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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Reading progress update: I've read 25% and...

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

this book is fascinating!

 

I had never before heard about this case or the Osage tribe in general. Now that I'm learning about them and their experiences with white men and the government, I find myself ashamed of my country and its history. It's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. 

 

This book reads like fiction, and I can't believe this story isn't more well known. 

Booklikes-opoly Roll 2!

Bank: $20

 

I previously rolled a 7 and am currently located on Fantasyland 7. Since nothing on my reading schedule fit the bill, I just waited until today to roll again. I rolled a 6, which brings me to: 

 

 

 

The rules say: Roll the electronic dice, and perform the task that corresponds to your roll!

 

I rolled a 7 which says: 7. Double your dollars on your next read!

 

So, whoohoo! I haven't actually read anything for the challenge as of yet,  so I'll just note down that I get double dollars for my next read and wait until Friday to roll again!

Nightmare of the Dead by Vincenzo Bilof

Nightmare Of The Dead - Vincenzo Bilof

 

Nightmare of the Dead was a different kind of zombie/cannibal novel and I'm torn over it.

 

On the one hand, I enjoyed the creativity and imagination that went into this story. We have the Union and the Confederacy battling it out, with one side using medical experimentation to create the perfect type of soldier. And somehow this was done with a horror/western type feel to it-kudos to the author for that.

 

On the other hand, the writing felt disjointed. At times there seemed to be parts that were rewritten and inserted without regard for the paragraphs before and after. There were also a lot of missing words. These issues did bother me and took me out of the flow of the story more than once.

 

The author's descriptive skills were excellent and believe you me, there is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and rape here to describe. In that vein, Mr. Bilof's writing put me in mind of Tim Curran, whose imagination is beyond compare.

 

This was a quick reading, short novel and I did enjoy it, it's just that the writing could have been better. I would read more of this author's work in the future, in the hopes that he's honing his craft. If that's the case, then we certainly have not seen the last of Vincenzo Bilof.

It's My First Booklikes-Opoly Roll!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm now in FantasyLand! 

 

 

This fits absolutely NOTHING on my TBR and since I can't fit anything extra into my reading schedule right now, I shall sit things out until the 19th, when I can roll again. 

Dark Screams: Volume 6 edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar

Dark Screams: Volume Six - Stephen King, Norman Prentiss, Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman, Joyce Carol Oates

Dark Screams: Volume Six was the best installment of this series so far! My favorites this time around were from the lesser known authors, most especially Tim Curran, who deserves to be as famous as Stephen King.

 

Tim Curran's The Corpse King was easily the best story, in my book. Being novella length, Mr. Curran got to do what he does best, which is putting his imagination to work, side by side with his knowledge of history. The result is this nasty, disgusting, and fun story about grave-robbers and what things, (other than corpses), might be waiting for them down below. A resounding 5 stars with applause!

 

Norman Prentiss' The Comforting Voice was a beautifully told story about baby Lydia and how she loves the sound of her grampa's voice. But what happens when grampa passes away? You'll have to read this to find out. 5 FAT stars!

 

The Rich Are Different by Lisa Morton was a nice story, but for me, lacked a good punch. Plus, the insta-love, (a term I learned from my romance-loving friends), didn't really work for me. It was still a cool premise though. 3.5 stars!

 

I liked King's story, The Old Dude's Ticker. It had that feel of a classic SK story, and that's always a good thing. 3 stars!

 

Overall, this anthology was above average, and I highly recommend it, especially if these stories sound interesting to you. There's something here for every type of horror lover, and it's rare that a collection have such a wide range of appeal.

 

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

The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Firth, Peter David, Richard Isanove

The Dark Tower, Volume 5: Battle of Jericho Hill - Peter David, Stephen King, Richard Ianove, Jae Lee, Robin Furth

This was another beautiful installment in the Dark Tower series. The artwork is stunning, even though I am missing Jae Lee.

 

 

Taking place 9 years after the fall of Gilead, we pick up the ka-tet attempting to stand against the forces of evil at Jericho Hill. This is where it all happens, (no spoilers), and I'll admit it brought a tear to this cold heart.

 

I can't wait for the next one! (Thanks to my local library, I don't have to!)

Jericho's Razor by Casey Doran

Jericho's Razor (Jericho Sands) - Casey Doran

 

Jericho's Razor is a fast paced thrill ride, dodging the bad guys and the police until the very last page! What a blast!

