WWW Wednesday – 2018/10/10

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Alien Out of the ShadowsI’m still in the early phases of Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon, though Ripley has since made an appearance and joins the crew of the Marion, the ship that serves as the primary setting so far. As a general concept Ripley’s presence is still a bugbear for me because of how it tampers with her story across the films (a problem I’m aware is not unique to me). Nevertheless, I think Lebbon has captured Ripley’s voice very well; it’s easy for me to imagine Sigourney Weaver speaking these lines in character. I continue to be pleased with how quickly things move as well. I’m really not far at all, but already the stage has been set with very little dawdling with introducing the aliens as a threat and getting Ripley involved.

TreacheryI’ve also been reading Treachery by Robin Furth and Peter David et al, which is the third prequel graphic novel for the series The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I’m enjoying it just fine, though I’m finding myself a little miffed with how redundant it has been as someone who as read the novels already. I am enjoying seeing Cuthbert and Alain a little more fleshed out as characters though, their presence in the novels being limited to the flashback story line in the fourth book. The introduction of Aileen Ritter, a young woman who wishes to be a female gunslinger (which is forbidden), has been interesting so far too, though I’m waiting to see if her story follows a more cliched path or goes to some unexpected places.


Recently Finished

The Haunting of Hill HouseOver the weekend I finished reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Please check out my full review here! As much as I enjoy horror with violence and gore, I do have a particular place in my heart for effective terror and atmosphere, which this novel had in spades. I grew a strong attachment to the core group of characters and the relationships forming between them. Eleanor Vance was especially fascinating. I loved how believable it felt as a ghost story too. I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief very much at all. There were plenty of supernatural occurrences that cannot simply be attributed to the psychosis of a particular character, yet nothing is spelled out or confirmed for the reader. It begged for speculation, never showing its hand too clearly.


Reading Next

Frankenstein Junji ItoMy progress with spooky reads for October is going better than I anticipated, so I’m actually not sure what I want to pick up once I’m finished with the Out of the Shadows. There is the forthcoming Junji Ito collection Frankenstein, but I don’t anticipate having it for a couple more weeks. I’ve always got some Stephen King books to choose from though. White Tears by Hari Kunzru is apparently a horror story of sorts as well, so I may crack open that book from my list open if nothing else grabs me.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

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Book Review – The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House is a 1959 Gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson. The titular Hill House is an 80-year old estate built in an unspecified countryside location surrounded by hills. It’s original owner Hugh Crain is long dead, but the house has had a storied history of family tension, tragedy, and death. Many believe it to be haunted; the caretakers only go on the grounds during the day and the nearby townsfolk dare not speak of it. Dr. Montague, an investigator of the supernatural, rents the property for the summer along with two assistants, Eleanor Vance and Theodora, as well as the heir to the estate Luke Sanderson, in hopes of documenting any strange happenings and finding proof of the otherworldly.Read More »

Book Review – The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Troop

The Troop is the first novel by Nick Cutter, telling the tale of the Scoutmaster and five Eagle Scouts of Troop 52 and their harrowing experiences on Falstaff Island, just off the coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Scoutmaster Tim Riggs has brought these five boys—Kent, Max, Ephraim, Shelley, and Newton—on a weekend camping trip to this island for years. This year’s trip takes a dark turn when an emaciated stranger intrudes upon their wilderness isolation, begging for food and desperate to hide from the world at large. Along with him he brings something far more sinister, unseen, and eager to wriggle its way among everyone.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/10/03

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Haunting of Hill HouseI have started reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which I’ve gotten through just the first chapter of so far. I’m finding the setup quite interesting, as it establishes a lot about the character of Eleanor and why she is going so far out of her way to assist Dr. Montague at the house. While her motivations are understandable, there is something off about her. She seems quite fanciful and possessed of a quiet desperation. I’m curious to see how she will react to supposed ghostly activity and isolation in this house over the summer. Though I’d heard the book is a little dated, I am enjoying the writing style so far.

Alien Out of the ShadowsI also started read Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon, which I have also only read the first chapter of. It is part of a trio of new canonical Alien novels, this one intending to take place between the films Alien and Aliens. What I don’t like about it from the get-go is the fact that Ellen Ripley is going to be a key character. I dislike the fact that they’re inserting yet another encounter with the Xenomorphs into her stoyr that inexplicably never gets brought up in the second film. It’s silly. I love Ripley, but she doesn’t need to be randomly inserted into a book for it to be good. At any rate, I enjoyed the characterization of the crew in the first chapter, and appreciate how suddenly and jarringly (for the characters) that trouble is coming their way.


Recently Finished

The TroopOver the weekend I finished reading The Troop by Nick Cutter, which I really loved. I should have a review out sometime later this week. The body horror was outstanding and the way the relationships between the scouts dissolved or changed as their situation worsened was continually compelling. I was wrong in both of my initial impressions about this novel; it is neither a zombie story nor a wendigo story. What is going on was a lot closer to reality and in many ways a lot more frightening. It often made my skin crawl sickeningly. It’s honestly the first time a book has scared me in some way in a while. I wasn’t terrified, but I was so concerned or upset about what might happen to these kids I was sometimes hesitant to continue reading.


