Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Carrie by Stephen King


I have put this off for far to long and I can't think of a better time to read this than during the R.I.P. challenge. For one of Kin'gs earlier books I was really impressed with this. It is a little dated because of the time period that this takes place, and there is a reference to changing the speed on a record which no one younger that maybe 30 will get. This Is a very well written book even with the outdated references. 

As a man I cannot understand what adolescent girls go through during those awkward teen years. All I can say is I am thankful to be a man and not have do deal with all the crap women do. I am not afraid to admit that I couldn't handle what women go through as a part of growing up. I have a daughter and this whole time in her life scares me to death. I was also impressed that King could write some of these scenes so well that they caused me to have such an emotional response to them.

Carrie is a very special girl. She has abilities that have so much untapped potential, but could also have terrifying consequences. Carrie is just an ordinary girl with a mother who is off the wall crazy. Carrie is bullied for the way she dresses, her mother's religious beliefs, and just being different. I can relate to this because I was bullied mercilessly when I was in school because unlike today, it wasn't cool to be a nerd and love Superheroes or to read for fun. My heart went out to this poor fictional girl and what she went through was so much worse than anything I had to deal with. I completely sympathized with her and the actions she took.

I really liked this book even though my heart broke for what Carrie was going through. There was one thing I didn't care for though. Through out the book there are excerpts from other books that stemmed from the events after the prom. All these books are fictional to fit the story of course but it threw off the pacing of the book. This also jumps from one character's perspective to another quite frequently which if you aren't really paying attention can throw you off. Now I know what you are thinking, You are reading a book why aren't you completely focused on it. Sometimes I find myself reading but allowing part of my mind wandering on other things. It happens.

These little things were annoying but not enough to really affect my enjoyment of the book overall. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. I have put off seeing the movies because I didn't want to have them spoil the book. Now I am looking forward to seeing the original and the remake to compare how close they held to the book. This is also going to be included in the R.I.P. challenge. I have already finished my pledged 4 books for Peril in the First but I love this event so much I am going to keep reading until the challenge is over.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Hell House by Richard Matheson


I have heard some great things about this book and it is one of the horror classics. I finally got around to reading this one and I am glad I did. I have seen some of the movies that are based off of this book like House on Haunted Hill and I have been itching to read this. Now the book is very different from the movie but there are little bits from the book slipped in from time to time. 

When I first started reading this I felt like it was very similar to The Haunting by Shirley Jackson. I'm not sure which came first to be honest but I read The Haunting years ago so I compared this right away. The book starts out slow but I was interested in what was going on. A wealthy magazine and newspaper publisher is desperate to learn the secrets of the Belasco estate so he hires a team of experts to figure out what is haunting the old place. Each person gets a hundred thousand wach if they can figure out and stop what is going on. 

This is a classic and not something that is going to rely heavily on gore or intense psychological suspense to carry the story. This book is highly character driven and plays on the little things that may not scare us, but these things might make us feel a little uneasy when all the lights are off. I didn't expect this book to be terrifying but I was hoping for a little more that would send chills up my spine while I read it. 

I might be a little down on this book but only because I want to convey that this isn't IT or The Shining. It starts off a little on the slow side but Matheson does a great job of giving the reader just enough to keep their interest. The best part of this book is the last quarter of it. If you can hang in long enough to get to the end you will not be disappointed. Wen I got to that point I didn't want to stop reading. It wasn't all that scary but a very well written story. There is a bit of mystery behind what is going on with the house. 

I liked this book even if it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I was really hoping for a book that was going to send me diving under the covers to shield myself from the ghosts. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and I am so glad I got around to reading this finally. This book will be included in my R.I.P. challenge. This will be my 4th book which completes my pledge for Peril in the first. I may have completed my pledge but I'm not stopping there. I have plenty more novels I want to read for this challenge. Tis the season to be scary right. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher


I love this series and I am finally into the books I haven't read already. I wanted to re-read the first 5 books so I could remember what all lead up to this book. I was so excited to see where the story was going to go with the war between the red Court and the White Council continuing. Based on the title I figured this was going to be about the vampires and I was excited to start this one.

