#BookReview The Cuckoo House by Andre Harden

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The Cuckoo House is a thrilling horror novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This book has everything you’d expect out of a creepy novel – an old house, a murder in that house, creepy old man, spiders, animals going missing, old wive’s tales, sex, objects moving, silence, a frustrated wife, bones, hot summer days, more murder, and a lot of suspense.

Andre’s writing made me feel Jane’s frustration. As a reader, I couldn’t help but develop strong feelings for this woman and want her to succeed in her goal. While it seems like a simple thing to do, connect reader’s with your characters, often time it isn’t. Good job on Andre’s part for being able to draw the reader in to his characters! That’s a feat all on it’s own!

Additionally, I could feel the suspense in certain chapters. As an avid reader of thrillers and horror, I knew something bad was coming. Andre was able to keep me hooked and anxiously waiting, then would surprise me with the lack of scares or abundance of them. That’s another bonus of this novel – Andre was able to play with my emotions in a way other horror novels haven’t been able too.

The reference to The Shining (“REDRUM”) is a nice touch, especially since I just finished the book and can actually understand the reference. I won’t lie, when I read the shining I was confused at first as to why RED RUM was a problem, but when you realize that’s MURDER spelled backwards, it makes a lot more sense!

The title relating to a comment in the book was another nice touch – it’s a fantastic reference that some readers wouldn’t understand. Having the title has a metaphor for the novel is a really nice touch, in my opinion. It always impresses me when the title has something to do with the novel instead of just be randomly generated.

Now for the ending….. it’s insanity! I want another book chronicling what happens after, but at the same time it was perfectly horrifying.

Side note: The old creepy man’s name is Jasper, which personally makes me giggle. There’s a poodle that lives down the street from me named Jasper, so all I could imagine was the poodle.

This book has one con for me, but it doesn’t take much away from the story. I would have liked more description – I’m a sucker for description, and when I do my own creative writing I tend to explain a LOT. I think if there would have been just a little bit more description instead of talking (or have the communication between characters have a bit more depth in word choice), this book would hit it out of the park and be up their with the best! That being said, Andre Harden’s writing style is excellent for this genre. Just because my reading style and his writing style aren’t perfectly matched, doesn’t mean that he isn’t fantastic. I think he’s extremely talented and the more he writes, the better he’ll get (just like with every other author). And this book is off to an incredibly strong start!

The book is definitely rated R for the horror. The sex isn’t erotic, there isn’t any scenes full of excessive gore, but the horror mixed with the sex might be a little too much for some readers. So, I’ll settle on the R rating, but just barely an R rating.

Overall, this book is an intense read! It’s packed full of horror and insanity, and it’s worth every page! Short but sweet!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Andre Harden in exchange for an honest review.

 

About The Cuckoo House:

After the violent death of its owners, a small house sits empty and forlorn until it is bought by a young couple looking for a new start.

Jane has had a series of miscarriages and wants only to concieve and start a family. Steve, a budding author, hopes to research the deaths of the previous inhabitants and write a thriller inspired by the events.

As the hot summer stretches out, their goals collide and Steve begins to suspect that an evil presence lurks in the house, turning their dreams toward its own dark purpose.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36429551-the-cuckoo-house

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – The Cuckoo House

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – The Cuckoo House

Find out more about Andre Harden on:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17242642.Andre_Harden

His Website: andreharden.com

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews and give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below! What are you reading this week?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

Quick Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

 

 

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Image via Goodreads.

I have always wanted to pick up Carrie and I finally was able to find a copy of it.

Since I saw many film adaptions of this book first, it was kind of weird reading the different viewpoints of the novel – but it worked. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives within the novel, it gave a special insight into the minds of everyone else, something many books lack.

I definitely didn’t find it scary. It made me feel horrible for the treatment of the girl, and it made me understand why she was so evil, but I wasn’t scared. The films left me a lot more horrified then the book did (and books have left me scared before. The first Temperance Brennan book did just that).

It was well written – the writing style was strange at times, but it’s easy to follow.

I was definitely amazed at the idea behind this book. How did Stephen King think this up? That thought went through my mind numerous times while reading. It’s a wonderful idea and he did it justice.

Overall, it was a good story and I want to read more by Stephen King. He’s quite the genius!

Four out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

 

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Photo via Goodreads.

I got this book from a local book store as an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Before I read it, I did my research on the book and all the reviews I found told me how boring and stupid the book was.

I disagree to these reviews.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book far more than I expected. It did start off a little slow, but once I got into the book I was addicted instantly. I wanted to know more about the characters and the back story of the New Hampshire College Prep and how it used to be an Asylum.

