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

Head's Up To Yet Another Scam

 

 

Since I shared this on Facebook, someone commented that they had seen a $400.00 digital book on sale there. I've never seen anything like this. (Just click on the title of this post to be brought to the article.)

 

Have any of you ever come across one of these?

I'll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky by Brian Hodge

I'll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky - Brian Hodge

Brian Hodge is an outstanding writer and as such, how could I'LL BRING YOU THE BIRDS FROM OUT OF THE SKY be anything less than outstanding? In fact, if there was a word-I would rate this book higher than outstanding. How about exceptional? Yeah, let's go with EXCEPTIONAL.

 

In this novella length tale, we meet Mr. Timothy Randolph, an art dealer and curator of folk art. When Nona brings him a sample painting of her grandfather's, Timothy is intrigued and immediately sets off with her to see more of her grandpa's work. In the Appalachian mountains, they find a LOT more than they bargained for, and they will both be changed forever.

 

I didn't expect this tale to go where it did. Even in this short length of a story, Brian Hodge delivers the creeps on a magnificent scale. Not going to lie: I totally shuddered at the description of one character's

eye.

(show spoiler)

 I even had to put the book down for a minute. Not for long though, because I had to see what happened next. (Even now, just thinking about it, I have goosebumps.)

 

That's it! That's all I'm going to say. If you've read Brian Hodge before, you already know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read Brian Hodge before, start here. At only $2.99 for the Kindle version, take a chance and you'll get to see what I'm talking about for yourself.

 

Simply, my HIGHEST recommendation!

 

*A HUGE thanks goes out to my friend Andi, who gifted me a beautiful signed copy which I'll treasure forever.* 

Scary House by Sean Thomas Fisher

Scary House - Sean Thomas Fisher

SCARY HOUSE featured genuinely scary scenes that I enjoyed!

 

There's nothing like a good haunted house tale to get my heart pumping. Combine that with a coming of age story and I should have a real winner on my hands. In this case, I did enjoy the story, it's just that I never felt quite connected to the characters.

 

Gavin and his friends are getting ready for Halloween and want to check out a somewhat nearby haunted house. Gavin had his new Polaroid, (this is the early 90's), and used it to take instant photos around the home. The house has a history, so when they find an old photo album still there, they flip through to find out more. It's when they come across a picture of their bikes, parked outside that they start to get the creeps. From there, as you may have guessed, things go downhill. What happens then? You'll have to read SCARY HOUSE to find out!

 

There's a lot of early 90's nostalgia, a Jurassic Park watch is repeatedly mentioned as are some other heavy metal and rock bands, such as Nirvana. (Which is funny to me, because the author used to be a DJ at my local rock radio station and it played a lot of music from that era.)

 

This book was fun and did have a cool premise. Unfortunately, I couldn't help feeling it was somewhat derivative of King's IT. (It must be hard to avoid that comparison, when it's a nostalgic coming of age story which also involves a group of kids coming back to town as adults.) The other issue I had was that I didn't care that much for the characters. For me, that fact took a lot of tension out of the final scenes.

 

Overall, I did have fun with this story and would try more from Sean Thomas Fisher in the future, it's just that SCARY HOUSE didn't turn out to be that scary for me. Your mileage may vary!

 

*I received a free Kindle copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Friday Reads!

 

Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Deadfall Hotel - Matt Godfrey, Steve Rasnic Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem

THE DEADFALL HOTEL is a beautifully written story, though difficult to describe with any kind of clarity. To vaguely set the scene: a recently widowed man accepts a job as caretaker at a somewhat remote hotel, bringing along his young daughter. The current, elderly caretaker is the one who recruited him, and will be available for on the job training, in the hopes that he will soon be able to retire.

 

Anyone going into this book expecting something like King's THE SHINING, or Matheson's HELL HOUSE, is probably going to be disappointed. While the Deadfall does have some ghosts hanging around, the story isn't really about them. Then again, it's not really about the living people at the hotel either. (Remember when I said this is a difficult story to review with clarity?)

 

Here's how I viewed it, (or tried to view it), and that was by looking at each chapter as its own separate story; connected only by their setting. King of the Cats, for instance. Yes, living people were in the tale, but it was mostly about the cats and the hotel. The Craving-yes the caretaker in training was part of the story, but only incidentally.

 

In these little vignettes, the author really shines, (especially in regards to the werewolf and the vampire), but when it came to the living people, the narrative didn't work as well for me. I enjoyed the characters, but they did a LOT of things that weren't believable. Towards the end, a few of their confusing actions were explained, (like why they went there in the first place), but the father repeatedly putting his daughter into danger was something that was not explained to my satisfaction.

