BOOK REVIEW: Josh Malerman “Bird Box”

51bIN6SUb1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTitle: Bird Box

Author: Josh Malerman

Genre: Thriller/Horror

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

My thoughts:

This is by far one of the greatest thrillers I have ever read in my life. I have about 1,462 questions and the end did not answer a single one; yet I’m not even disappointed. I loved it so much.

Bird Box was terrifying and thought-provoking and completely fascinating. It made me question what I would do in the situation, it made me fear for our main character Malorie, and it had me questioning every single step of the way: what was out there?

Malorie’s parenting style was questionable to say the least, yet necessary for the situation she had found herself in: alone with two children in a world where opening your eyes could literally kill you. She had to train the children to listen better than they could see, and they were forced to grow up in a world where they weren’t able to see the sun, the sky, anything outside of the house they were born in. Malorie was incredibly resourceful and smart and her survival story was so inspiring!

This book had me on the edge of my seat throughout; never was there I time I could relax. It was thrilling and terrifying and completely genius that the creatures are never described to the reader because no one had ever seen one and lived to tell. We’re forced to imagine ourselves what these creatures may look like, which is somehow even scarier. All we see is the aftermath, which always ends in violence and death.

While I was reading this, I had to talk about it to anyone who would listen. I was visiting family at the time and would rant about it to my mom or my brother who were both basically done with me, but I couldn’t help it. Everyone should honestly be talking about Bird Box. The concept is intriguing, the execution is flawless, and the story is riveting and incredible.

I highly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys thrillers and stories of survival in post-apocalyptic times (although I think everyone should read it because it’s amazing).

 

Josh Malerman: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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BOOK REVIEW: Neil Gaiman “The Graveyard Book” Graphic Novels Volume I & II

Title: The Graveyard Book Graphic Novels Volume I & II

Author: Neil Gaiman

Adaptator: P Craig Russell

Illustrator(s): Kevin Nowlan, P Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, Stephen B Scott, David Lafuente

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

The only exposure I’ve had to Neil Gaiman before this was Trigger Warning and Norse Mythology, both excellent representations but both collections of short stories. I’ve had about the same amount of experience with graphic novels; nonetheless, I was excited about this read.

Full disclosure, I have not actually read The Graveyard Book, but I fully intend to now. I never knew what it was about and just happened to see both volumes of the graphic novel edition at my library, so I didn’t think it would hurt to pick it up. Selfishly, I also know that graphic novels tend to be quick reads and I was thinking about my 100 book reading goal for 2018, but we won’t get into that.

The Graveyard Book is a story about a little boy, affectionately named Nobody Owens, who was raised by ghosts in a graveyard. The rest of his family had been murdered, so the inhabitants of the nearby cemetery take it upon themselves to protect the infant boy and keep him safe.

The only not-dead resident of the graveyard is Silas, who is presumably a vampire but I’m not sure if we’re ever expressly told this. I think it was more implied, and based on his illustrated form, I think it’s safe to come to this conclusion. Since Silas is the only one who can come and go from the graveyard as he pleases, he becomes Nobody’s (nicknamed Bod) guardian, bringing back food, clothing, and other things needed to take care of a growing boy.

This story follows Bod as he grows up in the graveyard and the people that take care of him. We watch him develop and learn new things, watch him make friends, mostly with ghosts, sometimes with humans. We can see how his upbringing has affected him and has made him a more naïve, yet more interesting, person. Bod is curious and brave, but he also likes to get into trouble. We get to follow him on those adventures, too.

Neil Gaiman is oh so creative and this story is unique, special, breathtaking at times, heartbreaking at times, and all-around mesmerizing and beautiful. I truly loved basically every moment of this story. I loved Bod’s interactions with the other ghosts, particularly his relationship with Silas. I loved seeing this entirely new world of the dead and seeing how Bod and others react to it. I loved the mystery surrounding Bod’s family’s deaths. Throughout the story, we get the impression that their murderer is still searching for Bod, and we’re left to wonder why.

As for the illustrations, each chapter or section of the book was done by a different artist. The color scheme remained the same, and basic character’s traits, but the drawings each had a unique look to them which made the reading experience all the more interesting.

This was an absolutely beautiful adaptation of what I assume is a work of art. I’m so excited to read The Graveyard Book but until then, I highly recommend this version.

 

Neil Gaiman: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys”

9780147514080Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Author(s): Stefan Bachmann, Kendare Blake, Jay Kristoff, Jonathan Maberry, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, April Genevieve Tucholke, Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, Marie Lu, Danielle Paige, Megan Shepherd, McCormick Templeman, Cat Winters

Genre: Horror/Thriller

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a compilation of 14 stories by some of the most well-known young adult authors in the business. This particular collection is full of creepy, scary, bone-chilling, spine-tingling stories, some of which might keep you up late into the night, scared to check under your bed or inside your closet. Each one is inspired by either TV, movies or books, some horror and some not, and gives it a twist. You’re intended to read each story and attempt to guess what they’re reminiscent of, and then you can find out at the end.

1.) The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

The very first story in this collection was a really good way to set the tone for the entries to follow. It was appropriately creepy and told in just the right way; a story about a perverted old neighbor who takes pictures of young girls and shoots birds in his backyard.

2.) In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

This story was by far the scariest. It’s quite obvious from the very first pages that the other drew her inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, but it took a very, very dark turn. It was disturbing and twisted and terrifying, and I will be thinking about this short story for a long, long time.

