Bark at the Ghouls

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.

Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

To Be Devoured - Sara Tantlinger

 

Read for the New Release square.

 

Holy shit. This is how horror is done. Review later after I put myself back together.

Here it is:

“I was a mean, morbid girl, and I resented everyone and their perfect, living family members. “

TO BE DEVOURED does everything a five star horror novel should do, if you ask me. It unnerves, it sickens, it terrifies and it lingers well after you turn the final page. With that said it is not a story for everyone because it is fucking brutal and disturbing on a level most books never reach.

Andi has anger issues and morbid compulsions but she’s in a relatively stable relationship with girlfriend Luna until Luna unkindly rejects Andi’s gift that she so painstakingly created over several months. Soon enough Andi begins obsessing far too much on the vultures she sees lurking near her home. They invade her dreams and start to invade her waking moments. What does carrion taste like? Will it fill her up? Fill up the emptiness always dwelling inside of her, as it does the vultures?

To say any more is to say too much.

I hadn’t read author Sara Tantlinger before this work crossed my path but my fellow #LadiesOfHorrorFiction adore her poetry and once I began this book it was clear this work was written by a poet. The words are beautifully composed and often grossly descriptive, terribly bleak, and the mood is set to pitch black where it stays in nearly every scene.

It is a dark and grotesque descent into madness but the character of Andi is so well drawn I found myself agreeing with many of her thoughts, at least earlier on, haha. Those anger filled feelings fueled by grief were vivid and potent and excellently put down on the page. Her thoughts on death and its aftermath and all of the crazy customs that go along with it feel so very accurate. But I am strange, I suppose. I tell my husband and children to bury me in the backyard and give me back to the earth if I happen to keel over young because the thought of being pumped full of chemicals so people can “say goodbye” to my rotting corpse haunts me. See me when I’m alive or don’t bother and let me feed the earth or the squirrels when I’m dead. That is far more natural to me. They laugh but I’m truly only half joking.

“Our bodies have ruined the earth, it seems only right such bodies give back to nature, to the animals.”

Anyhow, what I guess I’m trying to say, is that this book takes those feelings of pain and loss and rejection that some of us experience way too young, when we aren’t properly equipped to handle any of it, and ponders what might happen if one allowed those feelings to twist and simmer and transform into an internal and unnatural dialogue that takes the horror out of horrifying thoughts and actions. This book does that and it’s not one I’ll forget easily.

As I said, this book isn’t for everyone. There’s a scene that I wanted so badly to look away from but couldn’t because I had to keep reading. Don’t take that as a gentle warning. It’s something you won’t be able to unread. If you’re up for it, you’ll be repulsed and rattled by its dark beauty and it will haunt you on an intimate level. That I can pretty much guarantee.

Teeth In the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Teeth In The Mist - Dawn Kurtagich

 

Read for the Demons square.

 

“You wield power no woman aught. You should be burned ALIVE!”

I listened to Teeth in the Mist on audio and the production is truly fantastic and creepy but I have also heard the paper version includes lots of little extras and artwork that you miss out on if listening only to the audio. As I’m a wee bit confused and feeling a little dazed after my listening, as if I just awoke from a fuzzy nightmare, I may go ahead and splurge for the hardcover and give it a reread and see if I can clarify some things or if I were meant to feel this way. Either way I don’t regret listening to this disturbing tale!

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. There’s a lot to it and words are failing me. There are three timelines but the book mainly focuses on two of them but know that the third is very, very important. Listening to the audio, I found myself getting tripped up in the timelines. There are two girls who make a treacherous trip up a mountain to a sinister looking and for sure haunted house and I kept mixing up who was who and who was with who and their backstories but that may just be me and my faulty brain or because it was on audio. Honestly, I don’t think this a book you can listen to while doing much else. It needs your 100% focus.

