Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Can Taste The Blood by Josh Malerman, J. Daniel Stone, Joe Schwartz, Erik T. Johnson, John F.D. Taff

I Can Taste The Blood is an anthology that originated when John F.D. Taff saw I Can Taste The Blood scribbled on a bathroom wall. The only theme this anthology goes by is its five-word title. The result is a solid anthology that has some pretty good stories that span the horror genre.

Josh Malerman starts the book off with a story about a drifter who stumbles upon a nomadic family one night. The drifter tells them about a demon thief who follows him. The ending was great but predictable. One of my favorite stories out of the anthology.

J. Daniel Stone's story is about two young gay men, addiction, and an underground art-house cinema. The scenes are unsettling. You can just feel the unease in this story.

Joe Schwartz's story is about Sam, hired muscle. He takes care of problems with his fists. I like reading stories about characters who struggle with trials and tribulations, especially fixers.

I didn't really care that much for Erik T. Johnson's story. Maybe I should give this story a second look over. To be honest, I almost stopped reading this book altogether when I started reading this story. I just couldn't get into it. I had to put the book down, but I eventually came back to it and finished reading it.

John F.D. Taff is a genius! This story was disturbing! I related to the small town characters. I kind of felt bad for the main character, but then the story takes an unexpected turn. This one really has teeth! Everyone should read it!

Like I said before, this anthology has some range. I enjoyed this book for the most part. I am glad that I finally finished this book because the last story was worth it. I really enjoyed Josh Malerman's story too. Everyone has different tastes in stories, and this anthology has some that you should really enjoy.

I recommend this book to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

There is Darkness in Every Room by Brian Fatah Steele

There is Darkness in Every Room is about Tanner Kokinos, a lady who has been abducted by aliens multiple times during her childhood. She just wants to feel like a normal college student at Berkshire State University. Some college students are killed in horrendous murders, while others mysteriously vanish. Tanner tries to find out the secrets behind her abductions. The story unfolds perfectly, and the story is told from multiple viewpoints. Tanner finds out that there is a celestial game that stretches through time and galaxies. Aliens are threatened by the fact that humans can unlock the secrets of the stars. Humans can also go to their communion site. The characters are memorable! Tanner is a great lead character, Donald is a Vietnam veteran, and Graham is an alien. There are some characters that you will absolutely loathe.

There is plenty of gore and killing going on to satisfy any horror fan! There are gray aliens, disembodiment, skinning, gutting, naked ladies, donuts, Taco Bell, and lots of blood. If you start to hear flies, please run for your life! They come through the darkness. They are everywhere!

If you are a fan of The X-Files, Extraterrestrial, The Fourth Kind, or aliens in general, then you are going to thoroughly enjoy this book! There is Darkness in Every Room is a fast-paced read from start to finish. It is a relatively quick read that you can finish in one sitting. There is a lot going on in this book, but Bian Fatah Steele manages it very well. With that being said, I think everyone should read this book!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and science fiction!

5/5 stars!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Just After Sunset by Stephen King

I have read Just After Sunset numerous times! Have you ever read something that just stuck wth you long after you have finished reading it? To me, Just After Sunset is one of those things. I have to give you some background about this short story collection and two other novels by Stephen King. I had just broken my hip in the military, and I was sent home on leave to heal and recover. I was bored, so I went to a local second-hand bookshop. I looked high and low for something to read, but nothing seemed to catch my eye. I asked the feeble old lady behind the counter for some recommendations. She said I should read Stephen King. I had never read anything by Stephen King before. I was open-minded, so she led me to the back corner of the store and that is where I discovered Stephen King. She recommended Just After Sunset, and I picked up The Dead Zone and Duma Key. I went home, popped my pain pills, and began reading. It was one of the best experiences of my life. To tell you the truth, I'm sure everyone has a Stephen King book and a good story to tell. (Feel free to share a Stephen King book and a story in the comments section.) Just After Sunset is a short story collection that contains some of my favorite short stories.

