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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BookLikes-I poly Update!

I finished THE REAPING. 

At 175 pages, I added $2.00 to my bank. 

My roll below brought me past GO. +$5.00. 

Total Bank: 57.00


Dice Roller

You rolled two dice


4 6

                                         Timestamp: 2019-06-25 01:49:01 UTC


Which brings me past GO to space 9:


9: Read a book that includes a visit to the museum, a concert, a library, or a park or that the author’s name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X. 


I’m off to go through my list!

A PLAGUE OF PAGES by John F. Leonard

A Plague of Pages: A Horror Story from the Dead Boxes Archive - John F Leonard

The pen is mightier than the sword!


Anthony has been plagued by bad luck for most of his life, but has only recently discovered that. A victim of betrayal of the highest order, he's still reeling from losing everything. He's decided he's going to turn his life in a new direction and start doing what he's always wanted to do: write horror fiction. Then, into his life comes a new object. Will this object hinder his goal or help to make it real? You'll have to read this to find out!


Even though Anthony has been saddled with a few horrible events and gained my empathy, I found him to be unlikable. His neighbor, an older woman who just wants to look out for him, and brings him homemade food several times a day, he describes as: "A kaftanned battleship of a woman." Walking through a local mall Anthony thinks:" Not for the first time, it struck Anthony that he didn't really like people." (Though this thought I could completely identify with.)


This is a story from the Dead Boxes Archive. In this tale, the Scaethe is also mentioned which is a creature featured in Leonard's novel BAD PENNIES. I want to learn more about both! What's in that archive? What or Who is the Scaethe and why is it here? John Leonard knows how to make a person keep reading!


Highly recommended!


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

Booklikes-opoly Roll!

I finished A Plague of Pages and it's time to roll again!

(128 pages, +$2.00=$52.00 Bank.)


You rolled 2 dice:

4 2

Timestamp: 2019-06-22 13:28:12 UTC


Which brought me to:

36. Read a book that involves travel to Europe, or that has an image of any European city or monument on the cover, or that the letters of the title can spell the name of any European city* that I visited on my trip *Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Geneva, Rome, Florence, Venice & Barcelona.


YAY! I lucked out twice in a row!


The Reaping (Paperbacks from Hell) - Herb Errickson,Bernard Taylor 


A painter is engaged to come to an English country manor to paint a young woman's portrait.When Tom Rigby is commissioned to paint a young woman’s portrait at Woolvercombe House, the offer is too lucrative to refuse. But from the moment of his arrival at the secluded country mansion strange and inexplicable events begin to transpire. Soon he is drawn into an impenetrable maze of horror, and by the time he discovers the role he is intended to play in a diabolical design, it will already be too late. For the seeds of evil have been sown, and the time to reap their wicked harvest is nigh! 

#FridayReads 6.21.19


Booklikes-opoly Update!

It's time to roll again, since I finished Stoker's Wilde! 

I was on spot 26 and pulled my CAT card for that one. 


You rolled 2 dice:

4 1

Timestamp: 2019-06-20 20:09:35 UTC


Which brings me to spot # 30:


30. Read a book with fruit or pastries on the cover, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in L-O-V-E.



I'm in luck! 

A Plague of Pages by John Leonard fits the bill! 


STOKER'S WILDE by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Stoker's Wilde  - Steven Hopstaken, Melissa Prusi

STOKER'S WILDE is an epistolary novel, blending the styles of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. What a hoot!


Not since ANNO DRACULA have I had such fun with characters from history. In this tale, Bram and Oscar team up, despite hating each other's guts, to cleanse London of the scourge of vampires and werewolves currently at large about the city. With humor and great talent these authors have written quite an adventure. Will Bram and Oscar be successful? You'll have to read this to find out!


Having read only a few things from both Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, and knowing next to nothing about them personally, I cannot speak to the historical accuracy regarding their personal lives. The epistolary portions written by "Oscar" were often hilarious and scathing all at once. Those of "Stoker" were much more serious and weighty. The fictional origins of the THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY are here and of course, Dracula.



My only issue with this book was the dragon. I thought at first it sounded a little silly, and the authors were able to make it less so, when it finally appeared. Still, it seemed a bit too over the top in the end.