The plot was fun to follow, and I couldn’t guess the ending (which rarely happens! So this book was quite the gem). Some of the aspects of the plot were predictable, but it took wild turns that I didn’t see coming, so I enjoyed it.

It did bother me a bit reading this before I went to bed, since it unsettled me a few times when I left off at a more ‘scary’ chapter, but it wasn’t really that scary or a horrible read.

I really enjoyed this book! I did wish there was more pictures to go along with each chapter instead of just one every few (this book has illustrations that goes along with some chapters for added effect). I loved this aspect of the book though! Having illustrations added more insight into the novel and made me more interested in the story.

Overall, an amazing book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!
Five out of five stars!

Book Review: It by Stephen King

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Photo via Goodreads.

Title: It
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: September 8th – September 16th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 18th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I heard there was a new It movie coming out through Collider Movie Talk on Youtube, so I decided that I wanted to watch not only the new movie, but the Tim Curry one. I had recently rewatched Rocky Horror and Clue and I remembered how much I loved Tim Curry as a child, so why not watch a horror film with him in it when I’m an adult? I prefer to read the books before the movie, so going in I can understand any plot holes the films leave hanging around. It took me a long while to find this book, but when I did I started reading it ASAP. And for over 1100 pages, I managed to finish it in under two weeks.

Quick Summary: Derry, Maine is a small town with a big problem – It. It, a dark creature, is killing kids left and right, and it seems to appear in a cycle, about every thirty years. When a group of kids that were not killed by It come back to Derry, they are going to have to face their greatest fear – Pennywise.

Evaluations: In short, this book is super weird, but it is also well written and the plot was well thought up. I was under the impression this book would just be about some psycho killer clown, but it is so much more! Pennywise/Robert Gray/It is not just a clown, he/it is a supernatural entity. You can tell that this is true through how it changes into different creatures throughout the novel (vampire, werewolf, mummy, the dead kids, Pennywise, spider, etc). I wasn’t impressed by the fact that this was supernatural, since I really wanted Stephen King to just write some strange killer clown story, but somehow that supernatural aspect was the only negative part of the book. Every chapter has a reason for being there (even if some of them are painful to get through or seem worthless when you are reading it. I’m not kidding, for a while someone is making a hamburger) and everything ends up connecting at the end or becoming part of the theme. There is definitely some weirder scenes that seem out of place – Beverly sleeps with all the boys out of nowhere – but if you try to pick apart themes within this work, you can place these strange scenes for that purpose.
Overall, I liked it! It did require me to do some research as to why the weird scenes exist so I would understand why they were necessary, but the book was worth it.

Plot: The plot is relatively simple – a supernatural entity (We’ll call it Pennywise in this review), kills kids every thirty years or so in a cycle. It kills Bill’s brother, and goes after Bill and six of his friends. The kids somehow escape Derry and end up coming back to Derry as an adult when Pennywise has reappeared in the cycle to kill more kids. Bill, Bev, Eddie, Ben, Mike, Richie, and Stan come back as adults, and they have to remember how they got rid of It as kids. And then, they decide they are going to kill It for good.

That is the 1100 plot in short – there is definitely a lot going on in this book. A lot of tough subjects are brought up in the book and written relatively well (abuse, childhood, innocence, homophobia, racism, sexism, imagination, among others), but there were some points that left me a little bitter.

Stephen King has Beverly sleep with all the men/boys (when I read the novel, I took it as a kid she slept with all the boys and made them lose their virginity, but some readers have expressed they believe it happens when they are adults. Stephen King does not always make it clear in the novel when he hops along the timeline). This chapter sat rather strange with me because she had not interacted with other boys in that way before, yet she somehow knew what she was doing and had relatively no pain. It wasn’t realistic (I know this is a supernatural story) and it just didn’t sit well with me. It also, at first, doesn’t make sense why in the world this is included other than to make this a more rated R story, but it fits into some of the theming within the novel.

I also had an issue with the nonlinear aspect of the novel. I appreciated the novel jumping back and forth from childhood to adulthood with these characters, but I would have liked the chapter to express that everytime it jumped so I wasn’t left wondering which timeline version of Pennywise they injured and how certain relationships kept going back and forth from great to meh.

Characters: “It” has a lot of characters, so I’m only going to focus on a few of them.
Pennywise – The demonic entity with many names was an interesting character. Stephen King does write in Pennywise’s point of view, and I felt like that kind of ruined the mystery of Pennywise. Up until that point, I was excited for Pennywise’s scenes and I was trying to figure out his motives, but then when the POV came around it ruined it all for me.
Once I got over Pennywise being a demonic entity and not just a really cool psycho clown, Pennywise becomes an interesting character. It induces fear into children and does not appear to adults (minus the kids that then become Adults, and somehow Bill’s wife Audra). I was left wondering why this demon kills kids, and there wasn’t much of an explanation that I found. Perhaps after further research I may find theories from others, but I was really left hanging.
The character was scary, and that was great for this novel! When Pennywise did appear, whether it was as the clown, the spider or anything else, it was thrilling. He was well written, so I’m impressed!