Willa is about a train derailment, which leaves its passengers stranded. David Sanderson's wife walks away from the station and David looks for her. This is a great ghost story! The people on the train don't realize that they are dead, so they are having to deal with their fate.

Gingerbread Girl is about a divorced wife named Emily. She starts running on the beach. Her life is starting to look up when she runs up on a killer. This story is great! The killer is after Emily, so she runs for her life!

Harvey's Dream is about a couple in a boring relationship. The wife is surprised when her husband decides to share a dream of his with her.

Rest Stop is about a writer who stops at a rest area to use the bathroom. He interrupts a man beating his wife. This is a good story!

Stationary Bike is one of my favorites! It is about an overweight commercial artist who gets a stationary bike. That is when the story really takes off!

The Things They Left Behind is about a 9/11 survivor. Objects belonging to his deceased co-workers start appearing in his apartment.

Graduation Afternoon is about a young woman who is goes to one of her boyfriend's family gatherings for the last time. This one is great!

N. is about a psychiatrist who commits suicide. His sister reads the patient file he was working on when he committed suicide. The patient was N. and he had OCD. This one is the best out of the collection!

The Cat From Hell is an older story about a pharmaceutical millionaire who hires a hitman to kill a cat. It was a good story. It was in Dark Side: The Movie back in the early 90s.

The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates is about a woman he receives a phone call from her dead husband.

Mute is about a man who finds out his wife has been cheating on him. The man picks up a deaf-mute hitchhiker and bares his soul. Was the man really mute?

Ayana is a story about miracles.

A Very Tight Place is about a guy who gets trapped inside a Johnny-On-The-Spot by his neighbor. This is a great revenge story!

You may not agree that this is a great short story collection, but this was my introduction to Stephen King. If you like Stephen King, then you should give this collection a read.

5/5 stars!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dark Screams: Volume Six by Brian James Freeman (Editor) and Richard Chizmar (Editor)

Thanks to Brian James Freeman, Richard Chizmar, NetGalley, and Hydra for the advanced reader copy!

This is a solid short-story anthology! (Note: Goodreads says it is a collection, but it is not! A collection is short-stories from only one author, which can be themed.) This anthology includes short stories by Stephen King, Lisa Morton, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Norman Prentiss, Joyce Carol Oates, and a novella by Tim Curran. Not bad, right?

Stephen King gets things going with The Old Dude's Ticker. I like how Stephen King always gives the reader history behind his stories. Cavalier magazine rejected The Old Dude's Ticker, so Stephen King put it away for a long time. This is the first time the story has seen the light of day. The story is about Richard Drogan, a Vietnam veteran who has serious issues stemming from the war. Not trying to give anything away, but it is similar to The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. I really enjoyed this story, but it was predictable.

The Rich Are Different is written by Lisa Morton. Sarah Peck has made a name for herself by revealing the private lives of the rich and famous. She doesn't know how deep their secrets go, or what price they are willing to pay to get what they desire. If I'm being honest, this was a good story, but it wasn't as strong as some of the other stories in this anthology.

The Manicure by Nell Quinn-Gibney is about a trip to the nail salon. I don't even want to think about my nails after reading this short story. The trip to the nail salon was supposed to be relaxing, but it wasn't. She starts seeing flashbacks of bad experiences when it came to her nails. This short story was crazy, and I just want to wince.

The Comforting Voice by Norman Prentiss was great! This short story is about a married couple who have a baby girl named Lydia. The father-in-law and the husband do not get along. The father-in-law becomes terminally ill, and he moves in with them. Lydia can only be comforted by her grandfather's voice. I will stop there because I don't want to give too much away and spoil the story. The Comforting Voice is a creepy read and one of the best out of the anthology.

The Situations by Joyce Carol Oates is definitely different. It is made up of horrible situations where Daddy knows best.