Compared to the last two books I wasn't as impressed with this book. The plot is less convoluted in this book. Instead of 10 different story lines that all tie into one at the end we only really had 2. In this book the Black court of Vampires is causing problems and Harry decides he is going to hunt them down and kill them all Bram Stoker Style (Wooden stakes, Garlic, and beheading). He is also asked by his White court vampire friend Thomas to protect a friend of his who seems to have the people around him dying.

I was really excited to see Harry rip through a nest of these disfigured horribly terrifying Vampires. The curse that is killing the people around Thomas's friend was also a nasty piece of work so they book had some real potential. For most of this book I just felt it was ok. Nothing overly impressive like what was in Book 4 and 5 but it had its moments. There was some great revelations about Harry's Mother which I loved learning about and the very last quarter of the book really picked up and held my attention better than the rest of it.

Every series has the potential to have a weaker installment, what matters is that the weaker book doesn't begin a trend. Even though I felt this was a weak story line I didn't think this was a bad book. There are a ton of great Harry Dresden one liners that were hilarious, and learning more about Harry's past was great. I can only hope that there is more to learn about Harry and his mother. I also really like the character of Thomas so I hope to see him in future books as well. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. This was enjoyable and I can't wait to get to the next book and see what trouble Harry gets himself in next. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Hospital by Keith C. Blackmore


I am in the middle of my Audible free trial through Amazon Prime. I have to admit that I am loving Audible. Trying to find some new horror novels for my R.I.P. challenge I was browsing there suggestions and came across this one. This book was a free audio book and I couldn't pass it up. Well, I wish I did. I try to never comment on an author's style because I want to be one and I wouldn't want someone to judge me to harshly, but I have a few issues with this story that I just can't get past. 

First and probably my biggest issue with this story is that you have no idea what is going on in this story. This is supposed to be a prequel to the first book in the series, Mountain Man and there is no explanation as to what is going on. For a short story it took way to long to get going and for the most part I had a feeling this was a post-apocalyptic story with Zombies but there is no actual explanation. Take two paragraphs and let us know what the world is like. We get a mention that while our main character is looting a hospital that he is most excited about finding toilet paper. Ok there is a key that this is possibly a Dystopian story but then again he could just be a homeless guy.  A quarter of the way into the story we still have no idea what is going on other than he is looting an abandoned hospital. This would have been a great time to have an interior monologue that explains what happened to the world to bring us to this point. 

The other thing I didn't care for is the main character. He isn't a likable or memorable character. Even now I can't remember what his name is and I have read the summary 3 times in trying to write this review. Thankfully the summary mentioned he is in an undead world. There are several quirks that I picked up on in the story that just kind of may be think this guy is kind of a D-bag. 

So before this review becomes longer than the story let me finish with this. Read the summary so you have a vague idea of what is going on, and if you get the free audio version on audible just skip the 2 chapter preview of the first book. Unless you really enjoy this short I wouldn't bother. It is two chapters with the same issues of not knowing what is going on with the same boring character. It isn't until halfway through chapter two that the Zombie is actually used. I give this book 1 out of 5 stars. I am going to include this in my R.I.P. challenge even though I didn't care for it so it can kind of serve as a warning to anyone who saw this free audio too. This is part of my Peril of the Short Story.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Justice League Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns


For the most part this book is the same as Aquaman Vol 3 but there are several issues from the Justice League series that were enjoyable to read. The parts of this that are just Justice League and not part of the Throne of Atlantis story seem to be setting up a bigger story. The beginning of the book is all about Wonder Woman and her lack of trusting others. She is chasing the Cheetah and has to open up and let the rest of the Justice League help her for a change. There is also a small section with Steve Trevor that seems there is more coming that might not be good for the League.

So what the book is all about is the war between the people of Atlantis and our world. On top of that the current King of Atlantis is Arthur's brother. He stepped down as the King of Atlantis so he could be prat of the League and remain in our world where he grew up. Trying to decide which side he is going to help is a difficult choice for him. It's this choice that leads to some tension between the other members of the League and Arthur. Surprisingly Batman is the only one who seems to be on his side.

