Anarch by Dan Abnett

This isn’t exactly going to be a book review. More of a case of how I feel about this book and what I hope for the series.

Anarch is the latest Gaunts Ghosts book by Dan Abnett. I’m a big fan of this series and was super excited when books started coming out from it again. The Warmaster was fantastic and Anarch rolls right on from the end of that book.

I liked the direction Abnett took Anarch. He teased us with the return of a character in The Warmaster, which was a bit of a rollercoaster throughout Anarch (trying not to spoiler here), and took us in a few directions I wasn’t expecting.

Something I’m kind of hoping is that Abnett has an endgame in sight. Don’t get me wrong, a big part of me would read these books for the rest of my life, but I wonder where else Abnett can take them. Hey, if he’s got an ace up his sleeve that’ll let him write these books for years, cool, but I’ve got the feeling from these last two books, well at least the last three if I’m honest, that he’s bringing it in to an ending.

I haven’t looked up any details online. If Dan Abnett is bringing these to an end I don’t want to know until I’ve read that last sentence.

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.

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Good Morning Sunday, 9th Of June 2019

Well, my week off from the day job has not been as productive as I’d have liked. I had a couple of days out, a couple of chill out days and a day where I knew I’d be able to get some words sorted didn’t happen because of internet problems that took some time to identify the cause of the problem. Overall it’s been a good week and a little part of me is looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow and getting back into the routine of everyday life once more.

One of the day’s out I had was to Brighton yesterday for the Brighton and Hove Book Fayre. This was a lot of fun. I got to meet a few people I’ve been connected to on social media for a while and meet some new people. Needless to say, I brought books!

 

As you can see Dizzy had to get in on the act! 

Whenever I go to something like this it always pumps me up and inspires me. So today I’m going to be aiming for a 2k word day. I don’t have all day to do it either. Come mid-afternoon I need to be done. So I need to get my arse into gear and get cracking!

Have a great day, all! 🙂

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

 

 

 

 

Waterstones

I needed to replace my dictionary/thesaurus recently (the kitten destroyed my old one). I was going to just pop onto Amazon and get it but I remembered I had points on my Waterstones card and decided to cash those in. It was only a couple quid and I doubt I’ll add to them in the near future simply because I haven’t shopped in Waterstones for a long time. Each time I go in there for a book I’m finding it very uninspiring. Dictionary aside, I can’t remember the last novel I brought in Waterstones. I think the last comic was the paperback of Civil War 2.

One of the reasons I don’t shop there is I never find anything I want to read. The Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy sections seem to be being squished into one which is dominated by Fantasy. And most of the books in the horror section are still the heavyweights in the genre, there was a lot of King.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Those books deserve to be there. Stephen King is the writer of his generation and one of the all time greats, but there should also be room for other voices in the genre. The person who served me even agreed about how much of the big names were there and that was it. I can’t speak for Science Fiction as I haven’t read any in quite some time and I’ve never been a fantasy reader.

I’m also not reading much mainstream fiction at the moment. Most of the books on my to-read list have been books I’ve brought at Horror Cons or from discovering writers via podcasts like Arm Cast and The Horror Show With Brian Keene. Some of the more mainstream ones I’m listening to the audiobooks of anyway. And to be honest, most of the books I’m hearing that appeal to me aren’t in shops, definitely not here in the UK so most of the books I’m buying, outside of cons, are via amazon. You’re not going to get extreme horror, or books by small publishers or indie authors in Waterstones or, well Waterstones is the only real bookseller here in the UK now. We’ve got places like The Works and WH Smiths that sell books in addition to supermarkets but that’s about it.

I haven’t wondered around a bookstore in awe for a long time. That excitement of searching for something to pull me into a new universe hasn’t been there for years. I get that buzz from going to the cons and finding books at those to read. That, to me, is where I’m getting the fix I need.

Horror That’s Getting Under My Skin

Up until recently I’ve rarely seen a horror movie that got under my skin. I say movie because I’ve only started delving into horror novels recently.

Aside from being grossed out by the odd scene here and there I’ve never really felt uncomfortable in a way that I now know horror should do. The first I noticed this was last year when I saw The Ritual. This is a film that was based on the novel by Adam Nevill. When I watched that film in the cinema I remember feeling a long way out of my comfort zone, but I still got through it and really enjoyed the movie (I’m looking forward to reading the book itself soon as well).

This week I’ve started listening to The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Tim Lebbon is a name I keep seeing pop up, and after meeting him at Bristol horror con last year and hearing him on a couple of podcasts (Three Guys With Beards & The Horror Show With Brian Keene) I knew I needed to check out some of his stuff. At the con I brought off him his book After The War, but knowing what a slow reader I was and that The Silence will be released as a movie sometime this year I believe, I wanted to read that one. So I got it on audiobook and although I’m only half way through it, it’s got under my skin. I thought The Ritual had an unsettling affect on me, but The Silence has gone deep. I almost stopped listening to it a quarter of the way through. It is so carefully crafted to trigger the readers own fears, even to the point where it feels like Lebbon’s written it just for me. Some of the elements here feel personal in a way I’ve not felt from a book before. That’s not to say books haven’t had an effect on me, because they have. Hell, a few have had me chocking up while others I’ve been punching them air in triumph and celebration.

As I was listening today I was thinking I’ll be finished it by the time I finished work at 3pm tomorrow, but I had to leave a day between the quarter way point of it and where I got to today, so I might resume it Monday and let the events in it sink in a little.

This book is really getting under my skin, and although it’s making me feel this way that’s what I feel is good horror. For horror to really work it has to make you feel how this is feeling. If I had to give this a rating right now it’ll easily be five stars.

I don’t have any ideas how this book will end, but I’ll be going in headfirst to find out.

Savant By Nik Abnett

Okay, so Savant is the story of Tobe and Metoo, and I don’t really want to say more about the story, simply because I don’t think I can give much of a description of it without giving something away.

Savant is a damn good, slow burn, which unravels as the pages pass. I found it to be a page turner which surprised me at how quickly I read it. I am a slow reader but with Savant I zipped through it at quite a lick for me. I think it was three weeks that I smashed through it with the last half of the book in about a week, which is pretty impressive for me. It really pulls you along and it’s easy to read it in small doses and not loose the momentum of the story.

The pace of the story is impressive, it never feels like it’s speeding up or slowing down but just leads up to the story’s climax very naturally. There’s no real world building in the story, but everything you need to know is revealed as the story progresses, and revealed at the right time to give the answers needed.

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The writing is very beautiful and it was easy to picture what was going on while not having too much detail of the surroundings inserted into the text.

If you want a book that spoon-feeds you everything, or is action packed, then this isn’t the book for you. If you want something that has depth, a little mystery, varied and engaging characters. A storyline that slowly gains pace to it’s climax, then this book is worth checking out.