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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The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

Knottspeed by Jeff Johnson

Knottspeed: A Love Story - Jeff Johnson

 

Knottspeed. Tay Tay. Fencepost. These are just a few of the vivid and colorful characters that populate the novel Knottspeed: A Love Story. It will be hard to forget them. 

 

Knottspeed is an enigma, but one thing that IS known is that he's a charmer. He and his enigmatic statement: "I'm here to do good." What does that even mean? 

His skill in deception hinged on his every word being entirely possible, I was soon to learn. Everything he said was always true, but he was never, ever talking about what you thought he was. 

 

The way in which this story was told was close to brilliant, but I admit to being confused after the first third. The second portion took an entirely different direction and I could not see how the two connected until the very end of part 2. But part 3? Everything comes together so well and at the White Palace too, it couldn't have been more perfect. I'm not ashamed to admit it brought a tear to my eye. 

 

Within this novel you will find real people, both good and bad, but Knottspeed connects with them all. You'll find taco stands and smog in L.A. You'll find heavy rains, dry tree limbs, cabbies, lots of cigarettes and a phenomenal house party with a menu that's out of this world. I can picture it all without a hitch, and I think you'll be able to as well. 

 

It's hard to say much else without spoiling anything, because this story needs to be related as the author intended, otherwise some of the magic will be lost. But if you sit back and let Mr. Johnson guide you through this noir-ish-feeling, deranged world of memorable characters, you will be rewarded with that feeling you can only get from a great book! Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: Knottspeed: A Love Story

 

 

*Thanks to Turner and Edelweiss for the free digital ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback.*

I've listened to 20% of All Souls Night and...

All Souls' Night - Matt Godfrey, Valancourt Books, Sir Hugh Walpole

 

this book is phenomenal so far! Even though it was originally published in the 1930's, I'm not finding the stories to feel dated. I especially liked "The Staircase" and "The Silver Mask" and I am looking forward to listening to more today. Plus, the narration is absolutely perfect, which is great because I've ditched my last two audios due to narrators that just weren't working for me. 

 

I wish real life responsibilities and, you know, people,would go away and leave me to listen in peace. 

 

February 2017 Round Up!

Hometown - Luke Walker Fatale Deluxe Edition Volume 2 (Fatale DLX Ed Hc) - Elizabeth Breitweiser, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips Gilded Cage - Vic James Of Foster Homes and Flies - Chad Lutzke Incognito, Volume 2: Bad Influences - Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips Rusty Puppy - Joe R. Lansdale The Disembodied - Anthony Hains The Fireman - Orion Publishing Group, Joe Hill, Kate Mulgrew

 

My reading has slowed down a bit this month, due to some health issues in my family. Also, I'm in the midst of a few books that seem like they'll never end!

 

Graphic Novels

 

Fatale Deluxe Edition: Volume 2

Incognito: Volume 2 Bad Influences 

 

Both of these were written and drawn by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, respectively. 

 

 

Audio Books

 

The Fireman by Joe Hill

 

 

E-ARCS

 

Rusty Puppy by Joe Lansdale

Gilded Cage by Vic James

 

 

Random Books

 

Hometown  by Luke Walker

The Disembodied by Anthony Hains

Of Foster Homes and Flies by Chad Lutzke

 

Total Books Read in February: 8

 

READING CHALLENGES:

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

(Horror Aficionados Group on GR) 

 

Goal: Read 40 books that I already own during 2017

 

January count: 1-Dominoes by John Boden

February count: 1-Hometown by Luke Walker

Running Count: 2

 

Graphic Novel Reading Challenge

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

 

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

Running count: 7

 

 

Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge:

 

Goal: Read Horror Books

 

January Books: 5

February Books Read for Challenge: 3

Running Count: 8

 

 

Sci-Fi and Scary Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge-February Update

Fatale Deluxe Edition Volume 2 (Fatale DLX Ed Hc) - Elizabeth Breitweiser, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips The Disembodied - Anthony Hains Mongrels - Stephen Graham Jones

 

I am participating in a Horror Reading Challenge over at the Sci-Fi and Scary blog. You can sign up yourself at the Sci-Fi and Scary Blog here: Sci-Fi and Scary

 

This month I've read 3 books towards the challenge:

 

 

Fatale Deluxe Edition Volume 2

 

The Disembodied by Anthony Hains

 

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

 

February total: 3

January Total: 5

 

Grand Total: 8

 

 

 

I've listened to 30% and

Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower, Book 4 - Stephen King, Simon & Schuster Audio, Frank Muller

I am ditching this audio re-read of Wizard and Glass. This narrator is just not for me.

 

I'm going to go ahead and reserve the next book in the series, because the narration goes back to George Guidall. He did the audiobook of The Gunslinger and I just loved it. I will leave my rating  as it stands: at 4 stars as I did so love this book.

The Disembodied by Anthony Hains

The Disembodied - Anthony Hains

The Disembodied starts out like a coming-of-age story and then it turns into a psychological horror story of familial love and abuse that will keep you guessing to the very end!

 

Griffin is a boy on the verge of becoming a man, when he loses his father to a somewhat violent death. Luckily he has a sweet and caring grandfather that loves to spend time with him, and a close cousin to hang out with. Unfortunately, he is experiencing feelings of what his psychologist calls depersonalization disorder, but Griffin describes it as feeling like he isn't attached to his own body. His mom is worried, and his aunt is convinced he's possessed. So which is it? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

The characters here were well developed. I really got to caring for Griffin and Tanner and I quickly got to the point where I couldn't care less what happened to either of their fathers. I think the best part of this story was its telling. The author did a great job of releasing bits of information steadily along the way which kept me interested and looking forward to whatever was going to happen next. A few of the twists I did guess, but I did not accurately predict where this tale was going to go, and I always love when that happens.

