Friday, October 30, 2020

Quick Reviews, Just In Time For Halloween

How To Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith (2019)
 
How to Survive a Horror Movie is a fun, tongue-in-cheek examination of scary movies: how to know if you're in one and if so, how to ensure you make it to the end credits.  The author explores different types of horror films - slashers; haunted houses and other evil objects; vampires, zombies, aliens, and other monsters; and even movies that deal with the Devil himself.  This was a quick read that mostly relies on lists to give the reader advice.  It does kind of make fun of horror movies a little and point out all the cliches and stereotypes you often find in these movies.  Fun illustrations and a list of "additional study materials" (horror movies) round out the book.  My only quibble is that the formatting is a little wonky; the author throws in these short articles in the middle of a chapter, sometimes cutting off a paragraph that's going onto the next page.  It just took me out of what I was reading for a moment.  4 stars

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall (2019)
 
Sara's sister Becca disappeared a year ago, and Sara believes it has something to do with a local legend and ghost story.  When a mysterious road appears in the woods, Sara and her friends take it, in hopes of finding Becca.  I loved the format of this book - it's set up kind of like a documentary, with different evidentiary sources.  It incorporates interviews, statements, text messages, and transcripts of cell phone footage to reveal some crazy twists.  The pacing of the story was really great.  The world-building was also pretty incredible; the road the teens travel is filled with monsters and I never quite knew what was real and what was not.  It's creepy, eerie, atmospheric, and filled with tension.  I feel confused by the ending and I don't know if it's just me not understanding it, but I wish there was a little more clarity.  4 stars

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller (2019)

Alva Webster, a widow, purchases a grand home in hopes of restoring and decorating it, but there's a problem - the locals insist the place is haunted.  She brings in professor Sam Moore to look into the possibility of ghosts and finds herself falling for the scientist.  This was a great read that had a little bit of everything - a Gothic feel, romance, some mystery and spookiness.  I loved Sam - he's so intelligent, but also a little goofy and innocent, and his adoration of Alva leapt off the page.  He's also surrounded by an incredible family.  Having been in a terrible marriage, Alva is understandably wary of any new commitments, but I just wanted her to forget about her problems and take a chance on Sam.  The ghost element of the story was interesting and not the usual haunting.  I wish there had been even more focus on the spooky elements; I think there was a bit too much about Alva's past.  Overall, though, this was a great fall read for readers who like a little romance with their ghost stories.  4 stars

33 comments:

  1. Ohh wasn't Rules for Vanishing creepy! The ending was very messy and I had to reread a few passages a few times to fully grasp what was happening. I think being open ended didn't help either. We don't really celebrate Halloween here in Australia but still looking forward to checking the other two out!

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    1. It was SO creepy! I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't understand the ending!

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  2. Rules for Vanishings sounds like my type of read and I'm especially interested to read books written in interviews and such. I hope I get better feel for the ending. I'll keep your thoughts in mind :)

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  3. I love the sound of these, especially The Widow of Rose Hall. Perfect for this time of the year and the weather we have been having this week. It's like we are living in a Gothic novel with all this rain, fog, and clouds. I hope you have a great Halloween!

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    1. Yes, it has definitely been feeling like that! Looking forward to some sun! Thanks, Christina!

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  4. I really want to read Rules for Vanishing. I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the ending! In fact, that has me a little more curious about it.

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  5. How To Survive a Horror Movie sounds like a really fun book! Rules for Vanishing sounds also like a great read. I like the sound of the format! I'm a fan of gothic-like books so The Widow of Rose House also sounds like a good one.

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  6. The Rules for Vanishing as one I had been considering, because I have heard good things. The mixed format makes it even more interesting for me.

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    2. I think you would really like it, Sam!

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  7. The Widow of Rose House sounds like it would be up my alley!

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  8. Oooh I need to get How To Survive a Horror Movie!!

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  9. Oh my, Rules for Vanishing and the formats it uses sounds so good!

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    1. It was a really good approach for the book!

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  10. Great reviews! I loved Rules For Vanishing, but I do agree about the ending. Still an incredible Halloween read!

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  11. Ooh fun! :) "make it to the end credits" haha. It's always fun to watch a horror movie and think what I would do. Which is usually the OPPOSITE of the protagonists lol! The Marshall book looks fun too...

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    1. Haha, definitely! It's so easy to make the "better" choice when you're not being chased by a killer!

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  12. Such a fun October reading list! I love the concept of How to Survive a Horror Movie! I will have to add it to my TBR. :)

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  13. The first one sounds fun! And the second one with the different kinda format sounds cool.

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  14. All of these look good. I love Smith's books and have listened to several.

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  15. How To Survive A Horror Movie sounds like a fun book! I may have to check that one out.

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  16. These all sound really good, especially How to Survive a Horror Movie!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!