Jul 10, 2018

ARC Review--Campfire by Shawn Sarles

While camping in a remote location, Maddie Davenport gathers around the fire with her friends and family to tell scary stories. Caleb, the handsome young guide, shares the local legend of the ferocious Mountain Men who hunt unsuspecting campers and leave their mark by carving grisly antlers into their victims' foreheads.

The next day, the story comes true.

Now Maddie and her family are lost in the deep woods--with no way out--being stalked by their worst nightmares. Because there were other, more horrifying stories told that night--and Maddie's about to find out just how they end...

I received this ARC in a fair trade with another blogger. My review is completely honest and voluntary, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Shawn Sarles’ debut Campfire just screamed perfect read for me! I looove a good thriller and this one was as twisted and chilling as I anticipated! Add in a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting and you have the makings of one GREAT read!

The story starts off simply, after a tragic accident that took Maddie’s mother’s life five years ago, she’s managed to move past that terrible day. It’s the summer before her brother is off to college, so the family has planned a great weeklong camping trip with their family and friends. Everything is off to a great start. They have a super cute guide for the woods, they have horseback riding adventures, telling scary stories around the fire, and a few typical family squabbles, but all is pretty much perfect…until it’s not!

One thing I really liked about this book was how we got to see the campfire stories as their own chapters. They weren’t common stories, at least not to my knowledge, and they were pretty eerie if not out and out scary. There were a total of three stories and it was the last one that was the most chilling. One that led you to wonder if there was more to the story than its teller was letting on.

I’ll admit that the pacing was a tad slower than I had anticipated based on its length. I was thinking that at any moment the scary parts were about to happen, but in reality that turning point didn’t really come about until we were nearly 2/3 into the story. It made the pacing in between those moments a little slower and it might have dragged a bit as other points were being expanded upon. But once we hit that moment, when the first body is finally found, from that moment on, things are just intense!!

The killer begins picking off the campers one by one and you get the feeling that either there’s a true psychopath on the loose—like from one of the stories—or the even scarier thought, the killer is one of them! Cue the dramatic theme music—dun, dun, DUNNNN!

I have to say that Shawn really surprised me with this treacherous twist! I felt like I had totally nailed down the killer and in a way, I did have it, but in true author fashion, Shawn twisted it up even more and the true reveal had me just shocked!! Like I wasn’t even expecting this to happen. I might I have briefly considered it at one point because of its outrageousness, but it was such a fleeting thought that I dismissed it before fully thinking it through! Lol! Those are the moments that really nag at me when it comes to mysteries! That I was so close to getting it, but just dismissed the idea! Lol!

I thought that Maddie was a pretty awesome main character. I liked that she was realistic when it came to a thriller. She’s not the type to scream bloody murder, standing still as the killer rushes at her. She fights to live, she may not be as tough as nails to take the killer on, but she’s no whimpering damsel either. She’s very real in that sense.

The ending to this one, as I said, totally blew me away! I love when an author can do that to me. Though I will admit, I was still a little puzzle behind the killer’s motives for everything. But in the long run, I guess crazy doesn’t need a motive. I mean, I understood the reasons that were being tossed about, but how does one get to that point of insanity without the slightest hint? Despite not really seeing the killer for who they (yes, improper usage of a noun to avoid revealing the identity) were all along, I still gotta admit that I liked being taken by surprise like that! Those shocking reveals get me every time and it’s just such a thrill! Lol!

Campfire is the perfect summer read! It’s a creepy little thriller that will keeping you guess long before it’s over! This is definitely one you’ll want to read when you go camping out in the deep, dark woods, far from humanity and the city. It’s going to keep you up in the long, dark nights, that’s for sure! Be sure to pack extra flashlights and enjoy this edgy read that will keep you turning the pages one by one!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

Campfire releases July 17, 2018


1 comment:

  1. I have this one on pre-order- I am so very excited and I saw you reviewed and had to come have a look. I have been anticipating this one for a while. I do love a good thriller or horror in the summer. They are my beach reads. Well anytime reads really.

    I am so happy to hear that the heroine is a kick butt kind of girl and not a damsel in distress. great review.


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