Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Horror

Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Horror

TotallyRandomTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I get to gush about my favorite horror authors! I’ll let you know why I love them and why I think anyone who hasn’t experienced the horror genre would too. Let’s get into it!

Attic Clowns 1. Stephen King – Really this could be almost anything he wrote, but my personal favorite is Cell. Cell is apocalyptic horror, via a method that is incredibly believable because it is so obvious. Yet there are things from other genres present that new readers could latch on to. Love, fear, desperation, hope, Cell has it all. It’s one of my favorite books regardless of genre.

 2. Attic Clowns by Jeremy C. Shipp – With a mix of horror, bizarro, and comedy, Shipp is at his finest (in my mind) when he writes his short stories, and Attic Clowns is the best of the bunch. New horror readers would enjoy the humor, the multitude of ways that Attic Clowns makes you consider reality, and the cast of wonderful characters that Jeremy C. Shipp created, especially Globcow.

 3. Lessons (and Other Morbid Drabbles) by Michael Crane – A less philosophical and more straightforward, but equally hilarious version of Shipp’s work are Crane’s short story collections of Morbid Drabbles. For new horror readers I think that this would give them a quick and concise way of finding out if they’d be interested in the dark humor that pervades this style of horror.

The Infects 4. Pressure by Jeff Strand – Pressure takes the reader on a journey of discovery. It shows how quickly the human mind can turn into a dark and haunting place, and how that can take its toll on someone’s life. The book is about friends becoming enemies, psychological horror, with a touch of physical violence thrown in for good measure. It’s a great book to start with.

 5. The Infects by Sean Beaudoin – If you couldn’t tell already, I’m big into comedic horror, dark humor is right up my twisted alley. So, for me at least, The Infects was absolutely perfect. It’s got amazing banter, creepy zombies, and a hilarious backstory. The Infects is one of my favorite books in any genre, but for someone easing into horror this is perfect. I can’t recommend it enough!

 6. Touched by Zoe E. Whitten – Touched is a short piece, 69 pages in length, and is a quick and enjoyable read for prospective horror readers. It’s got a lot of fantasy elements for those that are more inclined to read that genre, and enough humor for comedy fans to be satiated. However, for horror junkies it’s got the gore you want, the gripping action you crave, and the fear you need.

 7. Here Be Monsters – This is another short story collection, an anthology this time by a bunch of different authors, including my favorite Jeremy C. Shipp. I read this during 2012’s Fraterfest (a Halloween/horror themed readathon) and really enjoyed it. There is a mixture of philosophical, physical, and comedic horror and it blends really well together. A quick and easy horror read.

 8. Insomnia by J.R. Johansson – All about mental breakdowns, psychosis, and nightmares/dreams, Insomnia covers a lot of my favorite elements of horror. It’s creepy, not necessarily because of what the characters are going through, but because it makes you think about what it would be like if it happened to you. There is romance in this one, so that’s a draw for some new horror readers.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer 9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – Some might classify this as paranormal, I’d say it is a mixture of that and horror, so I’m going to include it. The book is amazing, as is the second book Girl of Nightmares, and with its sweet romance, beautiful writing, and excellent characters it is a great read for anyone. For new horror readers Anna would be a nice way of easing into darker books.

 10. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride – Another really funny book, often utilizing sarcasm to make light of the situation, as well as being like Anna, where paranormal meets horror. Necromancers aren’t written about nearly enough, and McBride does an amazing job with this book and its sequel Necromancing the Stone. Think Twilight but badass… and well written.

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There are so many great horror books out there, and I really need to read more of them myself. If you haven’t read much, or any horror before, I highly recommend you check out the ones on this list. They are excellent. Have you read any of them? What is your chosen “Never Read ___”? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Killing My Kindle: Lessons III – Demonic Dolls and Other Morbid Drabbles

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Lessons III – Demonic Dolls and Other Morbid Drabbles by Michael Crane

Released On: July 30th, 2011

Summary From Amazon

A sister’s doll doesn’t take kindly to insults, and proves it.
A puppet maker believes his creations are out to get him.
A mother can’t stand her son’s new favorite toy… and for good reason.

In Michael Crane’s latest collection of terrifying and darkly comic drabbles, you’ll find out why Playtime is only fun for those with vicious intentions. In these thirty 100-word stories you’ll run into deranged toys with old scores to settle, homicidal sociopaths and other unapologetic creatures that lurk in the shadows.

In LESSONS III: DEMONIC DOLLS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, nobody ever leaves Playtime in one piece…

Features bonus drabbles/shorts from authors David Dalglish, Daniel Arenson, Sean Sweeney, Imogen Rose and Jason G.Anderson.

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Michael Crane is at his best when he fires out quick, creepy, and humorous short stories, which is what all of the Lessons collections are. I enjoyed the first two Lessons collections quite a bit and got the hankering to read the next one recently, so it was time for III. So in the same style as the first two I will be giving a reverse-ordered favorites list, this time with my 5 favorites! ^.^

5. Never Date a Circus Clown – I imagine the inspiration for this one came from the Joker, and that’s really all I need to say about this one. Who wouldn’t read a short that reminds them of an insane clown? Exactly.

4. A Bloody Joke – Not everyone has the same sense of humor, and often comedians find that their jokes work very well on some crowds, but not at all on others. In this case the consequences are a bit more dire.

3. Downer – People when they are upset often say things they don’t mean, or are at least more extreme because of the emotions they are feeling, and Crane exploits this understanding in Downer very well.

2. Procrastinator – I don’t think the title really works for this one, but while the vampire joke is familiar and reminds me of one of the stories in Lessons II it still works pretty well. Another great ending on this one as well, if only Twilight could have been as sensible.

1. Confession Time – This was a truly hilarious story, not darker like some of the others, and the ending was priceless. Most of us have a guilty conscience to some degree, so when someone corners us trying to get us to confess it isn’t always obvious as to what exactly they are talking about. That is the situation in this story and it’s quite satisfying.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #60/365; Mount TBR Challenge #43/200; 2014 TBR Pile #43/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #21/75

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Waiting on Wednesday #21

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Set For Release On: October 7th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsThe Fall

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

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Read that last bit again. A reimagining of something Edgar Allan Poe wrote? Do you need any other reason to check this out? I don’t. However, the cover really does it for me too, though the font isn’t as somber as the rest of it which is a little distracting.

The main character is going to be starting in a coffin, how is that not incredibly intriguing? I can’t wait to discover what is going on in this world, how she plans to escape and rescue her brother, and what the heck is going on with this darker version of a “smart” house.

This is going to be a perfect October read, one I’ll likely save for Halloween unless I somehow get an early copy of it. What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Killing My Kindle: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

Released On: January 6th, 2011

Summary From Goodreads

Contained within are nine stories featuring bizarre beasties, mythological mutants, and overall “irregular creatures” – including flying cats, mermaids, Bigfoot, giant chickens, and mystic hobo hermaphrodites.

Horror, fantasy, science-fiction and humor.

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I have been in an anthology kind of mood lately I guess, especially ones with a twisted/dark side to them. So in the same vein as last week’s Killing My Kindle we have Irregular Creatures. Unlike Lessons II with its short stories that provide just a glimpse into the mind of the author, Irregular Creatures has some longer stories, novellas in and of themselves, and ones that are deeper and connect on more levels.

It starts with Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story), a way to ease the reader into Wendig’s twisted brain. It’s exactly what it says, a flying cat story, but it’s not just funny (though there are laughs mixed in), it is also a look at what we perceive, what our brains will accept, and what is most important to us. Which leads to A Radioactive Monkey, and while that can also be taken in the literal sense it deals with perception on a different level, showing how people aren’t we make them out to be, and why it’s truly necessary to dig deeper to really know anyone.

To me it is not the creatures that tie these stories together, but the common theme of alternate perspectives, how we see the world. Product Placement shows how much we are willing to buy into what corporations and businesses sell us, not just their products, but the way they want us to live, to behave. It does this with alternate dimensions, but still. This Guy is a shorter story, and shows how much routine can blind us into believing we are living different lives then we really are, perhaps ones that seem more fulfilling or “normal” than the harsh reality.

Fairytale Life

Mister Mhu’s is a tad more sexual than I had anticipated finding in this collection, but it actually takes the widest scope of our world and how the vices we let take hold of our lives can completely alter our life views and thus the course ours take. Lethe and Mnemosyne is a short but pointed example on what age and suffering can do to rid our minds of all the cherished (or perhaps not so) memories they contained.

Wendig continues working through the variety of ways our brain can trick itself in The Auction where mythological beasts of all sorts, tricksters, and artifacts that wreak havoc on people’s minds all mess with a young boy. The Auction distorts his reality with the fantastical things just as we are often succumbed to through wonders of technology and artistic majesty.

Beware of Owner is a short example of old-fashioned thinking taken to an extreme, slightly off the track of the other stories, but interesting all the same. Finally Do-Overs and Take-Backs examines whether getting a whole new “better” life is really worth losing the one we already have, and everyone in it.

Life is Complicated

So what is Irregular Creatures? Excellent writing, dark humor, creatures ranging from beautiful to downright disturbing, and underneath one of the better examinations of the human mind out there in this kind of format. I definitely recommend it whether you want to focus on the surface or delve deeper, Wendig rewards both equally. I hope you didn’t mind me getting a bit philosophical and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #33/365; Mount TBR Challenge #26/200; 2014 TBR Pile #26/50; New Author Challenge #13/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #11/75

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Killing My Kindle: Lessons II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection by Michael Crane

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Lessons II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection by Michael Crane

Released On: January 7th, 2011

Summary From GoodreadsLESSONS II by Michael Crane (book cover)

A sinister puppet finally makes a new friend.
A man learns about his bleak future.
A killer has another painful lesson to teach.

From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes this terrifying and amusing follow-up. 30 100-word shorts about horrible ghouls, monsters and deranged, bloodthirsty lunatics. In these drabbles, you’ll run into kid-hungry goblins, sadistic dolls, zombies and psychopaths who believe that violence can solve just about anything.

Disgusting, creepy and darkly comic, LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID DRABBLE COLLECTION is bound to entertain, as well as horrify.

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Michael Crane is at his best when he fires out short stories like these, quick bursts of wit and a little dark humor, and Lessons II is filled with 30 such works of gorey awesomeness. I really enjoyed the first Lessons collection which I reviewed early last year, and felt like this was a good time to give II a shot! So in the same style as the first I will be giving a reverse-ordered favorites list, this time with my 7 favorites! ^.^

7. Guest – Had one of the more unexpected twists, something that is pretty hard to do with only 100 words, and it made me think of True Blood. That’s my only hint. ^.^

6. Homework – Oh substitute teachers, how fun it can be to take advantage of them. My mother having been one for some time also added some extra enjoyment to this funny little story.

5. Intervention – This is definitely one of the darker stories despite its lack of gore, but there is a pretty serious message here too. I could use a drink…

4. Fortune Teller – This one had me in stitches. Fortune tellers already take advantage of the public for the most part, not that I blame them, but this is to the extreme, and it’s awesome.

3. Rats – This is included and this high up purely because it reminded me of The Princess Bride and the rodents of unusual size. I need to watch that again soon! As youuuuu wiiiiiish!

