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  • sholloman81
    replied
    Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post

    I'm definitely looking forward to the collections. They seem to be more positively reviewed than GOTHIC, though I try to take book reviews with a grain of salt. I'll probably put a couple books between them and GOTHIC, though. I have this weird rule about not reading books by the same author back to back.

    Expectations are a killer. I've posted about this before on the forum, but the first time I read ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer, I absolutely hated it. It was such a slog and I couldn't understand the rave reviews. About two-thirds of the way through, I realized that I was actively fighting against the book because it wasn't what I had thought it would be. A vowed to give it another shot and a year later I read it again and absolutely loved it. (Still haven't finished the trilogy, though. But that's another story for another time.) Sometimes it's the book and sometimes it's who we are or what we expect when we approach the book.
    I don't think your rule about not reading books by the same author back-to-back is weird at all. I made that mistake a while back with a giant stack of Bentley Little books that I had accumulated, and it completely ruined him as an author for me. The books were fine, some of them were even exceptional, but reading them back-to-back made me notice how formulaic a lot of them were. I probably wouldn't have noticed or felt that way if I hadn't read them in that fashion.

    Glad you ended-up loving Annihilation! I'm a huge fan of the Area X books!

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post

    While it seems that I liked it a bit more than you, this is honestly a pretty fair review. I haven't read Boys in the Valley yet; so, I can't speak to the hype train with that one, but if you haven't read his short story collections, they will knock your socks off. A part of me wondered the whole time I was reading Gothic if I was being harsher toward it just because it wasn't living up to the bar that the collections set.
    I'm definitely looking forward to the collections. They seem to be more positively reviewed than GOTHIC, though I try to take book reviews with a grain of salt. I'll probably put a couple books between them and GOTHIC, though. I have this weird rule about not reading books by the same author back to back.

    Expectations are a killer. I've posted about this before on the forum, but the first time I read ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer, I absolutely hated it. It was such a slog and I couldn't understand the rave reviews. About two-thirds of the way through, I realized that I was actively fighting against the book because it wasn't what I had thought it would be. A vowed to give it another shot and a year later I read it again and absolutely loved it. (Still haven't finished the trilogy, though. But that's another story for another time.) Sometimes it's the book and sometimes it's who we are or what we expect when we approach the book.

    Leave a comment:


  • sholloman81
    replied
    Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post

    I just finished reading Gothic last night, but it took me a lot longer to get through it than it took you. I started the book at the beginning of January and stalled after the first fifty pages. I struggled to connect with Tyson Parks as a character and lost all momentum with the story. I hardly ever DNF a book, so I refused to move on to something else and just left the book abandoned on the nightstand. I finally decided to give it another chance this past week and wound up finishing it. Tyson still never grew on me, which I doubt was the author's intentions, but I did find myself rooting for Sarah and Violet. I really found the last fifth of the book compelling and kinda wish the book had lived in that world a little longer. Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away. Not a homerun, but maybe a solid double. And this may be due to just the sheer hype heading into reading it. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for Boys in the Valley and his two collections of short stories, so I think there was a part of me expecting to be blown away and instead I was presented with a pretty solid horror book reminiscent of the 80s and 90s paperbacks. And it is completely possible that I would have been more impressed if it was a $8.99 paperback and I hadn't already spent $710 on limited and lettered editions from the author. I try not to let either hype or the cost of the book to come into play when engaging with the story, but it's possible that these two factors got the best of me. I will say that after reading Gothic, I'm still looking forward to reading his other work.
    While it seems that I liked it a bit more than you, this is honestly a pretty fair review. I haven't read Boys in the Valley yet; so, I can't speak to the hype train with that one, but if you haven't read his short story collections, they will knock your socks off. A part of me wondered the whole time I was reading Gothic if I was being harsher toward it just because it wasn't living up to the bar that the collections set.
    Last edited by sholloman81; 02-12-2024, 10:33 PM.

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  • Sock Monkey
    replied
    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post
    Just finished reading the Earthling LE of Philip Fracassi's "Gothic", a first time read. I really enjoyed this one. It was very well written with lots of genuinely creepy scenes, and ended up being a much meaner book than I was expecting. It also left enough room for a sequel or story set in-universe, should the author want to revisit this world, which as a reader I wouldn't mind. I also enjoyed the author's sense of humor in this one. There were a couple digs and barbs that had me laughing out loud. Overall, while I don't feel that it rose to the level of excellence that his short story collections have IMO, I really enjoyed this novel length work by Fracassi and look forward to reading another from him soon!

