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 Classic Horror. I also read and review classics, true crime, thrillers and audio books of all genres except Romance.

 

 

 

Charlene’s quotes


 


 

 

 

The Box: Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson, narrated by Grover Gardner

The Box: Uncanny Stories by Matheson, Richard (September 29, 2009) Audio CD - Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson is a legend in my eyes, (see what I did there, bibliophiles?) so when I saw this audio available from the library I immediately checked it out.

 

Any collection has hit or misses for me. Here, I'll focus on the hits:

 

Button, Button (I believe this is the story the movie The Box was based on.) If someone came to your door, handed you a box and said: "If you press this button, someone you do not know will die, but you will receive $50,000.", would you press the button?

 

Dying Room Only had a very cool Twilight Zone feel to it. Picture this: A man and a woman are taking a drive through the desert and stop in a little town diner for lunch. The man goes to the men's room and...disappears. Cue the TZ music!

 

A Flourish of Strumpets This one might be a tad outdated, but it had me laughing my butt off!

 

It seemed as if the stories in the beginning were more my speed. As I got deeper into the book, the stories began to resonate with me less and less. Still, even middle of the road Matheson stories are good.

 

Since I think Button, Button is a CLASSIC short story that everyone should read, I recommend this collection to fans of horror shorts.

Halloween Bingo 2016-Update!

 

 

Mystery-Darktown by Thomas Mullen

 

YA-Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

 

Ghost Story-The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

 

Horror-Bound by Andrew Lennon and Matt Hickman 

 
Halloween-Bad Apples 3 (by various authors)
 
Full Moon-Everything Under the Moon by Jeff Johnson 
 
Creepy Crawly- Bats by William Johnstone

Bats by William Johnstone

Bats - William W. Johnstone

Bats is a re-release:it originally flew free back in the 90's and that's one of my favorite periods for the horror genre, so I requested it from Net Galley right away. I'm sad to report that I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

 

You can probably guess from the title that this is a creature feature, so you know going in that's it's most likely not going to be a literary classic. (Which was fine with me, sometimes that's exactly what I want.) However, I do expect the writing to be of a certain quality, and I'm not talking Cormac McCarthy level here, but I wouldn't think that a James Herbert level would be unrealistic. Unfortunately, I don't think the Herbert level was reached here.

 

That aside, the story itself was a lot of fun. Most especially because these weren't just normal bats, they were mutants. Incredibly large with huge fangs, they were also capable of immense intelligence. That's all I can say, because this is where all the fun of the book is and you should read it for yourself. One thing that bothered me in the narrative itself, was the repetitiveness of "stupid people deserve what they get" mantra. Alright, we get it, they're too stupid too live. Move on.

 

Overall, Bats did deliver on the FUN its cover promised, but the writing itself and repetitive nature of a few viewpoints soured me on the book as a whole.

 

*Thanks to Kensington/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review! This is it.*

Halloween Bingo Update- 6

 

My fourth Bingo square covered is Mystery!

 

Mystery-Darktown by Thomas Mullen

 

YA-Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

 

Ghost Story-The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

 

Horror-Bound by Andrew Lennon and Matt Hickman 

 

 

Everything Under the Moon by Jeff Johnson

Everything Under the Moon: A Novel - Jeff Johnson

Sometimes I like to request an Advance Review Copy based on the strength of the book description alone. Everything Under the Moon: A Novel captured my interest when the synopsis mentioned a serial killer werewolf. Yeah... so like Dexter, but a werewolf, I thought. Well, yes and no.

 

Gelsen Verber, (not really his name), is a fascinating character. A human/werewolf hybrid who knows nothing about where he originally came from and is suffering from PTSD from WWII. He can also cook a mean green chili stew, (and tacos!), and he likes to read. He ingests massive amounts of drugs and alcohol trying to stomp out the more wolfish effects of his nature and he also likes to prey upon society's undesirables. He's good at it.

 

Gelsen finds himself mixed up with Salt Street, a type of data mining company that knows his true nature and tries to bend him to their will. As you might have guessed, he's having none of it. Here's where things get difficult to describe: Gelsen is like no other werewolf that I've read about-except perhaps Michael Gallatin from Robert McCammon's The Wolf's Hour. Where Gallatin was a handsome, MacGyver-type spy in WII, Gelsen is a handsome, stylishly dressed, MacGyver/James Bond type in today's world. He's always prepared for any eventuality and if things get tough-he'll just rip you apart. Done deal.

