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review 2018-07-16 22:30
HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich, narrated by Teagan Gardner
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness - Stephanie M. Wytovich,Steven Archer,Michael A. Arnzen,Teagan Gardner

The entire time I was listening to this poetry collection, THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was in the back of my mind. HYSTERIA is about women and their likelihood of falling victim to men, to the world, to their children...and back again to the men. Unlike Gilman's story though, in HYSTERIA, the women often rise up and take what's due. I loved it!

 

I've admitted it before, but I will again here so we're clear, poetry is generally not my thing. But women are-especially strong women, women who have been through things in their life, women for whom life has not been easy. Most of this volume focuses on them, which is why, (I think), it speaks to me so intimately.

 

There are a lot of poems within and I can't get into all of them here, but I especially loved GREED, PLAYMATE OF THE NIGHT and GUARDIAN ANGEL:

 

"...lock me up somewhere else/you say the wrong thing around here, people start to think you're crazy, like madness is some contagion you breathe in through the air/I just told them that sweet Jezebel didn't like it when the men talk to her like that/when they visited her in her cell and touched her pretty face/ran their fingers through her silky hair/they beat me to get out my crazy..."

 

I found Stephanie Wytovich's prose to be killer: in bringing to mind vivid renderings of women-abused, crazy, strong, wild, beautiful, ugly, willful, sexy and with TEETH. Don't turn your back on these women, especially if you've done them wrong in the past. At the same time, some of these ladies are kind and nurturing, or at least they were... before they were diagnosed with HYSTERIA.

 

Highly recommended for fans of poetry and dark fiction!

 

*Thank you to Stephanie M. Wytovich for the free Audible copy of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-07-13 18:30
THE SHINING by Stephen King, narrated by Campbell Scott
The Shining [UNABRIDGED ON 14 CDS] (Audiobook) - Stephen King -- Narrated by: Campbell Scott

 

This was a re-read via the audiobook, narrated by Campbell Scott. He is FANTASTIC!

 

I loved every minute of this audio and highly recommend it, even if you've already read the book or seen the movie.

 

*I obtained this audio through my local library. Libraries RULE!*

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review 2018-07-11 18:45
THE MOORE HOUSE by Tony Tremblay
The Moore House - Tony Tremblay

 

When I read Tony Tremblay's THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES, I knew that I had discovered a very special author. THE MOORE HOUSE only serves to prove that I was right!

 

In Goffstown, New Hampshire there stands a house-a house with a history. After a particularly gruesome occurrence there, Father MacLeod and his team of 3 excommunicated nuns, (specialists in identifying demonic possessions), are called in to evaluate the home. They came, did their thing, and it looked like the house was fine. But after Father MacLeod left, the door of the Moore House opened on its own and soon? What the house really is becomes clear to them all. Will they escape the machinations of the house? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This story has a distinct New England feel to it that I recognized instantly. I don't know how to explain it unless you live here. It's the perfect setting for stories like this and Mr. Tremblay takes full advantage of the location. (The fact that many character names used are actually those of New England dark fiction writers also contributed to that feel.)

 

The characters here are all very real. You might think because 3 of the main characters are nuns, (albeit excommunicated nuns), they would all be boring or perfect. That is not the case. Each and every character here, priest included, are altogether human-with all the faults and foibles that go along with that. This fact lent the story a credible feel, which made all of the demonic things even more easy to believe. Not every author can pull this off, but Mr. Tremblay does- and he does it with style.

 

The only problem I had with this tale, and it's a slight one, was the overuse of the phrase "pawnshop owner", or some variation thereof. That's it!

 

The story surprised me in the fact that it's not your typical haunted house tale. It's a story of demonic possession, more than one in fact, which I thought was unique. The level of tension fairly hummed throughout and I had a hard time putting it down. With short chapters and lots of action, this book flew by and I was sorry when it was over.

 

THE MOORE HOUSE is definitely worth your time. To recap: we have demons, we have layered characters that are realistic, we have a cool house with a history and we have the age old fight against evil. What more can you ask for from an excellent dark fiction writer? Nothing!

 

Highly recommended for fans of haunted house tales and/or demonic possession stories! Available for pre-order here: THE MOORE HOUSE

 

*I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Tony Tremblay to be a friend in real life, but this did not affect the honesty or content of my review.*

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review 2018-07-08 15:37
GIVE ME YOUR HAND by Megan Abbott
Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott

At 1:30 Saturday morning, I finished reading GIVE ME YOUR HAND. It was worth every one of those late minutes!