The Corpse King by Tim Curran is about Samuel Clow and Mickey Kierney, two grave robbers. They dig up corpses and deliver them to doctors and medical students to dissect, study, and experiment with. The two men soon realize that something else is inhabiting the graveyards at night. Grave robbers start going missing, and some are found dead. People say that they were taken or killed by the Corpse King. This was a great read!

This anthology was solid, but it could have been better. Each story is different and brings something to the table, but some stories just made the anthology weaker overall. I really liked The Comforting Voice, The Corpse King, The Manicure, and The Old Dude's Ticker! I just couldn't get into The Situations and The Rich Are Different. I have wanted to read The Corpse King, but it was only released by Cemetery Dance as a signed limited edition hardcover.

I recommend this to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Interview With Stephen Kozeniewski

Stephen Kozeniewski is a horror and science fiction author. His last name is pronounced "causin' ooze key." He is an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star, which is no small feat. Stephen has published numerous books and short stories. His work includes The Hematophages, Hunter of the Dead, Every Kingdom Divided, and The Ghoul Archipelago.

      CHHR How long have you been writing horror? How many books and short stories have you written?

Stephen: I’ve been writing since I was 6 and writing novels since I was 12.  But I wouldn’t say I started writing horror until my first published novel, which would be about age 26.  So at least…mumble mumble…years.

The second part is easier.  I just released my sixth novel (which we’ll talk about in the next question) and earlier this year my seventh short story was published in a horror magazine called “Unnerving.”

CHHR What influenced you to write The Hematophages? Did your military experience influence this book?

Stephen: THE HEMATOPHAGES emerged as a result of my work on the seemingly unrelated novel HUNTER OF THE DEAD.  I first wrote HUNTER as a screenplay in the early ‘00s.  When I sat down to rewrite it as a novel all I could see in the original was a juvenile story about über-macho cool guy vampires.  I spent nearly three years trying to come up with some twist on the vampire formula to make HUNTER interesting again. 

One of the ideas I came up with was a breeding pair of lamprey-like monsters infesting a human’s skull and emerging from the eyes to devour the blood of others.  It made for a unique take on the vampire myth, certainly, but it necessitated a space story and would’ve eliminated virtually all of my characters.  So I shelved that concept and revisited it as more of an “Alien”-esque piece, which you all now know as THE HEMATOPHAGES.  Besides, how could I pass up a title like that?

My military experience absolutely influenced this book.  I lean on my martial background whenever I write about authority figures or officials in any capacity, really.  So characters like Diane and Helena especially are based on the sorts of people I dealt with in the army.  But much more so I relied on my experience as a civil servant, working within a bureaucracy.  In fact, life aboard the RV Borgwardt very closely resembles my actual current day job.

CHHRWill you expand this futuristic universe that you created in The Hematophages?

Stephen: I think that would be interesting and I can definitely see stories hiding in the crevices of THE HEMATOPHAGES.  I usually start from a hook or a concept and then build a world around that.  If a story presents itself to me in that universe, sure, it would be nice to revisit it, but I’m not going to force a square peg into a round hole.

CHHRWill there at least be a sequel to The Hematophages?

Stephen: Now, Curtis, you’ve read THE HEMATOPHAGES.  Wouldn’t a sequel just be terribly depressing?  :)

The real answer is the same (sort of) cheat I always give: if the market demands it.  I tend to take the same tactic with all of my novels: write a standalone story with openings for a sequel.  If THE HEMATOPHAGES turns out to be wildly popular, of course I’ll write sequels and take movie deals and all that sort of thing.  If it doesn’t, well, I’m also happy with it just as it is.

CHHRWhat does your writing routine look like? Any habits?

Stephen: I’ve really been a mess lately in terms of routine.  (Going through a divorce will do that to you, I suppose.)  Having deadlines, as I did with my last three novels, is definitely a motivating factor.  But I also dislike deadlines because they turn the pleasure of letting a story and a world unfurl into a chore.

