Book Review: Forever and Ever, Armageddon: A collection of 24 short stories

This is a fantastic collection from David Court. I’ve read some of his short fiction before and knew I liked his work and this collection has confirmed that.

There is a good variety of stories here. There’s a few that made me think, one of which made me stop what I was doing and say “oh sh*t”, and a couple that are just the written version of a gut punch. There was a couple of the stories that had me grinning like a kid!

Kristina Fitzgerald does a fantastic job of narration. Great range and delivery.

This one is definitely worth checking out.

Advertisements

Book Review: Food of the Gods and Other Strange Delicacies by Em Dehaney

Food Of The Gods and Other Strange Delicacies is a short story collection from Em Dehaney and gives us eight tales that are best not read in a dark house, at night, and alone.
My personal favourites are The Story of Moses, Here Be Monsters, Food Of The Gods, and For Those In Peril On The Sea. I particularly like that last one. It has a great tone to it and as it progresses the isolation just grows.
Em Dehaney is a very visual writer and there’s not one story here where you aren’t transported to the world Dehaney builds for us.
Em Dehaney is a talented writer who I’m looking forward to reading more of.

7nLF71rASBmSbZ%eZUuhZA

Book Review: The Other Side Of The Mirror by Lex H. Jones

The Other of the Mirror tells the story of Carl Duggan as he tried to piece together a series of homicides in a city split by a river with wealth on one side, and poverty on the other. Duggan’s world is that of poverty and death.

This is a crime noir story that just feels dirty. With the characters and their depth and individuality, the city (which is itself a character), the story that has a pace that is beautifully executed and is well crafted to deliver what the reader needs at just the right time, we have a story that quickly hooked me and left me wanting more from these characters and this city.

Lex H. Jones has smashed it with this one. Definitely one of my reads of the year so far. 

 

Book Review: Four: A Novella by P.J. Blakey-Novis

I liked Four: A Novella. I liked the format of slipping from the main characters to the stories they tell while sitting around a camp fire. It felt smooth and wasn’t over done. P.J. Blakey-Novis kept these transitions simple.

The characters are established quickly, and again smoothly. We don’t get hit over the head with too much unnecessary information.

The use of gore is not overdone and fits in nicely with the feel of the story.

I found the layout of the story very pleasing. I don’t get much time to sit and read, so most of my reading is in bite-sized chunks. This book was written for someone like me in mind. P.J. Blakey-Novis breaks the scenes down into nice sized sections that were just the right length for the whole. I’d be interested to know how many drafts this went through because it’s tightly written book.

Definitely worth checking out.

Top Ten Of The Year 2018

Here is my Top Ten Books Of 2018. These aren’t books that were released in 2018, they’re the ones that I read. Some of them I have reviewed and will link in those reviews with the respective books.

Going off my Goodreads challenge I read forty-nine books in 2018. I had a few moments during the year where I was finding it hard to read so hopefully this year I’ll hit and pass the fifty books I’ve set in my challenge for 2019.

Lets get stuck in to the list:

Number Ten: Off Season By Jack Ketchum

I brought this one on audio after Jack Ketchum sadly passed away. I’d heard about him and an interview with him on The Horror Show With Brian Keene podcast. It was a choice between Off Season and The Girl Next Door. I kinda tossed a coin and went with Off Season which I’m really happy with, although The Girl Next Door will be checked out this year. Off Season is a fantastic tale that isn’t scared to give gut punches and as a reader you take it because Ketchum writes the story beautifully and you just keep turning the pages, or listening in my case.

Number Nine: The Malignant Dead by CL Raven

The Malignant Dead brought tears to my eyes but it also made me laugh. That’s something CL Raven do, they flip that coin really well and The Malignant Dead does that very well. They also transport you into the city of Edinburgh beautifully, you feel you are there and can easily picture these characters in these locations. It is a heartbreaking story but thats because CL Raven bring these characters to life so thoroughly.

Number Eight: Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

This was one I went into without no real knowledge of it. I’d seen people speaking nothing but good things about it and I saw that Pippa Bailey was the narrator of the audio book. I’d met Pippa at the launch of the Sparks anthology that we both have stories in and I wanted to support her as well. The story itself is two that are woven together very well and gives a great outcome at the end of the book, but it still left me wanting more. The characters keep you guessing and there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure what one characters reality was.

Number Seven: White by Tim Lebbon

White was a fun and fast story to read. Tim Lebbon gives a very tight and well told story of an apocalypse that has left people stranded and how these people deal with their plight. The bleakness of this one struck me. If something is bleak it doesn’t tend to get my attention but Tim Lebbon puts in just enough hope to keep that bleakness at bay.

