Tag Archives: book

Birthday by Koji Suzuki

Image result for birthday koji suzuki

For anyone who has ever heard of The Ring or Ringu, this is a must read. I, myself, am a huge fan of Japanese horror, whether it be books, movies or video games, so when I found this book on thriftbooks.com, you can imagine how ecstatic I was. My favorite movie in the Ringu/Ring franchise is Ringu 0: Birthday, the movie directly inspired by this book. 

The story begins with introducing us to a character called Takano Mai. As with all Ringu characters, she doesn’t stick around for long. The majority of this book is set 24 years after Yamamura Sadako’s death, and is told from the perspective of Toyama, a man who knew Sadako when she was eighteen and nineteen years old. They were lovers and he recalls the events that led up to her death, unbeknownst to him. 

My favorite character in the Ringu franchise has always been Sadako. In fact, when I was younger she used to be my imaginary friend. I used to write letters to her and doodle pictures of her in the margins of my homework assignments. I felt a kinship with her, what preteen hasn’t? Being misunderstood and feeling like an outcast, a freak, comes with the territory of growing up. But Sadako always held a special place in my heart because she was so powerful, powerful enough to exact her revenge upon her murderers and abusers from beyond her watery tomb at the bottom of that well. 

That’s why this book has easily become one of my favorites. It is the prequel and the sequel to all the events that lead up to the first Ringu/Ring book and movie. It tells us the story of who she was, how she loved, and and what kind of personality she had before she because a curse. Koji-sama is an amazing writer, creating for us a vivid depiction of a horrific and tragic number of events that created Sadako’s infamous video tape. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes horror. It’s very well translated from its original Japanese and it’s easy to read. I finished it in less than two hours. Overall, it gets a 5/5 from me. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the Ringu books (Ring, Spiral, Loop and Sadako) so I can wax poetic on how awesome they are, too.

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Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley

Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes by Kira Breed-Wrisley, Scott ...

I confess, I am a gigantic fan of the Five Nights at Freddy’s Franchise. I have posters, plush toys, figurines and even fan-made music based on the games. Buying the book Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes only seemed natural, and I was incredibly excited for its release. The recent release of Sister Location prompted me to write a review on Scott’s recent book, his re-imagining of the Five Nights plot as a coherent story. I read the book over a month ago and absolutely loved it. My life has been a little crazy lately, however, so I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet.

The Silver Eyes is a horrific and twisted story about a child murderer who kills many children over a period of decades. The main character is Charlie, a young girl who returns to her hometown of Hurricane after ten years for a scholarship memorial dedicated to her friend, Michael, who was one of the murdered children. The story follows Charlie and her friends’ journey as they return to the scene of the murder and become involved in a decade long sinister plot.

The setting of this book is inherently creepy-even if you haven’t played the games-you get a very clear picture of this old, dilapidated and abandoned Chucky Cheese-esque pizza place. The haunted, revenge-seeking animatronics are an entirely new concept in horror and lord, do they deliver the scares! The Silver Eyes combines a cute, budding romance, good representations of anxiety and PTSD, as well as the coming of age story of a young girl haunted by her past.

Charlie, the leading female character, is the daughter of one of the co-owners of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, the location where the five children were murdered, five children that Charlie was friends with. Her father committed suicide shortly after, causing the town to belief that he was guilty. Charlie and many of her friends left the town to escape the darkness of what had occurred. Each character has a complex personality and is very well written. I can’t say that I was surprised, because Scott is known for hiding deep story elements behind jumpscares in the video games. This story was a wonderful experience for a Five Nights fangirl such as myself.

