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The Con Season Review

The Con Season: A Novel of Survival Horror - Adam Cesare

This is my first experience with Adam Cesare's work. The Con Season has been on my radar since I voted for it on Kindle Scout. I'm a big fan of George C. Cotronis's covers and can spot them at a thousand paces. It is a fact that I will buy anything with his graphic design work on it if for no other reason than I like supporting his work. "Why, yes, Virginia, I do judge books by their covers." Then I found Adam Cesare's YouTube channel and instantly became a fan of the guy. I like his attitude and his knowledge of the horror genre. That alone made me subscribed to him and stalk follow him everywhere I could.

The first thing about the book I will mention is the obvious love of the genre coming off every page like heat waves off desert tarmac. Adam Cesare knows his stuff and is one of the few that can pay homage without blatantly ripping off those who came before him. I dug everything about his killer, but mainly I was impressed that he did something new. Good on you, Adam. In a genre full of impersonators, you manage to stand out with your own designs.

Second, the writing, for the most part, is damn good. The book could've done with another proofread or two, because I found many errors early on. The book gets cleaner the deeper in I went, but toward the front, the typos and missing words came at me at least once every three pages. Around the 60% mark, I stopped noticing them, and trust me, I was looking for them, but only because I'd encountered so many early on. Many people think errors and typos are a product of bad writing, but that's not the case. When I find an author who knows their stuff like Cesare knows his stuff, I tend to believe that multiple errors are a product of editing mishaps. So if you are overly sensitive to typos and the like, you might want to skip this book. That being said, you'd be missing a great story written by a lover of the genre.

Another complaint I have is, early on, around the time I was struggling with finding errors, I also came across what I considered to be filler. There was a lot of inner thought that did nothing for character development and felt like the author was padding to increase word count. I could be wrong, but that's the way it felt to me.

I highlighted several sections of the books because I was impressed by Cesare's writing. The paragraph about why chainsaws cause such a visceral reaction in us was exceptionally written. He managed to put into words something wordless. He caught a rare piece of magic with that paragraph, and I must say, I'm jealous. Damn impressed.

Final note: The ending felt a bit rushed for me what with how padded the beginning felt. He built up such a terrific scenario and then sprinted through the final pages. The epilogue actually made me angry. Could've done without it.

In summation: I will be reading Adam Cesare again.Tribesmen is on my radar, so I'll probably be reading that one next. Likely with Janie C. And, yes, I like the cover.

Final Judgment: Great idea if a little inconsistent on the quality.

Lola Review

Lola: A Novel - Melissa Love

Lola, by Melissa Love, reads like a television drama. If you're a fan of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, you should like this book. That being said, the book is not without its problems.

If you're a medical professional of any kind, this book is likely to have you rolling your eyes or fuming more than half a dozen times. The medical inaccuracies were ludicrous and easily fixable. Nothing consulting a nurse wouldn't have fixed. The problems are as follows (slight spoilers ahead):

#1. Character has finger cut off and reattached and contracts sepsis all under 24 hours. I was a CNA for five years, and during that time I was trained and became a certified phlebotomist. I drew plenty of cultures in those five years. Cultures, the tests used to diagnose sepsis, take 24-48 hours to grow results.

#2. The symptoms of infection take hours to develop. Even if they tested this character the minute he hit the ER, there's no way he could have been diagnosed and admitted for sepsis because they would have had no reason to even check for sepsis.

#3. I'm sure there are shitty hospital employees out there who do not give a shit about HIPPA rules and regs, but who gives out a patient's diagnosis and personal info to someone who's only asking for a fucking room number?

To paraphrase:

Person: "Hey, I'm looking for so-and-so."

Hospital personnel: "Right. He's in room what's-its-fuck and by the way they were able to reattach his finger and he was admitted because he has sepsis."

Person: "Great. I'm so-and-so by the way."

Hospital personnel: "Oh, cool. He's been asking about you."

If you've never worked for a hospital, none of this is going to bother you. Needless to say, it bothered the fuck out of me because I was enjoying the realistic feel of the book. It took me over half the book to get back into the story because I was pissed that the author couldn't be bothered with simple fact checking.

Another thing that took me out of the story was zero mention of smog. It's always clear blue skies and gorgeous vistas in this book. I lived in California for 15 years, was born and raised there. The sky always looked like a smoky bar unless the Santa Anas had blown through. This might sound like me being nit-picky, but not mentioning smog in a story set in southern California is like writing about Egypt without mentioning sand.