 

Aside from these issues, I truly enjoyed this story. I've long been a fan of Tem's writing, but other than his novel UBO, (which I loved), I've not read any of his longer works. I pulled over in my car, so I could bookmark this quote from the audio:

 

"Fall is but a whisper in these environs. With so much death and decay on display year-round, we hardly notice the autumn and so it truncates, crawling off sullen and insulted by our lack of attention."

 

As I said above, I listened to this story, and I loved the narration-especially the voicing of Jacob, the elderly caretaker. Most chapters started off with quotes from his journals over the years and I think those were my favorite parts.

 

Even though DEADFALL HOTEL wasn't quite what I was expecting, it did grow on me, and I did end up enjoying it. I would go there for a visit...as long as I didn't have to go near that godawful swimming pool. (Trust me, that pool was SCARY.)

 

Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy, and/or weird tales!

 

*I received the audio of this book free of charge from the narrator with no strings attached. I chose to review it anyway. Furthermore, I consider the narrator to be a friend, even though we've never met in person. That fact did not affect this, my honest review.*

February 2018-That's a Wrap!

October - Michael Rowe The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere 1) - Meg Elison Vision (2015-) #10 - Tom King, Gabriel Walta, Mike Del Mundo Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James Daytripper - Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Craig Thompson, Dave Stewart, Sean Konot Edging - Michael Schutz, Michelle.Thompson The Night Child: A Novel - Anna Quinn West Cork - Audible Originals, Jennifer Forde, J.H. Bungey All the Names They Used for God: Stories - Anjali Sachdeva March: Book Two - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis

I've read 16 books this month!

 

Graphic Novels

March: Book Two by John Lewis 4*

The Vision: The Complete Series by Tom King 5*

Saga: Volume One by Brian Vaughan 5*

Saga: Volume Two by Brian Vaughan 4.5* 

Daytripper: Deluxe Edition by Fabio Moon 5*

Total: 5

 

Novellas

October by Michael Rowe 4.5*

Total: 1

 

Audiobooks

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison 4.5*

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 3*

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Day Bestiary by David Sedaris 3*

West Cork by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde 4*

Total: 4

 

ARCS

The Night Child by Anna Quinn 4*

All the Names They Used For God by Anjali Sachdeva 4*

Tarnished City by Vic James 4.5*

Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone 3.5*

Total: 4

 

Random Reads

Corpse Cold: New American Folklore by John Brhel 3.5*

Edging by Michael Schutz 4*

Total: 2

 

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

Status: 3/40

 

Saga, Volume 2 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 2 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

SAGA, VOLUME TWO was just as crazy as the first!

 

Here we get to meet Hazel's grandparents on her father's side. She acquires a dead, upper half of a babysitter named Isabel, and Alana and Marko are still on the run from...everyone.

 

Oh, and one last thing! We also get to meet Marko's previous fiancee. This is the woman he jilted before meeting Alana. She's not happy and joins up with The Will, (a hitman hired to take out Alana and Marko)  and his truth telling cat. (If I could have one wish, it would be to have this cat hang out with me, wherever I go, and tell me whether or not a person is lying. I mean, really? Wouldn't this be super helpful in day to day life?)

 

Anyway, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first though I couldn't seem to put my finger on why. I only deducted half a star, though. Then I ran to my library's website and reserved the next two books!

 

 

Isabel, the babysitter:

Edging by Michael Schutz

Edging - Michael Schutz, Michelle.Thompson

 

EDGING. That's what you call it when you take a dose of Intenze. First, you'll experience your mind's own little horror movie. You'll be scared, maybe even terrified, but afterward? You'll get an adrenaline rush like nothing you've ever experienced before. It's a great premise for what turned out to be a great story!

 

All of the characters in this book are well drawn, with realistic problems, hopes and dreams. The main protagonist Rick, is the father of creepy twins and husband to a cheating wife. He's a bit wishy-washy and slow to act on things until his his hand is forced. His wife Trish is unhappy and all too willing to try Intenze at the behest of her new hunk of a boyfriend, Steve. She soon becomes addicted and so do most of the other people who decide to EDGE. But what happens if you do too much? Will you overdose? What is up with the tall, dark, shadowy man that many who EDGE see while they're tripping? What would happen if the whole town was EDGING? You'll have to read it to find out!