I can write almost anywhere, provided there’s a computer.  I have an office at home, but I can also plop down in front of the TV in my living room, or splay out on a hotel bed, or even (don’t tell the boss) write at my day job, as I’m doing now.  When everything’s lined up I do like to have a candle burning and a window open and something to drink, whether coffee or a more adult beverage.  But I’d be lying if I said I got all of my writing done under those ideal circumstances.

CHHRDo you have any advice for writers that are just starting out and trying to get published?

Stephen: There’s a lot of writing and publishing advice out there, and I’m happy to give anyone specifics.  All you have to do is reach out.  The reason for that is that I owe a lot to a lot of authors who came before me, and the only way to pay that debt is to give a hand to the ones coming after me.  You’d better do the same, especially if you’re about to take the advice I’m about to lay down.

One thing that I think a lot of people don’t mention in writing blogs, etc., is to remember that you’re joining a tribe now.  And like any tribe, there will be Barney Fifes and Gilgameshes in equal measure.  Nobody minds helping out the Barney Fifes, even if they’ll probably never amount to much, as long as they’re kind and helpful in return.  But if you’re a jerk and you alienate people, expect this to be a long, fruitless, pointless venture.

Remember your fellow authors are going to be your greatest assets as you enter on this journey, so make yourself an asset to them as well.  Other authors, even the James Pattersons and Stephenie Meyers of the world, are not your enemies or your yardsticks.  They’re just fellow human beings trying to make it in a rough-and-tumble business, the same as you are.  So don’t bother with jealousy or envy or snootiness.  Be welcoming and useful and kind and you’ll be all right.  All the other stuff – success and money and adoring fans – it’ll come or it won’t.  But you’d damn well better be good to the people around you while you’re waiting for that.

CHHRWhat are you currently working on?

Stephen: I’m working on a couple of things so bear with me.  First of all, I’m in the final editing stage of a collaboration with Stevie Kopas called SLASHVIVOR!, which is a sort of blend of “The Running Man” and all the best ‘80s slasher movies. 

I’ve finished up a sequel/prequel/sidequel-type deal to THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO which I’m tentatively calling NOTES FROM THE UNDEAD.  That manuscript is finished and in author edits, so I’m hoping to have it out later this year.


And as for new work, I’m working on a haunted house (sort of) story.  I’m thinking right now this one will be called THE PERFECTLY FINE HOUSE, but it’s still in a very preliminary stage, so we shall see.

This is my first author interview. Stephen, thank you for doing this interview! You can learn more about Stephen Kozeniewski at http://manuscriptsburn.blogspot.com. You can also visit his Goodreads and Amazon pages. I will definitely be reading his other works!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Just Add Water by Hunter Shea

I would like to thank Hunter Shea, Lyrical Underground, and NetGalley for the advance reader copy!

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. I only knew two things: I loved the cover and I've heard great things about Hunter Shea's work. Just Add Water is old school horror! I'm talking old, 80's childhood horror. Yes, I grew up in the 80's, and this book brought all of my childhood memories back to life. This book has it all! I'm talking everything kids love: comic books, Japanese food, baseball, and sea serpents! Have you ever bought sea monkeys? Have you ever bought a toy that grows when you put it in water? I bet you have! I bet you discarded them after a while too. That is what this book is about.

David and Patrick decide to buy sea serpents, but their "instant pets" don't grow, but they smell terrible. The sea serpents don't do anything. They don't hatch or grow, so they decide to get rid of them. They throw them in the sewer, which is the same place Dad dumps toxic chemicals. The sea serpents slowly begin to eat down in the sewers, and they start to grow. The bigger they get, the more food they ingest. Small animals start disappearing in their neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures rise from the sewers to feed. David and Patrick realize that their childhood did come to life after all. They are hungry for human flesh!

This book is an adrenaline rush! If I'm being honest, Hunter Shea has written an instant classic. It is a fairly quick read, but it will have you reminiscing about your childhood long after you have read it. It will make you think about your sea monkeys. The dialogue was great and the storyline played out perfectly. That ending was crazy! I hope this becomes a film or a TV series!


