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Search tags: Horror-Novella
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review 2017-12-04 18:18
Dream Woods by Patrick Lacey
Dream Woods - Patrick Lacey,Joe Hempel

Vince remembers Dream Woods through a pleasant veil of childhood memory. Even though bad things (murder, murder and more murder!) were rumored to have happened there and it was shut down years ago, Vince learns that the bloods been cleaned up and it’s been re-opened. He decides that it will be a most excellent vacation destination even if his wife would much rather head to a resort and lounge around a beach all day (I’m with her). He feels it will help bring his family closer together.

 

He is quite mistaken.

 

Right away things seem a little off. The people staffing the place aren’t quite right. They don’t seem completely . . . human? But Vince, the eternal optimist, holds out hope that this magical place will make his wife love him again.

 

Awwww. You can’t but help but root for the sap, right? His wife, who has already left her family once, seems to resent her husband for abandoning his anarchist roots and settling down into a real job after she becomes pregnant with twins, one who has diabetes. She reminded me a bit of that teacher in the 90’s named Pam Smart who fell out of love with her husband when he cut his 80’s rocker locks to become an insurance salesman and I had zero sympathy for her. I kept reading on hoping she’d be the first victim of Dream Woods. So yay for keeping me interested during my reading slump ;)

 

This story was decent, not earth shattering but a solid little horror story that kept me hooked and that bloody bear mascot will haunt my dreams. Dream Woods has some gore and loads of decent characterization and narrator Joe Hempel does an excellent job with the voices.

 

*I received a copy of this audiobook via Audiobookboom. Thanks!

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review 2017-11-14 19:06
Halloween Carnival Vol. 1
Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton,Kevin Lucia,John Little,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon

Halloween Carnival is a collection of 3 short stories and two novellas. It would’ve been perfect reading on Halloween night but I’m a slacker and watched movies instead.

 

Strange Candy by Robert McCammon

 

A man thoughtlessly and rather stupidity (if you ask me) eats a strange looking piece of unwrapped candy out of his child's Halloween bag. Seriously, who does that?! After ingesting the gross thing, he finds himself no longer in his living room and begins to meet strangers who give him final messages to pass along to their loved ones. He writes nothing down but manages to remember it all. Ah, to have such a brain, what must that be like? Anyway, it has a twisty-twist at the end. It’s sad and I really enjoyed it all. 4 Stars

 

The Rage of Achilles or When Mockingbirds Sing by Kevin Lucia

 

Father Ward wasn't expecting a visitor on Halloween but he got one anyway. A grief stricken father begs for absolution. This is another sad story about love, grief and regret and a dedicated priest who witnesses the supernatural. It’ll haunt you with its beautiful sorrow. 4.5 Stars

 

Demon Air by John R. little

 

This story? I don’t know what it was besides a great disappointment to me. A woman is on a flight to find herself and she does a lot of navel gazing for most of the story until things finally go strangely awry. When the pilot thanks everyone for flying “Demon Air” I was entranced. Gross things begin to happen, passengers are tormented and then it abruptly ends and the fun is over nearly before it’s begun. Such a tease! This story had quite a bit of promise but in the end was a total let down. It felt rushed and unfocused and as if two stories were smashed together and neither ended up satisfying in the end. 2 Stars

 

La Hacienda de los Muertos Lisa Morton

 

Trick is a washed up actor ready to film a horror flick in the most haunted town in Mexico. Before the film can get going, Trick must deal with the supernatural. I thought this was interesting but pretty standard stuff. It wasn’t sad, or horrible or particularly scary either. I’d give it a 3.

 

#MakeHalloweenScaryAgain Mark Allan Gunnells

 

A horror writer posts a hashtag on his Facebook page hoping to drum up a little interest in his novels but he attracts a weirdo who takes it way too seriously instead. Now he’s involved in a murder investigation and spends the days leading up to Halloween hunting down the madman terrorizing his town. This was a decent, if slightly predictable, tale of mystery, murder, and Halloween that kept me turning the pages to discover if I was right about the killer and I was! I feel so smart :) 3 Stars

 

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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review 2017-10-12 19:21
Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Gwendy's Button Box - Stephen King,Richard Chizmar

I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook read by Maggie Siff who starred in Son’s of Anarchy. I never watched that show because there’s no monsters in it (I know, I am a terrible person, no need to tell me) so I don’t know her work. I learned this from listening to the Q&A with King & Chizmar at the end of the audio. Methinks they might’ve been enamored a little with her work on the show. She’s a little flat at times but overall does a decent enough job with the material but, honestly, I’ve heard better narrators and her performance wasn’t anything to get all that excited about.

