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

Halloween Bingo Update 10.9.18-How Close Can You Come Without a Bingo?

 

 

  KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read, Square not called: 

Genre: Horror: Worms by James R. Montague

Deadlands: Out Behind the Barn by Chad Lutzke & John Boden

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 New Release: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 

   Modern Masters:The House by the Cemetery by John Everson  

                                 Diverse Voices: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite 

Center Square: Cockblock by C.V. Hunt

Relics & Curiosities: (WILD CARD!) 1. Slimer by Harry Adam Knight

Cryptozoologist-The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

Ghost Stories: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

Doomsday: Hark! The Herald Angels Scream! 

Terror in a Small Town: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts = not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3-DONE!

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7-DONE

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15-DONE!

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19-Done! (Wild Card #1)

Diverse Voices 9.21-DONE

Murder Most Foul-9.23

 Amateur Sleuth 9.25

Genre: Suspense 9.27

Supernatural 9.29-DONE!

Ghost Stories 10.1-DONE!

Doomsday 10.3-DONE!

Shifters 10.5

13 10.7-DONE

Terror in a Small Town-Done!

 

Currently reading:

 

 The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight (WIld Card #2) for Creepy Carnivals

Manson: The Life and Times by Jeff Guinn for-Slasher?

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAM edited by Christopher Golden

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden

Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception!

 

This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly talk about the tales that stood out for me:

 

YANKEE SWAP by John McIlveen. Wow! We go from a woman trying to avoid her sexually aggressive boss at a Christmas party, to her getting knocked over the head and waking up tied to a chair. This tale had it all-violence, surprises and plot twists along with a satisfying conclusion. Bravo! 5*

 

CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA by Scott Smith. I loved Scott's A SIMPLE PLAN, but this tale was completely different from his usual stuff. I was able to guess the end just before the story got there, but that didn't spoil the fun at all. 4.5*

 

THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL by Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe Lansdale. This was a perfect "ghost gets revenge" type story and I loved it, as I do most anything he writes.4.5*

 

 

LOVE ME by Thomas Sniegoski. This twisted little tale reminded me of the Tribble episode from Star Trek. What fun! 4*

 

GOOD DEEDS by Jeff Strand. I don't even know what to say about this one, but it's Jeff Strand. What else do I have to say, really? 4*

 

IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE BY Christopher Golden. I figured out the conclusion early on, but that didn't spoil the fun getting there. 3.5*

 

HOME by Tim Lebbon. This was a twisted little tale of the end of the world and Santa, albeit a Santa you would never recognize in a million years. 3.5*

 

Lastly, THE HANGMAN'S BRIDE by Sarah Pinborough. Sarah's books have quickly become some of my favorites in recent history, (and I'm glad I have a good-sized backlog to catch up with), but this tale really took the cake. My second favorite in this anthology, with a distinct Dickensian feel, young William and his soot-filled lungs stole my heart. 5*

 

Most anthologies are hit and miss with me-very rarely do all the stories hit their mark. In this case, though, it was pretty close to doing so, therefore I gave it a four star rating overall . Even if you hate Christmas, and you "Bah Humbug" with the best of them, this anthology has something for everyone-the variety is outstanding. So as the title suggests HARK people! Come and hear the angels scream!

 

Highly recommended!

 

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

Halloween Bingo Update: 10.5.18-SO CLOSE!

  KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read, Square not called: 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

Terror in a Small Town: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Genre: Horror: Worms by James R. Montague

Deadlands: Out Behind the Barn by Chad Lutzke & John Boden

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 New Release: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 

   Modern Masters:The House by the Cemetery by John Everson  

                                 Diverse Voices: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite 

Center Square: Cockblock by C.V. Hunt

Relics & Curiosities: (WILD CARD!) 1. Slimer by Harry Adam Knight

Cryptozoologist-The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

Ghost Stories: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill 

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts = not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3-DONE!

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7-DONE

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15-DONE!

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19-Done! (Wild Card #1)

Diverse Voices 9.21-DONE

Murder Most Foul-9.23

 Amateur Sleuth 9.25

Genre: Suspense 9.27

Supernatural 9.29-DONE!

Ghost Stories 10.1-DONE!

Doomsday 10.3

Shifters 10.5

 

  

Currently reading:

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream! for ?? square

 The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight (WIld Card #2) for Creepy Carnivals

Manson: The Life and Times by Jeff Guinn

HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill, narrated by Stephen Lang

Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill, Stephen Lang

It was fun taking this ride down the night road again, this time on audio.

 

I was not crazy about the narrator, nor the musical bits in between the chapters, but the story itself is still good, though maybe not quite as good as I remembered, resulting in the deduction of 1 star from my previous 5 star rating.

 

Still, Craddock and his creepy eyes remain scary AF. 

 

The moral of the story is: Never try to buy a ghost.

 

Recommended!

 

I read this book again for the Ghost Stories square in Halloween Bingo! 

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN by Chad Lutzke and John Boden

Out Behind the Barn - Chad Lutzke, John Boden

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is totally original, weird and creepy. I loved it!

 

That said, this is not the type of story I've come to expect from either of these authors. I've enjoyed the work of John Boden for years now and what I always expect from him is beautiful writing and poignancy. I expect the same from Chad Lutzke as well, just slightly less poetic, maybe? I'm not sure what I expected from this novella, but it was not this strange story of Maggie, her farm and her boys.

 

Davey and Ronny are watching when Maggie gets home and carefully unloads her burden into the barn. Then an arm drops down from her carefully wrapped package. This has happened before, so they are not surprised or alarmed. Will the package work this time? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'm finding it very difficult to review this book without giving anything away. It was short, spellbinding, mysterious, creative and suspenseful. Once the mystery is revealed, the problem remains as to how the characters will deal with it, and that's where the poignancy I expect from both of these authors showed up-in a big way.

 

The only issue I had with this story is that I expected to see one more chapter regarding a certain character's reaction to those poignant events. Then again, maybe that would have spoiled how I imagined that reaction went down?

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is a powerful piece of work, in spite of, (or perhaps because of of?), its short length. Either way, it affected me, and I'll be thinking about the boys and Maggie's farm for a long time.

 

Highly recommended!

 

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

#FridayReads 10.5.18

 

WORMS by James R. Montague

Worms - Christopher Wood, James R. Montague

 

WORMS! What can I say? This is not your normal B-movie creature feature. It is more well written than most and it contains elements of guilt and psychological horror as well. I enjoyed the heck out of it!

 

Mr. Hildebrand and his harridan of a wife take a badly needed vacation together, in a more quiet destination than his wife would have preferred. She is unhappy about that and never misses a chance to remind him of that fact. In the quiet town, Mr. Hildebrand feels at home, accepted even, while his wife just complains and complains. How will he deal with her? Will they be able to enjoy this vacation together or will this be the final straw in their marriage? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I said above that this is more well written than most creature features for a few reasons. Its pacing is much slower than the James Herbert or Guy N. Smith novels of the time, and it's definitely much slower than the pacing of today's novels by Hunter Shea and the like.

 

Another reason this differs from most other novels of its kind is because of the time we spend inside Mr. Hildebrand's head. Told in the first person, we're right there to see why he does certain things, (and I admit it, I actually agreed with some of them!), and because of that the reader feels a bond with him. We shouldn't, but we do, (or at least I did.) The psychological horror that results from his actions, as well as the guilt he feels over them, adds another layer to this tale not normally found in stories of this type. The first 2/3 of this book I would label as quiet horror and the last third as pure creature feature fun, along with a few real surprises that I didn't see coming. In addition, there were some truly gross-out moments that made me laugh out loud with glee! GLEE, I say!

 

Lastly, as the final portions of the story unfolded a few events occurred that made me look back at clues I had previously overlooked. I realized then how neatly this entire story fit together, like an intricate jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces were perfectly cut. The fact that James Montague is a pseudonym for Christopher Wood, (a writer of screenplays for James Bond movies such as Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me), may play a part in that. There are scenes in WORMS that play out just as a film would, (several of them in fact), and the novel feels like it's built around those scenes and grows outwardly from them.

 

WORMS was originally written back in 1979, the era when I first got into and began to love the horror genre. Somehow this book escaped my attentions back then, and to be honest? I might have been too young at that time to appreciate this intimate look into a man's head. However, I'm sure I would have appreciated the vivid writing style and film-like quality of it. Now I'm old enough to appreciate ALL the wonderful things about this novel and I'm glad that Valancourt Books has brought it back from sure death so it can be enjoyed once again.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received an e-ARC from Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

September 2018-That's A Wrap!

Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam   Light, Gregor Xane, Josh Malerman, Jason  Parent, Evans Light Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson Cockblock - Ramona Master, Roderick Hunt, Roderick Hunt Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite, Matt Godfrey Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

I read 13 books in September! 

 

Graphic Novels

 

Lucifer Book 3 by Mike Carey 5*

 

Total: 1

 

Audiobooks

 

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter 4*

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn 5* (HB)

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey 3* (HB)

Cockblock by C.V. Hunt, narrated by Ramona Master 4*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough 4* (HB) 

Doorbells At Dusk edited by Evans Light (Anthology) 4*

Thirteen Days at Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell 3* (HB)

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 5* (HB) 

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson 3.5* (HB)

Slimer by Harry Adam Knight 5* (HB)

The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea 4* (HB)

 

Total: 7

 

RANDOM READS

 

Hex by Thomas Heulvelt (Buddy read with Lillelara) 3* (HB)

 

 

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

Running Total: 122

 

Books read for Halloween Bingo: 9

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill, Stephen Lang

 

I'm rereading this one because it was on sale at Audible a while back and I don't remember much about the story. 

 

I'm planning to use it for this square:

 

 

 

FOR WE ARE MANY (Bobiverse #2) by Dennis E. Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter

For We Are Many: Bobiverse, Book 2 - Audible Studios, Dennis Taylor, Darwin Porter

 

FOR WE ARE MANY (Bobiverse #2), in my opinion was even better than the first book and Ray Porter plays a large part in that.

