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text 2019-01-01 12:45
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Novels of 2018
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea
The Woman in the Woods - John Connolly
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon
Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix
Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni
Husk - J. Kent Messum
Cold in July - Joe R. Lansdale
Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James

Welcome to my Top Ten Novels List!

 

I read 157 books over the course of this year and here's what I thought were the best of the best novels.

(These are books that I read this year, not necessarily published this year.)

Click on the cover to read my review.

Let's get started!

 

 Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea  

 

CREATURE was not what I expected at all. 

Hunter Shea is great for creature feature novellas, and that's what I expected from this book. Instead, I got punched in the gut and my heart was torn out!

 

The Woman in the Woods - John Connolly 

 

The Charlie Parker series continues with what I think was the best entry yet!

Sixteen novels in and at this point, I can't imagine a world without a new Charlie Parker book every year. 

 

The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

 

Robert McCammon, author of BOY'S LIFE, (my favorite book of all time), crushes my heart again with this book about an exceptional young black man. (Technically, I read this book in 2017, but it didn't come out until 2018. So sue me!) This book is beautiful and brutal all at once, and features characters both good and bad, that you'll never forget. (I love you, Curtis!)

 

 

Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott 

 

Megan Abbott is a recent discovery of mine thanks to author Randy Chandler. Now I'm lined up every time she has a new book out. She writes about women like no one else. 

 

 

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix 

 

With this entry Grady Hendrix became one of my favorite authors. MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM was great, but this book knocked me out. Maybe because I loved Metal back in the day, and also because the protagonist reminded me of Joan Jett. Whatever the reasons, I LOVED this book!

 

Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes 

 

 

Caroline Kepnes hit my list of favorite authors in 2018.

I listened to both YOU and HIDDEN BODIES, (both of which are on my TOP TEN AUDIOBOOKS of the year list), and then I read this one back in June. All I can say is I know that I will read anything she puts out. She could write out a grocery list and I would read it with pleasure!

 

 

Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

 

 

After reading BEHIND THE DOOR this year, I know that I will be catching up on more of Mary SanGiovanni's  backlog while staying up to date with her latest releases. With a distinct voice and style, she causes me to think-and her characters in this one are quite memorable!

 

Husk - J. Kent Messum  

 

This is probably my most recent read that made it to this list. Fast paced, imaginative and adventurous, this book has more of a science fiction base, but there are horrific aspects as well. I was really impressed!

 

Cold in July - Joe R. Lansdale 

 

The Champion Mojo Storyteller strikes again!

 

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James 

 

This was more of a dark fantasy than horror, but I don't really care for labels as much as I care about a good story and mark my words this was one.A follow up to the previous year's GILDED CAGE, I thought this was an imaginative story about young adults, but so, so dark that it surprised me. Who doesn't love a good surprise?

 

 

Thanks for staying with me this far if you're still here. I appreciate you!

I hope you'll join me again at the end of 2019 for another list of my favorite books of the year. I hope that your New Year is also filled with outstanding and amazing reads!

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-08-31 18:45
August 2018-That's A Wrap!
The Auctioneer: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Joan Samson
The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival - Terry Roberts
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni
Rogue Protocol - Martha Wells
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found - Gilbert King,Kimberly Farr
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Occasional Beasts: Tales - John Claude Smith
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea
Skullface Boy - Chad Lutzke
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

I read 11 books this month!

 

 

Graphic Novels

 

0

 

Audiobooks 

 

The Auctioneer by Joan Samson, narrated by Matt Godfrey 4*

Beneath A Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King, narrated by Kimberly Farr 4*

The Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff, narrated by Matt Godfrey 3.5*

 

Total: 3

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival by Terry Roberts 4*

Behind the Door by Mary SanGiovanni 4.5*

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells 4*

Occasional Beasts: Tales by John Claude Smith 4.5*

Creature by Hunter Shea ALL THE DAMN STARS!

Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke 4.5*

The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz 3.5*

 

Total: 7

 

RANDOM READS

 

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury 4*

 

Total: 1

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

(I'm failing miserably)

 

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

 

Running Total: 109

 

BRING ON HALLOWEEN BINGO!

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text 2018-08-31 15:40
August wrap up
Blackbeard: The Birth of America - Samuel S. Marquis
Legion Excerpt - Brandon Sanderson
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni
Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One) - Tamora Pierce
Rattus New Yorkus - Hunter Shea
Ireland the Best - Sally McKenna,John McKenna
Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances - Cody Johnson
Hero at the Fall - Alwyn Hamilton
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
Sound—The Fabric of Soul, Consciousness, Reality, and the Cosmos - Ramiro Mendes,João Mendes

Wow, 10 books in a month is good for me!

 

I'm reading more in the run up to Bingo. Some of these could even fit Bingo squares, but I have new choices.

 

Stand out books Are Legion and Hero at the Fall, both good Fantasy. Behind the Door and Blackbeard were also worthy.

 

3 non-fiction, of those Ireland the Best was excellent reference material and the others were each interesting in their own ways.

 

Funny enough, the two well known Fantasy writers were the disappointments.

 

I was getting close to finishing all current reads, then a couple more got approved at Netgalley. At least I'm going to have plenty of good stuff to read for the next couple of months!

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review 2018-08-25 09:34
Behind the Door
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

by Mary SanGiovanni

 

Somewhere in the woods of Pennsylvania there is a mysterious door and for generations people have written requests and sealed the envelope with wax mixed with their own blood and slipped the letters under the door. They always get a result, but not always in the way they anticipate.

 

This is a similar concept to another book I read last year, but in this one someone changes her mind and tries to retrieve the letter. Opening the door was a very, very bad idea. This is mentioned in the book description so I'm not giving a spoiler.

 

The details of individual situations is what makes the story. Rather a lot of people in the town have made use of the door at some time or other, though many won't admit to it. They are reluctant to talk about it and some incidents are about covering up things the people in question don't want revealed. A professional, Kathy Ryan, is brought in to help deal with the occult occurrences.

 

If you like truly horrific imagery and especially tentacled monsters, then this is for you. The situation gets progressively more gruesome as things move on, leading up to a dramatic ending. I can't put my finger on why, but I didn't feel what I was supposed to feel as the plot thickened. I think there were a few jumps in the plot that threw me off, just little things like how a group of people in a car are suddenly walking in the forest.

 

Kathy Ryan is the central character for a series of stand alone stories where she is a sleuth dealing with occult situations. I do find myself curious about the plots of other stories in the series.

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review 2018-08-06 23:44
BEHIND THE DOOR by Mary SanGiovanni
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

In the small town of Zarephath, PA there exists a door. Everyone knows about it, and everyone knows what it does. Everyone also knows not to open the door: as in NEVER, EVER open the door. But, of course, someone does, and this is the basis for BEHIND THE DOOR.

 

A slight spoiler follows:

 

 

In my mind, this is a novel of cosmic horror. It doesn't feature Cthulhu or any Lovecraftian creatures, (though there are tentacles), but major aspects of it are there. What's behind the door is not of this world. Check. What's behind the door doesn't give a hoot about humans or humanity in general. It is cold, indifferent and unfeeling. Check, check, check. Now, it could also be interpreted as supernatural horror, in general, and that's fine too. But this is MY review and here we are. 

 

(spoiler show)

 

Kathy Ryan is a fascinating character and I can't wait to read more about her. An occult specialist, she knows things. For this reason, she is called to Pennsylvania to help the town figure out what happened, and hopefully, how to undo it. She comes in and she's heard. Surprisingly, she's understood and respected-pretty much right off the bat, with the few naysayers quickly changing their tunes as the situation escalates. (As a women in a primarily male field, I felt that this was a bit optimistic, but hey, that's just me and again, my review.)

 

I thought the other characters were also well drawn and believable. I just wanted to hug both Kari and Cicely as much as I wanted to kick Ed and Toby. (And I wanted to kick a certain place on their bodies that isn't ladylike for me to mention.) Characters that inspire that kind of feeling in me demand to be heard.

 

To recap: BEHIND THE DOOR is a fast paced novel that moves right along. Evil in a small town is a favorite trope of mine, and combined with this type of horror, (see spoiler above), this was a must read for me. If any of this sounds vaguely good to you? This is a must read for you too!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere August 28th, 2018, but you can pre-order here: BEHIND THE DOOR

 

*Thank you to Kensington, Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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