Barks At Everything

Stay chill, it's only a silly book review.

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.

Hell House by Richard Matheson

Hell House - Richard Matheson, Ray Porter

Bought during Audible's $2.99 sale (10/13/17)! . It's more now, sorry about that.

 

A rich guy offers to pay a group of people to stay a few nights in a haunted house to prove there is life after death. All previous attempts to do such a stupid thing at this particular house have ended very badly for the suckers brave or stupid or hard-up enough to have a sleep-over. It’s no different this time around.

 

I read this book closely on the heels of finishing up Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which was probably a big mistake on my part as the premise of these two books is nearly identical and Jackson’s story didn’t thrill me the way it did most people. Same goes for Hell House though I did like it a wee bit more than Jackson’s story but probably only because it was more lurid and crazy-pants and I like that kind of thing but it does suffer from the same over the top characterization.

 

This story is much more sexually horrifying. Some of the things that happen within these pages are upsetting. Trust me on this. The house was basically turned into a pit of debauchery and hellish events when its original owner cuts loose with a group of hangers-on who dip into orgies, drugs, murder, cannibalism (as you will, I guess) and every other nasty thing your brain can imagine! The house is tainted and incredibly haunted by a horny ghost who eventually infects the woman folk and does shocking pervy things.

 

I listened to this story on audio and the narrator, Ray Porter, does an excellent job. He is deadly serious which suits the story and he manages to deliver the lady voices in a way that doesn’t make them sound completely ridiculous even when they’re forced to behave in overly hysterical ways. He does a good job with the men and the evil inhabiting the house as well.

 

I’m going to give this the same rating as the Jackson book. 3 Stars.

Halloween Carnival Vol. 1

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Brian James Freeman, Robert R. McCammon

Halloween Carnival is a collection of 3 short stories and two novellas. It would’ve been perfect reading on Halloween night but I’m a slacker and watched movies instead.

 

Strange Candy by Robert McCammon

 

A man thoughtlessly and rather stupidity (if you ask me) eats a strange looking piece of unwrapped candy out of his child's Halloween bag. Seriously, who does that?! After ingesting the gross thing, he finds himself no longer in his living room and begins to meet strangers who give him final messages to pass along to their loved ones. He writes nothing down but manages to remember it all. Ah, to have such a brain, what must that be like? Anyway, it has a twisty-twist at the end. It’s sad and I really enjoyed it all. 4 Stars

 

The Rage of Achilles or When Mockingbirds Sing by Kevin Lucia

 

Father Ward wasn't expecting a visitor on Halloween but he got one anyway. A grief stricken father begs for absolution. This is another sad story about love, grief and regret and a dedicated priest who witnesses the supernatural. It’ll haunt you with its beautiful sorrow. 4.5 Stars

 

Demon Air by John R. little

 

This story? I don’t know what it was besides a great disappointment to me. A woman is on a flight to find herself and she does a lot of navel gazing for most of the story until things finally go strangely awry. When the pilot thanks everyone for flying “Demon Air” I was entranced. Gross things begin to happen, passengers are tormented and then it abruptly ends and the fun is over nearly before it’s begun. Such a tease! This story had quite a bit of promise but in the end was a total let down. It felt rushed and unfocused and as if two stories were smashed together and neither ended up satisfying in the end. 2 Stars

 

La Hacienda de los Muertos Lisa Morton

 

Trick is a washed up actor ready to film a horror flick in the most haunted town in Mexico. Before the film can get going, Trick must deal with the supernatural. I thought this was interesting but pretty standard stuff. It wasn’t sad, or horrible or particularly scary either. I’d give it a 3.

 

#MakeHalloweenScaryAgain Mark Allan Gunnells

 

A horror writer posts a hashtag on his Facebook page hoping to drum up a little interest in his novels but he attracts a weirdo who takes it way too seriously instead. Now he’s involved in a murder investigation and spends the days leading up to Halloween hunting down the madman terrorizing his town. This was a decent, if slightly predictable, tale of mystery, murder, and Halloween that kept me turning the pages to discover if I was right about the killer and I was! I feel so smart :) 3 Stars

 

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

DNF: The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer, Ellen Archer

My friend, who probably has better taste than me and far more in the way of patience, graciously allowed me to borrow her hardcover copy of this tome. Me, being me, knew I would never finish it in this decade and decided to read it the old fashioned way and in audio so I could speed my way through it. 

That did not happen.