 

Jericho Sands is a horror author being stalked by a serial killer. I know that it sounds like it's been done, and it has, but I think this one was above average. Being the son of serial killers himself, Jericho get his bad juju out through his writing. His character, Christian Black, acts out the things that Jericho has thought about and even seen during his time growing up. But now, someone is acting out the role of Christian and trying to pin it on Jericho. Who could it be and what do they want? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I read the review of a Goodreads friend, (that'd be you, Bandit), and decided I needed to read this one for myself. I'm glad I did! Despite more than a few missing words and a couple of grammatical errors, I enjoyed this book. I read it in only 3 sittings and never once felt bored or questioned the motivations of the characters. A couple of them were rather cliche, (ambitious local politician, I'm looking at you), but overall I think Jericho's Razor was a resounding debut novel and I recommend it! I'll be looking forward to reading the next one later this year.

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the free e-copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

The Late Breakfasters by Robert Aickman, narrated by Matt Godfrey

The Late Breakfasters and Other Strange Stories (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Philip Challinor, Robert Aickman, Matt Godfrey

It pains me to say it, but I did not like this book. At all.

 

I knew going in that it might not work for me. I've read one of Aickman's collections so far, and many of the stories left me unsatisfied. But, it was just one collection; maybe I read it wrong? It happens. But after listening to this wonderfully narrated story, I think it will be a long time before I attempt to read the other Aickman collection that I own.

 

The man writes beautifully, there's no doubt about it. He is also capable of sly social commentary and has a keen eye for the reasons behind certain behaviors; I appreciate that. But, and forgive me for asking, where is the damn story? This seemed more like a rambling tale about repressed sexual feelings, that sometimes features a nice enough lady named Grizelda. There are a few, I stress FEW, weird moments...and that's about it.

 

The narration here is fantastic and to be honest, if it weren't for Matt Godfrey's soothing voice, I would have ditched this book without finishing. It seems like with such promise in the voices, the story just HAD to get better, or at least show up. But sadly, it never did.

 

As I mentioned, the prose itself was excellent as was the narration, hence my 3 star rating. If I were rating on narration and quality of prose ONLY, it would be 5 stars. But for me, there has to be a story, and here I could not find one. This is obviously how I and I alone feel about The Late Breakfasters. Your mileage may vary.

 

*I received this audiobook free from the narrator in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Elizabeth by Ken Greenhall

Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural - Jonathan Janz, Ken Greenhall, Jessica Hamilton

 

NEVER have I been so unsettled reading a book narrated by a 14 year old girl. But perhaps that is because Elizabeth is not your ordinary teenager. She's descended from a long line of witches and is now discovering the power within her. Or is she? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The prose in this book is simply outstanding. It's chilling at times because the narrator seems to have no feelings whatsoever. She talks about sex, acts of violence, and eating breakfast all in the same tone. Sometimes I would need to read a sentence or paragraph over again to be sure that I read it correctly.

 

Then, there's the sex. It's not graphic at all, there are no mentions of sex organs or the mechanics of the act itself...it's just there. Perhaps that is why it never bothered me, as sex between a 14 year old girl and adults should. Then again, perhaps it is because Elizabeth herself never expresses any feeling about it, she only mentions it as a...tool, (please forgive the half-hearted pun), to get what she wants.

 

The entire time I was reading, I was wondering if Elizabeth, indeed, possessed supernatural powers. Was everything going on simply a matter of coincidence and her overactive imagination? Or were these things actually happening because of her actions? (In this regard, Elizabeth reminds me of one of my favorite books, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR by Anne Rivers Siddons.) It was the masterful writing of Mr. Greenhall that had me turning this fact over and over again in my mind. I know what conclusion I came to, I'm interested in yours!

 

This novel reminds me of why I became a horror fan in the first place, it wasn't the gore or the blood, (though those DO have their place and I love them too), it's human nature and what people can be capable of, underneath their ordinary facades. These days we have tons of books and TV shows about sociopaths/psychopaths/personality disorders-all of which are trying to explain things to us. Mr. Greenhall wrote this back in the day, (the 1970's), before FBI profiling and Criminal Minds. Even without all of those studies and the psychiatric manuals, he had this criminal profile down PAT.

