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


 
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My First Bingo-WOOHOO!!!

  

 

The Bare Naked Squares:

 

 

The Books:

 

Elevation by Stephen King for King of Fear

TERMINAL by Michaelbrent Collings for American Horror Story

Slash by Hunter Shea

Violet by Scott Thomas for Genre: Horror

 Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry for Modern Masters of Horror

SLASH by Hunter Shea

Slash (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

SLASH is the literary equivalent of a B-movie, and I thought it was a blast!

 

5 years after being the sole survivor in a real life urban-exploration trip gone wrong, Ashley is still trying to get over the murders of her friends and her survivor's guilt. The murderer, tagged "The Wraith" by the press, was never caught. Being celebrated as a "final girl" by groups of twisted followers doesn't help her to forget about it. Hearing the news that the site of the murders, the abandoned Hayden Resort, is about to be torn down, brings things even closer to the brink. Her fiancee, Todd, does his best to make sure Ashley feels loved, but even he cannot help her live with what happened. After she hangs herself, Todd discovers clues she left behind, and he, with a few of their very best friends, return to the resort to try to solve the mystery of the massacre, before the Hayden is torn down for good. Will Todd and his friends solve the mystery? Will they survive their visit? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I felt like SLASH was a lot shorter than it actually was, because it was very hard to put down. After a little time meeting the characters and getting to know them, the pace picks up and I actually felt breathless at a couple of points because everything was progressing so fast.

 

What better place than an abandoned resort to set a horror story? Imagine the Stanley Hotel from The Shining, 70 years after it was abandoned. How scary would that be? The isolation and the detritus built up over years of break-ins, kids partying, urban explorers, etc.. both contributed to how real the setting felt and also to an increasing sense of paranoia as our brave group searched for clues. What was that noise? Debris settling, or the Wraith?

 

I can't say anymore without spoiling anything, (the bit about Ash hanging herself is right there in the synopsis). Following along with the B movie spirit of SLASH was a big bunch of fun for me. It was exciting, fast paced, thrilling and, at times, heart breaking. If this sounds like your cuppa, pre-order your copy of SLASH here: SLASH

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of B-movies! *Thanks to Flame Tree Press for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

#FridayReads 10.18.19

The Half-Freaks - Nicole Cushing Full Throttle: Stories - Joe Hill Code Zero - Jonathan Maberry

#FridayReads Today, I'm reading THE HALF-FREAKS by @NicoleCushing. I'm also reading FULL THROTTLE by @joe_hill. Lastly, I'm getting my listen on with @JonathanMaberry's CODE ZERO, narrated by @Ray__Porter. What are you reading? pic.twitter.com/yxUIK44J4G

— Char's Horror Corner

THE LAST CONVERSATION by Paul Tremblay

The Last Conversation - Paul Tremblay

THE LAST CONVERSATION is my second read in the Forward series from Amazon, curated by Blake Crouch.

 

I'm familiar with the works of Paul Tremblay and just read his latest collection GROWING THINGS a few months back. I felt that this story was a bit of a departure from his horror works and it was a change that I enjoyed. Being more of a mystery/science fiction tale, I found the end to be an unexpected surprise- and I love to be surprised!

 

Thanks to Amazon/Audible for the free reads and the original premises upon which these stories are based!

EMERGENCY SKIN by N.K. Jemisin

Emergency Skin - N.K. Jemisin

LOVED. THIS.

 

I don't know how to categorize it, and I don't know what else to say about it. It was intriguing and then it changed into something else altogether. A fable of sorts? Maybe. A warning of sorts? Maybe. Then again, maybe it was just created as a mirror so we could take a good look at ourselves? How about all of the above?

 

Highly recommended!

CARMILLA by Sheridan LeFanu, Narrated By A Full Cast

Carmilla - Hannah Genesius, Audible Studios, Leslie S. Rose, Susan Wooldridge, Phoebe Conn, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, David  Tennant, David Horovitch, James Wilby

Listening to this on audio was somehow a tad better than my last two reads of it.

 

The leanings toward a lesbian relationship comes through much more clearly on audio what with the heavy breathing and little noises of contentment and all.

 

Thanks to Audible Audio Originals for the free download.

IN DARKNESS DELIGHT: CREATURES OF THE NIGHT edited by Evans Light & Andrew Lennon

In Darkness, Delight: Creatures of the Night - Chad Lutzke, Tim Curran, Jeff Strand, Josh Malerman, Andrew Lennon, Glenn Rolfe, Evans Light, Mary SanGiovanni, Richard Chizmar, Ray Garton

Just like the first volume, (IN DARKNESS DELIGHT: MASTERS OF MIDNIGHT), IN DARKNESS DELIGHT: CREATURES OF THE NIGHT is an impressive collection of tales!

 

Creature features are one of my very favorite sub-genres of horror and in this volume, nearly every single story worked for me. There were creatures of all kinds, both great and small, both real and imaginary, (though figuring out which was sometimes difficult!). I can't get into every story within, but the ones that stood out the most were:

 

WHITE RABBIT by Tim Curran.

 

SCALES by Christopher Motz.

 

THE PEOPLE IN THE TOILET BY Mason Morgan. (What a way to kick of this anthology!)

 

SNAP by Kevin Harrison. 

 

INFESTATION by Mikal Trimm. (Roaches! UGH!)

 

RIVER OF NINE TAILS by Mark Cassell. (I got a BAD case of the heebie jeebies from this one.)

 

SURVIVOR by Ray Garton. (Most surprising tale award!)

 

 

HINKLES by Kristopher Rufty.

 

THE UGLY TREE by Gregor Xane (It's been a year since I read a story from this author. This one reminded me of how good he really is.)

 

THE GREEN MAN OF FREETOWN (It becomes clear at the end what the "creature" in this story was. When that happened, I wanted to cry. This was my favorite story in the book.)

 

THE WORMS TURN by Frank Oreto (This didn't turn out at all like I thought it would! Love when that happens.)

 

THE GIANT'S TABLE by Mary SanGiovanni. (The table doesn't belong to giants, but who it does belong to is scary as heck.)

 

I really wanted to write a little bit about each story, but time restraints are in play here. Even though I haven't listed every tale, (this isn't a table of contents, after all), that doesn't mean the ones that aren't listed weren't good. It's just that each of the those I've listed here were OUTSTANDING. I don't know how much more I can say except:

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

Get your copy here: IN DARKNESS, DELIGHT: CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

 

*Thanks to Corpus Press for the fine paperback copy they sent to me, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

#FridayReads 10.11.19

 

GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST by Nicholas Day

Grind Your Bones to Dust - Nicholas Sparks

GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST is a beautifully written, brutal horror novel, but it's also much more.

 

Separated into 4 sections, this book delves into creature feature territory, as well as philosophy, (does God exist? Is God insane? Maybe both, maybe neither?), religion, grief, loss, rape, sodomy, guilt and love. I wouldn't have thought that such a short book could cover so many subjects, but this one was full of surprises. Vicious and extreme horror really aren't my thing anymore, but this story was different. I think the beauty of the language used tempered the more brutal aspects of the scenes within, if that makes any sense.

 

Just when I thought I had mapped out the direction in which the story would go, it turned on me. I find that to be an excellent way of keeping the reader turning the pages. It certainly worked on me.

 

I'm finding it difficult to talk more about this story without spoilers. A few of these characters will remain in my mind for quite some time. One of them might haunt me forever, just because of how cold he was. Cold to every living thing, except for a talking raven that he befriended on his journey. He was so cold I'm surprised my fingers didn't get frostbite.

 

I consider myself to be a seasoned horror fan. For that reason, it's hard to discover plots I haven't come across before. It's hard to escape the same old tropes, final girls, haunted houses, unreliable narrators blah blah blah. This book DID escape them, and it escaped by using original ideas, beautiful prose, and by intertwining the normal with the most abnormal of situations I've ever come across. For this reason, GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST gets ALL THE DAMN STARS.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST

 

*I was provided an old school paper manuscript with illustrations by the author, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

THE GIRL WHO HID IN THE TREES by Steve Stred

The Girl Who Hid in the Trees - Steve Stred, Gavin Kendall

THE GIRL WHO HID IN THE TREES is a creepy novella that left me with a serious case of the willies!

