Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

End of watch – Stephen King

25526965.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

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My thoughts: Naah! In my opinion I could have skipped this book. Make my own ending and be good with it. Because this was boring. I think the idea was great and the plot was sufficient, but it was never captivating, interesting or exciting. Halfway through I wanted to DNF but I made a commitment to finish the series. (I’m horrible bad on finish series.) Besides, I do like the characters Bill and Holly so it was nice to follow them for a while more.

This one in the series is absolutely a lot more like the Stephen King we know and love. And I think it is that who wrecked it for me. The first two books are so painstakingly normal that going in the third book with that type of fantasy twist, made it disconnect from the first two books. It was only the characters who made it clear it still was the same series since it was so, so different. Others probably loves that type of thing. I however do not.

King is such a hit and miss type of author for me. Some books I love, others I don’t. It is funny how similar it can be even in a series. I loved the first book, the second was okay and the third I could have done without.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

Färjan / Blood Cruise – Mats Strandberg

25445622| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: On the Baltic Sea, no one can hear you scream.

Tonight, twelve hundred expectant passengers have joined the booze-cruise between Sweden and Finland. The creaking old ship travels this same route, back and forth, every day of the year.

But this trip is going to be different.

In the middle of the night the ferry is suddenly cut off from the outside world. There is nowhere to escape. There is no way to contact the mainland. And no one knows who they can trust.

Welcome aboard the Baltic Charisma.

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My thoughts: Blood Cruise (god I hate that title) or Färjan (ferry) in Swedish is a horror story in Stephen King standard, taking place on a big boat that travels between Sweden and Finland. I did know that this was a horror before starting and I have read one book by Strandberg before this, but that was not a horror and I did not know what to expect this time. Well I did certainly not expect it to be as nasty, horrific, bloody and foul as it is. Wow it certainly made my stomach turn a couple of times and it is not a book to read while eating. Just saying.

When starting the book, I did not have high expectations and in the end I was actually was pleasantly surprised. Don’t know why that surprises me but there it is. We get to follow a lot of characters but Strandberg keeps it clear and easy. There is never any confusions even though the heavy load of information at times. The chapters are pleasantly short and you do get to know a group of characters deep enough to make connections.  But god damn you Mats are an evil person. And what you have created here is ingenious.

After the whole vampire hysteria that was several years ago, I’m not a big fan of vampires but this, this I can stand behind. It is dark and there is no lovey dovey or glitter in sight. It is true and realistic and shows all the good and bad sides of the modern human being. It even ends a little on the edge. Don’t know if I like it or not but it fit. If Strandberg writhes his horrors like this, I can certainly see myself reading more of his books.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Thriller/Horror

Sleeping Beauties – S. King and O. King

34466922| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

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My thoughts: I don’t know how to sum up my thoughts and feelings regarding this one. The thing with Stephen Kings books (in my opinion) is that almost every time it gets too much. To excessive and it’s easy to lose focus. Apparently it is still the same even if he co-writhes with his son Owen King.

It is a good book though. When sum it up as a whole it is a great book. It captivated me right from the start and it has a horrifying yet believable plot which is easy to connect with. It stayed that way for at least 400 pages and I just could not put it down. Then it slipped over to the typical King trait. Nothing happened, it started to be repeatable, slow and all you did was just wait for it to start up again. When it finally did, they had lost me. I did never get my 100% focus and attention back into the book. At the last 100 pages I just wanted to be done. I find this happening often with Kings books and it is too bad because I do really like his storytelling, imagination and writing in general. Perhaps it is my fault for not being able to stay focused throughout his 700 + page books, but there are books much longer than that, that I have read without a problem. So I can’t accept that it is totally my fault.

Anyhow, despite that, I really love the book. It was a perfect start on the horror month of 2018. The topic with the men who are the destroyers and women are the healers is put in a interesting way that makes you think. Would the world be better or worst without women. There is some philosophical thoughts and I do wish there were a book club in town where we could read and discuss. Specially this one.

