Book Review: Malorie by Josh Malerman

Bird Box was the kind of fast paced, heart pounding, white knuckled ride to horror town that’s impossible to put down. The sequel, Malorie….well, I wasn’t sure what it was, at first. It starts out with a bang then calms down. Time skips ahead and suddenly the kids are teenagers and they’ve been living the last decade in relative safety – but has their lifestyle really been what a teenager would call living?

Finally, something happens that spurs Malorie into action, luring her and her kids away from the protection of their home. I understand that a conflict was needed to raise the stakes and force the characters into action, but the decision seems completely unlikely given the Malorie readers have come to know. Regardless, danger and mayhem and horror ensue, culminating in a satisfying ending.

That said, this sequel really can’t compete with the near perfection of the original. This one focuses more on the character’s emotions as they come of age in the ‘new’ world and the specific challenges that presents, which isn’t a bad thing, but it does put a minor damper on the horror. Still, a good read.

From Goodreads: Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence.

There remains no explanation. No solution.

All Malorie can do is survive—and impart her fierce will to do so on her children. Don’t get lazy, she tells them. Don’t take off your blindfold. AND DON’T LOOK.

But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope.

Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive.

Malorie has already lost so much: her sister, a house full of people who meant everything, and any chance at an ordinary life. But getting her life back means returning to a world full of unknowable horrors—and risking the lives of her children again.

Because the creatures are not the only thing Malorie fears: There are the people who claim to have caught and experimented on the creatures. Murmerings of monstrous inventions and dangerous new ideas. And rumors that the creatures themselves have changed into something even more frightening.

Malorie has a harrowing choice to make: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for hope once more.

Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I couldn’t put this book down! It had all the thrills, chills, horror and suspense I was looking for! From the premise to the execution, this story had me hooked!

Full disclosure? I watched the movie before reading the book. Despite that, enough was changed and the novel reads so well that it still felt fresh and unpredictable. The situation is absolutely terrifying and you can’t help cheering for the MC despite her prickly personality. This is horror done right! Seriously, I lost sleep over this one (because I stayed up too late reading)! If you like scary books and you haven’t tried this one yet, I highly recommend giving it a chance. Must. Read. Sequel. Immediately.

From Goodreads: Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos.

But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted? 

Publication Announcement

My story, Searching For Sunshine, which has appeared in Heater Magazine and the Detecting Fear collection, can now also be found in the Water Turns Red anthology.

About Water Turns Red:

Crime manifests itself in many forms.
But it always bleeds red.

WATER TURNS RED is a collection of 21 chilling stories that explore the various shades of this ghastly color red.
Within these pages lie the corpses of those killed in cold blood, the cunning minds of their killers, and the wits of detectives. Together they paint a disturbing image of the human psyche.

Do you want to witness it?

You can find the anthology here: http://getbook.at/waterred

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness: Lisa Unger’s House Of Crows Novella Series

This week I read:

This novella series is about 4 adults who were friends as teenagers, a dark secret that they share, and the past that’s come back to haunt them.

This was a good introduction to the novella series. In this book we’re introduced to the major characters and we get a glimpse of their troubled pasts as well as the creepy house at the center of the mystery.

In the 2nd part of the series, we learn more about the dynamics of the characters’ childhood friendships, their adult relationships, and the darkness that followed them from their past into their present.

In the 3rd part of the series, we learn that things aren’t always as they seem. Danger lurks around every corner, and no one is safe.

The conclusion to the series packs a wallop with enough tension, suspense and unexpected twists to keep the reader on the edge of their seats! All in all a creepy, atmospheric series.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

I loved the idea behind this book – a club of high schoolers who celebrate their love of all things horror by pulling pranks and ‘fear tests’ on their fellow students. But even better than that, I loved the execution of this book! It’s all fun and games until someone takes it too far . . . that’s when things get really interesting. The thrills, the chills, the ‘everybody’s a suspect’ kept me gripped until the very end! My only complaint would be that the ending left so many questions unanswered – I can only assume that means there’s a sequel!

Three 12 year old girls who have been researching the man at the center of a local urban legend sneak out of a slumber party and go to the train yard, where one of them gets severely beaten. But who’s to blame?

