Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

Well, paint me blue! Mayan Blue is a tour-de-force through blood and bodies. I love indigenous history, especially Mayan history. Don't believe the hype? Then, you should read this book to see what I'm talking about.

Professor Lipton discovers the Mayans had migrated north to Georgia. This is a once in a lifetime discovery. Professor Lipton goes missing. His associate and a group of students search for him. Mayan hell is unleashed on the small team of students. The Sisters of Slaughter let the bodies hit the floor. There is plenty of blood and gore to go around. The team of students must face the pissed off gods and their owl-headed servants as they travel deeper into the labyrinth that is the newly discovered Mayan temple.

The killing scenes are great. The scenes are stomach -wrenching and they will make you grimace. With that being said, I didn't get attached to these characters. I didn't get to learn much about them before they were slaughtered. These things did not take away from the great debut novel that is Mayan Blue.

This book is short, yet ferocious. Mayan Blue reads like an 80s horror movie. At times throughout this book, I was yelling at the characters for stupid decisions. The Sisters of Slaughter will have you reading late into the night, though!

This is my first time reading the Sisters of Slaughter, but it definitely won't be my last!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

You can get your copy here!

5/5 sacrificial stars!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

IT (2017)

WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers!

As I waited to enter the theater to watch IT (2017), people were walking out crying. I was pumped up for this movie. I've been waiting for IT to drop for some time, and I was not disappointed. However, I was not fully satisfied either. Was IT great? Hell yeah! I also think the 1990 TV movie was great, yet flawed. Is the book better than both versions? You bet!

Don't get me wrong, IT was badass. I just feel like some of the big scares were in the movie trailers. There were some cool parts that made me jump throughout the movie, though. I wanted the original monsters to return in this movie, but they didn't. There were several zombie-like scenes that weren't that scary.

The actor playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown did a fantastic job. He gives Tim Curry a run for his money. When he twists and contorts it is scary as hell. I didn't like the shark-like teeth very much. The CGI could have been better in some scenes, too.

It was hard to relate to the Losers' Club in this one, and I grew up in that era. The kid actors did a great job of portraying those iconic characters. It's just that I grew up with the original Losers' Club actors. I guess zombies scare all of the kids in this one. I wanted to see the werewolf and others, but it was just zombies. Don't get me wrong, there were nods to these creatures, but it wasn't the same to me. There's plenty of Easter eggs in this film too!

What's more, the book is better than both films. I say that with confidence. Both films have some great things in them. This movie has things that the 1990 TV movie didn't and vice versa. I will definitely buy it when it hits Blu-ray!

Pennywise is scary as hell, especially this version. The actor went above and beyond. The Losers' Club actors all did great jobs! I can't believe people actually think this movie is a rip-off of Stranger Things. Hell, we wouldn't even be talking about Stranger Things if it wasn't for Stephen King's IT. Stephen King is pop-culture. Most horror is inspired by Stephen King, like Stranger Things. Anyways, I loved the movie and I will probably go see it again in theaters.

I highly recommend this movie to fans of Stephen King and horror!

5/5 stars!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Slasher Sam by Simon Petersen

I have never read a book quite like Slasher Sam. Sam is a skilled killer who has learned from horror movies. Sam doesn't make mistakes. The body count rises as the blood and guts spill. 

Slasher Sam is written in blog posts, which I thought made the book even better. The book is filled with death, blood, and humor. One minute I was laughing, and then I would get grossed out. The kills are epic and the descriptions of the victims are funny. 

Slasher Sam is well written and a very entertaining read. The story progressed perfectly and the blog posts made it even more interesting. I was hooked from the first page. The top 5 lists are a thing of beauty! 

That ending blew my mind, too. I would definitely read another book about Sam.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Secrets of the Weird by Chad Stroup

Great book! This book is crazy awesome! I was hooked by the characters, the sounds, and the smells. You don't just read this book,  you experience it. If I'm being honest, it's a great experience. This book blew me away. This year I have opened up to new authors and new subject material. This book delivers at the right time! The LGBTQ  community should be represented more in horror. 

Trixie is the hero of Secrets of the Weird. She lives in a city called Sweetville. Trixie was born in the wrong body. She was born a male, but never identified as male. Trixie is a transgender woman. She wants to finalize her transformation. I was wondering what the cool book cover was all about. Trixie goes through hormone therapy, and she has the body of a girl, save for the male parts she has to tuck away between her legs. 

We get a glimpse of Trixie's past through her journal entries. I think the author did an excellent job of giving the reader the much-needed details of what Trixie has gone through and what she continues to go through. The reader experiences what Trixie experiences. It is hard to believe that this is a debut by this author. 

