Archives

Freaky Friday – The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

the heavens riseWell, that was interesting.  And, sad.  And, entertaining.  And, FREAKY!

The Heavens Rise is my first Christopher Rice novel.  Going in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but, in most ways, the author has exceeded my expectations.  THR is equal parts crime drama, thriller, romance, paranormal and more.  You can read the synopsis on Goodreads or Amazon but it doesn’t really do the book justice.

What I really liked:

  • Character Development – the reader gets to know Niquette, Anthem, Ben, Marissa and Marshall.  In some cases, we know more than is comfortable.  Who really wants to be in the mind of a sociopath like Marshall?  A good writer allows you to enter that mind, no matter how disturbing, and exit the other side without too many scars.  Christopher Rice did this.
  • Love of New Orleans – of course Rice loves New Orleans…his mom is Anne Rice, famous for her stories based in that city.  I appreciated that Christopher not only talked about the beauty and the strong people.  He also dipped into the underside and some of the not so pretty things that live there.
  • Using timeline to build tension – For most of THR, the author goes back and forth through time.  While Niquette’s journals begin the story, we are quickly taken to Marshall’s hospital room.  He clearly is not a stable person (understatement of the year).  As the novel progresses, we are shown the past events that put him in the hospital and ultimately led to the final showdown between the main characters.
  • Marissa – probably my favorite character – a tough, smart African-American woman who has dealt with racism and sexism throughout her life but doesn’t allow it to bring her down.  She fights for her career and for what she believes in.

What didn’t work as well for me:

  • Most of the paranormal elements were well written and made sense.  “Making sense” is important to me as a reader.  I love zombies, vampires, wolves and witches.  But, the who, what, where, when and why have to be there.  There was one piece of this that just didn’t fit for me (no spoilers but basically the effect of having someone control your mind and feel strong emotion.)  For some reason, I felt that this needed to be explained more fully.  Maybe it was just so far-fetched that I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
  • Some of Niquette’s decisions were a little off.  Based on what I knew of her as a character (friend, girlfriend, daughter), they didn’t seem in line with her personality.  Most of it was pretty minor but I wished these mistakes had been further fleshed out so that I could understand why she chose a certain path.
  • Overall the writing was well done.  There was an example though of the same word (giant) used three times in two sentences.  Just a personal pet peeve of mine.

In honor of Freaky Friday, I’m going to share a personal story.  When I was pretty young (maybe 5-6), my Mom told me about an article she had read about amoebas.  Apparently these gross organisms were in a pond and they decided to enter the brain of an unlucky swimmer.  It caused personality issues and physical pain.  Yes, my Mom told me this as a very young child.  Since then I have had multiple nightmares on the subject and even the word “amoebas” makes me cringe.  Why am I telling you this story in this review?  Well, you have to read the book to find out but it brought this fear back into the forefront of my mind.  Thanks, Mom.  Thanks, Christopher Rice.  Now I’m going to have the nightmares again.

amoebas

4/5 stars for a really great story.  Recommended to everyone!

Thank you to the publisher for providing an E-ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Freaky Friday – C*ndym*n

candymanSPOOKY HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th!!

For the record, I am completely creeped out just typing this blog post.  Since I started “Freaky Friday” here at Lowcountrybooklover, I have been putting off writing about the movie that scared the bejeezus out of me.

Here we go – It was C*ndym*n.  Yes, you are correct, I refuse to even type it in full on the chance that he might be conjured through my computer screen.  Eeks…I am so going to have nightmares.

From Wikipedia: “Helen Lyle is a graduate student conducting research for her thesis on urban legends. While interviewing freshmen about their superstitions, she hears about a local legend known as Candyman. The legend contains many elements similar to the most well-known urban legends, including endangered babysitters, spirits who appear in mirrors when fatally summoned, and maniac killers with unnatural deformities. The legend claims that Candyman can be summoned by saying his name five times while facing a mirror (similar to the Bloody Mary folkloric tale), whereupon he will murder the summoner with his hook-hand. Later that evening, Helen and her friend Bernadette jokingly call Candyman’s name into the mirror in Helen’s bathroom but nothing happens.”

I consider myself an intelligent and rational person.  But, something about this story really freaked me out.  Twenty years later, I still am afraid to even think the C-word when I am looking in the mirror.  And, if I am in the bathroom in the middle of the night, forget about it.  Sometimes I’ll see my reflection in a glass door or other item and force myself to look away so I don’t ‘accidentally’ say it 5-times in my head.

I know…I know.  I sound kind of insane right now but didn’t this movie scare the pants off of anyone else?

What movie still scares you years later?

 

Freaky Friday – Tamed by Douglas R. Brown

tamedReading Tamed didn’t give me nightmares or make me afraid to walk downstairs after dark.  So, why is it freaky?  Because people in this book think it’s okay to have a werewolf as a pet.  Ummm, no.  That’s not a good idea.