Finally, as far as accuracy is concerned, I've been a member of three different gyms in my life. None of them allowed you to keep items in their lockers overnight, much less for several days. That being said, some might. So I might be wrong, but I doubt it. Lockers in gyms are prime real estate, and I don't believe any company would risk tying up lockers by giving them permanently to customers. Besides, they would eventually run out.

All of that killed my rating for this one. The story itself is a five-star read, as is the quality of the writing. A little more research would've made this a runner for my book of the year. I loved the characters, especially Lola and Lucy. If the author decides to write a sequel, I'll definitely pick it up.

In summation: Lola is a terrific story that is well-written yet horribly researched. All of the problems in this book are easily fixable, but it didn't seem like anyone wanted to be bothered with checking the facts. If you can ignore the impossiblities and inaccuracies, you should dig it, but my life-experience ruined the book for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, which I received for free in return for the honest review you've just read.

Final Judgment: Donald-Trump levels of fact checking.

Voting Time!

Vote for your favorite Tiny Terror tweet by clicking on the image below. 

 

I'm one of the finalists, but please vote for your favorite. 

 

 

 

The Kite Runner Review

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

The problem with tragedy porn like The Kite Runner is that, at some point, it all becomes a little too much. We get it. Amir had/has a fucked up life wherein nothing goes right. The reader holds out hope that something good must be just around the corner because, surely, life cannot get any worse for this dude. Welp, if you think that while reading this book, you'd be dead wrong.

I did find the surprises engaging enough to keep reading, though. I never knew what new horror was right around the corner. Even though I knew that something horrible was always just over the horizon, I didn't know what horrible shit would next befall this man. I was constantly shocked by just how bad life became for him and those around him.

I do feel like some aspects of the story were forced into existence, but those are spoilers, so I'll save them for the Spoiler Discussion at the end. I explain my three-star rating in the Spoiler Discussion, as well.

Thanks to Quarter-Book Day at my local thrift store, I own all of this authors work. But, before I pick up another Hosseini novel, I need to be assured that not everything he does is tragedy porn. If it is, I'll likely put off reading his other work until I'm in the mood to be depressed for a week. I don't mind sad stories, but I need some kind of relief ever hundred pages or so.

In summation: Not much else to say about this debut novel. It was sad and sad and sad and then it was sad. There is one small fleck of light at the end of the tunnel, but it's like finding a grain of diamond dust in a massive pile of elephant poop. You can dig through it if you want, and it might even be worth your time, but you're still gonna come out feeling like shit.

Final Judgment: I need a shower and some weed.

Spoiler Discussion:

The MC getting a split lip just like his dead friend had when he was a kid was a bit silly to me. Coincidences like that in books always seem forced. It took me out of the story. The ass whupping he took was plenty. No need for the forced scar. Up until that point, this felt like a true story, as if it could have been an autobiography, but after that scene, the author lost the real-life feel of the book and the novel felt overly fictional.

When Sohrab tried to kill himself at the end I just kinda rolled my eyes. I wanted the book to be over so badly at that point. I couldn't take yet another fucking tragedy. I think that's what drove my rating down to three stars.

If you'd like to continue the spoiler discussion in the comments below, please use spoiler tags. Thanks for joining me!

(show spoiler)

Marked in Ink Review

Marked in Ink: A Tattoo Coloring Book - Megan Massacre

Usually the only time I can find tattooed chicks and coloring books in the same place is when my meds wear off and I am committed to the state psychiatric facility go on vacation to parts unknown. I don't watch the reality show NY Ink, nor have I heard of America's Worst Tattoos, so I have no idea who Megan Massacre is, other than her parents gave her a wicked sweet name, yo. I did watch one or two episodes of that one tattoo show with with that chick that banged Jesse James (the biker who cheated on Sandra Bullock, not the train robber) while wearing a Nazi helmet. What's her name? Cat van Gonerrhea? Kitty von Chlamydia? Nazi vin Fuckstick?

(Great, now if my wife looks at my history, she's going to see that I Googled "Chlomedia" because I didn't know how to spell "Chlamydia." Wonderfail...)

It's no secret that I like to color. Well, I like to paint, and that's really the same thing, innit? It is now, because I said so. Anyway, I like adding color to things that lack color. Like toilet water. But I wasn't too thrilled with this one. Why? Well, I guess I'd have to say that, to me, the pictures were rather boring. I've flipped through dozens of adult coloring books and I think this is the most boring one I've come across. I don't know if you have to be a fan of Megan Massacre to "get" these images, but I can't see the draw of them.

