Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

May 15, 2019 - 5:31 am 1 Comment

When I read the blurb “Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will” I knew I had to be on the blog tour for Stoker’s Wilde written by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Published by Flame Tree Press and will be out on 30th May 2019

384 pages

Even if you are not a horror lover, you would have heard of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. Two successful and popular authors, but where did they get their ideas for their most famous books. This story will hopefully explain all this and more.

As soon as you start reading this book, you notice that the story is told using correspondence, journal and diary entries and even an interview to tell Stoker and Wilde’s adventure. This was a new way for me to read a story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story flowed smoothly and as some scenes were written from a few characters perspective, you get the whole story. Some of my favourite scenes were reading Stoker and Wilde’s journal entries and I did have a snigger to myself reading the entries when they were bitching about each other. In fact, at times you can really tell just how much they despised each other.

From the first page, you are taken on a supernatural adventure where you come across werewolves, visions and nests of vampires. The subject matter was well researched and as I was reading the book I would google every new character I came across, to see if they had any connection to Stoker and Wilde. There are hints to some of their popular stories throughout this book and I loved how these were linked to the hunt for the Black Bishop. The descriptiveness of the scenery had me feeling that I was there, watching the performances at the theatre or following them as they were hunting for vampires.

This was a fast-paced read with some unexpected twists and whilst I read it fairly quickly, I did not want it to end. I hope that the authors will write a sequel as I would love to see where Stoker and Wilde end up. This is a must-read for Horror lovers 

Meet the authors

 Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time travelling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practising photography. Melissa Prusi Melissa Prusi was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (often mistaken for Canada), and studied video and film production at Northern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. She’s been a video editor, a semi-professional film reviewer, a three-time champion on the quiz show Jeopardy!, and a Guinness world record holder (1990 edition, for directing the longest live television show). They met in a college screenwriting class and married three years later. They spent a brief time in Los Angeles, where they both worked for Warner Bros. television. They eventually ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they love the arts scene but dread the winters. While they both currently make a living as website content managers, they have sold two screenplays, which have been lost to development hell. They’ve indulged their fascination with Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde through trips to Dublin and London to research their lives and visit sites mentioned in Stoker’s Wilde. They live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with their two cats. If they’re not writing, you can usually find them at a movie, local theater production, improv show or pub quiz.

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz

May 8, 2019 - 5:17 am 1 Comment

My turn on the blog tour for House of Skin

Myles Carver is dead. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz

Published by Flame Tree Press on 9th May 2019

304 pages

When Paul inherited a large estate from his estranged uncle, the thing was that he had no idea why his family didn’t talk about him. Paul was the black sheep of family forced to go into the family business whilst all he wanted to do was become a writer. Once he moves into Watermere, his uncle’s estate, he knew it was the change he needed. As soon as he is there, he is up against prejudice and as you get further into the story, you get an understanding why the town does not like the Carver family. To add to his problems, men are disappearing from the town.

Sheriff Sam Barlow knew Myles Carver personally and Librarian Julia Merrow had her own secrets, that she did not want anyone finding out. Inserted throughout the story was the back stories of Annabel and Myles which gave you a clear picture who and what was occurring in the house. As Paul was trying to write, his work in progress adds to the mystery of the house   

Written in 3rd person POV enables you to get to know the handful of characters in fine detail as each one had their own story to tell on how Myles Carver ruined their lives. There are graphic scenes throughout this story, which adds to the sense that something evil is occurring in the house. One of my favourite scenes was what happened to Emily in the ballroom. I love reading books that has me on tender hooks, as I am turning the pages waiting for something to figurally jump out at me and give me a fright and this book ticked the box.

This is the 2nd book I have read by this author and I am looking forward to reading more of their work

When Paul inherited a large estate from his estranged uncle, the thing was that he had no idea why his family didn’t talk about him. Paul was the black sheep of family forced to go into the family business whilst all he wanted to do was become a writer. Once he moves into Watermere, his uncle’s estate, he knew it was the change he needed. As soon as he is there, he is up against prejudice and as you get further into the story, you get an understanding of why the town does not like the Carver family. To add to his problems, men are disappearing from the town.
Sheriff Sam Barlow knew Myles Carver personally and Librarian Julia Merrow had her own secrets, that she did not want anyone finding out. Inserted throughout the story was the back stories of Annabel and Myles which gave you a clear picture who and what was occurring in the house. As Paul was trying to write, his work in progress adds to the mystery of the house
Written in 3rd person POV enables you to get to know the handful of characters in fine detail as each one had their own story to tell on how Myles Carver ruined their lives. There are graphic scenes throughout this story, which adds to the sense that something evil is occurring in the house. One of my favourite scenes was what happened to Emily in the ballroom. I love reading books that have me on tenterhooks, as I am turning the pages waiting for something to figurally jump out at me and give me a fright and this book ticked the box.
This is the 2nd book I have read by this author and I am looking forward to reading more of his work

 Meet the author:

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story” Since then Jonathan’s work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith, and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species, and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz’s Shadow Side. His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August 2015-September 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School Library Journal, and Cemetery Dance. In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim. Jonathan’s primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true.

You can learn more about Janz at http://www.jonathanjanz.com.

Osgood As Gone: A Spectral Inspector Mystery (Book 1) by Cooper S Beckett

April 27, 2019 - 3:17 pm No Comments

Osgood As Gone: A Spectral Inspector Mystery (Book 1) by Cooper S Beckett

Published by Horror & Carnage Press on 22nd April 2019

356 pages

When a mysterious email turns up in Prudence Osgood’s inbox, is it a prank or will it be the start of something sinister? With the help of Zack, her partner in crime can she get back into the investigating.

