Okay, let me first start out by saying that I am fairly new to the "horror" genre. I've only read about six or seven horror novels in my lifetime and...moreOkay, let me first start out by saying that I am fairly new to the "horror" genre. I've only read about six or seven horror novels in my lifetime and those were all within a year (2008-2009 year, in fact). There were some that I didn't find scary at all (yes, Amityville Horror, I'm glaring at you), but the majority of them I thought were great.
Alexandra's Sokoloff's "The Harrowing" (her first novel) was one of the great ones. I thought it was incredibly creepy and frankly, it scared the crap out of me. So, of course, I was excited to pick up her second novel "The Price" (which I picked up today). I love that her novels are quick reads (man, do they keep you turning the pages!); the author seems to understand that to tell a great horror story, you don't have to have a 1000+ page novel (yes, Stephen King's "IT"; that one's for you).
Anyway, at first, I was a little disappointed because while the first 50 pages were interesting, it really didn't spell out "horror" for me. That notion was changed pretty quickly while I delved in deeper into the story. While I do think that "The Harrowing" was scarier than "The Price", I definitely liked "The Price" better. It keeps you turning pages faster than "The Harrowing" (I finished that one in two days, but finished "The Price" in about four hours). I think it's more of a suspense novel, if anything. Don't get me wrong, it's still plenty creepy (you'll think so too once you read a certain "nun scene". Dude, nuns are already creepy to begin with, but this just made me that much more terrified of them), but the "creepy" factor was not what kept me turning pages.
What did keep me turning pages was the whole mystery of what exactly was happening in the hospital. Throughout most of this story I was thinking "What the hell is going on?!!!" I also kept reading because I was intrigued by the main character (moreso than "The Harrowing" since a couple of the characters in that one annoyed me to no end). While you are on Will's (the main character) side the entire time, you can't help, but wonder if he's going mad or if what's happening is real. It's that whole "What the hell is going on?!!!" thing all over again. The novel also raises an interesting question, "How far will you go to save a loved one?" The humanity factor is what made me like "The Price" more than "The Harrowing".
So, definitely pick up "The Price" (and "The Harrowing", too). It was creepy, heart-breaking, and suspenseful all in one. Alexandra Sokoloff is also coming out with another book in May. And for me, May cannot come fast enough. (less)
The Girl Next Door is one of the hardest books to rate. Yes, it's an incredibly well-written novel and amazing novel, but at the same time, it's utter...moreThe Girl Next Door is one of the hardest books to rate. Yes, it's an incredibly well-written novel and amazing novel, but at the same time, it's utterly terrible. I've read a few horror books and none of the others horrified me like The Girl Next Door did.
I saw The Girl Next Door movie about two years ago, so I already had an idea about how hard it would be to read this book. Immediately, you start to sympathize with Meg. And when the abuse starts, you flinch and think "Oh my God, this is terrible", and yet you feel a sense of relief as you think "Well, now things can't possibly get any worse for her", but it does.
Reading this book, I felt like a voyeur. Seeing these things happen to this little girl and being powerless to stop it is one of the worse feelings ever. Sure, I was thinking, "It's just a book, calm down", but this novel is based on a true story so it just makes those feelings of contempt to the people doing this to Meg get stronger. Even though, you dislike everything that's happening in the book, it's like a trainwreck you can't look away.
This book is an eye-opener to just how evil the human spirit can be. Even the most normal-looking family has the potential to inflict a serious amount of pain to a fellow human being. That thought in mind made this book that much harder to finish. Yet I did, but cried through those last 100 pages as Meg's abuse got worse and worse.
The Girl Next Door is not for the faint of heart. It's an amazing, yet terrible book. While I don't regret reading it, I'm not exactly thrilled that I did. (less)
I bought The Exorcist early this year for fifty cents at a friends of the library sale. I picked it up with the sole intention to read it for the mont...moreI bought The Exorcist early this year for fifty cents at a friends of the library sale. I picked it up with the sole intention to read it for the month of October. And the book did not disappoint.
