Stay chill, it's only a silly book review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Fallen Boys by Aaron Dries

The Fallen Boys
4 of 5 stars
This book lulls you in with a quiet, insidious sort of horror then takes a turn down torture lane and I was absolutely not at all prepared (despite being warned).

Honestly, as I was reading I was wondering why so many reviews were making such a big deal out of the gore level. It wasn’t any worse than most horror novels I’ve read and most of the terror came from real life fears. Sure, what happens was heartbreaking and tragic but what wimps these other people must be, thought I, all smug and desensitized. But then, just as I was feeling like nothing would ever bother me again (and wondering if the problem might be me), I was hit with some truly disturbing images and a despair that doesn’t ever let you go. Yep, it’s gross, it’s horribly disturbing and it’s all up in your face. Everything they said before me? It’s true.

I’m not going to ruin the plot mainly because I’m just too lazy. I’ll just say it’s about love, family, grief and all of the ugly emotions that’ll tear you apart. And then throw in a madman or two and some flesh eating piggies and a giant Mason jar that'll give you nightmares.

This was a rough read, I cannot lie, and it took me weeks to finish. Not because the writing was awful (it wasn’t) or because the character were jerks (the innocents were not) but because it was so incredibly bleak. I think I’m the one getting whimpy because I had to take breaks even before the atrocities and body horror smacked me in the face. There’s only so much despair one can take in a sitting . . .

This was the epitome of life: graceless torture.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Finders Keepers by Stephen King (audio)

Finders Keepers
3 of 5 stars
Finders Keepers is about a long ago crime and a boy who unwittingly gets himself in trouble with a murderer when he uncovers buried treasure and doesn’t keep it a secret. Characters from Mr. Mercedes make an appearance but they’re not a huge part of this one.

I enjoyed Finders Keepers but not quite as much as Mr. Mercedes. The villain here didn’t interest me nearly as much as Brady. Brady was a weirdo who loved his mama a wee bit too much and I found him interesting. Morris here is just an entitled, spoiled, rich brat who messed up his life because he takes everything he wants even when it doesn’t belong to him. This did not interest me. It just made me disgusted with his sorry ass.

I feel like copying and pasting my words from my Mr. Mercedes review and, because I’m a lazy slug of a reader and would rather be reading right now, I think I shall plagiarize myself and change up a word here and there like all the best plagiarists do.

What we have here is a tense thriller, light on the horror, high on the suspense. I’m more a fan of the horror than I am of the thriller and this one won’t change my mind. It’s a little overlong but it’s a King book. What do you expect, people? Lots of pages fly by without much of anything really happening if you stop to think about it. But at least they fly by because King has a way with the words. The end made me happy enough and the characterization is decent. We’re supposed to despise the villain and despise him I did so I guess it works. As I mentioned, Morris is a miserable waste of a human who can’t own up to his mistakes. I find that type boring but that’s just me. He’s an ok #1 crazed fan type, I suppose, but he is nowhere near the level of Misery’s Annie Wilkes. If you haven’t read Misery you may love this. Will Patton, as always, reads every page fantastically. Oh yes, he does. He needs to read all of the horror books. That man knows how to bring a story to life and voices the ladies without making them sound silly.

I hate rating these things but I’ll explain because someone will likely call me out at some point.

I’m giving the production a 5 and the story a low 3. This, to me, means I liked it the way I like a Reese’s when I can’t run out to Trader Joe’s and buy a genuine peanut butter cup .

I’ll settle on something just below a 4 but I’m not rounding up for anyone.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Audio Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
4 of 5 stars
I have this strange love for books that feature people with ugly and terrible secrets, who have a tendency to sabotage their perfect little lives for no good reason at all besides the fact that they can’t help themselves. The Girl on the Train fits right in with some of my favorite novels featuring unlikable people doing shitty things to each other. Some of my favorites in this rubbernecking genre are The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky and, of course, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Such miserable people reside within those pages but the more harm they do each other the more I want to keep reading.

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Perhaps but that’s beside the point and I know I’m not alone. Am I?

I’ll be brief because this one has been reviewed and synopsized to death and I’m still feeling lazy. Basically it’s the story of a drunkard named Rachel “The Girl on the Train” who spends her weekdays pretending she’s going to work and living vicariously through the lives of a couple whom the train passes each day. They are the perfect couple. At least they are inside of Rachel’s head. She’s even given them names and creates stories about them inside her head. Perfectly normal, right? One not so fine day, Rachel sees the pretty lady smooching some other guy and she’s devastated. When the pretty lady goes missing soon after, Rachel manages to get herself entwined in a big old mess and secrets upon secrets are spilled out for us twisted readers to savor piece together to solve the mystery.

I will freely admit that I am the world’s worst Sherlock and I did NOT figure out who the villain of the piece was until it was basically spelled out for me. This person was one of my top three but honestly all of the characters here were quite villainous and any of them could’ve done the deed. The draw of this book for me was not solving the mystery but sorting through all of the dirty laundry.

I basically despised all of the characters but I enjoyed the audiobook so very much. There are three narrators who are terrific at evoking the perfect mood for each of the women embroiled in this toxic stew. I was never left shaking my head in confusion when the point of view switched. If you are a particular sort of person who likes this sort of thing, the audio is a great way to go.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

What's Up Next

Sending out a big thank you to all of you who have submitted review requests to my new blog. Though this blog is new, I have been reviewing for a zillion years and I don't like to make promises I cannot keep, so I will not be responding to any of them until I make my way through my last Netgalley binge (ugh, that place is so dangerous!). It's nothing at all personal, I'm just a slow poke with a job and too many pets. Here's what's up in the queue. I should get through three of them in the next week. As I free myself up, I'll be going through your requests and responding to all that sound like books I'd love. Please don't be offended if you do not hear from me, I have little reading time and have peculiar taste. Thanks a bunch.

