Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Peekers by Kealan Patrick Burke

Kealan Patrick Burke has written one of the creepiest short stories I have ever read! This short story is about a man named Larry who is trying to enjoy his first day of retirement. Larry is annoyed that the kids next door insist on racing their dirt bikes through his yard. Zach (Larry's eccentric neighbor) needs Larry's help to verify something in his house. Larry reluctantly goes over to Zach's house and verifies that Agnes (Zach's wife) is peeking from the stairs. Is she really Zach's wife or something far more evil and sinister?

I will never look at doorways or stairs the same again! I have read a ton of books, but nothing scarier than this short story. The amazing thing about his short-story is the fact that the author uses the concept of "less is more," which elicits the reader's imagination. You should not read this short-story at night. It is definitely one of the scariest stories I have ever read!

I highly recommend this short story to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud

Nathan Ballingrud has out done himself with this scary novella. The author makes you feel and makes you think about relationships. Nathan Ballingrud brings New Orleans to life and you can almost smell the Crescent City. This is a seriously disturbing novella about a New Orleans bartender who's life and relationships are crumbling around him. His is in a bad relationship with a woman he lives with, and he is in a relationship with a women he truly loves but can't have. There is a brutal bar fight, and in the aftermath a cellphone is found. The cellphone contains disturbing/grotesque photos and videos. That is when the madness begins. This novella will send shivers up your spine! It is creepy and haunting, and disturbing. Oh, man! Those images will stick with you long after you have read this novella! You might want to read this one with the lights on.

If I'm being honest, I didn't know what to expect with this novella. This novella is a quick, one sitting read. The storyline was smooth and the pacing was right on. It kind of reminds me of a short story called Peekers by Kealan Patrick Burke. You can't beat the price for this novella. It is well worth it!

I highly recommend this novella to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Death by Stephen King

Stephen King is a huge western fan. You can tell this by the countless times he has praised the book Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. A Death is Stephen King's take on the wild west. This is not horrific, but rather along the lines of The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption. I have never been more wrong about a story in my life. I thought I had this story figured out from the beginning, but that ending shocked me. I didn't see it coming!

A Death is about a simpleton (village idiot) named Jim Trusdale who is arrested by the town sheriff and a posse. Jim Trusdale has misplaced his well-worn hat that he loves dearly. Unfortunately, his beloved hat is recovered near the dead body of a 10-year-old girl who had been robbed of her birthday silver dollar. It doesn't look good for Jim Trusdale. One man says, "You got bad luck all over...You're painted in it."

Stephen King does a great job of making the reader feel sorry for Jim Trusdale. This story is a quick read, so you should zoom right through it. However, this story will sit with you for a long time after. It will make you think about how you see people and characters and stories. This story is one intense ride, and that ending doesn't disappoint.

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

4/5 stars!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This book was great, almost unputdownable. I love post-apocalyptic books because they show humanity and what really matters. This book is about the Georgia Flu (an Ebola-esque virus) that knocks out over 99% of the worlds' population. The story is told half right before the collapse and half after the collapse. It also has several threads that tie the past and present together nicely.

It was fascinating to read about how infrastructure and civilization all die slowly after the collapse. It is weird to think if something like this actually happened we would easily end up back in the middle ages. Civilization is based upon the collective knowledge of billions. We actually don't know anything individually.

The quote of the book: "Because survival is insufficient." The story follows the Traveling Symphony (a caravan of actors and musicians who travel from town to town to play Shakespeare-they bring art and shared experiences). It is odd how Shakespeare is is the one artist that lasts and still resonates after 400 years. The Traveling Symphony is caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

This book left me wanting more. There are some loose ends that were not tied up. I am hoping for a sequel. I can only hope. I haven't heard any news indicating there will be a sequel.

4/5 stars!


The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

Ezekiel Boone has crafted a book that will make your skin crawl! This book is about spiders! Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black mass devours an American tourist. A plane crashes in Minneapolis and the FBI investigate. What they find is both disturbing and gruesome. In China, the government accidentally drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country.

