Book Review: Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite stories by one of my favorites authors. This is my second reading of this epic tail that combines Historical Fiction with Murder Mystery, and adding a dash of Horror. We get a tale about witchcraft only 7 years after the Salem Witch Trials in 1699. Where witchcraft was in murky waters of being real or not. This book introduces Matthew Corbett and is the first book in a proposed 9 book series that has two more book to be released. Speaks The Nightbird is in development at FX with Blumhouse producing and each book will be a season. I have read up to the third book before but have wanted to read the series again when it was ending, or close. This book is so good and exceeded my expectations, I remembered snippets here and there, this book is a murder mystery with a lot of plot twist, even though I was pretty sure I remembered who the mastermind was this reread gave me doubts about my memory. I original memory was right, but I had great doubts if it was right or not. When I read this 10 years ago I gave it five stars and it remains in that fie star category today.

The Plot: Magistrate Woodward and his young cleric Matthew Corbett are sent to Fount Royal a fairly new settlement in the Carolina Colony, to investigate witchcraft and murders. The road there is filled with danger as the colony is 40 miles away from any other settlement, and they have to worry about Indians and cut throats. Matthew and Woodward hear of the tale of witchcraft and murder with each man forming his own initial assessment, Matthew the skeptic believes there must be some more rational explanation and Woodward who is older has seen evil like this before read up on the Salem Witch trials. They meet the Witch, Rachel, both men are taken away by her bewitching beauty especially Matthew, but her mouth is bold and blasphemous. The trial starts with witnesses saying she was seen cavorting with the devil. Each testimony more condemning, but Matthew sees something in the testimony that he can’t explain, and has to pursue. This dark road leads to death and a conspiracy that the town is keeping hidden. There truly is a devil in Fount Royal.

What I Liked: The Characters are great and each one different. There’s about 60 characters and almost every one is a suspect in the conspiracy of witchcraft and murder. Matthew Corbett is that great character who won’t quit even if all the odds are against him. This story pays off on the little details, there’s a lot of little side stories that are tied up in conspiracy it wraps them all up as the story still drives towards the mastermind. The villains all have great have great motives, they have reasons for the terrible things they do, also some manage to keep their humanity, which I found really touching. The written dialects all work and sound natural, since this is the birth of a America 1699 there’s people coming from all over and McCammon has found a way to give each voice its unique flavor. The mystery is really great with so many layers that have to get pulled back until you see the whole thing. This novel has one of the greatest red herrings where you know a character is hiding something, but when you experience what it is prepare to laugh yourself silly.

What I Disliked: The mastermind’s lament goes on a little too long, he kind of tells everything and rambles for a few pages. After the main climax there is a slight lag as we go into the big reveal. For a 900 page novel there is very little lag.

Recommendations: Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite writers he is criminally under the radar in writing. He mainly writes horror but with this series he can do Historical Fiction as well. Stephen King lead me to Robert R. McCammon books when he said he is in awe of his horror writing. This book nails the history of 1699 America. It shows off the frightening use of blood letting and blister cups for medical practice of the time. It highlights what a melting pot of people early America was. For mystery lovers this books ending will keep you guessing, while giving you all the facts. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars and will keep reading the series.

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is a fun horror read that dips into eighties nostalgia and at it’s core is about real friendship. This novel knows what it is and has fun with the tropes it sets. Think of this novel as a an adult version of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine’s Fear Street both of the novelist got their start in the 80’s and had a formula for just how far the novels will go. This novel borrows off of it but where those books won’t cross a line, this novel does it with glee. This is my first Grady Hendrix novel I did get this one and We Sold Our Souls on kindle at the same time, the cover is a work of art it reminds me of Steven Rhodes art work that shows innocent kids from the eighties doing occult things ( I stop and looks Spencer’s Gifts whenever I have time and check out the t-shirts). Some of the other reviews have mentioned gay slurs in the text, in fitting the eighties time period is used not in a harmful way but in a very not politically correct time. Watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure if you pay attention to the gay slurs prepare to be shocked.

The Plot: The title kind of gives thus one away. It is about Abby and Gretchen, how they became friends and formed a bond as best friends. Their friendship is tested when Gretchen gets possessed by the devil and she plots about destroying her friends lives and making Abby’s life hell. Can an exorcism even save this friendship?

What I Liked: All the chapters were named after eighties songs that fit what was going on in the narrative. I love, loved this cover when it came up on Netgalley it had a different one, and this one is absolutely perfect. How far tis novel goes was kind of fun, a couple of times I thought there not going to do this and they did. I’m from Tennessee and have visited Charleston, SC many of times, and feel Hendrix captured the South without making people look stupid while still having a southern charm. The 80’s nostalgia is all through out this novel and it is great. The wrap up of this story and the way it analyzed what a friendship is, was beautiful.