Juliana AKA Alex is a chemist/torturer/super smart lady who is on the run from her former employer who was up to nefarious deeds. They have already murdered her mentor who was the only person she cared about in the whole wide world. She fears she’s next because, well, her mentor is dead! So what does she do next? She accepts an assignment from her former employer hoping they will now leave her alone and she can live a somewhat normal life and won’t have to suit up with toxins and weaponry and sleep with a gas mask on her face every night. I was a little confused on this logic but I could’ve mixed things up because I might’ve been daydreaming a little when the many boring details began to lose me.

Anyway, her next assignment includes abducting a man suspected of carrying a biological weapon capable of starting a plague. He is a handsome, long haired, hazel eyed school teacher whose wife left him years ago because he wasn’t able to give her the life of luxury she felt she deserved. He even builds houses for Habitat for Humanity in his spare time. Clearly a good guy, right? But wait. Alex has pictures proving he is up to no good! Even though it seems improbable, she has proof that he’s been having secret meetings with the nefarious evil-doers who, along with his help, will unleash a devastating plague upon the population.

Yes! Count me in.

Alex doesn’t usually speak to her targets but she makes the mistake of chatting up this one and it turns out he’s quite alright. Seems like a nice guy even and he’s really cute. But she has a job to do and she jabs him with an ecstasy/truth serum blend she’s cooked up for the occasion and she learns that he is most likely innocent and that he likes her face. I suppose I can guess where this is going and it won’t end with the plague.

Darn it all!

It’s here that things went from a little boring to insta-romancy in the blink of an eye and I’m left wondering where the “gripping page-turner” the blurb promised me ran off to. 

But I plundered on and wish I hadn’t because, call me a wuss if you will, dogs have now died. Smart, loyal, beautiful, innocent dogs have lost their lives for these two incompetents and I am pissed off, sad for the doggies and disappointed with the way this book is going and doubt it will ever recover enough to grab my attention. And though the narrator is competent, this story has dragged out for way too long.



I’m calling it a day at just over the 50% mark. My dear friend had good intentions but this book was not meant for me.

Have You Tried Bookishfirst?

I won this book from Bookishfirst, Netgalley's sister site for readers. I'm thrilled to receive a real book as a win (!) but I honestly wasn't expecting to win anything and, crap, now I have three weeks to get it read!! Patrick is unconcerned.

 

 

For those who don't know, Bookishfirst features excerpts of a handful of upcoming releases. They ask that you read any that tickles your fancy and write a review of the excerpt and then you'll get tossed into a lottery to win the actual book. If you win, you have three weeks to write the review (yikes!). You will get points for any excerpt you read and any reviews you submit and when you gather enough points you can choose a free book. I thought this was very strange new thing (who the heck reviews excerpts?) but I'm curious and nosy and signed on to see what it was all about. At first I thought this was a weird way to go about gathering reviews and honestly would be a waste of time for myself who should be reading full books since my house is full of them but like I said I'm nosy so I tried it out. It was actually pretty simple. The excerpts were only a few chapters and the excerpt reviews are first impressions and simple to toss off. I've won twice now probably because this thing is so new. Perhaps I should've kept this secret to myself?! I love actual "books" so this new thing is pretty cool. If you like ebooks, however, I've only seen one on offer. I'm guessing this service provides additional exposure and lots of buzz for the books in the program? I don't know, it's kind of fun though and I'll likely try another when I get through this one.

 

Here's the latest round of books up for "excerpt review". All are paperbacks except the last.

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Off Limits by [Connelly, Clare]
Ebook


Have you tried out Bookishfirst?
 

 

Audrey Rose by Frank DeFelitta

Audrey Rose - Frank De Felitta, Matt Godfrey

Courtesy of Valancourt Books & Audiobookboom, thanks!

 

I have vague memories of being afraid of this movie when I was kid and that was all I remembered so when the chance came around to listen to the audio I grabbed it. I’m terribly impulsive like that.

 

The Templeton’s have a lovely home in Manhattan, a beautiful young daughter and an all-around perfect life. You know that’s all blessedly coming to crashing halt right now, don’t you? One day a strange man starts lurking about, sending gifts and doing other strange stalkery things. Who is this weirdo and why is he tarnishing their perfect world with his pestering? He eventually reveals that their beautiful daughter Ivy is the reincarnation of his deceased little girl Audrey Rose and he wants to be a part of her life!

 

Oh no.

 

That’s scary stuff for any parent, even these two. I say that because in one of the most disturbing scenes for me, they both ignored the fact that their adult neighbor/friend looked at Ivy’s blossoming bosom and made a lewd comment (she’s 10 or 11, btw) and then they all continued on with their festivities. Are you kidding me? I’d like to think that things weren’t that different in the 70’s. That pedo should’ve been stabbed in the manparts and unwelcomed forever. This didn’t give me hope for the well-being of poor Ivy.

 

Moving along . . . the stalker-man thinks it a wise idea to kidnap dear Ivy who is suffering from terrible night terrors and a courtroom drama consumes the plot for way too long. This is where the book pretty much lost me. No fault to the book but courtroom dramas are one of my least favorite things in the world. Seeing as I didn’t particularly care for any of the parents and the woo-woo wasn’t that interesting to me, I started to wish I were reading something else.

 

The only thing keeping me going, and I do not exaggerate here, was the narration by Matt Godfrey. I swear that man and Will Patton could read their grocery lists and I would be enraptured. Godfrey’s voice is comforting and calming to me and he does great work with all of the characters. I know for an almost fact that I would’ve DNF’d this book had I tried to read it in paperback/Kindle form because I have no tolerance for books that bore me and that’s what this one did.

 

If you want to revisit the 70’s with this book, make sure you grab the audiobook!

 

I’d give the story a 2 but the narration a 5 which averages out to a three (hey, my review, my math!).

Audible Has Introduced An "All You Can Eat" Romance Streaming Service

  

Audible:  https://www.audible.com/ep/Romance-Package?source_code=SNGGBWS1031170027

 

The cost:  $14.95 or $6.95 for KU & Audible subscribers. Supposedly it has a catalog of 10,000 romances and you can listen to as many as you can consume (update from Audible: This service would be similar to Kindle Unlimited and you would be able to borrow up to ten books at a time and keep them for as long as you want. You can also swap them out whenever you are ready.) Sounds intriguing and I say FINALLY and friggin' yay (and we need one for horror) but the articles coming out today are pissing me off. Apparently Audible has added a new feature that allows one to type in terms to bring you to the good parts; sexy bits, witty banter, etc. It sounds unnecessary and like click-bait to me but it's brought out the misinformed who think romance readers are nitwits only reading for the sex. Dum dums. That's what Monster-porn is for. I totally read that stuff for the story.

 

Idiot #1:  https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/01/audibles-new-romance-audiobooks-service-uses-machine-learning-to-jump-to-the-sex-scenes/?ncid=rss

 

"Let’s admit it: you probably aren’t reading that romance novel for the plot. Or its literary value. Audible knows this, and is today launching a new collection of romance-themed audiobooks that come with a handy feature that lets you skip right to the action. Called “Take Me To The Good Part,” the feature will fast-forward you to the steamy sections of the audiobook, says Audible."

 

 

Idiot #2:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/11/01/audible-romance-takes-you-steamiest-parts/819212001/

 

"You devour romance novels to get to—ok, admit it—the steamiest parts."

 

Seriously, are we still in the 80's?! Do horror readers read horror only to skip to the gory bits, mystery readers to the murder? This makes me so incredibly mad and I don't even read a lot of romance (but when I do it IS for the plot and characters you presumptuous snobs!). 

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

I read this for my real life book group which met and talked about this book two Monday's ago. Yep, I'm always with the program.

 

There is no point in writing a review for this book since I am still lazy and there are currently 37211 reviews on Goodreads and 141 of them written by my friends alone. This sounds like as good an excuse as any to duck out of a real review and just tell you that I loved it. I loved Ove, I loved his Aggravation Cat and I loved his relationship with sassy Parvenah (sp?) and her family. And mostly I loved that the old grump found a purpose to keep on living which is something so many people never find. It’s just a lovely story. You should read it if you haven’t already.

Reading progress update: I've listened 665 out of 826 minutes.

Audrey Rose - Frank De Felitta, Matt Godfrey

Oh no. It's turned into a courtroom drama. Crap, those are my least favorite. Kill me now.

 

 

The narration is top-notch and rather comforting though so I shall finish.

75% Done & no one will let me finish this book!

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

 

 

 

My Halloween 2017 Bingo Card

It - Stephen King The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn The Halloween Children - Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss Gwendy's Button Box - Stephen King, Richard Chizmar Prawn of the Dead (Lemon Layne Mystery) - Dakota Cassidy, Hollie Jackson You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott, Lauren Fortgang

UPDATE: I don't think I'm going to get a Bingo. I've been in a bit of a slump the last two weeks and haven't felt much like reading. Next year I'll focus on reading books based on the bingo calls. I've been reading all over the place and have a few waiting in the wings for a call. 

