Wrap Up: June Book Reviews 2020

Hello dear readers, June has been quite a month. I cannot believe we have hit the mid point of the year.  Look forward to my best of books I have read so far this year, coming out soon. I managed to read 6 novels this month.  I read zero rereads  this month. I read one graphic novel, one book that has been on my TBR for years now The Shining by Stephen King. I read one new release, thanks to Netgalley. I read a couple books in a series, and was able to finish the Power of the Dog series, this year it has been my goal to finish more series, I had a bad habit of starting a series and not finishing it. So far I have finished 2 trilogies, and have made gins in on-going series.   Thank you, to all followers I just hit 2 years running this blog yesterday, and it has both inspired me and uplifted my passion for reading thanks to you.

Five Star Reviews:

The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. This Novel has been on my TBR for 15-20 years always meaning to read it but had not, until now.  I was shocked how different the book and the movie were, liking some and loathing some choices, but all in all a scary read, with truly horrific images, that only King can deliver.

Four Star Reviews:


The Border By Don Winslow takes the epic tale of DEA agent Art Keller and his war on drugs to a worthy conclusion. The Border is book three in the Power of the Dog series. This series starts in 1975 and takes us all the way up to 2019. The Border mirrors events that happened in real life and tweek them to fit the narrative, making it feel very real and current. The previous books in the series have remained in Mexico, but this book looks at the drug war going on in America. This book reminded me of J. R. Tolkien’s Return of the King when they destroyed the ring, they go back the shire is under siege (that happens in the book not the movie). Art Keller spent so many years trying to destroy drug kingpins in Mexico, that he returns to see that drugs are all around and didn’t stop anything. I did not like The Border as much as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel which were both 5 stars, but this delivered a pretty could conclusion wrapping up the series really well.

Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R. L. Stine is book 9 in the original Goosebumps series. Welcome to Camp Nightmare is scarier than most of the Goosebumps I have read before. The ending is a good twist that is set up from the start with little hints along the way, in my last review of The Girl Who Cried Monster Goosebumps 8 this was a big complaint. The Psychological horror of being stranded and having people go missing, that no one remembers being there in the first place works really well.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment.

Three Star Reviews:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.

 Two Star Reviews:

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato is all about the new Gods (Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and the Flash) v. the old Gods (Zeus, Hera, and Hermes). Superman kills Zeus’ son Hercules, and in retaliation Zeus strips Shazam of his powers and sends him along with Harley Quinn to the underworld. We learn more about Ares, the God of War, plan for more war and who is pulling his strings. This Volume has been my least favorite so far, there was a couple of cool moments, but the dialogue remains stale and uninspired.

Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. My girlfriend was very shocked that I had never read The Shining, and got it for Christmas. I was something not on my list really, because I had watched the Kubrick film so many times and thought I knew the story. I still really enjoyed it. The movie changes quite a bit, there are no creepy twins!! No axe, but a mallet, no maze, but animals made of bushes, we never get to see what Jack is writing, but know he is writing a history of the hotel, and we get a lot more of Dick Halloran the cook at the hotel with the shine. I have seen the Mini-series starring Steven Webber which is a lot more accurate to the source material, nails the ending. As a fan of Stephen Kings works I felt this was one of the better beginnings to one of his stories, I was hooked pretty instantly.

The Plot: Jack Torrance has been sober for 13 months, after close call involving drunk driving, and the almost loss of his family. Jack recently lost his job as a private school teacher, as he lost it on a student. Jack is hurting for work and still dealing with the struggles of addiction. When and old drink buddy that is also sober now, has an opportunity for Jack, care-taking for the Overlook Hotel, a Colorado hotel that needs a care-taker for the winter months of no operation. Jack sees this as the perfect job he can work on a play get paid and be away from his alcohol addiction for months. Jack takes his son and wife, Danny and Wendy, with him. Danny has an ability to read thoughts, and see the future called “the shine”. He has been getting warned that this trip will have dangers. Danny meets a cook with the shine ability that warns him as well about strange occurrences. Jack ends up becoming obsessed when he learns of the hotel’s killer past. Jack and Danny are both haunted as the hotel decides it wants to make them permanent residents.