I had first seen the movie version of The Exorcist when I was twelve years old. I know the exact age I was because when I saw the movie, what scared me the most was that this terrible thing happened to a girl of my age. Anyway, needless to say the movie absolutely terrified me. It didn't make me run from the room, screaming (like The Amityville Horror did, but I was eight when my family tried to get me to see that one and once I heard the creepy song and saw the sort-of pumpkin shaped house with it's creepy eyes/windows, I just ran from the room), but that was mostly because I was too scared to move. This movie traumatized me so much that I became scared that I was going to get possessed and would sometimes think that my bed was shaking at night (over-active imagination much?) Ever since then, I feared anything to do with possession. That didn't stop me from watching horror movies about it, though.
With this deep-ingrained fear, I still picked up The Exorcist four days ago. You see, I thought I was over my fear and felt that I could brave reading it. And I could. As long as it was bright as hell outside and it was in a campus full of other relaxation deprived co-eds. I absolutely refused to pick it up when it was dark out. And I did try. But then I started thinking about the movie and how the really truly scary parts hadn't come up yet and did I really want it to come up when everyone in the house was asleep and yet I was awake and prone to prowling the house at all hours of the night? The answer to that was a definitive no.
So, the actual novel, terrifying. Granted, I thought it wasn't as terrifying as the movie, but that's just because I'm a visual person. One part of the book that had me getting goosebumps on my arms was the part where the demon yells "Merrin" automatically knowing that he's there. I did have a deeper connection to the characters while reading the book, though, as opposed to watching the movie. I felt myself caring for Father Karras and Chris and especially Reagan. I was a little disappointed that you really didn't get to know anything about Father Merrin. I knew this in the movie, but assumed that the book would have a bit of a backstory on him. So, that was the one teeny-tiny, miniscule thing that I was bothered by.
Anyway, if you're a huge fan of the movie, I would definitely suggest that you pick up The Exorcist. It's well worth the read and it is deeply disturbing. I'm disturbed just thinking about it again. I don't think I'll be prowling tonight. (less)
Misery is only the second Stephen King book I've read with The Stand being the first. So I'm one of his new fans. I've had reservations about picking...moreMisery is only the second Stephen King book I've read with The Stand being the first. So I'm one of his new fans. I've had reservations about picking up his books before because I didn't think that I would really like horror stories (even though I absolutely love horror movies). So this year, as I started venturing a bit into the horror drama, I picked up a stack of his books on ebay. And since then have bought every single book I've seen in of his in used bookstores and library sales.
While I was reading Misery, a lot of my family members said that I should just pick up the movie because it was so great. I've never really seen the movie version of Misery. I've seen like bits and pieces of it (the leg scene in particular), but not the whole thing. So, I liked the fact that while I was reading this, I had no idea what was going to happen, just that it would be gruesome (again because of the leg scene in the movie). The book was one hell of a ride. I find stories like this much more terrifying than the supernatural ones (though those scare the hell out of me, also) because crap like this can actually happen. I'm sure there are quite a few Annie Wilkes out there in this world, which is probably not a thought I should be dwelling on seeing as how it's 2 in the morning and everyone else in my house is asleep which is when, let's face it, most disturbing thoughts take place.
I thought that King's character development was really great in Misery, although there are only two central characters in the novel, so that could have something to do with it. Annie Wilkes in particular was very well written. At first, I found myself feeling a bit sorry for her (feeling sorry for the psychopath? I know...), but as the novel progressed, my sympathy waned and I kept reading with disgust (and fascination, I'll admit it) at what she was doing to this man. It came to the point where I didn't really want to turn the page because I didn't want to see what else she was going to do. The book is pretty gory. I found myself covering my eyes while reading these parts even though the logical part of my brain was screaming at me "Alisha, it's a book, not a movie! You can close your eyes all you want, it's really not going to do a damn thing!" So, I was way into this book.
I have much love for Misery. Sure, it disgusted me, terrified me, made me question my own sanity at one point, but it was entertaining. I recommend that everyone who loved the movie pick it up (unless of course, you're not that into gore. Even though, that may not even factor in considering I don't watch those torture porn horror movies, and I didn't find the gore in Misery over the top) and hopefully feel the intensity I felt reading it.
