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review 2017-12-15 19:16
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Best Day Ever: A Psychological Thriller - Kaira Rouda,Graham Halstead,Amy McFadden
Paul and Mia have been married for ten years and have the perfect life. If you’re on the outside looking in, that is. From the inside, things aren’t looking so great.

The bulk of the story is told by Paul who is a complete dick on the level of Joe from YOU by Caroline Kepnes (haven’t read YOU? You must, it’s awesome). Paul thinks ugly thoughts about women who don’t fit into his narrow view of beauty and he treats his wife like some sort of totally dependent on him 50’s housewife. The two are currently on their way to their second home for what Paul repeatedly declares “The Best Day Ever”. It turns out to be anything but as little things are eventually revealed that lead you to believe something is very wrong with this marriage. 

I have a soft-spot for these kinds of books which is why I keep picking them up but this one won’t go down as one of my favorites because I hated Paul. Not in an I love to hate you sort of way like Joe up there. No, it was simply hate. Paul is a completely despicable character. I can get behind that kind of character if they make me laugh or keep me amused but Paul is not funny and never, ever amusing. He is slimy, narcissistic and completely unredeemable. We spend nearly the entire book in his head so everything is viewed through his shitty eyes. The writing is engaging, I cannot lie, but also very enraging. I also saw most of the reveals coming from the get-go and not a one of them came as a surprise. Maybe I’ve read too many of these books but I really don’t think so. Perhaps I’m just becoming really smart with figuring these things out but, nah, I don’t think that’s it either. It fizzles out with an unnecessary epilogue that I wish hadn’t been there and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

On the plus side, narrator Graham Halstead is pretty good. His voice fits Paul perfectly. If you’re going to read this I recommend listening to the audio. That way you can do other things while listening and you won’t have wasted too much of your precious reading time with this same-old, same-old story.

 
 

 

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review 2017-12-13 18:45
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror - William Meikle

 

Picture the scene: Victorian London. A smoky club. A group of literary icons. The price to join this group? A story of the supernatural. The scene is now set.

 

Imagine the tales these writers of old would share. Stoker, Dickens, Wells, James, and Stevenson, among others. What price would you pay to sit at that table? Unfortunately, the opportunity to sit there in person is gone, but thanks to William Meikle, you CAN now be privy to these stories and anything else these authors have to say. The entrance fee for you? Quite reasonable!

 

The standout tales for me were:

 

WEE DAVIE MAKES A FRIEND (in the style of) Robert Louis Stevenson. This was the first story and my favorite of the collection. Young Davie is an unwell boy and is often bedridden. The gift of a new toy changes his life.

 

ONCE A JACKASS (in the style of) Mark Twain. A Mississippi steamship captain makes a terrible mistake and unfortunately, all of the passengers and crew pay the price.

 

THE SCRIMSHAW SET (in the style of Henry James) I adored this tale of a haunted (?) chess set. This was my second favorite tale in this collection and I've just read that the author is planning to write more about this set in the future. I can't wait!

 

TO THE MOON AND BEYOND (in the style of Jules Verne) A super cool story about a man, his rocket and a trip to the moon. What was found there and what did he bring back with him? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

BORN OF ETHER (in the style of Helena Blavatsky) A man embarks upon a supernatural journey to freedom.

 

I was not familiar with a few of the authors here, Helena Blavatsky included, but I think the author did a stellar job of emulating their writing styles. These tales were entertaining, well written and I loved the framework within which they were presented.

 

For these reasons, I highly recommend this gem of a collection!

 

You can get your copy here, (your price of admission, rather than a story):

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror

 

*Thanks to Crystal Lake Publishing and the author for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-12-11 12:45
The Listener by Robert McCammon
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

What a great story this is! Set in the American south during the Great Depression, The Listener is a unique tale. Starting with a man we'll call Pearly and ending with the opening of a free clinic, Robert McCammon sucked me in as he always does and now I have another book to add to my All Time Favorites shelf!

 

With a young black man as the protagonist and a few visits to characters we've met in the past, (I want to say so much more about them, but I can't spoil the surprise for you!),

I wasn't sure for the longest time where this story was going. But when Pearly meets Ginger LaFrance, and joins her cold quest for riches, I knew I was in for the long haul.

 

Not since the book MINE, has Robert McCammon created such a cunning female villain. Crafty and OH SO cold, Ginger is capable of anything. When she concocts her evil plan with Pearly as her back up, you just know it's not going to go well. And when another of her family members joins their crew, you cannot help but feel that it was a mistake on  Ginger's part. You also hope that Ginger doesn't succeed. 

 

At a certain point in The Listener, you just have to hold on for dear life because this tale races to the denouement and you HAVE to know what happens. I recommend shutting yourself in a room for the last 50 pages so you can read it without being bothered. Trust me on this! You will be rewarded with an ending so poignant, yet so perfect and totally satisfying that you might find yourself with a tear in your eye. Not saying that happened to me, (it TOTALLY happened to me), but you know, prepare yourself. Perfection in an ending is so rare, but I think McCammon achieved it here. 

