Book Review: Ghoul by Brian Keene

Ghoul both struck at the heartstrings and made my skin crawl!

Keene gives a story of three young friends who are trying to deal with leaving childhood and on the cusp of being teenagers and what the world around them is really like.

Each one of these lads has their own demons they are living with and to make matters worse something ancient has woken up in the middle of their summer break.

Brian Keene really does pull out an ace of a story here. I felt for these three boys each step of the way. Some elements reminded me of my own childhood of making camps with friends and biking through fields. Thankfully I never had to deal with anything these kids did.

A fantastic book, that is done justice by Chet Williamson’s narration.

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Book Review: The Complex by Brian Keene

I went into this not knowing much about it. All I really knew was that it was loosely inspired by Brian Keene’s former home.

So, I went into this book pretty blind and wasn’t disappointed. Keene gives us a broad range of characters each with their own depth and motivations.

There’s not a complicated storyline, it’s pretty simply about what the characters would do when thrown into the chaos of the events in the story.

Definitely worth checking out.

Book Review: Why Can’t I Be You? By Matthew Cash

This short had an interesting story that it told, one that I could see having a foundation of truth to these groups and how toxic I’d imagine some can be.

Matthew Cash paces this one well, and although I’d have liked a little more detail and background here and there it does move along at a healthy pace, that more of that detail and background might have disrupted.

I really enjoyed how the ending played out and was written, anytime a writer can make me go ‘ewwww’ is always a win for me.

Overall, this is short, and fun, with just a pinch of brutal to balance it out.

Alien:Covenant

This film has been on my mind a fair bit since its release. I had mixed feelings going into it due to Prometheus. Prometheus is a movie I think is very beautiful to look at and has some decent bits in, but overall is a bit of a mess. It feels like it’s trying to tell two stories by two different camps from the production standpoint. In one camp you’ve got the urge to make an prequel film for the Alien franchise, and the other camp want to make a film about creationism. Add in some daft elements in the script (run off to one side!) and we’ve got a film which is hard to love, also the technology is massively advanced compared to the other films. I know the Prometheus is an advanced space craft but they could have easily made the tech look like that of the previous films (Sorry, this is something that really bugs me!).

The problem of what film is being made carries on into Alien:Covenant. On one side we’ve got a story about colonists wanting to find a new world to settle on, then on the other side we have the urge to look at this creationist storyline. I’ve watched this movie maybe half a dozen times now and I really believe there is a good movie in here, if you take away that creationist element, and some of the dumb-ass choices the characters make. There’s a bit early on about a funeral that shows there is friction between the characters, but it feels ham-fisted. The funeral is forbidden due to repairs needing to be done, but the repairs could wait and the funeral is brief. It feels like it’s there just to create conflict.

If they took away the David storyline, the plot device of wondering off to another planet and just had a story about colonists arriving at a new planet to then find it was once inhabited by an alien race that died out. Then they find an egg and chaos ensues. Why couldn’t we have had that movie? Up until David shows up we’ve got the makings of a really good atmospheric horror movie and then it slips into a psycho-robot-with-delusions-of-being-a-god movie.

When I think about the original Alien movies they were pretty straightforward. Horror and action pretty much, what you saw was what you got. They never really felt like there was a grander story happening that needed to be addressed. They were just what they were. There was social commentary there, but it was subtle. You didn’t feel like you were being hit over the head with it. Maybe that’s what they need to get back to. Imagine the type of social commentary we could of had in this film if it had been about landing on a planet for colonisation only to discover these horrific aliens that had maybe already wiped out an alien species that had been on the planet before.

Where this series goes in the future, I don’t know. There’s rumours that this new generation of Ridley Scott Alien movies is a trilogy and there’s a third part coming, but this movie didn’t do especially well. So I’ve got to wonder if Fox will give it one more go, drop the franchise for the time being, or go in an entirely different route altogether.

Time will tell, but I know how I’d like it to go.

Book Review: What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher

I listened to the audiobook version of What Good Girls Do, and it is a brutal listen. But it is so masterfully crafted that you can’t help but keep going with it. There were times that I found myself squirming a little at what the characters are going through but really egging them on.

It deals with a topic that is not comfortable but it’s something that does need talking about in my opinion. Just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean we should ignore it, and I imagine it goes on more than we realise. 

It really gives some gives some food for thought as well about how trauma and environment have an impact of the psyche.

Narrator Tara Court does a fantastic job with putting the emotion into the characters and what they were going through.

This isn’t extreme for the sake of it, it has a deep message to it that although I really found the subject matter really uncomfortable I’m glad I’ve listened to this book.

Book Review: Bleeding Empire by CL Raven

Bleeding Empire rocked! It was funny, C L Raven have a great sense of humour and it translated well to this story and the characters in it.

It’s definitely one that has a more humorous vibe to it, but it was heart felt and serious when it needed to be, and in some scenes was epic! A couple chapters in particular would look amazing on a cinema screen.

The characters were fun, although I felt sorry for Mac. But he did give me a proper ‘ewwwwww’ moment.

It is funny, it is also quite horrific in places and has a lot of depth to it about our society.

The last chapter was awesome as well!