Archives for posts with tag: Horror

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Cannibalism

Notes: Book 15/50.  This is exactly like the movie.

Review: First of all, I’m 3 solid books behind on this blog, so get ready for a flurry of updates.  Second, when I say this book is exactly like the movie, it is exactly like the movie.  They did an excellent job with the film adaptation but you know what? I didn’t care.  I didn’t feel like reading something where I already knew what happened.  As I’m sure you well know, I need my movies to be exactly like the book thankyouverymuch, but once I’ve seen the movie, I usually don’t go back and read the book if they’re that similar.  Like, Game of Thrones for example.  HBO did such a great job with season 1 that I wish I had skipped book 1 and moved straight on to book 2. So, this book kind of dragged.  I pictured Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal, heard all of his lines as he delivered them in the movie, and saw Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling.  (That’s who played her, right?)

The book itself, had I read it before I had watched the movie, is fantastic.  Harris does an amazing job of creating suspense, making you sweat, grip the edges of the book, and stop breathing.  Hannibal, even though he’s not truly the villain in this novel, is purely terrifying.  I find him more terrifying than your average serial murderer because he’s so damn polite and smart. The way he orchestrates his escape is both genius and horrifying.  Buffalo Bill really feels like a sideshow in this novel, as he did in much of the movie.  Even though Hannibal is basically only a consultant in this case, Harris really has him steal the show.

Side note, I totally read this on the beach.  Talk about a beach read, eh?

Bottom Line: If you’ve seen the movie, the book doesn’t really have anything else to offer.  Skip!

 

 

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Welcome, welcome.  Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

I. Love. This. Book.  After growing up reading Harry Potter, I felt a little part of me die when I watched the final movie last summer.  No more midnight book premieres?  No more midnight movies?   No more heated discussions about he movie adaptation?  What will I do?!!?   It created a hole in my heart.  A gaping Harry Potter sized hole in my heart that nothing could ever fill.

Until The Hunger Games.

Ahhh, midnight showings are back.  (Forget the everyone else in the theater was in high school.  And I had to work this morning.)   Thank you, directors,  for creating a faithful adaptation to the book without adding frills, extra scenes, or taking out major characters.  My literary soul thanks you.  It is vulnerable.  And prone to anger.

Jennifer Lawrence at Katniss is perfect.  I may or may not have a small girl crush on her.  When the directors announced the casting list last year, I hated Jennifer Lawrence.  She was too blonde.  Too pretty.  Too stocky and strong to convincingly play a starving girl from District 12 with an insatiable desire to survive against the odds.  I was wrong. Bravo, Jennifer, you are everything I thought Katniss should be.

Stanley Tucci?  A dead ringer for Caesar Flickerman.  Rue?  Perf.  Effie? Perf.  I wasn’t super thrilled with Peeta, but not for any real reason.  I pictured him stockier and stronger.

However, this movie is not without its flaws.  In an effort to fit everything into the movie without making it 4 hours long and to set up Catching Fire, the directors seems to go for a bare bones approach.  They stripped out everything except what was essential and necessary to the story.  So, basically, we are left with a skeleton that gives us a good idea of what everything looks like and the layout of the land, but without details to flesh it out.  Character development fell completely by the wayside.  Katniss and Peeta’s budding relationship and its complications (is Katniss is playing the sponsors and the audience to garner sympathy and packages?  Or does she really fall for Peeta?) is completely lost.  When she kisses Peeta, it feels forced and completely unbelievable.  I mean, for god sakes, we never even get an explanation of why Peeta teamed with the Careers in the first place.

And Katniss’s survival skills and cunning don’t come across in the film either.  In the book, she is constantly figuring things out.  She and Haymitch have an almost telepathic understanding and connection.  But there was no hint of that in the movie.  Gifts just come to her from the sky.  Without he asking for them or working for them.  Which, to me, was a huge freaking let down!  Half of the reason she stays alive is her ability to understand how the game works – and to use it to her advantage.  The nuances of the character didn’t translate.  For example, at the end of the book when she and Peeta are going to eat the nightlock berries, she doesn’t do it with a rebellion specifically on her mind.  Her actions are more complicated and less thought out.  But in the movie, the nightlock reads like a blatant “Fuck you” to the capitol and President Snow.

Bottom Line:  If you are a fan (AND YOU SHOULD BE), see this movie.  Highly recommend.  Although if you start the Team Peeta or Team Gale shit – I will cut you.