2. Dental Work – Dentists and dentist offices, not my favorite environment or place to be, so this had an added freak-out factor. They could do anything while you are knocked out! O_O

1. Solution – This story is, for me, Michael Crane at his best. It’s gorey, dark, twisted, and freaking hilarious. The ending is fantastic and I absolutely didn’t see it coming. One of life’s little problems solved, huzzah!

I don’t think it will be another year before I read Lessons III, these are just too fun to read and I could always use a good laugh. If you haven’t read the first Morbid Drabbles I would check that out, as well as the rest in the series, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #26/365; Mount TBR Challenge #21/200; 2014 TBR Pile #21/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #7/75

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Mini Review Monday: Fungus of the Heart by Jeremy C. Shipp

MiniReviewMonday

Fungus of the Heart

Summary From Goodreads

Readers of Jeremy C. Shipp’s fiction will be familiar with his minimalist, breakneck pacing, his surreal forays into political satire, and his seamless blending of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Now, in his fourth book, the Bram Stoker Award finalist expands on what many critics and fans alike have long considered the most compelling aspect of his work-relationships.

This story collection explores how a person’s desire can infect their every action and interaction with others. The desire to protect. The desire to hurt. The desire to be desired. Fungus of the Heart explores what happens between people when society breaks down and the rules go out the window.

Haunting and heartbreaking, pithy and potent, the quirky inhabitants of Shipp’s bizarro world will carve an indelible line from your funnybone to your spleen to your emotional core.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Fungus of the Heart is a collection of wonderful stories by one of my favorite writers, Jeremy C. Shipp. It’s got a great mixture of mind-bending horror, humor of all varieties, and all while forcing the reader to stop and think about the people around them and why they do what they do. Perhaps even more importantly, Fungus of the Heart makes the reader examine themselves and think about what is most important to them and what lengths they would go to for those things and/or people.

The first story, The Sun Never Rises in the Big City is one Shipp fans will recognize since it is released by itself, and I read it back in October, 2012. There you get a bit of Noir, and it does stand out from the rest of the stories as a little less dark, and more of a sad story. There is plenty of gore to be had here from The Escapist to Agape Walrus (zombies!), more (dark) philosophical humor in Monkey Boy and the Monsters (what makes a monster?) and Boy in the Cabinet (self imposed prisons), and even just beautifully written twisted stories like The Haunted House and Fungus of the Heart.

For anyone who has followed my blog for a while it will come as no surprise that I loved this book. Jeremy C. Shipp is one of the most talented writers I have ever had the pleasure of coming across and I can’t recommend him enough. He is THE horror writer for me and his bizarro infusions make his work stand out like no other. Definitely check his work out, here, I’ll even give you a link! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #19/365; Mount TBR Challenge #16/200; 2014 TBR Pile #16/50

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Killing My Kindle: Giggles by Michael Crane

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Giggles by Michael Crane

Released On: August 28th, 2013

Summary From GoodreadsGiggles by Michael Crane

It was supposed to be a simple robbery. But when things go horribly wrong and a bank teller winds up dead, Chad and Ray need to keep themselves hidden from the law. They find a house where conveniently the family is absent. It should’ve been the perfect place for them to stay out of danger.

But there’s a greater danger lurking inside. A child’s sock monkey waits in the shadows and has terrible, awful plans for the pair.

From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes a tale of pure terror and mind games.

Mr. Giggles is ready to play…

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I’ve read a few of Michael Crane’s short stories and really have enjoyed them, most notably Lessons (and Other Morbid Drabbles) which I reviewed last year and gave 5/5. So perhaps I came with too high of expectations when I decided to read Giggles for this week’s Killing My Kindle.

Giggles is a sock monkey, a demented sock monkey, and that part does come through in Giggles (the story) rather well. He’s a bit goofy and he uses stereotypical horror movie scenes and then openly mocks them, twisting things back to his version of reality as he sees fit. Giggles (the sock monkey) likes to torture, to play, and have fun…in his own way. All of that worked pretty well.

Where Giggles (the story) runs into problems is the other two characters, Ray and Chad. The story is told mostly from their perspective, taking turns from their POV every couple chapters. I never found any reason to feel any sort of emotion toward either of them. Neither of the two are engaging, both seem pretty cookie-cutter (Ray is the bad guy outer shell but a bit scared on the inside, Chad is the wimpy one that kind of wants to do good but can’t figure out how), and overall they both fell flat for me.

The humor (outside of the sock puppet’s) didn’t work for me here. Crane can deliver good comedic bursts and fun twisted stories when they are short and sweet (or sick and demented, to each their own), but in this longer format it felt stretched too thin. The story broke the fourth wall quite a few times and that didn’t help matters either. Maybe this was supposed to feel like a cheesy horror film (like the story mentions multiple times), and if so it works somewhat well, but I don’t think that was the aim.

Overall it was alright. I didn’t hate it, there were moments where I laughed a bit, and the gore was certainly there even if I was picturing tomato paste more often than blood (cheesy factor again). I wanted to like it, and I think Crane’s short stories are well worth checking out, but this one I can’t recommend. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #13/365; Mount TBR Challenge #11/200; 2014 TBR Pile #11/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #3/75

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Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It’s that time of year again! Time for one of my favorite readathons of the year, Fraterfest!!! My overall TBR is ridiculous and thanks to that I have PLENTY of scary/creepy/bizarro/horrific reads to choose from! Without further ado, my reading list, and as always I don’t plan to read ALL of these, they are just what came to mind initially and are subject to change. Let’s go!

Reading List

Pressure by Jeff Strand

Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Scorch by Gina Damico

Rogue by Gina Damico

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder

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Challenges

Challenges are open beginning at 9 AM (EST) and will remain open until October 9 at 12:01 AM

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Stats

Currently Reading: Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp

Books Finished: Asylum by Madeleine Roux, Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder, Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Pages Read: 1,563


Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It’s that time of year again! Time for one of my favorite readathons of the year, Fraterfest!!! My overall TBR is ridiculous and thanks to that I have PLENTY of scary/creepy/bizarro/horrific reads to choose from! Without further ado, my reading list, and as always I don’t plan to read ALL of these, they are just what came to mind initially and are subject to change. Let’s go!

Reading List

Pressure by Jeff Strand

Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Scorch by Gina Damico

Rogue by Gina Damico

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder

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Challenges

Challenges are open beginning at 9 AM (EST) and will remain open until October 9 at 12:01 AM

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Stats

Currently Reading: Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp

Books Finished: Asylum by Madeleine Roux, Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder, Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Pages Read: 1,563


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Frankenslime by Rock Bronson

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Frankenslime: A Sordid Sexual Horror Story

Summary From Goodreads

Warning: not for the faint-hearted or easily-offended, contains some of the most extreme and outlandish acts imaginable plus copious amounts of cartoon gore! Proceed at your own peril…

Innocent and naive assistant-professor Maura Kindle pines for Doctor Chester Franklin, handsome Adonis and brilliant scientist at the shady genetics institute where they both work. But behind his charming exterior, Chester is avile narcissist, who permits himself to love only one entity on earth — the bloated and makeshift cadaver of thrown-together limbs and body-bits that he keeps in his basement mortuary and refers to as “the Bride”.

Maura wants Chester to love her, but the brooding doctor only cares about her for her brains — Literally! Because the only thing Chester’s sexy monster still needs before she can live is a good head on her shoulders — Maura’s to be precise. But just how well-adjusted could a stitched-up gal like that really be when she finally comes to?

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This review and book contains mature content

What the heck did I just read? I’m pretty sure that is the appropriate reaction to Frankenslime which is by far the most grotesque and bizarre erotica story, or truly any kind of story, that I’ve ever read. I read this piece at the suggestion of two of my favorite bloggers, Amanda aka On a Book Bender & Kelly aka Reading the Paranormal. It was both hilarious and confusing and the only way I can sum it up accurately is by doing what I am dubbing a Twitreview. I’m not going to attempt to explain it because it is both obvious and easier to show you, so here we go!

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So ya, that’s my Twitreview. I don’t know how to better summarize my feelings than those tweets. It was bizarre, nonsensical and oddly satisfying. Also hilarious, in case you didn’t get that. Oh and it was free so if you click the picture you can read it for yourself. I hope you enjoyed my goofy attempt at a different review style! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #123/200; Mount TBR #71/150; 2013 TBR Pile #71/50

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Monstrosities by Jeremy C. Shipp: Frodo’s Review

Monstrosities

Summary From AmazonMonstrosities

A man with clown heads for hands. A city full of shape-shifting worms. A Cinderella story that ends with slaughter. These are just some of the monstrosities you’ll encounter in this horror collection by Bram Stoker Award Nominee Jeremy C. Shipp.

Table of Contents:
Figs
The Tunnel
Almost Paradise
Worms
The Little Glass Soul
Clown Hands
Cold
Flesh and Blood
Buried
Googly

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Jeremy C. Shipp is one of my favorite authors and is on the short list for my auto-buy authors. As such it was no surprise that I really enjoyed this collection of short stories as I have all his others. There are 10 short stories in Monstrosities but I will focus on my five favorites, sound good? Let’s get into it!

The Tunnel: This piece is insane and intense. It’s thought provoking with an ending that sums everything up perfectly but is one I never saw coming. It’s frightening because it reveals how far we go to escape our reality no matter what we might lose. In the end our choices will make us who we are, defining us. A simple truth, yes, but an important one.

Worms: Shipp continues one of the darker collections I’ve read by him with Worms. Loss, reality crushing imagination, good intentions proven useless as grief overwhelms all else. While it may not be a long piece it packs plenty of emotion into the story and is extremely powerful.

The Little Glass Soul: With dark and sardonic humor on full display, The Little Glass Soul is a little bit of Cinderella mixed with some Snow White and twisted into a horrifying display of cruelty. The ending is very satisfying and I really liked Shipp’s take on the fairy tale, only he would alter it this way.

Clown Hands: This is the piece that shows off Shipp’s writing style the best. It’s reminiscent of his Attic Clowns stories, which I loved, and shows the darker/twisted inner thoughts of humans being forced to the outside. It reveals that human nature that we would prefer to keep hidden while keeping the humor flowing throughout the story. It’s a bit silly and that’s why it works so well. Loved this one. More clowns please!

Buried: Using smooth transitions and beautiful insight into the human mind, Buried shows how a different perspective can change everything. One person sees a murderer and thinks them unfit to live while that same person might commit crimes just as heinous and view themselves as the righteous one. Who is worthy to live? Is anyone? Or all we all excess? Fantastic story and a superb ending.

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Overall I really enjoyed Jeremy C. Shipp’s latest anthology. There were a couple familiar tales for fans of his other work (Googly from Attic Toys and Figs from Here Be Monsters) mixed in with plenty of brand new hilarious and horrific stories. Monstrosities is a darker and edgier collection than Shipp’s previous ones as well as being more thought provoking. Shipp delves into the human mind farther than ever before with great (if creepy) results. You may not want to accept the truth as Shipp sees it, but it is hard to deny its validity. A must read for horror and humor fans. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #130/200

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Beasts of the Field by James A. West: Frodo’s Review

Beasts of the Field

Summary From GoodreadsBeasts of the Field

They are building a better world.
No more hunger.
No more poverty.
No more corruption.
Utopia is within our grasp—and there is no escape.

