Haunted Forest Tour ★★★☆☆

hauntedforesttour (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Haunted Forest Tour
Series: ———-
Author: James Moore & Jeff Strand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A forest grew up in one day in New Mexico, destroying a small town and killing almost all of the inhabitants. The survivors reported seeing otherworldly monsters.

The owner of the land opened up a tourist attraction where people could take a ride on armored buses through the edge of the forest to see the various creatures. He also hired cryptozoologists to study the remains of the creatures. The Haunted Forest Tour has a 100% safety rating and no one has ever gotten hurt.

For months now, crew have been laying down new track to the center of the forest. On Halloween a select group of 80 people are invited to go deeper into the forest than anyone has ever gone before. Unfortunately for them, the power goes out on the track and an accident occurs between 2 of the buses. Also, the monsters begin attacking, something they’ve never done before. The tourists split, some staying in the buses to wait for rescue and others to try to strike out and rescue themselves. Those who stay are eaten rather quickly.

The group we follow make it to an abandoned facility within the Forest. They realize they’ve gone even deeper into the forest and one of them strikes out on his own to follow the rails back to the edge of the Forest. The remainder are split up. It is revealed that the Forest is an intrusion from a demonic dimension and that the ruler has made a deal with the owner of Haunted Forest Tours. This demon needs a willing sacrifice AND a willing host to fully integrate his dimension into ours. He gets the sacrifice but is outwitted and some other humans destroy his host.

The whole forest and all of its denizens return to the their dimension and only a few people survive.

 

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, I was hoping for more. Part of that was me wanting answers well before the authors chose to give it. I didn’t learn that the Forest was a hell pocket until well past the 50% mark and up to that point I was trying to figure out what was going on. The deal with the devil explained almost everything but it came too late for me, as I was too distracted by my own questions up to that point.

I was also disappointed in how the military reacted. They’re shown as a bunch of lackwits and idiots. I was hoping for something a bit more in the vein of Through the Looking Glass by John Ringo.

The violence was pretty high but felt like some sort of B movie violence where it was just so splatterific that it moved into silly territory when that was NOT the intention. There was one torture scene near the end though that was just grotesque.

For a horror book, I never felt a moments dread. Horror is atmospheric, not just describing people getting killed horrifically. This had as much atmosphere as an empty elevator.

Overall, I don’t feel like my time was wasted, as I got all the splatterific I could handle but there was no nuance and the whole supernatural side of things was just shoehorned in. The ending seemed to happen in 5 pages and authorial handwavium definitely occurred. This book didn’t leave me wanting to seek out any more by either author.

★★★☆☆

 

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The Hatching (The Hatching #1) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@20%

hatching (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Hatching
Series: The Hatching #1
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 353/ DNF@20%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF’d at roughly 20%

 

My Thoughts:

I dnf’d this for the usual reason of the inclusion of homosexuality. That being said, before that I was “this” close to pulling the trigger and dnf’ing it anyway. This was laced with profanity, the majority of the characters were either having affairs, had affairs or were considering affairs and generally speaking, everyone involved was a scumbag. If killer spiders were about to consume the entire world, I wouldn’t shed a tear for a single one of these people.

It got me thinking though. I am tired of dnf’ing books because of objectionable content as it simply wears down my soul and I feel tired and worn out from just trying to simply believe what is true. Books like this degrade that and I’ve come to realize that it is not enough to simply dnf a book or avoid an author that espouses perversions as normal.

Reading non-fiction has always been one of the hardest things for me. But to combat the constant degradation of my spirit I will be starting to rotate in non-fiction into my regular reading schedule. It probably means that the months I read a non-fiction book my overall book numbers will go down as I won’t be racing through them. Which will mean less overall posts. I doubt that these non-fiction books will appeal to the majority of those who follow me, which is why I’m giving you all the heads up.

Right now I’ve got several books by Ellen White (the un-official founder of 7th Day Adventism), C.S. Lewis (a lay, ie, non-ordained, theologian) and the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, in 3 parts. These three authors will be a test run for the next 2 years to see if I can handle a steady diet of non-fiction every couple of months.

I realize this “review” has pretty much turned into more of an announcement post and I thank you for your time and understanding.

