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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#FridayReads 5.24.19

 

RIDING THE ELEPHANT by Craig Ferguson, narrated by Craig Ferguson

Riding the Elephant - Craig Ferguson

 

The only reason I was interested in reading this was because I read a short story by Craig Ferguson, (though I can't remember which collection it was in), and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed this audiobook as well.

 

Craig Ferguson is a Scottish-American and he is hilarious. He's honest about his addictions and alcoholism, about his marriages and about his career. At times I nearly lost it, listening to him talk about the huge zit that appeared on his nose, just before the big school dance. He talked about stepping in dog poop. He talked about sports teams...(yeah, the Packers v. Broncos bit just slayed me.)

 

Overall, this book was fun and now I would like to read or listen to more of his work.

 

Recommended!

 

*I downloaded this book from my local library. Libraries RULE!*

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Matt Hayward, Robert Ford

Who knew how powerful a jar of pennies could be?

 

Fresh out of prison, Joe enjoys walking in the woods of his hometown, (who wouldn't when they had been confined for so long?) A glint of glass beneath the leaves catches his eye, and he doesn't know it yet, but it will change his life forever. How could a jar do such a thing? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Even though Joe is an ex-con, he's a good guy. He's trying to do the right thing. He's off the drugs, he's off the lousy wench of a girlfriend, and he's trying to make things right with his dad. It's not long after he gets home that his friend Kenny is trying to talk him into returning to a life of crime and it's hard for Joe to resist. I think this is part of the reason that I liked Joe so much, he was realistic. It's easy to say you're going to go straight when you get out, but nothing is easy about reestablishing your life, and his character reflects that reality.

 

I'm not going to delve further into the plot, because it should unfold as the authors intended. However, I will say that there were portions of this book that were LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY. Not just for people like me, (I've been told I have a juvenile sense of humor at times), but for anyone. I DARE people to read about what happened to Kenny without laughing. (I read that part on my lunch hour and couldn't tell my co-workers what made me laugh so hard I cried.)

 

Joe was my favorite among the main characters, but I did like the others as well-they were well drawn and felt real to me. There were a few people and items mentioned that I would have liked to learn more about-namely the Crimson Sisters. And what was up in that room full of statues and goat guts? This inquiring mind wants to know!

 

Be prepared to read this rather quickly, as I posted an update last night at 80% and about 2 minutes after that, I knew I was staying up to finish this book. It was exciting, it was hilarious at times, it was scary, it felt realistic and the ending was only slightly predictable.

 

I don't know if these authors are planning to collaborate again in the future, but let this serve as my plea...I need more! Preferably, as soon as possible!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Available June 1st, but you can preorder here: A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

 

*Thanks to Mr. Ford for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my review consideration. I considered it, said HELL YEAH! and here we are.*

Let Booklikes-opoly 2019 Begin!

I'm giving up on Snakes & Ladders and starting this game off instead.

 (Snakes & Ladders-well, the snakes, kicked my butt!)

I'm going to keep my rubber ducky game piece though!

HERE WE GO!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

1 3

 

Schools Out #4!

 

 

 4. Read a book that was published during the months of May, June or July, or that contains an item that would be used as a school supply or an article of clothing or an accessory pictured on the cover.

 

This morning I started listening to Craig Ferguson's latest book which came out this month, so that qualifies!

 

THE RESURRECTIONISTS by Michael Patrick Hicks

The Resurrectionists (The Salem Hawley Series) - Michael Patrick Hicks

Short and fast paced, THE RESURRECTIONISISTS delivers!

 

Salem Hawley is a free black man ever since helping the Colonies fight against the British. Now he is helping Americans battle against creatures of the cosmos. Doctors are trading in flesh, not only to further their science but to triumph in their nefarious efforts to bring forth these aforementioned creatures. Do any of Salem's actions make his make life as a black man at that time any easier? No, no they do not. Will he be able to help his fellow citizens fight an enemy most have never seen? If he does, will he survive the fight? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

There's a lot going on here for such a short novel. Clashing personalities, clashing cultures, a city in fear, cosmic frights and real life ones as well. Somehow, the personality of Hawley stands out as a shining example of good and hope, while most of the doctors come off as exactly the opposite. It amazed me how well these characters were drawn, considering how much page time they each were given.