(show spoiler)


Overall, this book was a blast! I had a lot of fun in London of the early 1880's, in the Lyceum Theater and even at Stonehenge. (Yes, that's here too!) It's clear that the authors did quite a bit of homework and the little bit of actual history I am familiar with is borne out here. Solely because of the fun factor alone, I heartily recommend this book-especially to fans of epistolary novels!


*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

25 Essential Reads-Char's Horror Corner

Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elaine Hedges The Fisherman - John Langan Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry The Cormorant - Stephen Gregory The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons The October Country - Ray Bradbury Blue World - Robert R. McCammon



Per M.R.'s guidelines, they don't have to be classics, but some of mine will be, solely because I loved them, not because someone made me read them in school. 


1. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon should be read by everyone, I believe. This book helps to explain what happens to that magic you felt as a kid, but no longer feel as an adult. 


2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This might be on some lists of classics, but it will always be on mine. The best opening paragraphs EVER. 


3. Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell. An epic covering several generations of an Alabama family. And a river monster! 


4. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A fictional story based upon how women were treated by the medical profession, back in the day. 


5. The Fisherman by John Langan. This is a fine, fine piece of  literary, cosmic horror.


6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. A true American western. 


7. The Cormorant by Stephen Gregory.  A literary and chilling quiet horror story about a bird. 


8. The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons A quiet haunted house story. Or is it? This was the only book of this type that the author ever wrote. 


9. The October Country by Ray Bradbury. A classic collection of stories from Bradbury-a few of which I'll never forget. (The Scythe, especially.)


10. Blue World by Robert McCammon. A more contemporary story collection, but with a wide, wide variety of tales. "Night Calls the Green Falcon" makes me cry every single time I read it. (And I've read it 4 times.)


11. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. My heart broke for poor Lily Bart.


12. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The classic revenge tale. 


13. Bubba Ho-Tep by Joe Lansdale. A totally hilarious story about an Elvis impersonator and a man who believes he is JFK. They're both fighting a mummy in a nursing home. It's hilarious, it's touching and it's gross, all at the same time. 


14. The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Every dog lover should read this book.


15. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Heartbreaking. 


16. East of Eden by John Steinbeck. So. Damn. Good.


17. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. In stark, staccato prose, Levin brings home this tale of motherhood gone wrong. 


18. The Auctioneer by Joan Samson. There's nothing overtly horrific here. It's just a building, building and ever building case of dread.


19. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This book taught me that I could hate every single character in a book, but still be hypnotized by the story.


20. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. A classic that taught me that poetry could be fun and whimsical.


21. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. A faith based story, which really isn't my thing...but it's just beautiful.


22. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Historical fiction based in NYC and focused on the start of criminal profiling and or psychology. 


23. The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin. Long before Game of Thrones, he wrote this rather moral tale. (He also wrote another favorite of mine: Fevre Dream. Vampires on the Mississippi!)


24. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Another case where my heart was broken. 


25. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I loved this coming of age tale where a boy is trying to save his mother. 



 Thanks go out to M.R. for coming up with this idea. It was fun and it gave me a chance to talk about some of my favorite books. What book lover doesn't love that?



Reading progress update: I've read 65%

Stoker's Wilde  - Steven Hopstaken, Melissa Prusi

This book is extremely amusing. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde protecting the innocent from werewolves and vampires, oh my! 


Doing Justice - Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara appeared on my radar by getting fired. He was previously head US Attorney of SDNY and he was fired by Donald Trump. He stayed on my radar due to several of his appearances on liberal news media programs. I liked what he had to say, so I requested a copy of the audiobook from my library and here we are.


This book is not about politics, though politics do play a part in our justice system. If you're looking to read this book to hear Mr. Bharara trash Trump, you're looking in the wrong place, (though there are some brief comments.) In this book, he is talking about exactly what is written in the title-namely, justice.


Only a fool would believe that justice is delivered fairly in this country, but Preet Bharara makes me think at least someone is trying to make that happen. He makes me believe that the majority of people in law enforcement, those working in prisons, those working in our various prosecution offices around the country want justice to be applied fairly. He enumerates a few cases where justice WAS served, but only decades later, and only by crazy coincidences-(one of the prosecutors had nearly a photographic memory, for instance.)