I highly recommend this book to fans of horror! If you like The Body (Stand By Me), IT, or Stranger Things, then you will enjoy this book as much as I did! Just Add Water is that rare book that you'll want to read over and over again.

You can pre-order a copy here.

5/5 stars!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story by C.M. Saunders

 Jerry leaves London for Beijing to teach English. Everything seems to be going smooth,  but his predecessor mysteriously disappeared. He moves into his predecessor's old apartment, which is 14F. Jerry begins having strange dreams about a ghost in his apartment. He starts hearing things. The lights in his apartment flicker from time to time. Sometimes the lights go out unexpectedly. He finds his predecessor's boarding pass in the apartment, so he does some investigating. Jerry's assistant tells Jerry about a fortune teller who not only sees the future but sees the truth. I will stop there because I don't want to give anything away. This novella is a great atmospheric read! The ending was great too!

Apartment 14F also has a bonus short story called Little Dead Girl, which is a quick, scary read. It is about a teacher named Jeff who lives in China. He starts seeing a dead girl everywhere.  He thinks he is going insane. Is he insane or is he seeing a real ghost? This was a great short story! I didn't see the ending coming!

I recommend this book to fans of The Ring and The Grudge!

5/5 stars!

You can get the book here.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Don't Hang Up by Alexis Wajsbrot, Damien Macé

Don't Hang Up is about Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton), two friends who prank call people and film it to see how many hits/likes they can get on their videos. Sam and Brady hang out one night and watch movies before they graduate from high school. That is when the phone rings. The unknown caller tells them to stay on the phone and not to hang up or there will be consequences. So, they do what any teenager would do, they hang up on the caller. Then, the movie gets pretty good. The events that unfold throughout the movie are gory, yet predictable. I saw the ending coming because it has been played out before. All of the typical horror cliches are in this film.

I really enjoyed seeing the cell-phone and the cordless phone make it into a horror movie. What I didn't understand was how technologically advanced the caller was. The movie only scratches the surface of the callers' background and their motivation.

If you can look past the typical horror cliches and the predictability of the movie, then you will enjoy this film. Don't get me wrong, it is a fun watch, but you will probably scream at the TV during this film.

3/5 stars!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski

Stephen Kozeniewski hasn't just crafted a great book, he has crafted a futuristic world! The Hematophages is about Paige Ambroziak, a doctoral student who has lived her whole life on the planet Yloft. She is considered a "station bunny," and she has never been to deep space. She is offered the job of a lifetime, researching everything about seed ships. She ships out on the RV Borgwardt, a deep space salvage and rescue ship. The Manifest Destiny is discovered after going missing 200 years ago. The RV Borgwardt is sent to salvage the ship that has landed on a planet in the Endirii System. The planet is essentially a spinning organism. The planet is a fleshworld that is home to terrestrial hematophages, which are leech-like or lamprey-like creatures that live in blood. They have tooth tongues and a mouth full of circulate teeth. The hematophages need another place to live in order to survive. I will stop there because I don't want to give anything away.

I was hooked from start to finish! This book reads like a movie! The author does a great job of building the futuristic world, along with some memorable characters. My favorite characters are the skin wrappers. The dialogue was great, and the storyline unfolded perfectly. That ending was crazy! I wasn't expecting it to go down like that! I hope Stephen Kozeniewski adds to this futuristic world he created. I would definitely read a book about the skin wrappers, and I want to know what happened during the 200 years since The Manifest Destiny disappeared. I also hope this becomes a series! This is my first time reading Stephen Kozeniewski, but it won't be my last! I will definitely be reading his other work.

I highly recommend this to fans of horror and science fiction!

You can buy a copy of the book here.

5/5 stars!



