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Thread: June - How Many??

  1. #1
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    June - How Many??

    Six in June, though one of these I didn't finish.

    The Hatching by Ezikiele Boone - an ancient species of spiders wrecks havoc on the world. An OK read. Didn't like it enough to read the rest of the trilogy.
    2.5 / 5

    Without Purpose Without Pity by Brian Hodge - its post apocalyptic Las Vegas and the masses still want their entertainment & everybody still wants to see a good fight. An unknown force isolates LV from the rest of the world; a boxer on a training run becomes infected with some sort of otherness; a former boxing commentator is there to serve as witness to it all. This is one of the weirder stories by Hodge, but typical of Hodge, always interesting. Felt like the first part of a longer story. 4 / 5

    The Buzzard Zone by Ronald Kelly - I still have Burnt Magnolia on my TBR pile from the Essential Kelly Collection, but at this point I don't see me ever picking up another Kelly novel. I still like Kelly's short fiction, but his novel length work, other than for a few exceptions (Fear & Hindsight come to mind), I find ranges from just OK to nearly unreadable. I found BZ to be toward the latter end the scale. DNF

    Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - the first thing I've read by Tremblay, and I have to say it lived up to the hype. Was she possessed? Was she mentally ill? And the revelation at the end!! Within the story Tremblay also provides a scathing commentary on so-called reality TV and organized religion. I will definitely be picking up more Tremblay in the future. Highly recommended. 5 / 5

    Borderlands 6 - I've always found the Borderlands anthologies to be a mixed bag. Some of the stories I like, some I don't, and it usually runs around fifty-fifty. Perhaps the stories in the series tend to be too challenging for my tastes as a reader?? I found the 6th installment pretty much holds to that same 50-50 split. My favorite stories where the closing novella by David Morrell ('The Architecture of Snow') and 'Those Rockports Won't get you in to Heaven' by Jack Ketchum. I also liked the stories by John McIlveen, Peter Saloman, Steve Rasnic Tem, and David Annandale. 3 / 5

    Black Helicopters by Caitlin Kiernan - I'm a big fan of Kiernan's fiction, but at times I find her storytelling to be maddeningly convoluted. Black Helicopters falls into that category. After reading 200 pages I couldn't begin to tell you what this story was about. 2.5 / 5

    B

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    Brlesh, I skipped BORDERLANDS 6 for that reason (and an increasingly dislike for the cheap digital art that Gauntlet now uses, not to mention the profusion of editing errors typically missed in their more recent releases). While I am a big fan of the anthology series, the volumes did tend to be rather uneven, especially the later ones. Never thought I’d see myself skipping a BORDERLANDS volume, but for better or worse I did so pretty easily this time around.

    The RONALD KELLY ESSENTIALS series: You ever get so tired of Kelly that you want to unload those books and put ‘em behind you, you know where to reach me. I kinda kick myself for not stepping up for those when Thunderstorm offered them... yeah, they may not be the best horror ever written, but they hold a lot of sentimental value for me, having read and enjoyed them a great deal back in the day.

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Sock Monkey's Avatar
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    I finished four in June which made me quite happy considering that I've only read two other books in the prior five months.

    Muse by James Renner--A PI gets entangled in Lovecraftian horrors after agreeing to retrieve a mysterious box for a client. I was excited to get this title as it sounded right up my alley, but was initially dismayed by the first third of the book as it was rather slow going while I waited for the character to catch up to what I, as the reader, already knew. After the third mark, the book picked up the pace and I wound up enjoying it quite a bit. If a mix of noir and Lovecraftian horror sounds like your jam, then you'll probably enjoy this one. (4 out of 5)

    Cage of Night
    by Ed Gorman--I love Ed Gorman's work and "The Brasher Girl"--the story of which the novel is based--is one of my all time favorites. The novel version does not quite have the punch that the short story does, but I did enjoy it. If you like "The Brasher Girl" I'd give it a read. It is quite different than the short story as well so don't worry about it just being the short padded out to novel length. (3.5 out of 5)

    Bird Parade by Patrick Loehr--A graphic novel from Centipede Press about a young boy, his friend, a pellet gun and their desire to shoot something. A somber look at how the innocent desire to grow up that all kids have can lead to the sad loss of innocence. I liked this quite a bit, but I'd recommend reading the introduction after finishing the book itself. (4 out of 5)

    The Essence of Amy by William C. Rasmussen--Put out as part of Camelot Books's Deluxe Chapbook line, this ghost story just did not work for me. There is an interesting idea here, but I found it lacking in execution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sock Monkey View Post

    Cage of Night
    by Ed Gorman--I love Ed Gorman's work and "The Brasher Girl"--the story of which the novel is based--is one of my all time favorites. The novel version does not quite have the punch that the short story does, but I did enjoy it. If you like "The Brasher Girl" I'd give it a read. It is quite different than the short story as well so don't worry about it just being the short padded out to novel length. (3.5 out of 5)
    You...you...you didn't love...just love...Gorman's CAGE OF NIGHT...?

    i-feel-like-i-dont-even-know-you-anymore.jpg

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Sock Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    You...you...you didn't love...just love...Gorman's CAGE OF NIGHT...?

    i-feel-like-i-dont-even-know-you-anymore.jpg
    LOL

    I think it was more of really loving the short story and constantly comparing the two. If I had read the novel first I probably would have enjoyed it more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sock Monkey View Post
    LOL

    I think it was more of really loving the short story and constantly comparing the two. If I had read the novel first I probably would have enjoyed it more.
    I’m curious: Did you have a similar issue with Gorman’s THE POKER CLUB, which was also an expansion?

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    7 Books completed in June.

