I just realized that I have never reviewed a NoSleep production here on GR. That's going to have to change because they are doing some amaz4 1/2 Stars
I just realized that I have never reviewed a NoSleep production here on GR. That's going to have to change because they are doing some amazing work and I need to stop keeping them all to myself. I listen to a ton of podcasts but this is the one I look forward to every Sunday morning when I'm making breakfast or cleaning up someone's mess.
Borrasca is a longer story than typically found on the podcast. You can find it by checking out NoSleep S7 E25. You can also read it on reddit but I recommend you listen to the full cast audio production. It is fantastic.
“This story is about a place that dwells on the mountain; a place where bad things happen. And you may think you know about the bad things, you may decide you have it all figured out but you don’t. Because the truth is worse than monsters or men.”
When 9 year old Sam’s dad is reassigned to a new location as sheriff, for some never said wrong-doing, he packs up the family and relocates them to a sleepy little town in the Ozarks. Sam makes two new best friends who tell him all about the local legend they call “Borrasca”. Apparently, every now and again people hear screams in the woods and blame it on Borrasca. There’s also a weird treehouse that requires a certain ceremony to enter and leave . . . alive.
“Underneath the Triple Tree there is a man who waits for me and should I go or should I stay my fate’s the same either way.”
A few years later Sam’s older sister goes missing and he just knows, is absolutely certain, that she performed the ceremony incorrectly (or not at all) and hasn’t run away but has become the next victim of Borrasca. His dad, who is still the sheriff by the way, doesn’t believe him nor does he seem overly concerned that his daughter is missing. Perhaps she was just too annoying or maybe he’s hiding something . . .
More time passes, more teen girls go missing and very little is done about it by anyone except for Sam and his friend Kyle who have to do their own research. In a longer book, this likely would’ve annoyed me but that’s the joy of the short story format, there’s no time to ponder and get all worked up over plot points that seem to make no sense at all. When the secret is revealed, everything that happens prior; the strange conversations and the odd behavior of the adults, make all kinds of sense. It’s a dark, disturbing, horrible secret and not one I saw coming. This story may require a reread to catch everything said and done but I don’t know if I can bear it honestly. That ending, ewwww! ...more
Booklikes Halloween Bingo Buddy Read with my sweet buddy Rane Thursday, Sept. 29.
Thank you, my lovely friend Rane, for helping me discover this littleBooklikes Halloween Bingo Buddy Read with my sweet buddy Rane Thursday, Sept. 29.
Thank you, my lovely friend Rane, for helping me discover this little, lost gem from yesteryear. It was a joy to read today and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)
“It was the exact kind of abode that I had been looking after for weeks, for I was in that condition of mind when absolute renunciation of society was a necessity. I had become diffident of myself, and wearied of my kind. A strange unrest was in my blood; a barren dearth in my brains. Familiar objects and faces had grown distasteful to me. I wanted to be alone.”
Wow, I guess some things never change. This was written in the 1900’s and I feel like this guy has peered into my head and pulled out some of my most secret thoughts . . .
The narrator of this little tale goes on to say that this is a sign that a retreat has become needful and he packs it up, hops a train and searches out solitude, bracing air and romantic surroundings.
He finds all of the above straight-away, way out in nowhere land.
“My city-dried brains were becoming juicy.”
Looking for a place to camp, he comes across a solitary cottage at the edge of lofty cliffs and decides this is where he will rest his weary head. A widow greats him at the door and offers him lodging. The place is perfect for his needs but that night he has strange dreams that keep him tossing and turning. Hmmm, an omen, perhaps? The next morn, he meets the lady’s daughter who was sick the previous day and is still very pale. He is smitten and thinks,
“I succumbed instantly before the weird charms of my landlady’s daughter, Ariadne Burnnell.”
Who says romance is dead?
I won’t say much else because this story is so short and you may guess, seeing as the title sort of gives things away, what fate has in store for our weary traveler.
This was a lush little read busting at the seams with atmosphere and purple prose.
“The loneliness of the moor, with the singing of the ocean, had gripped my heart with wistful longing.”