The Hatching is about a spider invasion, so if you have Arachnophobia you might want to avoid this book. The story is about a scientist named Melanie and FBI agent named Mike Rich. The President of the United States is a woman, which I thought is great! The author introduces all of the characters at the beginning of the book, which slowed the pacing of the story at first. The story switches back and forth between the different characters, allowing the reader to see from their point-of-views. The storyline was smooth and the pacing was right on. That ending threw me off! I didn't see it coming! I'm ready for the sequel!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

This book was fast paced from start to finish! If you enjoyed RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA, then you will have no problem picking this book up and finishing it in one to two sittings. I highly recommend this book for fans of GONE GIRL or THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. The plot is laid out much like those two books, and it has amazing character building as the story progresses. A dark secret that has been swept under the rug in a small, college town emerges after many years. So, there is a murder mystery and an old mystery wrapped into this one book. This book also has an affair that will shock you. You will definitely get your money's worth for this book! It is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2015!

5/5 stars!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This is a coming of age story about Bod Owens, which is short for Nobody Owens. When he was an infant his family was murdered by a knife-wielding killer. Bod fled his crib and ended up at a nearby graveyard where he is raised by ghosts of the people who are buried there. He learns about life and is educated by these ghosts who are very old. From time to time he ventures out in the town, but it is dangerous for Bod because the killer is stilling looking for Bod. He must face Jack, his families' killer. That is all I am willing to share with you, but if you like coming of age stories or Neil Gaiman, then you are sure to love this extraordinary story. This is a rather short read, so set aside a cup of tea and dig in because this is one book you will not want to put down. It is a one-sit read! It is a page turner from start to finish! This book will make you feel, so be prepared.

5/5 stars!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Train To Busan by Yeon Sang-Ho

This is probably one of the best zombie apocalyptic movies I have ever seen. Not only does it pay homage to George Romero and Danny Boyle, it brings something new to the table. What makes this movie stand out is the fact that it looks at kindness in our darkest moments. It shows how humans can look out for one another, and that those who climb over the weak will suffer miserably. This movie is both fun and gut-wrenching.  It is beautifully paced and the characters were excellent. It had just the right amount of horror and character. This movie makes you think about what makes us human in the first place.

A divorced dad and his daughter board a train to see her mother. All is fine until a mysterious, infected woman climbs aboard. Then, all hell breaks loose on the train. People are separated, and lines are drawn. They must survive at all costs. Will they? You should watch it and find out!

That opening scene with the deer getting hit and coming back to life was gross and awesome! To me, Train to Busan is what World War Z should have been!

I highly recommend this to fans of horror and good movies!

5/5 stars!

Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

Crystal Lake Publishing has been putting out some of the best books! This book is written by two authors, but you would never know it. Their voices and style blend so well together that I didn't know which parts the authors wrote.

Where the Dead Go to Die is not just zombie apocalyptic horrorit is so much more than that! This book is an allegory to what is going on in the world today. This book touches on discrimination, racism, civil rights, hate crimes, protestors, but in the end, it was all about undying love. These two authors show what it is like to be human—the human condition, more or less. The story is based in and around a care home in Chicago, but it is not a usually care home. The people that live in the care home have contracted a zombie-like disease, and they are slowly transforming. These people slowly become bone-eaters (they crave bones) or smilers (a grin is permanently etched on their faces). This story is based around Emily, the main character, and her daughter. The storyline is smooth, then all hell breaks loose. This book is filled with gore and brutality, which I like! That ending, though! Man, that ending shocked me! The pictures that are scattered throughout the book are amazing too! The pictures enhance the story and take it to another level.

I will definitely read the authors' other work! I was hooked from the start! I highly recommend this story to horror fans!

5/5 stars!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman has written a modern day classic! I was hooked from the first chapter. I wanted to know how the story was going to play out, and it did not disappoint. Something has come to Earth. Something is out there. Something terrifying must not be seen. If a person gets one glimpse of it, then they are driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Malorie must row 20 miles downriver in a rowboat with her two children blindfolded. Will they survive? Will they make it to a small community of survivors?

This story weaves between the past and present, and Josh Malerman does it quite splendidly. I didn't know what the title meant before I read it, but now I do and you will too. This story is both original and a refreshing take on apocalyptic horror. The storyline was smooth and it left me wanting a sequel.  I also liked the way the story ended. The characters were relatable and well developed. I will definitely read Josh Malerman's other work.

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

5/5 stars!

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Mixed Bag of Blood by David Bernstein

A Mixed Bag of Blood is a very entertaining short story collection. The collection is made up of The Booglin, Eaten Un-Alive, It's Nice Not to Have to Share, Invasion, Samurai Zombie Killer, Small Town, Big Trouble, Bad Cutlery, Potty Mouth, and STD. These stories range from horrific to down right humorous. At times I laughed, and at other times I wanted to literally throw up. This isn't for the faint of heart or a weak stomach. I cringed while reading STD. It is probably the grossest and most painful stories I have ever read. There definitely is a story in this book for everyone. These stories span the genre. I was hooked from the beginning. It is a quick read—I read it in one sitting. I felt like I needed a shower after reading this book! I will certainly read David Bernstein's other work!

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

The Devil's Candy by Sean Byrne

A struggling painter (Ethan Embry), his wife (Shiri Appleby), and his daughter (Kiara Glasco) move into their dream home in rural Texas. The father becomes possessed and he starts hearing demonic voices, then he starts painting things that soon become reality. The paintings are scary scenes of kids being tortured. The father has to protect his family from the man who is torturing all of the children. The man says that he needs to come home, which is the home the painter and his family just moved into. It becomes obvious that the man is the previous owners' mentally disturbed son. The man hears demonic voices that tell him to kill children. This movie is a haunted house tale. The house is possessed by the devil.

I really enjoyed this movie! It was a smooth storyline and the characters were developed well. There have been several movies about haunted houses, but this movie brings something unique and different to the table, which makes it really good!

I highly recommend this movie to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror by Doug Murano

This is an anthology of Lovecraftian fiction set on the streets of every small town you've ever driven through. Cosmic horror attacks the peace and tranquility of small towns. In the little sleepy towns where people still move at a leisurely pace. Shadows Over Main Street gives you reasons to run away from those small towns. The streets are no longer safe, to say the least.

Twenty authors came together to create this amazing new take on the world Lovecraft built. I am relatively new to the Lovecraftian horror genre. This anthology is sort of like an introduction into the genre, so if you are unfamiliar with the genre, don't be intimidated to try it. Every story in this collection is pretty good, but some deserve to be mentioned more than others. The Ogre by Lisa Morton, Fiddlehead Party On Carpenters' Farm by Josh Malerman, and This Stagnant Breath of Change by Brian Hodge are just a few examples of the great stories.

If you haven't read it, you are missing out! You can find a copy here.

I recommend this book to fans of H.P. Lovecraft and horror!

4/5 stars!

Meat by Bones Monroe

Emmet takes it upon himself to keep his neighborhood respectable and safe. Emmet starts seeing strange individuals entering but never leaving his neighbor's house. He thinks that something bad is going on next door. Emmit and Clara, his wife, see a little boy go into their neighbor's house but never leaves, so they take it upon themselves to investigate. They will not stop until they rescue the innocent boy that is trapped in their neighbor's house. 

I have to admit that this is my first time reading a book by Bones Monroe. I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. This story makes you think long after you are done reading it. I wish the author would have gone into more detail about one thing, but I don't want to spoil anything so I will stop there. Overall, this story was good. I would like the author to write a sequel or a prequel to this story, but if he doesn't that would be fine too. I will definitely read more of Bones Monroe's work. 

I recommend this book to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rage by Stephen King (Richard Bachman)

Rage was written by Stephen King under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman. This novella is no longer in print due to all of the school shootings that have occurred over the years (Stephen king pulled the book from the shelves).

A disturbed high-school student named Charlie Decker with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Will anyone else survive? This novella is set over the course of one long, hot afternoon. Charlie Decker explains to the class what led him to this drastic sequence of events. He also begins to deconstruct the personalities of each of his classmates. He forces each of them to justify his or her existence.

Rage is a quick read, and at times it seemed petty and shallow. I guess it doesn't take much to set off a high school student. I thought the reasoning behind Charlie Decker's actions are minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless, he is tipped over the boiling point and begins his rampage. I have never read anything like this novella before in my life. This novella looks at some very heavy and relevant subject matter. It is a good read, and I think everyone should read it at least once in their lifetime. I don't think this book should have been discontinued, but I respect Stephen King for doing so. With that being said, this novella was a smooth read.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and Stephen King (Richard Bachman)!

5/5 stars!

Riding the Bullet by Stephen King

Riding the Bullet was written by Stephen King. It was eventually turned into a film by Mick Garris. Riding the Bullet is a horror novella about the dangers of hitchhiking. A young male college student hitchhikes to see his mother who is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. It's a story about an impossible choice.  It has an eerie graveyard. It also has a ghoulish spirit with a fast car that delivers a deadly ultimatum. This story will leave you self-reflecting long after you have read the novella.

