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Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Posted by Caitie F on July 6, 2014

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtowncoldest
Author: Holly Black
Hardcover: 419 pages
Pub Date: Sept 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown for Younger Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Review:

I thought I was done with vampire books. I didn’t really want to read any others, but I have heard wonderful things about this book, so I got it out of the library. Wow was it good. I think it is my favorite vampire book ever.

The problem is, I don’t want to spoil anything. I went in just knowing what the back cover said and I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The concept of a Coldtown is interesting and is what I think the government would actually do if an outbreak happened.

Just know the characters are great, the story is thrilling, and the writing is incredible. You won’t be able to put the book down. Don’t start reading it right before bed, because you will keep reading for an extra hour or so no matter what time you have to get up in the morning.
Even if you think you have seen and read it all, give this book a chance. Holly Black knows how to write suspenseful, interesting horror books.

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Twelve Minutes To Midnight by Christopher Edge

Posted by Caitie F on March 2, 2014

Title: Twelve Minutes To Midnight12903354
Author: Christopher Edge
Hardcover: 256 pages
Pub Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of Victorian Britain’s bestselling magazine, the Penny Dreadful. Her spine-chilling tales–concealed under the pen name Montgomery Finch–are gripping the public. One day she receives a letter from the governor of the Bedlam madhouse requesting Finch’s help to investigate the asylum’s strange goings-on. Every night at precisely twelve minutes to midnight, the inmates all begin feverishly writing-incoherent ramblings that Penelope quickly realizes are frightening visions of the century to come. But what is causing this phenomenon?

Review:

When I was in middle school, I loved creepy horror books written especially for middle schools. Now that I work with middle grade books, I have hoped to find the modern books like those, but there isn’t much. This book fills that gap and it is creepy.

Penelope is an interesting character. She is a writer everyone in London loves, but they don’t know it is her. The bits the reader gets to read is very good and creepy, and is not surprised no one would expect it to come from a 13 year old! She knows how to give the people what they want and hires an actor to play the author to make appearances and more money for the magazine.

But to what you really want to know: is this story creepy? It is SO creepy. In Bedlam (which is a perfect setting for a scary book) the inmates write ramblings that readers will recognize as events from their past, but Penny’s future. It is really clever because it lets the reader figure it out before those in the book do. Readers can’t figure out everything, but this little bit makes it fun.

If that isn’t creepy enough, the actual villain (I won’t spoil who it is) and what they want is even scarier! It leads to a lot of action and suspense.

Overall, this is a really fun horror novel middle grade readers will love!

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Under the Dome by Stephen King

Posted by Caitie F on June 30, 2013

Title: Under the DomeUnder the Dome
Author: Stephen King
Hardcover: 1074
Pub Date: Nov 10, 2009
Publisher: Scribner
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

Review:

I am a big Stephen King fan and we went out and bought this book the day it came out (and had a bad experience that I detailed over here). With the show coming, I wanted to get this done before the show started, which I did by a whole two days.

I really enjoyed the book. This felt like classic Stephen King. A large cast of characters, an impossible situation, and lots of gore. There were parts that were gross. There were parts that were horrifying. But as a whole, it is a very good story.

The villains are wonderfully written.They are BAD and it is great. You don’t know what they will do next to get more power – or what they will do just because they can.

The good guys are equally great. I had my favorites, including Julia, Joe, Barbie, and Rusty, but there were more than that. Since this is Stephen king, not all the good guys make it and it breaks the readers heart into a bunch of piece.

The one issue is that this is a long book and some of it feels unnecessary. I could skim chapters, which is never a great sign. I know the end is controversial, but I really like it.

That said, if you like Stephen King and long books, this is great.

I watched the first episode of the series and I am done. I knew there would be changes, but my favorite character in the whole book isn’t even under the dome. And some of the acting was terrible. It was not a show for me. I think it would have been much better if it was on HBO or Showtime and it feels like Stephen King is in it for the money, especially if it is a full series and not a mini-series.

 

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G Wells

Posted by Caitie F on December 10, 2012

Title: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Author: H. G. Wells
Softcover: 131 pages
Pub Year: 1896
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palmy paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human & then “beastly” in ways they never were before–it’s the stuff of high adventure. It’s also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels & a bloody tale of horror

Mini Review:

I was really excited to read this book after reading The Time Machine. Wells was one of the original science fiction writers, so as I have started reading more and more science fiction, I have wanted to read where it all started.

