Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a horrifying look at a a world dealing with a fungus that turns the host into a walking zombie that is hungry only for flesh. This book centers on a young girl of the age of nine the interesting protagonist makes this zombie like story a great one. The theme is this book is hope and it covers both hope and hopelessness fully. This book manages to be heart-filled and heartbreaking at the same time. This novel gives every character an agenda and watches as the five main characters seek to accomplish that agenda some fail as other prevail. I have not read many books that I consider the ending perfect, but man is this ending perfect, it moves the narrative along nicely and it calls back to the very first scene, making it full circle but a completely different context. About the Author, this is my first novel I’ve read by M. R. Carey, but I have read various graphic novels in his vertigo DC Comic nook series Unwritten and Lucifer. I have also seen most of the Lucifer tv show now on Netflix which M. R. Carey is a creative consultant.

The Plot: Melanie A girl of 9 doesn’t have much of a life after school, because after school she is locked in a cage and under heavy watch, along with her classmates. She doesn’t know the outside world but she wants to. She has one teacher Miss Justineau that seems to understand her and is the teacher’s pet, an incident happens as one comforting gesture patting Melanie on the head, makes the teacher jump back in fear of what she has done. Melanie doesn’t understand and is treated horribly and lock up in restraints by the mean Sargent Parks. In class they learn about a new threat the Hungries which are a vicious new wave of humans that grave flesh. Miss Justineau takes some days to comeback and nothing is the same she keeps here distance making Melanie fell like she did something wrong. Parks keeps treating her as dangerous. Melanie stars noticing her classmates start to disappear one by one. She ask Miss Justineau where they’re gone and the teacher looks scared as Parks comes into class and sends everyone back. Miss Justineau tries to intervene and talk the children’s curious nature. That day Melanie learns everything and it will change her life and the world as Miss Justineau innocently reveals the truth about Melanie and the school’s real purpose.

What I Liked: How much information your giving at the beginning then how fast everything is revealed and you seem the hidden subtext and danger in the words used. The character’s agendas are really great and all different some our counteractive and some work together. I like how the character’s don’t change but the situation does and it changes the view of the character and there motivations. I liked how you could feel the confinement in the descriptions. I liked that we get 5 characters different perspectives. The action was written really well. Perfect ending for this novel.

What I Disliked: The middle slowed down too much, the beginning was full of all this information and subtext then an incident happens which is excited and unexpected, but then it takes the novel in a new direction and slows down a lot. One character seems to accept fate too easily I wanted to see more of the internal struggle a bit more.

Recommendation: This book is really special and very unique. This is my second book about a killer fungus and this one far exceed that one with it’s serious tone. If you like books about a zombie apocalypse, then this is a pretty great one that nails the apocalypse part most of all. If you like shocking mind blowing ending that also fit in to the narrative perfectly. I read this book because of the Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) blurb on the cover “So surprising, so warm and yet so chilling … As fresh as it is terrifying.” I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars, I own both books the Boy on the Bridge and Fellside, which have now jumped up on my TBR because of this book.

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Book Review: Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent

Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent, Has tales of the supernatural, tales of death, tales of suspense, and tales of the dangers of the innovation called flight. The authors of stories in this anthology include Steven King, Roald Dahl, Joe Hill, James Dickey, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Richard Matheson, and others. This book is about fear, now sometimes it is physical fear, but in a couple stories it is the idea of fear. I read everything so my review can have a little more patience than someone just going for horror stories. This book has some true horror stories but it does have a few reaching for straws it it exactly categorizes or not. I enjoyed this book and some of the stories more than others, my favorites are Nightmare at 2o,ooo Feet my Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury’s The Flying Machine, You Are Released by Joe Hill, and Lucifer! by E. C. Tubbs. I ranks all the stories but one that is a page long and more a statement then a story.

5 Star Short Stories:

Nightmare at 20,000 feet by Richard Matheson is a tale I’ve known about for a while it has been adapted 3 times for The Twilight Zone with William Shatner, John Lithgow, and Adam Scott playing the main role. For a story that I know by heart from the episodes, it still managed to surprise, it is still as terrifying today as it was in the 1960’s.

“Lucifer! by E.C. Tubb, is a great little short story about an unscrupulous man stealing a ring that can turn back time for a minute, but what happens when the man is involved in a plane crash is a minute enough time to stop it? I was blown away by this story, very dark.

