April reading round-up

  • # of books read: 11
  • audiobooks listened to: 4
  • ARCs read: 1
  • total page count: 3,288
  • year total page count: 15,539

I didn’t finish a lot of books in April, but I did read a lot!  I swear!  For a full list, scroll down to the bottom – the links will take you to my Goodreads reviews.

This month brought in 2 hefty tomes that I’d had on hold: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard.  I love love loved Strange the Dreamer.  There’s a librarian protagonist!  And Laini’s usual lovely prose and world-building.  I was a little disappointed that the story ended the way it did, of course that only means I will need to read the next in the series!

As for King’s Cage, I was not as enamored of this one as I was with the first two.  It felt too long and slow in the beginning.  But I will still probably continue reading this series, just like I’ll be continuing to read the Throne of Glass series.

I spent most of the month reading Queen of Shadows (another 500+ pager), but it was more because of all the other big ass books that came in from the library that kept me from finishing it quicker, because it had a good pace and I really enjoyed it.

Another long one I read was Secret Windows, a compilation of various essays on writing by Stephen King.  I’d had this one on my TBR pile since 2009 (yikes) and since I had borrowed it, and it no longer fit on my shelf after I arranged it by color, and I’m well ahead on my reading goal, I decided to read it. Besides, I felt like I needed to read a book to inspire me on writing, since this month was Camp Nanowrimo. Unfortunately I had to slog my way through this one.  I had read many of the essays before.  One of them was over 100 pages long and was excerpted from Danse Macabre, and I hadn’t liked it the first time.  The transcriptions of some of the talks he gave were fun to read, and I did enjoy some of the pieces… but his On Writing is so much better, and covers many of the points he makes throughout all these various tidbits.  Plus editing.

I also had another book come in on hold, though it was on the shorter side.  I’ve been spacing out my holds and unfortunately this month it seems they all caught up with me.  Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist felt very timely and dealt with the riots in Seattle.  Not my usual genre, and something I think I found through trying to find the source of the title’s quote.

Two of the audiobooks I listened to this month were extremely similar in style and subject – and actually had the same narrator!  The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, deals with a future where aliens have taken over, and several teens are left trying to fight and survive.  The 100 by Kass Morgan, deals with a future where several teens (or, you know, 100 teens) are sent to a destroyed Earth, where they try to survive.  I had seen both the movie “The 5th Wave” and the first episode of “The 100” TV series, and hadn’t been super engaged with either of them.  But reading The 5th Wave made me want to go back and give it another chance, because the book was so enjoyable.  I also want to rewatch “The 100,” because there seem to be significant differences.  The book was okay, it was quick listen and the plot moved right along, though the characters weren’t as memorable or deep as those in The 5th Wave.

I received a physical ARC this month from Simon Pulse, the absolutely adorable When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.  A cute summer romance that I zipped right through, made me want to listen to my Bollywood playlist again.  The book will be released May 30th.

Here’s a complete list of the books I read this month:

  1. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
  2. Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing by Stephen King
  3. The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey (audiobook)
  4. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
  5. A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting by Guy Delisle (graphic novel)
  6. Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor
  7. The 100 by Kass Morgan (audiobook)
  8. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (audiobook)
  9. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  10. King’s Cage (Red Queen, #3) by Victoria Aveyard
  11. Devil’s Pass (Seven, #6) by Sigmund Brouwer (audiobook)
  12. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (ARC)
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31 Days of Halloween, Day 10 – Mercy

p11002261_p_v8_aaI’ve been watching a lot of horror movies with creepy kids, so it was high time for a change and watch some creepy old people.  Mercy (2014) was something I had added to my Netflix queue because Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on The Walking Dead, was in it.  I didn’t realize this was based on a Stephen King short story (“Gramma”) or that Mark Duplass (who was also super creepy in the movie Creep) and Dylan McDermott (from American Horror Story) and Frances O’Connor (from Conjuring 2) were among the cast.  Sounds like a recipe for a great horror movie!

Well, it wasn’t the most coherent thing I’ve ever seen, more interested in jump scares than fleshing out the story of a grandmother who apparently made a deal with the devil to have kids.  Is it dementia, or is there something else wrong with Gramma?  Chandler Riggs has a few badass moments, although he doesn’t seem to have any reaction to the half-dead-looking ghost girl following him around.

Hey, at least it was short.

Recommendations time!

  • Creep (2014) – Rather than a brief part as an uncle who has a very different take on ol’ Gramma, here Mark Duplass gets the title role, and trust me, he’s good.
  • The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) – Is Deborah suffering from dementia, or is she possessed?  Strangely effective and a little less over-the-top than the next on my list.
  • The Visit (2015) – The kids (one an aspiring filmmaker) head off to visit Grammy and Pop-pop, but quickly grow concerned about their grandparents’ strange habits, like crawling around in the middle of the night.  It’s super creepy to see elderly people moving around like they do, and the twist is pretty good too.

31 Days of Halloween, Day 6 – Cell

cell_2016_film_poster_2

I read this book by Stephen King when it came out a few years ago, and was thrilled to have a King novel that didn’t pretend to be anything other than a horror story.  And while in general movies based on Stephen King’s books don’t always turn out great, Cell has John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, who were both awesome in 1408, one of the better King adaptations in recent years.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason I don’t recall this film being in theaters.  It’s fairly formulaic and lackluster, and has a different ending than the book.  The opening scenes where people on their cell phones get a “pulse” that turns them into rabid zombies is great, but the movie never really gets better.

Which means… recommendations are in order!

  • 1408 (2007) – Definitely a better adaptation, and super creepy.
  • One Missed Call (2003) – The Japanese version is much better than the American remake. I feel like the remake changed the tune of the haunted ringtone, which was super creepy in the original.
  • Pulse (2001) aka Kairo – Forget haunted cell phones, this time the ghosts are invading through the internet.  There are some truly creepy scenes in this one.
  • When a Stranger Calls (1979 & 2006) – I have to say, the remake takes the most frightening part of the original and expands it into an entire movie – the original’s plot after the scary phone call (“it’s coming from inside the house!”) doesn’t really follow.