Book Review: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse


Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophesy? do you believe so much in the prophesy you will do anything to stop it? Will you set up your own candidate for murder but look like it is suicide to take over? will you make a suicide look like murder to stop a war? These are all questions asked in this deeply engrossing novel. The novel features the first pansexual character that I’ve read it is a very friendly LGTBQ story. There are four revolving narrative each with its own agenda and unique backstory. A really great climax, I wanted more story closure at the but it is clear that Black Sun is the first book in Between Earth and Sky trilogy so it ends on a cliffhanger. I have known about Rebecca Roanhorse for a while, I have seen great reviews for Trial of Lightning, and bought it on a kindle deal, after Black sun that book will be jumping up my TBR. I thanks to Netgalley and Gallery books for an advanced reader copy. Black Sun was published on October 13 2020.

Plot: Serapio is blinded and carved when he is a teenager during the Black Sun, in twenty years when the next Black Sun comes he will be a God. Serapio has started gaining the ability to see and talk with crows, and he can also release a deadly shadow. Xiala, is jailed former captain, and also a Teek, whose song can calm the waters and people around her. She gets the deal of a lifetime, a ship, bailed out of jail, and a mission taking the mysterious Serapio to Tove to become Crow God. We meet the Sun Priest Nara a good leader that has an assassination attempt foiled, but she won’t retaliate, to most people displeasure, that want war and the priest to rule by war. It is prophesied that for Serapio to become Crow God he must kill the Sun Priest. Okoa has recently lost his mother, he is lead to believe at the hands of the Sun Priest, after meeting her he is convinced she was not responsible, but he is inadvertently involved with the assassination plot on Nara. There’s a lot and this is just the start of this twisty novel.

What I Liked: The backstories on everyone are really well done and reveal so much. This novel has 3 scenes of action that are super intense. The character’s are great it took me a little while to get on Nara’s side but I liked the others pretty instantly. The powers of Serapio and Xiala are really cool and keep evolving. The world building was done really well, it reminded me a lot of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, where it starts small and expands so naturally, also it reminds me of Scythe of how politics and religion work together. The visuals the words paint were easy to picture. The ship mutiny scene was so great, and everything leading up to it. I think pansexuals will be happy with Xiala’s portrayal. Serapio is like a blind Bran from Game of Thrones that actually does cool things with his power.

What I Disliked: I do wish that the ending had the closure of the story and not leave it so open ended. The Xe and Xir was really confusing to figure out. sometime it was capitalized sometimes not (I did receive an uncorrected proof, so hopefully this is made a bit clearer in the final version).

Recommendations: Black Sun is a very good piece of writing that I can’t wait to read the next book. The world building is new and fresh. If you liked Scythe like I liked that story I think they are very similar in the way the stories are told, but very different stories. This is a good little fantasy that is fun with a great story, that has a lot more to tell. I rated Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is book 14 in the Original Goosebumps series. What is scary in this book is the setting of a Florida swamp called Fever Swamp. The swamp seems way more dangerous than the werewolf that slowly starts killing animals. This book helps if you’ve read other goosebumps books and are looking for the twist to enjoy it because I thought my first guess was just too easy, but that was it. The story thrives on misdirection and it doesn’t work. It is also a story that once you know the twist the story makes no sense, it reveals in the end that the Werewolf knows they are a werewolf and still has thoughts, which will make no sense when the thing or person is revealed to be a werewolf. My pet peeve in twist-telling stories is that they make sense no matter how far they go and it does not.

The Plot: Grady and Emily are siblings that have just moved to Florida and remote place called Fever Swamp. Their are parents scientist looking a swamp deers in in Florida’s Fever Swamp. The siblings explore and soon find out that the swamp can be dangerous, as they get lost, find a bog that will suck you in, and a hermit that chases them. The siblings get a fever and start possibly hallucinating as they here scratches and howling from outside. The fever only last though the night then they feel better by morning. In the morning Grady is attacked by big dog that knocks him down and keeps licking him, the dog is a stray that he wants to keep and calls him wolf, because of his size, he thinks this describes the scratching and the howls. He meets and makes a new friend in Will who wants to explore the swamp together, when they explore the find a heron torn in half. Grady learns of the werewolf and a missing neighbor. At night Wolf freaks out at the howling and tries to break out of the house waking every one up, Wolf gets put out and the family finds animals ripped in half in the morning. Is Wolf the werewolf? Or the crazy hermit? or someone else, he were wolf seems to be targeting Grady’s house.