 

Even as a seasoned fan of horror, there were parts of this book that seriously disturbed me. Mr. Hains is a psychologist himself, which is probably why the bits about depersonalization disorder rang so true. However, there were certain characters that behaved very differently from what I would expect, (like Griffin's mom, for instance), and thinking about why she did what she did added a layer of sadness to this tale. I guess it's a sad truth that sometimes we like to bury our heads in the sand rather than face what's happening right in front of us.

 

Overall, The Disembodied was an excellent psychological horror tale, and even though it involved tweens, this is not a YA story, in my opinion. There are some ugly, ugly truths here and incidents of abuse that made even this horror fan cringe. That said, this book was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the mysteries as they unraveled. I think you would too! Highly recommended!

 

There's currently a giveaway at HAD for 1 signed copy of this book: Giveaway (US only)

 

You can get your copy here: The Disembodied

 

Find this review and others like it at: HorrorAfterDark.com

 

*I nominated this book for the Kindle Scout program back in the day, and when it was accepted and the book published, I was given a free copy with no strings attached. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.* 

I've read 93% of The Disembodied and WOW, ...

The Disembodied - Anthony Hains

I can't believe what just happened! 

 

Book Love Story: Why I love romance books

Reblogged from Tea, Rain, Book:

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about romance books. We're happy to welcome Cat's Books: Romance on BookLikes blog. 

 

Watch out for the last Book Love Story on BookLikes blog tomorrow!

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A guest post by Cat's Books: Romance

 

 

I unabashedly love Romance Novels.

 

I love them as at the center of the best ones are optimism, human connection, and feminism. The Happily Ever After promise allows the reader to explore very dark themes at times wit the knowledge that there will be hope and love no matter what. 

 

Because the main stay of romance is the find of a partner, the question of how to build a lasting connection and all the psychological l complexity of that quests shapes every romance. Most every romance is female centered. Female desire and viewpoints control the narrative.  

 

The genre is vast spanning  from science fiction, fantasy, new adult, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, historical, comedy, erotic, and eventing new sub genres all the time. 

 

In Romance, we can see the changing of social norms and the critical effort to see and explore through character and the lens of love hate and discrimination in all its forms while loving the body in all its diversity and sexuality which houses us all. 

 

At its best, the genre leads the way and it has a heck of a lot of fun at the same time. 

 

Here are some great love stories,  you should try.

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole: Historical Interracial Romance set during the Civll Rights Era

Kulti by Mariana Zapata:   Contemporary Slow Burn Soccer Romance

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt: Historical  Plain Heroine and with a Hero with PTSD

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison: Paranormal Dragon Shifter Hero and Thief Heroine

Kulti - Mariana Zapata Let It Shine - Alyssa B. Cole To Seduce a Sinner - Elizabeth Hoyt Dragon Bound - Thea Harrison

 

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Watch out for the last Book Love Story on BookLikes blog tomorrow! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Rusty Puppy by Joe Lansdale

Rusty Puppy - Joe R. Lansdale

Rusty Puppy is the latest entry in the Hap and Leonard series by Joe Lansdale.

 

The pair are hired by the lady across the street to help find her son's murderer. The local cops are not only unhelpful, they are suspected of being involved. As always, the pair are happy to help and find themselves involved with corrupt lawmen, scuzzy lawyers and a foul-mouthed, 400 year old midget vampire. (You'll see.)

 

I believe the main draw for these books is the back and forth between Hap and Leonard and this book is no exception. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit and with everything going on in the world today, I welcomed the respite.

 

There's also a killer fight scene towards the end of the book that loyal readers won't want to miss.

 

Hap and Leonard lovers should enjoy this volume of the series just as much as the rest of them, if not just a smidge more. Highly recommended, especially to fans of the series!

 

Available on February 21, 2017, here: Rusty Puppy (Hap and Leonard)  

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*Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Incognito: Bad Influences by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Incognito, Volume 2: Bad Influences - Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips

A super-villain, caught, and now hiding in witness protection, has his cover is blown and then is recruited to help catch bad guys. It should be easy, since he used to be one of them, but now he's been infected by empathy, and it's harder than he thought.

 

Zack Overkill, Zoe Zeppelin, Lazarus, and Simon Slaughter are just some of the characters inside this pulpy, noir, empathetic super-villain story from the super cool Mr. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. What fun!

Book Love Story: Why I love historical fiction

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about historical fiction. We're happy to welcome Susanna from SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady on BookLikes blog.

 

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A guest post by Susanna from SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

 

I love historical fiction. I love it in so many of its forms, from fictionalized biographies of long-dead monarchs, to stories about "normal people" of the past, to historical mysteries, time travel stories, and historical romances.

 

Why do I love historical fiction? I read in order to be taken on a trip to places I would otherwise never visit, and historical fiction is the gateway to the past.  And I love and am interested in the past - I trained as a historian.

 

I confess I can be a bit picky about historical fiction. There is nothing more likely to take me out of the flow of a book I'm enjoying than to run headlong into a "fact" that's wrong.   My next reaction is undoubtedly going to be "well, if they got that wrong, what else did they get wrong that I didn't catch?"  But good historical novel can give you a feel for another time and place in great ways.  You can feel like you've been there yourself.

 

I have been in love with historical fiction ever since I was a child, and my mother gave me Esther Forbes' Johnny Tremain  or Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse.  These books took me on trips to the birth of the American Revolution, and to a remote valley in 1830s England. The stars of these shows were always children, of course, because they were also children's literature.

 

Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Goudge

 

When I was a little older, she gave me YA novels like A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, E.L. Konigsburg's fictionalized biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Since YA mostly didn't exist then, she also gave me novels written for adults that she thought I might enjoy. These included, I remember, both Mary Renault's The King Must Die and Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, which led to trips to ancient Greece and to the battle of Gettysburg.

