Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, A Review

This is Leigh Bardugo’s first adult fantasy book. As you may be able to imagine, I was very excited to read Ninth House, however, I must admit, that it is not a favourite of mine of Bardugo’s or of the fantasy genre in general.

This is a crime/murder- mystery with an emphasis on the occult. Alex, whose real name is Galaxy, is a recovering addict with a very intense back story. She finds herself working in Lethe House at Yale, with the job of sorta being in charge of making sure the Big Houses (Skull and Bones being one of them) behave themselves as they dabble in the arcane. The reason Alex finds herself in this position is because she has the amazing ability of seeing Grays, or ghosts.

It really is an interesting and exciting tale. I was trying to figure out if perhaps “seeing ghosts” was a metaphor for a real world problem. Alex started using drugs at age 12 to deal with the stress of her sight, which can easily be compared to a person dealing with depression, mental illness or abuse, turning to drugs at a young age to self-medicate or escape. I found myself relating somewhat to her past, but I was unable to relate to her present and current status.

I really did enjoy this book, though. At first, it was a little heavy for me but after I reached a point, it quickly became a page turner. So, I want to recommend it, but I do want to point out that there ARE some triggering parts to it concerning her past that deal with sexual assault. So, BE WARNED. But, I wound up really loving the ending. And I think I may have to read the next book in the series!

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

Carrie by Stephen King, A Review

This. This is where it starts. And what an incredible start to a continuously outstanding career. The arrangement of the story is unique in a way that makes it move swiftly and keeps the reader interested. Stephen King’s debut novel became an immediate hit not just because it was a distinctive story but because it was just THAT good.

The character of Carrie seems so real. I feel like I knew several versions of Carrie throughout my time in middle school and high school. This story creates a fear in the reader not just because of the fantastical occurrences around Carrie, but how easy it is to believe in the dreadful mistreatment she suffers at the hands of her peers. All of us have either been on the giving or recieving end of high school bullying, which is why this story is really not that farfetched (besides the telekinetic activity, which, perhaps, some do believe in.)

I feel like I’ve really gotten to know Stephen King on a different level this year. And the reoccurring theme that I find in his work that I’ve read is the truth to the human cruelty. And that is what terrifies me the most in his novels. I can really believe that without a doubt, humans are capable of malicious harm, and if it can happen, Stephen King can imagine it. And, I tell you what. I will leave these realistic and horrific circumstances to the master himself and I will also, very willingly, leave it in his books because I do not want to ever experience any of the things he’s imagined.

I highly recommend any book by Stephen King. He will find a way to crawl under your skin and mesmerize you while terrifying you!

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, A Review

My last Halloween read! I’ve never seen the movie, but of course I’ve seen some classic scenes that are played. And, yeah.. honestly it always seemed really gross (projectile vomiting, you know) so I was really surprised that the book actually was exactly that disturbing.

To give you a little background, the author, William Peter Blatty, also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which he did win an Academy award for. The book was published in 1971 and the movie came out in 1973. My mom was 16 at this time and she actually had to sneak out with friends to see this movie. Honestly, I am surprised that this movie would even be in the theaters of the small mountain town of Harlen, Kentucky. By the way, mom claims she couldn’t sleep for a week after this and that’s not surprising to me, because my mom had never in her life seen anything like that before.

Now about the book, I thought it was creepy in a demented way. In a… I didn’t want to know that… way. I am pretty sure that this was the first book that genuinely just grossed me out so completely. It’s not just the vomiting, it’s the whole idea of satanism and demons, especially the Black Mass that was described. I am not Religious, what I mean is that I follow no religion, however I do have my own spiritual beliefs which I’m very private about. But just because I’m not Catholic, did not make the desecration of holy places and objects any less disturbing.

The story follows a single mom, Chris, who happens to be a movie star. Her Daughter Regan is homeschooled by Chris’ assistant Sharon. The mother also has two other helpers, Wilie and Karl, a husband and wife from Sweden. When the drama with Regan starts, the Starlets director Dennings, is killed near her home and is killed in a way to suggest that a follower of the Satanic cult might be to blame. After this, everything gets worse… and really gross. And my main thought was how the secretary and assistants living with Chris really deserved a raise for everything they went through and did to help.

I did not expect the ending. There were some parts to the ending that I did expect but one of the outcomes completely threw me off. Which is good, I like being surprised.

I do not know if I can recommend this book or not. If you have a queasy stomach, it’s not for you! Dont even watch the movie… LET IT GO! However, if your interested in this area of the occult, then I do recommend it… just dont come trick or treating at my house!

Thanks for reading my review and Happy Reading!!

Misery by Stephen King, A Review

First of all, I want to point out that this book was published in 1989, and the terminology used to discuss mental illness is therefore dated. However, even with the almost 30 year gap between then and now, with the support of doctors in this field, King really does a splendid job of describing severe psychosis.

This book follows the bestselling author Paul Sheldon as he attempts to drive out of Colorado during a major snowstorm while drinking. Not a good combination! Perhaps this can serve as a warning for drinking and driving! He wrecks his Camaro and is found by the very strong and solid Annie Wilkes. And Annie Wilkes is his number one fan.

Paul Sheldon is most famous for his romance novels about the beautiful and bubble headed Misery. However, he thought he was finished with this character he has come to loathe by killing her in the final book that had just been published. Let’s just say that Annie, his number one fan and a verified psychopath, has other plans.