 

Is Elizabeth continuing on her family's tradition of witchcraft, or is she another type of animal altogether? I HIGHLY recommend you read this book, and then come talk to me. We'll discuss it together!

 

*Thank you to the most awesome Valancourt Books for the free review copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

 

**Furthermore, thanks to Valancourt for bringing back these horror gems that may otherwise have been entirely forgotten. Bravo, guys! Bravo!**

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

Roughneck - Jeff Lemire

 

Set in a cold and bleak Canadian town, Roughneck is the story of a retired hockey player trying to put his life back together.

 

The e-ARC I received is mostly black and white, (except for the first 15 pages or so, which have this nice, light blue, cold feeling to them), but from what I've read the final copy will be in color. For me though, the black and white worked quite well.

 

Derek Ouellette is trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Being that he already is a tough guy, the drinking doesn't bring out the best in him. Then, when his long lost sister Bethy shows up, (on the run from her latest abusive boyfriend), things get even worse. Derek tries to do the right thing, but can he make it happen? You'll have to read Roughneck to find out.

 

I've not heard of Jeff Lemire before, but I requested an ARC of this graphic novel based on the description alone. I'm so glad I did! I enjoyed the artwork, the isolation of the setting, and the realistic view of the characters. I'm not sure if there are going to be more books about Derek and his sister in the future, but if there are? Count me in!

 

Recommended for fans of cold, bleak settings and tough guy ex-NHL players that can drop the gloves and go in a second's time!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery books for the free e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Ararat by Christopher Golden

Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

After an earthquake in Turkey, a massive opening is revealed in the side of a mountain, and the ship discovered inside that opening is the setting for Ararat.

 

Adam and Meryam, an adventurous engaged couple, lead an expedition to explore what is thought by many to be Noah's Ark. Their team includes archaeologists, representatives of Turkey, mountain guides and a priest, among others. Once up the mountain and inside, they discover what seems to be some type of coffin. Is this really Noah's Ark? What's in the coffin? More importantly, will the team get out alive? You will have to read this to find out!

 

Ararat raced along barely letting me catch my breath. As the team's investigation into the ship and its contents progressed, the story became darker and the tension hummed along. The main characters were all complicated which added a lot to the atmosphere, especially towards the end. Once I hit the second half of this book, it became impossible to put down and I finished it in one shot. By that time, I had developed real feelings for a few of these people and I just had to see what happened to them, and let me tell you, that ending? I can't remember reading a more satisfying finale than this in a long, long time. Bravo!

 

A tale of isolation, frigid temperatures, snow, and something unknown; I can't help but be reminded of one of my favorite horror movies of all time, (based on a novel by John Campbell), called The Thing. This novel is slightly more complicated, but the atmosphere and the tension are there in spades, and what horror fan doesn't love that?

 

Ararat is everything it promises in the synopsis and more. I cannot think of anything that could have been done better, because this book is already perfect. My highest recommendation, most especially to fans of The Thing, or The Terror by Dan Simmons. Ararat is a MUST READ!

 

Available on April 18th here: Ararat: A Novel

 

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

I've read 10% and I'm quitting.

Dear Sweet Filthy World - Caitlín R. Kiernan

 

I've been dragging my feet on this for two months and I've decided to throw in the towel. I can't bring myself to read any more solid walls of text.

 

"Great swaths of the rocky seafloor rising up to meet her beneath a carpet of calcified cyanobacteria and the branching lobes and solitary cups of archaeocyath sponges.There are knotted clusters formed by problematic chancellorids, an enigma to taxonomists, who must place all organisms in this box or that box; the chancellorids may be only sponges, or they may be slug like halkieriids protected inside their skins of star shaped, calcareous sclerites."

 

I wanted to like this so much, but I just can't get into it.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC, but since I did not finish, I do not feel it's fair for me to rate or review at this time.*

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror, edited by Mark Matthews

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.

