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review 2017-10-22 00:37
Halloween Carnival, Volume Two - Brian James Freeman
Halloween Carnival Volume 2 - Glen Hirshberg,Lee Thomas,Holly Newstein,Del James,Brian James Freeman

With Halloween right around the corner, let's get right into this collection.

 

 

Mr. Dark's Carnival - Glen Hirshberg

 

 

A Montana ghost story thats got some nice creepiness. David is a college professor that teaches a class that explores folklore and his favorite part of the course is the folk tale of Mr. Dark's Carnival. For many years, it has been rumored that the mysterious carnival pops up in a rural setting and only a few select people get chosen to attend. David has never met anyone that has personally been to the carnival and doesn't believe it truly exists until he gets his ticket. A great ghost story that has a murky ending.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 


The Facts in the Case of My Sister - Lee Thomas

 

 

David's estranged sister, Joyce, is in the hospital from an "accident". The prognosis isn't good and David has doubts that her injuries were from an accident. When Joyce and he were kids, David taught himself how to do magic tricks from a book he got. Joyce was always his willing audience and participant. Now, David pulls out a trick from his past to learn what really happened to Joyce.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 


Mischief Night - Holly Newstein

 

 

Willard had a good life, a loving family and wife, and looked forward to his retirement. He was never a drinker after growing up with a nasty old drunk for a father. In what seemed like a harmless way to celebrate his retirement, the bottle grabs ahold of Willard and doesn't let go. On Mischief Night, Willard meets a troubled teen that stumbles into his basement. Can one man's bad decisions help alter the path the youngster is headed down?

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 


The Ghost Maker - Del James

 

 

Halloween has it's own set of scares when you're a mob hit man. You have to be on your toes, even if you're the grim reaper. Great voice that makes for a fun read.

 

 

5 out of 5 stars

 

 


The Pumpkin Boy - Al Sarrantonio

 

 

Jody is a latchkey kid for half an hour every afternoon until his mom gets home. He knows he's not supposed to be outside and he follows that rule. Until, one day, he sees the Pumpkin Boy walking past his window and he can't believe his eyes. For police detective, Len Schneider, Jody's disappearance is bringing back old, haunted memories that he's been trying to lock away for 18 years. What started out as a promising novella, fell flat for me with the ending.

 

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 


Overall, a nice little collection with mostly hits than misses. Well worth the time.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

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text 2017-10-02 22:30
September 2017 Round Up!
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction - Grady Hendrix
Carter & Lovecraft - Jonathan L. Howard
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Dark Screams: Volume Eight - Bentley Little,Kealan Patrick Burke,Richard Chizmar,Frank Darabont,Brian James Freeman
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two - Nevil Shute,Mary Elizabeth Braddon,Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan
The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith
Haven - Greymore Publishing,Matt Godfrey,Tom Deady
Audrey Rose - Frank De Felitta,Matt Godfrey
Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia

I read 16 books in September!

 

 

Graphic Novels:

 

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Farris

 

Total: 1

 

Audio Books:

Audrey Rose by Frank DeFelitta, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Haven by Tom Deady, narrated by Matt  Godfrey

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, narrated by Emma Thompson 

Go Down Together: The True,Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde narrated by Jeff Guinn

The Girls by Emma Cline, narrated by Cady McClain

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, narrated by Amy McFadden and Michael David Axtell

 

Total: 6

 

ARCS:

Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton

Dark Screams Volume Eight

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories Volume Two, edited by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle

The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith

Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea

Mystery Road by Kevin Lucia

Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix

 

Total: 7

 

Random Books:

Carter and Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

 

Total: 2

 

 

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley

September: 0

Running Count: 6

 

 

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

August count: 5

September: 1

 

Running Count: 34! Challenge Met!

 

 

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review 2017-09-25 18:45
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two- edited by James Jenkins & Ryan Cagle
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two - Nevil Shute,Mary Elizabeth Braddon,Michael P. Kube-McDowell

 

Once again, the gentlemen over at Valancourt Books knocked their anthology out of the park-maybe even out of the state! Last year's Volume 1, (click to read my review), was outstanding and Volume 2 is as well. My favorites of this volume are as follows:

 

Stephen Gregory's never before published: "The Boys Who Wouldn't Wake Up" was poignant and, in a way, beautiful. It was also very much unlike any other Gregory story I've read. I'm a huge fan of this author and this tale did NOT disappoint. 

 

"The Nice Boys" by Isabel Colegate was a spectacularly eerie story, set in a relentlessly foggy Venice, Italy. A young woman heads there to vacation away a recent bad break up and meets two young men. As the tension grows the reader is drawn in, but the vivid and disturbing scene towards the end ensures this story will not soon be forgotten. 

 

"Herself" by M.E. Braddon involved two of my favorite tropes-haunted houses and haunted mirrors. I'm not sure which it was, exactly,  but I'm going with  a combination of the two. I love these types of stories-where people are called in to help but are rendered helpless by circumstance and can only witness as bystanders the evil that occurs.

 

"Halley's Passing" by Michael McDowell. It's no secret that I adore Michael McDowell. (You do too, if you love Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas.) This tale, however, is shocking and extra bloody which is unusual for him, but at the same time: so much FUN.

 

"The Elemental" by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. Another FUN tale featuring a psychic that no one takes seriously. At first. 