 

This novel was fast paced, populated with an entertaining cast of characters, (Izelle, I'm looking at you, girl.. er boy er...?), all of them fully fleshed out and three dimensional. At times I felt like the plot was a flash flood and I was struggling to keep my head above water as the current carried me towards the denouement. And then, BAM! straight into the wall of a dam. There I struggled,with my mouth hanging open like a fool, trying not to drown.

 

In case you can't tell, I loved this book! Here you will discover completely unique characters; some drunk, some high, some master chefs and werewolves, but ALL entertaining. Here you will find a story that wants to bury you in its darkness at times, while at other times making you laugh so hard you can barely breathe. Here you will find an ending that takes that breath away AGAIN.

 

I highly recommend Everything Under the Moon to fans of horror, especially those who like their darkness peppered with humor and occasional poignancy. Oh! Also recommended to those who enjoy lots of bloody, gory, werewolf action!

 

Come on, you know want some.

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Soft Skull Press for the ARC I received in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo written and read by Amy Schumer

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo - Amy Schumer, Amy Schumer

Who the hell is Amy Schumer? I have no idea. Since I picked up this book I've learned she's a comedian, she has her own show, an HBO special, and she starred in and wrote the movie Trainwreck. So why did I listen to this book? Because I read in Huff Post that some internet trolls were trying to tank the book's ratings and that just made me feel rebellious, so here I am.

 

Now, I LOVE this girl. She's strong, she works hard, (really, really hard), she's (brutally) honest, she has a heart and most importantly she loves herself. She wants YOU to love yourself. She also doesn't want any more people to be shot while at a theater watching her movie. She talks honestly about what that felt like and why she is so passionate about background checks for gun owners.

 

All that and some vagina jokes. What's not to love?

 

Recommended for everyone, but especially young women. She has an important message that I think needs to be heard. Love yourself ladies!

Reading update: I've read 42% of Everything Under the Moon by Jeff Johnson and

Everything Under the Moon: A Novel - Jeff Johnson

...this book is a trip! Picture a somewhat stylish and dressy noir-type werewolf that likes to eat, (and COOK!) gourmet meals. (And not bloody werewolf-ey meals like sauteed eyeballs or anything, but REAL food.) 

 

Before he cooks you dinner though, you probably want to wash up because he can smell things that are days old on you. Also, he likes to do a lot of drugs to tamp down that whole werewolf thing. So that's kind of a drawback, I guess. 

 

Every once in a while, I like to request a book from Net Galley or Edelweiss based on the strength of the description alone. This time, I think my choice is knocking it right out of the ball park.  (Er, book park?) Whatever. I'm DIGGING this book. 

 

 

The Children of the Abbey (1796) by Regina Maria Roche

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New Release

 

Irish author Regina Maria Roche's THE CHILDREN OF THE ABBEY (1796) was not only one of the best-selling novels of its time but also one of the most popular novels of the 19th century, running through 80 or so editions. A classic Gothic novel and an influence on Jane Austen, it has inexplicably remained out of print for the last 100 years but returns now in a new scholarly edition with an introduction and notes by Prof. William D. Brewer.

 

 

Book Description

 

One of the best-selling novels of the 19th century and one of the greatest Gothic novels of all time returns to print in this first-ever scholarly edition

Running through at least eighty editions in the 18th and 19th centuries, Regina Maria Roche's The Children of the Abbey (1796) was one of the biggest successes of its time, rivalling and perhaps even outselling Ann Radcliffe's seminal Gothic The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794).

The heroine of Roche's novel, Amanda Fitzalan, and her brother Oscar, are unfortunate siblings defrauded of their rightful inheritance, Dunreath Abbey, by a will forged by a wicked relative. Beset on all sides by danger, including the schemes of the haughty Marquis and Marchioness of Rosline and the sinister intentions of the villainous libertine Belgrave, can Amanda reclaim what is rightfully hers and win the love of the dashing Lord Mortimer?
‚Äč
With a sprawling cast of characters and an intricate plot that moves from Wales to Ireland to England to Scotland, Roche's classic novel is reprinted here for the first time in over a century. This new edition includes the unabridged text of the four-volume 1797 second edition and an introduction and notes by Prof. William D. Brewer, who discusses its influence on Jane Austen and calls for reconsideration of Roche as an important early Irish novelist.