My favorite part of the story was definitely near the end, where everything starts falling into place and Charlie remembers her past and uses it to help her and her friends escape the horrors they now face. Charlie is such a dynamic character who uses her tragedy and becomes stronger because of it. For such a dark story, it has a pretty happy ending. I was pleasantly surprised by that.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror, but especially people who like Five Nights at Freddy’s and want to know more about the new Sister Location game, as Scott has confirmed that they are both part of the same timeline and canon. It’s a very good story with twists and turns and amazing characters with flushed out personalities and believable traits. Also, it has an adorable underlying romance tale and a good balance of darkness and comedic relief. It’s a very creative and unique work. I give it a 5/5 and it is definitely on my top 3 favorite books of all time list.

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The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

The Secret Writer: 'The Bargaining' by Carly Anne West

The Bargaining is Carly Anne West’s second book I believe, (the first being The Murmuring, which I will probably read very soon) and it follows the tragic life of Penny, a child of divorce who has recently loss someone close to her. She suffers from dissociation and hallucinations, and struggles with depression as well. She constantly blames herself for what happened, even though West does not really give us a clear picture of exactly what that event was until near the end of the story.

The tension in this book is completely fathomable. It is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The characters are well written, each having a unique personality and a story. When Penny is dragged away for the summer to help her step mother renovate a dilapidated old house, you find out more about the step mom, April, as well. She is actually my favorite character and is really likable, dispelling the ‘evil step mother’ stereotype. Her parents, on the other hand, are both pretty awful.

The setting for this is small town Washington in the dense woods of the Pacific Northwest. I actually have family who live in that same environment or area, just south of Seattle. So that was really cool for me to know exactly what the author was describing. It is definitely a creepy setting, so well done, Carly! The personalities in the small town near their summer project are very colorful and spooky. The house itself, located in the middle of the woods, completely isolated from the world, has a certain air about it that makes you heart beat a bit faster, even as a reader. It is actually a place I would love to spend the weekend! I’m a sucker for haunted houses!

West is a master of leaving bread crumbs and holding back, so that the twists and turns are huge and hard to see coming. I picked this book up and two hours later I was finished with it. It was so good that I could not put it down! The introduction is captivating and terrifying. You really feel for these characters, especially if the reader has come from a broken home, lost a loved one, been abused, or dealt with mental illness. It really hits close to home for me, as I have lost many people that I love, some of which I blame myself for not being there enough for them (suicide). I also cope with chronic depression, history of suicide attempts and bouts of suicidal thoughts, and severe social anxiety. I guess that is why I relate so much to Penny, and what she has been through.

Penny also has a love of photography, and it is one of her coping mechanisms throughout the book. This I can also relate to, as I enjoy photography in my spare time with my Nikon. All of these personal ties really made the book easy to ‘get into’ and I enjoyed it a lot.

I will say that the ending left me a bit conflicted and wanting more. I reread the last two chapters over and over, trying to understand them better. I do not know if this is just me being silly or if the author did that on purpose to leave me stumped.

In conclusion, if you like ghost stories that have a lot of depth and are extensively creepy, this is the book for you!
You can search for the book on amazon to support this lovely author!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a good day!

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These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

book report for these vicious masks these vicious masks 1

I feel compelled to write a small review about this book, as I really enjoyed it. I picked it up on a whim, and now it sits among my other favorite novels. It’s a thrilling story set in 1882 England, and the back of the book described it as ‘Jane Austen meets X-Men’ (who WOULDN’T want to read that??). These Vicious Masks delivers what it promises, and so much more.

The main character, Evelyn is believable and her emotions are very easy to sympathize with as she searches for her kidnapped sister, struggles to trust Mr. Braddock, and holds her suspicions about Mr. Kent. I obviously do not want to give anything away, but the discovery of special powers such as healing, charming, teleporting, making people sick, etc are the driving force behind this novel, and yet somehow they still take a backseat to the very real and growing relationships that Evelyn forms throughout her perilous journey through the back alleys of London.

I was completely sucked into this book from page one. I love it. It’s sassy, mysterious, and oh-so Victorian. There is a pinch of romance, but not enough to make it the center of the plot. The character is totally and completely devoted to her sister, Rose, and the story stays true to that by displaying her resistance to being distracted by feelings, her own safety, and her reputation, all of which are put on the line and promptly tossed out the window in the process of her rescue attempt.