 

This is an intricately plotted story and I loved seeing how everything slowly came together. In some ways it reminded me of Salem's Lot. We're introduced to people around town and get some insight into their daily lives. Once events ratcheted up, everything came together beautifully. I do think a few portions dragged just a bit around the 75% mark, but that didn't bother me too much, as I was so engaged with the characters I had to see what happened next.

 

There is an element of originality here with the introduction of Intenze, what it did, and how it was used. There are aspects of this tale that touched on why drug use is so popular, and also on bullies and what motivates them, as well as the acceptance, (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in our homes and in our schools. It is often easy to forget how horrible life can be when one is constantly reminded of, and being made to pay for, being "different." This book takes a hard look at some of those things and I respected and appreciated those bold looks.

 

EDGING was a nice surprise for me. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't a book this compelling. It was well written, had engaging and interesting characters, an original premise and an exciting denouement. What more could you ask for?

 

Highly recommended for fans of dark, edgy, (see what I did there?!) fiction!

 

You can get your copy here: Edging

 

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

Datyripper: Deluxe Edition

Daytripper Deluxe Edition - Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon

Daytripper: Deluxe Edition was an absolutely GORGEOUS volume, with a beautiful story to go along with it. .

 

Uniquely told, this poignant tale will affect you. Don't miss out!

Corpse Cold: New American Folklore by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

Corpse Cold: New American Folklore - Chad Wehrle, John Brhel, Joseph T. Sullivan

 CORPSE COLD: NEW AMERICAN FOLKLORE is a nice volume of tales which also includes outstanding illustrations. Just look at that impressive cover to get an idea of the drawings within.

 

The stories, however, didn't entirely float my boat. While well written for the most part, they are lacking that certain punch that I enjoy in short tales. This is just my personal view and for someone that hasn't read the hundreds of horror stories that I have? This may seem like the best collection of stories EVER.

 

My favorite was IT THAT DECAYS. If you weren't afraid of the dentist before, you will be now!

 

AUTOPLAY ON: This was a fun little tale featuring a You Tube channel that was left on all night. (I guess it's best not to do that?)

 

MOSS LAKE ISLAND was a neat story that took a weird turn about a third of the way in. It gave me the creeps much like IT THAT DECAYS. I like the creeps.

 

FRIENDSHIP: BURIED AND DEAD. This tale had a cool concept for a theme park. I would like to go there!

 

A CASKET FOR MY MOTHER cracked me up, especially since this book was funded in much the same way as the main character wants to fund the purchase of a casket for his mom. (I'm not sure it was meant to be funny, but hey, I'm a sick person-just look at the stuff I read!

 

A quick word about the illustrations? (Okay, two words.) They're fabulous!

CORPSE COLD would be a perfect introduction into the world of dark fiction for an adult who is not that familiar with or well-read in the genre. Perhaps someone who has participated in a round of campfire storytelling and wants more? Seasoned horror readers, like myself, prefer that extra punch to the gut and a tad more blood/gore as well.

 

Recommended for those new(er) to horror fiction and dark tales!

 

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

Friday Reads!

 

The Listener by Robert McCammon

The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

(Since this book is finally being released next week, I thought I would re-post my review. Any McCammon lovers out there, don't let this one pass you by!)

 

What a great story this is! Set in the American south during the Great Depression, The Listener is a unique tale. Starting with a man we'll call Pearly and ending with the opening of a free clinic, Robert McCammon sucked me in as he always does and now I have another book to add to my All Time Favorites shelf!

 

 

With a young black man as the protagonist and a few visits to characters we've met in the past, (I want to say so much more about them, but I can't spoil the surprise for you!), I wasn't sure for the longest time where this story was going. But when Pearly meets Ginger LaFrance, and joins her cold quest for riches, I knew I was in for the long haul.

 

Not since the book MINE, has Robert McCammon created such a cunning female villain. Crafty and OH SO cold, Ginger is capable of anything. When she concocts her evil plan with Pearly as her back up, you just know it's not going to go well. And when another of her family members joins their crew, you cannot help but feel that it was a mistake on Ginger's part. You also hope that Ginger doesn't succeed.

 

At a certain point in The Listener, you just have to hold on for dear life because this tale races to the denouement and you HAVE to know what happens. I recommend shutting yourself in a room for the last 50 pages so you can read it without being bothered. Trust me on this! You will be rewarded with an ending so poignant, yet so perfect and totally satisfying that you might find yourself with a tear in your eye. Not saying that happened to me, (it TOTALLY happened to me), but you know, prepare yourself. Perfection in an ending is so rare, but I think McCammon achieved it here.

