Review: The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, by David Handler

About The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 15, 2017)

Fans of JANET EVANOVICH and CARL HIAASEN, get ready. If you haven’t yet discovered wisecracking sleuth Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag and his faithful basset hound Lulu, you’re in for a sharp, hilarious treat.

Once upon a time, Hoagy had it all: a hugely successful debut novel, a gorgeous celebrity wife, the glamorous world of New York City at his feet. These days, he scrapes by as a celebrity ghostwriter. A celebrity ghostwriter who finds himself investigating murders more often than he’d like.

And once upon a time, Richard Aintree was the most famous writer in America — high school students across the country read his one and only novel, a modern classic on par with The Catcher in the Rye. But after his wife’s death, Richard went into mourning… and then into hiding. No one has heard from him in twenty years.

Until now. Richard Aintree — or someone pretending to be Richard Aintree — has at last reached out to his two estranged daughters. Monette is a lifestyle queen à la Martha Stewart whose empire is crumbling; and once upon a time, Reggie was the love of Hoagy’s life. Both sisters have received mysterious typewritten letters from their father.

Hoagy is already on the case, having been hired to ghostwrite a tell-all book about the troubled Aintree family. But no sooner does he set up shop in the pool house of Monette’s Los Angeles mansion than murder strikes. With Lulu at his side — or more often cowering in his shadow — it’s up to Hoagy to unravel the mystery, catch the killer, and pour himself that perfect single-malt Scotch… before it’s too late.

Buy, read, and discuss The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, David Handler

David Handler has written nine novels about dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag, including the Edgar and American Mystery Award–winning, The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as eleven novels in the bestselling Berger & Mitry series. He lives in a 230-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Connect with David:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

This book, The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, is sort of a series reboot for David Handler’s detective duo Stwart “Hoagy” Hoag and his canine companion Lulu the Basset Hound. Or, if not technically a reboot (it’s set in the nineties) it’s a revisit, or a return.

Whatever you want to call it, this literary mystery is funny and smart, and it was refreshing to read something relatively light after so many deeper books. I love that author Handler doesn’t take himself or his material too seriously, but that Hoagy and Lulu still feel like real people – well, a real person and a real dog.

What I especially liked about this book was the period setting (and wow, do I feel old calling 1990 ‘period’). Handler reminded me of what it was like back then  – waiting for faxes, cell phones being relatively new and kind of rare – just the time it took to acquire or share information.

I also love Lulu. I’d read a series just about her. I might be biased, though, because I work in rescue and have four dogs of my own.

As someone who hadn’t read any of the other Stewart Hoag mysteries before this one, I do have to say that while The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes reads well as a stand-alone, it’s probably better appreciated if you’ve read the previous titles, which include:

The Man Who Died Laughing
The Man Who Lived By Night
The Man Who Would be F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Woman Who Fell From Grace
The Boy Who Never Grew Up
The Man Who Cancelled Himself
The Girl Who Ran Off With Daddy
The Man Who Loved Women to Death

Goes well with Chinese food and beer. Preferably delivered.


Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, August 15th: Brown Dog Solutions

Wednesday, August 16th: Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, August 18th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, August 21st: The Book Diva’s Reads

Tuesday, August 22nd: Tina Says…

Wednesday, August 23rd: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, August 23rd: Buried Under Books

Thursday, August 24th: Bibliotica

Monday, August 28th: Mama Vicky Says

Tuesday, August 29th: Reading is My Super Power

Wednesday, August 30th: Dreams, Etc.

Thursday, August 31st: BookNAround

TBD: In Bed with Books

TBD: Writing and Running Through Life

Without Light or Guide, by T. Frohock

About the book Without Light or Guide Without Light of Guide

• Print Length: 128 pages
• Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (November 3, 2015)

Always holding themselves aloft from the affairs of mortals, Los Nefilim have thrived for eons. But with the Spanish Civil War looming, their fragile independence is shaken by the machinations of angels and daimons… and a half breed caught in between. Although Diago Alvarez has pledged his loyalty to Los Nefilim, there are many who don’t trust his daimonic blood. And with the re-emergence of his father—a Nefil who sold his soul to a daimon—the fear is Diago will soon follow the same path. Yet even as Diago tries to prove his allegiance, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim’s suspicions—including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered.

Buy, read, and discuss Without Light or Guide

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, T. Frohock

T. Frohock has turned her love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She currently lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Check out more of her works and news at www.tfrohock.com.


My Thoughts MissMeliss

I didn’t read the first novel in the series about Los Nefilim, so I was a bit lost at the beginning of the book, but context and retold backstory helped me immensely. Once I figured out how Frohock’s world works, I found myself immersed in her world, which was both period (the thirties) and paranormal (angels and daimons).

I found that I really liked Diago and Miquel, and found their story to be compelling, but I was equally entranced by the richness of the world-building the author did. Within ten pages I felt like I was in her world, one populated by vampires as well as the loftier creatures already mentioned. Her descriptions of people and place are so vivid that I felt like I was walking down the same streets, and meeting – or avoiding – the same people as her characters.