You Are Released by Joe Hill A story about what happens in the passenger plane when nuclear war starts. A great story that jumps back and forth between passengers and the cabin, each dealing with their fates the way they know how. The best is we see through the eyes of a young girl that doesn’t know the world is changing and the adults our acting so strangely.

The Flying Machine by Ray Bradbury – Man could he write. The flying Machine is a fable about the danger of innovation of flight. The story takes place in 400 A.D. China with the emperor seeing a villager create a flying machine while standing on the Great Wall. This story is expertly told in a perfect 1500 word story. This really makes me want to read some Bradbury short stories.

Diablitos by Cody Goodfellow – Ryan Rayburn III is a smuggler of rare art, and he has got a mask of a lost tribe, this mask has a curse, one you won’t believe. I really liked this story it is one of the more modern in the book so far, the description make your skin crawl and the horror is real, it is ends with the perfect saying and has a nice little twist.

4 Star Short Stories:

The Horror of the Heights By Arthur Conan Doyle the ending saves this one and I do have to take into the account of when it was written, ten years after the wright brother’s first flight, where for most people Plane travel was just a myth, this would be terrifying that it’s style is a lost journal. I rated this story 4 out of 5, if not for the ending it would have been three.

Murder in the Air by Peter Tremayne The kind of Story Agatha Christie would have written if flight would have been recreational during her time. This is a fun mystery where a corpse is found in a locked bathroom by an apparent gunshot in mid-flight and a doctor and a criminologist are passengers who solve the crime.

The Turbulence Expert and Intro by Stephen King The intro to this short story collection is better than the actual story in the book, but it let’s the reader get a good glimpse into the story as King relates his real bout with turbulence ten we get his story soon after seeing the bits of real life that went with it.

Cargo by E. Michael Lewis is a story that was written in 1978 and very topical at the time dealing with a Loadmaster that has to load cargo in bodies of children after the Jonestown mass suicide, and starts hearing playing mid-flight.

Three Star Short Stories:

The Fifth Category by Tom Bissell is about John former member of the CIA that helped write the memo on what qualifies as torture during times of war. He has been exposed and tried for war crimes in Germany and others. He gets invited to Estonia to give a lecture, he agrees getting tired of not defending himself. On the way home things don’t go as plan as he wakes up to an empty plane, or so he thinks. The story is good just really didn’t like the way it was written, by jumping around.

Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds By Dan Simmons is a tale about Roger Colvin a plane Safety Engineer who happens to have a fear of flying, He knows if something goes wrong on the plane it will take two minutes forty-five seconds to reach the ground. I liked the ending saw what Simmons was trying to do with the story, but too much engineer jargon ruined the story for me.

Warbirds by David J. Schow – This story has a lot of heart, I liked the ending but for a short story there is way too many characters, and no descriptions, it’s war so there’s some distinction but not much in war jargon. It’s about a war hero Sargent still haunted by shades of war that left him broken.

Zombies on the Plane by Ben Vincent is about a group of survivors trying to escape a zombie apocalypse by plane. The story is told okay but I was more interested in the further adventures of group dealing with someone turning on a plane. but the story is about the escape to the plane, which I found just okay.

They Shall Not Grow Old by Roald Dahl is about a World War II pilot goes missing on a scouting mission, he returns 3 days later think it was only 2 hours later, he remembers what he saw when in battle. The overall story is great but it drags and ends up explaining different clouds for two pages. I liked the ending but the middle took too long to get there.

Two Star Short Stories:

Air Raid by John Varley too much was going on in this short story to truly enjoy. I think it was about people from the future saving people who died from known plane disasters, to populate the new world, I think? The descriptions aren’t clear enough, and throw time travel into it and it was just a mess.

Falling by James Dickey this is a poem based on a real flight attendant getting sucked out of an airplane. A few mad me think about the real incident. I’m not really a poem person, there was no rhyme it was more a free verse poem.

Recommendations: If you are like me and appreciate all stories not just scary then this well rounded collection of short stories is for you. There are a couple of classics in here that I would recommend. I rated 5 out of 17, 5 stars and 4 out of 17, 4 stars. the book will take some out of there comfort zone and I think that is a great thing. I rated Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Jim Henson: The Biography by Brain Jay Jones

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones, This book paints a picture of a hardworking puppeteer, director. writer, composer, and creator. I loved this book, I’m a huge fan of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle rock, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal. This book really drives home Henson’s character, insane work ethic, and his visionary ideas. The book is a almost 500 pages (almost 600 pages with the citations) and when I finished I still wanted more. Some of the stories I had got pieces of from other books that I’ve already read about the making of Sesame Street and the behind the scenes look at SNL in the early years, but this book expanded on some of those. This is my second biography by Brain Jay Jones the other one was about George Lucas, I liked the Jim Henson book more, some of the stories overlap when talking about Jim creating Yoda the puppet for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, and having puppeteer/director Frank Oz eventually do the voice for the character.