 

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver - E.L. Konigsburg The King Must Die - Mary Renault The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara

 

She also gave me novels by Georgette Heyer - my first regency romances - and introduced me to the "Williamsburg novels" of Elswyth Thane.  Heyer has never been out of print, but Thane's novels can be hard to find these days, as they are long out of print.

 

Yes, I have always loved historical fiction.

 

What historical novels might be a good place to start, if you've never read much of the genre before?

 

Well, if you love, for example, contemporary mysteries or romances, you might do well to pick a historical mystery or romance - there are plenty of both.  If you like science fiction, you might try a time travel story.  There are several types of story that are historical fiction mixed with another genre - if you like that other genre, you might want to start there.

 

Or perhaps you can pick a period and place that sounds interesting to you, and start there.  Some settings are more popular than others - if you want to read stories about ancient Rome or Tudor England, you're in great shape.  Other settings may be less popular, but can certainly supply great reads - 1600s Japan is not a common setting (in English, anyway), but is the setting for James Clavell's terrific Shogun.

 

But let me make a few more specific recommendations, of historical novels I adore.  Maybe you will love some of them, too.

 

Gary Corby's books about Nicolaos, the only private investigator in Pericles' Athens, and often featuring his annoying younger brother, Socrates, are a fun read.  They begin with The Pericles Commission.

 

Colleen McCullough's The Masters of Rome series, which starts with The First Man in Rome, tells the tale of the fall of the Roman Republic, from the conflict of Marius and Sulla, through Julius Caesar vs. Pompey, and the tale of Augustus, Mark Antony, and Cleopatra.  Note: McCullough adores Julius Caesar to the point of hero-worship.

 

Shogun: A Novel of Japan - James Clavell The Pericles Commission - Gary Corby The First Man in Rome - Colleen McCullough

 

Robert Graves' I, Claudius and Claudius the God are the purported autobiography of Rome's st-st-stuttering fourth emperor, the Emperor Claudius, who was found cowering behind a curtain after the murder of his nephew, Caligula.  But mostly it's a wonderful tale of murder and mayhem and madness in the imperial family, and most of all, of Augustus' poisonous (in more ways than one) wife, Livia.

 

I, Claudius - Robert Graves Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina - Robert Graves

 

Lindsay Davis' The Course of Honor is the tale of the Emperor Vespasian, and his long love affair with Caenis, a slave in the imperial household.

 

Ellis Peters wrote many tales of Brother Cadfael - I'm not so fond of the first, but the second, One Corpse Too Many, is a great introduction to the series, set in the 1100s in Shrewsbury, England.

 

Maurice Druon's Cursed Kings series, which starts with The Iron King, tells the tale of the fall of France's Capet kings, and the start of the Hundred Years War.

 

Connie Willis' Doomsday Book  is a pair of stories - one of a historian from 2060 Oxford's time machine project, set to research the 1300s, and the other of her colleagues in 2060, who realize that they've accidentally sent her to the wrong time and place - and they aren't sure they can get her back.

 

The Course of Honor - Lindsey Davis One Corpse Too Many (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 2) - Ellis Peters The Iron King - Maurice Druon Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

 

Anya Seton's Katherine is a fictionalized biography of Katherine Swynford, Geoffrey Chaucer's sister-in-law, and third wife of John of Gaunt.  Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt are the ancestors of the modern British royal family.  A tale of romance, adultery, murder, plague, and rebellion.

 

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are the first two volumes of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's great minister. These cover the collapse of Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon, and the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn. These might be easier to follow if you know the general outline of what happened to the wives of Henry VIII.

 

C.J. Sansom's wonderful Shardlake novels are the best historical mysteries I have ever read.  Matthew Shardlake is a hunchbacked Tudor lawyer, and when we meet him in Dissolution, it's 1537 and he's working for Thomas Cromwell, dissolving monasteries. Cromwell sends him down to investigate a doomed (and frozen) monastery in Sussex.  The previous investigator was murdered there.

 

Katherine - Anya Seton Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel Dissolution - C.J. Sansom

 

Judith Rock's The Rhetoric of Death  is the first of several fine historical mysteries about Jesuits and the ballet, in the Paris of Louis XIV.

 

Lisa See's Peony in Love is a strange tale from 1600s China, told by an Angry Ghost.

 

Daphne du Maurier's The Glass Blowers is the tale of her own family during the French Revolution.

 

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell is a strange and lovely mixture of historical fiction about the Napoleonic wars, and fantasy about the return of magic to the land.  Take my advice and don't get involved with The Man With the Thistle-Down Hair, or his seelie court.

 

A.S. Byatt's Possession tells two stories - one of two Victorian poets, and another of the English professors who research them in the 1980s.  There is a great deal of faux Victorian poetry, as well as a fanatical American collector, and a spot of grave robbing.

 

Elswyth Thane's Yankee Stranger tells the story of the American Civil War, through the eyes of the members of two intermarried Virginia families, the Spragues and the Days, and those of Eden Day's fiance, a Yankee reporter.

 

The Rhetoric of Death - Judith Rock Peony in Love - Lisa See Yankee Stranger - Elswyth Thane Possession - A.S. Byatt

 

Geraldine Brooks tells a very different story of the Civil War in March - the story of the father of the sisters in Little Women.  He has a very different war from the accounts he sends home to his wife and daughters.

 

Amy Stewart's Girl Waits with Gun is the tale of New Jersey's first female sheriff's deputy, and how she got the job. 

 

Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first of her dozen or so Mary Russell novels.  In 1915, the teen-aged Mary Russell, disguised as a boy, is wandering the Suffolk downs, and encounters a bad-tempered man hunting bees - his name is Sherlock Holmes.  This book is the story of her apprenticeship in detection, and of their first big case.  If you're picky about Sherlock Holmes, you might want to give this series a pass.