Reading Next

TreacheryMy plate is a little full right now so it’s hard to say as far as books go, but I do intend to read Treachery by Robin Furth and Peter David soon, which is the third volume of the prequel comic books for The Dark Tower. There is a Bloodborne comic book coming out this month that I mean to read and review as quick as I can for the spooky season, but that’s hoping it actually comes out in October. It was supposed to release in early September, but keeps getting pushed back. I’m concerned it’ll get pushed into November.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

New Books & Novel Discoveries (September 2018)

In an odd twist, September is an even lighter month than August despite my trip to Fan Expo on the first. The trip was a lot of fun at any rate and I came home with neat curiosities, art, and dumb things I didn’t need but enjoyed getting anyway. I even came home with a few books. Though I wasn’t able to find some that I was actually looking for, I’m happy with what I did manage to pick up.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/26

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The TroopI’m nearly a hundred pages into reading The Troop by Nick Cutter. I was pleasantly surprised with how it hit the ground running with the setup, having the characters already camped out on the small island near Prince Edward Island. It dawned on me slowly after I started reading that this might not be a zombie story at all, but rather a Wendigo story. The starving man who intrudes on their island is emaciated yet cognizant, desperately hungry and devouring everything he can get his hands on yet never able to satisfy the hunger. The novel has yet to confirm one way or another, but I’m eager to find out. The only hitch in the book for me so far is the idle banter between the boys of the troop hasn’t been well written at all.


Recently Finished

AftermathLifeDebtOver the weekend I finished reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, which you can check out my review for here. This book wound up being a significant improvement upon its predecessor for me. The ensemble cast was really well balanced, iconic characters were given more involved roles, and the plot had a lot more forward momentum. Much more happened in this book without sacrificing character moments. A few of the characters did still leave something to be desired though, with personal plot-lines that I had trouble caring for in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read the third and final installment soon.

The Long Road HomeI also read through The Long Road Home by Robin Furth and Peter David et al, the second book in the prequel graphic novels for The Dark Tower series. The plot of this book follows young Roland and his ka-tet’s return to Gilead after the death of Susan, Roland’s love. He spends much of his time in the thrall of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit while his companions must convey his unconscious body over treacherous terrain and protect him from their pursuers. In the seventh novel Roland mentioned seeing the death of Oy through the grapefruit, which we are treated to as well. I was rather heartbreaking to see visualized, and helped to tie the book to the greater quest that lies in store for Roland.


Reading Next

The Haunting of Hill HouseI still intend to continue reading the prequels to The Dark Tower, and in terms of prose I think I can safely say I intend to read one of the Shirley Jackson ebooks I purchased within the last year. More than likely it will be The Haunting of Hill House, which I’ve heard a lot about as a classic film (1963) and novel, but haven’t spent time with firsthand. I’m excited to read a classic ghost story as well as have my first experience with Jackson’s work, considered a master of horror and mystery.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Reading Habits Tag

I saw this reading tag done by Molly over at Silver Button Books last week and decided to accept her open invitation for others to do the tag as well. September has been a bit of a weird month for me in terms of getting posts written. I feel like I blinked and the month was already nearly over, having posted very little. This tag felt like a good opportunity to get me writing a little more before September ends.

Be sure to check out Molly’s post too to read her answers!Read More »

Book Review – Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

AftermathLifeDebt

Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig is the second novel in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, continuing the story of Norra Wexley and her team; her son Temmin, his battle droid bodyguard Mister Bones, the Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari, the ex-Imperial Sinjir Rath Velus, and the special forces soldier Jom Barell, who work together to hunt down Imperial war criminals. The New Republic continues its fight for a firm foothold in the galaxy, while the Empire under Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and her mysterious advisor Gallius Rax conspire to regain the control lost after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Meanwhile, in a risky move to free the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from enslavement, Chewbacca has been captured and Han Solo has gone missing. A distressed Leia enlists the help of Norra’s team to find out what happened to her husband.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown

Ed the Happy Clown

Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown is one of my first real forays into alternative comics. The character and the strips within this book first appeared in the author’s initially self-published comic book Yummy Fur, where the story was serialized. For the most part the story follows Ed, a boyish-looking young man who likes to dress as a clown and bring joy to unwell children. This not what the story is about however, as Ed finds himself afflicted by one horrible, often bizarre, twist of fate after another. Focused more on what happens to Ed than how he deals with each obstacle, the story line includes pygmies infesting the city’s sewers, a man who cannot stop defecating, a vampire girl seeking revenge, miniature men from another dimension, and oh so much more.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/19

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

AftermathLifeDebtI’m still reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, though I’m about two thirds of the way through now. In some ways I’m finding I like this book a lot more than the first one. The amount of development and motion in the story has really made me realize even more in retrospect just how much the first book was spinning its wheels where plot was concerned. There are other hiccups in Wendig’s writing style that recur in this book as well, making them stand out worse. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, and I’m especially happy to see core Star Wars characters like Han and Leia play significant roles in the story, rather than being more background figures.


Recently Finished

Ed the Happy ClownOver the weekend I finished reading Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown. While a big talking point about the book for me going in was just how weird things looked without any context, I must say that by the end I was thoroughly over it. Exhaustion was bound to set in, as I expected, especially reading it all at once (rather than serially, as it was originally published). That’s not to say that I think it is bad, however, just that that particular shtick stopped affecting me by the end. The story had grown out in a more coherent direction too, ending things on a surprisingly downer note for certain characters. I should have a review posted soon.


Reading Next

The TroopLike I said last week, with October a mere couple of weeks away I’ve been thinking a lot about the horror books I may want to start reading for the season. One that I’ve decided upon, and likely my next book, is The Troop by Nick Cutter. I’ve made to sure to limit my knowledge of the story to the back cover, so all that I can glean from that is it’s about a troop of scouts on a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness who encounter some sort of zombie-like threat. Nick Cutter is actually a pseudonym for a Canadian author I really like who typically writes fiction, so I’m especially intrigued to see what he comes up with as Cutter.

Until next week, thank you for reading! What did you read this week?