I do, however, like the fact that the opposite side of each sheet is blank. So, if I ever do color any of these, which I doubt I will, I'd be able to rip it out and post it on the wall next to my Howard the Duck poster and my plaque for Bestest Cookbook Reviewer in All of Goodreads and Forever. But being able to tear out these pictures ends up being useless because I just don't give enough of a fuck for the images to actually color them.

In summation: If you like Dia de la Muerta skulls and pixies and sharp objects, this is the coloring book for you. If you like reality shows about tattoo artists (NY Ink) and people who make bad decisions when choosing tattoos (America's Worst Tattoos), you might dig coloring and ripping out these pages. But I can think of over a dozen coloring books with better designs, so this one only gets an "okay" from this reviewer.

By the way, thanks to Crown Publishing for the review copy. This one just wasn't for me, kids.

Final Judgment: Not my style.

The Hungry Moon Review

The Hungry Moon - Ramsey Campbell

This was my first experience with Ramsey Campbell and a buddy read with the ever-patient Thomas Strömquist. I came to the 80's and 90's English horror game late in life, somewhere in the ass-end of my twenties. While everyone was reading the Ramsey Campbells and the Brian Lumleys and the Clive Barkers, I was over here reading Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, and Dean Koontz, back when Koontz was considered a horror author because of such successes asPhantoms and Strangers. I think the only 80's-90's horror author I read in the 90s was Stephen Laws, and I remain a fan of his to this day, even though I don't think he's writing anymore. If that's accurate information, that's a real shame. Laws is/was terrific. Look him up.

The Hungry Moon does some things right and others things that are not necessarily wrong but whacky as fuck. I think the biggest disappointment I had while reading this was a significant lack of character development. If I'm to spend 300+ pages with a group of characters, I want to feel something for those characters. In this book, I couldn't tell half of the characters apart, and those I could pinpoint upon seeing their names were very one dimensional. I can tell you with 100% certainty who Diana and Nick were, and Mrs. Scraggs and Godwin Mann, but everyone else was basically a toss off. We have the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker... I kid, but there is one character who is called the butcher throughout the book. The guy's a literal butcher, as in a cutter of meat for the public, and he has a pretty good size role for a toss off, but he is only ever called the butcher. I love how the dude's not worked in days and Campbell describes him as always smelling like old blood. Does anyone in this town shower after work?

Other than the character development, the writing is fantastic. It's atmospheric as hell, too. Several times Campbell managed to give me goosebumps, which isn't easy to do. The descriptions of scenes in the dark were nerve wracking and some of the best I've read in any genre, in any decade, period. (I wonder if this book was Tim Curran's inspiration for Blackout.) Ramsey has some serious chops and is, in my personal opinion, easier on the eyes that Clive Barker's bloated prosaic meanderings. Campbell seems to say twice as much with half the words as Barker. If I were to have to choose a novelist, English or otherwise, to compare Campbell to, I don't think I could. No one comes to mind. I've never read anyone who writes quite like this guy. For that reason alone, I'll be sampling more of his work.

The ending is a total and complete copout, though. Campbell takes the easy way out and just makes some shit up on the spot. I know what you're thinking. This is fiction. Of course he made something up. But that's not what I mean. The ending is very Stephen King. But we'll discuss all that in the spoiler discussion, because the ending isn't the only thing Campbell seems to borrow from King.

In summation: Whenever I set this book down, I was never drawn to pick it back up, but I wanted to know what happened, so I forced myself to. When I did jump back in, I could only read about 20-30 pages at a time. Not sure why. It wasn't a difficult read, and I loved the writing style, but something was off. I chalk it up to me not having anyone in the book to care about. *shrugs*

Final Judgment: A well-written scary book about some faceless folks.

Spoiler Discussion: There are spoilers for some Stephen King books in here too.

How many things did Campbell borrow from Stephen King? Lemme count the ways...

1. Shapeshifting spider creature. Even though IT is not a spider creature, only a shapeshifting creature stuck in the form of a spider, it's still odd that another author would recreate the idea only a year after King's book was published.

2. Dumbfuck psychic bullshit that comes out of nowhere. I think I go back to Under the Dome for this one, where a character is suddenly given a vision of where the bad thing came from and is suddenly psychically linked because reasons. I know King has done this a lot in his career, but that's the most recent use of that bullshit that I can think of.

