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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Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, narrated by Penelope Rawlins

Talulla Rising - Penelope Rawlins, Glen Duncan

 

When I was listening to THE LAST WEREWOLF, I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series. I liked the bloodiness of it, and I enjoyed the world building, but was less than thrilled with the tons of graphic sex going on.

EAT, FUCK, KILL is the werewolf mantra.

(show spoiler)

 

However, there was such a great hook at the end of the narrative AND the library had the audio of this one in stock, and here we are!

 

Right now, I feel the same way as I did when I finished the first book in the series. Here there were many surprises, (maybe too many to be believed, but hey-it's a werewolf book), and a good amount of action. However, I didn't feel that the quality of the writing was quite as good as THE LAST WEREWOLF.

 

Once again, close to the end, there is another surprising tidbit that makes me want to continue on with the series. This time, though, I'm going to read a few books in between, and then see if I still feel like continuing.

 

*I checked this audio out from my local library for FREE. LIBRARIES RULE!*

November 2017 Round up!

The Devoured - Jason Sprenger, Curtis M. Lawson, Curtis M. Lawson Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson Deadbomb Bingo Ray - Jeff Johnson The Travelling Grave and Other Stories - L.P. Hartley, John Howard Reid Room - Emma Donoghue Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains Childgrave - Ken Greenhall The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror - Eric C. Higgs The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

I read 12 books during the month of November!

 

Audio books:

 

The Devoured by Curtis Lawson

Room by Emma Donohue

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS:

 

Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson

The Traveling Grave and Other Stories  by L.P. Hartley

Childgrave by Ken Greenhall

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror by Eric Higgs

The Listener by Robert McCammon

 

Total: 5

 

Reads for Review:

 

Sweet Aswang by Anthony Hains

Red Room Magazine Issue One

 

Total: 2

 

Random Reads:

 

Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson

 

Total: 1

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley

September: 1  Carter & Lovecraft

October: 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)

November: 0

Running Count: 7

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

August count: 5

September: 1

October: 1

November: 0

 

Running Count: 35!

Challenge Met!

Alive in Shape and Color, edited by Lawrence Block

Alive in Shape and Color: 16 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired - Lawrence Block

 

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this collection as much as I did last year's: IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW, which contained stories centered around the art of Edward Hopper. This time around, the authors got to choose whichever artist/painting they liked, upon which to base their stories.

 

If you had to guess which artist upon whom Michael Connolly based his story, it would be easy for anyone familiar with his work to do so. For those of you who are not familiar with Connolly's fictional detective Harry Bosch, his name comes from the painter Hieronymous Bosch, and this story was inspired by Bosch's work "The Garden of Earthly Delights," (the third panel). This was my favorite story within-short, sharp and packing a punch.

 

Jeffrey Deaver also impressed me with his story inspired by prehistoric cave drawings at Lascaux. This clever little revenge tale takes place in the present and perhaps captures the intricacies and competition within the world of archaeology.

 

S.J. Rozan's story was inspired by "The Great Wave" by Hokusai. I was not previously familiar with Rozan or Hokusai, but now I feel compelled to learn more about them both. This tale was another gut puncher, but somehow I finished it feeling satisfied and happy for the protagonist.

 

The Great Wave by Hokusai

 

Lastly, Joe Lansdale's tale was inspired by Norman Rockwell's "First Trip to the Beauty Shop." Even though the painting is perky and cute, the story is definitely not. It was sad, poignant, and scary-all at the same time. I enjoyed the heck out of it. 

 

 

All told, that's 4 stories that impressed me a great deal. That's pretty good for any old anthology, but I expected so much more from this one, based on my experience with IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW. Perhaps it was a case of being disappointed by my own high expectations, or perhaps it's just that these tales didn't work as well for me as they did for other people. Whatever the case, I'm glad I read this anthology, otherwise I would have been wondering what I had missed.

 

Recommended!

 

Alive in Shape and Color

 

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

Task for Square 15: Boxing Day-

 

Bamma in a Box!

 

 

Updated Bingo Card!