 

Kit Owens and Diane Fleming are not your normal teen girls. (I'm not sure if Megan Abbott has written any stories about normal teen girls, come to think of it.) They are good students and they both jog. They push each other to be better runners and they both come to realize that they want to be scientists. Every since the beautiful and mysterious Dr. Severin came to their school to talk about her lab work and what it meant to perform studies and to do research, they both dedicate themselves to their goal. Then Diane shares a dark secret with Kit, one that Kit can't get out of her mind-one that's eating her alive. But eventually Kit gets past it and they both graduate and move on with their separate lives.

 

Fast forward a number of years and Kit has achieved her goal. She works in Dr. Severin's lab and is vying for an important spot on a team studying PMDD, a horrible offshoot of PMS that causes all kinds of problems for women. She's almost certain to obtain that rare position-that is until she's told that Diane Fleming is also vying for the same spot. How will Diane's return affect Kit? Who will get those valuable positions on Dr. Severin's team? What about the secret they both share, how will it affect them now that they are together again? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Megan Abbott's writing is pure gold and this book is no different. Inside the warped minds of teenage girls and then again inside their heads as women, she nails it. Not only that, she unflinchingly depicts what it's like for women in the mostly man's world of scientific academia. With fierce competition at hand these men are respectful...until they're not. As a woman in a mostly man's world, (just cars, nothing hoity toity like science), I could identify with these women and what they went through. In the end though, a scientific world and some chauvinistic attitudes are only a small part of this twisted tale.

 

I felt that the pacing of this story was fast and I had a difficult time pulling away from it. Just when I thought I'd read one more chapter something else would happen and I was compelled to read on. This is my favorite Megan Abbott book so far, (though I still have a few to read yet), and it was partially because I'm a super fan of the THEN and NOW format and it worked beautifully here. It helped build the tension and suspense and just kept me going on. And on. And on...until the stunning denouement that floored me. Floored me, I say!

 

GIVE ME YOUR HAND was an excellent mystery/thriller/suspense novel full of interesting and mysterious characters and it was a BLAST! I highly recommend it!

 

Available everywhere on July 17th, but you can pre-order your copy here: GIVE ME YOUR HAND

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-07-04 15:10
BROKEN ON THE INSIDE by Phil Sloman
Broken on the Inside - Phil Sloman

 

BROKEN ON THE INSIDE is not only the title, but also the theme of this book. Containing 5 short tales, each featuring a person in distress, I couldn't help but feel for them all.

 

 

BROKEN ON THE INSIDE- the title story, starred a woman who's had enough of her mother. So much so that it's making her physically sick. When a doctor tells her he can cure her with nanotechnology she jumps on the chance. But just like her mother said, it wasn't all that easy. (Why are mothers always right? It's enough to drive one crazy.)

 

 

DISCOMFORT FOOD This tale is about another young woman, this one working at a fast food burger joint. One night her manager goes a little too far in his harassment of her and she is forced to react. Never again will dinner time be the same.

 

THE MAN WHO FED THE FOXES is a sad narrative about a lonely man who has let his beautiful garden go to pot. When a group of foxes take up living in his abandoned paradise, he begins to feed them a special diet, and they bring him unusual gifts in return.

 

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN In this tale John Hinklow is a gentlemen rather obsessed with having swallowed a fly. Rightfully so, it turns out.

 

VIRTUALLY FAMOUS was a weird little story about a man named Chet who became addicted to a game-The Game. In it, players can opt to be Chet, (the star), , or to be other people in the story-line. But what happens when the main player begins playing himself? In the end it becomes difficult to determine who was the real Chet and which was the Chet in the game. Whether it be gaming or drugs, addictions are dangerous.

 

These stories were all heavy hitters and combined, make up this powerful narrative as a whole. I enjoyed it as entertaining storytelling on one level, but it also caused me to think deeply about life as we know it and how we go about living that life. Every single person in this book had problems-addictions and obsessions. They were broken on the inside. This led me to thinking about the people I know and even myself. Aren't we all BROKEN ON THE INSIDE in one way or another?

 

Highly recommended for fans of extremely well written dark fiction!

 

Get your copy here: BROKEN ON THE INSIDE

 

*I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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