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review 2018-11-14 19:51
Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz, Narrated by Matt Godfrey Review
Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road - Jonathan Janz,Matt Godfrey

This unabridged audio contains two excellent connected stories of demonic possession. One is a novella that sets the scene for the novel to follow. You’ll want to read/listen to them back to back because they’re both horrifyingly hard to put down.

EXORCIST ROAD sets everything up and is a pretty complete story on its own about a young teen being savaged by a demon and who is suspected of being a murderer. Is it all an act or is a true case of demon possession? Two priests are called in to investigate and perform an exorcism. The younger, inexperienced priest discovers some horrifying secrets about the family and nearly everyone soon becomes a suspect in the Sweet Sixteen Killings.

EXORCIST FALLS continues the story of the young priest who has been shaken but not destroyed by all he has experienced. He is now very haunted and conflicted but I can’t tell you why. The search for the Sweet Sixteen Killer continues and it’s pretty much non-stop action from here on out. There’s a little side of lust and a budding romance brought over from EXORCIST ROAD that I felt completely out of place in both storylines considering the trauma the woman recently experienced. Her character is woefully underdeveloped which probably explains my disbelief of her “romance” storyline. The last thing I’d be looking for after all of that was some love from a new guy. The reader is continually told that she is amazing but I didn’t feel her amazingness was ever shown which is kind of a shame. All of the men are very well developed though and she’s a bit player so it’s a minor nitpick, really. I loved the Jason Crowder character so much. A tormented priest with a horrible backstory and a demon ready to exploit all of his human weaknesses? Yep, you’ve got my attention.

Both stories are pitch black and ghoulish and very graphic. Terrible things are said and terrible deeds are done and I loved it but it may not be for everyone as the scenes are so realistically described you can pretty much picture it all going on very clearly. Maybe a little too clearly in some cases!

I can easily recommend the audiobook narrated by Matt Godfrey who has such a down to earth, calming voice he makes even the evilest of deeds go down a little easier. He does an excellent sinister demon voice too! Don’t miss it if you love this kind of story. 

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review 2018-11-13 19:59
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was my first reading of this classic tale of dark secrets written in 1872. 1872?! That fact stuns me after finally giving this a novella read. There is a quite a surprising amount of sexuality for such an ancient tome or did the world get ever more prudish as the years went by? There were lesbian kisses and touches and I think I even detected a wee bit of some non-consensual touchy-feely too! But, man, is it ever flowery in its telling.  The purple prose is oh-so-strong but it really does throw one back in time and allow the atmosphere to drip off the page so I’m not complaining. Just prepare yourself for some unrestrained writing. There are trembling embraces and languid and burning eyes and so much more to behold here.

 

Basically this a story about a sheltered young lady whose father takes in a strange, beautiful young lady named Carmilla  after her mother inexplicably leaves her for three months to take care of some business or another. Carmilla is ailing from what appears to me to be nothing more than a case of the vapors but mom dashes off anyway, saying she cannot take the poor ailing thing along with her. Hmmm, I don’t know about the rest of you but that would make me mighty suspicious!

 

Carmilla is ailing from something a bit more sinister than the vapors and mom’s dump and drop makes a lot of sense when everything is eventually revealed. I won’t reveal the whole thing because it’s short and I think you should read it for yourself. Just know that it was enjoyable and beautifully atmospheric and if you’re a fan of Dracula and all of his offspring and offshoots, you should give this a read.

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review 2018-11-07 18:39
Flight or Fright
Flight or Fright - Stephen King, Arthur Conan Doyle,Richard Matheson,Dan Simmons

I listened to the unabridged audiobook. I have to thank my library and Overdrive for saving me some cash, especially since too many of the stories here were a little meh for my liking.

This anthology features stories about the fear of flying and the terrible things the imagination and reality can cook up to speed up your demise. If you’re afraid of flying, this book isn’t going to help you out with that. There are coffins in the back and monsters on the wing!

I’m not going to go into the details of every story because I will lose the will to live and if you want to read this there is no point in me ruining it for you. I didn’t take notes because sometimes you just want to listen to a book without turning it into a homework assignment. Sorry. Sometimes you get a real review from me, other times you get this. There’s a decent mix here of old decrepit stories and newer ones. Many of them I had read already read so, yeah, glad I didn’t spend money on this. All of the writers are males because women aren’t afraid of flying, I guess. We are built of sterner stuff, lol. Anyhow, the results are mixed. 