The basic premise of the story is that a wealthy businessman finds a tribe of werewolves and he massacres them.  Some of the women are taken to a secret breeding facility (they can’t be around the men on a regular basis because they cause “problems”.)  One man/wolf is kept as THE FIRST and others are turned by him.  Then, they are tortured until they become submissive and can be sold as pets by the WereHouse.  Or, even more exciting, they can go into the fighting ring and people pay to see them kill each other.  Wonderful, no?

Ok…all kidding aside…the overall story isn’t bad and was fairly original.  But, there were some execution problems for me.  SPOILERS AHEAD:

  • “This day wasn’t that day.”  Am I wrong or shouldn’t this be: “This wasn’t that day.”???
  • Werg – what company would name their profitable WerePets “Werg?”  Strange.
  • People are told that they are just animals and most don’t realize that they are humans who have been turned.  A chip has been implanted to keep them from being able to shift forms. When one of the company’s rouge wolf hunters finds out that they are actually human, he immediately says that he wants to take down the WereHouse.  I get that he is a good guy but it happened in the blink of an eye.  And, he had almost no proof.  I would think after years of working for them he would at least investigate a little.
  • Some of the other details didn’t add up for me.  For example, one man went to a fight and became very excited about buying a Were pet for his son.  He was really kind of perverted in his excitement.  Later in the book, he figures out what is going on and tries to do the right thing.  Honestly, the guy from the first scene wouldn’t care that these were humans.  He was a psycho.  It seemed like two different characters.
  • Were…when you hear that what do you think?  How did no one suspect that these were shifters and not just another breed of dog or something?  This is making even less sense to me as I type it.
  • Towards the end, THE FIRST plays a huge role in the action.  THE FIRST is a savage.  THE FIRST appears in almost every sentence and is always called THE FIRST.  I really hate when a person’s full name or nickname is used constantly in writing like THE FIRST.

Not a bad book but it wasn’t for me.  2/5 stars.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an e-book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Freaky Friday – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Does it get any freakier than an old man/vampire who preys on children?

NOS4A2 is one of the most disturbing books I’ve read in a while.  While it is a classic-type horror story, it is most effective because it hits on a fear so many adults have – a predator who goes after a child.

Charlie Manx versus Vic McQueen = one of my favorite reads this year (even thought it scared the pants off me.)

Check out the alternative covers and tell me which one you prefer.   For me, the creepy moon on the 3rd cover is freak-a-licious.

nos4a2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternate NOS4A2 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alternate NOS4A2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What books have you read recently that touched on a fear the you have in real life?  Share in the comments below.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

 

 

 

Freaky Friday – Parasite by Mira Grant

ParasiteI have several Mira Grant novels on my To Read list and when I saw this one on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist.  Can you enjoy reading a book about genetically engineered tapeworms?  Well, I did but, boy, was it disturbing at times.  Tapeworms have always grossed me out and the thought of intentionally having one is beyond me.

Anyway, on to the story – 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 Intestinal Bodyguard worm 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.”

Sally, our protagonist, had a horrible car accident a few years ago.   She was basically brain dead and her family was moments away from pulling the plug when she suddenly sat up, awake.  Her memory was gone so she had to re-learn everything from basic language skills to human interaction.  Because her tapeworm saved her life, she has to be constantly vigilant in taking care of it or she could die.  SymboGen takes care of everything and she has to hand over a lot of her life to them.

I don’t want to give anything away but I will say there are a few plot twists.  For the most part, I had them figured out pretty early on but it was still riveting to read.  Sally is quite annoying in spots but is still a strong female lead.  The supporting cast is well written.  One thing I loved is that it is hard to tell who will end up being a “good guy” or “bad guy” in the future.

4/5 stars for a really great start to the Parasitology series.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In honor of Freaky Friday, I will leave you with this:

tapeworm-Optimized

Freaky Friday – The Stand by Stephen King

I’ve read a lot of books.  And, it takes something special to truly freak me out.  It might be “keep your lights on at night” scary or “I’m going to lose my lunch” gross.  Either way, I love it when a writer brings out a strong reaction in me.  For the next several Fridays, I’m going to spotlight a book that was FREAKY in one way or another.

This week’s freaky read is The Stand – you can read my review here.

This King work meets all the standards – it is a little scary, a little gross and a lot thought-provoking.  For me, the thought of a genetically engineered super-flu is terrifying because it really could happen.  The aftermath would be destructive at best and apocalyptic at worst.

Published in 1978 but so applicable to our world today.

One of my favorites but, whew, it can keep you up at night.

What books meet the Freaky Criteria for you?

stand