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text 2018-12-31 12:45
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Anthologies and Collections of 2018!
Darkest Hours - Mike Thorn
Figures Unseen: Selected Stories - Steve Rasnic Tem,Matt Godfrey
Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter - Donald E Westlake,Fredric Brown
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont,J.B. Priestley,James Purdy
Occasional Beasts: Tales - John Claude Smith
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
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,Elizabeth Power
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden
Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light
All the Names They Used for God: Stories - Anjali Sachdeva

Welcome to my Top Ten Anthology and Short Story Collection List!

 

These are books that I read this year, but not necessarily published this year.

I happen to believe that novellas and short stories are the perfect length for horror stories, so I tend to read a lot of them over the course of a year. This year I read 14 collections and anthologies that rated over 4 stars. Here are what I thought were the best of them! (Click on the book cover to see my original review.)

 

Darkest Hours - Mike Thorn 

 

DARKEST HOURS by Mike Thorn

An incredible collection, especially for a first effort by an author. I can't say enough good things about it!

 

Figures Unseen: Selected Stories - Steve Rasnic Tem,Matt Godfrey 

 

FIGURES UNSEEN: SELECTED STORIES

by Steve Rasnic Tem, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Steve Rasnic Tem is a national treasure and I've been reading his short stories since I turned old enough to go to the library myself. (We won't say how long that's been, but it's in decades.) It's always been a mystery to me why he isn't more well known. This collection was narrated by the always excellent Matt Godfrey. 

(The story CITY FISHING still haunts my mind.)

 

Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter - Donald E Westlake,Fredric Brown 

 

 

PARDON MY GHOULISH LAUGHTER by Fredric Brown

This book was a gift to me from my Booklikes friend Tigus. I've read a story or two from Brown before, (THE GEEZENSTACKS!) but this collection opened my eyes to a wider variety of Brown's work. Thanks again, Tigus!

 

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont,J.B. Priestley,James Purdy 

 

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES, VOLUME 3

Edited by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle

 

Another solid entry from the gentlemen over at Valancourt Press. 

The two things I like most about these anthologies are that I've never read any of the stories before, and they are ALL good.

 

Occasional Beasts: Tales - John Claude Smith 

 

OCCASIONAL BEASTS: TALES by John Claude Smith

Written by an author I've come to admire a lot over the last few years, this collection spotlights John Claude Smith's penchant for the dark and weird. LOVED it!

 

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 edited by Doug Murano

The authors featured within such as Brian Keene, Matt Hayward,Kelli Owen, Mary SanGiovanni and others should give you an idea of the quality of these tales. All of the authors joined us over in the Horror Aficonados group at Goodreads and answered our questions. That only added to my reading enjoyment!

 

Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,Elizabeth Power 

 

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK edited by Jack Bantry and Kit Power

Another anthology where the authors joined us in HA for a group read. What made this anthology unique was that the profits were donated to charity. Featuring authors like Tim Curran, Bracken MacLeod and Kristopher Rufty among others-the variety here was stunning. 

 

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden 

 

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAM edited by Christopher Golden

 A fun anthology with stories centered around Christmas. Even though there was a central theme the variety of the stories ranged from poignant and sad to downright scary. What fun!

 

 

Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light 

DOORBELLS AT DUSK edited by Evans Light

A super fun anthology centered around my favorite holiday, Halloween!

 

All the Names They Used for God: Stories - Anjali Sachdeva 

 

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD: STORIES by Anjali Sachdeva

A diverse debut collection! Spanning different areas of the world and different time periods, this was an impressive book!

 

 

Thanks for staying with me this far if you're still here. I appreciate you!

I hope you'll join me again at the end of 2019.

 

 

 

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text 2018-03-03 23:58
February in Review

January in Review

 

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 6)

 

February sure flew past! I have to say, I had so much fun this month! There was a lot of coffee, wine, and book-related delights! I also had the chance to take part in a Q and A for Booklikes, which really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside! I know it's not that big of a deal, but it's nice to be acknowledged for something you work hard on. See my post about it here!

 

Read

 

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John Dies at the End by David Wong - It's surely becoming a regular enjoyment; taking part in the monthly group reads of Horror Aficionados! I honestly wasn't sure about this one at all - it sounded way too silly for my taste. How wrong I was! What a great start to the month!