 

I'm only posting a marker for books that I've finished that have been called because it is clear I will never be organized enough to follow a game correctly. 

 

I will update and bump this post if I ever get a Bingo!

 

 

 

Called & Read

 

Terror In A Small Town:  IT by Stephen King

Ghost: The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn

Chilling Children:  The Halloween Children by Norman Prentiss 

Magical Realism:  Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Murder Most Foul: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Amateur Sleuth: Prawn of the Dead by Dakota Cassidy 

Vampires The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

 

Read, Not Called

 
Classic Horror: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 

Raven ?? Fidget Spinners Destroyed My Life by George Billions

American Horror Story Blanky by Keanan Patrick Burke

 

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott, Lauren Fortgang

My will to review has left the building so this book is getting shafted. Sorry book, you kept me entertained but the words have deserted me. 

I’m giving this one a 4. It was decent, the narrator was engaging and she kept me listening but I figured out the murdery bits long before they were exposed and that is not like me at all. I didn’t understand the “why” of it though and am still not sure I do even when it was explained. 

This book is busting at the seams with some very flawed and unlikable teens and adults. They’re all pretty awful at one point or another. There’s only one little boy that is a decent human but he’ll be ruined in no time hanging around this bunch. If scarlet fever or neglect don't do him in first!

The story revolves around a young gymnast and Olympic hopeful and the dastardly people surrounding that competitive world. Having had a child in a competitive sport for too many years, I can tell you these people are REAL and I was never so happy as the day my kid told me she wanted to quit and just be a kid for a while and I could go back to spending my weekends sleeping in and doing whatever the hell I wanted to do instead of adhering to someone else’s demanding schedule. I don’t know how decent people manage to escape that kind of thing with their sanity intact. Well, some of them don’t in this book and it’s glorious! There are rages, jealous fits, and venomous conversations. It’s all pretty awesome but I was just a wee bit let down at the end but I can’t tell you why without exposing too much.

 

I'll be using this for the Murder Most Foul Square.

 

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Gwendy's Button Box - Stephen King, Richard Chizmar

I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook read by Maggie Siff who starred in Son’s of Anarchy. I never watched that show because there’s no monsters in it (I know, I am a terrible person, no need to tell me) so I don’t know her work. I learned this from listening to the Q&A with King & Chizmar at the end of the audio. Methinks they might’ve been enamored a little with her work on the show. She’s a little flat at times but overall does a decent enough job with the material but, honestly, I’ve heard better narrators and her performance wasn’t anything to get all that excited about.

 

Since this is a short story and I am a lazy bum I’m going to be brief. One lovely summer day when Gwendy is a tween doing her best to get healthy and shed herself of a nasty nickname by exercising herself silly, she spies a strange man who offers her a very special button box. This box, he sinisterly promises, will dispense magical chocolates that will curb her hunger. It will also spit out silver coins that’ll help put her through college. Well, Gwendy is a smart girl and she takes that box home despite her misgivings about keeping a box that has a potentially very dark side . . .

 

This was an eerie little story more magical realism than horror but I enjoyed it even though I wish it had been longer. I kept waiting for something dreadful to happen and eventually it does. It is partially a King story, after all! Honestly, I would’ve liked to have seen even more dreadful events and to have had a darker ending but I did get that in the second story included in this audio “The Music Room”. That story gets five stars. It was short, comical and as pitch-black as it gets.

 

I'll be using this book for the Magical Realism Square.

 

BookLikes How to: book search tips

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Searching books isn't always a piece of cake, especially with a never-ending virtual bookshelf and a catalog with multiple editions. Jenn, to the rescue with some handy tips for all BookLikers! 

 

-- A guest post by Jenn, Murder by Death

 

The first and best way to find a title in the book database is to search by ISBN (or ASIN).  There are a couple of benefits to using ISBN for searching:  it will find the edition you have in your hand, and if it isn’t in the database, searching by ISBN/ASIN will kick off an import of the book, saving you all the work of having to either add it yourself, or asking a librarian to add it for you.

 

(Tip:  If you search by ISBN and multiple entries of the same title come up, let a librarian know by filing a book report.  That way they can merge the multiple records into one correct edition.)

 

Sometimes you don’t have the ISBN/ASIN handy, or the book is too old to have one.  Then it’s helpful to know a few tips about how to get the most out of BookLikes search.

