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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#FridayReads 3.27.20

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel - Grady Hendrix After the People Lights Have Gone Off - Stephen Graham Jones Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey

#FridayReads Today, I'm reading THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by @grady_hendrix. I'm also reading AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OUT by @SGJ72 . Lastly, I'm listening to LEVIATHAN WAKES by @JamesSACorey. What are you reading?

— Char's Horror Corner

PANDEMONIUM by Luke Walker

Pandemonium - Luke Walker

PANDEMONIUM is a place, maybe not the capital of hell as it is in the epic Milton poem, but it's close!  Maybe it's more like Hotel California? Because once you check in, you never check out.


Hannah leaves work for the day, intent on getting home to care for her aging mother. Suddenly, a man walks up with a knife and bundles her into a van with even more men waiting inside. She is so surprised she barely has time to understand what's happening, never mind save herself. A few days and one failed escape attempt later they arrive at Pandemonium.


There, Hannah meets other men and women in the same situation and the story turns into something else altogether. Their leader, Monin,  loves them; he loves them with all of his heart. He is going to take care of them and all of their worries from the old world will disappear. And then, someone attempts to escape. Will they be successful? Will Hannah try to escape as well or will she be happy to remain there, free from the worries of work and family obligations? You'll have to read this to find out!  



It's difficult to describe this book-it's dark fiction/horror,(obviously), but I also got a kind of cosmic horror vibe, or closer to an "other worlds overlapping and/or coexisting with ours" situation. There's also a bit of a cult feel to it-in regards to Monin. Who is this guy, (is he even a guy? Or something other-wordly?) What does he want? This is where the mystery and suspense comes in. 


I have been reading Luke Walker's work for a while now and I have to say that it's these novels from him that I enjoy the most. By "these", I mean the ones with creative monsters,  horrible worlds, and truly evil people. I also enjoy his ability to create strong, believable women as protagonists in his books, and Hannah is definitely one of them. 


I enjoyed the creativity, the horror and the gore, (those rat-things skeeved me out!), and I especially liked Hannah and Piotr as characters. I liked trying to determine what was going to happen next and for all of these reasons: 


I recommend PANDEMONIUM!


Available tomorrow, but you can pre-order here: PANDEMONIUM


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


HOUSEBROKEN by The Behrg, narrated by Don Warrick

Housebroken - The Behrg

 A home invasion tale which differs in the fact that in this case, the invaders are actually moving in for a week or so.


I've been wanting to read something from The Behrg, and since I pre-ordered his latest book, I was eligible for a free download of one of his previous books-I chose HOUSEBROKEN, and here we are.


This story had so many twists and turns I had a hard time keeping up. The villain stood apart from the many hundreds of villains I've read about previously-that and the extremely fast pace had me hanging on until the final words were spoken. Other than perhaps being a bit too long, this book was excellent.


The narrator wasn't very skilled with female voices in my opinion, but his voicing of the villain was very good.






Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi

FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION is an impressive and imaginative group of stories that swept through me like a slow moving storm and left me like jello, shivering on the floor.


I can't list my thoughts on all of them here, but the ones that blew me away were:




THE YATTERING-A haunted bookstore. Already, with the title and subject alone, it screams my name.


THE SICKENING-At this point in time, what with COVID19 and its effects, this tale was even scarier than it otherwise would have been.


At least COVID19 doesn't make us kill each other. At least not yet.


AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING -A "tables are turned" type of story.


LOTUS PETALS: LIMINAL PERSONAE-Body Horror that put me in mind of Geek Love or some of Michael Blumlein's work.


SYBARITES (OR THE ENMITY OF PERVERSE EXISTENCE) I don't even know what to say about this other than that this was the tale that cemented my thoughts about how great this collection really was.


To be honest, this was a collection where every story worked for me on some level or another. That's a rare occurrence, so I took my time savoring these tales and surrendered myself to whatever it was Mr. Rinaldi wanted to show me. I'm so glad I did!


My highest recommendation!




