RIP XIII – Book 2

Dead Funny – ed. Robin Ince & Johnny Mains Horror Stories by Comedians This little book is my second read for R.I.P. XIII (more about that here). It comprises sixteen ‘horror stories written by comedians’ and was published by Salt in 2014, and followed up two years later by Dead Funny: Encore. Short stories and Read More

RIP XIII: A Dystopian SF Horror Fantasy

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer I just adored Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy (see here). His ability to create a genre-defying, strange but real feeling version of our world is unparalleled, and he does it again with Borne.  The setting is in the future after some kind of devastating event, involving the Company – a mysterious organisation Read More

One challenge ends, another begins: RIP XIII

The RIP Challenge is now in its thirteenth year! I’ve never signed up before, but the basic premise of this one should be a doddle for me given my penchant for dark books as autumn gets into full swing. Find out the full details and participation levels of the challenge here.  The purpose of the R.I.P. Read More

1977 week – ‘Here’s Johnny!’

Twice a year, Simon and Karen host a club where we all read from a particular year. This time it was 1977. This turned out to be not the best year for me – the book I would have chosen, had I not read it before would have been Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym Read More

Review catch-up

I am still behind on my reviewing, even though I seem to have unlocked my reviewer’s block – so today, I have a trio of short reviews for you… The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick This is a rare case for me of having seen the film before I read the book. I loved Read More

A book with mischievous intent, that nearly lives up to its promise

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith As I’ve been reading and revisiting a lot of Austen-ish books, sequels, adaptations and novels inspired by Austen for Shiny New Books upcoming ‘Austen Week’ (from Mon 17th July), I thought it time to dust down, update and repost my review of Pride & Read More

Aickman for Halloween

The Strange Stories of Robert Aickman If you enjoy a strange story, then you should really check out those of Robert Aickman who was a master of the genre from the 1960s onwards. A couple of years ago, on the centenary of his birth, Faber reprinted most of his stories in four volumes of the Read More

High School Horror in the late 1980s

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Grady Hendrix’s novel Horrorstör (reviewed here) was a triumph of style – a straight-forward but enjoyable horror story presented as a parody of an IKEA catalogue. This was such a brilliant conceit, it made my list of books of the year in 2014 for its amazing design. What would Read More

Catching up on reviewing…

My to be reviewed pile is larger than I like and I don’t want to forget the books – so here are some shorter reviews for you: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics This is one scary novel – published as a YA book but is definitely not for younger teenaged readers! The story is narrated Read More

Something ‘that scares me’…

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith One of the few remaining squares on my summer(!) book bingo card has been crossed off with this novel. I find few ghost stories truly scary and own few horror novels of the type that would Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy – #3

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer What began in Annihilation, follows on in Authority, concludes in Acceptance. Although I’ll give scant details of what happens below, discussing the third part of a trilogy will necessarily reveal small facts you may prefer not to know if you intend to Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy #2

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive   Authority by Jeff Vandermeer I had been planning to eke out my reading of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy over three months but, after the comments on my post about the first volume (see here and third volume here), I couldn’t wait Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer Having just read Annihilation, the first volume of Vandermeer’s series known as The Southern Reach Trilogy, I think I’m really going to enjoy the other two parts, Authority and Acceptance. This trilogy was published last year – with three months between volumes. They’re lovely Read More

Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, Read More

The Prisoner meets 1970s public information films – be very afraid…

Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler I love reading creepy novels in autumn, and this year I’ve had the pleasure of not only reading the fabulous Horrorstör (see here), but also the even creepier Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler. Anyone will be able to enjoy this book, but to really get the most out of it, Read More

A clever parody or a triumph of style over substance?

