Book Blogger Hop: October 5th-11th

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

The question this week is: It’s getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer — urban fantasy, or horror, and why? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

Almost certainly horror, because my most read genre is probably fantasy, and I think I might read more urban fantasy than other subgenres.

I tend to save up horror books to binge read during October because I participate in some spooky themed reading challenges and read-a-thons.


Which genre would you choose?

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R.I.P. XIII: Update the Second

(Check out the R.I.P. 13 page here, and my sign up post here.)

I’ve officially completed Peril the First, whoo!

That doesn’t mean I’m stopping, because I have several spooky books lined up for October, and other spooky challenges to participate in (like FrightFall which I just posted about earlier). I’m just shocked that I A) actually finished four books that fit, and B) have done so before October even started haha.

In my first update, I’d read two books and was working on a third (I ended up DNF’ing The Library at Mount Char…maybe some other time).

Since then, I’ve also finished:

  • The Suffering by Rin Chupeco (the sequel to The Girl in the Well), and I loved it I think as much as the first book, maybe more. I might post a combo review soon, but I gave it 4.5/5 stars.
  • Kill Creek by Scott Thomas (reviewed here) which…I didn’t love. 2/5 stars.

For Peril of the Short Story I read:

  • Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts edited by Rayne Hall which I gave 1/5 stars :/
  • Then I re-read “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe which I gave 4.5/5 stars (it’s not my favorite Poe story, but I really enjoy it).
  • I think The Marble and Other Ghost Tales of Tennessee and VIrginia by Joe Tennis counts. It’s a super short book (70 pages) of ghost stories from a small region of TN and VA. I just read it this morning and gave it 3.5/5 stars.

For Peril on the Screen:

I watched Happy Death Day. I’ve wanted to see this movie since I first saw previews last year(?) and I was not disappointed. I don’t want to say much about it, but I honestly loved it. Probably enough to buy it if I ever find it cheap.

I give this one 4.5/5 stars for being so much fun to watch, and because if I hadn’t spoiled myself accidentally by searching for something while watching it, I honestly wouldn’t have seen the ending coming. I might have figured out the “who,” but not the “how.”

If you like movies like Scream, April Fool’s Day, Heathers, Final Destination, maybe Final Girl, Black Christmas (the original, I don’t think I’ve seen the remake), and–of course–Groundhog Day, you might want to check this one out if you haven’t already.


I think that’s it for my R.I.P. updating, but there will be more coming next month, probably.

Book Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas


Genres/Descriptors:
Horror

Why I read it: I found it on Net Galley last year (eek) and it sounded great.

Who I’d recommend it to: Honestly? Very few people.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Book Depository | IndieBound

 


Goodreads Description:

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, lies the Finch House. For years it has perched empty, abandoned, and overgrown–but soon the door will be opened for the first time in many decades. But something waits, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests. 
When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt soon becomes a fight for survival–the entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.


Review:

Meh. If I had to sum up my feelings about this book in a single word, it would be, “meh.” This was honestly one of the most disappointing reads I’ve had in a while.

I’ll start with the good, though.

This book was undoubtedly an homage to the big names of horror, probably both classic and modern. As someone who really likes horror, both on the page and on the screen, I could appreciate that.

At times, it was clear that Scott Thomas is capable of writing very well, and potentially delivering some scares, so I’m not writing him off just yet.

This book would probably make a great movie, and I’m thinking I would like the movie version more.

That’s pretty much all I actually liked about this book, and I feel weird about giving it such a low rating because it seems to be well-loved, in general.

The first 30% or so are seriously over-written. The remainder of the book is a little better, but I stand by what I said once (when I was only about halfway through it): it could probably lose 100 pages and nothing about the story would change. With horror, or any other spooky-ish book, I tend to call this “Stephen King Syndrome.” So if you like how wordy King can be, you probably won’t be bothered by that aspect. One additional note about it, though, is that some things were repeated way too often. Certain phrases, or recounting the same memory or whatever. Eventually, I just started skimming and skipping over pages.