 

R.F. Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days tells the tale of David Powlett-Jones, a Welsh miner's son, a shattered man invalided out of World War I, who goes to teach history at a Bamfylde, a remote boy's school.

 

March - Geraldine Brooks Girl Waits with Gun - Amy Stewart The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King To Serve Them All My Days - R.F. Delderfield

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Offbeat: Uncollected Stories by Richard Matheson

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

Our much-anticipated collection of rare Richard Matheson short stories, OFFBEAT, newly introduced by David J. Schow, is now up for preorder worldwide for paperback and Kindle! The release date is Feb. 28. Visit our website for pre-order links.

 

Book Love Story: Why I Love Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Reblogged from Grimlock ♥ Vision:

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about comic books and graphic novels. We're happy to welcome Grimlock ♥ Vision on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Grimlock ♥ Vision

 

I remember was first introduced to comic books by one of my first boyfriends, whom I indulged. It was, by the way, the death of our relationship: he took me the store, and reluctantly handed me She-Hulk I dumped him within a week, hoarding my own stack of X-Men. He probably looked at the comics, looked at me, and asked, ‘But why?’ He underestimated me, and I couldn't abide by that. It killed the relationship, but struck up a life long love of comics. I’ve always loved books as well as movies and TV, so the cinematic flair of the visual aspects combined with storytelling just works for me in comics. 

 

Let me break down the difference between comic books and graphic novels.  Comics are shorter, come out monthly, and are stapled together, and thus have a more magazine like look and feel to them.   Most graphic novels combine issues into a more book-like format with a spine: four to six issues tend to be fairly standard, although I’ve seen both shorter and longer graphic novels as well as original graphic novels. Comics are usually slightly more expensive than their bound counterparts, although if you’re into digital reading, I highly suggest Comixology. You can find many, many sales as well as  a collection of free comics

 

Finally, please let  it be noted: I don’t know everything about comics.  I tend to specialize.  I will get into one character, or writer, or franchise and focus heavily on that.   Marvel was my introduction, it’s been the publisher I’ve been most heavily invested in - emotionally and monetarily - and is my primary love.  

 

I'm going to recommend some comics by publisher. 

 

Marvel: 

 

Wolverine, and the X-Men, were some of my first Marvel hits.  Claremont's runs are always excellent. Morrison’s New X-Men run is superb, relatively newer work.  For classic Wolverine, I’d suggest Weapon X, which tells of how he got the metal in his bones.  Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men is a must read (as is his Doctor Strange.)   If you like your Wolverine a little more girl-powered, try Tom Taylor’s All-New Wolverine, which focuses on Wolverine's clone, Laura Kinney.   

 

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont,John Byrne New X-Men Omnibus - Grant Morrison,Marc Silvestri,Chris Bachalo,John Paul Leon,Frank Quitely,Leinil Francis Yu,Igor Kordey,Ethan Van Sciver,Keron Grant,Tom Derenick,Phil Jimenez Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird - Jason Aaron,Chris Bachalo All-New Wolverine Vol. 1: The Four Sisters - Tom Taylor,David López

 

I love the All-New Ghost Rider, as seen on Agents of SHIELD.  But I loved him before he hit the small screens, from his first appearance in All-New Ghost Rider.   He was a little more diverse, the car is super hot, and I loved the mastery of how he became the Ghost Rider.  His new series Ghost Rider is a little less impressive to me, but it’s only a couple issues in so I’m giving it more of a chance. 

 

Right now, though, my focuses are on three characters: Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans, Vision and his daughter Viv, and Deadpool. 

 

I’ll start with Black Bolt. The Inhumans were created when the Kree, aliens looking for living weapons, experimented on a small population of humans.   When they come of age in their society, they’re exposed to the Terrigen mists in a process called Terrigenesis. This brings their latent powers, which are varied, to the fore. Black Bolt was experimented on when he was in the fetus and was born more powerful than the average Inhuman.   I love Black Bolt for a couple reasons. The power that comes from his voice makes it impossible for him to use it at all.  If he speaks, he destroys his home and those he loves, reminding me of the blind seer trope from the Greek myths I loved as a child. Except at one point, he declares war by literally saying that one word.  Everything before him explodes, making a strong statement about the power of words  In addition, the restraint that he shows in training himself not to make a sound even when he sleeps is something that draws me to his character.   

 

Marvel Knights: The Inhumans - Paul Jenkins,Jae Lee  For Black Bolt, I would suggest starting with Paul Jenkins’ Inhumans, then moving right on to Charles Soules’ Inhuman, followed by his dual series All-New Inhumans and Uncanny Inhumans.   Inhumans vs. X-Men is a well thought out crossover, in which characters are paired up perfectly.   If you want to see Black Bolt speak, give the alternate universe Attilan Rising a try.  Three new Inhuman series are slated for this year: Black Bolt, The Royals and Secret Warriors.

 

Vision is a no brainer as he's my sex appeal in the Marvel universe. Vision is a synthezoid, which means is that he has organs, but they are’t organic. Ultron created him to take down the Avengers, and he joined them instead. He can control his density, and become insubstantial enough to walk through things in his way, or let them pass through him, or increase his weight to hit back hard. He’s also portrayed by Paul Bettany  in the new Marvel movies. 

 

Vision has a lot of solid older stories, but I’m going to focus on the ones I love the most: the newer ones. Vision had his own series written by Tom King.  It’s heartbreaking and all too human and one of the best things I’ve read ever.  It sadly only lasted twelve issues, and I reread this as a buddy read whenever the opportunity arises.   As for him as an Avenger, he was in the second series of Uncanny Avengers which I adored. I also loved what was done in All-New, All-Different Avengers, as well in the new Avengers, both written by Mark Waid.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Rage of Ultron, which focused not only on Ultron, but his relationship with his father, Hank Pym, and his son, Vision.  It’s lushly illustrated and I’ve read it twice.