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix A couple of weeks ago, I got inordinately excited when this book I’d ordered arrived. For all its faults, IKEA is the booklover’s friend. Affordable shelving, in practical and/or posher versions, is what the bibliomane needs (I’m speaking as a 10x Billy owner here – I can construct those boys at Read More

A Trio of Short Reviews

I thought I’d sneak a couple of short book reviews into that week between Christmas and New Year.  Too bloated with turkey, booze and chocolate to concentrate on reading, I often find I’m scouring the web at this time for stuff to read and do! The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee This is Read More

Mr Sandman, bring me a dream …

The Sandman by ETA Hoffmann, translated by Christopher Moncrieff I’m slightly familiar with the 19th century author E.T.A. Hoffmann through adaptations of his on the stage: the ballets Coppélia by Delibes, and Christmas evergreen The Nutcracker, also Offenbach’s opéra fanastique, The Tales of Hoffmann – but I’ve never read any of the source stories before. Alma Read More

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #6

The Dark Tower Book 6: Song of Susannah by Stephen King King’s magnum opus is not a series that you can jump into midway through, so if you’ve not read it, I suggest you start at the beginning. See my series of posts: Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4 and Vol 5 and find your starting point, don’t read on. Read More

Bought it on Wednesday, read it by Friday, blogged on Saturday

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Alex is one of those thrillers that has been quietly gathering a word of mouth momentum since its publication earlier this year. Now the paperback is out, it is going to go stratospheric as Gone Girl did, (my review of that here). A French teacher friend has been recommending Alex to our book Read More

A new approach to the problem of werewolves …

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy Inside this chunkster of a werewolf novel are at least two shorter novels trying to get out… Imagine a post 9/11 America into which a new threat has emerged to fuel a nation’s paranoia. It’s the age of the werewolf, or Lycans as Percy dubs them. From the opening chapters Read More

Still shocking after all these years …

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks Distractions! I had hoped to read or re-read more Banks books by now. But better late than never, I have returned to the beginning and re-read The Wasp Factory again, and updated my BanksRead page. Published in 1984, I read it for the first time in 1985 when the paperback Read More

Half term movies

I’ve been to the pictures twice this half-term – two very different films and two gooduns. First, I went with my daughter to see Tim Burton’s new stop-animation film, Frankenweenie.  Inspired by Frankenstein, natch, it’s the story of a boy and his dog, and like all the best classic horror films, it’s in black and Read More

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Or can they?

The Flame Alphabetby Ben Marcus Before Beryl Bainbridge Reading week, I posted about how I’d essentially bought this book on the basis of its cover alone which is rather stunning, and how it would be the first book I read after Beryl. Now, I’ve read it and the question is did it live up to its Read More

One man against a world of vampires …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson I am Legend was first published in 1954; it was Matheson’s third novel. His fourth would go on to make cinematic history – The Shrinking Man would become a huge film hit as The Incredible Shrinking Man in 1957.  I remember adoring Read More

Gaskella meets … Charlie Higson

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive Gaskella meets … Charlie Higson This afternoon it was my delight to accompany a party of boys from my school over to the Abingdon school theatre to hear author, actor and comedian Charlie Higson talk about his zombie horror series of books Read More

Celebrating 50 years of Penguin Modern Classics

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. Penguin are very good at celebrating their anniversaries.  Previously we’ve had the Penguin Sixties and then the Penguin Classics 60s back in the mid 1990s for the company’s sixtieth birthday – each series featuring sixty little pocket-sized books which were 60p each, Read More

Bah Humbug!

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts Given that Yellow Blue Tibia by Roberts was both the maddest and best SF book I read this year, I had high hopes of this zombie take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a bit of fun this festive season.  Would it live up to the fun I had Read More

What could have possessed Dr Jekyll?

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R L Stevenson When I received an email from the publicist for this new series of classic novels in quality pocket hardback format from Whites books, Jekyll and Hyde was the one that leapt out of the list as I’d never read it before. The Read More

A Gothic spine-chiller for kids, adults too!

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley Priestley is an accomplished author and illustrator of children’s books, fiction and non-fiction. The past couple of years, he has specialised in horror stories for children. He’s written a series called Tales of Terror which have been well-received, (I know Scott Pack is a fan). The cover of his latest novel is brilliant Read More