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Thread: July - How many...?

  1. #1
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    July - How many...?

    Here are my 4 books for last month.

    Cornell Woolrich - The Bride Wore Black (8/10) I assumed this was going to be a standard femme fatale story, but while it does centre around a beautiful woman there is no sexual element here, instead she is stone cold killer out for revenge. There are no less than 4 surprise twists in the final couple of chapters. Superb crime novel.

    John Everson - The 13th (7/10) Tremendous first half about women being abducted and taken to a local asylum for unknown reasons. The second half, in the asylum, is drawn out a little too much to sustain the tension but the downbeat ending was a nice touch.

    Dean Koontz - The Night Window (7/10) The 5th and final book in the Jane Hawk series. Koontz brings the story to a satisfying climax in this multi-threaded thriller. Hopefully his next stand-alone novel will continue this strong return to form after his years of self-indulgent navel-gazing.

    Richard Chizmar - The Vault (3/10) I've said before I'm not much of a fan of short stories and I only found a couple in this collection that I enjoyed. The rest were readable enough but too bland for my taste.

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    Always so happy to see Cornell Woolrich continuing to be enjoyed. :-)

    I wonder if you’d like *his* short stories...?

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Been on a bit of a Stephen King re-read kick lately and this month it translated into re-reading other others as well.

    11 Reads for July and 8 are re-reads. Got on a kick and had to ride it out:

    A Long December by Richard Chizmar:
    I read this one a few years ago when the limited first came out. This was an audible re-read. Nearly every story in this book packs an emotional punch. Remains one of my favorite collections.
    Five Stars

    Joyland by Stephen King:
    I have read this story several times. I love stories that feel like you are observing people live their lives and this story has that feel for me.
    Five Stars

    Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke:
    Pure Horror! Mama in bed and the re-birth scenes are what get mentioned the most when people talk about this story. The story is so much more than that though. For me it is a near perfect horror novel. I continue to hope for a sequel and if done right a movie!
    Five Stars

    Carrie by Stephen King:
    It has probably been near 40 years since I read this so I decided on an audible re-read with Sissy Spacek narrating. This is still one of the top ‘first’ novels I have read from any author. I was concerned that having Spacek narrate would distract me since she played Carrie and the story is not told from Carrie’s perspective but I enjoyed her narration.
    Four Stars

    Screwball by Simon Rich:
    This was an audible original that is about Babe Ruth’s year in the minors. I found myself wishing the story would end through about 75% of the story. By the end I realized that I had enjoyed it enough to give it three stars. I can’t saw I would recommend it though.
    Three Stars

    Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World by Scott McCormick:
    This was another audible original. It takes a light hearted approach to telling stories of rivals throughout history. I am not sure about how true he stays to the story. I knew enough about the Dassler brothers to understand that elements of the story about Adidas and Puma were true. On the other hand in the Alexander Hamilton/Aaron Burr section he states known facts and then talks about the possibility of Hamilton becoming President which left me confused.
    Three Stars

    Blood and Smoke by Stephen King:
    “This is the audio set that first released the stories “In the Death Room”, “1408” and “Lunch at the Gotham Café”. Each story has a shared element of someone who has quit smoking and then is placed in a stressful situation. I have listened to this audio several times and read the stories in print. I love the audio and each of the stories are worth the price of admission!
    Five Stars

    Misery by Stephen King:
    This is another one that I have not read in decades. My memories were much more shaped by the movie than the book. I new the movie had changed the ‘hobbling’ scene but had forgotten that Annie only took the ax to one foot. I also forgot about the punishment for complaining about the typewriter. I think I read this before I read The Shining so I failed to catch all the references to that story as well. Actually, I had forgotten many details.
    Five Stars