What I found Interesting in the book: Henson never wanted to be a puppeteer and it was just a way for him to be on TV and always saw himself being a set decorator, until he went to Europe and got to truly see puppeteering as an art form. His work ethic was incredible, I felt exhausted reading about how often he bounced around from one place to another. When he signed the Muppets over to Disney he was working on rides and a cafe where muppets actually serve the food, but he passed away before he could finish the cafe is still there but it is just a cafe. He died when I was ten and I was deeply hurt even then I knew it was to soon and when you read the detailed timeline of those final days it’s so tense and you almost want to shout through the book to get that man to the hospital. I would have loved to have seen what that man still had in store for us, and am grateful that his legacy still lives on through his creature shop and his children Brian and Lisa.

What I Liked: The greatness in the book is the research put into it and the fact that the author got to see documents that were only seen my family and close friends. The pictures some haven’t been seed before and were in Henson’s private collection. The stories from the sets and all the guest Stars of the muppet show that tell a story or two. The whole story of how the Rainbow Connection came about was so special.

What I Disliked: it’s narrative structure than anything else, it is sometime difficult to get through, especially the first chapter as it will talk about someone then give you the backstory, it was difficult to keep track of who is who. also through out the book it will oddly foreshadow the future of a person, so when you get to the part in the book it feels a little like a repeat of information.

Recommendations: This book is awesome for a casual fan to a total fanboy, you will love this book. This is book is a love letter to dreamers that anything is possible if you believe. I rated Jim Henson: The Biography 5 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: September 2019 Book Reviews

Hello all, only 3 months left in the year, this whole year is flying by.  I read 5 books this month, one book (Dark Age) took me half the month to finish but it was so good.  I had two five star ratings which I haven’t done too often, I read two ARC’s from Netgalley.  I continued my retro read by read book five of the classic Goosebumps Series.  I had a record number of comments this month thank you so much, I do read them all.  Wrap ups are my favorite I can’t wait to check what everyone in the wordpress world is reading.  Happy reading everyone, October is next month I’ve saved so great horror for next month.

5 Star Reviews:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This follow up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo another 5 star review from me.  Daisy Jones and the Six follows two rock groups rise The Six a good rock group that’s not great, and Daisy Jones the solo artist, with a soulful voice, that wants to write her own material but does not have the clout. They come together when Billy the lead singer writes a duet and needs a female singer, he never planned on her joining the band and that’s what happens as we get to read about how the group only put out one record. It’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll as we watch and listen to the rise and fall of Daisy Jones and the Six.

Dark Age by Pierce Brown – This is book five in the Red Rising Series, and manis it good there is so much going on plot wise, it’s filled with old scores and new scores. There’s lots of twist and turns.  This is Pierce Brown’s return to form, I was not a fan of Iron Gold rating it 3 out of 5 stars, but man did this book deliver on action and suspense. I recommend reading the series from the start since Brown does not do recaps.

4 Star Reviews:

Violet by Scott Thomas – This was a great slow burn horror, where the setting and descriptions put you on edge early.  This is a story about a forgotten imaginary friend that haunts the woman who was dealing with the loss of her mother at a remote lake house when created to return twenty years later with her daughter after the death of her husband.  Violet has one of the better climax’s for a horror novel. I received a free Advanced readers copy from Inkshares publishing and Netgalley.

Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by R. L. Stine – This story had a fun take on the old mummy creature, and a lot of facts how the real mummy’s are made. I fear closed in spaces and this story really got to me once it gets going it doesn’t stop.  I thought the twist was pretty good. This spooky story moved into the second spot on my rankings of the first 5 goosebumps books in order so far.

2 Star Review

Cold Storage by David Koepp – This is Koepp’s first novel he’s known for being a screenwriter of Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, and Spiderman.  The novel’s bad guy is a killer fungus, if you read the novel as a B- Movie with gross visuals and bad dialogue you will have more fun with it.  It had some nice moments but the story was told very clunky.