3.) Emmeline by Cat Winters

While some of these stories are intended to scary and induce nightmares, this particular story was sad: a lonely ghost girl who seduces men and likes the cinema. This one wasn’t a favorite of mine, but at least it didn’t make me want to cry like the previous one. Short, sweet, and to the point.

4.) Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo

I was excited to read this one because it was written by the lovely Leigh Bardugo, a favorite YA author of mine. This one was creepy but much more subtle. It was written well, but it was a little underwhelming to me.

5.) Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

This was a very enjoyable read for me. It was a unique and interesting concept and I feel like it could have possibly served well as a full-length story as well. The main character is murdered by her step-father in the beginning of the story, but she’s given a chance to live if she can win a game of hide-and-seek with death. The ending was very satisfying and justice was served in the end, a very uncommon trait for most horror stories.

6.) The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige

Unfortunately, this was one of my least favorites in this collection. It was kind of creepy, but it felt mostly silly. I wasn’t impressed by this story about the son of Hades.

7.) The Flicker, the Finger, the Beat, the Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Another one of my least favorites. It seemed sort of pointless and anti-climactic. It wasn’t scary, there were no explanations, and the characters were all very annoying and problematic. Bleh.

8.) Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry

This was definitely my favorite story in this book; I absolutely loved it. It was the only one of the stories that included humor, and it had zombies, which I also love. Quite honestly, I’m thinking about trying to contact Maberry and asking him to write an entire book- heck, an entire series about Dahlia and her zombie-killing awesomeness. So very enjoyable.

9.) Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

I’ve never read anything by Kristoff before, even though I’ve been seeing him all over Instagram. This wasn’t my favorite story, but it has made me want to read more of his work for sure. It was one of the more unpredictable works in this compilation and I was surprised by the outcome. It’s obvious the direction the story was going in based on the first few pages: boy meets girl online, they talk and develop a crush on each other, and one of them is probably a predator. Somehow, I got it all wrong though, and I really liked how it ended.

10.) M by Stefan Backmann

I was a little disappointed by this one. It wasn’t a bad story and it had a really interesting, lovely setting, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I suppose.

11.) The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Another beloved author contribution, Marie Lu. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from her so far, so I was expecting to love this. Unfortunately, it was also meh. I guess I’m not impressed with paranormal-type stories about vengeful spirits. It’s such a common trope in ghost stories and I didn’t think this one was good enough to stand out.

12.) A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

This one could have been really good. It had a unique setting, but it was almost like it was a completely different world. While it was different, it’s hard to create a whole new world and catch your reader’s attention when your story is barely 20 pages long. It’s hard to understand what’s happening when the author has so little time to explain it. If this had been longer and had more content, it would have shown promise.

13.) Stitches by A.G. Howard

Stitches was a weird story. I’m still not completely sure what happened. I want to say I liked it, but I don’t even know that. I don’t have much else to say.

14.) On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

This one was interesting, and I thought it was a good story to end on. It was beautiful in an odd, creepy kind of way.

All in all, this collection of stories had a pretty even mix of good and bad for me. Half of them I liked, half of them I didn’t.

Many of them reminded me of the stories my grandpa used to tell me. For some reason, I was able to handle scary stories better as a young child than I can now, and he used to set me up on his lap and tell some of the best ones. It’s one of my favorite memories of him and reading this brought those memories to mind. Reading this took me back to that time, and I appreciate that.

BOOK REVIEW: Rick Yancey “The Monstrumologist”

22053363_1813681091995307_358929244_nTitle: The Monstrumologist

Author: Rick Yancey

Genre: Horror

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

This is actually a TBT review, something that I posted on my Goodreads account a few years ago but want to now share on my blog. So here it is in all it’s glory, readers:

I’m not really into horror.

Well. I say that. But I’m kinda into zombie movies and I watch the Walking Dead. My mom will watch the occasional horror, and I will stand by, gaping.

So I really don’t know why I wanted to read this. I saw it at a bookstore and thought it looked very interesting. However, when I went home and looked at it on Goodreads, I noticed that more than half the reviews mentioned the blood and gore. So why I picked the book back up when I saw it at the library a few weeks ago, I still don’t know. Probably just morbid curiosity.

It’s probably a good thing I watch the Walking Dead, because if I didn’t, I’m pretty darn sure I would have been shell-shocked by this book. It is very gory.

A good thing about Rick Yancey: he is incredibly descriptive. I love his writing a lot.

A bad thing about Rick Yancey: he is very very very very descriptive.

It was gross, but I had to hand it to Rick: he is an excellent author. I loved his writing so much, from the bottom of my heart, to the core of my being. I thought it was incredible. I liked the main character, Will Henry, and while I at first didn’t like him, the Monstrumologist himself ended up growing on me.

I have to say that the character Kearns was my least favorite. He was witty and funny and, at times, even charming. But he was very sick in the head, and he gave little regard for the lives of others (although it must be noted that he didn’t particularly care if he, himself, died either).

It was a sad book at times, too. In the midst of the blood and guts and gore, children are attacked and slaughtered, and it hurt my heart.

I don’t really know what my final verdict on The Monstrumologist is. I liked it at times. Hated it at times. Loathed it at times. Wanted to throw it across the room and scream at times. But all in all, I think this book did exactly what the author intended it to do: it scared me.

I finished the book late last night, and I turned off my lights and crawled into bed. And I have to say that it was the first time in a very long time that I’ve been genuinely scared that there was a monster hidden under my bed. After a few minutes, my childish fear subsided and I was able to sleep, but I can’t shake off the fact that I was legitimately afraid.

 

Rick Yancey: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram