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review 2018-10-09 19:20
Halloween Bingo Suspense: Predators by Michaelbrent Collings
Predators - Michaelbrent Collings

This is a dark, grueling, unflinching character study and tale of survival in a desolate landscape that will put you through the emotional meat grinder. It was fantastic in all the ways that count.

 

A group of tourists travel to Africa to experience the wild locale and the exotic animals and instead find themselves caught up in a living nightmare. This book takes its time setting up the story and the unrelenting horror that follows and instead dives deep into the characterization. So when the plot turn happens and the struggle to survive begins you are pretty well invested in some of the characters and have a better understand of the one’s you might not like all that much. These aren’t just bodies doing stuff, these are well rounded people with pasts. I’m nosy and love taking a deep dive into what makes people tick and it’s done very well in PREDATORS.

 

If you’ve tuned out because you’re an action fan, stick with me because there’s plenty of it in the last half when the plot takes a bloody turn, desperate animals turn on man and it gets gory. Author Collings doesn’t shy away from the gruesome and isn’t afraid to push your face in it. But through it all the terrific characterization remains.

 

There are some amazingly strong female characters in this book and that includes the main beast herself. Her POV fascinated me. The humans are quite a mix. There’s a blind little girl and her dad, a grandma, a starlet, an abused woman and her rotten husband, a Harvey Weinstein type, a not-too-bright YouTuber who is good for some laughs and the tour guides who love what they do even though they have to cart around idiots, for the most part. Some start out weak and find strength and others appear frail but prove that looks are deceptive. A few are just arrogant, nasty or dumb and are there to get eaten but there’s nothing wrong with that. It was a nice mix of people you love to hate and those you grow to love and one or two somewhere in the middle. It’s also heartbreaking as hell so be warned. Fortunately, there are some much needed humorous bits of dialogue thrown in to stop you just when you’re getting ready to jump into a pit of hopeless despair.

 

The monsters are not supernatural but the terror is real. If a slower-paced, well-crafted book about doing what it takes to survive is your kind of thing, I think you’re really going to enjoy PREDATORS.

 

 

This one is going into the Suspense Category. I need to update my card with this one but I'm out of time right now. 

 

Bingo Calls:

Classic Horror 9.1

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11

A Grimm Tale 9.13

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.20 

Murder Most Foul 9.23

Amature Sleuth 9.25

Suspense 9.28

Supernatural

Ghost Stories

Doomsday

Terror In A Small Town

 

I've Read These (none called):

Murder Most Foul: BIG LITTLE LIES 
Slasher Stories: THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
Spellbound: BABY TEETH

New Release: WE SOLD OUR SOULS

 

 

Read & Called!

Terrifying Women: THE GRIP OF IT by Jac Jemc

Suspense: PREDATORS by Michael Brent Collings

Supernatural: IN THE MOUTH OF THE DARK

Doomsday: PATIENT ZERO

 

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review 2018-09-28 17:40
Halloween Bingo: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

What would you do if you wanted nothing more out of life than to be a good, loving mom – everything your own mother wasn’t - and then you give birth to a beloved baby who grows into a monster that wants you dead?

“Make mommy go away and never come back.”

This is the horrible dilemma facing Suzette, a woman already with a lot of horror on her plate. She’s overcome a childhood of neglect and emotional abuse and now lives with Crohn's disease and the chronic and debilitating side effects that sap her energy, along with the fear that one surgery too many will leave her with a colostomy bag. She’s doing her best to raise Hanna, who remains purposely mute at the age of seven, with love but it’s difficult to love a child who despises you and undercuts you whenever the opportunity arises. Suzette’s husband is completely unaware of Hanna’s evil streak because Hanna is a master manipulator who has him wrapped around her little finger. And that’s just how Hanna likes it. Hanna loves her dad so much she wants to marry him and mommy is in the way . . . Yes, we are diving deep into weird V.C. Andrews territory here and it’s amazing!

I know this is going to make me sound strange but I have to say it, I LOVED this little monster and was one million percent thankful that she wasn’t mine because I have zero patience for that and might’ve had to run away forever. Hanna doesn’t speak aloud (in English, anyway) but all of her loathsome and strange thoughts are shared with us and she is one heck of a twisted, creepy kid who knows how to work the adults that surround her. Her character fascinated me. Her thoughts were so terrible and so deliciously evil that I didn’t want to turn away. Her mother was interesting as well with her tortured and conflicted thoughts toward her child. Dad was a bit of a pushover but I guess he had to be in order for this story to work.

“I promise I’ll be good.”

Sadly the end is bit disappointing. Everything was leading me to believe a big, awful thing was going to happen but instead the book ended with a rather lame little fizzle. Please tell me there is going to be another book and that all of the horrible, terrible things I imagined will actually happen in it because I will hit that buy button the moment it is released!

 

 

This one is going into the Spellbound Category (which only makes sense if you've read the book)

 

Bingo Calls:

Classic Horror 9.1

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11

A Grimm Tale 9.13

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.20 

Murder Most Foul 9.23

Amature Sleuth 9.25

Suspense 9.28

 

I've Read These (none called):

Murder Most Foul: BIG LITTLE LIES 
Slasher Stories: THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
Doomsday: PATIENT ZERO
Supernatural: IN THE MOUTH OF THE DARK

Spellbound: BABY TEETH

 

Read & Called!

Terrifying Women: THE GRIP OF IT

 

 

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review 2018-09-26 18:26
Halloween Bingo Terrifying Women: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc

See this review and so much other good horror stuff at Ladies of Horror Fiction.