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fear Inc. by Vincent Masciale

Fear, Inc. is funny and it's similar to The Game (a movie from the 1990s). Joe is an unemployed horror buff living off his girlfriend and her wealth. Joe invites Ben (childhood friend) and his wife, Ashleigh, over to celebrate Halloween. Joe is looking for a truly horrific time, but he isn't satisfied. He is given a Fear, Inc. business card at a haunted house by a random stranger. Fear, Inc. is a custom-scare service that tailors realistic horror experiences that guarantee a horrific time. Joe tries to talk Ben into playing Fear, Inc., but Ben tries to warn him against calling the company. Ben's boss had tried Fear, Inc. and hasn't returned to work since. Joe drunk calls the Fear, Inc. number and a man tells them that they are all booked up, so Joe forgets about it. Fear, Inc. starts creating horrific movie scenes at Joe's house, from Friday the 13th to The Shining to Saw. Things start to get a little too real for Joe's liking, and he begins to question what's going on.

Masciale has his characters reference The Game in the movie, which I thought was cool. Masciale also references several horror franchises in the movie. I didn't really care for Joe because he isn't a very likable guy. I cared more for the other three characters. I like how they showed the secrets of Fear, Inc.

I also had a problem with the four endings. Yes, you read that right. Four endings! The false endings were played out by the time the real ending happened. The ending was predictable because of the three false endings.

I had fun watching this movie, but I wish they would have cast another lead character. I didn't care for Joe like I did the other three characters. The heavy horror franchise referencing was awesome! I would definitely watch it again.

I recommend this movie to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Unseemly by Jason Parent

Peter Callum is an archaeologist (grave robber) who is lured out to Dungarradh by Dervish (his former business partner). Dungarradh is a small Scottish island with a huge secret. Peter Callum finds himself over his head in the local folklore. What he finds in Dungarradh is more than he bargained for. His teammate goes missing. Is the legendary fae the cause of the disappearance, or is something more wicked going on?

This novella is excellent. It made my skin crawl! It also made me want to drink a beer (read the story and you will know why). I was hooked from the first page. I guess I'm a sucker for archaeologist stories. I didn't know how they story was going to play out, but it unfolded perfectly. I am never going near any Scottish islands. Even the cover makes my skin crawl! The pit scene was gut wrenching. Jason Parent writes is a great author. I could literally smell the bar, the ocean, and the awful tunnel. Jason Parent has written a story that reads like a movie. I didn't see that ending coming! It was crazy! I am a fan of Jason Parent and I will definitely read his other work.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Flowers In A Dumpster by Mark Allan Gunnells

Flowers In A Dumpster is an instant classic! I had never heard of Mark Allan Gunnells before reading this short story collection. If Clive Barker suggests this book, you know it is worth a read. This book is comprised of 17 stories that will terrify you and make you laugh. I have never seen a variety of stories like this collection before. This book spans the horror genre.

Past Lives:
It's set in a post-apocalyptic world with a couple and their kid hiding out, trying to survive. A stranger appears and they question if they should help him or not. This story looks at who the people were before the collapse of society.

The Support Group:
A funny short story that was written for Clive Barker, so you know it is good.

Welcome:
My favorite story out of the entire book! A couple's car breaks down and they look for help. What they discover is terrifying! A unique and awesome story!

Transformations:
A gay man wishes to be straight and he'll do anything. He finds a spell book that promises to make him straight, but he soon finds out that there are consequences. That ending, though!

The Bonadventure:
A great story about a group of ghost hunters who search for paranormal activity in a graveyard.

A Helping Hand:
A writer lives with his mother-in-law and daughter after his wife dies during childbirth. Great story!

The Possession:
This story is about the gay porn industry and a couple's relationship.

The Locked Tower:
A writer returns to his college campus to do research. No one will let him into the locked tower of one of the buildings. A great story!

Expectant:
A unique story that gives you a little bit of the story in monthly increments. It's about a woman getting back out into the dating scene. Things don't go according to her plan.

The Last Men on Earth:
This story deals with the last two living men on Earth. One man is gay and the other man is straight. Predictable, but good!

Similar Interests:
This story is about a hitchhiker versus the killer driver. I've read similar stories from other authors, but the ending was different in this story. Good story!