This isn’t just a science fiction story though, it is also a horror novel. The creatures were scary, different and there was a little to leave to your own imagination.  There was action and danger, looks into morality and judgements. There are times the main character is very sympathetic, but looking at it from today’s perspectives and views, there are some views that are very different now, so it was hard to really like him much. Yet I had to remember that it was wirtten over 100 years ago and to judge people for feeling how most felt then isn’t so easy.

If you are looking for a fast classic to read that is exciting and a little scary this is a great one! I look forward to reading more by H.G Wells

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Review | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Three Mini Reviews!

Posted by Caitie F on August 9, 2012

I have three books that I have finished in the last month and I never got around to reviewing them because I never felt inspired to write out a full review. I would like to share what I thought, so here are three mini reviews with mini summaries.

Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Paperback: 269 pages
Pub Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Rating: +++

Summary: The Earth is slowing and everything is affected. This book follows one 11-year-old girl as she deals with not only the Earth’s sudden changes but her parents fighting, losing friends, and a first love.

Review: This book just felt so eh. I read it less than a month ago and I can’t even remember it all that much (except for her grandfather, his character really stuck with me and gave me emotional reactions).

I really liked that it looked at a natural disaster from the perspective of a regular person and family, it was much different from what we usually see. I also liked seeing how the government reacted and all of the parts of the story actually about the slowing. Everything with Julia was less interesting and the book got very slow towards the middle and the end.

I did enjoy the writing, I just think the book had a lot of potential that it didn’t meet. It almost felt like the author wanted to write and adult book and a young adult book at the same time, which ends up with having a book that is hard to get into.

Title: A Feast For Crows
Author: George R R Martin
Hardcover: 753 pages
Pub Date: October 17, 2005
Publisher: Bantam
Rating: ++

Summary: The fourth Song of Ice and Fire book. With none of your favorite characters.

Review: This book took me SO long to read. I had to force myself to pick it up. The first ⅘ was slow, boring, and mostly about characters I didn’t really care about all that much. Like the Greyjoys – the Kingsmoot was the biggest letdown.

The end picks up and some characters get what is coming to them, but overall this book sucks. So glad it is over and so glad I didn’t wait a few years for this crap!

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Paperback: 448 pages
Pub year: 1865
Rating: +++

Summary: It is Dracula. He is a vampire. He terrorizes people in England and turns some into vampires. People want him dead.

Review: So everyone knows that basic story of Dracula. I have never seen a movie or read the book. but thanks to pop culture I knew the basics.

The basics are, for the most part, better than the book. I did really like HOW the story was told – it is through diaries, journals, and letters. I am a sucker for this kind of storytelling, especially when it is done well and on that aspect,  it is done very well.

The book can be split into thirds. The first third is when Jonathan is at Dracula’s castle and writes in his journal about what is going on. Knowing that Dracula was a vampire made this part quite boring. Yet it was well-told, so I kept going.

The second third is before we see Jonathan again and don’t know what happened to him. In that, his fiancee and her friend exchange letters and then it follows Lucy suitors, sickness. and her death, and Van Helsing appears. This was too long and boring. Could have been cut in half. I almost wanted to stop reading, but I knew it had to get better

The final third is when a bunch of men and one really awesome woman go after Dracula. This was slow at times, but I loved reading about them plotting and planning, so it was fine that it was slower. The climax was quite awesome and makes it a book worth reading.

My one big issue is that I had to remember when this was written and not twitch at every mention of women being weak/not as smart/generally inferior to men. I know it was a time period thing, but it still bugged me, I just can’t help it.

Overall, still glad that 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die made me read this.

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St James

Posted by Caitie F on July 12, 2012

Title: The Haunting of Maddy Clare 
Author: Simone St. James
Softcover: 318 pages
Pub Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: NAL Trade (Penguin)
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis – rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts – has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death.

Soon Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance – before she destroys them all?

Review:

If you enjoy a scary ghost story, you will wnat to pick up this book right away!

I have always thought ghost stories were a lot of fun as long as I didn’t read them right before bed. Lately, I haven’t found much that has a good story, enjoyable characters, and not a ton of gore or things just added to shock you. There always seems to be something lacking and I can’t get through them. This book did not have that problem!

What makes this so great is that it isn’t just the story of the ghost, which is heart breaking and sad, but it is also the story of veterans of war and the story of a young woman finding her strengths and herself.