Devils In Dark Houses by B. E. ScullyDevils in Dark Houses featured 4 connected novellas, each a case featuring a pair of old school cops in the Pacific Northwest. 

The new millennium is getting downright bizarre. From high tech games of sabotage to vigilante murder and ghosts who may or may not have their own dark agendas, Detectives Shirdon and Martinez must put their 20th century street smarts to work on four 21st century cases in which nothing is what it seems, and every answer reveals more questions. 

Case 1: The Eye That Blinds 

When three college friends graduate with plans to conquer the world, they find out that the world has its own plans. As their supposed “real” lives spiral further out of control, they retreat into the one place they still reign—the online kingdom of fantasy and masquerade. After a seemingly random accident puts Shirdon and Martinez on their trail, the trio’s tangled web of lies threatens to unravel into consequences more real than any of them could have imagined. 

Case 2: Each Castle Its King 

When Cal and Rachel Goodman flee their high-volume life in Los Angeles for the peace and quiet of rural Oregon, they sink both their savings and their hopes in a fixer-upper the locals call “Blood House.” But their dream turns into a nightmare as they discover that their marriage is as cracked and crumbling as Blood House—and hiding just as many sinister secrets. Just when they think things can’t get any worse, they meet their next-door-neighbor… 

Case 3: Nostri 

For sixteen-year-old Emma Kaster, summer vacation is turning out to be as boring and lonely as the school year—until she meets a charismatic street kid named Senz with an obsession for the Roman philosopher Seneca and an itch to put his theories to the test in modern times. What starts out as a series of pranks soon turns deadly as Emma and Senz confront the ultimate revolutionary question—are you willing to die for your beliefs? And just as important, are you willing to kill for them? 

Case 4: Devils in Dark Houses 

Shirdon and Martinez are on the case of a charismatic, controversial homicide detective whose mysterious disappearance eleven years ago comes back to life in the form of a mentally ill man calling himself the Hound. Not only does the Hound know astonishing secrets, he learned some of them from the long-dead figures of Oregon’s colorful frontier past. As the two detectives try to unravel fact from fantasy and truth from lies, the past and present collide in an explosive show-down that will test the detectives’ deepest beliefs not just about the world in which they live, but about themselves, as well.

ChillsChills by Mary Sangiovanni

“True Detective” meets H.P. Lovecraft in this chilling novel of murder, mystery, and
slow-mounting dread from acclaimed author Mary SanGiovanni . . .

It begins with a freak snowstorm in May. Hit hardest is the rural town of Colby, Connecticut. Schools and businesses are closed, powerlines are down, and police detective Jack Glazier has found a body in the snow. It appears to be the victim of a bizarre ritual murder. It won't be the last. As the snow piles up, so do the sacrifices. Cut off from the rest of the world, Glazier teams up with an occult crime specialist to uncover a secret society hiding in their midst.

The gods they worship are unthinkable. The powers they summon are unstoppable. And the things they will do to the good people of Colby are utterly, horribly unspeakable…

The Jersey DevilThe Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth . . .

Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth . . .

It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey . . .

Boy Meets BoyBoy Meets Boy by David Levithan

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

The Summer that Melted EverythingThe Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

lding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. 

As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. 

While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

The Night Parade
The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over. 
Then the madness began . . .

They call it Wanderer's Folly--a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race. 

After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he's bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he's on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure. 

Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they're running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .

A Bed of SpicesA Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel


The exquisite Frederica der Esslingen fled from her father's castle to the herbalist's cottage, vowing she could never give in to her father's wishes and marry the man her twin sister loved. Another man, a stranger forbidden to her, touched her very soul. A man who listened when she spoke...a man with a tumble of black curls and clever lips...He understood her bold, searching heart. Yet he was denied her forever. 

A Bed of Spices is a wildly romantic tale of forbidden love set in the turbulent middle ages. Solomon and Rica meet by chance at the herbalist's cottage and fall in love despite the divisions of religion, class, and expectations -- but how can they possibly find a happy ending with so many things stacked against them? Dark, beautiful and ultimately uplifting, this is a romance you won't easily forget. 

Erotica Review: Filthy Fairy Tales by Lexi Maxxwell

Filthy Fairy Tales
 3 of 5 stars
I got this free at Amazon a little while back but now, it seems, they've made it "unavailable". WTH is up with Amazon pulling all of the fun books?

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Now that I've read a little of this I can honestly say that it's everything I hoped it would be ;) There are three stories in this book and the first is a pervy take on The Little Mermaid. After watching humans go at it, this mermaid wants in on the fun and wishes for some genuine lady parts so she will able to do some very unlady-like things. The writing is light-hearted and fun and doesn't take things seriously.

So far? Totally worth what I paid for it ;)

A little later: Hmmm, this was not bad at all for a freebie but it became very repetitive, very quickly. One can only take so much anonymous screwing before one's brain goes numb.

The Little Mermaid story was decent (3 1/2 stars). Picockio (2 stars) was meh and the most repetitive for me. I just didn't dig the storyline, I guess. It's about a wooden sexbot and his wish to become a real man who gets sidetracked by sexy times and lakes of body fluid. The Snow White story was probably the best with a twisted up plot that was evil and sarcastic but, like the rest, repetitive. All of them could've been cut by quite a few pages, if you ask me.

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FTC Disclaimer

Bark's Book Nonsense usually buys the books reviewed on the blog but occasionally receives ARCs in for review. Reviews are written out of the goodness of my heart and I never receive any money, gifts or favors in exchange for my brutally honest words.