    Am now reading the Centipede LE of Mendal W. Johnson's "Let's Go Play at the Adams'", a first-time author and read for me. Have had this one on the TBR pile for a while and am interested to see if it lives up to its rep, especially having already read Ketchum's Girl Next Door.
    I just finished reading Gothic last night, but it took me a lot longer to get through it than it took you. I started the book at the beginning of January and stalled after the first fifty pages. I struggled to connect with Tyson Parks as a character and lost all momentum with the story. I hardly ever DNF a book, so I refused to move on to something else and just left the book abandoned on the nightstand. I finally decided to give it another chance this past week and wound up finishing it. Tyson still never grew on me, which I doubt was the author's intentions, but I did find myself rooting for Sarah and Violet. I really found the last fifth of the book compelling and kinda wish the book had lived in that world a little longer. Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away. Not a homerun, but maybe a solid double. And this may be due to just the sheer hype heading into reading it. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for Boys in the Valley and his two collections of short stories, so I think there was a part of me expecting to be blown away and instead I was presented with a pretty solid horror book reminiscent of the 80s and 90s paperbacks. And it is completely possible that I would have been more impressed if it was a $8.99 paperback and I hadn't already spent $710 on limited and lettered editions from the author. I try not to let either hype or the cost of the book to come into play when engaging with the story, but it's possible that these two factors got the best of me. I will say that after reading Gothic, I'm still looking forward to reading his other work.

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  • sholloman81
    replied
    Just finished reading the Earthling LE of Philip Fracassi's "Gothic", a first time read. I really enjoyed this one. It was very well written with lots of genuinely creepy scenes, and ended up being a much meaner book than I was expecting. It also left enough room for a sequel or story set in-universe, should the author want to revisit this world, which as a reader I wouldn't mind. I also enjoyed the author's sense of humor in this one. There were a couple digs and barbs that had me laughing out loud. Overall, while I don't feel that it rose to the level of excellence that his short story collections have IMO, I really enjoyed this novel length work by Fracassi and look forward to reading another from him soon!

    Am now reading the Centipede LE of Mendal W. Johnson's "Let's Go Play at the Adams'", a first-time author and read for me. Have had this one on the TBR pile for a while and am interested to see if it lives up to its rep, especially having already read Ketchum's Girl Next Door.

    Leave a comment:


  • brlesh
    replied
    Finally finished up Dune the other day, and have to say it was another sci-fi classic I found to be overall disappointing.

    I thought the first part (250 pages) was great. If you saw the recent movie, it pretty much followed the first part of the book. The story was well paced, there were multiple character POV’s, political intrigue, blackmail and betrayal.

    Part 2 (the next 200 pages) was were the story went off the rails for me. This was were Paul and Jessica escape from the attack into the desert and are taken in by the Fremen. The pacing slowed to a crawl as most of this part was told from Paul’s POV and adjusting to life in the desert and coming to realize you maybe the most powerful person in the universe. This part was definitely a novel from the 60’s - a lot of mysticism, mind altering substances & group consciousness. It felt like this part could have been written by Timothy Leary or Carlos Castenados.

    Part 3 (the last 150 pages) was better, as the pacing picked back up (though not to the level of Part 1) as some of the characters from Part 1 are revisited and some new characters are introduced. However, I just found the last 50 pages to be rushed and rather anticlimactic. Plus, the most interesting new character just seemed to disappear at the end.

    Overall, I found Paul’s story arc to be interesting (from a scared kid meeting the Reverend Mother in the beginning to essentially usurping the emperor at the end). But the slow pacing and very anticlimactic ending certainly dragged the story down for me.

    I am still looking forward to see what they do with the second movie, as I did like the first.

    B

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  • jeffingoff
    replied
    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post

    Only about a quarter of the way in Gothic, but so far, so good! I do have a trade hardcover of Boys in the Valley in my TBR pile, but I keep grabbing other books from the pile instead. I think the petty collector in me is still mad at myself for passing on the Earthling edition before it sold out and became a smash book for collectors. I'm sure I'll get around to it at some point soon...
    I've done that with so many books. They just sort of bob near the top of the pile forever. More often than no I regret waiting on those. But there are just sooooo many books!

    And yeah the Earthling Fracassi's are expensive on the secondary. I'd stay tuned in case there's another one . . .

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  • sholloman81
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffingoff View Post

    Gothic was a lot of fun. If you like it, then read Boys in the Valley for something that hits the heartstrings. There's really no bad Fracassi. I've loved everything.
    Only about a quarter of the way in Gothic, but so far, so good! I do have a trade hardcover of Boys in the Valley in my TBR pile, but I keep grabbing other books from the pile instead. I think the petty collector in me is still mad at myself for passing on the Earthling edition before it sold out and became a smash book for collectors. I'm sure I'll get around to it at some point soon...