It’s certainly a compelling plot, and brings to mind news reports surrounding murky figures such as slender man. Gudenkauf had me hooked! She does a good job of providing plenty of suspects for the reader, and while the twist had occurred to me while reading, it and was the one I had hoped she wouldn’t take, there’s no denying that I couldn’t put this book down!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book was spooky and creepy and seriously messed up! What begins with a teenage girl who has a supernatural ability to find things using her power to locate and end the reign or terror of a man who ‘feeds’ on the souls of children ends with the same girl – now a woman – trying to save her own son from the same man. At it’s core it’s a book about people with special powers who use them for good or evil, but it’s so much more than that. The character development and atmosphere are downright literary coupled with a sense of dread that makes your toes curl!

Take a remote setting, add plenty of secrets, and trap a group of people with someone who wants revenge and you have the recipe for success! This suspenseful story took me on a sleighride to thriller land! Plenty of atmosphere and a cast of characters who all had something to hide kept me glued to this book until the end – best of all, it kept me guessing! Hard to believe it’s a debut!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This was definitely a #BlameItOnLitsy choice. Despite being published almost 20 years ago, it’s been getting a lot of attention – and good reviews – lately. So much so that when it showed up as a Kindle daily deal, I had to snatch it up. It was definitely suspenseful and interesting, but, to me, it felt like the author took the long way around. Heavy on the court drama and the did she/didn’t she. The twist at the ending did blindside me, but I felt a bit underwhelmed. If you like legal mysteries, this one’s for you.

This book was described as “an homage to 1980’s slashers and mall culture,” How could I resist? The short answer is that I couldn’t. It was a quick, fast paced, fun read. That said, it was rough in some areas and seemed almost as much of a social commentary on consumerism as a teen slasher. It took an odd, unexpected turn that I felt detracted from what was promised. Definitely campy, but that’s the point. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author for an advanced copy for review.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This novella was a quick, down and dirty slice of horror by the author of “Clown In A Cornfield”. The MC is a grocery store worker by day, a horror movie director by night, and was developed in a way that felt true to life. But what happens when one of the actors takes things too far? It’s interesting to see the evolution of a writer’s style and talent from their earlier works. This one was a bit rough in places, but it kept my attention more than several more polished works have lately. I understand what Cesare was going for with the ending, and I like it, but I felt it needed just a little bit more, a page, maybe two, to give the reader the payoff they deserve.

This book is a modern day, YA retelling of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s works, and OMG does the author throw references to enough of them in here – I lost count. I am a HUGE McGinnis fan, and a Poe fan, so my expectations were really high for this book. But whereas McGinnis’s characters usually feel deep and developed, in this book they felt kind of shallow and flat. We get slices of the story from both MC’s perspectives, but even though all the reasons are there to feel for the girls, I didn’t. And there’s motivation, sure, but not enough to explain why things would be taken so far. It ends on a cliffhanger that feels more like the book just stopped in the middle. There is a sequel in the works that will hopefully wrap up the loose ends and answer all the questions, but the way it ended with really nothing to satisfy the reader who just spent 370 pages with the book was frustrating. Good, but not as great as I was expecting.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book has such an exciting premise! Drawn by her dreams into the past, the MC joins her relatives on the Titanic – but someone may be trying to keep her there! Full of suspense, this one didn’t have me reading with quite the urgency as Mather’s other stories, but it kept me hooked! I’m officially a fangirl of this author!

This book! The MC is sent to spend the summer with her uncle who works for a circus on a remote island in Louisiana after he summons for her – only he didn’t. And it’s not just called the Circus Of The Dead – people actually die there, sometimes as part of the acts. Once on the island, she’s desperate to find a way to escape all the ghosts and danger and . . . boys? I really liked this book, but the MC was a little too boy crazy for my taste. Also, while I expected a cliffhanger ending since this is part of a series, I didn’t expect such a sudden and unfulfilling end.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Two teachers quit their jobs and decide to build a house themselves in a remote Vermont town on land that used to be owned by witches. This book had a really interesting take on the whole haunted house trope – the freshest execution I’ve read in a while. It was a bit sluggish at times, and I didn’t love the writer’s style in the beginning, but by the end I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened!

This book was super creepy. Something bad is going down in the cities of the world, so the MC is on her way to pick up her aunt to take her to her sister’s compound, where they hope to stay safe. Except she gets in a wreck on the way, and can’t remember what was going on, how her wreck happened, how she got her injuries, or how she ended up in a secret mansion hidden in the woods with a strange man.

There’s so much suspense while you’re waiting for the reveals to start rolling in, because there were so many ways this one could have gone. Then it lost me a bit at the end for a couple of reasons. I won’t be reading the sequel, but I very much enjoyed this one.

I just started:

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