Friday, October 29, 2021

Bookish horror...

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ That's what I'd give this book. 
The Final Girl Support Group riffs off of the best slasher film franchises, from Halloween to Scream, while author Grady Hendrix manages to create his own unique non-stop thrill ride complete with a flawed, paranoid and unforgettable final girl in Lynette Tarkington. Like every good horror movie heroine, Lynette fights to survive, no matter how many plot twists arise. And, like in every horror movie I've ever seen, crazy plot twists abound. I liked Lynette and the other four final girls. And I liked how Hendrix has written an entertaining thriller, but one with an edge to it, too; one that questions why society delights so much in seeing women killed off in these kinds of horror movies...and all their sequels. Suspenseful and compelling, this book is as good as everyone says.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes to give you a taste of just how good a writer Grady Hendrix  is:

"Men don't have to pay attention the way we do. Men die because they make mistakes. Women? We die because we're female."

"If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then reliable handguns with stopping power are a final girls."

"Tell me how I chose this," I say. "I was minding my own business and a monster came through my door. Not because I ignored the Keep Out signs and snuck into the old asylum, not because I built my house on top of an Indian burial mound. I didn't 'ask for it', this was done to me."

"None of us have to be defined by the worst thing that ever happened to her. Unfortunately, those things have a bad habit of coming back and trying to kill us again. After awhile, you start to realize that your life isn't the thing that happens between the monsters, your life is the monsters."

"Dying isn't the important thing. It's nothing more than the punctuation mark on the end of your life. It's everything that came before that matters. Punctuation marks, most people skip right over them. They don't even have a sound."

Happy Reading!

Similar reads:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme was a Halloween Freebie.

So, I decided to go with ten of my favorite scary/fun movies. 

These first five aren't gory or graphic; they are quietly suspenseful in the best possible way, and will keep you on the edge of your seat... but they won't give you nightmares. 

The Uninvited

The Watcher in the Woods
(The 1980 version with Bette Davis.)

The Others

House on Haunted Hill
(Because I love Vincent Price.)

A Quiet Place

Then there are these five movies....they'll still make you jump in your seat at times, but they'll also make you laugh out loud. These are the funny/scary movies I love:



Love and Monsters

Happy Death Day

The Ghost Breakers

Honorable Mention:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween Episode Season 2, Episode 6.

Happy Viewing!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Zombie Apocalypse Call Center by Taylor Ellwood


"Hello, this is Sam with Zombii Co. May I ask who I'm speaking with please?"  It's 7 a.m. and I've just started my shift at the Zombie Apocalypse Call Center, run by Zombii Co. ... We sell people on the idea of the Zombie Apocalypse, but as I've learned since I started working here, no one really believes it.
Zombii Co. sells Silver, Gold and Platinum plans to help their customers survive a zombie apocalypse. The plans include guns, ammo, Zombii Spray, and a support center to answer all their calls and questions. That's Sam's job. And even though he has a micro-managing boss who's always on his case, and he doesn't believe a zombie apocalypse will ever actually happen, he's pretty good at his job. Until people start calling in about being attacked by actual zombies. Sam doesn't know what to think. But it's soon apparent that Zombii Spray doesn't work like it's supposed to, guns aren't always enough, and people are dying. Sam just wants to go home to check in on his mom and sister, but it's written into his contract that he can't leave his job during an actual zombie apocalypse, although he might have to leave his computer to help defend the call center. Until then...
I take a few deep breaths and put myself back into ready. When you're call support you have to find a way to put aside the emotions of the moment and focus on the problem. And the problem today is a Zombie Apocalypse that needs to be stopped.

The beginning of this book, with all the calls Sam has to deal with, is hilarious! You can tell the author once worked at a call center himself. All those people calling and asking Sam for Zombie help totally made me laugh, as did the stupid rules he has to follow. The rest of the book isn't quite as good, and there are some slow parts in the middle, but overall I thought this was an entertaining read. And if you like lots of zombie fighting, this book has plenty of it. Sam is an ordinary guy who messes up and makes mistakes, but who tries to do the right thing even when the people around him make it really hard. I liked him. And I loved when he finally stood up to his boss, and how tough he got by the end. Go Sam! I'm not sure I'll read the sequel, but I did really enjoy this one. 

