Author: Lauren Beukes

Early Review – Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes

November 26, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 1 Comment

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren BeukesSlipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes
Published by Tachyon Publications on November 29th 2016
Pages: 288
Genres: Collections & Anthologies
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters

four-stars

In her edgy, satiric debut collection, award-winning South African journalist and author Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls, Moxyland) never holds back. Nothing is simple and everything is perilous when humans are involved: corruption, greed, and even love (of a sort).

A permanent corporate branding gives a young woman enhanced physical abilities and a nearly-constant highRecruits lifted out of poverty find a far worse fate collecting biohazardous plants on an inhospitable worldThe only adult survivor of the apocalypse decides he will be the savior of teenagers; the teenagers are not amused.

From Johannesburg to outer space, these previously uncollected tales are a compelling, dark, and slippery ride.

‘You don’t have to name something to understand it.’

In Slipping, Beukes takes the modern world and transforms it into something futuristic and near unrecognizable. The title story, Slipping, is about a girl who, following a severe accident, is transformed through technological advances into a racing machine. Smileys is a strange story about a soldier attempting to extort a woman who sells cooked sheep heads. Pop Tarts is a story about a reality star and the realization that it’s all nothing but scripted fiction. Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs is the story about a woman who must save Tokyo (and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the talking cat). Each of these stories is wildly authentic, vastly entertaining, and a constant focus on the darkness in this world.

‘Culture wants to be free. This is not my original thought. But who of us can claim to be truly original? Aren’t we all remixes of every influence we’ve ever come across?’

The wide variety of genres cause the stories to lack a certain cohesion like a typical short story anthology might, but it does this collection a disservice to think this is a negative. Instead, each of these stories acts as their own palette cleanser from one story to the next and it keeps the reader in a constant state of bewilderment not knowing what type of outlandishness to expect next. I was pleasantly surprised that my favorite part of this collection were the five Non-Fiction pieces included at the end. In these, she discusses personal topics such as how she got into journalism, about the research she conducted for her book Zoo City within the inner city of Johannesburg, and some additional insight into why she wrote The Shining Girls, my personal favorite of Beukes, which made me love it even more. She leaves us on a resolute note, with a letter to her five-year-old daughter about the meaning of true beauty.

I’ve read (and loved) a few of Beukes’ full-length novels and her writing prowess manages to be just as impressive in her short fiction. This obscure collection only proves that her talents are truly expansive and that we have much to look forward from her.

‘Every person I speak to gives me a new perspective, a different lens. It’s made my writing more than it would have ever been. And it’s still an excuse to go adventuring.’

related-reads-grey

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan [Purchase]
The Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah Hall [Purchase//Review]
Screwjack by Hunter S. Thompson [Purchase]

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Book Review – Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

September 30, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Broken Monsters by Lauren BeukesBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on September 16th 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Shining Girls, Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

three-half-stars

A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes's new genre-bending novel of suspense.

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you're Detective Versado's geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe--and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.

If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

“…everyone will see what they are supposed to see.
They will bring all their eyeballs, and all their minds will open like doors, and then maybe they will all be free too.”

Detective Gabriella Versado’s new case takes priority over all: the top half of a young boy is found fused together with the bottom half of a young deer. This is not the only strangely mutilated body found but what is also found are doorways drawn in chalk that seems to have some connection with the deaths. Broken Monsters alternates the story-lines of Detective Versado, Layla, her 15-year-old daughter, Jonno Haim, a new to Detroit journalist, Thomas Keen “TK”, a homeless man and Clayton Broom, the man responsible for the atrocities appearing around Detroit. Each of these individuals will each play their own important role in bringing a stop to the darkness that threatens to consume the city.

Broken Monsters was one of my most anticipated of the year after The Shining Girls was a favorite of mine from 2013. Her writing style continues to impress and captivate and her ability to come up with unique (albeit twisted) stories will keep me picking up her novels. Broken Monsters easily takes your typical crime thriller beyond your preconceived notions and injects it with a horrid deformity. It’d normally be brutal enough, a story dealing with the murder of a young child, but Beukes gives her serial killer an alter-ego/dream that is consumed with the intent to change the world by making his presence known by creating these ‘monsters’. In an attempt to explain this dream, the story took an unexpected supernatural turn that inevitably provided no explanation at all leaving me unsettled and with an overabundance of questions. A horrific yet well-written crime thriller, Broken Monsters will undoubtedly leave you disturbed.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

April 9, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Broken Monsters by Lauren BeukesBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on September 16th 2014
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters, Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Beukes returns with her next smash crossover thriller.

