logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Barks-Horror-Reviews
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-07 17:26
The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn
The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn, Peter Berkrot

After starting out with a nasty murder by a boy with a maniacal grin, I was expecting The Bird Eater to be so much better than it actually turned out to be.

Twenty-one years after the chilling events in the opening scene, Aaron returns to his dilapidated and reputedly haunted childhood home hoping to heal his freshly broken life. Apparently his therapist advised him to do so despite the fact that he witnessed a murder in the house and he’s currently struggling with depression, borderline substance abuse, separation from his wife and the death of his young son. Yep, being all alone in a murder house will surely cure his woes. I hope he didn’t pay that person too much for the shitty advice. 



The problem for me with this story was Aaron and all of the other main characters. Aaron was a broken man and remained that way throughout the story and, quite honestly, his self-loathing exhausted me and the way the book was written kept me from feeling his anguish. There was a disconnect between Aaron and I which kept me from feeling much of anything. Aaron reconnects with his childhood friends and his childhood love and I found that so bizarre and unbelievably frustrating that I nearly have no words. I mean, 21 years have passed, he was 14 freaking years old when his world crumbled and this Cheri person is still carrying a torch for him?!!! 



Dayam, even I gave up on Corey Hart after a year and moved on with my life when he didn’t show up to whisk me away and I was in luv. 



Reality should’ve kicked in for Cheri at some point in those 21 years!

And did I mention that Cheri is also MARRIED to some poor schlub who works his bum off so she can buy nice things and she’s ready to toss him away because her grief ridden true love has returned!? Cheri thinks she can fix Aaron. Ugh, Cheri was a weak, pathetic excuse for a character and only managed to suck any enjoyment out of this story for me. Aaron’s other childhood friend is a supposed ghost hunter but doesn’t do any ghost hunting in the local haunted house. WTF is going on with these characters?!

Whew, glad that’s out of the way. There were a few things I enjoyed; the creep factor, the crazed Birdboy, the atmosphere and the slow build (to a lame reveal) but obviously this is not a book I would ever reread. 

It’s getting 2 ½ stars because I am bothered!

 

This book will fulfill my Ghost square.

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-01 20:09
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman

 

That ending surprised the heck out of me!

Joey Peacock may look sixteen but don’t let his youthful looks fool you. He’s a street savvy vampire who has been sucking blood from the femoral arteries of charmed ladies for decades. He has a wicked sense of humor and I truly enjoyed his ugly/funny/scary take on the day to day life and goings-on when one is cursed to live as a vampire. 

“Any vampire that turns a kid under thirteen needs to be taken out sunbathing.”

Joey spends his time feeding his need nd sharing stories of his past and he’s pretty hilarious. Things start out rather light-heartedly but eventually take a very sinister turn as he encounters a group of very young vampires and the blood starts to splatter everywhere. 

If you like your vampires gritty and bloody read this. You will not be sorry. I don’t want to give away too much and I’m lazy so that’s all I’m going to say.

I listened to the audiobook which is expertly read by the author after reading my friend Char’s fantastical review. How could I not? It was everything she said it would be. Sarcastic, imaginative, gross and so much bloodsucking fun. Honestly, how can you resist a book whose hero is named Joey Peacock?

 

This book will fulfill my "Chilling Children" square when it gets called.

 

 

My Bingo Card is looking like this:

 

My Markers:

Called and Read

  

Called But Not Yet Read

 

Read Not Called

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-16 19:06
The Well by Marie Sexton
The Well - Marie Sexton

The Well is a perfectly creepy, atmospheric little read for those of you who don’t like their horror all up in your face. I’m not going to say it scared me, because books rarely do, but it did build up a dastardly little mystery that did make my skin crawl a time or two.

It’s told in two timelines.

 

Twelve years ago Haven is goaded into staying the night at a rumored haunted house by his cousin Elise. It didn’t take a lot of goading though because Haven’s crush, Pierce, was also attending. He knew nothing was likely to happen either ghostly-wise or with Pierce but off he goes with Elise, Pierce and a few other teens for a night of spooky fun. When Elise decides to throw a séance things take a sinister turn and later Elise disappears.