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Beasts of the Field is a gritty way of depicting how easily the government, or any large power, could control us. Human susceptibility, inner darkness shown on the outside for all humanity to see, that is what this book depicts. It is freaky, jarring and it works so well because of how plausible the scenario really is. Using a game to control the population would never be easier than in today’s society where seemingly everyone has a phone capable of playing games on them at all times. West doesn’t hold back in shedding light on how humanity might react if we were faced with a supposed utopia, one that might not be morally sound and that wasn’t optional. Human primal urges are on full display in Beasts of the Field.

One thing you should know going into Beasts of the Field is that it uses a lot of points of view, and I mean a lot. It can be confusing, though I think that may be intentional since the book itself is built on a premise of pure chaos. Even the powers that unleashed the game might not be able to control the results so it is only fitting that the reader be as confused as the characters within. Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make, so many POVs. They are all interesting, the character each twisted in their own unique way, and each is vital to the story/plot somehow, but keeping track of who you are listening to and what’s going on is a feat. So if you aren’t into that sort of read I’d look elsewhere. I enjoyed it though, it made my brain get a workout.

The action in Beasts of the Field is really intense. You jump from one crazy display of human ferocity to the next and watch as the characters try their best to survive, and really try to understand what is going on, with varying levels of success. There are different tactics used, from going on the offensive and attacking the “enemy”, to hunkering down and trying to hide and even just attempting to escape. It’s pretty fascinating to “watch” and I was just as curious to see what would work as the characters were.

There isn’t too much else to say about the book. It’s creepy but thought provoking, gory but rich in depth and I really enjoyed it. I know West wasn’t going to release this book because it isn’t “mainstream” but I am really glad he did and that he’s allowing this side of him out to the bookish masses. I can’t wait to read more of his work that is in this vein. Definitely check it out and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #115/200

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The Books, Brains ‘n Blood Read-a-Thon

Books, Brains ‘n Blood Read-a-Thon

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The Books, Brains ‘n Blood Readathon is hosted by the lovely people over at My Shelf Confessions from August 2nd to August 6th. It doesn’t look like there are any “theme” requirements for books, but I saved some creepy reads just for the occasion. If you would like to sign up, and you know you would, just click on the lovely picture above and join in on the fun! As usual my list of possible reads and stats are below!

Brain Candy by Jaleta Clegg

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Sheep and Wolves by Jeremy C. Shipp

Fungus of the Heart by Jeremy C. Shipp

Zombie Punter by Zoe E. Whitten

Touched by Zoe E. Whitten

Blood Relations by Zoe E. Whitten

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Stats

Currently Reading: Sheep and Wolves by Jeremy C. Shipp & The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett & Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

Books Finished: A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand, Touched by Zoe E. Whitten

Pages Read: 345

Amount of Time Spent Reading: 3hr 35min

Snacks: Ice cream and pizza!


Day 32: Lessons (and Other Morbid Drabbles) by Michael Crane

Day 32

Summary From Goodreads

Lessons and Other Morbid Drabbles is a collection of 25 100-word shorts that range from darkly comic to downright terrifying and wrong. Some shorts feature ghouls and monsters while others are simply about people behaving very, very badly. Which is scarier? Find out in this sick and twisted collection.

They may only be a few words long, but that doesn’t lessen the bloodshed any…

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I came across this collection while I was perusing for eBooks that were similar to that of Jeremy C. Shipp, one of my favorite authors and a horror/creepy-humor specialist. For whatever reason I didn’t get around to reading it until now, but I’m glad I did! As Lessons is a collection of 25 “drabbles”, or 100-word short stories, it is only fitting that I do a top five, so without further ado, my favorites in reverse order!

5. Bedtime – A father refuses to believe his young son when the boy says there is a monster underneath his bed. The dad checks it out refusing to believe and pays the price. Let’s just say his…view on life has been adjusted.

4. Grim – When a couple cops investigate a home where Death is supposedly trying to kill a guy (go figure) they are surprised to meet a dark hooded figure. The solution? Go drink at a bar, can’t go wrong with alcohol right?!

3. S.O.L. – A combination of zombies and a teacher goes all to right for a student who received an unwanted grade. Suffice it to say that the teacher won’t be giving out anything anytime soon.

2. Detention – A homage to Bart Simpson lurks in this drabble, and just as the spiky-haired fiend would believe, the teacher really is a monster.

1. Overreaction – Marriage is never easy, and sometimes one person goes a bit too far, that is certainly the case when Monday Night Football is threatened. I recommend you just let them watch, pick your battles folks!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #32/365

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Day 24: Attic Toys edited by Jeremy C. Shipp

Day 24

Summary From Goodreads

19 amazing tales by the masters and rising stars of speculative fiction.

Includes all new stories by Piers Anthony, Jeff Strand, Joe McKinney, Lisa Morton, Jeremy C. Shipp, Gary McMahon, Aric Sundquist, and many more!

You don’t want to miss this staggering collection of horror and dark fantasy!

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Singing purple raisins, teddy bears that come alive and robotic dogs that once could flip are just a few of the wonderful, yet quite creepy characters you will discover in the short stories of Attic Toys. Similar to the Attic Clowns stories that Jeremy C. Shipp writes, Attic Toys takes different objects, in this case obviously toys of some sort, and twists them into something that we might fear. It does something else quite interesting as well, Attic Toys takes mundane objects around the house, not just the toys themselves, and forces the reader to imagine them as if they were alive. An example of this is a lightbulb hanging in the attic in A Little Terror by Phil Hickes saying “In the attic, a solitary bulb flickers feebly, its life slowly ebbing away as it dangles from its black wire noose.” The thoughts you start having once you go down that line of thinking, well you might end up just as twisted as some of the characters in Attic Toys!

I would recommend this for any horror lover that, pardon the similarities to The Adams Family, are creepy, spooky and a little bit cooky. You will be forced to reexamine things you took for granted, things you might even have cherished in your childhood and see just how frightening they can become when they set their minds to it. I loved Attic Toys and I think you will too. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 25!

Mount TBR Challenge #21/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #21/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #24/365; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #10/44

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Day 10: Attic Clowns – Volume 3 by Jeremy C. Shipp

Day 10

Summary From Goodreads:  Attic Clowns Volume Three by Jeremy C Shipp

This creepy collection features three twisted tales by Bram Stoker Award nominee Jeremy C. Shipp.

The stories include:
Blister
Spider Clowns from Planet X
Dust Bunnies

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work, short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I always enjoy reading the insane brand of humor that is unique to the dark recesses, or perhaps in his case the lighter ones, of Jeremy C. Shipp’s mind. There is probably a deeper message behind each of his tales but the clowns never let me see them fully, and maybe it is better that way. If anyone reading the Attic Clowns stories does understand the hidden meanings then their minds are probably just as warped as the clowns inside of them, so it’s better off if you just enjoy the ride, as long as you aren’t strapped to a couch. I enjoyed Volume Three just as much as I did with the others and I have no doubt that if you read anything by Shipp you’ll enjoy it immensely. You may laugh, you might become confused, or perhaps you’ll find yourself checking your attic just in case, though I don’t recommend it, but regardless it is worth the read! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Genre Reading Challenge #9/30 – Category – Horror; Mount TBR Challenge #10/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #10/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #10/365; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #3/44

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Review: The Reanimation of Edward Schuett by Derek J. Goodman

Review: The Reanimation of Edward Schuett

I was given an ARC PDF of The Reanimation of Edward Schuett by Derek J. Goodman in exchange for an honest review.

The Reanimation of Edward Schuett finds the world fifty years removed from a zombie uprising which claimed 3/4 of the world’s population. The coasts of the United States have recovered but the rest have yet to fully remove the zombie problem and are dealing with it as a somewhat natural part of existence. Edward Schuett wakes up one day in a Walmart having no recollection of the last fifty years, his last memory being of the day the zombies attacked, and has an unfortunate realization, he’s one of them. Unlike the rest of the zombies that remain Edward is able to think and speak at the level of a normal human, and even crazier, he’s actually healing. As Edward hunts for any knowledge of what happened to his family, and to himself, he finds that most people he comes across either want to study him or worse, kill him. When Edward meets some unlikely allies is there any chance they can help him find a way to help others to heal like he is? Can he survive all of those who would have him killed?

I read The Reanimation of Edward Schuett during the Dewey 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. The start of the book dragged a bit with Edward not thinking at 100% efficiency and trying to figure out what the heck is going on with him. However, once he runs into the first humans in the book things take off very quickly. Without spoiling the book I will say that the government is involved, not that this is a surprise, we have “hicks” who don’t even care about the details of the zombie uprising and some irritating scientists who view Edward as nothing more than something to experiment on and study. The characters are diverse and vibrant, and though Edward certainly isn’t the brightest bulb when it comes to main characters his personality is one that will grow on you as you read.

The setting isn’t the stereotypical barren wasteland across the board that you might envision if a zombie uprising caused the world to lose 3/4 of its population. The coasts have rebuilt and there are some areas there that were even more developed and advanced then their real modern day counterparts. You do have settlements in the middle of the United States that are barely more than basic houses with a wall around it to protect the people within from the zombies that still roam around the area. The government seems to have taken care of the coasts quite well but if you live in the center it is all on you to protect yourself and those you care about. The Reanimation of Edward Schuett doesn’t dwell on depictions of how the world looks, but that doesn’t detract from the story, instead it allows for your imagination to run a bit wild which is so important when reading a book concerning zombies and the like.

There is plenty of action and zombie craziness in The Reanimation of Edward Schuett. Whether you are looking for human on human violence or good old-fashioned zombie vs human battles you won’t be disappointed! There are getaway scenes, small armies going at each other, and more than one good punch to the dome, including some thrown by some very unexpected sources. I also really enjoyed seeing how the zombies interacted with one another and the diversity of the types of them and how the humans dealt with each new group.

This was a relatively quick read for me and I did enjoy the experience throughout. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good zombie tale, especially those who are looking for a different perspective on how it could play out. I won’t go as far as to say it is a must read, but when it is released (expected to late this month) I definitely think you should go and get yourself a copy! Oh, and read it at night, that always makes it more fun! ^.^

I hope you enjoyed the review! If you did leave a comment telling me if you enjoy zombie books and/or would consider getting this one when it comes out, or tell me what you are reading right now. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

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Feature and Follow #1

Feature and Follow

Feature and Follow is hosted by the amazing people over at Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and is basically a way for blogs to gain new followers and to find some cool new ones to follow as well. If you do get followed please be courteous and follow them back via their preferred method.  If you would be so kind as to follow me, and I of course will follow back, you can do so via email, Linky or Networked Blogs, I do not have a preference and thank any of you who do follow. Also let me know how you follow me too! 🙂

This week’s question is: “What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness…

For me this was a no-brainer! I would go with the Attic Clowns volumes written by Jeremy C. Shipp! They are an amazing mix of creepy, gorey and humor filled with a variety of odd but oddly intriguing types of clowns. I love each volume and would recommend reading them too! You can check out my mini review of the first two if you would like here to get a gist of what I am talking about. As always thanks for reading, I really do appreciate it and leave a comment either about what you think of the Attic Clowns books or your own FF post, I read every one! ^.^ Enjoy your Friday and your weekend! 🙂


