Sunday, 31 May 2020

WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grady Hendrix has written two very awesome horror stories that I absolutely adored. My Best Friend's Exorcism is actually one of my all-time favourite books. So I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one.

Kris used to be the guitarist for a 90s heavy metal band called Dürt Würk, but they never cracked the big time. Decades later, she has a shitty job, no savings and is going to end up with nowhere to live.

So when she spots a billboard featuring the former lead singer's farewell tour, she decides it's time to confront him. After all, this is the guy who screwed them. But before that, she reaches out to her other bandmates and finds herself in a very dark downward spiral...

This book ticked a lot of boxes for me. The way heavy metal was woven into everything, nefarious dark creatures, action-packed horror moments, twists, secret society shit, weird likeable characters and an amazing heroine.

I loved Kris because she's the epitome of what happens to so many women when their dreams die because they were stolen by an arrogant man, who takes all the fucking credit. Yeah, I totally connected with her undying rage and the need to confront the person who took so much from her and the friends she cared about.

Things start out slow enough, from a place of despair as we find Kris working a job she hates and facing a brother who looks down on her. From then on, she finds herself on a freaky adventure that turns her into a villain in the eyes of the masses, when she's the victim. Not that you'd know, because she's strong as hell and doesn't even realise it.

It was such a wild ride to watch this cool and strong character keep going, moving forward and never give up. Even though she questions her ability and even what's happening in front of her eyes constantly. And that's too real, man. The girl/woman experience resonates through this story at every step.

Women get pushed down and stomped on all the time, treated like jokes even when they're the real deal. Making them question everything, lose faith in themselves. But you know what they always do? Get back up. Every time. Just like that Carol Danvers scene I love so much in Captain Marvel.

Hendrix totally gets this and knows how to flawlessly add it into his horror tales. And writing a woman as the lead guitarist of a 90s metal band rocks!

Another thing that's totally awesome is how the metal music is linked to something so creepy and dangerous. Something that invites evil but is also capable of expelling it.

Aside from all the deep and meaningful stuff, this book is a LOT of horror fun.

I seriously loved this book and can't wait to read more stories written by Hendrix.

Friday, 29 May 2020

A Break After Revision

Hi, how are you today? What's new in your part of the world? Hope you're all staying safe. Can you believe another month is almost over?

As if living through a pandemic isn't fucked up enough, this week has added more disgraceful acts of violence by racist assholes to the unrest. I just don't understand these despicable people who refuse to treat others with respect. Especially when they're supposed to be upholding the law.

This world is so gross sometimes.

As far as the pandemic goes, the rate of infections remains very low in Australia, but Covid-19 is still there. Lurking in the background and waiting to pounce if we're not careful. What pisses me off is seeing how people are acting as if everything's just fine and normal.

It's not. Just because governments are easing restrictions for financial reasons, it doesn't mean we can abandon the health restrictions. 😐

I think everyone needs to be cautious, and embrace the social distancing that must continue. It's really not a hard concept, yet random idiots are still trying to get too fucking close. Ugh.

Anyway, as I always do after a hard and busy revision, I'm taking a bit of time off. Mostly that means having a nice time with hubby enjoying delish meals, long walks, watching stuff and enjoying every day together. And reading, of course.

This week I picked up a classic book I've had on my TBR pile for agesREBECCA by Daphne du Maurier

I took my time with this one, enjoying the hell out of every dark page. Getting lost in the suspense and dread. I was seriously hooked from the first sentence. I have no idea why the hell it's taken me so long to read this! But I'm really glad I finally did because I LOVED it. 😍

Really looking forward to reading more titles by this excellent author.

THIS is what I'm reading next.

Asides from reading, I've been going through my Idea Files. Trying to clean up the folders and decide whether all of the ideas I have are going to develop into more. 

So far, the two I thought I might scrap have started speaking to me. I wrote the beginning for one, and the ending for the other. Gotta love that.

Now I just need to update everything on my laptop. Probably tomorrow. 

Well, that was my week. Getting lots of stuff done, and nothing at all. While trying to minimise our store visits and staying away from everyone. 

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, 28 May 2020

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I've wanted to read for ages. And I'm glad that I finally picked it up.

I was hooked from the first sentence. The lush writing style is lovely and captivated me instantly. I loved the narrator's whimsical look at everything she goes through, and how quickly her thoughts fly away in so many different directions she temporarily loses sight of reality.

She's the young companion of an awful rich woman determined to degrade her every time they have a conversation. But during a trip to Monte Carlo, she meets the mysterious and moody Maximilian de Winter.

Maxim is a widower who sweeps her off her feet. She's convinced she's in love with him, so his marriage proposal is a surprise she accepts. And so begins her new life at Manderley under the shadow of his dead wife Rebecca, and the awful Mrs Danvers...

The atmosphere and suspense in this book is so thick it felt like an actual storm cloud hung over every page. The descriptions of Manderley and its grounds are pretty but shadowed with menace. The house is a character itself.

Actually, the two main characters seemed to be the house and the dead wife. It's like the new Mrs de Winter is an invisible presence in her own home, and everyone around her totally feeds into this. Her inexperience and shyness keeps her from challenging or changing anything.

I loved how Mrs de Winter's story deals with mundane and simple everyday things, but everything is dripping with dread. I kept waiting for the most awful things to happen, and plenty of super creepy stuff does. There are so many terrible secrets that rise to the surface, and I was captivated every step of the way.

The narrator isn't even given a name. Which fits perfectly into how everyone else treats her. She's almost invisible and spoken to like a child. It was frustrating and often made me angry because she didn't stand up for herself, but she has her own strengths. And living in the dark corridors of Manderley certainly helps age her.

Oh, and how awful was that Mrs Danvers? What a cruel and conniving creeper. 😳

This is one of the most addictive books I've ever read. It's also beautifully written. And terrifying on so many levels. It's also interesting as hell and intrigued me all the way through.

That ending was also unexpected, but the only way it could end.

I seriously LOVED Rebecca. The book, not the woman haunting every page.

Monday, 25 May 2020

THE DEFENDERS by Philip K Dick

The Defenders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The concept of this story is SO clever. There's a bit of everything in this post-apocalyptic tale.

Eight years after a nuclear war, humans are still living underground and robots are above fighting their war. Taylor is supposed to have a bit of time off, instead he ends up stumbling on a surprising secret about what's really going on...

Yikes! This was really cool.

I really enjoyed the surprises, twists and turns. Even the ending was totally unexpected. Not to mention how well the social commentary about men and war is captured. And these robots are so interesting. Did I mention that I love stories about robots? 😁

My only problem was the portrayal of Taylor's wife. Mary is so crippled by fear that she's annoying and crabby, not much more. Then again, it makes total sense. I'd be crabby too if I couldn't see the sun and sky and the world was radioactive. 😳

Anyway, this is another great PKD story.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

The Crystal Crypt by Philip K Dick

The Crystal Crypt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe it's because I just finished writing a story about Mars, but I was definitely in the mood for this shortie.

The last flight out of Mars is headed for Terra, and the Leiters stop the ship long enough to check each passenger in search of three saboteurs...

What a cool story!

I enjoyed this a lot, but my favourite thing about this story is how seemingly average the beginning appears, before everything starts taking shape and becomes very clear. And of course, when that happens, I was once again amazed by how clever PKD's stories always turn out to be.

In a story so short and with so much happening, it's easy to assume that character development will fall flat. But it didn't. With just a few details, situations and circumstances, the main characters are quickly fully formed. And the imagery he describes filled my mind with the utter beauty of Mars.

Not to mention that twist ending! PKD did it again. I enjoyed the hell out of this.

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