I rate this a 4 out of 4. If you enjoy fantasy, romance, horror, crime, science fiction, Victorian England, or anything of the sort, this is the book for you. If Pride, Prejudice and Zombies is on your ‘favorite books’ list, then this one will be quick to follow.

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The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

The Suffering

I picked this book up after I got home from work yesterday and didn’t put it down until I was finished. It was fantastic, and everything I expected from a sequel to such an incredible book as The Girl from the Well. It continues to follow Okiku and Tark after the events of the first book. I love this series so much that I can barely contain myself!

This book has a perfect setting for a horror book–Aokigahara in Japan. This is actually one of my favorite sites to study, as it’s history fascinates and mystifies me. The Suffering takes all the best elements of Ringu and Fatal Frame and squishes them into an action-packed, scary-as-hell, made-me-weep-like-a-child tale. There’s love, there’s loss and there is a whooooole lot of creepy ghosts and spine-chilling moments.

Did I mention Fatal Frame? If you have ever even heard of the story of Fatal Frame (any of the games, really) then this book should appeal to you. The whole lost mansion/village, creepy dolls, ritualistic sacrifice, crazy priests, yuurei out the wazoo and whole searching-and-fighting-for-the-person-you-love-most thing are all super prominent themes in this book. I saw so many similarities in the stories that it got me thinking that surely this must be an actual legend in Japan, and since I know Chupeco-sama is a crazy good researcher, I bet it probably is. And that interests me to no end!

Everyone should read these books. Seriously, they are so, so good. Anyone who likes horror, J-horror, anything of the like, will love this series. Do it! I give it four out of four stars!

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The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well #1) – Rin Chupeco

This incredible novel of terror and love is everything I have ever wanted in a piece of literature. Ever. It has jumped to my ‘Favorite book’ slot faster than any other novel I have read. As a student of Japanese culture, I am constantly pushing my ear to the ground in the latest releases as far as J-horror goes. Ju-on, Ringu, Kairo, Kaidan: these are just a few of my favorite movies in the genre. So, when I spotted this lovely book in Barnes and Noble and read one review that called it a mix between ‘The Grudge’, ‘The Ring’, and ‘The Exorcist’. Well, you can imagine how thrilled I was. I actually squealed in the middle of the store. This book seemed so perfect!

The story begins with a legend. The most famous ghost story in Japan (aside from maybe Kaidan) is of Okiku, a ghost who was betrayed by her lord and thrown down a well. This book follows the un-life of the very same Okiku as she traverses modern day America, sucking the life out of abusers and murderers. You actually (Finally!) get to experience a Japanese horror movie from the perspective of the yuurei!

Half of the story takes place in America, and half of it takes place in Japan, which I feel is a reference to the other main character–Tarquin–as he is half Japanese and half American. The book is a perfect blend of horror, cute factor, and history. It takes a real, honest-to-goodness three hundred year old Japanese ghost story and puts a whole new spin on it. Chupeco introduces the reader gently into the ways of Japanese culture. I myself am well versed, but even if I had never heard of hakama, miko, or onigiri, I would have enjoyed the book just as much, as she very clearly and tactfully explains every reference to Japanese culture that she makes (which, to my delight, was many!).

It is so rare for me to find a book that so quickly grabs my attention and steals my heart. It is fantastically well written, the characters are so real and easy to sympathize with, the setting is alive and vividly described, the plot is so deliciously immersive and wonderful that I finished the book in two hours flat! I could not put it down (even reading it while cooking dinner, book in one hand and spatula in the other!). And I will be honest and say that on payday, the first thing I am buying is the sequel: The Suffering.

