Book Review; The Hive – Barry Lyga & Morgan Baden

Going Viral Just Got Deadly!

Published by Kids Can Press

Released Sept 2019

Page count 418

GoodReads

the hive

 

 

Synopsis:

Cassie McKinney has always believed in the Hive.

Social media used to be out of control, after all. People were torn apart by trolls and doxxers. Even hackers – like Cassie’s dad – were powerless against it.

But then the Hive came. A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many “condemns,” and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It’s safer, fairer and perfectly legal.

Entering her senior year of high school, filled with grief over an unexpected loss, Cassie is primed to lash out. Egged on by new friends, she makes an edgy joke online. Cassie doubts anyone will notice.

But the Hive notices everything. And as her viral comment whips an entire country into a frenzy, the Hive demands retribution.

One moment Cassie is anonymous; the next, she’s infamous. And running for her life.

********

Review:

An absolutely fantastic read!
A terrifying look at modern day vigilantism born from online trolling.
In a time where one wrong comment can (and often does) ruin a person’s entire life The Hive gives us a look behind the curtain, what happens when you make that split second mistake?

When Cassie makes a joke in poor taste with the hope of trending online she becomes the ‘condemned’. But for a misdeed usually punishable by public humiliation, Cassie instead finds herself at the centre of a political plot on a scale she could never have imagined.

Happily there wasn’t too much coding jargon in this book, just enough for me to believe in what I was reading. When we first start getting into the creation of the Hive I thought ‘uhoh, they’re gonna lose me here!’ but even this simpleton followed and understood it easily.

My heart was in my throat whilst Cassie and the Ohm attempt to evade The Hive mobs and the police, those rapid pulse-pounding action scenes were my favourite parts of the book. I can think of nothing scarier than being hunted out in the world with no refuge.

Cassie made a fantastic protagonist, they really nailed the teen angst. Her inability to communicate her emotions openly and the constant underlying anger and pain of bereavement made Cassie belligerent and disconnected her from all those around her.
Cassie wasn’t always likeable which made her more authentic and added depth.
I really sympathized with her mother who was unable to do right from wrong.

Tish, TonyStark and RedDread were brilliant as the righteous opponents of Hive mentality. Their unwavering moral compasses and commitment to ending internet-led corruption was uplifting, especially given our current social climate.

The only minor issue for me was inclusion of an instalove plot. I felt it unnecessary and a little too cheesy for my liking. However, as someone who prefers to ignore romance in this type of story it probably bothered me more than it would other readers so I just glossed over it.

It seemed as though the end was set up for a sequel but for me this book works perfectly as a stand alone.

The entire concept of The Hive was honestly terrifying. In a world where the most heinous actions are somehow becoming legal, this fictional future is not as inconceivable as I wish it were.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review; I Know Everything- Matthew Farrell

A psychologist grapples with his own sanity as murder evidence mounts against him.

Published by Thomas & Mercer 

Released 6th August 2019

Page count 320

GoodReads

i know everything

Synopsis:

Police investigator Susan Adler is ready to close the book on a deadly car accident, but after the medical examiner discovers evidence of foul play, she knows she has a murder on her hands. The victim was the wealthy wife of Randall Brock, a renowned psychologist who treats patients with disturbing, brutal fantasies. And just like that, Susan’s got a suspect. Continue reading “Book Review; I Know Everything- Matthew Farrell”

Mini Review; The Retreat- Sherri Smith

How Well Do You Really Know Your Friends?

Published by Forge

Released 13th August 2019

Page count 352

GoodReads

theretreat sherri smith

Synopsis:

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever…if they survive.

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiance invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends–one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship–Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with. Continue reading “Mini Review; The Retreat- Sherri Smith”

The Horror Of Sex In Fiction

I’ve found myself considering one of the biggest differences between my experiences of male and female writers of horror.

