Yoyogod's 2015 Reading List
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1) Mercenary Road by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Here we have the 19th volume of the English language version of the Vampire Hunter D novels. Once again the half-vampire D teams up with some human warriors and kills a bunch of vampires and their minions.
2) Apocrypha by Brian Keene
This ia collection of novel fragments, unused pitches for books and comics, obscure nonfiction, and juvinalia by horror grandmaster Brian Keene. This is an interesting collection of rarities that will appeal to Keene's fans, but probably not the general public, which is just as well as it is only available in limited edition.
This is a fairly excellent collection of short horror stories.
This book starts out normal enough. The main character is a rather self-centered teenage girl who is regretting having casual sex with one of her classmates. Then said classmate is kidnapped. Soon there's some stuff about a serial killer and an online bulletin board whose members are running amok. Then things get really strange.
9) Shadows over Somerset by Bob Freeman
This was a fun novel with occultist and werewolves battling against evil vampires. It had some minor plot holes, but not enough to really detract from the story.
and a bunch of short novellas:
10) Survivor's Guilt by Kelli Owen
This is the story of a man who fakes his own death in the wake of 9/11 when he realizes that his family would be better off without him. Then he dedicated his life to removing other husbands whose families would be better of without them, too.
11) Crossroads by Kelli Owen
The story of a group of teens who take a Ouija board to an isolated gravesite for fun, but something goes wrong (and not in the way you would expect).
12) Buried Memories by Kelli Owen
The story of a man who is undergoing hypnosis to quit smoking and recovers memories that reveal that his past isn't what he thought it was. This is one of the least horror-y of Kelli Owen's stories, but oddly I also think it's one of her best.
This is the final short story collection by the late J. F. Gonzalez. There are quite a few good horror stories in here including stories that tie into several of his novels including his Clickers series, The Beloved, and They.
This was a surprisingly well written cryptozoological book about the legendary Goatman.
This is definitely not Canavan's best work. The book tells two completely disconnected stories. One about a young man who finds a magic book and is framed for a crime he didn't commit. The other story is about a young woman with latent magical abilities who lives in a society where using magic is viewed a sinful. The two characters never meet, and as far as I can tell, both live in different worlds. Only the first of these two plotlines interested me. I still might get the second volume when it comes out if it's not two expensive.
This was a really good collection of (very) short stories set in a fictional town called Uncanney Valley where, as the name suggests, some very strange things happen.
22) Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire-The Complete Series, Volume 2 by Michael Terracciano
Here we have the 2nd and final omnibus edition of one of my favorite webcomics. After re-reading it, I noticed that Terracciano does tend to overdo the dialogue when writing, but still manages to tell a story that is moving and occasionally funny.
24) Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James
These are some good ghost stories, but I must admit that I found them a bit old fashioned (not surprising considering how old they are).
25) F9 by Michael McBride
This is a short novella about a doctor looking for the reason why certain people go on murder sprees.
26) The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner
Like anyone with a function brain, I knew that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were a hoax. This book uses the comic format to tell the story of Protocols from before it's beginnings to the present, where despite being revealed as a fake nearly a century ago, it still keeps popping up like some sort of horrid literary weed.
This is a collection of fantasy short stories by authors who were considered obscure back when it was published in 1972. These days, with POD technology and expired copyrights, I expect many of these authors are still in print. The stories weren't bad, but were that old-fashioned sort of proto-fantasy that doesn't appeal to me as much as the more modern stuff does.
As the title suggests, this was a collection of mystery short stories.Some of them I enjoyed, and some of them I didn't.
32) Red Equinox by Douglas Wynne
I think this qualifies as one of the better Lovecraftian novels I've read.
An interesting history of the birth of the modern fantasy genre in the 1930's.
This was a mostly great collection of stories where each one is about one of the 12 Doctors from Doctor Who. The only bad apple in the bunch was the first one by Eoin Colfer, whose story reads nothing like a First Doctor adventure, and makes me wonder if he'd even bothered to watch a single episode of the original series before trying to write this story.
This is one of those odd books that I added to my Amazon wishlist years ago, and I can no longer remember why. It's a memoir-ish book by a Texas bookseller/publisher who once helped the FBI capture some mafia guys who stole a valuable Audubon folio. There are also bits about writing book catalogs, strange self-published books, buying a $10million+ book collection, and Texas history.
I admit that I'm fond of Pawn Stars and the other History Channel shows set in Vegas. I thought this might be an interesting book to read to learn about the city's history, especially since it's written by the daughter of one of the mobsters responsible for the birth of the Vegas casinos. I did learn a bit, but I didn't really care for the author's style as her constant referrals to Vegas as her sister grated.
This is one of those thrillers about the secrets of the Kights Templar. I mostly got it because I'm trying to read all the books whose characters were used in the FaceOff anthology that I read last year. This novel was alright, and I may very well read the rest of the series at some point.
