No One’s Home by D. M. Pulley ~ Book Review

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  • Title: No One’s Home
  • Author: D. M. Pulley
  • Publication Date: 9/1/2019
  • Genre: Horror | Ghost Thriller | historical mysteries
  • Pages: 397

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RATING OVERVIEW (4.25 STARS)

Writing: ★★★★ Story: ★★★★ Characters: ★★★★ Appearance: ★★★★ ★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

or fans of The Haunting of Hill House comes a dark tale of a mansion haunted by a legacy of tragedy and a family trapped by lies.

Margot and Myron Spielman move to a new town, looking for a fresh start and an escape from the long shadow of their past. But soon after they buy Rawlingswood, a foreclosed mansion rumored to be haunted, they realize they’re in for more of the same…or worse.

After a renovation fraught with injuries and setbacks, the Spielmans move in to the century-old house, and their problems quickly escalate. The home’s beautiful facade begins to crumble around them when their teenage son uncovers disturbing details of Rawlingswood’s history—a history of murder, betrayal, and financial ruin. The Spielmans’ own shameful secrets and lies become harder to hide as someone or something inside the house watches their every move.

As tensions build between the family members, the home’s dark history threatens to repeat itself. Margot and Myron must confront their own ghosts and Rawlingswood’s buried past before the house becomes their undoing.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

No One’s Home has been compared to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which I’ve read… It’s scary. This book, although good, does not compare. It just didn’t live up to the hype.

WRITING (★★★★): Pulley is a great writer. Her descriptive text is beautiful and she does a great job of pulling you into a scene. However, this book covers the story of five different families, at five different periods in time; the Rawlings family 1922-1931, the Bell family 1936-1972, the Klussman Family 1972-1990, the Martin Family, and the Spielman family – present day. Although the writing is good and the stories are interesting, going back and forth between the different time periods only pulled me out of the story. Each time the story shifted, I had to take a moment to think back, figure out who these characters were and what their story was. That was a huge distraction for me. Although I can see this story working really well as a movie, shifting from one period to the next with lighting changes, appropriate set dressing, and costumes for each time period, it just didn’t work for me as a novel. I see the film done in a similar manor as American Horror Story, which actors playing multiple roles within the time period – almost a reincarnation of spirit sort of thing.


STORY (★★★★): The story is well thought out although maybe could have been structured a little better. I think this could have worked really well as a series of short stories… a collection of stories that take place over the years all centered around this one house in Shaker Heights.


CHARACTERS (★★★★): I wasn’t really sure who the main character was. The back of the book reads as if Margot and Myron Spielman are the main focus, but then their son, Hunter pulls more of the focus when reading. Then, you have to consider all of the other families you’re learning about. The Spielman family isn’t given any more “screen time” or “ink” than any of the other families. So, what family did Pulley really want this story to be about? I think we could have learned so much about the history of the story and been drawn in more to each of the stories if this were a collection of short stories.


APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover is beautiful. It even has the feel of the cover from The Haunting of Hill House although this one is set in blues were as The Haunting of Hill House is more oranges and Yellows. Whoever designed the cover, I give them credit. The creepy old house with the single light in the attic really does draw you in. I noticed this one on the shelf the instant I walked past and even before reading the back, I knew I was going to read the book. That to me, is the sign of a really good cover.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

D.M. Pulley lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a dog named Hobo. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a Professional Engineer rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Since then, Pulley has sold over a half a million books worldwide, and her work has been translated into eight different languages.

Pulley’s historical mysteries shine a light into the darker side of life in the Midwest during the twentieth century, when cities like Detroit and Cleveland struggled to survive. Her latest novel, No One’s Home, unravels the disturbing history of an old mansion haunted by family secrets, financial ruin, and murder. The abandoned buildings, haunted houses, and buried past of the Rust Belt continue to inspire her work. Learn more at www.dmpulley.com.

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Also by D. M. Pulley

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The Unclaimed Victim

What if the last victim of Cleveland’s infamous Torso Killer got away?

In 1938, a serial killer terrorizes Cleveland, Ohio, leaving a trail of bodies along the rails and riverbeds. Ethel, a street-hardened woman who’s lost everything, takes refuge inside a city mission only to find that its righteous facade conceals the darkest of secrets. As she wanders the twisting corridors, it becomes clear she may never leave the mission alive.