 

Note: there are two search fields covered in today’s tips:  the BookLikes database, which is the field at the top right corner of the BookLikes pages, and the search field on your shelf page, which only searches the books you’ve shelved and has a different set of rules.

 

 

Searching the BookLikes book database

 

Generally, searching by title is very straightforward, especially for unusual titles, like The Maul and the Pear Tree, but the infinite variety of titles guarantees that some will work better than others without having to tweak how you search. 

 

Partial titles work. If they’re unusual enough.  So using The Maul and the Pear Tree, I can get away with searching The Maul and, although just searching The Maul is not enough: 

 

 

 

Articles A / An / The are optional:  UNLESS it’s a really common title.  So while The Wychford Poisoning Case and Wychford Poisoning Case will both return the book I’m looking for, if I try to search for A Shock to the System by Simon Brett, I’m better off including that A. 

 

 

 

 

Special characters:  The book database search is pretty forgiving overall (see note below) when it comes to &, apostrophes, commas, non-english alpha characters etc.  So searching for Mr. Pottermack’s Oversight will work as well as Mr Pottermacks Oversight, although the number of results returned might vary.    

 

 

 

Likewise, searching Jo Nesbø will return results for Jo Nesbo and vice versa.

 

(Note: there are some exceptions for non-english characters; when in doubt, try both.  This also holds true for the ampersand [&]; while I generally find it is interchangeable with ‘and’ there have been exceptions, so it’s always good to try both.)

 

 

When you’re getting too many results and none of them are the book you’re looking for.

 

Let’s say I’m looking for Ten by Gretchen McNeil. This is like searching ‘cats’ on google.  It’s too common a word and I’m going to get results that look like this:

 

 

 

Of course searching Ten Gretchen McNeil works, but generally the less typing, the better.  With that in mind, I tweak the search so that it says Ten Gretchen. Now I get:

 

 

Ten McNeil also works, but gives us two results. It’s always better to use the least common words when you have the choice to do so.  So if you’re trying to find a title that’s likely to return a lot of results, using part or all of the author’s name too will find your book faster.

 

 

Omnibuses are omnipresent

Because the BL database searches for all records that match the words you searched for, omnibus editions, if they exist, will appear in the results.  So searching for Murder on the Orient Express will return the single title edition as well as any omnibuses that include it as part of the title.   Most of the time the single edition title will appear at the top, but sometimes the omnibuses will overtake them and you’ll have to do a bit of scrolling.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:  At the time of this writing, books that have been published under different titles in different countries and tied/combined together in the system can only be found by one of the titles (the ‘main’ one).  For example, Agatha Christie’s book Lord Edgware Dies was published in the US as Thirteen at Dinner.  As it’s the same book, they’re combined under Lord Edgware Dies.  This means that, at present, a search for Thirteen at Dinner only turns up omnibuses that contain that story.  This is a bug and it has been reported to BookLikes.  In the meantime, if you can’t find your book and you know of an alternate title, try searching by that title.

 

 

 

Searching your shelves

 

The search function for your shelves (the field that sits atop your shelves instead of at the top right of the page) is an entirely different beast from the book database search and can be summed up briefly:  This is an EXACT MATCH search function.  If a title has apostrophes, commas or any other special characters and you don’t include them, the search won’t find your books.

 

This means if I’m trying to find The Devil’s Novice by Ellis Peters on my shelves and I type in The Devils Novice (no apostrophe), it’s going to return zero results. 

 

How to get around this:  I either have to include all the punctuation in the title OR just search for a part of the title.  So searching Novice (or novice - it’s not case sensitive) will bring up my shelved book.  Other searches that will work include:  Devil (because it will search partial words), and Ellis Peters although these will return multiple results.

 

Note: you cannot use partial words combined with additional terms:  Devil Ellis or Devil Ellis Peters does NOT work; partial words must be used alone.

 

The best rule of thumb for searching your shelves is, unless you know the EXACT name of the book, stick to a few words of the title: Miss Peregrine instead of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  The shorter the search terms (while still keeping them effective) the smaller the margin of error.

 

Still not finding your book?

  1. Is it spelled right? It’s always worth double checking, as BL doesn’t have “did you mean” functionality.  If the book has been published under an alternate title and you know it, try searching by that title instead and then looking under “other editions” on the book page.
  2. Search by ISBN/ASIN: if it’s not in the system, it will be by the time the search finishes.
  3. If there’s no ISBN/ASIN on the book, try searching by author; sometimes a record will have the wrong language setting, keeping it from appearing in the results.
  4. Add the book. If it’s still nowhere to be found, please consider taking the time to add the book to the database so that it will be there when the next reader comes looking.