47) A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
I got a review copy of this from the publisher, and I really enjoyed it. It's about a young girl whose older sister is suffering from schizophrenia, but there father has recently become crazy religious and is convinced the girl is possessed. Since the family is desperate for money, he convince the family to take part in a reality show where the older girl gets an exorcism.
The account of a woman who traveled through Tibet in the early part of the 20th Century (when it was more or less off limits to foreigners) to learn what she could about Tibetan Buddhism and the country's occult and mystical practices. It all makes for an interesting story.
42) Prisoner 489 by Joe R. Lansdale
Unually when someone bad takes a lot of killing and then doesn't stay dead, you expect it to be a vampire or a zombie (or some other undead), but Lansdale goes a completely different route and uses an underutilized monster, the
I picked this up because I had heard it was set in a fictionalized version of the town I was born in, though I've also heard it was set in a fictionalized version of Philadelphia. After reading it, I'm not sure which one is right (if either). It's the sort of book that's labeled a horror novel, but isn't really. It's more of a coming of age story set in the 1970's, and features an eight year old boy who still hasn't come to terms with the fact that his dad, who was declared MIA and presumed dead, isn't coming back from Vietnam. The stuff that got it labeled horror, is the story of some vague monster called the TollTaker that lives in the storm drain near his house. Frankly, the book would have been better if that had been cut, and it had just been done as a coming of age story (and this is coming from a horror fan).
This is the third volume in the Ed Noon detective series. It involves $20k, a missing (phoney) Edgar Alan Poe diary, and a murder in a baseball diamond that takes place in front of a stadium full of fans. It's good stuff.
48) The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians by Andersen Prunty
Here's another collection og bizarro short stories. These are some really strange stories, but I enjoyed them.
I picked this up on the Kindle after Brian Keene picked this as one of jis top 10 books for 2014. I tend to agree. It'sa very well done vampire western. It's a bit heavy on the gore and sex, but that's not unexpected for horror.
50) White by Tim Lebbon
This one has been sitting on my Kindle for a while, but I finally decided to read it after Keene recommended it in one of his recent podcasts. This is a good apocalyptic novella about people trting to survive in a world of snow and monsters.
51) It Happened to Me Vol. 1 from Fortean Times
This is a collection of letters and emails that Fortean Times magazine has gotten about readers' weird experiences. I enjoyed reading it even though it made me wish I could still affor a subscription to the magazine.
52) The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told edited by Martin H. Greenberg
This is probably the most inaccurately named anthology in my library. First off, unless you define a crime story as "any story in which a crime takes place," which seems extraordinarily broad to me, then about half of these stories aren't crime stories. Secondly, one of the stories only has paranormal elements in the last few paragraphs (and they don't play a major part in the story). Thirdly, stories featuring the paranormal and crime date back to at least the late 19th century, but other than one story from 1995, all the stories in this anthology are from 2004-2009, so unless you believe that all of the best writing on the subject has been done in the last two decades, the claim that these are The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told is highly dubious. I'm just glad I picked this up for cheap at my local used bookstore.
53) The Big Tree by Rick Hautala
This is a coming of age story involving a hurricane, a big tree, and a mysteious girl, who isn't what she appears to be. Despite by being written by a well-known horror author, it's not really a horror story, but it is good.
This was a rather interesting fantasy that I picked up for the Kindle a couple of years ago when it was free. It's a bit different than the usual sort of fantasy I read, but I enjoyed it. I would continue the series, but they seem to be a bit overpriced on the Kindle (at least I think $9.99 is a bit much for an ebook that was released over three years ago). Maybe I'll get a used paperback copy cheap.
I actually finished this last week and kept forgetting to post it. It's a rather boring horror novel about a man who finds a cursed picture frame that kill anyone who's picture is put into it. Naturally his family photo ends up in it. After that it becomes a long and tedious battle to save the life of the man's wife and son.
56) Five Complete Hercule Poirot Novels by Agatha Christie
After reading a review copy of After the Funeral a few months a go, I discovered that I enjoyed the Poirot stories, so I decided to read more of them. Since there was an omnibus edition with five of them, I decided that would be a good place to continue. I enjoyed the, so next up I'll have to find the copy of Elephants Can Remember that's sitting unread somewhere in my library.
Since de Lint is one of my favorite writer's it's no surprise that I loved the short stories in this book. It's also no surprise that I'd already read most of them in previous short story collections.
58) The Lost Level by Brian Keene
Keene is another of one my favorite writers, so it's no surprise that I enjoyed this book either. It is a bit of a departure for him. He's primarily a horror writer, but this is more of a science fiction/fantasy lost world sort of story about a modern man who finds himself transported to a strange reality. I love the cover, too. My only real complaint is that as it's volume 1 of a series, it has a cliffhanger ending.
Another collection of reports of strange occurrences from Fortean Times magazine. It's not as good as the first, but is still entertaining.
