Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Andrew Wolter

It has been too long since we've heard from one Andrew Wolter.

The man is a prolific writer with many, many irons in the fire right now but just in time for the holidays, he has found the time to time to bestow a scary little stocking stuffer upon us, I'll Be Home For Christmas.

I'll Be Home For Christmas is the story of Jessie Sutter, all alone in the family home after the death of his mother, dealing with the first Christmas since her passing.  Christmastime holds the fondest memories of his childhood for him, because it was a time when the family acted as a family; no fighting, no screaming, only peace.

Wolter savors every word he writes and just as swirling wine in a glass releases the wine's bouquet, his storytelling swirls around us, enveloping us in his words.  You will keep reading til the end, as I did, as Jessie recalls a surreal meeting with Santa, the secret that Santa gave him and the reason why his hair and beard are white.

I'll Be Home For Christmas is a delicious little tapas of a tale, a tasty morsel to tide us over til Wolter's next big book and you will devour it in one sitting.  It's dark, it's glam...it's Christmas.

Happy Reading!

(This counts towards the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Couldn't Resist The Power of the Dark Side

Ok, only because she's hosting it again and only because I enjoyed last year's challenge so much, I am once again going to participate in  the 2014 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by the lovely Midnyte Reader.  It was a blast and I got to encounter a lot of book/authors that I hadn't had the pleasure of reading before.  So here we go again.  :)

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2014 Netgalley Reading Challenge

So in 2013, my success with the reading challenges I'd entered was hit and miss; I excelled at a couple, while a couple fell to the way side.  In an effort to not overextend myself, with the added benefit of putting a dent in my Netgalley TBR pile, I will be entering only one challenge this year, the 2014 Netgalley Reading Challenge hosted by Ariel Avalon.  The goal is to get your feedback percent to 80, so I have decided to go "hardcore" by reading 21 or more books.  Wish me luck!  Happy reading!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review: BUDDY by Brett Williams (Zoe Books)

I read Buddy by Brett Williams based solely on Mr Williams' reputation, and I am glad I did.  In all honesty, there were several moments reading this story that made me cringe, or plucked unmercifully at my heart strings, but Mr Williams' skill as a writer was not to denied and I soldiered through til the end.  Buddy is a harrowing read, and not one for the faint of heart.

The story opens with our young protagonist, Danny James, saving a young puppy from attack by rats.  The vermin have already injured the dog but Danny rescues it and wanting to heal it from its injuries, sneaks it into the house to nurse it back to health.  Dogs are not allowed in the house, so Danny has to hide the puppy, which he names Buddy,  in his room, the better to avoid the wrath of his mother and her boyfriend.  We also find out that Danny's brother Tom bullies him at every turn, so Danny and Buddy spend alot of time in his bedroom.  Unfortunately, Tom finds out about Buddy and threatens both the boy and his dog daily, making life a living Hell for the young companions.

Again, Buddy is a hard read but it is fast paced and Williams knows how to keep you in your seat, hanging on every word.  There were plenty of times I wanted to put the book down for a minute, if only to shake off the emotions the story was wringing out of me but I didn't.  The material is not easy to stomach but Williams writes with a very sure hand, telling a story of abuse and love and companionship and trust that hits home all the more harder because stories like this are happening everyday, these things are real.  And that's the real horror.     

(This counts towards the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: THE WOKEN GODS by Gwenda Bond (Strange Chemistry)

I don't usually read too much Young Adult fiction, unless word of mouth is so rampant that my interest can't help but be piqued.  But when one of my favorite publishers Angry Robot started releasing daring, new YA fiction under its Strange Chemistry imprint, I threw caution to the winds and took a chance.  First came Blackwood by Gwenda Bond, then Shift by Kim Curran and I thought to myself, now here was YA fiction that I could sink my teeth into and really enjoy!  There were no angst ridden teenage girls or pale, tragic vampire teen heartthrobs in sight, just more great speculative fiction  in the glorious Angry Robot tradition, and I started to read all the SC titles that I could get my hands on.