Secrets of the Weird is filled with rock bands, neo-Nazis, the newest drug called Sweet Candy, club kids, drag queens, punks, prostitutes, and a peculiar cult. 

Trixie falls in love with a rocker named Christopher. Everything would be flawless, but he doesn't know about Trixie's secret. So, she tries to save her relationship. She is enticed by a back-alley surgeon named Julius Kast and the Withering Wyldes. Christopher's racist ex-lover is trying to tear their relationship apart. I will stop there because I don't want to give too much away.

I enjoyed reading the commercial breaks. I feel like they add an extra layer that enhances the book. The story unfolds well and the characters are fleshed out. The characters are relatable and they feel real. I'm a sucker for good dialogue and Chad Stroup delivers. That ending is crazy! I hope the author expands on the world of Sweetville. 

You can grab a copy here.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

I am going to read and review the original Goosebumps books in order. They used to scare me as a kid. Goosebumps introduced me to the horror genre, and R. L. Stine is one of the best authors working today. He publishes close to 10 books a year. I also grew up on the Fear Street books, which I may read at a later date. But for now, I will read these 60 books that brought me so much joy growing up. My dad used to take me to the bookstore every week to pick up some books. I would pick up one or two Goosebump books and get a cool bookmark. Everyone should have a cool bookmark. (NEVER dog ear your books!) Anyway, I plan to read and review one or two Goosebumps a week. 

If you've never read a Goosebumps book, then you really should. They are well-written and loaded with some of the most memorable characters. I'm talking Slappy, The Haunted Mask, Mummies, Monster Blood, vampires, etc. The TV show was pretty good, but it only lasted 2 seasons. If you haven't watched the show, then I recommend giving it a go. I think they are on Netflix if I'm not mistaken. 

Thanks again for reading my blog! You are always welcome in Cedar Hollow. Feel free to give my blog a follow. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction is a great anthology! This anthology is balanced well. Each author holds their own weight. These stories will leave you thinking long after you have read the last page. Garden of Fiends is a ferocious read. Within these pages, people go to great lengths to satisfy their addiction cravings. Addiction comes in many forms and this anthology explores them. 

Kealan Patrick Burke kicks things off with A Wicked Thirst. A man will stop at nothing to quench his thirst for alcohol. A damn fine story and a helluva way to start this anthology!
5/5 stars!

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh is a futuristic story. A man is addicted to a drug that is best experienced when you inject it into your testicles. It costs a fortune and body parts can be used as currency to pay for it. Awesome story!
5/5 stars!

First, Bite Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson is an excellent flash fiction story. A lady goes to a party and watches a guy eat his own finger, so she tries it. She is soon hooked. 
5/5 stars!

Last Call by John FD Taff is crazy! It is a story of alcoholism and sins of the father. A man gets a cure for his alcoholism, but it comes with a huge price.
5/5 stars!

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch is about a man with demons and an addiction. That ending was superb! I want to read more of his work. 
5/5 stars!

Everywhere You've Bled and Everywhere You Will by Max Booth III is disgusting is all the right ways. I was thoroughly grossed out! It is both humorous and disturbing. I will definitely have to read his other work.
5/5 stars!

Returns by Jack Ketchum is a great story. A helluva haunting. I couldn't stop laughing at the couple's dialogue. There's nothing like a bickering couple in a story. The approach the author takes with this story makes it even better.
5/5 stars!

Overall, this anthology is great! There could have been one or two more flash fiction pieces to even things out. The lone flash fiction piece seemed a little out of place. All the stories are top notch, though. I will definitely check out the other work by these authors. This anthology is dark and eerie. These stories make you look at addiction in a whole new way. The cover is badass too!

I highly recommend this anthology to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Episodes of Violence by David Bernstein

David Bernstein has done it again! Episodes of Violence gets off to a bang! I have read a couple of his books, but this one is by far the best. He keeps getting stronger as a writer. I was hooked from the first scene. David has created memorable characters that you can never forget. These characters haunt you because they seem so real. Not only do you dislike some of these characters, you also feel sorry for them because they are products of their situations and environments.

Amber goes off to college and joins a sorority. Everything seems to be going well until something heinous happens to her one night at a party. Her life is flipped on its head and she is left picking up the pieces back home. The town she left is not the same, though. Amber’s hometown is riddled with savage violence. People are being slaughtered in the streets. There aren’t any leads for the police to follow. The violence shows up at her door and tears her life apart. The only thing Amber can rely on is the darkness that dwells deep inside her.