 

The other timeline is set in the present day. Since that fateful night, Haven has been haunted by the loss of his favorite cousin Elise and spent most of his youth believing one of the teens present that night committed murder and has distanced himself from them. He’s become a horror writer to excise those demons but hasn’t kept in touch with his old group of friends – until now. Pierce, now a tv ghost hunter, has returned to town to do a segment on the vacant house and he wants Haven to participate. Old lusts are reignited as well as old suspicions . . .

 

There is a little romance here so if you don’t like that sort of thing invading your horror fiction you have been warned. Mostly this book is a slow burning murder-mystery with a side helping of ghostliness. I enjoyed watching it all unfold and especially loved the ghost-busting segment where scary sh*t actually happened! It kept me guessing and had just the right mix of thrills, atmosphere and engaging characters.

 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley courtesy of author Marie Sexton.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-04 19:35
Behold! Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano
Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders - Doug Murano

I took one look at the cover and decided I had to read this. I wrongly assumed it was about the carny life and ever since reading Geek Love I’ve been drawn to those types of books. These stories aren’t about sideshow freaks and pop-up carnivals but they’re mostly pretty good despite that. 

The book is broken up into three sections. Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders. I enjoyed more of the stories in the first two categories and started to feel a little fatigued by the end. This is typical of me and short story collections (see my review for Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror) and likely says nothing about the collection but there it is.

Let’s start with the ODDITIES.

Larue’s Dime Museum by Lisa Morton Julia is intrigued by two old photos she discovers at an antique shop and brings them home. Soon her life has turned into a creepy Twilight Zone episode. This tale sets just the right tone for this collection.

Wildflower, Cactus by Rose Brian Kirk The price of beauty and the ugliness of human nature leads two women down the path of body modification and helps them find their power. 

"The world is a mirror. What do you want to see?"

I wish this story had been a bit longer but I truly enjoyed what was there.

The Baker of Millepoix by Hal Bodner A heartbroken man buys a bakery and gives it his all (and that’s all I’m saying!). Before long, miracles start to happen. I do believe this was my favorite story in the collection. It has it all. There is a great setup, character building, fabulous storytelling and even a little humor. You must read it. 

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament by Clive Barker I've read this one twice before in Clive Barker’s Books of Blood Vol. 2 . I nearly skipped it this time around but am glad I didn’t.

Jacqueline discovers she has a grisly talent that terrifies her a little. It would terrify me too. It’s a pretty dastardly power. But once she realizes what a rush of power it brings, she develops a new lust for life. She perfects her talent and wields it to exact revenge and rid herself of pesky men. It’s dark, bloody, visceral, horribly humorous (if you’re warped) and classic Clive Barker. Even on this, my third reading, I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. 

An Exhibition of Mother and Monster by Stephanie M. Wytovich This is a damning poem on those who glee in the sideshow freaks. Now I almost feel bad for my little fetish.

Next up: CURIOSITIES

I love shops filled with old treasures. The creepier the better.

Madame Painte: For Sale by John Langan Intrigued by a "must be kept outside" sign accompanying a strangely painted garden gnome, “you” decide to bring it inside and learn more about its story. And it's a horrible story, indeed! It's devilishly evil and I adored it. How come the old crap I bring home never has such a sinister secret life?!

Chivalry by Neil Gaiman Gaiman’s dry wit is on full display as he tells this tale about a stubborn old bitty who stumbles upon the Holy Grail and refuses to part with it! Sir Galaad brings her all sorts of gifts in order to get it back but she is not at all impressed. If I had the ability to laugh out loud while reading, this would’ve been the story to make me to do it. Simply charming.

 

VERY IMPT. BONUS NOTES: I just discovered that Levar Burton reads this in episode 7 of his new podcast! Drop everything and go listen!!

Fully Boarded by Ramsey Campbell I know Ramsey Campbell is a legend in horrorland but his writing has never quite worked for me. The same goes here. This story is about a travel reviewer, a wristband and some truly terrible hospitality. I’d give this a three. It was ok, slightly on the “meh” side of the scale and not my favorite here. 

In Amelia’s Wake by Erinn L. Kemper This story is slathered all over with grief. It’s about a group of brother’s who are watching over Amelia Earhart's plane and about a slithery thing that hides in the shadows. I thought it was slightly eerie but slow and it ended too suddenly.

A Ware That Will Not Keep by John F.D. Taff A dying man shares a terrible story from his past. Now this one was took my breath away. It’s a creative and haunting little tale and that ending? Damn, that will be hard to forget.