I just finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and have been wavering between giving it three stars or four stars. I ended up giving it four stars (eve...moreI just finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and have been wavering between giving it three stars or four stars. I ended up giving it four stars (even though in reality this book was more of a three and a half star book for me) because I felt that the good outweighed the bad.
What absolutely made the book for me was the character of Trisha McFarland. If you don't care about the main character and what they are going through, then there's no way you're going to enjoy a book. As I was reading this, I found myself apprehensive about Trisha's fate. So much that I kept thinking, "If she doesn't make it, I'm going to be severely pissed off." I was enthralled as I was reading about her deteriorating mental state and kept thinking how terrified I would be if I were in her situation at my current age, let alone at her age (I've always avoided going into the woods and this book really just pinpoints why). Stephen King excelled in making Trisha a character that just rings true.
Even though throughout most of this book, I was feverishly turning the pages, there were some parts that lagged for me and because this was a relatively short book, the lagging parts were way more obvious. Another thing that bothered me was the inclusion of the beast. I think I would've liked the book more if the beast were just a figment of Trisha's imagination, just one of her hallucinations or if he just been representing an Angel of Death in her imagination.
Anyway, even though the book had some shortcomings, I thought it was extremely good. I just found it heartwarming how Trisha would picture her favorite baseball player to try to get her through the tough time of being lost in the forest. I thought it was all very sweet. I've only read three Stephen King books so far and this one wasn't my favorite or my second favorite. But still, it was pretty damn good.(less)
I didn't find Rosemary's Baby scary or creepy at all. That's surprising to me considering that I find books about possession/the Devil scary as all ge...moreI didn't find Rosemary's Baby scary or creepy at all. That's surprising to me considering that I find books about possession/the Devil scary as all get out. But I read Rosemary's Baby in a few hours at night and I'm fine. I don't even think it'll creep up on me before I go to bed. Normally, if a horror book is advertised with the words "Sheer Terror" on it yet fails to terrorize me even a little bit, it usually gets one star or if I'm feeling a bit generous, two stars. However, I gave Rosemary's Baby three stars. That's because I'm sure I would have found it a bit scary (but still not much) if I went into this book blind.
I saw the film version of Rosemary's Baby years ago when I was a kid. I still remembered the gist of it while reading this book especially the ending. The book banks a lot on the confusion that the protagonist is feeling and the reader is supposed to feel that confusion yet sense of normalcy underlying it. You're supposed to be right there with Rosemary unraveling everything that's going on. If you already know what's happening, then there isn't much of a thrill going on while you're reading it. If I had never seen the film version of Rosemary's Baby, I'm sure I would've been completely and totally lost with Rosemary while reading this book. That's really the way I would've preferred it.
I also gave Rosemary's Baby three stars because it was an extremely quick read. I couldn't have stopped reading even if I wanted to. Also, I found that while I didn't form any deep connection to the characters, I loathed Rosemary's husband with every fiber of my being. Everytime I read one word about him, I had this undeniable urge to shoot the book across the room. I HATED him. So, I did have some passionate feelings toward the book (whether or not they're favorable doesn't really matter) and that's way better than feeling "meh" about it.
