The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell

34599010The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell
Publisher/Year:ย Venture Press, 2017 (orig. Tom Doherty Associates, 1980)
Format:ย E-book (Kindle)
Pages:ย 369
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ






Rose Tierney and her husband Bill are successful writers, picking apart films and enlightening the masses.

They are invited to New Yorkย  to talk business and get invited to a party where one of the guests, a quiet Diana, is interested in the occult. Bill has a tarot card reading and dismisses it out of hand, but when it’s Rose’s turn, it sparks something in her.

That night, she has an odd out-of-body experience and is attacked by an unknown force.

Diana, through a premonition, found Rose and helped her back to her apartment to recover. The assault seems to waken her dormant psychic powers, and Diana excitedly encourages Rose to pursue them, to learn how to master them.

Rose quickly begins experiencing premonitions and discovers that her self can leave her body, later discovering all the intricacies of astral projection.

At first frightened by her newfound powers, she soon begins to explore, both her own abilities and the world that they belong to.

She soon discovers that her sinister feeling greenhouse, Hitler and the Nazis, and her quiet hometown all seem to have something in common. As her powers grow, her relationships with those around her grow increasingly turbulent.

Rose Tierney is no longer alone in her own body, and her newfound powers belong not to her, but to that Other.

The evil seed that was planted in Rose twenty years ago is about to flower.


What I thought

I have SO many mixed feelings on this one.

I’ll start with the not-so-good & end on a positive note, how’s that?

I did like this book, but there were some things that just didn’t do it for me. The thing I struggled with the most was the pacing–it was so up & down. I mean, I would read a hundred pages in an hour or two & then it would take me a couple days to get through just one chapter. I think this was due mostly to Campbell’s writing style. I’ve heard of a slow build, but at certain points, this was just painful. Yes, I will say that feelings of unease & dread increased as the story moved along, which let to that ultimate feel of a horror story. It was just that every once in a while, it seemed like Campbell would fixate on describing every. last. detail. & every. minute. thought. I’d be reading along & just hit a brick wall.

All that aside, I’m glad I decided to keep going when I was ready to give up. This tale was genuinely terrifying & I can see how Campbell has earned his place among the horror genre’s classics. That prologue was enough to keep me reading through the tough spots–surely writing that scary couldn’t be a one time thing. And let me tell you…it wasn’t.

If you can get used to Campbell’s writing style (or simply get past the slower parts), this is a must read for fans of the horror genre. It might not be the right book for all readers, but I liked it & I’ll be looking to read more from Ramsey Campbell.



Mean Streak by Sandra Brown


Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
Publisher/Year:ย Grand Central Publishing, 2014
Format:ย Hardcover
Pages:ย 409




From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a heart-pounding story of survival that takes the age-old question “Does the end justify the means?” and turns it on its head.ย 

Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband, Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself held captive by a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape from him and willing tot take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law. Wrong becomes right at the hands of the man who strikes fear but also sparks passion.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer from those who wish her dead–and from heartbreak.

Combining the nail-biting suspense and potent storytelling that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, MEAN STREAK is a wildly compelling novel about love, deceit, and the choices we must make in order to survive.

What I thought

This being the third book of hers that I’ve read & loved, I find it safe to say that I’m a fan of Sandra Brown. Mean Streak pulled me in & did not let me go until the very end. Between the twists & turns and the palpable sexual tension, I feel confident in saying that Sandra Brown is the queen of romantic suspense.

One of this book’s greatest strengths, in my eyes, was that while the romance was sexy, it did take a backburner to the mystery aspect. It made the story feel more balanced, I think.

And speaking of the mystery, this one definitely kept me guessing! The cliffhangers kept the plot moving forward without feeling gimmicky. Also, while I did figure some things out, there were enough twists to keep it surprising. I was constantly running my theories by my husband.

Not to mention, I loved the setting. Winter is definitely a good time to read about a cabin in the snowy mountains of North Carolina!

My favorite part was definitely the characters. I LOVED Dr. Emory–between her passion, her gumption, and her kindness, she’s just a character I love to root for. Add to that the tension between her & her hunky captor (who I also adored), and I was hooked!

Combining a page-turning mystery, a sexy romance, and an ending that I found incredibly sweet, Mean Streak is a book I can’t recommend highly enough!

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda


The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda
University of California Press, 2008
Format:ย Paperback
Pages:ย 210
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ



Summary (from Goodreads)

Forty years ago the University of California Press published an unusual manuscript by an anthropology student named Carlos Castaneda.ย The Teachings of Don Juanย initiated a generation of seekers dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western worldview. Castaneda’s now classic book remains controversial for the alternative way of seeing that it presents and the revolution in cognition it demands. Whether read as ethnographic fact or creative fiction, it is the story of a remarkable journey that has left an indelible impression on the life of more than a million readers around the world.

What I thought

I’m just going to be honest here–I did not like this book. It was a struggle for me. There were a few quotes that I liked, but they were few & far between.

Since taking a class in college, I’ve been interested in learning about Native American spirituality. This book just wasn’t what I was expecting. The first section containing the teachings & dialogue of Don Juan was interesting. But the descriptions of “non-ordinary reality” were oftentimes so bizarre that they sounded fake to me. Granted, I’ve never used psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs, so I can’t really say. I tried to stay open-minded, but Castaneda’s experiences seemed to be a little too “convenient,” as far as how they lined up with what Don Juan was trying to teach.

The second section, the structural analysis of Castaneda’s anthropological study, was so full of technical jargon as to be nearly unreadable. The only reason I pushed through to the end was because I had made it through most of the book, I figured I’d just push through to the end.

I seem to be in the minority here. This book really didn’t do it for me, but apparently, it’s something of a cult classic. If this sounds up your alley, go for it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.