Straight away I liked Prudence Osgood, she wasn’t little miss perfect and had to work for everything she accomplished. Having been injured in a car crash over 10 years ago, she was getting through the day with a mixture of alcohol and painkillers. She had a way of rubbing people up the wrong way, but underneath her cold exterior, she had a heart of gold and hated having to rely on others for help. As you read her story, you learn more about her big break up with the love of her life Audrey Frost and how it ruined both their careers. But when the case reveals information that would affect Audrey, Osgood puts the animosity behind her to involve Audrey and the longer they spend together, you can see their defences start to crumble.  Zach was the computer geek, having all the high tech gadgets, he was a whizz with search engines and knew people in the know, who could help them, although I did think he was a bit excited when he got to play with a record player.

The mystery was well plotted and even though there was a lot going on, secret messages, an aged rock band, vinyl records, missing people and mysterious messages, you can follow the plot with ease. The story is a steady pace until the last quarter of the book when you sense that Osgood is nearer to find out what is going on. The scenes are more intense and I found myself putting real life on hold to finish the story. As well as solving the mystery Osgood has quite graphic nightmares and through these, you learn just how horrific the car crash was and the closer Osgood comes to cracking the mystery, the more graphic the nightmare become.   

This book has it all, horror, a mystery, love and some laugh out loud moments usually down to Osgood’s quick wit. Finishing on a cliff-hanger, I hope I don’t have to wait long for some more of Osgood and I will be following this author closely to see when it is going to be published.

The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

April 23, 2019 - 8:24 am 1 Comment

My turn has come on The Pale Ones blog tour, written by a new to me author Bartholomew Bennett. Here are my thoughts…….

The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

Published by Inkandescent on 17th October 2018

98 pages

One thing my daughter and I love doing together is going around charity shops, “rescuing” abandoned books. To buy a book that you have been looking for ages, opening it up, reading the dedication in the book, wondering why they gave it away. A train ticket falls out, Where had the previous owner travelled to? When did they read the book?   

As I was reading this story, I did feel sorry for the protagonist. I had a sense he led a lonely life and his only enjoyment was finding his next fortune. Written in 1st person POV, you follow the protagonist as he tries and makes a living selling secondhand books.  On one of his bargain hunts, he runs into Harris, a book dealer with a secret, who takes him on one of his buying trips around Yorkshire. Harris was a strange character, was he a supernatural or was he just eccentric. There were unanswered questions, but it made me fill in the gaps and make my own opinion on Harris. The journey round Yorkshire has you wondering what Harris is out to achieve.     

Even after the journey, his life was not a happy one, trying to rebuild his life after another tragic event hits him. The characters they meet on their journey, are the type you would bump into in your regular life and I can guarantee that you could walk into any charity shop in the country and bump into one the ladies serving you.

Whilst there are no graphic scenes, there is that hunch that something is going to happen, it’s the feeling that there is a presence in the shadows just loitering in your peripheral vision.

This is a book that I will re-read as I am sure that If I read it again, I will come up with completely different views on Harris and his reasons behind collecting unforgotten books. I am sure that other readers will come up with their own ideas of what the pale ones are. This will be a good book to read in a book club so everyone could share their own opinions.    

Bartholomew Bennett was born in Leicester to an American father and English mother. Since childhood he has been a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. He has a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia and is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group. He has had various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk, call-centre rep, decorator and handy-man. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling. Currently he lives in southeast London with his wife and two children. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…   

Inkandescent are committed to voices underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Their first publication Threads – a deftly weft and delightfully warped tapestry of poetry and photography – was funded by Arts Council England and long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize, of which their second publication, AutoFellatio – James Maker’s memoir remastered with new chapters and never-seen photographs – was the inaugural winner. http://www.inkandescent.co.uk

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

April 20, 2019 - 10:41 am No Comments

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

Published by Crossroad Press Macabre Ink on 19th May 2016

310 pages

One thing I enjoy is short stories, the chance to read a complete story whenever I can get the chance. With 17 different stories, I had plenty of choices. Before each short story, the author gives an insight into how the story was created and where they got their inspiration from. For this review I am going to mention my favourites.    

Opening up with Wedding Day: it’s a story about loss. As you read this, the main protagonist emotions are raw. You can sense just how much they are grieving as they reminisce. The ending was a fitting end

The Thirst: the story about a lone vampire trying to survive after a disaster has nearly wiped out their food supply. There was a sadness to this story, you are left wondering how the vampire will survive without human blood and what a lonely existence.

Clown Town: The longest of the short stories and the story connected to the cover. We follow Detective Bumbo and Inspector Garbo as they try and solve the murder of Angeletta Trivelino at the renowned night club Marceau’s. The story is a crime noir and as I was reading it, I was imagining it being played out on a black and white TV being narrated by a gravelly voiced actor. The little touches to this story added to the enjoyment, whether it was the style of the clown’s makeup or every now and again Garbo would squeeze his horn to emphasise an emotion. Running throughout the story was Bumbo’s love story and his own femme fatale. I would enjoy reading further stories involving Bumbo and Garbo.

Chirality: Hattie Caulfield was out on her daily treks across the mountains and comes across a missing child. This was an easy-going story as you follow Hattie. I loved the twist at the end.

The Politics of Dancing: As I have not read any of this author before, I had not come across Cleese. However, after reading this story, I do want to find out more about him. Working for MEST, he is like a clean-up/hit squad for the undead. A zombie terminator. A quick read with plenty of action.

I enjoyed this book and with its mixture of genres, it will appeal to more than horror fans.