrators, and a unique setting: an almost dilapidated mansion in the middle of nowhere that used to be a murder mystery hotel.And I did not predict the ending; that was one big surprise.
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  • dg
    January 1, 1970
    this was honestly not what i thought it would be at all.things the blurb doesn't mention that i feel were pretty important:-seda has a voice in her head, her dead twin that she absorbed in the womb named Sawyer. presumably she has some mental illness that causes this, and he has told her to hurt herself and others throughout her whole life, but it's never actually discussed because she told her mother he was just an imaginary friend. i'm kind of sick of authors using mental illnesses and not act this was honestly not what i thought it would be at all.things the blurb doesn't mention that i feel were pretty important:-seda has a voice in her head, her dead twin that she absorbed in the womb named Sawyer. presumably she has some mental illness that causes this, and he has told her to hurt herself and others throughout her whole life, but it's never actually discussed because she told her mother he was just an imaginary friend. i'm kind of sick of authors using mental illnesses and not actually doing any research about them just so they can use them as scare factors.-this mansion seda and her family lives in used to be a sort of haunted house. people would stay there and solve a murder mystery during their stay, so the whole house is decorated in a really macabre way. this added a cool atmosphere, but it wasn't what i thought it would be at all because the blurb didn't mention it.-seda has 4 younger siblings that are literally barely there. same with the teens that get stranded - literally only heath is focused on because seda likes him. no one else gets any characterization beyond "Bitchy Teenager"and that ending - BIG SPOILERS here on out - what the fuck? what kind of mother uses the dead twin of her daughter as a scary halloween game in order to sell a property? that is a terrible mother. and the fact that they were all actors? and heath was a guy in his twenties preying on a 15 year old? i get that it was a big twist ending but it sucked. and like i said before, i'm done with authors using mental illnesses as the last big scare, because this ending with seda saying she'll do what sawyer wants from now on was just depressing. i wanted her to get help, not whatever this was.this just wasn't as advertised and really disappointing
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    So I always knew I didn't really like silly, cheap twist endings, but this book has made me realise that it's more than that: I actually bloody hate them.
  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the premise of this book. It was a unique story line. The ending was chilling with a twist.
  • Kris
    January 1, 1970
    I thought the premise of this book was really unique and interesting. I didn’t find it so much scary as creepy. I was creeped out the whole time while reading this book. I didn’t expect the ending at all which was a huge reason why I did end up liking the book. I also liked the fact the the story didn’t drag, it was just the right pace. As always short chapters with cliff hanging endings in thrillers or horror book always make me happy, so I was glad that was a characteristic of the book. I didn I thought the premise of this book was really unique and interesting. I didn’t find it so much scary as creepy. I was creeped out the whole time while reading this book. I didn’t expect the ending at all which was a huge reason why I did end up liking the book. I also liked the fact the the story didn’t drag, it was just the right pace. As always short chapters with cliff hanging endings in thrillers or horror book always make me happy, so I was glad that was a characteristic of the book. I didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters, which usually frustrates me, but in this case I think it was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t genuinely like any of them, I was questioning their every move and motive the whole time, especially Seda. I wasn’t a fan of Seda as a narrator at the beginning, but about a quarter of the way through I completely understood why she made the best one. Overall if you are looking for a solid, creepy book this should definitely be a contender. It kept me at the edge of my seat most of the time, and I really enjoyed the ending. I love when a book can shock you, and this one did just that.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    It almost reminded me of a movie I watched as a Teenager. I thought I creepy house, feelings of dread and a group of teenagers? Yes, please! That was until I read it.Ok so don't get me wrong this book wasn't bad...BUT....it takes quite a few pages to get to the really good parts, about 60% in. I understand what she was trying to do but I think instead of focusing on how creepy the house was, the characters needed more of something. There is a part in the book that explains that Seda has an inner It almost reminded me of a movie I watched as a Teenager. I thought I creepy house, feelings of dread and a group of teenagers? Yes, please! That was until I read it.Ok so don't get me wrong this book wasn't bad...BUT....it takes quite a few pages to get to the really good parts, about 60% in. I understand