Friday, April 29, 2016

   The Last Horror Novel In The History Of The World - Brian Allen Carr 5/5 stars

                                                                     


     This is clearly not a novel but what's in a title? The name of the book doesn't really matter anyway. It's just a title that certainly grabs your attention. It's a really short story that blurs the line between bizarro and horror to become something else entirely. Some writers can do that and make it look easy.  That's the strength of The Last Horror Novel. This is a book that flows seemingly well despite its ending which is something you would expect from a bizarro novel. You don't see it coming. When it does you don't know whether to laugh or chuck the book across the room.

    Horror novel works because of its characters and Carr's writing style. Once you start reading it's almost impossible to stop. It's a story that you become invested in even though it seems too crazy. You have a woman leading ghost children into a river, and an appearance from the devil himself. Carr is a writer that I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot from and this is certainly a bizarro/horror novel that you should read. It could very well be the evolution of a genre that has sadly grown stagnant over the last few year. It seems as if everyone has moved on and ventured into other areas, but now there's a shining ray of hope that it'll return. Whatever your thoughts are on the genre this is one that I highly recommend.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Woah!!

  Razor Blade Candies Book One: Loves Lies Dead Kyle M. Scott 5/5 stars

                                                                 



     You ever read a book that seems like it's headed one way and then before you know it everything veers sideways and you find yourself cheering? Love Lies Dead is that sort of book. It's a short but brutal read that basically says; "I'm back did you miss me?" Yes, Scott, we did. The thing that makes this work is that Kyle uses emotions to suck you in. You can almost feel the loss that Paul feels and you can't help but feel for him. He's just lost his girlfriend and Scott details these scenes so vividly you aren't just reading about Paul you feel as if you're right there with him. This is going to be one of those novels right? Okay, maybe a ghost story? Oh, no, that would be too easy and Scott knows this and that's when the book becomes extremely twisted. When I say twisted Scott goes places that I have merely flirted with.

      Love Lies Dead is clearly a novel for those who like their horror dark and twisted. The thing is that on one level it all makes sense. How much do you love someone? Paul actually loves a woman so much that he digs her out of a fresh grave and brings her home! That's true love my friends and that's the beauty in Love Lies Dead. Scott uses pure untapped emotions of grief and loss to pull us in. We get to see exactly what he wants to see before promptly shoving the curtain aside and showing us the things that he's had hidden all along. It's a dark and twisted love story even if it's one sided. As a writer Scott has clearly grown and each release keeps getting better and better. Despite its short length though Dead may in fact be the best thing he's ever written in or even despite its shocking subject matter. If you have a weak stomach this is clearly not something you want to read but you should because this is horror with an attitude, and a swagger all its own. This is dark horror at its finest. If there are voices inside every writers head I would hate to hear what his sound like.

The Sad Taste Of Disappointment

     Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes 3/5 stars

                                                 

 
      How in the hell do you top a novel like You? It can't be easy but Kepnes does her best with Hidden Bodies. As I started reading it I wasn't sure what the hell she was trying to do. It was frustrating at first to see a character that I enjoyed so much turn into a whiny bitch. I get it though. In You, Joe was creepy, and in love, but the thing that made it work was that it all felt justified somehow. This was a man that wanted someone so badly that he would hack into her email and Facebook accounts just see what she was up too. Now? Joe is haunted by a cup of urine and this need to destroy Amy Adams a girl that pulled the wool over his eyes.

      The first half of Bodies was tedious and boring. At times I felt as if Kepnes was simply trying too hard to make Bodies as good as You so she tried different angles and different ideas, but the problems were Joe. You can't take a character like that and make him appear weak. I get it though, Joe is a strong character that has to be in control at all times so his move to California almost made sense. This second half of the book is where Caroline really proves just how good she is, but there are some issues with the plot. Again, it seems as if she's so concerned with Bodies being better, or just as good as You. Joe really hits hits his stride with Love but his desire for happiness is thwarted by a few obstacles that he of course has to remove. Kepnes is a solid writer. She does give us some interesting characters, but the problem is that the plot of the book sometimes just feels like as if it's thrown together to shock us, and prove that she's capable of writing a decent sequel.

   
      As a reader I was disappointed with some of the plot twists. Sure, they sort of make sense but I was yelling at my Kindle at one point at just how ridiculous some the twists were. I really wanted to see Joe and Love live happily after, but what the hell was that ending? What is up with Love just accepting everything that Joe has done and not feeling the least bit afraid that she could be next if she ever changers her mind and decides to leave Joe? Amy Adams who Joe followed to California even makes a brief appearance and that left me scratching my head too. There are so many good moments that could have made this as addicting as You, but it just wasn't. I wanted to Joe to really shine in this one but sadly he doesn't. As it is Hidden Bodies shows moments of brilliance but it's just doesn't have the same great qualities that You did. I'm left feeling a bit lost and confused, but as soon Kepnes writes another novel I'll buy it because I feel that once she's moved past You and found her comfort zone she's going to really blow our minds.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Holy Crap on a cracker!!

