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


 
Goodreads Quotes

November 2018-That's A Wrap!

Exorcist Falls: Includes the Novella Exorcist Road - Matt Godfrey, Jonathan Janz, Jonathan Janz Teeth - Kelli Owen Agent to the Stars - John Scalzi Bird Box - Josh Malerman Exit Strategy - Martha Wells Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering, Brian Keene, Jeff Strand, Matt Hayward, Glenn Rolfe, Patrick Lacey, Matt Serafini, Adam Cesare, Jonathan Janz, Kelli Owen, Doug Murano, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Bryan Smith, Booth Tarkington, John Skipp, Alan M. Clark The Freak Show Murders - Fredric Brown Greatest Love Story Ever Told, The - Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman The Mirror of the Nameless - Leesa Wallace, Graeme Parker, Luke Walker The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere 2) - Meg Elison

I read 10 books this month!

 

Audiobooks

 

 

Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz, narrated by Matt Godfrey 4.5*

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton 4.5*

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman 3*

The Book of Etta by Meg Elison, narrated by  Adenrele Ojo 4*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

Teeth by Kelli Owen 4*

The Mirror of the Nameless by Luke Walker 5*

 

Total: 2

 

RANDOM READS

 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 4*

The Freak Show Murders and Other Stories by Fredric Brown 4*

Welcome to the Show edited by Doug Murano 4.5*

Exit Strategy Martha Wells 5*

 

 

 

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

 

(I'm failing miserably)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

10. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

Running Total: 144

Total Goal: 150

 

SCAPEGOAT by Adam Howe and James Newman

Scapegoat - Adam Howe, James R. Newman

 

 

Set to a rock n roll soundtrack in the 1980's, SCAPEGOAT should appeal to any fan of 80's horror, and 80's hair/metal bands. If these things are your bag, you should just buy  

this book now and get to reading!

 

 

Lonnie, the barely-dressed Cindy, Mike, and Pork Chop are on a road trip in Lonnie's R.V. heading to Wrestlemania 3. Since the guys were in a band,(Wrathbone), together they've drifted apart. Mike has a wife and child now and couldn't be happier. He's only on this trip for a brief vacation and to see some wrestling. Both Lonnie and the kilt-wearing Pork Chop seem to be the same people they were in high school and Mike realizes he doesn't have much in common with them anymore. Just as he's beginning to regret his decision to come with, something runs in front of their camper and gets hit. What was it? Will our group ever make it to Wrestlemania 3? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

I've read the work of both of these authors before, so the quality and depth of this book did not surprise me. What did surprise me was the way this tale played out. Being a horror fan, I've read many, many books about cults, both fiction and non, because if Jim Jones isn't a real life horror story, I don't know what is. I've also read tales about dark religions and hillbillies, and very few of them had the courage to take the route that this story took. (One or two of the true stories did, to be honest, because real life is horrific, isn't it?)

 

The other thing about this book that makes it special is the characters. I developed true feelings for all of them, though my feelings often changed throughout. Thing is, I knew all these people at some point during high school. At first, Cindy reminded me a bit of myself. (But then that changed.) I loathed Lonnie for quite a while and I thought Pork Chop was the biggest loser ever, and then those feelings changed too. There are no flat characters here-they seemed real to me, they had depth and they were more complicated than I originally thought. I love when that happens!

 

The only issue I had was that the denouement went a little too quickly for me. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about the cult and the town in which it flourished. Perhaps that would have slowed the story down too much and that's why the authors wrapped it up the way they did? I'm not sure, but this was a damn good story either way.

 

Adam Howe and James Newman are both authors to watch. Anytime either of them puts out something new, it's automatically added to my "To Be Read" list. But this? A novel with both of them writing together? Just the thought of it put a smile on my face and the fact that the novel is actually fun, fast paced, intriguing, and creative? That's just the icing on the cake.

 

Highly recommended!

 

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

 

**During the month of December, 2018 both of these authors are joining in a group read at Horror Aficionados, a Goodreads group I help to moderate. They will be available to answer your questions and comments about SCAPEGOAT. Please come join us here: 

Horror Aficionados Group Read of SCAPEGOAT

 

We'd love to have you!**

#FridayReads 11.30.18

 

THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS by Luke Walker

The Mirror of the Nameless - Leesa Wallace, Graeme Parker, Luke Walker

 

Within this book, an entertaining and creative tale awaits you! It was so entertaining for me, I read it twice!