 

Vision Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man (Vision (2015-)) - Mike Del Mundo,Gabriel Hernandez Walta,Tom King Uncanny Avengers Vol. 1: Counter-Evolutionary - Daniel Acuña,Rick Remender All-New, All-Different Avengers Vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven - Mark Waid,Adam Kubert,Mahmud Asrar Avengers: Rage of Ultron - Rick Remender,Jerome Opena,Pepe Larraz,Mark Morales

 

Viv, his daughter, is much like both her father and her mother, Virginia.  She shows up in Vision as well as the new Champions series, alongside Ms. Marvel, who is another much beloved character. I highly recommend Champions, not only because I’m interested in both Vision and Viv.   It’s a powerful statement about the modern world, the problems it faces, and the way that they help women being terrorized by Islamic radicals is incredibly empowering - and touching. 

 

Deadpool?   I’m not getting lazy on this.  I’ve just put in a lot of work, and someone called this the most helpful post they’ve ever read about getting into a comic book series, so I feel like I can post this here: Where to Start with Deadpool

 

I’d add that he becomes an Avenger in the third Uncanny Avengers series, which I really enjoyed as well.    

 

Another note: Marvel has Kamala Khan, a Muslim American hero, has a lady Thor, a black Captain America, and has Ta-Nehisi Coates writing The Black Panther and Roxanne Gay co-writing Black Panther: World of Wakanda.  (Coates is her co-author.) Moon Girl is the smartest character in the universe - and a black girl.  They’ve also had transgender characters, a gay marriage, a lesbian couple who raised Miss America - and Miss America is also a lesbian. Prodigy has come out as bisexual.  Angela by Marguerite Bennet featuring the trans woman Sera, are both highly recommended. (So Angela: Asgard’s Assasin, 1602: Witch Hunter Angela, and Angela Queen of Hel.  And of course her work on A-Force, the all-women version of the Avengers.)  Basically?   Marvel is doing a lot for diversity right now, including hiring more diversely. I should note that the woman who writes Ms. Marvel is a convert to the Muslim religion which gives her series a lot of little moments that feel incredibly real.

 

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder - Russell Dauterman,Jason Aaron Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 - Ta-Nehisi Coates,Brian Stelfreeze Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - Amy Reeder,Brandon Montclare,Natacha Bustos

Angela: Asgard's Assassin Vol. 1: Priceless (Angela: Asgard's Assasin) - Kieron Gillen 1602 Witch Hunter Angela (1602 Witch Hunter/Siege) - Marvel Comics Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous - G. Willow Wilson,Takeshi Miyazawa,Adrian Alphona,Nico Leon,Cliff Chiang

 

 

DC: 

 

So I am a recent DC convert. I’m not going to go over this character by character; I don’t have the kind of knowledge to do that.  I’m going to suggest my favorites and tell you why I love them, but then I’m going to let others, who might be more knowledgable, speak up if they so choose. 

 

Batgirl: 

 

Start with Batgirl from Burnside. She’s strong, smart, and confident, and I love both the writing and the art.  I should also mention  that it’s illustrated by a woman, so I felt that the art itself was more real in that it didn’t put women in impossible poses that would break their backs if they tried actually standing that way. The creative team wasn’t intact for Rebirth and I’m such a fan of them together, I didn’t follow.

 

Batman: Hush: 

 

Love, love, love this series.   The artwork by Jim Lee is superb and the storyline is tense and paranoid and incredibly tight.   

 

Wonder Woman by Perez: 

 

I’ve slacked and haven’t quite finished all the comics I have.   I do love what I read: Wonder Woman is pure of heart, innocent, maybe even a little naive in some ways, but also incredibly strong and even beautiful.   She also looks like she has some weight: she has a little meat on her bones, and that made her more appealing to me, as did the fact that she tried to talk first and fight as a last resort.

 

Preacher: 

 

Wrong in all the right ways and the basis for the new AMC TV show.   It touches upon religion a lot and I can easily see someone thinking of this as blasphemous.  If you're okay with that, violence, drinking, drugs, and just all kinds of wrongness in fiction, though, it's a compelling read that asks a lot of big, hard questions without handing you the reader pat answers. 

 

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52) - Babs Tarr,Brenden Fletcher,Cameron Stewart Batman: Hush - Scott A. Williams,Jeph Loeb,Jim Lee Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals - Bruce Patterson,Greg Potter,Len Wein,George Pérez Preacher, Book One - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon

 

The original Suicide Squad:

 

I’m talking John Ostrander.   His wife, Kim Yale, co-penned many stories and they created Oracle after the Killing Joke disabled Barbara Gordon.   It also tapped into the current political clime and made statements about them, as well as giving Amanda Waller a compelling backstory and making her an incredibly strong black woman.

 

I'd also suggest anything Ostrander wrote on Deadshot.   

 

Death in the Family: 

 

The brutal death of Jason Todd, aka Robin, at the hands of the Joker. Brutal and effective, making me feel for a character I’d just come to know.   Another heartbreaking, but worthwhile read. 

 

Rebirth: 

 

The new Rebirth event was lauded, as it spawned so many series that the fans adored. I don’t read that many, but I do read the new Batman by Tom King of Vision fame, Cyborg, the new Suicide Squad, and Blue Beetle. I love them all.   

 

Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire - Luke McDonnell,John Ostrander Batman: A Death in the Family - Mike DeCarlo,Jim Starlin,Jim Aparo Batman #1: Batman Day Special Edition (2016) (Batman (2016-)) - Tom King,David Finch Blue Beetle (2016-) #1 - Keith Giffen,Jr., Romulo Fajardo,Scott Kolins

 

Midnighter/Midnighter and Apollo

 

Midnighter is a pastiche of Batman, with Apollo as the pastiche of Superman, they’re also the ‘World’s Finest Couple.’  Steven Orlando’s take on Midnighter wasn’t just ultra-violent - any incarnation of him should be. It was also full of heart and humor and even warmth. It got cancelled but lived on in Orlando's current Midnighter and Apollo mini-series that I’m also loving.

