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.

 

 

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SICK HOUSE by Jeff Strand

Sick House - Jeff Strand

 SICK HOUSE is yet another example of Jeff Strand's crazy and sick mind. What fun!

 

It's a relatively short book written in such a way that it just flies by. There's crime, violence, murder, witchcraft, a haunted house, lots of blood and gore and a satisfying ending. What else is there to say?

 

Recommended for those who like their in horror in short, bloody bites!

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned money and it was worth it.*

SHOCK Anthology edited by Joe Pruett

SHOCK Anthology - Joe Pruitt

 

SHOCK Anthology is a collection of short stories told via comics. Being a lover of short stories, and taking into consideration that super cool cover, how could I resist? As with any anthology, some of the stories worked for me and some did not. One thing I learned was that I needed to go through this volume slowly, otherwise moving from comic to comic, each being totally different in writing and artwork styles, was too jarring.

 

That said, these are the tales that stood out for me:

 

THE LAST DANCE WITH YOU: was a beautifully told story and even though the clues were there, I didn't catch on to where the story was going until we arrived.

 

DUMB BITCH: Don't you touch that dog!

 

ISTANBUL: I loved this one because the art work was gorgeous and evocative, even with no words.

 

THE DEAD CITY AWOKE: This tale was super short and had few words, but the art was simply breathtaking. (Probably my favorite graphics in this collection.)

 

LIVE OR DIE: A spooky story taking place in the middle of a war battle.

 

DEVOLUTION: I loved this dystopian tale of caution even if it was a bit implausible. I see seeds of this in our day to day living right now and I often wonder where it's going to end up. DEVOLUTION presents its own ideas as to how things will turn out.

 

MOMENTS: With tongue firmly in cheek, this tale about social media and how far it could, (will?), go was hilarious and disturbing all at once. With so many people paying way too much attention to their online lives and so little to their actual lives, I thought this tale was a fun and unsettling way to look at what the future might bring.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this book and the book itself. With lots of variety and something for everyone, I recommend this fun volume to fans of short stories,comics and graphic novels!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

Friday Reads

 

Book Mail! Thanks to Tigus!

 

Many heartfelt THANK YOUS are going out to Tigus today! I was very excited to find a package waiting for me when I got home last night. Here's what was inside! 

2 super cool volumes of short stories by Frederic Brown, author of NIGHTMARES AND GEEZENSTACKS which I read and enjoyed for the first time last year. 

As a bonus, Tigus threw in the graphic novel FISHHEAD which looks like a perfect fit for me, what with it containing a few words from Joe Lansdale and Guillermo del Toro.

 

I could not possibly be more pleased!

 

Thanks again, Tigus! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL SYSTEMS RED by Martha Wells

All Systems Red - Martha Wells

 

The world-building in this novella was good and I liked murderbot's conflicted feelings about himself and "his humans." At times, though, I felt that the book was trying too hard with the quips and it felt a little forced. I will most likely continue with this series.

 

*Thanks to Tor's e-book club for the free download of this story.*

WINTERBAY ABBEY by John Bladek and Javonna Duroe, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Winterbay Abbey: A Ghost Story - John Bladek, Davonna Juroe, Matt Godfrey

 

WINTERBAY ABBEY is a beautifully written Gothic style ghost story and I adored it, from start to finish!

 

When I saw this being compared to Susan Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK, I was a bit hesitant because, to be honest, I did not like that tale AT ALL. It was repetitious and I felt it lacked the Gothic, quiet horror atmosphere that I love so much. I needn't have worried because this book was much better than that one and it had the added advantage of Matt Godfrey's narration.

