Char's Horror Corner

 Welcome to my Corner! I specialize in Dark Fiction reviews including Horror, Dark Fantasy, Splatterpunk, Horror of the 70's & 80's, and Graphic Novels. I also read and review classics, true crime, thrillers and audio books of all genres except Romance.

 

 

Char’s quotes


 
Goodreads Quotes

SHADOW DIVERS by Robert Kurson, narrated by Michael Pritchard

Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII (audiobook) - Robert Kurson

 

Finding the book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon incredibly entertaining and informative, I took the recommendation of a friend and put this one on hold at my library.

 

I downloaded the audio version and I didn't care for the narrator quite as much as I did with ROCKET MEN. (I see now there is a version narrated by Campbell Scott! That was not available at my library.)  Also, this version seemed to have been adapted from CDs because everyone once in a while the narrator announced to go to the next one. Lastly, the quality of the recording wasn't that great either- it sounded static-y at times.

 

Audio portion aside, this was an extremely informative book regarding deep sea diving. After reading this, I now know that it's something I will never do. I can't even walk around above ground without stubbing toes and running into things. During a deep sea dive, any stumble, any unsure footing could and probably will result in death. As would snagging your line, rubbing up against something abrasive, running out of air or resurfacing too soon. And I haven't even mentioned narcosis yet.

 

I also learned a lot about history and history books, in general. Turns out a lot of the time, the facts you think you know are not the facts. Just ask the divers in this book who worked for YEARS trying to identify the German U-boat they found off the Jersey shore. They worked tirelessly to discover where the boat came from, who was on it, etc...

 

Overall, I found this book interesting and informative and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subjects I mentioned above.

 

*Thank you to my local library for the free download! Libraries RULE!

WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN by John Boden

Walk the Darkness Down - John Boden

WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN is the weirdest western horror story I've ever read. I adored it!

 

Starting with a young man named Levi, we travel down a dusty dirt road and meet up with Jubal, Jones and Keaton along the way, with brief stops visiting Tiny, and an aging coal miner named Ford. (I'm not even going mention the nightmares that are Jubal's sisters-I'll let you meet them on your own. Suffice it to say, I'm sure they'll be visiting my nightmares sometime soon. I just hope that when they do, they're in their dirty sling and I don't have to gaze upon their naked...faces.) Passing through towns like Gabino and finally ending up with a showdown in Lansdale, there are a bunch of literary references in here which made me smile.

 

Aside from Jubal's sisters, this entire novella is nightmare fuel, really. Levi's horrific treatment at the hands of his grandfather is awful, though what happens to him afterward is even worse. The lives of all mentioned in this book are tattered and torn. All of the characters are both good and bad, they have faults, they have redeeming qualities...they're just...human. In all the glory and filth that humanity embodies, there they are.

 

I came out of this with a distinct cosmic horror vibe, but I'm not quite sure on that. There was no outright mention of Cthulhu or anything...

but, I think there was indication of some...cold and distant...powers that be, or perhaps powers coming (or attempting to come) into...being. To come through-and maybe not only to come through but to take over?

(show spoiler)

This isn't really a spoiler but I don't want to stain the thoughts of a new reader with ideas of my own. I sure would like to talk to somebody about it though.

 

I've read a lot of John Boden's work, and I'm going to say flat out right now, this is my favorite of them all. Like my second favorite, SPUNGUNION, there hasn't been too much of a buzz about it because it was published as a (beautiful!) signed, limited edition at first. (Thank you to my lovely friend Andi Rawson who gifted me a copy because she knows how much I like John Boden's work. Love you, girl!)

 

WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN: It's weird. It's gory. It's western. It's so much more. It's also worthy of my highest recommendation, so now it's got that too.

 

Available to pre-order now, and available everywhere July 17th, 2019, here:

WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN 

RATTLESNAKE KISSES by Robert Ford and John Boden

Rattlesnake Kisses - John Boden, Robert Ford

RATTLESNAKE KISSES is a bloody Tarantino-esque type of novella, with portions so poignant you just want to reach out and hug these people.

