Book Reviews: Halloween Edition

Book Reviews: Halloween Edition

I consume books at a pretty rapid pace. At any time, I have at least four books that I’m working through:

  1. A physical book
  2. An audiobook on CD that I listen to on my work commute
  3. An eBook that I read on my Kindle or iPad while on the treadmill
  4. An audiobook on my phone that I listen to while I’m at work

In the last few months, I’ve tried to make a habit of writing reviews for all of the books that I read and posting them on Goodreads. I realized how important this is to me as an author and I felt it only right to extend this courtesy to other authors.

So, in the spirit of Halloween, here are some books that I’ve read the last couple years. Some are creepy, some aren’t, but they’re all perfect fall reading and maybe you’ll see something that piques your interest!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Read and reviewed in 2016

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Warm Bodies

Wow, this was nothing like I thought it would be! I’ve seen the movie and liked it, so I came into this book thinking it would be the same tone but it really isn’t at all. The premise itself sounds like it should be a comedy, which is why I assume the movie took that route however, the book is quite serious and really tries to look at how a zombie’s body might really work beyond the groaning and brain-eating. Lots of questions and introspection on what it really means to be human.

I would definitely recommend this even if you didn’t like the movie or don’t normally enjoy zombies.

See Warm Bodies on Amazon

The Pearl and the Pumpkin by Paul West

Read and reviewed in 2016

The Pearl and the Pumpkin by Paul West
The Pearl and the Pumpkin

This book was a fun little find at a used bookstore that I visited while on vacation. I had never heard of it before but instantly recognized the art style on the cover as the same as The Wizard of Oz.

It was a relatively quick and simple read and I’m finding it a little difficult to rate. Compared to more modern children’s fantasy stories, this book isn’t too great, however, when compared with other children’s fantasies of the age (ie: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, etc.), it’s not too bad. I probably will rate it a little higher because of my love of Halloween (or Hallow E’en as they spell it in the book). My biggest issue is the drawn out ending which definitely could have been shortened by about 50 pages.

The story itself I’d probably give 3 stars to but I’ll add a fourth star due to the charming illustrations throughout.

See The Pearl and the Pumpkin on Amazon

Magic Kingdom For Sale… Sold! by Terry Brooks

Magic Kingdom For Sale... Sold! by Terry Brooks
Magic Kingdom For Sale… Sold!

Read and reviewed in 2017

I’ve been aware of this book for a while but the title has always held me back from reading it. Magic Kingdom for Sale … Sold sounds like a fantasy version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. (Note: I do love The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I’m just not always in the mood for humorous books). However once I gave it a chance, despite the slightly comedic title, the story is told in a serious, high-fantasy style and I love the premise.

It’s really that premise and the supporting characters that kept me reading (listening) and ultimately made me like it as a whole. The land is interesting and the main character Ben is a pretty good character but I felt the side characters are really the ones that I felt myself caring for the most (particularly Questor, Abernathy, Willow, and Strabo).

Like several others, I found the writing to be too wordy in many places and had I not been listening to an audiobook, I probably would have skimmed certain sections. The ending, while being a little predictable, was still very enjoyable though and I liked the story enough to read the next book. If I could, I’d rate it 3.5 stars but we’ll round up because I’m in a good mood!

See Magic Kingdom For Sale… Sold! on Amazon

The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly

Read and reviewed in 2017

The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms

I’ve owned this ebook for at least a year now but I just got around to reading it and now I wish I hadn’t waited so long! I’m a big fan of John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, which I regularly list as one of my favorite books. The Wanderer in Unknown Realms is definitely up there with it.

It starts off feeling very much like a Sherlock Holmes, Victorianesque-era detective story. However, it quickly shifts and before you know it, you’re in the middle of an H.P. Lovecraft eldritch horror very much in line with The Call of Cthulhu. Being in the middle of reading through several Lovecraft tales right now, I felt right at home, and this story definitely captures the spirit of those great stories.

There was even a point towards the end, as I was reading through the disturbing final pages on my treadmill, where I kept feeling the urge to turn around and make sure there was no one behind me. If my 3 yo daughter had walked into the room without my knowing and had been standing there when I turned around, I probably would have had a heart attack (this will make more sense to those who have read it)!

All in all, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Lovecraft or is just looking for a good, creepy story to read as Halloween quickly approaches.

The Burning World by Isaac Marion

Read and reviewed in 2017

The Burning World by Isaac Marion
The Burning World

The Burning World is definitely a good book and a well-written book, however, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed in it. For starters, I’m not a big zombie fan. I read and watched The Walking Dead when the craze first started several years ago but quickly grew tired of it. Warm Bodies, the first book in this series, stood out to me because it was such a different take on the subject. Shakespeare meets zombies! For those reasons, I loved Warm Bodies, both the book and the movie. I was hoping for more of the same with the sequel but unfortunately, I feel like the it was an idea that probably should have just been left to a single book. The Burning World, while definitely being a good book as I stated, just felt to me like another zombie, post-apolocalyptic story without the uniqueness of its predecessor.

See The Burning World on Amazon

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