 

In no-where town USA there is a forest-McConnell's Forest. Years ago, Jason lost his older brother, (as well as his brother's gang of friends), in that forest, and the mystery has never been solved. Now that Jason and HIS group of friends are grown, they're tired of hearing the rumors and stories, and they set out in the forest to find the truth. Will they discover what happened? More importantly, will they survive? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

On Saturday, sitting beside my sleeping mom in the nursing home, something rare happened. I found myself with nothing to read! I can think of only a few things more horrific for me. (Having my eyeball poked out with a fork, for instance.) I found this story on my Kindle app and have been meaning to read it for some time, so I did.

 

I immediately found myself drawn in to Jason's life and what it must be like to be "the boy whose brother was murdered in McConnell's Forest." A stigma of sorts was attached to Jason, (as does happen in small towns), but it eventually wore off as Jason got older. I loved the relationship he had with Vanessa and I thought that portion was well written. Once he and his girlfriend shared the fact that they both had had "experiences" in the forest, the fun begins.

 

I thought at that point, everything came racing at me much more quickly than it had in the first half (or so), of the book. I wouldn't have minded a little time spent with the entire group of friends, so that I could get to know them a wee bit better, thereby making what happened to them even more horrific. (Also, I thought it was pushing the envelope that the parents would allow the kids to do what they did so... easily, but I can't get into much more without spoilers.)

 

Overall though, I thought this tale fun, and about what you'd expect it to be from reading the synopsis. I look forward to reading more from this author!

 

Recommended!

#FridayReads 10.4.19

 

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE by Henry Farrell

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? - Henry Farrell

Even though I've seen the film a few times when I saw this book available to download at my local library, I clicked! I'm glad I did.

 

This wasn't exactly like the film, but in all the important ways, it was about the same. I pictured the characters as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis portrayed them, and I think the narrator did a fantastic job.

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to my local library for the free download through the Libby app! Libraries RULE!*

TERMINAL by Michaelbrent Collings

Terminal - Michaelbrent Collings

The Other: All in favor? ME: Aye!!

 

A group of people are in the middle of nowhere, USA, inside a bus terminal. A creepy fog comes rolling in and then, not surprisingly, a bus. This is no ordinary bus, though, and this is no ordinary fog either. Before they know it, they're trapped together, they're running out of time and only one of them will survive. What is going on here? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I've read a few books by this author before, so I went into this one knowing that it would probably feature short chapters and memorable characters. As the story progresses, we get to know each of the people stuck at the terminal and we learn how they got there. I also knew that I couldn't trust any of it! Little by little we discover the secrets of each individual and this is what makes this different from your average thriller of this type: the characters.

 

I read one review where someone noted that this character background stuff was boring and got in the way of the action, but for me? If I want to see action, I'll go see a Terminator film. Part of what makes a good book for me is characters I care about. Even though many in this group were not good people, their background provided reasons why they got where they were. They weren't perfect but they were human.

 

I did find a little bit of repetition, but when you have one situation presented in different points of view, that can happen. I didn't find it overly bothersome, but because of it I did deduct one star.

 

 

Once I sat down last night to read the last third of the book-I knew I was going to stay sat until I finished it. I was turning pages like a hurricane wind came through and when everything wrapped up? I felt sad that it was over.

 

THE TERMINAL is a fun, fast-paced, mystery-thriller and I had a great time reading it!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to the author for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

HARRY CLARKE WITH BONUS PERFORMANCE: LILLIAN

Harry Clarke: With Bonus Performance: Lillian - Billy Crudup, Audible Original, David Cale, David Cale

HARRY CLARKE WITH BONUS PERFORMANCE: LILLIAN was a satisfying listen.

 

The first story was a one man play performed by Billy Crudup. His performance was astonishing! I felt a distinct Mr. Ripley vibe, but I cannot say anymore about that without spoilers. The energy with which this performance was given was contagious and it fired me up.

 

 

The second piece, Lillian, was okay I guess, but after the energy in the first, it came off as a bit slow, but I did enjoy it overall.