What I Disliked: Somethings were said but not seen, one person gets notes from someone, but the notes are not from the person they thought, we as the reader only see the aftermath of this plot point but don’t see it as it is happening, so it lost it’s impact on me. The tone of the exorcist didn’t work for me, at times it felt like he was from a different story, I do love the scene where he had to consult his daddy during the exorcism, but everything else his story felt off to me, he’s only in the story for a small bit.

Recommendations: This story is from Quirk books which really fits if you like quirky horror then this story is for you. I was never scared but made uneasy more than a couple of times. If you’re looking to reminisce about the 80’s then there is more to enjoy. There are a couple trigger warning that could hinder your enjoyment, animal cruelty, rape accusations, suicide attempts, devil worship, and drug use.  This story is kind of YA but would recommend on the older side because of content. I rated My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine is the six in the original Goosebumps series, I’m rereading them in order, and giving them to my nephews, but the’ve been so much fun, so I’ve reviewed six so far. This on 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. The group of friends keeps challenging each other to go invisible longer, you’ll hear a lot of really this is the last time, only to do it more and longer. The twist was really good and clever, one of the better twist so far. This one is mild on the scares but you will get the feeling to shout maybe you guys should not do this again. This novel is more focus then others we are shown the device that makes you invisible pretty early for a goose bumps book. I did feel that the gimmick of invisibility started to run out. This story was made into an episode for the Fox TV show, in the 2nd season episode 6 and is currently on Netflix.

The Plot: It’s Max’s birthday party, he had all these outdoor activity’s but it’s raining. 15 kids show up all together but start leaving at 5 (lame). Max is left with his annoying little brother Lefty, Erin the girl he likes and her best friend April the kind of shy timid one. The group are looking for something to do, they watch Terminator but then get bored, Erin who has a thing for attics realizes Max has one and they set up an adventure to the attic. The dog Whitey joins them, they rifle through old magazines when the dog starts pawing at something in the back and find out it’s a small door to a secret room. The rood contains a large old timey mirror that is wood paneled with a light attached above it. Max looks into the mirror marveled at the lack of dust and how clear it is pulls the cord on the light above as all his friend and brother freak out, because he has vanished, Max thinking this is a joke pulled the cord again as he reappears. with his friends asking how he did that. Before he can explore more his friends mom comes. Two days later Max can’t stop thinking about the mirror and little does he know his little brother is thinking the same thing. Max explores late at night and his brother follows wanting to play the ultimate game of hide and seek, they each stand in front to the mirror and pull the cord and play, for a bit when Max starts to fill weird and light all a sudden, he’s had enough and pulls the cord, but he and his brother don’t reappear right away something has gone wrong. They do appear but the more they do it the longer it takes and Max starts noticing something is not right about the return.

What I Liked: A way more focused story than other goosebumps series stories. The fear of not returning is done well. The twist is good, even though the final twist doesn’t make too much sense. The addiction angle was really great, it made me think about how friends in the past have peer pressured me into doing something that maybe weren’t that safe, just like in the story. the invisible prank on the neighbor was a classic make them see something then get someone else and nothing, but it works here.

What I Disliked: There was no history of the mirror, the novel goes out of it’s way to say it used to be the grandparents home before and even has them come over, Lefty tries to mess with them and is foiled by Max, but nothing ever happens. Also the grandparents come over for a meal and it ‘s just chicken noodle soup, really set up your serving game. the invisible angle gets tired with i’m going to quit then does it again. The final twist did not make sense, I liked that is was telegraphed fro the beginning, but with what happens in the climax it didn’t make much sense.

Recommendations: This one is a good one for the younger kids, it teaches them about peer pressure and is not scary, it has a couple prank scares but nothing really scary. I would compare this to Monster Blood where it is not scary and more humorous, I liked this one a lot better than that one. I rated Let’s Get Invisible 4 out of 5 stars. The ranking of the six I’ve read so far, from best to worse is Stay out of the Basement,The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House and Monster Blood. I will continue to ready the series in order and give it to my nephews when finished, next up is Night of the Living Dummy.

Wrap Up: October 2019 Book Reviews

There’s only two more months until the end of the year, that’s crazy.  I am currently one book away from hitting my goal of 65 novels this year.  I’m currently changing up my work schedule that will allow me more reading time.  I read five books this month, one biography, one graphic novel and three tales of horror, with one being a netgalley ARC.  I felt I was reading slow this month but hit my average anyway.  I read one five star read and the rest were four star, not too bad in reading content.