 

 

The Devoured by Curtis M. Lawson - I was requested to read and review this one by the author. I'm glad I did, as it was a bit different than my usual reads, but in a good way. I promptly consumed it and reviewed it.

 

Hidden by Benedict Jacka - I started this series in 2015, whilst still in my Urban Fantasy phase. What intrigued my about it, was that it had a male protagonist, something that's not all too common in the genre. This series has never been perfect for me, but I still like to see what trouble Alex gets himself into.

 

The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk - After being contacted by the lovely author, I quickly accepted his request! Post-apocalypse but on another planet? It certainly piqued my interest. I reviewed it here.

 

Preta's Realm by J. Thorn - A last minute read for the month. Having been on my Kindle for a long time, I decided to finally give it a shot. It was short, and it included some truly disgusting scenes.

 

Reviewed 

 

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Morium by S.J. Hermann

Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

The Devoured by Curtis M. Lawson

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter (WORST READ)

The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (2017 Review) (BEST READ)

The Awesome by Eva Darrows (2017 Review)

The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk

 

I strive for two reviews a week, but I had extra space this month, so I included reviews from last year. I think I'll do that - start to post old reviews, just to have them on this blog. On Goodreads I have over a hundred reviews, dating back to 2011! This month also included a trip to Waterstones, and a basket full of books! All horror, of course.

 

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So how did February go for you? Read anything good? Let me know!

 

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/28/february-in-review
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review 2018-02-09 23:44
Succulent Prey - Wrath James White
Succulent Prey - Wrath James White

Succulent Prey should come with a warning on the cover: WARNING - Not for the faint of heart, weak stomachs or if your idea of horror is Stephen King and Dean Koontz. If you like your horror to be serial killers, cannabalism, and graphic page after page drenched in blood, Succulent Prey might be for you. This is my first forray into Wrath James White's writing and yes, it's brutal, but White isn't a one-trick pony. The guy can flat out write. In the hands of a less talented author, this story easily gets lost. But White breathes life into it...well...right before he rips open a chest and yanks our a heart and eats it. Okay, I'm regressing. Joey is an 11-year-old kid that gets abducted by a serial killer who gets his kicks by slicing his victims and drinking his blood. Joey was the first victim and for some unknown reason, the killer lets him go. The subsequent victims aren't so lucky. They're brutally sliced apart, blood drank and flesh consumed. The killer, Trent, is finally apprehended and sent away to a mental institution. Flash forward to present day where Joey is a sophomore in college and he's a big boy, and when I say big, I mean football player/body builder big. Top it off that he look like Superman from the comics and you can see why he has no problem picking up women. Unfortunately, the scars of his past have made his sex life and desires slide to the extreme. And when I say extreme, I'm not talking a little light bondage S&M. No, Joey dreams of sinking his teeth into their flesh and consuming them in one bloody bite after another.

 

 

I'll stop here on the story's details and say that this story could've easily went off the rails into the rediculous many times, but Wrath gives us a compelling tale that pulls you in. Joey is a complex character that you can't decide how you feel about him. His victims are the sad sacks with no self esteem that society typically exploits. At times, you think, "who'd do that?", then you realize that yes, there are people out there like that. At times, the story walks the razor's edge of suspension of disbelief, but White delivers a blood-soaked thrill ride with your hair on fire. If you like your stories to extreme splatterpunk, grab your raincoat and try to avoid the splatters.

 

 

 

4 1/2 Chewed-Off Nipples out of 5

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://intothemacabre.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-07 00:37
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Dave Benton,Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Rich Hawkins,Duncan Ralston,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,George Daniel,Elizabeth Power

Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The definition of "splatterpunk" should give an idea of what this volume entails: characterised by the explicit description of horrific, violent, or pornographic scenes. With an abundance of monsters, gore, and sexual tones, it stays true to the nature of the sub-genre. My advice? Just be prepared.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I never would've known about this analogy had I not joined the one and only Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, and took part in their January group read with author invite. Being new to the horror sub-genre of splatterpunk, I expected that it would probably involve some disgusting and gruesome "what the hell did I just read?" moments, and I quickly discovered that I was correct. I enjoyed some stories more than others, however as a whole I consider it a great piece of horrifically violent and graphic literature.

