Flash Fiction Battle: And the winner is… #HO17 #HappyHalloween

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Welcome to the second annual flash fiction battle in which four brilliant independent horror authors will battle it out to be crowned the King or Queen of Horror, (well, Horror October at least). 

The results are in!

I would just like to say thank you to everyone who voted and to Stephen, Sean, Justin and Gabino, the amazing writers who took part for nothing other than bragging rights! You are all winners. In a sense. But not really…

So without further ado,

In 4th place, with his story Holding On was Sean Seebach

In 3rd place, with his story In That Sleep of Death was Stephen Kozeniewski

Coming in 2nd was Gabino Iglesias with Puppets

And in 1st place….

….that leaves Justin Bienvenue with The Master of Cemeteries!

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It was so close! There was only one vote between the winner and the runner up!

Huge congratulations to Justin, who I now crown the King of Horror. Well, Horror October at least!

If you enjoyed these stories, please go check out the authors and buy their books! Sadly, that is it for another Horror October!
Don’t forget, horror isn’t just for October…

 

 

 

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30 Days of Horror: #29 & #30 #30daysofhorror

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

Wow, I made it. I had a few set backs and had to double-up on posts a few times (like today), but I made it! I have spotlighted 30 books, for 30 days of horror.

My first pick for today (day 29) is a book that isn’t out until February. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

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Available in hardback & digital, 384 pages

Published February 20th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends

 

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.

 

Goodreads // Not My Review

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Will you be adding this one to your TBR too?

My second, and final choice for day 30 is one of my favourite books (that I own). And I can’t think of a better way to end this challenge. It is of course, The King of Gothic Horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe! I really need to review this book, I’ve only just realised that I didn’t! Good excuse to pick it up again if you ask me.

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Available in Hardcove,  208 pages

Published November 15th 2014 by Rockport Publishers

Rockport Books revisit the classics in a new series lushly illustrated by some of today’s most endearing and sought-after artists. These aren’t your typical classics–our artists reinterpret these stories and create a stunning presentation unlike any you’ve ever seen. Book enthusiasts and artisans will want to collect the entire series.

Renowned artist David Plunkert takes readers on a dark journey into the gothic stories of Edgar Allan Poe, through his luscious imagery. These stories take on a whole new meaning when accompanied by Plunkert’s mystical, and sometimes spooky interpretations.

With this edition of the Classics Reimagined series, you’ll think classics boring, nevermore!

 Goodreads // Not My Review

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Well that’s a wrap on my 30 days of horror. I hope you’ve discovered some new books, and perhaps been reminded of some creepy classics.

Horror October: I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist #BookReview #HO17

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Title: I Am Behind You
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Series: Platserna #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: September 7th 2017 by riverrun
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

This gripping conceptual horror takes you deep into one of the most macabre and unique imaginations writing in the genre. On family, on children, Lindqvist writes in a way that tears the heart and twists the soul. I Am Behind You turns the world upside down and, disturbing, terrifying and shattering by turns, it will suck you in.

Review

 

I’ve had a hit and miss (but mostly miss), relationship with Lindqvist so far to be honest, but I loved the sound of this book. And I’m pleased to report that this has been my favourite of his so far!

I Am Behind You, is hands down one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read, and thus a perfect read for a dark October evening.

It’s about a myriad of different families who wake up in their holiday caravans to find that the caravan park is gone. They’ve been moved, or have they? There is nothing around, and when they drive, they don’t get anywhere. The ground is strange and smells like blood.

Not only that, but there are these white human-like creatures stalking around. Before long, the families realise that they all see these creatures as different things; a tiger, a salesman, John Wayne characters… what does it all mean?

And then it starts to rain acid.

Out of all of the Lindqvist books I’ve read, I Am Behind You was definitely the most readable. I don’t know whether the translation was just better this time, but the pages flew by. I was totally submerged in this strange, creepy place and had to keep reading to get to the bottom of it.

But here lies the problem. We don’t get to the bottom of it, of anything really. Which was really frustrating. There’s only so many crazy things that can happen without even an iota of an explanation before you stop caring. But read on I did!

Apparently this is the first in a series, so maybe it will be addressed in the next book, but I wish he would have given us something more concrete as to what the hell was going on, you know!?

The star of the show were the characters for me. Each of the families bring something different, and alarming to the story. A few of them are loveable, but mainly they’re all troubled in some way, especially Molly, the token creepy child who was once left in a tunnel and has never been the same since.

I hate to liken every horror writer to Stephen King, but parts of this really did remind me of him and his great characterisation. If you liked Under the Dome, I think you’d enjoy this too.

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Don’t forget to vote in the Flash Fiction Battle!

Voting ends at 19:00 tonight.

30 Days of Horror: #27 & #28 #30daysofhorror #HO17

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

So yes, I failed to keep up with this once again, but that means you get two picks for the price of one today and tomorrow.

My first pick for day 27 is a non-fiction book that I’ve only recently come across. It’s like everything I love about trashy horror in one book!

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Available in paperback & digital, 256 pages

Published September 19th 2017 by Quirk Books

 

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . if you dare.

Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate!

Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles.

You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

 

Goodreads // Guest Post: Paperback Lost by PG Bloodhouse

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Read this? What did you think?

My second choice for today is a book that I really enjoyed. It was much better than the film, but it was still worth a watch.

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Available in all formats incl. audio, 460 pages

Published June 19th 2014 by Orbit

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

 Goodreads // My Review

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Don’t forget to vote in the flash fiction battle!