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards; half-boy, half-deer, somehow fused. The cops nickname him "Bambi," but as stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you're Detective Versado's over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist, Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you're Thomas Keen, you'll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed with setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew.

If Lauren Beukes' internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her BROKEN MONSTERS is the genre-redefining thriller about the horror of our city's future.

About Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is a novelist, scriptwriter, comics writer, TV writer and occasional documentary maker and former journalist.

She won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Kitschies Red Tentacle for her phantamagorical noir, Zoo City, set in a re-imagined Johannesburg.

In 2006, she graduated with her MA in Creative Writing from UCT, but she got her real education in ten years of freelance journalism, which gave her the best possible excuse to meet interesting people and indulge in extraordinary experiences from diving with sharks to hanging out with wannabe teen vampires and township vigilantes.

She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and daughter.

The Shining Girls was a favorite of mine last year and I’ve been anticipating reading more from this author!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

May 7, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 19 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on June 4th 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Broken Monsters, Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

five-stars

The girl who wouldn’t die. Hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist.

Chicago 1931. Violent drifter Harper Curtis stumbles upon a house that hides a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature: it opens onto other times.

Harper uses it to stalk his ‘shining girls’ across decades – and cut the fire out of them.

He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. Until one of his victims survives and turns the hunt around.

Chicago, 1992. Kirby Mazrachi’s determination to find the man who tried to kill her has taken over her life.

The cops no longer return her calls. Her mother copes by writing morbid children’s books. Her only ally is Dan, the burnt-out ex-homicide reporter who covered her case.

As Kirby closes in on her would-be killer, what she finds is ... impossible. Murders scattered across the decades along with evidence that makes no sense. Meanwhile, Harper is closing in on her, too.

‘Everything happens for a reason. He should be grateful. It’s because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.’

Harper stalks his Shining Girls through time and the House helps him. He visits the girls when they are children, takes mementos from them and tells them he’ll be back for them when it’s time. When that time comes, he leaves their bodies with a new memento, one taken from a different Shining Girl. His goal is to kill them all, all who Shine, and his mission is complete. Except one survived. And now she’s the one looking for him.

The writing style is extremely explicit. The murders are terribly graphic and incredibly detailed so if you can’t stomach ‘Dexter’ you’re definitely not going to be able to manage this one. I have quite the stomach for gruesome tales but even this one came close to pushing my boundaries. Added to the gruesome details is the heartbreaking bits. There’s this one scene in particular where one of the women is trying to stop the killer and in the process is telling him about her kids and how she has to be there for them because they’re going to be waking up soon… I’m not much of a softie for sad times but even that got to me pretty bad. Plus, I think it should be mentioned there’s also a gruesome scene involving a dog that may or may not have caused a tear or two.

‘He only has to think of a time and it will open onto it, although he can’t always tell if his thoughts are his own or if the House is deciding for him.’

Much like what karen says in her review of The Shining Girls, this book reminds me very much of Life After Life despite it’s obvious differences. Life After Life isn’t technically time-travel but the transitions through time are quite similar, also both novels lack the scientific backing to support the time-traveling, it’s either believable or it’s not. Both novels had similar writing styles with bouncing back and forth to different times. It shouldn’t make sense and it should be terribly confusing and hard to follow but somehow it manages to make complete and utter sense. Lauren Beukes writes with such confidence though that it really leaves no room for questioning. I never had a doubt.

‘It’s the same tug in his stomach that brought him to the House. That jolt of recognition when he walks into someplace he’s meant to be. He knows it when he sees the tokens that match the ones in the room. It is a game. It’s a destiny he’s writing for them. Inevitably, they’re waiting for him.’

This book blew my mind. I finished it late one night and ended up unable to fall asleep because I simply could not stop thinking about it. There were a few questions that went unanswered that I wish had been but my overall opinion of the book remained bright and shiny. (ha, pun intended) The two things I had issue with her major spoilers but I had to include them. Please do not click if you have any intention of reading this!
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The Shining Girls is a horrid and nightmarish tale but so completely intense and unforgettable that it’s certain to leave a lasting impression. It’s a story possessing such vehemence you practically need a good, strong drink to aid you through it. In honor of the drink the House never failed to provide I recommend a whisky straight-up, no ice.

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