If you are interested in Japanese culture, horror movies, Japanese horror movies, ghost stories, supernatural and the paranormal, murder, mystery, history, legends, mythology, then this is a book you absolutely HAVE to read! It is an acceptable novel for people of all ages and genders, I myself am 22 and a girl. There is a touch of romance, but it is merely hinted at, so it does little to affect the overall plot, which I thought was a nice touch, as the events that unfold were a strange scenario for a love story. Rin Chupeco is my hero, because she has created a story that is everything I have ever wanted in a book, or even any kind of literature at all. A story that crosses the boundaries of culture, and delivers you into the eyes of the monster-who you discover very quickly was never the monster in the first place. 8)

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The Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley

The Light of the Oracle (Healer and Seer, #3) by Victoria Hanley ...

The Light of the Oracle is another older book I decided to give some love and attention to, as it is one of the most beautiful fantasy stories I have ever read. It is listed as a companion to Victoria Hanley’s other books, The Seer and the Sword and The Healer’s Keep, both also incredible works. Last year was Light of the Oracle’s tenth birthday, it being originally released in 2005. I was in sixth grade, and was immediately bewitched by the haunting tale of Bryn, an oracle with an affinity for Wind.

In this world Hanley has created, oracles are chosen in a ceremony by a certain kind of bird, but to be chosen by Wind itself is a very rare and dangerous gift. Bryn must overcome many trials, betrayals, and even a curse, while also attempting to keep certain individuals from taking advantage of the Temple and using its power for evil. Her story is one of love and endurance, as she falls for Kiran, a swan-chosen stable boy who can speak to animals. Everyone seems to be out to get Bryn, and she has to really struggle to survive and succeed at the Temple of the Oracle.

The story speaks to me on many levels, and has since I was a child. I have reread it many times, as it is one of my favorite tales. Bryn has a certain innocence about her, even in the end of the story she retains a purity and a curiosity that most fifteen year olds have long since grown out of. It is one of the most appealing things about her. She is also very clever and humble, two qualities that are often lost in teenagers. Looking back, I think this book taught me a lot on what personality traits I wanted to nurture within my own life.

I give this book 4 out of 4, as it is beautifully written and easy to read, the plot is wonderful, the characters are dynamic and each one is unique, and the setting is vividly described. The only negative thing I could say about this story is that there is a large number of struggles that Bryn has to go through, which has caused me a quite a bit of anxiety because Hanley gets you to become so emotionally invested in Bryn as a person and character. That is not really a negative thing, is it? Hanley’s skill as a writer really wraps you up in Bryn’s plight, getting you to care about it as if it was your own struggle. I highly recommend this book to readers young and old who enjoy fantasy. It’s a fantastic, timeless story.

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Little Sister by Kara Dalkey

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey.

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey is one of my favorite books. It was published way back in 1996, so not a lot of people remember it. It follows the story of Fujiwara no Mitsuko, a Japanese child of a noble family in the 9th year of Emperor Shirakawa’s reign.The setting is beautifully painted in watercolor strokes by the author, who writes as Mitsuko. We follow her as she and her family go through fires and scandal, and she befriends Goranu, a Tengu. Tengu are a particular kind of Japanese Oni, or demon, that can shape shift, but are most often shown in paintings as men with the head of crows.

This book is particular in the way it describes daily life in feudal Japan, and is careful to pay homage to how things were and are. The Japanese mindset are very different from western mindset, but somehow the author conveys it purely and clearly. The mythology and religion in both Shinto and Buddhism is referenced constantly, as in Japan the religion is more of a lifestyle and therefore are integrated into all parts of every day life. From the haiku poems that her sister exchanges with suitors in the Imperial court, to the furisode kimono sleeves she hides her face behind, the setting of Mitsuko’s world takes center stage in this hauntingly beautiful story.

Mitsuko is such an interesting and dynamic character, who sees herself as nothing more than a dutiful sister and daughter. She embarks on a journey into the underworld to save her sister with the help of Goranu. But Mitsuko is so much more, and Goranu sees that. She is brave and creative. Their relationship goes from being a reluctant partnership to a willing friendship-and later much more. The interactions between the two are definitely my favorite thing about this book, aside from the historical and vivid setting.