what she was trying to do but I think instead of focusing on how creepy the house was, the characters needed more of something. There is a part in the book that explains that Seda has an inner voice. I felt that wasn't explained enough and didn't really go anyplace. I will tell you the Twist at the end totally had me like, WHAT!?!?! but I also felt it needed a lot more build to get to that end. It was shocking and I still can't stop thinking about it. I actually read it like 3 times. I just felt it was really missing something.I am adding a spoiler at the end of this post. So if you read the book feel free to read the spoiler, I am only adding it because I need to explain what annoyed me about this book. It has so much potential and just when it was getting good it was over. I felt like 30% of the book could have been the build of house and character but I wanted more of Seda and the teens that come to the house. Maybe even adding more to the creepy factor of the house and the rooms being so odd.Overall I liked it, it wasn't the best book ever but I enjoyed it. I really thought the end was like WOW and I wasn't really expecting what happened. I do recommend even just to read the end. :)Here is a sort of spoiler....(view spoiler)[Sawyer was Seda's infused Twin. When she was born her twin was absorbed into her. So now she hears his voice in her head. However the author didn't expand on it. He was sort of pushed very far into the background and only pops back up at the end. I felt like with how it ended and the big reveal it needed more of him. He should have been a major factor throughout the book. (hide spoiler)] Thanks for stopping by to check out my review.Have a great day and Happy Reading! This review was originally posted on Because reading is better than real life
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  • Tez
    January 1, 1970
    5th February 2017: Reason for adding to wishlist: Gothic + storm = maybe people die?
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    "Welcome to the most haunted mansion in Allegheny County. The legend of this home says that no one has ever been able to live here through the winter without succumbing to the disorienting effect of Solitude Mountain."I liked the idea of this house and all these siblings locked in it for months - so much they rarely bathe and completely lose track of what day it is. They have little to no connection to the outside world other than random shopping trips to the market that is 10 miles away. As the "Welcome to the most haunted mansion in Allegheny County. The legend of this home says that no one has ever been able to live here through the winter without succumbing to the disorienting effect of Solitude Mountain."I liked the idea of this house and all these siblings locked in it for months - so much they rarely bathe and completely lose track of what day it is. They have little to no connection to the outside world other than random shopping trips to the market that is 10 miles away. As the weather turns, their trips are less and less frequent. The house is a dead zone for cell phones and no landline. I also loved the kids complete mellow attitude toward horror movies and I love that they were so laid back about guts and gore and fake blood - because they have grown up around it. Their mother has spoiled all the scares and fear behind even the scariest plot line so even jump scares don't get these kids anymore.But I'm still oddly disappointed with this story. I just read too much horror maybe...I had so much more of an elaborate ending in mind that the simple ending was too easy and I was left hanging. I'm with Seda....(view spoiler)[*spoiler * feed the beast, honey, and let them all burn *spoiler* (hide spoiler)]
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Fifteen year old Seda Helm, her 4 siblings (2 sets of twins) and her mother, an author and college professor, are spending the summer at an old mansion that her mother inherited from an aunt and uncle. It used to be a murder mystery hotel with it's many secret passages and many, many guest rooms. It was fun at first exploring the old place, but now winter is setting in and Seda's mom has decided she wants to stay and renovate the old place. Seda is missing all her friends in Boston and wants to Fifteen year old Seda Helm, her 4 siblings (2 sets of twins) and her mother, an author and college professor, are spending the summer at an old mansion that her mother inherited from an aunt and uncle. It used to be a murder mystery hotel with it's many secret passages and many, many guest rooms. It was fun at first exploring the old place, but now winter is setting in and Seda's mom has decided she wants to stay and renovate the old place. Seda is missing all her friends in Boston and wants to go home.During a bad snow storm, with snow fast accumulating into many, many inches, a group of young teens arrive at the mansion due to the fact that they piled up their vehicle in a snowbank and was trying to find shelter. Seda saw them before her mother and put them in the carriage house. She didn't want her mom to know they were here. But, once her mother did see them she invited them into the mansion and that's when the "fun" begins.What happens? Will someone die? How will this story end.I won this ARC copy from Goodreads giveaway. It was a very intriguing story that kept me on my toes. You will enjoy this book, I know.