 

Red Tornado is similar to Vision and I love him. I’ve read a lot of Young Justice with him, as well as The Tornado’s Path, but he’s sorely underused.   I also fell in love with the Trinity of Sin, because I adored The Question’s angst filled backstory, but he hasn’t really been seen since.   

 

Also, DC’s new Dr. Fate is of Egyptian descent, and my sister loves the way they handle the mentally ill in general: put them in an asylum where they try to help them, instead of killing them, or imprisoning them like the Inhumans do with Maximus. (Athough their treatment of mental health in Moon Knight is spectacular and the Scarlet Witch, who has been dealing with trauma and PTSD, was deftly handled.  Same with Jen Walters in Hulk.) They haven’t allowed Batwoman, who is a lesbian, to marry her girlfriend stating that they don’t believe their heroes should be happy.  Red Tornado married his wife and they adopted a child, though, and Superman is currently raising a child with Lois Lane, so I feel that they didn’t think that out completely, though. Still, they have some representation and are getting better about it in general in my opinion.

 

Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Tornado's Path - Brad Meltzer,Damon Lindelof,Ed Benes Trinity of Sin #1 - J.M. DeMatteis Doctor Fate (2015-) #1 - Paul Levitz,Sonny Liew Moon Knight (2016-) #1 - Greg Smallwood,Jeff Lemire

 

IDW: 

 

I’m going to put this out here: I love IDW for their media franchises. The Buffy series they’ve done - continuing it beyond season seven in comic format - utilizes many screenwriters from the series and is overseen by Joss Whedon himself. Their work on Transformers is just stunning. I mostly read them for tie-ins. They do good work outside of that, too, but nothing that compels me quite as much as the franchise work they do. 

 

Transformers:

 

My favorite series are those written by Roberts, who wrote a fan novel that I also adored.   Furman used to be my favorite Transformers scribe. And this isn’t a slight: his work is fun, exciting and in character. Barber’s Robots in Disguise and Roberts More Than Meets the Eye were just better than Furman's runs. MTMtE in particular is transcendent, tackling sexuality, politics, religion, philosophy, and anything else you can throw at the series.   It does so deftly and with so much humor that it makes me laugh out loud with every single issue.  And again, this is not a slight to Barber, who ended up writing the Doctor Strange/Punisher crossover that I loved. Barber simply isn’t quite Roberts.   Which is daunting: Roberts is nuanced, and foreshadows years ahead. You think a panel is just funny and two years later, you read something that makes you go back and go ‘oh, that’s why that was there.’   

 

Transformers: Maximum Dinobots (Transformers (Idw)) - Simon Furman,Nick Roche,Marcelo Matere Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Volume 1 - Nick Roche,Alex Milne,James Roberts,John Barber Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets Infinite Comic #1 (of 8) - John Barber Transformers: Robots in Disguise Volume 1 (Transformers (Idw)) - John Barber,Andrew Griffith

 

The most frustrating thing about this is that no one takes a Transformers comic seriously. And it very much is, despite the humor and warmth. I was talking about Whirl, who is one of my favorite characters and Jessica wanted to know more about him. I sent her two Whirl heavy issues via Comixology - and got her hooked on both series.   

 

IDW had a crossover event called Revolution that I, full disclosure, hated. It meshed certain series, like Transformers and GI Joe and ROM, and made it so they had what they called a ‘shared universe.’ What this means is they share the same fictional universe now and IDW doesn’t have to come up with convoluted reasons why Transformers are in a GI Joe comic. RiD and MTMtE were cancelled, although Barber is writing Optimus Prime and Roberts is writing Lost Light. I love LL and am less in love with OP. 

 

Buffy: 

 

Astounding. It feels very much like the series and the artwork is some of the best that I’ve seen that is based on real people. There’s also Angel and Faith, that continues with, well, Angel and Faith. It’s also superb, as is there Spike mini-series. 

 

Edward Scissorhands: 

 

This manages to be as adorable, insightful, and odd as the original movie. Just a beautiful, hopeful story that is good for any age!

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, Volume 1 - Georges Jeanty,Cliff Richards,Paul Lee,Joss Whedon,Brian K. Vaughan  Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown - Kate Leth,Drew Rausch  

 

Image: 

 

Motor Crush: 

 

Illegal racing. Hot vehicles. Drawn by the woman who penciled Batgirl from Burnside. It’s a fun series, although I’ve only read the first issue.   

 

Saga: 

 

Expansive Space opera. It has robot families which is a plus to me, but the main draws are the fantastic art and storyline that is about overcoming hatred and war and joining together to form a family. And keeping it together. Very adult, shows sex scenes pretty graphically, and has drug use and the violence that goes along with war and being on the run from both warring parties. Beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking. Just one of the best comic series out there today.   

 

Spawn: 

 

I fell in love with how dark and gritty this was when it came out, and I feel it got stronger later on. The original issues are still fun, but it takes a bit to find it’s footing.   It lost the plot, and I dropped this series, and then there was a new Spawn, who I’m not as into as Al Simmons. Pretty typical deal with the devil, and then it gets more and more convoluted. I feel that recently a solid storyline came back into play so I’m reading this again. I’d suggest the original issues, anything with Angela - who was later sold off to Marvel after Neil Gaiman won her rights in a lawsuit, the Hellspawn retelling, and anything after Resurrection. Very violent, and deals with abuse, racism, and suicide in just  some of the issues I’ve read.  