Stephen King can tell a great story with very few words. This story was good, but it wasn't great. Don't get me wrong, I love fast cars, but I think this story could have used more. I enjoyed the characters, but there wasn't that much character depth. It was scary at times, but it was mainly a thriller. At times, it was heart pounding, and at other times it was flat. To say the least, I just expected more from the story. This story will definitely make you self-reflect long after you have read it.

I recommend this to fans of Stephen King, horror, and thrillers!

3/5 stars!
Shivers is edited by Richard Chizmar. This is an award nominated anthology that contains almost two dozen short stories from today's hottest horror writers. The writers include Bentley Little, Douglas Clegg, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Simon Clark, Ray Garton, Graham Masterton, Jay Bonansinga, David B. Silva, and many more. This anthology is made up of both rare reprints and original dark fiction. This anthology is one of the best around. Most of the stories are scary and great, but some are not that good. My favorite short story out of the entire anthology would have to be Ice Box or Always Traveling, Never Arriving. Simon Clark's The Hand of Glory was pretty good too.

Shivers is only in hardcover and paperback format. The book has already sold out, but you can find it on the second hand market for a reasonable price. It is well worth the money. What is more, you might want to read this with the light on because some of the stories are disturbing.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and short stories!

5/5 stars!

Final Girls by Riley Sager

 I would like to thank Riley Sager, NetGalley, and PENGUIN GROUP Dutton for the Advanced Reader's Copy!

Final Girls by Riley Sager is about three girls, Quincy, Sam, and Lisa, sole survivors of three separate murderous killing sprees, but linked by their trauma. Lisa dies mysteriously and Sam suddenly turns up on Quincy's doorstep. A series of events ensue following their new friendship. Will Quincy totally remember the events of that terrible night 10 years ago? Who can Quincy trust? This book is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing. Just when you think you have figured it all out you realize that you are wrong. You don't know where the story is going to end up because it is well written and plotted.

There are two stories that are being told simultaneously. The two stories are about the present day Quincy and the unfolding events that occurred that horrific night she survived the ordeal at Pine Cottage. This is one hell of a roller coaster thrill ride. Riley Sager's writing style is great, and the way she wrote this book is perfect for a horror/suspense/thriller. The story line is smooth and the twists and turns are applied perfectly, keeping the reader guessing. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails. I didn't see the ending coming!

I think this book will be adapted into a movie. I will definitely read her future work. I am a fan!

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

5/5 stars!

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Behind the Mask is probably one of the best horror films that I have seen in a while! Leslie Vernon gives a documentary film crew exclusive access to his life. Leslie Vernon gets the film crew to help him set up his big night. The third act is what really turns everything on its head. The group of friends that are partying at Leslie Vernon's childhood home are warned by the documentary film crew. Turns out, the documentary film crew has a change of heart, and they try to get everyone out of the house before it is too late. Leslie Vernon has other plans. He sabotaged all of the vehicles so that no one could leave. It turns out that the innocent girl he picked was not so innocent after all.

This movie is an in-depth look at how a horror movie is designed. From the character details to how a slasher kills his victims. This movie is funny and scary at the same time. It is a unique twist on the slasher genre, and in my opinion, it is an instant classic. There should be a sequel or a series. To top it all off, Robert England is the psychiatrist or what Leslie Vernon refers to as, Ahab. An Ahab is an archetype like Sam Loomis in the Halloween franchise.

4/5 stars!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Raft by Stephen King

The Raft by Stephen King is probably the scariest short stories that I have ever read in my life. I love Stephen King's work, and I have read several of his stories and books, but this one takes the cake. The Raft is about four college students (Randy, Deke, Rachel, and LaVerne) that go to a random lake in Pennsylvania for a swim to celebrate the end of summer. They decide to swim out to a wooden raft in the middle of the lake, and that is when everything goes wrong. Stephen King is so descriptive with all the gut-wrenching terror that soon follows. The author writes in such a way that makes you feel like you are on the raft with the characters. The author makes you feel like the characters are running out of time as soon as they climb up on the raft. This story is definitely a nailbiter! It is a quick read, but it will have you yelling at the book, trying to help the characters. This story is a great take on the whole monster in the lake scenario. What lurks in the lake? You will have to read it to find out!

