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review 2018-07-19 16:36
When Koontz Does Comedy
Tick Tock - Dean Koontz

Not going to lie, when I first read this years ago I actually loved it. I see the weaknesses now in the re-read though and gave this four stars. Also there is a dog and I just maybe sighed so hard I caused my poor cat's fur to ruffle. Aside: Not my fault she likes to get close when I am reading. Tick Tock actually shows that Koontz has a sense of humor. There are parts of this that are funny though when you find out the why behind this mess you are going to shake your head. 

 

"Tick Tock" has Tommy Phan on the run for his life. Tommy is a successful writer who is dealing with his mother's constant disappointment that he is not a traditional Vietnamese son. Due to his success she is upset that Tommy has forgotten where he has come from. Tommy comes home and finds a rag doll on his steps and stupidly decides to bring it inside with him. When the doll turns into something monstrous, Tommy finds himself on the run from it along with a weird woman named Deliverance who seems to know more than she is letting on and her dog she calls Scottie. If Tommy can live til dawn, the rag doll monster thing won't be able to hurt him. 

 

I felt bad for Tommy. I used to get those phone calls from relatives telling me how I forgot about them and now that I am all successful I don't come home anymore. Bah. Tommy pushing back against his mother by eating a cheeseburger was hilarious.


Tommy is worried about Deliverance (Del), but they are both really funny together. I didn't guess Deliverance's secret, and I doubt readers coming into this cold will either. It really does come out of nowhere and you are going to love it. Deliverance is very much a kick ass female heroine in this one. I think many of the reasons it didn't bother me in this book was because everything is being played for laughs. I started to chuckle and outright laughed several times while reading this one. 


The writing was really good and I think that this may be the first and maybe last Koontz novel that featured a POC. I really wish that Koontz had followed up on this one, or even put out more lighter fare. This one is not bogged down by being overly descriptive and off the wall like later Koontz books. You are dealing with a horror book with fantasy elements in it and things tie together nicely. 

 

The ending was pretty brilliant and also funny as hell. I don't want to say too much cause just a little bit will spoil you. 


One of the main reasons why I didn't give this five stars, Tommy should have put two and two together a lot quicker to realize what was going on. Really again with the dog thing Koontz? 

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review 2018-07-19 16:09
This Book Was Endless
The Face: A Novel - Dean Koontz

This freaking book was over 600 pages! I don't even remember a lot of it since I started to skim. I have this in paperback and started to read it and started to skim in self defense. Not a lot of it makes any sense and then we get to what I think Koontz thinks is a killer ending and I maybe booed aloud for a full minute. 

 

"The Face" is about Channing Manheim who is known as "The Face." Manheim is a movie star with a lot of fans. His security chief, Ethan Truman, is an ex detective who is now hoping to hunt down who is after Manheim's 10 year old son Aelfric (otherwise known as Fric) (I misread that name as Eric like ten times when I first started this book) who is getting mysterious phone calls. 

 

I cannot with the bad guy in this one. Nothing he did made sense and I just didn't care. I swear that Koontz has some lackluster villains for most of his newest books. This guy is no It, Outsider, Randall Flag, Crimson King, etc. 

 

Ethan is not interesting enough to hold this book together. He has a sad story (like most of Koontz's heroes in his books, he is a widower) but I just didn't care. He is trying to figure out the clues that are left behind in 6 black boxes (nope, still serious) and you barely get any movement on things. Just a lot of overly descriptive things you will not care about that make you want to scream. 

 

We hear about Ethan's dead wife Hannah a lot and apparently she was perfect (as the dead wife's or alive heroines are in Koontz's books). She also weirdly started to remind me of Odd Thomas's girlfriend Stormy. Probably because there is an allusion to other things to come after death that sounds like her. 


The writing for this one was tough to shift through. Too many off the wall things happen in this one (i.e. a mob guy named Dunny with ties to Ethan dies and becomes a guardian angel....no I am not drunk that did happen). This book needed trimmed. The flow was awful too. I still say that Koontz cannot write a child to save his life. Fric was not great and I hated his name too (I already said that, but going to bring it up again.)

 

The ending was dancing towards absurdity. I guessed what was going on with Dunny and Typhon and I just rolled my eyes a thousand times. 

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review 2018-07-19 15:06
Memories of my Father
Bag of Bones - Stephen King

"Bag of Bones" was the last book I read with my father. For those who have followed my blog for a while, you know that he was a huge Stephen King fan along with loving Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels. Once my dad realized how fast I read (he was pretty fast too) he always gave me the new King first and then I would wait impatiently for him to finish so we could talk about the book. So this is going to include just a snippet from what I remember to this day when my dad finished "Bag of Bones." 

