Category Archives: thriller/horror

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Book Review: The Road

Book: The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Recommend: This one is not for the faint of heart but worth the read.

I have heard so much about this book. It is mentioned almost constantly when discussing post-apocalyptic works as the standard to measure against and now that I’ve read it, I can completely understand why.

This story centers around a boy and his father as they travel through a burned out country where most of the people they meet are corpses or much worse.  The lack of complete detail in this book about why the world is the way that it is actually adds to its intensity. You have no idea why the world burned or what caused their struggle, only that they fighting to stay alive in the grim world they are faced with.

Definitely worth picking up but the gore level and suicidal tendencies might keep younger readers from this one. Not easy to get through but well worth the journey.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Enemy

Book: The Enemy

Author: Charlie Higson

Recommend: A scary thrill ride of a book – worth checking out.

Okay, I can basically sum this one up in one statement. This is a zombie version of Lord of The Flies with the royal family thrown in for good measure. Was it a fun read? Oh yah. Was it anything ground breaking or new? Nope.

If I were to come up with one thing that was strongest with this book was the ensemble of characters. It has been a while since I’ve read a good ensemble book. The characters were well-balanced out and the conflict was balanced out. I think it was the only thing that separated this from a lot of the books with a similar storyline. Add in a sanctimonious power-hungry villain and it made for a fun read. I don’t know that I’ll keep reading this series but I can see the appeal.

Definitely worth the read if this is your kind of book.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Book: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Author: Carrie Ryan

Recommend: This one started strong and then fizzled out…

Okay, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this one on a multitude of YA fiction sites and so when I saw a copy sitting at my library, actually available, I snatched it up as quick as I could. This book started out with a bang and kept me reading straight through to the end. Even with the pacing though there was a major problem that simply couldn’t be overlooked which basically ruined the whole end of the book for me.

Okay this one is a zombie book if you couldn’t tell from the title. The forest is filled with them and they are stuck in a town with only a fence separating them from the moaning flesh hungry mob, which has been done in quite a few of the other zombie books I have read and so I won’t go into my issues with this idea. The main character Mary seems to get pushed into impossible decision after impossible decision time after time without a break.  I was really with this character though up until the climax of the book. She got the boy she wanted and – was still miserable. While I celebrate the idea that having a boy isn’t the end all be all of life and even knowing this was probably written in direct response to Bella Swan‘s seeming dependence on Edward Cullen this plot point was completely uacceptable to me due to the fact that it made the main character completely and totally inconsistent. Now, you cant say she was growing as a character but a character who had grown like that wouldn’t make the choices that she makes in the next few scenes. From this moment on, the character goes from being completely solid and really interesting to read to a bland plot driven cardboard cutout character.

So while this book had a lot of really go things going for it. I simpy don’t think I’ll be able to finish this series.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Invincible

Book: Invincible

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Recommend: It’s a fun read if you are into paranormal fiction.

Hurray for a sequel that doesn’t stink! I like how this author keeps the story moving through the whole length of the book and unlike her adult material the action doesn’t seem to wane after a while only to build to the climax. She had created a great balance of interest and plot development in just the right proportions to keep the reader interested and informed. Nick is finding out more about his world and begins to figure out who Ambrose is in this one. Also there is a crazy undead football coach trying to kill him in a way that is quickly becoming far too familiar for this character.

The only issue I have with this one is that he is supposed to be working for Kyrian but I think he’s showed up at work a grand total of two times in the two books I’ve read. I get why he hasn’t been there but it would be good to see him actually do the job that he is getting paid an obscene amount of money for. Other than that this is a fun read. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t get book four yet. I see a library trip in my near future (like immediately after I finish the third one).

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Code

Book: Code

Author: Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Recommend: It was a fun read, if not a bit reminiscent of a Bones plot twist.

In the latest installation of the Virals series, we have our first signs of romance overshadowed by a deadly game that no one wants to play.

This book honestly reminded me of the Gravedigger arc on Bones combines with the arc where Brennan’s grad student, Zach helps a cannibalistic serial killer. Toss in a dash of the Saw series and you basically have the plot for this book. While I think the story is a great read, I am starting to see less and less originality from this author and her son, who joined her for the third book in this series.