62) Two Trains Running by Lucius Shepard
This was an odd book that I'm still not sure why I had it on my wishlist. It's mostly about hobos. The author apparently spent a little time riding the rails while researching an (included) article about the FTRA, an alleged hobo mafia. Besides that article, the book contains two short stories about hobos. One is more or less a fantasy, and the other is more non-genre. They're both pretty good.
I picked this (and the third volume in its trilogy) up at the local Goodwill a couple of days ago because I usually enjoy Lackey's books. It's pretty good, stuff for a standard epic fantasy trilogy. Now I just have to wait for the copy of volume two of the trilogy that I ordered to arrive.
Another collection of strange events reported to my favorite magazine.
68) The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
This is one of those coming-of-age horror novels about a group of teenagers who go to see a traveling vampire show that appears in their small town. There's far less gore than I'd expect for a Laymon novel, and despite the fact that it took a while for anything horrific to happen, I really enjoyed this.
This is volume 4 in the Ed Noon series of hard boiled detective novels. In this book, Ed has to solve the murder of an actor's wife where the suspects include the actor, his 10-year-old daughter, his mistress, and a playwright who is in love with said mistress. It's pretty good stuff.
I picked this up largely because Brian Keene recommended it as one of the best zombie novels he'd read in years, and I agree with Brian. It's interesting to see a novel set in a world in which the dead have taken over, and the living are referred to as zombies and hunted by the dead who fear them. It's all told from the perspective of one of the zombie hunters who slowly comes to realize that there really isn't all that much difference between the dead and the living.
Here we have an anthology of short stories that are intended to combine crime and horror. It generally succeeds, though one story is more sci-fi/crime than horror/crime. Overall, the stories were good. My favorite was John Langan's "The Communion of Saints." My least favorite story was "Balch Creek, "by bizarro author Cameron Pierce, who I tend to feel does a much better job with novel and novella length works than with short stories.
Here is a collection of favorite short stories by one of my favorite writers. They didn't really seem to be representative of his usual style, but they were mostly enjoyable.
This is a collection of some of the highlights of the 75 year worth of appearances of the original Captain Marvel (aka Shazam). I found that I generally preferred the golden and silver age stuff to the modern appearances.
75) The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror by Edith Nesbit
This is a collection of Victorian era horror stories by an author more well known for her children's book The Railway Children, which I haven't read. These are mostly ghost stories, which while inferior to M R James's stories, aren't bad. There are also a few mad scientist stories, which I found laughable.
76) Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road by Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Nate Southard, J. F. Gonzalez, Wrath James White, Shane McKenzie, Bryan Smith, and Ryan Harding
As you would expect from a novel with nine authors, this isn't a book that's destined to be remembered as one of the world's great works of literature. It's not even destined to be remembered as a classic of the horror genre. It is, however, better than you'd think from reading the reviews of it on Amazon.
This book is more or less exactly what you'd expect to get when nine extreme horror authors collaborate on a book written for the sole purpose of raising money for a fellow author with brain cancer, especially when one of these authors is Edward Lee. The book is full of gore and perverted sex (including bestiality and necrophilia). There is also a lot of vomiting going on for no apparent reason. Really, this isn't a book for the faint of heart.
I think a lot of the perversion and depravity to do with the fact that the book was written round robin style, and the authors were continually trying to top each other in grossness, which resulted in passages that come close to (or even top) stories I've read that have come out of the infamous World Horror Convention Gross Out Contest. It also resulted in a book with no real resolution that also somehow managed to have one of the best (and most disturbing) endings I've read in horror.
77) Hercule Poirot's Casebook by Agatha Christie
I decided to continue my journey into the world of Hercule Poirot with this collection of the complete Poirot short stories. They were all pretty good, though I do enjoy the stories narrated by Poirot's friend Hastings better than the ones without him. Next up, I'll have to get a copy of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, so I can start reading the rest of the novels in order.
78) The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
I picked this up because Neil Gaiman recommended it as one of his favorite children's books. It was fun.
This is the final volume of the Obsidian Trilogy. While I enjoyed it, I thought the defeat of the forces of darkness seemed a bit to easy and almost anticlimactic. Still, I know I'll have to get the books in the follow up trilogy set 1000 years after this book.
80) Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli
I think this is the most depressing novel I've ever read. It's about an author who has recently lost everything; his wife divorced him, creditors seized his house, and his career is in the toilet. All he has left is his dog, his car, and a few meagre posessions, so he travels across the country to move in with his brother, and loses his mind along the way.
I picked this up because Brian Keene recommended it as one of the best horror books of 2014, and it sounded like an interesting concept. It's designed so that, from the outside it looks like one of the Little Golden Books that (if you're like me) you read as a child. Only, this isn't a children's book at all. It's a series of short, flash fiction-type scenes about events leading up to the apocalypse. I would tend to describe it as more disturbing and evocative than possessing of a coherent story. I found it different and interesting, though naturally (as it is mimicking a children's book) very short.