 

I definitely recommend this book. I had previously sworn off books that are part of an unfinished series, however, I couldn't help but give in to this one-just look at the cover and you'll know why.

 

Recommended! (I can't wait for the next book!)

 

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

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline, Wil Wheaton

READY PLAYER ONE has been on my TBR for years and now I'm sorry that I waited so long to read it. 

 

I'm glad that I listened to the audio instead of reading the book. There were some very dense paragraphs, that came off as information dumps, but on audio Wil Wheaton made even those interesting.

 

Steeped in 80's nostalgia, (movies, music, and video games), this brought back a lot of fond memories for me. I give the book itself 3 stars, maybe 3.5, because the writing was rather simple and because of the aforementioned information dumps. I give the audio book 4 stars, because Wil Wheaton made it so darn entertaining!

 

Recommended!

#FridayReads 5.17.19

 

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom

When Darkness Loves Us (Paperbacks from Hell) - Elizabeth Engstrom, Grady Hendrix

 

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US gets ALL the stars and maybe even a few planets!

 

I'm going to keep this review short and I'll tell you why. A friend has been telling me for years how great this book is, but I didn't know anything about it, other than it contained two novella length stories. I think "going in blind" is the best way to attack this volume. I had no preconceptions as to what was going to happen, what the stories were about or anything at all, really.

 

I will say the following: both of these tales feature women as the protagonists. These women are tough, they're fighters, and they're brave. They make the most of what they have and try not to complain. Which makes it all the more difficult for the reader when the stories turn, as they both do.

 

A word about the writing-it was beautiful at times. Often, it was beautiful and horrific all at once, which must be a hard thing to pull off, because even reading as much as I do, I rarely come across that perfect, vivid style. I'm not usually a fan of flowery writing but I submit this as a perfect paragraph, descriptive but not overly so, resulting in a tight little description of the seasons on a rural farm:

 

Winter was a mean ogre, dangerous and ugly, yet his reign was oddly cozy and comfortable as they rested during this respite from the sweltering summer. Spring was a baby bunny, soft and warm, but skittish, and able to dash into frantic motion in less than a heartbeat of time. Spring was clean. Then summer again, a paper queen of vivid reds, purples and greens, fading in the sunlight, turning all the colors a sickly yellow while the paper itself became crisp and brittle. Autumn was a deer, beautiful and swift. And winter had come again.

 

This book was like autumn, actually, (at least it is the way Ms. Engstrom described it), beautiful and swift. And horrific and heartbreaking. And all the other words that describe the type of read that never leaves you. I don't know what else to say other than: My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

 

*Thank you to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC for review consideration. I considered it and said Hell, yeah!*

You Guys...

When Darkness Loves Us (Paperbacks from Hell) - Elizabeth Engstrom, Grady Hendrix

When Darkness Loves Us (Paperbacks from Hell) - Elizabeth Engstrom,Grady Hendrix 

 

This was killer. I'm off for an ugly cry now.

More tomorrow. 

 

 

GHOST MINE by Hunter Shea

Ghost Mine (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

 

GHOST MINE was not exactly what I expected and a lot MORE than what I expected, all at once! What a fun ride!

 

Teddy Roosevelt is now president and recruits two of his old partners from the Rough Riders and the Indian Wars to investigate a town out west. Teddy previously sent American troops to investigate the claim that there was gold in the mines there, but now the troops have also disappeared. Teddy tasks Nat Blackburn and his companion, Teta, to find out what happened. Once they arrive in the town of Hecla, Wyoming, they discover a lot more than some old abandoned mines. Will they find out what happened to the men Roosevelt sent? Will they verify that gold is "in them there hills?" Will they even survive their trek? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I had a lot of fun reading this horror/western. Nat is an instantly likable guy, though rough around the edges and his companionTeta, is interesting as well.

Where I ran into a bit of trouble with this book was with the amount of things going on. We have native American legends, the Djinn, shapeshifters, preachers, and dead-speakers, not to mention Satan himself!

(show spoiler)

Not that I didn't enjoy all that, because I did, it just seemed like a bit too much-almost as if the story didn't know quite what it wanted be.