 

 

Bonus Point for Melbourne Cup +1

1 point: Epitaph (square 1) Woman in Black
2 points for squares 6+9 (Childgrave and Deadbomb Bingo Ray)
1 points for squares 2 (Bon Om Touk)
1 for square 4 Thanksgiving Day (Things for which I'm grateful)

1 point for playing the Dreidel Game 

1 point for square 15: Boxing Day

Running Total: 8 points

16 Festive Tasks Updated Card as of: 11.30.17

 

 

Bonus Point for Melbourne Cup +1

1 point: Epitaph (square 1) Woman in Black
2 points for squares 6+9 (Childgrave and Deadbomb Bingo Ray)
1 points for squares 2 (Bon Om Touk)
1 for square 4 Thanksgiving Day (Things for which I'm grateful)

1 point for playing the Dreidel Game 

Running Total: 7 points

Task For Square 8: Hanukkah-The Dreidel Game

 

My last read was just not working for me, even though I did like the premise. Does that ever happen to you? I set it aside for now and I do intend to go back to it, just not for a little while.

 

So that leaves me in need of something to read! I have so many ARCS and older books that I own and I want to read them all right now. Since I'm not that talented I've chosen these four overdue ARCS :

 

נ (Nun)-Sing Unburied Sing Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward  ג (Gimel) Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers - Joe R. Lansdale  

 

 

 

 

 

ה (He) Artemis Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir   ש (Shin) Gather the Daughters: A Novel - Jennie Melamed  

 

 

And I'm spinning the dreidel now.......and the result is: 

 

 

 

Which means, (I think!) that I'm starting Artemis by Andy Weir!

The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories: Volume Two

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New Release! December is just around the corner, and you know what that means: it's time for more Victorian Christmas ghost stories! Volume 2 is on sale today in paperback, hardcover & ebook and includes 15 rare tales of Yuletide terror, most never before reprinted, plus an introduction by Allen Grove. Last year's volume is also still available!

 

 

Fifteen more chilling tales of Yuletide terror, collected from rare Victorian periodicals 

Following the popularity of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843), Victorian newspapers and magazines frequently featured ghost stories at Christmas time, and reading them by candlelight or the fireside became an annual tradition. This second volume of Victorian Christmas ghost stories contains fifteen tales, most of which have never been reprinted. They represent a mix of the diverse styles and themes common to Victorian ghost fiction and include works by once-popular authors like Grant Allen and Eliza Lynn Linton as well as contributions from anonymous or wholly forgotten writers. This volume also features a new introduction by Prof. Allen Grove.

“At first I was aware only of a bluish, misty, phosphorescent light, and then a ghastly terror, that froze the very blood in my veins, seized me, for suddenly I saw rise up out of the inky darkness the form of a man—the eyes of a hideous red, fixed on mine with a look of hate ...” - Coulson Kernahan, “Haunted!”

“As I stood in breathless horror, unable to stir a limb, the figure raised its arm, a skeleton hand emerged from the heavy folds of the cloak, and touched my elbow. A scorching pain shot through me, I uttered a shriek——” - Emily Arnold, “The Ghost of the Treasure-Chamber”

“Again that shudder passed through his body, and again he unwillingly met the glance of those diabolical eyes upon the scroll. Horror of horrors! was the face alive, or was he going mad?” - Anonymous, “The Weird Violin”

Contents:

Albert Smith, "A Real Country Ghost Story" • Emily Arnold, "The Secret of the Treasure Chamber" • Theo Gift, "Number Two, Melrose Square" • Anonymous, "The Weird Violin" • E. Morant Cox, "Walsham Grange" • Coulson Kernahan, "Haunted!" • W. W. Fenn, "The Steel Mirror" • Anonymous, "White Satin" • Alfred Crowquill, "Nicodemus" • Grant Allen, "Wolverden Tower" • Eliza Lynn Linton, "Christmas Eve at Beach House" • Isabella F. Romer, "The Necromancer" • James Grant, "The Veiled Portrait" • Anonymous, "The Ghost Chamber" • A. S., "The Terrible Retribution"

Now available:

Hardcover
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Paperback
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK
eBook
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Red Room Magazine of Extreme Horror and Hardcore Dark Crime: Issue 1

Red Room Issue 1: Magazine of Extreme Horror and Hardcore Dark Crime (Red Room Magazine) - Universidad del Valle Jhon Saul GilTestimonio: Jhon Saul Gil en programa "Tiempo de Letras", Meg Elison, David James Keaton, Cheryl Mullenax, Randy Chandler, Jack Ketchum, Tim Waggoner

RED ROOM ISSUE 1: MAGAZINE OF EXTREME HORROR AND HARDCORE DARK CRIME contained a ton of variety not only in the stories showcased, but also in their cool features such as: Barfly Bob's Highballs and Lowballs. This is an article which talks about some of the most disgusting adult beverages I've heard of. I mean, really, how many magazines have articles featuring 3 dick cocktails?  Not too damn many!