What I Liked: The history of the Overlook hotel was really interesting. The reveal of what REDRUM means was a good one, it memorable from the film but the book did it nicely. The final 150 pages of this book are full of excitement. The main monster in the book was alcohol addiction. I loved the rational for Jack sabotaging the things to get help, was he knew if he was unemployed that he was going to give into to drinking, so the ghost was the safer bet in his mind. I liked “the shine” and how we got to see a couple people have it. I liked that the ghost used racism against Dick, but not any of the people. I love the way Mr. Ullman was described, I would have liked to see his reaction to the ending, because of the way he was connected to the hotel. I thought the stop drinking story was powerful and haunting. King books usually have way too much detail about a lot of things that do not matter, but I felt this was good example of most of the details having a purpose.

What I Disliked: The small subplot where Jack bragged about writing the expose on the Overlook Hotel to Ullman and Al. That plot was dropped towards the end. The point was to show manipulation of the mind, but I felt another way would have been better.

Recommendations: I had a lot of fun with The Shining. The writing is really good. The scares and the descriptions will give you chills. I had a lot of fun finding the differences from the film and the book. For a pop culture reference The Shining is the book that Rachael put in the freezer on Friends, and Joey put Little Women, which I actually did read this year coincidentally. The Shining out of the 30 some Stephen King Books that I have read would easily put it in the Top 10 maybe top 5. I rated The Shining by Stephen King 5 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: February 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, February is over, despite it being one of the shortest months I have had one of my best reading months so far. I read 9 books in February. I read all kinds of genres science fiction, mystery, general fiction, horror, historical fiction and young adult. I read 2 rereads, 2 advanced readers copies thanks to netgalley, 4 books in a series, a short story collection and a novella. I had three five star reviews, which is rare for me. So please let me share my mini reviews with you for these 9 titles.

Five Star Reviews:

Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, is a graphic novel I have read 3 times and my rating of 5 star still stands. This book is incredible! I’m reading the series and this book in particular because of the new Locke & Key series started on February 7 2020 on Netflix. This graphic novel combines gothic horror with suspense and added fantastical elements, all of which I love. This novel starts off with a bang having two murders show up asking about keys that no one knows what they’re talking about. Then the family moves to key house a house none of the kids have been to before. A place where the keys only open doors and powers for kids.

The Holdout By Graham Moore is as good as a legal thriller can get, it is one very entertaining and will keep you guessing, and two makes a statement about how our current legal system is broken and can be manipulated. The Holdout is two mysteries in one. One is a mystery that took ten years ago, where one jurist was a lone holdout for a not guilty verdict and swung the jury to all vote not guilty, is was the alleged killer guilty. The new mystery is who killed a member of the jury when they come together for a documentary about the case ten years ago. This book was part 12 Angry Men combined with an Agatha Christie murder mystery. I really enjoyed The Holdout thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me an advanced readers copy. The Holdout was published on February 18 2020.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go.

Four Star Reviews:

The Queen of Bedlam by Robert R. McCammon. This was a reread for me, book two the Matthew Corbett series. A haunting historical fiction/mystery set in 1702. There’s a serial killer called The Masker that cuts the victim’s face like a mask, a woman in an insane asylum, that they refer to The Queen, and the starting of the first detective agency in America.

The Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine is the 7th book in the original Goosebumps Series. I read this 20 years ago and forgot a good deal, there are still a lot of surprises and twist. This book messes with your brain a little bit, by asking what is real because of some clever pranks it make the reader second guess if this is really happening or a nightmare. I will say personally wooden dummies freak me out, so my fear factor might be higher than others.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is very original plot, involving a woman looking after two twins that can spontaneously combust, bursting into flames at any second. How do you take care of kids like that? This novel is original in its approach taking the concept of kids that can burst in to flames seriously.

Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction Novella that tells a futuristic Neo Noir detective story. I was reminded a lot of a Phillip K. Dick meets George Orwell, especially The Eye, the story Minority report is based on, and 1984. In the near future a computer program can simulate an entire day of the past for every person , police step into this world to gain to find evidence in the real time, but every interaction with someone from the real time causes deviations in the day.

Three Star Reviews:

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in High school! The story doesn’t hold back in its brutality, while keeping the dialogue foul and razor sharp. The language and camp are the best part of this novel. There are trigger warnings all over this book. Thanks to Netgalley and Wednesday books for the advanced readers copy. Foul is Fair was published on February 18 2020.

Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel that takes heroes from the bygone era, and stick them in a purgatory on a small farming town, where there is no such thing as superheroes. Some find love, others find betrayal, and some heartbreak in this purgatory, but most just want out. Is there something keeping the team there or someone? In this novel we find out the answer.

Book Review: Full Throttle by Joe Hill

Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go. A couple of the the short stories are odes to his favorite authors like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Lawerence Block, David Mitchell, and Stephen King. Out of the stories in this collection I was familiar with two, I read You are Released in Flight or Fright, which is a short story anthology about chilling tales involving flight, and I watched the Netflix original movie of the adaptation for In the Tall Grass which he wrote with Stephen King. Joe Hill has been one of my favorite others for quite some time I have read all his novels, short story collections, and all but two of his graphic novels. So I’m a bit of a super fan of his after finishing Full Throttle I already want another story of his roaming into by head. My favorites of Full Throttle are Faun, You Are Released, By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, Late Returns, and All I Care About is You. I broke each short story down individually to give each a rating and tell a little bit of what it is about.

The Plots and Ratings:

Five Star Stories:

Late Returns is about a bookmobile operator’s job delivering and picking library books from the alive and sometimes the dead. This story is really pull you heart strings type story. As the dead in most cases are able to checkout one last book. A a reader who wouldn’t love this story. I love the thought of giving new writer’s to people that died long ago. Hill remarks that his greatest fear is not finishing a book before he dies.

Faun is a story that was so good I didn’t want it to end, I think this story could easily be expanded into a novel. Faun is about a group of hunters that want to hunt more than just animals. One hunter knows about a place where you can hunt your wildest dreams. Think if a gateway to Narnia opened up, instead of go on an adventure it was used as a hunting ground. I this story was a great mix of Narnia meets Cabin in the Woods. This was my favorite story, the ending felt a bit rushed, but there’s so much potential to expand.

All I Care About is You is a story set in the future, on a mediocre birthday of Iris who has just turned 16. She ends up paying for a robot’s companionship for one hour, who’s mission statement is I will only care about you. This story is manages to balance sweet and sinister. The story has a weird beginning that took a little while to get into, but the story wraps up with a great unexpected ending.

By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain a story where there little kids find a dead dinosaur, like Nessie of Loch Ness, on the beach of the lake. They are kids so no one believes them until it is too late. This story was fun, really good dialogue, capturing the kids voices. This story was the most heartfelt of the bunch, it drew its inspiration from Richard Matheson’s Silver Water and Ray Bradbury’s The Foghorn

You Are Released is 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.

In the Tall Grass with Stephen King is the scariest story of the bunch it plays well with the fear of the unknown. Becky and Cal are siblings that are driving across Kanas, to reach the west coast where Becky can give away the unplanned baby away. There trip is halted when they here cries from help from the tall grass, once they enter they. They can’t seem to find their way out. The images presented are brutal and my leave some sick. The short story is the first 25 minutes of the Netflix film. There is no Travis in the short story, only a mention. I enjoyed both, there was parts I liked in both film and short story I liked. Both end pretty tragically.

Dark Carousel is a tale of four friends haunted by the creatures of an old carousel. I do like that this story is connected to Charlie Manx from NOS4A2 that Christmasland donated a cat for the carousel. The story and characters are great without the horror element, but when the moment comes the story gets scary and brutal.