The writing is great because Geoff Johns is also the one writing Justice League and Aquaman which means the story is seamless between the two. It makes reading this really easy and enjoyable. Even though this is a crossover of two series it is one story. Sometimes there can be a disconnect in these collections because there are several authors trying to mesh several styles into one. On top of that I have mentioned several times but I will at least once more. Ivan Reis is a great artist and I love the books he is on.

I liked this book but the Aquaman one I thought was better. Don't get me wrong I am really curious to see where this story is going. I am giving this 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker


I was so excited when I saw this book pop up on Goodreads. I love the Hellraiser movies no matter how terrible and cheesy they may be. The Hellbound heart was a great book and I read that in highschool which was a really long time ago. Having a new book with Pinhead and the rest of Hell following behind him was something I couldn't wait to read. Expectations can really ruin a book in my experience. I had this so buildt up in my mind that there was only one way this book could go and that is to disappointment. 

The prologue was amazing. Violent and gruesome just like you would expect from a cenobite scene. The last of the remaining magicians from the order of magic are pooling their talents to finally be rid of the Demon Hell priest fans know as pinhead. From there I began to lose interest. As the book progressed it seemed to get dull and my mind started to wander away from the story. I can always tell when I am starting to loose interest in a book when I am reading it but not thinking about anything I am reading. A good portion of this book is set in Hell itself and it didn't feel real. We all have ideas of what Hell may be like or what it might look like. This felt more like our characters had walked into a cartoon or a comic book version of Hell. 

This is all leading up to a battle between our supernatural detective hero, Pinhead, and the devil himself. By the time I got to this climax I just wasn't invested in the events. It also didn't help having the architecture of Hell tour last way to long. I really didn't care about all of the details on the Chapel of Hell where Lucifer himself lives. I zoned out for a good portion of their walk through Hell and I had to go back to make sure I didn't miss anything. Nope, didn't miss a thing except the extra time I took to go back and re-read.

I started out loving this book but as things progressed I found myself just anxious to finish it so I could move on to something else. Clive Barker is a talented writer but I don't feel he showed it with this book. I will take part of the blame for not liking this all that much because I had such high expectations that I made it impossible for this to live up to those. Still I am going to give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I'm glad I read it but it won't be on a re-read list I think. I am including this as part of my R.I.P Challenge and this is the 3rd of 4 books for the Peril the First. Only one more book left to fulfill my goals but I have quite a few lined up that I hope to get to before this ends so keep checking my site as well as the R.I.P. site for my reviews.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Outcast Vol 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him by Robert Kirkman


I love Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead series. The plot is so well done and the characters are so great that when I heard he had another series out I had to pick it up. I had hear that this series was being made into a show for either Starz or Showtime but I can't remember which. This series revolves around demon possession and a Mysterious main character named Kyle who seems to hurt these demons. 

So here is the description from Goodreads and why I really wanted to read this: 
Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it. 
Don't expect to get any of this out of Volume one other than the fact the there are a lot of people in Kyle's life that have seemingly been possessed at one time or another.  This is what bothered me so much about this book. "...what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life..." Nothing is uncovered in this book we still know very little about Kyle himself by the end of this. I have no idea what they are alluding to that will bring about the end of life on Earth because there is nothing in this book that even come near suggesting this. My complaints are based on this description but if you are going to build up something like this then make sure the book can follow through.

One the other side of this, not all my gripes are due to an inflated description. We learn very little about what is going on at all. I realize that Kirkman is trying to put us in Kyle's shoes and allow us to learn the answers as he does. I've seen this done by tons of authors and it works great, but in the case of this book the whole story felt disconnected and awkward. There were times that I was trying to figure out if the events I was reading were in the present or the past. Aside from a few things about Kyle's past all of this takes place in the present but it felt like flashbacks.

This book did succeed in a few ways. First and most important, it peaked my interest enough o make me want to read the next volume in hopes some of my many questions get answered. I also couldn't put this down and read straight through in one sitting. Its not hard because there isn't a lot of dialog but the pictures help move the story along.

