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review 2017-11-17 19:44
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Hell House - Richard Matheson,Ray Porter

Bought during Audible's $2.99 sale (10/13/17)! . It's more now, sorry about that.

 

A rich guy offers to pay a group of people to stay a few nights in a haunted house to prove there is life after death. All previous attempts to do such a stupid thing at this particular house have ended very badly for the suckers brave or stupid or hard-up enough to have a sleep-over. It’s no different this time around.

 

I read this book closely on the heels of finishing up Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which was probably a big mistake on my part as the premise of these two books is nearly identical and Jackson’s story didn’t thrill me the way it did most people. Same goes for Hell House though I did like it a wee bit more than Jackson’s story but probably only because it was more lurid and crazy-pants and I like that kind of thing but it does suffer from the same over the top characterization.

 

This story is much more sexually horrifying. Some of the things that happen within these pages are upsetting. Trust me on this. The house was basically turned into a pit of debauchery and hellish events when its original owner cuts loose with a group of hangers-on who dip into orgies, drugs, murder, cannibalism (as you will, I guess) and every other nasty thing your brain can imagine! The house is tainted and incredibly haunted by a horny ghost who eventually infects the woman folk and does shocking pervy things.

 

I listened to this story on audio and the narrator, Ray Porter, does an excellent job. He is deadly serious which suits the story and he manages to deliver the lady voices in a way that doesn’t make them sound completely ridiculous even when they’re forced to behave in overly hysterical ways. He does a good job with the men and the evil inhabiting the house as well.

 

I’m going to give this the same rating as the Jackson book. 3 Stars.

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review 2017-11-03 17:44
Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson
Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson

 

A beautifully written and touching story of what happens when the dead of the town of Merridale are suddenly visible and blue. They're visible in the places in which they died or in the places that meant the most to them when they were alive. At first, people are freaked out, (wouldn't you be?), but then they get used to it. Well, some do and some don't.

 

The characters in this story are well drawn and believable. This is a story about guilt, and about making the most of the short time that we have here on earth, among other things.

 

I'd classify this as a quiet horror tale, not too many bloody, ugly scenes and that's the type of horror I prefer these days-the quiet, atmospheric, and psychological kind. This book just hit all the right notes with me. Bravo!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get a Kindle copy here for only $2.99! 

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review 2017-11-03 00:42
Ghost Chronicles 2
THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 - Marlo Berliner

My Halloween read for a bingo!

 

Michael and Sarah are dead, but that doesn't mean that they can't make the most out of their afterlives. For some reason they are stuck in between as ghosts. Just now, months after Michael's death and decades after Sarah's death are they learning their true purpose for remaining on Earth. However, their positions come with danger. Michael is being chased by demons who are wreaking havoc on the spirit world and the corporeal world and they are using Sarah as bait. Meanwhile, Michael and Sarah are trying to make the most of their afterlife romance while learning what they can from other ghosts around them, checking in on Michael's living family and trying to come to terms with their newfound purposes.

This episode of the Ghost Chronicles was action packed. Michael and Sarah's story picks up right where it left off in book one. I was glad to see that they were still happy in their situation in the afterlife as well as finding out more about why they were not able to move on. Ghost Chronicles Two was kept fast-paced with interchanging scenes of of levity, parties and fun with demons, battles and suspense. I really enjoyed learning more about the afterlife and how all of the ghosts were content to be equal in death no matter of race, religion or station in life. It was also very fun being able to see glimpses of famous ghosts such as Albert Einstein. Most of all, I appreciated how Michael's new position allowed me to see how good can come out of death. It was interesting learning about the Cocoanut Grove fire through the eyes of those who were there. I can't wait to read more about Michael and Sarah's new found job and amazing powers in the next book.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2017-10-29 18:13
Strong 3.5 Star Read, Rounded to 4 (The Little Stranger)
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I try not to do half stars since I post on Booklikes and Goodreads and Goodreads still doesn't have half stars for rating purposes. This was a strong 3.5 star read. I don't see me rereading this in the future and I had some problems with the book as a whole. However, I like this book has tired back to other horror works like "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Burnt Offerings." I think if Waters had shortened this book and had the narrator be someone in the Ayres family it would have been stronger. If that had happened, this for me would be up for along with "The Turn of the Screw" with asking who is to be believed in the end. Instead, allowing Dr. Faraday to narrate the story left me feeling apart from things as a reader. 

 

"The Little Stranger" takes place in post WWII England in a village called Warwickshire. Told in the first person, our narrator, Dr. Faraday begins the story telling is how old he was when he first came to a country squire's home called Hundreds Hall. The Ayres family has lived there for generations and we get Dr. Faraday's first look at Hundreds and the beginning of his fascination with the home and family that lives there. Decades later when Dr Faraday is called to Hundreds, he finds a home and family in decline. Dr. Faraday grows increasingly close to the family and though strange things keep befalling them, he has an explanation for everything.

 

I think that all the characters at times come alive while reading. I think though having Faraday narrate kept something back from me as I was reading. I wanted to know more about Mrs. Ayres and her son Roderick and daughter Caroline. We at times get Dr. Faraday's impressions of them. At his first meeting he found them distasteful and was angry at how cavalier they seemed to be at the state of their house. However, we at times get what they are going through when Dr. Faraday pulls his head out of his butt and focuses. It's just few and far between. For example, for me, I felt like I got to see the real Caroline at the first meeting with Dr. Faraday when she was distant and slightly disdainful of him. We get her sense of how she feels towards him after the dance they go to as well. And of course at the very end of the book. 

 

Caroline to me evokes thoughts of the main character in "The Yellow Wallpaper" who is being ignored and patted down cause she's a woman. Dr. Faraday does this to her multiple times as well as her mother and brother. He knows best even though it's obvious something is wrong in the home.

 

The writing is okay though I really think this book was way too long. We would go several chapters before anything really happens and once something did, it felt like it was dealt with too swiftly in the story. 

 

The setting of Hundreds seems perfect for a tale like this. A house slowly going to seed due to the changed circumstances in the family. And we know that perhaps the house could end up like so many others we are told about during the story that are sold to hose that tear them down, or renovate them into something else. 

 

The ending was a bit of a letdown. Once again reading about what happens through Dr. Faraday's eyes was a but much after a while. But the ending doesn't satisfy a thing in me as a reader cause I do have thoughts about what occurred. 

 

I think it's apparent to see that Dr. Faraday was the Poltergeist in this story. However I honestly think he did a go back to Hundreds one last time before Caroline was supposed to leave and I do believe that he killed her. I wish the book maybe ended with him in prison and he's just reciting the story to a psychiatrist or somebody. Instead having him roam the grounds and kind of being at peace and happy because all of the family is gone and the house can breathe again just didn't do it for me. We at times as readers get an inkling of his obsession with this home and then his obsession with the family because he sees them as not being worthy of being there. And at times we can feel his dislike of them throughout the story so it wasn't a surprise to find out that he was the little stranger in essence. 

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

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