And along came The Woken Gods.

When I was younger, and due to my father's influence, I read alot of books on mythology and ever since then have always enjoyed reading fiction that integrates those familiar myths and legends.  So I was very interested in The Woken Gods from the start.  And I can report that it is a novel that I enjoyed very much; full of enough adventure to keep me satisfied but leaving me wanting more from the promise I feel went unfulfilled.

The premise is awesome: gods from the earth's mythologies are very real and have returned to earth.  All the major pantheons are here and Bond chooses to keep the gods among us as they should be; mysterious, aloof and certainly beyond the understanding of we mere mortals.  In Washington, D.C.,where the novel takes place, there are liaisons from each pantheon that interact with the Society of the Sun, an organization created to deal with the newly awoken gods.

Also in Washington live Kyra Locke and her father, a "librarian" with the Society.  Only, unbeknownst to Kyra, he isn't really a librarian at all and has made off with an ancient relic that the Society would like to have returned to it...

Both the action and fantasy sequences in The Woken Gods are well written, and once the pacing of the book picks up, keep it moving right along.  For me, it is a book with a slow introduction; there is alot of information and back story that Bond has to impart to us to get the party started and sometimes the expositions got to be quite lengthy.  After a few chapters, however, the narrative found its legs and I dived right in.

Kyra and Oz, the two main characters, are well developed and they and their supporting cast kept me engaged throughout the book.  I do feel that The Woken Gods is just the first adventure that we will share with them, since the climax of the book feels open ended and I believe that there is plenty more of this world that Bond can explore.

I would honestly recommend The Woken Gods to anyone who are looking for something different in the YA field, or who are just looking for a great read.  I was entertained and am now left wanting to see what happens next...happy reading!

(This counts toward the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Reading Challenge 2013 hosted by Book Chick City)

Thursday, September 19, 2013


As a thank-you for reviewing This Is How You Die: Stories Of The Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine Of Death, contributor 'Nathan Burgoine wrote a "mini-death" tale for each of the reviewers, picking a card from that dread machine himself.  My review is here and this is the death that was dealt to me.  I am especially chuffed by it because 'Nathan could have had no idea ahead of time, but the though of this particular death would terrify me, so I was tickled and traumatized at the same time!  Thank you, 'Nathan!

"In return for his lovely review of This is How You Die, here's the fourth "mini-death" thank you story. The reviewer drew "UNDER COLLAPSING SHELF" from my remaining cards, but you can get a result from the http://www.machineofdeath.com/ site, too.
If you want a mini-death tale of your own, just write a review of This is How You Die wherever you'd like, and link it back to this page for me (or my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/apostrophen).
Finding a house without them had been too tricky, so in the end, he took a generous part of his inheritance and had a small home of his own design built. A perk, he supposed, of being an interior designer.
A retired interior designer.
Thanks to the world of e-reading, he didn’t miss his books, and thanks to online streaming, he didn’t miss his movies. Shoes and sweaters were placed on the floor, or inside hollow bench-seats that run along all the glass windows that faced the other side of the valley. He had similar ones installed in the kitchen – the other most challenging room, given the limitations. Top-load freezers and fridges.
Reselling, if it ever came to that, would be a bitch.
Still, it wasn’t the weirdest home that had been built since the machines had appeared. He’d heard of a woman who’d received SPLINTER as her result, and had a house built entirely of adobe and stone. 
He smiled, and went out to sit on the stone deck. There was no cover – that felt a bit too similar to him – and besides, it was a cool night with no rain. He drank some wine, and relaxed, and opened his portfolio. He set to work with a pencil, sketching out a rough idea for a Thai-Japanese fusion restaurant that had hired him to design their tables and chairs.
He only noticed the first tremor when it caused his pencil to scratch a line he hadn’t intended. He looked up when it happened again, frowning. He picked up his phone and thumbed the screen, moving to the social networks. The hashtags crossed his screen even as he watched.
He raised his eyebrows. It was his first in the new home. He refreshed the screen, and one of the hashtags was linked to an article. He tapped the screen.
It was a history of the earthquakes in the coastal areas, due to the nearby fault line and the continental shelf.
He dropped the glass of wine, and it shattered as the earthquake began in earnest."