3. Main character just gets lucky in the end with how to kill the monster even though there no fucking reason for them to be doing what they are doing. Diana start chanting some shit because... well, because I don't fucking know why. She just suddenly thinks it's a good idea and starts belting something. We don't know what because Campbell doesn't tell us, even though he spent the majority of the book drafting entire songs word for word. ("Harry Mooney" anyone?) Why couldn't he write something for Diana to sing? Fuck if I know.

One thing Campbell sure as shit didn't borrow from King is the character development, but I guess he had to stop somewhere.

Thanks for joining me. If you would like to continue the Spoiler Discussion in the comments below, be a friend and use spoiler tags.

(show spoiler)

Cook Korean! Review

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes - Robin Ha

This was a great idea. All cookbooks should be comic books. Now if only this thing would lay flat so I didn't have to keep propping it open!

I love Korean BBW.

I think you mean BBQ.

Yeah, well, that too. I also love knowing what all the cool kids are talking about when they call each other "bae" nowadays.

Huh? What do you mean?

"Bae" is Korean for Asian pear.

The more you know.

I dig Kimchi and these kimchi recipes are Asian pears. That didn't sound right. Are we sure kids these days aren't just dumb?

No. Not sure. I've heard "bae" is Dutch for poop, too, so that's a thing.

So my choices are Asian pear or poop?

Yeah.

Fuck.

Yeah.

Okay, back to the review.

Short ribs are good, son! And this book right here? This book RYCHEER! This book'll tell you how to cook some them there short ribs, Cuz. Talking lip-smacking tallywhacker-tempting good short ribs. Don't have all the fancy ingredients? Don't worry. Robin Ha says some motherfuckers just use Coca-Cola for their marinade because who has time for soy sauce and ginger and other expensive shit. Just drain a 20 ounce Coke into a plastic bag, drop in your short ribs, and hang out with your Dutch poop or your Asian pears for like thirty minutes, then cook them bitches (the short ribs, not your "baes", because this is cooking not cannibalism) and you got yourselves some goddamn motherfucking Korean BBQ, you sexy fucker!

But wait, ladies, there's more!

Need a hot beef injection? Well there's a recipe for Spicy Beef Soup in this piece! You only need like thirty-seven goddamn ingredients and four weeks vacation time to make it, but holy shit will it make your side dude have main-dude feelings. Also, this Spicy Beef Soup will make your asshole burn. Just warning you. We're talking nuclear hell hole, got me? We're talking lava butt, son. Kinda shit that'll singe your leg hair.

So whataya do after you set your rectum on fire? You eat Cold Buckwheat Noodles, of course! But first you're gonna need some Yengyeoja... holy fuck, did I spell that right the first time? I fucking did! YEA! Anyway, you're gonna need some of that Yeng shit. It's yellow wasabi paste. It's like regular wasabi but yellower. You're also gonna need a bae. No, like a real bae. One of them Asian pears, because we all know you're gonna die alone. Then some rice wine vinegar and some other shit I can't pronounce and you got yourself some fucking Cold Buckwheat Noodles®.

Finally, Robin Ha gives us some of her very own Korean Fusion recipes like Omelet Fried Rice and Spicy Chicken Tacos because who doesn't love some hot cock!

In summation: Comic books are a unique way to learn how to cook anything. Korean food especially. If you have $20 and don't mind a cookbook that won't stay the fuck open when you're trying to read the recipes, buy the fuck outta this book. Or don't. Until next time, I'll be slurping on some buckwheat noodles dipped in Yengyeoja. Ha! I spelled it right again!

Final Judgment: A hundred different ways to make your rectum burn.

Real YouTube Comments #5

Found on a video entitled "Mind blowing Female Guitarists SHREDDING!~ Best in the world 2"

 

"Some decent guitar playing but a guitar is a phallic instrument and is akin to grabbing your cock to piss. Women just don't get it. They may like to play with it, but just don't understand it from a primal sense."

 

No alterations were made to this YouTube comment.

 

 

 

 

UPDATES FOR MY READERS

I know it's been three years since my last full-length standalone novel (LIFE AFTER DANE in July of 2013), and all you've seen from me since then have been short stories, collections, and the CRUELTY serial, but that will be changing soon.