Genre: Horror, Zombies, end of the world

Notes: 7/50 books

**WARNING** If you are really into the show and don’t want to know what happens or get any details whatsoever, don’t read this review!  I’m going to try my best to keep my details scintillating and brief, but I can’t promise I won’t accidentally give anything away.

Review: I can just hear the chorus now.  “This is based on a book?!”  To which I say, “Everything good is based on a book.”  To get technical, The Walking Dead is a graphic novel with absurdly graphic graphics – guts, blood, rape, the whole 9.

Where to begin?  This compendium encompasses Volumes 1-8 and has like 1,000 glorious pages.  And weighs like 20 lbs. There are (currently) 15 Volumes with more being written.

The book is different from the show.  That’s the first thing I can say.  The book is different from the show.  For one, Shane dies in Vol. 1 in the book and made it an absurdly long time in the show playing the stock villain. (What was that about?) Two, Dale doesn’t die in the book.  Among other things that I won’t give away here, the book is just different enough from the show that I can enjoy them both separately, which is great.

One of the best things about this series is the focus on human interaction vs. zombies.  The zombies are just background noise.  Granted, that noise can kill you and eat you alive, but the true horrors happen at the hands of other humans.  People go crazy and revert back to basic primal instincts of survival.  Less cooperation, more suspicion.   Even on Hershel’s farm (where we stayed wayyyy too long in the show) two groups of sort of decent humans almost kill each other.  If they can’t get along, who can?  Although, truly, if I were Hershel, I would have kicked them off of my farm.  They were a plague!  Everything was fine until they came along.   Once Rick came running up with Carl, it was the beginning of the end for the farm.  And the governor!  I won’t say anything more about him, but he’s an interesting character, to say the least.

We got a glimpse of her at the end of the show, but Michonne (that’s her name) is a sword wielding, kick ass woman who roams around with her zombie pets. She is the definition of a BAMF. What’s so great about Michonne, you ask?  Other than her being a total BAMF, she is a much-needed contrast to (most) of the women in the series.  I mean, she and Andrea are the only women who can take care of themselves.  And Maggie to an extent.  But Lori?!  Learn some survival skills, woman! In the show, she’s borderline useless.  In the book she’s a total waste of space.  She leaves it to the men to protect the camp and the women do the laundry and cooking.  I mean, really? If I were in this situation, you can believe I would carry a gun and be a damn good shot with it.  And I would not be stuck only doing laundry and taking care of kids.  I will take care of myself, thank you.  I pledge in the zombie apocalypse I will be useful.  And not be a burden, I will shoot a gun, and I will hunt.  You will want me in your group.  Trust me.  I know gender roles are useful sometimes, but everyone needs to be able to take care of themselves if need be.

“I can’t profess to understand God’s plan, but when Christ promised a resurrection of the dead, I just thought he had something a little different in mind” – Hershel

Bottom Line: As dumb as a “realistic” zombie apocalypse may sound, The Walking Dead does it.  I think the key is to deliberately not to explain the why.  Just accept that the zombie virus happened.  And try to survive.

In A Nutshell

    • Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, slight Paranormal themes
    • Notes: Less than ten years ago, this was my first Nora Roberts book and it made me want to read all of her novels. To this day it remains one of my faithful, favorite books to pull out on a beach and read.
    • Recommended For: People who enjoy a murder mystery with their romance and can handle the idea of a psychic in a contemporary reality.

A book that’s able to juggle childhood friendships, romance, psychic ability, along with murder, child abuse, and the always intricate dynamics of families . . . When I picked up this book, I was a teenager and believed that television was the best form of story telling and that books were things forced on us by teachers (I know, I know — late bloomer.) But the moment I picked up this book I saw the world in a different way. I was suddenly the best director in my own mind. As long as someone provided the screenplay, I could imagine it all miraculously in my head. That’s why, this book – for me – will always get 5 stars. But, having said that, I’ve read and reread this book a trillion times and I can see new things, both good and bad, with each reading.

The story line is as follows:

Tory Bodeen grew up in a small, rundown house where her father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt–and where her dreams and talents had no room to flourish. But she had Hope–who lived in the big house, just a short skip away, and whose friendship allowed Tory to be something she wasn’t allowed to be at home: a child.

After young Hope’s brutal murder, unsolved to this day, Tory’s life began to fall apart. And now, as she returns to the tiny town of Progress, South Carolina, with plans to settle in and open a stylish home-design shop, she is determined to find a measure of peace and free herself from the haunting visions of that terrible night. As she forges a new bond with Cade Lavelle–Hope’s older brother and the heir to the Lavelle fortune–she isn’t sure whether the tragic loss they share will unite them or drive them apart. But she is willing to open her heart, just a little, and try.