Yes, I hate earthquakes...happy reading!

American Horror Story: Coven Posters and Teaser

On October 9, one of my favorite television shows, American Horror Story is returning for its third season on FX with a new horror story, this one entitled Coven.

After the amazing, wild insanity of last year's Asylum, I just didn't know how Ryan Murphy and team were going to top it.  Turns out, I needn't have worried.  This season is going to be (as the title suggests) all about witches!  And not just any witches...both Angela Bassett and the incredible Kathy Bates have joined the cast this season!  Imagining these two legendary actresses sharing the screen with show veteran Jessica Lange has me counting the days until the show's premiere!

As usual, there are plenty of creepy posters and teaser trailers to tide us over til then; here are my faves:

And the trailer that sent my head spinning, finally featuring all three actresses, "Initiation":

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: THIS IS HOW YOU DIE edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki ! (Grand Central Publishing)

In 2010, there was quite a lot of buzz around a new anthology entitled Machine of Death which collected stories exploring a single premise; a machine that could predict, without fail, the manner in which you would die.  All it needed was a sample of your blood and a tiny slip of paper would have your ultimate fate written on it.  I myself never read it but definitely had it on the ever growing TBR pile.  Then this year, the editors unleashed upon the world a sequel, This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death.  Word of mouth was that this volume was even bigger, better and not to be missed.  So I gave in to the siren song, threw caution to the wind and picked up This Is How You Die.

The collection opens with the heartbreakingly brilliant Old Age, Surrounded by Loved Ones by 'Nathan Burgoine.  Burgoine is now on my list of go-to writers that I know will deliver a great story; I have yet to be disappointed.  Also, the story wasn't what I expected at all; Burgoine has written an emotional story about sisters that will require tissues after reading it.  If you're not teary eyed after this, then you have no heart to break.  

Other favorites:

Execution by Beheading by Chandler Kaiden is a thriller that features three children who, upon hearing a rumor about someone who is different, go to extremes to collect a rare "Cause Of Death" card from their machine...

Apitoxin is a very clever spin on the book's premise by John Takis, who places his tale right in the hands of none other than Sherlock Holmes.  Apitoxin is both a wonderful tribute to the famous detective and a well written mystery that was great fun to read.

Monsters from the Deep, editor David Malki !'s contribution to the anthology, is a weird, creepy tale complete with aliens and a delightful Lovecraftian atmosphere.

Lake Titicaca by editor Matthew Bennardo instantly reminded me of The Body and Goonies, with kids a little afraid of what they're doing but too excited not to go off and have an adventure.

Be warned: This Is How You Die is indeed a long book but the stories are so varied and encompass so many genres that you will continually be pulled along to keep reading, unwilling to put the book down. And with a collection like this, that is exactly what you want; great story after great story that keeps you glued to the page til the last sentence is read.

Then you start over again.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Book Deal for Adam Christopher, plus New Cover Art for THE BURNING DARK

Today on his blog Adam Christopher finally revealed the new cover art for his next book (and his first for TorThe Burning Dark, PLUS the exciting news that he has inked a deal for two more books set in the same universe!  Here is the final cover:

which is pretty awesome and clearly more hard SF than the Empire State books.  Plus, Adam also revealed tentative titles and release dates for the next two book; in March 2015 we can expect The Jovian Conspiracy and a year later in March 2016, The Stars Below.

Tor.com also got in on the shenanigans of the cover art reveal plus offered the alternate covers that were in the running before the final decision was made.

Congratulations to Adam, who has given me many, many hours of reading bliss!  Now I can look forward to many, many more!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pride Month: Interview with STEVE BERMAN

For my lil' ol' Pride Month, I knew that I wanted to have an interview with someone that was a prominent figure in the gay literary scene and that wrote the kind of fiction that I, as a gay man, love to read and try to help promote here on my humble blog.  And as my reading continued, the same name kept popping up, via either his own marvelous fiction or through helping others get their voices heard.  So without further ado, may I present Mr Steve Berman!

