Book Club The STRAIN

Here is my last book club post on this page! Let’s go out with a boom!

I very much enjoyed The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. See the full write-up on this book here. I don’t want to go into too many details and create  a spoiler if you haven’t read the book yet or you are still finishing it, so I’ll do a little bit of a sell on it instead :-).

Del Toro is known for his movies, but man oh man does he have some good books out there. Chuck Hogan is a New York Times best-selling author. The two together… wow. I’ve seen this book marked as a Thriller, Science Fiction and most notably Horror. I agree with the first and the last.

Science Fiction has a formula (this may be in my head, but I’m calling it like I see ’em.) 1/4 of the book is usually designated to “telling.” There is a lot of information that needs to be set up before the actual story can start. In some ways this did that, as it was a slow start before we started getting slammed into the action. One might argue the science is in there, and I won’t disagree. There are some rules it didn’t follow in that regard, which I’ll leave off in an effort to not bore you, but suffice it to say, I’m scratching off the Sci-Fi label right here and now.

I want to point out that the first 1/4 of the story NEVER ONCE put me off. I wanted to keep going from page one. Bravo!

Now, the story line says it’s about vampires. I don’t hate vampires, in fact I was drawn to the sexy vamps of the 50’s for a very long time. Twilight kind of squished my love for them, though I’ll be honest I LOVE GLITTER. Just not on humans. Or maybe, not on my villains. Even sexy villains. Anyhow, these are very different vampires, creepy, nasty and not at all like anything I’ve ever seen/read. Again, Bravo!

It’s a trilogy, and perhaps was written with that in mind. So a fair warning the end will leave you craving more. I am personally thrilled about this as I want to learn how they do this intoxicating pacing thing that they do. I’m off to my library’s website after I finish up here to see what formats the next books come in. Bring it on!

Lastly, I want to finish all of the books before I re-watch the series. My first attempt was abysmal. It felt like they changed the story line too much for me. I was in love with the way the writers set it up, and when it didn’t fall in line I kinda just gave up. BUT. Maybe when I’m done with the books I’ll have more patience.

Anyhow, yet another beach read for those that don’t wish to read romance all the time. Go forth and ask/answer questions!

FOR NEW COMERS THE COMMENT SECTION WILL HOLD THE QUESTIONS, AS TO NOT MAKE THE BLOG ITSELF A SPOILER. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK YOUR OWN QUESTIONS AS A SEPARATE THREAD.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Book Club Update

The book club, if you hadn’t noticed, is kind of a bust. Folks wanted me to set it up, so I did. Over on Facebook we have a page where we communicate and I’ve been reminding people to read their books, giving updates and such there.  But it’s been kind of one-way. Well, three or four way really? But you get the picture. I have been posting the book club posts here so that my non-FB friends can participate too, but there doesn’t seem to be any energy behind that one.

Anyhow, I’m not much into self flagellation (in public anyway,) so I’m going to give it one more chance to make this a go before I make it a FB page only thing, and leave it there, without doing the actual book club-y questions. Cheerleading all by yourself is a mute point if you know what I mean.

A note on how I pick the books that *I* bring to the table. I’ve long been a stalker of librarian blogs when I’m looking for new reads. Many of the books I’ve shared and asked if anyone wants to read came from those adventures. It’s pretty cool but I’ve yet to hear a single person complain about a book I’ve requested – including my friends who don’t read horror. Oh wait I take that back, I have one friend who doesn’t care for ghost stories and she *may* have balked at a few, but that’s okay. The folks that have actually read my picks have been very happy.

I’m currently reading the October book, Strain. It’s kind of disgusting in a good way. I was trying to explain the difference between splatter horror (it’s a thing) and what del Torro wrote, and I came up with this: He writes more clinical, less visceral when it comes to blood and guts. For me anyway, it makes it easier to read. I’m about halfway through that one, and I’m honestly shocked. Every time I sit down to read it, time disappears and huge chunks get read. Another beach read, as it turns out. Laugh if you want, but I’m enjoying it.

That’s it for now.

I expect the October 31st (ha funny, just realized we’re reading a horror story for a Halloween) to be the last thread for book club here. Do not fear I cannot stop babbling about books so there will be threads here and there about my faves over time.

See you soon.

 

October’s Book Club of the First’s Pick

Good morning.