 

In THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS, Luke Walker has created a world where the Gods have returned-but not the God of Catholicism or even Buddha. These are Gods unlike anything you have seen before. For instance: Naz Yaah, the giant white worm that leaves noxious trails of slime in its wake. Or perhaps the giant zombie, Segoth? It sheds burning, acidic pieces of itself willy-nilly, while sucking people into itself at the same time. Lastly, there is Gatur: spreader of the green mist which causes people to hurt the ones they love. And when the mist disperses? Most are so horrified by what they've done they kill themselves. All of these creatures appear and disappear at will. Humanity is supposed to be happy about them and view their deaths as a necessary sacrifice. To speak out against them in any way is considered blasphemous and likely to be punished by death. In this midst of this monstrous world, Dave is trying to get to his daughter, Ashley.

 

His potential son-in-law Tom warns Dave that his daughter is getting herself into trouble. She is doing illegal research regarding these Gods because she believes that they may not belong to this world, or that perhaps humans can escape to another world? All of this via the use of a special mirror which she sets out to locate. Dave and Tom head off cross country to find her, all the while trying to avoid the various Gods as they pop up , as well as the cults and crazies who dedicate their lives to these creatures. Will Dave, Tom and Ashley survive this crazy world? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I first read THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS when it was originally released at the beginning of 2014. I know I enjoyed it back then because I wrote a review. Unfortunately, that publisher has since closed, leaving the book out of print. Luckily, Kensington Gore recognized the excellence of this novella and brought it back. Even though I've read it before, I only had a vague memory of it, (I've read hundreds of books since then), so I was excited to check it out again this time around.

 

Yesterday afternoon when I finished, I rated this 4.5/5 stars, but after thinking about it overnight, I decided to give it ALL THE STARS, because I cannot think of one thing that could have been done better. THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS is a compelling, creative read and you won't find anything else out there quite like it. For that reason, I give it my highest recommendation!

 

You can get your copy here: THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS

 

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

EXIT STRATEGY (MURDERBOT #4) by Martha Wells

Exit Strategy - Martha Wells

 

This, the last entry of the MURDERBOT DIARIES, was the best entry of the series, in my opinion.

 

It made me laugh, it made me tear up at times and in this book, Murderbot really comes into its own.

 

I will be on the lookout for a full length Murderbot novel in the future, as it is more human than some humans I actually know.

 

*Thank you to my public library for the loan of this novella. Libraries RULE!*

#FridayReads 11.23.18

 

THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD by Megan Mullally & Nick Offerman

Greatest Love Story Ever Told, The - Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman

 

Confession time: I don't watch, and have never watched, Will & Grace or Parks and Rec. I'm not sure why, exactly, because I thought I liked Megan Mullally and I DO enjoy Amy Poehler. Anyway, I thought I'd give this audio book a go and it ended up being just okay.

 

Someone who watches these shows or has a real fangirl thing going on for Nick Offerman and/or Megan M. might get more out of this book than I did. Megan and Nick talk about their pasts, how they met, their careers, how they manage to keep things fresh, and how they like to do jigsaw puzzles and listen to audiobooks while they do so.

 

To be honest, this book reminded me why I don't read romances and why I love horror. These two are cute, but after only a little while, they became too cute for me and I would have loved to see them, (or in this case, hear them), die horrible and painful deaths. Well, not really, but they were just too....sappy. I don't like sappy.

 

So there you have it. I thought this book was okay, but if you're a big Megan Mullally or Nick Offerman fan you're likely to get a lot more out of this too cute, sickeningly sweet book.

 

*Thank you to my awesome public library for the free loan of this audiobook. Libraries RULE!*

THE FREAK SHOW MURDERS AND OTHER STORIES by Fredric Brown

The Freak Show Murders - Fredric Brown

Despite my taking such a long time to read this relatively short collection of mysteries, I enjoyed it quite a bit!

 

These mysteries were originally published back between the early 40's and the early 50's. As such, they contain language and slang of the time. This made them even more of a hoot than they otherwise would have been.

 

Most of the stories here are light in nature, other than the title tale and one other SEE NO MURDER. I didn't have a chance at solving any of these crimes, but I still had a great time reading these mysteries, especially THE FREAK SHOW MURDERS. (This tale came with a little glossary of carney-speak that made me giggle a bit, especially the description of "cooch" and the "cooch dance".) Brown knows how to plot a good mystery while still keeping his quirky sense of humor and bits of dialogue.