Tell us about yourself:   
Hmm, not sure what secrets to reveal. Actually, I'm a rather mundane, average fellow. Well, perhaps if you saw my apartment with its collection of plush monsters, Halloween artwork, and mad scientist lab-style decor you might not think that. But I rarely have guests. I wonder why?

Your contribution to GHOSTS IN GASLIGHT, MONSTERS IN STEAM was my favorite in the book; where did the idea for "Feeding Desire" come from?  It's definitely a darker, more graphic story...  
Actually, I had intended the story for the 2011 Bear-themed anthology Tales from the Den (ed. by R. Jackson). But I could not finish the tale by the deadline. This often happens to me. I am a slow writer. And I did not have a good grasp of the protagonist or what he would encounter at the sinister restaurant. Other than the Gourmands. I had come up with them as villains some years earlier and just needed the right story to feature cannibalism.

You are a great champion of Speculative and Young Adult fiction; have you always felt a connection to these genres?  
Oh, yes. My favorite books have always been the strange and spooky. And I often feel like a hapless adolescent trapped in an aging body. Both genres champion the Outsider. As does some of the best gay literature. I am about as interested in the stereotypical twink party boy as I am catching bubonic plague from a prairie dog. Now the quiet, buck-toothed 15 yr old that happens to be gay and believes that the abandoned wishing well in the park is the key to his finding a date for the prom? That starts my imagination. Especially when the silver dollar he throws in is pitched right back at him. By something...

You wear more than one hat, Steve; besides an acclaimed writer, you are also owner/publisher of Lethe Press, arguably one of the most prolific gay presses today AND you've been an award finalist many times!  How do you juggle all that?! 
Well, it's not easy. I think whenever a writer starts a press and takes on additional roles their creative energy is channeled away from fiction or poetry or whatever. I never intended (back in 2001) that Lethe would be the behemoth it is. I think we're the second or third largest LGBT press in the nation. I do not regret enabling authors to share their voices, though. And I have made many new and vital friends through my work with Lethe.

I've noticed that your're also having success with two new imprints, Tinture and BrazenHead.  First, congratulations and second, what made you feel the need to create two new imprints versus publishing these works under the Lethe banner?
 Tincture was needed to address the paucity of quality books written by and for LGBT people of color. The publishing world is still a very white-washed field and if I can help remedy that, then I am doing some good. BrazenHead was truly the brainchild of author and graphic designer Alex Jeffers. There are few markets for novellas, let alone gay spec fic novellas. He's pretty damn particular in accepting manuscripts, which explains why his release of Green Thumb by Tom Cardamone won us our third Lammy Award.

I've enjoyed many, many of your anthologies; as a matter of fact, a favorite of mine SO FEY: QUEER FAIRY FICTION was one of the first Lethe books I ever reviewed.  How can you tell when a story is going to be a perfect fit? 
I am flattered you enjoyed that anthology. All I can say is that every editor has a vision for their book's needs. I hope to fill an anthology with fiction that is not only entertaining but also evocative. I remember at least two stories from So Fey that I thought so beautiful, so moving, that I cried when I read the manuscripts. That has happened since, and it is a wonderful feeling.

And finally, what is coming up for Steve Berman?  What can we be looking forward to?  Will we be seeing more of your own fiction out there? 
Well, this is the year when I have a lot of anthologies releasing. From Lethe Press there is Best Gay Stories 2013 and Wilde Stories 2013 in June. July is Where They Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe (BC: Yes!). August is Heiresses of Russ 2013 with co-editor Tenea D. Johnson. And in October is Suffered from the Night: Queering Bram Stoker's Dracula (BC: YES!!). And I have edited horror anthologies for Prime Books:  Bad Seeds in July, Zombies: Shambling through the Ages in August, and Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War in September. Whew. I think in October the Strange Horizons website will feature a new gay YA tale from me. Other than all that...I'd like to sleep. Alas, I sleep alone.