Here’s a little something to whet your appetite for October’s Book Club choice, The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I’m on page 145 and I love the pacing, love the level of description when it comes to gore. I write dark fiction with its fare share of gore, but so many are written with much too much if you know what I mean. Also, this isn’t your every day vampire story. At this far in the book there isn’t even a mention of that being the premise of the story.

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I’ve heard there is a great audio version available (I saw it on Amazon and at our library, both in CD and Audible) read by Ron Perlman. That is an excellent way to join us if you’re too busy to sit down and crack open a book.

Here’s Amazon’s Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: Who better to reinvent the vampire genre than Guillermo Del Toro, the genius behind Pan’s Labyrinth, and Chuck Hogan, master of character-driven thrillers like Prince of Thieves? The first of a trilogy, The Strain is everything you want from a horror novel–dark, bloody, and packed full of mayhem and mythology. But, be forewarned, these are not like any vampires you’ve met before–they’re not sexy or star-crossed or “vegetarians”–they are hungry, they are connected, and they are multiplying. The vampire virus marches its way across New York, and all that stands between us and a grotesque end are a couple of scientists, an old man with a decades-old vendetta, and a young boy. This first installment moves fast and sets up the major players, counting down to the beginning of the end. Great summer reading. —Daphne Durham

Book Description

The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

The Strain

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months–the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city–a city that includes his wife and son–before it is too late.”

The first chapter is even available on Amazon if you are on the fence. Boom. Look at that.

Looking forward to next month!

 

Garden Gnomes and Book Club

Hello September!

I live in an eclectic town that is plum full of characters. My current favorite looks like a garden gnome. Hardly a day goes by without seeing one of the many interesting faces that live here. If you’re like me, it’s almost torture, in that every time I see one of them my mind starts spinning. It goes one of two ways. Either I can see them in one of the stories that I’m chewing on, or I start creating a story around who they are and what they are doing there.

Writing is going well, even though I never feel like I do it enough. How could it not go well with all of the great material my fair city is providing :-)? I think I’m almost done polishing Bliss. Long story short, I ended up tearing it apart with my Critique Partner’s (CP) comments, and then I put it back together again and cleaned up the fallout. It was so freaking hard, and yet, at the same time, much easier than doing it all on my own. I’m very satisfied with the results. Soon, after one more CP run through, I’ll be moving on to querying.

I’m actually so close to that being done that I’m dreaming about the next step for Glitter, which is in the beginning stages at 52K words. I guarantee it will have more than one of my neighborhood characters in it. Exciting I tell you.

Meanwhile back at the castle I’m happy to say that I’ve finished September’s Book Club read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’ve started the Book Club blog complete with questions, and will schedule it to go up on September 30th. Woot! That gives you FIVE days to read it. 5. You can do it! Have you ever wondered how many of the characters from the Harry Potter series were weirdos wandering around Edinburgh, Scotland? I am now. Anyway, read it, send me book club questions if you want them to go up with the blog, and come participate!

Now that Potter is finished, I’m moving on to The Strain, October’s Book Club pick. I’m about 140 pages into it. So far I’m really enjoying it. A quick heads up: the TV series under the same name butchers the heck out of the book. Anyway, October’s Book Club Pick will be the next blog to go up.

Happy reading!

 

Books on the Porch

Good morning from the back porch! No that’s not slang. Get over yourself.

Ha.

Over on Facebook we’ve voted in the next two books for our book club. First one up, is Jack Thorne’s (JK Rowling’s story) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, deadline September 30th, and then The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro for October, deadline the 31st. Read up and come join us!

We’ve got family over and it’s been pretty toasty so I’ve been spending my mornings writing on our back porch, a forest and trails stretching out in front of me.

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Deadlines don’t care if I’ve got other things to do or not. The view is breathtaking, the sound of black squirrels chortling is entertaining, the dog next-door barking incessantly is not. He’s got issues. Distraction is good for me, right? Makes my writing skills stronger. I’m going with that angle.

But.

When all of the animals go silent and you only hear cars driving by once in awhile and construction going on a few blocks away, it’s pretty close to heaven. Those times in between I relish.

Like now.

Anyway, hope you all’s summers are going swimmingly. I’m sure dreading the end of this peaceful time.

See you all soon!