Apathetic Flesh

Title: Apathetic Flesh

Author: Darren O. Godfrey

Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Short Stories

Length: 328 pages | 5124 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

A creepy short story anthology.

Review:

This has got to have been one of the first books I requested from Netgalley. I am not sure why it sat on my virtual shelf for so long. Maybe it was the amateur cover or I was just not in the mood for short stories – which I have to admit I seldom am. Alas, I picked it up and I have to admit it was quite intriguing.

I also have to admit I am surprised there do not seem to be barely any reviews about it anywhere. This was actually pretty good. The stories are linked by comments which I am not even sure are real or not but definitely sound that way, which of course is extra creepy.

This is a very particular kind of horror. I for one had never read anything quite like it. There is a generous amount of gore but most of all plenty of mystery and psychological horror. The narratives built up suspense at a steady, nail-biting pace and several ended in crafty and mesmerising plot twists.

Both the characters and the situations they were in were quite unique. The prose was, for the most part, very engrossing, even if it lost me at times. The author definitely has a way with words, though, and I was quite enthralled during some of those tales.

Alas, at times, I wasn’t sure what to make of the stories. The blurb says they are about normal people but I have to tell you, some of those main characters did not strike me as very normal, least of all their reactions. So I guess you have to put that aside for a bit, that ‘how would a normal person react in this situation?’ and go with the flow.

That did bring an extra macabre edge to the stories. So even though I didn’t enjoy all of them greatly and did not even understand some, I have to admit it was a pretty cool ride.

It’s quite good, I recommend it to fans of horror and short stories.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 26 to Apr 29, 2016
GR Review

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The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house’s dark past.

Review:

Of all the movies involving a spooky house with a bunch of secrets, this one wasn’t so bad.

Kate Hudson’s character has some depth – After falling estranged with her father and later finding out he had died alone, she now dedicates her life to caring for the elderly. Upon seeing a newspaper ad requesting a live-in hospice caretaker, she decides to grab this opportunity.

Arriving at the 30-room mansion, she meets the family’s attorney and then sour Mrs Devereaux. Caroline is supposed to take care of Ben, Mrs Devereaux’s husband, who is paralysed, unable to move or speak. She is given a skeleton key which unlocks all doors in the house. Well, except a mysterious one in the attic.

As Caroline’s days in the house pass, she encounters mystery upon mystery. What really happened to Ben? What secrets lie in that mysterious room? Is Ben in danger?

I have to admit that, while watching the movie, I felt Caroline stumbled upon the information much too easily and ultimately that is what brought my rating down. Considering the fabulous twist at the end, I can now see why that happened, but back then I didn’t really appreciate it and it took out a fair amount of enjoyment.

Also, sometimes night scenes and storms add to a movie, particularly horror ones, but in this case they felt much too convenient and overstretched. It was all said and done. The movie deserved more. Also, the daytime scenes were spooky enough, with those creepy surroundings. Such beautifully haunting landscapes, I loved it.

The ending really was quite well achieved and, even though the theme itself is not new, I do recommend The Skeleton Key.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
The spectre of a dead child rapist haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their dreams.

Review:

Well, first of all, IMDB’s blurb is quite a spoiler.

Regarding the movie, it was nothing that special. I never watched the original version, so I cannot compare, but for a long time it just felt like people were dying left and right and no one seemed to care or even be serious about what was happening, even potential victims who knew they were such.

The CGI were ok and I particularly loved the opening credits. The images along with the soundtrack made an eerie beginning to the film, as well as the opening scene. From then on, sadly, it went downhill for me.

I could not care for the characters – even Krueger was sort of boring – and the violence was simply gratuitous, so it was just an ok movie to me.

Fellside

Title: Fellside

Author: M.R. Carey

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Mystery | Paranormal | Thriller

Length: 486 pages | 7224 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

Jess Moulson wakes up disfigured from a fire she seemed to have set and as a consequence killed a 10-year-old boy.
Her memory is hazy but the evidence is overwhelming. She decides to starve herself to death as atonement.
But then she begins having visions of the boy and suddenly she is on a mission she does not comprehend but will bring her the peace she craves.

Review:

After reading The Girl with All the Gifts, I have to admit my expectations were not only high but I had hoped for a totally different kind of tale. I am a big fan of horror/paranormal and I have to admit prison settings always put me off. I could not even watch TV series or movies because I am not even remotely interested in the subject. When I gradually found out that the story did centre itself around the prison events and characters, and not the paranormal ones, I was largely disappointed.

So most of the first half of the book failed to grasp my attention because I was simply not interested in the subject. Also, I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the names and characteristics I had to memorize. At some point I had no idea who some of the more secondary – or rather tertiary – characters were. Therefore, the narrative seemed to stretch on and on, and I just lost interest, having to struggle not to skim through the text. I kept wondering when the prison stuff would be over and the interesting, paranormal one would begin and be developed.

Due to the author’s wonderful writing, I was engaged at some point. The second half picked up the pace and things finally started to come together, but sadly most of all the twists I had expected in one form or the other. Some were very surprising though, particularly the one about Leah – didn’t see that coming. The characterization was quite well done as well, for the most part. However, I have to admit I never really connected to Jess. I get that she had a lot on her mind but I could not understand why she would never even think of her disfigured face, for instance, or want to know why she could not properly remember that night’s events. There just wasn’t much emotion/dimension. She wanted atonement for a murder she could not recall and that was it.

Something felt off throughout the story, right from the premise. Not only the main character’s development as I just mentioned, but the initial trial itself. What the hell was done there anyway? Why could they not find the evidence then? Why did it have to take the entirety of the book to develop this strategy? I don’t know, it just seems too convenient.