If you've never seen the film Rosemary's Baby and virtually know nothing about it except the fact that Roman Polanski directed it and Mia Farrow starred in it, then by all means pick up the book. If you're a huge fan of the film, again, go ahead and immerse yourself in the story, especially since I've heard that the film remains pretty faithful to the book (I don't remember much about the film except the end and the overall plot of it). If you don't fall into either one of these categories, then I bid you to tread with caution. You might not get the same thrill that most people in the 60s did while reading the book because you already know what's coming.(less)
This book SO would've scored a four if the main character hadn't been so damn hypocritical and annoying. She was a complete and total cliche. You know...moreThis book SO would've scored a four if the main character hadn't been so damn hypocritical and annoying. She was a complete and total cliche. You know, one of those "I don't care what you think of me" chicks that end up doing stupid things that just prove "Yeah you do care what people think, you flaming hypocrite!"? Well, Alexis was that in a nutshell. She was just SO cool with her pink hair and her anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. No, seriously, it's like they tried too hard to make her seem "hip" and "edgy" while being effortlessly cool. "A rebel without a cause." No. Just a bitch. One line in particular that just killed me. "Just say something real. Everyone tries so hard, and it all comes out the same. I just want someone to say something real." Seriously? Because the only REAL person in high school is you, Alexis. Everyone else is just fake, fake, fake. I like Kasey (yes, psycho/schizo, demon-possessed Kasey) more than I liked Alexis. Arrgh! She was so infuriating. Sigh. Now that I got that off my chest...
Bad Girls Don't Die had some seriously creepy moments. Like "chill up your spine while goosebumps are all over your body" creepy. Very effective. Sure, the whole the doll possessing thing has been done a little to death, but it was done particularly well here (not like in Dismantled: A Novel where I was rolling my eyes at the implausibility of the plot). I could actually see it happening. Dolls are just utterly creepy. It doesn't really matter how cute they are. They're evil, man. So, definitely good on the creepy (but not too creepy for all you semi-scaredy cats out there).
I loved Kasey. I just thought she was so adorable. I wanted more of her and her relationship with Alexis. The relationship should've been expanded on. In fact, the only time I was finding Alexis even mildly likeable was when she was with Kasey. Kasey definitely has main character potential. As it is the norm now for authors to release a book with the same plot and characters, but have a complete OTHER character narrate the exact same story, Alender should totally do this with Kasey. I would love to read this through her eyes. It'd be even more bizarre.
The romance between Alexis and Carter was completely and totally useless. I usually find romance useless in young-adult books anyway (unless your Sarah Dessen, that is or an actual romance book), but this was like really useless. Carter served absolutely no purpose in the plot. He was just there so that there could be a romance because every young-adult book needs romance, right? Wrong. It just came out stilted and forced.
Anyway, so as a whole, Bad Girls Don't Die was a pretty good book. I stand by what I said before. Had Alexis been a little more likeable, I would've overlooked the flaws and given this book a high four (or even a five), but her blatant unlikeability killed it for me (well not really but it did cause some major eye rolling by yours truly). Bad Girls Don't Die was truly creepy and an all around solid Halloweenish read. It did have some awkward and clunky moments (little discrepancies), but it is a debut novel, so that's to be expected. While it wasn't my fave, I am sort of looking forward to the next installment of this series. But seriously, does EVERYTHING have to be a series? This was a solid one book only novel. Why not start fresh with a new idea? How on Earth will a sequel work when there's no route to one? I'm not a big fan of the "Man, this book was an unexpected success! Let me see if I can milk it a little more!" type of spur of the moment series. Still, I'll read it. Um, yeah Bad Girls Don't Die? Recommended.(less)
I've been wavering between three or four stars with The Unseen. I've read Alexandra Sokoloff's previous work. I thought The Harrowing was great and I...moreI've been wavering between three or four stars with The Unseen. I've read Alexandra Sokoloff's previous work. I thought The Harrowing was great and I absolutely loved The Price. But something about The Unseen made it not as captivating as the other two.
I love haunted house stories. Always have. There's just so much build up in them and most of the time, it delivers. That was one of my problems with The Unseen. Firstly, it took a long while for anything remotely creepy to happen. Usually I don't mind it since it sets the mood up earlier. But this didn't happen. While it took about a hundred pages for anything to get going, I felt that while the author was building up the characters, the mood just wasn't being set up. There was no eerie sense of foreboding in the first hundred pages.
But when things start to get going, they really got going. The last hundred pages were very intense, though, it wasn't exactly creepy nor scary. Just a bit thrilling. The premise was very intriguing, though. And while I wasn't particularly scared, I was interested enough to keep reading the book. It just fell a little bit flat to me. I would recommend her other books, The Harrowing and The Price, slightly more than this one.(less)