Sunday, February 4, 2018

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls by Riley Sager

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts.


I love horror. It's my favorite genre because it consistently keeps me entertained. I like how in horror you can examine your very real fears often in settings that are unreal which makes it feel safer. I also like the fight and will to survive. And a good jump.

Lately there's been an increase in turning slasher stories into longform stories. It sounds counter-intuitive and it is in many ways. Still, I enjoyed the TV shows Slasher and Scream more than I enjoy the typical slasher film. They allowed me to dig in deeper with the characters, care about them more, and thus be more invested in the stories and their outcome. Plus because the narrative needed to be sustained over time, they each had a great "who's the killer?" mystery. So when two fiction books came out last year with the same theme, I was interested. A lot interested.

One of them was Final Girls. If you know horror, you know in slasher films there's a trope where basically a bunch of people get butchered but one girl survives. She's the final girl. Apparently, the term was coined in 1992 by Carol Clover in her book, Men, Women, and Chainsaws Gender in the Modern Horror Film.

So last woman standing, final girl. This book centers on Quincy, a final girl who doesn't remember a lot about the night a lot of her friends got killed. She's one of three in the nation, and she has since moved on building a successful website/blog and maintaining a relationship with a significant other. News comes that one of the final girls has killed herself which sets in motion a series of events that forces Quincy to take another look at her life and what happened in the woods all those year ago when her friends were killed.

Final Girls is an engaging read. I enjoyed it. It's a good mystery with interesting developments. It's fairly quick paced and I was able to get engrossed in it easily. The ending is very satisfying with some delicious irony.

It goes back and forth between the past and present but not every chapter or anything like that, mostly when it fits within the current timeline's narrative to do a flashback.

I liked it, but I also wish it had been more, if that makes any sense. I'll be looking for more books in this genre and I will definitely read more from this author.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

I love thrillers or books billed as "can't put them down" and something about the description of this book really appealed to me. Over the holidays, I always feel low-key and take some extra time to relax and this book was perfect for that. I ended up with an extra day off or two and found myself quickly turning the pages of this book.

Just Between Us is primarily a thriller but it dips into some interesting themes, primarily that of female friendship. A friendship between four women makes this story possible. Without their closeness but also their petty insecurities and jealousies, the story wouldn't be possible.

What would you do if you knew one of your best friends was being abused? How would you intervene? And to what lengths would you go to in order to support her when she attempts to defend herself?

That's the situation the characters in this book find themselves in. I don't want to give away too much because this sort of book is best enjoyed with very little knowledge of the events that unfold. I will say, though, that it's kind of messy and you'll certainly feel at points that the character should have been a lot smarter. Even so, it was a great read, one I really enjoyed about growing paranoia and suspicion, friendship, secrets, and the reminder that people who commit criminal acts are not always that bright. It also challenges perception and how much we project our own histories onto the present.

Great read, recommended!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Yesterday She Was Tiffany by Emily Perez

yesterday she was tiffany
Yesterday She Was Tiffany

One of the exciting things that happened in 2017 is that my niece published a book! She raised the funds through Kickstarter to publish it. While I contributed to that fundraising, the main disclosure is that she's my niece.

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift this is what I recommend!

This is a light horror book that falls squarely in the YA realm as it is written by a teenager for teenagers. It's about a young girl who is school obsessed...or rather obsessed with perfection and a lot of that manifests itself in her school work. But one day things start going a little weird and her perfect an reliable memory is flawed. This spirals out of control until she no longer knows what is real and what is not.

I loved this book! The author has a very engaging style...full of humor and a quick pace. And the topic of perfectionism and being a control freak is explored in such a dramatic fashion that it makes it safe to think about these topics. The book reads very quickly and is very entertaining. And it feels so authentic because it's written by a teenager. :)

I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of Yesterday She Was Tiffany and supporting a young independent author.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Berkley's Bookmas! Christine Feehan's Christmas with Christine!


I am excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I'm hosting Christine Feehan today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below:


For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs:
· Bambi Unbridled
· Read-Love-Blog
· We So Nerdy
· MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It

There's also an awesome giveaway you can enter for one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating. Please follow this link to enter.

Christmas with Christine Feehan

We take Christmas very seriously in my house! I have four Christmas trees.

The tree in the kitchen is for my grandchildren, but started with my darling little Shylah’s suggestion. It was 2 feet tall when we started and it is 6 feet tall now! All of my grandchildren help to decorate this tree and it warms my heart to see it.

This is the I-spy tree. We have so much fun playing I-spy, looking for certain ornaments with the children. This tree is located in the living room with a train that circles around its base.


This is my beautiful peacock tree and I absolutely love it! I love peacocks and peacock colors. This is located downstairs in the rec room and it’s the tree we put all the gifts under.