Still, Carey is a very talented author and I was interested at some point. Even if I did not like the characters, I enjoy most of their development. I also had a fair amount of closure. And if there is one thing Carey can do brilliantly it’s the endings.

So, in the end, I do recommend Fellside, just don’t go into it thinking it will be similar to TGWATG and make sure you enjoy stories that involve life in prison.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 16 to Apr 23, 2016
GR Review

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

Review:

This movie surprised me on so many levels. I thought I would be bored, to be frank. I mean, three people stuck in a basement can’t provide much fun. I have to admit I was a bit at first, but that quickly changed because of the dynamics between the characters.

The film starts with Michelle leaving her old life, driving through beautiful landscapes and then having a having a car accident – which was quite well achieved in terms of filming and sound effects. When she wakes up, she is lying on a mattress and chained. She soon realizes she is in a bunker owned by Howard, who claims there has been an attack of unknown nature and by unknown forces and that the outside is off limits because the air is contaminated. Then Michelle meets Emmett, Howard’s neighbour who he was also kind enough to allow shelter.

So you’re faced with this woman who is trapped in a fully functioning bunker with a menacing guy who is obviously a crackpot and yet… Is he really? Why is Emmett so keen on believing him? What exactly have they experienced»

Yes, there were things that felt off, particularly in Michelle’s character (She is supposed to be weakened by her daddy, not even being able to defend a little girl in a hardware shop, and yet she proves over and over that she is actually a resourceful survivor) and the very last couple of scenes were just plain silly (Seriously? A molotov cocktail destroys that and she is suddenly a warrior? but, boy, there were so many layers to this movie.

John Goodman was so good. Just amazing. His interpretation and the character he plays are the main reason why I am giving this movie such a high rating. As soon as you thought you had it figured out, something would happen to prove you otherwise and add more to that guy. The levels to that guy just blew me away.

And then there is the plot twist at the end which not everyone will appreciate – I didn’t mind it exactly, just the resolution felt weak, as I mentioned in the spoiler.

All in all, if you are looking for a good psychological thriller that just keeps evolving and do not mind a dramatic plot twist that will lead you in a totally unexpected direction, you will most likely enjoy this very much.

The Ice Twins

Title: The Ice Twins

Author: S.K. Tremayne

Genres: Horror | Mystery | Psychological Thriller

Length: 373 pages | locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Premise:

After losing one of their twin daughters, and the remaining one acting odd saying she is actually the one who died, a couple decides to move to a remote Scottish island, looking for a fresh new start.
However, instead of improving, Kirstie now claims she is actually Lydia. Could her parents really have made such a tragic mistake? What really happened on the day of the accident?

Review:

Having finished this book last night, I still don’t quite know how to feel about it because a lot of what I read seemed to be thrown out there as plot devices to drive the reader in a certain direction and not being properly explained.

Also, as much as I found it interesting to get in the mind of Sarah and Angus, I trudged a bit through the first half of the book. The long island descriptions lost me for a while and at some point I was pretty annoyed at Sarah constantly bringing up Angus’ masculinity, amongst other things.

I wanted to empathize with her. Most of the times I couldn’t because, even though I don’t have to like a character to enjoy a book, when there is a child involved that changes things for me. I thought Sarah put herself and her well-being above her child’s much too often and it was uncomfortable to read. It’s like she does all these nasty things to find out the truth but she doesn’t really want to know it? I don’t know. I suppose by the end I can see why that happened but it just wasn’t enough to placate the feeling I had while reading.

The book alternates between two voices: first person for Sarah and third person for Angus. I found that very engaging and easier to follow, as well as get to know what really was inside each mind – and boy, was it troubling. What started out as a couple fairly united by a tragedy, wanting to make a fresh start, devolved into something quite grotesque. The tension took its time to build but when it did and I finally got fed bits and pieces of what had actually happened, I was enthralled.

It was an eerie book, for sure. Even though I kept being told the island was beautiful, I only felt dismayed by its description and more particularly the house’s, which totally translated the characters’ disintegrated minds.

In conclusion, although the build up and writing were fantastic and I felt gripped watching these characters grow, a lot still felt out of place by the time I finished. I did not understand why Sarah would not properly talk to her daughter. The kid would say something totally creepy and she would go shhh. In the end, one of the things that bugged me the most was not knowing if this was a ghost story or not. There were plenty of big hints that it was (particularly Emily’s reaction to the mirror and Angus’ vision in the fog) but most of it made me think it was only a result of Sarah and Kirstie’s fragmented minds, so I truly don’t know.

I need to be able to finish a book and be sure about the resolution to the main mysteries. When that does not happen, no matter how brilliant the rest of the novel was, I am left feeling uncomfortable and even cheated when done. Hence the rating down of 3.5 stars, though it really is a solid 3.5 for me because it was very well written.

I am sure this book will please several psychological thriller fans, but it just did not deliver completely to me.

Note: If you have read this book, I would really like to know your take on it and the things I have mentioned, so please post below!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 12 to Apr 15, 2016
GR Review

Dark City

Dark City

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun.

Review:

This was a cool one. The narrative unveiled in such an interesting way. This normal guy wakes up in a tub, obviously has trouble remembering where he is or even who he is.

From then on, there was intrigue, suspense, tension and freaky aliens who could change your memories, amongst other very nifty things.

Granted, some things were a bit too much, like Kiefer Sunderland’s character, who seemed to be an odd mix of Dr Frankenstein and Quasimodo and always short of breath, as well as the oversimplified process of handling memories but, overall, a cool sci-fi flick.

I was sad about the ending, though. I had hoped for more resolution.
I cannot imagine anyone remaining sane, living like that, growing old in that rock. I had really hoped they’d make it home. I am pretty sure the Doctor mentioned Earth in the beginning of the movie so he should know of it, right?