 

Blue's Dad: I cannot believe how he ended this! Mike could have been happy with [redacted] and I ended up being so upset about how [redacted] died I almost put the book down!


Blue: I started to cry when that happened. I still don't understand that, but I loved though when he had [redacted] return and she told [redacted] she was Mike's Little Guy now.

 

Blue's Dad: I don't care. Can no one ever be happy in a King book?

 

Blue (stares at dad): Um....no?

 

Blue's Dad: Also I felt bad for [redacted] she was raped and murdered, I am not upset she was killing people for what happened to her and her child.

 

Blue: Oh I agree. I think though that is why he wrote it though? That maybe Mike going on to be happy again didn't make a lot of sense for what we found out as we read. Also this is near Castle Rock...how many times is that place going to be in a King book?

 

Blue's Dad: Go write down how many books take place in Castle Rock.

 

Present day Blue: I seriously did go and do that. We ended up picking up the conversation later on about this book and argued and agreed with each for the most part. We both loved this book, but wanted Mike to have a happy ending. He does get one, just a different one than we would have thought he should have gotten. 

 

"Bag of Bones" deals with best-selling author Mike Noonan (thank God he's not another Thad) who is still grief stricken 4 years after the death of his wife. Since his wife's death, Mike has avoided the lakeside home he and his wife loved and fixed up in Derry, Maine called Sara Laughs. After having writer's block since his wife's death, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs after dreaming of it. 

 

Mike starts to piece together his dreams to what his wife Jo was doing at Sara Laughs before she died.  I know that this is considered a horror book, but I also think it's very much a mystery too. As readers we follow along with what possibly could be going on at Sara Laughs and why a woman named Sara Tidwell seems to be at the center of things.

 

Mike ends up getting himself back into the world with connecting with his dead wife's family and also befriending a young mother, Mattie Devore and her daughter Kyra. Mattie and Kyra are so real and you end up loving them both. Mike ends up doing what he can to protect Mattie from her husband's father, Max Devore, who is insistent on doing what he can to gain full custody of Kyra from Mattie. 

 

I really think this is hand's down one of King's best works. Not only does it reference his other works, "Insomnia," "The Dark Half," "Needful Thing," and others, he also calls out "Rebecca" references in this one too. It's really funny that as fond of this book as I am, I didn't seek out "Rebecca" to read until 2016. 

 

Everything is beautifully explained by King towards the end of the book and you understand why so many deaths have occurred in Derry (well some of them) and why certain families seem to be linked together. 

 

I also didn't feel bad for certain men in this story, the kids definitely, but I can see why there were hauntings and deaths. I also loved how Mike's dead wife features prominently in this book. This is also the first book that I heard the word "Outsider" so I was curious when King released his latest book "The Outsider." I thought it would have something to do with "Bag of Bones." 

 

The writing and flow were great. I tend to re-read this one in late summer (I have no idea why, I just do) and will often take it along when I go to a nearby lake in VA. Something about this book causes me to re-read it at least once a year. I am really glad I did re-read this recently since even though the subject matter is grim, it is a comfort read of sorts to me. 

 

FYI, this book is one reason why I keep a ceramic owl on my mantle in my house. 

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review 2018-07-18 22:24
Book Review of Splinter (Book Three of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning
Splinter - Joshua Winning

'All who stand against us shall perish'

 

The critically acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion in this final instalment of the dark fantasy series.

 

The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika and the Prophets for good.

 

Meanwhile, Sam Wilkins unites the Sentinels against the forces of darkness, but with Jessica's sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it's a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and final book in the Sentinel Trilogy. I loved it!

 

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much when I first met him in Sentinel, the first book of the trilogy. He has dealt with tragedy and faced danger which has destroyed his world with more bravery than even I would have in the same situation. I love how he's grown emotionally throughout the trilogy. He's been forged in fire and gained maturity through adversity. He has been chosen by the Trinity to help protect the Sentinels, but as danger threatens, he finds himself making some difficult decisions.

 

The story continues from the end of the second book and sees Nicholas dealing with his world being torn apart by the malevolent Malika. As he tries to pick up the pieces, his life receives several more blows. There are secrets revealed, and the nightmare surrounding the impending return of the Dark Prophets grows. Nicholas will have to dig deep to resurrect the Trinity. However, the sacrifices may be too difficult.