 

Garden of Fiends is an unflinching and intense collection of addiction stories from some of the best authors in the business. It is not for the weak of heart, but neither is addiction. Let's take a brief, but closer look at the tales within:

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke: Alcoholism is no joke and many find that they cannot quit on their own and seek out help from programs like AA. This story does not shy away from the absolute power that is addiction and then it slays the reader with its powerful ending. 5* 

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh: This tale was twisted as twisted can be. (At least I thought so until I read Max Booth III's story, but more on that in a moment.) A hard, direct look at the downward spiral of addiction and the other crimes associated with it. After all, drugs often cost an arm and a leg. 4*

 

Everywhere You've Bled and Everywhere You Will by Max Booth III: Combine a heroin addiction, blood everywhere and spiders and what have you got? You have this graphic and dare I say... disgusting?, tale of heroin dependence. You'll need a strong stomach for this one, but I think it's worth it! 5*

 

Last Call by John FD Taff: This was another story of alcoholism. This one shows us that there are no shortcuts to sober. 4*

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch: Demons abound in this story and not all of them are drug related. 3.5*

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Matthews: A tale about how addiction affects everyone surrounding the addict. It floods out like the ripples on a calm lake,  as do the effects of eating anything from this particular garden. 5*

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum: here we have another tale of alcoholism, but with the twist of also involving a ghost. Short and to the point, this one punched me right in the gut. 5*

 

To be all technical about it, my ratings add up to a 4.5, but after thinking about this collection overnight, I think it adds up to more than the sum of its parts, so 5 fat stars it is!

 

My highest recommendation to those readers who are strong of heart!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror">Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror"> 

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

**Further, I consider Mark Matthews a friend, albeit online only. This did not affect the content of my review.*

I've read 97% and...

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.

all I've got left to read is the story written by Jack Ketchum. Nearly every tale in this collection worked well for me and that's always a good thing. 

 

Kindred by Octavia Butler, narrated by Kim Staunton

Kindred - Octavia E. Butler, Kim Staunton

Expecting to be knocked out by this book, I was a little disappointed.

 

 Yes, it's an excellent time travel tale and I learned some things about slavery. However, I expected/wanted the prose to be...exquisite, yet what I received were somewhat simple sentences and a lot of repetition. Lastly, I couldn't help but want an explanation for the time travel-something, anything. Any attempt at all would have been better than nothing in this humble reader's opinion.

 

I listened to this on audio, narrated by Kim Staunton and I thought her voicing was perfect.

 

I'm glad that I finally read this classic, but I'm not sure I'll tackle it again in the future.

March 2017 Round Up!

Knottspeed: A Love Story - Jeff Johnson The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett All Souls' Night - Matt Godfrey, Valancourt Books, Sir Hugh Walpole Wallflower - Chad Lutzke The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3 (Walking Dead Compendium Tp) - Charlie Adlard, Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman The Dark Tower, Volume 1: The Gunslinger Born - Richard Isanove, Jae Lee, Robin Furth, Peter David, Stephen King Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix, Ken Greenhall, Jessica Hamilton 20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill, Christopher Golden Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes - Jeff Johnson

 

I've read a bunch 'o books this month in all kinds of genres!

 

Graphic Novels

The Walking Dead Compendium 3

The Dark Tower Volume 1: The Gunslinger Born

The Dark Tower Volume 2:The Long Road Home

Batman (Rebirth) Volume 2: I am Suicide

The Dark Tower Volume 3: Treachery

 

Total: 5

 

Audio Books

All Souls' Night by Hugh Walpole

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

 

Total: 2

 

E-Arcs

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall

Knottspeed by Jeff Johnson

Wallflower by Chad Lutzke

Lucky Supreme by Jeff Johnson

 

Total: 4

 

Random Books

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

Man & Monster by Michael Jensen

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch

 

Total Books Read in March: 15

 

Reading Challenges:

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

(Horror Aficionados Group on GR)

Goal: Read 40 books that I already own during 2017

 

January count: 1-Dominoes by John Boden

February count: 2 Hometown by Luke Walker, Disembodied by Anthony Hains

March count: 0

Running count: 3

 

Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge: 

Goal: Read Horror Books!

 

January Books: 5

February Books Read for Challenge: 3

March Books Read for Challenge: 4

Running Count: 12

 

Graphic Novel Challenge: 

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017  

 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

Running count: 12

 

Keep Calm and Read On!

 

 

 

 

 

Currently reading

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough, Edward Herrmann
Progress: 70%
The Creeps: A Deep Dark Fears Collection by Fran Krause
Progress: 45/144pages
Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse by Amanda Horan, Graeme Parker, Jack Strange
Progress: 32/268pages

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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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