There are some great characters here, strong-willed girls with tempers and creative curses and painful backstories. I don’t want to go into the plot too much but when mentions of Faustus, spells, witches, ghosts, curses and the glowing red eyes of a black ram (who may or not be related to Black Phillip!) kept appearing I had no idea where this book was leading me but I sure as hell wanted to follow it anywhere. If you’re a person who sometimes judges a book by the title and cover and doesn’t read the blurb, like myself, you may think this is a monster-fest sort of book. It is not that at all. It is an atmospheric creepfest of the creepiest order. The audio production only enhances that and I LOVED the experience. It takes some extremely surprising turns into the darkest of corners and I refuse to spoil any of them and likely couldn’t explain any of them if I tried.

I’m going with a four for this first reading and may change my rating on a reread. Or not.

My Halloween Bingo Tracking Post

Bingo Update 9.12.19: Look at me go, lol

 

 

Clean card: 

 

Square Description LInks:

http://moonlightreader.booklikes.com/post/1932159/all-61-squares-revealed-1-through-18

http://moonlightreader.booklikes.com/post/1932167/all-61-squares-revealed-19-through-38

http://moonlightreader.booklikes.com/post/1932882/all-61-squares-revealed-39-through-61

 

Books In Progress & Books Finished:

 

Book #1:  Stolen Roads by Randy Chandler - giant Creepy Crawlies (ahh!)  called&read (done on board)

 

Book #2:  Teeth In the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich - Demons Square (done)

  

Book #3:  To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger:  New Release Square (done)

 

Book #4:  Necro Files:  Horror? Raven/freebie? Deadlands (zombies)

 

44571107  46231291. sx318  

 

 

I'm only going to use 2 markers because I am easily confused. And also lazy.

 

READ AND CALLED:

 

He's baaaack

 

READ BUT NOT CALLED:

 

CALLED BUT NOT READ:

9/1/19: Ghost stories (not on my card)

9/2/19: Genre: Horror

9/3/19 Creepy Crawlies

9/4/19:  Amateur Sleuth (not on my card)

9/5/19:  American Horror Story

9/6/19:  Dystopian Hellscape

9/7/19:  Fear Street

9/8/19:  Black Cat (not on my card) 

9/9/19:  Relics & Curiosities (not on my card)

9/10/19:  A Grim Tale (not on my card)

9/11/19:  Stranger Things

9/12/19:  Creepy Carnivals (not on my card)

9/13/19:  Country House Mystery (not on my card)

 9/14/19: Classic Horror

9/15/19: Supernatural (not on my card)

9/16/19: Psyche (not on my card)

9/17/19:  Darkest London (not on my card)

9/18/19:  Cozy Mystery (not on my card)

FYI for Halloween Bingo 2019 Players

Reblogged from Obsidian Blue:

Hey all:


Just wanted to let you know that our friend the raven or "Poe" as Moonlight calls him is a called square this year. So you do need to read a book for this square, but it also needs to be called to count towards a bingo.

 

Stolen Roads by Randy Chandler

Stolen Roads - Randy Chandler

  I read this for the creepy crawlies square.   There are giant maggot monsters here and if that doesn't make your skin crawl in horror, there is no fixing you!

 

My reading life is often strange but it’s usually pretty varied. I typically read my review books in the order they arrive but this one somehow slipped through the cracks and then happened to be the third book in a row about a road trip into some version of hell! Has that ever happened to you? I feel like it means something ominous like maybe I should stay on familiar roads now and forever!

 

 

Stolen Roads starts off when a boy and his parents are in a terrible car accident and the boy witnesses a monster sitting on his barely breathing dad’s chest. Flash forward a years and the boy is now grown but he still sees things. He’s been institutionalized so one never knows if this is real or imagined but he spends his days on the road searching for the stolen roads that lead to the monster things. His purpose in life is to track down the one particular beastie that murdered his family.

 

He probably should’ve left well enough alone but you know how these things go, right?  Kidd is described as having a high IQ and a low tolerance for reality so he’s different than me anyhow, haha. So when he meets a couple who say they know where to find the stolen road he hits the road with them, his slightly unstable friend Rose and a biker chick named Rita. All who apparently have a death wish too.

 

Sounds fun, right?

