Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

The Woman in Black – audiobook

Review:

The Woman In Black - Susan Hill

It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.

-first sentence

This is a dark, gothic, ghost story. The narrator, Arthur, recounts his experience at Eel Marsh house with the Woman in Black and how it changed his life forever. The story has haunted him for years and by writing it down, he hopes to be able to forget.

Arthur goes to Eel Marsh house to settle the estate of a reclusive old woman. At first, he tries to find reasonable explanations for the noises coming from the empty marsh. Then he realizes that what he hears is an echo of something that happened years before.

This is a slow moving story that gradually builds suspense and fear. The house is isolated on a marsh that can only be reached at low tide (it reminded me of The Elementals in that sense). As in that story, the isolation makes Arthur’s experience even more terrifying.

The audio is well done and I enjoyed listening. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, it is one of the shorter audiobooks I’ve listened to, but it didn’t exactly fly by. It’s a good story, but a bit on the old-fashioned side for me.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

100 Fathoms Below – audiobook

Review:

100 Fathoms Below - Nicholas Kaufmann, Steven L. Kent

Without a doubt, the most insidious dangers were the ones that hid in plain sight, camoflaging themselves inside the minds of rational men.

– first sentence

 

At 100 fathoms, sunlight no longer penetrates the ocean. This book combines the tension of being in a US submarine inside Russian borders during the cold war and being trapped in a submarine with deadly supernatural creatures.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The audio is well done and I spent most of my spare time this past weekend listening to it. The tension starts early and doesn’t let up. The worst (best) part is, the reader knows there is something creepy hiding on the sub while the crew is clueless and just thinks a couple people are sick or maybe someone is losing it.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

Revival – audiobook

Review:

Revival - Stephen King

 

In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies.

– first sentence

During the first three-quarters of this book, we get to know the characters, especially Jamie. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Reverend Jacobs is obsessed with electricity; okay, but what’s going to happen next. I enjoyed following the characters and feeling their emotions through the ups and downs of their lives, but I was hoping for something… more. Then, when the more finally came, I was surprised, to say the least. I know this book has been out for a while, but I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible so I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I had recently read a couple of reviews that claimed this was his scariest book (at least in recent years). I think I was expecting the scary to be woven throughout the book, but it wasn’t – it just hit you in the face during the final part of the book.

I don’t know how I feel about what the ending says about life and death, but I wasn’t especially scared or impressed by it. I’m giving it four stars because Stephen King has been my favorite author for more years than I can count, and because I appreciate his writing and ability to scare us in so many ways. The audio was very well done and I was anxious to see what would happen next. I listened to this every night instead of reading a print book, in addition to listening during my walks and driving time.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review

Strange Weather – audiobook

Review:

Strange Weather  - Wil Wheaton, Joe Hill, Kate Mulgrew, Stephen Lang, Dennis Boutsikaris

Snapshot

Performed by Wil Wheaton.

This story features a creepy man (The Phoenician) with a Polaroid camera that steals memories. A teenage boy stumbles across the man and becomes tangled up in his plan.

The story is told from Michael’s memories of what happened. The narration is excellent; it was fun to listen to “Wesley Crusher” perform the story. The idea of a camera that steals memories by taking pictures is frightening. Hill relates it to Alzheimer’s in the way the Phoenician takes away pieces of the older woman’s memories and gradually destroys who she is. I liked that there wasn’t a simple fix. But I kept thinking the story was over and waiting for something cool to happen, and that was a bit of a letdown. (3 stars)

Loaded

Performed by Stephen Lang

With all the gun violence in our country, this one was hard to listen to. The story follows a mall shooting and how it affects the security guard involved. I liked the reporter character who helped figure out what really happened in the mall that day. But the story was a bit too dark for me and the ending didn’t help. (2 stars)

Aloft

Performed by Dennis Boutsikaris

This is a quirky story about a guy on his first skydiving excursion who somehow lands on a sentient cloud that doesn’t want to let him go. I have an open mind and appreciate fantasy as much as the next reader, but I didn’t love this story. The main problem was I couldn’t stand the main character. (2 stars)

Rain

Performed by Kate Mulgrew

In this story, one day instead of water, it rains crystal nails that shred anyone who is left out in the open. Honeysuckle tries to find her girlfriend’s father and, in the process, finds clues leading to the cause of the deadly rain. I liked following Honeysuckle’s journey and her interactions with other survivors, but there were too many coincidences and the final conclusion seemed highly unlikely. I did enjoy the narrow scope of the story and how it focused on Honeysuckle’s journey as opposed to the effects of the overall apocalypse. I must say that I love Kate Mulgrew and will happily listen to any story she performs, so that may affect my rating. (3 ½ stars)

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Horror, Young Adult

Ten – audiobook

Review:

Ten - Gretchen McNeil

 

Minnie’s face was deathly pale.