I loved The Mothman Prophecies, so when I saw that a few of Keel's books were available as part of the Kindle lending library, I decided to get his one. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. The book is dated, and mentions quite a few things that are hoaxes. It was also annoying that keel kept referring to himself in the plural (ie "we" and "us") during the book.
This was a chapbook with a handful of very good short stories.
85) The Alarming Clock by Michael Avallone
This is the 5th Ed Noon Detective novel. In this book, Noon is given an alarm clock by a client, and a group of Russian spies want it. I didn't think it was as good as the previous books, being more thriller than mystery, but it was still enjoyable.
Yet another collection of strange events from the readers of Fortean Times magazine.
87) Fix by F. Paul Wilson, J A Konrath, and Ann Voss Peterson
I'm a big fan of Wilson's Repairman Jack series, and when I heard he'd decided to revisit it again in a crossover with the Codename: Chandler series (which I haven't read), I knew I'd have to read it. It's a great story, far better than the Repairman JAck crossover that appeared in the FaceOff anthology last year.
This was a fairly enjoyable weird western that's half about a cavalry officer who has to help an angel prevent the devil from being released from a tree and half about a small town that's menaced by some people who ate some really bad fish. Besides the obvious Christan overtones of the angels and devil business, there also some almost Lovecraftian stuff as well. It makes for a strange read.
This was an anthology that was put out a few months ago to raise money for a friend of the authors. They're mostly good stories, though I thought James A. Moore's story was one of the worst Sherlock Holmes pastiches I've read (though actually still entertaining), and Wesley Southard's story was just (unintentionally) ridiculous.
92) Peppermint Twist by Gina Ranalli
This is a bizarro novella about a couple of children who spend all of there time playing video games and eating junk food, until their grandmother buys them a game called Peppermint Twist, which warps reality into a a real, candy-filled video game.
93) The Copycat Murders by William Meikle
This is a supernatural mystery about a police detective who tries to figure out how a newsreaser is killing people in locked rooms while he's on the air.
After reading a few Poirot omnibuses, I decided to read the rest of the series starting at the beginning. While I enjoyed this, I didn't think it was as good as some of the later books, which isn't surprising as it is a first novel.
95) Berks the Bizarre by Charles J. Adams III
This is a collection of newspaper columns from a paper in Reading, PA. It deals with ghosts and various other strange goings on in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It's not as good as the author's books dedicated solely to ghost stories, but it's still good.
When I started reading this one, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not as I thought it was kind of slow to get moving. By the time I finished it, I knew I liked it a lot.
It's about a gut whose banshee rescues him from becoming a gift to the Assembly, who are bunch of supernatural beings tasked with protecting reality in some way that I really didn't understand. The Assembly is also more or less psychotic in the slasher movie sense.
The best part of this book is the characters. I liked the banshee character straight off, because she actually seemed to care and was cool and tough. At first, I didn't much like the protagonist, Jared, because he was kind of whiny and annoyingly helpless, but by the end of the book I was actually empathizing with him. I don't know how he did it, but some how Ethridge even made me care about the Assembly, despite the fact that they were horrible beings.
When I started reading this book, I didn't much like the protagonist, Carolyn, because she's almost completely amoral and has no objection to using people, murdering them, and doing other generally horrible things. Oddly, I also had a hard time putting the book down once I picked it up. This is because despite being almost monstrous,or in some cases actually monstrous, the characters are interesting, and the plot is exciting.
This was a really great book, though it is very gory and is very much a dark fantasy/horror type of story and may be a bit too disturbing for some.
This was a nice, novella-length horror story about a man on a bench who only young children could see, and a monster that no one could see until it was too late.
100) Knight Life by Peter David
This was a humorous fantasy novel about King Arthur returning to run for mayor of New York City.
I'm not sure when or why I bought this book. I don't read that many Star Trek novels and I'm not that big a fan of the series, but for some reason I have a several unread Trek novels sitting around. It's an interesting story going into Dr. McCoy's history, and it tells the story of an adventure on a planet where assassination was once legal.
This is Lansdale's second western about Nat Love, a real-life black cowboy. As usual with Lansdale, it's a great book, and it makes me want to read Love's actual autobiography.
105) The Case of the Bouncing Betty by Michael Avallone
This is the sixth Ed Noon novel. This time around, Noon is hired to protect a 400+ pound mattress tester and ends up a murder suspect.
This is a romantic comedy about a couple who meet at a really crappy film festival one day, and the next day decide to go off on a road trip from Florida to Rhode Island to get a hot dog. Despite being a Jeff Strand novel, it's not horror (except maybe for the peanut butter and jelly hot dog, which sounds pretty horrible).
This was a great collection of interrelated short stories. It's about a man who's reopening his father's used bookstore, and discovers that someone left a mysterious box of books on his desk without him noticing. Inside he finds a journal with strange stories set in his town and written about people he knows.