*Thanks to Doug Rinaldi for the paperback arc in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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#FridayReads 3.20.2020

True Crime - Samantha Kolesnik Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi Housebroken - The Behrg

#FridayReads Today, I'm reading TRUE CRIME by @sam_kolesnik, and I'm still making my way through FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS by @Notorious_DUG. Lastly, I'm listening to HOUSEBROKEN by @TheBehrg. What are you reading?

— Char's Horror Corner

COLERIDGE by Tom Deady

Coleridge - Kathleen W. Deady

COLERIDGE is a gothic story as beautifully written as the cover is beautiful to look at!


Zadie and Delia meet at an auction of an old, dilapidated home. They get to talking and before they know it, they've formed a partnership and decided to rehab the place. Somewhere along the way they fall in love.  As their work came to a close, however, Zadie seemed more and more preoccupied and Delia worried that Zadie had found someone else. That's not what was wrong, though. On top of that, Zadie didn't live to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Soon thereafter, a stranger shows up at Delia's shop claiming to be Zadie's father. Is he really Zadie's dad? What does he want with Delia? You'll have to read this to find out!


The characters of Delia and Zadie were wonderful. Their fondness soon turned to something more as their work on the house continued and all of that seemed to progress naturally. I could feel Delia's grief and pain later on because this portion was so well written.


I can't talk more about the mystery involved here with Coleridge, (the house), without giving too much away. I was fascinated with the history of it and by the time the tale of the house unfolded, I wanted, no - I NEEDED...more. More about the house, more about Coleridge, (also the name of the original owner/builder), more about...pretty much everything! I'm not sure if this was meant to be a series or a trilogy or something? I really hope it is, because as I said, I need MORE!


I loved this tale overall, I just felt a little let down by how it all wrapped up. 




*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing and Tom Deady for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. Also, I've met Tom Deady a few times and he's the nicest guy ever, and his wife is a sweetheart too.*



BORNE OF THE DEEP by Michael Patrick Hicks

Borne of the Deep (The Salem Hawley Series) - Michael Patrick Hicks

After the events in THE RESURRECTIONISTS, Salem Hawley is on a quest to find Al Azif, the mysterious grimoire stolen at the end of that book. Now, prepare yourself for a rip-roaring ride to Arkham!


In a horse drawn carriage on the way to find the book, Salem deals with racism and other problems. Even though he is a free man, he doesn't command much respect. Once he arrives at Arkham, he meets a mysterious woman named Louise LaMarche. Together they will have to face the most serious threats yet, namely, Dagon and the Deep Ones. Will he and Louise be able to find Al Azif? If so, will they find it in time to prevent Dagon and the others from overtaking Arkham? Lastly, will Salem and Louise survive? You'll have to read this to find out!


BORNE OF THE DEEP features some of the best battle scenes I've read in a long time. I thought a lot of blood was shed in the first book, but this one goes entirely off the rails. Salem is a brave, brave man to stand strong against what Dagon has in store. Fans of Lovecraft will recognize these names and see them brought to life more vividly than I've ever read before, and that includes Lovecraft's writing itself!


With a great historical background, and the integration of cosmic horror to boot, (most better than the original, [sorry, Lovecraft]), there is no way this series could fail to please or satisfy serious horror readers. I initially rated this 4 out of 5 stars, but after thinking about it overnight, I boosted my rating to the full 5. I couldn't have asked for anything more-other than the next book be released. Right now!


Highly recommended!


Kindle copies available now, just in time for social distancing! BORNE OF THE DEEP


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

#FridayReads 3.13.2020

Borne of the Deep (The Salem Hawley Series) - Michael Patrick Hicks Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi The Sorrow King - Andersen Prunty

#FridayReads Today, I'm reading BORNE OF THE DEEP by @MikeH5856. I'm still making my way through FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS by @Notorious_DUG Lastly, I'm listening to THE SORROW KING by @andersenprunty . What are you reading?

— Char's Horror Corner

HANNAH-BEAST by Jennifer McMahon, narrated by Amy Landon

Hannah-Beast - Jennifer McMahon

Hannah-Beast was like Megan Abbott meets Stephen King.


Featuring an alternating time line, this story reminded me of Mean Girls with a horrific twist.


I liked it, but not as much as I had hoped.