 

 

Book Review: Violet by Scott Thomas

Violet by Scott Thomas is a dark, creepy, and haunting tale of horror about despair and loss. The story is a slow burn with an exciting climax, and a meaningful epilogue that puts a nice bow on the story. This story is not exactly gothic but it feels very influenced by that horror genre. The story moves a bit slow but once it gets going and all is revealed this story finds it’s flow. This novel has about twenty songs mentioned in it I was pretty familiar with most of them, I approve of Thomas’s character’s musical taste. I would recommend the reader to listen to The Beatles “Blackbird” since it is featured and lyrics heavily used in the story. Thanks to Inkshares Publishing and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of Violet by Scott Thomas in exchange for a honest review. Violet By Scott Thomas Published on September 24 2019.

Plot: Kris after dealing with death of her husband decides to take her daughter Sadie to an old Lake house that her family has owned. The lake house has significance that this is the place where Kris’s mother passed away and she remember’s being happy her and getting over her death. When Kris and her daughter get to the house she is shocked to find it rundown since her father gave it to a realtor to take care or and rent. Sadie is shocked when the realtor explains her father’s last words were let the place rot, the realtor tries to persuade her to take another rental, but Kris is determined and wants to fix the place up with her daughter. Sadie deals with the death of her father by barely speaking. Kris see’s Sadie start to actually have fun again. Kris starts remembering her time here and it was not as happy as she remembers. When Sadie develops a imaginary friend it’s fun and it reminds her of the one she had when she was here. Sadie’s imaginary friend is very secretive, Sadie’s not supposed to tell her name but when he accidentally reveals the name it was the same of when Kris was a little girl, Violet.

What I Liked: The atmosphere created at the lake house and the town, having just read IT by Stephen King, and it reminded me of the under the surface creepiness that is just under the surface.  The cover for this book is so awesome, and fits with the story.  The songs worked well showing the joy the lake house could bring. The mystery of the the town and what is really going on with the Violet situation was really compelling, and I liked the outcome. The climax was really exciting and had me doubt how it was going to end, I saw one part of the ending coming but didn’t think the novel was going there, and it did and I was pretty satisfied. The epilogue actually has meaning and is used really well, we’ve all read those books where the epilogue doesn’t serve a purpose, and it is nice when it does it nicely and really puts a bow on the story. I loved the character of Hitch the book store owner. I loved the hardware scene when Kris puts the hardware shop worker in place that keeps asking about her husband.

What I Disliked: At times the book was way too descriptive it has a paragraph dedicated to brushing teeth and the technique used as well as how condiments are put on a hot dog. (note: I did read an advanced reading copy, hopefully it was changed in the final version) The descriptions work when going into specific details about the house and certain items, but not on everyday task, which there was a couple of pages worth. The passing of the beginning was to slow, the novel is a slow build but it takes over a hundred pages for something to really happen.

Recommendations: I really enjoyed this book, despite the slow start, this is a really good horror novel that sets the creepy tone early. If you like Gothic horror I would give this a try, because it’s close and the pacing is mainly that slow build. This novel also has a mystery that I really enjoyed, so if you like mysteries this could be a god way to get into horror. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. This is my first Scott Thomas I have Kill Creek on my TBR and I’ve heard good things, and it is a faster paced book in compared to Violet.

Book Review: Cold Storage by David Koepp

Cold Storage by David Koepp is the first novel from a well established screenwriter, some of my favorites are all adaptations of novels and comic books like Jurassic Park, Spiderman, and Carlito’s Way. Cold Storage is a story that is all David Koepp. It kind of a serial killer piece where the killer was apprehended and thrown in a dark hole to be forgotten, but this serial killer is crafty and has been plotting their escape the whole time, and thanks to flaws to in the system it escapes, but the killer isn’t a person but a fungus. This book is about a killer fungus. Since he famously adapted Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park I can see a lot of attempts to mirror Crichton’s style, but where Crichton can explain the science so everyone can understand Koepp struggles with it. This book made some interesting choices in terms of choices and flashbacks. I started liking it more when I gave into the premise and viewed it as a SyFy original movie. I was given the advanced copy thanks to Harpercollins Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Cold Storage publishes on September 3rd 2019.

