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Photo Review – The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich

The Orange Eats Creeps

By Grace Krilanovich

Summary: It’s the ’90s Pacific Northwest refracted through a dark mirror, where meth and madness hash it out in the woods. . . . A band of hobo vampire junkies roam the blighted landscape—trashing supermarket breakrooms, praying to the altar of Poison Idea and GG Allin at basement rock shows, crashing senior center pancake breakfasts—locked in the thrall of Robitussin trips and their own wild dreams.

A girl with drug-induced ESP and an eerie connection to Patty Reed (a young member of the Donner Party who credited her survival to her relationship with a hidden wooden doll), searches for her disappeared foster sister along “The Highway That Eats People,” stalked by a conflation of Twin Peaks’ “Bob” and the Green River Killer, known as Dactyl.

With a scathing voice and penetrating delivery, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps is one of the most ferocious debut novels in memory.

Source: A paperback was given to me as a gift

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Review:

I read this book for the 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompt A Book with a Fruit or Vegetable in the Title. It’s been on my bookshelf for years and was gifted to me by the owners of a bookstore where I worked. I’m always up for vampire fiction and I finally had a great excuse to read it.

I don’t think I’m “cool” enough to read this book. The reviews are all quite good, but there’s an element to the culture of the book that I just don’t get. I think I get more of it now that I’ve lived in the PNW for the past year, whereas before I might not have really grasped things like why there would be homeless people not in urban areas, but I will also admit that there’s still a lot of PNW-ness that I will never understand and I definitely am not the right demographic in region or age to fully appreciate that part of it.

The book was weird and clever and told in a strange way and I think if it was about 30 pages long, I would have given it a better rating. There’s no need for this to be a book and not a short story and the “revolutionary” storytelling started to grate on my nerves as I strolled through the disjointed stream of consciousness type of narration.

I wanted to like this more, but I do appreciate the symbolism.

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Photo Review – Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland

By Stephen King

Summary: Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

Stephen King always knows how to tell a great story and I loved Joyland. It was about the coming of age of the main character, growing up and forging new friendships at the summer carnival a long way away from home. There was of course a supernatural element to the carnival and bit of a creepy vibe, which I enjoyed. I definitely recommend the book, especially to King newbies since it’s good and short.

This entry was posted on August 11, 2018, in horror, Review.

Photo Review – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls

By Riley Sager

Summary: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Source: I received a hardcover as part of BOTM club

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Review:

I really wanted to love this book, but it wasn’t as compelling as I’d hoped. The twist, while unexpected, wasn’t enough to redeem everything else. It was flat and I didn’t care enough about the characters. Overall, it was forgettable, but I did fly through it, so I’d recommend to fans of light horror or beach read kind of mystery novels.

Photo Review – The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider

By Stephen King

Summary: An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Source: I purchased a hardcover

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Review:

I really enjoyed this book! It was intriguing and weird. I found myself totally and completely stumped by the scenario and then further shocked and surprised by he direction of the story. I loved the way it ended.

I haven’t really read many newer King novels and I feel like this book made me more eager to pick up the Bill Hodges trilogy and I’d never really considered reading them before since they didn’t seem “horror”-like.

Photo Review – The Cabin by Natasha Preston

The Cabin

By Natasha Preston

Summary: They think they’re invincible.

They think they can do and say whatever they want. They think there are no consequences. They’ve left me no choice. It’s time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead—murdered.

With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over…

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Review:

The book has pretty solid 3 star reviews, which is fair. It was fun and quick to read, but not very scary. It’s perfect for people who like the idea of horror, but don’t want to read/watch something actually scary. It’s kind of like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer (are those references showing my age?)

It was fun to read, though, and I flew through it, eager to find out who the murderer was!

Review – Sleeping Beauties by Owen King and Stephen King

 

Sleeping Beauties

By Owen King and Stephen King

SummaryIn a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? 

Source: I purchased a hardcover.

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Review:

Sleeping Beauties had a strange and interesting premise. What if women went to sleep and didn’t wake up? 

I mostly feel that I enjoyed the book, but I have to admit, it felt a bit repetitive and long. 

I read in an interview that the idea for the novel came from Owen King, pitched as a story idea Stephen King could write. Instead, Stephen King told his son to write it. I feel that when presented with the idea (or at least the direction of the book as a whole), Stephen King could have gestured to his shelves of authored books and said “I already did write this story.”

Because while the reason/weirdness element of the story is different, the rest of the book feels like it’s been done before. It’s not exactly Under the Dome, but it seems to share similarities with the ignorant townsfolk, forceful personalties that seem to take over in times of crisis, lack of communication with the outside world, etc. Sure, the cocoons aren’t a giant dome over a town, nor is Evie the same magical prisoner as John Coffey, nor is she exactly Randall Flagg, but it’s still so much of the same kind of story. In the end, it is a book about the personalities of people and their own biases in a good vs evil sort of way. 

I forgive Stephen King for a lot and I love his books. I know he’s gotta be proud of his son and they both put forth a lot of effort, but this would never ever work without Stephen King’s name on the cover. It needed a heavy edit, a huge trim, and something to separate it from everything else King has done. The thing with the other son is that he has found his own voice, where I’m not certain who Owen is as an author from this book. It certainly hasn’t shown me that his son can end a book or tell a different story…

If you haven’t read Under the Dome and want a story that touches on how women are treated, Sleeping Beauties is a decent story that is just as long and convoluted with a strange ending, so you might as well read it if you’re torn between the two. I’m giving it  stars only because I know deep down I would forgive it all if it was just Stephen King and I didn’t know the difference and because I completely expected to be wowed like I was reading King’s other son’s work.

Star 3

 

Review – Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Full Dark, No Stars

By Stephen King

SummaryNow in mass market paperback, a collection of four riveting, never-before-published novellas from Stephen King. Also includes the new short story “Under the Weather.”

“I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . .” writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up “1922,” the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness. 

In “Big Driver,” a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

“Fair Extension,” the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment. 

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage. Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form. 

Source: I borrowed a paperback from my stepmom.

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Review:

When I saw 1922 show up as a movie on Netflix, I knew it was finally time to crack open this short story collection and get to reading. It’s been on my shelf for what seems like ages and I’m awful at picking Stephen King books up unless it’s autumn.

Full Dark, No Stars was one of the darkest collections I’ve read by Stephen King. 

1922 was a story similar to that of The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe set in a farming town in Nebraska. It was the biggest chunk of the short story collection and was awesomely haunting. The Netflix movie was also phenomenal.

Big Driver was an absolutely terrifying story… it was perhaps the most graphic and disturbing of them all. It gave me the shivers multiple times as I realized it’s something all women probably fear to some degree. 

Fair Extension was about a guy who made a deal with the devil and reminded me almost of Thinner because it was more upbeat. It was actually perfect that it came right about Big Driver because I needed something a tad less horrifying.

A Good Marriage was… well, it was quiet interesting when a wife discovered her husband was a little more into some stuff than she realized… and it wasn’t anything she could ignore.

I really enjoyed the short story collection and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. It’s still not my favorite King short story collection, but it’s hard to top Skeleton Crew in my opinion. Whether you’re a fan of old or new King, Full Dark, No Stars delivered a little a both that worked well.

Star 4