BOOK REVIEW: Parasite by Mira Grant

13641105Title: Parasite

Author: Mira Grant

Book Length (Audiobook): 16 hours 6 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: “A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.”

My Review: The main character, Sally Mitchell “Sal” awoke from a coma without any memories of her life before the accident. Her life was saved by the tapeworm living in her intestines. The book starts six years after she woke up. Her relationships are complicated, due to the fact that she was not a very nice person before the accident. Everyone in her life of course remembers this person, but she herself does not. Although Sal is an adult, she is often treated like a child by her parents (Sal’s Dad is the head of USAMRID), and her doctors at SymboGen see her as an anomaly and therefore study her and monitor her every move. In fact, the only person in Sal’s life who treats her with any normalcy is her boyfriend, Nathan (a parasitologist at the hospital).

Despite the coma and memory loss, Sal seems to be living a pretty average life, that is, until things start to get strange. People start developing a “sleeping sickness” and the infection is spreading. It is not known until the end how Sal fits into this sickness, and I won’t spoil it for you.

When I first started to read this book, I had been expecting something a bit more “apocalyptic”– so I was a little bit disappointed when it wasn’t; but, maybe this comes in the next 2 books?

I was also surprised to find out that this wasn’t a Young Adult book, because it certainly read like one. Other than the occasional swear word, the language of this book was super easy. The romantic relationships were PG all the way, and despite the family drama, other relationships in the book were rather uncomplicated and one-dimensional. The characters were interesting, when they were not totally unrealistic.

SPOILER ALERT: One of the characters that I did not like at all was Tansy. Tansy was a human who had been taken over by the tapeworm — so basically, Tansy was a tapeworm wearing a human shell. The only problem with Tansy was that her character was supposed to be crazy, and I guess the only way to illustrate this was to have her act like an unhinged Rambo who sometimes had cringe worthy one-liners? I think that the author could have developed the characters better. I also did not understand why the description of the characters was necessary — did the fact that Tansy have pink streaks in her hair make her seem more “crazy”? Otherwise, it just seems like these descriptions were just fillers without any real motivation.

This book was entertaining; I listened to the audiobook while running / walking. If you are looking to be entertained, you should give it a go. I would just caution to manage expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Outsider by Stephen King

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Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Book Length (Audiobook): 18 hours 49 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Link: Goodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: “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.”

My Review: I have very mixed feelings about this book, and I have really struggled with this review. On the one hand I liked it, but on the other hand I was not that impressed. I have some spoilers in this review, but i cannot give my full opinion without giving away some of the story. The beginning of the book starts out like any other murder mystery / crime novel. As with all of his books, King’s writing is impeccable, and the characters are well-developed.

The issue I have is with the supernatural monster, who turned out to be the real killer. In a nutshell, this monster was a shape shifter that was capable of becoming other people, even down to the DNA level. This is how he would perpetrate the crimes, and the humans from whom the monster had stolen the DNA (like Terry Maitland) would get the blame. The monster fed on children and thrived on the grief the killings caused the family members. It had white blood filled with worms, and it would use the worms to infect humans so that it could control them to do its bidding.

After Detective Anderson (and his team) figure out that the real killer is some sort of monster, they track it down to a cave system and ultimately destroy it.

Elements of this story heavily reminded me of It (also by Stephen King) and the Strain series by Guillermo Del Toro — which is why, for me, the story did not really feel all that original. It reminded me of It because the monster went after children, hibernated after feedings, and lived underground in an abandoned mine. It reminded me of The Strain series because of the worms and the white blood (in The Strain, the vampires made new vampires by infecting humans with worms, and said vampires had white blood).

I was on a business trip in Japan while reading this book, and was severely jet lagged for most of the week. Since this book received very high reviews in general, maybe the jet lag prevented me from really appreciating the story, as every time I read the book, I was very tired. In any event, since Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, I would still recommend to read this book.

