DON’T STAY UP LATE is definitely at the cheesier end of the Fear Street books giving you true to form monsters in all their snarling, dripping, flesh-DON’T STAY UP LATE is definitely at the cheesier end of the Fear Street books giving you true to form monsters in all their snarling, dripping, flesh-eating glory.
It’s still very much a Fear Street book. Same tone, same style reminiscent of two decades ago. In that regard, in a market that’s far more sensitive to mental illness, especially in teenagers, this one takes a rather harsh approach to a character’s potential mental issues. The first line of the book is: “My name is Lisa Brooks and I’m a twisted psycho.” It’s very jarring, that kind of approach, so it threw me a little. And the story does center around whether Lisa is hallucinating or not as a result of a minor TBI she received in an accident. While the market was very blasé about such things twenty years ago I can see how this might not be well-received today.
Lisa is kind of a hard girl to like. She comes off cold and distant and acts like a total spoiled brat. True to form for Fear Street books and luckily it’s short so you don’t need to really latch onto her as a character to get through the story but you definitely won’t feel bad for her with what she’s going through. I mean she caused the accident that killed her father but everyone’s all ‘oh no, it’s not your fault, it was driver error’ except it was driver error because the driver’s daughter flipped out in the backseat and beat his seat so she could get her phone back and caused them to spin out and wreck. But, you know, no big deal. The bigger deal is all the monsters she keeps seeing to let’s focus on that.
I never really got the impression that more people were involved in what was going on that what was originally insinuated so that part was a bit of a surprise. Plus I loved the ending because it’s just so Fear Street and ultimately what made it creepy. It’s one of those ‘it’s over . . . or is it?’ deals that had me smiling with rather sadistic glee. No surprise all of the horror focuses on a house on Fear Street because it brings all the creeps to the yard and then starts killing and eating the bodies. Stine is still unapologetic in his horror and gore. No one is safe, not everyone may be sane and despite the cheese factor it still is kind of creepy.
If it weren’t for Lisa’s ridiculous attitude problem the lack of anyone believing her about what was going on would have been troubling and disturbing and it would have made her even more unreliable as a narrator. One thing I think Stine did miss on was using all those iPhones. In a world where teenagers keep them in their pockets, Lisa could have solved her problems by taking photos of the things she saw, like what anyone else with a camera phone would do. For how often an iPhone was mentioned (a lot, and always an iPhone) no one was taking any pictures of anything so that was a suspension of disbelief that I needed to ratchet up. It felt like the technology was there to ground this Fear Street reboot in the 21st century but it wasn’t used as appropriately as it could have been so it felt a little disingenuous.
DON’T STAY UP LATE has it’s creep factor and even more of a total cheese factor but in the grander scheme of Fear Street it’s not one of my favorites. It’s a bit too cheesy for me and the reboot didn’t work as good in this one as it did in the first. It didn’t feel as real to me.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
I don’t normally review self-published books but I decided to take a chance on this one because Host came recommended by my fellow YAcks and I reallyI don’t normally review self-published books but I decided to take a chance on this one because Host came recommended by my fellow YAcks and I really liked the premise. Egypt really does hook me in to pretty much anything. Add in that it’s an alternate history or maybe alternate universe and it has vampires and the blurb really hooked it. It was bordering on too high concept for me but I wanted to give it a try anyway, see how it worked out.
I liked the voice. A rather proper, Victorian air that lent itself to bustles and top hats just without those things. Despite the fact that the tone remained the same whether I was in Rian’s POV or the children’s they still remained distinct. Rian was far more proper, or should I say stiff, with few moments of weakness that she kept firmly hidden. Except one. That one made me kind of happy. The children were children: curious and mischievous and getting themselves involved in things that could potentially ruin them all.
I also liked the idea of the world. It wasn’t clear whether this was an alternate history or alternate universe where England, Rome, and Egypt all came to be these huge world powers simultaneously with pyramids all over the place but it made for a cool place to be, as someone who likes all three, especially in the ancient perspective. Throw in the steampunk elements and it all fit together pretty nicely in a grander picture.
This was a story that dropped you right into the world with no exposition. All that you know is from the blurb and you’re off running. You get bits and pieces of information explained as the story goes on but it’s a really disorienting start. I had this issue with the first Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews, MAGIC BITES. Same thing but that one eventually leveled out and I was able to settle into it. In THE PYRAMIDS OF LONDON, though, there was so much being thrown at me all the time that it was hard to keep track of it and it didn’t allow me to really ground myself in the world. World-specific things would be introduced and sometimes they’d get an explanation, sometimes they wouldn’t and the context wouldn’t always be clear to explain who or what they were so I found myself making a lot of assumptions.
