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Search tags: Chars-Horror-Corner
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review 2018-09-21 12:45
DRAWING BLOOD by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Drawing Blood: A Novel - Matt Godfrey,Crossroad Press,Poppy Z. Brite

A good old haunted house story is something I've always loved, so when the narrator of this tale offered me a chance to listen to the audio in exchange for a review, I jumped at it. Poppy Z. Brite is an author I've heard a lot about and I've been wanting to read his work for quite some time. I learned a few things while reading this book and one of them is that Poppy Z. Brite can write.

 

Trevor is a young man returning to the house where his mother and brother were killed 20 years ago. Shortly after his arrival in Missing Mile, his old hometown, he meets a young computer hacker on the run, named Zach. The two immediately feel a connection and together they go to face Trevor's childhood home. What will they find there? Is the house actually haunted? You will have to read this to find out. 

 

While the writing quality here was good, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the story itself. This is not the author's fault, nor the narrator's,  it was my sky high expectations. I expected a scary as hell story- and while there was a little darkness,  there was way too much romance for me. I don't mind explicit sex scenes, (gay or straight),  if they are integral to the story. Now I totally get the term insta-love. These two just met, one of them a virgin, and before you know it they are going at it at a breakneck pace. And going at it again. And again. The sexy times were sexy, don't get me wrong but after a while they finally led me to ask "Can we get to the horror already?"

 

Eventually, we did get to the horror, but after such a long build, it failed to move me much. I'm not sure if I was just bored by that point, or if all the romance had inured me to what should have been an exciting finale. 

 

The narration by Matt Godfrey was excellent as always, I especially loved his Jamaican accent. Yeah, mon! 

 

As I said, I did like the writing, and in a few spots it was nearly lyrical. From what I understand this is one of Poppy Z. Brite's, (now he goes by the name Billy Martin), earlier works. While I didn't find this novel to be a true horror story, I'm told his later works definitely are and I will be tracking those down in the future, maybe even the near future. 

 

Recommended, as long as you're not looking for a horror tale and you don't mind a lot of romance and sexy times! 

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the audio of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-09-20 22:30
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY by John Everson
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

 

Bachelor's Grove is a small town featuring a house backing onto a cemetery. There have always been rumors about the house-something about a witch and a haunting. Rumors have no impact on Perry, though. He's an entrepreneur that wants to open a Halloween haunted house there. Great idea, right? Yeah...no. All kinds of things go wrong as you may have guessed and lots of gory shenanigans ensue. Will the haunted house business be a success? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I requested this ARC from Flame Tree Press because I loved the cover and also because I've been wanting to read more of John Everson's work. Ever since I read his book SIREN several years back, I've been meaning to get back to him, and with this book I finally got that opportunity. While I respect his writing, in general, I think he really shines when it comes to the bloody action-plenty of which is too be found towards the end of this story. I just thought it took a bit too long to get there.

 

We are introduced to many characters, maybe too many, and while I did like or care for some of them, I don't think they required the amount of attention they received. Also, it took a long time for us to get to where the story really lived. I would have preferred less of the extraneous characters and more about the main characters and perhaps more about the history of the house. It's hard to add anything else without spoilers, however I will reinforce the fact that the denouement was bloody brilliant and I had a ball reading that portion.

 

Overall, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was fun in that bloody B-movie way many of us horror lovers enjoy- and if anyone ever does make a film based upon this tale, I would love to see their rendition of the basement at the end of Halloween night!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-09-14 19:16
WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

 

 Hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal-it all dragged itself up out of the swamp called the blues. 

 

As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

 

WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate the good. But when the lead singer decides that this isn't enough for him, he investigates...other avenues. Will the band survive his efforts and appeals to be something greater? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I loved how the background of each band member was related, but I especially liked the lead character Kris, because she wasn't the stereotypical female protagonist that we so often see. (Well, let's face it-we don't see that many female leads of rock bands, in real life or especially as believable characters in books.) She was bad-ass but she didn't think so-maybe she didn't even realize it. But she was resilient and she kept on keeping on even when there was no chance of success. I think I have my first fictional girl crush.

 

As the tale progresses, several twists occurred that I didn't foresee at all. I will never look at a UPS truck in the same way again, (and I bet you won't either). I'm sure my mouth dropped a couple of times and it probably wasn't pretty, but hell, I don't care. (I won't even speak about how late last night my Kindle hit me in my face because I was so intent on finishing this story but I just couldn't say awake any longer.) The bruise was worth it!

 

At the end of each chapter you'll find little tidbits from radio or news broadcasts and some of them won't make sense until later on. I really liked them and they provided background at times, and foreshadowing at others.

 

Grady Hendrix blipped my radar with his beautiful book PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and since then I've been a big fan. This book, however, this one is truly something special. I rank it right up there with a few other books about bands that I've greatly enjoyed like Robert McCammon's THE FIVE.

 

At this point, if I haven't won you over I'm probably not going to. However, I will say, if you're a fan of well written, fast paced, dark fiction, and you love Rock & Roll, you will miss the boat by a wide, wide margin if you don't read this book.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere on Tuesday, September 18th, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2xdfoR5

 

*Thanks to Quirk Books via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-09-10 18:45
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn
The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne

There's nothing more I can say about this book that hasn't been said by hundreds, if not thousands, of other readers and critics. It's a classic for a reason. 

 

A haunted house story to beat all haunted house stories, with the added bonus of Shirley Jackson's sublime prose. As an example I submit the opening paragraph, which in my opinion, are some of the best 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 so 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."

 

 

I happily re-read this for this square:

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review 2018-09-09 20:34
THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH by Ramsey Campbell
Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell

 

Quiet horror is one of my favorite sub-genres and with that in mind I was looking forward to this release from one of the masters. Admittedly, my expectations for this were high and I'm sorry to report that THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH didn't meet them.

 

A man, Ray, takes his wife and extended family on vacation to an island in Greece. It's the first time that the entire family has vacationed together and everyone has been looking forward to it. It's not long, however, before they begin to notice strange things. Why are there no mirrors in their hotel rooms? Why are different members of the family having similar dreams each night? Even more intriguing, why are those same family members displaying bite marks on their bodies? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

First,  I did like the writing style and quality, and I enjoyed the foreshadowing. (At times, I think the foreshadowing was the only thing that kept me reading.) What brought me down quite a bit was the pacing and some of the characters. I didn't feel much for any of them, other than Ray, the elderly protagonist and Jules, whom I couldn't stand. (Really, I couldn't stand him-a more annoying, fussy, controlling man you couldn't find anywhere.) I hated him enough that I considered quitting this book more than once. Between him and the pacing, I came *this* close. But every time I said to myself "This is it! I'm done!" something happened that kept me going.

 

Overall, I'm sorry to say that this book didn't work well for me. The writing quality is there though, which is why I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars. What doesn't work for me might work exceedingly well for you, so if the synopsis sounds good, go ahead and give it a shot. Ramsey Campbell is a master of the horror genre after all!

 

*Thanks to Flame Tree Press via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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