The Plot: In 1987 a super secret task force that investigates biological terror and threats is sent to a remote Australian village. Roberto and Trini of the task force meet doctor Hero to investigate the village. They find every member of the village of the dead on the roof tops with their chest burst out and a green fungal mold around them. The source seems to be part of a fuselage from a Skylab explosion in space. They save a a sample of the fungus and attempt to photograph it as the fungus jumps to the camera, and begins attacking them trying to find a host, the quickly find out the host goes to the highest point available for mass spreading. The whole village is determined a risk and is bombed and burned. The sample is frozen and kept in a deep dark hole where the temperature will remain at freezing. But thanks to global warming and the increase of temperature in Earth’s core in present day the fungus is going to escape. The government has long abandoned the storage facility in Kanas, but a regular storage units were built on top of it. Teacake a lovable loser works at the storage unit as security, and he finds out there is a lot he didn’t know about what is stored there.

What I Liked: The opening is a little clunky in terms of flow and information, but there is some nice surprising action and character work. I did like the character of Roberto his chapter’s always went by fast. I like that the fungus continues to evolve and get smarter. The character of Murphy’s job is you’re supposed to hate him and he did in spades. There’s a good twist at the end that really went with Roberto and how he feels about the fungus and it’s irradiation, that I really liked. I liked the fungus infected animals there were pretty terrifying.

What I Disliked: The character of Teacake he was annoying and stereotypical. The pace was really disjointed through out, there would be good momentum then the story would go off in a tangent. The flashbacks rarely served the story, so I found most of them distracting. Character’s dialogue was really generic, and had hardly any weight to it. The story was too simple would have served better a novella. Roberto was my favorite character but it takes him forever to get to the storage unit and into the action.

Recommendations: I would recommend this to people who like SyFy movies like Sharknado that are kind of tongue in cheek. I don’t know if the novel was going for this initially but if it would have embraced it, it could have been better. If you want a good science fiction I would recommend you picking up a Crichton novel. I gave this novel 2 out of 5 stars, it’s close to the 2.5 mark.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is amazing tour de force that put you the reader in the band, you will get the high and lows, the nitty and gritty, and sights and smells. This books is an immersive experience where you get to know the the artist inside and out. You ‘ll infer the all the songs off the Aurora album and understand the true meaning and inspiration from the words. The style is told as an interview where you get snippets of people recounting the events, some people are more forthcoming with information than others, and rumors and speculation are all apart of the story. This is my second novel I read from Taylor Jenkins Reid, my first being The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I’m awed by her storytelling ability and the way she can draw me into her characters lives and make me care. I love when a hype book is this good the early reviews were amazing and glad that it like Evelyn Hugo has lived up to the hype. I felt the story was heavily influenced by the band Fleetwood Mac, in how they were a band before Linsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined. I can definitely see Stevie in the character of Daisy Jones.

Favorite Quote: We only look like young stars, Because you can’t see old scars. From the song Young Stars

The Plot: Daisy Jones is a girl that lives in the moment, she comes from a rich family, that sort of ignores her, but everyone else she meets seems to be captivated by her. She falls in love with the LA’s Sunset Strip during the late 60’s into the early 70’s as she flirts with drugs, musicians, and singing herself. Brothers Billy and Graham Dunne are upcoming musicians driven to rise to the top of the charts. Billy is a control freak when it comes to his music with and addictive personality. He and his brother create The Six a band with six members and “six” kind of sounds like “sex”. Daisy Jones ends up earning a record contract but is heartbroken when they only want her to record covers and songs she didn’t write. Both their first albums do well the Six do better than Daisy’s. Billy wrote a ballad for the woman he loves among no other. He knows he needs a singer for the duet and the producer of their album also produced Daisy’s and wants her on the track is it kismet or a beautiful disaster for Daisy Jones and the Six?

What I Liked: How hard hitting the drugs and addiction was used in the book to tell a story, the drugs were used to both glamorize and show the destructive nature of addiction and what it does to the body and mind. I love the real places and items that went to the nostalgia of it all that everything fit i to the time line. The character of Warren the drummer as the comic relief, his delivery and just roll with it attitude was great and refreshing. I love hated the character of Daisy Jones, I love how real she felt but some of her choices when it came to addiction. I love the way the story was told as a fictional biography of the band. The story is great and really compelling, there’s even a great twist thrown in. The songs and lyrics are well thought out and fit the overall narrative so well. I could feel the venerability of the characters like in Evelyn Hugo. She still has an LGTBG character not as prominent as Evelyn Hugo but still there and representing.