5 Star Reviews:

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 kind 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. highly recommend I was ten when he passed, and cried not understanding about death and this book recounts what his tragic final days were like, I still got emotional while reading it.

4 Star Reviews:

Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent – this book 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. this collection was really balanced in terms of quality storytelling in my full review I broke down every short story and gave it a five star rating scale.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – this 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 book was the closest I read to being five stars, the flow got slow, but one of the most inventive novels I’ve read in quite some time I bought the other book in the series and will read it soon.

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs – this is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. This advanced copy published on October 7th was given to me by Harpercollins and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, for 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 I rated it a highly recommended 5 stars, it is the second story in this book. Where a man dealing with the lose of his daughter and child becomes obsessed with a journal and recording of a man searching for a particular song about a man going to hell.

Bone, Vol. 2 The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith – this story adds more slapstick and more focus to the ridiculous second graphic novel in the Bone Series. This book is part Looney Toons meets Grimm Fairy Tales.  I bought this for my cousin who is 12 I’ve loved reading this series with her, it is very fun.  There is animated character’s smoking cigars is my only warning to this series.

 

 

 

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: 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.

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: 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: 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: IT by Stephen King

It by Stephen King is an epic horror story about adolescent fears and growing up. This novel gave me so many different emotions, sometimes fear, sometimes laughs, sometimes pure joy and a lots of nostalgia. King manages to tap in to the preteen years so well, he remembers those jokes that only you and your friends found funny, the fears both the sights and smells of the dark and unknown, and he gets the awkward first love and feelings that you’re not equipped to handle at that age. I was a little shocked that the book is 85% percent about the kids and 15% about the adults, I thought it would have been a bit more balanced. The kids side is explored really well, but with the new movie It: Chapter 2 featuring the adults, they have a lot of room to play. I have had the book it for a while now but with seeing It Chapter One and loving it so much and with It Chapter Two coming out next week on September 6th of 2019. I was also fan of the Tim Curry, mini series version from the 90’s as well. but with the new movie was compelled to read It.

The Plot: Murder is afoot in the town of Derry, Maine in present day 1985 we see the start of a serial of murders and kids gone missing, the same thing happened 27 years ago with the murder of Georgie Denbrough and then a string of murders followed. Mike Hanlon a local librarian of Derry knows the towns history and was there 27 years ago and knows who or it is responsible. Mike Calls up six of his old friends Bill Denbrough, Stanley Urich, Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Richie Tozier, and Eddie Kasbrak who only vaguely remember what happened 27 years ago, but soon the nightmares comeback and it has a form Pennywise the dancing murderous clown. Soon they are flooded with all those childhood fears and begin flashing back to when they first all met and challenged IT. The memories are slow to flow back but will they remember in time to stop Pennywise.

What I Liked: The scope of IT, the novel takes place in a month in the past and you feel the time pass by and the days like no other. I liked how IT is a childhood fear you can not describe. The murder of Eddie Cochran was not in any movie, but man did this murder get to me, this was the chapter that truly scared me. There was way more humor than I was expecting Richie has all the best lines, I can not freaking wait to see what Bill Hader does playing the adult version, but the book version kept me chuckling. I love the town history, King is so good about town and family history, and you feel like you’re apart of it and know everyone in Derry. Henry Bowers is the bully from hell that through me back to all the bullies I’ve had through out the years, it was easily relatable to the losers gang and their strife. The feelings you get reading this book it plays with your emotions and fears. The rising action is one of the best in a Stephen King novel it flips back and forth from the 1950’s to the 1980’s each heading to it’s lair and the trouble they face getting there, it’s over 100 pages and they move supper quick. I liked the very end of the book I think King nailed the message of the novel really well.

What I Disliked: What King did to the Character’s of Tom and Audra, I think there roles should have been expanded especially Tom, he could have been so scary and a good foil for the gang. Audra we don’t get to know enough at the end I didn’t care what happened to her character. The town history was one of my likes but I could have done with out all the detail on what it has done in the past, I understood after Mike’s dad told his story, we didn’t need the gang and the union dispute to go into the same detail. The Climax is kind of crazy and not a good crazy, we never get why It prefers the pennywise character, but we get a crazy explanation for it, It Chapter One ignored it entirely and hopefully will in the next movie, but the miniseries kept to this ending which I feel cheapens IT.

Recommendations: This is one of King’s better works, for all a round emotion. It’s epic it like sharing a kinship with people that have finished this massive story. It did take me 15 days to read so make sure you do set some time away. My favorite Stephen King novels are The Long Walk, The Talisman, Wizards and Glass and The Stand. This is maybe just below the Stand for me, where I loved the epicness of it and the ride the reader goes on but didn’t love the climax. I rated IT by Stephen King a high 4 out of 5 stars.