Four Star Stories:

Mums is about Jack a sort of prisoner at his father’s separatist commune, his mother attempts to free but she is set up to look like a bad mother. Jack doesn’t realize learning to build fertilizer bombs is uncommon. The story goes all over the place and makes you the reader question what you’re reading is real or is Jack crazy.

Throttle by Joe Hill and Stephen King is about a biker gang terrorized by a semi, it’s Duel for the next generation. It had a weird opening telling about what is happening now and in the past at roughly the same time. The story gets good when it is biker v. Semi. I did love the family dynamic to the plot. Throttle ad the funniest lines of two characters describing stench.

Wolverton Station is a story about an American businessman on a train in London that just happens to be occupied by werewolves. The story makes some Little Red Riding Hood comparisons, with the businessman’s nickname being the woodcutter. The descriptions of the carnage are gorishly detailed. There’s a big of class warfare that didn’t fit so well.

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead is a story in tweet format, where we get the perspective of a teenage girl as she goes with her younger brother and parents on a road trip through America. They do a stop over at the Circus of the Dead. The show is fear based with zombies interacting with performers and patrons, the family doesn’t know it but they’re going to be part of the show. This story has a great ending with a bit of a twist.

Three Star Story:

The Devil on the Staircase is a story child growing up and working on the stairs of Sulle Scale. He lives on top and there is 820 steps to get to bottom. One side entrance with a red door that is always locked, is said to be stairs to hell. The type setting having the words cascade in columns looking like stairs works, but the story is a bit lagging.

Two Star Story:

Thumbprints this story has been me least favorite so far. A story about a female PFC Officer who held prison and torture duty, has that past creep up on her as she is a civilian working as a bar tender years later. Did not really care for the main character. I could see where Hill was going with this one we are all prisoners of our own design, but it just didn’t work for me.

Recommendations: I love Joe Hill I recommend his work when ever I get the chance. So far I have not been letdown by him. Full Throttle I whole heartedly recommend for fans of the horror genre. The stories are varied and carefully chosen. For people interested in the process of writing Hill breaks down how he came up with each story and who influenced him. This collection had seven stories which were 5 stars, four that where 4 stars, one that was 3 stars, and one that was 2 stars. The 5’s have it. I rated Full Throttle 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Haul: February 2020

Hello readers, it has been quite some time since I did a book haul, and thought I would share. This is a pretty good mix four horror, one graphic novel, one classic, one fantasy, one science fiction, one mystery, and two general fiction.

The Shining and Revival by Stephen King, My girlfriend was shocked that I had never read the Shining and got it for me, Revival is one of her favorites as well.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, I really enjoyed Violet by Scott Thomas last year about the imaginary friend who comes to life and wants to play forever. I want to read more of his work, I’m a sucker for a haunted house story.

The Deep by Nick Cutter, I own the Troop by Nick Cutter, haven’t got around to it yet but the reviews are amazing and the story of a boy scout troop discovering a plague on a camping trip and have to figure out how to stop it.  But the Deep is a story where a virus breaks out causing people to forget, and the only cure is at the bottom of the ocean.  Can they remember in time to save themselves.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, this book had me at Lesbian Necromancers. The book has got a lot of great reviews that I kept seeing.  This book is book one of a trilogy.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, Wilson visited my local bookstore when he toured, I was not able to go because of work, but I watched the interviews.  This book sounds crazy, a woman is to be a care taker of twins, with the catch being, when the twins are agitated they spontaneous combust into flames.  This will probably be the first book I read with this haul.

Gone With the Wind by Margret Mitchell, this book is a favorite of my girlfriend’s mother, and knows I want to read more classics this year, so she bought it for me as a gift.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the Omnibus Edition by Alan Moore, I have never read this series all the way through I have picked up a comic book here and there, but the order is a little bit weird.  So now I have the full version in order.  Alan Moore wrote Watchmen which is my favorite graphic novel of all time.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, this book is the one I know least about, but Im a sucker for anything bookstore related.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, this book has a witch and scientist battling each other as the world stars falling apart and they have to put away there differences to save it. It’s getting great reviews and sounds really interesting.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan, remember I’m a sucker for anything  bookstore related.  This is a bookstore mystery where a loyal customer hangs himself, with a picture of one of the clerks as a little kid.  The clerk finds books defaced that she can’t understand why, until she starts to see a pattern that may lead to something bigger.