 

For those who don't know, in the first book the first Bob had his head frozen and he was woken up many, many years later having had his consciousness installed in an AI. Since then, many things have happened, and Bob has created many clones of himself, as he was designed to do. His, (their), goal is to save humanity, (we are killing our planet and there are only about 15 million of us humans left), by finding or making proper environments to which we can be relocated. Which also involves providing food, finding a way for us to get to this new environment, and a way to protect us while on the way there. He, (they), also has to play referee to the factions of humanity that are left, because we never stop arguing amongst ourselves, do we?

 

While doing this, the Bobs, (the Rikers, Homers, Hals, Howards, Charlies and so forth), face numerous obstacles-the scariest of which is a Mandarin speaking species that the Bobs call THE OTHERS. If you are a Star Trek fan, the best way I can describe them is a combination of the Borg with Species 8472. To be blunt, they give no fucks about humanity or anything else, we are either a food or an enemy-neither of which is a good option for Bob/us.

 

 

I discovered this book blessed (?) some of the Bobs, (most especially Howard), with defined human feeling. Even though the Bobs are all clones of the original Bob and they have his memory, once they set off on their own, they develop their own personalities, and they get to name themselves. In Howard's case, that seems to include the development of feelings towards a few humans, and this portion of the story touched my heart so much, I can't even.

 

(show spoiler)

 

I have to say that the narrator here, Ray Porter, imbues the Bobs, Admiral Ackbar, Guppy, (who sounds like Sean Connery), Butterfield, and everyone with their own personalities and voices. I don't know how he does it without getting confused, but he does do it and he is SUBLIME. There's no other word I can think of to properly describe his performances in this book. In fact, I am SURE that I would not have enjoyed this volume as much as I did if I had read it instead of listening.

 

I am going to keep my Audible subscription even when it goes back up to full price because I have to get the next book and I need to listen to it on audio. Reading it will just not do.

 

Bravo to Dennis E. Taylor and to Ray Porter for bringing the Bobiverse alive- in all its snarky glory, humor, and love for humanity.

 

My highest recommendation!

Halloween Bingo 2018 Update: 9.30.18

 

 

 

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read, Square not called:

 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

Terror in a Small Town: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 New Release: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 

   Modern Masters:The House by the Cemetery by John Everson  

                                 Diverse Voices: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite 

Center Square: Cockblock by C.V. Hunt

Relics & Curiosities (WILD CARD!) Slimer by Harry Adam Knight

Cryptozoologist-The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts = not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3-DONE!

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7-DONE

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15-DONE!

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19-Done! (Wild Card #1)

Diverse Voices 9.21-DONE

Murder Most Foul-9.23

 Amateur Sleuth 9.25

Genre: Suspense 9.27

Supernatural 9.29-DONE!

 

 

Currently reading:

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream! for ?? square

Worms by James Montague for Genre:Horror square

 

 

THE DEVIL'S FINGERS (One Size Eats All #3) by Hunter Shea

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

 

A sucker for tentacles, that's what I am. (And I can't resist the old-"Get it? Sucker for tentacles?" So sue me.). Anyway, tentacles- THE DEVIL'S FINGERS has them in spades, and oh what fun it is to be with Hunter Shea again!

 

A group of 20 somethings head out into the woods to help their friend say goodbye to his recently deceased dad. They've come to spread his ashes at his favorite spot. Along the way though, they encounter a strange growth of fungi that somewhat resembles the pods in Alien. What is this gross looking fungus? It can't spread to humans can it? And if it can, will these humans survive the encounter? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

 

I'm keeping this review short because I don't want to give anything away and because I don't want this review to be longer than the book. I liked how this group of friends was written and I really liked how they had the strength to stand up when the time came. For me, with creature features, (even ones featuring a nasty fungus as the creature), the story lives in those who fight it, and in this case they fought hard. I also thought their actions were believable-even during the crazy action scenes and BOY, were there action scenes! Complete with the sounds and smells-everything you would need to create a vivid picture in your head-you are THERE.

 

In this, the third installment in the One Size Eats All series, Hunter Shea shows he is the master of bringing home dark and amusing B-style movies in Halloween fun-sized nuggets. What horror fan wouldn't love that?

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

Available everywhere October 23rd, or pre-order now: HERE

 

*Thanks to Kensington, via Net Galley, for the e-ARC of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

Does this fungus (nicknamed the Devil's Fingers) remind you of anything?

 

 

I'm reading this one for the Cryptozoologist Square:

 

#FridayReads 9.28.18

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden For We Are Many (Bobiverse) (Volume 2) - Dennis E. Taylor

 

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

Reading progress update: I've read 227 out of 385 pages.

HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Ohhh, that Jaydon. He's an evil one!

 

 

(I'm buddy reading with Lillelara.)

 

But the rest of these people? I'm not getting much of a feel for them at all, other than the main family. And why, oh why must we be focusing on the lady's high forehead every single time she is mentioned? 

 

Currently reading

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere 2) by Meg Elison
Progress: 80%
Someone Like Me by Mike Carey
Progress: 23%
Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Progress: 40%
The Freak Show Murders by Fredric Brown
Progress: 100/206pages
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
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Progress: 50%

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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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