Book Review – Lake Nutaq by Ron Ripley

Yet another book review of a Berkley Street installment! Lake Nutaq is the 6th book in the series by Ron Ripley and is even better than the last one.

Lake Nutaq (Berkley Street Series Book 6)

Awesome. Just awesome. It’s amazing how many injuries Shane can sustain and still keep ticking! He’s no longer super depressed, thank goodness. His depression and drinking made it difficult to keep reading at times before. But now he seems to be on the mend…emotionally speaking. Yay! Except I doubt people would say he’s still handsome when he’s missing bits and pieces and chunks of himself. Yowzahs!

I loved the bonus story about Patience. Throughout the whole book I had been wondering about her character and was a bit disappointed not to have gotten her back story…until I started reading the bonus chapters. It was a satisfying background but I was still wanting more. I mean, they mention the Reverend more than once in a way that made me think he was important but he wasn’t.

And then in the story itself there’s the unfinished business with the Englishman and The Woman. Who is she? What’s going on at Lake Nutaq? I really hope these questions are answered at some point. I want to know!!!

The version I read of Lake Nutaq was the audiobook. They’ve all been audiobooks. Shane and the other characters (even the female ones whom he doesn’t do so great a job on) will always be connected with Thom Bowers’ voice. There are times his German sounds a bit on the French side and his Italian sounds like I don’t even know what but, except for the first book, there isn’t much call for foreign voices so I’m content to overlook it. If you’re not the type to overlook something like that, go for the book instead of the audiobook. It’s an excellent series!

For me, Lake Nutaq is perhaps my 3rd favorite in the series, the first two being the first two in the series. My least favorite is Sanford Hospital. Ugh. Super depressing and infuriating. And yet I still enjoyed that one as well.

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Book Review – Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

Horror book review this time.

Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

I didn’t care for all the sex talk in the beginning of the book. It didn’t seem necessary to talk so much about a certain piece of dangling southern male anatomy and go into so much detail for the beginning sex scene. Just because it’s an adult horror novel doesn’t mean it needs that kind of imagery and language. I’m not a prude but it seems unnecessarily vulgar to call it a c**k every time. It dimmed down after a bit, thank goodness, and my interest picked up with the horror taking more of a front row.

After the horror took center stage, I found it an enjoyable read. I kept getting taken out of the story though because the daughter wasn’t even 10 and Robert kept leaving her alone and not paying attention to her at all. I mean, practically an entire day would go by before he’d remember her existence. I had my suspicions why toward the end, but still. It wasn’t a good enough reason for me but I won’t go into it because of spoilers.

One thing annoyed me big time and caused my interest to wane at the end. Shelley. She’s supposed to be the “best” according to a bunch of internet people, but everything she does and talks about seems to be theoretical. She doesn’t seem experienced at all, just well-read with ghostly matters. Her warning Robert that’s it’s super important not to let the ghosts touch him seems completely useless because he’s touched 3 of them by the end without anything happening to him. True, he only gets “touched by” 2 of them, but that seems pretty nit-picky. If you’re doing the touching or being touched, the end physical contact is the same.

Another thing about Shelley I don’t like is that she’s supposed to have the mouth of sailor, but all she ever says is sh** and f***. Not very creative. It’s like her dialogue was written out and then the writer stuck in the F word in various places to give her a potty mouth. There are lots of ways to cuss and I can sometimes appreciate it. Her dialogue wasn’t creative though. Her cussing was boring and contrived and her dialogue, likewise, was boring and lecture-y.

Also, she was pretty mean I thought. She and Robert didn’t get along but he thought they did? I’m assuming that must’ve been the spirits/house/whatever making him different and horny because there was no indication of them getting along. She was condescending and snobbish to him.

This book was all right. Not great but not really bad. The horror part was really good but there was too much else that annoyed me. If you don’t mind everything I had an issue with, you’ll probably like it. There was some really great stuff in Shallow Graves.