 

Surprisingly I found the first half of this book a little slow. There is a lot of character interaction but nothing very scary happens plot-wise. I suppose I am spoiled and was hoping for wall to wall monsters and bloodshed but this one takes its time and the mayhem doesn’t really happen until the story is about halfway through. Perhaps it is because I’ve read three of these books very recently but I’m thinking I would’ve felt the same at any other time because I am an impatient jerk like that. Once things got going they were wild though. There are some revolting monsters created here and some events take place that are so repulsive they’re funny in the darkest possible way. Or maybe it’s just me.  It’s too bad for me they didn’t happen much sooner.  There were also a few more characters added in the latter half that I wish we’d met sooner – especially Nacho. I loved Nacho.

 

So stick with it, the monsters and the madness will come!

 

This one gets a three from me for its knarly creatures and wacked out second half.

To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

To Be Devoured - Sara Tantlinger

This book was HORRIFYING and disturbing. I'm still trying to get over it. I'll post a review some time this week after I gather myself. I'lll probably put it in the New Release square as it doesn't seem to fit anywhere else

 

Reading progress update: I've listened 240 out of 352 minutes.

Teeth In The Mist - Dawn Kurtagich

Going by the title alone I figured this was a monster chomp & stomp type of book. I was oh-so-wrong.

 

Mentions of Faustus, spells, witches, ghosts, and maybe even Black Phillip ?!  I don’t know where this book is leading me but I’m sure as hell going to follow it anywhere now.

 

I'm reading this for Halloween Bingo and I honestly have no idea which square it is going to fit inside right now. I assumed monsters but nope. 

#Friday Reads

Hi everyone, I am back on my blog & booklikes where I have decided to stay since all of my stuff is here and it's my comfy space. Thanks for sticking by me during my crazy, stretched-too-thin times. 

 

I hope you'll all find a little time this weekend to settle in with a good book. I'll be listening to TEETH IN THE MIST by Dawn Kurtagich as much as I can this long weekend, how about the rest of you? 

 

The Ladies of Horror Fiction September discussion starts at Goodreads on Sunday and I need a bit of head start because I am a slowpoke. If you want to join us the group is here and everyone is welcome. The chat runs from September 1 through the 30th but the discussion threads will stay up forevermore.

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/963939 

 

 

 

I'm also reading this one in ebook. I accidentally read three road trips through hell in a row. Such a weird coincidence, right? Has this ever happened to you? I seriously have hundreds of books and I pick three that have similar themes. So weird.

 

 

It's also been too long since I posted a photo of my demon kitty so here he is doing what he does, haha.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

One For The Road by Wesley Southard

One For The Road - Wesley Southard

"A road trip through Hell in the spirit of Skipp & Spector's The Scream and Grady Hendrix's We Sold Our Souls. I loved it!" -Brian Keene, author of The Rising 

 

This book is so very gross and boy does it ever move. I’m glad I picked it up over the weekend because I needed something fast paced and pitch black that I could finish quickly to help me feel like I accomplished something in my reading life and that’s what I found here, along with a little bit of the darkest of dark humor as a lovely bonus.

 



The story is presented as a journal written by a guy named Spencer who is sick to death of life on the road and even sicker of most of his douche-y band members. Some people aren’t cut out for life on the road and Spencer is one of them. After this last show he plans to ditch the band for good.

But his plans go awry when the tour bus makes an unexpected pit stop. Into HELL. Then the carnage begins and doesn’t ever let up as Spencer struggles to survive and maintain his sanity after he witnesses one atrocity after another. The fun here is in the monsters which are very imaginatively drawn (and in one case ridiculously and terrifyingly hilarious) and the gore. I wasn’t kidding when I said this book was gross. The author splatters your face and all of his characters with the nastiest of body fluids, some human and some not. The tree scenes will haunt me. Just ewwww and fantastically horrible. I don’t think I’ve been this horrified by a tree since I first watched The Evil Dead as a teen. This vision of hell is truly disturbing and I could not tear myself away from it.

Don’t expect deep characterization, lovable characters or a whole lot of answers. This isn’t that type of story. For that you’d need a much longer piece. I love answers, don’t get me wrong, but this ended in a way that allowed me to ponder things and make up my own ugly little scenario and that’s kind of fun too. One for the Road is like reading a nightmare and it was just what I needed this weekend even though there are a few images now imprinted on my brain that make me never want to sleep again, haha. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

4.5 stars and highly recommended to you twisted types.