 

I have three novels completed (one of them is massive; over 500 pages long), two of which have been submitted to publishers. No telling when I will hear back from either publisher. To add to that, I have two more novels in progress. Needless to say, I have been, and am staying, busy.

 

There are two new short stories on the horizon. You'll be able to read one of them this September in the upcoming anthology Bad Apples 3, and then, this winter, the final tale in my War on Christmas series. That story, as well as the first two War on Christmas shorts, will be up for free the week leading up to Christmas, as they have been and will be every year. On top of all of that, I just sold a short story to Darkfuse Magazine. If you're a subscriber, you can read "What's Eating You?" HERE

 

Lastly, I have two novellas done and three more in various stages of completion. If I can't find a home for the first two novellas before December, I'll throw them all together and publish a novella collection next year.

 

I'm damn proud of all the new material. Lots of good stuff on the way. I love you guys. 

 

E.

Hex Audiobook Review

Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

According to my Audible app, I've listened to 127 audiobooks. You might say, I dig audiobooks. I listen to at least one a week. Which makes me feel that I can say, with the utmost honesty and accuracy, that Hex, written by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and narrated by Jeff Harding, is the worst audiobook I've ever had the displeasure of listening to.

The story isn't half bad. Just the opposite. It's half good. The plot and pacing and horror is really effective once you get past the halfway mark. But that narration... Holy shit on a piss-soaked cracker, Fatman, that narration is horrible.

The book itself starts out by lulling the reader into a false sense of security and joviality. Goofy shit goes down and everyone's having a good time. Then the author steers us into more serious territory and the dread builds. The tension mounts. And then everything explodes in the final chapters. Seriously, the end of this book is nuts. If for no other reason, you should read Hex for the ending.

Which makes Jeff Hardy's shitty narration all the more unforgivable. I don't know who approved the final product, but they need a swift kick in the genitals. What the fuck were they thinking? Some of the characters actually sound like 1950's cartoon villains. Take for instance Grizelda (sorry, not sure on the spelling because I don't have the text version). She sounded like a witch from one of those old Halloween spooky sounds cassettes we used to listen to as kids. You know the kind. The fucking tape was orange with black writing on it. You'd shove it in your dual-deck boom box and press play and sit in the dark to the tune of wind blowing and wolves howling and coffins creaking and witches cackling. 'Member? Yeah, you 'member. That was what Grizelda sounded like in this book. And Grizelda isn't even the fucking witch! The witch's name is Katherine (again, not sure on the spelling).

I dug the theme of the entire book. But telling you why is a spoiler, so I'll see you in the Spoiler Discussion.

In summation: I wish I had read this one instead of listening to it. I probably would have given it four stars. Instead, I'm putting it firmly behind three stars. One day, when the price of the Kindle edition drops below what amounts to a month's rent, I might reread it. But, for now, all I can review is the audiobook. And the audiobook is hot garbage dipped in dirty kitty litter.

Final Judgment: I've heard better produced EVP recordings on Ghost Hunters International.

Spoiler Discussion:

The theme of the witch not being the bad guy but the townsfolk being the villains was well done. Dug the hell out of that. That whole scene where the boys are punished was fucking brutal.

The final few pages were all very Pet Sematary, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The chaos and gore and all-around epic nature of the ending was mind-blowing. I would love to see all that committed to film. Give this book to James Wan or some equally talented director, like Darren Lynn Bousman, and let's get this shit on tape. One of the best endings in a horror novel I've come across.

The scene where they hear the dog yowling freaked me out. It's bad enough that the dog died the way it did, but I'm kinda glad it died, if only because we got the scene we got afterward. Righteously scary.

The buildup to Katherine getting the stitches over her eyes cut was so well done. Very impressed with the mounting dread. And the payoff was perfect.

If you want to join in on the Spoiler Discussion, please use spoiler tags. Thanks for joining me!

(show spoiler)

I'm on Patreon

I've had friends, fans, and followers ask about helping me out monetarily in between book releases, or to help fund future books, so I've created a Patreon page. This isn't for donations. You get rewards at certain price points, which start at $1 and go up to $20. It's been awhile since my last major release and funds are tight. If you'd like to help, click on the link below. 

 

Right now I'm working on getting my novel FAIRY LIGHTS hammered into shape and could use help with paying for final proofreading. To be completely transparent, I can afford this by myself, but not until the beginning of next year. If you'd like a new Lorn novel before next summer, this is how you can help make that possible. 

 

You may share this post, if you're so inclined. Thanks for your past, present, and future support.

