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review 2018-09-21 19:22
DOOMSDAY Review: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
Patient Zero - Ray Porter,Jonathan Maberry

I listened to this one on audio and I didn't take notes so this will not be a real review, not that my other reviews are real either, ha. I tried reading another Maberry book called Ghost Road Blues (that sad excuse for a review is here) and I did not get along with it, its narrator, nor its male characters but so many love this Joe Ledger character that I figured I'd give the author try. And I'm glad I did.

 

I love this Joe Ledger person. He is crabby and sarcastic and amusing and one hell of a smart, resourceful guy. Thanks to all of you who pushed him on me :) Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of all action, all of the time so even though this story is filled with military action, evil maneuverings by evil people, medical terminology and pretty much non-stop zombie action in its latter half, I still enjoyed it a whole bunch. Why? How? Well, Joe Ledger. Author Maberry sets up his character development early on and I was hooked until the very end.

 

I'm even going to search out the others in this series and I hardly ever do such a thing.

 

I'm going to use this book for my Doomsday square because if it weren't for Joe Ledger the Doomsday would've certainly occurred in this book (and it may still in the next!)

 

 

Bingo Calls:

Classic Horror 9.1

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11

A Grimm Tale 9.13

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19

Diverse Voices 9-21

 

I've Read These (none called):

Murder Most Foul: BIG LITTLE LIES
Slasher Stories: THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
Doomsday: PATIENT ZERO
Supernatural: IN THE MOUTH OF THE DARK

 

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review 2018-09-17 19:39
The House by the Cemetery by John Everson
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

This is another book I read with a group of book buddies. I recommend reading all books with a buddy. It makes the experience so entertaining!

 

This book is about The House by the Cemetery, if you were wondering. The house is actually abandoned and rumored to be extremely haunted. An entrepreneur with more money than brains, apparently, decides it will be the perfect location to create a Halloween spook house. Yep, nothing could go wrong with that idea, right?

 

“This place is rotting, stinking and creepy. It should be left alone to trot into the earth and disappear.”

 

The story follows a group of makeup artists/designers and a carpenter named Mike as they prepare the house for opening night. Mike spends long hours all alone making the decrepit old house safe for thrill-goers. One day a young, attractive lady named Katie and her not so attractive friend (we know this because it’s mentioned every time she makes an appearance) start lurking around the house. Katie decides she and her friend want to help assist Mike with his work. He’s a sucker for any female attention and agrees to let them pal around and “assist” even though I think OSHA might’ve had some issues with that scenario. But OSHA will be the least of this guy’s worries once strange and terrible things begin happening in and around the house . . .

 

That’s the setup and as you can probably imagine nothing goes to plan. There are secret rooms, bones in the freaking walls, relationship dramas, kinky sexy times on a bed of nails, and something sinister at play behind the scenes. Everything culminates in a spectacular bloodbath that will thrill any gorehound. I LOVED the B-movie-ish bits of this book and the horror film references but I didn’t really love some of the extraneous character scenes. There were a bit too many exchanges that felt like padding and only served to make me dislike a few of the characters rather than feel any sort of compassion for them. But I read an ARC provided by Flame Tree Press so maybe your copy will be different? I also thought Mike was a complete fool. His blindness to reality was something to behold. He was both amusing and annoying in his sex-blindness. I wish there had been less of Mike and more time spent on the character building of a few of the other side-characters.

 

I’d give this story a 3 ½. It was a decently creepy, atmospheric story until probably the last third when it took a predictable turn for the bloody. I liked the bloody, don’t get me wrong, but I could see where it was heading and my need to read began to wane. I know I’ve probably read too many books and seen too many movies like this for my own good but it is what it is.

 

I think THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is a decent choice for the Halloween spooky season if you’re in the mood for some creepy thrills, some foolish characters and a sea of blood.

 

I'm using this one for my slasher stories square in Halloween Bingo 2018.

