Today, I'm featuring Crystal from My Reading Room. She sent me her review for The Skull Ring by Scott Nicholson. Sounds like a spine-tingling tale to me.
Crystal, the blog's all yours today!
Why I read this: I have seen Scott Nicholson's books around for several years, starting with The Farm and kept meaning to read him, then I got away from the horror or supernatural thriller genre for awhile. Then I saw this one and some of his other books reviewed on a blog and saw they were relatively inexpensive for the Kindle and I had to have it. Since then I was contacted by Scott to participate in his blog tour (see the interview and giveaway post) and he sent me some of his other books as well.
How is the novel driven: This is kind of interesting to think about. I think about suspense or horror type books as being mainly plot or event driven and while there is quite a bit of that in this book, I really think the characters, or really the character of Julia Stone is what the book is all about.
My thoughts: After interviewing Scott I think he refers to his genre as supernatural thriller. I think I agree. I always thought of him as horror but after reading The Skull Ring, I see more of the thriller aspect than the horror aspect.
Sure this is a book I am glad I did not start on Friday night when I was actually home alone. This is one of those read during the day books or read while others are home at night. It's scary in that thriller way - where the bad guys are real and really bad.
The Skull Ring focuses on Julia Stone who has moved to a small town in the mountains of NC to work on healing. When she was 4-years-old her father disappeared and she believes she was part of a Satan-Worshiping ceremony. She is seeing a therapist, working at the local newspaper and trying to make sense of her life and move on so she can marry her fiance back in Memphis. However unlocking Julia's mind is scary and she is never sure what to believe.
I loved this book - Julia's character development pushed this book along at a speedy clip. The other people she meets are put into question at every turn and I had a hard time figuring out who was good and who was bad and what exactly was going on with Julia. And in this type of book that is a great thing. Scott Nicholson writes a tightly plotted book with wonderful plot and character development. It's sufficiently frightening as well. Who is the bad guy, is Satan at work in Julia, is there God to help Julia, is Dr. Forrest helping her or hurting her and is Walter a friend or foe? These are all things that swirl around as Julia learns about herself and her past.
I loved the small mountain town setting. I could picture it so well. And everyone knows I am a sucker for a book set in my home state. It was also the perfect setting for this type of book.
If you like thrillers with a supernatural element then this is definitely the book for you. Well-written, perfectly paced and just an all-around exciting read, The Skull Ring scores high on my must-read scale. And I am really glad I have several more books by Scott on my Kindle ready to read as well.
Just a Note: I had several comments on the interview post say they like suspense, but not the blood and gore of horror. I can't speak for Scott's other books, but there really isn't much blood and gore in this one, it's mainly the suspense-type blood, not the horror type.
My Rating: 4.75/5.0
With a rating like that? Wouldn't you say The Skull Ring is something to add to your reading list? I'm making sure to do so. But before that, let's get to know Crystal a little more:
I live on the coast of NC with my husband, and two sons (see all of us above). I work in marine science and love my job. I also like to cook/bake, scrapbook and sew when I get a chance. Reading is probably my first love after my family though. I love young adult books, romance, romantic suspense, suspense, historical fiction and general fiction. I have been branching out into non-fiction lately too.
Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, J.P. O'Donnell, Maggie Stiefvater, Cecily von Ziegesar (love Gossip Girl), Anita Shreve, James Patterson (I still enjoy the Alex Cross series), Karen Rose, and Nora Roberts.
I love reading new authors - some of them have really wonderful books to offer, they just don't have the advertising dollars to back them yet.
I also just received a Kindle which I love. I never thought I would give up print books, but having a Kindle is very nice. I still won't give up print books, but ebooks are a good thing too. I hope the industry continues to value ebook readers and don't think they are a passing fancy.
Make sure to visit Crystal's blog after you enter the giveaway: