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review 2017-09-07 03:07
Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton
Haunted Nights - Lisa Morton,Ellen Datlow

 

Haunted Nights collects several previously unpublished stories from an array of excellent authors-with the bonus that they're all connected- by Halloween. It may not be exactly the Halloween that we as Americans are used to, but the seeds are still the same-whether they're sown in Scotland or Ohio. I found quite a few stories to shine for me in this anthology and here are a few of them:

 

John Langan's Lost in the Dark is one of my favorite types of haunting tales-the disconcerting kind. That House of Leaves eeriness combined with a cool framing device and several stories within a story all equal out to a very satisfied Char.

 

With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds by Seanan McGuire was impressive and convinced me that I need to give more of her work a try. Always remember that those Halloween tricks can get you into trouble-especially if you trick the wrong person.

 

A Small Taste of the Old Country by Jonathan Maberry. This one was predictable, but man, I just wanted it to happen so badly. When it did, I couldn't have been happier.

 

The Seventeen Year Itch by Garth Nix would have made one hell of a Twilight Zone episode. This story put me in mind of those old horror and sci-mags back in the day. There is a lot of punch, (and scratching!), packed into this short story.

 

A Flicker of Light on Devil's Night by Kate Jonez is a downer of a tale, but I can't deny how powerfully it was written to make me feel that way.

 

All Through the Night by Elise Forier Edie. What another sad, sad tale! Halloween is not all fun and games and neither is the horror genre. Sometimes it's fun and imaginative, (see The Seventeen Year Itch), but sometimes it's all too realistic. Often it's those hard to look at stories, the ones about the lives of real people and the hardships they go through, that are the most horrific of all.

 

The Turn by Paul Kane. This is the perfect title-because it's exactly what you want-NO-are compelled to do when you hear footsteps behind you on a dark street. But what if you would be okay, if only you didn't turn. Would you be able not to?

 

John Little's The First Lunar Halloween and Jeffrey Ford's Witch Hazel rounded out my favorites in this collection.

 

I loved the fact that ALL of these stories were new and I adored the connection they had to Halloween. I've previously been disappointed in collections where I've discovered, (too late!), that I'd already read many of the stories within. These were fresh tales and featured some fresh, (at least to me), authors, as well as some tried and true. It is my excited opinion that this anthology belongs on any horror lover's shelves-but especially to those of us that have a love of all things Halloween!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: Haunted Nights 

 

 *Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.* 

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text 2017-06-01 18:35
May 2017-Round up!
Boo! - David Haynes
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge - David McCullough
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Black Mad Wheel: A Novel - Josh Malerman
Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories - Elizabeth Hand
Dare Me - Megan Abbott
The Well - Jack Cady,Tom Piccirilli
Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman
Skitter - Ezekiel Boone

In May, I read 15 books! 

 

Graphic Novels:

 

The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger-The Battle of Tull

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger-The Way Station

 

Total: 3

 

Audio Books: 

 

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, narrated by Bruce Springsteen

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

 

 

Total: 6

 

E-ARCS:

 

Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

 

Total: 2

 

Random Books: 

 

Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse

The Well by Jack Cady

Boo! by David Haynes

Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand

 

Total: 4

 

Total Books Read in May: 15

 

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)

Running Count: 5

 

Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge: 

Goal: Read Horror Books!

 

January Books: 5

February Books: 3 

March Books: 4

April Books: 9

May Books: 6

 

Running Count: 27

 

 

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

Running count: 20

 

Keep Calm and Read On!

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-04-11 22:24
The Late Breakfasters by Robert Aickman, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Late Breakfasters and Other Strange Stories (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Philip Challinor,Robert Aickman,Matt Godfrey

It pains me to say it, but I did not like this book. At all.

 

I knew going in that it might not work for me. I've read one of Aickman's collections so far, and many of the stories left me unsatisfied. But, it was just one collection; maybe I read it wrong? It happens. But after listening to this wonderfully narrated story, I think it will be a long time before I attempt to read the other Aickman collection that I own.

 

The man writes beautifully, there's no doubt about it. He is also capable of sly social commentary and has a keen eye for the reasons behind certain behaviors; I appreciate that. But, and forgive me for asking, where is the damn story? This seemed more like a rambling tale about repressed sexual feelings, that sometimes features a nice enough lady named Grizelda. There are a few, I stress FEW, weird moments...and that's about it.

 

The narration here is fantastic and to be honest, if it weren't for Matt Godfrey's soothing voice, I would have ditched this book without finishing. It seems like with such promise in the voices, the story just HAD to get better, or at least show up. But sadly, it never did.