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffingoff
    replied
    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post
    Just finished reading the Centipede LE of Shelley Katz's "Alligator", a first-time author & read for me. Wasn't sure what to expect going into this one and ended up enjoying it way more than I had hoped. The characterization was top-notch. Also loved the atmosphere and setting, felt like you were right there in the swamps with them. If I had one (small) complaint, it would be that I was hoping for more Alligator action, but that being said, when the gator does show up, it's loads of fun. Really, this book isn't about the gator at all but about the main characters journey to understanding his need to catch it. The reviews compare this one to Jaws, and I can see why, but I was reminded much more of Moby Dick. Also loved the production by Centipede. Pretty much everything works. The cover art is very cool, as are the interior illustrations. The forward by the author is also very illuminating. Overall, I'm very happy to finally have read this book, and even more happy to have it in such a sweet edition.

    Am now reading the Earthling LE of Philip Fracassi's "Gothic", a first time read. I have high hopes for this one as I adore Fracassi's collections, but this will be his first novel length work for me.
    Gothic was a lot of fun. If you like it, then read Boys in the Valley for something that hits the heartstrings. There's really no bad Fracassi. I've loved everything.

    Leave a comment:


  • sholloman81
    replied
    Just finished reading the Centipede LE of Shelley Katz's "Alligator", a first-time author & read for me. Wasn't sure what to expect going into this one and ended up enjoying it way more than I had hoped. The characterization was top-notch. Also loved the atmosphere and setting, felt like you were right there in the swamps with them. If I had one (small) complaint, it would be that I was hoping for more Alligator action, but that being said, when the gator does show up, it's loads of fun. Really, this book isn't about the gator at all but about the main characters journey to understanding his need to catch it. The reviews compare this one to Jaws, and I can see why, but I was reminded much more of Moby Dick. Also loved the production by Centipede. Pretty much everything works. The cover art is very cool, as are the interior illustrations. The forward by the author is also very illuminating. Overall, I'm very happy to finally have read this book, and even more happy to have it in such a sweet edition.

    Am now reading the Earthling LE of Philip Fracassi's "Gothic", a first time read. I have high hopes for this one as I adore Fracassi's collections, but this will be his first novel length work for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben Staad
    replied
    No problem. I can already tell it's not going to be one of my favorites but it's not looking like a DNF.

    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post

    Hope you post a review at the end. That book has been on my radar for a while as it has gotten tons of praise from authors and reviewers that I respect. That being said, it also seems like I keep finding reasons to pass on it for something else. Not sure why. The only other book that I've read by Kraus was the Romero collab "The Living Dead" which I did enjoy.
     

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  • fanatic
    replied
    I agree with Ron. I don't think you can go wrong with anything he writes.

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  • sholloman81
    replied
    Originally posted by RonClinton View Post

    I'm a huge Peter Heller fan as well, and have read them all. THE DOG STARS remains my favorite and I was thrilled that Lividian did a limited of it as it was immensely deserving of the honor. But he has several others that are tremendous as well; the only one I didn't really care for was CELINE, but it's very atypical of his work and themes, so that's not surprising, perhaps. In order of my preference, I'd recommend:

    1). THE DOG STARS
    2). THE PAINTER
    3). THE RIVER
    4). THE LAST RANGER
    5). THE GUIDE (a sequel of sorts to THE RIVER)
    6). CELINE
    Thanks! That gives me a great place to start. Now I'll have to look these ones up and choose!

    Leave a comment:


  • RonClinton
    replied
    Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post

    Do you have one that you especially enjoyed? Wouldn't mind reading more Heller, but he has so many and I'm not sure where the gold might be among them. Amazingly, Dog Stars was only 3 & 1/2 stars on Goodreads; so, I'm not sure that I trust their reviewers when it comes to his other books!
    I'm a huge Peter Heller fan as well, and have read them all. THE DOG STARS remains my favorite and I was thrilled that Lividian did a limited of it as it was immensely deserving of the honor. But he has several others that are tremendous as well; the only one I didn't really care for was CELINE, but it's very atypical of his work and themes, so that's not surprising, perhaps. In order of my preference, I'd recommend:

    1). THE DOG STARS
    2). THE PAINTER
    3). THE RIVER
    4). THE LAST RANGER
    5). THE GUIDE (a sequel of sorts to THE RIVER)
    6). CELINE

    Leave a comment:


  • RonClinton
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben Staad View Post
    I'm currently reading Whalefall by Daniel Krause. I'm about halfway through it and enjoying it so far. It has an odd style where it jumps between present and past however the author has kept each chapter/section very short in order to keep the story moving forward. I'm not in love with this aspect however it's not the worst format I've read.
    I read it and generally enjoyed it, but I'm not on the bandwagon that has praised this one as being extraordinarily special. I thought it was...fine and interesting, but like you had some issues in the way it was presented.

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