Book Review – Sanford Hospital by Ron Ripley

Another short book review. This time I’m reviewing the 4th book in the Berkley Street horror series by Ron Ripley (Team Scarestreet) – Sanford Hospital.

sanford-hospitalI loved how simple the horror is in this series. As always, it’s not overdone or complex or confusing. It’s simple and yet there’s always a new twist to it with each book in this series. The twists keep it inventive and new so I don’t get bored with the same old thing. New characters have always been added and, as usual, I like them. Brother Francis is the new main character and he rocks!

There were times I got seriously angry though. The nurse was so horrible and the people following her were just as bad. I couldn’t believe there were living people who believed she was in the right! It made me so mad because it was obvious to me that she was just killing people left and right with no real regard to their pain and suffering. If I’m being honest, I was also a bit scared sometimes. It takes a lot to actually frighten me with a book because I know it’s not real etc. I don’t mean I got scared in that sense. I mean that I was scared for Shane. I was worried this ghost would prove to be too much for him and he’d die. And I felt sooo bad for him. He’s falling apart and I find it so sad. I hope he rallies and gets better or he’s going to drink himself into an early grave. 😦

If you’re the kind of reader who loves the gore, this book has it though not in abundance. It’s not like other horror books that saturate their stories in gruesome slaughters and descriptive nasties. This isn’t about grossing readers out or seeing how much the author can shock you. This is about spooks and the scares they bring though, honestly, it has less of the spooky scares the first two books had. This book (as well as the last one) is more about busting the killer spook rather than the killer spook scaring the bejeezers out of readers. It’s too bad about that, but it’s still a good book.

And it DOES still have gore so consider yourself warned if you don’t like that sort of thing. But, really, if you’re not okay with at least some of that and you’re looking at horror books…well…all I can say is that you’re probably delving into the wrong genre. It’s not often I find a horror book that doesn’t have at least some gore.

Book Review – Tim McGregor

Writing World seems to be filling up with book reviews lately. What happened to my writing life? It’s on hold I guess because I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. A lot. It’s fun.

spookshowThe book of the day is The Spookshow by Tim McGregor.

I found this one, again, through a deal listed on BookBub. I got it for free on Amazon and I have to say that I’m really glad it was free. Even 99 cents would have been too much.

I had such high hopes for it because it sounded really interesting – a good spook fest. But I was doomed to disappointment. There were lots of good qualities about this book, one of which was the premise. The story could’ve been so good if it had been fleshed out a little more.

It was too short for one, way too short. And the horror aspects were glossed over. For a horror story, that’s a no-no. I know a lot of times less is more and I’m not into the gross out factor of blood and guts flying everywhere, but every time something truly scary could’ve happened, McGregor skipped ahead and only thought back to the scene in vague terms.

I’m going to try not to spoil anything here, but there was one instance I’d like to use as an example. Billie and Mockler are walking through Murder House. She sees things but you don’t get to see any of it through her eyes. You only hear her telling a bit (not detailed) about what she’s seeing. Then she says she needs to get out, doubles over to throw up…and the chapter ends. The next chapter starts up after it’s all done.

What just happened? You then get a brief recap of what Mockler remembers and you get his feelings of what he experienced and saw. But none of it elicited likewise feelings from me. For a true scare I want to see and experience what Billie sees and experiences. Or, in the case of Mockler witnessing what happens to Billie in the house, I want to be there in the moment in Mockler’s brain. I want to see it and feel it, not have him think back on it.

This book could have been so good if McGregor hadn’t kept the reader distanced from it all and had fleshed out the really juicy parts. If someone is going to be dragged across the floor by unseen hands, you want the reader right there experiencing it, not hearing about it later in vague terms. It’s just not the same.

welcome to the spookshowI will, however, keep reading in the hopes that the second book, Welcome to the Spookshow, is better. It’s longer so there’s hope in my mind for more detail. I’ll be able to learn about the near-drowning experience that is continually referred to in this book but never fully explained (which was a bit annoying) because the second book is a prequel to this first one. It would’ve made more sense to have the second one actually be the first one but the first one probably came about first (obviously) and then enough interest was generated to write the events that came previously. There’s really no help for that when it happens. I’m just glad he wrote about the previous events at all.