☆☆☆☆½

 

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77 Shadow Street ★★★☆½

77shadowstreet (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: 77 Shadow Street
Series: ———-
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Pages: 722
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

The Pendleton. Built back in the late 1800’s, it was the biggest mansion of its kind to date. Throughout the years, strange things have happened to those who lived there. Murders, kidnappings, disappearances, suicides, mental breakdowns. Now the Pendleton has been turned into a bunch of luxury condos. Now the residents are starting to see some really weird things. Now one old man who has done his research knows he must get everybody out of the building if any of them want to survive the next 24hrs.

A disparate group are brought together and through the mystery of Scyenze, are swept into the future to a world that is post-human. Post-anything in fact, except for The One. The One rules All, The One Knows All, The One IS All. Among the group is revealed the creator of The One and The One sows the seeds for its own birth, thus making sure of its own survival and the destruction of humanity.

The One hower, is NO match for 2 kids, an ex-Marine, a Honky-tonk song writer, a brilliant novelist, a blind man, 2 old ladies and their cats, a Scyenzist who swears he WON’T create The One and some others. Oh yeah, and one insane murdering hitman. The group survives and puts paid to the Scyenzist and some shadowy figure kills the other Scyenzist who could do the same.

The World is Safe. For Now.

 

My Thoughts:

Despite the tone of my Synopsis, I rather enjoyed this. I called this a Horror/Thriller because while it had elements of Horror, they weren’t supernatural. However, when creatures shove black goop down your throat and turn you into more of them, what else do you call that? It sure isn’t slapstick comedy.

Having read the Frankenstein novels and the Odd Thomas series, I can see so many ideas that Koontz uses over and over. I think that would/will be a problem if I read a bunch of Koontz back to back or even with just a month of each other. I think with the spacing I have though it should be ok.

The Good Guys Win. That knocked my rating up a half star easily. It is refreshing. Obviously not everybody makes it and there is a big enough group that no particular outcome is telegraphed in terms of survival so I never felt like any particular character was safe (except for the 2 kids, especially the autistic girl). That bit of tension is nice and made the story have a bit of “snap” to it.

I have no desire to ever re-read this book but that is pretty much how I’ve felt about all of Koontz’s books. With the amount he’s turned out though, that really isn’t a problem. A solid fun read that was just scary enough for me but not really scary (which is how I like my scary books).

★★★☆½

 

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Rites of Azathoth ★★☆☆½

rites of azathoth (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Rites of Azathoth
Series: ———-
Author: Frank Cavallo
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 420
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Diana Mancuso, FBI agent, is carrying on an affair with her boss, one of the Assistant-Directors of the FBI. She is assigned to a high profile murder case of a potential vice-presidential candidate. The profile indicates a man who up until 24hrs ago, was 1000 miles away in a maximum security prison. He has mysteriously disappeared. It turns out that the VP candidate has ties to all the previous victims, who were ritualistically murdered.

Doctor Carter, former protege of Gamaliel a discredited historian who dwelt on Elder gods as the true history of mankind, has been invited to join a mysterious group headed by a reclusive billionaire. Carter has been recruited to translate an elder language that he was taught by Gamaliel.

The ritualistic murderer is acting as supernatural conduit for Azathoth, who the billionaire is attempting to awaken. Said awakening will grant all knowledge to those involved but might destroy all of creation as well. Luther Vayne is acting on Azathoth’s will to prevent this awakening.

Everything comes together, a gateway is opened by Carter, Mancuso and Vayne prevent Azathoth from awakening, the occultic group is destroyed and Carter is taken into the realm of Chaos and he thinks how wonderful it all is.

 

My Thoughts:

I feel like I am being rather generous in giving this 2 ½ stars. Mancuso was a very unpleasant character. She’s just a jerk to everyone, even her so-called friend. This friend covers for her, breaks the law for her, lies to FBI agents for her and said friend tosses it off as “Oh well, that’s what friends do”. And Mancuso takes it as her due instead of as the huge thing it is. Then comes her affair with her boss. He’s married and trying to fix his marriage AND keep Mancuso on the side. She’s pissed off that she’s the side woman and is always put out that he won’t toss his rich, beautiful, young wife for her. She’s the very definition of an angry bitch. It was NOT amusing or enjoyable.

Carter was an arrogant ass who was divorced and failing at pretty much everything, including being a dad. He stays arrogant, assuming and overbearing during the whole book and his little “Oh, how wonderful the other side is” comment at the end was completely out of character and had NO place in a horror story about eldrich horrors beyond mortal ken.

