Friday, September 30, 2016

October 2016 New Horror Releases | Horror Spotlight

Horror Spotlight is a feature highlighting the newest in horror fiction. If you would like to connect with me or contribute to my Horror Spotlight posts, please feel free to drop me a comment or send me an email at bookdenblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

It must be October because this list of horror books is HUGE! They sounds so fantastic, too. Each book cover is linked to the appropriate page on Goodreads if you want to take a closer look at any of the books. If I've missed any, let me know. I'd be happy to add them!

October 1, 2016

October 3, 2016

October 4, 2016

October 6, 2016

October 7, 2016

October 9, 2016

October 10, 2016

October 11, 2016

October 17, 2016

October 18, 2016

October 21, 2016

October 25, 2016

October 31, 2016


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Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26 | Currently Reading

Last week I posted a review for the Sky Jumpers series by Peggy Eddleman.

Books Read Last Week

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Baby by Al Sarrantonio

I think this was my first time reading Jekyll and Hyde. It wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but the good parts were so good, I'd recommend reading it if you haven't.

The Baby is a novella from Al Sarrantonio's Orangefield world. It's pretty much an alternate ending to part of the third book. I haven't read that book yet so it was new to me.

Currently Reading

Horrorween by Al Sarrantonio

As you can see I'm gearing up for Halloween season.

Current Distractions

Speaking of gearing up for Halloween season, that's what most of my time is going to right now. It's still hot outside, but it's becoming much more bearable. The constant heat and humidity wreaks havoc on the outside of my house. My patio and especially my windows were needing lots of attention. We spend a lot of time outside throughout the Halloween/Thanksgiving season so I'm having to catch up on all of the dirty work I was avoiding too busy to do through the summer.

I'm almost done with season 5 of Once Upon a Time. I'm kind of glad; I was not a fan the character Hades. He reminded me way too much of Zoolander which made it completely impossible to even consider him as a Greek god. I kept expecting him to do blue steel as he was ruling the underworld.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review | The Sky Jumpers Series by Peggy Eddleman

Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers #1) by Peggy Eddleman

What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

Why did I read Sky Jumpers?

Those badass kids on the cover are cliff diving into a deadly band of air. I needed to find out more.

I've been excited about Sky Jumpers since before it was released, but I've continued to put it aside for other things. I came across the second book in this series on Overdrive, and I decided it was time to catch up.

The Strengths

The kids and the cliff diving completely lived up to the cover and my expectations.

Post-apocalypse. This is a middle grade post-apocalyptic. I have never read a post-apocalyptic book intended for such a young audience. For some reason I thought this would target kids a bit older, but my elementary kids could read this one. That's pretty exciting.

Friendships. Friendships are a big part of why I enjoy reading younger books. Everything doesn't dissolve into a romance. I like these kids.

Entertaining. Sky Jumpers was a fun read.

Stand alone. Sky Jumpers is the first in a series, but it is a full story that can stand on its own.

The Weaknesses

I'm too old to believe the science of Sky Jumpers. That's OK - it's still great fun, but sometimes it's easier to just "go with it" when you are still filled with the childhood magic that I no longer possess.

Would I recommend Sky Jumpers to others?

Absolutely, but more so to the younger readers in my life and adults who already partake in middle grade reads.

8/10: Great Read

Review copy provided by publisher

The Forbidden Flats (Sky Jumpers #2) by Peggy Eddleman

Escape one danger. Jump into another. . . .

Twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails.

Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III. The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale.

But when a massivetremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky MMountainsobtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.

I had a great time reading Sky Jumpers so I went straight into reading The Forbidden Flats.

This was a great followup. The Bomb's Breath - the deadly air that the kids were cliff diving into in Sky Jumpers - is now lowering over their town. The kids have to figure out how to stop it. It's a brilliant premise.

I didn't love The Forbidden Flats as much as Sky Jumpers, but I had a great time with this series.

7/10: Recommended Read


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Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19 | Currently Reading

No new reviews from me last week, but I did catch up on some reading.

Books Read Last Week

The Fireman by Joe Hill
Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1) by Peggy Eddleman
The Forbidden Flats (Sky Jumpers, #2) by Peggy Eddleman

The Fireman was long, but good. The Skyjumpers series was great, too. It was younger than I was expecting, but I'm excited about such a young post-apocalyptic series.

Currently Reading

The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee

This book is my #1 anticipated book of the year and the love of my life right now.

Current Distractions

I finished season 2 of Bloodline. WHAT KIND OF ENDING WAS THAT? That was a non-season is what that was. You know how when you read a book and the cliffhanger is so bad you know you were basically handed half a book? SAME.