 

That said, I chose to suspend my disbelief and once I did, I had a great time! I was totally rooting for team Nat & Teta and just had to know what happened. From about 60% in, I could not put the book down and ended up finishing it the same day. The story steamrolled right on through to the finale and I was barely hanging on for the ride!

 

I would gladly read any sequel or any other book featuring the team of Nat and Teta, so please, Mr. Shea! Bring it on!

 

Highly Recommended!

 

*Available May 30th, but you can pre-order here: GHOST MINE

 

**I received a paperback ARC from Flame Tree Press for review consideration. I considered it, said Hell Yeah! and read the book.**

Snakes & Ladders: Update 14 (From 4.21.19 to today)

I'm on square number 71.

 

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

 

So, I'm using my completion of DAISY JONES & THE SIX to roll one die. Again.

 

Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid 

 

You rolled 1 die:

3

Timestamp: 2019-04-21 21:54:33 UTC

 

No beaches or lakes in DRACUL so I'll roll one die. Again. 

 

Dracul - Clive Barker,Dacre Stoker 

 

 

You rolled 1 die:

4

Timestamp: 2019-04-27 00:46:14 UTC

 

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

 

I finished THE PANDORA ROOM, which took place in a small town in Northern Iraq. 

The Pandora Room (Ben Walker #2) - Christopher Golden 

Whoohoo, I can roll TWO dice this time!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

3 1

Timestamp: 2019-05-06 17:13:21 UTC

 

Which brings me to 82: 82. Genre: urban fantasy. 

Nothing I have coming up fits this square, so I'm using my completion of Paradox Bound to roll one die:

Paradox Bound: A Novel - Peter Clines 

 

You rolled 1 die:

2

Timestamp: 2019-05-06 17:18:51 UTC

 

Which brings me to 84: Genre: police procedural

 

No police in my current read, so I'll roll 1 die for my completion of IN DARKNESS DELIGHT.

 

In Darkness, Delight: Masters of Midnight - Monique Youzwa,Espi Kvlt,Paul Michaels,Joanna Koch,Israel Finn,Billy Chizmar,Michael Bray,Josh Malerman,Andrew Lennon,Patrick Lacey,Jason  Parent,Evans Light,John McNee,Ryan C. Thomas,Mark Matthews,William Meikle   

 

You rolled 1 die:

3

Timestamp: 2019-05-12 14:47:46 UTC

 

87:  Snake - go back to 57...AWWWWWWWWWWWWW

 

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

(I don't think I'll be finishing Snakes and Ladders in time for the summer game!)

 

IN DARKNESS, DELIGHT: MASTERS OF MIDNIGHT edited by Andrew Lennon and Evans Light

In Darkness, Delight: Masters of Midnight - Monique Youzwa, Espi Kvlt, Paul Michaels, Joanna Koch, Israel Finn, Billy Chizmar, Michael Bray, Josh Malerman, Andrew Lennon, Patrick Lacey, Jason  Parent, Evans Light, John McNee, Ryan C. Thomas, Mark Matthews, William Meikle

CORPUS PRESS is a publisher that I've grown to love. Everything I've read from them looms large over the competition and IN DARKNESS, DELIGHT is no exception! Featuring authors like Josh Malerman, Patrick Lacey, John McNee and William Meikle, among others, how could this volume be anything but excellent?

 

I can't cover all the stories here or my review would be as long as the book itself because almost every tale in this book is good. What I'm going to focus on here are the ones that I found to be truly exceptional:

 

THE PIPE by Israel Finn: I had no idea where this story was going and when it got there, I felt...stunned ...just...stunned. I love short stories with a punch and this is definitely one of them! (His volume of short stories, DREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, is now heading towards the top of my "to be read" list.

 

LETTERS by Michael Bray: Here's another tale it's hard for me to describe without giving anything away. It twists and turns into itself before it twists again. My emotions were so confused I felt absolutely wrung out by the time I finished. LOVED it!

 

ONE MILLION HITS by Evans Light: A group of teenagers on Halloween night concoct a scam to bring in as much candy as possible, and then they concoct another scam to get a million hits on their site. You already know things will go wrong, but just how wrong was a surprise to me.