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook

Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Halloween Bingo 2016-Update 5

 

Mystery-Darktown by Thomas Mullen

 

YA-Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

 

Ghost Story-The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

 

Horror-Bound by Andrew Lennon and Matt Hickman

 

 

Bad Apples 3 by various authors

Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror - Edward Lorn, Adam   Light, Gregor Xane, Jason  Parent, Evans Light, John McNee, Craig  Saunders, Mark Matthews

Bad Apples 3 is the third installment of this series, headed up by the Light brothers, Adam and Evans! Each year they seem to up their game with this Halloween entry and this year was no different.

 

The standouts to me in this volume were:

 

Belle Souffrance by the Light Brothers. A nasty little Halloween tale. Beautiful Suffering is what it means and suffering, beautiful or not, is what's going to happen.

 

Chocolate Covered Eyeballs by John McNee. What else is there to say? This was my second favorite story in this collection.

 

Body of Christ by Mark Matthews. This story was so freaking awesome, I don't even know what to say. It was disturbing and imaginative, while also poignant and sad. Bravo!!

 

Pulp by Jason Parent. Pulp was just plain HORROR fun! Over the top in every way and then BAM! Punch in the face for the ending. Those types of short fiction are often my favorites and this one is right up there. 

 

Bad Apples 3 ROCKED! What else is there to say? It's almost October! What are you waiting for?

 

Highly recommended to fans of short, highly imaginative, horror fiction!

 

*I received a free e-ARC from Mark Matthews in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Also, I know most of these authors online, and consider them my friends. My review was not affected by our friendships. *

Halloween Bingo Update-4

 

 

My fourth Bingo square covered is Mystery!

 

Mystery-Darktown by Thomas Mullen

 

YA-Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

 

Ghost Story-The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

 

Horror-Bound by Andrew Lennon and Matt Hickman

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Darktown: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 Despite wearing the same uniforms as the white police force, the first black police officers in Atlanta, GA shared none of the other benefits afforded to white officers at the time. Forced to work out of the basement of the YMCA, provided with no patrol cars, not allowed to investigate anything and not even allowed to step foot in the white police station, one has to wonder why Atlanta made them police officers at all.

 

Darktown delved into that mystery and many more. Boggs and Smith, both black officers, one freshly back from WWII and the other the son of a preacher, commanded absolutely no respect from anyone. Not from other officers and not even from the black community, which they were tasked with protecting. It seems that the entire world resented them for one reason or another.

 

One night, a vehicle took down a light pole right in front of them. Upon discovering the white driver was drunk, and had a bruised young, black woman in the car, Boggs and Smith called the white police. (Since they were not allowed to arrest the man themselves, they had no other choice.) But while waiting for the white cops to arrive, the man just drove off, and there was nothing the black officers could do about it. A few days later, the young black woman turns up dead and the black officers just can't let that go.

 

Leaving off the plot so as not to spoil anything, I'll focus now on how this book made me feel. I'm aware of the shameful behavior that went on in my country, but this book went into specifics, and they were very difficult to read. The treatment of blacks in that area, during that time period, (1948), was deplorable. There's no other word for it. Every single aspect of their life was controlled by whites. They couldn't look a white person in the eye. They couldn't defend themselves, verbally or physically, when wrongfully accused of something. They had to ride in the back of the bus-often while the white people in the front openly disparaged them. Some of the incidents recounted here turned my stomach.

 

Thomas Mullen took an unflinching look at the relationship between blacks and whites. As difficult as it was to read, I imagine it must have been even more difficult to write. To avoid making the same mistakes in the future, we have to be familiar with the mistakes we've made in the past, and this book shoves those mistakes right under our noses. Do you have the strength and stamina to look them right in the face? If you do, I highly recommend Darktown.

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Atria for the free advance copy of this book.*

The Adventures of Tom Stranger by Larry Correia, narrated by Adam Baldwin

Free: The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent - Audible Studios, Rymor Publishing Group;Jerald Tuck Jr;Don Bilger;Carl Roehrich;Kimberlee Bowen;Larry Milton;Cindy Baldwin;Jennifer Luxmoore;Stacie Turner;Jane Parillo;Jimmie Espo;Adam Flaherty;Paul Legault;Karen Hyde;Marietta Giorno;Courtney Wetzel;Stacy

 Given that this audiobook was free to pre-order, and given the fact that it was narrated by Adam Baldwin, what did I have to lose by giving it a try? Nothing!