I've rambled enough about this book so here is my rating. I may have given you the impression I didn't like this book when really it was just ok. Didn't hate it and didn't love it. I would give this 2.5 stars but will round up to 3. I will be including this review as part of my RIP challenge making this book 2 of 4 that I have pledged to read as part of the Peril in the First.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling


This is the last of the Harry Potter books I haven't read. I was a late comer to the series for my own reasons. I bought the 5th book on the day it came out as well as 3 and 4. I started at book 3 since I had seen the first two movies I figured I was good. My wife is currently reading all of the Harry Potter books to my son as part of his bedtime routine so I sit and listen too. So now I can happily say that I have finally read all of the Harry Potter books. I have never written reviews on any of these though so this is a great opportunity to write up a review as we re-read the series to my 5 year old for the first time. 

This is a fun book and I liked it from the very beginning. Like every other book it starts with Harry living with his Aunt and Uncle anxiously awaiting his new school year at Hogwarts. I love reading just how horrible his Aunt and Uncle can be as well as their little brat Dudley. While in their home Harry meets his very first house elf Dobby who is warning him to not return to school because there is a great evil that will cause Harry harm. 

There are some great characters that are introduced in this book. Some are fun to learn about and others are either really annoying or just infuriating. Professor Lockhart is the new defense against the Dark Arts teacher as well as the resident celebrity. This character is so full of himself that I hated him right off the bat. We also meet several new students at Hogwarts but none is more annoying than Colin Creevey who walks around with a camera taking pictures of everything. With the introduction of Dobby the House Elf we also get to meet Draco's father who is a real piece of work himself. I can see where Draco gets it from. 

There are so many great things about this book but the big mystery is what is exactly in the Chamber of Secrets and where it is. Something is petrifying students at Hogwarts and something has to be done before one of them ends up dead. Harry and his friends are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of this. 

There really isn't a bad book in this series so I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. I am anxious to see how my son likes the next book and I will keep writing my reviews for the first time to help keep these books fresh for me. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King


I love Stephen King's books and his short stories. When I saw this was coming out in an audio short only I had to have it. I finally got around to listening to this and I have to admit. It was just ok. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book but after reading Mr. Mercedes and Doctor Sleep I just expected more. There wasn't any suspense or mystery and it sure wasn't scary. This short is just a hick redneck story about two families competing Hatfield and McCoy style. 

Without making this review as long as the story and giving everything away I will try to be brief. Alden McCausland and his mother are trying to out do the other rich family across the lake at who has the biggest fireworks. Every year Alden gets beat with bigger and better but he keeps trying. You will just have to listen to see what happens in this. 

I wish there was some sort of suspense to this story to really keep me on the edge of my seat reading this. Tim Sample does a great job reading this in a country hick voice. King has written some amazing short stories that were intense. So I have to say this was just middle of the road. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aquaman Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns


It is no secret that Geoff Johns is one of my favorite comic book writers and he is the only one who could make Aquaman cool. New 52 was thebest thing that ever happened to Aquaman and the stories have been really good. Arthur has chosen to turn down being king of Atlantis to stay on land and help the Justice League while his brother rules. In the earlier books we have found that deep in an ocean trench there are these flesh hungry creatures that Aquaman sealed in. In this book not only does someone release these creatures, but a naval carrier malfunctions and fires missiles deep into Atlantis. This begins the war with Atlantis and our world.

This book collects several issues of the monthly Aquaman series and Justice League. This means that we get the whole story in one book so you don't have to get multiple books to get the whole story. Now, this does cause some cross over. I am reading the Justice League Vol 3 and can skip most of the book because I have already read it. This story was really well done and I don't mind reading both versions just so I can get the little extras that are in each series. 

Not only is the writing excellent but the art work is just as good. Paul Pelletier is insanely talented. There is a two page scene of Atlantis that was really cool to see. I got goosebumps because I am that big of a nerd. I tried to get a picture to share with you all but it doesn't do the actual art justice.

I can't get over how impressive this series has been since New 52 started. Aquaman has become one of my must reads and a new favorite. All of the book s in this series have led up to this battle, Ican't imagine where the series will go from here. For those of you who are more current than I am don't tell me. I want to be surprised. This book is easily a 5 out of 5 star read. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol 5: Big Burn by Peter J. Tomasi


107019It has been awhile since I have read a good Two-Face story. My favorite is still Face the Face which is where Harvey Dent has had surgery to heal his face and he is whole once again. The challenge then becomes is Two-Face really gone now that the scaring has healed? It was a pretty good story. In this book we get a little history lesson about Harvey Dent and I really liked it. We get to see how he became District Attorney and the New 52 twist on how he became Two-Face. There is even a little history about Bruce and his relation ship with the now head of a crime family. 