    The Dispatcher by John Scalzi:
    I only discovered Mr. Scalzi a few years ago and I have read every novel he has published except one and for some strange reason I am saving that one. Well I wanted a Scalzi fix so I looked at my audible library for something I would enjoy re-reading. I noticed that The Dispatcher was narrated by Zachary Quinto. He plays Charlie Manx in NOS4A2 and has received a lot of criticism for his ‘old man’ voice. This is a criticism I do not share. I decided to give this another listen and found I still love it and Mr. Quinto does a fantastic job as a narrator.
    Five Stars

    Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King:
    For some reason I went on a re-read kick this month. This is another one that originally came out as an audio book. Although I have read the story in print, my favorite version is the audio.
    Five Stars

    Rip-Off Edited by Gardner Dozois:
    I have had my eye on this Audible original for a while. It caught my attention because it contains a John Scalzi story. The concept intrigued me. Write a story using the opening line from a classic novel. Although I love Scalzi’s writing I am not a big Fantasy Sci-Fi fan. This book was a bit to heavy in the fantasy realm for my taste. I did not hate any of the stories and actually liked some of them. Overall the book was just OK.
    Three Stars

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    Two for me:

    Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The history of a fictional band in 70s Southern California. Think Fleetwood Mac. Good read.

    Catalina by Liska Jacobs. Noir story about a woman who returns to visit her friends in Los Angeles after losing her job in New York. Dark and well-written, I loved this book. In a lot of noir stories, we meet characters who are far down their respective roads and quickly running out of choices. This book is sort of like the story that comes before a character gets to that point.
    Last edited by daverob; 08-04-2019 at 02:58 AM.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daverob View Post
    Two for me:

    Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The history of a fictional band in 70s Southern California. Think Fleetwood Mac. Good read.

    Catalina by Liska Jacobs. Noir story about a woman who returns to visit her friends in Los Angeles after losing her job in New York. Dark and well-written, I loved this book. In a lot of noir stories, we meet characters who are far down their respective roads and quickly running out of choices. This book is sort of like the story that comes before a character gets to that point.
    I have come close to picking up Daisy Jones and The Six a few times. Glad you liked, I will probably go for it soon.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    I've got to move THE BRIDE WORE BLACK further up my TBR pile.

    And I love Blood and Smoke! 1408 read by King is insanely creepy. I listened to that as I drove through a pitch black West Virginia night.

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    Only read five books last month. Been on a bit of a re-read kick lately due to picking up some limited editions.

    Freezer Burn by Joe Lansdale:
    Read this one some years back and remember not really liking it but not wanting to admit it since I love Lansdale’s work so much. Recently scored a limited edition of the book at a second hand store and decided to give it another go. Happy to say that I enjoyed it much better the second time around. My only true issue with this book is the, in my opinion, abrupt ending. Solid Three Stars

    The Thicket by Joe Lansdale:
    Recently scored the Earthling limited edition and decided to give it a reread. (BTW-Have to take a moment to gush over Earthling limited editions! They do a really fantastic job with their books. I only wish that they produced more of them. Assuming they are a small outfit). Anyway, after giving The Thicket another read, I think I could easily argue it as one of Lansdale’s top 5 (if not outright best). What an amazing story. And that ending still chokes me up. Definite Five Stars

    The Night Show by Richard Laymon:
    What can I say: am, was, and always will be a Laymon fan! Scored this limited edition from DRP. Have only got a few DRP limited editions but am finding myself very happy with the books they produce. In terms of the actual story, not one of Laymon’s best. Don’t get me wrong, it was solid and has all the stuff you come to expect in a Laymon title; however, you can definitely tell that it was one of his early novels as the warts are a bit more prominent. Also could have been a bit longer in my opinion. I would put it around 3 stars.