Stephen King turned The Raft into a short film in the horror anthology, Creepshow 2. The short film is not as good as the short story, but it is still entertaining. The ending changed when it became a short film. I think that both endings are good, but I think they should make a new film based on the story because the film could have been much better.

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

5/5 stars!

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

You can’t go wrong with a Stephen King book! He is the Master of the Macabre and the Sultan of Shivers!  He is proficient with the novel, novella, and short story formats. This collection of short stories consists of a variety of horror that you will either like or dislike—I have to admit that there are a few that I didn’t enjoy, but the majority of the stories are great. With that being said, The Raft is by far the creepiest short story in the collection. The Raft was also featured in the movie Creepshow 2, although not as good as the story. The Mist is awesome, and Stephen King turned it into a stand-alone novella. The Monkey was scary, but the Word Processor of the Gods was great. The rest of the stories kind of fell in between for me, but overall the collection was really good.

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

5/5 stars!

20th Century Ghost by Joe Hill

This is a collection of weird stories that crosses genre lines. 20th Century Ghosts is Joe Hill’s debut. He is also the son of Stephen King, so you know it is going to be good. I didn’t know what to think when I first started reading this collection of short stories, but it passed all of my expectations. The author gets characters like no other author I have read. At times you will want to laugh, and at other times you will want to cry reading these stories. Joe Hill’s writing is just readable. It is smooth and crisp. The author has a way of making you believe in ghosts and the supernatural. This book is filled with stories that are meant to scare and those that make you think. Overall, this collection is great, even though there are a few stories that could have been better. My favorite stories are Pop Art, 20th Century Ghost, Abraham’s Boys, and Voluntary Committal.

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

5/5 stars!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th video game is coming out soon! You can play as Jason Vorhees, killing all of the teenagers and camp counselors as you like. The Beta version has been out for a while now, so check it out! I haven't been this excited about a game in a long time. It looks and plays great!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Cage by Brian Keene

The Cage is fast paced and gut wrenching. This novella is about employees at Big Bill’s Home Electronics who are taken hostage at gunpoint one night by a “man in black.” The “man in black” doesn’t mess around. He kills their boss and an employee, and then he locks the other employees in the storage cage in the backroom of the store. One by one the “man in black” takes the employees into the store, and no one knows what is going on in the cage. The only thing the employees in the cage here are strange and haunted throbbing sounds coming from the electronics (TVs and stereos). The strange noise grows louder and louder as the employees are taken into the store, one after the other…

This was my first time reading Brian Keene, but it certainly won’t be the last. I really enjoyed this novella. The author kept me guessing because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The author does a great job of pacing the story and keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The author wastes no time getting into the meat of the story. From the start, it was bloody and gory, which is my favorite. This novella was written like a movie—you experience it. I will definitely read Brian Keene’s other work.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold

I would like to thank Subterranean Press, Lois McMaster Bujold, and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of Penric and the Shaman.

Lord Penric, the protagonist, is on his way to his own wedding when he stumbles upon a halted party on the road. A geriatric woman had fallen ill, so Penric decides to lend a hand because he is a good citizen. It turns out that the geriatric woman is a Temple divine who is pledged to The Bastard (one of the five gods in the Quintarian theology). The other gods are the Mother of Summer, Father of Winter, Son of Autumn, and the Daughter of Spring. The Bastard is considered the odd god out because he is the domain of all disasters out of season. His presence is accepted as a requirement for balance, and in some religions he is believed to be a demon.

The old woman ends up being a Learned Sorceress (a rare individual who carries within them a sentient spirit with the ability to grant their hosts special powers. The sentient spirits are considered “demons” despite them being inherently evil. Sentient spirits can sometimes be hard to control and mischievous. The geriatric woman dies in Penric’s arms. Before she dies, she bequeaths her demon to Penric, which changes Lord Penric’s life forever.

Lois McMaster Bujold is a good writer! Novellas can be good or bad due to the shorter format, but Bujold does a good job. Bujold is great when it comes to world building and characterization, which made the book good. This novella offers a closer look at the lore of The World of Five Gods. I like the interplay between Penric and Desdemona (the name he decides to give his new demon). Penric is a really good protagonist who always tries to do the right thing. It’s a quick read, and I couldn’t put it down! The ending was good, making me want to read more of Lois McMaster Bujold’s work.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Science Fiction and Fantasy!

4/5 stars!