But living so close to those unhappy memories will be more difficult and frightening than she ever expected. Because the killer of Hope is nearby as well.

To this day, I think this story line is one of Roberts’ most interesting. Not that it’s her all time best, but it shows her willingness to ride that line of reality and fantasy. As a best-selling romance novelist, most famous for her contemporary romances set in reality, it takes guts to try to sell a credible “Psychic” plot line in a gritty, gory murder mystery.

I’m a paranormal fan and love fantasy so this little touch to the book only enhances it for me, but I do remember reading it that first time and being thrown that a book so set in the harsh realities of the current day would have the touch of fancy that a psychic brings. But, obviously, it’s not something thrown in there for fun. Tory’s psychic abilities are the key to the entire plot and help shape how she’s seen by the world and how she fits in it herself.

One thing I have found different since I read it that first time is that Tory gets a little angsty from time to time. Completely understandable, considering her life and the events that shape her in the book, but there get’s to be a point or two where you want to Cher-slap her and shout, “SNAP OUTTA’ IT!” Cade helps to liven her up as well as open her up to a relationship and to let go of the trauma of the past and that adds more color to the book. But for me, the show stealer is Faith.

I always get a little peeved that they don’t mention Faith in the synopsis as she’s just as important, if not more so, to the central plot. Faith is Hope’s twin sister and the rebel of the Lavelle family. Whereas Tory is an easy protagonist to cheer for as she’s had a rough past and tries to do the right thing, Faith is a girl with a rough past that did just about every wrong thing. Tory’s commendable, Faith’s relatable. I also find her one liners and comebacks are hilarious and the real reason this book keeps tempo and has rhythm. In fact, some of my favorite scenes are the ones between Faith and Tory. Faith brings out the snark in Tory, where no one else can.

As for the romance in the book. I never find that it’s lacking in quantity, between the two main couples you get your fair share of lovin’. And I do love Cade, the goes-against-the-grain farmer who chooses to turn his back on the old ways of farming and make his farm grow organic cotton. I do notice, it’s a consistent thing for Roberts’ romances, that he falls for Tory almost immediately. I mean, I can understand needing to get that out-of-the-way when you have a murderer running around, but I sometimes think – really? Already?

As for the mystery, I found it engaging, well-developed and I honestly didn’t know who it was in the end. I don’t know if that came from me never having read a Nora Roberts’ novel or if you’ll have trouble guessing who dunnit, but I recommend you try to take a look. Also, there was a Lifetime, made for TV-Movie of this book a few years back. If you want to truly enjoy this story – read the book.  The movie should just be considered paraphernalia, like a t-shirt at a concert. For me, the real deal will always remain the book

Bottom Line: A Katie Classic. It will forever remain on my bookshelf and I completely recommend it for yours. I can bet most of you will finish it in 2 days, tops.

★★★★★

Genre: Fiction, Chaos

Notes: Book 4/50.  It really doesn’t take much to turn people into animals

Review: This is a novel in which everything turns to shit.  Literally.  There is shit in the streets, shit on the floor, and shit in the houses.  And on your clothes.  And everything smells like shit.  Mmmm, sounds good, right?

Blindness is a story about a city/possibly world struck by an inexplicable blindness epidemic.  It spreads quickly and leaves no one untouched.  Well, almost no one.  For some reason, one woman is left seeing to witness the terrible deterioration of life and becomes the sole caretaker of six blind people who completely rely on her.

When the outbreak began, the government rounded up the people stricken blind and interns them in a mental institution in an effort the quarantine the population.  The conditions in the institution (lacking running water or basic necessities) quickly turns inhumane and disgusting.  People poop in the hallways because, being blind, they can’t find the bathrooms.  And, a sense of anonymity protects them.  They think “well, no one can see me, so who cares?”  As more people in the outside world continue going blind, the institution becomes overcrowded and completely disorganized.  A criminal gang, taking advantage of the disorder, takes over and forces the women to act as prostitutes and subject themselves to rape for food.  Ahh, humanity.

While the book had some striking imagery and horrible details, I had a hard time getting into the writing.  Saramago writes almost completely without punctuation.  There are no quotes to denote who is talking and when, very few paragraph breaks, and a ton of commas.  The style contributes to a lack of identity and difficulty discerning who is speaking which – honestly – makes sense even if it is annoying.  The blind people don’t know their companions’ names so why should the reader?  We enter the same chaotic, confusing, and tangled world they do.

