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

Halloween Bingo Update 9.21.18: 5 Squares DONE!

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read, Square not called:

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 New Release: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 

   Modern Masters:The House by the Cemetery by John Everson  

                                 Diverse Voices: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite 

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts = not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7-DONE

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15-DONE!

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19

Diverse Voices-DONE!

 

 

Currently reading: 

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream for A Grimm Tale? (Snowqueen story)

Slimer by Harry Adam Knight for ??

 

 

#FridayReads 9.21.18

Slimer - John Brosnan, Phil Kettle, Harry Adam Knight Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden Cockblock - Ramona Master, Roderick Hunt, Roderick Hunt

 

DRAWING BLOOD by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Drawing Blood: A Novel - Matt Godfrey, Crossroad Press, Poppy Z. Brite

A good old haunted house story is something I've always loved, so when the narrator of this tale offered me a chance to listen to the audio in exchange for a review, I jumped at it. Poppy Z. Brite is an author I've heard a lot about and I've been wanting to read his work for quite some time. I learned a few things while reading this book and one of them is that Poppy Z. Brite can write.

 

Trevor is a young man returning to the house where his mother and brother were killed 20 years ago. Shortly after his arrival in Missing Mile, his old hometown, he meets a young computer hacker on the run, named Zach. The two immediately feel a connection and together they go to face Trevor's childhood home. What will they find there? Is the house actually haunted? You will have to read this to find out. 

 

While the writing quality here was good, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the story itself. This is not the author's fault, nor the narrator's,  it was my sky high expectations. I expected a scary as hell story- and while there was a little darkness,  there was way too much romance for me. I don't mind explicit sex scenes, (gay or straight),  if they are integral to the story. Now I totally get the term insta-love. These two just met, one of them a virgin, and before you know it they are going at it at a breakneck pace. And going at it again. And again. The sexy times were sexy, don't get me wrong but after a while they finally led me to ask "Can we get to the horror already?"

 

Eventually, we did get to the horror, but after such a long build, it failed to move me much. I'm not sure if I was just bored by that point, or if all the romance had inured me to what should have been an exciting finale. 

 

The narration by Matt Godfrey was excellent as always, I especially loved his Jamaican accent. Yeah, mon! 

 

As I said, I did like the writing, and in a few spots it was nearly lyrical. From what I understand this is one of Poppy Z. Brite's, (now he goes by the name Billy Martin), earlier works. While I didn't find this novel to be a true horror story, I'm told his later works definitely are and I will be tracking those down in the future, maybe even the near future. 

 

Recommended, as long as you're not looking for a horror tale and you don't mind a lot of romance and sexy times! 

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the audio of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY by John Everson

The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

 

Bachelor's Grove is a small town featuring a house backing onto a cemetery. There have always been rumors about the house-something about a witch and a haunting. Rumors have no impact on Perry, though. He's an entrepreneur that wants to open a Halloween haunted house there. Great idea, right? Yeah...no. All kinds of things go wrong as you may have guessed and lots of gory shenanigans ensue. Will the haunted house business be a success? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I requested this ARC from Flame Tree Press because I loved the cover and also because I've been wanting to read more of John Everson's work. Ever since I read his book SIREN several years back, I've been meaning to get back to him, and with this book I finally got that opportunity. While I respect his writing, in general, I think he really shines when it comes to the bloody action-plenty of which is too be found towards the end of this story. I just thought it took a bit too long to get there.

 

We are introduced to many characters, maybe too many, and while I did like or care for some of them, I don't think they required the amount of attention they received. Also, it took a long time for us to get to where the story really lived. I would have preferred less of the extraneous characters and more about the main characters and perhaps more about the history of the house. It's hard to add anything else without spoilers, however I will reinforce the fact that the denouement was bloody brilliant and I had a ball reading that portion.

 

Overall, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was fun in that bloody B-movie way many of us horror lovers enjoy- and if anyone ever does make a film based upon this tale, I would love to see their rendition of the basement at the end of Halloween night!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

 

 Hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal-it all dragged itself up out of the swamp called the blues. 