David Bernstein gets the college life and small town horror. David creates characters that come to life. They feel real. They feel genuine. The story unfolds perfectly. I kept turning the page because I had to know what was going to happen next. I had to know how it all would end. David Bernstein doesn’t disappoint.  Once you start reading this book, you can’t stop. The conclusion is awesome!

Episodes of Violence isn’t for the faint of heart or the squeamish. This book is filled with violence, sex, death, blood, and gore. There are a couple of scenes that will make you wince and bite your fingernails. I hope there is a sequel to Episodes of Violence. To be honest, I didn’t want it to end.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror! Episodes of Violence is going on my top 10 list of 2017!

5/5 stars!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mass Hysteria by Michael Patrick Hicks

Mass Hysteria is great! I think it's Michael Patrick Hicks best work so far. I didn't know what to expect before diving into this book, but I flew through the pages quickly. I needed to know how it would all play out. Michael doesn't disappoint! The characters are great, even the villains. You can't really tell who the villains are, which makes the book that much more enjoyable. 

One night, a freak meteor shower carried an alien virus to Earth. The alien virus quickly spreads, infecting animals and humans. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid and they start attacking people without warning. Animals begin stalking and killing humans. The natural order has been turned on its head. Lauren searches for her boyfriend. Her father is a policeman and he tries to restore order in town. The town is thrown into mass hysteria. Humans have to fight. They have to survive. Falls Breath will never be the same.

This book is filled with blood, gore, sex, and violence! I'm telling you now, this book isn't for readers with weak stomachs. It is brutal in all the right ways. There is one character that you will come across in these pages that you will dislike or maybe even hate. The character creeped me out and made my skin crawl. 

The characters are developed well and the scenes are very vivid. The story unfolds perfectly and it keeps getting better and better with each turn of the page. That ending is crazy!

You can grab a copy here.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 savage stars!

Guest Post by Michael Patrick Hicks

When Animals Attack!
A Michael Patrick Hicks Listicle

My latest novel, Mass Hysteria (out now!), involves animal attacks. A whole big damn lot of them. Meteor’s carrying an alien virus have been striking the Earth, and this new disease turns animals rabid, but not just rabid – absolutely batshit, bonkers insane. Which prompted Curtis to ask me what some of my favorite crazed animals attacking are.


1.     Jaws. This one is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Jaws is a seminal classic, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate man versus shark movie ever made, filled with terrific characters, quotable dialog, and some of the best awesome man-eating shark action put to film. Mass Hysteria may not have any sharks in it, but Jaws definitely had an influence on my small-town under siege story.


2.     Cujo. Book or movie, your pick. It’s hard to not think about Cujo in any of its mediums when you’re writing a book filled with insane, rabid dogs attacking their owners and prowling the streets in search of fresh prey. Cujo was a book that maybe made pet owners an itsy bit leery of their faithful, fluffy companions, and reminded us that although a dog may be domesticated, it can still certainly be one vicious motherfucker.


3.     Arachnophobia. I haven’t seen this movie in years, and it’s long, long, long overdue for a rewatch. My ten-year-old self was obsessed with Arachnophobia, enough so that I wore out the VHS tape. It’s also partly responsible for my fear of spiders. It was during a viewing of Arachnophobia that I was playing some game on my handheld Sega Genesis, which was equipped with a screen magnifier attachment, when a spider walked across the screen…beneath the magnifier…and freaked the shit out of me. It’s a memory that still gives me chills, and makes me want to get all decked out in some bug-killing urban warfare gear like my man John Goodman.


4.     Tremors. Mutant worms versus Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward! And it’s funny, too. What’s not to love?


5.     Gremlins. Gremlins was the first horror movie I saw as a child, and one of the first films I saw in an honest-to-god movie theater. I can trace just about everything I love about horror back to watching this movie as a five year old in a dark movie theater. It’s got gore, it’s got some good laughs, plenty of nasty creatures doing nasty and darkly comedic things. I love horror featuring snow and cold climates, and this flick is one of the best Christmas movies ever, just a few notches beneath Die Hard in my estimation. There’s also an overriding sense of fun to all of it; it never takes itself too seriously, and it’s a movie that knows what it is.

Maybe you noticed a theme developing as this list wore on, as the last three films are, at their core, fun slices of horror. When I wrote Mass Hysteria, it was to entertain. While it’s a dark, oftentimes brutal book, I wanted there to be an overarching element of fun, and for the book to not take itself too seriously. It’s meant to be a fun bit of pulp, filled with gore and more than a few scenes sure to disgust, much like the movies listed here.