 

Black Mask: 

 

I have to include this small press for Kim and Kim, which includes a transgender Kim.   It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s a positive portrayal of a transgender woman.  Just for the record: Kim’s father insists on calling her ‘him’ and ‘son’, but doesn’t correct his employees when they refer to her by her proper gender. There’s a rift between father and daughter, no doubt because he can’t accept her as she is. But if you don’t want to read that, then steer clear of this. 

 

Saga, Volume 1 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan Motor Crush Volume 1 - Brenden Fletcher,Cameron Stewart,Babs Tarr Spawn Origins, Volume 1 - Todd McFarlane Kim & Kim Vol. 1 - Magdalene Visaggio,Eva Cabrera,Claudia Aguirre

 

However, if you’re tempted by futuristic bounty hunters and robot gorillas, then by all means read this. Also, please note that the writer is a trans woman, which is probably why it doesn’t play into a lot of the stereotypes about trans woman. I loved it so much that I bought a small box of Black Mask collector edition covers on sale the next time I was in Newbury because I just trust the press after this one work.

 

 

The most resistance I get to comics is that they aren’t a serious, thought provoking medium.   I’d counter with The Champions - and have in real life - and also by saying that Time listed DC’s Watchmen as one of their best 100 novels. Maus, Art Spiegelman’s two volume masterpiece, went a long way towards legitimizing comics.   It’s a heart wrenching, biographical tale of his father during the Holocaust where all the Nazi’s are portrayed as cats while their victims are mice, thus the name.   A more recent entry is WE3, another heart breaker. This time, Grant Morrison tackles animal testing, and it’s a worthwhile and ultimately hopeful miniseries, but I’ve warned anyone away who can’t deal with cruelty towards animals.  Still, it’s proof of the power of comics, especially when it comes to making a political statement and trying to change the world for the better.  It’s one of the comics I’d start people off with who believe that comics are simply kiddy stories.  

 

The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman  Watchmen - Alan Moore,Dave Gibbons  

 

I hope this leaves you with something you're interested in.  If not, drop me a line here, on my blog, or DM me and I'll see if I know of anything that might entice you!  If you're just interested in reading reviews of comics, feel free to follow me!

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please free to write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love non-fiction books

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about non-fiction. We're happy to welcome Mike from Book Thoughts on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Mike from Book Thoughts

 

There is no excuse for history to ever be boring - no excuse for that!

David McCullough

David McCullough on Why History Matters 

(click to view a video)

 

I am very excited to have a chance to share my passion for reading history with you all. I have had a life-long love of history, and grew up in a house where my father spent all of his free time either reading or talking about history.  I have always been fascinated about the past, and my childhood experience led to what is now a career reading and teaching history.

 

I have taught history at the high school and community college level for 15 years and my love for history has only grown during that time.  Too many adults think back to their history classes when they were in school and remember being bored and having to memorize facts and dates.  History is so much more than that!  To understand where we came from and how the world we live in was created by those who came before us is fascinating.  

 

We often have an arrogant perspective when we look back at the people of the past. We have this idea that we are smarter than them, we know more than they did, we would never possibly have made the same mistakes they made, and therefore why should we waste time reading about them? Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true we have more technology and more access to information than at any point in human history, we must always try to put ourselves in the shoes of those who came before us and understand that they did not know what was coming next.

 

Like David McCullough talked about in the video above, most importantly to me, history is about people. One of my favorite parts of reading about great historical figures is to learn about the lives they lead before they became famous or before they made their great contribution. I want to know what their childhood was like, what schools they went to and what they studied, their loves gained and lost, and how all of those experiences led to the pinnacle of their lives that make them worthy to be studied and written about. Those stories, those experiences - those are the lessons and examples we can read about and make a part of our own lives. Those in the past experienced the same range of emotions that we experience day to day. They are not stone figures - they laughed, they cried, and they were silly just like most of us.

 

This photo shows a couple from the Victorian era.  It was considered socially awkward to smile in photographs at that time, so most photos we see show very serious people. These photos show two people that were not able to keep their serious faces together.

 

For someone that might be intimated to read a history book, I have a few suggestions. These books read like novels and will introduce you to the real stories of some famous people that you may only know by name. Not only will you learn about their lives, but you will learn about the time and society they lived in. I kept the list focused on famous people rather than events, because for those who are new to reading history, learning about individuals will be a much better introductory experience.

 

John Adams - David McCullough  Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin  Nicholas and Alexandra - Robert K. Massie 

 

John Adams by David McCullough (Biography of our second President. Also tells one of history’s great love stories of John and Abigail Adams.)

 

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin  (Tells the story of Abraham Lincoln and how he brought together political rivals into his cabinet to help him during the Civil War.)

 

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (This book tells two stories - that of the last Czar of Russia and his family, and that of the Russian Revolution.)

 

 The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - Edmund Morris  Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow  

 

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (Tells the story of Teddy Rosevelt from his birth to his elevation to the Presidency. This is the first book in a trilogy that is some of the best historical writing out there.)

 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (This book has become very famous in recent years due to the Broadway Musical, but it had been one of my favorites for many years before that.)

 

***Any books by these authors are great reads.

 

I hope I have convinced you to give a history book a try!  I bet you will enjoy it, and you will finish the book wanting to know more.  

 

If you are still not convinced, here is a short video I show my students at the start of each year.  Great tune and hopefully will inspire a desire to read history!

Why Study History - Viva la Vida Video (click)

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love horror books

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about horrors. We're happy to welcome Charlene from Char's Horror Corner on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Charlene from Char's Horror Corner

 

Why Horror is My Bloody Valentine

 

My love for horror is great, so when Kate from BookLikes asked me if I would be interested in writing about why, I hopped on the chance!

