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It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)
The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)
What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)
Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)
Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson
Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Clive Menard thinks nothing of it when he destroys some webbing whilst out kayaking - that is until he begins hearing a voice inside his head. Questioning his own sanity, he desperately tries to rid himself of the oddly feminine presence, but to no avail. The dark passenger is there to stay - or so that's what she continues to tell him.
(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Bloodshot Books for giving me the opportunity.
The blurb of this book instantly captured my attention. Just what could be more interesting than a talking spider living inside someone's head? I happen to love the little eight-legged critters, so believe me when I say I didn't hesitate to request this novel. Think of my delight when my request was accepted, and I was thus introduced to Parent's world, and more specifically, Clive's rather uneventful, mundane life; a life we can all relate to in some way. I liked Clive, despite him being a very negative and oftentimes selfish person. His inner monologue mostly consisted of insulting people, which added a nice touch of humour. I always appreciate when something I read makes me smile, and What Hides Within definitely did.
Other characters included Reilly; a detective with detachment issues, Morgan; the love struck best friend, and a questionable amount of perverted men. Okay, so there was two, but Derek was more than enough for me. Each and every one had their own very apparent flaws; selfishness, narcissism, the list goes on. I think they were intentionally depicted badly, to enforce Chester's motivation.
Speaking of Chester, she was the star of the show. The she-spider fascinated me in the way she was written; remarkably intelligent, manipulative, and deliciously deceptive. I admit, I had no clue of her intentions until the last half of the book. I consider myself perceptive - more often than not I can predict where the plot is going, but with Chester I was kept guessing with a multitude of questions coursing through my head. She certainly wasn't the typical baddie, and whilst she possessed obvious abilities and wasn't quite normal, she still only had the physical form of a small arachnid. Her weaknesses were made known throughout; she could just as easily be crushed like any other household spider, and that aspect so clearly fuelled her bitterness.
Naturally, I found myself wondering about her origins - where'd she come from? Just what, exactly, was she? She offered so little to Clive throughout, it nearly made me insane. That is, until this luscious morsel:
"In truth, I don't have a name. I am very old, descended from divinity. My kind was cast aside by a hateful ruler, before our fathers could name us and before our mothers could nurture us. Even so, we were giants amongst men, beings worthy of great reverence. But our creator had no use for us, and we were exiled, wrongly punished for our parents' sins. He chose not to destroy us, instead transforming us into these insignificant specks, forgotten by humanity and the omnipotent themselves."
You've no idea how many times I've read over that paragraph, in an attempt to decipher it. There's so much information in that small piece, and it's the most we get. My thoughts turn to Arachne of Greek mythology (Chester did mention this name), and my assumption is that Chester and her kind are descendants of Arachne, whom was cursed by a God and turned into a spider. The story of myth and Chester's description doesn't quite add up, however, so perhaps Parent added his own take. Either way, I took pleasure in trying to figure her out.
The plot was a slow burner - it focused on acquainting the reader with the characters and the relationship between man and spider, whilst sprinkling some mystery elements into the background. Despite not being action-packed, the build up to the explosive climax was no less exciting. When it came down to it, I wasn't expecting the last twist involving Clive.
In conclusion - I found it very enjoyable. The horror was subtle, yet superbly weaved. Considering the ending, is Chester's antics really done? I don't think so!
Had Clive been capable of even sporadic coherency, he might have feared the hideous being perched on his snout. The minute animal protruded like a wart no more than a third of an inch off Clive's skin. Despite its size and his heavily medicated state, Clive could easily make out what it was; a spider, but unlike any he'd seen before.
© Red Lace 2018
Bad Apples is Five Slices of Halloween Horror.
I received and read this book in October of 2014, but…
These unique, gruesome and devilishly delicious stories will have you looking over your shoulder, jumping at every noise and shadow.
Be careful of wandering dark streets at night.
The authors twisted imaginations take horror to the highest levels with surprise endings and plenty of twists and turns along the way.
Four stars all the way!
The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane
Pretty gross and devilishly delicious with tricks and treats for the Halloween hater. Do you have a dark house on Halloween, no candy for the treaters? Beware…egging and tping are not the only tricks these children have in store for you. 4 Stars
Pumpkinhead Ted by Evans Light
What they did to Ted is so awful…I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read it for yourself. BUT, he is back, one year later, for payback. OMG. I never saw that coming. Evans Light takes me to a place that smacks me around and makes me scream UNCLE! 4 Stars
Ghost Light Road by Adam Light
Of course, someone saw the light. Of course, what happens next, had to happen. I actually laughed. Dumbasses! Here comes the badness. You think vampires and werewolves are scary, you haven’t met Uncle Jesse’s children…and you really don’t want to. 4 Stars
Easy Pickings by Jason Parent
Beware. What goes around, comes around. Like a cat playing with its prey, I know something is coming…Now…No, now….Uh Oh. 4 Stars
The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn
Children of the Corn and Supernatural on steroids. I didn’t see this story developing the way it did, but I should not have been surprised, with Edward’s twisted imagination. Horror, perverted sex and evil do go together well. I wondered how he would end The Scare Rows and I couldn’t help but laugh when I got there. Corn Whisky…HA HA HA HA HA! Excellent. 5 Stars
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Bad Apples.
Yet another excellent book from Jason Parent. This was a lot of fun to read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was engrossed from start to finish and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The characters are well written and fully fleshed out and there are plenty of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. The descriptions were vivid and at times had me cringing but I couldn't look away from the page.
A Life Removed has a wee bit of everything that I enjoy: crime, thriller, police procedural, action, and horror, and there is plenty of each to please every reader. It never ceases to amaze me how well Jason Parent can meld different genres together and produce something that is a lot of fun to read rather than a hot mess.
The only mistake was mine... I picked it up late at night and ended up awake into the wee small hours because I kept having to read just one more page...
Definitely one I would recommend.