What are some of your favorite When Animals Attack stories?


You can get a copy of Mass Hysteria here.

Synopsis: 
It came from space…

Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.

Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy. 

As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.

…and it is spreading.

Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria. 

To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Devil's Trill by Rhoads Brazos

I've been meaning to read this story for some time, but I never got around to it until now. I sat in my reading nook and began reading with a cup of coffee. I finished The Devil's Trill before my coffee got cold. It is a great one-sit read! It is a novella that packs a powerful punch. Rhoads Brazos can weave a great story! 

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading this book, but it kept me wanting to turn the page. It isn't as hardcore as other Grey Matter Press titles, though. This could be categorized as an adult or YA read. It isn't very often that you see heroine bond and survive together (NOT a spoiler). I mean come on! Just look at Thelma and Louise! 

Sarah and Tabitha have a relationship very much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They are childhood friends who compliment each other marvelously. The characters felt real and so did the dialogue. A song plays and The Ladies Bristol must battle the Diablerie (the Devil). It is a non-stop race against time!

The English folklore and humor are also great. I love history and Rhoads Brazos nails the Victorian Period perfectly. I would very much like to visit Bristol, England one day. 

The story flows well and the characters are relatable. The Devil's Trill is a blast from the first page to the last! That ending is crazy too!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

You can grab a copy here.

5/5 stars!

Interview With Matt Hayward


Thanks for doing this interview, Matt!

CHHR: I have read What Do Monsters Fear and Brain Dead Blues. Do you prefer writing short stories or novels?

MH: Thanks for reading, I know a lot of authors appreciate Cedar Hollow’s constant support. For the formats, I like both equally but for different reasons. With shorts you can concentrate on twists, and learn a lot about economic writing in the process. Exploring a concept more so than character is a great exercise and a good break from larger works, but creating three-dimensional and sympathetic characters in such a short space can be challenging. That’s part of the attraction, though. With novels you get freedom, and really sinking your teeth into proper character development is something you don’t get with shorts. Both have their own magic.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?

MH: I try hitting 5000 words a week, which translates to 1k a day, Monday to Friday. When I wrote PRACTITIONERS with Lacey, I upped that to 2k a day in order to keep my own schedule on track, but typically it’s 1000. Having a set goal puts my mind at ease and allows me to plan months in advance by gauging an estimate of how much I’ll have finished.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing quirks? If so, what are they?


MH: I used to write “I seen” instead of “I saw”… Sounds ridiculous, but that’s how we spoke growing up. Another is never knowing how to spell ‘necessary’ (I had to autocorrect it just now), and ’silhouette’.

CHHR: How is the horror scene in Dublin, Ireland?


MH: Blooming… About three years ago, my sister and I formed Fright Club, a horror book club to promote modern writers. At the time of writing, the Facebook group has almost 200 members, and the monthly meet-ups are always growing. There wasn’t much horror-related events when we formed, but we’re starting to see a turn. A convention called Horror Expo Ireland came along last year, and hopefully others will follow suit. 

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?


MH: A little of both. With a novel, I typically know my plot points, how I want to get from A to B, but I never fill in too many of the blanks. That kills the excitement of a project. I’ll know my setting, my characters, but then I’ll let them speak and see where they lead me. That interests me, and I hope that if I’m curious about where they go and what they do, then a reader will be, too.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

MH: Publishing the first book didn’t change my process, but it did teach me a lot about the business. Learning to coordinate promotional efforts with a PR rep., stuff like that. What changed my process was talking to knowledgeable authors. They were brutal, man, and I can’t thank them enough. Alan M Clark, specifically. He chewed me a new one for rookie mistakes, and I’m honored he took the time to shine some light my way. The business and writing are completely separate. 

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?


MH: Good character development. If I care about the character, I care about what happens to them. If they’re scared, I’m scared. That, to me, is good horror. I like watching people I care for get through the worst.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?


MH: I just finished editing a new novel called THE FAITHFUL, I’ll have that sent out to publishers this week. I just wrapped a few shorts, too, and now I’m onto a new novel, a coming-of-age called FROM UP HERE.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?


MH: Island Red by Matt Serafini, Floaters by Kelli Owen, Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale, Slices by Scott Cole, Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz, and I’m just finishing up Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer.

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?


MH: The God Beneath My Garden by Robert Ford. Bob has the knife in your gut before you even know it.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?


MH: Patrick Lacey.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?


MH: I’m a sucker for cheap shit. We do a good Fosters where I live, and the local bartender keeps that tap cared for like a baby… PBR from a can when I’m in the States.

