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review 2017-08-13 05:23
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories - Alvin Schwartz,Dirk Zimmer

Genre:  Short Stories / Horror / Drama / Monsters


Year Published: 1984


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers

 

 

Dark



Now, I have been introduced to Alvin Schwartz’s works before through his famous and controversial “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and after I found out that Alvin Schwartz had written another pair of horror stories for children called “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories,” of course I had to give this series a whirl!

This is a collection of horror stories for children and there is a total of seven stories being told in this book. The stories featured in this collection are:

1. The Teeth
2. In the Graveyard
3. The Green Ribbon
4. In a Dark, Dark Room
5. The Night it Rained
6. The Pirate
7. The Ghost of John
 


Wow! Alvin Schwartz really knows how to create stories that are both scary and tame for any child and all of these horror stories contain a mixture of humor and horror that made me both smile and cringe at the same time. I loved the fact that Alvin Schwartz did some research on these stories and allows the readers to understand where these stories came from as he mentions it in the “Where the Stories Come From” section at the end of the book as I wanted to know where these stories came from. I also enjoyed many of the stories in this book with my favorites being “The Green Ribbon” and “In a Dark, Dark Room” as I believe that those are the creepiest stories in this collection, especially “The Green Ribbon!” Dirk Zimmer’s artwork conveys both horror and comedy in this book as the characters have exaggerated features which includes some of the characters have large noses and wide eyes and I also loved the way that the characters look so pale and frightened in most of the images as it shows what kind of horrors the readers will be introduced to when they start reading this book!

Dark

The reason why I took off a half point from the star rating was because I felt that there were too many abrupt endings in each story and I wanted to see some closure in these stories, although given the short length of this book, that was to be expected. Also, even though I have enjoyed Alvin Schwartz’s work on “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” I felt that this collection of horror stories was not as scary as “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Maybe it is because the artwork was not as scary as Stephen Gammell’s artwork in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and that took away the creepiness of the stories, although stories like “The Green Ribbon” still remained creepy no matter how the illustrations looked like.

Overall, “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories” is a great collection of horror stories that children will gladly enjoy during Halloween time! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since there are some scary stories in this book that might creep out younger readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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text 2017-08-01 22:30
July 2017 Round Up!
Bone White - Ronald Malfi
A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly
The Necromancer's House - Christopher Buehlman
Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton,Kevin Lucia,John Little,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni
The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford
For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska,Steve Upham,Charles Black,Reggie Oliver,Reggie Oliver
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough
Zomcats! - Amanda Horan,Graeme Parker,Jack Strange
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

In July I read 19 books!

 

Graphic Novels:

 

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, House of Cards

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, The Prisoner

American Vampire, Volume 6

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

Total: 4

 

Audio Books:

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough 

Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

The Necromancer's House by Christopher Buehlman

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi

Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman 

 

Total: 6

 

ARCS:

 

Dark Screams: Volume Seven edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar

Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 by various authors

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax

Bone White by Ronald Malfi

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

 

Total: 7

 

Random Books 

 

Zomcats! by Jack Strange

For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska 

 

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

Running Count: 5

 

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

 

Running Count: 28 CHALLENGE MET! WHOOHOO! 

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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 2016-11-28 22:47
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell
 Genre: Horror / Short Story / Monsters


Year Published: 1991


Year Read: 2016


Series: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark #3
 
 

Publisher: HarperCollins  

 

Scary



YES! YES! YES!

Finally, I got the chance to read the final set of stories from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s controversial yet popular series, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” called “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones!” In celebration of Halloween, I have decided to revisit this little gem of a series again and I was seriously not disappointed!

This book mostly has a set of scary stories that will haunt you in your sleep, so here are a couple of stories out of this collection:

Harold


The story starts off with two guys named Thomas and Alfred who decided to make a man sized doll that looked exactly like the farmer they hated named Harold and they decided to put the doll outside the pasture to scare off the birds. Occasionally, Thomas and Alfred would make fun of the Harold doll and sometimes violently hit the doll for no reason at all. One night however, Thomas and Alfred start to notice strange things about the Harold doll as the doll began to make grunting noises and started moving around by itself. This starts to creep out both Alfred and Thomas and they decided to leave the pasture to get away from Harold. But when Thomas decided to go back to the pasture to get the milking stools…

The Red Spot

Scary

One night when Ruth was sleeping, she noticed a spider crawling on her face and afterwards, she discovered that she had a big red spot on her left cheek. She showed the red spot to her mother and her mother kept telling her that the red spot will go away soon enough. But later on, the red spot got bigger and bigger and soon it began to burst and….