 

The stories here were also quite entertaining: my favorite probably being MEAT CUTE by Larry Hinks. This is an hilarious flash fiction piece which left me getting looks at the coffee shop because I was laughing out loud so damn hard. (Not that it wasn't bizarre or horrifying because it WAS, I am just a sick person.)

 

Jack Ketchum's MEGAN'S LAW came in a close second, with a last sentence that kicks you HARD right in the gut. In a weird development, I listened to the latest episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene on Saturday morning, and there was a feature where Phoebe, (a show regular), interviewed a bunch of authors at the last Scares that Care convention. She asked all of them what their favorite short stories were and why. MEGAN'S LAW was mentioned in those interviews, so imagine my surprise when I neared the end of the magazine and there the story was. I can't remember which author chose this as their favorite story, but I can easily see why they did. Bravo to Jack Ketchum! (And a big FU to child molesters.)

 

THE MIDDLE CHILD by Meg Ellison was a nice surprise. A sly commentary on the state of affairs in this country as regards reality television and what people will do to be even a small part of it. I think it also comments on the people watching this stuff, without whom there would be NO reality TV. I like to discover new authors through anthologies and magazines like this one, and Meg Ellison is one to watch, I think. (There's also an interview with her included at the end of the story.)

 

SICK JOKES by Josh Scott Wilson was an innovative story in that I couldn't really tell where it was going for most of the time I was reading it. And then I agreed: Sick Jokes indeed!

 

The Video Nasties feature by Duane Bradley talked about how difficult it was to get VHS versions of some films in the UK. I had no idea this type of censorship occurred over there during the VHS movie boom, so I found this article enlightening.

 

Even though my days of enjoying bizarre and/or extreme horror are winding down, I thought this magazine was well put together, with beautiful artwork and stories that were chosen with care and quality in mind. Even a "quiet horror" fan such as myself admired the talents of the authors herein and will probably make an exception in my reading habits for the next issue.

 

Highly recommended, especially for fans of extreme horror!

 

You can get your own copy here: Red Room Magazine Issue 1 *I received a free digital ARC of this magazine in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

Thanksgiving Day Task

Square 4:

Tasks for Thanksgiving Day: List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.

 

 

I forgot to take a picture of our feast yesterday, so I'm fulfilling the task for Thanksgiving Day by listing 5 things I am grateful for:

 

1. My healthy family and my own health. My mom is doing better than expected at this point with her Alzheimer's journey and I was glad to have her at my home yesterday. My spondylitis is currently in remission. This doesn't mean I am free from arthritis pain, but the arthritis is not progressing. So, whoohooo!

 

2. My healthy and happy adopted kitties-Felix and Alabama. 

 

 

3. My friend Andi! She comes to the book festival with me every year and we have a blast!

 

4. All of my book-reading friends here at Booklikes and my Horror Aficionados peeps over at Goodreads. I love talking books with you guys!

 

5. BOOKS. ALL THE BOOKS. ALL THE BOOKS I'VE READ AND THOSE I WANT TO READ. BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!

 

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter

The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel - Matthew Quick, Inc. Blackstone Audio,  Inc., Darwin Porter

 

Thanks to Audible for offering this audiobook free, way back when. I finally got around to listening to it and I loved it. It even made me tear up at the end. It's very different from the movie, but excellent in its own right.

 

Highly recommended!

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, narrated by Robin Sachs

The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1) - Glen Duncan, Robin Sachs

 

 The Last Werewolf is not what I expected it to be, but I enjoyed it. I listened to it on audio and the narrator was excellent.