Sixty years later, the police discover the body of Alfred Wiley, dismembered in a disturbingly familiar way. His daughter, Kris, finds herself pulled into Cleveland’s haunting past as things he never told her begin to surface. Stolen books about the unsolved Torso Murders, missing archives, serial killer chat rooms, and an abandoned city mission are all somehow connected to his disappearance. The more she learns of her father’s obsession with the Torso Killer, the further she stumbles into a madman’s sights.

Separated by decades but trapped in the same killer’s web, Ethel and Kris must unravel the truth behind the city’s most notorious unsolved murders . . . or die trying.


The Dead Key

2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Grand Prize and Mystery & Thriller Fiction Winner

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.

In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.


The Buried Book

When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he’s left on his uncle’s farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible.

It’s 1952, and Jasper isn’t allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He’s lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle’s good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she’s coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.

As he’s drawn deeper into an adult world of corruption, scandal, and murder, Jasper uncovers the shocking past still chasing his mother—and now it’s chasing him too.


IT Chapter Two (2019) ~ Movie Review

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SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★.★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★ | CGI: ★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

MY 2 CENTS:

I have to say, seeing as Stephen King is my favorite author, this film is probably my most anticipated films of the year. I loved the book, thought the mini-series back in 1990 did an amazing job bringing the book to life, and really enjoyed the 2017 version of IT Chapter One. With the whole cast from the 2017 version coming back for Chapter Two plus the addition of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and so many other awesome actors I can’t deny I was very excited going into the theatre.

There is a lot to love about this film… there are also a few things I didn’t really care for. Now, I’ve heard complaints about the movie’s length, at 2 hours and 49 minutes it is a very long movie, but you have to consider the length of the book… Like most Stephen King novels, it’s not short!

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

As I said before, this movie is based on the novel IT by Stephen King. When IT was originally adapted to live action, it was a mini-series on television. I remember eating it up. I had just finished reading the book and couldn’t wait to see it. With it being a mini-series, they were able to really get a lot of the details from the book into the show… something you can’t really do when it’s a movie on the big screen, you just don’t have the time to fit it all in.

Splitting the movie into two parts, Chapter One and Chapter Two, did allow for more detail, but I felt as an audience member that chopping it up so much really made certain aspects of the films uneven. Plus, when you really look at what the movie is about, an evil clown comes to town every 27 years and kills kids… it’s a little surprising how long the movie is. Both movies pretty much have the same plot – Pennywise is back, killing kids, and the members of the Loser Club have to fight and kill him.

I think one of the reasons I really liked the original mini-series and even why I liked the 2017 movie a little more than this one is because you really get to feel what they are going through from a kids perspective. Think about it, evil creepy clown running around town in the sews killing kids… as a kid, that is some seriously scary stuff. However, with these characters, they approach Pennywise in much the same way they did as children, they have all the same fears they did 27 years before. However, that isn’t really realistic, as we get older, we change, people evolve, what we are afraid of changes and we approach our fears in a different way.

Cinematography ★★★

I think there are some really great shots in in this movie. However, I also think that the way it was filmed gave away a little too much too quickly. Sure, as the audience, we already know who Pennywise is and what he looks like, but I just think with a scary movie there is something to say for keeping the monster hidden that amps up the suspense. It seemed that Pennywise got a lot of screen time in this film, which took the scare level down significantly for me.

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI):  ★★

Fun fact about the young actors who played the Losers Club members in IT Chapter One: They grew tremendously in the 2 years following filming that they actually had to be digitally ‘de-aged’ in some scenes because they looked significantly older than before. For me, every time I noticed it – which was often throughout the film – it pulled me out of the moment. I get that there really wasn’t another way to do it, since the flashback scenes with the kids had to look like they were from the same time period as the 2017 film, but for me the technique just wasn’t executed that well.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Let’s talk about Character(s) and acting… First off, there isn’t a whole lot of character building in this movie. I understand that we, as the audience, already know the characters from when they were children in the first movie, however this is 27 years later… people tend to change, a lot, in 27 years. The movie gives us only one scene for each of the main characters to show us what they are like now. It just feels really rushed as the movie pushes the characters together, trying to get them back to Derry. Then, once they are there the pace slows down considerably and it almost feels to slow with not enough action.

