Book Review: The Need by Helen Phillips

The Need by Helen Phillips


BOOK INFO

Title: The Need
Author: Helen Phillips
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Publish Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: Horror
Series: na
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.26


BOOK BLURB

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.



Buy from Amazon
Add to Goodreads


MY REVIEW

Molly believes she is imaging things when she hears someone in her home. She soon faces the intruder, and realizes things are more complicated than she ever imagined.

Molly is a sleep-deprived working mother. Between her kids, work, and missing her out-of-town husband, she has a lot on her plate. Then things go sideways. While I found it to be an intriguing look at motherhood and survival, the story fell flat for me. The opening was great, but then things get a little too slow and repetitive.

A complex and unique domestic horror novel. This is a fairly short novel, so it makes for a quick read. Eerie and cryptic.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Book Review: Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Dracul
Author: Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: October 2, 2018
Genre: Horror
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.04

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s—and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen—a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen—and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.


Buy from Amazon
Add to Goodreads

MY REVIEW
In this prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a fictionalized Bram encounters the supernatural.

I wasn’t sure about this one, but it turns out, a fictionalized Bram Stoker makes for a very entertaining book. Bram and his siblings, Matilda and Thornley, had a nanny, Ellen. After some suspicious deaths in the village, Ellen leaves. Years later, Matilda sees Ellen in Paris… and Ellen hasn’t aged a bit. A search for the truth begins.

An interesting story told through journal entries and letters from Bram, Matilda, Thornley, and Arminius Vambéry, a vampire hunter. It also flows nicely between past and present, covering Bram’s life from his childhood into his adulthood.

Atmospheric. Gothic. Supernatural. Creepy. All the things that make a horror novel great. A recommended read, even for those who didn’t love Dracula.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Hunger
Author: Alma Katsu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Horror
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.64

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America’s most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy…or the feelings that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it’s a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains…and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.


Buy from Amazon
Add to Goodreads

MY REVIEW
The Donner Party is headed West. The wagon train faces a perilous journey, with harsh weather, food shortages, and a supernatural horror.

This horror novel reimagines the historical and tragic Donner Party journey to the West. Using both real and fictitious characters, this is a character driven horror story. Characters range from the young to the old. From the innocent to the corrupt.

A suspenseful story of hardships, distrust, love, and a lurking evil. It could be said that the real story of the Donner Party is a horror story itself, but adding a supernatural evil made for an interesting read.

Horror and historical fiction. Unique, dark, and disturbing.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone

The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Mansion
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Horror
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.54

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
After two years of living on cheap beer and little else in a bitterly cold tiny cabin outside an abandoned, crumbling mansion, young programmers Shawn Eagle and Billy Stafford have created something that could make them rich: a revolutionary computer they name Eagle Logic.

But the hard work and escalating tension have not been kind to their once solid friendship—Shawn’s girlfriend Emily has left him for Billy, and a third partner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. While Billy walks away with Emily, Shawn takes Eagle Logic, which he uses to build a multi-billion-dollar company that eventually outshines Apple, Google, and Microsoft combined.

Years later, Billy is a failure, beset by poverty and addiction, and Shawn is the most famous man in the world. Unable to let the past be forgotten, Shawn decides to resurrect his and Billy’s biggest failure: a next-generation computer program named Nellie that can control a house’s every function. He decides to set it up in the abandoned mansion they worked near all those years ago. But something about Nellie isn’t right—and the reconstruction of the mansion is plagued by accidental deaths. Shawn is forced to bring Billy back, despite their longstanding mutual hatred, to discover and destroy the evil that lurks in the source code.


Buy from Amazon
Add to Goodreads

MY REVIEW
Shawn and Billy once created a computer called Eagle Logic, but their friendship and business partnership went downhill fast. Shawn went on to build Eagle Logic into a a billion-dollar tech company. Now, it’s years later, and Shawn needs Billy’s help resurrecting an old project. The project is a next-generation computer program that has a problem Shawn can’t work out on his own. He has housed the project in his family’s old mansion, which he recently remodeled. Billy takes the job, and he and his wife Emily move into the mansion.

A haunted house story with a technological twist. The old mansion has had numerous disasters occur on the grounds. The locals say it’s haunted. The computer program, Nellie, is enhanced home automation. Sure, Nellie turns on lights, locks doors, adjusts temperatures, etc., but she does more too. Nellie is a presence. She takes care of it all.

This story is told using flashbacks from when Shawn and Billy worked together to tell how they came to be who they are today. A big part of the story is that Shawn and Billy both love Emily. She was once Shawn’s girlfriend, but ended up with Billy.

Supercomputer. Haunted house. Love triangle. This novel has a lot happening, but it is slowly drawn out. I’ve read The Hatching and Skitter by Ezekiel Boone, and I was expecting a faster moving story. The Mansion definitely burns slowly.