I do nearly all of my digital reading at work so throughout the day I’m doing a lot of starting and stopping so I need to be able to easily leave a story and pick it back up without being thrown all helter skelter. That didn’t happen here. Like I said before it’s pretty high concept, there’s a lot going on, and the transition between chapters left gaps. One chapter would end on a seeming cliffhanger but when the next started it picked back up somewhere else in the story. It made for some jerky reading, especially with all the stop/start I had to do. There was an index at the end but all of the explanations in my copy were cut in half and I couldn’t read any of them so I wasn’t able to place much of anything in hindsight either. The world just ended up being a muddled mess in my head by the end of it and I can’t really remember heads or tails of what went on.
Coming from that it also made the plot kind of jerky. It wasn’t so much the transition between the children and Rian but how the plot was laid out. Trying to keep track of all of the world-specific stuff that may or may not have been explained and all of the scene jumps it made me feel like I was in stop and go traffic with the story. It wasn’t very fluid and made for a much rougher read than it should have been.
The world did approach sexuality as a fluid thing which I liked but I still found it disorienting because, again, it’s not explained. There were some situations where, like with Eleri and her princess crush, where I couldn’t tell if it was being approached as more of a childhood fancy, oh the girl thinks she ‘s going to marry the princess haha, or if it was supposed to be a genuine thing. I’m leaning toward the latter because Rian ends up developing feelings for another one of the princesses and it’s approached genuinely. But then that leads me to think about how these three societies in the world I inhabit and how they approached such things and it leads me to wanting to know why and/or how it’s okay in this world. Did something change, if it’s AH? Is it just the way it is if it’s an AU? Considering Host is using real empires in this story I can’t help but ask the question of how the notion of a royal lesbian marriage would be acceptable in this world (considering homosexuality was outright illegal in Britain, and while sexuality in Rome and Egypt might have been more open marriage was strictly heterosexual). I have no problem with it being there but considering the world I’m from it does detract from the story because it leaves an explanation gap in the world (among many other things, heirs?). My brain can’t help with the questions and when I don’t get answers it knocks the book down a peg.
I really wanted to like THE PYRAMIDS OF LONDON. It seemed like a neat premise and a pretty cool idea but when I read it there’s just too much going on. The premise is drowned out in a world with too much going on, not enough explanation, and it’s just disorienting to read. I couldn’t keep my attention on any one thing because I kept being pelted with world minutiae or new characters whom I couldn’t keep track of. My brain was split in too many directions with this one. The story lacked focus. There’s a lot to actually really like here but when I feel like I have to take detailed notes while reading a book for pleasure just to keep track of what’s going on then it’s a bit too much for me.
I received a copy of this book from the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
I went into this expecting porn and I got very light romance. Not necessarily a bad thing but I did find myself having to re-read SilkWords’ informatiI went into this expecting porn and I got very light romance. Not necessarily a bad thing but I did find myself having to re-read SilkWords’ information to remember that they’re erotica AND romance. Okay, fine. Threw the book for me a little bit but once I removed the expectation of porn I adjusted fine. My digital copy was only 81 pages and the actual story pages are reduced even more since it’s a choose your own adventure and hops around, leaving out sections of the book since they’re irrelevant to the path you’ve chosen. Because of that there isn’t room for depth here. I’d be fine with it in a porn situation because at least there’s that but with romance I’m going to need a little more.
Like with the other SilkWords books I’ve read I did two read-throughs to see what came of it. The first one I focused on Ruby, who’s a rather crappy, selfish character that doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot going for her. She’s not all that great to people and while I’d totally support her when it came to not marrying that guy who was basically walking around assuming they were just going to get hitched after he wore her down enough she didn’t do a whole lot to dissuade the guy. When they kiss she talks about how good he makes her feel and how she basically swoons so when she says things to him about not wanting to get married it really made it look like she was doing it in a teasing manner. No wonder he didn’t believe her when she said it because she was still for kissing him. A lot of contradictory messages there.
I’m not too sure what I would make of the end of the particular story. Ruby and Maud end up traveling together but it’s unclear whether Ruby comes around to Maud’s sexual orientation or she’s just in it for the friendship. I have no idea. There wasn’t a lot going on and it seemed like the real story started as the story as ending so I didn’t get a ton out of it.
Maud’s story was the other one I followed and I felt hers was a little more well-rounded. In both stories Maud confesses her feelings about Ruby to Ruby and Ruby, rather nastily, brushes her off. While in Ruby’s story they end up friends again, here they end up parting ways and Maud decides to travel with the band and sees what comes of it. It also actually explores a more real beginning of a relationship between Maud and one of the women in the traveling act that roots it a little more in romance. It’s a more cohesive string that’s strung from one end of the story to another instead of a few jerky pieces fit together.
I understand that due to the length there isn’t going to be a ton of depth but that’s to say nothing of the myriad of short stories that exist where a lot is said using few words. I can handle skimming the surface when porn is involved but if we’re going to focus on the romance I need characters I can like and invest in and stories that I care about. Here it was much more about the character. It didn’t help Ruby any that a lot of her story was told away from her. It kept refocusing on the band of women while Maud’s story largely stuck to her and fleshed her out a little more. So while Ruby is this stock character that wants to get away from a dead-end marriage and only thinks of herself Maud gets history and feelings and depth compared to her friend.
