Tag Archives: carly anne west

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Image result for the murmurings carly anne west

After reading Carly Anne West’s incredibly unnerving novel, The Bargaining, I decided that I definitely wanted to read the book she had released prior to that one, which is The Murmurings. The back of the book summarizes it as the main character’s sister is institutionalized for hearing voices and then is later found dead, presumably from suicide, but then the main character starts to hear the voices herself. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to like the book from this summary, just because I have a lot of history with suicide and such and it’s kind of a touchy subject. However, after finishing the book I realized that that summary is incredibly misleading. It makes the book out to be kind of like a  psychological thriller, when it reality it falls more into the same category as Stranger Things, as a Sci Fi Horror.

The main character is Sophie, a girl grieving for the loss of her sister, Nell. She begins to hear and see the same things that her sister did and ends up being hunted and tormented throughout the whole book, and eventually checked into the same mental institution as her sister was. That’s probably about the time that I realized that the back of the book did not do justice to just how incredibly tense and nail-biting this novel was. I chew my nails chronically, but nothing could prepare my more fingers for this book. Ouch. I was so anxious through the second half of the book that I found myself having to take breaks just to give myself a breather. That’s how well it is written. You get very attached to Sophie as she goes on this amazing and terrifying adventure to unravel the conspiracy around her sister’s, and many others like her and her sister, wrongful death.

This book is chock full to the brim of twists and surprises, as well as lovable characters and well written dialogue. That’s one thing I really loved in The Bargaining and noticed was also present in The Murmurings, is that West has a very fluid and whimsical writing style. All of her dialogue and descriptions flow so naturally, so realistically, so vividly, that you feel as if you are actually present for the events taking place. If I had to rate it, I think I would give it a 4/5 or a 5/5. The only reason I would give it a 4/5 would be because I, personally, can’t reread more often than once every few months just because it does send my anxiety through the roof, hah. I like my books to have reread value. But other than that, this book is amazing and I can’t find a single thing wrong with it. A+ story telling!

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

The Secret Writer: 'The Bargaining' by Carly Anne West

The Bargaining is Carly Anne West’s second book I believe, (the first being The Murmuring, which I will probably read very soon) and it follows the tragic life of Penny, a child of divorce who has recently loss someone close to her. She suffers from dissociation and hallucinations, and struggles with depression as well. She constantly blames herself for what happened, even though West does not really give us a clear picture of exactly what that event was until near the end of the story.

The tension in this book is completely fathomable. It is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The characters are well written, each having a unique personality and a story. When Penny is dragged away for the summer to help her step mother renovate a dilapidated old house, you find out more about the step mom, April, as well. She is actually my favorite character and is really likable, dispelling the ‘evil step mother’ stereotype. Her parents, on the other hand, are both pretty awful.

The setting for this is small town Washington in the dense woods of the Pacific Northwest. I actually have family who live in that same environment or area, just south of Seattle. So that was really cool for me to know exactly what the author was describing. It is definitely a creepy setting, so well done, Carly! The personalities in the small town near their summer project are very colorful and spooky. The house itself, located in the middle of the woods, completely isolated from the world, has a certain air about it that makes you heart beat a bit faster, even as a reader. It is actually a place I would love to spend the weekend! I’m a sucker for haunted houses!

West is a master of leaving bread crumbs and holding back, so that the twists and turns are huge and hard to see coming. I picked this book up and two hours later I was finished with it. It was so good that I could not put it down! The introduction is captivating and terrifying. You really feel for these characters, especially if the reader has come from a broken home, lost a loved one, been abused, or dealt with mental illness. It really hits close to home for me, as I have lost many people that I love, some of which I blame myself for not being there enough for them (suicide). I also cope with chronic depression, history of suicide attempts and bouts of suicidal thoughts, and severe social anxiety. I guess that is why I relate so much to Penny, and what she has been through.

Penny also has a love of photography, and it is one of her coping mechanisms throughout the book. This I can also relate to, as I enjoy photography in my spare time with my Nikon. All of these personal ties really made the book easy to ‘get into’ and I enjoyed it a lot.

I will say that the ending left me a bit conflicted and wanting more. I reread the last two chapters over and over, trying to understand them better. I do not know if this is just me being silly or if the author did that on purpose to leave me stumped.

In conclusion, if you like ghost stories that have a lot of depth and are extensively creepy, this is the book for you!
You can search for the book on amazon to support this lovely author!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a good day!

Buy it here!