Good Evening Sunday 17th February 2019

Good evening everyone!

I had an awesome weekend. It started at 5:30am yesterday when I got up and was leaving the house at 6am to drive a couple of hundred miles to visit my friends CL Raven and support them at their signing at their local WH Smiths. In my opinion this is really big, indies getting into a chain like Smiths is awesome.

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CL Raven and their display in WH Smith Cardiff. Cat is on the right and Lynx is on the left. Photo credit: CL Raven

They had a good turn out and sold a decent amount of books ( I finally got my hard copies of Bleeding Empire and Empty Graves).

I spent most of the weekend in Cardiff and hung out with Cat and Lynx. It was somewhat of a flying visit as I had a few bits and pieces to do at home and an early start with work tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to going back in the future as it seems like an awesome city.

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Myself with CL Raven. Photo Credit CL Raven.

Needless to say I’ve not written this weekend. I have very much so taking a break from writing. Obviously I thought about it and hanging out with Cat and Lynx means we talked writing but I haven’t really thought about it much. Its been quite some time since I had a break from doing anything writing wise. If I’m not writing I’m editing. Even if it’s only a few words its been rare that I’ve gone more than a day without writing a single word. I think the break will have done me a bit of good.

Tomorrow, back at it!

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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.

Good Morning Sunday 30th December 2018

I’ve had a few days off from blogging. Mainly due to Christmas to be honest. I have written a bit over the festive period but not as much as I’d have liked. I was off Christmas Day and Boxing Day but back to work on the 27th. I have done a bit of writing but not as much as I’d like. At the start of the month I set myself a target of about 30k but I’m sitting at about 16k at the moment. So I’m going to aim for two 2k days and hit the 20k. I do have yesterdays word count to add into the spreadsheet so its a little under 4k that I need but I’m still aiming for 4k in two days.

Books I got for Christmas

On Boxing Day I did have quite a productive day. I wrote about a thousand words during the course of the day but also did some work on a blog post listing my top ten reads of 2018. I was probably working from about 10am till 10pm, just slowly with the odd break for food or things like washing the dishes.

 

Graphic Novels I got for Christmas

I am looking at the next year, but not making any 2019 goals or resolutions. It’s just these are the next projects I want to be working on and trying to improve my focus and discipline. I’m not a believer in New Year resolutions as when I’ve made them I’ve failed by the end of January. What I’m looking at for next year both with writing and what I want to do to improve myself and my life next year are all things that I’ve been working on for months, and for years. Making resolutions for the coming year work for some, for me they don’t.

Movies I got for Christmas

It’s time for me to get the day up and running. Have a good day, everyone.

23th of December 2018

I’ve had a few busy days between work, our works Christmas Party and a few bits and pieces that needed to get done today.

I have written a few words in the last few days though, not many but a few. Friday I didn’t write anything, but I did watch Bird Box on Netflix which is based on the book by Josh Malerman. I listened to the book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, and I think the film is a good adaptation of the book. The odd change felt a little unnecessary but it still worked overall, and it stayed loyal to the ending of the book.

Yesterday I managed to get 260 words written, god knows when because it was a damn busy day and then the Christmas Party. I’m not much of a drinker but did have a fair few last night, but no hangover today! So that’s a win if you ask me.

Today I had a bit of running around to do so didn’t really have a lot of time to spend at the keyboard but have managed 386 words for the day. I probably added another hundred or so but did some editing which meant a few words were deleted but I’m happy with what I did today.

I tried to read a DC Rebirth comic the other day, and I just couldn’t get into it. I was only a few pages in but it just didn’t hook me. I’m a comic book latecomer and I’ve liked some of the Marvel and DC stuff  I’ve read but the last few pieces I’ve not been gripped by. This is something I’ve been thinking for a while, that Marvel and DC comics really aren’t for me. I’ve got a few on my to-read shelf so I will check those out, and I really want to re-read DCs Hush again next year.

I’m not giving up on comics though, I’ve really enjoyed the 2000AD ones I’ve read, mainly Judge Dredd ones so far but I’ve begun Insurrection by Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil. I’m a huge fan of Dan Abnett and I like that this one is set in the Judge Dredd universe but I don’t believe he appears in it. So far I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to really getting stuck in over the next couple of days.

2nd of December 2018

A very low impact day again. 456 words written on PE3.

It was a busy day though. I got up and cleaned the henhouse out and then felt pretty rough for a few hours, I don’t know why I just felt pretty rough. Once I’d started feeling better I did some bits around the house. Then I’ve slowly written those words and watched The Cornetto Trilogy and did a few little bits and pieces that needed doing.

I think its been a bit of a low impact day because I’m tired if I’m honest. I was in bed by ten thirty last night, and I probably will be tonight as well. Just tonight will be with a book I’ve been excited about since I first heard about it.

Empty Graves by CL Raven is the third book in their Edinburgh trilogy that’s not a trilogy (They all take place in Edinburgh a long time ago; The Malignant Dead in 1645 during the Plague, and The Devils Servants in 1649 during the witch trials in the city). There’s a couple of characters that cross over in the first two books but I don’t know if any do in this one as I haven’t started it yet. All I know is it’s about grave robbers and as soon as I heard that I was sold. This is probably my most anticipated book of the year.

With that said, I’m off to get cracking with it.

Book Review: Fur by Matthew Cash

Fur tells the story of a group of pensioners who have their worlds turned upside down by a revelation that one of their number isn’t what they seem.

This book I really enjoyed. There is a pretty broad group of characters that have their own identities and motivations. The core group of senior citizens pretty much all have something about them that made me like them, with one exception. That one exception, causes their lives in a small town to change massively and the journey Matthew Cash takes is on with them is at times hard to take, infuriating at others, and heart warming in places. I felt the love many characters had for each other, even in some unexpected cases.

I couldn’t guess how it was going to end, and even as it was coming to its conclusion I still couldn’t peg how Matthew Cash was going to wrap it all up. I like how he did, even with part of it coming out of the blue somewhat.

Please check Fur by Matthew Cash out. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Thomas Bestwick. Bestwick did a fantastic job with a narration that had multiple accents in as well as getting some real heart and emotion into the sorry as a whole.

I’d also recommend reading the prequel story Werwolf also by Matthew Cash. You can see my review for it here.