Nothing really happens until close to the halfway point. Then, I finally had hope of reading a truly creepy story, but it lost steam really quickly. I don’t want to say much about what happened, so I don’t spoil anything for someone planning to read this, but there was a shift in the type of horror around 70% and I just rolled my eyes and thought, “Of course.” I’d seen it coming, but had hoped it wasn’t going to go there.

Two things frustrated me most about this book.

The first was the one (main) female character. At first, I thought I was going to like her. And eventually I did, but less in a, “Wow, this guy wrote a decent female character, hurrah!” kind of way, and more in the way that I wish I could take her away from him and give her to a woman author. The creepiest thing about this book was how T.C. Moore was written at times, and if she could come to life and speak for herself, I’m guessing she would verbally rip Thomas a new one. Or maybe even literally do it. I get it. She’s a tough, badass bitch, in a field dominated by men. I. GET. IT. I have no issues with unlikable female characters (I want more of them!). I have no issues with crass female characters. But Moore was just so over the top she became unbelievable, which is really disappointing because if Thomas had just dialed it back a bit (and maybe not mentioned her breasts and underwear and how she has a “pagan ritual”–which I have other issues with–of writing naked) it would have been much better to read about her.

The second thing was the lack of explanation. I still have no clue what caused the things that happened in the book. We’re given some vague ideas, but nothing is really settled and actually explained. I guess that’s supposed to make it creepier, but it just irritates me. And then there were the vines. I won’t elaborate on that part.

None of the characters really stood out to me. It’s like they should have had more depth, but just didn’t. I honestly can barely even remember their names already, even though (as I’m typing this) I just finished the book a half hour ago. I think the idea for them was to make them almost like archetypes of big-name horror authors, without actually making them into those authors. But that didn’t quite work for me, in the end, and so I never really cared about any of them. I just wanted the book to end so I could move on.

I feel like this book should have been a better experience for me, but I spent almost all of it bored and/or skimming over all the repetitive bits so I could finally finish it. wanted to like it, but it was just…fine. Not really good, not horrible, just fine. I saw the ending coming from pretty much the beginning, and it was also just fine. Nothing new or surprising there.

Would I recommend it? Not really. But, if you love Stephen King, maybe Dean Koontz, and others like them, you might like this more than I did.

 

I received a free copy for review from Net Galley

Top 10 Tuesday: Fall 2018 TBR

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlEvery week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


Wow, it’s been like 3 months since I did a T10T :/

This week’s topic is books on our fall TBR. I don’t make TBRs. I never stick to them, and they just end up frustrating me and making me feel bad, so I don’t bother. However, I do usually have books in mind that I’d like to read within a certain time period. I might not actually do it, but I try.

So, these are 10 things I’d like to try to get to this season, in no particular order.


Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson– This one sounds perfect for next month, probably between heavier/longer books to lighten things up a bit.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco– This has been on my shelf an embarrassingly long time :/

Vicious by V.E. Schwab– Another one I should have read ages ago, but I’m only saving it until Vengeful comes out next week, so I’ll hopefully be reading both of them soon.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux– This one is actually my husband’s, but he forgot about it, so…finders keepers?

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury– I finally own it! I’m excited for this one because I remember loving the movie when I was a kid.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty– I have no excuse for why I still have not read this *sigh*

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix– I’ve wanted to read this one since it came out, and now I have it! I’m excited because it sounds like something I’ll really enjoy.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier– I’ve wanted to read this for almost as long as I can remember, so maybe I’ll finally get around to it.

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco– I just realized I have two of her books on this list, but I just read The Girl From the Well and really liked it, so I’m hoping to grab this sequel ASAP.

For my tenth, I’m cheating. Cheating how? By not listing anything specific. My tenth spot is for short stories, mostly of the Victorian and Gothic varieties. I just don’t have any one thing in mind, so… however many short stories I can squeeze in over the next couple of months. Possibly some Gaskell, La Fanu, Poe, Blackwood, etc.


I’m not feeling very well today, so I’m not going in search of covers or trying to take any pictures to add to this. Sorry :/

 

What are some books you’d like to get to this autumn?

Have any spooky book recs you’d like to pass on?