 

This story has been eagerly awaited by myself for some considerable time; it's been three long years, but it was worth it. Due to the length of time between the release of books, I decided to read the first two books before tackling this one. I'm glad I did that because it reminded me of things I'd forgotten. I found myself hooked from the first page, and I loved meeting the characters once more; Dawn, Sam, Rae, Merlyn, Jessica and Isabel. I even missed Malika, as she's a character I loved to hate.

 

This book is told from Nicholas's point of view and is just as fast-paced and exciting as the other two. There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to an utterly enthralling read! I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I had to wipe a few tears during this book, so keep hankies or a tissue handy, just in case. Speaking of the end, I love how all the loose ends from the previous books were tied up. I will not say more on that due to spoilers. But, I will say that I will miss these characters. A lot. However, I can now visit them whenever I get the urge.

 

Joshua Winning has written a fantastic end to his debut series. I love his fast-paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. This author is one to watch. He is one of only a handful of male authors that I have added to my favourite author's list, and I can't wait to see what he will come up with in the future.

 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book (and series) to young readers aged 12+ and to adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-07-18 21:00
DARKEST HOURS by Mike Thorn
Darkest Hours - Mike Thorn

On top of having this super cool cover, within these pages I discovered some of the best short, dark fiction I've read in a long while! Let's talk about it, shall we?

 

When I was young and couldn't afford bookstores, I often went to the library. (I still do, actually, because I love them, not because I have to.) I developed a love of horror back then, but our library's collection consisted of about two shelves. Once I read those, I started reading all of their anthologies and collections, in the hopes of finding new authors. In this way, I discovered Richard Matheson, Steve Rasnic Tem, Dennis Etchison, Ray Bradbury and other writers that I still love to this day. DARKEST HOURS brought me back to that time of discovery-horror and dark fiction in all of its glorious, different forms. Reading this collection made me feel like a kid again. 

 

This volume begins with the story HAIR. I knew right then that this book was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Coming unapologetically out of left field, Thorn hits you with this tale of unstoppable hair and then moves on to something out of right field, just to keep you off balance.

 

THE AUTEUR It's important to know who you're talking to when you ask for horror recommendations from people. You may find out a little too much about them otherwise, but by then it might be too late. Hair plays a role in this story too. (P.S. Always feel free to ask me for horror recs. You're safe with me. But employees from Verne's Video? Watch out for them!) 

 

CHOO CHOO This story felt like it came out of one of those early collections that I loved so much. With an ending so unexpected that it felt like I got hit by a train, this tale made me laugh out loud with glee.

 

LONG MAN I never thought anything could compete against the Long Walker in my imagination. (Thank you to Nick Cutter's Little Heaven for that.) But now, now we have Long Man. He's even scarier-trust me on this. 

 

ECONOMY THESE DAYS Here again is another story, completely different, completely unlike any other story here. How much physical abuse would you be willing to take to pay your bills? What would that abusive job look like? Of what would a promotion consist? This tale proposes answers to all of those things and oddly, I don't think it's that far out of the realm of possibility. 

 

SABBATICAL If I hadn't felt the spirit of Stephen King in this story, the main character's names of Thad and Gage would've put me in mind of him anyway. I cannotdescribe this story, but it was just so much fun it made me want to do some kind of dance-the dance of my dark fiction people. The dance is delightful and it's only brought on by the best and most twisted of tales. This is one of them. 

 

Stars will collapse and new lights will prick through the sky,

and screaming will not help. 

 

SCHLUTER The most disturbing story I've ever read was written by Michael Blumlein who is a doctor. (Trust me when I say I have read some VERY disturbing stories.) I found it disturbing because in some universe it could happen. SCHLUTER has now taken THE MOST DISTURBING STORY EVER medal. What that medal would look like, I don't want to know, but Mike Thorn owns it. Take this one little harmless sentence for instance:

 

 His mind screamed, but his sutured lips twitched noiselessly.

 

If that sentence doesn't bother you, okay then, to each his own. However, if that sentence makes you want to run out and buy this book, heed your feelings, man! You won't be disappointed.

 

There are a few themes that became apparent throughout this book, academia being the one that surprised me the most, but also: hair. I don't remember ever reading a collection where simple hair is used in such a menacing, disgusting, or just mentioned in passing but still in a creepy-as-hell- kind of way. 

 

 

Okay then-to sum up: disturbing tales? Check! A wide-ranging variety of stories? Check!

Extremely well written? Check! It almost seems like this collection was written with me in mind-it was so perfect for me that I don't even know what else to say. Well, other than this: I think Mike Thorn is an author to watch. I think he's going to do great things in the world of horror and dark fiction, and I for one, will be there to watch it. Will you?

 

My highest recommendation. Period. Get a copy here: DARKEST HOURS

 

*I was provided an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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