Is Something Wrong?

Scary

The story started off with a man spending the night at an empty house due to his car breaking down. As soon as the man tried to go to sleep, he heard a loud crash and something large and heavy fell through the chimney and went after the man. The man then started running away from the strange creature, but when he came to the road, the creature tapped him on the shoulder and…

Just like the previous two books in the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series, Alvin Schwartz has done an excellent job at narrating these spooky tales that range from being deeply disturbing (“Harold” and “Just Delicious”) to being slightly scary but having a somewhat humorous twist towards the end (“Is Something Wrong)? I like the fact that Alvin Schwartz is able to juggle between horror and humor in this collection as it made the stories interesting to read through (even though I have always preferred the more straight-forward horror themed stories since I love reading genuinely terrifying tales, especially in October)! But, probably the best part about this book was the illustrations done by none other than Stephen Gammell! Now, while I understand that Stephen Gammell’s artwork was highly controversial when this series first came out, I honestly love how horrifying these illustrations are as they make the horror aspects in each of the stories even more effective to read through and I was seriously creeped out by some of the illustrations! Some of my favorite images in this book were from “Is Something Wrong?” “The Dead Hand,” “Sam’s New Pet,” and “The Red Spot!”

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the pacing in some of the stories were a bit too slow, especially in the story “The Trouble,” where I wished that the story would have gotten to the main point much quicker. Also, the reason why this book series was so controversial was due to Stephen Gammell’s frightening artwork. There are some genuinely horrifying artworks in this book, most notably in stories like “Sam’s New Pet,” “The Dead Hand” and “Is Something Wrong?” and some of the artwork would feature grotesque and creepy characters and characters that are covered in blood. Parents might want to read this book first before showing it to their children to see if their children can handle the scary content of this book series.

Overall, “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones” is a truly great finale to Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s legendary “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and even though this series has come to an end, I will probably still re read this series down the line once more! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the frightening imagery and scary stories might terrify younger children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-09-01 00:00
Six Scary Stories
Six Scary Stories - Stephen King Well two stories out of six is not real good odds. These stories are a result of a contest that Stephen King's British publisher did in line with "The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" publication. We have the winning story and then five other stories that were part of the final six finalists. I really only liked two stories, "Wild Swimming" and "The Unpicking". I did think that two stories had promise, "Eau-de-Eric" and "La Mort De L'amant" and the last two stories I did not get or care for that much "Spots" and "The Bear Trap."

WILD SWIMMING by Elodie Harper (5 stars)- I really enjoyed this story of a young woman who is into wild swimming (yes I actually know what this is because of a Vera BBC episode I saw) who goes to a very odd town where something seems to be beneath a lake. I have to say though, I don't get why people mess around with lakes. This coming from a person who runs around the woods with total abandon though in the fall isn't saying much though.

EAU-DE-ERIC by Manuela Saragosa (3 stars)- This started off so well and then it just fell apart at the end. Having a story involving a widowed mother who buys her daughter a toy bear (I hate anything with glass eyes...they are not welcome in my house) after the death of her father in order to cheer her up. The daughter names the bear after her father, and the mother starts to notice it smells like her now dead husband. This brings up all kinds of memories that are dragging the women back to her past. I really wish it could have stuck the landing more.

THE SPOTS by Paul Bassett Davies (1 star). This story did not scare me at all. I honestly got to the end and went huh too. So I don't know what I was supposed to take away from it. This is one of the stories that I said would definitely have helped if it were a bit longer.

THE UNPICKING by Michael Button (5 stars)- Super messed up. That's all I am going to say here to not spoil any potential readers. I think at one point I noticed my cat watching me and her tail got all ruffly and she fled the room. I seriously looked under the bed to make sure nothing was lurking there. So high five for this story giving me the willies.

LA MORT DE L'AMANT by Stuart Johnstone (2.5 stars). This was way too short. I mean to the point I think this was maybe 10 pages (maybe) and there was not a real feeling of horror about it. In fact I think I just went well that was kind of a letdown. I also had more questions than answers since a lot of focus was on the guys pockets and there didn't seem to be anything in them. Maybe I missed something.

THE BEAR TRAP by Neil Hudson (2 stars). Ehhhh. I just didn't feel this. Especially since it didn't make a lot of sense to me in the end because we know there has been some type of incident and I have to wonder about how the (redacted) was alive through all of that. Anyway I am sad this ended up being the last story in the collection.

Overall I wish that this had been longer. This took me less than 2 hours to finish. In fact I think it took me an hour and ten minutes. If I hadn't been focused on posting updates it would have been even quicker.
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