What I Disliked: The full songs are at the very end of the novel, but I would have liked them to be more ingrained in the story, I felt at least Aurora we should have seen the some in the narrative. I was bummed that the song Honeysuckle was not a song featured in it’s entirety at the end. I understand that the main focus was on the Aurora album, but it would have been nice since it was the fist song together.

Recommendations: This book is fantastic, the flow is amazing, you can read this in one day, it moves really fast. There’s strong drug use as far as content warning, but is shows both side the glamour and the addiction, I believe it show more of the horrors of drug than the fun. If you liked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo then you will love this book. Instead of acting the main focus is music. I think I liked Evelyn Hugo just a hair better than this one but both books are in my favorites categories. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. That’s two five star releases in a row from Taylor Jenkins Reid for me I look forward to here next.

Book Review: Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by R. L. Stine

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by R. L. Stine is book 5 in the original Goosebumps series. This book played on one of my main fears being trapped in a dark confined spaces. This novel starts a little slow, but the second half is really good and focused. This book has amped up the danger than previous Goosebumps books, with possible dangers being kidnapped, boiled alive, stung by a deadly scorpion’s sting, and of course being mummified. This book is backed up by the real life scenario of traveling abroad in a different country not understanding all the language and customs, and staying with a relative and your cousin you don’t know that well. This is the first time in the Goosebumps series where the setting takes in a another country other than America, this time in Egypt. This book describes in detail the mummification process, I was a little shocked how far it went especially explaining what they did with the brain and how they got it out. This story is one of those rare stories that was not adapted in to the Goosebumps TV show, they went with the Return of the Mummy instead.

Plot: Gabe goes a family business trip/vacation to Egypt. His Uncle Ben is a Egyptologist that is working on excavating mummified remains from Khala’s pyramid. Gabe’s parents have business Alexandria, but Gabe wanting to see the inside of the pyramid begs his parents to stay with his Uncle Ben and his annoying daughter Sari who is the same age as Gabe. They agree and soon Gabe finds himself climbing down inside of the dark pyramid. Uncle Ben explains that there are 1000 different tunnels some not yet explored, so please stick with him. Uncle Ben gets busy with work as Sari wants to explore, she teases Gabe until he relents and joins her. Sari has a prank in mind that involves her hiding in a mummy’s tomb, The prank seems innocent enough but someone or something does not appreciate the disturbance.

What I Liked: The real knowledge and information about mummification is sprinkled through out. The twist endings to Goosebumps are kind of hit and miss but I really loved this one. The jump scares are used really well. The descriptions of the closed in space work really well, and reminded me of my childhood fears. The pranks are funny and add little scares. I like the character of Uncle Ben, my favorite adult character of the series so far. The second half of this novel is great on flow and suspense.

What I Disliked: Slow start to this novel really killed the momentum. The mummy’s hand should have been sold to Gabe in Egypt at the beginning, really kills the believability, yes I do know this is a Goosebumps book but that is too big a leap on plausibility for the outcome to happen at the end of the book. Sari was pretty annoying and really never grew on me.

Recommendations: This is a pretty solid Goosebumps book, so far it’s now my second favorite behind Stay out of the Basement. If your kids are fascinated by mummies then this is the book for them, it blends little touches of horror with real facts. Small warning on a scene where Gabe tries to gross out Sari he does explain the whole mummification process which might be too gross for smaller kids. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. The order from best to worst Goosebumps books so far is Stay out of the Basement, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Welcome to Dead House and Monster Blood. I will continue to ready the series in order and give it to my nephews when finished.

Book Review: Dark Age by Pierce Brown

Dark Age by Pierce Brown is epic on every level, this is a novel of loss, sacrifice, redemption, heart break, political moves, and tyranny. This is book five of the Red Rising Saga. This book was so welcomed by me, because I thought that book four Iron Gold was the weakest in the series. This book follows the same format from Iron Gold, where it gives the same five character perspectives Darrow, Lyria, Ephraim, Virginia, and Lysander. This worked a lot better this time around it didn’t feel like all the characters were setting up something for the next novel, there’s a only one that didn’t feel complete, and was a set up story. This novel wrapped up all the stories from the cliff hanger of Iron Gold, and managed to go into new territory and create new problems as the stories moved forward. This book does a great job of showing two characters difference towards the same goal, as a reader they kept making good points and then screwing up there own ideas to beat one another, it was such good character work and plotting. The twist and turns are so good it reminded me of the midway turn in the original Red Rising and the end turn in Golden Son. There’s a lot of character’s too keep up with which was a little daunting since it had been over a year since reading Iron Gold, and two years since reading the original trilogy. This book brings back some characters that you might have forgot about in the original trilogy that you might have forgotten. One character I thought would have made it to Iron Gold but when they do appear it is well worth the wait and the shock value that they’re capable.