Earl Pruitt’s Smoker by Patrick Freivald A bee keeper’s old smoker brings one woman the freedom and excitement she so desperately craves but it also brings out the worst in her. This is such an imaginative and chilling little story that smacks you in the face with the consequences of your darker side. 

As a Guest at the Telekinetic Tea Party Stephanie M. Wytovich A whimsical poem that takes a dark turn. This one, at least, didn’t leave me with the guilts!

Hazelnuts and Yummy Mummies Lucy A. Snyder This tale lures you in with the funny but then takes a sad turn as a woman faces the one moment she wishes she could redo. 

And, finally, we have UNDEFINABLE WONDERS. This is the part of the collection where my attention began to wane. I only found one of the stories exceptional and completely engaging. The rest were a little bit of a struggle for me to finish.

The Shiny Fruit of Our Tomorrows by Brian Hodge This story follows a bunch of down on their luck train hoppers as they attempt to find a tree that is rumored to have magical powers that may lead them down a better path. It’s strikingly real but maintains a sense of wonder but was missing a little certain something for me.

The Wakeful Kristi DeMeester This is a weird story about a teacher, a bad relationship, a strange little girl and a terrible garden. Is it a tale of madness or something else? I am left unsure but it I do know that it left me feeling unsettled.

Knitter by Christopher Coake My favorite of the undefinable wonders. The author creates a dark vision of another world where people are trying to live their lives while attempting to avoid ever seeing a creature they call "knitters" who have a devastating power that they use at will. It has a fairytale like feel with a pitch black undertone, hypnotizing prose and an ending that hurts.

Through Gravel by Sarah Read There is a society living underground who call themselves “The Kindred”. As time goes by, their numbers shrink but a newbie arrives with new ideas that will invigorate their group but The Kindred’s greed may be their downfall. This story didn’t do it for me. I cannot explain the reasons. 

Hiraeth by Richard Thomas I may have been out of steam by the time I arrived at this story because I didn’t understand it. It could be my lack of brain cells that caused me to miss nuanced symbolism or whatnot but honestly I’m too tired to think and don’t want to work this hard to comprehend a short story. It’s about a poor farmer’s son who has a hole running through is body, a prickly tree with forbidden fruit and the pain the hapless boy brings upon himself – I think. It was weird, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I’m beat and that’s all I have. There is some wondrous storytelling within these pages and, even though some of the stories weren’t meant for me, it’s most definitely a collection worth checking out!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-01 19:25
Conjesero by Carl Alves (Audio Review)
Conjesero - Carl Alves,Carl Alves,Steve Rausch,Steve Rausch

Conjesero is about a homicide detective whose latest case involves a murderous monster of the non-human kind. Kevin is at the top of his career, having just caught a murdering rapist, when his friend is mauled by something he claims resembles a werewolf. This isn’t just some large man in need of a haircut and shave, says his friend, it was a genuine monster.

And he’s not lying.

This is a monster/police procedural thriller that has a high death count and a monster who isn’t afraid to kill children so be warned! It features a little something for everyone who likes these sorts of books and the writing reminds me a little of Dean Koontz, at least the version of Koontz who isn’t being preachy, speechy and long-winded! It moves at a fast clip, the characters are relatable and there’s even a little romance a-brewing.

Two things did leave me perplexed, however. One is the age of one of the kids. Unless I was hearing things wrong, which is entirely possible, there’s a boy in the story who is described as being in the third grade and going to an elementary school but he and his friends speak and behave more like kids in high school or, at the very least, middle school. Their plot line just didn’t jibe with the age and it niggled at me. The other perplexing moment comes near the last act when Kevin decides to enlist the help of untrained civilians (one of them is his love interest, FFS!) to assist in catching this supernatural bad guy instead of putting together some armed SWAT team or something. It was a really dumb turn of events for such an accomplished detective and even I couldn’t suspend my disbelief that far to go along with his hapless plan.


I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook and recommend doing it that way if you enjoy audiobooks. Steve Rausch has a commanding voice and does a very good job voicing Kevin and the men though, I cannot lie, he is a little cringy when it comes to the women and children but that’s usually the case when there’s one narrator and he has to voice varied characters that aren’t in his range. He keeps a good pace and kept me tuned in which is more than many narrations tend to do.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?