Bottom Line: Apparently a filmmaker adapted this novel to the screen in 2008, but I’ve heard it sucked.  The book is worth the read, I think, because it shows how horrible humanity can be and, at the same time, how good.  We don’t have as much control as we like to believe.

In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Paranormal, Action, Romance, Historical-Fiction and Contemporary
  • Notes: Made me see much more into the Mencheres character who, when I realized this book was about him, I was skeptical to see if he could be a good romantic hero.
  • Recommended For: Fans of Frost and the Night Huntress Series, Fans of Twilight, Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

I know what you’re thinking, “Another great cover for the Nighthuntress World series!” . . . It’s once again an interesting choice. But I have to atleast commend them on making it look like a physically imaginable pose. Although the guy on the cover makes me think of the actor that plays Jasper in The Twilight Movies.

Am I right? Anyway, that isn’t how I pictured Mencheres at all, but you know, whatever. Let’s get to the premise, shall we?

SYNOPSIS

An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness . . .

And now one woman has stumbled into the shadows.

Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he’d seen it all. Then Kira appears—this fearless, beautiful . . . human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable.

But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

So when I first read the two spin-off of the Night Huntress Novels, I found this one to be my favorite of the two, but after more re-readings I find I like them an equal amount. I think the reason I found this one more attractive in the beginning was because it fits in more generically with my every-day romance novels. Not that it doesn’t include the wonderful world of Cat and Bones, but the characters remind me very much of my romance novel run-of-the-mill hero and heroine. That’s not a bad thing, in my opinion, I like the comfort in that. I mean, why would I read all these if I didn’t find the norm of this genre to be exciting?

Kira’s a good character if a little predictable, but she’s got some spunk and doesn’t let Mencheres push her around. And I liked her back-story concerning her not-so-great drug-addict brother and her little sister who’s sick that she calls “Tiny-T”. I found that as her back story was revealed the character grew – no surprise there. But it would be hard to compete with the plotline of Mencheres, a centuries old vampire who became a vampire in Ancient Egypt.

I have to say I completely geeked out over the Ancient Egyptian references. As a Art History minor I loved learning about Ancient Egyptian artwork and culture. I also like Frost’s explanation of the acceptance of Vampire’s in ancient egypt and how their existence relates to the building of the pyramids. All very interesting.

This book like The First Drop of Crimson are in their own category from the rest of the Cat & Bones novels as they feature the inner musings of the male lead. Something that, as I mentioned in my last review, we never get from Bones. It was very interesting to finally see behing Mencheres’ stoic expressions and learn more about his past. That’s another reason I really recommend these spin-offs to the fans of the Night Huntress Series, as I feel we can appreciate the entire plot lines more and it helps to enrich our experience of the Cat/Bone-centric books.

Something that stuck out to me in this, that I didn’t truly acknowledge until I read it this time, was a pattern that I begin to find a little redundant in Frost’s writings. Most especially in tFDoC and this book: the two leads really bond over a significant life event that is entirely relatable and has to do with a past significant other. To translate, *SPOILERS* When Spade and Denise bond over the fact that their significant others died horrible deaths that they weren’t able to prevent because of a miscommunication, and in this we learn that Kira can really relate to Patra, Mencheres first wife, and that relationship. *SPOILERS OVER* I’m not saying that couples shouldn’t be able to relate to eachother from past experiences. I’m saying it becomes a little too predictable when it’s always such a similar event that is relatable. It’s almost too much of a coincidence. I prefer the fact that Bones and Cat really relate to eachother because while they are completely different, they relate to eachother by similar feelings and their understanding of doing what needs to be done for the greater good even if it’s not always the good way to go about it.

That actually leads me to my favorite aspect about Kira. Kira is one of those people who tries always to do good. She knows she won’t all the time, but she goes out of her way to do what is just and right. Her modo being Save one life. This entire thread throughout the novel made her more dynamic.

One thing that made me chuckle early on in the book is the fact that Kira has a natural aversion to Vampire influence. She can’t be mind-controlled and as a direct effect, Mencheres can’t read her mind. The moment I read that I was like, “Oh hel-lo Edward Cullen.” That plot technique has clearly already been used, but I don’t blame Frost. This whole book could have been written in 5 chapters if Mencheres could read her mind. So while you also may notice this similarity. If it turns you off, just keep reading it’s still a good book.