 

This is the story of Dallas, The Kid, Wesley the (kind of psycho) cop, and a lovely couple by the last name of Morris. How do these people come together? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

It's hard to say much without spoiling anything because it's such a short book. RATTLESNAKE KISSES is violent and gory, but it's also funny at times. Everyone in this novella is gray-meaning there's really no black and white characters here; they all have depth, they all have their baggage and they're all just trying to get by. (Well, maybe they're all gray except Mrs. Morris, she didn't have many redeeming qualities at all. Quite frankly, she was just a bitch.)

 

Dedicated to Dallas Mayr, (aka Jack Ketchum), with bits of song lyrics or references to songs and other cool tidbits, this book is short, fast paced and bloody as hell. I loved it!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Now Available here: RATTLESNAKE KISSES

 

*I received a e-ARC from John Boden in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

 

 

Booklikes-opoly Book Selection!

 

 

Wednesday night I landed on:

 

For this, I'm reading:

The Last Astronaut - David Wellington 

 

And because I had doubles I rolled again and landed on:

 

 

I've got nothing for this coming up, so I'll focus on my two current reads and see you on the other side!

 

My current bank is $73.00.

#FridayReads 7.12.19

 

DEVOURING DARK by Alan Baxter

Devouring Dark - Alan Baxter, Anthony Rivera

 

DEVOURING DARK kept me glued to the pages and not wanting to do anything else until I finished the book!

 

Meet Matt and Amy. They both have special powers inside them and each of them use those powers in a different way. Meet Vince Stratton. Local mob boss/Fagin. He rounds up local disenfranchised youth to run his errands, keep an eye on the neighborhood, and to make pick ups and drop offs of ...whatever. How do these characters all come together? You'll have to read this and see!

 

Being my first story from this author, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. To be honest, I was a bit surprised by the quality of writing. From the descriptions of unbelievable pain to the honesty and humor of the dialogue, I was engaged. I really felt for both Matt and Amy, and I really hated Vince Stratton. I did feel that a few of the surrounding characters, (Matt's mates, mostly), weren't quite as well developed, but I was okay with that, as it meant I got to spend more time with Matt and Amy.

 

I would be interested in reading more about these two, and how they develop and grow in their new situation, be they together or apart. There was a calm and sympathetic take as to how we care for the aging in the world today, and I appreciated that outlook, mostly from Amy's point of view. It made me like her that much more.

 

Overall, DEVOURING DARK was an engaging and fast-paced read. It was well written, had some funny portions to help break up the darkness and an ending I could get behind. Also, the premise was original and that's hard to find these days.

 

Highly recommended!

 

Find this review and others like it at: www.HorrorAfterDark.com

 

*I received a free paperback of this book to review for Horror After Dark. This did not affect the content of my review.*

Booklikes-opoly Update!

I finished up DEVOURING DARK and even though I’m still listening to the audio of SHADOW DIVERS from my Fourth of July rolls, I’m allowed to roll again! 

 

 

 

You rolled 2 dice:

5 5

Timestamp: 2019-07-11 03:09:28 UTC

 

Which brings me to:

 

 26. How? Read a book that is science fiction or a book with the word "how" in the title.

 

Roll again because Doubles!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

6 4

 

Timestamp: 2019-07-11 03:14:50 UTC

 

Which brings me to:



36. Read a book that involves travel to Europe, or that has an image of any European city or monument on the cover, or that the letters of the title can spell the name of any European city* that I visited on my trip *Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Geneva, Rome, Florence, Venice & Barcelona.

 

I will catch up on my banking tomorrow, for now I’m going to choose my next reads!

THE KING OF THE WOOD by J. Edwin Buja

The King of the Wood: Book One of THE WOOD - Neil Dring, J Edwin Buja, Craig Shaw Gardner

 

What a cast of characters we have here! I'm ready for the next book. Preferably? Now, please!

 

Picture a small town. A young man living atop the highest hill in that town. The sheriff, his friend. A deputy, who is not. An old money villain who wants that house, (and the land surrounding it), and will do anything to get it. The villain's servant who hates his guts. A disturbed religious cult. (Though "disturbed" might be redundant in this instance.) A drug dealing, womanizing, mechanic with OCD tendencies. And lastly, the King of the Wood himself.

 

People in town are disappearing. Gardens that used to struggle now flourish with no additional attention from their gardeners. The earth is shifting in some places. Birds and wildlife follow commands from some people, (well, from one person, at least). And oh yeah, there was a man tied to a tree with his...well, you'll see. Can't forget that!

 

I can't give away too much of this story as you should discover it as the author intended. I will say that I had a TON of fun with this book! The characters are all vividly drawn and the writing was engaging. There are several mysteries waiting to be unraveled here and I need to have them solved. We were given small peeks into the background of The King, but I need more. Also, who is Ravenscroft and where is she? The writing has created this tension, anticipation and curiosity that I need to have satisfied-and the sooner the better!

 

THE KING OF THE WOOD hummed right along and I read the second half in one day. Seriously, I could not have put it down if I tried. (Good thing I had the day off from work!) This novel, which was full of magical realism, mystery, death, gore, evil villains, humor and heroes, (even if I'm not sure who the heroes are just yet), kept my mind spinning with possibilities and left my lungs breathless!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Available July 22, but you can pre-order here: THE KING OF THE WOOD

 

*I received an ARC of this book from Haverhill House and J.Edwin Buja in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

**Further, I have met Mr. Buja and his lovely wife in person a few times at various book festivals. This did not affect the outcome of my review.**

Booklikes-opoly-Picks for the Fourth of July Rolls!

Shadow Divers - Robert Kurson Devouring Dark - Alan Baxter, Anthony Rivera

I finished KING OF THE WOOD and collected $3.00!

Current bank: $70.00

 

Regarding the Fourth of July Bonus Rolls:

Space 28:

The Summer Romance. 

 

I think you all know me well enough to know that I have nothing for this. I also have nothing with a cover that is more than 50% pink either.

 

The next roll brought me to:

 

Nothing I have coming up for the rest of the YEAR fits this.

I rolled again and came up with:

 

Space 9:

9. Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library, or a park, or that the authors name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.

 

For this I'm reading:

 

Devouring Dark - Alan Baxter,Anthony Rivera 

 

 

 

And my last roll brought me to:

 

 

 

For this I'll be reading:

Shadow Divers - Robert Kurson 

 

#FridayReads 7.5.19

 

Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, narrated by Ray Porter

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon - Deutschland Random House Audio, Darwin Porter, Robert Kurson, Robert Kurson

This is an amazing story, made even more amazing by Ray Porter's excellent narration!

 

I can't help but feel that, much like 1968 when this tale took place, we need this kind of patriotic, inspiring story to get us through this tough time. (And then I see something like this proposed Trump July 4th parade, and I think to myself, this is NOT what we need right now.) Sorry to get political.

 

These men were patriots, they were brave and they were Americans. It was a pleasure to learn more about them.

 

*Thanks to my public library for the free download. Libraries RULE!*

Booklikes-opoly Bonus Rolls!

The King of the Wood: Book One of THE WOOD - Neil Dring, J Edwin Buja, Craig Shaw Gardner

I'm ready for bonus rolls!

 

I'm still reading for Space 15, but moving on:

 

You rolled 2 dice:

6 4

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 01:07:46 UTC

Which lands me on 24:

 

 

I spun the wheel:

 

 

 

 

Alrighty then! 

 

You rolled 2 dice:

1 4

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 01:15:25 UTC

 

Which brought me to:

 

Ok,  two more rolls by my count!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

2 4

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 01:17:44 UTC

 

Which lands me on:

 

And last one!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

6 6

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 01:20:09 UTC

(HEEHEE DOUBLES!)

