Wrap Up: Best Books Read in 2019

Hello readers, what a great year of reading this year. I ended up reading 77 books this year with 30 being published in 2019, I’m going to do a top ten of books published in 2019 and a top five of books read this year but not published in 2019. I look forward to reading and comparing every one’s list while expanding my TBR.

Top 10 of books published in 2019: (one through five were so hard to place)

  1. Recursion by Blake Crouch – This book was so mind minding and trippy, A cop is exposed to FMS (False Memory Syndrome), a new epidemic plaguing the world, where people start to remember a different lifetime of memories other then their own which is driving people insane and doubting if the life there living is real. The book really stuck with me and made me think long after it was over. It won the Goodreads choice award in Science Fiction.

 

  1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides –A woman is found in a catatonic state as she is covered in the blood of her husband, who had been shot multiple times, a psychotherapist believes he is the only man to make her talk again. A fantastic debut thriller, with a twist ending that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a Greek tragedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth.

 

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This is the follow up to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo another 5 star review from me.  This novel had sex , drugs, and rock and roll, a great character piece that examines the good and bad of people living the rock and roll dream. 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 of The Six 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.

 

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – on my half of the year review for books, I had this book at number 1.  This is a well-plotted thriller with no big twist but a lot of really clever small twist and turns that kept adding tension.  This follows a girl who lives in New York desperate for money to help her and her family just get by, ended up sneaking into a college study, and becomes the main test study for a manipulative doctor who desires their own result in a study that becomes very personal for both parties.

 

  1. Dark Age by Pierce Brown – is epic on every level; this is a novel of loss, sacrifice, redemption, heartbreak, 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. So this was a much-needed return to form. The Red Rising series was one of my favorites of the decade. The plot is too big for a quick summary to do any justice.

 

  1. Wanderers by Chuck Wendig – a novel that is an epic tale that manages to balance the worship of both technology and religion, while throwing in the end of the world as we know it type scenario. An epidemic has started in America that make people start sleepwalking but can’t be woken, their family members at as shepherds guiding them to their final destination, when and where ever that will be. People don’t know if they’re angels or devils. This Novel is written in the vein as Stephen King’s The Stand.

 

  1. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding – a modern day Grimm’s Fairy tale a new mom has her twins go missing and when they are brought back she’s convinced that the twins are not her’s and have been replaced with evil ones.  The writing make your skin crawl with it’s descriptions and the pace is a fast read.

 

  1. Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh – a really good thriller with an amazing tag line, The Serial Killer is not on trial, he’s on the jury, that made me have to read it. This novel reminded me of the early James Patterson novel.. The twists and plot is very clever, there’s a couple twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but was pleasantly surprised.

 

  1. Violet by Scott Thomas a creepy, dark, horror, about an imaginary friend that’s all too real. This one was trippy but also had a lot of heart. The story is a slow burn with an exciting climax, and a meaningful epilogue that puts a nice bow on the story.

 

  1. On the Come Up By Angie Thomas – The follow up to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. In this story we follow a young up incoming female rapper, as she tries to make it in the rap game and still keep her voice.  It is both coming of age and thought provoking. Not as good as The Hate U Give but another fantastic story that has it’s own unique voice.

My Top 5 Books Read, but Not Published in 2019:

  1. The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – This one was an instant favorite for me.  What sets this mystery apart from all the others is the way that it is told.  The mystery gives you 8 days to solve the crime of who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle, the catch is everyday you are a different person full of their own personality and faults.  You can work together with your future selves, but beware two others are playing the same game. This mystery was really fun and sucked me in completely. You have no idea where this story is going at the end, it is such a fantastic ride.

 

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins – This was a great novel easily one of my favorites, I was drawn in to the story so quickly. I enjoyed this one over this year’s release of Daisy Jones and the Six.  I like how it used the life of Marilyn Monroe combined with Elizabeth Taylor to develop a story of love, betrayal, secrets, and fame set during the Silver Age of Hollywood. The interview style really works in this story.

 

  1. The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – A book that takes real people and actions during World War II and creates a compelling work of fiction that fells very true. Lilac Girls follows three women Kasia a Polish teenager who works for the underground against the Nazis, Herta a young German doctor that works at women’s German prison camp, and Caroline an American that volunteers at the French Consulate and helps the war effort. These tales are all connected in some way and intermingle at times.

 

  1. LoveCraft Country by Matt Ruff – A fantastic novel that’s told in anthology of short stories that all connect and blends the real life struggles of an African – Americans living in 1950 Chicago and traveling south, with supernatural and horror elements.  I was shocked how perfectly it balanced real life struggles of the time, supernatural elements, and humor. Jordan Peele the director of Get Out is adapting this for an HBO series in 2020 with J. J. Abrams.