 

Edward Lorn on Patreon

Taboogasm Review

Taboogasm - Gregor Xane

Disclaimer: Gregor Xane is a good friend of mine. We speak daily. I also helped to design the layout of the cover for the hardcover edition and did the font work on the Kindle and paperback covers, although the artwork is all Mike Tenebrae's fault. And before you brush this review off as a biased review from a friend, I am overly critical of the people I surround myself with. I don't kiss anyone's ass and I sure as shit am not going to help promote someone I don't think deserves it. Gregor is one of the good ones. Probably the best indie author working right now. That is my honest opinion.

Now for a little goofiness.

My buddy Gregor knows his way around weird. He's spent a significant amount of time honing his craft and perfecting the art of explaining the unexplainable. While he is my friend, I look forward to his newest work like I do the works of Stephen King and Rachel Ray and John from the now disbanded band John and Kate Plus Eight. And, once you've completed Taboogasm, I'm sure you'll become a dedicated Xanist, as well. But first, a history lesson.

My purely-platonic-yet-erotic man-crush on Gregor Xane started when I read his debut, Six Dead Spots, and gave it a critical review. Gregor contacted my eliteness soon after to express how much he wanted to massage my manly bits. I responded by telling him I was married but we could totally cyber sex like it was 1999 as long as he agreed not to tell my wife about our late-night, virtual saber-clashing sessions. Between rugged hammering of each other's tent stakes, Gregor asked me to do a proofread of another piece of classy literature entitled The Hanover Block. I fangirled all over that thing until it became stiffer than a pair of old sweat socks baked in a kiln. Since then Gregor's sexy ass has taken me from mound pounding to goat loving to puppet shows to cattle farming, until finally we stopped here at Taboogasm.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Who the fuck is Edward Lorn and why should I care what he thinks?" I have no answer to that question. But what I do know is that Gregor Xane should be a household name by now. It is an affront to Tom Cruise's good name that Gregor Xane is not on the tip of your tongue every morning and the last thing in your mouth before you kiss your significant other goodnight in the evening. And Taboogasm is a damn good reason as to why that should be the case. This man has proven he can write anything and write it well. But what I find most impressive about Gregor's writing is the fact that he can make the craziest shit so damn real and enthralling. Because, in the hands of a lesser author, his premises would not be taken seriously. It is a testament to Gregor's writing chops that I was able to suspend my disbelief while reading the story you are about to experience. For fuckery is afoot, and you're about to have one helluva freaky ride.

In summation: Taboogasm is a must read for many reasons, but the simplest reason is the best one. You have never and will never read anything like it. Come for the experience. Stay for the fantastic writing.

Final Judgment: Men's Adventure with a Xanist twist.

The Reapers are the Angels Review

The Reapers Are the Angels - Alden Bell
  I've debated back and forth on whether or not to post a review for this book because I have nothing new to add to the conversation. But that got me thinking. What is a conversation other than the sharing of opinions and ideas? So what if a book has umpteen million reviews. So what if none of my friends might be interested in it or have already read it. To even think I hold sway over what anyone else reads stinks of narcissism, and, while I am the sexiest, smartest, and most-loved reviewer on this site, I don't have much of an ego. Egos are for authors and authors are assholes. Anyway, moving on...

Me thinks Alden Bell is a gamer. Specifically a fan of survival horror games like Resident Evil, Dead Island, and Left 4 Dead. Why? Well that would be a spoiler and I don't do spoilers. I mean, I do, but not here. I'll see you in the Spoiler Discussion. *smooches*

Temple was the best part of the book for me. Her nonchalant attitude toward doing what needed to be done was hella fun to read. Her calling Maury "Dummy" might upset some sensitive types, but I thought it was a perfect example of world building through character interaction, which is how world building should be done. Think about it. In a world of zomb-zombs and... and other things, political correctness would be left on the back burner or forgotten completely. Who gives a fuck about being triggered when you're trying not to get eaten? Priorities, yo. We even get a mention of racial purity, because it wouldn't be a book about the American southeast without a healthy dose of White Lives Matter (Most). I think the author hit the nose on the head (that's not how that saying goes, is it?) with his depiction of a post-apocalyptic Alabama. I currently live in Bama (ROLL EAGLE!), and I must say, we're almost there. If a certain someone wins the election in November, we'll have to move The Reapers are the Angelsover to nonfiction.

