Unmemory by Kristi DeMeester

Unmemory Published: 2018

Publisher: Tallhat Press

Format: Chapbook, Paperback

Pages: 40

Genre: Christmas Horror

Buy: Yves Tourigny

Rating: 4/5

An original, 9,000-word short story by Kristi DeMeester, with 10 illustrations by Yves Tourigny. A university student attempts to track down the briefly-glimpsed Christmas film which traumatized her as a child.


I received this short chapbook in my December Nightworms box which is a new horror subscription box that you can check out here.  

Since this is such a short book, my review is short and sweet but worthy of a mention here on the blog, and it’s Christmas Horror…who doesn’t love holiday themed horror to get you in the spirit!?

This was my first introduction to Kristi DeMeester and now I’m dying to read more of her work.

A young college student tries to track down a film that traumatized her as a child. What follows is a bizzare and creepy reminder that it’s not always ghosts and demons that haunt us.

The artwork is by Yves Tourigny and was absolutely phenomenal, it really added to the overall vibe of the story. There’s an image towards the end that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get out of my mind.

Do you enjoy reading themed books during the holidays? I’ve got two other books on my TBR this month that are full of Christmas horror goodness!

Happy Reading!

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My TOME TOPPLE TBR | November 2018

Happy Monday everyone! As promised, I’m coming at you with my TBR plans for the Tome Topple Readathon hosted by the gorgeous Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.

This readathon starts at midnight on Friday, November 16th and ends at midnight on Thursday, November 29th. I don’t like a lot of rules so fortunately this one only has one: to read something over 500 pages. We can work with that.

There are a few challenges that are just for fun however:

  1. Read more than one tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages)
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

Now, I have about five days off during this time and usually we go up to Maine and hang out with my family for the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s generally a pretty quiet weekend so I suspect I will be able to get a decent amount of reading done.

I’m going to share with you five books that I’ve put on my TBR for this but realistically I’ll only get to two…and maybe finish one. I’m sharing five just because I want options to pick from depending on my mood during those two weeks.

Here are the pile of books I plan to pull from:

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon(928p.) – This one is a big maybe for me. I read Outlander a couple of years ago at the urging of a friend. I ended up really enjoying that book so I, of course, went out and picked up the next four books in the series. I’ve read the second and third book and thoroughly disliked both. Snoozeville. I really hate starting a series and not seeing it through but I’m just not totally sold that it’s worth continuing. This would complete the challenge of reading a tome in a series.

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King (513p.) – I’ve actually already started this as a buddy read but am really struggling to get into it. It’s a slow burn and I think I may be in a Stephen King hangover after reading the monster that is “It”. I just set this one aside to pick up something different so I was thinking I could easily finish this for this readathon.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (544p.) – I just posted about this book on my list of top ten books I want to get to so clearly this book needs to be read! More than likely this will be the main novel I pick up but if I can get through this one and Lisey’s story then that would be winning.

I added two graphic novels to my pile as well, both copies are from the library and not something I own:

Blankets by Craig Thompson (592p.) – This is sort of a ‘coming of age’ story based on the authors childhood. It deals with young love, the emotional highs and lows of being young, dysfunctional families, losing your religion…and your innocence. It’s not something I would pick at first glance but with great reviews, and limited choices of LARGE graphic novels, here it sits on the list.

From Hell by Alan Moore (576p.) – Now this one is more up my alley, although I’m not sure yet how I feel about the black and white artwork and small confined blurbs of text, but I do love just about anything involving the Ripper killings. If you haven’t seen the movie which features Johnny Depp then let me tell you that this book is about Alan Moore’s take on the Ripper killings. His version makes the killings the epicenter of a conspiracy involving the British Establishment which includes the Freemasons and The Royal Family.

And there you have it! Most of the challenges I’ll be able to complete with the exception of the buddy read (unless any of you want to buddy read one of these with me).

I am so pumped for this readathon and looking forward to some down time to settle in and read. If you’re looking for more details including a list of the co-hosts, make sure you check out Sam’s announcement video linked up above or visit the Goodreads group page.

Are you planning on joining the Tome Topple? What’s the largest book you’ve ever read?

Happy Reading!

 

Hangman by Daniel Cole

Hangman (Fawkes and Baxter #2) Published: July 24th, 2018

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 373

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon 

Rating: 4/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

How do you catch a killer who’s already dead?

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings.


 

Note: So this has been sitting in my draft folder since I finished the book in September. Nice job Stephanie, nice job. 

Hangman by Daniel Cole is the follow-up to Ragdoll and takes place 18 months after the bizarre series of murders. I like to keep my reviews simple and without to many details as to avoid spoilers. However, to be safe, if you have not read the first book then skip ahead or better yet, just put off reading this review until you have.

This book takes place in London and New York as a pattern begins to emerge between gruesome murders happening in both cities.

Baxter is asked to travel to NYC to help the FBI and NYPD track down the person responsible for the murders which leave behind bodies scarred with the words “PUPPET” and “BAIT”. She is teamed up with Rouche and Curtis from the FBI and they struggle to work together as a team and to get any closer to answers. After a catastrophic failure to prevent an attack that makes the body count jump to a staggering amount, Baxter returns to London to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen there.