What I Liked: Wolf the dog, is a little bit rough, but I like what Stine does with him at the end. I loved that the hermit over hears them thinking he’s a werewolf then pranks the kids as he runs after them screaming, “I’m a werewolf!” The Swamp as a character is one of the best things, the elements are against the kids. The snake bite scene was a twist on Lassie and I liked it. The final scene was good were we get to acknowledge that the werewolf still has conscience when a werewolf.

What I Disliked: Once you know who or what the werewolf is, the actions don’t make any sense at all. There is no character motivation of the werewolf. The only motivation is by writer Stine to have you not figure out what is the werewolf.

Recommendation: This is not the worst Goosebumps but it is in the bottom five. If you’re like me on a quest to read them all then you can’t skip any, but this one is a skip for any other reason. Even if you like werewolf fiction the werewolf only shows up in the final pages. I rated The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 14 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and Monster Blood.

Book Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King

If It Bleeds by Stephen King is four novellas in one book, which he has done previously in Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. As King has grown older his main focus has not been primarily horror, and this collection reflects his growth. If It Bleeds is my favorite story and the most horrific, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone reminded me a lot of his Hard Case Crime book Joyland, and how it was set up the first part was all history, but the supernatural comes at the end and well worth the wait, Rat is a story I thought was going to be a little like Secret Window just gone a different way, but it end up being a just okay modern day fable, and Like of Chuck was a story told in reverse and is more whimsical like his novella Elevation, which would have fit well in this collection. If It Bleeds takes 2/5ths of the book, it adds character’s from the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider. The story is really good and the clear stand out in this collection, It is the one I see having the best chance of getting adapted into something. After having read Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight I would say this is the weaker of the three but, there is still enough moments for King’s fans to enjoy.

Plots and Ratings:

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a coming age ghost story. where Craig known for his readings in church is hired my Mr. Harrigan to read to him. Mr. Harrigan is a rich, old and very set in his ways. He and Craig develop a friendship. Craig wins money thanks to Mr. Harrigan and decides to by him one of the first I-phones. At first he rejects it, then shown what he can do it never leaves his side, even in death. I got some chills with this one. Phone calls after death are instantly creepy. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone has stuck with me since it was the first and I changed my initial rating of 4 out of 5 to 5 out of 5 because I kept thinking about it, after the story was done. There’s a little hokeyness but the story and the history really work.

The Life of Chuck is an okay story, the most interesting thing is it is told backwards. I was liking it at first, with the theme we are the center to our own universe. After having recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers I did like some of the discussion the book did bring up, not one of King’s best just okay. I rate The Life of Chuck 2 out of 5. I like the afterward where he talks about how he came up with the story, better than the story.

If It Bleeds is a great story that features Holly Gibney, from the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider, a woman on the hunt for the same changeling creature from the Outsider. This time she finds a news reporter that has changed through out the years and keeps reporting on tragedy that he feeds off. This time he’s not just going to report it but make it happen. This is great story that has some real nail biting tension, and an exciting climax. Also if you want more history on Holly and why she turned to private eye King adds a nice history. I rated If It Bleeds 5 out of 5 stars. My favorite story out of the bunch.

Rat is horror story about writers block and the length writers will go to break it. Will you make a Faustian deal for your success if it meant some one you know would die. This story is a modern day fable that is pretty interesting in the way it describes the madness of writer’s block. The story is very relatable in that aspect, but the story goes i a direction that was just okay. I rated Rat 3 out of 5

What I Liked: I liked that we got a mix of genres, and some combined. I have been a fan of Stephen kings for some time it has been fun to grow with him. I liked how the supernatural element in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone stuck with me, days after I read it. I loved that If It Bleeds gave a big glimpse of Holly’s home life, and added on the legacy of the Outsiders of Changeling. Rat is only a story Stephen King can write a horror story about writer’s block, I do which it would have explored this more, I was heavily invested when it stuck with this element.

What I Disliked: The Life of Chuck had potential I liked the first act, I wish it would have went more supernatural. For Rat I really liked the writer’s block horror, when it got to the rat, the story took I left turn that was just okay.