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Haiku reviews...


A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Twelve years ago he
took her. Then hunted her. She survived.
Now he's back to finish the game.

Psychological thriller .... 408 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(Dark, compelling & suspenseful, with likable characters and amazing writing.)

Elementary Romantic Calculus by Susannah Nix

Teaching math at Bowman
isn't Mia's dream, but Texas
goat farmer Josh just might be.

Contemporary romance .... 316 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(So fun! This one made me smile.)

Tell Me by Anne Frasier

A hiker's death goes 
viral. Three more are missing.
Murder? Or a hoax?

Psychological thriller .... 266 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Excellent sequel to Find Me. Detective Daniel Ellis and Reni Fisher, daughter of the Inland Empire serial killer, are two favorite characters.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

October's Bookish Art...

Ada Thilen -- Reading

"An hour spent reading is one stolen from paradise."
--Thomas Wharton

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Clowns vs. Spiders by Jeff Strand


"People just don't like clowns. ... If you went around and did a survey and asked a hundred random people if they thought clowns were funny or scary, ninety-eight of them would say scary. That's the way of the world now. ... I'm not renewing any of your contracts. You can still be clowns, but not at my circus."
After eighteen years entertaining people, Jaunty, Guffaw, Wagon, Bluehead and Reginald just got fired. Middle-aged, and with no other skills but clowning, Jaunty and the others are forced to take jobs at the Mountain of Terror haunted house in Mount Tulip, Virginia, as scary clowns in the Scary Clown Room. But scaring children is not why Jaunty or the others became clowns (though Bluehead seems to be exceptionally good at it). But just as Jaunty is having a crisis of conscience, the haunted house and the entire town of Mount Tulip are overrun by thousands of very big spiders. Jaunty is horrified. The only thing he wants to do is jump in the car and drive away. But there are innocent people that need saving. Besides...

"Clowns didn't run."

I couldn't resist this book, even though both clowns and spiders freak me out. And if you don't take this one too seriously, it's a very fun read. The clowns made me laugh and shake my head in equal measure. Jaunty was my favorite. Whenever the clowns draw imaginary straws to see who has to go and do the scary thing, Jaunty somehow always ends up with the short straw. And he always goes. The neverending swarm of very large spiders on the other hand was very creepy. I was definitely rooting for the clowns, though when it comes to saving the world, or any one in it, they're more like buffoons. But they try hard. And they never give up.

"It was time for clowns versus spiders, and the spiders were toast."

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Whispering Dead by Darcy Coates...

 "Keira cracked her eyes open. Rain fell through tree branches and pinged off her flushed skin, washing tracks of blood away from her cheek. ... She probed for memories but came up empty. Her name was Keira. She'd woken in a forest of some kind coated in mud, sore, and soaking wet. That was the extent of her knowledge."

Not only is Keira suffering from amnesia, she has some bad guys after her, too. She just doesn't know who or why. They chase her through the forest, but she manages to evade them and find refuge at the parsonage in Blightly. The pastor, John Adage, kindly lets her stay in the groundskeeper's cottage at the edge of the graveyard. Keira likes the isolation... until she sees her first ghost. It's the ghost of a young woman who seems to want something from her. But what? 

Keira soon has some real company at her small cottage. A black stray cat who loves to laze by her fire adopts her. And Adage introduces her to Mason, a medical student with chocolate brown hair, who sees to her wounds. Then there's the crazy conspiracy girl, Zoe, who works at the local grocery store. Zoe quickly adopts her, too. But none of her new friends can help her figure out her past, or how to help the ghost in the graveyard. 

This is the first book in Darcy Coates's Gravekeeper series. It's a fun introduction to Keira and her newfound friends. I loved Mason, Zoe, and Darcy's cute cat, Daisy. And while Keira manages to figure out the mystery surrounding the ghost, her own past remains a giant question mark. I guess those answers will come in a later book. Overall, I thought this book was very entertaining. There's some suspenseful moments along the way, but nothing too scary. I actually liked all the ghosts Keira comes in contact with; some of the humans she meets were definitely more creepy. And the ending made me smile. I'm looking forward to reading the next book, The Ravenous Dead, which is supposed to come out next March. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Two funny things...