This is basically a guide book to haunted houses in the USA. It lists some of the more well known ones in each state, provides historical info and info on the alleged hauntings, and tells you when and how you can visit the place with street and (where available) web addresses.
This is a very short book about fiction and songs and such about Centralia, Pennsylvania. Honestly, it was kind of boring.
This book wasn't bad, but it would have been better if Wilson had spent more time writing about crimes where psychics were involved and less time writing about the history of psychometry.
112) Children of the Dragon by Rose Estes
This was a fairly good YA fantasy novel about children rescuing a dragon egg from an evil blacksmith. The only real problem is that it has the sort of lame cliff-hanger ending that you usually only see in series fiction, but for some reason there are no sequels to this book.
This was a cool horror novel about a man who lives in the New York subway system after witnessing the murder of his infant daughter and the rape/murder of his wife. He sort of goes crazy and becomes a vigilante, eventually coming up against a supernatural evil called Enoch.
114) The Creek by Chris Hedges
This was a short horror novella about two boys and a girl they kill (no, not murder, just kill).
I picked this up a few years ago when the writer was doing a local signing and never read it for some reason. It's a sort of multi-author urban fantasy series about a gut named Hiram Grange who battles supernatural evil for some shadowy government agency. This was a decent book, and I think I'll look into getting the rest of the series.
This is certainly a much better book than the Keel book I read last time. I did find some of his assertions dubious, and the three occasions he made predictions for the future, which is now the present (record albums no longer in use, AI exists, and population over 10 billion) are all wrong.
This is volume 7 of the Ed Noon mystery series. This time Ed is paid $50 to escort a woman to her train, but when the bad guys follow her onboard, so does Ed. Pretty soon he has a body dumped in his lap, and ends up in a strange case involving a statue called The Violent Virgin, a diamond called Blue Green, a bomb, and far too many criminals for comfort.
This is a fantasy novel that I picked up for my Kindle when it was free a while ago. Unlike so many other books I picked up for free, this one was actually good. It's not terribly original though, being about an ORPHAN girl, with a SECRET PAST, and a PROPHECY who is being HUNTED BY THE BAD GUYS. Still, it was fun to read and I already purchased the sequel for my Kindle.
122) Spooky Stories and Twisted Tales by Roger Hurn
Sadly, this is one of the books I downloaded for free that sucked. It is a collection of very short horror stories that "aren’t just for kids - they’re for everyone who enjoys having their spine tingled and their imagination stirred!" Sadly, this is a lie. The stories are mostly rehashes of urban legends (phantom hitchhiker and several others) and old folktales (one is that old tale about a servant meeting death in a marketplace ans heading to Samarra to escape) with nothing original added, and are written by someone who apparently is a member of the dumb it down school of writing children's stories.
Awful (the book and the murders).
A 30 year old loser decides to make a musical based off of the movie Leprechaun in the Hood, unfortunately for him, the Leprechaun is real and isn't happy about having his IP stolen. His solution: carnage.
This is one of those very political fantasies that's full of betrayals and intrigue. For some reason, everyone in this book's world seems to be either Russian or some sort of gypsy. It was fairly interesting, but not interesting enough that I'll read the rest of the series.
The two authors each have an overarching mythos that connects their novels, and since they have collaborated on a few novels, those mythoi are interconnected. This book if a pseudo-grimoire containing spells, prophecies, and occult history set in the authors' worlds. As a fan of both authors, I really enjoyed it, though it's definitely nor for everybody, which is OK, since it's a limited edition book that will never be reprinted.
While I like the X-Files, I'm not really a big fan of it. However, I am a fan of Maberry and several of the contributors to this anthology. It's actually pretty good.
131) The Mondo Vixen Massacre by Jamie Grefe
This was a very short bizarro novella.While the concept was interesting, I didn't care for the author's style all that much, and would have preferred a more fleshed-out story.
After reading Joe R. Lansdale's books about Nat Love, I decided to read Love's autobiography. The man certainly led an interesting life (assuming even half of what he claimed was true). He was pretty racist against Mexicans and Native Americans, but for a 19th century American cowboy, that really isn't very surprising.
I read The Icewind Dale Trilogy a few years ago, and have been meaning to read more of the adventures of Drizzt for a while. This was a prequel trilogy, but unlike a certain much reviled film prequel trilogy, these books are good. Now I'll have to get the next trilogy soon.
This was a great book. I can hardly wait for volume 3 of the series.
I picked this up because it was free in the Kindle Lending Library, and horror grand master Brian Keene recommended it as one of the best horror novels he's read this year (and one of the best zombie novels ever). While I can see why he said that, this book wasn't for me. It started and ended well enough, but part 3 took a bizarre hallucinatory turn when the protagonist has a psychotic break. Even after finishing, I have no idea what actually happened in that section of the book.
Here we have volume 8 in the Ed Noon detective series. This time around there's a drive-by shooting, an unidentifiable corpse, a deranged stripper, a giant Texan, and a Chinese laundry bombing. I don't think this is the best of the series so far, but it's not the worst, either.
This is the 20th Vampire Hunter D novel. This time D is hired to protect a village from a gang led by a pseudo-vampire. It's not bad, but as with most really long-running series, the quality of later books isn't as high as early ones.
This is a collection of weird news stories from around the world as collected by Fortean Times.
This is part one of a series of the collected fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, who was one of the great writers in H. P. Lovecraft's circle. The series title is a bit of a misnomer as about half of the stories in this collection are science fiction, and many of the others are horror. I guess the publishers didn't think calling it weird fiction, which is a more accurate name, would have conveyed any meaning to the general public. Smith was a good writer, but most of the science fiction stories here are pretty lame (the exception would be "The Planet of the Dead," which is really more of a fantasy with SF trappings). The fantasy and horror was good though.
I picke this up after seeing it on John Scalzi's blog a few weeks ago and discovering that they Kindle edition was going for $1.99 at the time. It's set in a brutal world that's loosely based off of the medieval English/Scottish borderlands, where apparently extended families of reivers would spend all of there time raiding each other and killing anyone they didn't like. On top of that, there's a missing Fairyland and the protagonist is some sort of half-fairy (which is a killing offense). It all made for a good fantasy.
144) Paranormal Journeys by Paul Cagle
I picked this up for free on the Kindle three years ago, and finally decided to read it last night. It's the true "adventures" of a small paranormal investigation group. It's pretty much like one of those ghost hunting TV shows, only since it's a book you can't see any videos or hear any alleged EVP, which makes judging the accounts harder. In any case, it was rather boring.
Moore is a really funny writer, but I didn't think this was his best.
This novella-length book is a sequel to Kelli Owen's previous novella Waiting Out Winter. Winter was about a family struggling to survive swarms of deadly flies that could kill with one bite. In Hatch, nature has compensated for the flies, and now the survivors have to face off against hordes of enraged spiders. It's creepy fun for all of us arachnophobes.
This is Meikle's third book of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. This one features 2 novellas with Holmes solving horrific myteries involving Lovecraftian entities, a mummy's curse, and Voodoo zombies. It's pretty good.
Recently a group of Wodehouse scholars came together and pored over the "By the Way" columns in the Globe newspaper from 1901-1908 when Wodehouse was one of the writers for it. They compiled stuff they deemed to have been written by Wodehouse into two volumes. This one is mostly humorous paragraphs summing up news items of the day.
This omnibus edition contains 2 Hercule Poirot novels, 1 Miss Marple novel, 1 Superintendent Battle novel, and 1 Tommy and Tuppence Beresford novel. I definitely liked the Poirot novels the best, but I enjoyed all of them and will probably give the other series a shot once I've finished with Poirot.
This is the second horror anthology put out to annoy homophobic, misogynistic, racist, serial stalker/internet troll Nickolaus Pacione. As with the previous volume, several of the stories feature thinly veiled parodies of Pacione. Overall, it's a good anthology if you're familiar with Pacione's antics.
As it's description makes clear, this book is an homage to Moby Dick. I haven't read Moby Dick, so I can't say how similar they are. I do know that both books share character names and take place on ships whose captains are obsessively pursuing a great white beast that took his leg.
This book is a work of science fiction and is seeming set on an alien planet in the distant future, but
153) The Quality of Mercy & Other Stories by William Meikle
This is Mekle's 2nd book of Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and contains the novella that constituted the first one, Sherlock Holmes: Revenant. In these stories, Holmes and Watson get involved in cases with a supernatural or super-science twist. It's very entertaining.
This book proves the old maxim about polishing a turd. If you turn a cruddy movie into a pseudo-Shakespearean play, you just end up with a cruddy play. Also, I want to point out that changing Jar Jar Binks fro m a bumbling halfwit into a smart person who pretends to be a bumbling halfwit only makes him more loathsome.
As the title suggests, this is 200 poems (probably) written by Wodehouse during hist stint writing for thje Globe's By the Way column. Some of the poems are good, some are bad, and they're all based off of news stories from more than 100 years ago.
This was a very exciting story even if the version of Voodoo owes more to the fake kind in horror movies than the real religion.
This is a very scary horror novel. It starts off with a couple taking their mother , who is in the early stages of Pick's disease (and also a racist who hates her black daughter-in-law). Suddenly all the elderly resident's become super-strong and homicidally insane for a reason that is never explained.
This is another book that I picked up for cheap on the Kindle a few years ago, and finally got around to reading. Bujold is a good writer, but this is way more romancey than I like. The first part has some nice action where the protagonists fight against a fairly cool monster called a Malice, but the rest is all them falling in love despite the fact he fact that she's a farmer and he's a Lakewalker (and the two groups never intermarry). While it was enjoyable, I doubt I'll be reading the rest of the series.
As much as I like the Dresden Files, it's nice to see Butcher write something else every once in a while. This is a fairly exciting steam punk-ish sort of fantasy. It's set in a world where the surface of the planet has become uninhabitable to humans, apparently due to being full of monsters, so everyone lives in Spires, which seem to be giant tower-like structures of some some sort. The main mode of transport is air ships that are powered by magical crystals. Also, there are sentient cats for some reason.
An enemy Spire attacks our heroes' spire so they can sneak in some marines led by a crazy, evil magic user who
I didn't enjoy this very much.
First off, this book is very badly titled. Sure, all the stories are Irish, either in setting, characters, or authors, but half of them are completely lacking in ghosts. There are a lot of stories about leprechauns. We also see fairies, a banshee, a witch, and some giants.
Secondly, reading it was a bit of a slog. I hate reading stories written in dialect, and this book contained several written in an Irish brogue. Even worse some of the stories were really boring, especially "The Living Ghost" by Rosa Mulholland, which also had the bad misfortune to be one of the longest stories in the book. I suffered through 20 pages of a Victorian Gothic romance story with nary a sign of ghosts (or any supernatural elements) before skipping the next 50 or so pages and moving on to the next story.
This is one book I just can't recommend.
This is a pretty good vampiric horror novel set in Scotland.
This is an anthology of Halloween themed horror stories and Halloween reminiscences by horror authors (plus an essay by Lisa Morton on her favorite Halloween TV shows). It's a great collection, but I seem to have read many of the best stories elsewhere.
I think this is probably Fiedel's best work, probably because it's only partially about ghosts. Fiedel wrote this because she promised her deceased husband she'd write it. About half the book is taken up with an account of her husband's death and some of the possibly paranormal events surrounding it. The rest is updates on ghost stories from her previous books and new stories sent in by readers, but he first part is the best.
This was an enjoyable collection of horror short stories, though the overarching story that tied them together was rather weak.
173) Okiku by Mary SanGiovanni
A woman flees to a remote Japanese town after a crazed stalker murders her classmates. It's pretty good, which isn't surprising since she has her own crazy stalker.
174) The Dark Man by P. A. Douglas
A bunch of teens drop some acid and one of their hallucinations is a creepy man in a dark suit. Only he's not just a hallucination as he proves by going on a killing spree.
I've been meaning to read this for a while and decided to pick it up today because my local comic store was having a 20% off sale. I enjoyed it and will definitely read the rest of the series.
176) You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
This is a collection of Scalzi's old blogposts on writing. It's reasonably entertaining and informative.
178) Wilted Lilies by Kelli Owen
This is a horror novella about a girl with psychic powers who gets kidnapped by a mdman. It's a good read, and I hope Kelli writes a sequel to it like she said she probably will.
179) Aylmer Vance: Ghost-Seer by Alice and Claude Askew
This is a very short collection of paranormal detective stories in the vein of, but generally inferior to, Carnacki. It's still worth reading for those of us who enjoy the genre, but probably not really worthwhile to anyone else, even other horror fans.
I was a bit leery of requesting this one from ER. It's a collection of horror stories by an author I've never heard of that's published by a small press that I've never heard of (and which doesn't specialize in horror or even genre fiction in general). When I got the book and saw the it had to blurbs from two (non-horror) writers I'd never heard of whose books are also published by small presses that I've never heard of. All of this made me worry that the book wouldn't be very good.
I was right to worry. This book isn't very good. The writing style strikes me as very amateurish and unengaging. The stories run the gamut in quality from laughably bad (especially the one about the picnic) to boringly predictable (like the one about the police and a serial killer) to just plain annoyling stupid (the one about a terrorist that's told in reverse chronological order). The book is also full of enough spelling and grammatical errors to make me wonder if this publisher even employs an editor.
It's not completely bad though. A few of the stories The title story "Peripheral" was OK, but unfortunately it's divided into four parts, and the followups "Peripheral: The Beginning," "Peripheral: Redemption," and "Peripheral: Rapture" were all pretty stupid. With a bit more practice, the author might become good, but this is a book that I just can't recommend to anyone.
This is a different sort of fantasy that's all about politics and revolution. It's good.
184) Curtain by Agatha Christie
Jumping ahead and reading the last Poirot novel before I read all of the ones before it might have been a bit of a mistake. Not for continuity reasons, but because the ending will likely color my readings of the rest of the series.
This a history of the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley combined with a bit of a travelogue of Vowell's visits to sites related to the assassinations and her political musings on the (then) current American political scene. I didn't enjoy this as much as Vowell's other books, but it was still pretty good.
This is a much better horror collection than the last one I read.
This was a nice thriller about an elite team of Navy SEALs who are protect the USA from supernatural threats.
This is the 11th Ed Noon mystery, and I really didn't like it all that much. In this book, Ed Noon is hired by the President to track down a missing nuclear scientist. Looking at it 60 years later, all that red scare commie hating stuff seems a bit silly to me.
The "& Other Stories part was good, but The Witch of Prague was boring. The other stories are all horror, but Witch is more of a Gothic romance about a man called the Wanderer who is searching for his lost love, Beatrice, and instead meets Unorna, the witch, who attempts to use her hypnotic powers to make him love her. There's also Unorna's jilted lover, and an evil dwarf.
I picked this up for the Kindle years ago, and only just got around to reading it. It's a really great YA fantasy, and I really want to read the rest of the series. I just wish the ebooks weren't so ridiculously overpriced (they're $7.99: the exact same price as the paperback).
This is a horror novella about a guy who makes ultra-low budget slasher movies. When his beautiful new coworker expresses an interest in starring in his next movie, he discovers that she's a real killer. It's good, but a bit short.
This is a book that I originally backed on Kickstarter (and I'm glad I did as the Kickstarter exclusive cover is far superior to the general release cover). I mostly backed it because it has stories by Mary SanGiovanni and J. F. Gonzalez, who are (or were in Gonzalez's case) two of my favorite horror writers, and stories by William Meikle and Brett Talley, who I haven't read as much of, but have enjoyed. On top of that the premise was interesting: a mashup of The Brothers Grimm and H. P. Lovecraft.
It didn't quite turn out like that. Not all of the fairy tales are from the Grimms. One is a retelling of the story of Cú Chulainn, a mythological Irish hero. One is a Winnie-the-Poo/Lovecraft mashup (and is probably my favorite story in the anthology, so I won't complain). There are several others that I couldn't figure out what fairy tales they're based off of assuming they weren't just written in a fairy tale style.
Even the stories with Brothers Grimm fairy tale origins had a varying connection to their originals. The first story, "The Arkham Town Musicians," by Christine Morgan, is pretty much a straight up retelling of The Bremen Town Musicians, only set in Lovecraft's New England and with the animal characters having otherworldly ancestry. The first "Little Red Riding Hood" mash-up (there are two of them), is "Ginger Snap," by Michael Wentela, and other than the fact that one of the characters is a girl with a red hoodie who jokingly refers to the protagonist as the big bad wolf, there is nothing of the original tale in the mash-up.
That said, if you have an interest in Lovecraftian fiction, this is well worth getting. I really enjoyed the the stories, even the ones that didn't have much to do with fairy tales.
Crabapple is a New York-based artist. I've been a fan of her art for a few years now, and follow her on Twitter. I really enjoyed this book too.
201) Fender Lizards by Joe R. Lansdale
This book is a bit different from the other Lansdale books I've read. It doesn't fall into the horror, mystery, or western genres that his other books I've read do. It's the story of a girl named Dot who lives in a trailer with her mother, grandmother, and younger brother. Dot is a high school dropout who works as a rollerskating waitress at one of those drive-in restaurants. It's the story of a few interesting weeks in fer life where she beats up a guy with a two-by-four, falls in love with a rich boy, meets an uncle she never knew existed, tracks down her missing father, and competes in a roller derby. Also, the limited edition has 3 bonus stories of a young Hap Collins from Lansdales popular Hap Collins & Leonard Pine series.
This time around, Ed Noon is hired to find a man who may have read a lost Shakespearean play. Naturally things don't go according to plan.
206) The Complex by Brian Keene
This is the story of a group of people who live in a low-income apartment complex. One day a group of crazy, naked people swarm in and attack everybodt. I've heard other people say that this is Keene's best book in a while. I would tend to agree, but I expect that the book will annoy some people for two reasons: 1) Some cats are killed during the story, and 2) There is no explanation for the strange events that take place.
This is, as the title suggests, an anthology of Christmas-themed horror stories. It's pretty good, which isn't surprising considering the contributors.
I'm really enjoying this series, especially Arseface.
This is a strange book about a man from Greenwich, England who investigates the murder of his sister with the help of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a case involving a golem. Then he helps Annie Oakley deal with a werewolf problem in the old west. Finally he fights yet another supernatural evil on board the Titanic.
This was a pretty decent fantasy that I recently got for free on my Kindle.While I enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it enough that I'm willing to pay $6 for the ebook version of the sequel, so I probably won't be reading the rest of the series.
This is a collection of early 20th Century adventure/mystery (extremely short) novels featuring Sexton Blake. The writing style was extremely simplistic, an some of the stories were a bit on the racist side--including an African adventure, an Indian mutiny, and a yellow peril story--but they were still entertaining.
213) Piercing the Darkness edited by Craig Cook
This is a mostly excellent horror anthology published to raise money for charity. It includes great stories from many of horror's top names including Brian Keene, Jonathan Maberry, and Joe. R. Lansdale. Other than T. T. Zuma's story, which I thought was execrable, I thought the stories were great.