Why is it a good book? Well the action in it is actually pretty exciting. Mencheres is warring with his evil Uncle who is out to steal his great power, but Mencheres is a pretty decent BAMF and won’t go out without a fight. Once again in this book, Frost continues exposition by introducing us more thoroughly to the Guardians. The Judges and Executioners of Vampire laws. She delves somewhat into the character of Veritas, who almost kills Cat in a previous novel and we learn that this is not the last we will hear of the Guardians.

It may arguably be Frost’s best talent as a writer to wield the pen so easily between multiple books’ plots as well as characters old and new while introducing new concepts and settings. If you’ve enjoyed the other books so far, what are you waiting for on this one?

★★★★

In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Paranormal Romance, Action, Adventure, Horror, Gore
  • Notes: The first of the spin-off series from the Night Huntress Novels. Not my favorite one, but I do really like this one. As far as the cover art goes: WTF?!
  • Recommended For: Fans of Frost, The Night Huntress Novels, Vampire Novels, Fans of True Blood, Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Fans of The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.

A book that continues the plot and adds to the Night Huntress canon while also being a pretty good book in of itself . . . This is the first of Frost’s spin-offs that delves into the relationship of Spade, Bones’ closest friend, and Denise, Cat’s best friend.

SYNOPSIS

The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows—her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield—and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness—and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human—even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .

Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.

So being the first spin-off, I was of course skeptical, but I really ended up liking this book. It falls after the fourth Night Huntress novel, Destined For An Early Grave, and afterwards comes the second spin-off titled, Eternal Kiss of Darkness.

There were several things I enjoyed about this book and overall I had a fine time reading it. I wouldn’t call it my favorite as it didn’t fully stand-out to me, but if you enjoy the rest of the series you’ll enjoy this.

As for what I liked: All the things I love about Frost are in this book. Her humor, her ability to introduce new exposition while keeping the current story moving, and her well-written characters. One thing I loved about this book that is completely different from any of her previous books in the series: You get to read from the hero’s perspective. Spade tells half the story and Denise tells the other half. I found that to be so new and different in this series, as we never read from Bones’ perspective. Oh how I wish we did.

The last we’d read about Denise, she was pulling away from the paranormal world after losing her husband to a zombie attack, and then seeing Spade kill a would-be rapist infront of her. Here Frost expands the paranormal world to introduce Demons. Which she previously had not included in her Night Huntress universe.

Overall I found this read fun, entertaining, and quick if a little underwhelming. Spade and Denise aren’t my romance-couple type. They’re more mushy, less bad ass. But that’s fine and it gets the job done. I think my only true critcism comes in the form of design.

cover artWhat the hell was Frost thinking allowing that to be the cover?! I have to admit, a little bit before I started this series and knew anything about Jeaniene Frost, I found this cover and joked about it. Literally pulled it off the shelf and had a huge laugh with my friend about this.

What’s wrong with this cover, you might ask?

1) Why does his head pull away from his neck at that awkward similar-to-a-giraffe angle?

2) Why does that girl look bored and tired, when there is a silk shirted, spineless, lothario glaring over her shoulder?

3) A silk shirt? Really?

4) She looks more vampiric than he does, she’s whiter than Edward Cullen!

5) Why does he have two black-eyes?

6) That is, maybe, the most unattractive and creepy face I’ve ever seen on a romance novel cover.

There’s just so many things wrong with this cover, that I can’t imagine it was even checked before they sent it to print. I mean I can’t imagine that no one tried to say anything about this. Even as simple as, “I mean, this is Frost’s first spin-off novel. Maybe we should try and market this a little better?”

We know Frost has a great sense of humor, but you think maybe she’d be like – “Who’s the freak on the cover of my novel? And why is he creepily gripping the heroine whilst trying to Tyra-Smieyes the reader?”

My friend and I laughed about this so much, I made a spoof of it later:

 Yes, indeed, I made “First Drop of Creeper” featuring my creeped-out friend, before ever reading a single Night Huntress Novel. I regret nothing. I also understand that romance novels, bodice-rippers, chick-lit all have their own sort of theme when it comes to cover design. I’m thinking about doing a post solely on RomNov cover designs. But this takes the cake. It’s like a blog post from GoFugYourself.com – A silk shirt, and no spinal cord? What more can a woman want?!

Clearly I could talk about this all day, but I’ll end simply by saying. Aside from the horrific cover art, the book is a nice read that I recommend, especially if you want to continue with the series as it introduces a plot-line for the next Cat-Bones book.

I even give this book ★★★★ because I believe it to be well set-up, a good, interesting plot, and a overall fun jaunt back into the Night Huntress universe. Enjoy with a bottle of gin. Just make sure you don’t make eye-contact with the creeper on the cover.

★★★★