Walking Talking Jesus:
This is a strange story about a wooden Jesus on the cross. The wooden Jesus tries to experience and ordinary life. The ending was good!

Survival of the Fittest:
A post apocalyptic story. Not bad, but not good either. This story feels like it is the beginning of a much larger story.

Land of Plenty:
The story is about a future society that has to control its population. It is about a woman and her grandpa.

What She Needs:
This story is about domestic abuse. This story looks at who is really to blame for the domestic abuse.

Welcome Back:
The sequel to the story Welcome. Great story!

Kindred Spirit:
This story is about a husband who's passion for writing is rekindled by another writer that he met online. Great story!

Most of the stories in this collection are great! Even the ones that aren't great are good! There's not a bad story in this short story collection. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I bought it for Kindle and I own a paperback version. The cover art is great too! I am a fan of Mark Allan Gunnells.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!


The Box by Richard Chizmar

The Box is just another example of why Richard Chizmar is a great author. The Box is a chapbook that was published exclusively for the members of the Cemetery Dance Collector's Club 4. Annie (a housewife) finds something horrendous in her son's bedroom while her son and daughter are at school. This is a really short story (around 14 pages), so I don't want to give away to much. I think the one line description on Goodreads reveals too much.

This chapbook packs a heavy punch. Richard Chizmar proves that he is a wordsmith! The ending is amazing and it will make your skin crawl.

I recommend this short story to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss

Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss have concocted a great story! This book is set at Stillbrook Apartments, which are quiet and affordable. The main characters are the handyman, his wife, and his two children. Everything is normal and the neighbors are friendly. As Halloween quickly approaches, strange things begin to happen around the apartment complex. Strange noises can be heard through the walls. One abandoned unit is inhabited by something that is no long living and sinister. The annual Halloween party is canceled to keep the tenants safe. There is no decorations, masks, candied apples, or witch's brew. The Halloween Children do not have any treats, but they have several nasty tricks up their sleeves.

This story is told in an interview format. The handyman recounts what happened last year on Halloween night. The dialogue is amazing between the interviewer and the handyman. The narrative is smooth and the ending is amazing! There are several parts that will give you shivers. You will be suspicious of everyone in this story. That ending, though! It all comes pouring out at the end. What does the handyman reveal? What does he remember from that Halloween night?

I highly recommend this book to fans of Halloween and horror!

5/5 stars!

Here Alone by Rod Blackhurst

A young woman (wife and mother) is struggling to survive on her own in the wilderness. A mysterious epidemic has killed most of society. She travelled with her husband and daughter into the wilderness to escape the epidemic, but they both passed away. A step-dad and a daughter stumble upon the young woman and they ban together in order to survive. The step-dad does not survive, and the zombies (infected people) find her camp. The young woman and the daughter drive away in a car, trying to escape the hoard of zombies. That is where the movie ends.

I don't really have many good things to say about this film. It spends most of the time showing the young woman hunting for food and bathing. The past is revealed through flashbacks, which was helpful; however, the type of epidemic is never revealed. The storyline was flat (no action or jumpy scenes). Maybe I'm being too harsh on this film.

I recommend this to fans of horror! It's worth at least one viewing.

3/5 stars!


The Space Visitor by Norman Prentiss

This short story is a fun read! Norman Prentiss has written a great story! Cory (the younger brother) is into comic books and space. He has a pamphlet titled "How to Contact Other Worlds." He wants to be the first to communicate with alien life, so he uses his dad's old radio transceiver in the garage. He thinks he is communicating with an alien, but it turns out to be his older brother's (Grady) friends down the street. Cory is tormented by his parents and his older brother. He tries to contact alien life again and he is successful. The ending is great!

There was never a dull moment in this story. It will keep you entertained, and it kind of reminded me of Stranger Things, but only because of the kid and the radio. The ending caught me by surprise.

I highly recommend this short story to fans of comics and horror!