 

Since this is a short story and I am a lazy bum I’m going to be brief. One lovely summer day when Gwendy is a tween doing her best to get healthy and shed herself of a nasty nickname by exercising herself silly, she spies a strange man who offers her a very special button box. This box, he sinisterly promises, will dispense magical chocolates that will curb her hunger. It will also spit out silver coins that’ll help put her through college. Well, Gwendy is a smart girl and she takes that box home despite her misgivings about keeping a box that has a potentially very dark side . . .

 

This was an eerie little story more magical realism than horror but I enjoyed it even though I wish it had been longer. I kept waiting for something dreadful to happen and eventually it does. It is partially a King story, after all! Honestly, I would’ve liked to have seen even more dreadful events and to have had a darker ending but I did get that in the second story included in this audio “The Music Room”. That story gets five stars. It was short, comical and as pitch-black as it gets.

 

I'll be using this book for the Magical Realism Square.

 

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review 2017-10-11 15:57
Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke
Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke

Blanky is a grief saturated read that will ring true for anyone who has ever lost anyone prematurely.  It nails those dark, hopeless feelings that envelop you in the early stages of grief. It’s sad and it’s scary and it packs an incredible punch in so few pages. This kind of writing, the kind that is able to creep into my heart and shatter it, is what  keeps me coming back to books when there are always so many other things trying to pull me away from them.

“One rainy night I put her to bed and when I woke up, she was dead. That was the beginning of the end of my world. This is the rest of it.”

Steve is drowning in grief and he is all alone. His wife, unable to deal with their loss, has left to live with her parents for a while and Steve’s isolation and sadness is a living, breathing, soul sucking thing.

"We always said nothing would come between us, that there was nothing we couldn’t conquer. I know at the time we never imagined in a million years it would be something this fucking apocalyptic, but still...I meant it then and I mean it now. We’re stronger together than we’ll ever be alone.” “I know, but...I see her in you, Stephen. She had your eyes, and it got so that looking at you felt like looking at her, and all I could see was the accusation, the blame. I couldn’t bear it. I still can’t.”

Ouch, right? Talk about raw emotion. The writing here is so strong that it almost physically hurts to read these thoughts and experience the sadness that engulfs both of them.

One day Steve ventures into his deceased baby’s room and finds her blanky. The blanky that he could’ve sworn she was swaddled in when she was handed over to the paramedics. The blanky that should not be in her room . . .  Finding the blanky stirs a series of events that become increasingly sinister. Is Steve experiencing something supernatural or is it something far worse? I’m not a jerk and am not going to be the one to tell you!

This story gets all the stars. It is bleak and it may haunt you but I think all of you horror people should read it.

 

I'm going to use this for the American Horror Story square.

 

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review 2016-08-19 20:50
Review: Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent
Where Wolves Run: A Novella of Horror - Jason Parent


I'm a huge fan of werewolf stories, I'm talking proper werewolves not over-sized puppies playing at being werewolves, so I couldn't resist this one especially as it's written by one of my must read favourite authors.

 

Where Wolves Run was a unique, interesting and fast read. The pacing of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself having to resist the urge to peek a little further down the page and having to purposely slow down as I was in a rush to see what happened next. I particularly enjoyed Konrad's character, it was refreshing to have a character who wasn't aware of what was going on and totally unprepared for what was ahead. Konrad having no prior knowledge of what he's dealing with allows the reader to join him on his journey, to learn along with him and to relate to his experience more as a result.

 

There was one thing that I feel spoiled it a little for me personally and that was how Konrad's father was referred to as Father rather than by his name. It didn't ruin the story but it did make him feel somewhat less of a person. However, it did put more focus onto Konrad so perhaps it was intentional.

 

I really enjoyed the ending. I usually have an idea of what I want the conclusion to be when reading a book and I love it when things get turned around and an author throws in a twist that takes things in a whole different direction from what I had envisioned. At first I was a little disappointed but as it sunk in I realised that it worked much better than what I had been expecting.

 

Definitely one I would recommend.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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