   You - Caroline Kepnes 5/5 stars
                                         
   

      I have a growing list of favorite books and You is among them. It's a cautionary tale wrapped inside of a twisted love story. It makes you think twice about social media and even leaving your house. Kepnes' debut novel is one of those books you just can't stop reading or thinking about. I kept hearing a lot about this novel so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. As I began reading I couldn't put this thing down. I couldn't even write because I wanted to read more about Joe and Beck. I usually avoid popular fiction because usually those authors play it too safe. This is one novel that goes right for the throat and immediately grabs your attention.

      The entire story is told from Joe's point of view. For some damn reason he reminded me of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. This is a guy that seems to have it all together but on the inside you can see that something's not right. You know that he's obsessed with Beck but the depths that he goes only shows how crazy he truly is. This is a guy that knows exactly what he wants and Kepnes has allowed Joe to take center stage. The entire novel reads as if he's talking to her and he just wants her to see that he did this all because he loves her. This is a stalker for the digital age and Beck makes it too easy.

     As a character Joe isn't supposed to be a guy you should cheer for but I liked this guy for his dedication. Beck is being stalked but I have to admit that she is a character that you may or not like. You can clearly see that she's using Joe, but he's too obsessed to see it. Add in the other characters and you begin to see that maybe just maybe Joe is the sanest of them all. It's a story that will cause a multitude of debates, but that's how it was designed. You take away from it what you want and cheer for who you want. It's a brilliant debut that grabs your attention from the very first paragraph and holds it until the very end. This is exactly what I like in fiction. I like authors who take risks and allow the reader to pick sides. Is it always justified? Hell no, but that's what makes You so damn good.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Complex

 The Complex - Brian Keene 5/5 Stars
                                                 




     I received a copy of The Complex from Deadite Press but had a huge backlog of stuff to get through. It taunted me though because this is a Brian Keene novel and I'm a huge fan of his. Forget all the labels and just focus instead on the writing. Keene knows horror. He knows how to pull you into a story and he does that by giving you characters that you actually care about. That's the strength of The Complex. It's a violent novel that focuses less on the why this is happening, and more on the how do they survive this. As you read it you may have more than a few questions, but it doesn't really matter because seeing these people survive the ordeal is far more important than why there are violent naked people wandering around killing people.

      If you're a fan of splatterpunk, or horror this is a solid addition to your collection. Yes, we've all read novels of this type before but what saves it from being a rehash of everything you've already read is Keene's writing style. He pulls you into the story and you don't simply read it you feel as if you're right there with the characters. It's a lot of fun to read and reminds us that horror can be violent but also fun to read. The plot is simple but in your face That's what makes this so good. Sometimes its the simplicity that makes a horror novel so good. If you've never read a Keene novel before this a good place to start.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Now For The Unexpected

Dear John - Nicholas Sparks 5/5 stars
                                                     
      I assure you that no one has hijacked my blog and I am for the most part of sound mind. Sometimes it's perfectly acceptable to step outside your comfort zone and read something different. As a writer I usually genre jump just to see what else is out there. It's important to check out other styles just to see what you can learn from it. I had heard of Sparks but never read any of his work. I was looking for something different to read and figured why not read one of his books.

     The thing I liked about Dear John was that it was easy to read and written in a way that allows you to become involved in the story. In popular fiction sometimes you get characters that are one dimensional and not very interesting. Here Sparks gives us John a soldier who falls in love with Savannah but it's not your typical love story. I am in no way shape or form a guy that reads romance novels but I guess in a Sparks novel it comes with the territory. These characters are what drives the novel. You expect things to end a certain way but they don't. Dear John isn't the kind of novel you read and feel good. You end up frustrated at the way it all ends, but that's what makes it so good. Despite being a popular author he doesn't take the easy way out to make his readers happy. It's an engaging novel about loss, and love. I bet you never thought you'd see me ever write those words.

     I enjoyed Sparks writing style a great deal. He knows that if you have a decent story with characters that grab your attention people will read it. You keep reading to see if Savannah and John will finally be together and you also have the relationship between John and his father. I wish this had been explored more, but with the main story this was just a side plot to give John even more depth or maybe even shallowness. Regardless of that I actually became a Nicholas Sparks fan which seems crazy because it's so unexpected. The thing is that there are plenty of people that hate Sparks because of the type of stuff he writes, but as a popular fiction writer he has certainly found an audience. Dear John is a pretty solid read.