Two-Face wants revenge on the woman who killed his wife right in front of him before turning him into Two-Face. The woman is in town to kill Two-Face and tie up loose ends and Batman is stuck in the middle.

I liked this book but compared to the last couple volumes I read this wasn't as good. I am always happy to have a good Two-Face story and this delivers. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. There is one little thing at the end of the book. It is a single issue about Dick Greyson's first week as Robin. It is a great, well written story that is heartfelt and perfect to end the book with. This was actually my favorite part of the book. This is part of the reason this book didn't get 5 stars. I liked the single issue toss in better than the main story of the book. Still, this is worth reading. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Jonathan Stange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke


I have seen this book around a lot but never cared to know what it was all about. At the start of summer a 7 episode mini series was made. An article about said it was like Harry Potter for grown ups. So there are magicians and they are in England and that is about where that comparison ends. Still my wife and I were anxious to watch it. Well I found another Television version I liked better than the book. The show was pretty good but there seemed to be holes in the plot that I wanted to fix by reading the book. There was good bit trimmed out to make the show and I was ok with that. There were a lot of spots in this book I could have done without. 

This book was really slow. Had I not listened to this book in audio form I never would have finished it. However, the audio version is terrible. There are footnotes throughout this book and in the audio version the story would just be interrupted so the foot note can be read and then we pick right back up until the next one. It drove me nuts so avoid the audio if this would drive you crazy too.

Now the story has some promise to it. There is a prophecy that 2 magicians will return magic back to England. There is a mysterious Raven King who used to be the most powerful magician but has since disappeared. There is Dark Magic and what is referred to as gentleman's magic. I was excited to watch this show and I really wanted to read the book. Let me tell you it is slow to get started and where the show jumps right in with both characters the bulk of the beginning revolves around Mr. Norrell. I wasn't a big fan of this character and preferred Jonathan Strange instead so right off the bat I was iffy about the book.

The book was just ok. I really don't have much else to say because I was underwhelmed. I will say that I didn't really care for the ending. I found it felt a little unresolved. I can say I have read it and move on but I do want to re-watch the series to see if I have answered some of those questions after reading this. I hate to do it but I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I wasn't impressed and really felt like I should have stopped and moved on to something else more entertaining. This just wasn't for me I guess.

This will be my first entry into the R.I.P. challenge. This kind of fits with a Gothic style and story. I might be reaching with this book but it is hard to classify this in just one category. This goes towards my Peril in the Fist.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Death Masks by Jim Butcher


Jim Butcher did it again. Just when you thing Harry can't have any more crap dumped on him something else happens that he has to dig his way out of. Our adventure opens with Harry being dragged into a dual with an assassin of the Red Court of vampires. Ok, Harry started a war between the vampires and wizards in the last book and a dual could bring it to an end. Shortly after that Harry finds himself being hunted by a contract killer and a priest who needs him for a special task. Harry is asked to help find the stolen Shroud of Turin. To make matters worse he has been asked to help the police with a headless corpse and the love of his life comes back to complicate things.

Wow, how does this character remain standing. Well it helps that Harry has a great support system. One of the best parts about this book is the characters. I always get excited to see Michael and Harry working together. Not that they are like Batman and Robin but more like Batman and Batman. These scenes are great. Harry also gets some help from an unlikely person that I was really excited see back into Harry's Life. Cue moody Dresden to add to all of this going on.

The story is action packed and really takes off from the very first chapter. There really wasn't a slow moment in this book and I loved it. I just keep getting impressed with Jim Butcher's style of writing. He has this way of adding things to his books that seem minuscule but could develop into some great stories in the future. I like a series that allows for a resolution at the end of every book but still leaves clues to what could happen in the future.

There is so much that I loved about this book but I am having the hardest time getting it formed into words. Has this ever happened to you my fellow bloggers. I liked this so much I can't tell you why. Well it should com as no surprise that this book get 5 out of 5 stars from me. I can't wait to read the next book.