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  • Shane
    January 1, 1970
    Twisted!I had no idea I would end up liking this story and all its craziness as much as I did, with how slow the first few chapters were and me not really being pulled in by the main character. But once things started to pick up and the situation went awry, I became well-investigated and needed to know if my suspicions were accurate, especially about Seda. I knew she wasn't all the way there, but I did not see her remarks toward the end coming. Before I get into why this dark and twisted story e Twisted!I had no idea I would end up liking this story and all its craziness as much as I did, with how slow the first few chapters were and me not really being pulled in by the main character. But once things started to pick up and the situation went awry, I became well-investigated and needed to know if my suspicions were accurate, especially about Seda. I knew she wasn't all the way there, but I did not see her remarks toward the end coming. Before I get into why this dark and twisted story ended up entertaining me, I have to address the fact that there were just too many siblings. I mean, I like kids but for a book of this nature, it was way too many for me. I couldn't keep up with who was who and by the time the mystery was underway, I'd forgotten all about them. As for the mother, she needed to have some senses knocked into her. She was just not realistic and wasn't as concerned about her children's best interest as she ought to be. Children shouldn't be uprooted and brought to a place like that, I don't even care if she would eventually sell the place. I just strongly feel that she should never have done such a thing. And I also can't believe she didn't figure out the severity of Seda's mental state. That very reason shows how detached she was.Anyway, back to the overall plot. I had suspected the group of teens from the moment Seda spotted them before the blizzard, and when they just happened to get stranded nearby it became even more clear to me something was up. But I had no idea the mother was going to bring up doing such a game in celebration of her teen daughter's birthday, and when scary things started happening I began second-guessing myself. Was it all real? Or were they all messing with Seda? I had to wait until the very end. And boy was that an ending, especially when the truth was revealed and that book cover made sense at last. I honestly had no idea it would play out like that and I love how the story ended with me having questions. One thing, in particular, I'm curious to know is what will happen once the mother knows?Overall, great writing and interesting concept. Although it started out slow, I was still intrigued by the story for the most part and it held my attention in the sense that I wanted to figure things out and understand Seda's character better. I recommend reading this if you're looking for a spooky psychological thriller with a twisted ending.
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  • Brooke (The Cover Contessa)
    January 1, 1970
    I like a good scary story that doesn't leave me unable to go to sleep! This is that story.The setting, an old hotel where murder mysteries used to play out. A snow storm that keeps anyone from going anywhere. A mother with a great imagination. All put together to form an intense and fun story.If you like The Shining, but you don't like your books too scary, this is perfect for you. The characters are fun. The scenes are well thought out. The suspense is just the right amount of scary versus not I like a good scary story that doesn't leave me unable to go to sleep! This is that story.The setting, an old hotel where murder mysteries used to play out. A snow storm that keeps anyone from going anywhere. A mother with a great imagination. All put together to form an intense and fun story.If you like The Shining, but you don't like your books too scary, this is perfect for you. The characters are fun. The scenes are well thought out. The suspense is just the right amount of scary versus not wanting to shut the book because you can't bear to read it.I will say, I figured out things about the mystery a bit early on, but that didn't keep me from reading on to see if I was right! Overall, a fun and suspenseful read!