R.I.P.: Update the First + mini review of Hereditary (the movie)

We’re just over two weeks into R.I.P. 13, and I can finally post something about my progress, yay! (My sign up post.)

I’m not 100% sure if the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger counts (I mean, I’d classify it as “supernatural,” but I’m still not sure what the difference is between supernatural, preternatural, and paranormal, so…), but I am going to count it, but only as one thing, because it feels like cheating to count a whole series of five books for a challenge that I only need to read four books for.

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Next, I read Rin Chupeco’s The Girl From the Well which solidly fits into the “horror” category. I really liked this one, and I want to read the sequel, and check out some translated Japanese horror stories at some point. I’m finding that my tastes in horror tends to be classic ghost stories (I’m also a big fan of true/”true” ghost stories), Gothic horror and Japanese stories (particularly ghostly ones).

Now I’m trying really hard to make myself finish The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, but…I’m really not loving this book. I’ve tried to read it a couple of times, and finally got about 50 pages into it earlier this year before giving up. I really want to read it and enjoy it, but it might just not be my thing. I like weird stuff, but I also like to have at least a tiny idea of wtf is going on :/

Will this one end up being my third book?

I have no clue. I’m around 20% into the story and just…bored. And frustrated. I rarely regret only spending a couple bucks on a book (I got this one on sale a while back), but I’m starting to regret this one, and I’m really thinking it might be a DNF.


And then there’s Peril On the Screen.

I usually save all horror-viewing this late in the year for October and my month-long binge, but I had a Redbox code, and the Redbox I use had Hereditary. I couldn’t help myself.

My thoughts on Hereditary are mixed. On one hand, I totally see why it was compared to The Witch. Neither are really scary, both have a sort of central theme of a family drama, and both deal with the occult (albeit in different ways).

I’ll try to keep this non-spoilery and brief.

  • I loved, loved, loved the camera work. Seriously, it was the best part of the movie imo.
  • I was not particularly surprised by anything in the big reveal. That’s the curse of being interested in the occult and watching five billion horror movies, I guess.
  • I didn’t really like or care about anyone in the movie, so what happened to them was just “eh” for me.
  • Nothing really scary happened. I mean, ok, if this were happening to my family, yeah…I’d be a bit freaked out. Mostly pissed off, but definitely a bit freaked. (Then again, if I wanted to contact a spirit, I sure as hell wouldn’t trust someone I didn’t really know to provide me with a way to do it.)
  • It was gory at times, but in a way that…worked. It wasn’t on the level of things like Saw or Hostel, for sure, but it had a few moments that were done pretty well.
  • I laughed my ass off towards the end with a thing that Annie (I think was her name) suddenly started doing after a thing involving fire. I’m trying to be vague here so I don’t spoil anything :/
  • The ending was really weird, but not bad. Just weird. I have completely neutral feelings about it.
  • My feelings about how it kind of makes you think it could be mental illness, or it could be supernatural, and you’re not sure which for much of the film, are mixed at best. On the one hand, I think it works. On the other hand, I am so sick of people with MI being thrown under buses for anything and everything, including horror stories.
  • I liked The Witch way more, but I would totally watch this again if it ever comes to Netflix and I’m bored.
  • This is one I might recommend to fans of things like Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts, Rosemary’s Baby (book or movie), The Wicker Man (1973), and maybe The Haunting of Hill House by Shirly Jackson and the movie Orphan.
  • I would also suggest looking up trigger warnings before watching it.

I’d give the movie a 3/5 rating, but this is another one that just didn’t scare me like I’d hoped it would. I think I might have liked it more if I’d liked at least some of the characters, but I was indifferent to them all.

However, it has a nice vibe and I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t like it enough to buy it.


And that’s it for now, I guess. I’m not sure how often I’ll post about R.I.P. from now until it ends, on October 31st. It might be kind of random, it might be weekly. We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you’re participating, tell me about what you’re reading and/or watching, or leave a link to your sign up post so I can check it out 🙂

Spooky Book Recs & Discussion: A Mixed Bag

So far, I’ve recommended Snack Sized Stories (novellas, short stories, etc.) and some for kids-teens (or anyone else who likes YA, MG, picture books, etc.), and between those two lists, I don’t have a lot of horror/thriller/otherwise spooky books left to recommend.