TBR

My October TBR top 5 + 1

October is one of my favorite reading months of the year. It is getting dark earlier in the day, the summer is officially over and my consumption’s of tea and candlelight is tripling. My reading genre tends to be for the most part horror but I never plan a TBR. So I thought that this year I should. I have accumulated several horror books this year and what a perfect time it is to get some of them read. This is my top 5 + 1 bonus, planned To Be Read now in the month of October.

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  • Sleeping Beauty by Stephen King and Owen King.
    Come on. Off course I need to push in some Horror King in the long list of books to read. I’m excited to read this new gem by the father and son. It is highly acclaimed and I do hope I don’t have to high expectations.
  • Hocus Pocus & the all new sequel by A.W Jantha
    My favorite Halloween movie, which I have watched every year since 1993 has come as a book. Disney had a limited release earlier this year and I was lucky enough to snag myself a copy. It was so popular that they started printing more of the book right away and it is now available everywhere. I have waited for months for October so that I can start reading this one and I’m so excited to read the New sequel, included after the story of Hocus Pocus.
  • Blood Cruise by Mats Sandberg
    Sometime I feel translators just butcher books when they are translated. I mean “Blood Cruise” for a title! Can it be more cringe? Anyway, I have had this book since last spring and it is by an Swedish author I have read a couple of books by before. I got it for a dime and sure, let’s try and see how he is in the horror genre.
  • A monster calls – Patrick Ness
    I have had the book in my TBR pile for soon a year and it is time to get this one read. It is a short, young adult, horror story by Ness, who I never have read anything by before.
  • Lazarus by Lars Kepler (not yet translated to English. Synopsis on Swedish.)
    The seventh book about Joona Linna is finally, after such long wait, getting released. Planed publication date is 19th October and I’m counting down the days.

Bonus

17837762.jpgI do have one more book I wish to tell you about and I see this as a bonus on my TBR since it is a graphic novel. Uzumaki by Junji Ito is a Japanese graphic horror novel and the edition I have includes volume 1-3. As you may know I’m trying out the comics genre and I got fascinated by this deluxe edition and just had to buy it. Since it is horror I feel it fits perfect in October.

What are you going to read in October?

Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

Extinction machine – Jonathan Maberry

15793091.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: The President of the United States vanishes from the White House.

A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds.

All over the world reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate.

And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone—or something–wants that technology back.

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My thoughts: This is probably the book I like least of the five in the series I have read so far. I love the Joe Ledger character and I love how action packed the books usually are  and I love Maberrys talent with building characters and plots. This time however it just didn’t work for me. There was no less action and I did really like the UFO and Alien twist, but there was so much talk and explanations and scientific facts that it totally lost me. I got bored to put it simple and then it was hard for me to come back.  If this not was a Ledger book, written by one of my favourite authors, I would probably have ended it long before the last page. It was dull between the fights and no real suspense. The Alien twist was accepted to easy and made the story seem unreal. Almost like a dream and I felt detached from the characters and the story itself.

One of the things I did like is how more “mushy” it is than normal. If you have read this far in the series you know of all the bad sh*t that has happened to Joe, his team, his family and all of DMS. After book two I actually thought that there never would be more happiness. And quite happy with that thought since Maberry totally crushed my heart in the end of book two. And beware, Maberry can do it again. Please don’t. But now it feels lighter and even a little funny and I did like it. I hope it stays in the series.

So over all I give this a week three star rating. Probably deserves two due to my lack of interest in the science mumble jumble, but I give it a three since it is Ledger and Maberry and I did like some of it.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

Finders keepers – Stephen King

23492589.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Wake up, genius.