Stephen King writes a kick butt introduction, as always and his story here is one of the better ones. I only wish it had been a wee bit longer because I’m greedy. Still, that man knows how to write a short story. Now on to (some of) the others. CARGO starts things off and it is a good creeping dread tale but was so based in reality that it was more sad than scary for me, especially having just seen the Jonestown documentary. Then there’s NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET. You know that story made famous by Captain Kirk and that creepy-ass Twilight Zone episode? Yep, this is the source material and, because I was a creepy kid, I watched it a million times growing up so I knew how it all went down. One of the stories here had tentacles but don’t ask me which one because my brain is full. The tentacles were a nice little bonus in an otherwise bland story. Joe Hill’s contribution was a frightening read because, well, it could happen! It could happen any damned, cursed moment. You’ll know what I mean when you read it and especially if you live in the USA. There’s a tale about a dude who finds a time travelling ring and can’t keep his murderous hands to himself. He totally gets what is coming to him and what’s coming to him isn’t pleasant! I think I enjoyed DIABLITOS the most. It’s a sinister little tale about a guy who steals something from the wrong lady. The ending completely caught me off guard and created an image in my head that still lingers. Loved it. I also thought AIR RAID was fantastic and nailed the whole Twilight Zone vibe. MURDER IN THE AIR was a decent little murder mystery but not at all a horror story.

The problem with this collection is that many of the stories weren’t all that interesting to me personally. There are so very many boring war time stories and those don’t do it for me. Most are incredibly depressing or about guys agonizing about imminent death and I didn’t find them very gripping. In fact, my thoughts while listening to many of these stories wasn’t one of sympathy but more along the lines of “stop your whining and embrace your fate”. But I’m a jerk like that

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review 2018-11-01 17:01
Rabid Heart by Jeremy Wagner
Rabid Heart - Jeremy Wagner

People say they’re sick of zombies or werewolves or vampires or demons or gawdforbid tentacles and I get it but I am not one of those people. I will read everything and anything if the writing is engaging. This is why one day my piles of books shall be the death of me. I don’t really care if the monster has been done to death because it can always be given new life by a new voice and that is most definitely the case with this book RABID HEART. It is a book about a world in the midst of a zombie apocalypse caused by warmongers who manufactured a rabies outbreak which went all kinds of wrong. The virus kills the host and turns them into flesh eating cujos! And words cannot express how much I love the fact that they’re called cujos throughout this entire story. 

Rhonda is a young 20-something who was happily living her life before the outbreak. She was engaged to the love of her life and working as a hairstylist. Now she’s stuck on a military-type base with her dad and spends her free time finding supplies and killing cujos. Everything she loved is gone and her relationship with her dad is complicated. In a cruel twist of fate, she runs across Brad , her cujo-fied fiancée, and he recognizes her. Not only that, he protects her. She impulsively decides to take him back to camp but the folks there are not at all thrilled with that idea. Understandably . . . he may be tame but he’s still a smelly flesh eating undead cujo. This forces Rhonda to make a series of choices that land her on a road trip through hell where she finds an important reason to carry on.

This is a fast paced story with an engaging writing style that grabbed me from the beginning. Rhonda is snarky and angry and heartbroken so her choices, crazy as they may be, are 100% understandable. The story is filled with gore and dark humor and a disgusting wet dream that made my black heart really freaking happy and it won’t rip out your soul like that damned Walking Dead show! I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun horror novel.

4 ½ stars

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review 2018-10-26 17:41
House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli
House of Fallen Trees - Gina Ranalli

Well, I am sad to say that this book didn't work for me. I was very excited to start it and LOVED the gorgeous cover but I didn't enjoy this story. It was very dream-like and that's fine if I am invested in the main character but Karen didn't come alive for me. She was very bland and slightly annoying and though she tried to come across as a bad ass bitch she ran screaming to the menfolk whenever something scary occurred and that was annoying. Many people love and adore this story but I had some issues that I cannot ignore. Here are a few of them:

*An unclear timeline. Someone's lover dies (goes missing?) 6 months previous and this someone later says he's been trying to have sexy times with another guy for the past 6 months. WTF? That makes you a creepy jerk with no loyalty or feelings!

*Unrealistic and sometimes cringy dialogue. "Don't flatter yourself bi-boy" #NoJustNo

*Inconsistent characterization. One character is described as the quickest to laugh and 4 pages later he's a "gloomy Gus". Make Up Your Mind.

*It wasn't scary (to me).

*There was too much tedious telling and not enough showing.

*A lack of well done atmosphere. I should've felt a chill but I didn't.

*A character states animals do not have feelings. Screw you, Rory! Animals do too have feelings #SorryNotSorry

I'm giving it two stars because the dog Dusty lives. And you can yell at me for revealing that but if you are a dog person you NEED to know!

I wish I could write a positive review but I have to be honest.

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