The scariest part of this story was how I would think I knew how insane Annie was but then she would get crazier and surprise me. This book is definitely not the way anyone should view mental illness, however I cannot disregard how realistic Annie’s insanity was for a worst case scenario. King makes an interesting point that really sent shivers down my spine. He pointed out that a person with depression will kill themselves, however, a person like Annie will not only kill themselves but take others with them. It was that thought that really scared me.

As the book continues, Annie Wilkes becomes increasingly unstable and Paul begins feeling more and more like an exotic animal that is now caged. A caged animal that will never see their beautiful homeland again.

As usual, Kings ending to this intense thriller packs a punch. I really did not know how things were going to turn out. This is a fairly quick read for a Stephen King novel, so its perfect if your looking for something for Halloween week. I highly recommend this book, not just for Halloween scares, but its just a great story that I really enjoyed (Although, yes, I was totally freaked out the whole time, lol).

Thanks for reading my review and HAPPY READING!!!

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, A Review

Joe Hill’s collection of short stories range from disturbing, to clever, to the slightly romantic. There are 15 stories (16 if you include the story hidden in the acknowledgments). There is one story that is barely 2 pages long, (which was one of my favorites) some that are around 20 pages and the last story in the book is about 50 pages. In other words, there is variety here. And it ranges from the grisly for hardcore horror fans to the delicate for those who *may* have more refined taste.

Something that equally was enjoyable for me and irritating was how Hill would just end some stories. They would end suddenly, leaving me wondering what happened in the final act. In some, most really, this created a strange dissonance for me and my feelings for simply wondering what happened. It really created a fear in the unknown.

Two of the stories really stood out to me. The last, Voluntary Committal, and the third, Pop Art. Pop Art made me feel sentimental about the plight of youth, especially young boys and the way children interact. It was about a young boy that was basically a balloon, an inflated body of plastic and elastic. And a strange friendship between him and a boy that thought of himself as the tough kid but it turned out he really needed this friendship. This was not a scary story, not in the general sense of what counts as scary. Rather it was a unique way to look at the way we treat those with differences in this harsh world. I loved it.

Voluntary Committal was the longest story and also the most intriguing. Another look at youth centered around male siblings and a friend that is not entirely wanted. This story was very creepy. Hill has a way of taking a child’s game and turning it into something real… with real consequences. And that is scary, to me at least. It’s also incredibly insightful and clever.

I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a variety of spooky stories. Also if you want to get to know Joe Hill. I feel like some of these stories really reflect some of his other work, particularly NOS4A2.

Thanks for reading my review and Happy Reading!!!

Bag of Bones by Stephen King,  A Review

Another great Halloween read! This book was so creepy that as I lay in bed at night reading, I was seriously scared of being grabbed by some kind of skeletal hand and dragged to the floor.  I rarely get that scared by anything.

This is a combination of stories, told from the point of view of a bestselling author. After his wife suddenly dies, Mike Noonan spends the next 4 years suffering from panic attacks that put a halt to his ability to write. To try and combat the panic and writer’s block, Mike moves back to his lake house named Sarah Laughs in the TR. A town so small that it doesn’t even have a proper name. And yes, all of this takes place in Maine.

Mike gets caught up in the lives of 3 women, but only one of them is alive. Mike meets the young and beautiful Mattie after rescuing her 3 year old daughter, Kyra. He also realizes when he settles in his lake house, that Sarah Laughs is haunted, not just by Jo, his wife, but by the enigmatic singer Sarah herself. I’ll just say that this is a world of trouble and it is all somehow connected.

“At night your thoughts have an unpleasant way of slipping their collars and running free.”

– Stephen King,  Bag of Bones

This is a haunting tale of small town politics and what happens when someone, or something, tries to take control of a place’s mass mind. A town caught in the oppressive heat of summer, and perhaps driven mad by control and money, not to mention other possibilities.

A great spooky read and what is now one of my favorites by Stephen King. I highly recommend this, just be sure to leave your lights on!

Thanks for reading my review!

Happy Reading!!

A Review on NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

“Already though, she understood the difference between being a child and being an adult. The difference is when someone says he can keep the bad things away, a child believes him.”

-Joe Hill, NOS4A2

A fun ride through the “inverse” of Vic, the Brat’s, imagination. Yes, it is quite disturbing and I feel very lucky that I survived my childhood without a trip to Christmasland with Charlie Manx.

Vic grows up with imperfect parents and at a young age she figures out a way to go “finding”. She jumps on her oversized Raleigh bicycle and takes her first trip through the Shorter Way covered bridge. This bridge that was recently destroyed, now only exists in her imagination and she rides through her “inverse” to the exact site of the missing object she is looking for, even if it is hundreds of miles away.

Over the years, Vic learns that she is not the only one that can travel the inverse. She finds a spunky librarian that learns secrets from scrabble tiles who reveals to her the story of The Wraith. The Wraith is the vehicle, a Rolls Royce, of Charlie Manx who abducts children and parents to go to Christmasland. And trust me, no matter how much you like Christmas, you do not want to go to Christmasland!

This is a very creepy story and it’s only made creepier by the freaky illustrations scattered throughout the pages. I will admit I had fun reading it! It was a definite page-turning adventure.

I highly recommend this for a creepy Halloween read and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading my review! And Happy Reading!!