 

BOOK REVIEW: A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1 by Garth Ennis

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Title: A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1

Author: by Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka (Artist)

Book Length: 129 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Comic, Horror, Mystery

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: When two federal agents go missing inside a warehouse, FBI Agents McGregor and Shaw go in to find them. They soon realize that what they walked into is not just an ordinary warehouse, but a fun house…for insane people. If it wasn’t creepy enough to fall unconscious and wake up without a pulse, the two FBI agents find one of the missing agents blowing his own head off again and again like some gruesome version of ground-hogs day. Will they ever make it out alive?

My Review: The artwork was really good, and the overall story was creepy as hell. The story alternates from a past case that the partners were working on, which is somehow related to them being stuck in the warehouse. The back and forth between the past case and the scenes in the warehouse got a little confusing at times, but it all pulled together in the end. As this is only Volume 1, I would be curious to see what Volume 2 holds in store for the two agents.

Professional Reader

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

34084Title: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Audiobook Length: 17 hours and 54 minutes

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: If you are interested to see my reviews of the first two books, you can click the links below. In this third book, which takes place five weeks after the second book ends, Eddie, Susannah (formerly Odetta) are being trained by Roland to become gunslingers. All the while, the three are continuing their quest to the Dark Tower by following magical “beams” (which I guess are like ley lines?). They encounter strange (ancient) beings along the way who are becoming sick and dying, as Midworld is “moving on” (onto the next age?)

Meanwhile, due to the fact that he saved Jake from being killed in the 2nd book, Roland’s mind has become fractured into 2 pieces. The first piece remembers Jake (from the timeline where he died and came to Midworld), and the second piece where Jake lived, and therefore never met Roland. This juxtaposition is tearing Roland apart and slowly making him insane.

Back on “Earth” in NYC, Jake’s mind has also become fractured. He remembers both the life in Midworld, and the one where he never went there. Strange things are happening to him in NYC, and its like he is living a double life. Eventually he is able to find his way to a portal to Midworld. Once Roland and Jake are together again, the insanity ends for both of them.

The rest of the book is about the adventures they have while on their quest, which I won’t tell you about so as not to ruin it for you.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands”

BLAST FROM THE PAST BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

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Title: The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When I read it: April, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: 7 hours after the end of the first book, Roland awakes on the beach, where he is attacked by lobster-like creatures called “lobstrosity”. The lobstrosity eats parts of a few of Roland’s fingers before Roland manages to kill it. The wounds become infected, and Roland realizes he is dying. Roland continues to walk down the beach, where he encounters three doors, which open into different time periods in New York. As Roland walks through the first two doors, he brings back a person who will help him on his quest (i.e., Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes). The third door leads Roland to Jack Mort, who we find out was the guy who pushed Jake into oncoming traffic, killing him (which is how Jake ended up in Roland’s world). Roland goes into the mind of Jack Mort and is able to prevent him from pushing Jake.

Jake is not in the novel, because in The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, Roland lets Jake die. Walter is also not in this book, and is presumed dead. Just as a recap, at the end of the first book, Roland and the man in black encounter each other, and the man in black reads Roland’s fortune using tarot cards. The man in black casts a spell over Roland, making him fall asleep. Roland awakes 10 years later holding a jaw bone, which is presumed to be that of the man in black.

The Writing: As with all of Stephen King’s books, the writing was great.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.

Expectations/Recommendations: I more or less had the same ambivalent feelings about this book that I did with respect to The Gunslinger. It’s hard to get into the story because there are so many moving pieces. Basically, though this book was just about collecting the companions–Roland stayed on the beach the entire time. This book was more or less building the back story of the two new characters, and revealing the connection with Jack Mort. I guess, however, that it is an important story insofar as the entire series is concerned.

BLAST FROM THE PAST BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

 

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Title: The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When I read it: April, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: The story centers around Roland, the last gunslinger, and his quest to find and kill the man in black, who for all intents and purposes is a sorcerer. The place where Roland lives is not “earth” exactly, but seems to be a separate dimension, parallel universe, or on a different timeline, it is hard to say. As Roland is passing a way station, a boy Jake appears from “earth”. Jake doesn’t know how he got to Roland’s timeline. The two of them set out to find the man in black together.