Fraterfest: My Thoughts & Results

Fraterfest: My Thoughts & Results

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon was a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and was hosted by the amazing Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Results:

Challenges Completed – 7/7

Books Read – Attic Clowns: Volumes 1 & 2 (Also did a mini-review here)

                         – Attic Clowns: Volume 4

                         – Here Be Monsters

                         – Aberrations: Horror Stories

                         – Zombified

Participated In – #Fraterfest Twitter Party (I won some awesome swag there too ^.^) & Fraterfest Raffle

My Thoughts:

I had a blast participating in Fraterfest from Friday – Monday! I will say that I didn’t get to attack as much of my TBR pile as I had planned to because I took a couple unexpected trips into the cities (Minneapolis/St.Paul) due to Half Price Books having their yearly mega sale (everything 3$ and under, I’ll be doing a separate post on this and my ridiculous haul so look for that in the coming week or so). I do plan on (hopefully) getting to read Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater tonight/tomorrow so that I can really embrace the “Frater” part of the fest. ^.^

The challenges were really fun, although some of them made my brain hurt, and I know that the other participants enjoyed them too! My favorite part about Fraterfest, though, was the twitter party! I was still on the road coming back (not driving btw) and so I could only participate via phone but it was still really fun. I got to meet a bunch of new bookish people on twitter (and gain some great new followers) and even won the swag! I can’t wait to see what that will be. We even had a somewhat funny ending as our host had reached her daily tweet limit right as she was about to thank everyone for participating (at the very end) which seemed to fit in with all of the goofiness involved.

I would absolutely take part in something like this again, especially if it is hosted by the lovely Kimba! I plan to join more “fests” like this from other blogs I follow in the future though I don’t know which ones at the moment, this one kind of just sprung up on me.

As far as the books goes I loved having an excuse to just attack a portion (albeit a small one) of my TBR pile! I got to read some fun and freaky stories, my favorites being the Attic Clowns books by Jeremy C. Shipp, and I will be reading Pretty When She Dies as I mentioned earlier so that will be great. Any reasoning to be able to read more is good in my book (see what I did there? :p).

As always thank you so much for reading and I hope you participated in Fraterfest at some level, and if not that you at least read some cool books over the weekend. =D If you would like to subscribe you can do so via the usual methods, I do appreciate it, oh and comment! I read them all you know. ^.^ Have a great week!


Review: Attic Clowns: Volumes 1 & 2 by Jeremy C. Shipp

Attic Clowns: Volumes 1 & 2

I found both of these volumes for free on Amazon in eBook form thanks to the kindness of Jeremy C. Shipp.

The Attic Clowns volumes each include four tales about a variety of different kinds of clowns. Each twisted short story takes you on a different journey through your own fears and the genius of Jeremy Shipp. You will find yourself laughing at the absurdity of a story and then just as quickly shaking your head as you try to grasp the hidden message behind the deranged characters. If you enjoy short, witty stories that will give you a little jolt of fear now and then look no further than Attic Clowns.

I decided to read the Attic Clowns books mostly because I follow Jeremy Shipp on twitter and he seems like a cool guy. Then I decided to join Fraterfest and they fit in perfectly with that theme (horror/bump-in-the-night for those who don’t know). I knew he mentioned the odd clowns in some of his tweets, but nothing could have prepared me for the variety of “clowns” that Jeremy Shipp created. They are twisted, some are deranged, all seem to be a bit off their rockers in one way or another. However, that is where the similarities end with these clowns. Each one has their own unique personality and exhibits a different semblance of what “clown” could mean.

To be honest, there really aren’t any accurate words to describe the characters in the Attic Clowns volumes. Jeremy Shipp is an amazing writer, and despite some of the gut-wrenching things that are covered in some of these short stories I was entertained the entire time. If you would like to check out Jeremy Shipp’s work for yourself then please go here http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Jeremy%20Shipp&search-alias=digital-text.

My recommendation: If this sort of stuff intrigues you I definitely suggest you purchase the Attic Clowns volumes as well as the rest of Jeremy Shipp’s works. Volume Four of Attic Clowns is free today as of the writing of this review and the rest are very cheap and well worth the price.

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Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I plan to participate in every challenge that is going on throughout Fraterfest (Friday 8am (EST) – Tuesday 12pm (EST)) here is the list:

Challenge schedule:

  • Friday Oct.5th– 8am(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST) Name That Vampire hosted by Kody@ The Fabled Crossroads <complete
  • Friday Oct. 5th– 4pm(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST).Tune this Title hosted by April@My Shelf Confessions <complete
  • Saturday Oct 6th– 8am(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST) Fraterfest Bash hosted by Christy@ Love of Books <complete
  • Saturday Oct 6th– 4pm(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST) Cover Sleuth hosted by Barbara@ Basia’s Bookshelf <complete
  • Sunday Oct 7th– 8am(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST) Guess the Rest hosted by Carolyn@ C.M. Brown <complete
  • Sunday Oct 7th– 4pm(EST) to Monday 12pm(EST) Books to Movie Madness hosted by Fran @ Books and Beyond <complete
  • Monday Oct 8th– 8am(EST) to Tuesday 12pm (EST) The Texas Crossword Massacre hosted by Kristen @ My ParaHangover <complete
  • Monday Oct 8th– 4pm(EST) to Tuesday 12pm(EST) Fraterfest Raffle hosted by Kimba@ the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. <entered

I will likely be using this post to update my progress as I go along but we shall see. Here is my reading list, I plan to read ALL of these during Fraterfest…somehow!

