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review 2017-07-18 14:10
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:

 

First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.

 

 

 

 

Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.

 

Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.

 

You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-03-16 00:38
I didn't get this PhD for nuthin
The Silver Skull (The Elemental Web Chro... The Silver Skull (The Elemental Web Chronicles Book 2) - Anne Renwick
The Golden Spider (The Elemental Web Series) (Volume 1) - Anne Renwick

The Golden Spider and The Silver Skull are both fairly paint-by-numbers steampunk: it's vaguely Victorian-ish, with the ton & the peerage and all that, but there are Babbage cards and steam mechanicals and such too. 

 

The Golden Spider is probably the better novel, following a girl scientist trying to stop a killer and cure her brother and also there are spies.The Silver Skull relies on one of those "we have to pretend to be married so we might as well bang" scenarios, which I find tedious, and I didn't buy the reasons for the lovers to be apart anyway. But bonus points for pteranodons that the evil lady saddles up so she can have sky battles with airships. That was fresh. 

 

What I really wanted to say about this series, the thing I found utterly charming, was the epically nerdy science behind both of these plots. A science that was lovingly detailed with so much legit scientific terminology that I would just start skimming at points as the principals breathlessly talked chemistry at each other. The author's bio states that Renwick has a PhD in chemistry, and it shows: she loves this shit; she's not going to dumb it down; and she's going to work out the science plausibly, even if it's fictional. 

 

Hard science is very rarely my thing. I simply do not care about verisimilitude, unless you wrap it up with some actual characters, which doesn't happen as often as I'd prefer. And generally I'm not reading steampunk for the articles, but because I like the dash-punk pulp aspects: I want to see me a fucking kraken, or an airship battle that crashes, burning, into the sea, or some automata struggling with sentience. But here, in books where the steampunkery was wan and drab, I lived for the nerdy stuff, in a weird reversal. It just goes to show that the enthusiasm of the writer towards the subject, be it chemistry or krakens, goes a long way toward my enjoyment of a novel. 

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review 2017-03-10 10:09
Ill Will
Ill Will - Dan Chaon

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Psychologically complex Dan Chaon’s ILL WILL is a dark, haunting, and twisty suspense thriller full of madness, tragedy, murder, grief, and despair. Cancer, drugs, addictions, and satanic evil.

"We meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it." —Jean De La Fontaine.

Dustin Tillman is a suburban Cleveland psychiatrist. Father of two teenage boys, Aaron and Dennis. His wife, Jill dying of cancer, and one of his patients is now recruiting him to help investigate the drownings of young men that seem to match a pattern. He is struggling with his own past. He is the survivor.

In 1983, when he was thirteen years old, his mother, father, aunt, and uncle were murdered. Dustin accused his adopted older brother, Rusty (attracted to Satanism) of the crime. Rusty was incarcerated.

What really happened with the violent murder during a summer holiday in 1983? Two unsolved crimes. Past and Present.

 



"In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation."—Sacheverell Sitwell, For Want of the Golden City.

Now he has been exonerated and released. Thirty some years after Dustin’s testimony put him away for murdering their parents, aunt, and uncle. Now DNA evidence clears him of the crime.

From dark family secrets and deceit, this is one creepy grisly disturbing book. Unnerving, moody and atmospheric. Emotionally wrenching and complex.

Plot-driven, the author uses impressive skill and control, as he crosses multiple narratives with different perspectives— for a mind-bending saga which will leave your head spinning. An exploration of memories, delusion, and self-deception.

". . . Every memory he thinks of now is discolored and ugly. The past suddenly has vanished from underneath him, distorted, memories turned into something he doesn't recognize, something malevolent."

The author keeps the evil, despair, terror and suspense high. Exploring humanity’s darker side. If you are looking for a relaxing read, move on. However, you if like crossing over to the darker side, and enjoy well-written complex literary/pulp fiction thrillers, you may enjoy the scary intense ride.

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/08/Ill-Will
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review 2017-01-15 04:40
Another Kind of Love by Paula Christian
Another Kind Of Love - Paula Christian

 

ANOTHER KIND OF LOVE is a reprinting of two stories from the late pulp era. One of them is very good, and the other… isn’t.