    Different Seasons by Stephen King:
    Another re-read of King via Audible. It has been a long time since I read these but I have seen the film adaptations of Shawshank Redemption and The Body (Stand by Me) many times and Apt Pupil a few times. Those stories ended up being a comparison between stories and films for me. Conclusions: The Shawshank Redemption movie is very true to the story. Several story elements have ben changed and combined but they do not take away from the great story that is being told. Darabont did add the ending and although I love the way the story leaves the final question open. I also understand why that would not work in a film. Stand by Me is as a close of a retelling of a story as I have ever seen on film. Fantastic story and a fantastic film. The movie adaption of Apt Pupil is not true to the story. I get why, and when I originally heard they were making a movie I remember thinking ‘why?’. They will not be allowed to show the conclusion to the story as it was written. In this case I actually liked the movie but the source story is much better. The Breathing Method was a story that I really could not remember so this was a fresh read for me. Through about 75% of the story I found myself enjoying the tale that was unfolding but having no clue where it was going. I ended up thoroughly enjoying the tale.
    This remains my favorite group of novellas.
    5 Stars

    The Dead Drink First by Dale Maharidge:
    This was an Audible original that is a peek behind the scenes at the writing the book ‘Bringing Mulligan Home’. This includes interviews with the authors father and brother as well as interviews during the authors search into the mysterious man in the war time photo his dad always kept. The discoveries along the way give Mr. Maharidge a glimpse into the demons that so shaped his life growing up. A fantastic read.
    5 Stars

    Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr.:
    A stark look at America after the Civil War. Mr. Gates does incredible research and brings the stories together well.
    5 stars

    The Odyssey by Homer:
    I have wanted to read this story for a long time. Well a sale on Audible made me decide that the time was right. Greek mythology is something I have always been intrigued by. I love ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’ and always wanted to know how true the Coen Brothers stayed to the original story. Fortunately they did not stay close. I was not impressed.
    2 Stars

    Ben at 10 Years Old by Jason Sechrest:
    Faith, Death, Resurrection and Monsters. Ben at 10 years old has lost his parents and the world as he knows it. He turns to Reverend Dean. Another emotionally chilling story from Mr. Sechrest!
    4 Stars

    A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons:
    This story is a very different ghost story. At point I found myself questioning whether some of the characters were ghosts or living persons. There were times I thought the story was a bit out there and I questions if it would be worth the ride. By the end I was happy I had taken the journey.
    4 Stars

    The Second Mountain (The Quest for a Moral Life) by David Brooks:
    This book is part self help and part social commentary. Much of the book resonates with me but at times it drags a bit. Overall a good read.
    4 Stars

  8. #8
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    7 Books completed in June.

    Different Seasons by Stephen King:
    Another re-read of King via Audible. It has been a long time since I read these but I have seen the film adaptations of Shawshank Redemption and The Body (Stand by Me) many times and Apt Pupil a few times. Those stories ended up being a comparison between stories and films for me. Conclusions: The Shawshank Redemption movie is very true to the story. Several story elements have ben changed and combined but they do not take away from the great story that is being told. Darabont did add the ending and although I love the way the story leaves the final question open. I also understand why that would not work in a film. Stand by Me is as a close of a retelling of a story as I have ever seen on film. Fantastic story and a fantastic film. The movie adaption of Apt Pupil is not true to the story. I get why, and when I originally heard they were making a movie I remember thinking ‘why?’. They will not be allowed to show the conclusion to the story as it was written. In this case I actually liked the movie but the source story is much better. The Breathing Method was a story that I really could not remember so this was a fresh read for me. Through about 75% of the story I found myself enjoying the tale that was unfolding but having no clue where it was going. I ended up thoroughly enjoying the tale.
    This remains my favorite group of novellas.
    5 Stars
    I haven't read Different Seasons since the 80s but I distinctly remember loving Shawshank, The Body and Apt Pupil and thinking The Breathing Method was a huge disappointment. Maybe it's time for a re-read.

  9. #9
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    Here are my 4 books for the month.

    David Lagercrantz - The Girl Who Took an Eye for an Eye (6/10) The second novel from the new author who is continuing the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. Like his first attempt, this is a well-written and engaging thriller that faithfully recreates the characters from the original trilogy. The problem is he's not prepared to dig into the dirty underbelly of society and expose the depravity that humans are capable of that made the first 3 books so memorable.

    Ronald Malfi - December Park (7/10) This novel is a perfect example of why I always try to finish books that I'm not particularly enjoying. Sometimes the end just confirms that I have wasted my time but occasionally the climax completely changes the way I feel about a book. This one opens with 3 kids missing and the discovery of the body of a fourth. Then not much happens plotwise for about 500 pages! We just follow some kids around as they go about their everyday lives and speculate about who the killer might be. Finally, in the last 70 pages, things start to happen as the kids explore a decrepit building and ultimately confront the killer, who's identity I found a real surprise. In the aftermath, one of the kids leaves town with his family, and the farewell to his friends has an emotional punch to the gut that made me realise how much I had bought into their relationship over those first 500 pages.

    Edward Lee - Lucifer's Lottery (4/10) Lee is renowned for writing gross-out fiction but it only works when there is an interesting plot and characters to give the gore some context. In this book he uses a tour of hell as an excuse to list as many depraved, perverted, bizarre and disgusting sights as he can imagine but it's done in such a distant, observational way that it has no real impact. Disappointing.

    Thomas Ligotti - Little White Book of Screams & Whispers (0/10) This is not a book I would have chosen to read but it's part of the Borderlands Press 'little book' series. I previously read Ligotti's Songs of a Dead Dreamer and found it to be depressing and unclear. I'm sure this is a limitation on my part rather than the author's. Here he presents a series of interviews in which he discusses his 'craft' in the most dry, academic and self-important way. At one point he says he doesn't enjoy writing, and I feel the same way about having to read him.

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