 

 

 

Squares Called:

09/01/18-"Classic Horror"

09/03/18-"Cryptozoologist"

09/05/18-"Cozy Mystery"

09/07/18-"New Release"

09/09/18- "Southern Gothic"

09/11/18- "Terrifying Women"

09/13/18- "A Grimm Tale"

09/15/18- "Modern Masters of Horror"

09/17/18- "Creepy Carnivals"

 

 

Squares I've Read on My Card that are not called yet:

 

SUPERNATURAL: The Mouth of the Dark

MURDER MOST FOUL:  Big Little Lies

SLASHER STORIES - The House by the Cemetery

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review 2018-09-10 18:52
Halloween Bingo 2018: The Mouth of the Dark by Tim Waggoner
The Mouth of the Dark - Tim Waggoner

Where does one start with a crazy book like this one? I honestly don’t know where to begin so I’ll just start typing and see what happens.

I read this book with a group of blogging buddies and the main theme of our chat seemed to be WTF. Some of us were horrified, some maybe scandalized but I think there were a few who were a little tantalized though they’ll probably never admit it, haha.

At any rate, this is a story about a man named Jayce who realizes his grown daughter has gone missing. He makes it his mission to find her or at least to find out what happened to her. He’s sure something nefarious is up and boy is he ever right. He finds a strange otherworld filled with bizarre sex toys and malformed people and a scary being called The Harvest Man. He isn’t at all prepared for all of the weirdness that assaults him but he takes the hits as they come in a stumbling, hapless sort of way and doesn’t run screaming the other way as most other sane people would do. He heads straight into the madness and grossness and batshit craziness. 

I enjoyed this book for its unpredictable over the top strangeness. It didn’t scare me but it’s not really that kind of book. I loved that it wasn’t afraid to peek into the dark, twisted corners and slam your face into them. That’s a fun time for me. This isn’t a book where you’re going to fall in love or even feel much compassion for the characters. They’re not assholes but there isn’t a lot to like about them either. It’s the storyline that carries you along as the characters are put into one bizarre situation after another. There are a lot of sexual hijinks in this one featuring otherworldly sex toys. I thought that was a nice bonus but be warned if you’re not into reading about weird sex because there’s quite a bit of it here. Also, the main dude has some major mommy issues (which were expertly explained near the end) and some weird thoughts about his daughter and her sexuality that made me feel pretty uncomfortable in a bad way while reading. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’s a pedophile but he sure does have some pervy thoughts that I think most dads would scrub from their brains as soon as they hit. This guy sits and stews in them for too long. 

The Mouth of the Dark was an imaginative, enjoyable, super pervy story whose pages flew. If you dig weird imagery, some unforgettable sex toys, perfectly placed gore, lots of gross little surprises, gruesome descriptions, dark humor and a finale that wraps everything together you’ll want to read this crazy book. If you don’t like those things, well, you probably wouldn’t be reading my review anyway.



My favorite line: 

“I’m sorry you got a surprise tentacle job from the Pink Devil.” 

And that’s all I’m saying about that!

 

I'm going to throw this in the SUPERNATURAL square. One down, a million to go!

 

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review 2018-08-24 20:12
Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite
Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite,Matt Godfrey

I always refer to this book as my second most favorite book in the world (Geek Love by Katherine Dunn will always be my #1) but I haven’t read it since it was first released back in 1993 so I approached this recent audio release with equal amounts of joy and dread. Would it still be my almost favorite? Would I find giant flaws and pick it all to hell? Would I tarnish all of those memories of book perfection by reading it now when I’m all jaded and crabby(er)?

Everything I remembered loving about Drawing Blood was still here. Granted those memories were a little fuzzy around the edges but the impressions and the emotions felt left a mark on me and once I started listening, I was immediately transfixed and reminded of all the reasons why I held this book so close to my heart. It’s full of tragedy, dark romance, and real life horrors as well as some out there, woo-woo ones. If you like those things along with a well-drawn sense of place, gorgeously lush writing, flawed characters and you don’t mind explicit sex between two men (and lots and lots of it) you should give this a listen. Or a read. Or maybe both.