Recommendations: Two out of four of the stories over delivered, If It Bleeds and Mr. Harrigan’s Phone will make you feel tension and creepiness of the stories. Rat is probably King’s most personal you can feel the desperation in an author can’t get past his own writing. I rated the novel If It Bleeds 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: September 2020 Book Reviews

Hello fellow readers. September was a good month for reading.  I read 8 books in September.  I read 1 graphic novel, 6 books in a series, 2 advanced readers copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I was able to complete two series this month The Stalking Jack the Ripper series with contained four books and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us that contained 11 graphic novels.  My goal this year was to finish up some series this year, I have wrapped up 5 series so far. I made a TBR for this month and read every book on it giving me more confidence for the month of October.

Five Stars Reviews:

Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. s pretty scary for a Goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy!

Four Star Reviews:

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is released to the public on September 8th 2020 Thanks Netgalley for the early read.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.  The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in an action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. Currently reading the sequel Harrow the Ninth

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it. My Dark Vanessa is a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up; despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished This book was ARC thanks to netgalley  and came out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series.   This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score.

Three Star Reviews:

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start.

Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. This is my latest review.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine

Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine is pretty scary for a goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. This book is number 13 in the original goosebumps series. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy, and only one that R.L. Stine could come up with. I remembered this episode from the TV show and I usually say the TV show was better, but this story is pretty good, and it let my mind go to some scary places. I liked this book better than the TV episode.

The Plot: Jerry or Jerome is 12 and just moved to a new home just before winter. The home is a big two floor with a giant attic. Jerome explores and finds a piano that looks pretty new despite being found in the dusty attic. His dad wants to bring it down to the family room, where Jerome can take lessons. Before the piano can be moved Jerome hears a sad melody from up in the attic. The piano is moved downstairs to the family room. Jerome still heres the same sad melody coming from the piano, he investigates but finds nothing. Jerome starts is own lessons form a Mr. Shreek who despite the name is nice but something is not quite right with him. He has nightmares about Mr. Shreek and wakes up to the piano playing, when he goes down this time he finds a ghost playing, and gives a warning or a threat he can’t tell. “don’t play anymore!”

What I Liked: This is a very plot driven story, there is one scene where Jerry goes to a shrink because he keeps seeing the ghost, that could’ve been cut but everything else really flows. The horror is more of the mind, but works really well. A sad melody that keeps getting played in darkness, get me out of that house. I also found the hallways of the school that all look the same pretty terrifying. The climax is totally bonkers and outrageous but it fits well with the theme of the story. I didn’t mind the jump scares they all sort of fit.

What I Disliked: The floor cleaner monster was kind of a stretch. I did feel like the end would have been better if it was sort of a cult then what it turned out to be.

Recommendations: If you want a good scary Goosebumps book than this is the one for you. If you also want to scare your kid about asking for piano lessons then this is the book for you. For some reason this is the only Goosebumps book not on Amazon kindle for some reason, so tracking it down will be a little hard but so worth it. I rated Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine 5 out of 5. Here’s my full ranking of the 13 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.

Book Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up. despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment. My Dark Vanessa could be a good outlet for those who need it, but there are a lot of triggers, that will be too much for some. This is one of those books that I acknowledge that it is good but never want the reread and be in that head space again.

The Plot: Vanessa is a bright young student, with big dreams. She begs her parents to go to a prestigious boarding school. We meet Vanessa at 15 in her second year of boarding school in 2000, her roommate Jenny and used to be best friend, has a boyfriend and no time for Vanessa. She finds a kinship in a middle aged literature teacher Jacob Strane. Vanessa’s adoration for Strane soon turns to lust. He makes a passing gesture of layered with innuendos, his knee touches hers, and his hand rest on her lap. He gives her the infamous book Lolita. Vanessa young and naive thinks this is a love story. The novel move to 2017 at the height of the Me Too movement, where a journalist has tracked Vanessa at 34 down as a former students and students have came forward with abuse charges against Strane. Vanessa must answer hard truths about herself and her past.

What I Liked: How raw the emotions are throughout the novel. The flipping back and forth in time worked, with the me too movement going on in present day and the abuse happening in order in the past. I liked the ending, It doesn’t ended in a big revelation, it ends with a slight acknowledgement, and more work to do. I liked all the literature and poetry references. I liked how the me too movement was worked in too the story and how it never felt forced. Me TOO wasn’t mentioned but hinted at. I liked the coping mechanism was telling herself it was a great love story.