The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

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My thoughts: “Shit don’t mean shit” – Jimmy Gold. The main character in the trilogy series written by John Rothstein (who after some Googling I believe is a alter ego to King himself). It is inception. This book is a book about a book. King certainly understands how us readers work and all the feelings we can experience while reading. He understands that in some degree we actually can get a little obsessed and there is probably a few people out there who have or could kill for their obsession. Who knows. We are 7 billion people on this planet so it is not that unlikely.

Anyway, I did not find this one as good and well done as the first in the series. The story was intriguing but the main character (Bill) didn’t have a big part at all. He was the side character who is coming in to “solve” everything in the last 50 pages. And I’m a little sad about that. I was looking forward to follow Bill and Holly for another book but instead I’m quite disappointed. My main thought about the book is that it probably would stand strongest on its own, like an stand alone. It does connect with the first book but everything is so well explained that you hardly notice.

I have read some reviews where it talks about how Finders Keepers is a recycled Misery (also written by Stephen King) and that they are disappointed on King who wrote about the reader/fan idea once again. I however have not read Misery but judged by the synopsis, I do not feel that way at all. I find this plot to be completely different. Specially since Rothstein don’t have a living part in the book.

The ending is a lot more in King’s style and it does end one a little cliffhanger. I will read the third book someday. I have to. Because I believe that it is in that book the real stuff is gonna happen. And it is gonna be great.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror · Young, New adult/College

Flesh & Bone – Jonathan Maberry

13147460| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Reeling from the tragic events of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.

But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. They are hunted by fierce animals escaped from zoos and circuses. They must raid zombie-infested towns for food and medical supplies. They discover the very real truth in the old saying: In the Rot & Ruin…everything wants to kill you.

And what is happening to the zombies? Swarms of them are coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. These zoms are different. Faster, smarter, infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?

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My thoughts: I very much enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the first two books. But I do found this one to be a little of the same thing. It is still a great book and it is terrific written as usual. It fits well together with the other two books and there are some impressive characters to follow. However I feel that it has gotten a little bit stuck. There were several chapters where I legit was wondering “hasn’t I read this before? Haven’t we been here before already?

The third book picks up around where the second book ended. And you as a reader are thrown into this action filled story right from the start. There is a lot of running, fights, zombies, crazy humans, animals, secrets, misunderstandings and so on. Just as there is in the first and second book. It starting to feel somewhat used. It is the same only under different circumstances. Do you understand what I mean here? It was like I read the first and second book all over again, just with some different characters and with a little different outcome.

At the end of the book we are at a crossroad and how the plot will continue and its outcome is anyone’s (who have not read it of course 😛) guess so far. I do like that. The not knowing, it’s exciting. We have been introduced too some new characters and a new “world” where the rules are not the same anymore. I do hope the fourth book brings me some different situations and more characters to fall in love with. It really is a great series.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

HEX – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

31560400| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

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My thoughts: Two nights in a row I have been dreaming about the wicked Witch of Black Spring. She have sneaked her way into the back of my mind and taken control in a way I have never experienced before. I’m not easily scared and specially not by books. And certainly not in a way where I actually wakes up, in the middle of the night with a racing hart and with a feeling that I don’t want to sleep anymore. I can feel discomfort and such but never really fear.  I wouldn’t call this one a scary horror either but it’s still an unpleasant book in the way that it was uncomfortable and mesmerizing at the same time.

Well written with an really interesting and suitable history and backstory. The details fit together nicely and in a way that it did not feel exaggerated or cheap. The original story takes place in a Dutch town but when the rights for the English version was sold it was decided to move the settings to a Hudson Valley and change the ending. That is two major difference between the original story compared to the translated one. According some forum threads I found, there is no big difference and has no great significance. Since I’m never gonna read the dutch version, it really doesn’t matter to me.