 

The only bad thing about getting an ARC, (and in this case it's a REAL ARC, that I can hold and hug tight to my chest, not that I did that), is that there isn't anyone to talk to about this story. I can't wait for you to read it so we can talk about Curtis and Pearly and good old Nilla.

 

In February when it's released, I hope you will remember my words here today and hop on the opportunity to read The Listener. Please come and share your thoughts with me when you're done. I hope that Curtis invades your mind space as he has invaded mine, and we can talk about how much we both love him. Or perhaps we can talk about THAT character that was such a memorable part of another GREAT, (maybe the best?) Robert McCammon book, and how much we loved seeing them again? I sure do hope that we can, my fellow readers. I sure do hope we can.

 

The Listener has earned my highest recommendation!

 

*Thanks to Cemetery Dance for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Booklikes is reposting reviews to Twitter and Facebook that were supposed to go up last week and which I have already manually shared. Sorry if my reviews are bombing your feeds! It's not me! Really, it's not!

 

West Cork by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde

West Cork - Audible Originals, Jennifer Forde, J.H. Bungey

 

For a few years in my teens and early twenties, I considered myself a true crime buff. I especially liked the books written from a criminal profiling point of view-like the books of Robert Ressler or John Douglas. I also loved the books of Jack Olsen and still think about them quite often. When I saw WEST CORK was available as a free pre-order, I jumped on it and I'm told it's still free at Audible, in case you're interested.

 

Knowing going in that this case was still not solved made this a little different from the true crime I've read in the past. Those books generally involved cases that did have a verdict. This one doesn't and that makes the experience a little bit frustrating. But in the end, it can't be as frustrating as it is for the victim's family who is still pursuing the case to this very day.

 

WEST CORK is related as a series of half hour shows, (I guess this was originally a Podcast?), so there is a lot of repetition with the opening and closing of each episode. That said,  I appreciated how the story was presented, starting with the murder victim, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, and then proceeding to lay everything out in chronological order. At certain points, it is actually hard to believe how bungled things became during this investigation. Seriously, some of it seemed like it just could NOT be true...but it was. I'm not going to get into the specifics so as you can hear the details as the producers intended.

 

For myself, as a fan of true crime, I found this case fascinating. Not only as to how the investigation proceeded, but also, later on, as to how the laws for proceeding with criminal and/or civil charges vary from country to country. I was surprised, to be honest, that some of the people acting as eyewitnesses weren't criminally charged, (if you listen to this, you'll know why). Lastly, I was surprised by how much certain people want publicity, be it good or bad, THEY WANT IT. I can't for the life of me see why?

 

I enjoyed listening to this well put together presentation of the case(s), and I only wish my enjoyment didn't have to come at the expense of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. May she rest in peace.

 

*Thanks to Audible for the free download of this production.*

Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone

Zero Day: The Hatching Series, Book 3 (Hatching Series, The) - Ezekiel Boone

ZERO DAY was a fun wrap up to the trilogy that started with THE HATCHING.

 

The narrative is still following all the same people, people who are now facing the fallout from a few nuclear strikes across the U.S., and the previous ones which occurred in various places around the world. The spiders are still continuing to mutate and evolve with the most dangerous of them all appearing in this book.

 

I enjoyed following the characters around on each of their missions and adventures. What I did not like was the following, (do not click if you don't want to know): 

 where are the dead people? None of the main people die! I wish the story had more guts by sacrificing at least one of the main characters. Having them all live was just playing it too safe for my liking. Of course, I like it when everyone dies, so your mileage may vary.) I rarely felt anyone was in real danger.

(show spoiler)

 

Additionally, I wanted more spider action. In the previous two books, there was lots of it. They were both your usual quick chapter Creature Features with lots of spiders overcoming people, animals, etc... In this book there is little of that, other than during the denouement, which was disappointing.

 

As a whole, this series was a ton of fun! Even though I found this entry to be slightly wanting, the trilogy itself was a blast, with a couple of real twists that I enjoyed. And, I have to admit that at times, reading it made me itchy!

 

If Creature Features are your thing, then I highly recommend you check out this trilogy! I'd just advise you to have lots of lights on, so you can immediately spot any insects heading your way.

 

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

Corpus Press 99¢ eBook Sale

Reblogged from Gregor Xane:

Click the image below for 99¢ eBooks.

Currently reading

Sick House by Jeff Strand
Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem, Matt Godfrey
Progress: 25%
Rage by Stephen King, Richard Bachman
Progress: 80%
SHOCK Anthology by Joe Pruitt
Progress: 109/160pages
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

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 »