What I Disliked: I found the dialogue to be stale. I felt Strane with his love of great works and education would have a bigger vocabulary than what was for his dialogue.

Recommendation: I think people should read this book for the psychology of abuse alone. The story is not the easiest to handle at times, and those with past traumas should tread lightly. There’s a truth to the story that is undeniable. I rated My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 4 out of 5 stars.

TBR: September 2020

September 2020 TBR list: I haven’t made a TBR list in some time, the last time I did it for dual months, now I ‘m confident in my reading and my work schedule.  Here is what I will be reading this month.

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk, this is a novel that I have already finished and placed my review it is released to the public on September 8th 2020.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.

Goosebumps Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  I have already read this book as well, I t was clever writing but with no real scares. This is my latest review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The cover drove me to this book, probably one of the most haunting yet beautiful covers.  After the cover awed me I started reading the reviews and book descriptions.  Lesbian Necromancer is how a character in the book was described, which is pretty much all I needed to pick up the book. The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in a action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it.  Friends have told me, it is best to know as little as possible going in.

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series.  I have reviews for all three novels and a in-between short story bridging the gap into Capturing the Devil.  The covers are gorgeous for all these books.  The story follows Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell two apprentices in early forensic science in the late 1880’s- 1890’s.  There’s romance, danger, and murder all through out this book series.    I was drawn to the cover and the staff reviews at Barnes and Noble for the second in the series.  This is the final book in the Stalking Jack The Ripper Series.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one.  This book is an ARC and comes out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series so far and the last Volume before InJustice 2 starts. I have reviewed all ten before it on my site.

Goosebumps Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order.  I  have enjoyed reading these, and have a gotten a great response from my followers that have enjoyed reminiscing with me.  This book I can barely remember the episode from the Goosebumps TV show, so I will be mostly blind going into to this book, which is preferred.   

Book Review: The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is one crazy story that connects a serial killer, a foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. If you have ever read anything by Palahniuk who is most famous for writing the mind bending Fight Club, you know you will experience something totally unique and that is what is delivered here, a story I cannot imagine anyone else producing other than Palahniuk. The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream. I would read something in this this story and ask that question and read a little further to find out if it was real or not. There is some readers who will driven mad by this, I for one enjoyed it because you who always get the answer on what was real. This wasn’t my favorite Palahniuk which is Choke and Lullaby but it is up there for me. Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader Copy. The Invention of Sound is Published on 9-8-20.

The Plot: Gates Foster lost his daughter 17 years ago, when she was only 7, he has spent that lifetime wonder if she is alive or dead. Lately he has been obsessed with child predators and working on tracking them down like a vigilante. On a plane he has a breakdown, swearing he heard his little girl call for him. he then accuses a fellow passenger of being a kidnapper because the girl looks so much like his daughter. A friend of a local support group for kids that have died early bail him out. Mitzi is a foley artist known for creating a realistic scream, she learned the technique from her dad and has since taken over the business. Gates Foster is on the brink of madness when he realizes where he heard the his daughter from a movie, is he paranoid, crazy, or is he on the right track to discovering the truth about his daughter.

What I Liked: the twist, there’s so many, and it keeps changing you perception of people. The history of Sound design I found really interesting, me, having worked on a couple of independent short films doing foley sound, loved the history, and how it was told. The flipping back and forth from Mitzi to Gates works great while they’re stories don’t intertwine. The uniqueness of the story is so refreshing for some one who reads so much, I had no way of knowing where this story was going, and just enjoyed the ride. The wild subplot about the conmen, I don’t know if it is was really necessary to the overall story but man was that plot crazy.

What I Disliked: Flipping back and forth between Gates and Mitzi while they are in the same place, listening to different things was super confusing for no reason. Why wouldn’t you just listen together.

Recommendations: I recommend this crazy, crazy, story. If you enjoy stories that are wild ride that you can’t predict, then this is the story for you. The story is mainly mystery, which too my knowledge is Palahniuk’s first, even though all his stories have an aspect of mystery. I rated The Invention of Sound by Chick Palahniuk 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: August 2020 Book reviews

Hello dear readers, Last month was a great month for reading for me, I read 12 books this month.  I read 4 advance reader copies all from Netgalley. My reading was all over the place this month, I read 4 horror (Yes I’m counting Goosebumps as horror), 1 nonfiction, 2 mysteries, 1 young adult, 1 general fiction, and 2 graphic novels.  I read some books of quality 3 five stars,  5 four stars, and 4 three stars  I would like to thank everyone who visits, views, and interacts with my readingwithmyeyes site.  Happy reading to all.