Steve, thanks again for taking the time to chat with me!  I'm looking forward to plenty of hours of amazing reading this year, thanks to you!

You can find out more about Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam due out in July here and here.

For all things Lethe Press, Tincture, White Crane, Bear Bones Books, BrazenHead and Icarus here.

And help yourself to Steve Berman's writing here.

Happy reading!

Review: GHOSTS IN GASLIGHT, MONSTERS IN STEAM edited by Evan J Peterson and Vincent Kovar (Minor Arcana Press)

Another queer horror anthology, with the added bonus of steampunk?!  Count me in!

Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam is the new anthology in the Gay City Anthology series from Minor Arcana Press and the Gay City Health Project based in Seattle.  The series "produces vibrant, multi-disciplinary collections comprised of fiction, comics, poetry, photography and art" that raise awareness of the Gay City Health Project.  This volume, the first one I've had the opportunity to read, features a steampunk/queer monster theme and boasts fiction, poetry and some great illustrations.

The book is divided into two "acts"; "Victorian Venom" and "Modern Monsters", and for me, the stories progressed from good to great, making for a very strong second half.  The highlights for me:

Evan Peterson's introduction.  It really sets up his process behind editing the book and what to expect inside, and also had me recalling my younger self, growing up gay and being drawn to that otherness that all LGBT people feel at one point in their lives...

Medium Mechanique by Catherine Lundoff is a wonderful story that successfully blends the steampunk and horror theme of the book with the desperation of wanting to be with that lost love just one more time...

Anthony Rella's The Heart of the Labyrinth offers a mystery, a bathhouse and what secrets lie deep in its core.  Excellent storytelling here!

Monster Movie by Rebecca Brown is a moving remembrance of loving, and even sympathizing with, those classic movie monsters as young person, and knowing what it feels like to be different...

B.E.M.s by Gregory L. Norris is a fun, clever tale that is both light hearted and entertaining and pays homage to classic shows like Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.

Splinter by Ryan Crawford is a weird tale that takes place in the woods...please do not hike in the forest at night.  You've been warned!

And lastly, Steve Berman brings the collection to a satisfying close with what I think is his most horrifying piece to date.  Boasting the most gruesome villains I've encountered in awhile, Feeding Desire is worth the price of admission alone, with its mix of suspense, burly men, and...meat.  LOVED IT!

Ghosts in Gaslight...is being released in July and you can find out more info here at Minor Arcana's website.

Happy reading!

(This counts towards the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


We interrupt Pride Month to bring you, via Tor.com, the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug!  Enjoy!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: PACIFIC RIMMING by Tom Cardamone (Chelsea Station Editions)

Tom Cardamone's writing is addictive.

I was first introduced to his work last year when I had the pleasure of reviewing the Lambda Literary Award winning Green Thumb.  Since then I've sought out his other work and recently crossed paths with the filthy, gorgeous Pacific Rimming.

Pacific Rimming chronicles the sexual adventures of a nameless narrator who loses himself in drugs, the Manhattan gay club scene and his obsession with Asian men.  He forms no attachments, preferring to move from one night stand to one night stand, attending only the bars and clubs where he knows he can indulge his paticular fetish.

This novella is worlds away from the speculative cataclysm of Green Thumb.  Cardamone keeps this tale firmly rooted in 1990s New York City. And there is a grittiness and immediacy to his writing here that envelops the reader; you can feel the tingle of the drugs, smell the smoke and sex.

Pacific Rimming is yet another example of an artist who writes with a sure hand, comfortably at home in any genre he chooses to write in and navigating with ease the language that each tale needs to be told in.  I'm very thankful to Chelsea Station Editions for bringing this book back into print, since it is not to be missed.  If your looking for an unapologetic, graphic slice of the sexual underground and enjoy writing that will place you firmly in the story, then Pacific Rimming is the book for you and Tom Cardamone is the man that will bring it to you.