 

Thanks to Audible for this Original I downloaded when I was still a member.

#FridayReads 9.27.19

 

A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL by John Hornor Jacobs

A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror - John Hornor Jacobs, Chuck Wendig

After reading THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY, I became an instant fan of John Hornor Jacobs. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL reassured me that my respect and high esteem for the man was earned and well placed.

 

This book is comprised of two stories, the first a novella, (the aforementioned THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY), and the second, a short novel titled MY HEART STRUCK SORROW. This review is going to focus almost solely on the second tale. When I saw on Twitter that this book was coming out, I clicked the pre-order button right away. (There wasn't a description there yet, and I didn't know that THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY was going to be included. When I did discover that, I didn't care because...support.) You can find my review of THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY here:

 THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY

 

I went into MY HEART STRUCK SORROW almost totally blind. I was excited to find out that music was a central theme to this tale. I'm a lover of Blues music and I'm fascinated by many of the old artists who were the basis for a lot of the popular music of today. You cannot imagine how stoked I was to find a deep connection with music from the old south in this book.

 

Cromwell and Harriet are called in to the Parker estate to itemize and catalog Parker's extensive collection of old acetate recordings and journals. I loved this way of framing the story as we are then taken to Parker's point of view for much of the book. He was traveling the south interviewing and recording musicians as an ethnomusicologist, (like the real-life Alan Lomax), dedicated to capturing and preserving music. He traveled with a SoundScriber, the heavy, awkward machine with which he recorded said musicians.

 

These artists and the areas in which they lived were brought to vivid life in my mind's eye. I easily pictured them. I smelled them. I felt the humidity and heat of the south. I felt the humanity in their songs, and how they changed from one town to another, especially the songs about Stagger Lee. (Or Stacker Lee, or whatever title was used.)

 

"In Mississippi, in the delta of Arkansas and northern Louisiana, they speak in harsh tones, clipped syllables, as if their entire morphology of communication were angry and inflamed."

 

One of the men he interviews, Honeyboy, is actually in prison. Parker is able to obtain permission to interview and record him. During those scenes I came across this passage:

 

"Even the guards laughed at this, and for a while the barracks were full of the laughter of incarcerated men. They sounded like any group of men gathered together. Each full of his own particular sorrow, his mirth, his guilt, the comet's tail of his existence pulling wreckage after him."

 

This got me to thinking about my comet's tail and what kind of wreckage I carry around within it.

 

Jacobs deftly weaves the threads of the past and the present, most especially those of Parker and Cromwell. Turns out they had a few things in common. I didn't see what they were at first, but as this tale unraveled, I did. Grief, loss and most of all, guilt, come to each life-how we handle those things, or not handle them as the case may be, made for an engaging and stunning denouement.

 

I find myself lacking the words and/or skills to properly communicate to you how this book made me feel and why I think you should read it. The tales within are distinctly different from each other, one more a tale of torture, politics and cosmic horror, the other- for me, being at heart a story of loss, guilt, and grief, well framed and partially hidden in a tale about blues and folk music. I'm not going to pretend that I "got" everything there is to get with this story, I already know I will read it again. I'm not going to pretend that I know a lot about ethnomusicology, but I can say I want to learn more about it and about Alan Lomax in general.

 

Leaving behind my inadequacies in getting across how this tale made me feel, I'll wrap with saying that both stories here are extremely well written, unique, thought provoking and powerful. I'll leave you with this quote:

 

"We are sound waves crashing against the shore with no SoundScriber to take down our likeness, our facsimile. Words like these are just echoes of that original sound. We are but small vibrations on the face of the universe."

 

With that, my fellow small vibration on the face of the universe, I give A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL my HIGHEST recommendation!

 

Available everywhere October 8th, but you can pre-order here: A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL

 

*Thanks to Harper Voyager and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. I'm buying the book anyway, but I got to read it sooner this way!*

 

**Please forgive me for the quotes, but I felt they were necessary to help convey me feelings.**

Currently reading

The Half-Freaks by Nicole Cushing
Progress: 30/116pages
Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry
Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill
Progress: 18%

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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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