 

As I mentioned, the prose itself was excellent as was the narration, hence my 3 star rating. If I were rating on narration and quality of prose ONLY, it would be 5 stars. But for me, there has to be a story, and here I could not find one. This is obviously how I and I alone feel about The Late Breakfasters. Your mileage may vary.

 

*I received this audiobook free from the narrator in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2016-11-07 19:25
Shadow Moths by Cate Gardner
Shadow Moths: Frightful Horrors Quick Reads - Cate Gardner,Simon Bestwick

 

Shadow Moths collects two short stories into one very slim book.

 

We Make Our Own Monsters Here is a very short story about a puppeteer of sorts going on an audition. It's strange, but I liked it! Check Harding checks in to the Palmerston Hotel, a place he's planning on staying for the night before he goes on an audition in the morning. The hotel is strange, his room is strange and Check himself is VERY strange. He passes the night practicing his shadow puppets on the wall and the next morning, takes the bus to his audition. I can't say much more without spoiling this weird tale, but I can say that I loved it and I wish it were longer. I have a thing for puppeteers, (shadow or otherwise), and if you do too, I think you will enjoy this eerie little tale.

 

Blood Moth Kiss was another short, but strange story. It was rather surreal and well...shadowy. I'm not quite sure I understand what happened, but in my opinion, I think this was a vignette about war and our fears; be they real or imagined, like the blood moths exploding throughout this tale. In either case, war is sad for everyone involved, on all sides, and that's what I'm taking away from Blood Moth Kiss.

 

Both of these stories are beautifully written and evocative.

 

I've not heard of Cate Gardner until earlier today, but now that I've read a few tasty treats from her library, I think I'd like to read a few more. Highly recommended!

 

You can buy your copy here: Shadow Moths: Frightful Horrors Quick Reads

 

*I received a free e-copy of this short book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2016-10-30 16:48
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories - Francis King,John Blackburn,Richard Marsh,Michael McDowell,Stephen Gregory

 

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One is one of my favorite collections of this year, and that's saying a lot because I've read some STELLAR collections in 2016. This is one of the rare times that every. single. story. worked.

 

The stand-outs to me were: Miss Mack by Michael McDowell. It's McDowell. How could it not be good? This starts out as such a nice story about a friendship between two women and then it takes a sharp turn into darkness. Permanent darkness.

 

Furnished Apartments by Forest Reid (I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent intro to this little known author's story. This, and the story itself made me want to immediately read more of Reid's work.) This is a creepy little story about (surprise!) a furnished apartment for rent.

 

A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Most known these days for his novel, "The Beetle", Richard Marsh wrote over 80 books and 300 short stories. This particular tale is a delicious story of revenge featuring some creepy crawlies. I absolutely loved it.

 

The Progress of Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory Stephen Gregory is another favorite author of mine. He's not as prolific as I wish he would be. Valancourt somehow dug up this nasty tale, (which, once again, features a bird), originally published in the Illustrated London News back in 1982. I am so glad they did! I have read everything I could get my hands on from Mr. Gregory. Without Valancourt, I would never have had the opportunity to read this gem.

 

California Burning by Michael Blumlein Michael Blumlein is another author introduced to me via Valancourt Books. They published his collection: The Brains of Rats which contains one of the most disturbing short stories I've ever read. Once again, Blumlein knocked my socks off with this story of a man whose bones would not burn.

 

The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin A beautifully written tale and one I found to send chills up my spine. Not only because of the spookiness of the story, but because of the amazing prose. I've never even heard of this guy before, but now I want to read everything he's written.

 

The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest Probably most well known for his novel The Prestige , Christopher Priest's contribution to this collection was superb. It reminded me a bit of Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and makes me wonder if she ever read The Head and the Hand. It's a rather weird tale, but I loved it. Plus it made me REALLY want to read The Prestige which has been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year.

 

I could go on and on, because as I said every story in this collection worked for me. I can't write a review that's a long as the book though, so just a few more things. The intros to these stories were excellent. Many of them talk about how these authors were prolific back in their day and now have been forgotten. I love that Valancourt is dedicated to bringing these authors back into the public eye. I'm going to do my best to read more of the authors that appealed most to me, like Priest and Birkin.

 

This collection receives my highest recommendation! Every single story is thought provoking and even the introductions to the tales are well written and informative. Plus, these aren't a bunch of stories that you've already read in countless other collections and anthologies. Valancourt worked hard to bring you enticing pieces that will likely be unfamiliar to most contemporary horror readers. All I can say to that is BRAVO! (And MORE, PLEASE!!)

 

Get your own copy here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

 

*A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

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