This is one of Brite’s (now Billy Martin) earlier works and it has all of the gothic trappings of that era. The characters have sharp edges, are ethereally young and beautiful, the sex is explicit and often and it’s always earthy and descriptive, the characters that populate this world drink and drug copiously, fall in love quickly and deeply as young lovers tend to do and music always plays a huge part in their lives. I’d say this tale is about 50% haunted house/dealing with your past shit and 50% dark and dangerous love story and it’s all beautifully gory and messy. 

Trevor is a young artist who returns to his hometown to face down the demons of his past and his demons are bad ones. Zach is a hacker on the run who lands in Missing Mile. Both have hellish pasts and when they meet everything clicks and feels right. Yes, folks, it is the dreaded insta-love in full bloom. And, yes, I am a big huge hypocrite because I typically knock off points for insta-love because it drives me crazy but in this case I JUST DIDN’T CARE. I loved them both too much to care. They don’t even meet until the book is at least a third of the way through (maybe more) but by then I knew them so well that when they finally meet it was a relief. They were both such broken souls when apart and together they just fit. They talked, they fought, they lived a lifetime of dysfunction in a few days and I will make no more excuses because, yeah, it’s insta-love and it was glorious and nothing anybody says will ever change my mind. 

It’s such an intoxicating read. The love story, the setting, the darkness. All of it. Brite assaults the senses with her prose and everything comes alive right down to the scents and tastes - no matter how gross! This isn’t a book for everyone and I’m not here to pretend that it is but if any of this sounds appealing to you, grab a copy and read that sucker until your eyeballs dry up. I don’t think you’ll regret it. 

If you’re an audio fan, I also highly recommend giving it a listen. Matt Godfrey’s narration is terrific. He creates distinctive voices for the characters. Zach’s voice is deeper and has just the slightest Cajun-esque accent to fit him and where he’s been, while Trevor comes off as more innocent/wide-eyed. How you express that with voice is way beyond me but Godfrey manages to do it. There are quite a few secondary characters that he voices very well too. 

Now I'm off to listen all over again :)

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review 2018-08-20 18:06
The Nightmare Room Audiobook Review
The Nightmare Room - Chris Sorensen

I liked this book so much I read it twice! This time around I listened to the unabridged audiobook read by the author who just so happens to be a professional narrator himself. Since he's a pro and the material is his, his voice hits all the right notes. He's engaging, pleasant and unnervingly menacing when he needs to be and I recommend it highly! 4 1/2 Stars 

Here's my review of the story:

The Nightmare Room lives up to its title. It is a slowly building creepfest fueled by nightmares for the first half then picks up speed in its later half.

Peter and Hannah need a new start after a devastating loss and move back to Peter’s hometown to help with his ailing parents and to heal themselves. They move into a property that Peter’s dad purchased that is huge, old and in disrepair. Hannah loves the idea of the old home but Peter’s not so sure. 

"Hannah had gotten it wrong. This was not the sort of house featured on her home improvement show; this was every house in every horror movie he’d ever seen."

Despite his misgivings, Peter, who is an audiobook narrator, sets up his studio in the dark, dank basement and soon realizes that he may not be alone down there! Is it real or is he starting to lose his marbles?

I just loved some of the descriptions of the house. It makes me long for an old haunted house of my own.

". . . he was facing a narrow, grey door. A basement door. His vision had steadied and the room no longer moved about him. But the door… It’s breathing."

This is a decent little horror tale that has a lot of layers that reach far beyond the haunted house trappings. It deals with aging, grief and past regrets that come back to haunt. The main characters come across as real and imperfect and as a reader who needs decent characterization I really appreciated this. I did want to learn more about Peter’s birth mother because I’m nosy and have so many questions but perhaps that will happen in a prequel or sequel? I can only hope

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