There is a lot of mixed feelings toward this book out there and my own are probably more on the good side than the average. I found the book complex and deeper than I first thought. A little obsessive with tits, breast and nipples but hey it is a guy who have written it after all. I liked the ending (even though I hate it) and I like how it makes you think. It compels you to seek deeper and read between the lines. A book which awakens feelings and questions and do need to be discussed because it is all in the way it is interpreted.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

Mr Mercedes – Stephen King

18775247| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

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My thoughts: In this rich, high-suspense race against time, written by the King of horror himself, you will find the most unexpected heroes and the most expected and unpleasant evil. Is the book perfect? Oh no. Far from it. Did I go all fan-girl over it? Yepp, totally did!

As usual you find a book with deep characters, complex story and layer on layer of that deep chill, mind-blowing mystery not that many authors (I have read) manage to create. I’m somewhat hard to impress when it comes to the horror genre. And even tough I would categorize this one more of a crime mystery than horror, i’m totally impressed. I got what I came for.

As an avid reader in the crime mystery genre I do often feel i’m hard to surprise and story’s often are predictable to me. I don’t have a problem with predictability per say, if it is done well. And as usual I would not have to expect anything less than well from King. There is some real unexpected twists and a ending I really cant get mad over. I liked the cat and mouse play they had going on. The communication, the inspiration and the war. Who shall win in the end?

The only thing I did not like with the book however, is that some part of it, it was to slow. Specially in the ending where you pretty much goes around waiting for something to happen. I get that King probably wrote it that way to make it more realistic. But it kind of bored me a little. However, King saved it with the end.

There is two other books in the series about Bill Hodges and I certainly need to read those two. And there is a TV-series on this first book, en I certainly need to see that one to. Yeah, i’m totally star-struck by this book. That is how good it is.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

Spirits in the trees – Morgan H. MacDonald

17325157| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: EVIL DOES EXIST

An abandoned house, a serial killer, and a victim reaching out from the grave. A woman races against time to unearth buried secrets before she becomes a ghost herself.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Madeline Anderson goes to Isabelle Island, Washington, to sell a family home abandoned over forty years before. Strange things occur the moment she steps on the property. Inside the dilapidated old house, items move about on their own accord. Noises come from empty rooms. She has a vivid, recurring dream of a woman running for her life. The wind rustling through the trees sounds like urgent, murmuring voices. When the cacophony dies down, one single word emerges: Madeline, Madeline, Madeline.

YOU CAN NOT HIDE

At first, Doug Lindstrom, the hot fireman helping Maddy restore the old home, doesn’t believe anything bizarre is going on. He’s certain Maddy is jumping at shadows because the local kids call the house haunted. That is until he witnesses horrific violence he can’t explain. After Maddy’s life is threatened not once, but twice, Doug vows there will not be a third time.

THEY ARE WATCHING

While searching for answers, Maddy uncovers astonishing secrets about her aunt’s past. Finding more questions then answers, she digs deeper until she stumbles across evidence of a cold case involving a serial killer named The Seaside Strangler. Now Maddy must unmask the killer. The life she saves just might be their own.

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My thoughts: What I wanted and expected was some spine chilling horror/mystery. What I got was a silly love story in a hunted house and some confusion.

How shall I review this book? Well for starter, the writing did not work that well for me. It was somewhat confusing in the way that the author probably forgot to mention some details to make some other details later on make sense. And some stuff was only mention once or twice. This infuriates me. Do not include something huge in the story, and then just ignore it later on. A violation will not that easily be forgotten. And to not mention it again will just make it sham and frivolous.

I did however like the idea of the story. The hunted house, the family mystery’s, the 50 year old crimes, the island, the sickness and all that. Not so much the violations and there really should be a trigger warning on this book. Because there are some graphically described chapters from different point of views and I would have liked to be warned. But on the other hand, if I knew, it could have been a reason for me to not read it at all.

The characters are the usual ones. The great hero and the broken heroine on the way back to life. Somewhat shallow but still readable. I did like it. But if I remember correctly, I had the same writing problem with one of the other books I have read by McDonald. So even though it is a good story, I do see a pattern and maybe this is not an author for me.