SOAPBOX Basically, this entire book boils down to one principle: Do the right thing. Which makes me wonder how many people working in our justice system adopt that principle as their own? Nevertheless, we need a book like this, written by a person like this, to remind us what our goals and principles as a nation actually ARE. Because these days? It is all too easy to forget the tenets upon which this country was founded. It's too easy to forget that our law enforcement agencies and our media all have a job to do and those jobs are the stanchions of our democracy. We depend upon them for our very existence as a country. These aren't popularity contests, there are no alternative facts. There are only facts and the courage to report them, no matter how the president or his henchman and women, (I'm looking at you, Kellianne and Sarah), interpret them. 



I enjoyed listening to Preet Bharara narrate this himself and I recommend this book!


*Thanks to my local library for the free audio download. Libraries RULE!*

Booklikes-opoly update!

Current Bank: $44.00


I'm still listening to Preet Bharara's book for:


17. Why? Read a book that is non-fiction or a book with the word "why" in the title.


 Doing Justice - Preet Bharara


But I can still roll!:


You rolled 2 dice:

3 2

Timestamp: 2019-06-15 15:05:42 UTC


Which brings me to:


21. The cat: Roll again & hold card to play later; be the cat. Read whatever the hell you want.


I'm going to roll again, just to see where I land and then decide what I want to do:


You rolled 2 dice:

3 2

Timestamp: 2019-06-15 15:09:56 UTC


26. How? Read a book that is science fiction or a book with the word "how" in the title.




I have nothing for this, so I'm going to play the CAT card and read whatever the hell I want!

Which happens to be:


Stoker's Wilde (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Steven Hopstaken,Melissa Prusi 

IN THE SCRAPE by James Newman and Mark Steensland

In The Scrape - Mark Steensland, James R. Newman

Two authors, writing seamlessly together, produced a coming of age novella that cracked my heart.


Matthew and Jacob just want to get away from their abusive father. Trying to put aside enough money to get to California where their mom is now living, there isn't much Jacob won't do. He's the oldest and he can't stand to see his little brother abused and beaten-not one more time. On top of all this, Jacob also has to deal with the local bully. Will Jacob and Matthew get away? Will they be able to find their mother in California? You'll have to read this to find out!


I read this novella in two sittings. The last half especially, hummed right along with a tension that was palpable. I wanted to reach out and hug these kids. I wanted to tell them several things throughout this book, but I never got the chance to breathe! As I said above, the writing style was seamless-I couldn't tell who wrote what and I didn't care. I just wanted these children to be okay.


I can't say too much more without spoiling everything, (and the synopsis gives away a lot already), but if you enjoy a good coming of age tale, scoop up this novella quick! Spend some time with Matthew and Jacob. They need your support!


Highly recommended!


Get your copy here: IN THE SCRAPE


*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

#FridayReads 6.14.19


Booklikes-opoly Update!

I’m rolling again! 


You rolled 2 dice:

3 3

Timestamp: 2019-06-13 19:27:09 UTC


7. Read a book that has a house on the cover, or that is related to something unique about your community (for example, if your community has a strawberry festival, read a book with strawberries on the cover.

Nothing I have coming up fits that, so I'll roll again, because doubles!


You rolled 2 dice:

5 6

Timestamp: 2019-06-13 19:32:46 UTC


17. Why? Read a book that is non-fiction or a book with the word "why" in the title.


I’m reading:

Doing Justice - Preet Bharara 




I've read 40% of Middlegame and I'm out!

Middlegame - Seanan McGuire

I'm throwing in the towel.


I like the story so far, I really do, but it's dragging. And I'm dragging my feet every time I have to pick it up again because of that. I feel like I've been reading forever and getting nowhere.


I fully admit this is my fault, not the fault of the book. Perhaps I'll go back to it at another time. Maybe then I'll find it more of a fun thing than a chore, which is how it's supposed to be.


*Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. If I do go back to it, I will be sure to post a review.*

HOW TO FORGET: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR written and narrated by Kate Mulgrew

How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir - HarperAudio, Kate Mulgrew, Kate Mulgrew

Narrated by the author, HOW TO FORGET: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR is an incredibly intimate and detailed account of how Kate Mulgrew and her family cared and provided for their sick parents.


In brief, her father had an aggressive form of lung cancer that spread throughout his body and her mother had Alzheimer's disease. I felt like I had to read this book as my dad also died from an aggressive form of lung cancer, and my mom is battling Alzheimer's disease right now. I read Mulgrew's previous memoir BORN WITH TEETH, and I enjoyed it. She narrated that book as well. (She's an EXCELLENT narrator overall; I loved her performance of Joe Hill's NOS4A2.) I found her account to be poignant and sad but I was also a bit peeved and I'll tell you why.