You can catch up on all four stories here.

 

Horror October: Week #4 Wrap-up! #HO17

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The end is nigh, horror fans! And I can’t lie, I’m slightly relieved. It’s been a blast, but busy, oh so busy!

Anyway, in case you missed anything last week, here is a handy summary of all the goings-on.

Horror October Week 4

30 Days of Horror:

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Day #22 & #23: Relics & Angel of Vengeance

Day #24: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Day #25: The Hollow Girl

Day #26: Doctor Sleep

Top Ten Tuesday: Weird horror book titles

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This Week in Books 25.10.17

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Flash Fiction Battle

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Entry #3: In That Sleep of Death by Stephen Kozeniewski

Entry #4: Puppets by Gabino Iglesias

Vote for Your Winner Now!

Guest Post: Paperback Lost by PG Bloodhouse

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Lazy Saturday Review: Under My Skin by Juno Dawson

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Still to Come:

I crown the winner of the Flash Fiction Battle!

Don’t forget to vote for your favourite!

 

Horror October Guest Post: Paperback Lost by PG Bloodhouse #HO17

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PG Bloodhouse is a fellow vintage bookseller and horror lover. I would buy everything in his shop if I could, so I was delighted when he agreed to share with me his two favourite, most creepiest horror paperback finds.

Paperback Lost by PG Bloodhouse

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Robert Aickman is a terribly underrated writer, whose 48 ‘strange stories’ were belatedly reissued in four lovely editions by Faber & Faber in 2014. With the boost in popularity, earlier editions were suddenly very scarce.

I have only seen this 1968 edition of ‘Powers of Darkness’ once and have held on to it with dear life. As lovely as the recent reissues are, modern book covers just cannot achieve that sense of uneasiness that 60s and 70s design could.

This cover particularly reflects Aickman’s style. His stories are unsettling and Aickman has no intention of making things easy for the reader. Often the scene is mundane, with just a sense that there is something wrong.

This subtlety was overshadowed in late 70s and 80s by the novels of more blatant British horror mongers Clive Barker and James Herbert. Their work often spelt out the horror; told you what you should be scared of.

Aickman dropped you in a peculiar place and left you to it. Alone.

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I am hard pushed to think of anything more terrifying than a little girl in an old-man mask, ascending a stately home staircase towards me. This atrocity pretty much sums up what I love about 70s book cover design.

I have always thought that horror is best served in small doses. The short story gives you little time to get accustomed with the characters and surroundings. Less chance to get comfortable.

It also means more is left to the imagination – something very few horror writers can achieve over the course of a novel. Shirley Jackson being one notable exception.

More Tales of Unease, from 1969, was the second of a trilogy of anthologies edited by John Burke, more famous for his novelisations and TV writing. This collection of stories was adapted for TV in 1970, most episodes of which were subsequently lost.

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PG Bloodhouse started selling books online this earlier this year. Accidentally stumbling into book trading in an attempt to stem (justify) his own spending….

He is currently trading on etsy at pgbloodhouse.etsy.com with a new website on the way at www.pgbloodhouse.co.uk.

You can also find him and his wonderfully creepy covers on Instagram (which is where I discovered him)!

 

Halloween sale now on, so go check out his shop!

30 Days of Horror #26: Doctor Sleep #HO17

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

Tonight’s horror book choice is one that I was pleasantly surprised by. I’ve liked most of the Stephen King books I’ve read but perhaps not as much as some people. I didn’t know what to expect from a Shining sequel though, especially so many years after the first was published. But I thought Doctor Sleep was a great effort. And well worth revisiting.

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Available in all formats incl audio, 531 pages

Published September 24th 2013 by Scribner

 

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

 

Goodreads // My Review

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Read this? What did you think?

Don’t forget to vote in the flash fiction battle!


30 Days of Horror #25: The Hollow Girl #HO17

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

My choice for day 25 is a book I’ve only just come across, and mannnn it looks pretty creepy. Want!

thehollowgirl

Available in hardback and ebook, 272 pages

Published October 10th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.

 

Goodreads // NOT My Review

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Already read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Flash Fiction Battle: The vote opens!

 

Horror October: This Week in Books 25.10.17 #TWIB #HO17

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Throughout October, I’ll be doing the short version of this post where I will simply share what I’m reading now, then and next. Because quite frankly, there’s enough going on around here.

I’m afraid my answers are the same this week as I got no reading time at all this week. But I’m hoping for a quiet weekend so fingers crossed I can get the last Horror October book read and catch up on reviews and things!

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now: Alone ~ Cyn Balog

I’ve barely started this, so nothing to report yet.

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Then: I Am Behind You  ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It was so creepy and weird! My review will be up ASAP.

Next: ??? The Passion of Cleopatra ~ Anne Rice.

It’s the last of my Horror October ARCs. Whoop!

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra.

Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old.

This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life.

She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.

Up Next on Horror October:

Flash Fiction Battle: Entry #4 and how to vote!

30 Days of Horror #24: There’s Someone Inside Your House #HO17

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

We’re on the homestretch, guys! My choice for day 24 is another YA book. I haven’t got my hands on a copy of this yet but it’s at the top of my wishlist. It’s a bit of a departure for the author, too, which intrigues me.

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Available in all formats incl audio, 287 pages

Published September 26th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

 

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

 

Goodreads // NOT My Review

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Read this? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

This Week in Books