Number Six: The Log House by Baylea Hart

I first heard of The Log House while at Bristol Horror Con in 2017. Baylea Hart was on a panel and gave a brief description of her book and it sounded good. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a post-apocalyptic story which has a protagonist who I didn’t like as a person, but I was quickly hooked on the journey she was taking and the world she was part of and what happened in the characters past. Baylea Hart builds a world that is very seductive and easy to fall into.

The author who I read the most in 2018 was Brian Keene: City of the Dead, The Complex, Ghoul and Dark Hollow.

Number Five: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

Where do I start with Billy and the Cloneasaurus? In my review I said it was 1984 meets The Lego Movie, and I still stand by that. It’s got this optimism to it that masks the real problems. This book had me hooked from the first sentence. It’s got a great energy to it, and has left a lasting impression on me. Even if the ending was a kick in the gut!

Number Four: Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

There are so many reasons why Dark Hollow spoke to me. From how the story is structured and paced to the multiple conflicts of the protagonist. Brian Keene really does build this character beautifully and its also very raw in many places. I’d recommend reading this one and then listening to an episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene were he talks about this story. The big bad of this story is something I’d not come across before and found it fascinating. This is another story where the ending was a blow to the gut. So far it’s my favourite Brian Keene story.

Number Three: What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher

Okay, where do I start with What Good Girls Do? Like Forest Underground I went into this one blind. Part of it was I saw it was getting a lot of praise, another part is again I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the narrator, Tara Court, and wanted to show some support to her. Another part was it’s a The Sinister Horror Company book, like Forest Underground and I was impressed with that one. So I went in blind. This is the most brutal book, movie, tv show, that I’ve even consumed. It doesn’t hold back and deals with a topic that most people blatantly ignore. Those who do know about it don’t want to talk about it. Jonathan Butcher doesn’t baulk with this story, and in lesser hands I think it would have been a disaster. But Butcher handles such a delicate topic with a skill that I think few have. This is a fantastic book, but not one I’d say I enjoyed but. It is one I’m pleased I listened to because it is so beautifully written and deals with something I think we as a society need to be more aware of.

Number Two: The Human Santapede by Adam Millard

A big change of pace from What Good Girls Do, we have The Human Santapede by Adam Millard. This is a book I find myself reluctant to talk too much about because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All I’ll say is Santa has a problem and sends an elf off to figure out the mystery. Adam Millard goes full speed with this one. It’s like he wanted to write the most out there Christmas book ever and had fun while doing it. I think I laughed at something on every page! This was definitely the funniest book I read in 2018, probably ever. If you want a giggle, buy this book!

Number One: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Here we are, number one in my top ten of 2018. I brought The Silence on audiobook when I learnt there was going to be a movie of it and I wanted to check the book out first. This book rattled me. There was three distinct moments where I had to hit pause and stop listening to it for that day. I think part of the reason it struck me so hard was because it is set in the UK and peoples reaction to the threat in the story felt very real. It is strikingly well written with very real characters whose pain you feel as they make their journey. It’s written with a skill that I admire. Lebbon tears the lives of these characters apart with such a deft hand that it’s still brutal but the build up to the hardness of the story is as smooth as silk and this brings you into these moments without missing a beat. Its become an instant favourite of mine, I even brought a paperback which I’ve gotten signed.

There it is, my top ten books of 2018. 2018 was the first year I really started reading horror and it was quite a year. Lets see how 2019 compares.

Just to wrap up the post I wanted to give a few honourable mentions. If this had been the best fifteen books of 2018 these would have made the list.

In no particular order:

Bleeding Empire- CL Raven

Aliens:Bug Hunt- Edited by Jonathan Maberry

Fur- Matthew Cash

IT- Stephen King

Never Forget- Lisa Cutts

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Skinzz by Wrath James White

Skinzz is a brutal ride that doesn’t let up and builds to an ending I really didn’t see coming.

Wrath James White crafts this story with these characters with a stunning amount of skill that puts you into this world and makes you feel what the characters are fighting their way through.

This is one of those stories that isn’t going to fade away with time, it’s going to sit with me and I’ll be thinking it through for some time to come yet.

Book Review: Empty Graves by CL Raven

The story of the grave robbers of that time isn’t something I know much about. I knew it happened but getting into the why and how was really interesting and CL Raven put in characters who have their conflicts they’re dealing with.

The Grayfriers Gang was fun and the banter between them is fantastic. I would happily read another book with them in it!

CL Raven do a lot of research for their books, and with these historical ones (The Malignant Dead, The Devils Servants, and this one) they really manage to put that research to good use and you feel like you’re in Edinburgh, whether in a graveyard or an inn you feel part of the city. Edinburgh is now definitely on my to visit list.

Empty Graves is a page turner. The characters are fun and have depth to them that leaves you wanting to know more, and I learned a little about our past that I hadn’t known before.