Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

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

Review: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: Bloody Mary #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Horror, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

For some stupid reason I read this only at nighttime and it freaked me the eff out! I have always been terrified of Bloody Mary ever since a bad experience in middle school (just stupid kids thinking we saw more than we did, but back then it was intense!) and just the idea of being haunted by her like this… nope!!!

This book delivers fantastically when it comes to horror content and hair-raising scenes, however it does have a shaky start where I found the reactions to her first appearance underwhelming. My own fear of ghosts could not fathom being so calm when faced by a ghost in a mirrorโ€ฆ Fortunately it got more believable after that, so don’t judge it too quickly if you feel like I did. Once Mary appears a second time is where the real sh*t starts. First person narrative makes it easy to put yourself in Shauna’s shoes. It makes you look around and imagine all the shiny surfaces Mary could use to terrorize your life, bringing about a perfect reading atmosphere. Especially if read at night across from a mirror (have a vanity in your bedroom, or maybe a closet door mirror? Muahaha). The pacing is also well balanced between the vivid horror scenes and the progression of the storyline. Then when you add in an ominous vibe throughout brought on by the constant threat of a visit from this terrifying, vengeful ghost, we’ve got ourselves an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride!

Although I had a blast with the horror side of this novel – Mary is described with such detail and unrelenting monstrosity that I would be freaked out by own imagination – the plot itself could have given us a bit more to bite into. No matter how much I enjoyed the ghostly scenes, I was even more engaged by the storyline surrounding Mary’s life. The novel begins with a letter written by Mary herself, this kicks off the book with just the right tone, but also hints at her psyche that’s just starting to crack. After all, there is a reason she is the way she is in this cruel afterlife. As the story progresses, we learn more bits and pieces of her past, and we do eventually get a pretty wide look into what has happened to her, leading up to her death, but I wish we’d gotten further into the mystery of her ghost. This may just be my impatience talking as I know there’s going to be a book 2, but I feel like I was not given enough.

With that being said, the writing is solid, the storyline is compelling, and the horror scenes are disturbingly vivid. And really, if you read this for the horror story that it is, you should be pleasantly surprised!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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22 Responses to “Review: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan”

  1. Pili

    Ooooh, I’d probably freak myself out badly with this one but I feel like I also need to de-wuss myself a bit, so I’m gonna be adding this one to the wish list and not read it at night!
    Great review Giselle!

  2. Carrie

    Well well well… another Bloody Mary. I love it! I love horror anyway, but I don’t necessarily read it too much, more into the movies… but I just might have to change that. This sounds great!

  3. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I do most of my reading a night, so I’d probably be in the same boat as you as far as the creep factor is concerned. Bloody Mary is one of my fav ghost stories, and I think I’d enjoy Hillary Monahan’s writing style. Have a great long weekend, Giselle!

  4. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I watched that Bloody Mary episode on Supernatural and was so terrified. I refused to look in the mirror because I was chanting “Bloody Mary” three times in my head. And are you crazy, lady? Reading this at night? :O :O
    Anyways, it sounds like it was a great book that you enjoyed, Giselle. I like that it’s detailed. I have to try it out for sure, but only during the day! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great review!

  5. Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    ohmygosh I can’t believe you read this at night! I remember so many scary Bloody Mary stories that my friends would tell me back in middle school. Gosh, I’ve been keeping my eye out of this book and I felt a little spooked just reading your review. So excited to pick this up! Thanks for the awesome review Giselle!

  6. Melliane

    I haven’t read a story about Mary and I confess that I’m quite curious about it now. Mainly as I saw many great review about this one and it’s always nice to have a good horror book.

  7. Liliana @ Lili Lost in a Book

    Ooooh, I cannot wait to get a start on this one! It’s next on my TBR list! ๐Ÿ˜€ So I’m really glad that it freaked you out! That’s what I was hoping! Errr, not that it would freak YOU out, but that it would be scary in general, LOL

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m glad to hear you really enjoyed this one, because sometimes scary books aren’t all that wonderful plot-wise. I don’t think I could handle it though; like you, I was SO scared of Bloody Mary as a child.

  9. Ashley

    Ahhh! Giselle, I have missed the book blogging world so much. Your blog specifically. You and I always had the same taste in books and I have missed it.

    I am so intrigued by this one. Bloody Mary is always a fascinating subject. I definitely want to check this one out.

    P.S. I noticed you are reading Night Film. Seriously one of my favorite books. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

  10. Faye D'Social Potato

    I’m right there with you. That Bloody Mary urban legend thing was the bane of my childhood. I read about it the first time and was too scared to go to ANY bathroom alone by myself, especially my high school’s bathroom which looked like something from a haunted house’s haha. With that said, I’m going to read this one for the horror alone. I LOVE HORROR! Especially supernatural horror. Thanks for the review, love!

  11. Olivia

    I actually looked at this book review because of the awesome cover. I have never tried to summon Bloody Mary, but the idea of it spooks me. When I hit the Supernatural episode called Bloody Mary me and my friend sat there for ten minutes discussing if we really wanted to watch it or not, seeing as it was some time late at night. That was a really bad idea on our part xD

    I need to read more creepy books though! So this might be for me. It’s a shame about the plot, but all in all I am looking for a creepster!

  12. Neyra @lovelustbooks

    I won’t even watch scary movies alone, but I’m supposed to read this alone with no one to comfort me when things go bump in the night?! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Sadly I’ve always been a big scaredy cat ๐Ÿ˜› but my curiosity far exceeds my fear…at least until it comes time to sleep. Lol I’m liking forward to this ๐Ÿ˜€ great review Gisele!