 

As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

 

WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate the good. But when the lead singer decides that this isn't enough for him, he investigates...other avenues. Will the band survive his efforts and appeals to be something greater? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I loved how the background of each band member was related, but I especially liked the lead character Kris, because she wasn't the stereotypical female protagonist that we so often see. (Well, let's face it-we don't see that many female leads of rock bands, in real life or especially as believable characters in books.) She was bad-ass but she didn't think so-maybe she didn't even realize it. But she was resilient and she kept on keeping on even when there was no chance of success. I think I have my first fictional girl crush.

 

As the tale progresses, several twists occurred that I didn't foresee at all. I will never look at a UPS truck in the same way again, (and I bet you won't either). I'm sure my mouth dropped a couple of times and it probably wasn't pretty, but hell, I don't care. (I won't even speak about how late last night my Kindle hit me in my face because I was so intent on finishing this story but I just couldn't say awake any longer.) The bruise was worth it!

 

At the end of each chapter you'll find little tidbits from radio or news broadcasts and some of them won't make sense until later on. I really liked them and they provided background at times, and foreshadowing at others.

 

Grady Hendrix blipped my radar with his beautiful book PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and since then I've been a big fan. This book, however, this one is truly something special. I rank it right up there with a few other books about bands that I've greatly enjoyed like Robert McCammon's THE FIVE.

 

At this point, if I haven't won you over I'm probably not going to. However, I will say, if you're a fan of well written, fast paced, dark fiction, and you love Rock & Roll, you will miss the boat by a wide, wide margin if you don't read this book.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere on Tuesday, September 18th, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2xdfoR5

 

*Thanks to Quirk Books via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

#FridayReads September 14, 2018

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite, Matt Godfrey

 

Halloween Bingo 2018 Update 9.13

 

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read:

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts=not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

 

Currently reading: 

We Sold our Souls by Grady Hendrix for the center square?

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream for new release?

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite for Diverse Voices?

 

 

 

30,000 Hits!

I've been pretty close to hitting this milestone for a week or so, and I finally did it!

I added the flag counter to my blog page in early 2016 and I just realized my blog's been up here at Booklikes since 2014. 

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2018- Update-1st Completed Square!

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read:

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts=not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

 

 

Currently reading:

 

We Sold our Souls by Grady Hendrix for the center square

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream for ???

 

 

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn

The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson, Bernadette Dunne

There's nothing more I can say about this book that hasn't been said by hundreds, if not thousands, of other readers and critics. It's a classic for a reason. 

 

A haunted house story to beat all haunted house stories, with the added bonus of Shirley Jackson's sublime prose. As an example I submit the opening paragraph, which in my opinion, are some of the best in all of literature. 

 

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

 

 

I happily re-read this for this square:

THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH by Ramsey Campbell

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell

 

Quiet horror is one of my favorite sub-genres and with that in mind I was looking forward to this release from one of the masters. Admittedly, my expectations for this were high and I'm sorry to report that THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH didn't meet them.

 

A man, Ray, takes his wife and extended family on vacation to an island in Greece. It's the first time that the entire family has vacationed together and everyone has been looking forward to it. It's not long, however, before they begin to notice strange things. Why are there no mirrors in their hotel rooms? Why are different members of the family having similar dreams each night? Even more intriguing, why are those same family members displaying bite marks on their bodies? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

First,  I did like the writing style and quality, and I enjoyed the foreshadowing. (At times, I think the foreshadowing was the only thing that kept me reading.) What brought me down quite a bit was the pacing and some of the characters. I didn't feel much for any of them, other than Ray, the elderly protagonist and Jules, whom I couldn't stand. (Really, I couldn't stand him-a more annoying, fussy, controlling man you couldn't find anywhere.) I hated him enough that I considered quitting this book more than once. Between him and the pacing, I came *this* close. But every time I said to myself "This is it! I'm done!" something happened that kept me going.

