Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro

Happy Vampire week

Confession time I watched the tv series before I picked up the book.

The Strain is a very well written modern take on vampires. This book has old school nasty vampires that are all about turning you into a blood-sucking fiend and are not about taking you to prom. We also don’t have any sparkles! In addition to making the "vampires" completely alien and proper scary, there is none of these pretty people biting pretty people rubbish. You know what I mean. This is the first tv program in my adult life that made me feel physically uncomfortable the whole worm situation just makes me uncomfortable this was heightened through finally reading the book. 

The Strain is creepy from the start and keeps that momentum for most of the book. The beginning sets the story up with a level of uneasiness and uncertainty. The Strain starts with a plane mysteriously landing with all the lights off and no communication or activity from the crew or passengers. Let’s be honest in 2020 we wouldn’t touch it; you are along with them on this journey. Despite watching the tv series first I was still walking along with them discovering this harsh new reality. I enjoy thoroughly enjoyed the pace, the close shaves, the twists and turns and the revelations all the way through.

The first half of the book is completely shrouded in mystery as we the reader follow through the point of view of CDC medical professionals. For me, this adds a whole level to the story as we get a plausible real-world adaptation. I love the medical observations, of what would happen to the body if vampirification were possible like in this book. For the record The Strains idea of vampirification is a no thank you from me it’s grim. Another interesting aspect that would be rude to not mention in this book is the way it explores the struggle of the "newly infected" in coping with what they are becoming and the danger they pose to their friends and family. 

Bit awkward in the current world climate but this is a brilliant pandemic book. I kinda really like that the Strain decides to go for all-out destruction of the human race via vampire plague. Just as in the real world we get a look into the rush for experts to discover exactly what the hell is going on and how to stop it before everyone dies a horrid death or worse. Terrible things happen to people, to children, and to dogs, no one is really spared during this plague. 

This is such a brilliant spooky read for Halloween.  

L x

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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

 Happy Vampires Week,

This is the second book I've been lucky enough to read by Grady Hendrix, the first being My Best Friends Exorcism, but if I am totally honest with you enjoyed this one a little more. Don’t judge me but as a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books this one seemed right up my street and but this book ended up being way more than I expected and was hard to put down.

Our book is set in Mt Pleasant, it is the kind of place where people write down the license plates of unknown vehicles, where doors are left unlocked at night, and where neighbours are close. Which brings us to our protagonist and can I just say I loved Patricia and her book club group. She's just a normal woman, once a nurse, who becomes a mum with a routine but isn't appreciated by her family. I have to admit I love them from Slick, Kitty, Grace, Maryellen and even dear Mrs Greene. Can I just say I want to be their friend I’m just putting it out there?

The housewives were all quite different in their quirky little ways, but each of them seemed to have similar butthead husbands and maddening kids. At some point, members of the Book Club wonder into waywardness and instead of reading the typical go-to books, they take a deep dive into the scandals of true crime novels. The constant references to true crime were such a blast for this true crime junkie, and I was getting increasingly jealous of their book club picks. If there is an opening, I call it.  Of course, a tall, dark, handsome stranger called James Harris moves into the neighbourhood and befriends our attention-starved Patricia.

James Harris spoiler is out wonderful villain. You loved to hate him! He was charming, can talk his way through anything and just frustrating. we all know how much I love a good villain and Grady has given us a delightfully dark one. But not long after the new neighbour arrives weird things start happening: young children are going missing and found dead days later, and animals begin behaving strangely. Patricia is all of us who have read enough true crime novels to know a threat when she sees it. High five to all my fellow armchair detectives. But as a wife in a town with old values, Patricia's voice is lost amongst the ones who welcome James with enthusiasm. So, Patricia, Kitty, Maryellen, Slick, Grace and Mrs Greene decided that they are not about to take this lying down. But what can a book club do about it? you’ll have to read it to find out dear reader.

This book is so smart, gruesome, wild, bloody blended with dark humour, sarcasm, criticizing of the role of wives and structures of marriage. This is not your stereotypical book club and these women are not the conventional "badass heroines", they’re genuinely strong badass women. That being said the book lightly pokes fun at them, but in a warm, good-natured way. This is an epic and darkly heart wrenching tale with a strong emphasis on women friendship that is hard to put down.

L x

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Monday, 12 October 2020

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor (Gifted)

Happy Vampires Week!!

I would like to say thank you to Jason for sending me an ebook copy of Vampires of Portland in exchange for an honest review. Also the cover image is from goodreads this cover is too stunning not to see it in all of its glory.

 Vampires of Portlandia is an own voice Filipino story that explores the bonds and obligations of being a family while taking the reader on a paranormal joyride full of vampires, shapeshifters, and other wayward characters. The story starts focuses on the matriarch vampire (Marcella Leones) who relocates her family from the Philippines to Portland, Oregon for a better life. Upon Marcella’s death, her grandson and heir Percival, as the eldest of the surviving vampire must put aside his menial job and become a leader by accepting the amulet of power. Percival becomes the leader of ALL aswang breeds nice of Marcella to leave out that tiny detail. His inexperience causes him to learn about the other aswang breeds when the aswang covenant is broken. 

Percival and his family are trying to survive in everyday Portland, without bringing attention to themselves, as vampires. It's hard to feel safe though however when a series of grisly murders occur, and it becomes clear that these acts are not being committed by humans. Percival must act quickly to protect his family and their legacy before it's too late. If that isn’t enough for poor Percival it's up to him to keep the family together and keep their thirst under control. 

Along the way, we meet different supernatural beings. The other four clans mentioned in this book include the witches (mangkukulam or mambabarang), ghouls, viscera (manananggal), and werebeasts. Each of the group has a leader that makes sure that the clan members follow the covenant, an age-old agreement given by the Gods for the aswang to live in harmony. As always along comes one individual who believes they should no longer follow the covenant written by the God Asuang but take control of the world in which they now live. Which sets in motion the supernatural community heading to a potential civil war. 

Personally, I enjoyed the Filipino culture represented in this book and reading this book made me do my own research on the Aswang. Which for me is a tell-tale sign of a good book. One of my favourite aspects of the story were the Filipino values and culture was always at the heart of the story. I also liked how Jason wasn’t afraid to talk on political issues in the Philippines. The depiction of grief in this story was real and showed how that nasty beast can take many forms and how the weight of grief can feel when you’re trying to carry it alone.

As a whole, Vampires of Portlandia left me with chills down my spine, folklore to research, and resonating themes about family, acceptance, and open-mindedness to contemplate. Jason skilfully combines Filipino cultural lore with the modern-day Portland. If you like urban fantasy and mythical folklore and dark suspense, this is the book for you. 

L x

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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Halloween 2020 Table of content

Happy Halloween Readers,

Here we are again I have another Spooktacular month planned for you guys this year. I know Halloween is going to be different his year but let’s get spooky!!!

 

Week One the warm up

Halloween 2018 

Halloween 2019

Scarefest 

Scarefest vlog part 1 

Scarefest vlog part 2

 

Week Two Zombies

Kill or Cure by Pixie Britton (Gifted)

Kill or Cure: Bloodlust by Pixie Britton (Gifted)

Kill or Cure: Oblivion by Pixie Britton (Gifted)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Gifted)

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (Gifted)

Week Three Vampires

 Vampires of  Portlandia by Jason Tanmor (Gifted)

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix 

The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro 


Week Four Paranormal

 

Week Five Real Ghost Stories


L x

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