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  • Colona Public Library
    January 1, 1970
    Seda's mom inherits a house from her aunt and uncle. The house is unique and has a storied history that runs back multiple generations. Her deceased aunt and uncle used the house as a Hotel Murder House. They would put on Murder Mysteries with their paying guests every weekend. When the family moves in, there is blood and fake dead bodies in every room. Her mom plans on cleaning it up and selling it and moving back to Boston. When a snow storm hits, a group of teenagers are stranded and her moth Seda's mom inherits a house from her aunt and uncle. The house is unique and has a storied history that runs back multiple generations. Her deceased aunt and uncle used the house as a Hotel Murder House. They would put on Murder Mysteries with their paying guests every weekend. When the family moves in, there is blood and fake dead bodies in every room. Her mom plans on cleaning it up and selling it and moving back to Boston. When a snow storm hits, a group of teenagers are stranded and her mother invites them in until the roads are clear. It is around Halloween time and close to Seda's birthday and her mom decides to through a murder mystery party for her and her brothers and sisters, and the stranded guests. Once the mystery begins, things take a turn for the worst. They find different things in the house. Is that fake blood or real blood? There is a nice twist at the end. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. ~April
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A crumbling mansion on a secluded mountain during a blizzard sets the scene of Cyn Balog's novel Alone. This mansion was left to Seda's mother after her aunt and uncle die. Seda, 16, is desperate to get back home to Boston but her mom, a writer, can't seem to part ways with the mansion and decides they'll stay awhile. I should mention that when her aunt and uncle owned it they were using it as Murder Mystery Hotel and the devilish props and novelty items still decorate the house giving anyone th A crumbling mansion on a secluded mountain during a blizzard sets the scene of Cyn Balog's novel Alone. This mansion was left to Seda's mother after her aunt and uncle die. Seda, 16, is desperate to get back home to Boston but her mom, a writer, can't seem to part ways with the mansion and decides they'll stay awhile. I should mention that when her aunt and uncle owned it they were using it as Murder Mystery Hotel and the devilish props and novelty items still decorate the house giving anyone that steps through the door a creepy, ominous vibe. Now being that this is YA we also have to have our group of teenagers that have a car accident and this decrepit old mansion is their only hope of warmth and safety on this dark and stormy night. This sounded like the perfect October / Halloween read and I couldn't wait to dive in. Balog writes well and she certainly held my attention. My only complaint is that this book took FOREVER to get going. There was so much build up yet nothing even remotely creepy happens until about the 70% mark. I thought it was a decent ending to a YA horror novel. I'm sure 15 year old me would of given it all the stars. Adult me says 3 stars.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Megan (Under the Book Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co...2.5/5Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.This is one of those books where the cover and the synopsis worked together to draw me in and make me want to read it. Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment for me and...well, that's about it.Plot:I generally explain the plot a bit in my own words, but the synopsis above does a pretty good Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co...2.5/5Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.This is one of those books where the cover and the synopsis worked together to draw me in and make me want to read it. Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment for me and...well, that's about it.Plot:I generally explain the plot a bit in my own words, but the synopsis above does a pretty good job at doing that for me. Honestly, I'm just frustrated by this book. It had such an interesting premise that really appealed to me, especially since I've been on a horror book kick lately. Creepy isolated murder mystery mansion, teenagers get into a wreck during a snowstorm and take shelter there, suspicious main character that hears a voice in her head and has been isolated from human interaction for months? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I am all for creepy isolated houses and people being stranded in said houses, kind of like The Shining. The story started slow and nothing creepy really happened until about halfway through, but I was fine with it because it still had an overall eerie feeling to it. It was a slow build up to the horror and I was on board with it, again, because it still felt creepy while it was actually getting to the creepy, if that makes sense. When the creepy actually started happening, I was all for it! When it threw in a plot twist, I was taken aback and writing in my notes frantically! When the last chapter happened, I almost threw my Kindle across the room. I actually verbally said, "Are you kidding me? I hate when books do this." Because I genuinely do hate what happened at the end. It made me, the reader, feel stupid and cheated, and it truly ruined my reading experience. I will admit, the very end, the final paragraph, was clever. And there was something that the main character kind of came to the realization of right before the end, which was also kind of cool and twisty. But other than that? Unfortunately, a huge thumbs down from this reader. I don't appreciate being made to feel stupid, and the ending of this book did just that. Which is sad because the pacing was great, the plot itself was intriguing, and the characters were relatively decent. Obviously I'm not going to spoil the ending, but it was definitely the low point for me and ruined my reading experience entirely.Of course, I don't mean to bash the book in any way, that's not my intention. I actually was really enjoying the slow build mystery that was present throughout the book, the ending just seriously let me down, unfortunately.Characters:Seda was actually a really well-written character. She was basically isolated in a creepy old murder mystery house with her mother and four siblings (two sets of twins) and had no contact with the outside world due to there being no cell phone reception and no land line. It seemed like she had somehow forgotten how to interact with other people in the four months that she had been at the house which was slightly odd but did add something to her character. So did the fact that she heard a voice in her head. While she wasn't necessarily unreliable, she was sketchy at times and did kind of feel like you couldn't exactly trust what she was saying or doing. Seda was normal-ish, I suppose, but did have an air about her that made the reader feel like there was something she wasn't saying at times. Definitely enjoyed her character the most, especially towards the end!The other characters were also well-written but I just wasn't a huge fan of them like I was of Seda. The twins were super cute, and her mother was kind of out there and I did enjoy them, for sure. The group of teenagers was just eh. They were all your stereotypical teenage characters, not much to really say about them. Again, they were all well-written, but I just didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoyed reading from Seda's point of view.Writing:The writing in Alone was actually my favorite part of the whole book! I loved the way that Cyn Balog slowly built up to the creepy stuff that started happening later on. It was so easy to read and I loved the unsure atmosphere that was constantly present while I was reading. You were never really sure what was going to happen next or if anything that was happening was real or not, or even if it was dangerous. I genuinely enjoyed the writing in this book and would definitely pick up another one by this author simply because of how much I liked reading her writing. It brought such an eerie feeling but you never really understood why and despite the fact that I disliked the way the twist was presented, I actually thought that the final paragraph (or so, I don't exactly know) was pretty clever. I'd be interested to see how other books by this author end and if the letdown twist ending is frequent or if I just grabbed the wrong one. But regardless, the writing was A+ and really kept me guessing and entertained throughout my reading experience.While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would, I do think that others will enjoy it much more than I did. It has a great spooky atmosphere with easy and enjoyable writing and a main character that will make you question exactly what is going on while you're reading. If you're looking for an entertaining and creepy read, then I'd definitely recommend Alone!
