Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Review Time! - As I Descended by Robin Talley











Title: As I Descended

Author: Robin Talley


Genre: YA, Ghost Story, Horror, LGBTQ+ (F/F and M/M)

Release Date: 6th September 2016

Amazon: UK - USA










A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

A young adult re-telling of Macbeth. In a boarding school. With LGBTQ+ protagonists. Hell yes!

I sooo wanted to read this - so much so that when my request to receive an eArc was declined on Edelweiss, I marched myself straight over the NetGalley to see if it was listed there.

And on NetGalley I was approved!!!!!!! XD XD

Happy book nerd all around!!!!!!!





Premise:

Lily wants her girlfriend to come to the same college as her after they graduate.

Maria deserves the best, and the Cawdor Kingsley prize would mean the scholarship of her choice. It would be perfect.

The thing standing in their way? Queen bee Delilah Dufrey.

It wasn't meant to go down like this. But after that night with the Ouija board, nothing goes to plan.

They wanted Delilah out of the way, and they just might get it.





Best bits:

Let's just take a moment to appreciate the diversity in this book:

The central relationship is between two girlfriends, one of which is Latina, and the other of which is disabled.

The two main supporting characters are boyfriends Mateo (another Latinx character) and Brandon.

None of this feels forced, and none of the characters feel 2-dimensional.

As well as being diverse, it is a damn good horror/ghost story.

With enough nods to the original Macbeth to keep the bard lovers reading, Talley weaves a story full of creepy tension and layers of meaning.









Because there is some deep sh** going on beneath the surface here - themes of ambition, insecurity, and hypocrisy all feature.

And Talley doesn't shy away from the issues either.

Her characters face the sting of homophobia in a variety of forms, and the irritation of being the only people of colour (PoC) in the school and therefore used by the establishment as proof that the school has left its racist roots behind.

The achievements of Lily and Mateo are often put down to 'affirmative action' - despite how hard they work, they can never get full credit for what they've done; and this, understandably, makes Lily in particular pretty damned angry.

The way Talley deals with these issues is truly skilful. She neither belittles them, nor makes them the central point of the book. They are an aspect of a complex plot filled with complex characters.

Honestly, there's so many excellent points that I could make about this book that I couldn't possibly get to them all. You'll have to read it to find out ;)





Not so great bits:

Personally, I would've loved an expansion on some parts of this book.

What is up with minor characters Austin and Felicia, who clearly know a hell of lot more than they should? Why is the dining room such a focal point for the spirits? Is the woman really La Llorona, like Mateo thinks? I NEED MORE!

It would've also been a plus to up the exploration of the Brandon/Mateo and Lily/Maria relationships.

I felt like there was so much more space for development there, and was left slightly unsatisfied when this aspect didn't fulfil its potential.

I also found the ending slightly underwhelming. There was nothing wrong with it - I just felt like it needed more POW!









('POW!' is now officially a technical term. I've decided.)

There're some issues in this book that people may have trouble with, including (but not limited to,) - death, ghosts, homophobia, self-harm, suicide, drugs, and a disturbing lack of interest by the authorities in what is happening at this school.

I didn't notice any swearing, but the odd word might've snuck in there.

There's a lot of violence, blood, gore, and references to the sexy times.

If you don't like ghosts or horror, then maybe try a different book. ;)








Verdict:


Well-written diverse YA horror with complex themes and characters!!!!!!!!

Book, will you marry me? ;)






Update 27th Jan 2017 - In the interest of fairness and openness, here is a Goodreads review from a reviewer who had a lot of problems with the representation of various people in this book.







Buy Now UKBuy Now USAGoodreadsAuthor's Site








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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Month In Review(s) - August 2016

August. Ahhhh, August.





(I can't resist a happy-dog-in-sunglasses pic!)




August was actually a pretty good month for me.

Despite how difficult my anxiety made it, I came out as sexually fluid; and that felt great ;)






Blog-wise, less impressive stats than last month. But they were still pretty damn good :)

Over 4k page-views this month, reaching over 25k page-views over-all!!!!!!!!!!! XD I mean - wow! 25k!!!!!! XD XD

(Actually I've now reached over 26k, but 25 is such a round and shiny number, lol!)