 

  1. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – An excellent sequel to The Five People you Meet in the Heaven, where it expands on characters from the first book, and catches up new readers that don’t have to read the sequel to know what happened.  This novel will give you the feels, and I think it makes a great case for what happens to pets in heaven. This book will not leave you with dry eyes.

Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a novel that is an epic tale that manages to balance the worship of both technology and religion, while throwing in the end of the world as we know it type scenario. Wanderers has easily made it into my top five list of books in 2019. This novel is in good company as a pre and post apocalyptic novel. The novel acknowledges such novels as Stephen King’s The Stand, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, Margret Atwood’s Handmaiden’s Tale, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. This novel is going to get compared more to Stephen King’s Stand than any other’s, here’s the similarities in it’s cast it has an aging rock star, Las Vegas is described the same way in both, Colorado is a home base for some of the travelers, and A plot line involves a pregnant walker. Despite the those similarities this novel is an epic ride with huge twist and with a very, very satisfying ending. The ending deserves a slow clap, it had action and heart all rolled into one. This novel is almost 800 pages and I could have read more, for a novel it’s size the pacing had a couple of dips but is pretty steady throughout. The humor and social commentary on movies, music, and social media are great. I could have done with out the political commentary, (Creel was Donald Trump and Hunt was Hillary Clinton) it was on the nose maybe too much it’s hard for escapist reading if you’re reminded of our sometimes dangerous political climate.

The Plot: One day Nessie, a brilliant high school student gets a glazed look in her eye and goes into a sleepwalking state. Shana her older sister notices and followers her out the door and down the street, she ties an she can do to make her stop, Nessie starts getting hot and her skin turns red, and she powers through her sister. Nessie is then joined by more walkers as they are called. The police are called and one overly ambitious officer tries tasers but they have no effect. The officer manages to use his brute strength to move one into his cop car where the body then explodes killing and burning the officer to death. More start to join what is known as the flock, which are followed by their family who act as shepherds. The military and the CDC join the parade as they look for a cure and for protection. Some people see the flock as heaven sent and the start off revelations. But others see them as Devil’s Pilgrimage. Those that fear the flock take measures into their own hands to stop them by force. Benji a disgraced agent of the CDC is given a second chance as a powerful A.I. known as Black Swan believes he’s the key to solving this whole thing, but this isn’t the only epidemic breaking out, in this world gone mad.

What I Liked: This huge novel is a character piece and I enjoyed a majority of the character, Like Arav, Sadie, Pete, Marcy, and Benji who was my favorite a man that convictions are so strong he will sabotage everything to do what’s right. The character arc’s were really good two character change a lot and it was interesting to go on that journey with them. The downfall of society from social media perspective was really effective and at times powerful. The walkers were cool the way they were described and what they can do made them unique. The explanation of the walkers was well explained and a really clever idea in itself. The ending is great very satisfying, when compared to The Stand this ending was way more plausible. it had exciting action, and great finish. I liked that every character didn’t get a happy ending, there’s one ending that I’m sure is going to upset people that, I kind of enjoyed because it felt real and raw ultimately more heartbreaking that the character didn’t get the closure they wanted. I really like Black Swan the A. I. as a character really worked for me, it’s motivation for survival rivaled the human’s. The epidemic of White Mask was described really well.

What I Disliked: Shana as the main character, was sometimes so whiny, and she had a lot of secrets which made her character tough to get to know and connect. I think the political stuff was at times too heavy handed, from a story standpoint it wasn’t necessary, it could have been all about a religious debate instead of throwing politics into them. That being said the author made the choice because he wanted to make a social commentary about today’s political climate and how easily it could be radicalized and maybe it already has. The cover is so boring and this novel is so exciting, so please don’t judge this book by it’s cover.

Recommendations: If you like big epic novels like The Stand And Swan Song then you will like this. This novel does have some trigger warnings of Rape, violence, addiction, and gore. This novel is a great Science fiction in the vein of Michael Chrichton where the science is well thought out and easily explained. I rated Wanderers by Chuck Wendig despite some flaws 5 out of 5. This was my first Chuck Wendig book and will not be my last, I have a friend that has been recommending his Star Wars Aftermath series for some time now.

Wrap Up: November 2019 Book Reviews

Wow one more month left in the year, 2019 is flying by. With my new work schedule allowing a little more time for reading, I completed 8 books this month. Two books this month have made it on my top five list of the year. I had 3 books that were five stars, 3 books that were four stars, and 2 that were three stars. One of the books was an advanced readers copy thanks to Netgalley. This month I reached over 600 followers, thanks every one for the support. I met and exceeded my reading goal of 65 books this year.

Five Star Reviews:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – A woman is found in a catatonic state as she is covered in the blood of her husband, who had been shot multiple times, a psychotherapist believes he is the only man to make her talk again. A fantastic debut thriller with a twist ending that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a Greek tragedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth.