 

The only bad thing about getting an ARC, (and in this case it's a REAL ARC, that I can hold and hug tight to my chest, not that I did that), is that there isn't anyone to talk to about this story. I can't wait for you to read it so we can talk about Curtis and Pearly and good old Nilla. 

 

In February when it's released, I hope you will remember my words here today and hop on the opportunity to read The Listener. Please come and share your thoughts with me when you're done. I hope that Curtis invades your mind space as he has invaded mine, and we can talk about how much we both love him. Or perhaps we can talk about THAT character that was such a memorable part of another GREAT, (maybe the best?) Robert McCammon book, and how much we loved seeing them again? I sure do hope that we can, my fellow readers. I sure do hope we can.

 

The Listener has earned my highest recommendation!

 

*Thanks to Cemetery Dance for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-12-05 22:30
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, narrated by Penelope Rawlins
Talulla Rising - Penelope Rawlins,Glen Duncan

 

When I was listening to THE LAST WEREWOLF, I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series. I liked the bloodiness of it, and I enjoyed the world building, but was less than thrilled with the tons of graphic sex going on.

EAT, FUCK, KILL is the werewolf mantra.

(spoiler show)

 

However, there was such a great hook at the end of the narrative AND the library had the audio of this one in stock, and here we are!

 

Right now, I feel the same way as I did when I finished the first book in the series. Here there were many surprises, (maybe too many to be believed, but hey-it's a werewolf book), and a good amount of action. However, I didn't feel that the quality of the writing was quite as good as THE LAST WEREWOLF.

 

Once again, close to the end, there is another surprising tidbit that makes me want to continue on with the series. This time, though, I'm going to read a few books in between, and then see if I still feel like continuing.

 

*I checked this audio out from my local library for FREE. LIBRARIES RULE!*

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review 2017-11-27 18:45
Red Room Magazine of Extreme Horror and Hardcore Dark Crime: Issue 1
Red Room Issue 1: Magazine of Extreme Horror and Hardcore Dark Crime (Red Room Magazine) - Universidad del Valle Jhon Saul GilTestimonio: Jhon Saul Gil en programa "Tiempo de Letras",Meg Elison,David James Keaton,Cheryl Mullenax,Randy Chandler,Jack Ketchum,Tim Waggoner

RED ROOM ISSUE 1: MAGAZINE OF EXTREME HORROR AND HARDCORE DARK CRIME contained a ton of variety not only in the stories showcased, but also in their cool features such as: Barfly Bob's Highballs and Lowballs. This is an article which talks about some of the most disgusting adult beverages I've heard of. I mean, really, how many magazines have articles featuring 3 dick cocktails?  Not too damn many!

 

The stories here were also quite entertaining: my favorite probably being MEAT CUTE by Larry Hinks. This is an hilarious flash fiction piece which left me getting looks at the coffee shop because I was laughing out loud so damn hard. (Not that it wasn't bizarre or horrifying because it WAS, I am just a sick person.)

 

Jack Ketchum's MEGAN'S LAW came in a close second, with a last sentence that kicks you HARD right in the gut. In a weird development, I listened to the latest episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene on Saturday morning, and there was a feature where Phoebe, (a show regular), interviewed a bunch of authors at the last Scares that Care convention. She asked all of them what their favorite short stories were and why. MEGAN'S LAW was mentioned in those interviews, so imagine my surprise when I neared the end of the magazine and there the story was. I can't remember which author chose this as their favorite story, but I can easily see why they did. Bravo to Jack Ketchum! (And a big FU to child molesters.)

 

THE MIDDLE CHILD by Meg Ellison was a nice surprise. A sly commentary on the state of affairs in this country as regards reality television and what people will do to be even a small part of it. I think it also comments on the people watching this stuff, without whom there would be NO reality TV. I like to discover new authors through anthologies and magazines like this one, and Meg Ellison is one to watch, I think. (There's also an interview with her included at the end of the story.)

 

SICK JOKES by Josh Scott Wilson was an innovative story in that I couldn't really tell where it was going for most of the time I was reading it. And then I agreed: Sick Jokes indeed!

 

The Video Nasties feature by Duane Bradley talked about how difficult it was to get VHS versions of some films in the UK. I had no idea this type of censorship occurred over there during the VHS movie boom, so I found this article enlightening.

 

Even though my days of enjoying bizarre and/or extreme horror are winding down, I thought this magazine was well put together, with beautiful artwork and stories that were chosen with care and quality in mind. Even a "quiet horror" fan such as myself admired the talents of the authors herein and will probably make an exception in my reading habits for the next issue.

 

Highly recommended, especially for fans of extreme horror!

 

You can get your own copy here: Red Room Magazine Issue 1 *I received a free digital ARC of this magazine in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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