Reading List

Attic Clowns: Volumes One & Two < Read and mini-review is up!

Attic Clowns: Volume Four < Read

Here Be Monsters < Read

Aberrations: Horror Stories < Read

Zombified < Read

Blood Singers

The Wicked

I was fortunate enough to win eBook copies of Rhiannon Frater’s Pretty When She Dies & Pretty When She Kills right before Fraterfest started. However, though I would like to put them on this list I have not actually been sent them yet. What I will say is if I do receive them before Fraterfest ends I will insert them either into the list if I have time leftover, or in place of either Blood Singers or The Wicked. That’s all from me for now but I will post updates as I go! Happy reading! ^.^

*Update* Early this morning guess what popped into my inbox? That’s right! I received my eBooks of Pretty When She Dies & Pretty When She Kills! I will be replacing Blood Singers and The Wicked with these two titles and IF I have time I will still read Blood Singers and The Wicked but they are now lower priority. 🙂

Fraterbash:             Me                                                                                                                                                    Date


Review: Mirrors of Anguish by R.P. Kraul

Mirrors of Anguish by R.P. Kraul

I got an eBook copy of Mirrors of Anguish by R.P. Kraul for free from Amazon. I saw some solid action on twitter mentioning it so I figured I would give it a try even though it isn’t in my usual range of genres.

Mirrors of Anguish, furthermore known as MoA for the purposes of this review, centers around the town of Belcorte, Pennsylvania where a series of killings has taken place over the course of many years with the killer still on the loose. Jill Duport, the main character of MoA, inherits her grandfather’s infamous house there after the passing of her mother. Apparently a murder had taken place in the house, supposedly committed by her grandfather, on a teenage girl. Though the former chief of police Reed Hobson had not only come across the supposed killer, but had even killed him, there is no record of the event ever taking place. The killer, a madman known as the Indianhead Reservoir Killer, waits in the shadows until he can exact his revenge for a crime committed against him long ago.

If you couldn’t tell from the description this book is rather…odd. To be honest I am having a hard time putting my reaction into words, but I’ll give it a go. Mirrors of Anguish starts out strong with Jill losing her mother and us being acquainted with her father as he tries to convince her to move into the house her grandfather left her in Belcorte. We then learn a bit about Reed the former police chief of Belcorte who seems to be fixated on the series of killings going on in the area despite having retired. We also get our first glimpse of Eddie Jarvings, the county commissioner who wants Jill to pack up her bags and go back to where she came from not wanting any more questions about the killings coming his way.

Unfortunately, it is early on that the first strike on this book occurs. Here is an excerpt from MoA: “Eddie rocked in his chair as he chewed his nails. He spit out a fingernail before he responded. Eddie, an educated man from an acclaimed family, possessed the insufferable habit of chewing his nails.” You find out on the previous page that Eddie is the son of the wealthiest and most influential man in Campton County, Nikolaus Jarvings, so the “acclaimed family” part is a bit redundant. Furthermore, we can tell from the first two sentences that he has the habit of chewing on his nails, you don’t need to add that he “possessed the insufferable habit of chewing his nails” because you aren’t adding anything we don’t already know. Moving on.

Strike two has multiple examples within and I won’t bore you with them all but suffice it to say Jill apparently can’t make up her mind about anything. Throughout MoA she says or thinks one thing and then does the exact opposite almost immediately. At one point in the book she is furious at her dad for telling her some unwelcome information, I won’t say what exactly to avoid spoilers, and then the next day she is immediately forgiving him and proclaiming that he’s the best dad in the world. Jill as the main character frustrated me a great deal with her constant flip-flopping, I imagine this was done most of the time to move the story along, but it made everything she was supposedly feeling seem disingenuous.

Strike three happens about midway in the book and takes us back to strike one where the author told us something we already knew as if we couldn’t have picked up on it without the repetition. In this case it was the following excerpt: “Quentin managed a grin. The educated voice, words pronounced carefully, contrasted with his bad teeth—an ironic combination. Ironic that a fellow could be educated to this extent and still have crooked teeth. Maybe he pretended to be educated.” So here we have us being initially told something was ironic rather than allowing the reader to infer it for themselves. To further exacerbate the situation we are told EXACTLY how this was ironic. What is perhaps, if it is possible, more annoying still is that this combination isn’t ironic at all as plenty of educated people have crooked teeth. However, strikes one through three are not why I will be giving MoA the rating that follows as much as the final strike.

Strike four encompasses the length of the book from the point the horror begins until the very end. The point of view is shifted from Jill’s to multiple other characters which includes Reed as well as the killer. Without going into details that could spoil the book I will say there are some sections of this part of the book where you get flashbacks into the killer’s life. Now plenty of books change from one character’s point of view to another, but in this case it is not done smoothly or in a way where you can ease yourself into the new frame of mind. The jumps between characters are sporadic and often, especially with the flashbacks, very difficult to wrap your head around to discern what exactly is going on. By the time you get near the end of the book your mind is tired and mostly confused about what has transpired, and the ending is just as hard to interpret as we only get a glimpse of what Jill’s life might be like without much detail.

I wanted to get into Mirrors of Anguish, and I really tried to, but because of the various issues I had with the book I felt disconnected from the characters. Jill’s constant flip-flopping made it so I didn’t care for the most part what happened to her, I felt that I was just reading a description of horrifying events rather than being pulled into the story and feeling what the characters felt. If all you are looking for is a bit of horror and some gruesome violence then I suppose MoA might fit for you. I wanted to like this but it felt short for me.

Recommendation: Borrow it from a friend if you are going to read it otherwise I would pass.

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