While I really enjoyed the frantic pace and the way these character are written, I don’t see myself rereading these anytime soon.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Gates

Book: The Gates

Author: John Connolly

Recommend: This one is not for everyone… but it might be for you.

Alright, warning everyone now, this is not a book for everyone. This deals with demons and hell in a way that not everyone will appreciate. I would liken this book a combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dante’s Inferno, The Screwtape Letters with tons of sarcasm and snark thrown in. It reads a bit like Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and J.K. Rowling sat down and decided to write a book together.

I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I’ve read The Book of Lost Things and I think I liked this one even better, although many who are fans of that one, have said just the opposite. I was planning on putting this one off for a bit longer. I actually own this one but I picked up the second book in the series by accident at the library and figured that now was as good a time as any to get into it.

A bit of a note, this one might be extremely offensive to some because they might feel that it treats hell in a less than respectful manner and there are demons as main character and not all of them are clearly the bad guys.

I hurt my ribs today and let me tell you, this book is NOT one to read when laughing hurts.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Shade’s Children

Book: Shade’s Children

Author: Garth Nix

Recommend: This was a bleak and yet somehow refreshing change of pace…

I picked this one up after reading about it online using through a page a found on StumbleUpon. I requested it from the library and picked it up this week. After finishing the dystopian trilogy that I had read the day before I was going for something very different and found it, although in not the way I expected.

This was a post-apocalyptic world where everyone dies at the age of fourteen in order to be used as spare parts for monsters that put on large battles. A few lucky ones escape the dorms and end up constantly on the run except for the ones lucky enough to find Shade and his children who are searching for a  way to defeat the overlords and put their world back together.

I really enjoyed that this book didn’t really contain an ounce of fluff. It was harsh and honestly bleak. The characters were rough and attempting to deal with extremely tough choices. Their emotions got in the way and had consequences and not everyone survived in the end. There was a lack of romance that was honestly refreshing. The characters had too many other things to deal with. The only negative thing I could say about this book is that one of the central characters, Gold Eye, comes off a bit younger than the teenager he is supposed to be. His broken speech makes him come across like a little kid instead. It took me some time to realize that he was supposed to be the same age as the rest of them.

Overall a good read but there is no fluff to be found here.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Prey

Book: The Prey

Author: Andrew Rukuda

Recommend: If you’d asked me about 30 seconds after I’d finished reading it I would have said yes… after a couple of minutes… meh.

I read the first book in this trilogy quite a while ago and really enjoyed it because it was scary vamps told by one of the few humans who had managed to escape detection. The second book was following Gene and the rest of the humans from the Dome as they made their way across the desert, away from the vampires to the place where they were supposed to be safe. However when the finally find their way to the Mission, something is not quite right and they find themselves fighting for their lives again, against something far less obvious than vampires.

This author knows how to keep a reader moving through the pages of his books, I’ll give him that much. The story is fast and engaging. I had no plans to put this one down until I had finished with it. I was even able to ignore all the rip off plot points that would have ordinarily made me throw down the book in disgust because it just kept moving so fast that I couldn’t seem to stop. The ending was good and left you begging for more – at least for a few seconds.

Okay, here come the flaws and there are a lot of them. The Mission. Chalk this up to a FLDS town minus the religious stuff and add in foot binding so that the girls can’t move fast enough to get away.  Plus these strange scenarios kept happening where  the reader would be sure Sissy was going to get severely hurt by these crazies but the author chickened out and couldn’t bear to write the type of scene that made sense in the situation and attempted to awkwardly explain it away. However the author doesn’t shy away from the horror of the idea that girls barely thirteen are having kids in this community. Never mind that the reality of Civilization was so obvious it was painful. In fact, you almost don’t want to believe it because it’s just too simple. Ugh.

Overall, it’s a fun quick read with very little else going for it. Save your money on this one. I know I’m glad I did.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Hunt

Book: The Hunt

Author: Andrew Fukuda

Recommend: It was much better than I thought it was going to be.

I picked this up a while ago and have been wanting to read it but hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I heard some horrible things from a couple of other people who had read the book. That really put it on the back burner for me. Finally, this week it was at the top of my stack of books to be read and so I decided to brave it. A few pages in and I was hooked with one exception.