 

"Samhain" by Bernard Taylor. Taylor is an author that I was unfamiliar with until Valancourt Books republished some of his work. I am now an unabashed fan and stories like this are exactly why. Everything is going along, you think you have a handle on things, and then BAM! He punches you right in the face. It's often a bloody punch too, and this is no exception. I laughed out loud at the ending because I was surprised, it was bloody and I loved it!

 

"The Bell" by Beverly Nichols. A beautifully told tale about a man who was completely dependent upon his valet/butler and what happens when that butler dies. Who will then come to the insistent ringing of the bell? 

 

Just like with Volume 1, I could list each and every story as a standout, because they were ALL just that good. Also like with Volume 1, is the fact that most of these stories have not been published over and over again. I'm not sure if it happens with all genres, but the same horror stories often appear ad nauseam in anthologies and it's irritating. With the cost of books these days, it's disappointing to buy an anthology only to discover you've read half the stories already in other anthologies. Rest easy, because that is not the case here. 

 

Each story in this volume is prefaced by a bit of background on the story and on the author, many of whom were not known for writing in the horror genre. I think that fact brings a certain freshness to this collection that is often lacking in others. The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two is simply EXCEPTIONAL and belongs in the collection of any serious fan of the genre. 

 

My highest recommendation!

 

You can pre-order your copy  here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two

 

*This book was provided by Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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text 2017-09-14 18:45
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two

Available this October from Valancourt Books! 

 

I was SO VERY EXCITED to find this in my mailbox the other day!

 

There's a Michael McDowell in here I haven't yet read, as well as a Stephen Gregory and a Bernard Taylor. I ask you: Who's a happy Char??

 

 

Valancourt Books has earned a reputation as one of the foremost publishers of lost and rediscovered classics, reissuing more than 400 unjustly neglected works from the late 18th century all the way to the early 21st. In this second volume of rare horror stories, the editors of Valancourt Books have selected fourteen tales – all by Valancourt authors – for this new collection spanning two centuries of horror. This volume features a previously unpublished ghost story by Nevil Shute, a brand-new tale by award-winning author Stephen Gregory, and twelve other tales that have never or seldom been reprinted. 

 

Features stories by: Mary Elizabeth Braddon • John Buchan • R. Chetwynd-Hayes • Isabel Colegate • Basil Copper • Thomas De Quincey • Stephen Gregory • Michael McDowell • John Metcalfe • Beverley Nichols • Nevil Shute • Bernard Taylor • Russell Thorndike • Robert Westall

 

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review 2017-08-22 02:24
World Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer
Worlds Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer

Another short story collection from a new-to-me author, Tim Meyer. Let's jump right in and break each story down one by one.

 

 

The Dream Eaters - It's all a dream. Nothing can hurt you in a dream, right? Some familiar elements with a twist or two.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Lemures - A brother and sister running from a crime boss who made a deal with the devil and can summon dead spirits. The story has a nice voice, if not the most satisfying ending.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Cherry Collectors - Being a player can come back and haunt you.

 

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Worlds Between My Teeth - The night just keeps getting stranger and stranger for a mall security guard. Shades of King's The Drawing of Three and The Twilight Zone. Good stuff.

 

5 out of 5 stars

 


Gingerbread Death Machine - Revenge doesn't always taste sweet. A macabre Christmas tale that seems familiar but doesn't work as well as it could.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


Under New Skies - A high school boy writes about love and the world becoming Jurassic Park overnight. I liked the uneasiness in this one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


The Ice King - Emmett is sure that his wife, Gertie, is slipping him an extra pill in his daily stash, trying to kill him. When he sees something humongous under the ice while fishing, he becomes convinced. Lovecraft meets Grumpy Old Men. This was a fun one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Box Game - Yikes! That's some game!

 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Armala's Hunt - Armala's sister has been abducted by an unknown assailant. She recruits her world's best tracker for hire. They follow their trail to a cave where the grisly realization of why he kidnapped Armala's sister unveils itself. A nice tale of fantasy that feels like it's the start of a story rather than the whole tale.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


The Old Church - Umm?!? Am I missing something here? What seems like a fragment of a setup to a story.

 

1 out of 5 stars

 


The Pumpkin Tree Giveth, The Pumpkin Tree Taketh Away - The pumpkin tree has been rumored to grant wishes. For 10-year-old Jeffie, he better watch what he wishes for. Again, it feels like a scene instead of a story.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


The Man Who Never Frowned - A used car salesman, who is down on his luck, is about to have a really bad day.


4 out of 5 stars

 


The Organ Harvest (An October John novella) - In 2052, a plague has hit the world and decimated 95% of the population. Detective Callahan is breaking in a rookie partner while investigating a strange case of murders. The victims bodies are barely recognizable save for one distinguishing feature, a tattoo of a white rabbit on their ass cheek. Every clue runs into a dead end and with nowhere else to turn, Detective Callahan is forced to turn Johnny Webster (aka October John), a down-on-his-luck bum that has a knack for this kind of work. You see, 12 years ago, Johnny used to be Callahan's partner.

A fun novella that introduces us to some interesting characters with October John being right up at the top. Think of Riggs from Lethal Weapon.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


All in all, a very solid collection of shorts and a novella. Meyer has an easy writing style with some good characters and plots. There were a couple that were too short for me to really get into, but that's my preference and not necessarily a dig on Meyer's writing. Definitely worthy of space on any horror fan's bookcase. Meyer looks like he has the chops to make a real name for himself in the horror community.

 


Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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