The Plot: Darrow has gone to fight a war in Mercury to free more colors from slavery, he had to sacrifice not finding his son Pax in the process. His Wife Virginia the Sovereign has kept the kidnapping under wraps to not alert anyone and for people who want her power to say she’s compromised. She with Servo, who’s daughter was also taken help track who took the kids. Virginia also is trying to gather support for her husband n the unsanctioned war on Mercury he started. Lryia is being tortured by a pregnant Victra, who is Servo’s wife, She does not know she was a pasty and was manipulated by Ephraim. Ephraim downed his ship on purpose with the two kidnapped kids, when he realized who’s hands they were going to and there intentions, but where he downed the ship there people who see a big opportunity to use the kids as a bargaining chip to gain power. Lysander convinced what’s left of the Raa family to make Darrow pay for his huge betrayal and lie in the book Morning Star. He meets with a members of his family to take Darrow down on Mercury. He’s finding out the people remember that he is rightful heir to sovereign.

What I Liked: This is edge of your seat story telling at it’s best. There’s so many twist and turns one person will have an advantage one moment then switch, then find out there was a puppet master in the shadows. The character’s arc in all stories evolve and come full circle. Secrets are revealed that were hinted at in past books making it really rewarding for having read the first 4 books in the series. Every character has an agenda and it’s constantly shaping but it all makes sense. The flow of this book is amazing it does let you catch your breath after a big reveal but not too long because another one is coming soon. The character’s big and side character’s all sound different and easy to separate from one another. A great ending not a cliffhanger like the last one but you know where most characters are headed, and it going to be bloody.

What I Disliked: This is a broken record comment, but with so many character’s if there was some synopsis for the character’s, it would be great, thank goodness for the internet, so I could look up the character’s to know their history in the series, the book usually gets there, and gives a background eventually. Lyria story is still the weakest story but is way better than in Iron Gold.

Recommendations: I totally recommend this series with a little warning about content, this is a brutal story where people are ripped apart, swearing, sex, rape is threatened, radiation rots the people form inside out, and urination on a vanquished foe is par for the course. This is book is rated Young Adult but could really be adult. That being said I’m an adult that loves Game of Thrones and stories where no one is safe and a brutal world. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. my ranking of the series from top to bottom is Red Rising, Dark Age, Golden Son, Morning Star, and Iron Gold.

Wrap Up: August 2019 Book Reviews

Another month come and gone, this was a good month for challenging reads in Stephen King’s IT I challenged myself to read a 1376 page book and Black Leopard, Red Wolf was just Challenging in meaning and verse.  I read five books this month one 5 star and four 4 stars.  This month was very special for me by reaching over 500 followers this month, thank you, thank you.

Five Star Reviews:

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: This book was wonderful from start to finish, it you saw the trailer for the movie it looks like a romantic comedy, there’s maybe 10% of that in the book, but the rest is about life, love, tragedy, and family all told through the eyes of Enzo the dog.

Four Star Reviews:

IT by Stephen King: This book is a behemoth at 1376 pages.  It did take me 15 days to read this epic story of childhood fears and coming of age. I read this in anticipation for It: Chapter Two coming out on September 6 2019. It was really rewarding, all the emotions this book takes you through.

The Passengers by John Marrs: I read The Passengers thanks to Netgalley and Berkley publishing letting me read the ARC before the American release on August 27th.  This is a book in the near future where fully functioning autonomous vehicles rule the road,  But when a hacktivist controls 8 cars telling them they’re going to die as their fate is judged on the car company’s board. A really great Science Fiction novel that feels like an episode of Black Mirror.

Say Cheese and Die by R. L. Stine: This is my retro review as I read book three in the Goosebumps book series, this story ranks 2nd place so far in the series.  Where a camera is either making bad things happen or predicting it when it takes a photo.

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James: A fantasy that uses African folk lore as the background. This was a challenging book with a really great story.  We follow Tracker as he joins a fellowship to bring a missing child back, but this is no ordinary child as is the creature who takes him. A brutal story with lots of twist and turns, this is the first book in a proposed three book trilogy.