(I love that either side can argue that I mean Clinton or Trump because both sides believe the other side's candidate will bring on the apocalypse. This election year really does feel like we're choosing which way we want to see America burn: hellfire or nuclear strike)

I found this book while reading an article online about the most underrated horror novels. I'd read all the others on the list and dug each of them, so I tried this one. I'm glad I did. And, no, I don't remember where the list was posted, nor do I recall what the other books were. I know. I suck. My apologies.

In summation: This is an above-average zombie book. The writing is fantastic. But that can be a bad thing if you have a weak constitution. Because Alden Bell will make you smell and taste things you don't want to smell and taste.

Final Judgment: Redneck zom-zoms best waifu.

Spoiler Discussion:

I liked that Temple died. I dig it when authors have the testicles or ovaries necessary to kill their leads. Rock on.

The giant rednecks were fucking rad. Right out of games like the ones I mentioned in the review. Like Brutes or Thugs. I honestly want to know if Bell is a gamer, because this entire novel felt like a literary video game.

The sex scene was a bit awkward for me to read. But only because I'm a father of a soon-to-be-teenage girl and I don't like imagining fifteen-year-old girls riding dick. Just my personal preference.

Thanks for joining me. If you would like to join in on the Spoiler Discussion, please be polite and use spoiler tags. Danke.
(show spoiler)

I'm Thinking of Ending Things Review

I'm Thinking of Ending Things - Iain Reid

Dig it:

This book is a perfect example of negative reviews selling a book. Specifically Shelbs's and Kells's reviews. I had to see what all the fuss was about. So, yeah, the negative reviews of this book sold me. I paid money for this book based solely on negative reviews. Some authors need to hear that. They need to let that shit sink in. Are Shelbs and Kells stupid for not getting this book? Nope. And I'll explain why.

Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things is 224 pages in hardcover. The audiobook (which I suggest you listen to instead of reading the actual book) is five hours and twenty-two minutes long (5:22). If you read it at x2 speed, you can listen to it in the time it takes to watch one of The Hobbitmovies. There's a reason this book is as short as it is. Reid wants you to read his book twice, and not necessarily in the same order in which you first read it. He's a tricksy hobbitses, and we shall discuss more in the Spoiler Discussion.

This book is utterly fascinating, and I believe that's why so many people are torn over it. All too often we're lulled into a sense of normality. We think things should happen one way and we get locked into that mindset. So much so that we cannot see the forest for the trees. The frustrating part about this book is that is seems to have been written for audio. In the audiobook, when you come to the "twist", there's an obvious change and everything becomes clear as day. I relistened to the book right after listening to it the first time and I read an entirely different book. Simply put, this is kinda (but not really) like The Sixth Sense. Second time around, you will see .

Do I think you're going to read this twice? No. Do I think you're going to reread this to see if I'm right? No. But I did, and my experience was vastly improved the second time around.

In summation: Some of you like long(er) books. If you can dedicate yourself to 500 pages, there's no reason you can't reread this (maybe in a different order?) right after you finish it. You'll likely see what Reid did in the first readthrough, but there's so many goodies in the reread. Simple stuff you would never have paid attention to, like, say, a red door knob.

Final Judgment: Two experiences in one book

Spoiler Discussion: Wherein I spoil I'm Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid.

Reid gives clear instructions in the very last chapter of this book. The unnamed duo who've been talking between the chapters are discussing the book found next to Jake's body, and the guy tells the woman that he thinks she should read it once and then read it again, only backward. This is a pain in the ass to do in audio, but I did it. I suggest you do the same. You know, if you wanna.

Yes, Jake killed himself because he was struggling with schizophrenia, as most super-intelligent folks do. No, there never was any girlfriend. It was always him. He made up, in his mind, everything that happened after the night he met her in the bar. This book is a very sick man playing in his own head. It's sad and disturbing and even a bit beautiful. Madness usually is.

Jake did work in a lab. He left that job to take a job as a janitor. Somewhere he could just blend in and do his own thing and, even though he was around people, he kinda wasn't. How many of you remember your high school janitors? Did you hang out with that person or did they just kinda exist on the edge?

I understand why people didn't like this book, but I fucking loved it. Reid made the book just short enough that you can reread it with ease right after reading it the first time. Bravo. Good on him for trying something unique with his fiction.

Lastly, in the audiobook, right at the repetitious part at the end, when he says that one line over and over again, the narrator switches from female to male. I don't know how they pulled this off in the book, but in the audiobook it is chilling and makes the twist clear. That's my favorite part of the book, really, but don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the entire experience.

