Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: House of Madness by Sara Harris

House of Madness
by
Sara Harris

Genre:
Paranormal Thriller
Can You Ever Truly Put the Past Behind You?

Tim and Adelaide Smithfield are haunted by memories of loss too raw to forget, and too painful to remember. Their 11-year-old daughter, Michaela, has her own set of sensory processing challenges, not to mention an overwhelming sense of guilt that she might be at the root of her parents’ problems.

The sprawling ranch house on the outskirts of the quaint West Texas town of Big Spring promises a fresh start for a young family on the verge of collapse.

But the house is haunted by memories of its own… and a guilt that West Texas’ famed thunderstorms can’t wash away.

I love love love paranormal thrillers! Ghost stories are my favorite, so when House of Madness by Sara Harris was up for review, I jumped at the chance. However, House of Madness was just an okay story. It wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't bad either.

The plot for House of Madness has been done before, but it was interesting to see how Sara Harris changed it up a bit. Adelaide (Addie), her husband Tim, and their daughter, Michaela, who's on the Autistic spectrum move to a great big house out in West Texas. Addie is an aspiring writer and had suffered a miscarriage previously. This new house, that they bought on the cheap, is their chance for a fresh start. However, it isn't long until weird things start happening and Michaela seems to have made a ghostly friend. The house previously belonged to a couple of doctors, and it also comes with a horrific past. There were times the plot seemed a bit far-fetched, but for the most part, I found the story to be enjoyable and entertaining. There were no cliff hangers in House of Madness, although I was left with one or two questions about the ending which I won't go into because to do so would mean spoilers. There were a couple of plot twists. I was able to easily predict one.

I felt some of the prose was a bit wacky sounding. One sentence in the book that sounded a bit strange was "His voice trailed off and mixed with a hot swirl of West Texas air." Maybe it's just me, but it didn't sound right. Another weird sounding sentence I found was "The closet door fell open with a creak." I imagined the door actually falling. Surely, it would have been better to write "The closet door opened with a creak"? Maybe I'm just being too pedantic. There were times when I felt like I was reading a young adult novel rather than a book aimed at adults. Saying all of that, I still did find the book to be a decent read.

I enjoyed the characters in House of Madness. They all felt realistic. Michaela and Addie seemed to be the main characters, and I enjoyed reading about them. I loved how sweet Michaela came across, and I loved how brave Addie could be. I enjoyed the little ghost girl named Lisette. I was always wondering if she'd turn out to double cross Michaela though. The ghost of Ritchie was definitely an interesting character. He was another one that made me question whether or not he would turn out bad or good. I always trusted Rochelle for some reason. The doctors, Marjorie and Roland Darkland, were also well written although they must have been very fit for an older couple considering they were probably supposed to be in their early 80s at the very least. (For the record, I'm assuming that House of Madness takes place in modern day. It's never actually mentioned what year it is.)

House of Madness is a short read, and the pacing made it feel even shorter. I thought that Sara Harris did an excellent job with the pacing. I found myself not wanting to stop reading at all. I had to know what happened next concerning the ghosts as well as the living characters. 

Trigger warnings for House of Madness include violence, murder, attempted murder, mental illnesses, and talk of a miscarriage.

Overall, House of Madness was an alright read. Yes, the writing was a little shaky at times, but it's still worth reading for those who enjoy ghost stories. The characters were great, and the pacing was fantastic. I would recommend House of Madness by Sara Harris to those aged 15+ who like a short ghost story.
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(A special thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours for providing me with an eBook of House of Madness by Sara Harris in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)
Sara is a mother of four, animal lover and advocate, and conservationist. Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Lonesome Dove are among her favorite shows/movies and books. Sara holds her B.A. in History and is the author of the historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart, from 5 Prince Publishing and recently debuted into the children's book realm with Chunky Sugars (5 Prince Kids), written for her own chunky baby.

I began writing the House of Madness when I lived in the actual house I wrote about. Everything was so strange in that house -- from the steel reinforced windows to the multiple safe rooms in the house. This story was so spooky that, as I wrote it, I slept with the lights on for three weeks.

Several of these spooky elements were real - including the little girl, Michaela, talking to the French speaking ghost in the closet mirror. Only this happened when we lived in Italy, which was really bizarre. I would think any ghosts living in the mirror in Italy would speak Italian?

People often ask me if I believe in ghosts. I have to say no - with all the spooky occurrences that have happened to me during the course of my life, if I actually believed in ghosts, I would never sleep with the lights off again! Hehe!

My most memorable ghostly occurrence was in Galveston, Texas. We were staying at one of the most haunted places on the island, the Tremont Hotel - room 333. My family and I checked in after hours, put the do not disturb sign out like we always do, unpacked, had a pillow fight, opened the TV cabinet and pulled out the television and positioned it to where it faced the beds, then went out on the town. We arrived back to the room about midnight to a spotless room. We asked the front desk if they always tidied rooms after guests checked in. They said housekeeping left at 5, and nobody would have come in the room without out consent with the do not disturb sign on the door. I wish could have brought that awesome ghost home with me!
Win a $20 Amazon gift card or an eBook of House of Madness by Sara Harris!

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11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good book. Going to. check it out.

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  2. The cover and the title makes the book look like a very scary book.

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  3. Creepy cover! Sounds like a thrilling Paranormal Thriller :-)

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  4. I like the cover. It sounds like a good read.

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  5. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  6. Neat cover sort of scary though I think that's why the story is compelling.

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  7. Thanks for the giveaway! Creepy cover!

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  8. Cover looks interesting -- makes me want to read the book.

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  9. Nice review This sounds like a good read.

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