Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book 57 of 2008: Failure by John Everson

Book Description:

Raymond is such a failure, he can't even kill himself and get it right. Cindy just plain doesn't care; she'll get on her knees for anyone beneath the football field bleachers to score a nickel bag hit. And Sal is a frustrated goon with a hook nose and an attitude so sour he can't nail a girl even with the lure of free dope and a getaway car.

When these three desperate teens meet Aaron, a failed practitioner of the dark arts who offers them the best high they've ever smoked in exchange for some kinky sexplay inside his pentagram, things can only go from bad to worse. Aaron hopes to ensnare and re-birth the spirit of a late witch, to capture her power from beyond the grave for his own.

Soon, they'll all learn the darkest, bloodiest, most terrifying definition of Failure.

My Opinion:

John Everson is certainly NO failure!!! This short chapbook released by Delirium Books is both gorgeous and well-written. Everson both designed the cover art and wrote the story... a man of MANY talents! The story starts off introducing the reader to each main character in the book as well as to what is going on with them. From there it flashes back and forth between flashbacks to what happened in the past to get them to this point and what is happening in the present. Everson's use of such intense imagery makes you feel like you are there watching the scene first hand. The flashback scenes are so "wild" that some readers might not be able to handle them, but TRUE horror fans will appreciate the writing style as much as I do.

John Everson has "wowed" me more and more with each book I've read by him. I have always enjoyed erotic horror to a point, but he has taken it to a whole new level for me with his writing style. He has ultimately become my favorite author. To anyone reading this that is a fan of horror... if you haven't checked out John's work yet, I HIGHLY recommend doing so. If you are a fan of novels, start of with COVENANT. If you like short stories, track down NEEDLES & SINS. I promise you... you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book 56 of 2008: Needles & Sins by John Everson

Book Description:

Roses scented with bitter deception, Oracles redolent in hidden redemption, a body-mod-obsessed ingenue with an amputee fetish and a demon gone soft on a bitter angel. Dreamcatchers, an alternate Nativity with a pimp God and a non-compliant Mary, Stupid Bitch the three-legged cat and the secret explanation of how Germany almost won the war with the devil on their side. These are just a few of the provocative sets in these 19 stories rife with "Needles & Sins"...

My Opinion:

I HIGHLY recommend this anthology to fans of horror! There is a variety of stories of all kinds and I found myself only disliking 1 story in the whole book and even that one I am considering re-reading as I think I may have been distracted at the time of. Definitely give this book a shot as Everson has created a mix of bizarro, eroticism, kink, horror, fantasy, etc... A must read for fans of dark fantasy, horror, and erotic horror!

Some of my favorite stories in this book include:

Something Inside
The Beginning Was the End
The Char-Lee
Green Green Glass
Mutilation Street
And Then Some
After the Fifth Step

And if short stories aren't your thing... read this book anyway! I typically am not the biggest fan of short stories, but I LOVED these! The last 5 stories in this book are all circus themed and are all tied together so it's kinda like reading a short novella.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Book 55 of 2008: Candy in the Dumpster by Various Authors

Book Description:

The first Dark Arts Books release is Candy in the Dumpster, a compilation of 12 "new and used" horror stories by four Chicago authors: Jay Bonansinga, Bill Breedlove, John Everson, and Martin Mundt. This volume features an introduction by another Chicago horror veteran, Mort Castle.


Introduction: Candy in the Dumpster

A Perfect Plan
The Cure
Babies Is Smart

The White House
Swallowing the Pill
Pumpkin Head

The Lost Collection
Free to Good Home
Drowning in the Sea of Love

Animal Rites
Deal Memo

My Opinion:

As with all anthologies, there were some stories I loved and some I didn't really care for.

Mundt's A PERFECT PLAN had me laughing like crazy every time I read the word "shit" and even though I really, really shouldn't have found the story funny, BABIES IS SMART left me in stitches! It's a HORRIBLY wrong story, but written extremely funny so I still enjoyed it. On the other hand, I just didn't get the point of his story THE CURE. I guess it just wasn't the story for me. *shrugs*

Now... Everson's stories on the other hand... I loved 'em all! No surprise there really as I have yet to read anything by him I haven't enjoyed. THE WHITE HOUSE story did start off a little slow for me just because I was trying to figure out what was actually going on, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. SWALLOWING THE PILL had me from the get-go wanting to know what was going to happen. And PUMPKIN HEAD, well... EVERYONE should read PUMPKIN HEAD! I mean, it's just a really "bad" Halloween story... LOL! (and I mean "bad" in such a good way... hee hee!!!) And if you act fast you can check out the story on John's website as he has it up right now for Halloween!!! Click below:

Pumpkin Head

Breedlove's stories... well, I wasn't really impressed with THE LOST COLLECTION, though the ending had a nice twist to it... and FREE TO A GOOD HOME was just a story. I didn't really get it I guess. However, I did really end up enjoying DROWNING IN THE SEA OF LOVE. It was VERY different compared to his first two stories and I was pleasantly surprised when I got to that one after being disappointed by the first two reads by this author. This just goes to show that I should never give up on an author based on just a few short stories!

Lastly, Bonansinga... ANIMAL RITES... meh... another story in the anthology that I just didn't really get the gist of I guess. However, STASH I ended up enjoying. I didn't think I was going to when I first started reading it, but as the story moved along I started getting into it and it ended up being quite a good story. The last "story", DEAL MEMO, I'm hesitant to call a "story" because it didn't have the feel of an actual story I can't really say whether I enjoyed or not because I can't say I totally got it. The reason being is, I haven't seen the movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. I guess had I seen it I might have been able to get this and laughed at it a bit more.

Overall though... I did enjoy this anthology and am looking forward to reading the other anthologies that Dark Arts Books has published.

Book 54 of 2008: Wall of Kiss by Gina Ranalli

Book Description:

A woman. A wall. Sometimes love blooms in the strangest of places... What would happen if a woman, tired of previous broken relationships, instead fell in love with her wall? Would she be spurned yet again, or would it be a match made in heaven?

My Opinion:

Okay... so this was NOT my 54th read of the year, but I just realized I somehow missed reviewing this one so I've gotta toss it in the mix somewhere, so just throwing it here where I'm at now. I absolutely loved this short chapterbook by Gina! When Nick Cato told me about this story I was thinking, Gee... that sounds like it could be my autobiography one day. LOL!!! I guess you have to be familiar with my run of luck in relationships to fully understand that, but trust me... it could happen! ha ha! I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more Bizarro books by Miss Rinalli in the future and recommend her to anyone else out there wanting to give this genre a try.