Listed below are each individual tale, starting with my most favourite. I also thank the authors for being so pleasant to talk with, and for donating all proceeds of sale to charity.

Check out my blog to see the Q&A with some of the authors.

* * *Hellscape by Rich Hawkins* * *
Even this quick glimpse into this forsaken world left me completely engrossed. A twisted, bloody apocalypse? My cup of tea any day of the week. The Cthulhu-theme fascinated me, as I've actually never read any such thing before (I know, shame on me). Even though it was short, and seemed to drop the reader right in the middle, I was immediately pulled into the maternal desperation of the protagonist, as well as that drive of trying to keep the madness at bay. I loved every gruesome detail and the sheer brutality.

* *Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton* *
Victims fighting back - it's a particular favourite of mine. This one actually began as rather typical, reminding me of the whole Texas Chain Saw Massacre trope, yet it turns into something else entirely. The inclusion of the "Sasquatch" type monsters made my skin crawl, as I suspected the family had a rather... intimate relationship with them. Definitely images I didn't need in my head.

*Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod*
This one made me think a lot, admittedly a bit more in comparison to the others. There's a belief that we all have it inside ourselves - an animal, primitive, left over from our ancestors. What if that gets tapped into? Even good people can do bad things, and we all have unwanted thoughts that seep to the forefront sometimes. I found Spencer's journey to be fascinating, and I couldn't help but want a full-length novel.

Darla's Problem by Kristopher Rufty
A classic, isn't it? The monster in the closet, or beneath the bed. I really liked this one and, sure enough, the monster creeped me out! It made me think about how we so readily dismiss children when they speak of monsters or other such creatures that don't fit into our notion of reality - no wonder it's been the plot of so many books and movies. Also, poor Darla.

They Swim by Night by Adam Millard
If it's one thing I love, it's mythical creatures, especially when an author involves their own personal twist. Ana was portrayed with such raw sexuality, and I loved the hold she had over the men in her midst. This one in particular sparked my imagination; I couldn't help but ponder over Ana's origins. She struck me as an apex predator, but also something more. Ancient. Malevolent. Like at one point in time her kind were respected and feared, yet they faded away into nothing but stories and superstition.

The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston
Well, this one certainly took religion to the extreme, and delved into the sheer insanity of two individuals. Being an atheist myself, I wouldn't want to get on the Robertson's bad side. Really, I think the couple would've been better suited to the good ol' days of when atrocities in the name of religion were the norm. Whilst I enjoyed it for what it was, it lacked in something to really make an impact. The ending was good, though!

Limb Memory by Tim Curran
To think if we lose a part of ourselves, a piece of our soul goes with it. Despite the added humour to the otherwise eerie tone of this one, I didn't favour it as much as the majority of other readers. Disembodied limbs generally don't interest me all that much.

Molly by Glenn Rolfe
My partner has pediophobia and while I often tease and laugh, I admit that there's something unsettling about dolls. It's the uncanny valley, right? I was left with a lot of questions regarding Molly, and I would've liked a bit more information for the events that transpired to make sense. She was able to clean up after her own murders? I felt like there was perhaps too much telling and not enough showing.

Melvin by Matt Shaw
I admit, this one made me laugh, but there was a tinge of discomfort below the absurdity. The detail was disturbing - such as Claudia's skin darkening from her insides being torn apart. It makes me shift in my seat when I think about it even now. The ending? Well, it was a great ending. However, despite my brief flare of enjoyment, I can't say I favoured it highly.

Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lea
I get the impression this was supposed to be intentionally hard to follow - as it was a piece written by the character himself, of whom was a very intense and unstable individual. I had to read it twice, and still I'm not sure exactly what happened. I know he had a procedure done to himself, but it doesn't give details, and I'm left wondering if that's the whole point. Whatever we come up with in our minds might be bad enough, if not worse than what George Daniel Lea intended. Was he getting parts of himself surgically removed? Getting parts of other people stitched onto him? Maybe I just missed it completely, and it's lost within his jumbled rambling!