 

 

Have you had a particularly challenging time trying to find a book?  If so, please share it in the comments below; sometimes a title needs some special love from the librarians (bad imports leaving languages out, etc), or someone else might have a tip to make those searches work better.

 

Happy BookLiking!

Sorry Sir, You Have Been Led Astray

"Thank you for your time, This is . . . We know you are friendly and warmhearted person from one of my friends. We are looking for someone to write product reviews in exchange for free samples and we expect you , Would you like to do us a favor. If you like, You can test two of them.

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071SJ2MV8/keywords=Roasting+ Sticks

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072C6CXV8/keywords=Can+Opener

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072K67YLL/keywords=Ball+Pump"

 

Hee hee, These product review requests from junk peddlers attempting to sidestep Amazon rules are always good for a laugh on a crappy work day!

 

 

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke

Blanky is a grief saturated read that will ring true for anyone who has ever lost anyone prematurely.  It nails those dark, hopeless feelings that envelop you in the early stages of grief. It’s sad and it’s scary and it packs an incredible punch in so few pages. This kind of writing, the kind that is able to creep into my heart and shatter it, is what  keeps me coming back to books when there are always so many other things trying to pull me away from them.

“One rainy night I put her to bed and when I woke up, she was dead. That was the beginning of the end of my world. This is the rest of it.”

Steve is drowning in grief and he is all alone. His wife, unable to deal with their loss, has left to live with her parents for a while and Steve’s isolation and sadness is a living, breathing, soul sucking thing.

"We always said nothing would come between us, that there was nothing we couldn’t conquer. I know at the time we never imagined in a million years it would be something this fucking apocalyptic, but still...I meant it then and I mean it now. We’re stronger together than we’ll ever be alone.” “I know, but...I see her in you, Stephen. She had your eyes, and it got so that looking at you felt like looking at her, and all I could see was the accusation, the blame. I couldn’t bear it. I still can’t.”

Ouch, right? Talk about raw emotion. The writing here is so strong that it almost physically hurts to read these thoughts and experience the sadness that engulfs both of them.

One day Steve ventures into his deceased baby’s room and finds her blanky. The blanky that he could’ve sworn she was swaddled in when she was handed over to the paramedics. The blanky that should not be in her room . . .  Finding the blanky stirs a series of events that become increasingly sinister. Is Steve experiencing something supernatural or is it something far worse? I’m not a jerk and am not going to be the one to tell you!

This story gets all the stars. It is bleak and it may haunt you but I think all of you horror people should read it.

 

I'm going to use this for the American Horror Story square.

 

The Halloween Children by Norman Prentiss & Brian James Freeman

The Halloween Children - Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss

I’m giving The Halloween Children a solid four stars because it created a smothering sense of creepiness and managed to maintain it throughout the entire story and it held my attention from beginning to end. You know from the beginning that something terrible is coming but you’re never sure exactly what form that terribleness is going to take and when it’s finally revealed in all its gruesomeness it is quite terrible indeed!

 

But this isn’t a five star read for me because it is told by two very unreliable narrators and in the end many things were left unanswered. So many things! The authors could potentially write another short story just tying off all the dangly bits. I don’t need everything wrapped up in a bloody little bow but when I finished this story I felt like I needed to read it again in an attempt to learn more.

 

Basically it’s a story set in an apartment complex that may or may not be inhabited by insane occupants, murderous humans small and large, soul-stealing demons, or perhaps evil, whispering ghosts. Take your pick or choose them all, if you wish. Harris and Lynn are our main narrators and neither are very stable personalities, though usually entertaining to listen to. They have two children and they each favor a particular child and don’t work too hard at hiding their feelings. That’ll mess a kid up, just saying.

 

Harris is the building maintenance man and starts to notice some very strange and usually smelly events occurring when he’s out on late night calls. When the party pooping property manager cancels the Halloween party the events ramp up and this strangeness begins to infect his personal space and, well, I can’t tell you any more without spoiling too much.

 

This is a great little story to read on Halloween. It has some delightfully ghastly imagery, creeped me out and even made me laugh a few times. I am very glad that I no longer live in an apartment complex and that I always bought candy for the brats when I did! I received an ARC of this story from Netgalley, thanks Netgalley. I also read this book to participate in the Horror Aficionados October Group Read.

 

I'm going to use this for my Chilling Children square.

 

 

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