Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

The fears and horrors of being a new parent take on a shocking dimension in in this heart-stopping original story, only from Audible.

A young married couple, Matt and Gillian have just bought a gorgeous house located next to a lake in the Catskills. They want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to raise their baby girl, Hope, in relative peace and quiet. When night falls, however, their dream home becomes a house of nightmares. Matt and Gillian soon learn that darkness takes many forms. And sometimes, darkness is hungry.

New York Times best-selling author and Bram Stoker Award winner Jonathan Maberry delivers a haunting Audible Original that will give listeners the Halloween creeps all year round. Scott Brick, the man with the golden voice, perfectly captures the experience of hearing a classic ghost story told around the campfire.

Review –

 I was excited to grab this free horror story off of Audible last month. I’d just finished up a novel, and was in the mood for something quick to listen to while knitting a scarf, so I hit play on this short story.

Lullaby is about a husband and a wife who decide to move into a house they are told is haunted because the price was just too low to resist. They’re about to welcome into the world their new daughter, Hope, and this home seems perfect. It’s not too long before they start to see why the price was so low, and why the realtor was obliged to tell them that the place was haunted.

This short story is bleak, dark, and creepy. The haunted house presented here is not given a life of its own at all, and has no real presence itself, but the way the author described the haunted aspects of the story were unsettling. The finale that it builds towards hit me like a punch to the gut.

Scott Brick – who I’ve come to learn in my short time becoming an audiobook “connoisseur” is the most divisive narrator in the business – did an excellent job with this material. I loved his approach, which went from playful in the beginning, to haunting in the middle, and then powerful in the end. He displayed an impressive range in less than 40 minutes of narration.

Lullaby did more than I expected. It delivered on a creepy, quick tale, but it also went to much darker places than I could have imagined, and though it won’t be for everyone (trigger warning for those that don’t like to see children in peril), I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am happy I selected it for my Audible Original last month.

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Book Description:

Published: 1959

Format: Audio/Audible

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror.

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Review –

I first READ this book in 2009, and then LISTENED to it in 2014, so this makes my third time.

The movie is one of my all time favorites (the original with Julie Harris) and is very close to the book. The writer of the screen play did a great job. There are, of course, a few changes, but they are very subtle and don’t change the plot or outcome of the story line.

Looking for a change in reading genre – give this gem a try.

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book Description:

Published: November 3, 2015  

Format: Audio/Library Book

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

Review –
Always a pleasure to read a Stephen King book and this one was no exception.
The principal purpose of  the stories in this book is to entertain. Mr. King  says, “Although life experiences are the basis of all stories, I’m not in the business of confessional fiction.” No, he really isn’t, and the reason “The Little Green God of Agony” is one of the strongest stories in “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is that in this one, at least, King finds a serviceable horror metaphor for what’s on his mind, rather than trying to express it more directly. (He wrote this during his rehabilitation after his near fatal accident and all the pain he suffered)
There were some stories that I liked more than others but on the whole it was a delightful (if anything about Stephen King can be called delightful) collection of short stories concerning  various life changing subjects. What’s unusual about the tales in this volume is how many of its deaths are ordinary, mundane sorts of demises: deaths by cancer or heart failure or car accident or simple, non-­supernatural homicide. 
If you’re a “constant reader” or have never (GASP!) read Stephen King this is a great book to add to your TBR list or pile. Since it’s a collection of short stories it’s easy to commit to the book because you know you can read one story and put it down, but I doubt you will want to put it down after you start reading.
Loved it!

Pigeons From Hell by Robert E. Howard

Book Description:

Published: October 27, 2015

Format: Audio

Robert E. Howard, best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, also wrote stories in a diverse range of genres. He was particularly masterful with horror stories. This 1938 spell-binding story is one of his best. In 1983, Stephen King, wrote that he considered Pigeons from Hell to be “one of the finest horror stories of our century.” With a decaying Southern family, a gruesome murder, a strange sort of “undead” creature, and, of course, evil pigeons, it makes for a story that will send a chill down your backbone.