Not the best romance in any regard and it’s a very light book but if I had to choose one path to take I’d say go with Maud’s. It’s a better story. Ruby just kind of sucks as a character and I can do without her.
I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
I’m a big Bob’s Burgers fan so no surprise this is making an appearance on my blog. Although it’s not totally what I was expecting.
I don’t know if itI’m a big Bob’s Burgers fan so no surprise this is making an appearance on my blog. Although it’s not totally what I was expecting.
I don’t know if it was because this was a review copy or what but the quality of the pages was fairly low, to the point where I could barely read some of the dialogue in the smaller panels. I hope this isn’t the case in the final version because it was definitely hard for me to focus on the digital comic for any extended amount of time without squinting.
The stories themselves are all pretty spot-on to the show. Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction reads exactly how you’d think one of her stories would read. Reading Linda’s letters I could definitely hear her nasally voice blaring in my head. I felt those were the most accurate to the character. And Bob’s burger trials, where he’s listing out themed names of burgers were pretty amusing. Louise’s mysteries start off with typical Louise drama and then taper off when it turns out something isn’t so crazy after all. Gene’s are my least favorite. Not surprising since he’s my least favorite character on the show. I just find him grating and his show tunes comics just got old for me.
What was common with the kids’ stories (because they were the only ones with actual stories) were that they all ended rather abruptly. I don’t notice that in the show. The comic has a lot of build up and then each story ends with a fizzle. Rather anti-climatic in that regard.
As far as the art it’s close but it’s just this side of off. I feel like I’m looking at unpolished drawings of the Belchers and their world. At first I thought the weirdness was to just get creative in the cover art pages but nope. They’re not quite right throughout and it threw me off a little.
It’s an okay comic. I think I was expecting to be a little more than what it was but I wasn’t disappointed by it. I don’t think I’m going to run out and buy it any time soon, though.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
I was so fascinated by the blurb for this book. It just sucked me in immediately. Two guys steal the identities of two SS officers and hide out in anI was so fascinated by the blurb for this book. It just sucked me in immediately. Two guys steal the identities of two SS officers and hide out in an asylum in order to save their own lives? How does that not sound interesting? While the book had its moments overall it left me less than impressed.
THE ALPHABET HOUSE is a translation. The author is Danish. Even his website is in Danish. Reading translations can be difficult because nuance can be lost. The beauty of storytelling that the original language provided can be lost when it’s translated. I feel like that’s what happened here. I ended up with a stilted, jerky story with very mechanical dialogue, characters that I just didn’t care about, and situations straight out of a spy movie that lent itself to being nonsensical and just plain unbelievable.
The story had its moments of excitement and I occasionally found myself engrossed in what I was reading but most of the time I was counting pages until the end. It wasn’t necessarily slow but I was so turned off by the writing that it was a labor to read. The dialogue was especially cringe-worthy as it felt far too set-up to be anything natural. I felt like I was watching marionettes jerking through the story. The characters didn’t feel real.
There were moments in the story where it felt like scenes paused in order for something to play out. Where the raving villain should have just gotten stabbed in the back all action ceased while he completed this one task and then when he was done the scene was allowed to continue. I kept running into that, not necessarily a missed opportunity within the story but poor storytelling. The biggest issue I had was why Bryan was chased down after his escape attempt. The malingerers were trying to keep a low profile. Sending two of the three people in that group after an unrelated dude to bring him back isn’t keeping a low profile. Not to mention as the story progresses they’re supremely invested in seeing him killed and there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it other than that’s what they’re supposed to do because they’re villains. That storyline especially felt very forced.
On top of that the characters are kind of jerky to each other. Everyone is very self-motivated and fueled by their own selfish desires but it makes for a very unlikeable cast of characters, regardless of which side of the line they’re on. Considering the malingerers found a way to communicate with each other it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility that Bryan and James could have figured something out while they were trapped but they were kept separated despite their close proximity, pushing those two apart. Bryan’s wife is just pushed along in the story and seems to be an annoyance to Bryan. His sister-in-law gets involved slightly and she’s just a pain in everyone’s ass. Petra is only concerned about her and her love interest’s neck and it’s just all so self-serving. The characters on the side of good are only united against the bullies they’ve been dealing with. It felt like if the opportunity arose backs would end up stabbed.
I was just not impressed with this book. I wanted to be. It sounded so interesting. But the way it was written, whether it’s the author or the translator I don’t know, just wasn’t appealing. The characters were crappy, the writing was stilted and uneven, and by the end of it I didn’t care what was going on. It had it’s moments but not nearly enough to redeem the book for me.
I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more