    Funland by Richard Laymon:
    Another amazing looking DRP limited and another reread for me. This happens to also be one of my all-time favorite Laymon titles (Top 5 for sure). Everything you look for in a Laymon title is in this novel. If you’ve never read Laymon, this is a great place to start. Also, I’m usually a sucker for horror novels that have carnivals/sideshows, creepshows, etc. Four & ½ Stars to Five Stars

    Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay:
    Got to be honest. I read this book back when it was first released and felt that it was just ok. Definitely not worthy of the hype. While it was literary enough, I felt it was too slow and derivative. However, a lot of authors and people I respect loved the book and so I always figured I would give it another go. When SST released the limited, I figured now’s the time. Picked up the limited (gorgeous book) and just finished reading it. Wow am I glad I gave it a 2nd try. The narrator & her sister really grabbed me this time around and wouldn’t let go. I guess I must have been in a different head space back when I first read this novel. Poor Merry & Marjorie  . Four & ½ to Five Stars

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sholloman81 View Post

    The Thicket by Joe Lansdale:
    Recently scored the Earthling limited edition and decided to give it a reread. (BTW-Have to take a moment to gush over Earthling limited editions! They do a really fantastic job with their books. I only wish that they produced more of them. Assuming they are a small outfit). Anyway, after giving The Thicket another read, I think I could easily argue it as one of Lansdale’s top 5 (if not outright best). What an amazing story. And that ending still chokes me up. Definite Five Stars
    The Thicket is the best Lansdale book I've read. Paradise Sky and The Bottoms round out the top three. I can't BELIEVE that Earthling still has copies of The Thicket available. It is a fantastic edition with gorgeous art. Really boggles the mind. That one should have been an easy sell-out.

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    Yeah, I was surprised Earthling still had copies left as well. This really is a gorgeous limited edition of one of his best books. On a side note, I really do hope the movie comes to fruition too. Obviously, Dinklage is well cast. Will be interested to see who they go with in some of the other roles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    The Thicket is the best Lansdale book I've read. Paradise Sky and The Bottoms round out the top three. I can't BELIEVE that Earthling still has copies of The Thicket available. It is a fantastic edition with gorgeous art. Really boggles the mind. That one should have been an easy sell-out.
    My guess it that it's the price. At $150, it's higher than most Lansdale numbered limiteds, and it's a western, not horror (with the usual Lansdalian horrific overtones), so that narrows the market even more, save for hardcore collectors that don't balk at three-digit prices and, of course, Lansdale completists. Price is why I had to pass on it, and I pick up just about every Lansdale limited. I wish it was on my shelf, I do, but I just can't justify $150 for THE THICKET.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    My guess it that it's the price. At $150, it's higher than most Lansdale numbered limiteds, and it's a western, not horror (with the usual Lansdalian horrific overtones), so that narrows the market even more, save for hardcore collectors that don't balk at three-digit prices and, of course, Lansdale completists. Price is why I had to pass on it, and I pick up just about every Lansdale limited. I wish it was on my shelf, I do, but I just can't justify $150 for THE THICKET.
    This is exactly why I didn't buy it too. I saw some on ebay being offerred for 110$, but i still couldn't bring myself to buy it lol.

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication TacomaDiver's Avatar
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    I own a copy of Earthling’s The Thicket which means I must have found a screaming deal on eBay. It has me curious to look up how much I paid. Hmmm.

    ETA: purchased in September of 2017 for $90. Well worth it.

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    Can't lie. The 150.00 purchase price is definitely what delayed my purchasing this title until recently. That being said, I am a huge Lansdale fan and knew I would bit the bullet eventually, especially because I love Earthling's production values. Kind of felt the same way when I purchased SubPress' limited of Summer of Night.

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    Only finished 5 in July.

    In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson was the author's first book, and while I'll give Davidson credit for coming up with a new twist on the vampire tale, uneven pacing throughout the story and a completely unsatisfying ending ultimately left me disappointed. 2.5 / 5

    The Clock Strikes 13 was a rather mediocre anthology of 13 horror stories. The only story that really stood out was 'Bear' by Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, a ghost story about a woman and her dog 's postmortem fight against an abusive boyfriend. Of the other 12 stories, none really stood as that bad, but none really stood out as memorable either. Just kind of a middle of the road anthology. 3 / 5

