Really good horror long horror story, the first of Nathan Ballingrud's that I've read. Once I started this (novella probably more accurate) story I coReally good horror long horror story, the first of Nathan Ballingrud's that I've read. Once I started this (novella probably more accurate) story I couldn't stop till it ended. Being a bartender I certainly enjoyed that aspect of the story and was excited to read it. As I continued to read the story wasn't just creepy but legit unsettling. Nothing tends to scare me that much these days but I got a good scare from this book. I started to read a Kindle sample of North American Lake Monsters: Stories as soon as I was done with The Visible Filth. I got part way through the first story when the sample ended and I started shouting at my tablet:
I picked this up because the title grabbed me and I was feeling like reading a one and done graphic novel. And this did not disappoint. A great crimeI picked this up because the title grabbed me and I was feeling like reading a one and done graphic novel. And this did not disappoint. A great crime story told in a not so distant future with just enough grit and swagger to set it apart from other examples of the genre. I read it in one sitting enjoying everything about it except getting lost by the art a few times.
I've been reading graphic novels and comics my whole life and never quite got used to the style of drawing where face details are so fluid that I can only tell who's who by the shape of the body or color of the hair. I don't think it really took too much away from my enjoyment of this book, and the vast majority of the art was beautiful but, I mostly just don't get it. I don't understand why an artist would adapt a style that, for this reader, always slams on the breaks. Maybe it is designed to allow you to not study each panel too closely and so you read faster? But it has the opposite effect on me.
Even with that grip, I really enjoyed it and upon finishing this satisfying title, I immediately sought out another book to grab from this artist and author team. Also I think this could make a great movie. ...more
Note to self: no matter how appealing the elements of a Pendergast book seem (in this case New England witches, a cursed shipwreck, creepy lighthousesNote to self: no matter how appealing the elements of a Pendergast book seem (in this case New England witches, a cursed shipwreck, creepy lighthouses and demonic murders) you actually hate these books. Somehow you forget that the writing is boring, padded, cliche and lazy. So lazy. What exact kind of knife is she using in this fight at the climax? Oh right, I don't give a shit. Maybe this series had its day but it's not for you so no matter what, don't fall for it again....more
Great art, a decent story but not one I think will be particularly memorable. It's got that great Lansdale humor and a couple of good bits but the stoGreat art, a decent story but not one I think will be particularly memorable. It's got that great Lansdale humor and a couple of good bits but the story was a little meh. I felt guilty because I kept starting it and stopping it so even though it was 90 some odd pages, it took me two months to read. Lansdale's got much better stuff out there. ...more
This was a really fun read. And for sure the best thing I've come across experimenting with Kindle Unlimited. It reminded me of a more violent versionThis was a really fun read. And for sure the best thing I've come across experimenting with Kindle Unlimited. It reminded me of a more violent version of one of those episodes of Supernatural where we follow two side characters who've been thrown into the Winchesters world by happenstance. The humor was sometimes hit and miss with me but overall I really enjoyed this. I liked it enough to immediately get the sequel and start checking out more of Jeff Strand's books. ...more
3.5 stars for the book itself as it is packaged, 4.5 for the story and the actually interesting and relevant bits.
First, I'd like to address that this3.5 stars for the book itself as it is packaged, 4.5 for the story and the actually interesting and relevant bits.
First, I'd like to address that this "Special Definitive Edition" is definitely worth checking out, if like me, you've read Midnight Meat Train story before from Barker's first collection Books of Blood: Volume One, it blew you away, and you'd like to get a little of the story behind the story or a look at the Clive Barker paintings done for this edition. But I would have felt a bit mislead if I'd purchased this book instead of borrowing it. The book is clearly padded with THE ENTIRE CREDITS of the film version of the story in question. Which was irritating, not only because it reminded me of the compromised ending of the movie version, but was also such a ridiculously move on the publishers part.
Secondly, now that I've got my bitching out of the way, I gotta say loved rereading what I always consided the scariest stories I'd ever read. It holds up, even if I found a little bit of the characterization lacking on this read. I read this story for the first time one day while riding a BART train home from school at the age of thirteen. I didn't know what an insane a choice I had made till it was too late and I was hooked. I just wanted to find out what was behind this cover.
What I found was a disgusting, truly scary and perfectly ended short story that I've never forgotten.
I also enjoyed the introduction in this edition which included excerpts of interviews with Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker about the writing of the story and Barker's philosophy behind his brand of horror. Here is an interesting slightly spoilery quote from Barker:
"What interests me is the idea of characters who confront the ordinary, and find new meaning in the extraordinary, rather than simply finding some creatures or some forces that they must eradicate or exorcise in order to return to the norm that they had on page one. I think of my stories as having happy endings, perversely enough, because they often end with scenes of revelation of one kind or another: characters understanding themselves and realizing why they need fresh meaning in their lives.... Midnight Meat Train is a story (view spoiler)[with a perfect happy ending - he goes through hell and he comes through on the other side, utterly changed, utterly transformed (hide spoiler)]..."
Also fascinating was the background on the production of the film version (which I'd always felt was unfaithful to the short story) which clearly ended up being a bit disappointing in terms of kickstarting new movies based on various Books of Blood stories.
So buyer beware of what you're getting. Though the paintings and interviews will probably make it worth the price for hardcore fans.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This one kind of fell flat for me. I felt the writing wasn't as sharp, the storyline was a little boring and most of all elements that I loved in theThis one kind of fell flat for me. I felt the writing wasn't as sharp, the storyline was a little boring and most of all elements that I loved in the first two books caused eye rolls. Take that with a grain of salt though because I think my opinion probably has more to do with me binge reading these volumes coupled with the first one being so spectacularly awesome. There were still things I loved and things that made me laugh but I think I will take a break from the series and come back to it in a couple of months or a year....
And I just read that the series has been put on hiatus.... so... yeah....more
I was excited to finish the trilogy but ended up disliking this last instalment the most. Just too many eye-rolling moments and lazy plotting for me.I was excited to finish the trilogy but ended up disliking this last instalment the most. Just too many eye-rolling moments and lazy plotting for me. Now I am glad I feel asleep and didn't buy this one during prime day....more
4.5 stars. I greatly enjoyed this novella and story collection concerning the adventures of gunslinging Reverend Jebediah Mercer. We've got westerns f4.5 stars. I greatly enjoyed this novella and story collection concerning the adventures of gunslinging Reverend Jebediah Mercer. We've got westerns featuring Zombies, Ghosts, Werewolves, Vampiric Demon Slugs, Goblins, etc. If reading that following sentences got your excited then this is probably gonna be for you. Just tasty pulpy goodness. I want more. And guess what kids, there is a new Mercer Story written by Joe R. Lansdale for Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West called The Red-Headed Dead with an except you can read here.
Even when I lost interest a couple of times (for me these stories are best read spaced out rather than all at once) I still loved it. Bonus half star for the great introduction by the man himself and the excellent book design. ...more
So good. So funny and dark and challenging. The stories were good even when they weren't good. I, like other readers here have mentioned, found a coupSo good. So funny and dark and challenging. The stories were good even when they weren't good. I, like other readers here have mentioned, found a couple of stories just didn't work for me. I think that is the nature of short story collections and also holds true for the recent collections I've read and won't shut up about like Tenth of December and Fortune Smiles. In this collection, like those two, I always found something to love in each story even if it wasn't for me. More often than not they blew me away.
My top three stories from this collection were "Secret Identity," "The Lesson," and "Two Houses." I found "Secret Identity" structure and form off-putting at first but it won me over and it my favorite now. Her stories, when they connect, really get to you and stay with you. My most common reaction to finishing a story was: how the hell did she do that?
As with most collections, I tried to read one story at a time and let it sink in. It was no use, I'd end up re-reading the same story over again right away or immediately jumping into the next story. Though it still took me awhile to finish it.
Oh! And her sentences are awesome. "Secret Identity" for example has a number of great ones but my favorite is probably, "If look could kill you wouldn't be reading this email." Page 108 or "The sweet smell of caramelized onions, onions that will never make anyone cry again. Other savory reeks." Page 110. Looking at those out of context doesn't do them justice but they still make me laugh.
Since I finished this book, I've been hunting down and reading a couple interesting Kelly Link interviews and articles. She sounds like a great teacher/mentor and all around champion for writers. My favorite so far is this wonderful interview she gave to Alice Sola Kim. They discuss Link's writing process and the thinking behind two stories from the collection, "The Lesson" and "I Can See Right Through you." I'd recommend checking it out if that kind of thing interests you.
Oh Nick Cutter please don't stop writing these books! I, like many, read The Troop and loved it so much it turned me into a ravenous horror reader agaOh Nick Cutter please don't stop writing these books! I, like many, read The Troop and loved it so much it turned me into a ravenous horror reader again. I needed, had to get my hands on any good horror book that I'd missed. That search led me to some great authors. I credit reading The Troop and Benjamin Percy's books and Paul Tremblay's books with rekindling my love of horror books. A love that started in Jr. High with Stephen King and Robert McCammon and Joe R. Lansdale but somehow slipped into the background for many years. It's good to be back.
And I don't think I'm alone, it seems a lot of people are discovering (or rediscovering) a love for a good horror book even though, like any often maligned underground genre, they never really went away. What a great time to be into Horror. I'm looking at you Stranger Things. So while I read and didn't exactly love The Deep, I saved a copy of The Acolyte in a glass case that read, "Break in case you need a good book." Thanks to garbage like Crimson Shore I was ready to break the glass.
The Acolyte seemed right up my alley and so I may be guilty of setting my expectations just a bit too high. Which isn't to say this wasn't an excellent, dark and very interesting genre mashup that I enjoyed. It just didn't blow me away as much as I was hoping it would. I found it at times a tad predictable and a little too needlessly complicated. But these plot gripes aside, it was great. And the writing, as always, was so very good. Sure you can call it literary horror but really it's just how horror should be written.
Specifically, I mean that some horror writers could learn from Cutter and take as much care crafting their gross-out descriptions as is taken crafting paragraphs like this:
"We hit a stretch that cut through an apple orchard. The road was petalled with a layer of blossoms that the van's tires stirred into a strange blizzard; they blew through the cab, white petals beyond numbering soft against our skin, the smell of fruit and the vague drone of honeybees..." 294
A paragraph I found randomly flipping through the back of the book. This book has got beautiful and horrific images like that in spades. So while it didn't unseat The Troop as my favorite Cutter book I just found out he's got a new book coming out in January called Little Heaven: A Novel and I want it. I think it's time I joined Net Galley and beg and plead and cajole them to let me get my hands on an advanced copy.
I know there are plenty of new authors like Cutter, Tremblay and Percy writing right now and some are on my radar but I'd love any suggestions anyone has.
My only other experience with Joe Hill has been the Locke & Key Graphic Novels which I loved, and a brief attempt to read NOS4A2 which I couldn'tMy only other experience with Joe Hill has been the Locke & Key Graphic Novels which I loved, and a brief attempt to read NOS4A2 which I couldn't get into. Despite this being my ninth dystopian book this year I was very excited to read this, as it's been marketed very well and kept popping up everywhere I looked.
I really enjoyed reading this. There were definitely some elements (Characters who were so unlikable their relationships with other characters strained creditably and some pointless bits in the middle) that annoyed me. Some minor plot lines could have been cut or at least made more interesting. But I got over it and pretty much loved this book.
Don't shy away from this book because of comparisons to The Stand because this is different and enjoyable in it's own right much like Swan Song. Some solid writing and lovable characters (Harper!) coupled with the fun and exciting bits made this very very hard to put down. I literally didn't put it down unless I had to. As I approached the end I was worried it was going to let me down (no spoilers) but it did not, a very satisfying read.
I know the film rights got bought up already but this should be made into a TV show like immediately *cough* I'm looking at you AMC or FX.
I always enter those book giveaways and finally won one. When a copy of The Fireman arrived via Bookriot.com (THANKS), I dropped everything else and started reading. FREE BOOK. FREE NEW HARDCOVER BOOK!
Also I got to use this for my 2016 popsugar reading challenge pick for "A romance set in the future."
It's also my 1000 book read since I joined Goodreads so hooray for me!...more
A solid and enjoyable debut even with its sometimes slightly irritating cliche moments. I particularly liked the climax and the idea of a ghost hauntiA solid and enjoyable debut even with its sometimes slightly irritating cliche moments. I particularly liked the climax and the idea of a ghost haunting a specific person for revenge and the ghost not being tethered to a house or the haunting being random....more
After reading and enjoying The Visible Filth I immediately ordered North American Lake Monsters: Stories and I am glad that I did. Top notch writing aAfter reading and enjoying The Visible Filth I immediately ordered North American Lake Monsters: Stories and I am glad that I did. Top notch writing and excellent sense of setting and characterization pushed this above the usual collection of short stories I tend to read. And like all short story collections, some stories I didn't love or enjoy as much as others but unlike most short story collections, this one included a few that simply knocked me over. Beautiful and intense stories that are going to haunt me for years to come. I still am not sure I've understood or digested all that this slim volume has to offer.
And while these are definitely horror stories and there are monsters in all of the tales I don't think these stories should be for horror junkies alone. These stories are bigger and better than any genre label would suggest. Now if you are a horror junkie you should read this as soon as you can get your paws on it.
My personal favorite story was probably "The Way Station" or "The Good Husband" but man they are closely followed by the title story, "Sunbleached" and "Wild Acre."
I am so glad I bought a physical copy of this book so that I can reread a couple of these stories now and again. Now I just wish I had a couple more copies so I could thrust them onto friends. While these stories aren't for everyone they are very worth your time. I highly recommend North American Lake Monsters: Stories....more
I think my expectations were a bit too high for this one but I did enjoy it a great deal. The sex scenes made me roll my eyes a few too many times andI think my expectations were a bit too high for this one but I did enjoy it a great deal. The sex scenes made me roll my eyes a few too many times and I can't stand it when supposedly intelligent main characters miss the obvious and have to have it explained to them (Looking at you Dan Brown). The bit with the murder train is as insane and awesome as I was lead to believe. I loved a lot of this book it just didn't measure up to my very high expectations (having recently read Blue World, They Thirst and Swans Song), which I will try to adjust when I read Boy's Life later this summer....more
Because I loved this book. Not as much as Prisoner or Shadow (which Marina definitely feels like a warm up for) of course. I had tried to get my hands on a copy of this book but due to some (and I learned this from a recent video interview that I can't seem to find right now) rights disputes was unavailable in English till recently. And from what I gather it is still only available in the UK. So I ordered a used copy via Thriftbooks.
While some of the writing didn't always work for me and sometimes the pacing seems to be a bit rushed I dismissed that as stemming from either translation issues or as a byproduct of it being YA. It is clear, also having read some of Carlos Ruiz Zafón previous YA books like The Prince of Mist, that the author was developing the style and voice that lead to the international bestseller The Shadow of the Wind. That book and this are very similar but not in a way, at least for this fanboy, detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
I only regret a copy of this didn't fall into my hands when I was a teenager (having been published originally in 1995) as I'm sure it would have been a favorite. Now I just have to wait for the recently announced fourth book in the Cemetary of Forgotten Books quartet, The Labyrinth of the Spirits to come out in 2018. Damn 2018 feels like a long way away....more