Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

October Buddy Read with the Pantsless Ones

When an occult scholar recruits people to help him research the paranormal events at Hill House, will the house let any of them leave unscathed?

I've heard this touted as a classic haunted house story for decades and finally decided to take the plunge when the Pantless Ones picked it for an October read. I was not overly impressed.

I don't know if this was the case of wrong book/wrong time but I was not engaged by this book. All of the characters seemed like caricatures to me rather than real people.

There were some creepy parts, like Eleanor holding a hand in the dark that turned out not to be whose she thought, and Eleanor's descent into madness, but I was pretty bored most of the time. The status bar on my Kindle couldn't creep to the right fast enough.

I'm giving it two stars now but I may re-read it in the future when I'm in the mood for such a story.

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Monday, September 21, 2015


GutmouthGutmouth by Gabino Iglesias
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

David Demon has a second mouth below his navel named Phillipe. How did David and Phillipe end up in the clink and, more importantly, will they be able to escape?

Gutmouth is another rendering of that age old tale of a woman becoming between two men. Only, in this case, it's actually between a man and his mutation, a second mouth with a nine inch tongue and a British accent. Yeah, Gutmouth is a bizarro book.

I periodically dip in and out of the bizarro genre. One of my complaints about the genre is that logic is sometimes tossed to the wind. I can buy into talking penises or people having sex with furniture, as long as it makes some sort of sense. Gutmouth makes a lot of sense to me.

Set in a dystopian future of heartless corporations and genetic engineering, Gutmouth is bizarro noir at its finest. Who wouldn't want to knock off their three breasted amputee girlfriend if she cheated on him with his second mouth?

Gabino Iglesias wears his noir influences on his sleeve. I knew I was devouring it in one sitting when he described the sounds of drops of water sounding like "faraway slaps on a fat woman's ass." There are other clever Chandler-esque similes but that's the one I remember the most.

If you're looking for a quick bizarro fix with a robust noir flavor, look nor further. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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The Summer I Died

The Summer I DiedThe Summer I Died by Ryan C. Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Roger and Tooth are out shooting at tin cans in the mountains, they hear a woman screaming. When they go to investigate, they wind up in a hell on earth. Will either of them survive the ordeal?

The Summer I Died is the story of two friends who wind up captured by a psychopath in the woods and tortured. It reminded me of The Girl Next Door in that it's a bleak, powerful book.

It's a pretty brutal book and horrifying because it isn't that far out of the realm of possibility. The Skinny Man kept inflicted more and more tortures on Tooth while Roger watched helplessly.

The Summer I Died is a pretty powerful book but I can't say I actually enjoyed it. "Survived it" sounds more accurate. I did like the ending way more than The Girl Next Door however, and I never once contemplated not finishing it. I guess I'm going to slap the traditional safety rating of 3 on it. I won't be reading the sequel, however.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play

Mr. Burns, a post-electric playMr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, can memories of The Simpsons pull people together?

My lady and I saw this play performed last night and now I shall seek out the book so I can better process and pick apart what we witnessed.

The first act of the play takes place just after the apocalypse. There is no electricity and a small group of survivors amuses themselves by reminiscing about the Cape Fear episode of the Simpsons. A stranger shows up and is eventually accepted into their group. This was by far the best act of the play. It was really intense and made me forget I just shelled out $50.

The second act takes place seven years after the first. The effects of the apocalypse are still being felt. Travelling groups of actors perform episodes of the Simpsons in front of live audiences, painstakingly reconstructing the episodes from people's vague memories. This act wasn't as good as the first but I still dug it once I pieced together what was going on.

The third act takes place 75 years after the second. I suspect it is supposed to show how the Cape Fear episode of the Simpsons mutated after being retold for almost a century but I kept thinking about Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow. It was so bizarre I hoped I remembered how to drive when the act was over. I looked at my gf a few times and mouthed "This is so fucked up." Mr. Burns and Itchy and Scratchy terrorize the Simpsons on a houseboat. When a bosomy woman playing Lisa Simpsons gets groped by a demonic Mr. Burns, you don't easily forget it.

So, yeah, if Mr. Burns comes to your town, I recommend seeing it for the WTF factor of the third act alone. It wasn't my favorite play but it's definitely etched into my brain. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Shepherd's Crown - Spoilers!

The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld, #41; Tiffany Aching, #5)The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Upon the death of Granny Weatherwax, the elves seek to invade the realms of man once again. Can Tiffany Aching rally the other witches of Lancre and The Chalk and protect her two steadings (and the rest of the world)?

Here we are, the book Terry Pratchett was refining when Death finally showed up to claim him. PUT THE MANUSCRIPT DOWN, PRATCHETT. YOUR WORK IS DONE, or something to that effect. As a result, it doesn't quite feel finished but it was enjoyable just the same.

The Shepherd's Crown is a tale of acceptance and changing times, much like many of the later Discworld books. A male witch? Humans living alongside goblins? Elves trying to invade a world moving into an age of iron and rails?

Discworld goes out with a bang when Granny Weatherwax dies in the first few pages and the elves seek to take advantage of the power vacuum. Tiffany has to deal with being Granny's successor, herding the other witches, and deal with Geoffrey, who may in fact be the first male witch on the Disc, all the while contending with massing elves and their fallen queen, Nightshade.

Like I mentioned, Pratchett was working on this book when he passed and, as a result, it doesn't feel finished. While the standard wit and wisdom of Discworld is there, it's a little thin and feels unrefined. Still, I found many parts hilarious and others touching, par for the course for a Discworld book.

While I've enjoyed many Discworld books more, the final tale of Tiffany Aching and the Disc was quite satisfying. I'll miss you, Terry. Four out of five stars.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Creamed by Cave Creatures

Creamed by Cave Creatures (Monster Mayhem #4)Creamed by Cave Creatures by Chelsea Chaynes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Some nameless chick goes spelunking by herself and encounters some subhuman monsters. And engages in coitus with them.

I read this because Kelly hinted that I should read more monster porn. Plus it was free and I was pretty sure I could get her to read it with me.

Creamed by Cave Creatures is a lot like that movie The Descent. Only in this case, instead of a group of girls, it's one girl. And instead of fighting for her life against subhuman cave creatures, she has an orgy with them. I call it an orgy instead of gang rape because it sure seemed like she was enjoying it but the line was blurred.

Anyway, free monster porn. Strangely, I felt the writing quality impeded my enjoyment. Maybe I've been spoiled by the works of Emma Steele but the writing was amateurish at best. The sex wasn't appealing, either. I experienced no feelings in my man parts while reading it.

The ending was oddly dark for a story of this type. While I didn't expect the nameless science-y chick to live happily ever after with her troglodyte violators, it was still on the dark side.

In conclusion, Creamed by Cave Creatures was not the best free monster porn experience I've ever had. Good thing it was short. Two out of five stars.

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