The reader sees the story through Sarah’s perspective, a young woman living in London after the first world war who is working for an agency. She has no experience with ghost hunting and doesn’t even believe in them at first, which made it a better story. She was intelligent, so they didn’t have to explain things to her like was five, but the basics of types of ghosts and haunting was still explained.

The ghost hunter and his regular assistant are also such great characters too. Since they were both in the war, they have their own different reasons for being interested in ghosts and learning those was very eye opening and insightful. I found myself nodding and stopping to think about what they were saying, since it was so expertly written!

The ghost is scary. She wants to hurt people and finds many ways to do it in terrifying ways, but it is easy to see why she does it as you learn her story and find out where the true evil lies.

My only problem with this book is that it was too short! The story didn’t feel short or that it fell together too quickly or perfectly, I just wish there had been more, especially in the middle of the book when they were trying to figure everything out. It was jsut so fascinating that I wanted to see more of what the ghost could do!

What are some of your favorite scary stories?

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Posted by Caitie F on November 6, 2011

This is a SPOILER-FREE review

Title:  The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Hardcover: 370 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: Sept 29, 2011
Rating: +++++

Summary:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target?

Review:

As you know, I LOVE Maureen Johnson. I have adored every book she has written and am always excited when a new one comes out. I was a little nervous when I heard that it was a paranormal mystery. That isn’t exactly what Maureen Johnson is known for.  But I know she is a fantastic writer, so I still made sure I got it quickly!

I am a wuss, so this took me longer that usual (since I couldn’t read it at night), but that just let me savor the style, humor, and creepiness of the book which turns out to be one of her best. Know this book is creepy. Very creepy. The original Ripper was brutal and disgusting. Not only do you get to read about those, but you also get to read about the new Ripper’s crimes too! I shuddered. I tend to think that is a good thing though!

Rory was a really awesome character to have at the center of the book.  She is from Louisiana and is new to London, which always leads to some entertainment. She is open to new experiences, ready to make friends, and funny as anything. Like all of Johnson’s characters, Rory felt real and believable for a girl of her age. She acted like a senior in high school. She talked like one too (well, like a really smart one).

I went into the book knowing NOTHING about the Ripper going into it. I knew there was a paranormal element, but didn’t know what it was, so I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else who wants to go into the book fresh (I even took out a couple things from the summary). So I won’t spoil it. Just know that it is awesome and is why this will be a series. It was exciting, thrilling, and scary, everything that the paranormal should be.

If you haven’t gotten to this book yet, I highly recommend it. It is a fun and thrilling read with some romance (that, true to Johnson fashion, feels like a real relationship) and a lot of humor (Yay Doctor Who jokes!). Go read it!

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Horror Books and Scenes

Posted by Caitie F on March 19, 2010

It is a beautiful day out today – in the mid sixties and sunny. I can’t wait to go to the park when my husband gets home! So let’s talk about horror scenes.

I was reading a manuscript at my internship a couple days ago and there was a scene that made me shudder. I mad me gag. I made me feel a little queasy. It was amazing. It is a manuscript that I am still unsure about, but that scene convinced me that this person IS a good writer.

Very few writers can makes me have reactions to what they written, especially when it is scary or gross. A couple examples that have are (spoiler alert to Eclipse and Deathly Hollows) when the snake came out of the woman’s neck and when Edward ripped Victoria to shreds.

Stephen King is a master at giving me a reaction to horror scenes. I can’t read his books at night because they scare me so much. But again, I love his writing and his story telling ability (other than Cujo, if you haven’t read any Stephen King, don’t start with that one!).

People who know me would find it strange that I love scary books or scenes. When it comes to horror movies, I am a wuss. I don’t watch them at all. The scariest movie I have seen is probably The Shining. I loved the book but the movies scared the crap out of me. There is something about the movies that I cannot handle. Maybe it is things jumping out at you or how they interpret the stories.

With books, I can bring my own images, which I often think are scarier than movies, but they are my own and in my head, so they don’t freak me out as much and they are more fun than scary.

All of the specific authors or scenes I talked about earlier, especially the on from the manuscript I am reading are great for one reason more than any other. They are not gratuitous. Characters grow from the scenes, they bring the plot forward, and they fit the rest of the book. When someone throws in violence or torture and it does nothing, I get very frustrated. Everything needs a purpose. If it doesn’t have a purpose, it is not very good.

Do you like scary or horror books? Do you have any specific scenes that you love? Let me know in the comments! I am always looking for new things to explore!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 3 Comments »