 

Which lands me on 9:

9. Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library, or a park, or that the authors name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.

 

I passed Go, collected $5.00! Woot!

 

Last roll, for real:

 

You rolled 2 dice:

6 3

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 01:22:26 UTC

 

Which brings me to:

 

 

 

Current Bank: $67.00

 

I'm going to go see what I have coming up and choose my books!

 

Little Ducky is kind of dizzy from racing around:

 

 

Reviewer's Etiquette or You Do You

Reviewer's Etiquette.

 

Does such a thing even exist? If so, is it documented? Who's in charge of it, who invented it? In point of fact, no such thing actually exists. Some of us may follow guidelines put out by one site or another. Some of us may review for sites that have their own guidelines,  whereas others are out there flying by the seat of their pants.

 

I think most of us are trying to spread the word about great and not so great books, and great, or not so great authors. If that IS the case, then why oh why, are we attacking each other? There have been a few dust ups recently and I have stayed quiet because I don't want to be a drama queen, (it takes too much time away from reading), but also because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. (Be aware that I'm not going to name names today, because the post to which I am referring has been deleted.) However, today I AM going to lay out where I stand and if you like it, great! If you don't, please feel free to unfollow or unfriend or whatever you feel the need to do. I'm not reviewing to make money or take in advertising (though if you click the links in my reviews I do make a small cut). I'm reviewing because I love books. The only thing I ask is that you please read to the end before you make the follow/unfollow decision. 

 

I feel passionately about a reader's right to review. When I say passionately, I mean it. I don't feel like a reviewer OWES the author anything. If I spent my time reading the book, I have earned the right to say whatever the hell I want to say. For me, this pertains to any reviewer, no matter what their day job is, and that includes being an author. If you read the book, say what you want to say, however you want to say it.

 

I don't have to be helpful to the author by offering ways for them to write a better book. I am not their beta reader. I was not hired to give helpful criticism or to do editing.

 

I don't have to be respectful to the author. If I think the book is a piece of junk, I have the right to say so. I don't owe Stephen King or David Morrell respectful words, nor do I owe them to any independent author.

 

I do not think it's right to jump on another reviewer's review space and tell them how wrong they are. There are one star reviews out there for my favorite book. I don't take the time to tell them they're insane. That's THEIR review space and they're entitled to it. 

 

I do think it's okay to respectfully comment on how disappointed you are that they didn't care for the book, or why you disagree with their review. Again, it should be respectful and not filled with comments like "You're an asshole if you don't like this book."

 

All of these things said, my personal canon requires that I be respectful in my reviews. I know authors work hard and I know that negative reviews can hurt. That does not mean that all other reviewers must go by my canon. If you're a reviewer, go by your own personal canon. You do you.

 

I also do not review many books negatively. Why is that, you ask? Because if I am not enjoying a book, I will not continue to read it. I go by a 10-20% rule and if I am not enjoying it by that time, it's out. I have too many books to read to force myself to go on. If that involves an ARC from a publisher, I DNF it and explain why, with no rating or review. If it involves an ARC directly from an author, I will message them, tell them how I'm feeling and DNF the book with no rating and no review. Am I now telling you that's what you should do as a reviewer? No! You do you.

 

My personal canon dictates that I support other reviewers, whether or not I agree with them. I will support you against attacks from the author or from other reviewers. I can only speak for myself here, but it's important to remember that we ALL are only speaking for ourselves. There is no one reviewer or one reviewing site that speaks for all of us in the genre, (in my case the horror genre.) Not one of us controls what you say in your review, or whether or not you should review at all. NOT ONE OF US. We all have our opinions...and you know what they say about those. 

 

Please note, that if you write a negative review, there is a chance, that the author attacks you, or if it's an author with thousands of followers,  they can organize an attack against you. These things have happened and will continue to happen. All we reviewers can do is support each other and stay vigilant. (#HaleNo) But we shouldn't have to support reviewers against attacks/essays/monologues from other reviewers. I WILL, but I shouldn't have to.