 

This is the story of a man and his wife, Will & Emily, getting over a recent accident where the wife nearly lost her hand. They've also just discovered that Emily is pregnant. Her damaged hand has affected her ability to contribute to the family's financial resources and times are tight. When Will's boss offers makes him take a job in Maine drawing up architecture plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a resort hotel, he jumps on the chance to secure his family's financial future. At the last minute, he decided to invite Emily to meet him there. Will their plans work out? Will they succeed in having a happy and healthy family? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I do love me a quiet horror story. What does that mean? For me, it means atmospheric, inspiring feelings of dread and fear, without spilling a lot of blood and guts. This must be difficult to write, because, to be honest, I haven't read that many good, quiet horror stories. This one is better than good, it's fantastic! There were a few instances where I thought Will made a bad decision or two, but overall, I also felt that it was realistic in the telling, and I was rooting for our couple to make it through.

 

With the always rich narration of Matt Godfrey, I felt this couple come to life. I hope that you give it a chance and let Will and Emily come alive for you.

 

Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: WINTERBAY ABBEY

 

*Thanks to narrator and friend, Matt Godfrey, for the audio copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!* 

#Fridayreads

 

I've read 25% and...

All Systems Red - Martha Wells

I can see why so many people were talking about this book! Thanks to Tor for the free copy and for Debbie's and Grim's updates which were enough to make me sneak this into my reading schedule. This one is going to go quickly!

 

IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD WORLD by Curtis Lawson

It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World - Curtis M. Lawson

 

Rarely does a book leave me without words, yet here I am. IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD WORLD is full of horrible people and terrible situations. It was funny as hell and I loved it!

 

Written in vivid style it was easy to picture this in my imagination as a movie. Combine some ancient relics with your favorite action film, add a bit of any Tarantino movie, sprinkle in a dry sense of humor and finish it off with the "franks and beans" scene from There's Something About Mary-and Voila! You have the recipe for this book. (I tried to fit the battle-nun into my recipe but I can't think of anything, anywhere to liken her to. That's right, there's a bad-ass battle nun, deal with it.)

 

 

 

As I said, this book left me speechless, so I had to borrow descriptions of films to write this review. A friend of mine used the movie Smoking Aces to help describe this book, and I find that to be an apt comparison as well. I just don't know what else to say. Fun, full of action and humor, IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD WORLD is a great way to spend a few hours. Highly recommended!

 

 

You can buy a copy here: IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD WORLD

 

*I was provided a free e-book copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

Reading progress update: I've read 55% and...

It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World - Curtis M. Lawson

this book is hilarious. It was Sister Michelle that set me off. She's a nun from a special order that protects holy relics or whatever else they're told to do by the church.

 

She's trained like someone on a Seal Team.  But when one character called her "Battle Nun" I just about fell over laughing. I can just picture her in her body armor and habit!

 

This is fast paced and a helluva a lot of fun!

NOS4A2-Coming To Television!

HAMMURABI ROAD by Steve Vernon, narrated by Robert Thaler

Hammurabi Road: A Tale of Northern Ontario Vengeance - Steve Vernon

 

HAMMURABI ROAD is one messed up, creative, and funny as hell novella! Listening to the audio made me burst out laughing several times, (which is generally frowned upon at work.) What made it even worse was that I couldn't explain why I was laughing so hard, because these people? They wouldn't get why the bear scene was so funny.

 

As is stated in the summary, this is the tale of 4 men on the road, three in the front and one tied up in the back. We're talking Canadian backwoods men and they're looking for revenge. What they get instead is a bear, a possibility of mistaken identity, and some flashbacks of "Shut the F up, Donnie," from the Big Lebowski.

 

I listened to this on audio, narrated by Robert Thaler, who is new to me. His voice took a bit of getting used to, but once I did, I let him tell me the story of these rednecks and their revenge and I lost myself for a while.

 

Over the top and not afraid of offending anyone, HAMMURABI ROAD is an hilarious way to spend a few hours! Recommended!

 

You can get a copy here: HAMMURABI ROAD

 

*I received this audio free from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

UNBURY CAROL by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol: A Novel - Josh Malerman

Hell's Heaven! I haven't been this torn about a book in a long while. UNBURY CAROL was brave in exploring new territory, (weird western, I'd call it), while at the same time it wallowed in repetition.

