Monday, October 23, 2017

BlisterBlister by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wonder if I'm a rare one to consider this a rather sweet, if twisted, romance novel. I mean, sure, some elements are demented like a horror novel... but for the most part, it reads like any other boy meets girl story. :)

I mean, sure, the girl has a flaw or two, but being horribly disfigured shouldn't really count as a huge flaw. We all have our faults. :)

Here's the interesting part: I actually liked the whole vibe of practically every single character not being particularly good at their jobs or lives. It was charming and a bit funny. Old papa failed at being a complete redneck, the Sherrif absolutely failed at being good at upholding the law, the cartoonist never had a good hold on understanding people or himself, and don't even let me get started on the bad guys. Totally incompetent! It was fun as hell.

So, far from being scary, as you might expect from a cover like this, we've got a very dark romantic comedy from the start, when the cartoonist scares off a bunch of asshole kids with a fake chainsaw and the kid breaks his arm trying to get away, to the end where it feels like everyone is going to let everything slide no matter how horrific it gets.

And then the very end happens.

And I'm like... WTF?

Uncool, man. Uncool.

I mean, sure, the end message was kinda or very romance-y ... in a way ... but still!!! WTF! I totally expected the other trend to continue, not get blindsided like that.

For amusement, I was going to give this a full five stars, but for that end, I'm knocking off one and I'm frowning furiously. ; ;

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lottery and Other StoriesThe Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirly Jackson stories is this: the subtlety.

It's not over the top horror in any shape or fashion. Rather, it's regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly. The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it's only a tiny little thing that's changed.

A dog caught killing chickens. *shiver* My goodness, that one killed me. Dead.

Some, like the Witch, was totally awesome and people of my generation would have just found it great fun, but I can see why the mommy freaked the hell out. Of course, the little kid was rocking hard to it and why wouldn't he?

I loved the Tooth. It was damn surreal and I was thinking along the lines of all the similar kinds of tales and novels to come after it. Body-hopping tales, indeed. :)

But more than that, I was really impressed and fascinated at the look into '40's racism, subtle or not, how badly women were treated and how badly they treated each other, and the general miasma of inhumanity everywhere.

Some tales were all about the unspoken silence that surrounded mental illness and the insane pressure to keep a lid on it and remain "normal". Things like this may not be completely horror as the genre but the tension was definitely all horror.

Shirly Jackson's stories were absolutely macabre, quite brilliant, and completely understated. It's all about looking through the darkened mirror, seeing our normal lives, living them, and then seeing just how horrible we really are. :)

Great stuff!

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Montauk MonsterThe Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Creature Feature! B-Movie Madness! Evil bloated hairless raccoons who don't sound like Bradley Cooper!

What's not to love? It's chaos! Start out with a sleepy tourist town like the one in Jaws, throw in a large cast of characters including toss away potheads, add conspiracy theories, disease, sharp claws, and no cybernetic implants, and we've got some delicious treats falling into our couch, only to be found the next time we do a thorough cleaning. :)

This here is the closest Hunter Shea novel to his Jersey Devil that I've read! There's nothing like getting to know and enjoy a wide cast of characters who you just know are going to get torn apart or burst from within later on in the novel. Then we can have this little guessing game that goes a little like this:

Who's gonna survive this nightmare? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

I like the Deep Blue Sea effect, too. :)

So fun. So light. So damn bloody. :) Total trash.

(But I love it so.)

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Wolf HuntWolf Hunt by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gotta love me some horror/humor!

I can totally see myself watching this as a low-budget horror! Two thugs, a hapless girl, and a truly monstrous werewolf. Make it a road trip. Add tons of cool quips and sassy dialogue and make sure everything that can go wrong, does.

Simple? Hell yeah. Trashy? Hell yeah. But I should point out that it's also funny as hell and when it gets bloody, it's just as delicious. I can't believe that Ivan the Werewolf can be so damn evil! Like, utterly nasty. Such a relief from Team Jacob. (Of which there was a reference.) :)


Why haven't I ever read Strand before? It takes a certain kind of genius to write B-Movie madness so well off the screen. This novel zipped by real quick, dirty, and fun. :) Total mindcandy. I mean, what else can you expect when you throw two idiot bounty hunters at a werewolf? They're completely unprepared!

Time to claw out some eyeballs for fun! :) Truly delightful. :)

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1)Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seven years after the fateful voyage of a doomed mockumentary hunting for signs of life in the deep, the fateful Mermaids, a truly scientific voyage is finally put together. The quest? To put the horrible rumors and/or the innuendo to rest. Or, as a few would prefer, to come back with proof positive that:

Mermaids are REAL.

Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire, has done it again. She's got this great talent at weaving horror into science fiction and bringing it right back into the horror foreground, and what's more, she's made it into an epic Mermurder tale.

Mermurder. Mermaider. Mermurder. I love the sound of it. Mermaider

To be fair, though, this is more of a science fiction tale than anything else. Grant goes through all the great stuff associated with marine biology, specialty forensic science, and all the red-tape that might be associated with such a venture into the dark deeps over the main Trench. She even gets into sign language in a big way and it was delightful because of another great story that she had written, unrelated to Mermaider. :)

Eventually, it becomes survival horror, but all the way through, it's fun as hell. Great science, great character development, and then... bloodshed. More bloodshed. Even more bloodshed.

I'm so happy I got this from Netgalley in October. It's so perfect. *evil laugh* *more evil laugh* *even more evil laugh*

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3)End of Watch by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it looks like SK has gone back to his roots in this one, and far from complaining, I had a great time.

Mind you, it wasn't the plot or the supernatural element that I loved, although the development and the execution were interesting, very Shocker-like.

Instead, I liked the characters. If you don't like the characters, you won't like these books. Bill, the Ret-Det, and Holly, his Lisbeth Salander partner make up the bulk of this one, making a full circle back to the first book and firmly casting these as a solid and non-continuing series, not only continuing the story of the Mercedes Killer but following Bill to his natural end.

BUT, lest this review devolve into a "I like it, damnit," gonzo thing, I should bring up that it does some really solid justice to a really big issue.


Oddly enough, what felt like a cliche in the first book turned into something a lot more complicated and terrifying in the third. Let's take it supernatural. Let's make it a bit sick. This is King, after all. :)

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If anything, the second book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy is better, but not because Bill doesn't show up until much later in the tale. Indeed, I loved it because the characters were extremely vivid and interesting and more than practically any other King novel, I felt the avalanche of events pile up beautifully.

It's like Misery in that we've got obsessions gone really awry, but it goes a bit further, not limiting us to a closed bedroom, but over thirty-five years, several kinds of obsessed fans, and a Salinger-type writer who's killed for the value of his hidden writings.

It's pretty awesome. King has a way of getting deep into the heads and reasons of the baddies and the innocent, alike. Morris isn't as bad as some of King's characters, but he's enough like us book nerds that the sympathy magic works some wonders. Of course, I simply like Pete. He drives the emotion in the tale, and Bill and crew come to save the day, somehow. :)

It's a great tale and it moves really well. :) There's very little of the cliche stuff here. Instead, just a great story.

Oh, and now there's just a tiny, tiny hint of supernatural. I laughed.

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