The author is a master of immersion, and it is not difficult to get lost in the story and forget reality for a while. It falls just short of 200 pages, and is easy to breeze right through. To this day, I wish it was longer. The first time I read it, I was in middle school, and now at age 22, I still reread it once a year. It never gets old, and the story stays with you. It is a truly beautiful tale of honor, love and duty, with the added splash of historical accuracy and regional beliefs.

I give it a 5 out of 5 and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Japanese culture and is curious to learn more about their mythology from a fictional character’s point of view. It is a truly amazing book! Please consider looking it up and giving it a read. It is always a sad thing when such a lovely piece of literature is left to gather dust in the annals of time.

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Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Vamps R Us: Book By Its Cover - Dust

Dust by Joan Frances Turner is not your typical zombie book. Yes, there is the blood, gore, flesh eating delight that comes with every zombie work of fiction-but there is so much more than what meets the eye in this novel. Turner creates a post apocalyptic world and a brand new mythology surrounding the undead. They have lives, gangs, friends, emotions, their own language. It is so incredible!

I give this a 5 out of 5. I really, really enjoyed it. You get to see the main character–Jessie– go through the process of dying, undying, and dying, and then undying again. You feel her emotions, care about the things she cares about, and see the things that she sees. The author is incredibly clear, crystal clear, in her descriptions, making it very easy to let your imagination inhabit this world she has built for us to explore.

The story is easy to follow, and the writing flows so well. The characters are colorful and well thought out, making them very real considering they are supposed to be the dead walking and talking. I will admit I had a huge hankering for close-to-rare steak after reading this, as her description of the creatures consuming raw meat actually made it sound appealing (not the human bits, of course).

Turner gives zombie books everywhere a run for their money in this comedic, wonderfully written and vivid depiction of plague-ridden Michigan, and the events that caused it all. I personally am not much of a fangirl when it comes to zombie themed supernatural or paranormal novels– the walking dead and world war z just are not really my cup of tea, ya know? But this book is so much more complex and involved than rotting undead monsters. They are an actual species with behaviors and feelings, which puts a whole new spin on the mythology than anything I have every seen before.

If given the chance, anyone who likes horror, paranormal or macabre, bloody humor should definitely check this book out. It’s to die for. :wink:

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Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave

This is a book that I have reread multiple times. Joy Harjo is like the voice in my heart that I never knew I had. This book recounts her life growing up as a Muscogee in Oklahoma (just like me!) through her poetry. She paints pictures with her words, describing different events in her life that changed her and shaped her. She uses many poems from her other books, as well as some new ones, and fits them in with stories about her journey from Oklahoma to Arizona for school.

I think I would go as far as to say that this is like a combined memoir and poetry anthology, because even when she is just talking about her life, it sounds like a poem. She had a very hard life growing up and yet her poetry had become renowned as some of the most well known Native American poetry ever written. That must make her so proud. She had been writing poetry since before I was even born.

I read this book when I am sad, or when I need to feel some sense of purpose. Because it gives you that. This book has a power and life all it’s own and it challenges you to take the rough patches in your life and make them into something beautiful, to learn from them and to move forward with your head held high. She is an incredible poet and often writes historical poems about the Trail of Tears and life as a Muscogee native. She often writes about music and how it is like the breath and the heartbeat of our people. I have so much respect for her, because she puts into words the way I feel when my people stomp dance at pow wows, and I never thought I would have words for that feeling.

I highly recommend ALL of her work to any Natives out there. We need to read these things. We need to know more about where we came from and the traditions of our people. I also recommend her work to any non-natives as well, because everyone should be able to appreciate and admire a culture, even from afar. Her writing is so beautiful and haunting. Everyone should read it. It is truly amazing.

Buy it here!