If I had had to pay for this second book, no, I would not continue reading based off of this first book. I hate saying that because I’m shooting another author down and the book has a lot of potential. But it’s true and I don’t want to mislead people. I enjoyed The Spookshow but not enough to pay money. I am looking forward to reading Welcome to the Spookshow. I still have hopes that he’ll do a better job because the skill and the ideas are there. I just wish he had done a little more editing before publishing.

Enough of that. If you sign up for his newsletter (which I did), you get the second book free so it was a win-win for me.

timmcgregor

“Tim McGregor is an author and screenwriter. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children. Some days, he believes in ghosts, other days, not so much.”

Hallowe’en Cometh

All my life Halloween has been my favorite holiday. I know it’s not technically a “holiday” but most people treat it as one and most people refer to it as a holiday.

When I was growing up I went to a Lutheran school and was constantly shocking one of the teachers with my fascination with horror. When I talk of horror, I don’t mean psychos hiding in the shadows of the parking lot, waiting for you to come to your car so they can kill you. That’s too realistic. I mean paranormal and stuff.

Scary-Stories-coversSome of my favorite books as a kid were the Scary Stories collections from Alvin Schwartz. I’d bring the books to school and my friends and I would hide in the closet where we hung up our backpacks and jackets. We’d pass the flashlight around and read the stories outloud to each other, trying to scare us all.

Yes, the teacher knew we were back there. Those were probably the days when we couldn’t go outside to eat our lunch and play (rain) so we’d stay in our classroom.

Short_&_ShiveryMy favorite story from Short and Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales (another favorite book) was The Green Mist. It was about a girl who’s really sick and everyone’s afraid she’ll die. One day she wishes out loud that she could live as long as the cowslips outside the door. A goblin hears the wish and grants it. The green mist of Spring comes and she gets healthy again. A guy falls in love with her and picks the cowslips to give to her as a wreath. She dies.

It wasn’t scary but I thought it was super cool because of the goblin and everything.

scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-7The story that terrified me so that I had to snuggle with my sister when we went to bed and she had to assure me time and time again that it was just a story was called Harold from Scary Stories 3. It was the illustration that was the worst part of it – so scary for a kid. Even now it’s pretty ugly.

Two farmers are bored living alone taking care of their animals so they made a dummy out of straw and named it Harold, after some guy they hated. They’d taunt it and throw bits of food at it etc. It starts grunting after awhile and then moving around. When they’re out taking care of their animals in the pasture, they realize they’ve forgotten something back at their hut. One of them goes back and when he doesn’t come back, the other goes and sees Harold strutting about on the roof. Also on the roof is the bloody skin from the first guy laid out to dry in the sun.

My mom told the best scary stories when my sister and I were kids. We’d get together with our cousins and she’d scare the bejeebers out of all of us. The other adults always felt as if they needed to spice it up though (to great effect).

For example: once we were all vacationing in Death Valley. The cousins had tents and we had a motorhome (we never were ones for roughing it). We all sat around the campfire telling stories and my mom comes up with one with young people who are in a similar situation as us except they all DIE! I don’t remember the story now or I’d certainly tell it.

After we were done, I and a couple others (including my aunt) went to hang out in the motorhome. Everyone else would come later. We had just settled down (my aunt and I sitting next to each other on the couch) when a hand came through the window behind us and GRABBED US!!

The_Scream

We all screamed bloody murder and my aunt and I practically fell over each other trying to get to the door on the opposite side to escape. I can’t remember whose hand it was but the suspects are: my mom, my dad, my then-uncle.

I probably shaved a few decades off my life that night but my “dignity” at least was safe because I held onto my bladder!

Now my husband and I find great delight in scaring the daylights out of our son. We’ll hide behind doors and jump out, “RAARRR!!” Mini Me loves it. He laughs and laughs and laughs. In fact, that’s what they were doing while I was busy talking to people after my bible study class last week.

Makes me sigh with happiness. My little turdlet takes after me.

Do you like horror? What scary stories/movies are your favorites?