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review 2017-12-26 00:00
Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy
Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy - J.E. Gurley Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy - J.E. Gurley Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy seeks to evoke the terror we instinctively have of these ‘larger than life’ creatures, and amp it up to a state of sheer, visceral terror by introducing a group of them in a feeding frenzy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. While I got through the first quarter of the book easily enough, by the time we got to one of the first big battles between shark and man at the halfway point, I wasn’t involved in the book and I didn’t care what happened.

J.E. Gurley gives it a solid effort, and technically Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy is competent enough. It’s just lacking that spark that draws the reader into the story. I think one of the problems is that it doesn’t feel like a group of megalodons doing the attacking, but just a group of sharks. While Gurley does mention the size on several occasions, it’s rarely put in a way that actually makes an impact on the reader. ‘60 inch jaws’ is something that I know is flipping big, but ‘Two thirds the length of a football field’ makes me go all goggle-eyed and “Holy crap!”

There were some other scenes too, not involving the sharks, that should have been attention grabbing, and wonderful to imagine. (I use the term wonderful loosely, there, as the actual thing described was really rather disgusting.) But, they weren’t. Instead the strangeness was bumped aside by the boring scientific jabber. There’s also a problem with unnecessary repetition in phrases such as “pudgy Pillsbury Doughboy”. It would make the author’s writing a bit stronger if he could cut down on that.

It just didn’t work well for a few reasons. The battles mostly involved subs and relatively tiny boats and helicopters. The captain has to give a speech at one point about how “If we don’t eradicate them, we face extinction.” It’s meant to be a battle cry to hearten the troops and up the ante for the reader. Instead, it made me roll my eyes. Given what we already know in the story about the future plans and why certain decisions were made, it just falls flat.

Overall, I just couldn’t enjoy Megalodon: Feeding Frenzy. There were a few scenes that were solid, but for the most part, the book felt like it was written without any real enthusiasm for the subject matter. And, as a result, it was kind of a slog to finish.
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review 2016-08-05 04:08
Scary Squirrels at Summer Camp
Frenzy - Robert Lettrick

Wow. I honestly did not expect to like this as much as I did. This book is scary, nail-biting, compassionate and somewhat realistic. But I am glad that my summer camp experiences were never this intense.

 

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say this is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of death. There are a lot of crazy "rabid" animals. There are good kids and bad, brave kids and cowards, and there are a lot of slow revelations about the kids' backgrounds.

 

This book is fantastic if you like a realistic story with a heavy dose of fright. 

 

This is on the 2016-2017 Sunshine State Nomination list of books for grades 6-8. And it is good for those grades and above, but I will suggest to our elementary librarian that we leave it out of our collection. As I always say, you know your kids. This book is intense, but if you have a budding horror fan (as I was as a preteen), they will probably love it.

 

Think:

 

Cujo (King) + Zoo (Patterson) + summer camp - adults = a fantasticly frightening experience

 

Recommended to:

Budding horror fans in grades 6 and up. (Avoid if you are sensitive to animal death or are squeamish in general).

 

 

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review 2016-04-24 10:46
A fun trip with friends, elephants, food and more food.
Do Not Wash Hands In Plates: Elephant Frenzy, Parathas, Temples, Palaces, Monkeys, and the Kindness of Indian Strangers - Jayalakshmi Ayyer,Barb Taub,Janine Smith

 

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I must confess I’m partial to stories of female friends. We don’t choose our family, but we choose our friends (or are chosen by them) and however different we might appear to be, there’s a synergy that takes place when good friends get together, that makes the time spent apart melt away, and the clock turn back.

In this travelogue, the author recounts the memoir of her trip to India with her two friends, Janine and Jaya, revisiting an experience they shared thirty five years before. Only, this time they’d gone one better, and rather than meeting in Europe, they decided to visit their friend Jaya at home, in India. Obama learnt about this and decided India must be worth a visit too, and at the beginning of their trip, the three friends have to do some interesting manoeuvres to avoid getting caught in the maelstrom the visit has caused. But there are some pluses too (Taj Mahal has never been cleaner).