My Top Ten Books: of this Decade 2010-2019

Wow is this Decade over already it moved way to fast.  While making this list I kept thing of the amazing books that I have read, that were published this decade.  There was a lot too choose from.  I hope you enjoy my list, and i can’t wait for what the next decade holds for us, readers.

  1. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – This is a book I’ve recommend time after time,   it deals with Ursula Todd and her many lives, it is not reincarnation, but a woman who lives the same life over and over in 1910 usually to World War II , It is like the film Groundhogs Day, but over an entire lifetime, and she can’t remember the choices exactly but she has intuition to save herself from traumatic events in her life and family.  It really analyzes why we make the choices we do, and it made me immediately think of my own life and choices.

 

  1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King – this novel was an instant classic for me. It has one of the better endings for a King novel. It is so much more than the Kennedy assassination. This is a story of choices and the repercussions of those choices; it has romance, adventure, spying, conspiracy, and a whole lot of heart. This was a novel that I thought I knew where it was going, but boy was I wrong and couldn’t be happier. This book is an incredible journey, with so much vivid detail; you’ll feel like you lived this adventure.

 

  1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – This book is EPIC!!! The first book in the Stormlight Archive series. Too much plot to give a brief summary. Incredible world building, great organic magic system, excellent characters both heroes and villains. This is 1253 page book that you will be sad is over thankfully the book is a ten book series with the forth book coming out in 2020.

 

  1. Vicious by V. E. Schwab – This wasn’t your standard good Vs. evil it was kind of evil thinking he was good Vs. evil that still has some good in him. I love what this book does for the super hero genre.  It could be compared to Professor X and Magento, with different powers, and instead of one bad guy there is two each with his own ideas, thinking they were doing good. This novel has one sequel, Vengeful that was nearly as good and expanded the series in really different ways.

 

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This is the first book that I remember being floored by the twist. This book is already a classic as it gets compared to every novel with a good twist. This novel is dark revels in it. I remember reading this in an afternoon I could not stop.

 

  1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This novel started a series that is now five books and a six forthcoming. The first book was Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones. The novel plays out like a Greek tragedy. I loved this book so much, I recommended it a lot! Where a lowly red race who works in the mines ruled over by the gold race on Mars. When Darrow’s wife is murdered for defiance by a Gold he wants to go the same way, he is recused and made to look like a gold so he can infiltrate them, and change things on the inside, he soon finds out the Gold’s will murder there own to get a head as well.

 

  1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – Ove is a wonderful book it reminded me of the Pixar movie “Up”, only instead of Carl wanting to have a balloon filled adventure, he wants to commit suicide. This book is a dramaedy it’s 30 percent drama and 70 percent comedy. It still manages to be heart breaking, tears welled up in my eyes as I finished this book, because the characterization is that good. It is rumored that Tom Hanks will play Ove for an American remake.

 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – We follow Starr who is in a car that’s stopped by the police with broken taillight, the driver is an old friend of the neighborhood who has fallen on rough times and starts selling drugs. The white police officer shoot the friend at the stop who the officer thought was going for a weapon as he checked on Starr. Starr is the loan witness and has to decide if she wants to stick up and say the truth about the incident. This book is pretty amazing with it’s approach about talking about important issues like, like black lives matter movement, interracial couples, gang violence, whether or not to talk to the police, why some people sell drugs, death of a loved one and prison life.

 

  1. NOS4AU by Joe Hill – A great horror story that shuck me to my core. Vic can travel anywhere she wishes by a magical bridge. She crosses paths with Charles Manx who has the same gift uses it for evil. If he wants to go somewhere it is to take children so they cannot get back. This novel will ruin Christmas for every one.