*An Amazon Original with Audio, free with Prime.*


Break Shot: My First 21 Years - James Taylor

I'm not that big a fan of James Taylor, but he's from the area where I live, (western MA) and I thought this audio might be interesting.


I was wrong. For a memoir that covers a musician with drug addictions and mental illness, this was boring. There's actually very little here because, (it felt like), there was a musical interlude every two minutes.


Perhaps, if you're a die hard James Taylor fan you would enjoy this. I was just wanting it to be over.


A free Audible Original for members.

THE ROO by Alan Baxter

The Roo - Alan Baxter

Romping, chomping, creature-feature FUN!


I was on the outskirts of the Twitter community that spawned the idea for this story. It was fun to see most of those Tweeters turned into characters and killed in the book.


Perhaps a bit heavy on the anti-domestic violence message, but that didn't spoil the overall fun.


Recommended for fans of creature-features!


*I purchased this novella with my hard earned cash.*

THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwater, narrated by Claire Danes

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood, Claire Danes

Finally, I've read this!


I had high expectations for this book, and it didn't quite live up to them, but it came pretty close.


At times, I was outraged and at other times, I was just sad. Mostly because I see the seeds of some of this book's attitudes in our day to day lives now.


I will admit that I was pissed off at how this ended-but I will still read the second book.


*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash.*

THE DEEP by Alma Katsu

The Deep - Alma Katsu

Set aboard the Titanic and aboard her sister ship, the Britanic, Alma Katsu weaves a haunting tale of love, grief, crime and class. Buy your boarding pass now!


I am a fan of alternating timelines and THE DEEP utilized that format. It was sometimes a little jarring, (I mean this in the best of ways), because of how vividly it brought home the differences between the Titanic, (the luxurious ocean-liner catering to the best of the best), and the Britanic, which by 1916 had been converted into a hospital ship serving during WWI. Men facing sudden, life- changing amputations and injuries vs. the creme de la creme of society in their fancy suits and gowns. It's a sharp contrast.


The characters here are well drawn and there's nice variety too: Gay boxers/con-men, those that are obsessed with the spiritual world, degenerate gamblers and cheaters galore. In this way, the writing reminded me a lot of Edith Wharton's characters and settings, and also the characters of Charles Dickens. What a weird combination, right?


Behind all of these interesting characters lurks a bit of a mystery, and perhaps a supernatural one at that. A woman survives the sinking of the Titanic only to find herself on her sister ship a mere four years later. It's quite a different trip this time around but one is left wondering who was haunted here? The ships or the woman?


I'm not gonna lie, I went into this expecting a horror novel. I didn't get one. Turns out, that was okay because I got a fascinating historical fiction story instead. To be honest, as the tale progressed, I was more interested in the goings-on of both ships, than the lack of any real horror. (Other than the horrors of what happened on both of these boats.) To my unpracticed eye, the research seemed well done and like I said-the details of the daily lives of the passengers stole my heart and attention.


THE DEEP may not have been what I expected, but in the end, I think that made me love it all the more.


Highly recommended!


Available March 10th, here: THE DEEP


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

#FridayReads 3.6.2020

The Deep - Alma Katsu The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi

#FridayReads Today, I'm halfway through THE DEEP by @almakatsu. I'm still reading FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION by Doug Rinaldi and I'm listening to THE HANDMAID'S TALE, SPECIAL EDITION, by Margaret Atwood. What are you reading?

— Char's Horror Corner

Reading progress update: I've read 5% and I'm done

There’s a Giant Trapdoor Spider Under Your Bed - Edgar Cantero

This narrator does not work for me. At all. And I'm not interested enough to read it instead. Returned to Prime and I'm moving on. 

Currently reading

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
Progress: 25%
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones
Come Join Us By The Fire by Nicholas Kaufman, Cassandra Khaw, Alyssa Wong, Gwendolyn Kiste, Kat Howard, Kristi DeMeester, Carmen Maria Machado, Michael Wehunt, Brooke Bolander, Kary English, Priya Sharma, Sam J. Miller, Nadia Bulkin, Molly Tanzer, Livia Llewellyn, Simon Strantzas, Robert Levy, Paul
Progress: 15%

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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

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