    The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a fictional account, with a supernatural twist, of the infamous Donner Party in 1846. I liked this one a lot. Similar to what Davidson did In the Valley of the Sun, Katsu puts a new twist on an old horror trope. 4.5 / 5

    White Spawn by Marc Laidlaw was kind of a cross between The Shadows Over Innsmouth and Romeo & Juliet. Teenage girl moves to the Pacific northwest and falls for the boy from the secretive clan in the woods. But of course the boy, and the clan in general, are more than what they seem to be. 3.5 / 5

    I'd heard a lot of good things about North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud, and for the most part Ballingrud's first collection lived up to the hype. These are dark stories that often take old horror tropes in new directions. The best story, IMO, was 'The Monsters of Heaven', one of the truly weirdest stories I've ever read. 'Wild Acre' delivers a new spin on the werewolf tale, and 'Sunbleached' does the same for the vampire tale (definitely not a vampire story for the Twilight crowd!). 'S. S.' involves a trouble youth's recruitment into a white supremist group and 'The Crevasse' is a Lovecraftian story set on an early Antarctica research mission. The last couple of stories in the collection were a little too surreal for my tastes, lowering my overall rating just a bit, but all in, I was highly impressed with Ballingrud's initial collection. 4 / 5

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by brlesh View Post
    Only finished 5 in July.

    In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson was the author's first book, and while I'll give Davidson credit for coming up with a new twist on the vampire tale, uneven pacing throughout the story and a completely unsatisfying ending ultimately left me disappointed. 2.5 / 5

    The Clock Strikes 13 was a rather mediocre anthology of 13 horror stories. The only story that really stood out was 'Bear' by Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, a ghost story about a woman and her dog 's postmortem fight against an abusive boyfriend. Of the other 12 stories, none really stood as that bad, but none really stood out as memorable either. Just kind of a middle of the road anthology. 3 / 5

    The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a fictional account, with a supernatural twist, of the infamous Donner Party in 1846. I liked this one a lot. Similar to what Davidson did In the Valley of the Sun, Katsu puts a new twist on an old horror trope. 4.5 / 5

    White Spawn by Marc Laidlaw was kind of a cross between The Shadows Over Innsmouth and Romeo & Juliet. Teenage girl moves to the Pacific northwest and falls for the boy from the secretive clan in the woods. But of course the boy, and the clan in general, are more than what they seem to be. 3.5 / 5

    I'd heard a lot of good things about North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud, and for the most part Ballingrud's first collection lived up to the hype. These are dark stories that often take old horror tropes in new directions. The best story, IMO, was 'The Monsters of Heaven', one of the truly weirdest stories I've ever read. 'Wild Acre' delivers a new spin on the werewolf tale, and 'Sunbleached' does the same for the vampire tale (definitely not a vampire story for the Twilight crowd!). 'S. S.' involves a trouble youth's recruitment into a white supremist group and 'The Crevasse' is a Lovecraftian story set on an early Antarctica research mission. The last couple of stories in the collection were a little too surreal for my tastes, lowering my overall rating just a bit, but all in, I was highly impressed with Ballingrud's initial collection. 4 / 5

    B
    Good to hear that you found both THE HUNGER and NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS as recommended reads. Both titles have been on my Want List since they appeared in their respective publication years (and for Ballingrud's collection that's been a loonnnnggg time), but for whatever reason I just never pull the trigger on them but rather keep pushing them down the Want List for "later." Sounds like I finally -- finally! -- need to remedy that.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brlesh View Post
    Only finished 5 in July.