My Favorite Holiday Memory

I have so many wonderful holiday memories, but the one that stands out and really makes me happy happened many years ago when my brothers and sisters and I were all children. My Mom was always very good at guessing what we got her each year, so one year my Dad, who was quite the prankster, put weights in her gift boxes, to weigh down the presents and made each box the same exact size to thwart her attempts to guess what they were by simply lifting them and shaking. That year we caught her late at night checking out the gift boxes when she thought we were all asleep. She got busted! Dad made all of us kids take turns guarding the gifts so Mom couldn’t check out what she got ahead of time.

Favorite Holiday Ornament

My Mom gave me my very first set of Christmas ornaments. They were a set of early Enesco ornaments and even after all of this time a few of them have survived numerous moves, children and grandchildren. I also love the ornaments that my readers send to me. I have received ornaments from all over the world and those are very special to me.

Favorite Holiday Tradition

By far, my favorite holiday tradition is playing I-spy with my grandchildren. We gather around the I-spy tree looking for specific ornaments as part of our game.


Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels. Her next novel, Judgment Road, begins the Torpedo Ink series about a motorcycle club of men and women who were trained from childhood to be the perfect assassins. Christine has received numerous honors throughout her career, including a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews and the Borders Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in northern California. Readers can connect with her online at christinefeehan.com, facebook.com/christinefeehanauthor, twitter.com/AuthorCFeehan, and instagram.com/authorcfeehan/.




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

I received a copy of this book for review.



Depression is a difficult topic to explain to someone who has never experienced it. It can manifest in different ways for different people but it visits a lot of us. In fact, about 7 percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from depression.

Debi Gliori has written and illustrated a beautiful picture book about depression and how it feels. Because you can talk and try to explain with words but still fail, this is a very effective method.

The illustrations are lovely and evoke the actual feeling of depression. The young girl who is at the center of the story experiences a fog that rolls in...and she doesn't remember when. She experiences it at night and also during the day. The pictures and text continue to describe the feelings and illness that persists even while the character does not know how to describe them herself. The book doesn't end in a deep dark fog though the reasoning for the shift may seem hard to understand.

Ultimately, I found this book to be effective and I think it would be a great conversation piece to discuss depression as well as a good gift to someone who suffers from it. The gift of being able to express what it's like to experience such an internal condition is appreciated and I think Night Shift can add to our conversations and understanding.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

This post contains Amazon links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a tiny commission. I received an ARC of this book for review consideration from the publisher.

Josh Malerman seems to be interested in the horrors our senses can visit upon us and not in any light way. Both of his works, thrillers that verge on being horror novels tease the concepts of what would happen if something could threaten us so completely through one of our senses. By exploring this idea, other philosophical questions gain entry even as we rapidly turn the pages to find out what happens next. In Bird Box, the horror was what our eyes would see and once seen, could never be unseen. In his latest, Black Mad Wheel, he turns the spotlight on our hearing.

This is not only a thriller/horror but also a work of historical fiction! It takes place about 13 years after the conclusion of World War 2. A small group of men who served in the military during the War have started a band. Their history and their musical talents make them attractive to the military who feel they have discovered a brand new weapon. This weapon seems to render all other weapons useless and makes men sick. It's in the deserts of Africa and they need someone to go and locate its exact source.

Like with Bird Box, Malerman alternates between the present and WHAT HAPPENED in order to build a suspense and a deep desire to know what happened. I enjoyed this book and once I had time to read I read it one day. It was a fast read but it does venture into philosophical questions or originy type questions so there's some depth. I don't think it's as effective a novel as Bird Box or as enjoyable overall, but comparison isn't always helpful as I did enjoy the book overall. There are some definite science fiction aspects to it. it's not real world grounded but it is interesting.

It's hard to imagine a sound so terrible it's a weapon itself, but that's what the characters face in Black Mad Wheel.

Recommended!

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Look Back at August

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day! I did! I relaxed, read two books, and went to see Annabelle: Creation.

This blog saw some activity in August, so just in case you missed it, here's a quick wrap-up.

I read, reviewed, and loved The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. This book definitely cemented her status as a favorite author for me and I do recommend it.

I also reviewed The Breakdown, BA Paris's follow up to Behind Closed Doors. While I wasn't as enthralled with this book as her debut, I did find it to be a solid and entertaining read.

And I reviewed three creative YA books all of which I enjoyed. INFJoe's Text, Don't Call, You're Weird, and Surprise Yourself. All of these would make great gifts depending on who you would like to gift them to.

Finally, I reviewed Mad by Chloe Esposito which was a hugely entertaining book and a great read for summer or anytime.

The blog will stay active in September! As mentioned I've read some books I already want to review and I'll throw in some movie reviews, too. Plus, I hope to share some recommended reading lists and share some other things I've been thinking about.

Times have been tough and our world feels very uncertain as we face continual change brought on by governments, climate change, and our own bodies that war against us. Every moment is precious even in the face of thinking about a future that feels dark and grim. I'm thinking of you all.