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review 2018-09-27 19:35
HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

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review 2018-09-04 18:45
DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES edited by Evans Light
Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light

DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES was an above average anthology that challenged me to take my time and savor the tales of Halloween mischief. I failed that challenge!

 

There are 14 spooky tales included within, and these were the ones that stood out the most for me:

 

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES by Jason Parent. I just adored this story of Halloween thieves picking the wrong house to burgle. I laughed out loud at the eyeball scenes. (Not sure what that says about me.)

 

VIGIL by Chad Lutzke. This wasn't a gross-out or even a very scary story. (Unless you're a parent.) It was poignant though, something Chad has mastered in his tales.

 

THE FRIENDLY MAN by Thomas Vaughn. I don't even know what to say. This story was so darkly macabre that even though what was happening was just AWFUL, I found myself gleefully turning the pages. This was my favorite story in the book. Well done!

 

OFFERINGS by Joanna Koch. I absolutely loved the concept and execution of this story. It's not complicated but it is MESSED UP. The take away? Don't escort any trick-or-treaters to your bathroom whilst others are briefly left unattended at your front door.

 

TRICK 'EM ALL by Adam Light. A disturbed and misguided (?) boy. A talking Jack O'Lantern. What could go wrong?

 

THE RYE-MOTHER by Curtis Lawson. This tale spoke to me more loudly once I finished this anthology, because it was unlike every other story and because it kept popping into my mind at weird times. It has staying power. (Also, I'm opting out of the corn maze this year.)

 

I had a great time with this anthology and liked almost all of the stories included within, which is pretty rare for me. Evans Light did a great job of bringing these authors together and the stories flowed well from one to the next. If you're looking for a great anthology to fill out your Halloween reading this year, make it DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES. (Oh, and stay away from those corn mazes!)

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received a paperback ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-04-01 15:28
SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

3.5 stars! SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE is a beautifully written re-telling of the Lizzie Borden story.

 

I've always been fascinated by Lizzie Borden. Having lived all my life in Massachusetts, it's a story everyone is familiar with, even children, because of that horrible rhyme: Lizzie Borden took an axe... Because of my interest and due to the reviews of some of my friends, I decided to finally read this book that I had requested from NetGalley last year. I'm glad I did!

 

This narrative was split into several different viewpoints which was a bit confusing at first, but became easier as the tale went on. Because the story was told in this way, there ended up being a lot of repetition as each character had mutton soup at various times and they seemed to be preoccupied with pears.

 

That said, language is used beautifully even if it was a bit quirky. In fact, the prose was so lyrical at times that it distracted from the story. The characters were vividly drawn though and had strong personalities. I'm not sure how much of the narrative was actually true, but just about everyone in this tale is horrid. The creepy uncle who hangs about touching Lizzie and her sister in inappropriate ways. Mr. Borden who wasn't above smacking his grown children in the face whenever he was displeased. Mrs. Borden, (who was NOT Lizzie's real mother, by the way), seemed more of a doormat than a person. Lastly, Emma, Lizzie's sister, who cannot seem to figure out the simplest of mysteries, even when all the facts were right there under her nose.

 

All in all, I did enjoy this story, most especially because of the quirky, but eloquent prose. This story has been told before, but I liked how this tale was presented-so vividly, yet convoluted at the same time. I look forward to reading Sarah Schmidt's work in the future, and I do recommend this book, though it might not work for everyone.

 

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

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review 2017-12-21 22:33
Slade House by David Mitchell
Slade House: A Novel - David Mitchell

 

When I saw this was available on audio from the library I jumped right on it, and I'm glad I did!

 

This was an entertaining and imaginative story. It's not really horror, but it's not really fantasy or sci-fi either. I guess I'd call it an amalgamation of all of those genres. Whatever you want to label it, go ahead! I'm just going to say it was a hell of a story and I enjoyed it a lot.

 

Highly recommended!

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review 2017-12-19 22:38
Chasing Ghosts by Glenn Rolfe
Chasing Ghosts - Glenn Rolfe

 

Have you ever read Jack Ketchum's OFF SEASON? If you did and you enjoyed it I recommend you give CHASING GHOSTS a go!

 

This novella flies by with the usual type of horror happenings. A gathering at a cabin with a bunch of hipsters ends up turning out to be something of a snack bar for your local hillbilly cannibals. With people disappearing, (mostly) one by one, and then the same happening to those who go out to look for them, this is not exactly original fare for horror lovers.

 

What I think made this novella more fun than most, was its fast pace, the new and unique ways of captivity and death, and the likable, (mostly), characters.

 

CHASING GHOSTS is not perfect, there were just a few punctuation and grammar errors, but not enough to bother me. I've read a few stories from Mr. Rolfe now, and it's my position that he keeps getting better and better.

 

Enthusiastically recommended, especially for those horror fans that love the work of Jack Ketchum, or love the whole redneck cannibal trope. This one's for you!

 

You can pick up a copy here: Chasing Ghosts

 

*I received a free e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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