Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Horror

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

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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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