SEX…

A little foreword first;
What I want to say by no means encompasses all authors. My own reading choices make up a minuscule selection of the horror genre, I’ll be talking about my own opinion based on my reading experiences.
I’ll briefly reflect on my recent reading history to show you what I’m working from.

*****
This year so far I’ve read 87 books.

31 were horror. (I found this quite surprising actually, I’d expected the number to be above 36%)

10 written by 10 different FEMALE authors

20 written by 17 different MALE authors
(4 of these titles were Jonathan Janz)

1 Co-written

-SUB-GENRES included fantasy, thriller, gothic, supernatural, body horror, sci-fi, survival, post apocalyptic and coming-of-age.

6 of them could be considered YA and 4 of those are marketed as such.

It may also be interesting to note that all were published within the past decade with the exception of two male written horrors first released in the 80s.
*****

As I embark on my 32nd horror novel of 2019, (Jonathan Janz’ The Darkest Lullaby – review here) I’ve found myself considering one of the biggest differences between my experiences of male and female writers of horror.

SEX.

We’ve all seen terrible examples of men writing erotica on twitter. Those snippets of ridiculous, eye-rolling, sometimes nauseating scenes. Almost always throwing about words like cunt, snatch or whatever derogatory term they can think up for vagina.
In horror especially I find this irritating.

It feels like men are trying to disgust you with sex, making it as tawdry or just gross as possible to elicit shock or unease in the reader.
Let me tell you, it doesn’t work! I’m not shocked, I’m not uneasy. I’m just rolling my eyes at the transparent attempt to force emotion. I find it juvenile and it immediately lowers my respect for the writing.

Now I’m by no means prudish. But seriously? A third of the male written horror books I read put serious focus on genitalia. Specifically male genitalia.
There were giant slimy naked monsters with dicks longer than their arms- come on now, that’s just funny! All the effort you put into describing these fearsome beasts and now I’m imagining them tripping over their own penises.
Dicks growing out of a house interior.-Now that was bizarre. Being raped by a ‘hardwood’ floor? Door handles warping into cocks? Consider any suspense obliterated. If I’m not almost-laughing at such childish ideas then I’m definitely annoyed to have shattered.
There’s nothing more wasteful then spending pages, chapters even, building that sense of dread or slow creeping tension to have it culminate in a brawl where someone gets dick-slapped. 

I’ve read about victim being swallowed hole by vampire vaginas and a fountain that pours out cum instead of water- that one was particularly gross actually. My stomach flipped at the thought so I guess maybe that guy got the reaction he wanted. But I can’t say it made me want to keep reading.
I’m not bothered enough by it to put the book down but I read horror to be scared, shocked, tense, thoughtful and many other things that do not count disgusted or a little queasy.

In all the female written horror books I’ve read I have never come across erotica being used to disgust. To scare? Yes, absolutely.
But rather than giant monsters swinging their impossibly big dicks around, (as found in 7 of the 20 male horror novels I’m discussing!) the women creep into your own psyche or put you straight into their characters shoes.
Using sex to frighten readers only has real impact for me when done by women. They bring a subtlety and purpose to the writing that evokes a completely different reaction.
Perhaps this is just because I too am female?
We could easily discuss the societal aspects of this topic but that’s not the point I’m making today.

Some of my favourite horrors are set between 1970 and 1999 so I’m really appreciative of the similarities arising in some of the recent publications I’ve read.
I love the small town, old school vibes I found in many of those 31 books.
But gentleman please, leave the sex-shock trend behind where it belongs would you? I’m bored with it.

Blog Tour Review; The Darkest Lullaby- Jonathan Janz

Page Count 304 / Publication date Aug 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

Good Reads link

darkestlullaby.png

 

Synopsis:

Ellie Crane doesn’t believe in demons or vampires, but she still hates the idea of moving into a creepy old house. But when her husband’s aunt bequeaths them a sprawling forest estate, Ellie finds herself stuck in a setting straight out of a horror movie. Then the real horror begins…

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review; The Darkest Lullaby- Jonathan Janz”