Thanks for joining me.

(show spoiler)

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A Head Full of Ghosts Review

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

Green vomit, violent masturbating, naughty language... Doesn't schizophrenia Satan have any new tricks up his sleeves? Because, you know, a woman masturbating and cursing is definitely a sign of evil. How unladylike unholy!

First, I must say, I might just raise my rating of Josh Malerman's Bird Box after reading this book. At least Malerman tried something new. On to the review...

There's this fad going around where reboots change the endings of the source material to be the exact opposite of the source material. If the source material (in this case The Exorcist) is supernatural, the reboot will make it non-supernatural, or perhaps it will imply supernatural along with the plausible real-life scenario.

And because I'm bound to get people who say I'm hating on someone who's been successful, let me prove my points. I give you...

Exhibit A:

Tremblay took the easy way out and rebooted The Exorcist for a modern, blogger-friendly, internet age. He does nothing new. To cover this up, he plays the meta card. "Oh, look! I reference all the shit I steal from, so it's okay that I stole from them. Right? I'm so cute and self aware!"

Exhibit B.

In my opinion, the blogs ruined the book. Every time I started to enjoy the subtle horror, or even the overt scares, he jumped into this hipster-speak blogging bullshit that murdered all forward momentum. Then, in the end, he uses the blogger bullshit to effectively reveal that he believes all his readers are morons without any reader comprehension skills. Peep this:

You're a grown adult with life experiences and an above average IQ (a.k.a. your average adult reader) and someone gives you a rudimentary puzzle to solve. The puzzle pieces are perfectly square and number eight. The picture is of, say, the Pokemon logo, the title image of POKEMON in that garish yellow-and-blue font. As long as you can read, you're good. This puzzle will take an adult of average intelligence (anyone literate) about ten seconds to complete. If that. Then you notice the pieces are numbered. Top row: one through four. Bottom row: five through eight. Now you don't even have to be able to read. All you have to do is be able to count.

THAT is THIS book. It insults your intelligence. Tremblay explains everything that happens in the final exorcism scene and then switches to these blog posts to SPELL EVERYTHING OUT FOR YOU BECAUSE HE THINKS YOU'RE:

A) Dumb

B) Illiterate

C) At the VERY least, not as clever as him.

D) All of the above.

If you picked D, you win and lose at the same time because you're likely right.

He tries to make up for this assumption that you're somewhere between dinosaur and caveman on the IQ scale by leaving one last hint in the final chapter. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, talk amongst yourselves.

But the implied ending makes zero sense. None. It is the literary equivalent to the ending of Paranormal Activity, when the possessed chick jumps at the camera. Or perhaps the hand reaching from the grave at the end of Carrie. Makes no sense, but it sure is spoooooooooky!


In summation: The tragedy is, had Tremblay left out the blogger sections, I would have given this three stars or above. It does have some creepy shit going on. Nothing you haven't seen before, but it might raise the hair on your bush. Problem is, it's not enough; nowhere near enough to excuse his attitude toward his readers, the implication that he's writing for morons. The best piece of writing advice I ever got was this: "Always assume your readers are smarter than you, because they probably are."

Final Judgment: Robocop (2014)

Spoiler discussion: Wherein I spoil Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts:

 

I know some of you are thinking, Marjorie wasn't schizo. I know she wasn't. Her father was the crazy one and blah, blah, blah. My opening comments are a riff on the reality of possession. I don't believe in gods or devils. But I do believe in mental illness.

 

There will be some that say I missed the whole point of the unreliable narrator here. I fully accept that you think Merry could have made up this entire thing because she was the one that was possessed instead of Marjorie. But she couldn't have, because of the reality show. Unless we assume that the reality show wasn't real, and the entire book is a lie. If that's the case, it still doesn't work, because it takes away the horror of the novel because nothing actually happened. It was all the product of some possessed writer with nothing better to do that to write a book. No matter how you look at it, one-star. But I'm not giving up on Tremblay and here's why:

I did like the poisoning scene at the end. Really dug how Tremblay described everyone dying. Dude is capable of great description. He simply needs to trust his readers more.

Thanks for joining me.

(show spoiler)

Currently reading

Howard the Duck Omnibus by Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik, John Buscema, Carmine Infantino, Frank Brunner, Gene Colan
Progress: 82/800pages