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC by Mark Allan Gunnells (Evil Jester Press)

I love me some Mark Allan Gunnells.

He is an author whose work I enjoy reading again and again; whenever I'm immersed in one of his novels or  numerous short stories, I am never disappointed.  His writing is always a feast for the imagination.  And Ghosts In The Attic is no exception.

Trying to list my favorites from the choice morsels here was made nigh impossible by Mr Gunnells, as the stories range from great to excellent, but I managed to whittle it down to the gems:

The collection opens with 911, a poignant ghost story with its origin straight out of 9/11.

Another stand out for me is The Delivery Boy, a great thriller about a seemingly crazy pizza delivery boy that ends with a bang!

Wasted On The Young starts out pretty straight forward then takes an unexpected turn that brings the story to a creepy end.

The crown jewel of the collection, The Ghost Of Winnie Davis Hall, is a lovely, haunting story about belief and myth.  In it, we meet a ghost who over the years has become lost, and now only wants to find her place in the world again.  Beautiful!

Circular is a graphic tale about grief and desperation that can lead to obsession.  Very creepy!

A Stranger Comes To Lipscomb Street and Finders Keepers are both love stories at their core, yet surreal and weird.

Ghosts In The Attic is another superb collection by an author who injects his writing with thoughtfulness and heart.  Even his "horror" stories are emotive, and those collected here are wistful and wicked.  Probably my only complaint is that the majority of these stories are very short and while that makes for quick reading, when I am reading Mark Allan Gunnells, I want to be lost in the writing for as long as possible.

Happy reading!

(This counts towards the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


June is Pride Month and over at the SF Signal website, they've compiled a list of favorite LGBT authors, stories and novels, asking some authors to chime in with their own recommendations.  Here is that list; use it to help find books and authors for your own reading lists!

"Q: LGBT themes and characters have, thankfully, enjoyed an emergence in speculative fiction the past few years, and we’d love to know who some of your favorite LGBT authors, stories, and novels are, and why?"


Happy reading!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: HUSTLER RAVE XXX by David Caleb Acevedo and Charlie Vazquez (Tincture)

Admittedly, I do not read poetry often. However, when an author whose work I respect and enjoy releases a new collection of poems chronicling the joys and pains of the street hustler, I will sit up and take notice.

With Hustler Rave XXX: Poetry of the Eternal Survivor,  Charlie Vazquez and David Caleb Acevedo have put together a collection that makes for erotic, compulsive, and at times, poignant reading.  Each author puts a magnifying glass to what transpires between these hustlers and their "johns", illuminating what is more often than not a tragic, lonely and dangerous existence.  Acevedo, in his introduction, is very open about his own past as a hustler and pulls some very graphic imagery from his experiences and Vazquez's pieces also sear themselves into your brain; these poems combine to give voice to the countless young men that have found themselves on the streets.  They are cautionary tales.  They are memorials.

As is often the case with poetry, several readings may be needed to help interpret the meaning behind the words on the page, and Hustler Rave XXX is no different.  Each time I reread the poems, I learned a little more and my heart broke a little more for these poor souls out there on the streets.  I found myself hoping that somehow, these eternal survivors would know their stories were being told and that they were not forgotten.

I'll end this review with a thank you to the authors, for bringing to light such a controversial subject and handling it with both honesty and heart.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: NIGHT SHADOWS: QUEER HORROR edited by Greg Herren and J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)

Nowadays the horror and urban/paranormal fantasy genres seems replete with anthologies centered around one theme or another; shapeshifters, vampires, zombies-they all have had the starring role.  But it's harder to find a good, solid anthology that just has "horror"as its central idea, and harder still when the theme is "queer horror".

I haven't read such a book since 2002 when Michael Rowe's Queer Fear came out.  That book, along with its successor Queer Fear 2, was an ambitious and critically acclaimed collection that thrust "queer horror" into the spotlight and filled a vacancy in the horror genre that hadn't been occupied before.  Now Night Shadows: Queer Horror continues that fine tradition with a fresh, new collection of stories that encompass many facets of horror, not just the fanged and furred kind.