Beverly – Beverly is the only female in the Losers’ Club, and as both a child and as an adult she appears to be the sex symbol. She slept with all the boys, Bill and Ben love her, and she has constant abuse against her from her Father and her Husband. I wish Stephen King wrote better female characters – strong ones, independent ones, not totally sexualized ones – but alas, he does not. His male characters shine! His females seem to suffer.
The aspect I liked about Beverly was I could fit her to the theming of this novel. While she may not be a strong, independent woman, she can help a reader tear apart of the themes!

Bill / Audra – Bill is kind of the main character throughout the story, and his wife is Audra (he also cheats with Bev because he still loves her, but those feelings disappear as soon as they sleep together even though they both enjoyed it together more than with their spouses). Bill stutters, and as soon as Pennywise is gone at the end of the story he doesn’t stutter anymore. Of course, because he’s the main character he gets a hot wife, and he gets his school boy crush to sleep with him, because he’s the main character. He also becomes a famous writer and gets super rich!!
But aside from his character, it’s his part of the plotĀ  that frustrated me. While Bill is a smart character and his action/horror scenes are great, he leaves some plot holes for reader speculation. His stutter disappearing makes me wonder what caused them, and it really left me hanging. Readers have theories, but not one distinct one. Also, near the end of the novel Audra is essentially comatose, yet when she gets in their vehicle and they start driving she’s magically back to normal. Was this because Pennywise is gone? Because they left Derry? There’s no explanation, and again, readers can’t agree on the why, just that is happened.

Themes/Creativity: This book is super creative and has theming. Whoever comes up with a clown that is also a vampire, mummy, frankenstein’s monster, werewolf and spider and can make a best selling book out of it is clearly creative.

But now for the themes.
Adolescence/Childhood/Innocence/Imagination/etc – Stephen King addresses the move from innocence into experience well. Bullying, familial issues, crushes and more situations that kids face are addressed in this novel. He does an excellent job, and I could go on and on about the hundreds of scenes he has written, but I want to address one theme within this one.
Beverly sleeping with all the boys appears to be out of place, until you start placing themes together. When you read the chapter before, Beverly figures out how they must destroy Pennywise. (When you read in the story that Eddie makes his asthma inhaler spray out acid at Pennywise, this connects as well) Bev decides to sleep with all the boys and take their virginity – at first it seems very odd, but then you realize she is taking their innocence away from them. In some strange way, this shows the move from innocence to experience. To be able to defeat Pennywise, they need to be able to be imaginative, but they also have to eventually become adults.
The Losers’ Club couldn’t have kids, which shows they are more “innocent” than “experienced”. An adult has to lie to children and make kids believe it, yet they know that they are not telling the truth. They can tell a lie like it’s honest, like warning kids not to go out at night because there are clowns in the storm drain. Adults might know that is not true, but they can lie and make it seem true. Kids would believe this, and then they would try to think up ways to kill this evil clown so they can stay out later – like acid from the asthma medication. It tastes like acid, so why isn’t it acid? Kids have wild imaginations, and only when they move from innocence to experience do they lose some of their imagination.

King also addresses topics such as racism, sexism, domestic abuse, prejudice, and more, but I wanted to focus on that adolescence topic. In all of his themes, he does a magnificent job.

Uniqueness: After reading Carrie, I can definitely say this book is unique. Not only for just any old writer, but for Stephen King. It addresses theories yet is a thriller/horror novel. It has a clown that is a demonic entity that is also every fear the kids have come to life. This book is definitely unique, and I haven’t found anything like it!

Strengths: Stephen King putting themes into the novel was a real strength. The fact that I could pick apart the novel and try to make theories made my inner fan girl self super happy.
The plot all being significant to the story was also a real strength. Most novels have filler chapters, but everything mattered in this book!
The time line – while it is also a major weakness, jumping from the past to the present helped build the story!

Weaknesses:
The women were really stale – I would love for Stephen King to write a strong, female character in the future.
The demonic entity was a bit of a let down / weakness. The “big reveal” of the supernatural aspect leaves a lot of readers feeling cheated. I would have rather the kids just have wild imaginations that made them see vampires and werewolves chasing them since they were told not to stay out after 7pm rather than the demon becoming those creatures.
The timeline – more notice about what time period the chapters were in would have been nice.

Score: 5 out of 5. Throughout this entire novel I was glued to it! Rarely do I find a novel where every page has me hooked (especially a 1100 page novel!).