The horror side of things worked pretty well. Demon children adopted by a cabal of women, hunted down by a supernatural blind killer, a half demon billionaire who sacrifices the blood of virgins to his own mother, it was fantastic. It was what you’d expect from an HP Lovecraft themed story. So the whole thing about Azathoth using Vayne to prevent the end of everything didn’t fit. Elder gods don’t care. And Carter saying how beautiful the chaos of the other realm was? That was complete bollux. The other realm drives men mad, period.

So unlikeable characters and an ending that didn’t fit with the theme made for a rather bleh read. There was also a lot of profanity.

★★☆☆½

 

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The Dead Town (Frankenstein #5) ★★☆☆☆

thedeadtown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Dead Town
Series: Frankenstein #5
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 447
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Everything begins falling apart for Victor Immaculate. His vat grown creations once again transcend their genetic coding and that transcendance is always in the form of breaking. Builders take on non-biological matter and can’t reproduce properly, the replacement clones begin to obsess and lose sight of their mission.

Through it all, Michael and Carson begin helping the townsfolk defend themselves while Deucalion hunts Victor down. Deucalion snaps Victor’s neck, the creations fall apart upon their creator’s death and Deucalion can now walk quantumly through the Light instead of skulking through the Shadows.

 

My Thoughts:

Even while I was expecting this story to turn out like this, it was still disappointing to have it actually happen. This followed the exact same pattern as the first trilogy but without any finesse or style. Evil simply falls apart and the good guys win by default.

Also, I already wrote this review, forgot to post it online, forgot I hadn’t posted it and deleted the hard copy from Open Office. So I’m writing this all over again. That always ruins things.

Basically, I didn’t enjoy this book or this series overall. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am going to continue dipping my toes into the Koontz universe. I’ve got 20 of his books available so I’m going to go exploring and see what I find. I hope I find better things than this book.

If anyone has read some of his standalone stuff, feel free to make recommendations in the comments, otherwise I’m just going to start picking stuff randomly.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

♪Bookstooge ♪ Confessional♪

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Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen! For ONE DAY ONLY!!!

Bookstooge, that international man of mystery, that scallywag that made a fool of Poirot, that debonair playboy who taught Bruce Wayne everything he knows, that world travelling thrill junky, the artist who taught Moby the art of Music, the man who ACTUALLY painted the Mona Lisa, YES, THAT BOOKSTOOGE!!!! is here today.

johnny_english_reborn_rowan

Bookstooge, Uncoweled for the First Time in History!

 

No subject is OFF LIMITS. Bookstooge will reveal the secret that started him on his path of skullduggery, the whirlwhind romances he experienced, the near death experiences, the thrilling adventures, the moment when he saw the errors of his ways and became A FORCE FOR GOOD!

So step right up, gentle beings of the galaxy and for a pittance, a mere pittance, be entertained, be astounded, BE AMAZED at what you will see and hear.

 

cortina-teatro

 

It all started that fateful night. I was born! Much against my wishes I am told and as the years have rolled on, I concur. Oh, the pain within and without that could have been avoided if only my parents had died in that car accident. Christened Marstal Thrasble Youngylis the Fourth (and no, my father was Jedibiah Smahck, there were no previous Marstal Thrasble Youngylis’s), I came into this cruel hard world with a name to make grown men weep and beautiful women shudder in horror.

When my parents didn’t die (in car accidents or otherwise) and I realized I would never be adopted and thus have my name changed, something inside of me broke. The rage grew, the inner torment began manifesting as physical flames and I began to invest in DuPont’s Nomex fireproof line of gear. (By the way, that stuff REALLY works. I’ve made a bundle off of my investment. )

2

[invest now, pro-tip!]

But whenever I would grow close to a beautiful woman, they were always driven away by the flames of my passion. I burned too hot, too bright, too fast for them. I was destined to be alone, forever. Until that fateful day that I met Miss Librarian Girl. She saw my flames and instead of running away screaming, in horror and despair like so many before, she just threw a bucket of water on me. Surprisingly, once I got over the shock of such an occurrence, I realized that I no longer burned uncontrollably. Thus was born, BOOKSTOOGE! Defender of himself, One Man Reviewing Machine, Spewer of Outlandish Tales and the kindly soul you all have come to love and adore.

bookstooge

The Crowd Goes Wild!!!!!