Reading progress update: I've listened 0 out of 352 minutes.

Teeth In The Mist - Dawn Kurtagich

This book is the Ladies Of Horror Fiction group read for September. There's still plenty of time to grab your book and join us, if you want!

 

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/20190524-september-2019-group-read-pre-chat-talk-teeth-in-the-mist-by-dawn-kurta

All Hallows by W. Sheridan Bradford

All Hallows - W. Sheridan Bradford

The first half or so of this book is very leisurely paced so make sure you set yourself down in a quiet place with no distractions so you will be able to immerse yourself into its world and leave reality behind. I live in a small house with people, too loud TV’s, paper thin walls (good for spying but not so good when you want quiet!) and super needy animals and I found it best to hide myself outside where the dog always eventually found me, haha.

 



All Hallows is very dialogue heavy. If I had to guess, I’d say the book was 80 – 90% dialogue. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book written in this manner and it took a little getting used to – thus the hiding outside to get away from distractions so I could 100% focus on the story. I found it best to read big chunks at a time rather than pick it up and put it down a million times like I typically do with most of the things I read. 

Maren is a crusty old witch who doesn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense. She has this practical cruelty and fairness about her that I just adored. I could never anticipate exactly what she was up to and I loved that. She’s been on the planet a very long time and she knows how to take care of herself. She has a bag of tricks including her treasured night worms – a creation she’s spent her entire life perfecting and she will need them this All Hallows eve as terrible creatures crawl out of the woodwork to accost her and put her skills to the test. To say too much will ruin the experience for you. Just know this book is gruesome and everything in it is completely unexpected. It is unlike most anything I’ve read in the horror genre and there’s one scene with a young mom and her screaming baby that is complete madness. I had NO clue what was going on but I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what the hell was happening. 

I have to admit that All Hallows was a bit tricky for me to follow at times because Maren sometimes goes off on thought tangents and doesn’t always finish a conversation but I liked that off-kilter feeling once I got used to the style. Maren’s thoughts and conversation are also peppered with dark sarcasm which I found highly amusing. She thinks and says things that would have most people cringing and she made me laugh so much with her honest observations. 

The ending leaves room for another adventure featuring Maren and her otherworldly friends and frenemies but it also ties up this adventure well without leaving me hanging and I appreciated that! This would be a great choice to read on a cold autumn night with a fire crackling for ambiance. It has that type of old-timey charm with some added gore and sarcasm to make things lively.

I Am Sadly On A DNF Streak

DNF @ 20%

Family Business - Brett Williams

DNF at 20% and no rating because I do not rate DNF's.

I suppose I need to be better about researching books before I agree to review them. I prefer going in blind and reading reviews after I've read the book so as not to get my opinion tainted, or accidentally snatch a phrase and sometimes avoiding blurbs and reviews bites me in the butt. This is one of those times. I have to call this one quits. I can stomach almost anything but too much animal abuse is something that haunts me and this book is filled to the brim with it.

TW: Rape, Animal Cruelty & I don't know what else because I'm calling it quits at 20%.

The book moves and is decently written and it is expertly narrated by Joe Hempel but the content was simply too much for me. Call me a wuss, if you will, I can take it. I've read Ketchum's THE GIRL NEXT DOOR & Brite's EXQUISITE CORPSE & even J.F. Gonzalez's SURVIVOR (which I instantly regretted) but those books, as bleak and terrible as the acts were, weren't squishing the heads of puppies nor were they explicitly detailing a dog fighting ring. That is a level of bleak blackheartedness that I choose to avoid in my reading life at this point in time. 

So what is it about? A young woman decides to purchase a yorkie so she can dress it up and stick it in her purse and love it to pieces. She doesn't want to wait months to get a pup from a legit breeder and instead heads out to a remote address to purchase a pup from a backyard breeder. Things do not go well and the family of backwoods weirdos throw her in a cage. Horrible things begin to happen and I will let you use your imagination here because I made it to about 20% before I had to shut it off.