The Going Rate by John Boden
Honestly, this one was just too short for me to get a real feel of anything. I liked the idea, of a neighbourhood having to give their pound of flesh to appease the demon, but I was left with too many questions. Like a flash, it was just over, offering what I felt like very little. I would've loved this had it been longer.

In conclusion - There's something here for everyone, but be aware of the pushing of limits. It's not pretty!

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/07/splatterpunk-fighting-back-by-multiple
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review 2018-02-06 19:56
Splatterpunk Fighting Back Anthology
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,Elizabeth Power
Splatterpunk Fighting Back is a charity anthology with proceeds going towards cancer. I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies/collections/whatever you want to call them. I love reading them because even if a story isn’t working for me it’s usually over quickly but I dread reviewing them. They are so much work but here goes. I’m not going to rate them because that’s kind of pointless.

I’m going to attempt to write a mini review of each story but if I start to fatigue near the end or miss one it’s nothing personal against any particular story. 

They Swim by Night by Adam Millard

A man thinks he's getting lucky when an ethereally beautiful singer makes the moves on him. But he is terribly mistaken. This was a perfectly gory start to the collection. Why lead a reader in gently when you can grab them by the hair and drag them in kicking and screaming?

Melvin by Matt Shaw

Claudia insults Melvin at a dive bar. Big mistake. Melvin is a sick bastard and seeks revenge with a detachable dick. This story was gleefully nasty and I love, love, loved it.

Side note after the first two stories: 

There is so much sex related horror in here so far. It almost feels like as if I were reading a new installment of the Hot Blood series and that’s a very good thing. I loved those books so hard back in the olden days when we didn’t have digital books and could frighten people away with a creepy cover! Just be warned if this isn't your thing.

Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod

A rich man visits some expensive woo woo doctor to reach his full potential. His lust for bloodshed is awakened and he glories in it. This story is primal, brutal and ugly. There's no sex in this one which surprised me in a good way. The story did make me very sad for the state of man and that’s all I’m saying.

The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston

Whatever you do, don't go and get yourself on the bible thumping Robertson’s naughty list. Unfortunately for the town drunk, he manages to do just that. Now that he’s on their radar, they intend to force him to accept God’s word and their methods are not gentle. I liked this one, especially the ending.

Hellscape by Rich Hawkins

The world is now a hellish landscape and a woman goes on a desperate searching to find her son, slaying monsters along the way. I can’t find my notes on this one so it was either a forgettable tale or I was too tired when I read it. I DO remember thinking it felt like an introduction to a bigger story.

Molly by Glenn Rolfe

Caleb is a front desk clerk at a hotel and has to deal with all kinds of crap. One night he spies a strange silhouette in the window that shouldn’t be there when leaving work. Turns out one of the hotel’s bitchiest guests has a traveling buddy staying with her that she keeps hidden. Bloodshed ensues. Molly was a bloody creepfest that was a lot of fun to read.

Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lee

An artist puts out a call for subjects willing to give themselves to art. All of themselves. This is a story of extreme body modification but somehow the difficult to decipher writing, never outright graphic, wasn’t able to draw me in. I much prefer Kathe Koja’s novel “Skin” which tackles this same subject matter in a devastatingly gorgeous and unforgettable way. This was my least liked story in the collection.

Limb Memory by Tim Curran

After losing his left arm in an accident, a man whines and complains about his new lot in life. Poor me, boo-hoo-hoo. But just when I was getting annoyed with the man-whining, the phantom arm comes back to life to haunt him. This was gross and fun and enjoyable even with such a whiny ass main character. It brought back images from my scarred childhood of Michael Caine and “The Hand”. I’m still afraid to stick my arms out of a moving car’s open window after that one . . .

Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton

This was a fun throwback to cannibalistic slashers and half naked heroines as a young woman attempts to outwit a bunch of hungry, human monsters. I adored the modern day twist and the ending.
 
The Going Rate –John Boden

The tax man is coming and he's hungry. This was sinister and dark and creepy as hell. I loved it

Darla’s Problem –Kristopher Rufty

A young girl asks a policeman for assistance. He has no idea what terror awaits. This was another super creepy tale. Gory and not at all sweet. Great stuff!


Okay that’s all of them, I hope! If any of these stories sound remotely interesting to you then go buy yourself a copy!

 

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