5/5 stars!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

In Sunlight or In Shadow by Lawrence Block

In Sunlight or In Shadow is made up of 17 authors and edited by Lawrence Block. This short story collection is inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. Each story in this book is uniquely different, which makes this book enjoyable. The authors who collaborated on this project span the genres. These stories are hit or miss. There are a few stories that I really enjoyed, but there were some stories that I couldn't make it through. Stephen King, Lee Child, Joe R. Lansdale, Jeffery Deaver, and Craig Ferguson all wrote great stories.

This isn't really a horror book, but Stephen King's short story is one of the best he has ever written. I don't know if I would buy this book, but I would certainly buy a few of the short stories if they were sold separately. I'm being kind of generous with my review.

I highly recommend the Stephen King short story to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Don't Knock Twice by Caradog James

This is an atmospheric horror movie. It is a story about a child-stealing witch. You know the urban legend: the haunted house down the street where the witch lives. The urban legend says that if you knock twice, then the witch would find you and take you away. Well, it just so happens that Cloe (the daughter) and her friend go to the house and knock twice. The urban legend turns out to be true and the witch goes after Cloe and her friend. Cloe runs to her estranged mom's house to hide. The relationship between mother and daughter is strained, but the mom does everything in her power to protect her daughter from the witch. The ending was the best part. I didn't see that ending coming!

 The director doesn't tell you much about Jess (the Mother) and Cloe (the daughter). The director does a horrible job making it seem like the mother and daughter have a strong relationship that can be torn apart. In the end, is the mother's love strong enough to keep her daughter safe? 

This may seem like a harsh review, but I assure you it isn't. It is merely a critique of the film. Certain aspects could have been better, thus making the film stronger and the characters more believable. With that being said, I enjoyed the movie. It will have you jumping out of your seat!

I recommend this movie to fans of horror!

3/5 stars!

In Perpetuity by Tim Lebbon

In Perpetuity is about a child (Sammy) who is kidnapped by the mysterious Keeper. The Keeper tasked the father with finding proof of love in return for his son's release. The father sets out trying to find proof of love in order to reunite with his son, and he crosses paths with other parents who are trying to find proof of love to set their children free. Some of the characters try to help him, but others try to hinder him. The father will do anything to get his son back. The ending is great and it will shock you!

This is my first time reading Tim Lebbon, but it won't be my last. This novella is about every parent's nightmare  a child goes missing. It was a quick, one-sit read. The story unfolds perfectly, the characters are good, and the ending is jaw-dropping. I am now a fan of Tim Lebbon. 

I highly recommend this novella to fans of horror! 

5/5 stars!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dark Moon Rising by James M. Thompson

Thank you to Net Galley and Lyrical Underground for the book!

Dark Moon Rising is a good werewolf tale. The book is about Dr. James Wilcox who finds out that he has a brain tumor. The removal of the brain tumor will result in Dr. Wilcox losing his senses of taste and smell, and he will also suffer from a mood disorder for the rest of his life. There is one alternative solution to Dr. Wilcox's predicament, which is Dr. Albert Stern, who has successfully performed sensory augmentation in primates. Dr. Wilcox agrees to let Dr. Stern operate, and the surgery is a success. The surgery heightens the rest of Dr. Wilcox's senses. It turns out that the surgery involved a half dog half werewolf. Of course, there are side effects involving full moons.

I read this book off and on because I couldn't fully get into it. In all honesty, it took me about a week to finish this book. I enjoyed the book, though the ending felt rushed. I felt like there should have been more to the ending.

4/5 stars!

The Big Tree by Rick Hautala

Rick Hautala created one of the best coming-of-age stories with The Big Tree. The novella is set in 1960 during Hurricane Donna. It is about a young boy, his friends, his brother, and a mysterious girl. Is the mysterious girl real? The story has all the right ingredients to make a perfect storm. The story has all the things a kid goes through during childhood: loss, being bullied and growing up unexpectedly. Rick Hautala weaves the natural with the supernatural. This is my first Rick Hautala book, but I am going to read his other work. Great novella and author!

I highly recommend this novella to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!