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review 2017-05-09 18:55
Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk
Threshold - Jordan L. Hawk


I listened to this book on audio and the narrator is not my favorite. I wasn’t thrilled with his performance in “Widdershins” and it was pretty much the same deal here. He simply has no oomph to his voice, there is very little to no emotion behind any of the words and I’m a reader who needs the oomph. I don’t enjoy having a story “read” to me. I need a performance. And it’s all about me, right? Anyway, this story is good enough for me to mostly ignore the sometimes awkward/sometimes stilted delivery and the lack of tone change in most of the character voices. Christine is done right though so that’s awesome.

This time lovebirds Griffin and Whyborne and their colleague Christine are investigating strange goings-on at a coal mine. There’s some humor, dastardly humans, some spicy love making, ancient monsters with pincers and surgical skills (yes! Gross but, yes, I loved it!). What more could I want in a story? Nothing, I tell you. Ok, maybe a little angst but that’s here too as the pair have their first real fight, face some insecurities and kiss and make up.

If you don’t like horror you will need to skim and think of this during the scary bits.


This is book #2 in the series and I most definitely recommend reading them in order so you can watch the main couple fall in love and solve their first really weird case in Widdershins. I don’t follow many series because I’m too lazy to keep track of them but this is one that calls to me. I may read the rest in paper format though unless I hear that the narration gets a whole hell of a lot better . . .

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review 2017-04-18 16:06
Garden of Fiends Anthology
Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Johann Thorsson,Max Booth III,Glen Krisch,Jessica McHugh,Kealan Patrick Burke,Mark Matthews,Jack Ketchum

This is a truly excellent collection of short stories all about the struggle of addiction. All have a horror twist and there isn’t a dud in the bunch. If I didn’t have to work, feed and clean up after people all the live-long day, I would’ve finished it in one sitting because it’s that good. I’m not going to rate them. Just know that they’re all around the 4 1/2 – 5 star range which totally averages out to a 5, right?

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

 

Things get off to a dark start (and stay there, really) with this story about a man caught in the throes of alcohol addiction. His life is a wreck, he is haunted by his mistakes, by his never-ending thirst and perhaps by something supernatural. It’s unflinching and you really do feel for this mess of a man as he is helpless to stop the all-consuming thirst . . .

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

 

In a not too distant future, a man has lost the love of his life due to his addiction. This only feeds the vicious cycle as he longs for drugs to take away his emotional pain. He lives in a desperate world where the wealthy pay big bucks for something only the drug addicted can offer them. But he’s not desperate enough to sink to that, or is he? This is apparently an excerpt from a longer work called Green Kangaroos, which I now need because I am the nosey sort, but the story feels complete enough here. This one is dirty and brutal and harrowing.

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews

 

Oh how I loved this one. It’s haunting and terrifying and all around awesome. Tara is a recovering addict and every day is a struggle to remain sober. She has a family who loves her and will do anything to keep her alive and I do mean anything. This is a story about an addict, a garden that grows terrible fruit and the damage it all does to one once close-knit, loving family. It’s sad and horrible and beautifully written.

 

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson

 

This is a little snippet of a story that started with a party trick that turns one woman on to a new obsession that’ll put some images in your head you may not easily forget. Eww this was disturbing! So fantastically disturbing and I wanted more!

 

Last Call by John FD. Taff

 

Ted is a slave to his addiction. When he shows up loaded at his latest AA meeting his sponsor is forced to take drastic measures and hands him a business card, telling him to go to the address on the card and ask for “the last bottle he’ll ever need”. He gets it and gets his life together but the past will come back to haunt in a most terribly heartbreaking way.

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

 

Maggie is 15, a runaway, sees demons and sets out on a course of disaster to locate her father. This was like watching an extremely dark episode of Supernatural with a surprise ending and I adored it.

 

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III 

 

This one starts out in a most startling manner. Jeremy arises after a saucy night to discover that blood is oozing out of a place it shouldn't be oozing out of. He tries to shrug it off as a result of overuse but it’s difficult to shrug off something like that, especially when it doesn’t stop oozing! Uh oh. This story is darkly comical and is laced with my favorite kind of twisted humor. It’s probably my favorite because of that. Sex, drugs, cravings, spiders and madness fueled by drugs and nightmare images? What’s not to like? It’s also gory and bloody and so very messy. I loved it all.

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum 

 

Awww, this was a short and beautifully told ghost story about a depressed alcoholic, a man and a cat ending with a Ketchum edge. It’s a little scary to me that I just so happened to take this particular progress photo when sitting down to read this collection!

 

 

This book was a very cohesive collection and I am so glad I changed my stance on short story collections (due to burn out) and gave this one a try! I received an ARC from the publisher.

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review 2017-04-07 19:39
The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn
The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

This story starts out a little slow but it’s of the slow burn variety that builds into something terrible and terrifying so I didn’t mind too much.

 

Stevie's best and only friend, Jude, wandered out into the woods near their home one day and never came home. No one besides Jude's mother and Stevie seem terribly upset about it. Jude was an unlikable sort, sure, but the lack of interest in finding him is a little bothersome so Stevie decides to investigate on his own. He and Jude had spent endless hours in the forest doing what boys do in the woods and came upon a creepy old house. Stevie is certain that house has something to do with Jude’s disappearance.

 

This story is a mishmash of many horror-ish things. It’s a coming of age tale mixed up with remnants of King’s Pet Sematary and a splattering of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but it’s totally its own story. What is eventually revealed is horrifying, disturbing and very gruesome and could give you nightmares if you think about the images too much.

 

I enjoyed the slow unraveling of this story and watching how the origin of a nightmare begins. Stevie was an interesting kid, struggling with a disorder that makes him a target and growing up with an assholish step-dad. He’s determined to find his friend and later he’s unafraid to stir up a little trouble to get at the truth. There’s a side story that I won’t reveal that absolutely captured me where one very unlucky woman is faced with a moral dilemma like none other I’ve ever read and I felt for her. She only wanted love but she got something else entirely!

 

A word of warning, if you need one, there are deaths in here and many of them happen to innocent little beasts but it’s all part of this story and felt like an awful, natural progression of one of the characters.

 

If you like your horror gory and creepy then this one’s for you.

 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thanks, Netgalley!

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review 2017-03-29 15:46
Little Dead Red by Mercedes Yardley (audio)
Little Dead Red - Mercedes M. Yardley
This is a not happy tale. Terrible things happen to innocent people.

Little Red Dead is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood which was never a sweet tale anyway, but author Mercedes Yardley takes the bones of that fable and gives it a very gritty, very modern treatment and turns it into a horrifying read.

Some women have all the luck. Marie is not one of them. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story and am honestly unsure how to even tackle this review. I’ll just say that Marie suffers from two huge losses that leave her devastated, emotionally drained and at her wits end. After a kind man and his wife intervene, instead of succumbing to depression she decides to plot revenge.

This is a well plotted, well executed, bleak and painfully emotional short story – all the things I look for in a story such as this but it is not an feel good read. You have been warned.

Narration Notes: As this story is told from Marie’s POV, I’m not going to lie, I do wish it had been narrated by a woman but that’s my own personal preference. That said, narrator Joe Hempel does a fine job with the darkness of the story and doesn’t ruin the female voices with painful falsetto. I cannot tell you how many times a guy has ruined a female character for me with a cringy performance and vice-versa. I found it hard to tear myself away from the audio and do things like go to work and listen to people who needed to ask me oh so important questions that could not wait (yeah, that’s sarcasm you hear there) because the storytelling was so involving.

I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of Audiobook Boom.
 
 

 

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review 2017-02-24 19:26
Coco Butternut by Joe R. Lansdale
Coco Butternut (Hap and Leonard Adventure) - Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard (and their two accomplices) return for another zany caper.  Forever short on funds, the two agree to another weird job. The deceased body of a beloved wiener dog has gone missing from the cemetery and the dognapper wants cash or else . . .  Hap and Leonard step in to make the exchange.

 

Sure sounds easy enough to me. All they need to do is hand over the cash, grab the dead dog and collect their pay day.  Nothing is ever that easy with these two. Unable to leave well enough alone, they discover things they shouldn't know and find themselves wrapped up in a little mystery that they can’t let alone.

 

I’ve missed a few Hap and Leonard books somewhere along the way and now they are apparently running a PI service with Hap’s girlfriend and his grown daughter Chase (where’d she come from?!). This was a little disconcerting but it’s my fault for reading the series out of order, as I do. The characters are smart-asses as always but they didn’t seem to have that dark sarcastic edge to their insults that used to make me laugh, almost out loud. This installment was also pretty tame when it came to the violence and I never felt as if any of our leads were in grave peril.

 

It was entertaining but a little too tame for my expectations.

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