Don't you love these? The oddly informed crows are my personal favorite.
Both cartoons come from John Atkinson whose work ALWAYS makes me laugh.
Be sure to check out his website: Wrong Hands. Or buy his book Abridged Classics which is awesomely funny and bookishly clever. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Some ghostly reads for October...

I love a good ghost story. Especially when it's set in an old house that's haunted. And Sarah Rayne has written several quietly suspenseful ghost stories in her Nell West and Michael Flint Haunted House Series. There are six books in this series:  Property of a Lady, The Sin Eater, The Silence, The Whispering, Deadlight Hall, and The Bell Tower. It's hard to pick a favorite because they're all really good, but I recommend starting with one of the first ones.  

Another fun series is J.L. Bryan's Ellie Jordan series. She and her colleagues kick ghosts out of haunted places by finding and trapping them. What I like about this series is that the characters are funny, the books are suspenseful, and the endings are always satisfying. I think there are sixteen books in this series. I haven't read them all yet, but I've loved all the ones that I have read. It's best to start with the first book: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper. But Cold ShadowsMaze of Souls, and The Crawling Darkness are also really good. 

And if you're into ghost stories that have a more classic feel to them, you can't go wrong with either Susan Hill's The Woman in Black or Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. They've made movies of both of these books, but even if you've seen the movies, I still recommend reading the books, because the books are better.

So if you're looking for some fun ghostly reads this October, these are some to try. 
I list more ghostly books I've read and enjoyed under my Ghostly Reads tab at the top.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  Bookish Pet Peeves.

Here are some of no particular order.

👎 Overuse of the word smirk in romance and YA novels. Especially when the author uses it wrong. Smirk is neither cute nor flirty. It's an irritatingly smug or condescending smile; a sneer or a snigger. And when it's used ten or more times in the same book it drives me crazy!

👎 Love triangles. Enough said.

👎 When authors write dialogue without using quotation marks. What's up with that? Who decided that was a good idea? It's annoying enough to make me want to DNF the book. (Inane or badly written  dialogue bugs me, too.) 

👎 Stupid heroines! It drives me crazy when an otherwise intelligent character does something stupid like wander into an abandoned warehouse at night looking for a murderer without telling anyone where she's going. Honest mistakes are one thing; blatant stupidity is another. 

👎 Manufactured conflict. Like when the two main characters in a romance novel end up in a long drawn out fight or angsty separation that goes on for pages and pages over some silly misunderstanding that could have been resolved with a simple 30 second conversation. 

👎 Cliffhanger endings! Especially when the next book hasn't even been written yet.

👎 An unsatisfying ending to what was an otherwise awesome trilogy. 
(Yes, I'm talking to you Suzanne Collins!) 

👎 And don't get me started on people who borrow books but never return them!

There's my short list of bookish pet peeves. Can't wait to hear some of yours.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen

Mason Burke has spent the last fifteen years in prison. The one good thing he did is rehabilitate and train a rescue dog named Lucy. Now he's out and he just wants to know if Lucy is okay. When he learns she's going to be put down because she bit a sheriff's deputy, he heads to Deception Cove, Washington, to try and save her.

Jess Winslow is a young widow and former marine suffering from PTSD. Lucy is her dog. When she's confronted by Deputy Kirby Harwood, who wants something her deceased husband apparently stole, Lucy defends her. Now Harwood has her dog and is threatening to have her killed if Jess doesn't find the thing he wants. But with Mason's help, Jess is determined to get Lucy back.

Ethan @ A Book a Week reviewed this book in August. He wrote that "Owen Laukkanen tells a stirring story of loyalty and redemption in the form of a page-turning thriller," and I couldn't agree more. This book is such a great read! In many ways it reminded me of The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie, another favorite book of mine. I loved Mason; he went to prison at 18 and is now trying to figure out how to be an adult and a good man on the outside. Jess is another great character. I loved how she and Mason team up to save their dog and fight the bad guys. Deception Cove has action and suspense. And lots of heart. It's compelling and well-written, and my favorite Owen Laukkanen novel so far. Thanks, Ethan, for recommending it!

Happy Reading!

Other Owen Laukkanen novels I've enjoyed:  The Watcher in the Wall and The Wild.