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review 2018-12-16 16:50
IN THE NIGHT WOOD by Dale Bailey
In the Night Wood - Dale Bailey

 

IN THE NIGHT WOOD was my first novel by Dale Bailey but I'm sure it won't be my last!

 

Within the pages of this dark fiction narrative is a fairy-tale like story, but no "happily ever after" ending is promised. A couple inherits an old manor located in the countryside of England, on the edge of a large, dark wood. Amidst the grief and guilt they feel due to a recent family tragedy, Charles and Erin feel like a move might be the very thing they need. But of course, in true fairy tale fashion, things go horribly awry. Will they be able to start the new life they needed? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I'm trying not to give too much away while attempting to impart to you how much I enjoyed this book. There's a mystery about an old tome, (IN THE NIGHT WOOD) and its author. There's a mystery regarding the caretaker, whose job contract binds him to the house itself, not to the people in it. Lastly, (of course!), there's a mystery regarding the deep, dark wood and the creatures that may or may not live there.

 

While hoping to unravel all of these mysteries, the threads of guilt and grief remain and are woven throughout the fabric of this narrative. At times, the level of grief is so deep it seems like it will drown the lives of Charles and Erin completely.

 

Lastly, I need to mention the language and beauty of the writing. There are all kinds of literary references, some I picked up on and some I did not. The best part of which is you don't need to be familiar with all of the literary allusions to enjoy this gorgeously written story.

 

IN THE NIGHT WOOD is a slow burn of a mysterious, Gothic, fairy tale and one I enjoyed immensely.

 

Recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: IN THE NIGHT WOOD

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-12-03 18:45
THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW by Richard Laymon
The Traveling Vampire Show - Richard Laymon

As I was listening to this, I came to realize that I've read it before. A few things, like the name Julian Striker and one of the character's sisters rang a bell with me. Other than that, because I have a mind like a steel sieve, the rest of the story seemed new, so I went with it. Now that's it over, I am glad that I read it while at the same time I wish I ditched it. As you can see, I'm torn.

 

What I liked: The beginning. The coming of age portion-kids walking around and learning about the town, popping into each of their houses...these things I enjoyed. Unfortunately, they were a very small portion of the book. I did enjoy the narrator, though the quality of the recording itself didn't seem as good as others I've listened to recently.

 

What I didn't like: The sexy-times coming of age portions. One or two would have been fine, but at times, it seemed like the majority of the book was talking about hard-ons and breasts. Especially breasts. Every single woman in this book had time dedicated to her breasts. I mean, I HAVE breasts. I LIKE them. But J.H.C.- enough already!

 

Ahem. Okay-what I didn't like (continued): This entire book took place in one day, which was fine. However, it seemed like out of 404 pages, 325 were taken up just getting TO THE SHOW. Lastly, once they got there the situation spiraled out of control and became completely unbelievable. There's just....no way. I understand I'm reading a book about vampires, but believe me when I say there are believable stories about them and this one isn't it. (Kelli Owen's TEETH perhaps, or Yvonne Navarro's AFTERAGE for example.) I can disregard the realism factor if the book is intriguing or interesting in other areas. This one is not.

 

I rated THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW 2.5 stars, because I do feel it is representative of horror being written at that time, (2000-2001), and in a way, it is often thought of as a classic of the horror genre. I wanted to rate it higher than that, but I'm sorry to say that this tale didn't earn it.

 

I can't say that I recommend this, but I AM glad that I finally read it, (or re-read it, as the case may be), because I would forever be wondering about it, if I hadn't.

 

Source: I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash.

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review 2018-11-26 18:45
THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS by Luke Walker
The Mirror of the Nameless - Leesa Wallace,Graeme Parker,Luke Walker

 

Within this book, an entertaining and creative tale awaits you! It was so entertaining for me, I read it twice!

 

In THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS, Luke Walker has created a world where the Gods have returned-but not the God of Catholicism or even Buddha. These are Gods unlike anything you have seen before. For instance: Naz Yaah, the giant white worm that leaves noxious trails of slime in its wake. Or perhaps the giant zombie, Segoth? It sheds burning, acidic pieces of itself willy-nilly, while sucking people into itself at the same time. Lastly, there is Gatur: spreader of the green mist which causes people to hurt the ones they love. And when the mist disperses? Most are so horrified by what they've done they kill themselves. All of these creatures appear and disappear at will. Humanity is supposed to be happy about them and view their deaths as a necessary sacrifice. To speak out against them in any way is considered blasphemous and likely to be punished by death. In this midst of this monstrous world, Dave is trying to get to his daughter, Ashley.

 

His potential son-in-law Tom warns Dave that his daughter is getting herself into trouble. She is doing illegal research regarding these Gods because she believes that they may not belong to this world, or that perhaps humans can escape to another world? All of this via the use of a special mirror which she sets out to locate. Dave and Tom head off cross country to find her, all the while trying to avoid the various Gods as they pop up , as well as the cults and crazies who dedicate their lives to these creatures. Will Dave, Tom and Ashley survive this crazy world? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I first read THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS when it was originally released at the beginning of 2014. I know I enjoyed it back then because I wrote a review. Unfortunately, that publisher has since closed, leaving the book out of print. Luckily, Kensington Gore recognized the excellence of this novella and brought it back. Even though I've read it before, I only had a vague memory of it, (I've read hundreds of books since then), so I was excited to check it out again this time around.

 

Yesterday afternoon when I finished, I rated this 4.5/5 stars, but after thinking about it overnight, I decided to give it ALL THE STARS, because I cannot think of one thing that could have been done better. THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS is a compelling, creative read and you won't find anything else out there quite like it. For that reason, I give it my highest recommendation!

 

You can get your copy here: THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS

 

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

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review 2018-11-12 17:55
WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Doug Murano
Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon,Rachel Autumn Deering,Brian Keene,Jeff Strand,Matt Hayward,Glenn Rolfe,Patrick Lacey,Matt Serafini,Adam Cesare,Jonathan Janz,Kelli Owen,Doug Murano,Mary SanGiovanni,Robert Ford,Bryan Smith,Booth Tarkington,John Skipp,Alan M. Clark

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW is a themed anthology with all of the stories revolving around, (or involving in some way), a rock n' roll club named The Shantyman. That's it! There's no hard thread connecting all the tales other than the club itself. That makes WELCOME TO THE SHOW different because there's no one "bad guy" to blame things on. In this case, the "bad guy" is anyone or anything the writer wanted them to be. In this regard, I think the authors involved had a lot more leeway as far as the direction each story would take and I think that resulted in an above average anthology as far as the quality AND the variety of the stories within.

 

I can't get into all of them here, because I don't want this review to be as long as the book itself, but the tales that stood out the most to me were:

 

WHAT SORT OF RUBE by Alan M. Clark was a perfect start to this book, providing a bit of history and setting the tone. (I've never read any of Clark's work before, but he's on my radar now.)

 

NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz. This story went in a totally different direction than what I had expected. Loved it!

 

TRUE STARMEN by Max Booth. I'm not sure that it was supposed to, but this story cracked me the hell me up! It's the first time THE SHANTYMAN hosted pod-casters instead of a band, and the results just made me laugh.

 

OPEN MIC NIGHT by Kelli Owen. The 27 Club-you know, those singers and musicians that never made it past that age? I thought this anthology would be a shoe-in for stories about that club, but this was the only one. I was glad because it made this tale stand out even more.

 

PARODY by Jeff Strand. Zany Chester and his plans to be the next Weird Al fizzle out before they even got started. (It's birdies, not bodies!) Chester had to go to a few back up plans, actually, and none of them were pretty.

 

DARK STAGE by Matt Hayward. This tale spoke to me in a personal way which made it that much more horrifying at the end.

 

A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering. The end was NOT what I was expecting at the beginning. Usually I can see that coming..in this case I saw something coming, but not what I got. Well done!

 

Brian Keene's tale RUNNING FREE made me laugh at the premise before it got all serious. (A man trying to run himself to death by heart attack, thereby evading death from the cancer already running through his body. Come on, that's kind of funny! [All right, I know I'm messed up.]) Anyway, this story didn't go the way I thought it would and I loved how it tied into previous tales in this book.

 

WE SING IN DARKNESS by Mary SanGiovanni. This story had everything that I've come to expect from Mary's work. A terrifying future where music is banned is only the beginning.

 

I enjoyed this collection and even though it was a little uneven throughout, the variety and quality more than made up for that. I liked that everyone didn't have quite the same view was to what was going on at The Shantyman because that allowed for more creativity in the tales. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know?

 

I read a lot of collections and anthologies over the course of a year and there is no doubt in my mind that WELCOME TO THE SHOW will be among the best I've read this year. For this reason, I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: WELCOME TO THE SHOW

 

*11.12.18 We are currently reading this book, along with most of the authors in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. Feel free to join us, read along, and ask questions of the writers, if you like! (Our read continues until the end of this month.) Here's a link: WELCOME TO THE SHOW at Horror Aficionados

 

**I bought this book with my hard earned cash and these opinions are my own.**

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review 2018-11-01 17:45
100 FATHOMS BELOW by Steven Kent and Nicholas Kaufman
100 Fathoms Below - Nicholas Kaufmann,Steven L. Kent

100 FATHOMS BELOW is the depth where sunlight no longer penetrates the sea. That depth and further is where you'll find submarines and that's where the USS Roanoke attempted to locate the new class of Russian sub-supposedly in development. Unfortunately, the Roanoke encountered some problems accomplishing their mission.

 

Set in 1983, during the height of the cold war, the Roanoke and her crew are going about day to day submarine life. Not everyone gets along in such tight quarters, but they make do for the good of the ship. When Petty Officer Stubic becomes ill, the crew isn't worried, they have a medic to help with such things. But thereafter, as officer after officer sickens, and as lights keep getting smashed out on each deck, the crew begins to get frightened, and rightfully so. Will they survive whatever it is that's on their ship? Will they find the new Russian sub? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This is my first book from these authors and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed it immensely. It's a fun story and it's fast paced with lots of action. I enjoyed the fact that several of the character's names in the book are actually the names of authors I recognize, so that added a bit of fun as well.

 

What I thought was slightly lacking was character development-I could have used a bit more to add to the depth of the cast. However, I understand this book isn't trying to be a literary classic, and what we do have here is some creature feature fun!

 

100 FATHOMS BELOW is probably just what you expect it to be, if you're looking for underwater, claustrophobic, B-movie-type fun. If that's what you are in the mood for reading right now? Go ahead, take the plunge: Dive! Dive! Dive!

 

Recommended!

 

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

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