 

Thank you to my friend here at Booklikes, Tigus, for the gift he sent me a while back, which included this book. (I apologize for taking so long to read it!)  I really enjoyed it and I like looking at the cover too. This book will have a prominent place on my shelf so I can gaze at it from time to time.  I appreciate your gift, good sir!

The Dreaded DNF

Someone Like Me - Mike Carey

My apologies to NetGalley, the publisher and author, but I will not be finishing this book.

 

At 35% it has still not captured my attention and I have no feelings for the characters.

 

Perhaps I will pick it up at another time and if so, I will provide feedback then.

 

Thank you for the opportunity.

 

DNF-No rating

BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

BIRD BOX! What a blast!

 

Tension filled and atmospheric, while not being altogether believable.

 

I'm glad I finally read this and I'm looking forward to watching the film on Netflix next month.

 

Recommended!

THE BOOK OF ETTA by Meg Elison

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere 2) - Meg Elison

 

THE BOOK OF ETTA (THE ROAD TO NOWHERE #2) is a heavy piece of dark, post-apocalyptic fiction.

 

This story picks up about 100 years after THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE. The Unnamed created the city of Nowhere and now they have developed their own way of life. Since the plague that started everything, women are scarce and children even more so. As such, Nowhere honors women and to keep the human race going, women there have created hives-a group of men/lovers who help that woman with chores and who also provide regular loving- with the hopes of childbirth as the result. According to the elders of Nowhere, this is the chief role of women now. Period. 

 

Here, we meet Etta, who feels constrained in Nowhere. Etta has no time for hives or for childbirth, and she wants no part of it. She goes out as a raider instead-looking for goods from the old world which can be made useful again. On her travels, she binds herself up to pass for a man and calls herself Eddie. There are more reasons for that other than the plain fact that it's safer to travel as a man, but I'll let you discover those reasons on your own. As Eddie, he comes across several towns, all with their own ways of doing things, (the world building here is impressive), and then he comes across the town of STL. (I see other reviews calling it Estiel, but I listened to the audio and I just assumed it was STL, so I'm sticking with that.) In STL reigns a man called "The Lion." What he has going on in HIS city is a travesty and an injustice-one that Eddie cannot let stand. Will he be successful in putting an end to the practices of The Lion? Will he survive? Will humankind survive? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but I think that's because it took me a little time to get used to the voices of Etta/Eddie. Once I did, though, I settled down and let the story wash over me. As I said above the world-building here is so interesting, each town having their own beliefs about women and children and how to keep the humanity going, it provided a lot to think about. Also, it was sad to see what happened to America in the wake of the plague-how many things had been forgotten, the uses for implements lost to history, and of course, what happened to personal freedoms and choices. It's hard for women to live in this world right now, just imagine how hard it would be in a world with no medicines, no birth control, no choices at all for women in general. These were the aspects of this world that interested me the most.

 

As a note of caution to potential readers-there are all kinds of unpleasant happenings in this book. None of it surprised or shocked me, avid horror reader that I am, but it might shock some. Rapes, pedophiles, genital mutilation, child abuse and other things are part of the post plague world and if those things really get to you, you might want to take a pass.

 

That said, I recommend this book if you enjoyed the first in the trilogy. No, it's not the same as THE UNNAMED, and no, it's not even the same world as the first book because things have changed so much, but Etta and Eddie have a lot to say and I, for one, was happy to listen. I'm intrigued and excited for the last book,  THE BOOK OF FLORA, which I've already requested from NetGalley.

 

*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and my opinion is my own.*

#FridayReads 11.16.18

 

Reading progress update: I've read 27%

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

and I wish I had some time off work coming to me! If I did, I would be curled up at home right now with my nose buried in this book until I was done!

 

I wanted to read this before the movie comes out. I think it's being released for a film festival first and then it's coming to Netflix, even though it's a Netflix movie.  Anyway, the film stars Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson among others and I know I'm going to be watching the night it's released because this book is something else so far.

 

After messing around for half an hour, I admit defeat and cannot figure out how to add the movie trailer here, so here's a link instead:

 

BIRD BOX MOVIE TRAILER

 

Armistice/Veteran's Day- Task 3

Tasks and Book

 

Diwali

Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.

 

(Pass)

 

Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.

(We'll see.)

 

Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?

 

Stephen King would be the obvious answer for me, but instead I will go with Robert R. McCammon. I believe I've read everything he's written and I will continue to do so until I am dead or he stops writing, whichever comes first. 

 

Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of poppy seedcake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake

 

(Pass)

 

Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

 

(We'll see!)