 

Since I am in such a good mood today, I have decided to let you ask me questions. That I will answer (ha, I bet you thought I wasn’t going to include that part). So if you have ever wondered anything, or actually nothing but you want to make silly crap up, now is your time. I’ll put up your questions in a separate post next week and answer as best I can. Be warned though, I am Bookstooge, contrarian extraordinaire.

The only caveat is that I will answer NO questions, and I mean absolutely ZERO, on the subject of porkchops. I am simply not at a place in my life where I can deal with such questions. Thank you for understanding.

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bookstooge (Custom)

Lost Souls (Frankenstein #4) ★★★☆☆

lostsouls (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lost Souls
Series: Frankenstein #4
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor is alive. Or at least, his replacement clone is. But Victor 2.0 isn’t quite the same as Victor Helios. Victor Immaculate, as he calls himself, doesn’t want to replace humanity now, he wants to destroy it. If he can do that, he’ll have negated Scripture, thus making him more powerful than God.

With an array of new replicants and a new type of human called Builders, Victor sets forth his plan to begin exterminating humanity in a small town in Montana. With key officials replaced, the Builders can begin feeding on the towns people and begin the cycle of death and destruction.

Michael and Carson, now private eyes with a baby girl named Scout, realize that they have more to lose than ever. Scout means more to them than their own lives. When Deucalion comes calling telling them he has a hunch that Victor is alive, they don’t want to believe him. Then Erica Five, who has been living in a small Montanna town, calls Carson and tells her she has seen Victor. Now Michael and Carson have no choice. If they want there to be a world for Scout to grow up in, they must go out and do battle once again.

We also follow various townspeople from Rainbow Falls as things begin to go downhill. A vagrant and a special needs man, both in jail but for opposite reasons, survive the first wave of Builders’ feeding and must work together to stay alive. An old man and a young boy, both in the hospital, must depend on each other to escape the hospital, which has become a major center for the Builders. Two X-Files style FBI Agents are also in town chasing down rumors that The Money Man, a shadowy figure, will be in town and they mean to nab him.

Everything is set in motion for a climactic battle for the survival of Rainbow Falls and the world itself. Then the book abruptly ends. Like a meat cleaver right down the middle of a carcass of a cow.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one and it was all set to be a 3 ½ star book. Then came the artificial ending. It was obvious that this book and the next, titled Deadtown, are really one story but due to length was cut in half. However, that cutting was done with all the finesse of a drunk butcher, who was blindfolded and who was told that one of the slabs of beef hanging in his freezer was really a pinata and to have at it. No resolution of any kind, no story arc completed, just full stop. That is bad story telling and it pissed me off. So I knocked that coveted ½ star off. I sure taught Koontz a lesson with that!

Besides that grievance, I did like this. I didn’t give it much detail in the synopsis but we really spend more time in the town of Rainbow Falls with various townspeople than we do with either Michael and Carson or Deucalion. That worked well as the Koontz definitely goes into “horror” territory more than in some of the previous Frankenstein books. How the Builders consume people is something else. There was one instance of where a church group was locked into a building and when some Builders were let loose and the replicants were watching, almost every single adult in the group pulled out a gun. The replicants were all killed and some ex-soldiers led the group out. It was great. God, guns and guts (ie, courage, not literally guts. With this book, there might be some confusion, hence this awkward, longwinded and rather unnecessary explanation)

The X-Files guys, (one of whom is named Dagget for goodness sake!!!!), play almost no part beyond being introduced and giving the reader a tiny bit of info.I suspect they’ll play a bigger part in the final book with how everything gets cleaned up.

Given how quickly the storyline for Victor Helios was wrapped up in the previous trilogy, I suspect the next book (which is also the final book in this series) is going to follow the same pattern. Koontz definitely has a paint by numbers plan for this series. A special needs child, the badguys beginning to fall apart on their own (evil consuming itself), etc, etc. It’s not a bad formula, just a bit obvious.

I chose not to read the final book immediately, due to my reading setup, but for anyone else, I’d recommend they read the first trilogy all in one go and then this duology in one go. I suspect it might make the overall narrative less choppy feeling if each story arc is read as one big book.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)