Barb Taub’s voice is funny, fresh, witty (I love IPS as an Indian travelling guidance system, but I’ll let you discover it by yourself), and she does not take herself, or the experience, too seriously. The reader goes along for the ride and feels one more of the party.

There are no lengthy descriptions or heavy facts enumerated. The book is mostly a collection of impressions, discreet episodes, funny anecdotes, vibrant encounters with people (yes, and some elephants), and food. Lots of food.

It isn’t a book to be read to find advice on how to travel to India (the author’s experience is unique, and the product of very specific circumstances), although if we are to extract any recommendations from her adventures, it would be that it’s handy to travel with friends that know their way around pills and medication. And that if you manage to keep an open mind and forget about rigid schedules you’ll have a hell of a time.

If I had to find any buts with the book, yes, it’s short. Very short, although that perhaps contributes to the feeling of dynamism and effervescence of the reading experience. The author explains the difficulties with including pictures in an e-book and offers a link to have access to the pictures in better quality (and to videos and images not in the book) although in an ideal world readers might like to organise themselves to have access to the pictures as they read the book. (Or perhaps consider a paper copy, although as I haven’t seen one, I can’t comment on it). The other thing I missed was the opportunity of getting to know more about her friends (well, and her!). As I said before, books about female friends are my weakness, and not having read the author’s previous adventures I missed a bit more background.

A great little book for anybody who likes funny anecdotes, comments about food (beware of reading this book if you’re hungry, you might eat it!), hilarious adventures and a great narrator. I hope the three friends start a business organising trips soon!

 

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text 2015-10-28 01:35
Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Horror Books I Really Enjoyed
It - Stephen King
I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer - Van Jensen,Dusty Higgins
Batman/Dracula: Red Rain - Doug Moench,Dennis O'Neil,Malcolm Jones III,Kelley Jones,Les Dorscheid,Eric Van Lustbader
Unwind - Neal Shusterman
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
Frenzy - Robert Lettrick
The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier
Feed - Mira Grant

This entry is brought to you as part of the theme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm pretty sure that since this is Halloween themed, there are going to be many interesting entries for this one.

 

So, on Halloween, many would think of candy, Halloween goodies, and dressing up in all kinds of costumes (my personal favorite was dressing up as Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Disney version.  The costume I had actually had coins sewn onto the sash of the skirt.)  They would also think of spooky stories.  I wouldn't consider myself the kind of person who scares easily (*knocks on wood in the hopes that she doesn't end up eating her words later on*), but there's something cathartic about being scared in a good book.

 

So this entry's dedicated to some horror (either themed or genre) reads that I personally enjoyed.  No particular order here, just going with the flow.

 

It - Stephen King 

 

1. "It" by Stephen King

 

Seriously, is anyone surprised I'd put Stephen King on this list?  I could probably list many of his books, but "IT" genuinely scared me while at the same time leaving me not terrified of clowns for life.  (I'm serious - I do not find clowns horrifying. I actually like creepy carnival environments or carnipunk themed stories.  It's the theme to one of the manuscripts I've been working on the past year.  Living animatronics- a la Five Nights at Freddy's, though? That...does terrify me to a certain extent, but depends on how it's done.)  I'm due for a re-read of this book (and basically many of SK's early works), because many of them I haven't read since my teens/early 20s.

 

I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells 

 

2. I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

 

Basically, I could put the whole John Cleaver series on this list, but there's something about "I Am Not a Serial Killer" that left its mark on me.  There are genuinely terrifying moments in this YA crossover series, and some of it is a battle of internal and external demons (some literal, some not).  I enjoyed it because John's voice appealed to me with dark, candid humor, blended with harrowing moments the serial killer struck (and yeah, I knew its genre leaning from the get go).