 

VIOLET by Jason Parent: It's always hard to lose someone, and sometimes I think it's even worse when you lose a dear pet. After all, you're with your pets almost every single day of your life. Sometimes, you just don't want to listen to platitudes or the attempts of others to comfort you. Or worse yet, when they try to tell you what to do. I felt this one deep in my heart.

 

THE DOGSHIT GAUNTLET by John McNee. I chuckled at the title, I admit it. But the actual story was scary and sad, with the two being all wrapped up and twisted around each other. I was so happy for Paul...and then I felt so sorry for him. Read it and you'll see.

 

TATTOOED ALL IN BLACK by Mark Matthews: You might recognize the title from the Pearl Jam song BLACK. It's an excellent tune and this tale is excellent too. I've yet to read anything from Mark Matthews that I haven't enjoyed. At this point, I doubt I ever will. (P.S. Prepare to have your heart ripped out and then you can "be a sun in someone else's sky.")

 

REFUGE by William Meikle I came away from this story feeling that it was about forgiveness. I'm not sure my conclusion is correct, but I do know that holding a grudge can kill you. Let love rule instead.

 

PULSATE by Espe Kvlt: I've already cursed in this review with John McNee's title, so...all I can say about this one is: WTF? I'm not sure exactly what was going on, but I know I liked it! (I've done a search for this author on Goodreads and don't see anything else by them. That needs to change!)

 

As a long, long, long-time reader of horror anthologies, I like to think that I'm a good judge of them. There certainly are a lot more of them in this age of digital publishing and it can be difficult weeding out the good from the bad. I hope you feel that you can trust me when I say this will surely make my top ten of the year list, so DON'T MISS OUT!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received a paperback ARC from the editors, Evan Light and Andrew Lennon, in exchange for review consideration. I considered it, said HELL YEAH, and read the book!*

 

**Further, I have been friends online with a few of these authors for years and I think I should let you know that. Our relationships have not affected the honesty of this review.**

#FridayReads 5.10.19

 

Summer Game Time!

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

THE NEW GAME BEGINS JUNE 1, 2019

 

and

 

GAME PLAY ENDS AUGUST 15, 2019

 

 

Announcing a new summertime game of Booklikes-opoly! The game is still in development, but the theme of the game is "summer vacation." The rules will be similar to our last game of booklikes-opoly (all the way back in summer 2017), and the bank system will work the same way, although the categories will be different, and I will tweak some of the elements that didn't work so great last time

 

I will be reblogging some of my old posts this morning, for everyone to peruse while OB & I work on the new game!

 

New theme!

New book tasks!!

New tweaks!

 

So, if we are going to start a new game on 6/1/19, then we have to call an end to Snakes & Ladders, which will go through 5/31/19.

 

Get ready...

PARADOX BOUND by Peter Clines, narrated by Ray Porter

Paradox Bound: A Novel - Peter Clines

PARADOX BOUND is not my usual fare, but I just adore Ray Porter, the narrator, so I picked it up over at Audible.

 

This was an enjoyable time travel, (or as one character would insist, history travel), novel. Based on the premise that certain spots are "slippery" and one can use those spots to travel.

 

Most of those making use of the slippery spots are called "searchers" and they're looking for the American Dream, which is a little bit hokey and nostalgic, but there it is.

 

Coming after the searchers are the "faceless men", (nothing like the faceless men in Game of Thrones), but scary dudes nonetheless.

 

I had fun listening to this tale and the surprises the main characters encountered along the way. If there is ever a sequel, count me in!

 

*I bought this audio with my hard earned cash. *

THE TOWN THAT FEARED DUSK by Calvin Demmer

The Town That Feared Dusk (Short Sharp Shocks! #17) - Calvin Demmer

This is one of those short stories that packs a punch. It was fun, fast paced and short enough to read on your break from work. You should read it!

 

"The guilt ate away at her core like maggots feasting on the freshly dead."

 

 

How could you not want to know why?

 

I bought this short story with my hard earned cash because Steve Stred said it was good. He was right!

 

Here's a link to his review if you're interested: Steve Stred's Goodreads Review

Currently reading

The Dead Room by Luke Walker
Progress: 20%
Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
Progress: 5%
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
Ghoul
Billy


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