 

There is a lot of explicit sex and this book depicts werewolves as the beings they are-don't expect everything to be all prettied up because you'll be disappointed.

 

I read this with my reading group and even though I didn't LOVE this book, I think I will continue with the next-just not right away.

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror by Eric C. Higgs

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror - Eric C. Higgs

THE HAPPY MAN: A TALE OF HORROR is one bizarre piece of work from the 80's, brought back by Valancourt Books. I finished this book on Saturday and I still am not sure what to make of it!

 

A couple moves in to a new housing development in a suburb of San Diego. Charles Ripley and his wife are mostly on an even keel, despite a tragedy that occurred shortly after the move. Then, the Marsh's move in next door and even though they don't know it, the lives of the Ripley's are soon about to change.

 

First-the good. It is very difficult to put this book down. The chapters are short, (heck, the BOOK is short), and fast paced. Once things start happening, they don't stop happening until the very end.

 

Second-the baffling. I'm not sure what the point of THE HAPPY MAN is supposed to be? I'm pretty sure there's some commentary going on here about housing developments, suburbia, immigration, sex, monogamy, corporate America, family dynamics, drug use, the decline of morals in society and so on, but was that the point? I don't know!

 

Perhaps it's this simple: A man thought he was happy and then was shown that he wasn't? Or that it didn't take all that much to turn a happy, regular guy into something else altogether? Maybe everything is just as much a facade as was Charles Ripley's demeanor? Charles wasn't that good of a guy in the first place and it only took a small nudge to send him down the road of....well, you'll have to read this to find out.

 

I'm going with a 4/5 star rating because I'm still thinking about this short novel days later and also because it was VERY difficult to put down once started. I'm also going with RECOMMENDED, if only so that you and I could talk about it and I could see what you think, when you're done!

 

You can get a copy here: The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror

 

*I received an e-book free from Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

I met Grim & Libromancer's Apprentice!

 

Last night I got to meet both Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice at an author event held at a local library. What fun!

 

This means I also got to meet Scott Lynch, (author of The Lies of Locke Lamora, Gentlemen Bastard Series #1), and Elizabeth Bear, (author of a whole bunch of stuff!). They're a married couple and just so cute together. They were both also very generous with their time and answered all of our questions. I'm so glad that I went!

 

I have to admit to being slightly nervous as I've not met anyone from Booklikes before, but it all went swimmingly. Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice were both as nice in person as they are on line and Grim even brought me books and made cookies! I let her know beforehand that my kitties might not warm up to her, so she brought them a kitty wind-up toy filled with catnip. She was able to pet them both before the night was out, which is unheard of! (They were both adopted and even though we've had them since January, they are still jumpy around strangers.)

 

As I said, I was very nervous about the whole night but everything turned out great! Grim and LA-it was a pleasure meeting you both and I hope we can get together again sometime in the future. :)

 

 

 

 

16 Festive Tasks Update!

In the cases where a book task has been completed, the cover of the book is posted in the square. If another task has been completed there's a little Christmas ornament. 

4 tasks completed so far + 1 bonus point from the horserace = 5 points total!

Square 6: Saint Nicholas Day & Square 2: Bon Om Touk

Square 6:

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

 

I read: Childgrave

 

Childgrave - Ken Greenhall 

 

 

Square 2:

 

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

 

I don't have any recent vacation pictures as we've recently bought a house and adopted two kitties! (Our vacations have been in the back yard ever since, and that's just fine with us.) For the purposes of the 16 Festive Tasks, I've posted pics below of one of our favorite places in the world: Martha's Vineyard. For those who don't know, it's an island off the shores of Massachusetts. It features some quaint towns, a cool little village and some of the most beautiful views anywhere, in my admittedly humble, (and not well traveled!) opinion. 

 

We are lucky to have a friend that owns a home in MV, who welcomes us to stay and who knows all the places with the best food. Let's start with breakfast. We ALWAYS went to Biscuits which is in Oak Bluffs and has the most fantastic food EVER. Yes, you can get chicken and waffles, you can get a bacon-cake, or you can get my favorite: eggs with homemade Linguica hash. Look at those big hunks of potato-YUM!

 

 

 

 

Usually after breakfast we would take a walk. Not far away from Biscuits is the old Methodist Campground. Founded in the early 1800's, originally in tents, this area was set up for worship. There is a big tabernacle there and its reputation grew. Eventually they began to build these gingerbread houses, in place of the tents, and now it's a gorgeous little village of these homes. None of them have cellars and the land itself is owned by the Campground. Most of the homes are so close, they even touch. From what I understand the homes are often passed down through generations and since the land is not owned, banks won't give mortgages for them. Here's my husband in front of one of the super cute homes, (sorry it's crooked!). I loved the little birdhouse on the front, (top balcony) which looks just like the house itself. Some of the homes are themed-there's one Wizard of Oz house that is super cool.

 

 

 

 

Here's a straighter picture for you:

 

 

At the western end of the island is a beautiful place which used to be called Gay Head, but is now called Aquinnah, for the native American tribe that lived here, (and still does). There's a beautiful lighthouse, which they've had to move due to erosion. Back in the day, there used to be a fort here, to protect the shore-the remains of which you can barely see in the water below, at the foot of the cliffs. 

 

 

 

South Beach is one of my favorite places on MV. You can drive right onto the beach and it's not crazy crowded like so many of the beaches on the mainland. Of course, it's private, so you can only go if you're with a resident. (You may be able to buy a day pass even if you're not a resident.) There are no snack bars, no bars whatsoever, just the beauty of the ocean. That land you see in the background on the left is Chappaquiddick. We were told by our friend that sometimes the channel across is connected by the sand that often builds up there and then you can drive right across. I guess that has happened on and off over the last 40 years. 

 

 

 

Lastly, the saddest part of any vacation-going home. This picture was taken from the ferry.

 

 

I hope we can make it back there sometime soon! 

Childgrave by Ken Greenhall

Childgrave - Ken Greenhall

 

CHILDGRAVE is a beautifully written quiet horror story, with a sketchy small town lurking in the background. By the time the secrets of the town are revealed, it's too late for the reader to turn back.

 

As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to quiet horror. I can do without gore and torture and all that if I have a tale that's well written and atmospheric. I also need compelling characters and CHILDGRAVE has that in spades. The main character, Jonathan, is a widowed photographer. He, his daughter Joanne, and his housekeeper Nanny Joy, are so well drawn I feel as if I know them personally.

 

When Jonathan's photos of his daughter seem to show specters in the background, while at the same time Joanne seems to have developed some new invisible friends, Jonathan is intrigued. Are the two events connected? Who is Conlee, the name of Joanne's new invisible friend? Lastly, what is Chilegray and how is connected to Conlee? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'll get it out of the way now-this is a slow moving story. What kept me interested was the quality of the writing and the characters. Jonathan is a quirky man. He has few friends and little interest in fashion or modern day trends. His housekeeper Nanny Joy loves jazz and Jonathan's daughter, but is concerned about the appearance of Conlee and the specters in the photographs. Jonathan's agent Harry is hilarious and his girlfriend, Lee, is interesting as well. NYC of the 70's is the main setting, and it was fascinating to read about the city during that time of social upheaval and change.

 

I was inexorably drawn to the conclusion which leads the reader to a small town hidden in a valley. "Evil in a small town" is one of my favorite tropes and Greenhall knew how to deliver it in a chilling and shocking- yet believable way. You find yourself wondering what you would do in such a situation and I continued to think about it all night long...hours after finishing the book. I can't say that I blame Jonathan for the choices that he made.

 

While CHILDGRAVE isn't the psychological, fast moving story that both ELIZABETH or HELL HOUND were, it was excellent in its own quiet and compelling way. Slowly drawing the reader down into the valley where secrets are kept for generation after generation, Greenhall deftly brings things to a head and left this reader wishing for more.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: CHILDGRAVE

 

*Thanks to Valancourt Books for providing this e-book free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Currently reading

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Deutschland Random House Audio, Mike McQuay, Bill Bryson
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by Dave Benton, Jack Bantry, Tim Curran, Rich Hawkins, Duncan Ralston, Glenn Rolfe, Bracken MacLeod, Kristopher Rufty, Adam Millard, John Boden, Matt Shaw, W.D. Gagliani, George Daniel, Elizabeth Power
Progress: 25%

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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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