 

 

Thank you to all of our veterans and your families for all you have sacrificed. 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Doug Murano

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering, Brian Keene, Jeff Strand, Matt Hayward, Glenn Rolfe, Patrick Lacey, Matt Serafini, Adam Cesare, Jonathan Janz, Kelli Owen, Doug Murano, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Bryan Smith, Booth Tarkington, John Skipp, Alan M. Clark

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW is a themed anthology with all of the stories revolving around, (or involving in some way), a rock n' roll club named The Shantyman. That's it! There's no hard thread connecting all the tales other than the club itself. That makes WELCOME TO THE SHOW different because there's no one "bad guy" to blame things on. In this case, the "bad guy" is anyone or anything the writer wanted them to be. In this regard, I think the authors involved had a lot more leeway as far as the direction each story would take and I think that resulted in an above average anthology as far as the quality AND the variety of the stories within.

 

I can't get into all of them here, because I don't want this review to be as long as the book itself, but the tales that stood out the most to me were:

 

WHAT SORT OF RUBE by Alan M. Clark was a perfect start to this book, providing a bit of history and setting the tone. (I've never read any of Clark's work before, but he's on my radar now.)

 

NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz. This story went in a totally different direction than what I had expected. Loved it!

 

TRUE STARMEN by Max Booth. I'm not sure that it was supposed to, but this story cracked me the hell me up! It's the first time THE SHANTYMAN hosted pod-casters instead of a band, and the results just made me laugh.

 

OPEN MIC NIGHT by Kelli Owen. The 27 Club-you know, those singers and musicians that never made it past that age? I thought this anthology would be a shoe-in for stories about that club, but this was the only one. I was glad because it made this tale stand out even more.

 

PARODY by Jeff Strand. Zany Chester and his plans to be the next Weird Al fizzle out before they even got started. (It's birdies, not bodies!) Chester had to go to a few back up plans, actually, and none of them were pretty.

 

DARK STAGE by Matt Hayward. This tale spoke to me in a personal way which made it that much more horrifying at the end.

 

A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering. The end was NOT what I was expecting at the beginning. Usually I can see that coming..in this case I saw something coming, but not what I got. Well done!

 

Brian Keene's tale RUNNING FREE made me laugh at the premise before it got all serious. (A man trying to run himself to death by heart attack, thereby evading death from the cancer already running through his body. Come on, that's kind of funny! [All right, I know I'm messed up.]) Anyway, this story didn't go the way I thought it would and I loved how it tied into previous tales in this book.

 

WE SING IN DARKNESS by Mary SanGiovanni. This story had everything that I've come to expect from Mary's work. A terrifying future where music is banned is only the beginning.

 

I enjoyed this collection and even though it was a little uneven throughout, the variety and quality more than made up for that. I liked that everyone didn't have quite the same view was to what was going on at The Shantyman because that allowed for more creativity in the tales. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know?

 

I read a lot of collections and anthologies over the course of a year and there is no doubt in my mind that WELCOME TO THE SHOW will be among the best I've read this year. For this reason, I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: WELCOME TO THE SHOW

 

*11.12.18 We are currently reading this book, along with most of the authors in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. Feel free to join us, read along, and ask questions of the writers, if you like! (Our read continues until the end of this month.) Here's a link: WELCOME TO THE SHOW at Horror Aficionados

 

**I bought this book with my hard earned cash and these opinions are my own.**

AGENT TO THE STARS by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Agent to the Stars - John Scalzi

 

I don't want to give away anything about this story away-I think everyone should go into it as blindly as I did.

 

I thought this book was hilarious and fun, while also providing a little social commentary regarding the civil rights movement and the Holocaust, among other things.

 

I listened to the audio and Wil Wheaton nailed this one down tight. My only issue was the "he saids, she saids." They started to stand out for me towards the end-by that I mean they were irritating. "He said" doesn't need to be stated at the end of every sentence-and sometimes it felt like that's exactly what was happening. For this I subtracted half of one star.

 

Other than that one picky thing, (which probably would only bother me, I'm weird like that), I have no criticisms of this book at all. It was funny and creative and rather light on the science, which was fine by me.

 

Highly recommended to those who prefer their science fiction light, with big chunks of humor on the side!

 

*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

Currently reading

Salem's Lot by Deutschland Random House Audio, Stephen King, Stephen King, Ron McLarty
Progress: 20%
Kill or Be Killed, Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Breitweiser, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips
Progress: 100/160pages
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
The Fisherman by John Langan
Progress: 11/280pages

Flag Counter

 

 

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


View this group on Goodreads »