Once Upon a Time was updated with a new season on Netflix so I'm catching up on that now. I can actually watch that one around my kids so there's nice.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12 | Currently Reading

Something got into me last week, and I managed to post a few reviews:
Maybe I'm getting my review mojo back.

Currently Reading

I spent last week reading The Fireman. It's a chunky book so it's all I managed to read. I will probably finish it up today. I love Joe Hill, and I'm so happy he will be around when his father (Stephen King) retires.

Current Distractions

The US Open ended yesterday. The women's final was one of the best women's matches I've seen in a long time. The men's final was a shit show. The world #1 player has zero disregard for the rules and the officials are too chicken shit to enforce them.

And now I get some of reading time back!

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review | The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

This is my third review of the week, folks. I have no idea what has gotten into me.

I'm thrilled that I get to praise another book today, though!

The Last One! I was so skeptical about this book. I thought it was going to be another standard entry in an oversaturated market, but trusted reviewers were making me want to give it stronger consideration.

Most of the reviews I've read are from people who don't watch reality TV but say it doesn't matter to the enjoyment of this book. I don't watch much reality TV, but the one show I do watch is Survivor so I can address it from that point of view. You definitely don't need to be any kind of reality TV fan, but I enjoyed the perspective. We all know those shows boil down to the editing so I got a lot of enjoyment in the portrayal of how heavily edited the shows actually are. The viewer sees the "reality" that gets created on the editing floor.

But enough about the reality TV bit because it's really only a means of setting up what The Last One is all about. The first line of The Last One is "the first one on the production team to die will be the editor".

What is happening while these contestants are out vying for a million dollars? Is it all part of the competition?

I enjoyed this book so much. I read it because I wanted some distracting entertainment. I got that and so much more.

And this is a debut! Two of my favorite books I've read this year are debuts. (This one and Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace.) That's exciting.

The range of folks I would recommend this to is pretty wide. I think it's billed as science fiction. In my opinion, the best genre books blur the lines through all of the speculative fiction genres. Fans of post-apocalypse, zombie (not a zombie book), dystopian (not a dystopian), YA (not a YA), will all find reasons to love this one, too.

8/10: Great Read


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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review | The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

First published in 1892, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper--a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, "The Yellow Wallpaper" stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

I was completely unaware of this little gem until last week. Now that I've read it and perused my Goodreads, I see that several of my friends have read and loved it, and it's one of the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" selections.

So how did I stumble upon this story? I was looking to see if I could get my hands on a cheap copy of House of Leaves. House of Leaves completely defeated me earlier this year. I had to return the copy I was reading back to the library, but it's one that I don't want to give up on. As I was searching Amazon, I noticed that the results list for House of Leaves reads like a giant list of horror recommendations. All of the books listed were the ones you always see on the "best of" lists. Listed amongst these horror staples was "The Yellow Wallpaper".

Ooh, what's this?

The Yellow Wallpaper was written in 1892 and has since entered the public domain. You can get the Kindle version free on Amazon or download a free ebook off of Project Gutenberg. What also caught my eye was the audible version for $.97 (after my membership discount). How's that for cheap entertainment?

So I gave the audiobook a listen. My initial reaction was not good toward the narration. The narrator was actually a really great narrator, but this story is a feminist story. It's a first person narrative of a woman told through her diary. A male narrator was the wrong way to go here. Correction: It seems the narrator may in fact be a woman. (I'm so sorry!)

But the story! The story is about one woman's descent into madness. After being diagnosed with nervous depression, she's locked away to "rest" in this bedroom with yellow wallpaper. We've all been around a pattern in cabinets, flooring, wallpaper, what have you, that starts to look like a face. (Right?) This woman is kept from her work which makes her feel useless, she's anxious and depressed, and she's stuck looking at this yellow wallpaper all day.

I can imagine my sanity would dwindle, too.

The Yellow Wallpaper turned out to be an awesome story to stumble upon, and I highly recommend it. It's a short story so if you're interested, you hardly even need to set aside time for it. Just go read it.

9/10: Highly Recommended


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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review | The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

I think this is the first time in the history of my blog I have given a book 1 out of 10 stars. I will cut right to the chase. Around 90% in, the following description for the jersey devil was used:
"Dammit!" he cursed, aiming for the other, the one that looked like a cross between a child with Down syndrome and a goat.
Hopefully the offensiveness of that description is self-explanatory.

I tried to keep reading. I made it to 94% but I don't remember a single word past "goat".

You do what you want. The book had merits before the error of judgment, but I won't go into them here. This is the first Hunter Shea book that I've read. I will read more (unless I find more shit like I found here). As for this book, it is not one that I would ever recommend.

1/10: Forced to rate it

Review copy provided by publisher


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