Imagine you were one of the few real humans left in a world full of vampires. You had to do so many thing to evade being noticed and killed by anyone and everyone around you. Every action and natural reaction had to be completely controlled so that you would fit into the mold and escape notice. For one boy, he had escaped notice his whole life until he is selected to participate in the hunt. Anyone would be thrilled to be able to hunt down the last humans known to exist, unless of course, you were human yourself.

The only thing I had a problem with in this book is the fact that the vampires just didn’t seem to notice that he wasn’t human. It had to be done to make the story work but there were too many unanswered questions for me. However, the book really clipped along. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go quite the way that it did at the end which was nice. Definitely a fun, easy read for fans of real vampires. This is not Twilight type vampire action. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Definitely a great read if you enjoy a good horror story.
Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS 😉

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Book Review: The Twelve

Book: The Twelve

Author: Justin Cronin

Recommend: If you’ve read The Passage or if you like more traditional vampire books…

I loved the first book in this series. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. I finally found a copy the other day and was ready to dive in. I quickly realized that I didn’t remember who a lot of the characters were and found myself going back to The Passage a bit to review. I normally hate when an author goes back to review who the people are but in this case, I really could have used some review.

As they move across the United States, things are changing. Something is killing off the virals. While horrible attacks are still occurring, they are not overwhelming every settlement. When they begin to realize the awful truth, there seems to be no way to stop the inevitable.

This is a hard book to summarize simply because there is so much going on without giving away everything. In some ways I kind of feel like this book wasn’t planned at all when Cronin finished The Passage originally. While the players are the same, in a way they feel somewhat altered and slightly more shallow than the first book. While it was still good, I guess that nothing can quite compare to the original.

Definitely worth reading if you’ve read the first one and if you haven’t read The Passage, you should go out and pick it up.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Eleventh Plague

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Book: The Eleventh Plague

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Recommend: An easy, fun, post-apocalypse read.

Confession: I picked this one up for the cover alone. It’s a great one. I didn’t even read the jacket flap before it found the inside of my book bag. Sad but true. I really do try to not judge books by their covers but sometimes it happens. I had a feeling this was either dystopian or post-apocalypse and I was right with the second one. Honestly this reminded me a bit of The Postman meets the The Passage (minus the vampires) written for younger teens.

Steve is a scavenger. He wanders what is left of a civilization he can’t remember looking for scraps of what they had lost when their whole society collapsed due to an overwhelming plague. When his father is injured, he has no choice but to trust a group of strangers and he ends up in a small pocket settlement in what used to be a gated community. However, in this world a single error can tear everything apart.

I think the best thing about this book is that while there was a small romance, it wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t the focus of the book. In the end, Steve made his choices based on what he needed and not what a girl wanted. While that would bother me normally, for some reason in this book, it was a refreshing change of pace.

It was enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as memorable, but not bad for a debut.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Bar Code Tattoo

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Book: Bar Code Tattoo

Author: Suzanne Weyn

Recommend: Most of the book was great…

A society where almost everyone has a bar code tattoo. However, they don’t always work right. For some people getting the bar code means success for others it means ruin. For Kayla it means making a choice to conform. After her father and mother’s lives are ruined by the tattoos, Kayla’s decision not to get the tattoo seemed easy at the time, until the moment it became illegal not to have one. What will Kayla do when the whole world seems to be chasing those who aren’t tattooed? How will she handle it when the one person she trusts betrays her?

This story was fast, furious and fun to read. This book’s obvious roots in the Biblical book of Revelation is obvious from the beginning, however the fact that it doesn’t follow through on the path is extremely confusing. There are also large jumps in time between paragraphs on occasion, like the author just gave up for a while and picked the story back up days, weeks, or even months later. The weirdest part of the whole thing was the physic ending that was just bizarre. Not at all where I expected the story to go.

This story has a great idea that really needed a bit more work.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Changeling

Book: Changeling

Author: Philippa Gregory

Recommend: Bit of a dull slog honestly.

I picked this one up simply because I thought it would interesting to see what her work for teens would be like. I knew her name of course because of The Other Boleyn Girl and other books that she has written (none of which I have read – yet). I figured this would be a great way to get into her. I was really wrong. Everything about this book was completely unappealing to me. I just couldn’t get into it!