A combination of horror and technothriller. It’s more eerie than scary. Atmospheric, creepy, and high-tech.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: Shivers in the Night by Yukon Writers’ Society

Shivers in the Night by Shayla Raquel, et al.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Shivers in the Night
Authors: Shayla Raquel, Oren Patterson, Gary Medina, Donna Freeman, Carolyn Blevins, Kevin Hesser, Mark Love, M. C. Horn , Melonda Gruntmeir, and Janey Merry
Publisher: Yukon Writers’ Society
Publish Date: May 2, 2018

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Featuring ten original short stories, Shivers in the Night is the first anthology written by Yukon Writers’ Society members. Each original story embraces the art of suspense and terror with a knack for heart-pounding endings.

In Spinner’s Tale, brace yourself for a tangled web of horror. While diving into A Pretty Facade, don’t be fooled by Maria’s perfect life. There’s more than just science at play in the Texas body farm in The Rotting. Old photographs and an odd cat lead Janie to a house with a hair-raising secret. And Mr. Sweaters’s Gift isn’t a gift at all.

Shivers in the Night sends you to the darkest corners of your mind and keeps you awake well into the night.


Buy from amazon.com
Add to Goodreads

MY REVIEW
Members of the Yukon Writers’ Society have put together a spooky collection of short stories. October was the perfect time of year to read this one. The collection contains 10 stories, each by a different author. The subject matter varies, but each story falls in the horror genre.

The stories:
1. Spinner’s Tale by Donna Freeman
2. Sinister by Carolyn Blevins
3. The Rotting by Shayla Raquel
4. Mr. Sweater’s Gift by Oren Patterson
5. The Baby by Kevin Hesser
6. Scared of the Light by Mark Love
7. Revenger by M. C. Horn
8. A Pretty Façade by Gary Medina
9. Not Safe by Melonda Gruntmeir
10. In Stitches by J. C. Merry

This was an entertaining and quick read. As with all anthologies, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. Overall, a nice collection, and a good read for fans of horror.

I received a free digital copy of this book from one of the authors, Shayla Raquel, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dweller by Jeff Strand

Dweller by Jeff Strand

BOOK INFO
Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Publish Date: November 19, 2012

BOOK BLURB
When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, Toby felt that he’d been lucky to escape with his life.

Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It’s his own special secret–something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn’t want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he’s being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems…


Buy from amazon.com
Add to Goodreads

MY REVIEW
As a boy, Toby saw a creature in the woods, but his parents convinced him it was all in his imagination. As a teenager, Toby saw the creature again. This time he decided to befriend the creature. They would have each other for friendship, but at a great cost.

A coming of age horror novel. Toby and his creature friend, who he names Owen, have a highly dysfunctional relationship. After all, Toby is a human and Owen is, well, not a human. He is sorta, maybe, Bigfoot’s cousin. Despite that, they manage to maintain a secret friendship over the span of 50 years, so that’s something.

This is an easy, fast read. Oddly, it touches on a variety of emotions. Sometimes depressing. Sometimes humorous. Often disturbing. Good for fans of horror that enjoy a little humor with their gore.

I read a Kindle version of this book.

Book Review: The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching
by Ezekiel Boone

In places all over the world (Peru, China, India, and the United States) something is happening. In all of these locations, and all at the same time, an ancient species of spiders is awakening. And it’s not good for humans.

Warning: If you’re afraid of spiders, The Hatching might not be the best book for you.

The novel opens with a small group of people touring a national park in Peru. As you would guess with a horror novel, things go horribly wrong. In India, scientists are getting strange readings on their earthquake monitoring equipment. Meanwhile, something is happening in the mines of a small town in China. The United States is becoming aware of issues in other areas of the world, and they need to protect themselves.

The book hops between stories of what is happening in the different places. Most chapters are focused on the United States, with multiple stories happening there. A variety of characters are involved in those chapters, including the President, a biology professor, an FBI agent, a few Marines, and a group of survivalists.

A lot is happening in the book, and I was more interested in some stories more than others. My favorite character/storyline was the biology professor. She was one of the better developed characters, plus I enjoyed her spider expertise.

I enjoyed the writing, making it an easy read. It’s not a long book (334 pages), so I was able to read it in two days. There was plenty of action and I was curious as to what was going to happen next. The book does present different perspectives, but I didn’t think it was done in a confusing way. Also, I liked that it was a global event and not isolated to one area.

This book ends on a cliffhanger. I checked this book out through interlibrary loan at my local library, and was not too keen on waiting on another interlibrary loan to get the second book in the trilogy. Luckily, when I checked Amazon, the Kindle version of Skitter, the second book in the trilogy, was on sale for $1.99. I went ahead and purchased the second book because I’m curious to see where the story goes. The third book is planned for a 2018 release.