And I now have over 950 followers on Twitter.

Things've stagnated a little on BlogLovin' - but still trotting along with a handful of new followers this month :)



And shameless plug time!

The Bookish Diversity Link List 2016 is up and running.

Be sure to check it out, and let me know if you find anything I can add! (It's easier when people help me, lol.)




Kids




The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon - contemporary, magic realism





Young Adult



Switched by Amanda Hocking - fantasy, paranormal* (*ish)





Adult









Graphic Novels




Limbo, Volume 1 - fantasy*, horror*, crime* (*ish)
Kilala Disney Princess, Vol 1 - young adult, fantasy, manga, fairy tale, media tie-in






Monday, 15 August 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Limbo, Volume 1








Title: Limbo, Vol 1

Author: Dan Watters

Artist: Caspar Wijngaard

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy*, Crime*, Horror* (*ish)

Series: Limbo (#1-6)

Amazon: UK - USA





A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This graphic novel sees itself as 'neon-noir' and, well... I just had to find out more!






Premise:

Clay is a private detective. He also can't remember who the hell he actually is.

And, between the femme fatale, the crime-lord, the craziness of Dedande City, and his voodoo priestess room-mate, Clay's going to have a rough couple of days...





Best bits:

This book has a style all its own.

The visuals are really something (and yes, neon-noir is a great way of describing it - think MTV meets Stephen King,) and the whole layers-of-plot, layers-of-being thing? Wow.

Yes, my dearest nerdlets, this gets a bit metaphysical/existentialist. But that's ok.

It's nice to have something with layers of meaning - you gotta love stuff that makes you think.









And it's not pretentious, and does a fair amount of random sh**, just to keep it all interesting! ;)

But back to the visuals - what we have here is the bold touch of monochrome mixed with Las Vegas neons.

I know - it doesn't sound like it makes sense, much less that it should work. It sounds like the epitome of a chocolate teapot.

But it works. Somehow. Someway. It works.

I also like the mix of cultural elements going on here - all of the technology is stuck firmly in the 1980s; I'm talking VHS and cassette tapes, landline phones, y'know - pre-Internet.

Combined with this we have elements of a voodoo-based mythology, and elements of a Day of the Dead style mythology, with a smidge of some other stuff for good luck.

The plot is... well it's certainly unique! Again, I actually really liked the whole layers-upon-layers deal-y going on - levels of meaning and all that jazz!






Not so great bits:

Honesty time - for some people, all of the trippy visuals and bizarre goings-on is going to be just too 'out-there.'

(I wish those people well, but know that I will never be one of them!)

There's also a butt-tonne of swearing, loads of gore/violence, and the odd 'adult' reference. So, y'know, I've done my duty and told you nice folks - up to you what you do with the info.

I did find a little... out of control? loose? - at times. There was just a touch of the sense that the tangles of the plot might be getting out of hand at times.









Largely, with a plot so far-out as this, that isn't much of a problem, though.
(Certainly, if I'd attempted this, it would have devolved into chaos pretty damn quick!)

I also felt like we maybe weren't getting the depth of character required?

Now, I know there was hints of a lot of backstory. But we were left with very little idea of what the backstory was by the end, which, along with the lack of all that much character development, left that side of things a little under-done.

Still, there's the potential for that to improve in future instalments, so s'all good :)





Verdict:

This is... well, there's no two ways about it: this is impressive.

It's ambitious, unique, highly stylised... and I can't wait to read more!




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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Month in Review(s) - June 2016

We're half-way through the year folks! Which is kind of rocking, really, because it means we're that much closer to Christmas.

(I love Christmas!)





Anyway, back to the summer-ish-ness of June, and I can honestly say I read a little bit of everything this month.










Plus it was a pretty fab month blog-wise: I reached over 750 Twitter followers, over 15k blog page-views (ARGH!!!!!) and over 30 Bloglovin followers.




AND JUNO DAWSON LIKED MY TWEET!!!!!!

(I'm a massive Juno Dawson fan - so this was kind of a fantabulously big deal to me.)