There is just simply too much court and pieces of the inquisition in here to really be readable. I also found her writing to be rather dull. The book was on the shorter side which, along with the fact that I didn’t want to abandon two books in a row, were the only reasons I finished it. I don’t think it was a bad book but I don’t see it going over well with teenagers honestly. The characters feel far too old and dull. There is too much propriety and not enough passion to make this book enjoyable. It just lacked spark.

Might be up someone else’s alley but this was simply not my cup of tea.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Thirteen Hallows

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Book: The Thirteen Hallows

Authors: Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

Recommend: It was well written but there were quite a few negatives. You need a strong stomach for this one.

I thought I was picking up some fairly traditional fantasy. However, this was more modern crime drama/thriller loosely along the lines of the Da Vinci Code combined with an episode of Castle. I wasn’t expecting suspected serial killers with a dash of fantasy. So this one wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

The big positive for this book was the quality of the writing. One of the best written collaborations I have read in quite some time. The two authors meshed together seamlessly. It made the book very readable. These two author enhance each other instead of bringing each other down.

However, I have a list of reasons that this book might not be for you.

  • Extremely gory. Necessary for the storyline but very graphic.
  • Fantasy based on the life of Jesus that is not based in fact. (Jesus in Britain – where is that in the Bible?)
  • Disturbing sexual content.
  • Reads like a crime drama.
  • Rushed ending so the authors can string us along with a second book.

This is definitely something to seriously think about before picking up.

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Book Review: Outpost

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Book: Outpost

Author: Ann Aguirre

Recommend: It wasn’t a horrible read – if you like zombies.

Okay, book two of this series, which started with Enclave, honestly left quite a bit to be desired. I honestly felt like I was reading a watered down version of The Passage by Justin Cronin and one that wasn’t nearly as good.

They have reached the settlement called Salvation and everything is not going as well as planned. Deuce can’t seem to leave her fighting days behind and become the more traditional girl she should be. When the new, smarter Freaks start threatening their safety, Deuce throws away all convention and volunteers to help guard the town. When Fade is taken by the Freaks, nothing will be the same again.

Okay, honestly this one was somewhat annoying. Deuce is about as thick as they come for main characters. She might be strong and a good fighter but sometimes she’s as dumb as a box of rocks. I was still pulled in as I read but it was not as good as the first one. I really don’t see myself seeking out any more books in this series.

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Book Review: Enclave

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Book: Enclave

Author: Anne Aguirre

Recommend: If you like post apocalyptic zombie books.

Deuce had lived her whole life underground. All she had ever wanted from life was to become a huntress, the noble and brave career choice for her small underground settlement. To hunt food and escape the Freaks were to be her only goals in life. When she is paired with Fade, everything begins to go wrong and as she discovers the truth about her life, it will force her to make a decision that will put her somewhere even more dangerous – topside.

I get seriously bummed out when  I get the second book in a series as an ARC. This means that before I can read the book, I have to search out a copy of the first books. There is simply no way to read the second book without reading the first. I picked this up after a very long, hectic week at work and it was fast enough but light enough to be an enjoyable short read before bed.

I am not really a fan of zombie fiction in any form. I’ve read some good zombie books, but usually they just don’t appeal to me that much. That being said, this book already had one strike against it. When I got into the book, I found it to be engaging and fast-paced but the whole time I wished I was reading something else. I think the book was decent but just not something up my alley.

I would say this book’s biggest weakness is that you don’t really get a sense of where you are as a reader. The author doesn’t spend enough time on scene development in order for the reader to really be able to envision where the characters are at while they are underground. Once they hit topside, it does get quite a bit better but the whole book left me with a sense of reading a sketch instead of a full-fledged painting.

It was interesting but not for everyone and definitely not the best thing I’ve read. I’m glad I didn’t pay a dime for it, but I didn’t mind reading it too much.

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Book Review: Article 5

Fiction - February 08

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Book: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons

Recommend: It was an interesting read. Not at all what I expected.

I saw this one a few months ago. It was on my massive list of books to read. I thought the concept was interesting. What if having a child out-of-wedlock was illegal? What if breaking a statute meant that you would disappear? What if the government was run by a moral code and one religion? That is the questions the author poses. What would the extreme case look like?