 

Not having ever read anything written by Larry Correia, I had no idea what to expect. I still don't, really. This was a humorous science-fiction parody type story, but the humor sort of ran out after about 10 minutes. It seemed kind of juvenile and silly for the most part. I will admit to laughing out loud a few times and I did listen to the whole thing, so it wasn't that bad.

I think the narration by Adam Baldwin is what kept me listening. Over the top and silly? Yes! But somehow oddly compelling as well.

 

Thanks to the author and to Audible for the free audio.

The Only Living Boy by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis

The Only Living Boy #1: Prisoner of the Patchwork Planet - David Gallaher, Steve Ellis

 When David Gallaher offered review copies of the first few The Only Living Boy graphic novels here at Booklikes, I hopped on the chance. I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, most of them adult, and I wanted to try one that's for all ages, so here we are.

 

 

The story is about a young boy, on the verge of becoming a teenager, named Erik Farrell. He runs away from home and now, for some reason, has lost his memory and finds himself on a strange planet. He meets allies and foes along the way, while trying to find his way back home.

 

That's all I can say about the plot, because there isn't much there. The story ended rather abruptly, so I assume we'll learn more as the series continues. The artwork in some cases is stunning, which helped to make up for the somewhat simplistic tale.

 

I'm going to continue with the series because A) Mr. Gallagher provided a few more issues and B) despite the tale being uncomplicated, I do like young Erik and I want to find out what happens.

 

Recommended to all fans of comics, but especially to young adults!

The Rising by Brian Keene, narrated by Peter Delloro

The Rising - Brian Keene

It didn't take long to make my way through this zombie filled wasteland of a book. Humans, (whether they still be humans or be they zombies), are not the only monsters here.

 

I loved the originality of this story. I can't get into the specifics of it without spoilers, but some of the things imagined and written about in The Rising have still not been done in other zombie books or movies. I really felt something for a few of these characters too. The author pretty much put everyone and everything at risk, so I had no idea what might happen to these people; there was no safe feeling like some books provide you, where you know the good guy will win in the end.

 

What I did not like is a short list and here it is: The narrator and the fate of most of the female characters. First, the narrator had a fine voice but he mispronounced some words, (brackish is not brake-ish), and his tone of voice was often off. (Obviously, the tone thing is a personal opinion, while the mispronounciations are not.)

 

Second, I've been a horror fan for a long, long time and I'm quite used to the treatment of women in horror stories being less than stellar. I also understand that a female, or male protagnoist for that matter, has to be put into positions where the reader can root for her or him. However, what happened to the women here bothered me a bit more than usual. Perhaps, because the descriptions were graphic? (But I've read Laymon, Barker and even some Lee and none of those bothered me.) Maybe it's because I'm getting older and my tolerance for that type of behavior, even in books, has now dwindled down to nothing? Even if I can't quite put my finger on it, it bothered me, so that's that.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book! The originality of it was mind-blowing, and it must have been the horror book of ALL horror books when it originally came out back in 2003. Remember, this was before The Walking Dead and the whole zombie mash-up thing, (Pride and Prejudice With Zombies, anyone? WTF?). I do plan on reading the sequel, City of the Dead, but I'm going to do just that-read it, instead of listening, because the narration of this one did diminish my enjoyment a little bit.

 

Recommended to fans of ZOMBIES!

Reading progress update: I've read 26% of Bad Apples and...

Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror - Edward Lorn, Adam   Light, Gregor Xane, Jason  Parent, Evans Light, John McNee, Craig  Saunders, Mark Matthews

The story Chocolate Covered Eyeballs by John McNee ROCKED my corner! 

 

It. Was. Awesome!

 

Currently reading

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by David Fisher, William Shatner, William Shatner
Chills by Mary SanGiovanni
Progress: 20%
The View from the Cheap Seats CD: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman
Progress: 56%
Blood Verse by Patrick James Ryan
Progress: 25%
Only Time Will Tell (Audio) by Jeffrey Archer
Progress: 25%
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, Christopher Golden
Progress: 30%

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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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