Recursion by Blake Crouch – A cop is exposed to FMS (False Memory Syndrome) where all the people in their social circle remember a different lifetime of memories other then their own. Recursion mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does. A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second-guess the choices we made in those instances.

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – A book that takes real people and actions during World War II and creates a compelling work of fiction that fells very true. Lilac Girls follows three women Kasia a Polish teenager who works for the underground against the Nazis, Herta a young German doctor that works at women’s German prison camp, and Caroline an American that volunteers at the French Consulate and helps the war effort. These tales are all connected in some way and intermingle at times

Four Star Reviews:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – an anxiety filled psychological thriller about a woman invited to a Bachelorette party ten years after having a fall out with the bride to be, twist, turns, and murder are abound.   It makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better.

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine – this is the sixth in the original Goosebumps series. This one is all about invisibility, the ultimate way to play hide and seek. Stine always adds something real and relevant to his horrors and this time it is addiction and peer pressure.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – A book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires and one of the best stories of introducing vampires and witches and their to world history, literature, and sciences. Diane accidently breaks a powerful protection spell on a book that is the holy grail of vampires, witches, and daemons, that tells how they were made and can be destroyed, this draws danger as all species want that book for their own purposes.

Three Star Reviews:

Once Upon a Dream: A Disney Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell – A book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having what if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? We get a clever plot, but with a slow start.

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand – An interesting Historical Fiction mixed with a mystery. The story takes place in 1915 Fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fair fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City, which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. This is a decent story with a strong LGTBQ lead character. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy.

 

 

Book Review:The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a fantastic debut with a twist that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a greek tragedy, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth, but once you know the big twist there’s another one coming and it is great one two. This novel makes you not trust anyone as everyone has flaws, some own those flaws and and others hide them dark and deep. One of the better twist I’ve read in a novel since Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, my top book of last year. The Silent Patient just took the top spot in mystery away from the also excellent An Anonymous Girl By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This novel is more than the twist is intrigued me from the start and did not let go. What I consider a great mystery is when, twist makes since and also you gave the audience enough clues to figure it out, for me that’s what this book did, and it deserves a slow clap, because it fooled me and I could not be happier, I hate when I figure out an ending, but I didn’t know where this was going an the unreliable people that could have done it were plenty. The ending will stick with me for a while like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins where I got the mystery all wrong.

The Plot: Alicia Berenson is a semi famous painter who adores her husband Gabriel also an artist deals in photography. They were happily married for 7 years, but 6 years ago Alicia is found covered in blood with her husband shot multiple times. Alicia went it to a catatonic and stopped speaking, and has been that way for the past 6 years. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist that can feel the empathy of those he works with, he has grown obsessed with Alicia’s case over the years, and when an opportunity come to take a position at the Grove where Alicia is held comes up he must take it. He thinks he’s can get her to speak and tell what really happened that night.

What I Liked: The pace and flow make this 336 page book so easy to read. The way the novel is set up got me hooked form the start and made have to know what happened. The twists will make you mouth drop. It made the theme of stage tragedies work really well. The suspects all have motive but as you get to know them they also show in some cases multiple sides, so all remain questionable. I did not guess any of the mystery correctly, but when all revealed it made since. Having Theo tell the story has a potential book really works as he get to play detective to unlock Alicia’s mind.

What I Disliked: When all is revealed I wanted a bit more the wrap up was good, but I wanted a better explanation about some parts. I had to keep reminding myself this was England than America. But that’s it really solid debut.

Recommendation: I liked this book a lot it was my kind of mystery, a quick read with amazing twist that change everything, even though they were right in front of your face the whole time. If you like big twist books like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn, Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins then you will love this book. I rated The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a big 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to a lot more work from this author. I love when the hype for a book is real.

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does.  A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second guess the choices we made in those instances. I was thrown into my own life and thought about my own memories the happiest and the saddest. This story can be compared to Inception meets Primer with some Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. This novel like Dark Matter is a story that goes off the rails, you will not know where this story is heading, it changes directions at least 3 times, but man is it a good ride. Blake Crouch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, I was super bummed when I was not selected for the ARC on netgalley for this book. I liked the story as a whole a lot better than Dark Matter, but the twist hit me a little harder in Dark Matter, but Recursion has more of them. Blake Crouch’s work has been turned into series and he has some upcoming like Wayward Pines a 2 season show that aired on Fox staring Matt Dillon, Good Behavior which is based on a novella just finished season 2 on TNT, Dark Matter is to be a film at Sony, and he sold Recursion to be a series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Plot: Barry a detective in robbery homicide gets a call about a possible jumper, he’s the first to meet Ann, as she sit on the edge of the roof. Barry thinks of ways to tackle her and drag her away but pauses when it is revealed she has FMS False Memory Syndrome. A new disease that travels in social circles and could be contagious, the disease makes a person have a whole lifetime of other memories from their own. Ann describes how she is all alone but she remember having a loving husband and a son in her memories. She tracked the man down, and he didn’t know her or want to do anything with her. Ten years earlier Helena is a researcher at Stanford in memory she hopes to one day cure the Alzheimer disease that her mother has. She gets an offer she can’t refuse for full funding for a project she’s dreamed about, but never told anyone about. her financier seem to know more about her and her project than meets the eye. This research either leads to the cure or the cause of FMS.