Five Star Reviews:


The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. Please take my advice, and don’t read while eating for the first 200 pages. This novel is so much more than just a gore fest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale that asks, what is living really? Is it a person going through the motions more glued to their phone than the real world? Or is it a Zombie that longs for a connection. This book is a huge 600 hundred pages, and I was entertained the whole time. From the Master of Zombies who started a craving for the undead in the 1960’s when he wrote and directed The Night of the Living Dead.  The Living Dead comes from an unfinished screenplay. Thanks to netgalley and Tor books for the advance copy that was published in August.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a nail-biting horror story full of suspense. The horror isn’t in the monster but what the sight of the monster will do to the human. Malerman to his credit never describes the monster, and leaves it totally to the imagination of the reader. The monster’s sight will make the watcher full of rage and for most be driven to commit suicide, by any means necessary. We spend most of this story in the dark, literally, as the only way the creature is effective is through sight, so character’s cover their site through blind folds. The only way they use their eyesight is it every window is covered and know exactly who is in the house. This novel makes a simple task of going to the well to get water a suspense filled ride where every bump or trip hazard could mean doom. 

The Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps books number 11 in the original series order. This book was good sort a revenge plot gone bad. Carley Beth is scaredy cat, tired of everyone picking on her because she gets scared buys a mask that scares people but the mask is haunted and can’t be removed. This one is actually pretty scary for a Goosebumps book. The monster mask’s voice that the mask puts out and the personality attached is kind of terrifying. ” I’ll eat you up!” was one of the lines, too scared kids.

Four Star Reviews:

The Guest List By Lucy Foley is slow build thriller filled with lies and secrets bursting at the seems. A wedding party on a remote island, what can go wrong. A scream to the sight of murder is what starts off The Guest List. By the end you will know who is murdered and who the murder or murders are. The book is told through 6 perspective wedding guest each with his or her own secret and motive. It’s a fun who done it? Where “you” the reader get to play the detective.

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is about murder stories taken place before World War II. The Eighth Detective is a story within stories, it works as both a short story anthology and an over-arching narrative. The novel is very clever in the way twist are laid out, the end is filled with so many twists they actually where’s out their welcome. There are 7 short stories in this novel all involving murder and a mathematic formula to make a murder mystery work. The short stories are borrowed from mainly Agatha Christie stories. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book that made me think after I finished about my own outliers. An outlier is described as a scientific term to describe things or a phenomena that lies outside normal experience as described by Gladwell. The book is smart but written really well, that it is easy to follow. I was blown away how easy Gladwell will break down a person’s history so easily.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a beautifully written Young Adult novel dealing with class struggles, growing up, the sacrifices we make to keep family together, and love. This novel was written 6 years ago I was warned it had a good twist, but was not prepared for what it was, and it makes this beautifully written novel mean so much more. The words used flow like poetry, the stories with in a story are great and act as metaphors for what is going on. This is not a book that was on my radar at all so thanks to the book blog community for the rave reviews that got me to take a chance.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 2 by Brain Buccellato is action packed has improved it’s writing since last volume. This is the second to last Graphic novel in the series, and it’s starting to take direction for a pretty epic Batman and Superman fight. iI’s great to see this series, which I have stuck with for 10 volumes so far get better under him and go into the epic ending I wanted for the series.

Three Star Reviews:

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is a modern day fairy tale set in the 80’s. A town is cursed by a monster that lives in the woods is it a serial killer or something more. This book is creepy it is a combo of the original Pied-Piper tale, that lead children away with his tune, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a totally 80’s world. I’ve read a lot of books about the 80’s recently, and I feel this book nailed the grime and dirt of the 80’s; the rampant smoking underage, the cool cars, the mischief of parents letting kids run wild through the neighborhood, and the torn/ripped jeans. The Ghost tree had a great opening scene that carries the book, there’s clever writing about the curse on the town and the towns people. I wanted a little bit more from this novel than I got. I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for the advanced copy. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is published on 9-8-20.

Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man.” This novel is awfully hilarious in it’s character studies of Floridian rednecks, Cuban refugees, and American Indians. Most of the stories involve sex, drugs, violence, theft, and sometimes all four. The novel spans for the 1960’s to present spending most of the time in the 1980’s. The novel has its problems, but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill somewhat satisfied when I finished it. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for giving me a copy for review. Florida Man by Tom Copper is published on 7-28-20.

The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine is book ten of the original Goosebumps series. This one is rarely scary, I predicted the twist very early on, but I ended up liking the ending that saved this from being the worst Goosebumps. The scariest thing is to see the elevation of peer pressure and dares. There is a shadow creature that’s a little scary, is it real or imagined? There are no lame jump scares that are usually littered through out Goosebumps books. This one is more tied to the first Goosebumps movie with Jack Black than anything else; I liked how they used the character of Hannah better than this book.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato the action gets to a quick start, thanks to guest writer Tom Taylor’s short story in the the last volume, where all the prisoners that Superman had captured were released on a prison break. Superman and team works on recapturing them, but in some of those criminals he sees an opportunity. How do you break the Bat, with the only man that has done it before, Bane. Lex Luthor’s secret clone with superman’s DNA rises, and we witness the birth of Bizarro who is being manipulated by the Trickster. This volume is filled by great ideas, but the execution is really lacking.

Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a nail-biting horror story full of suspense. The horror isn’t in the monster but what the sight of the monster will do to the human. Malerman to his credit never describes the monster, and leaves it totally to the imagination of the reader. The monster’s sight will make the watcher full of rage and for most be driven to commit suicide, by any means necessary. We spend most of this story in the dark, literally, as the only way the creature is effective is through sight, so character’s cover their site through blind folds. The only way they use their eye sight is it every window is covered and know exactly who is in the house. This novel makes a simple task of going to the well to get water a suspense filled ride where every bump or trip hazard could mean doom. This novel was adapted to a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, which enhanced the tensions, strengthened some of the relationships, and add a diverse cast of characters. The novel was did a better job of making the small moments suspense filled, while the movie enhanced the bigger moments, and let some relationships blossom more than get cut short like in the novel. I recommend experiencing both, I would have rather read the book first, but the book was so hot at the time, I couldn’t wait. This is my second Josh Malerman novel I read the underrated and excellent novella A House at the Bottom of the Lake.

The Plot: We meet Malorie with two kids both four years old, that all are blindfolded as they make there way to the river, for a nice easy blindfolded river ride to a destination unknown; but a promise of safety. We flashback to when Malorie has just discovered she is pregnant. She currently lives with her sister and got pregnant off a one night stand. Her sister and her watch the news as Alaska as been struck with a rash of people going crazy and commit suicide. They go to a drugstore to get a pregnancy test and see people starting to panic. They stockpile food and cover all the windows in the house, it goes great for three months when a piece of the covering falls and results in the sisters death. Malorie three months pregnant and getting desperate saw an add for shelter not too long ago before everything stopped, just a couple blocks away. She risks safety and security to chance it all to live in shelter with a group of strangers. This decision will change her life is it for the good or the bad?

What I Liked: The descriptions are what make this book suspense filled. We discover what things are as we get a POV of what all the prods. We get details on sound, texture, and of smells that put the reader right in that scenario. The character of Malorie from a meek character to a strong some what cruel mother is a great character transition. All the character’s and how they interact over so much strain adds to the tension. I liked the system they create to survive. The row boat and the wolves scene is pure tension, and one of the best scenes. I loved the ending, I felt is was pretty perfect. The climax is one of the best that I have read, everything happened at once, kind of making it two climaxes at once.

What I Disliked: The bad guy doesn’t get what he deserves, but now there is a sequel, so maybe they return. There’s the aftermath of the climax, that I was still bummed we didn’t get a recreation of what exactly happened as Malorie puts it together with feeling, we did get a brief one, but if we could have been told in a more detailed way of what exactly went down it would have been awesome.

Recommendations: Read this book! Read this book before you see the movie, the movie only adds it takes nothing away. If you want horror that will keep you on the edge then this boo is for you. Where A Quiet Place is horror for sound Bird Box is horror for sight. I rated Bird Box by Josh Malerman 5 out of 5 stars. I can not wait to read the sequel Malorie that was released only a month ago.