This is a purely personal thing, and maybe it has a tinge of envy on my part, to be honest. In America, it is much easier to get old, get sick, or get old AND sick, if you have money. The choices available to you when you have money are varied and numerous. When you are poor or even middle class, that is not the case. Not everyone can take leave from their job to nurse a sick parent. Not everyone can hire people to move in with their parents to help take some of the burden off the family. Not everyone can buy an entire house to make caring for a family member easier either. It irked me that Ms. Mulgrew never acknowledged such in this book.


*Gets up on soapbox.* Let me be clear, I am not envious of Kate's money, she's an excellent actress, narrator and writer, she earned it. What I am envious of is the QUALITY OF CARE that Kate and her family were able to provide to their parents. Being a working class/middle class person, I cannot even begin to provide my mother the care she deserves. Quality of medical care and end of life care should not be based on wallet size. *Steps down from soapbox.*


That aside, I'm glad that I listened to this book. I feel less alone-I feel like other people have gone through what I am going through right now, and somehow that helps lessen my pain. I think I'm also able to empathize a bit more with my mom's situation, though I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it was viewing what she is going through, through a different set of eyes? Whatever the reason, I found myself more patient yesterday with my mom and I think that made it easier on both of us.


I recommend this book, especially to those trying to deal with sick parents, while still trying to work and maintain their own sanity. If only for the reason that HOW TO FORGET makes you feel less alone. Because that is no small thing.


*Thank you to my public library for the free audio download. Libraries RULE!*

GROWING THINGS by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things and Other Stories - Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay first appeared on my radar with his book A HEAD OF FULL GHOSTS. Then came DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK, which really impressed me. He followed that up with CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, which broke my heart. Now, here he is with a solid collection of stories that I ADORED.


GROWING THINGS is a hefty volume of tales, mostly told already in other publications, but they were almost all new to me. Among them, these stood out the most:


HER RED RIGHT HAND Something about this tale grabbed my imagination. There is a surprise well known figure comic figure within, but for me it was the young artist drawing the story that affected me the most.


NOTES FROM THE DOG WALKERS seemed like an experimental form of story telling to me, and as such, I was carried along from the normality of the day to day dog walker down into the heart of madness. This tale totally worked for me and I wanted to applaud when I finished.


NINETEEN SNAPSHOTS OF DENNISPORT Here is another story in which the way the tale is related is different and fascinating. Who doesn't sit down with their vacation pictures at some point or another? It's within these types of normal situations where Mr. Tremblay really shines. He takes those normal day to day things and twists them's really something to see.


WHERE WE WILL ALL BE Here we find another experimental tale and once again, it worked quite well. A young man wakes up and finds his parents confused and talking nonsense about how they all have to go "where we will all be." That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to ruin it, but I find myself still thinking about Zane and his family.


THE ICE TOWER I don't know what the heck was going on in this story, at least not for sure, but once again, Mr. Tremblay wove his spell around me, and I was immediately entranced.


A HAUNTED HOUSE IS A WHEEL ON WHICH SOME ARE BROKEN A tour through the home where you grew up with your family. Top that with a "Choose your own adventure" feel and you have this unique tale that turned around within itself and surprised me.


IT WON'T GO AWAY A few days after his brother's suicide, a man receives a letter from the deceased. Once again, the story twists and turns and before you know it, you are miles away from where you started.


I guess I'll leave it off here because I'm discovering that I can go on and on about this collection.


Usually, weird fiction doesn't work that well for me. While I can appreciate and enjoy ambiguous stories, certain authors considered masters of the form leave me a bit cold. (Robert Aickman, I'm looking at you!) I am unsettled by and enjoy the work of Tom Ligotti, but it often comes across as too nihilistic for my tastes. In this volume, Paul Tremblay appears to master the form, but in his own unique and brave style.


That's not to say this collection features only weird tales, because it doesn't. What it does feature is an author willing to experiment with all different types of dark fiction and nearly every one of them was a beauty to behold!


My highest recommendation!


*Thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley, and to William Morrow for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback.*

Currently reading

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Progress: 75%
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

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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

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