What I Liked: This story goes everywhere, even when writing the plot for this review is only one eighth of the story, you can not predict where this story is going to go. I could compare it to one of my favorite Tv shows American Horror Story, where you never know where the plot line is heading. The twist are layered throughout and keep you guessing. There’s a real heart to the story and a sweet love story about second chances. The action when it there is really good. The bad guy has a good deal of layers and motive for his actions. I did not like Helena’s character at first but grew to really love her. The two character perspective of Helena and Barry really works. I was never confused by the narrative, and this story is one that could easily get confused with in another writer’s hand. I love the questions this story ask about memory. The science isn’t crazy detailed but I felt it was just enough.

What I Disliked: Helena’s character does take a little while to love, at first I was really missing the Barry chapters, but here character does get better. This novel repeats its self a lot, I had a couple friends not like Dark Matter for that reason alone and since it is memory it is more. I really noticed it at the end I think that Crouch tried to make it different, sometime he succeeded sometimes he failed. I thought Barry’s character was sometimes too smart for his background.

Recommendations: If you liked Dark Matter you will like this book, when both of these books ended I collected my thought and thought of the science fiction questions asked and put in my own life. I like science fiction that makes me think and this did. If you like stories about memories then you will love this book. I acknowledge this book has flaws but the story experience is one to beat, so I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second five star review fro Blake Crouch and eagerly anticipate his next one, I actually plan to reread Dark Matter and post the review on this site, since I was still so new at reviewing the first time I read it.

Book Review: A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, fro the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My Heart Struck Sorrow was the new story The Sea Dreams It is the Sky has been published before. I enjoyed My Heart Struck Sorrow quite a bit more. Chuck Wendig author of Wanders does really cool foreword to the book. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and Netgalley for letting me read an Advanced Readers copy of A lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs in exchange for an honest review. It was first Published on October 8th 2019 with an expected mass market publication on October 29th 2019.

The Plot for The Sea Dreams it is the Sky:Rafael Avendano, a former poet, has escaped Argentina and now lives in Spain. The Poet now wears an eye patch has now goes by the Eye, it is a mystery to how he lost it. He meets Isabel a Teacher of poetry in Spain, and originally from Argentina knows a little of his work but found it crude and juvenile. She and most of the world thought Avendano was dead, during the takeover of Argentina. She befriends him as he is called back to Argentina in hopes of a reunion. Isabel watches his apartment in it she finds a secret manuscript telling just how he lost his eye, she keeps getting mysterious notes with just a latitude and longitude on them, pointing to a place in Argentina.

The Plot for My Heart Struck Sorrow: Cromwell needs a distraction from the recent deaths of his wife and son, he with his partner Harriet find that distraction as there job being part of the library is to go through a collection bequeathed to it. The Parker estate is one such donation, they are excited to too into the collection since Parker was a member of the Library of Congress in the music division collection folk songs and stories. Cromwell and Harriet discover a secret room that was locked away, of Parkers last assignment. Where Parker went searching for a particular song about a man and hell.

What I Liked: Both stories blend fact and fiction pretty seamlessly. Both stories are about lyrics in a song or in a verse of poetry, and the writing in both are really great, the folk songs especially, I could almost here them. The endings in both stories really work well, and end a in a very full circle way that I always appreciate. I really loved the characters in My Heart Struck Sorrow, they felt very real and grounded I understood their obsessions. I really like the work with the untrustworthy narrator. The flow in My Heart Struck Sorrow is so good such an easy read.

What I Disliked: The story flow of The Sea Dreams it is the Sky is so slow in the middle I loved the first couple chapters but then it slows down so much. My Heart Struck Sorrow is almost double The Sea Dreams it is Sky but it took me much longer to read Sea Dreams, because of the flow. I also had a little thing with The Sea Dreams it is Sky and it’s use of pronouns, sometimes I was confused with it and had to read passages over as a pronoun is switched to a dream person.

Recommendations: I will recommend this collection of two tales for a perfect October read, my favorite by far being My Heart Struck Sorrow. My rating for stories is The Sea Dreams it is Sky 3 out of 5 stars and My Heart Struck Sorrow 5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this to readers who like historical horror, or horror with a great deal of real life with a twist. I rated A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs 4 out 5 stars.

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.

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.