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review 2020-04-05 14:46
Suicide Forest
Suicide Forest - Jeremy Bates

by Jeremy Bates

 

The first book of Bates' Scariest Places on Earth series. Though the stories are fictional, they are all set in real places that are creepy or scary in some way.

 

Suicide Forest is just outside of Tokyo, Japan and is actually called Aokigahara Forest, but commonly known as Suicide Forest because it's a place where people go to die. Bodies are often found hanging from trees. There are stories about restless spirits haunting the forest, as you would expect in such a place.

 

A group of friends decide to explore the forest when weather reports divert them from their original plan of climbing Mount Fuji. They end up camping there, after running into some other people doing the same thing. They encounter natural hazards in the forest in their quest to find morbid evidence of the forest's reputation and there is some antagonism between Ethan and his girlfriend's male friend, John Scott, who came along results in typical male posturing and competition.

 

When they find the abandoned belongings of a woman, mysterious screams are heard in the night and one of their companions is found hanging dead from a tree in the morning, the situation quickly turns into one of survival in a massive forest where they are lost and running out of supplies.

 

The book is very well written and scary to the point that I had to stop after a few chapters at a time. Horror enthusiasts will love it! The foreign setting and concerns over whether the authorities would respond in the way those in the characters' own countries would lends a sense of immediacy and disorientation in an already engrossing story.

 

The explanation for what was happening is close enough to plausible to make a good story as well, but one question was left unanswered and I'm docking half a star for that. Otherwise this is an easy 5 star read.

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review 2020-03-17 08:38
‘Twisted Secrets’ is the perfect escape room mystery for your quarantine reading: ‘The Breakfast Club’ + Agatha Christie + CLUE
All Your Twisted Secrets - Diana Urban

RELEASED March 17th, 2020 

Links to buy the book on via the author’s site - dianaurban.com

 

 

Six teens are invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. They’ve been lured to a dining room and locked in with a bomb and a syringe of poison, along with a note instructing them to pick one of them to die….or they all will. The book retraces the events of the last year, flashing back to each character at times that reveal various connections between each of them and all kinds of twisted secrets. Who could have known how they were all connected and how will they choose who will die?

This is a smart contemporary, perfectly combined with mystery, a whodunit that keeps you guessing until the end. The cast of characters has been compared to that of ‘The Breakfast Club’ (only one of the best 80’s coming-of-age teen movies ever); the queen bee, the star athlete, the stoner, the loner, the valedictorian and the music geek cover just about all the usual cliques and stereotypes you’ll find in American high school. Over the decades of movies and books, they haven’t really changed that much but this story felt fresh.
As the teens’ stories are revealed through their past timelines, multiple themes are focused on such as bullying, mental health issues, drug abuse, and suicide. While this makes clear that these things could be triggering, I want to say how skilled author Diana Urban was in writing such complex issues into such a thrilling book. So much action happens over a relatively short period of time and in a small space with a lot of characters, and it takes some really crafty writing to pull that off. Having worked in film, and doing continuity on set, I pictured a lot of these scenes in my head while reading and marveled at how complex it is to write scenes like them to build action within such tight parameters.

If you like classic mysteries like those by Agatha Christie, this is a perfect read.
If you love the board game (or the super fun 80’s movie) CLUE, this book is for you. I really enjoyed the ensemble cast of characters.
If you need a book where the characters are feeling just as shut inside and claustrophobic as you during this virus quarantine, then this is definitely THE book for that. And you will pass the hours by way too quickly because this will just suck you in. The most fun to be had while ‘stuck’ in one (imaginary) room.

‘All Your Twisted Secrets’ is a brilliantly written, smart mystery that I couldn’t put down once I started it; I truly hope there’s so much more to come from Diana Urban! Easily a 5 star read.

 

ABOUT DIANA URBAN
Diana Urban is an author of dark, twisty thrillers. When she's not torturing fictional characters, she works in digital marketing for startups. She lives with her husband and cat in Boston and enjoys reading, video games, fawning over cute animals, and looking at the beach from a safe distance. 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/41443369-all-your-twisted-secrets
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review 2020-01-31 18:22
If only there had been a plot...
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - Stanisław Lem,Christine Rose