The Writing: As with all of Stephen King’s books, the writing was great.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.

Expectations/Recommendations: The Dark Tower series so far has been one of my least favorite from Stephen King. I gave it 3 stars out of 5 because while it was an entertaining book, I just didn’t love it. It’s not that the book is weird, because lets face it, most of King’s books are a little weird, but rather that I found myself getting lost. I didn’t understand who the man in black was, and why Roland was so intent on killing him. How really did this Jake kid fit in? And what was up with the Dark Tower? Maybe these things will be revealed in the next book.

BOOK REVIEW: The Moor by Sam Haysom

The Moor

In the 1830’s or 1840’s an alleged witch, Emily Brown, was stripped naked, her body mutilated, and was hanged from a tree near her home. The perpetrators of the crime were never caught. Now, in 2002, the Moor is haunted by her restless and malevolent ghost, or that is what the local legend says anyway. James, Gary, Matt, and Tim (all 13 years old) and Tim’s dad, the charming and likeable Mr. Stevens, are in the moor on a weekend walking trip, when strange things start to happen.

Noises in the night. Severed rabbit parts strewn about the campsite. And then Gary goes missing. Has Emily Brown exacted her revenge, or is something even more sinister lurking in the darkness? As a storm bears down on the bedraggled group, will they make it out in time, or will they become the moor’s next victims?

This book was excellent. From the writing to the overall plot this book delivered 5 out of 5. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I want to save the surprise. I liked how the story alternated between perspectives of the characters and from the years 2002 and 2015. A little bit paranormal, a little bit supernatural, this book will keep you guessing until the end.

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Moor http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40023909-the-moor

Professional Reader

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

It by Stephen King

This great book has all the elements of a classic Stephen King novel: 1) good vs. evil; 2) something supernatural; and 3) both weird and oddly believable.  Stephen King who is one of my favorite authors began this book in 1981, and finished it in 1985. It is over 1,000 pages long (on audio book it is about 44 hours of listening)! It took me about a month to read, but it is well worth the time!

It

The first time I read this book was in 1998, when I was 15 years old.  Actually, I believe that this book was my introduction to the world of Stephen King — and I can honestly say, that I have loved everything I have read from this story weaving genius.  I have not had the opportunity to read all of his books (there are so many!), but It stands out there on a golden limb, together with other classic Stephen King books like Carrie and the Shining.

Continue reading “It by Stephen King”

Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest

This book is actually 2 books in one, including the author’s previously published book A Most Haunted House.

Told in the interview style, this book was very well written and was very entertaining–if you like scaring yourself like me, the best time to read this book is right before turning out the lights.

Claiming to be non-fiction (of this I have no reason to doubt or confirm), the story starts in Wales, 1989, when Dai and Anne, a married couple get a good deal on the purchase of a house.  As is always the catch in these matters, the house is very, very haunted. At the beginning, the entities manifest themselves as shadowy figures, and over time move on to violations of both mind, body, and spirit–the entities terrorize the couple, so much so, that they are eventually forced to move out.

Decades later, an unsuspecting couple, “John” (who is in fact the author) and “Sarah” his now ex-girlfriend, move into the house.  Again, almost immediately they begin to experience strange occurrences in the house. The couple is so affected by the haunting, that they break up and move away.

The author ends the book with a recitation and summary of the varying theories of what could cause paranormal occurrences, or rather, people’s perception that these occurrences are happening to them.  While these theories are intriguing, I feel that they detract from the overall story of the individuals living in the haunted house.  In fact, I considered skipping it all together.  I would have rather liked to see these theories more fleshed out and investigated in a separate book.

Nevertheless, I really liked this book not only because of the overall story, but because of the realness of the characters. These people were just normal, average people who found themselves in an unspeakable situation. I could see myself a little in John, because at the beginning I also would have been excited to have a real haunting in the house, and can totally understand how this excitement could in fact turn to horror, fear, and despair.

If you love movies including Amnityville Horror, the Conjuring 2, Stranger Things (the series), and Insidious, (or if you are looking for a good scare) then I would definitely recommend this book.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38247056-haunted

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”