Review –

I’m sorry but if what the blurb above says is true and this is one of the author’s best short stories, I’d hate to read the others. AND, though I love and admire Mr. Stephen King, he is dead wrong about this story.

I kept waiting for the scary, creepy, backbone-chilling part, but it never came.

All in all, it was just around spooky story to share around a campfire or read during the month of October .

Not impressed but I do like the cover art.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

Book Description:

Published: August 18, 2015

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann
Leigh Bardugo
Kendare Blake
A. G. Howard
Jay Kristoff
Marie Lu
Jonathan Maberry
Danielle Paige
Carrie Ryan
Megan Shepherd
Nova Ren Suma
McCormick Templeman
April Genevieve Tucholke
Cat Winters

Review –

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Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is an anthology of fourteen horror stories by many of my favorite YA authors. Here is a list of the stories included:

The Birds on Azalea Street – Black birds take care of a creepy pervert of an old man by murder.

In the Forest Dark and Deep – It reminded me of Stephen King’s IT with a White Rabbit instead of a clown.

Emmeline – About a dead girl in France in 1918 who lures soldiers to her bed.

Verse, Chorus, Verse – . A teen celebrity’s rehab is much more than her mother paid for.

Hide and Seek – Annie plays a game with Crow Cullom, death’s harbinger, after her stepdad nearly kills her.

The Dark, Scary Parts and All – A dreams-come-true romance between “Marnie Monster” and the perfect boy becomes sinister.

The Flicker, the Finger, the Beat and Sigh – a couple’s perfect future is jeopardized when a joyride turns nightmarish on a rainy night.

The Girl Without a Face -About a Harvard boy with a dark past who’s haunted by a vengeful ghost.

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow -A group of boys from a plague-stricken community seek salvation in a shaman girl they’ve captured.

Sleepless – Like PYSCHO with an on-line twist.

Stitches -A girl dismembers her “sinful” father, selling his “offensive” body parts to “The Collector” and replacing them with a “good person’s” cadaver pieces.

On the I-5 – a murdered girl seeks revenge.

If you like Stephen King or spooky stories this book is for you.

Loved it!!

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The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Book Description:

Published: February 11, 2014

The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.”

Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.

In The Winter People, the author  gives readers just what they want from a good thriller: can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-until-dawn reading. In addition to being downright creepy, this novel is also a poignant reminder of what grief can drive humans to do. Lock your doors, check under your bed and soak up The Winter People, a legitimately chilling supernatural thriller.

Fantastic book!

Five stars *****

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Book Description:

Published: May 13, 2014

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This book was very  Stephen King-like and also reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines both of those authors are at the top of my favorites list.

There is a strange phenomenon causing people to go blind worldwide and aren’t told right away what exactly that is, but later we do find out that there are creatures from another place (world, time, parallel universe ) and they have some how found their way into our lives.

To survive one must always be blindfolded because it was discovered that just a glance at the unknown creatures causes blindness followed by madness. During the madness people kill others and sometimes themselves.

It’s the story of a mother and her “twins” and her desire to find a safer place to live.

The story is told in alternating past and present chapters and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is mesmerizing and will keep you turning pages to the end.

It is fantastic!

Five stars *****

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Niceville by Carsten Stroud

Book Description:

Published: June 12, 2012

Something is wrong in Niceville. . .
A boy literally disappears from Main Street. A security camera captures the moment of his instant, inexplicable vanishing. An audacious bank robbery goes seriously wrong: four cops are gunned down; a TV news helicopter is shot and spins crazily out of the sky, triggering a disastrous cascade of events that ricochet across twenty different lives over the course of just thirty-six hours.
Nick Kavanaugh, a cop with a dark side, investigates. Soon he and his wife, Kate, a distinguished lawyer from an old Niceville family, find themselves struggling to make sense not only of the disappearance and the robbery but also of a shadow world, where time has a different rhythm and where justice is elusive.
. . .Something is wrong in Niceville, where evil lives far longer than men do.
Compulsively readable, and populated with characters who leap off the page, Niceville will draw you in, excite you, amaze you, horrify you, and, when it finally lets you go, make you sorry you have to leave.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I loved this book from the very beginning.  It’s a combination of a black comedy,ancient-but still active hatreds, pure evil and paranormal activity.