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub caught my eye simply for the novelty of the title and that bizarre cover. This book is difficult to sum up or even to rate as it truly has no discernible plot. Lest you dismiss it immediately because of this fact, let me assure you that there's much to recommend this title. The word play and circuitous path of our main character (who remains nameless) is satire at its finest. Espionage, counterespionage, and counter-counterespionage abound in The Building where our character has been given a very important Mission...if only he knew what it was. He is continually beset by obstacles in the form of bureaucrats, winding halls with nondescript doors, and instructions that keep vanishing. What would happen if humanity was forced to abandon its cities and move into an underground bunker? Would society, culture, and technology survive and continue to advance?  Lem weaves a provocative tale of paranoia, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. 5/10 but would have been higher had there been a plot to follow. 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2020-01-31 18:19
Stanislaw Lem: A Masterpost
Solaris - Stanisław Lem,Steve Cox,Joanna Kilmartin
The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age - Stanisław Lem
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - Stanisław Lem,Christine Rose

The premise is that a scientist is sent to Solaris (a planet with a space station) only to discover that the 3 inhabitants which he was meant to meet have been reduced to two. Our main character, Kris Kelvin, arrives hoping to crack the enigma of the alien ocean which comprises the whole of the planet (and which is sentient). Once he arrives, strange and disturbing things start to happen such as resurrection of the dead into corporeal beings. Is the entity aware of its cruelty? Is it conducting an experiment on the scientists like the ones that it has been subjected to over the years? Have they actually gone mad?! The overarching message that Lem seems to be making is that humanity continually seeks out new worlds and beings only to impose their own values and agendas to further their reach. (Think colonialism of other cultures and peoples.) He likens it to religion and the search for redemption. (Sci-fi and philosophy go hand-in-hand more often than not as most lovers of the genre will know.) For me it's a 4/10 as I found myself putting it down and grabbing other things to read instead.

 

Now The Cyberiad completely got me back on board the Stanislaw Lem fan train. It was absolutely hysterical. This is a collection of short stories all about the adventures (or rather misadventures) of 2 (in)famous constructors as they make their way across the universe. (These journeys are called sallies which is a detail I adore.) Our heroes, Klapaucius and Trurl, are constantly trying to one-up each other not only with their creations but also with their status as constructors and benefactors to the cosmos. These robots are constructed for all kinds of constructive and inane reasons like storytelling, poetry, making war, etc. And the words that Lem makes up! I'm trying to think of a better word than delightful to describe my reading experience but honestly it was a treat to read a bit of this every night before bed. (If you don't laugh at the depiction of 'palefaces' i.e. humans then you have no sense of humor at all.) An absolute 10/10 for me. (And wait til you read the twist. O_O)

 

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub caught my eye simply for the novelty of the title and that bizarre cover. This book is difficult to sum up or even to rate as it truly has no discernible plot. Lest you dismiss it immediately because of this fact, let me assure you that there's much to recommend this title. The word play and circuitous path of our main character (who remains nameless) is satire at its finest. Espionage, counterespionage, and counter-counterespionage abound in The Building where our character has been given a very important Mission...if only he knew what it was. He is continually beset by obstacles in the form of bureaucrats, winding halls with nondescript doors, and instructions that keep vanishing. What would happen if humanity was forced to abandon its cities and move into an underground bunker? Would society, culture, and technology survive and continue to advance?  Lem weaves a provocative tale of paranoia, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. 5/10 but would have been higher had there been a plot to follow. 

 

What's Up Next: Exhalation by Ted Chiang

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-10-30 15:37
Review ~ Whoa
My Beautiful Suicide - Atty Eve

Book source ~ Blitz. My review is voluntary and honest.

 

Cosette has had a rough life. Her brother was killed by a texting driver, her parents got divorced and her dad took everything for his new trophy wife, and she’s being bullied at school. At 16 she thinks the answer is suicide, but she doesn’t want to be selfish. So she comes up with the idea to go out and invite a serial killer to do the job for her. Oh, okay.

 

Cosette’s story started out pretty good. She’s troubled and in pain, but watching her work through the things that happen to her kept me engaged. It’s dark and angsty and a little too convenient at times, but damn. What a ride. And then…the last 20% or so, the entire thing fell apart for me. It goes from being edgy to what-the-fuck to what-the-fuckity-fuck until the grand finale ending is a you-got-to-be-shitting-me moment and not in a good way. Plus, cliffhanger anyone? No. I was all in until about 80%. After that? I’m not entirely sure I want to continue. Maybe someday. Just to see where Cosette ends up as she grows up, but I’m in no rush because honestly? I feel cheated and betrayed by that measly 20%. And in need of some serious cleansing. Because ewwwww. She is nothing like Dexter.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/10/my-beautiful-suicide.html
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