So catch up on all my reviews this month with this handy link-list (and I've added cover images, because I spoil you.)




Kids










Young Adult







These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly - Historical Fiction, Crime







Adult







Life Blood by V M Black - Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, Novella
Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Contemporary, Chick Lit, Magic Realism, Romance* (*ish)






Graphic Novels






Codename Baboushka, Vol: The Conclave of Death - Spy, Gangster, Thriller, Crime
Klaw, The First Cycle - Young Adult, Fantasy, Superhero*, Paranormal* (*ish - there are shifters of various types and somewhat of a superhero origin story.)




Saturday, 4 June 2016

Review Time! - Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Title: Say Her Name

Author: Juno Dawson (James Dawson)

Genre: YA, Horror, Ghost Story

Amazon: UK - USA





A few starting notes:


I read Hollow Pike (UK - US) by Juno Dawson ages ago because a paperback copy in my local library had purple-edged pages.

So I picked it up because, y'know, I'm easily amused/attracted by pretty colours. Lucky for me, that book rocked.

So, since then, I've wanted to read the rest of Dawson's books - and I eventually got around to this one! (Again, lucky for me!)





Premise:


People fool around with it all around the world - say 'Bloody Mary,' five times, in front of a mirror, at midnight, by candlelight.

Then her ghost is meant to show up... apparently.

People do it all the time. Nothing ever happens... right?

So, when Bobbie and her friends agree to it as a dare, nothing will come of it... right?

Or so they think. But time's running out.

In five days, she will come.





Best bits:


I loved this book - hands-down loved it!

It could have been soooo clichéd - but instead, every time it started to ever-so-slightly veer in that direction POW! - a new twist.

(Yes, I just used 'POW!' - In a book review. Deal with it.)

The characters were fab, believable, and not intensely stupid. (Which is always good.)

Bobbie? I loved her. She was really relatable and quite bookish (yay!) without being pretentious.










She's also really sweet - which is always nice - but not boring, which was a relief (yay for nice-but-not-boring characters!!!!!)

(Yes, I've had coffee. Coffee is good.)

The plot a) keeps you guessing, and b) refuses to be held down by all the urban legend Bloody Mary stuff that came before, while also not ignoring it.

(Which is skilful - and impressive. *Nods approvingly.*)

This was one of those books which was like: one more chapter - just one. And six chapters later, you're still there, and still reading.

And while it is creepy, it's not so creepy that you want to give up half-way through. (But then, I like horror, so other people may have a different opinion.)

I'll say it again: I loved it ;)





Not so great bits:


There's not a lot of things I can really argue with here...

It does deal with subjects that a lot of people may find distressing: references to self-harm, abuse, murder, suicide, etc. etc. But it doesn't feel overly-heavy with it.

And if you have a mega-fear of ghost-girls, mirrors, and/or ghosts in general, this is probably not your book.

There's some mild violence, gore, etc.












There's also some mild swearing (cr*p, etc.) Honestly, I doubt it'll bother anyone, but if I don't mention it, someone's bound to come back on me about it. Because that's usually how my luck goes.

Oh, and there's some references to sexy-times, but nothing overtly graphic.

I guess my only real issue is the whole absentee-parents thing that YA gets away with a lot.

But as that trope goes, I really can't argue with the way it's handled here - the boarding-school deal-y neatly sidesteps the issue.






Verdict:


I loved this book - it's fresh and original where it could've been clichéd and rusty, it draws you on, it has great characters...

Basically, this is a great YA horror. And I definitely recommend it.










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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Month in Review(s) - April 2016

Lots more reviews this month! Especially of graphic novels.

There've been some truly rocking graphic novels out this month - my faves are probably Blood Stain and I Hate Fairyland.

Check out all the lovely reviews! :)


book



Kids

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley - historical fiction



New Adult

Growing Up by Tricia Sol - contemporary, LGBTQ+, short stories, romance (m/m)



Adult

Play Hard by J T Fox - LGBTQ+, romance (m/m,) short stories, contemporary
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult - contemporary, crime*, witches*, magic realism* (*ish)



Graphic Novels

Golem by Lorenzo Coccetti - dystopian, sci-fi, manga
Paper Girls, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan - sci-fi
Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Šejić
Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov - horror, crime
I Hate Fairyland, Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young - fantasy, fairies/fae, humour

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Comics Wrap Up - This Ain't a Scene

Film Trailers


So many the teaser trailers for Captain America: Civil War this week guys! SO. MANY. THE TRAILERS.