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury 

 

 

3. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

 

I thoroughly enjoyed "Something Wicked This Way Comes" - it's part horror, part coming of age, and the writing - to me - was beautifully poetic while having some genuinely creepy tones to it throughout the narrative.  I also probably loved this one given my love for creepy carnival environments (see explanation above for "IT").  The movie adaptation I thought was very well done for this.

 

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer - Van Jensen,Dusty Higgins 

 

4. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins

 

I honestly did not even know this book was a thing until I browsed the first volume of this comic at my local library, then got a galley for the entire series from NetGalley (which I've yet to review).  But OMG, this was dark.  And funny.  Pinocchio breaking off his nose to use as an attack stake to kill vampires?  The concept of it was brilliant, and kudos for the creativity in the backstory.  This was a mashup of a classic story with a horror theme that worked rather well, and I'm glad I read it.

 

Batman/Dracula: Red Rain - Doug Moench,Dennis O'Neil,Malcolm Jones III,Kelley Jones,Les Dorscheid,Eric Van Lustbader 

 

5. Batman - Red Rain

 

While on the subject of comics, I remember Batman - Red Rain rather vividly. The Batman franchise has had a number of holiday themed comics that stood out to me (I think I remember the one called "Haunted Knight" that I liked as well.)  But this was the first where I looked at the story drawn between Batman and Dracula and went "Well...darn.  That's a good parallel."  It had some dated elements to it, but I was drawn into the story and I'll admit it didn't let me go even in this first part of a respective series.

 

Unwind - Neal Shusterman 

 

6. "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman

 

So I know that this is a YA dystopian series, but it counts as horror.  Namely because once you read the process of what "unwinding" is like...it's horrifying.  I loved this book so much.  Shusterman just does description so well.

 

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake 

 

7. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

 

I found the first book in this series to be the best and the most successful in creating its creepy and distinctive characters, and it's one of my favorites in terms of establishing a narrative ghost story as well.  It was fun in moments too.

 

Frenzy - Robert Lettrick 

 

8. Frenzy by Robert Lettrick

 

"Frenzy" was middle grade horror done right, especially in the vein of rabid animals attacking and killing off the cast of characters in the midst of a camp site.  I didn't expect to be so emotionally drawn into it.  It was one of those narratives where I'm like "NOOOOOO, PLEASE DON'T DIE! DON'T SAY HE'S/SHE'S DEAD!"  Yeah.  It was like that.

 

The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier 

 

9. The Birds by Daphne DuMaurier

 

This story is the reason why I look up to the sky and hope a flock of birds do not come swooping down to peck me to death.   I'm not especially terrified of birds, but I mean, the narrative gives one second thoughts.

 

Feed - Mira Grant 

 

 10. Feed by Mira Grant

 

Because bloggers saving the world from zombies equals...a whole lot of chaos and political turmoil.  The Newsflesh series had many harrowing moments, and the ending of this really got to me on an emotional level (though arguably, with events of the series, one could say it's not the whole story, but it still packed a punch for me).

 

Until next entry,

Rose

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review 2015-09-18 01:28
The Frenzy
The Frenzy - Francesca Lia Block

A life changing and frightening event happened to Liv when she turned thirteen. All she really remembers is the rage that overcame her when her mother arrived from a hunting trip with wolf as her prize. Afraid of her reaction she rarely allows herself to feel anything except for when she is around her boyfriend Corey and in the woods where she feels safe and at home. It is in these woods that Liv experiences a series of unusual events that begin to change her life as she soon discovers that she has been cursed and her reaction was just an inevitable side effect of becoming a werewolf.  Now Live must come to terms with her new identity and learn to accept her new reality. The book is an enjoyable quick read and will hit the spot for teen readers who enjoy reading about ghosts, werewolves and other supernatural events.   

 

Block, F. (2010). The frenzy. New York: HarperTeen.

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