I haven’t read prose like this in a very long time and it was so much fun. Sure it’s predictable, especially for someone jaded like myself, but it was also vert atmospheric and amusing in its overly dramatic prose and foolish, love-sick hero. I love a silly fool, am a sucker for them really, and this guy ranks right up there with the best of them....more
Sean Sparrow is a thief planning to rob a bank. It will be his last job, he says. He intends to retire after this nasty bit of work and live a life ofSean Sparrow is a thief planning to rob a bank. It will be his last job, he says. He intends to retire after this nasty bit of work and live a life of leisure with Tessa, the curvy bank employee. Only she doesn’t know any of this. She doesn't even know him!
Things start to get screwy the moment Sean sets his eyes upon Tessa’s luscious and virginal bod (he doesn’t ask around town, he just knows). He wants her and he cannot wait until after the heist to have her. He fully intended to woo her up after the theft because he’s a good guy and all but, alas, his dick cannot wait. They meet, 15 seconds later he declares her his forevermore and she thinks something like, “Oh my, you are the sexiest man I have ever seen, you couldn’t possibly want little ol’ meeee” and falls on for him. I think all of Alexa Riley’s heroes have a superpower that allows them to hypnotize virgins with one look from their sultry eyes. Or perhaps it’s their way with the words.
“You'll take me inside your little c*nt until I fill you with every drop of cum I have.”
So, he breeds her (his words, not mine) until he figures she’s so deeply in love with his penis, she’ll forgive him when he later robs her bank, puts her life in danger and sweeps her off her feet and away to his private little island for a life of breeding debauchery. She’s in such a sex daze that she won’t complain, right?
Still, she gets a little mad.
He apologizes and she tries to understand. But she soon realizes it’s just who he is, all controlling and sexy and stuff, and he just can’t help that.
Debauchery and breeding starts anew.
These books are full of WTFery but are so ridiculously hard to put down. I don't recommend starting one or you'll likely end up buying them all. ...more
I saw this book on Overdrive and chose it for my Halloween Bingo “Witches” square for no other reason than the title and I guess the blurb sounded vagI saw this book on Overdrive and chose it for my Halloween Bingo “Witches” square for no other reason than the title and I guess the blurb sounded vaguely interesting to me, even though the reviews weren’t great. Turns out it was a decent read if you can get past the slow as hell start, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked for me if I hadn’t listened to it as an unabridged audio. Patience is a virtue that I don’t possess and I have too many books in the tbr pile to read before I croak.
But no one cares about all that.
After a slightly confusing and slow start with a distant narrator, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith finally introduces herself and informs us that her current age is three hundred and eighty-four years. She’s apparently immortal and hiding herself away because something evil is after her. How did this happen? Well, hang in there because we’re about to find out eventually.
The book is told in journal form and skips around in time. I believe the current timeline was 2007 but my memory is crap so I’m not certain. It doesn’t really matter anyway. In the current day, she is making herbal remedies and incense and living a quiet life when a lonely teen named Tegan befriends her. Despite the fact that she never gets close to anyone for reasons, she starts to teach Tegan the ways of the hedge witch and begins sharing her life story with her. These stories, journal entries and whatnot flash us back to important parts of Elizabeth’s life.
The first flashback was my favorite. It takes place during the plague. I don’t know about you, but those dark, terrible times fascinate me. She suffers great loss and grief and I may have even almost shed a tear. It was here that she finally comes alive as a character and events happen that shape the rest of long life. The present day version of Elizabeth is muted and meh but the past version is easily relatable and I felt her pain. So, without spoiling everything, I’ll just say that she must learn her magic from an evil-doer named Gideon if she is to survive in the world. Gideon is a master of the dark arts and uses them to his advantage. He’s a rapist and a mind-wiper and an all around selfish son-of-the-devil. She’s not at all happy about things but one must survive, right? One night she spies him in the woods dancing with demons, as one will, and screwing a few for fun, and she is scandalized and horrified by the sight. I actually wanted more of the scene but much to my dismay, she runs. He wants her back because she has power. She changes her name to Bess and then later to Eliza but always keeps the Hawksmith. It might’ve been smarter to go with anything else but I’m not hiding from Satan’s minion, so what do I know? Gideon always ferrets her out and she is forced to flee yet again. This game goes on for years and years and yet more years and is still going on in the current timeline.