 

When I was young, there were very few children in my neighborhood, so I spent a lot of my time reading. The Bookmobile would come around once a week and I would check out as many books as I could hold. Back then, (only allowed to check out children's and young adult books), it was Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Conan Doyle that tickled my fancy. Poe-especially. I remember reading his story The Black Cat and getting a delicious case of the shivers-and so my love of horror was born!

 

When I got a little older my parents used to bring me to the drive-in theater for horror movie marathons. (For those who don't know, Drive-ins were theaters you attended while in your car. You pulled up to these speaker stands, removed the speaker and hung it on your car window and Voila! Movie sound! These days, I don't go in for horror films as much as I used to-but my love of horror books remains the same. 

 

So, why is that? What is it about horror books that I find appealing? Well, there's the aforementioned "delicious shivers" and I still love to get them.

 

You know-that feeling you get when you're reading a scary book all alone in your house and you hear a noise?

 

That accelerated heartbeat?

 

That little bead of sweat that breaks out on your brow while you're hunting down the cause of that mysterious noise? Yeah, that's one reason for sure. 

 

Another is because horror is often about outsiders. I was not exactly a cool kid in high school. I wasn't exactly a "Carrie" either- but I could identify with her. Not having the "right clothes", not having the "cool" friends, etc... When I first read Carrie, I felt so terrible for her and what she went through. I didn't condone her actions, but I certainly understood them. Since I felt I could relate to outsiders, it stands to reason that I would enjoy reading stories about them. 


Another thing I love about horror is all of its different facets. I think there are more aspects to horror today than ever before. Let's examine some of my favorite aspects and tropes below.

 

The Haunted House:  Here we have one of my favorite horror tropes, (when it's done well), which is the "Haunted House." The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson  is probably the best example of this horror icon.  In this literary tale we follow the story of Eleanor and a small group of others, investigating a house with a reputation. The opening sentences are some of my favorites in all of literature: 

 

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

 

Atmospheric and/or mood driven horror. This is the type of horror that slowly builds over the course of the story, usually creating a sense of tension, (often, with little to no actual blood or gore), that if done right, pays off with a denouement of epic proportions. Michael McDowell's The Elementals is a perfect example of this type of story. The characters are vividly drawn and memorable and as the story unfolds, you can feel the tension settling in around your neck and shoulders.  You can't quite put your finger on why, (at least not until close to that savory ending), but you just KNOW that when "it" arrives, it is NOT going to be good.

 

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell The Light at the End - John Skipp,Craig Spector The Books of blood: Clive Barker - Clive Barker

 

Splatterpunk Wikipedia says: "Splatterpunk was a movement within horror fiction in the 1980's distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and 'hyperintensive horror' with no limits." In my opinion, there is room for super gory fun in horror fiction. (My friend here at BookLikes, Grimlock, helped me to better define the Splatterpunk genre and turned me on to some great books, back when we both met on Goodreads, years ago.) These days, I lean more towards the atmospheric type of horror, but Splatterpunk will always hold a special place in my heart. Some great examples would be Skipp and Spector's The Light at the End or The Books of blood by Clive Barker. 

 

Cosmic Horror. Back in the day, (1908 to be exact), William Hope Hodgson wrote a story called The House on the Borderland. Many years later, H.P. Lovecraft would cite this story as one of his biggest influences. Terry Pratchett named it as one of his big influences as well. Why is that? The answer is not totally clear, but one of the reasons might be because the depiction of the cosmos as cold and unfeeling and the depiction of humanity as insignificant –well, those are scary thoughts!  Lovecraft later took this idea and made it his own, with the creation of all kinds of cosmic gods and the cursed elements of mankind that served them. This type of horror is now usually referred to as "Lovecraftian". These days, H. P. Lovecraft is more clearly seen as the racist he was, but the mark he and Hodgson have made upon the horror genre and legions of authors cannot be denied. 

 

Creature Features. These types of stories are some of the most fun that horror has to offer. I like to think of them as the B-movies of the horror genre. They are generally fast paced and feature creatures, (see what I did there?), whose only reason for existence is to kill humans. There is usually not a lot of moralizing, (though some of these do highlight an environmental message), and as such they can be a heck of a lot of fun to read. Some of my favorites include: The Rats by James HerbertClickers by J.F. Gonzalez  and Night Of The Crabs by Guy N. Smith  . 

 

The Collected Fiction, Vol. 2: The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places - William Hope Hodgson,Jason Van Hollander The Rats - James Herbert Clickers - J.F. Gonzalez,Mark Williams   

 

Supernatural Horror and Legends of Horror will be my last word on the subject of horror today. These terms encompass so many types and creatures of horror- it's almost too large of a subject to tackle here. Probably my favorite type of supernatural horror would be the kind that is never fully explained-or might not even exist at all. An AWESOME example of this type of story is The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. This is a tale where a LOT is left up to the reader's interpretation-(usually these types of books lead to the very best discussions!  The Supernatural aspect can also include stories of ghosts, (or not ghosts as in Henry James' The Turn of the Screw), vampires, (not Twilight vampires though, because those are YA and romance, NOT HORROR), and all sorts of creatures of myth and legend like Werewolves, Wendigos, The Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, Witches,  etc... There is so much quality dark fiction available about all of these subjects, so a horror fan will never find themselves short of great material to read!             

 

The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers - Henry James,Anthony Curtis  


So there you have it! These are just some of the reasons I love horror so much. It appeals to outsiders, insiders and everyone in between. There is often a horror story for every sort of reader, be they full of jump scares, blood and guts or just mysterious things, glimpsed out of the corners of your eyes. Horror can be intelligent and hard to fathom, or it can be stupid, blood and guts. It’s up to you! One thing is sure though, a good horror story is GREAT fun and I hope you have yourself some this year!

 

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The Dark Tower, Volume 4: Fall of Gilead by Peter David, Stephen King, Richard Ianove, Robin Furth
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, Kim Staunton
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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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