I have read a couple of things since writing those, though, and there were a few things that either didn’t fit with those lists or I looked over, so this is just a mixed bag of spooky book treats.

These will probably run the gamut from slightly creepy/darker setting (think gothic lit, or things that have a Halloween/autumn “vibe” to them, or are actually set in the autumn) to actual horror/thriller stories.


And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie– Gotta have some Christie in these recs lists ❤
Bird Box by Josh Malerman– I really liked this one. It actually creeped me out several times.
Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl– I don’t think I finished this YA series, but I liked the first 3(?) books.
Dracula by Bram Stoker– Classic vamp book is classic 😛
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley– Again, classic. Not my fave, but I liked it.
Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters– I really liked most of this YA zombie series.
Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott– This one is hard to describe, but I enjoyed the mild-eeriness it had going on.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill– I wanted to love it more than I did, but it was still good and a bit creepy at times.
Horns by Joe Hill– I really liked this one. (The movie was pretty good, too.) Book + Movie review here
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson– I saw the movie first, but I think I liked the book more.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio– Kinda thriller? I will recommend this book every chance I get ❤ ❤ (Review of the audiobook here)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë– Gothic lit, so not terrifying, but definitely has a darker mood/vibe thing going on. Fave ❤
Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist– I really liked this, and highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. (The Swedish version of the movie is also good.)
Living With the Dead series by Jesse Petersen– If you like comedy/horror, like the movies Zombieland, Dead Snow, etc., read this series!
Outcast vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman– I think I expected more from this comic series, so I’m on the fence about continuing it. This one was ok, though.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman– Ok, I didn’t love the book :/ It was good, but I like the movie more.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin– The book and movie are both great.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn– I have conflicting feelings about this, but I cautiously recommend it (just look up trigger warnings first if you need them).
Sweep series by Cate Tiernan– One of my favorite YA series with witches. Not super spooky, but I like re-reading it around autumn/winter.
The Funhouse by Dean Koontz (writing as Owen West)– I think this was adapted from a screen play (I can’t remember the movie well enough to be sure, though) and I loved it. Very campy, B Horror-ish.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson– Classic horror is classic. It’s good. Give it a read if you like haunted house stories.
The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine– These YA vamp books aren’t really terrifying, but there are some bits that are tense and they give me “autumn” vibes.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde– Just read it. It’s fantastic and gothic and creepy and funny and brilliant. (I’m in love with Oscar Wilde, ok?)
The Rose Master by Valentina Cano– YA gothic story that I really enjoyed (reviewed here) and can’t wait for the sequel (Of Bells & Thorns) coming out next month. (It’s also kind of a Beauty & the Beast retelling, and I really liked that aspect, too.)
The Shining by Stephen King– I’m not a Stephen King devotee, but I did like this one. I’m still not sure how I feel about his writing, overall :/
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon– I reviewed this one. I really liked it. Nice, spooky vibe throughout the whole thing.
The Witching Pen series by Dianna Hardy– One of my absolute fave indie/self-published authors and series. It’s not terror-inducing, but might be a good pick for people who like reading paranormal/PNR this time of year.
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory– I also reviewed this one and it’s stuck with me. I don’t remember a lot about it, now, but I do remember enjoying it a lot.


See any favorites on this list?

Let me know if you check any of these out!

Book Blogger Hop: October 13th-19th

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

 

The question this week is: Who is your favorite horror/suspense author and why?

 

This is a really tough question for me, and I almost didn’t do it because, while I really like horror (in general), I don’t read a lot of it because I haven’t found much I enjoy. When I do, it’s usually only a single book from a particular author.

My first thought is Edgar Allan Poe. So many things I write and enjoy can be traced back to him and his writing, and he’s been a favorite most of my life.

But does R.L. Stine count? I read a ton of Goosebumps books when I was a kid, I just re-read one for the first time since middle school probably, and I still very much enjoyed it.

 


What about you? Do you have a favorite?