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review 2018-03-16 19:03
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins,Bahni Turpin

This was a fun read until the killer was revealed with four hours left to go on the audio. This is way too early! Way, way too early. I was left highly disappointed with the dud of a reveal and disinterested in all the romance and minor bloodshed that followed because of it. But I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to these things and you may love it.


Someone is killing the talented high school kids in terribly gruesome ways but, no worries, most of the gore is left to the imagination. This is basically a 90’s teen slasher movie come to book life minus the scares and most of the grue. Who will be next? Why are they doing this? And, oh hell, who cares?! When will he give me a big sloppy kiss and bite his lip ring again?!


This is a romance set in a world where a serial killer just so happens to be murdering random people that have no impact on our main characters and zero emotional impact on the reader. The romance was well done and I liked the two teens together, they were interesting, imperfect kids, but I feel like too much went so very wrong with the “murdering” bits of the story. Also, many gut-wrenching opportunities were missed by keeping our main lovers too safe and that made reading it to the end a chore. I suppose I’m used to meaner stories that kick you in the gut. This one? I guess I’d recommend it as a good stepping stone for those who may want to meander over into the horror genre with their pinky toe and not get too scared or emotionally wrecked. I enjoy the wreckage and carnage and scares that a good horror story can deliver but none of those things were successful here. I’m bumping it up from a 2 ½ to a three only because there was one scene with a naked character that is still making me laugh when I think about it.

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review 2018-03-16 17:26
BLANKY by Kealan Patrick Burke
Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke


BLANKY is a powerful novella, full of grief, pain, and horrors previously unknown-those both real and imagined.


You can't let Kealan deceive you with that innocent looking cover. Any of you already familiar with his work wouldn't fall for that anyway. This is a tale that touches on everything it is to be human, both good and bad.


The time we spend with our families, even the irritating or angry times, are all something special. We may only want to focus on the fun, good memories, but that's not reality. BLANKY makes you think about, made ME think about- exactly what reality is.


With this story, be prepared to bring a piece of yourself and leave it upon the altar of Kealan Patrick Burke.


My highest recommendation. Period.


*I bought this novella with my hard earned money and reading it cost a small piece of my soul.*

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review 2018-03-16 05:58
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: The Novelization - Jim Henson;A.C.H. Smith

Full disclosure: At least one full star of my rating is because this was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid and my nostalgic love for it in all forms is strong. If I make an attempt to be objective, I have to admit that the book is a tad on the dry side, and some of the descriptions seem out of place and serve little purpose. Aside from that, the story benefits a great deal from being told in novel form.


You know that bone-dry “Jen is the chosen one” expositional voice-over at the start of the movie? Not here! Those confusing rituals of the Skeksis and Mystics (actually called urRu and never referred to as Mystics in the book)? Explained! All that Skeksis political positioning following the death of the emperor? Also explained in greater detail with a clear delineation of factions! I don’t know how many people care about Skeksis politics, but all of that palace intrigue in the movie makes a hell of a lot more sense to me now, so I’m glad it’s covered. My next viewing of the movie will be enhanced as a result of reading the book.


This hardcover includes the extensive editorial notes Jim Henson sent Smith after reading the novel’s first draft. While interesting, this section is super dry. Don’t go in unless you’re well hydrated. Also included are a bunch of Brian Froud’s conceptual sketches strewn randomly throughout the book instead of all together at the back in a civilized appendix. Someone in the layout department at Archaia thinks interrupting the story with sketches of usually unrelated subjects is a great idea, apparently.


In closing: Fizzgig Forever. ♥


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review 2018-03-15 18:37
Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
Afterage - Yvonne Navarro

AFTERAGE was a whole lot of freaking fun!


The vampire apocalypse has already occurred and entire cities have been decimated. With isolated survivors cut off even from each other-how could a premise this good go wrong? The good news is, it didn't.


What I liked most was the...I guess I'll put it as...different levels of vampire. They have differing levels of energy and power. I won't even get into the Queen. (That's what I'm calling her.)


I also liked how the story of each survivor, (or surviving group), was introduced. I think it takes a special skill and confidence to jump into a story with a large cast and Yvonne Navarro did it deftly and with panache. I never felt that the story was lost or unwieldy. It all came together in a most satisfying way.


With a lot of strong female characters populating the landscape of vampire-ridden Chicago, how could I not enjoy this book? I especially liked Louise and her little dog, Beau, and of course, I had a fondness for Jo as well. (Though I could not help being reminded of Swan, a character in another GREAT post apocalyptic tale. Bonus points if you know what character and/or book I'm talking about.)


AFTERAGE was written in the 90's but it doesn't feel dated. I think that's because there's no electricity in this world, so phones and the internet would be out of the picture anyway. Even though decades have passed since this was written, the characters and themes involved are timeless. They still worked their way into my heart, and perhaps if you let them, they'll work their way into your heart as well.


Highly recommended!



You can get a copy here:  AFTERAGE



*I read this book because of THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE podcast. (They're doing an online book group and this is the second book they're reading.) I probably wouldn't have made time to read it otherwise, so thanks to the HORROR SHOW crew for bringing it to my attention. *



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review 2018-03-15 16:18
The Dark Side of Innocence by Terri Cheney
The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar - Terri Cheney

This is a compelling memoir by an author who is able to pull readers right inside her head, she writes with such intensity and intimacy. It is about her childhood and teenage years and is ostensibly about growing up with childhood bipolar disorder, though it is just as much about growing up in a very dysfunctional family, to the point that I wondered how much the atmosphere contributed to her mental health issues. The parents are obsessed with keeping up appearances, their relationship is fractured at the best of times, each has a favorite child with whom they sometimes side against the other parent, and the author and her brother don’t seem to have a real relationship with each other at all.

Meanwhile the author has mental health issues from a young age, which she never discusses with anyone. Part of this book I think is a skillful portrayal of how childhood works for everyone – you live in a weird private world that you probably don’t talk about, and you lack the perspective and judgment to know what’s normal. In other ways it’s very specific to her family and the place where she was growing up (suburban southern California in the 1960s and 70s): as an adult she realizes that her youth was littered with warning signs, from frequent, prolonged absences from school to poetry about suicide that she wrote from a young age, which somehow never resulted in an intervention.

I found this to be a really interesting memoir, well-written and a fast, compelling read. The author perhaps sells it short by writing that it’s aimed at parents of bipolar kids; while it may provide insights for those parents, I am not one and still enjoyed it. It’s a good read for anyone who wants to know what life looks like through someone else’s eyes – and isn’t that one of the primary reasons we read?

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