CHHR: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out and trying to get published?


MH: Your first novel is most likely going to be awful, and that’s okay, just be sure to finish it. Finishing projects burns the routine into you, and that’s essential. If you’ve got a story to tell, then be patient, because the mechanics will come. You just have to keep writing.




Author Bio:
Goodreads: Matt Hayward is an Irish, Wicklow based author and musician. His debut collection Brain Dead Blues released May 2017, and a new novel co-written with author Patrick Lacey releases summer 2018. His work has appeared in Clickers Forever, Dark Moon Digest, Tales From The Lake, The Horror Zine, Tales To Terrify, and many more.His band Lace Weeper have become a staple on the Irish rock scene and have toured with many notable bands and musicians. For more info on Matt, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Hayward. When not writing, touring or recording, Matt can be found far up the Wicklow mountains, wandering the woods, drinking beer and playing guitar. Not all at the same time of course. Hayward's personal website can be found at www.sundancecrow.com.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mr. Mercedes: Episode 1


I had high expectations for Mr. Mercedes, to say the least. Mr. Mercedes blew my expectations out of the water. It is hands down the best adaptation I could have asked for. I was hooked from the first scene. 

They couldn't have picked better actors to play Bill Hodges, Brady Hartsfield, and Jerome. The other actors did an excellent job as well. If you enjoyed the trilogy, then you will definitely love Mr. Mercedes. It is the best adaptation because it stays true to the book. The first episode is epic and I can't wait to see the second episode. The dialogue between the Bill Hodges and Ida Silver is epic! 

I'm telling you right now, if you are a fan of Stephen King's, then you should watch this show immediately. The opening scene is horrendous and the scene with Brady and his mother is just like in the book. Mr. Mercedes is my new favorite show. It is that good! Believe the hype, guys!

I have watched all of Stephen King's adaptations, and this one is in my top five. The acting is on point. The dialogue is great. Most importantly, it doesn't stray away from the books. It is true to the source material all the way. 

I highly recommend Mr. Mercedes to fans of Stephen King and horror!

5/5 stars!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers by Joe R. Lansdale

Do you ever dream that the life you're dreaming is someone else's life?

Do you wonder if you're a figment of someone else's imagination and that all you do has not been done at all, that you could be a creation brought about by trapped gas, that you could be the result of poorly digested green beans and bologna sandwiches?

Oh, momma! Joe R. Lansdale has done it again! I fell in love with Bubba Ho-Tep when I first watched the movie. Bruce Campbell brought his best when he played the part of retired Elvis.

Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers is the prequel to Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis Presley and a group of hardcore warriors try to save the world from an invasion of hive-minded, shape-shifting vampire-like creatures from a dark dimension. The cosmic blood-suckers make a New Orleans junkyard their home. Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Parker, is the leader of the group. 

The story is told by one of Elvis Presley's body guards named Johnny Smack, which makes the story even better. Elvis's gang of warriors also includes a hammer-wielding descendant of John Henry, a strategic wizard named Jack, Raven (Jenny) who is a budding pop star, and a Blind Man who can see more than those with sight. 

This strange trip could merely be an illusion, though. This is what happened before Elvis took on an Egyptian mummy at an East Texas rest home. 

This book is great! If you've ever been to New Orleans, you remember the sights and smells. You remember the Mississippi riverboats. You don't simply read this book, you experience it. 

Joe R. Lansdale does a great job with the characters and building the dread. The author grabs you from the first scene and doesn't let go until the last page. The story is filled with wild fights, strange monsters, sex, and ghosts. The pink Cadillac even makes an appearance. 


You can get a copy here.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 cosmic blood-suckers!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Revenant: Book one of the Tatterdemon Trilogy by Steve Vernon

Revenant is a good start for this trilogy. Revenant really isn't the first book, though. It's more like the first third of a larger book.  

In 1691, Preacher Abraham and a genuine witch named Thessaly Cross battle. He tries to shoot, hang, and burn her, but she is having none of it. Before he can thrust her into the ground, Thessaly places a curse on the people of the small Nova Scotia settlement. 

Fast forward 300 years, Crossfell is not doing well. Maddy Harker will kill her husband Vic. She buries him in the very field where her abusive father and Thessaly are buried. Thessaly Cross is waiting. Vic rises again and men will call him the Tatterdemon. 

Revenant is a solid read. It is very much a build up to the second book. It gives the much-needed background story. Revenant also gives the reader just enough character background. I look forward to reading the second book in this trilogy. 

3.5/5 stars!