The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

imageThis tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone… or something… lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again. 

As  Misao, Teppei and their daughter Tamao start a new life in a beautiful new apartment and  things seemed to be getting better for them. While only half of the apartments in the building are sold, owning to the fact it’s built on land that is occupied by a graveyard and crematorium, they still feel upbeat despite their surroundings.

As they settle in things starts to get strange rather quickly. First of all Tamao gets hurt while playing in the basement. It’s an injury that couldn’t be obtained from the confines of a basement. Then the elevator gets stuck and it takes ages for help to get to her. There are stairs but only to the ground floor, the only way in and out of the basement is by the elevator.

As things get more ominous tennents begin moving out. After several warnings from others and other strange occurrences the family decide it’s time to get out while they can….. Or they try to anyway.

I love a good Japanese horror story.  It was a slow simmer, one that gave you bits and pieces as to what may be happening. It didn’t really kick in until the last 25%.  I did enjoy the fact that while nothing outwardly is graphic in showing the horror of what is happening, it’s mostly psychological leaving you to imagine what keeps happening in the basement. The tension kept being cranked up a notch as the story unfolds.  The ending left me wondering a bit as to what and why things happened, you are left to leave it up to your own imagination. I think this may have played out well as a movie.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

3.5/5 stars

Crash

Buy:Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

Buy: B&N

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

23512999I started Reading Stephen King when I was 10. I dug out a copy of Salem’s Lot out of my mothers bookcase which was 99% dominated by bodice ripping historical romance books. I remember reading it in bed, way after my bedtime had come and gone, with a penlight flashlight hiding under my covers and jumping at every creak that the house gave up at 1 am. I fell in love. I devoured everything that he wrote afterwards. His books scared me as a kid and freaked me out at a teen and kept on freaking me out as an adult. I gleefully went for the rollercoaster ride and loved every scary minute of it.

I have found that as time went on and King got older his books became less and less frightening and scary. I started to see that instead of writing horror he was writing more normal stories with a slight paranormal bent that was on the side of normal more than not. 11/22/63 was one of those. Fantastic story writing but not the King I knew, loved and grew up with. Don’t even get me started on Under the Dome and Cell. There was one exception and that was Doctor Sleep, I felt that the old King had returned “Long Live the King” but that didn’t last. I enjoyed and am enjoying the Bill Hodges trilogy so far, again great story writing but not horrifying King.

When I saw The Bazaar of Bad Dreams for sale, and it was short stories, I eagerly bought it in the hopes that I would find some wonderful stories that I could sink my teeth into, but I was wrong. I found stories, well written ones, but ones that left you scratching your head wondering what you had just read and not in a good way. The stories seemed to have been cut off midway through leaving you wondering what it was supposed to be and did he forget to finish it. That poem…. What the hell was that about?!?!?! To be honest I like the story intro’s better than the stories themselves.

I will be honest here and say that I didn’t finish the whole book, I got to the 50-55% mark and gave up. I just felt sad at what was going on and felt that the stories were just put out there for the sake of it.

He started writing books that would grab you by the seat of your pants dragging you screaming into the night, then that gave way to pulling you by the arm down the road to see what was going on and now onto holding your hand strolling through the midday sun. The magic for me in a way is gone, the story writing is still amazing but just not doing it for me any more and it makes me sad as a ‘constant reader’ to see that the master has let me down yet again.

This should have been called The Bazaar of Meh Dreams instead.

2/5 stars

Crash

Buy: Amazon

Buy: B&N

Buy: Amazon UK

Alive by Chandler Baker

23268484Stella Cross’s heart is poisoned.

 After years on the transplant waiting list, she’s running out of hope that she’ll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred by strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone’s radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi are inseparable.

 Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate. Why else would she literally ache for him when they are apart?

 After all, the heart never lies…does it?

 

Stella is the good girl, the one who studies hard even though she is out of school more than in it. She has two supportive friends who have stuck by her thick and thin. When she meets Levi she has found the person who has stopped the constant pain in her chest after her transplant. When she is around him she is a different person and slowly starts to push those closest to her away. But will they be there when she needs them the most?

I have to say that I did like Stella at the start but when she hooked up with Levi she turned into an instant cling bitch that couldn’t be away from Levi for even a moment. She really annoyed me to the point that I was ready to give up on this book. I kept putting it down cause I was fed up with her attitude. I could understand why the writer made Stella so frustrating the more I read but it was hard going for a while. When things started to get creepy and odd I got interested again. I started to theorise  just who her donor heart belonged to. I kept thinking one thing or another but was just blown away by where the book took me.