I thought Gideon was an interesting character. He changes shape and does repulsive things and he has no remorse. None at all. I kind of enjoyed this, probably because I read so much horror fiction, but I can also understand why most people find him disturbing. He is. My biggest fear as I went along in this book was that an awful romance was brewing between these two and it would be revealed that he had reasons for his atrocities and all would be forgiven. This didn’t happen and I couldn’t be happier. He’s just a beastly beast, there is no romance and that worked for me. This book is far more tragedy than romance.
I’d give this book a 3 ½ but it's not good enough to bump up to a 4. The ending, in the present timeline, didn’t thrill me. I found the past bits much more interesting. The narration was above decent and kept me in the story, even during the slow bits. ...more
Because the world needs one more Rebecca review . . .
A shy young lady becomes friendly with a wealthy widower old enough to be her father. When her employer decides to pick up and relocate, Maxim de Winter proposes they marry rather than lose her to her job. She doesn’t quite expect this and doesn’t quite understand his intentions at first but no worries because he makes things clear, "No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool." Soon after, I guess to seal the deal, he calls her an idiot or something like it.
Now tell me, how could a girl resist that kind of romantic proposal?
She fancies herself in love.
They marry and he whisks her away to his mansion by the sea. It’s so fancy it even has its own name, Manderley. From the moment the new Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, she is overwhelmed by its opulence and suffocating feelings of insecurity. She fears she will never be able to live up to the standards set by Rebecca, the former wife. Rebecca was beautiful, outgoing and everybody loved her. Rebecca’s presence lingers within every room of the house. Mrs. Danvers, the evil head housekeeper who adored Rebecca, makes matters just about as terrible as she can for the new wife.
I felt so bad for the new Mrs. de Winter. She was young, naïve, cripplingly shy and completely unprepared for the social aspects at Manderley. She feels inferior at every turn and who can blame her? Her husband is overbearing and dismissive and kind of a jackass, if you ask me.
Things are so bad she even compares herself to Jasper, the family dog, when her new husband finally sees fit to give her a little attention, “I was Jasper again.” My heart broke for her even as I wanted to scream at her to toughen the hell up.
Even though I thought Maxim was a terrible husband and I wished Mrs. de Winter had a stronger backbone early on, it did not take away from my enjoyment of the story. There is a feeling of dread that hangs over every crevice of Manderley and there are many ugly and juicy secrets that suited me just fine. I can see why this book has become a classic. It’s a pretty fabulous gothic and the villain is deliciously villainous!
The narrator, Anna Massey, brings the story to life and does an amazing job with all of the characters. There was never any question in my mind about who was speaking or who had just entered a room. Even as the last word was uttered, I was wishing for more and that’s not something that happens to me often. I’m the queen of “let’s get this thing done so I can move on to the next”. Now I can't wait to track down this movie!
As the title suggests, this book is all about The Jersey Devil. He with the scary goat/horse faced visage and foul breath, who haunts hapless humans oAs the title suggests, this book is all about The Jersey Devil. He with the scary goat/horse faced visage and foul breath, who haunts hapless humans out there in the Jersey Pines. After reading this story, I do believe his name suits him just fine. He is a horrible beast and the things he does made me shudder in revulsion. It takes a lot to do that to me but this book delivered in that department.
This is a crazy, gruesome monster book where the monsters are truly monsters and not some poor little misunderstood, mistreated creature who has been wronged by mankind. These things are Evil. The framework is about a family seeking out and seeking revenge on The Jersey Devil who did them a big wrong many years previous. What they find deep in the woods is far more terrifying and depraved than they ever could have expected.
Be warned, lots of people die in the most gruesome of ways, perhaps a small town’s worth of people. I do not exaggerate. Okay, maybe I do, but not in this case. The body count here is out of control and no living thing is safe, that includes animals and children too. It is a death free for all that is often pretty gross and unrelenting. I say this not to spoil your day or the book but only so you’ll guard your heart going in. This one is most definitely not for the faint of heart. Characters, oh-so-many characters, are introduced, given a little backstory and just when you start to fear for their lives and are secretly screaming at them to get the hell out of the woods right-this-second-you-dummies, they become a little snack for a hungry monster. This happens time and again which is probably one of my only complaints. Somewhere around the last third I became a little exhausted at meeting yet more new people knowing their fate was sealed up tight. It started to get a wee bit repetitive and predictable there for a bit but the end made up for it as secrets were revealed. I do love learning secrets.
I’m giving this a four because there aren’t enough truly horrific monster books out there in the world that have decent people at the core of the story and this one has both and does them most excellently. ...more
*I received an ARC from Netgalley with an unspoken promise to pen a review. Here it is.
Investigators are attempting to figure out who left a dead body*I received an ARC from Netgalley with an unspoken promise to pen a review. Here it is.
Investigators are attempting to figure out who left a dead body with a strange occult marking lying around just as an unseasonable snow storm starts moving in. This isn’t just any old winter storm either. This storm brings with it man-eating monsters!
The writer had me at flesh eating monsters but I have to admit that she lost me a bit somewhere along the way and this book started to drag. It could simply be me and my aversion to books that feature all action at the expense of character building. In my opinion, only Kathy, the occult specialist, was fleshed out well in this story. Her back story and her brother’s past were interesting but the rest of the people were nothing more than fodder for the monsters or an interchangeable mix of men trying to figure out the cultish case. That made sticking to this material a very hard thing for me to do.
I’m not going to lie though. The whole scenario she sets up here is quite terrifying. The monsters don’t pick and choose their prey. They eat every living human in their path and some of the scenes are riveting early on. You’ve been warned!
This is a well written action-packed, gory monster tale and now that I’ve finished, I completely understand the mixed reviews. It’s going to come down to a matter of what you like and what you don’t. If action is your thing you are going to love this a lot more than I did. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Never read an Alexa Riley book? Well, now's your chance to get this one FREE (at least for today 8/18/16) at Amazon US . I saw it on my Amazon wishliNever read an Alexa Riley book? Well, now's your chance to get this one FREE (at least for today 8/18/16) at Amazon US . I saw it on my Amazon wishlist this morning and thought I'd share the love, lol.
This is a lovely little confection of a book about friendship and high school loves. It does have a little angst but the main character Paul is such aThis is a lovely little confection of a book about friendship and high school loves. It does have a little angst but the main character Paul is such an effervescent fellow that it goes down easy instead of dragging the book down.
When it starts, I have to admit I found it all a little strange. Like alternate universe level of strange. There were kids meeting up, playing instruments, singing and dancing in a bookstore. A bookstore. At first I thought I had misheard and rewound. Nope, it was a bookstore that they basically used as a club.
Also, Paul’s high school and town were basically in their own little bubble where everyone was exceptionally tolerant and accepting of everyone, be they gay, straight, bi, or a cross-dressing quarterback. I found this a sweet fantasy but terribly unrealistic. My kids just finished up high school and I’m sorry to be the one to break the sad news to you but kids are still mean. And so are adults, for that matter. But kitties, well, kitties are the meanest.
Anyway, once I got past all that, I found the book a fairly realistic picture of growing up and struggling with friends and the mess and bliss that new relationships bring along with them. The story is told through Paul’s eyes and he is a joy to read. He’s upbeat and popular and has been openly gay since kindergarten. When he first sees new kid Noah, he is smitten. He is in insta-LOVE. I’ll give him a pass only because he’s still a kid and it is cute when you’re a sophomore in high school and everything is so dramatic. His intense feelings for Noah scare him and he does not want to screw it up. I’ll leave it up to you to guess what happens next because I’m not a book ruiner. At least not today.
This book is about much more than his feelings for Noah and I enjoyed that about it most. Paul is struggling with childhood friendships that are changing and evolving. Through it all he remains caring and thoughtful and I never felt the urge to spank his fictional bum. Despite the unreal feel of his town, the rest of the story seemed natural and realistic.
I listened to this book as a full cast audiobook. The actors who voiced Paul and Joanie were spot on and sounded the right age but unfortunately some of the other voices (mostly Kyle & Noah) came across as extremely stilted and forced and threw me out of the story more times than I care to recall. And although all of the mom’s in the story were voiced by different women, they all managed to sound exactly the same to me. They were super perky. Even Kyle’s not-so-thrilled mom sounded like a slightly more subdued version of the others. Ah well, at least these kids had mothers. Most of the kids in YA books seem to raise themselves because their parents died in some tragedy and I always find that unbelievable.
This is a happy little book that will leave you feeling not at all sorry that you read it. It’s not memorable enough for five stars but I’d give it at least a four, maybe even a 4.5. ...more
*I received an ARC from Netgalley with the unspoken promise I'd write a review. Here it is.
Fielding Bliss is an old man telling his story of the summe*I received an ARC from Netgalley with the unspoken promise I'd write a review. Here it is.
Fielding Bliss is an old man telling his story of the summer that changed everything. When you finish reading his story, you’ll completely understand why he’s now one of those nasty “Get off my lawn!” old guys. And you’ll also probably feel like crawling in a deep dark hole and never returning to planet earth. At the very least, you’ll likely give those old cranks a pass the next time they holler at you or your kid.
This story is cruel, it is bleak and it is beautifully descriptive and impossible to put down. You might not want to start it for your own well-being but then you will never know what you are missing.
It is the summer of 1984, a simpler time in many ways and also a just as complicated time. It’s the summer of hair spray and the beginning of AIDS and all the fears and prejudice associated with it. Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” could be the soundtrack for this one. In a little town called Breathed, Ohio the heat relentlessly blasts thirteen year old Fielding and everyone around him. When his dad, for some reason, decides to send out an invite to the Devil, well, no one is all that surprised when he actually accepts. What better circumstances for the devil to come a-calling than this brutally hellish summer?
The devil arrives in the form of a young black boy the Bliss family name Sal. Being kind folks, they take him in. Dad did invite him, after all. Sal is an old soul and makes fast friends with Fielding but soon a series of very unfortunate events occur around Sal. Prejudice, fear and heat induced madness start to take over the residents of Breathed as more terrible things occur over the tragic summer. And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot.
The descriptions in this book are a thing of pure beauty. It was truly an experience, this book. It brought me back to that time in the 80’s when I could spend all summer under a weeping willow tree reading while Corey Hart and Madonna serenaded me from an oversized boom box. The summer just before tragedy struck my family, altering it forever. This book hit a nerve in me and reading it was a bit cathartic. As painful a read as it was, I will never regret reading it.
This is one of those books that will break your heart even if you think you don’t have one and could easily leave you in a funk, so do yourself a favor and find yourself a nice, sunny spot outside and get to reading it. ...more
Set during the onset of an apocalypse in the form of a plague, The Night Parade is part road trip, part survivalist thriller, part emotional relationsSet during the onset of an apocalypse in the form of a plague, The Night Parade is part road trip, part survivalist thriller, part emotional relationship drama and, fortunately for me, all parts were good.
The plague is dubbed Wanderer’s Folly because it makes you lose your marbles before killing you. You might wander about in your undies and do such strange things like setting your house aflame or walking off a cliff before dropping dead. Yikes, I don’t know about you but those images haunted me. It was horrifying and scary and seeing as I love these types of stories, I was in it from the very beginning.
David has blood on his sleeve and is trying to outrun the plague and keep his daughter Ellie safe from an evil doctor. That’s all about all we know when the story begins. As things slowly unravel, we learn everything but it takes its sweet time getting there and I will not spoil the trip for you. The getting there is all the fun (well, fun isn’t exactly the appropriate word for this emotional and grief laden story). The book is filled is with scary people, frighteningly large bugs and lots of them, fatherly love and strange discoveries.
There is such pain and sorrow in both David and Ellie’s past and nothing but fear in their future but they manage to keep going. I enjoyed reading about them both. It’s a gripping and well-paced read that, unlike many of these types of stories, never forgets about its characters. The world may have gone to shit but humanity still survives. I recommend it highly and hope there is another book set in this world because there are a few plot points I’d like to see expanded upon. 4 ½ Stars
*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review. ...more