 

Both stories are very much of the time, for better or worse. Multiple characters consider their same-sex attractions and tendencies to be some sort of psychosis, while stereotypical dykes and closeted femmes wander in and out of the Village scene exclusively for hook-ups. The leads bemoan their inability to have children while hating themselves for their romantic interests as the author takes great care to describe the size and texture of everyone’s breasts. Trust me: you already know whether you’d like this type of book.

 

Paula Christian’s lesbians are unmarried and divorced career women with an emphasis on the emotional toil of relationships. They earn their happy endings, often by trying to incorporate a level of monogamy in their relationships despite the prevalence of the hook-up culture surrounding them. Christian’s women are fascinating in their own historical context: at the time of the story’s original publishing, the FDA had only approved the birth control pill a year earlier, THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE wouldn’t be published for another two, and Stonewall wouldn’t happen for almost a decade. The women grew up in the mist of the post-War golden age amongst loving families as society itself became more progressive in relation to education and career opportunities. They are smart, capable, and otherwise completely normal—and the stories, more importantly, treat them as such.

 

The titular short story, “Another Kind of Love,” tickles the allure of lesbian relationships in old Hollywood, where movie moguls held the press in an iron fist while their star machines ate aspiring actors and actresses alive. The story itself follows Laura, an editor of a fan magazine, and how she falls in love with the girlfriend of one of Hollywood most glamorous superstars of the era. Does she sacrifice her happiness and her morals to be with the woman of her dreams, or does she stay with her love struck (and soon-to-be divorced) boss? The premise might be cliché, but the presentation of Laura’s “coming out” is both nuanced and sympathetic, even when expressing the attitudes of an outdated era.

 

Many of the concerns Laura expresses feel authentic, and it’s the sort of story I would have loved to have read when I started coming to terms with my own identity. While it may not have the best answers to some of the issues that it discusses—it’s over fifty years old, after all—seeing the validation of seemingly unspoken questions is refreshing. It’s not just about liking women; it’s about establishing the lines between sex, love, and friendship on a completely different playing field.

 

The second story, “Love is Where You Find It,” takes literally everything applaudable about the first story and douses it with a good dose of old-fashioned cynicism. After years of living with an abusive but gorgeous girlfriend, a photographer named Dee finally calls it quits after finding her lover cheating on her. A new woman practically serenades her way into Dee’s life, while one of her younger co-workers seems determined to find her way into Dee’s secret life. Unlike the first story, Dee is an embittered veteran of the New York lesbian scene, and spends most of her time hiding her orientation from her business partners. While the story itself isn’t terrible, and it contains some of my favorite post-sex scene banter, Dee’s attitude is awful. She does everything in her power to turn one of her lovers straight, insults nearly everyone around her, and quietly endures rampant homophobia without complaint. Her actions are believable given the time period she lived in, but it doesn’t make her compelling in consequence. I often found myself wishing we were following her love interests instead.

 

Even with its flaws, both stories are enjoyable reads in women loving women genre. A good pulp ages like fine wine: a touch acidic with undertones of sugar and spice. ANOTHER KIND OF LOVE hits the mark where it counts, and that’s more than enough for me.

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text 2016-12-30 12:45
Char's Horror Corner- Failed Challenge 2016: Year of Lansdale
The Drive-In - Andres Guinaldo,Joe R. Lansdale
Hell's Bounty - John L. Lansdale,Joe R. Lansdale
Hap and Leonard - Michael Koryta,Joe R. Lansdale
Savage Season (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #1) - Joe R. Lansdale
Coco Butternut (Hap and Leonard Adventure) - Joe R. Lansdale
Honky Tonk Samurai (Hap and Leonard) - Joe R. Lansdale
Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire - Timothy Truman,Joe R. Lansdale
Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade - Joe R. Lansdale

 

At the beginning of 2016, I created a challenge for myself and named it Year of Lansdale. I planned to read 12 Lansdale books this year. I failed, but it sure was fun trying!

 

 

8 out of 12 isn't ALL that bad, is it? Please accept my apologies, Mr. Lansdale. 

 

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