 

  1. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager –   “What none of them understand is that the point isn’t to fool others with a lie. The goal is to trick them by telling the truth.” The twist are incredible, there was two gut punches of twist, I haven’t been hit this hard since the Gone Girl twist. This novel takes you back to the sleepaway camp days, it will give you nostalgia and chills. I have read ever Rilely Sager book he is one of my top authors of this decade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Ten Books: of the Last Decade 2000 -2009

Hey all my fellow readers, in anticipation of this decade soon ending and me painstakingly lowering the over 400 books I have read in this decade, down to the ten best. I thought it would be fun for me to post my list of the ten best of the last decade that I originally posted to Facebook ten years ago.  I can not wait to check and compare everyones list and discover new reads.  The one thing I noticed the most is the little variety in genres that I  have now made up for. I t is a little crazy that 7 out of ten have gotten turned into either a movie of a series, with one that is currently available  Happy reading!
Best Books from 2000 up to the end of 2009

10. Timeline by Micheal Crichton – is one of the smart’s book about time travel, made into the stupidest movie, I was so disappointed. Crichton does so much research to have it all flushed away in the film.

9. Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst-  this is a thought provoking novel about a husband who can’t deal with his wife’s death that he tries to teach the only witness to see the death, the family dog, to communicate with what he’s seen, if the death was an accident or something more.

8. Cell by Stephen King – the first fifty pages of this book are utterly terrifying, a new zombie novel about zombies created from technology, no one writes an apocalypse like King.

7. Choke by Chuck Palahnuik – this is a novel about a sex addict who works at a Middle Ages park and that chokes on food so people will feel like heroes and want to take care of him, he and other are lead to believe through a series of event that he is the second coming of christ. This kind of a crazy feel good novel, where the character learns to grow up. this was turned into a movie starring Sam Rockwell and Clark Gregg, and was actually directed by Clark Gregg who is agent Coulson in the Avengers and Agents of Shield.

6. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – This book is about the mythological Gods of America, there’s the god of TV, and Radio, all preparing for a huge battle with all the other Gods, and on man who’s the son of a god and a Woman. The book sounds simple enough but this plot is only a subplot for a smart mystery of a serial killer.

5 Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill – who’s really Stephen King’s Son, His Debut novel reminds you of his Dad’s early stuff this is a really smart ghost story that will really scare you. The ghost doesn’t let daylight or crowded restaurant stop him this ghost story that doesn’t let up till the very end.

4.Life of Pi – by Yann Martel this book is so good, even though there are some slow part and at some points I really wondered where the story was going. Where it takes you I would never have imagined. I never would have thought that a book about an Indian boy, a Zebra, and a Tiger would have been so entertaining and have such a great ending. Turned into a movie that one best director for Ang Lee at the Oscars.

3. Water For Elephants – another book marketed as being chick lit, even though the main character is a man and there is masterbating dwarf, that probably won’t make it into the movie (it did not make it into the movie). This book reminds me of the way Stephen King’s The Green Mile was told. It’s about an old man in a nursing home that reflects on his life as he worked on a traveling circus in the 30’s. This is a love story, but it’s also about death and about how you want to leave this earth, waiting for it or doing something you love as your welcoming it.

2 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Micheal Chambon – a book about World War I and II, 1930’s comic book writer’s starting a company creating heroes to deal with what they think of the war, this book also is about being jewish, about being gay, about going to war a supporting your country, the early movies in the thirty’s, and life in early New York City. It deals with even more then that and it all makes total sense, to where the characters wind up.

1. Shutter Island by Denis Lehane – this book is a page turner, that you can’t put down the ending will have you talking for days arguing with your friends about the ending. Hopefully the movie keeps that part alive.  is an illusion or isn’t it is it a hallucination or will the end answer that question, but then ask you even more allowing you to question the answers you’ve just learned. A great read that’s just fun to talk about.

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: 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: 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.