    In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson was the author's first book, and while I'll give Davidson credit for coming up with a new twist on the vampire tale, uneven pacing throughout the story and a completely unsatisfying ending ultimately left me disappointed. 2.5 / 5

    The Clock Strikes 13 was a rather mediocre anthology of 13 horror stories. The only story that really stood out was 'Bear' by Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, a ghost story about a woman and her dog 's postmortem fight against an abusive boyfriend. Of the other 12 stories, none really stood as that bad, but none really stood out as memorable either. Just kind of a middle of the road anthology. 3 / 5

    The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a fictional account, with a supernatural twist, of the infamous Donner Party in 1846. I liked this one a lot. Similar to what Davidson did In the Valley of the Sun, Katsu puts a new twist on an old horror trope. 4.5 / 5

    White Spawn by Marc Laidlaw was kind of a cross between The Shadows Over Innsmouth and Romeo & Juliet. Teenage girl moves to the Pacific northwest and falls for the boy from the secretive clan in the woods. But of course the boy, and the clan in general, are more than what they seem to be. 3.5 / 5

    I'd heard a lot of good things about North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud, and for the most part Ballingrud's first collection lived up to the hype. These are dark stories that often take old horror tropes in new directions. The best story, IMO, was 'The Monsters of Heaven', one of the truly weirdest stories I've ever read. 'Wild Acre' delivers a new spin on the werewolf tale, and 'Sunbleached' does the same for the vampire tale (definitely not a vampire story for the Twilight crowd!). 'S. S.' involves a trouble youth's recruitment into a white supremist group and 'The Crevasse' is a Lovecraftian story set on an early Antarctica research mission. The last couple of stories in the collection were a little too surreal for my tastes, lowering my overall rating just a bit, but all in, I was highly impressed with Ballingrud's initial collection. 4 / 5

    B
    The Hunger sounds interesting. I may need to look into that one.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sholloman81 View Post
    Only read five books last month. Been on a bit of a re-read kick lately due to picking up some limited editions.

    Freezer Burn by Joe Lansdale:
    Read this one some years back and remember not really liking it but not wanting to admit it since I love Lansdale’s work so much. Recently scored a limited edition of the book at a second hand store and decided to give it another go. Happy to say that I enjoyed it much better the second time around. My only true issue with this book is the, in my opinion, abrupt ending. Solid Three Stars

    The Thicket by Joe Lansdale:
    Recently scored the Earthling limited edition and decided to give it a reread. (BTW-Have to take a moment to gush over Earthling limited editions! They do a really fantastic job with their books. I only wish that they produced more of them. Assuming they are a small outfit). Anyway, after giving The Thicket another read, I think I could easily argue it as one of Lansdale’s top 5 (if not outright best). What an amazing story. And that ending still chokes me up. Definite Five Stars

    The Night Show by Richard Laymon:
    What can I say: am, was, and always will be a Laymon fan! Scored this limited edition from DRP. Have only got a few DRP limited editions but am finding myself very happy with the books they produce. In terms of the actual story, not one of Laymon’s best. Don’t get me wrong, it was solid and has all the stuff you come to expect in a Laymon title; however, you can definitely tell that it was one of his early novels as the warts are a bit more prominent. Also could have been a bit longer in my opinion. I would put it around 3 stars.

    Funland by Richard Laymon:
    Another amazing looking DRP limited and another reread for me. This happens to also be one of my all-time favorite Laymon titles (Top 5 for sure). Everything you look for in a Laymon title is in this novel. If you’ve never read Laymon, this is a great place to start. Also, I’m usually a sucker for horror novels that have carnivals/sideshows, creepshows, etc. Four & ½ Stars to Five Stars

    Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay:
    Got to be honest. I read this book back when it was first released and felt that it was just ok. Definitely not worthy of the hype. While it was literary enough, I felt it was too slow and derivative. However, a lot of authors and people I respect loved the book and so I always figured I would give it another go. When SST released the limited, I figured now’s the time. Picked up the limited (gorgeous book) and just finished reading it. Wow am I glad I gave it a 2nd try. The narrator & her sister really grabbed me this time around and wouldn’t let go. I guess I must have been in a different head space back when I first read this novel. Poor Merry & Marjorie  . Four & ½ to Five Stars
    After binging on Hap and Leonard I have decided to take a break. I may read The Thicket to get my Lansdale fix.

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    Btw, Katsu’s new historical-horror novel — this time set on the Titanic— is due out very soon.

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    I can't even read one.

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