 

Overall, I'm sorry to say that this book didn't work well for me. The writing quality is there though, which is why I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars. What doesn't work for me might work exceedingly well for you, so if the synopsis sounds good, go ahead and give it a shot. Ramsey Campbell is a master of the horror genre after all!

 

*Thanks to Flame Tree Press via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Friday Reads 9.7.18

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell The Haunting of Hill House (MP3 Book) - Shirley Jackson, Bernadette Dunne

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn

The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson, Bernadette Dunne

Watching Moonlight's updates on this all time favorite book of mine, AND the fact that the Classic Horror square has already been called, I've decided to re-read it, via audio,now. 

 

 

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

 

 

I also discovered that I never added this book or my rating here! For shame!

WE ARE LEGION (WE ARE BOB) by Dennis Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) - Dennis E. Taylor

This book was totally out of my wheelhouse but I loved it!

 

Bob is a tech genius comparable to Bill Gates. He decides to get himself, (well, his head), cryogenically frozen and signs a contract to have it done. Shortly thereafter, he's hit by a car and the contract kicks in.

 

When he wakes up, it's centuries later and as a sentient computer. He's in charge of, (basically), saving humanity. He goes about this task by cloning himself, as he was made to do, (see Von Neumann probes), and spreading throughout the universe(s). He, (it), (Bobs), does, (do),  this with humor, compassion and all kinds of science fiction references that cracked me up.

 

A total aside: my husband was watching the Science Channel the other night and the show was talking about 3D printers and I asked if Von Neumann probes were mentioned. He looked at me as if I were a nut. No, he said. Two minutes later the show went into what they are and how they would work and I puffed up with pride.

 

 

Ray Porter is a fantastic narrator and I enjoyed hearing him voice the different faces of Bob: (Riker, Homer and Admiral Akbar), to name a few. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much if I had read it instead of listening. That said, bring on book two!

DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES edited by Evans Light

Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam   Light, Gregor Xane, Josh Malerman, Jason  Parent, Evans Light

DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES was an above average anthology that challenged me to take my time and savor the tales of Halloween mischief. I failed that challenge!

 

There are 14 spooky tales included within, and these were the ones that stood out the most for me:

 

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES by Jason Parent. I just adored this story of Halloween thieves picking the wrong house to burgle. I laughed out loud at the eyeball scenes. (Not sure what that says about me.)

 

VIGIL by Chad Lutzke. This wasn't a gross-out or even a very scary story. (Unless you're a parent.) It was poignant though, something Chad has mastered in his tales.

 

THE FRIENDLY MAN by Thomas Vaughn. I don't even know what to say. This story was so darkly macabre that even though what was happening was just AWFUL, I found myself gleefully turning the pages. This was my favorite story in the book. Well done!

 

OFFERINGS by Joanna Koch. I absolutely loved the concept and execution of this story. It's not complicated but it is MESSED UP. The take away? Don't escort any trick-or-treaters to your bathroom whilst others are briefly left unattended at your front door.

 

TRICK 'EM ALL by Adam Light. A disturbed and misguided (?) boy. A talking Jack O'Lantern. What could go wrong?

 

THE RYE-MOTHER by Curtis Lawson. This tale spoke to me more loudly once I finished this anthology, because it was unlike every other story and because it kept popping into my mind at weird times. It has staying power. (Also, I'm opting out of the corn maze this year.)

 

I had a great time with this anthology and liked almost all of the stories included within, which is pretty rare for me. Evans Light did a great job of bringing these authors together and the stories flowed well from one to the next. If you're looking for a great anthology to fill out your Halloween reading this year, make it DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES. (Oh, and stay away from those corn mazes!)

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received a paperback ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

I'm reading this one for...

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell

Halloween Bingo square

 

Currently reading

Cockblock by Ramona Master, Roderick Hunt, Roderick Hunt
Progress: 30%
Slimer by John Brosnan, Phil Kettle, Harry Adam Knight
Progress: 50%
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream by Christopher Golden
Progress: 32%
Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Progress: 15%
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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Horror Aficionados
Horror Aficionados 11358 members
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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