 

Carol has a rare condition which causes her to fall into a coma for days at the drop of a hat. To anyone unfamiliar with her disease, she appears to be dead. It's important for at least someone to know what's going on with her so that she doesn't get buried alive by mistake. However, Carol is reluctant to tell many people for fear of rejection, and in one case, the departure of her true love who just didn't want to deal with the responsibility. Will she ever find true love again? Will there ever be a cure for her malady? You'll have to read this book to find out.

 

I'm going to attempt to be honest here, while also attempting not to spoil anything. I feel obligated to mention the repetition of certain words and phrases. They had me rolling my eyes repeatedly. "Hell's Heaven" (!), is a phrase that nearly everyone uses to no end. It's this world's version of OMG, or "Holy shit!", I guess. One overused word was "outlaw." (I get it. These are outlaws. We're in the west, they're wanted men.) Lastly "pig-shitters." Low down and dirty are the pig shitters. I get it. EVERYONE gets it. I'm speculating that the author used these words and phrases with the aim of world-building, and perhaps they helped to accomplish that...at first. After that, they just became so repetitious and irritating that it became kind of funny. (Or that could just be me, I'm told my sense of humor is off.)

 

Speaking of that world-building-I've read that the hardcover has a map of the Trail. (Everything that happens in this book happens along the Trail itself, or in the villages and towns located on the Trail.) That map is something I would like to see and I'd also like to read more about the Trail in the future. The villains in this book were interesting and a lot of fun, and they ALL had seemed to have some history that involved the Trail. In most cases, those people and the Trail's history were more interesting than the main characters-at least for me.

 

So, again, I am torn. I loved the creativity and imagination that went into Carol's disease and the building of this western world, while I was bothered by the repetition and what felt like an anti-climactic finale. Where does that leave us? At a 3.5/5 star rating. As always, your mileage may vary and I wold love to hear your thoughts on UNBURY CAROL when you're done!

 

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

Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke

Stirring the Sheets - Chad Lutzke

 

STIRRING THE SHEETS is a novella by Chad Lutzke that left me wrung out on the floor, but in a good way! 

 

When Emmett loses his wife of 50 years, he has a hard time getting over his grief. He seems fine to most of the outside world-he's eating, he goes to work at the mortuary and he talks to his neighbors, both the nice one and the not so nice one. His neighbors don't know that Emmett hasn't touched the sheets on his bed since his wife passed, instead he sleeps on the couch. There are a few other things they don't know as well, but the author has to tell you those himself. 

 

The grief in this book is palpable. I felt like I could reach out and touch it. (In this way, STIRRING THE SHEETS brought to mind the grief I felt when reading OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES last year.) I've been married for almost 33 years now and I can't imagine losing my spouse after such a long time. The things that people do when overcome by grief can be terrible and hard to understand. I think I understand Emmett and what he did, though. I wonder if you can?

 

Over the past several years I've developed a fondness for both Chad Lutzke and John Boden, (John wrote the touching and heartfelt introduction for this book). They have a writing style all their own, both completely individual but recognizable. This novella is all Chad's. All the grief, all the poignancy, and that little bit of hope? They're all Chad's.

 

My highest recommendation to any fan of dark fiction!

 

Available on Friday the 13th or pre-order here:Stirring the Sheets

 

*I was provided an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Pre-Order now!

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

It's not too late to preorder Steve Rasnic Tem's FIGURES UNSEEN, a collection of 35 of his best weird tales, which goes on sale April 17. Orders placed direct through our site should arrive to you before the official release date, or it can be preordered at Amazon now. An audiobook version is already available for listening, no preorder required! More info on this exciting release here.

 

Friday Reads!

 

Currently reading

Terror is our Business: Dana Roberts' Casebook of Horrors by Kasey Lansdale, Joe R. Lansdale
Manchester Vice (Noirvellas) by Jack Strange
Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem, Matt Godfrey
Progress: 25%
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
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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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