 

I’m not going to sugar coat things. This book was work and it was not a quick read. Not by a long shot. The chapters were super short so you would think the pages would fly, right? No. They absolutely do not fly. The writing style was literary, I knew that going in, and the language was lovely and often gutting in its honesty but what I didn’t anticipate were the alternating POV’s of the married couple who are haunted by their new house (or were they?). Every single time a new chapter began with the other’s POV it would throw me out of the groove of the story and take me several moments to get back into it. And since many of the chapters were only 2 – 3 pages long there was a lot of mental jostling going on here. Perhaps you won’t have this issue and this much of a struggle but I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to it.

With that said, the book was a treasure trove of eerie atmosphere and emotional turmoil. The writing was truly striking and the crushing and stifling dread closing in on the couple? Phew, I’m still feeling the remnants of those claustrophobic, paranoid feelings days later. Their struggle, their worry, and their confusion? That stuff was so amazingly well done. I LOVE that sort of writing thus I was determined to see this book through to the very end. Were they going mad together? Was the house haunted? Or was it something more sinister and grounded in the real world? And what was up with the weirdo neighbor? I’m not telling you any of these things because I am not 100% sure of the answers even after finishing it. I had to get this book back to the library so I’ll have to do a reread on audio someday to see if I can find all of my answers to all of my pesky questions.

So, do I think you should read it? Perhaps and perhaps not. What I do recommend is maybe grabbing yourself a sample and reading the first 50 -75 pages and see how it works for you personally. The Grip of It isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone but, damn, that writing was lush and I am sucker for lush writing especially when it’s creepy! I have zero regrets.

 

 

This one is going into the Terrifying Women Category

 

Bingo Calls:

Classic Horror 9.1

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11

A Grimm Tale 9.13

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.20 

Murder Most Foul 9.23

Amature Sleuth 9.25

Suspense 9.28

 

I've Read These (none called):

Murder Most Foul: BIG LITTLE LIES 
Slasher Stories: THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
Doomsday: PATIENT ZERO
Supernatural: IN THE MOUTH OF THE DARK

 

Read & Called!

Terrifying Women: THE GRIP OF IT

 

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review 2018-05-14 19:43
They Feed - Jason Parent

This monster romp was populated with mostly despicable people whose gruesome deaths were so much fun to witness. We all need a little of this sort of thing in our lives right about now, am I right?

 

Deep in the woods lurks a nightmare that doles out death to those foolish enough to venture into the woods looking for some rapey, murdery, torture-filled times and to a few innocents as well (but no worries, you won’t be crying about any of these deaths).

 

Tyler, newly released from a long stint in prison, revisits the woods that landed him in jail to try to make sense of his past but unbeknownst to him, he is being tailed by someone with revenge in their little black bitter heart. Also headed into these woods are a couple who really should NOT be together but their psychologist thought it would be good for them to spend some time in the outdoors (I think these people must share the same doctor of bad advice as the man in The Bird Eater). And then there’s the group of toxically stupid frat boys doing what they do.

 

“Things lived in the woods. Things with sharp teeth.”

 

Oh yesssss, come on in vile people! Come on in and get eaten! The sooner the better for me. The fun starts up soon enough and doesn’t really let go until the last page is turned. It’s gory and nasty and gleefully fun if you’re in the mood for a creature feature starring shit pancakes and tiny tentacled beasties.

 

Thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, author Jason Parent & publisher Sinister Grin Press for sharing an ARC with me!

 

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review 2018-04-27 19:06
CIRCE REDISCOVERED
Circe - Madeline Miller

A few minutes ago, I finished reading this book. (It is 1:11 PM EST as I write this.) I feel a deep reluctance to have to take leave of what was truly a wondrous, fantastic, and engaging story. "CIRCE" had become more than a story rooted in myth; it became real in my consciousness.

Before reading this novel, what little I knew about Circe came from the Edith Hamilton book 'Mythology' I had read in high school. That book conveyed to me a vengeful and capricious enchantress (somehow the word 'witch' never entered my consciousness, perhaps because I always imagined Circe to be alluring and beautiful - as well as powerful) who took a dim view to mortals coming to her island. So much so, that many a marooned sailor upon meeting Circe was transformed by her into a snorting pig.

But through reading this fantastic novel, I came to learn so much more about Circe and her origins. Daughter of Helios the Titan god of the Sun and the nymph Perses, she grew up in a family that thought little of her and didn't expect much from her. Yet, unlike her immortal siblings, Circe had some humility and compassion about her that showed that she had a heart. With the passage of time, Circe went on to do something that, as an immortal, she shouldn't have done. It probably would've been to her benefit to lie or simply not speak to anyone of what she had done. But one of the things I found remarkable about Circe was her willingness to speak truth to power (in her case, her father, who had never hid his disdain for her), and to bear the punishment imposed on her by Zeus. That meant eternal exile on the deserted island of Aiaia. And there is where Circe - through the centuries - came truly into her own, honing "her occult craft" and "tam[ing] wild beasts."

Madeline Miller has an amazing skill in crafting prose that breathes life -in all its richness and complexity - into this novel. She relates in compelling detail the varied adventures Circe had, as well as the encounters she had with a number of the gods and mortals (including Odysseus with whom Circe would eventually enter into an intimate relationship) who ventured to her island. There were also some unexpected surprises that I'll leave to the reader of this review to discover for him/herself. (No spoilers here.)

This is a novel that once read you'll want to read again. IT IS AMAZING.

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