I really enjoyed the story line. What I didn’t like was the completely negative spin it took on traditional values and Christianity. The author seemed to think that having morality regulated would turn into something horrible. While anything can be taken too far, I think that the author forgets that the ideology in the book seems to be based on Biblical ideals and core of the Bible is God’s love for the people He created. The author seems to think that a world run by Christianity would be a world full of unfair rules and regulations and that the slightest thing would be met with extreme consequence. A world run by true Christian values would be one of love, caring, sacrifice and mercy, not violence and hatred. A situation similar to the book occurred a month or so ago in Mali (Couple given 100 lashes after child born out of wedlock) but it wasn’t Christians, it was under Islamic extremist rule.

I also think that there is a huge structural flaw with Article 5 of the statues. I think the idea that someone would be condemned for being a single parent doesn’t make sense with the structure she has created. If the whole idea is to promote traditional values, there still would be single parents, even if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock. What about widows/widowers? What about cases of rape? What about cases of abandonment? It’s just not solid enough to make sense to anyone reasonable.

While this was a fun fast-paced thrill ride, I think the author is trying to push her agenda through an engaging story.

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Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

Book: Anna Dressed in Blood

Author: Kendare Blake

Recommend: It was a good ghost story, except for the language and witchcraft

I enjoy a good ghost story. I don’t believe in ghosts but a good ghost story is always sends a fun chill down my spine. I picked this up expecting exactly that. While the ghost story was great, Anna was chilling and compelling, I got distracted by the foul language and witchcraft that showed up in this story.

Cas is a ghost hunter for lack of a better term just like his father before him. When he hears about Anna dressed in blood who violently kills anyone who crosses the threshold to her childhood home, he decides that she is going to be his next target. What he didn’t expect was that Anna didn’t want to kill him.

This book uses a lot of witchcraft and I’m not talking the fantasy kind. It really just got in the way of the story for me. I really don’t like to read books that include real Wicca or Wiccan practices. I’m also not a big fan of reading about Voodoo. This book has both.

The language in this book is far to frequent and severe for a book aimed at younger audience. Personally when I encounter this much swearing in a book, it makes me doubt the author’s ability in a way because they can’t seem to come up with an effective way to communicate emotion without resorting to the vulgar.

While the ghost was amazing, the rest of the story made it a drag.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

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Book Review: Talulla Rising

Book: Talulla Rising

Author: Glen Duncan

Recommend: Not as good as the first one and I couldn’t recommend that one either.

I received this book as an ARC through a drawing on shelf awareness. Then I realized that it was the second book in a series. So I had to pick up the first one, which I reviewed a few days ago, called The Last Werewolf.

This book follows a character we are introduced to midway through the first book, Talulla as she attempts to save her son from a secretive cult planning to sacrifice him for the chance to walk in daylight.

While the storyline was fast-paced and engaging, the language and sexual content were extremely distracting and ruined the book for me. The author didn’t seem to have any sense of restraint in that area. The strong point of the first book was the writer’s ability to make the character’s age believable. While the writer made it very clear that Talulla was a young werewolf, born in current times, the whole thing felt very rushed and plot driven instead of insightful.

While it’s an engaging read, the lack of depth and the mass amount of inappropriate content makes it not worth spending time on.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Deadlocked

Book: Deadlocked

Author: Charlaine Harris

Recommend: Even if you’re a fan of the series, I don’t know that you’ll enjoy this one…

Yes, I admit that I rather enjoy this series of books – or at least I used to. Right now I’m kind of fed up with them. It has started to feel like the author is a one trick pony and the main character’s decisions have become increasingly plot driven instead of character driven. While I know that these aren’t great literature, there is a certain level of integrity to the nature of the characters you create that every author should maintain. I personally feel like Ms. Harris has lost sight of that in the last couple books.

In this book, Sookie’s relationship with Eric Northman is strained and seems to be in danger. Add in problems with the fae and a very powerful gift that everyone seems to want to steal and Sookie’s life is again far too exciting for her own good. Sookie’s responses to Eric in this book just don’t come across as genuine. Eric’s responses to Sookie are ten times worse. The ending scene of the book is a HUGE cope out to create tension that will lead into the next book.

At this point, I’m about ready to stop reading this series all together. The whole thing is feeling very phoned-in.

Side note: In no way, shape or form do I endorse the TV show based on these books. True Blood is not appropriate for anyone – period.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

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