In terms of acting… WOW! Everyone is really strong. Both the adults playing the Loser Club as well as their child actor counterparts.

I think one of my favorite scenes is when they all first come together, at the restaurant. They haven’t seen each other is 27 years and yet there is an instant connection. You can see and feel the comradery as if they have remained close friends all their lives. They do a really good job of making it seem like these adults are the grown versions of the kids we saw jut two years ago in the 2017 movie. Mannerisms and speech patterns are all very similar and it helps to be able to connect each of the children actors to their adult counterparts.

Best actor award has to go to Bill Skarsgard who plays Pennywise. Pennywise is just a wonderful role for an actor. Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise in the 1990 mini-series and Bill Skarsgard has done a wonderful job in both the 2017 and 2019 files. He is creepy – Defiantly the thing that nightmares are made of.  

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“See, the thing about being a loser, you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Be brave. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers, and we always will be.” ~ Losers Club (IT Chapter Two)

“Here’s Johnny” ~ Henry Bowers

  • The reason I like this one so much is because it’s a throwback to another Stephen King book, The Shining when Jack Torrance has gone crazy and is chopping down the bathroom door with an axe to kill his wife.

TO SUM IT UP:

Although I enjoyed this film, maybe not as much as the 2017 movie, I have to say it just doesn’t fully live up to the 1990’s mini-series. However, I do tend to lean toward originals more so then remakes and books rather than movies.

Have you seen IT Chapter Two yet? Did you see IT Chapter One, or better yet did you see the Original IT Mini Series? And, even more importantly, have you read the book? Let me know your answers, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the book, the mini-series, or the movies! I’d love to know. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Open the video and watch it on YouTube so you can subscribe to my channel and never miss a video!

IT Chapter Two (2019) Trailer:

IT Chapter One (2017) Trailer:

IT mini-series (1990) Trailer:


My 2 Cents… Velvet Buzzsaw

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Title: Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Jake Gyllenhall, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, and John Malkovich

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★
Story: ★★
Acting: ★★★★
Costumes: ★★★
Overall: ★★ (2.75)

 

Storyline:
After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

My 2 Cents:
Being a horror movie lover, I was excited to see what this was all about. I felt like the concept… an art-world satire/horror where art comes to life and kills…was intriguing, but the end result was underwhelming to say the least. The first 2/3 of the film was fine, a bit slow, but fine. The last 1/3 of the film seemed to forget the actual plot or purpose. Instead of one dead man’s art coming to life and killing… all the art starting to kill people, even the tattoo on one of the character’s shoulder. That, was just one of many moments where the film script lost focus completely.

ACTORS: The cast lineup was impressive with Jake Gyllenhall, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, and John Malkovich and their performances did not disappoint, despite the poorly written script and minimal character development. With that said… this felt more like a role that James Franco would play, rather than Jake Gyllenhall. 

STORY: Honestly, I felt that Velvet Buzzsaw was a mess. I enjoy a good b-movie horror, but this didn’t even live up to that.

WRITING: The writing, in my opinion, was all over the place.

EDITING: The editing was choppy and the felt forced.

Do I recommend this one? No.
Would I see it again? No. I feel like that was two hours of my life that I will never get back.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/vQUoWaZSACA

You can watch the official trailers and video clips here:

https://youtu.be/XdAR-lK43YU

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden
Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!

BEGINNINGS ~ a Blood Angel novel

by Nina Soden

 Surrounded by a new world where the horror films she grew up watching have become reality Alee finds that the most unlikely characters have become her lifeline. If she thought hunting in the wild and drinking blood was bad, what will she think when she becomes the hunted? Newly armed with the knowledge of being half witch and half vampire Alee, the only surviving Dhampir in history, is forced to learn to control a lifetime of magic and vampire powers if she wants to survive.

 Part horror thriller – part tender romance, Beginnings will leave readers wanting more!

 E-BOOK COMING SOON!

Haven't checked out the Blood Angel series on Facebook yet? Well, you should!

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