So much happens in this book so here are some high points:

  • Rainey Teague vanishes one afternoon in the sleepy Southern town of Niceville. Several days later, he is found in a place where it seems impossible for him to be. (a grave)
  • The Teagues are one of the four families who have ruled Niceville since its founding and that bitter feuds, going back a century or more, rage among them.
  • Two bank robbers are pursued by police as they make off with more than $2 million dollars.
  • Their confederate, stationed on a hillside, proceeds with military precision to shoot and kill the drivers of all four police cars in pursuit of the robbers and also downs a news helicopter.
  • Kate Kavanaugh, an idealistic lawyer, is married to Nick Kavanaugh, formerly of the Special Forces, now a “ruthless but fair” lawman with a taste for vigilante justice that leaves suspected criminals unlikely to sin again — or perhaps even to walk and talk.
  • For decades, people have vanished from Niceville at a rate far above the national average. In the course of this novel, several more leading citizens go missing.
  • There is talk of a curse on the town, and outside Niceville looms Crater Sink, an apparently bottomless body of water that Native Americans have long considered a source of evil. Many of the missing, it is feared, might have somehow met their fate in Crater Sink.
  • We witness demonic, truly frightening deaths (“darkness flew at him, black wings, razor-edged beaks, claws ripping, yellow eyes with a green light, a crushing force thick with rage and hate. The feeding began”),
  • We meet many twisted characters. A leading citizen has for years been photographing his teenage daughters with a camera hidden in the ceiling of their bathroom. A dentist dispenses overdoses of happy gas to make young female patients “unwitting models in erotic photo-essays.” We see a drunken father “teaching his toddler how to pull-start a gas-powered weed whacker.” We’re then warned, unnecessarily, “It wasn’t going to end well.”
  • Most of the twisted characters meet their just demise and justly so while others remain alive at the end of the tale.  Just which ones, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

Five stars *****

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In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: August 25, 2015

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is a spectacular spooky story with a “who dun it” plot line.

It takes place in England, which I understand can be gloomy at times and in a “cabin”, which has huge floor to ceiling windows of glass that face a forest, and it’s in the middle of nowhere. Now, can you think of a better place for a “hen party”, which in America we would call a bachelorette party?

Nora makes the first mistakes by answering the email her gut told her to delete, and her second mistake by actually going.

The bride-to-be is her old best friend, whom she hasn’t seen in 10 years and there is bad blood between them.  I ask you, would you go? Not me!

The groom is Nora’s old high school boyfriend, James, who got her pregnant and dumped her in a text message telling her it was HER problem (or so she thought).

It’s a great story with a great plot and a great outcome.  If you like spooky stories, you will love this one!

If you don’t want spoilers, STOP HERE.

Continue reading

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

Book Description:

Published: February 17, 2015

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….

Review –
This is a really creepy, read in the dark, murder mystery, who-dun-it!
Penny, not all liking her step-mother,April, is forced to go with her to help renovate an old spooky house out in the woods into a bed and breakfast so it can be resold. Right away Penny notices that things are a bit off here in the woods and in the creepy house with a mural on one bedroom wall which includes a boy with red hair and green eyes. The more she looks into the real story behind the mural the more she gets creeped out and finds out that April has been having the same feelings. After many bazaar,macabre things happen they live and go back to the city and live HEA. (I couldn’t resist)
Truly the story is wonderful and the characters have many layers and the mystery is solved at the end and it is something you don’t see coming.  Really creepy.   Five stars *****
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