I am a big fan of anthologies but I am always prepared for each one I read to be a mixed bag;there are always some stand outs and some clunkers.  This time, however, I found that each story was a worthy entry and the collection as a whole made for happy reading.  Here are my favorites:

The Zealous Advocate by Carsen Taite; a well written, bloody revenge story...

Matinee by Vince A. Liaguno is another juicy revenge story and also an ode to the slasher horror films of the 80s...

Capturing Jove Lunge by Steve Berman was for me the most erotic entry in the book; a darker, pulpy tale  ..

All The Pretty Boys by Michael Rowe is another of the sexier entries here, a seductive werewolf story...

Filth by 'Nathan Burgoine is one of the creepiest stories I've read in a long time.  I literally felt my skin crawl as I read it...my favorite of the bunch!

Blackout by Jeffrey Ricker is an eerie ghost story, well told by the author who keeps the tension mounting throughout the entire piece.

As I said, each of the stories here are good, solid tales but these listed here are for me well worth the price of admission alone.  Night Shadows: Queer Horror does an excellent job of exploring and celebrating the gay horror genre and will appeal to fans of horror from every walk of life.

Happy reading!

(This counts toward the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader )

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Challenging Myself Once Again

So in order to really broaden my reading horizons AND to put a dent in my TBR pile, I'm going to join two more Reading Challenges!  The first is hosted by the fine ladies of Book Chick City and focuses on Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.   The second is the 2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge hosted by Amy at Book Nerd Designs. I'm sure I'm going to have fun and look forward to participating!

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: THE SUMMER OF WINTERS by Mark Allan Gunnells (Evil Jester Press)

Readers of this blog will know that I am a very enthusiastic fan of Mark Allan Gunnells.  Ever since he came out with Asylum, his awesomely original take on the zombie apocalypse, I have been addicted to this man's writing.  I know that anytime I open a Mark Allan Gunnells book that I am in for a great story with memorable characters and powerful storytelling.  And The Summer of Winters is no exception.

Told in flashback, it is the story of Mike Guthrie during the summer of 1983.  He is eleven, a scrawny and awkward adolescent that gets bullied at school and has no friends.  His father has abandoned the family and his mother has to work twelve hour days at a textile plant to support Mike and his younger brother Ray.  It is during this summer that Mike meets his new neighbor, Paige Moore.

The Moores move into the house next door to the Guthries, and Mike hasn't ever met anyone like Paige before.  She takes a liking to him immediately, and in asking him to be her "guide" around town and to show her the sights puts Mike in a position he hasn't been in before; the role of friend and playmate.  Paige's enthusiasm for adventure is contagious, and Mike finds himself attempting things he would never had tried before, such as interacting with the other local kids.  He also develops a crush on Paige's older brother, Brody.  But Mike's summer of fun and new found friendship is soon brought to a terrible halt by the death of nine-year old Sarah Winters.

The Summer of Winters is an intimate coming of age story that is laced throughout with a quiet horror.  Gunnells tells Mike Guthrie's story with a very precise hand; he perfectly captures both the local color of the area, plus the thoughts and feelings of an eleven year old boy, with the twin emotions of dread and loss that young Mike experiences speeding the story right along to its chilling climax.

With The Summer of Winters, Gunnells cements his reputation as a master storyteller.  It is a poignant tale of horror and loss that will reverberate with its readers for a long time to come.

(This counts toward the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader )

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Cover Art: The First Four EXHIBIT A Book Covers

Here they are, the first four book covers from Exhibit A, the crime fiction imprint of speculative fiction publishers extraordinaire, Angry Robot.  Take a gander!

I know that you will definitely want to pick these up for your summer reading, since Scare Me and Penance come out in late April/early May with Wounded Prey to follow in late May/early June and The Cambodian Book of the Dead in late June/early July.  Happy reading!