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  • Jessi ♡
    January 1, 1970
    you know i was gonna rate it 3 but the ending deserves a star on its own
  • Peaches
    January 1, 1970
    ***Spoilers included***“Places like this bring out the demons in all of us” (89).I gave Unnatural Deeds 4 stars when I reviewed it, but I think about it regularly, sometimes making me think I should up it to 5. I don’t think this book was as complete for me, but I wonder if it will eventually have the same effect. Cyn Balog really knows how to tell YA in a refreshing, climactic, different way that stays with you. The heartthrobs, female protagonists, and families all have secrets, darkness, and ***Spoilers included***“Places like this bring out the demons in all of us” (89).I gave Unnatural Deeds 4 stars when I reviewed it, but I think about it regularly, sometimes making me think I should up it to 5. I don’t think this book was as complete for me, but I wonder if it will eventually have the same effect. Cyn Balog really knows how to tell YA in a refreshing, climactic, different way that stays with you. The heartthrobs, female protagonists, and families all have secrets, darkness, and complexity that is all too often missing from sensational fiction. You won’t necessarily identify with any of them for long, but you’ll realize that it’s a good thing!Plot: Seda’s relatives have died and willed her family a murder mystery mansion similar to The Shinning in snowy isolation with murder props everywhere. She has four younger siblings, two sets of twins, and was told she absorbed her twin in the womb and has always “heard” him in her head, telling her to do harm to herself and others. Their bizarre professor/horror-loving mom says they can’t sell unless it’s to the right buyer, so they’ve been “trapped” for six months (Um, what about school?) while their mom sets up scavenger hunts and other games to play. The dad allegedly left them, but it turns out that Seda killed him when he tried to leave, threw him in the freezer, and put the car in the pond, but she doesn’t “remember” until the end and, really, it isn’t that big of a deal somehow. Anyway, a group of stranded teens comes to the house and since it’s right after Halloween, the mom suggests that they all play a murder mystery, but then people start dying. The reader is led to think that either Seda is somehow killing them or that her twin, Sawyer, was shipped off there when he was young for psychological issues (like that movie The Boy’s twist at the end. Yeah, the one with the doll), but it turns out that they’re almost all actors and filming the whole thing for a potential buyer, the grandfather of one of the “teenagers” who are all actually in college. It’s supposed to be a big joke on the unfeeling Seda, but the heartthrob guy has been seducing her for his “role” and she locks him in a freezer at one point, thinking he’s her imaginary brother. In the end, she decides to leave him in the freezer and listen to the voices in her head more often. All’s well that ends well!What I really appreciated:This book messed with what I thought was coming, which is hard to do. I was hoping she had killed her whole family and was imagining everything, but this twist was ok. I rolled my eyes when I thought “Sawyer” might be a real person, but I love how the mother admits that that “twist” was so hackneyed and staged. I like that Heath dies for messing with Seda. He knew that was her first kiss! Balog knows how to touch a female reader’s heart: through eye for an eye justice!The idea is really original even though it alludes to other horror stories. I haven’t read a book about actors in a murder mystery before (or participants, for that matter) and it had a Fear Street entertainment value without being too campy. Plus, it was interesting reading about the mirrorless house with the kid sleeping under the blanket of fake intestines and all that.I liked that the college kids made fun of “The Road Less Travelled”: “Well, it has made all the difference” (85). The dialogue in Balog’s books is always great. “Everything’s messed up, and he still has the power to make my insides quiver” (212). Sorry Seda, but that’s your vagina, but I do think a real hormonal teen girl would act that way even with people dying around her. What I had issues with:“I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse” (4). Sorry, but Sawyer didn’t even talk to her that much and he certainly didn’t make her kill her father. I really think that idea could’ve been far more effective.I wish Heath had really been the Wiener Prince of Pennsylvania. But I guess he really was a dick, bahahaha (Remember, I write these reviews for me, not you!).It’s super creepy if Heath is actually into braces considering he’s a senior in college (and making out with a sixteen-year-old). Perhaps the real story is that Seda saved the world from a potential pedophile! Anyway, I doubt I’ll red it again, but I’d recommend it to students, it’s a quick read, and it made me love Balog more!
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.I absolutely loved Cyn Balog’s Unnatural Deeds, so when I saw that she was releasing a new book later this year I just had to read it. I was not disappointed! I was completely hooked on this book and read it in one sitting.We are introduced to our MC from the very first page – along with the problems she has (I don’t want to say too much because SPOILERS!). The way in which we are Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.I absolutely loved Cyn Balog’s Unnatural Deeds, so when I saw that she was releasing a new book later this year I just had to read it. I was not disappointed! I was completely hooked on this book and read it in one sitting.We are introduced to our MC from the very first page – along with the problems she has (I don’t want to say too much because SPOILERS!). The way in which we are introduced to her and the description had me immediately hooked – I absolutely had to know what was going to happen to this character and where certain aspects of her personality etc. were going to take us. Seda was a likeable character throughout the book despite the way we are introduced to her and I enjoyed watching her develop as a character as things progressed because it was easy to forget about certain things (again, trying not to be spoilery). She definitely came across as someone who could be a friend once she comes out of her shell. She definitely started changing with the arrival of the stranded teens and I feel like the interaction helped her to come out of her shell and to be a bit more loose.What I also really enjoyed about this book was the family dynamic that Seda had with her mother and siblings. It was easy to empathise with Seda and the problems her parents were having and it made her more of a likeable character when watching her interact with the two sets of twins and her mother. We also learn other various aspects of her family, which become important later on in the book, which also made her easier to like and relate to.Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the setting itself. At the beginnign of each chapter was a little chapter heading describing something about either the house/rooms in the house or the way that Seda’s Aunt and Uncle used to run it. The author cleverly wove bits of fact of certain historic people and slightly changed their stories to make it fictitious at the same time – which gave it the air of creepiness. The set up of the house with certain props etc. definitely helped to set the scene for events that happened later in the book, whilst constantly keeping an air of subtle creepiness.The pacing of this book was just right. It starts off at a relatively normal pace and then things start to get creepier, which had me completely hooked. It also begins to speed up as events start happening later in the book and keeps readers on their toes right up until the very end!What I most enjoyed about this book was the fact that this was not an ‘in your face’ kind of scary book, but rather took a more subtle and psychological approach, whic made the ending even more shocking. I absolutely did not see the big reveal that came at the end and was left utterly shocked when this book ended! Certain things were revealed, other things happened and it just led up to a finale that left me completely gobsmacked! I recommended it further as soon as I had finished!All in all, I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to have a finished copy on my shelf! Balog is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. I gave this book 5/5 stars.
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  • Yolanda Sfetsos
    January 1, 1970
    So, I've had this book on the top of my Kindle TBR pile for a while. And since I bought a brand new Paperwhite the other day, I decided this was going to be my first read on this device. 😁Seda lives in a rundown mansion in the middle of nowhere called Bismarck-Chisholm, with her mother and two sets of younger twin brothers and sisters. When her mother inherited the house that used to be the scene of murder-mystery parties, Seda thought it would be fun to spend the summer in a haunted mansion. Bu So, I've had this book on the top of my Kindle TBR pile for a while. And since I bought a brand new Paperwhite the other day, I decided this was going to be my first read on this device. 😁Seda lives in a rundown mansion in the middle of nowhere called Bismarck-Chisholm, with her mother and two sets of younger twin brothers and sisters. When her mother inherited the house that used to be the scene of murder-mystery parties, Seda thought it would be fun to spend the summer in a haunted mansion. But when her mother decides to renovate the crumbling site, it means they're still there in winter.As if it's not bad enough to be so isolated from her old life in Boston, but her father's gone, and she feels like she's losing her mind. Until a group of students have an accident and seek shelter with her family, and one of the guys catches her eye...Ooooooh. This book was SO good that I didn't want to put it down. I read it in 24 hours because I just had to know how everything was going to turn out.It's one of those stories that totally hooked me in. I found it very easy to follow Seda's simple life and big family, as well as her passionate mother. But I worked out pretty early on that Seda was going to be an unreliable narrator and was either leaving details out on purpose, had forgotten important stuff, or was just going nuts because of the isolation.I thought this was written so well that it kept the creepy and eerie vibe alive all the way through. The snow made me so chilly. The imagery of the old mansion made it very easy to picture the house and its surroundings. Of course I thought I'd figured out the mystery, because everything seemed to point to a possible revelation, but was pleasantly surprised when everything was turned upside down. I loved that ending!What an excellent book. I loved how so many cool horror tropes are included and turned into a whole new narrative. Very cool.I definitely got The Shining vibes throughout, and even a bit of April Fool's Day influence. Plus I got a real kick out of all the other horror movie references. And since I've been watching horror since I was a kid, I got a kick out of all the kiddos loving them too. 😉
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  • J Aislynn d'Merricksson
    January 1, 1970
    ***This book as reviewed for Sourcebooks via NetgalleyAlone by Cyn Balog is one dark, creepy psychological thriller. Bismarck-Chisolm House, a grand old mansion on Solitude Mountain, was once a murder mystery mansion, but has fallen into severe disrepair. Seda and her family inherited the home upon the deaths of her aunt and uncle. They intended to spend summer vacation to get it ready for sale, but Seda’s mom decided that she would only be willing to sell to buyers who would keep the mansion as ***This book as reviewed for Sourcebooks via NetgalleyAlone by Cyn Balog is one dark, creepy psychological thriller. Bismarck-Chisolm House, a grand old mansion on Solitude Mountain, was once a murder mystery mansion, but has fallen into severe disrepair. Seda and her family inherited the home upon the deaths of her aunt and uncle. They intended to spend summer vacation to get it ready for sale, but Seda’s mom decided that she would only be willing to sell to buyers who would keep the mansion as a murder mystery hotel. Summer passes to fall with still no buyers, and storms snow them in, blocking the roads. An accident deposits a carload of teens at the mansion. To make the most things, Seda’s mom, a horror and mystery aficionado, decides to set up a murder mystery to pass the time. But there's an extra guest only Seda is aware of- Sawyer, and Sawyer plays for keeps.I loved Seda’s family. Her siblings are adorable. All four of them. Two sets of fraternal twins. So glad they weren't identical! Talk about messed up. Dr Helm seemed a bit spacey though. Like, it seems the adult should notice psychopathic/sociopathic behaviour. Even high-functioning ones show aberrations. #justsayinBut, overall, the characters were well-drawn, with rich personality. Even the ‘mystery’ guest. You don't see much interactions with Sawyer during most of the book, but those you do give a good idea of his personality. It's great that the best 'actor’ of all wasn't even supposed to be one. This was one creepy read, paying homage not just to Stephen King’s The Shining, which I've seen mentioned places before, but also to Hitchcock’s Psycho. The story seems to be going one way, then darts a different way, and back another way. Every time I thought I figured things out, something would happen that was quite unexpected. Looking back, though, clues to the final truth are scattered throughout. I loved the attention to detail with the mansion, and the backstories for the different rooms. I really don't think I'd like to live in a home with all those spooky props. The symbolism with the snow globes was appropriate. They are as trapped on Solitude by the blizzard as the scenes in the snow globes. And all it takes is one person to upend the perfect little scene and send flurries of panic spinning around. 📚📚📚📚📚 highly recommended for fans of horror and psychological thrillers
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