 

This is my personal canon. Are you required to follow MY personal canon? No, (though in the case of attacking other reviewers, I highly recommend it), but again, you do you. I will respond as my personal canon requires, by unfollowing or unfriending, and by expressing my support for the reviewer. 

 

In short, (too late!), I feel a reviewer's space is sacred. That is at the top of my personal canon. Am I asking you to do or feel the same. No!

 

YOU. DO. YOU.

 

 

 

 

THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club - Craig Davidson

 

 We meet Jake as a brain surgeon, talking about memories and how our minds mold and shape them. It's an excellent framework for a coming of age story, set in Cataract City, (or Niagara Falls to the rest of us.) So let's get on with it, shall we?

 

As Jake struggles with school and the inevitable bully he meets brother and sister, Dove and Billy. They all become friends just in time for summer and the stage is set. Enter Uncle C and his weird curiosity shop and his Batphone. From which come calls originating from all over the country about weird and odd sights, happenings, hauntings and so forth. Uncle C and friends set out on Saturday nights to investigate local rumors and legends and everybody has a good time. Until they don't. What happens during these Saturday night outings? How did things go wrong? You'll have to read this to see.

 

I realize that I am one of the few people who didn't give this book 5 stars. This is why in two words: BOY'S LIFE. It was written by Robert McCammon and it's my favorite book of all time. I just couldn't help but compare the two, and BOY'S LIFE always came out ahead. But it's not just the comparison, it's the fact that there is a paragraph in this book that even uses some of the same phrases from my favorite quote of all time. That bothered me. It bothered me a lot.

 

That said, I did enjoy this tale. I found it not only to be nostalgic, as all good coming of age tales are, but I also found it to be poignant and sad. I did enjoy where the story took me, though I did guess, (for the most part), the dark secret that was revealed. I would have liked to have learned more about some of the characters, especially Dove, who had some secrets of her own. But this book was so short, I didn't feel that I got to know the characters as much as I would have liked.

 

Perhaps BOY'S LIFE has ruined all coming of age tales for me? Then again, I'm not sure of that, because I have enjoyed a few of them from independent authors lately and they all scored higher than this one for me. Perhaps it was only the similarities between this novel and my favorite book that disallowed me from becoming fully invested? Yeah, that's the reason I'm going with. Either way, this was a fun, (though poignant), quick read, and I enjoyed it!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Booklikes-opoly Update!

The King of the Wood: Book One of THE WOOD - Neil Dring, J Edwin Buja, Craig Shaw Gardner

I finished up THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB

and earned myself $3.00 for 222 pages.

Current bank: $62.00.

 

 Dice Roller

You rolled 2 dice:

1 6

Timestamp: 2019-06-28 19:57:11 UTC

 

Which brings me to:

 

 

I'm hoping these leaves/vines count as a tree?

 

The King of the Wood: Book One of THE WOOD - Neil Dring,J Edwin Buja,Craig Shaw Gardner 

 

I'll ask for an official ruling!

#FridayReads 6.28.19

 

Currently reading

Skin by Crossroad Press, Suzanne Fortin, Kathe Koja
The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
Progress: 30%
Detours by Dean Koontz, Michael Koryta, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, David Morrell, Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, Owen King, William Peter Blatty, Mark Stewart, Chet Williamson, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian James Freeman, Peter Straub
Progress: 125/400pages

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If you love horror literature, movies, and culture, you're in the right place. Whether it's vampi...

Books we've read

The Stand
Dread in the Beast
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales
Horror Library, Volume 1
Butcher Shop Quartet
Family Inheritance
'Salem's Lot
A Treasury of American Horror Stories
Heart-Shaped Box
20th Century Ghosts
The Revelation
Lowland Rider
Off Season
Neither the Sea Nor the Sand
The House Next Door
The Ceremonies
Nazareth Hill
The Light at the End
Ghoul
Billy


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