– First sentence

This is a YA novel “inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None” (according to the Amazon page).

Ten teenagers are at a house party on an island full of summer homes in the middle of February. There is a huge storm which of course knocks out power and phone lines. As her friends start dying, Meg tries to figure out the clues left behind, all while protecting her best friend from falling apart, and hiding her secret crush.

The characters are mostly underdeveloped (some of them die rather quickly after we meet them) and basically unlikeable.  But the book is fast-paced and kept me guessing until the very end. I had my suspicions, but they were wrong, which is always fun.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Horror, Sci-Fi

Obscura – audiobook

Review:

Obscura - Joe Hart, Christina Traister

This book combines sci-fi, horror, and suspense into a gripping adventure filled with surprises. I listened to this book every chance I had and stayed up late last night to finish it. As much as I thought I knew about how it would turn out, I was still surprised.

Gillian is a neurosurgeon drafted by NASA to figure out what’s going wrong with the astronauts on the space station. Turns out Gillian wasn’t given all the details or told the entire truth about the situation. Gillian is a character with many flaws, but she is strong and never gives up. Even when it seems like all hope is lost, Gillian finds a way to keep going.

I listened to the audiobook and loved it. The narrator was amazing; I felt like I was trapped with Gillian – the fear, the claustrophobia, the doubt about who to trust. One thing that irked me a bit was the Swedish accent the narrator used for one of the characters. It was a bit like listening to Dracula as a neurosurgeon’s assistant.

This is a fabulous book. Highly recommended.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, book games, Book Review, Booklikes, Horror

The Elementals by Michael McDowell

Review:

Audience:Adult

The Elementals - Michael McDowell, R.C. Bray

The story begins with a funeral and an unusual tradition. Afterward, the Savage & McCray families escape to Beldame where there are 3 identical Victorian houses and nothing else. One house for each family and the third house which is being devoured by the sand.

I love the way the author introduces the characters and gradually gets you invested in them. He brings you into their world and the little quirks in their relationships. Then the supernatural gradually creeps up on you and bam!

I liked that the strongest characters were the oldest (the black maid/good witch) and the youngest (13-year-old girl skeptic) and the relationship that developed between them. The atmosphere is so descriptive that I felt like I was on the beach with them.

Great choice for Southern Gothic horror. Thanks to all of you who read this for previous Halloween Bingos and brought it to my attention with your amazing reviews.

 

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Sci-Fi

Invictus – audiobook

Review:

Invictus - Ryan Graudin

Audience: Young Adult

Farway is part of a crack team that travels back in time to liberate priceless artifacts before they are destroyed or lost to disaster. On an expedition to the Titanic, another time traveler (Eliot) takes the piece they were there to retrieve. Eliot says all she wants is to be part of their team, but can they trust her?

I loved this book. The characters are likable and relatable, including typical human flaws. The world-building is fantastic, both the future time and the pasts they travel to. The twist at the end is surprising, but not completely unexpected.

The narration is very well done. I never wanted to stop listening.

Recommended to: Fans of sci-fi stories with non-stop action and snarky humor.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Historical fiction, Horror

The Jekyll Revelation

Review:

The Jekyll Revelation - Robert Masello, Christopher Lane

Audience: Adult

This is a historical horror/thriller story revolving around Robert Louis Stevenson, the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Jack the Ripper. It alternates between 1880’s London and “present day” California. My favorite parts were in the 1880’s where Stevenson creates the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and deals with the consequences. The present-day story revolves around Rafe, an environmental scientist who is working to save the coyotes and stumbles across a mysterious steamer trunk.

The part with Stevenson is intriguing and suspenseful and was hard to put down. But, the present day part with Rafe is a bit tedious and took a while to get going. I kept trying to figure out how it connected with the Stevenson story but was more interested in getting back to the 1880’s. The narration is well done even though the accent irritated me a bit.

This is a brilliant premise for a story but lacks a bit in the execution. Overall I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of history and horror (as combining the two is a bit unusual).

 

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