Your mileage may vary. As I said, I can't abide dog abuse and death very well having lived with so many sweet innocent souls in my lifetime and it's something I choose to avoid in my reading time.

DNF @ 30%

The Last House Guest  - Ms. Megan Miranda

I'm calling this quits at 30%. DNF and no rating.

Hmmm, I had a struggle focusing on this one. I've read a lot of these mystery/thriller/juicy-secret books and I typically love them but I wasn't digging the writing style here. I felt like I was the only stranger at a party and no one could be bothered to introduced me to anyone. The characters weren't drawn very well and weren’t interesting to me whatsoever. There was a lot of "telling" instead of showing. I listened to 30% and it continued in this vein, jumping all over the place with two timelines and confusing the hell out of me on audio. Perhaps it is better read in paper but I will never know because I am a quitter and life is too short to struggle with books that aren't working. 

This isn't my idea of a fun time. Nope. Ba-byee. I hope the rest of you enjoy it more than I did

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

The Last House Guest  - Ms. Megan Miranda

Hmmm, I'm having a struggle focusing on this one. I'm not digging the writing style. I feel like I'm the only stranger at a party and no one can be bothered to introduced me to anyone. There is a lot of "telling" instead of showing. I'll read a bit more but if it continues in this vein I'll have to call it quits because I am in no mood to read a "meh" book.

Scapegoat by Adam Howe & James Newman

Scapegoat - Adam Howe, James R. Newman

If you’re feeling like you need some fun, gory 80’s insanity then do I ever have a book for you!

This is the review quote that won me over:

"As if Joe Lansdale wrote, and John Carpenter directed, the Jonestown massacre. SCAPEGOAT is Howe and Newman's Kool-Aid and you'll want to drink it to the very last drop." (Eryk Pruitt, What We Reckon)

It doesn’t lie.



This book is pure madness from beginning to end. Set in the late 80’s, that fabulous time before cell phones and back when hair-metal reigned supreme, a group of old childhood friends reconnect to head out to Wrestlemania III. Mike is now a family man and because of the wife, the baby and work he hasn’t seen his old buddies Lonnie and Pork Chop in far too long. After spending a few minutes in a smelly RV with them, Mike remembers why! Pork Chop is half in the bag, wearing a Rowdy Roddy Piper kilt with nothing under it (ahhh!) and Lonnie’s drinking, driving and doobie smoking have Mike wondering if he’ll make it home alive but he’s trapped in the passenger seat and quickly embraces the mayhem. Along for the ride is a scantily clad beauty and a trunk load of counterfeit wrestling merch. 

Sound like fun? It is! And it is so much more.

Lonnie gets stuck in traffic and freaks out that they’re going to miss Wrestlemania and decides to get off at the next exit - remember these are the days before GPS. Little does he know that he’s just driven straight into a scene from hell and it’s only going to get worse from here . . .

There are religious cults, carved up ladies, buckets of gore and an ending that isn’t afraid to go there! I loved it. This book is an experience. If you enjoy the madcap adventures of Joe Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard series I’m pretty sure you’re going to love Scapegoat too. 

The writing is terrific and the dialogue is spot-on and sometimes hilarious. I’m pretty sure I knew some of these people in the 80’s. Hell, I might even know a few of them now. The story moves fast and somehow the writers manage to fully flesh out the characters and create a plot that continually surprised and sickened me in the best way. It made me laugh and it made me cringe and that’s not something that usually happens when I read because I am grumpy, tired and jaded at the end of the day. 

It is the darkest kind of fun and if is this is your thing and you haven’t read Scapegoat yet I think you need to fix that!


Currently reading

Night Shoot by David Sodergren
Necro Files: Two Decades of Extreme Horror by Brian Hodge, J.F. Gonzalez, Graham Masterton, George R.R. Martin, Bentley Little, Cheryl Mullenax, Monica J. O'Rourke, Wrath James White, Randy Chandler, John Everson, Charlee Jacob, Edward Lee, Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy Kilpatrick
The Other Book by Roe Horvat
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix