30 Days of Horror #19: Phantoms #HO17 #30daysofhorror

30daysofhorror

Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

Tonight’s pick is a classic. I haven’t read it, but I saw the movie adaptation late one night when I was probably too young to watch it, and boy did it stay with me. As I got older and started reading horror books, I remembered it and was sure it must be a Stephen King novel. It’s very King-esque. But no, it’s Dean Koontz’s Phantoms. I must read it at some point. I love these retro covers too!

Available in paperback & digital, 446 pages

First Published 1983

CLOSER…


They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.

AND CLOSER…


At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease.

AND CLOSER…


But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined…

 

Goodreads // Not My Review

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Have you read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

What will day 20 bring?

Horror October: Misery by Stephen King #BookReview #HO17

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miseryTitle: Misery
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 369 pages
Publication Details: July 7th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 1987)
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads 

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Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on to some real writing.

That’s when the car accident happened, and he woke up in pain in a strange bed. But it wasn’t the hospital. Annie Wilkes had pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.

The good news was that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news was that she was Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she found out what Paul had done to Misery, she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it at all.

Review

Whether you’ve read the book and/or seen the film, I’m guessing most people are aware of the story of Misery, so I won’t go into detail about the plot.

I have been meaning to read (or reread) this book ever since I got a World Book Night edition of it, but I honestly couldn’t remember if I’d read it before – as a teenager I suspected (yes, my memory really is that bad. I blame all the booze). It also doesn’t help that I’ve seen the film a bunch of times.

It wasn’t until I was about half-way through that it all started to come back to me. The differences between the film and King’s original novel are few, but certainly significant.

I really enjoyed giving this novel another go after what must be about 15 years. Once I got into it I couldn’t stop reading, but I am going to say something that might be a bit controversial…

I don’t think Stephen King should be called ‘a master of horror’.

Woah, I know, he is great, but hear me out.

King’s most successful books, for me, aren’t what I would class as horror, but as suspense. And I certainly think he’s a master of suspense! Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what makes something ‘horror’ is the suspense, but I’d say 90% of Misery is made up of suspense, followed by 10% horror.

He is also a master of characterisation. Everything he does is character-driven, and that’s why his books are so compelling. And why it’s so horrific when it all inevitably goes wrong. In this case, I didn’t find the main character, Paul Sheldon, very likeable at all, which makes it even more impressive at how sorry I felt for him.

The main thing that struck me when comparing the novel to the film, is that what happens to book Paul Sheldon is sooooo much worse than film Paul Sheldon, but I still found the film much scarier. Even after a few watches it still gets to me a bit. The penguin!!!

I’m not sure what that says about the novel, or maybe it just shows what a great film it is, and worthy of its Oscar (I defy anyone to not picture the terrifying Annie Wilkes as Kathy Bates), but essentially both mediums of this story are worth a go, and perfect for this time of year.

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Up Next on Horror October:

30 days of Horror: Battle Royale

 

 

Divergent, The Movie: A Rant

I famously hate all of the movie adaptations of books I love, so don’t let this put you off seeing it…

 
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I’ll keep it brief:

  1. NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENE ON TRAIN
  2. What was wrong with Four’s voice (and he totally wasn’t hot enough)?
  3. NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENE ON TRAIN
  4. All the Dauntless transfer boys looked the same. It was confusing
  5. Worst tattoos ever
  6. The fighting was lame
  7. SERIOUSLY, THERE WERE NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENES

But other than that it was OK I guess…

 

*I thought Shailene Woodley was actually pretty good, and I liked the music.

 

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare: A reread review plus film rant!

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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

When I first read this last year I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, or as much as other people expected me to. I didn’t dislike it, but I just wasn’t completely captivated by it. I enjoyed it enough to read the second book but I got distracted by a million other books after that and didn’t continue the series.

This time round however, I enjoyed it more. I forgot how funny Jace was (I found myself having a LOL frequently) and Clary didn’t annoy me as much, although it does still piss me off that she goes on and on about how much she loves Simon (as a friend of course) but always seems to forget he even exists or care how much danger she’s gotten him into.

I was impressed that Cassandra Clare’s story is based in our normal world but she’s created a whole new world within that, rich and complex and with its own history and by the end of the book we have one foot firmly in each side just like Clary does.

I also liked how religion and sexuality were portrayed in a ‘real’ and frank way. Clary questions Jace’s beliefs suggesting that if he believes in demons then he must believe in God.

“I’ve been killing demons for a third of my life. I must have sent five hundred of them back to whatever hellish dimension they crawled out of. And in all that time I’ve never seen an angel. Never even heard of anyone who has.”

My father believed in a righteous God…And when I saw him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God Clary, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re on our own”

It’s clear to Clary that Alec is in love with Jace and I liked the fact that no one has an issue with it but they worry about the reaction from ‘the elders’ which definitely reflects our society at the moment. Naturally, the Jace/Alec bromance/unrequited attraction was hot!

Howwwwwever, the chapters dragged for me and seemed way too long than was necessary. I think it could have done with another edit to cut out some of the filler. And what is it with YA novels where the female protagonists are just so dumb when it comes to romance??? It’s like writers are scared of having a character who can admit to themselves that someone fancies them, as if we’ll think they’re vain or arrogant or something. They’re all like, ohmygod, why is he looking at me like that, he must hate me. Or, ohmygod he couldn’t possibly like me even though everything he has ever said or done has proved that he does.

None of it had been real anyway. Jace might be an exceptional kisser but he didn’t care about her at all. He’d said as much.”

Arrgh.

But other than that, I’m glad I gave this another go and will hopefully continue with the series at some point.

AND NOW FOR THE INEVITABLE FILM RANT ***MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD – 1ST BOOK ONLY****

Oh, where to start.

1. Never before have 3 hot men been made to look so unattractive. Whyyyyy? Jonathan Rhys Meyers is hot. Jamie Campbell Bower is hot. Robert Sheehan is hot. In City of Bones they look like this:
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Not very hot.

2. The whole Simon not being turned into a rat thing: Isabelle was supposed to be much more of a bitch than she was in the film and was supposed to let Simon drink the blue drink that turns him into a rat. I don’t have an issue about him not becoming a rat, but why include the drink in that case? In this version someone spikes Simon’s drink and Isabelle tries to stop him drinking it. She fails…but it doesn’t do anything to him anyway. Pointless.

3. The vampire fight scene in the hotel was awesome but why does Simon say they kidnapped him to get the cup…why do they want the cup??? They were just trying to get revenge for them ruining their vampire motorbikes…which don’t exist in this version. Tenuous.

4. Magnus Bane…really? I was picturing a flamboyant, hot version of Elton John but we get this:
Godfreymagnus

5. Jace’s quips and sarcasm just didn’t translate. I’m assured that Jamie Campbell Bowers .. is a good actor but he was just wooden and flat.

6. The whole last 40 minutes or so just went batshit. Did they lose the script? What was Hodge doing? Why are we told that Valentine is just going to lie about Jace being his son – we’re all supposed to think it’s the truth the whole time- and why would Jace even believe him? He gave him no reason to. Plus how/why has Clary ended up with the Mortal Cup…Valentine is supposed to have it…therefore I have no idea what they’ll do for the next film….oh there’s not going to be a next film because this one did so badly. RAGE.

7. The kiss was pretty hot.

8. There was no homoerotic bromance going on between Alec & Jace. Which made me sad.

I’m sure I could go on but I won’t. I didn’t hate it, which is a feat. The action was good but it was way too long and lost its way towards the end. It provided me and Dora (Hi Dora – please add your additions below!) with many laughs however. All for the wrong reasons of course.

Here Endeth the Rant.

We Need to Talk About: The Film Industry Ruining ALL OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS

This Week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Books/Series that you’d like to see adapted for Movies/TV Shows. I had already scheduled this post to go out today so now I’m looking at it as my anti-TTT post. lol.

This is is why I couldn’t choose 10 books I’d like to see adapted for the screen.

Dear Film-makers, please stop.

First you turned Twilight into such a farce I nearly got thrown out of the cinema for laughing AT IT so hard. You made Edward look like Lurch and there was something really wrong with Jasper’s face.
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You also made to the only person in it that was not supposed to be hot, really hot. Well done.
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Then you turned one of the most awesome and exciting books I ever read into a complete SNOOZEFEST when you tried to adapt The Hunger Games. I realise that I might be the only person in the world who hated that film, but it was RUBBISH. I mean, I really love Jennifer Lawrence but even she couldn’t save it.

1. Katniss was supposed to be starving but that didn’t really come across so it kinda just looked like Peeta tried to kill her by throwing a brick of burnt bread at her head. Luckily he missed. 2. Peeta…oh jesus, really? NO! 3. The fights were lame, the mutts were pointless and the training scenes were just too boring. Haymitch was alright though. So +1 point to The Hunger Games. Actually no, make that 1 pt to Woody Harrelson and 0 to The Hunger Games.

And don’t even get me started on The Time Traveller’s Wife. There are just no words to describe how awful that film was and how perfect the book is. Or Inkheart, or Cirque Du Freak. Or Five Children and It. Truly, truly terrible all of them. I could go on but I’ll spare you for now.

I think the only adaptations that I have actually liked have been Interview with a Vampire, Tuck Everlasting, Peter Pan (the live action version) and The Neverending Story. The Narnia films were enjoyable but obviously nowhere near as good as the books, or the BBC version for that matter. And The Host was surprisingly OK.

But now, there is The Book Thief. Why, why why? The trailer is not giving me much confidence really, it’s bound to be difficult to adapt a book in which the narrator is Death and I just can’t see how they will translate that so the essence of the story is intact. It just won’t be will it!?

For some reason I am kind of looking forward to The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones though which I’m going to see tonight. I didn’t love the book so hopefully I won’t get that ohmygodwhathaveyoudonetomyfavouritebook feeling. I do have CASTING RAGE with it though, as is standard. I mean, really?

tmi-trailer-2-forweb-cropped-341

I don’t know why I continue to go and see film versions of my favourite books because afterwards I can’t help but picture the characters that way instead of how I pictured them in the first place. It totally ruins it. But I do it every time. I have issues, I know. I do really enjoy slagging them off though.