It has a lot going for it and the creepy gory parts were confusing at first but added so much to the storyline and once things started to ramp up I was hooked and kept reading to the end and was left speechless!

This is a great debut book and I will definitely read what this writer produces next!

5/5 stars

Crash

 

Buy: Amazon

Buy: B&N

Buy: Amazon UK

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

 

764347

It started with a war, as most things do. A war called the Heartland War, which involved the Pro-Life army and the Pro-Choice army. Since neither side won a compromise was made called The Bill of Life in which a human life could not be touched from the moment it was conceived until the child reached 13. From the ages of 13-18 a parent may retroactively ‘abort’ a child. That child was unwound. The technicality was that the child was still kept ‘alive’ by being used as donated parts.

Conner, 16, is a troublemaker, and discovered  by accident that he was going to be an unwind. He found that his family booked a vacation but he didn’t find a ticket for himself, he found the unwind orders instead.

Risa, 15, a ward of the state with a potentially gifted career as a pianist, discovers that she is to become an unwind due to budget cut backs and having reached her potential, which wasn’t far enough as far as the board was concerned.

Lev, 13, knew all of his life that he was to be tithed as an unwind. His family is religious and told Lev that he was chosen by God to be a special gift and he looked forward to his 13th birthday and to go to harvest camp.

These three unlikely children come together by accident, two escaping their fate and one a willing candidate going to his, and end up on the run, trying to hold out as long as they can before being captured and send to harvest camp. They meet other runaways, each with their own stories for becoming an unwind and some are sad and scary.

This is a very creepy and horrific story and it does it in a way that isn’t gory, it’s more of a psychological horror that grips you. Children retroactively aborted and used for donor parts. Every part of the child is used and so is considered alive but in a divided state. The other part of this story is about the lack of organ donors and how doctors who used to actually try to save lives, now just transplant parts to people willing to pay. While this may sound good in practice, some unwanted side effects occur that no one really thought about.

The thought of doing this is the creep factor. You really don’t know what actually goes on in the harvest camps and that is another thought that is planted in your head. The fill in the blank visuals that make you cringe. Kids in the book ask themselves the questions but they don’t really want the answers.

There have been cases in real life about people being abducted and having a kidney removed, people selling their kidneys for money. This is a relatively new phenomenon and this book makes you think of the possibilities of how far some people will go.

While I did enjoy it, it did bog down in a few places and there is one character in there I wanted to strangle I hated him so much, but over all it is a book that makes you think. This is the first book in the series.

4/5 stars

Crash

 

Buy: Amazon

Buy: B&N

Buy: Amazon UK

I, Zombie by Hugh Howey

15773951

Let me start off by saying that this isn’t your normal zombie book. There are no zombies mumbling “brains”, these zombies don’t say much of anything verbally…. Mentally, now there is a different story.

This book is told by various zombies, they are mentally aware of that is going on, but are unable to control their bodies or their never ending hunger much to their disgust and horror. They can feel, think and process the things that they are doing to their fellow man.

It’s hard to review as it’s told from many points of view. There are scenes of heartbreak as well as disgust and horror. One pregnant zombie, who was only a few days away from giving birth, is struggling with the baby zombie within her. A mother and child who face a crowd of zombies and a sacrifice has to be made. One of a zombie son locked in with his mother who is paralyzed and the hunger just won’t leave him alone. You get the picture of some of the horrors that await you. There is a story of hope as well that has you cheering on a guy who is in the process of changing into the monster he doesn’t want to become.

There is gore in this book, lots of it. There are some moments when you feel bile rising in the back of your throat but it’s so well written that you read on. Sorta like watching a car crash, you can’t help but look. You get dragged along with the zombies and you start to feel for them and the predicament they are in.

There is no real beginning, except that some kind of virus caused this, and there is no solid end to this book. It’s a series of stories that tell of a loss of will and humanity. The never ending hunger, the pain and the hopes of a final death that never seem to come.

I had to digest what this book meant and what it was supposed to convey to the reader. It whirled in my head for a few days and made me think, something I didn’t expect with this kind of book. Its funny, when I did meet Hugh Howey I told him I enjoyed this book and it made me think….that was a comment he wasn’t expecting.

4/5 stars

Crash

 

Buy: Amazon

Buy: B&N

Buy: Amazon UK