OK, the people in the next one with the punching and the kicking and the weapons?

STOP HURTING MY BUCKY BEAR!!!!!






Graphic Novels
This week I reviewed Blood Stain, Vol 1 (UK - US) by Linda Šejić.

Dudes, I cannot explain fully in this brief wrap-up the degree of the rockitude of this graphic novel. You'll have to go read my review.

And Linda Šejić? A very cool person, who was totally classy when I accidentally shared the wrong link to Twitter. (I should not be permitted online before coffee. It just doesn't end well.)










I also read and reviewed Echoes (UK - US) by Joshua Hale Fialkov. Creepy, cool, and black-and-white, you can check out my review here.



I read Luna the Vampire, Volume 1: Grumpy Space (UK - US) by Yasmin Sheikh - an uber-wacky set of adventures about a vampire who lives in space. As you do.
My review for Luna the Vampire will probably be up within the next week or so.


Other Stuff
Came across this weird little faux-documentary trailer thingummy as promo for X-Men: Age of Apocalypse:





-0-


AND GERARD WAY HAS A DC IMPRINT!!!!!

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!!

Gerard Way's DC imprint is Young Animal. And it looks pretty damned cool.




-0-


This week I also spent far too long watching spoofs of superhero movie trailers.

Here're two of my favourites from ArtSpear Entertainment (adult humour, gore, swearing, etc...)









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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Echoes, Vol 1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov

Title: Echoes, Vol 1

Author: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Contributors: Rahsan Ekedal, Troy Peteri, Ryan Cady

Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror, Crime

Series: Echoes (#1-5)

Amazon: UK - USA




A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
This looked both cool and creepy.
To be honest, it doesn't really take more than that to draw me in. Cool? Creepy? Yep, I'll give it a shot.




Premise:

Brian's father is dying. What he says next will change everything.
Is it true - the box, the house, the sick trophies? And if it is, if Brian's father is a monster, what does that make Brian?
They share the diagnosis of schizophrenia... could they share this horrible legacy?




Best bits:

I loved the way that nothing is quite what it seems in this book. You think one thing, and suddenly it's completely flipped on its head, and you're left questioning all of your assumptions.
Brian's schizophrenia is a large part of this - we don't know what, if any of this, is real. How much is he hallucinating? How much is really happening?
The black-and-white artwork helps with this - it gives everything a vibe that's half-classic-horror-film, and half-dreamscape.
It's literally a world that's made up of grey-area - and the confusion is handled wonderfully, playing the reader and leading us through the feelings we're supposed to have at various points.
And you will have some pretty intense feelings with this book. The sickening dread is brought to just the right level to give you that thrill you want from a comic like this.
It's not just the reader's assumptions which are turned on their heads here - it's society's too. Assumptions about the sort of people who would commit a crime, about the sort of people we should or should not trust, are questioned and broken open. And it's incredible.



Not so great bits:

A lot of people will find this book distressing. There's some sensitive subjects in here - mental health, Alzheimer's, and some hugely unpleasant things happening to children.
The portrayal of schizophrenia is purposely vague and contradictory - because it's here that the 'did he do it?' aspects come in. I personally didn't mind this depiction, but I think some people might find it offensive or distressing.
There's also swearing, blood, gore, and implied violence - the usual cohort of stuff that I feel it my blogger-ly duty to warn you about, just in case.
There's also horror elements. If you don't like horror, then I don't recommend this book.

I would've liked a more conclusive ending, but that's very much a personal thing. There was nothing wrong with the actual ending we have here.



Verdict:

This is a great graphic novel - one that really makes you think.
The artwork is great, and the story drags you along, challenging everything you think it's going to be, and every turn you think it's going to take.
If you fancy something creepy, something challenging, something compelling, then give this a try.








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