The pacing of this book was much slower than the first and gave off less ‘Seven’ vibes that I had loved so much, but I still enjoyed it. It’s another compelling read for those of us who enjoy things more twisted and don’t mind bodies piling up. I still don’t love Baxter but I really love her friendship with Edmunds! Edmunds is my favorite character and would love to see book three follow him as a lead detective, if he ever gets the balls to quit Fraud and return to homicide…he’s brilliant and fascinating.

Speaking of book three, I was quite pleased to find out that Daniel Cole is working on a third book! I’m really looking forward to see where Cole takes the characters next. Who brings back, who he doesn’t…I can’t wait!

Thank you again to Ecco books for sending me a copy of this book! I truly appreciate it and can’t wait to see what Cole delivers next.

Happy Reading!

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Good SonPublished: June 5th, 2018

Publisher: Penguin Books

Format: Paperback

Pages: 309

Genre: Fiction, Thriller

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Rating: 5/5

Who can you trust if you can’t trust yourself?

Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s alright at home – he missed a call from their mother in the middle of the night. Yu-jin soon discovers her murdered body, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs of their stylish Seoul duplex. He can’t remember much about the night before; having suffered from seizures for most of his life, Yu-jin often has trouble with his memory. All he has is a faint impression of his mother calling his name. But was she calling for help? Or begging for her life?

Thus begins Yu-jin’s frantic three-day search to uncover what happened that night, and to finally learn the truth about himself and his family. A shocking and addictive psychological thriller, The Good Son explores the mysteries of mind and memory, and the twisted relationship between a mother and a son, with incredible urgency. 


This book popped up on my radar during Jimmy Fallon’s search for the perfect summer book club read. I immediately placed it on hold at my library and patiently waited for my turn. My patience paid off because I absolutely LOVED this book.

This was such a chilling and heavy book to read. It’s written in the perspective of a young man named Yu-jin who wakes up one morning to the smell of blood. He is confused, disorientated, and unsure of the events from the night before.

The smell of blood woke me. It was intense, as though my whole body were inhaling it. It reverberated and expanded within me. Strange scenes flitted through my mind – the fuzzy yellow light of a row of street lamps in the fog, swirling water below my feet, a crimson umbrella rolling along a rain-soaked road, a plastic tarpaulin shrouding a construction site snapping in the wind. Somewhere a man was singing and slurring lyrics: a song about a girl he couldn’t forget, and about her walking in the rain.

Other reviewers had called this a slow-burn but I have to disagree. I could have easily read this all in one night because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. However, there is no real mystery to solve here, you’re simply following the path of one man’s mind as he figures out the events of the last three days and reconciles with himself who he really is. The writing is perfect and it’s a brilliant character study that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This story will captivate you but only if you give it a chance and give yourself completely to Yu-jin.

Can’t wait to see what’s next for this author and I will more than likely listen to the audio of The Good Son as well because I think it would really add to the dynamic of the story.

Have you read any of Jimmy Fallon’s summer book picks?

Happy Reading!

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter, #1)Published: April 4th, 2017

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 374

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon | Book Outlet

Rating: 4.5/5

One body. Six Victims.

William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after months of psychological assessment following allegations of a shocking assault. A veteran of the force, Fawkes thinks he’s seen it all. That is, until his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims sewn together like  a puppet –  a corpse that becomes known in the press as the “ragdoll”.

Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them. The final name on the list is Fawkes. Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. 

But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him – and his past – than anyone realizes. 


Have you ever watched the movie Se7en by David Fincher? It features Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the two detectives and Kevin Spacey played the psycho mastermind behind the seven deadly sin killings? Anyway, it’s one of my favorite movies and Ragdoll by Daniel Cole draws a lot of parallels to it in such an awesome way.

Detective William Fawkes is recently brought back onto the force after almost losing everything after he knocked out a high-profile suspect at the end of his trial when he was found ‘not-guilty’. The case nearly destroyed him and he served time in a psych ward only to be release when that same ‘innocent’ suspect killed again and Fawkes was vindicated.

Fawkes and his former partner Baxter are called onto the scene of a most gruesome crime – a body comprised of sewn together body parts hanging from the ceiling. The head belonging to the same man that Fawkes leveled in the courtroom.

To add icing to the cake, Fawkes’ TV journalist ex-wife gets involved when she receives a package containing photographs of the body and a list of the next victims, which includes Fawkes himself.

Phew this book. So much drama and craziness, it really is a thrilling ride! There’s also this strange sexual tension between Baxter and Fawkes that leaves you wondering if you should be routing for the two of them or not. Even his ex-wife believed the two were having an affair which played a big part in the falling apart of their marriage. Generally I don’t find that there’s room for romantic relationships in books like these but Cole does it really well (it’s subtle) and to me, it really helps you get to know the characters. They feel more human.

So there’s this personal drama that sort of unfolds between the lines of the gruesome Ragdoll case, which begins to play out like a bad reality show thanks to the ex-wife who uses it to leverage her career. It’s a race against the clock, and the media, for the team to figure out how these victims are connected and track down the killer before Fawkes becomes the final victim.

Oh and that ending! Wow!

This book is fast-paced, full of great characters and even some British dark humor for good mix. I really enjoyed this book and rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I can’t wait to start reading the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series which supposedly picks up right where Ragdoll leaves off.

Happy Reading!