I also want to call out the way the author used language. There was a candor about some of the details – Diago’s missing finger (bitten off by a vampire in book one) – was presented so matter-of-factly that what could have been an ‘ick’ moment was just a nice bit of character detail. The way the characters spoke was also well written – contemporary, but not too much so, and the angels, particularly gave the impression, through their words – of great age and power.

I’m sure I would have enjoyed this story more had I started it from the beginning, but even beginning with book two, I enjoyed the world of Los Nefilim, in general, and this haunting story specifically.


Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, December 1st: You Can Read Me Anything

Wednesday, December 2nd: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, December 3rd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Monday, December 7th: Bibliotica

Tuesday, December 8th: Dreams, Etc.

Wednesday, December 9th: A Book Geek

Thursday, December 10th: A Dream Within a Dream

Monday, December 14th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, December 15th: Raven Haired Girl

Wednesday, December 16th: Dwell in Possibility

Thursday, December 17th: Curling Up by the Fire

Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares, by Tom DeLonge (@tomdelonge) & Suzanne Young (@suzanne_young) #giveaway #review

About the book, Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares

  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 194327200X
  • Publisher: To The Stars…; 1 edition (October 6, 2015)
  • Publication Date: October 6, 2015

From the imagination of Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves and NY Times bestselling author Suzanne Young. Jonas Anderson and his older brother Alan are Lucid Dreamers. But after a car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.

Buy, read, and discuss Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the authors, Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young

Tom DeLonge Tom DeLongeis the award-winning American musician, producer and director, best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the platinum-selling bands Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves. Under his media production company To The Stars…, Tom has created transmedia entertainment properties that span music, film, comics and books. Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares will also coincide with an original soundtrack recorded by the band that you can listen to while you read.

Suzanne Young Suzanne Youngis the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series of novels for young adult readers. Young lives in Arizona where she also teaches high school English. Her novels include , The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy, The Epidemic, and Hotel Ruby

Connect with Tom & Suzanne

Tom’s Twitter | To the Stars Media Twitter | To the Stars Media Website | Suzanne’s Twitter | Suzanne’s Website


My Thoughts: MissMeliss

When the publicists for this novel invited me to be part of the blog tour, I asked if I could have Friday the 13th as my review date, and I was delighted that they agreed. But really, what better day is there to post a review of a book that involves dreams and nightmares.

As someone whose dreams are vivid, and whose favorite horror film is the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, it was a foregone conclusion that Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares would appeal to me. It has everything I love: a well-paced plot, richly drawn characters, an original setting, a provocative setting: a Dreamscape populated by dreamers and their creations, nightmare creatures born of unresolved emotional conflict and unhealed emotional trauma.

Protagonist Jonas (aka Poet in the Dreamscape) is a 16-year-old lucid dreamer with a brother in a coma, dead parents, and no one to take care of him. The part of me that is way too old to be reading YA wanted to gather him into a warm hug and make him some soup. The part of me that used to be a teenaged-girl wanted to figure out what made him tick. He leaped off the page and into my imagination, and was so dimensional, and so sympathetic (even during the moments when I kind of wanted to shake him into sensibility) that I was happy to follow his journey.

The few real-world people we meet were mostly (but not entirely) peripheral to the beings in the Dreamscape, but they served an important purpose. They grounded the story in the here and now-ish, so that young Jonas/Poet had an external anchor other than his brother.

The people (and scary monsters) inside the Dreamscape were more vivid, but their edges were blurry, as is typical for dream constructs, still, it is through them that Poet/Jonas learns his inner identity, hones his abilities, and navigates the twisting, winding world formed by the lucid dreams of many, many dreamers.

While I enjoyed Poet’s quest – because this is absolutely a quest novel, even if that’s not explicitly stated – I was equally fascinated by the world building done with regard to the Dreamscape. The notion that the nightmare creatures we create can grow strong enough to break into the waking world is chilling, but it also makes sense. How many of us are troubled from unresolved issues that haunt our dreams? How strange is it, really, that those hauntings would grow in power?

I have to admit that I never had access to the soundtrack that goes with this novel, but while I’m certain that would enhance the experience for some, I don’t feel it is truly necessary. I very quickly found myself immersed in the story, only coming up for air when I was desperately hungry, or had to wrangle dogs (I have five).

Authors DeLonge and Young should be commended for creating something completely engaging, original, and rich. I know the average teenager would dig this novel, but I’m equally certain that my own peers will find it compelling and worthy as well.

Goes well with a hearty chili and freshly made skillet corn bread, and a steaming mug of hot spiced cider.


Giveaway Poet Anderson Giveaway

Two (2) winners receive a personalized special edition signed copy of POET ANDERSON…OF NIGHTMARES and an Of Nightmares t-shirt (INT)
Ends 12/23

Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Captive Condition, by Kevin P. Keating

About the book,  The Captive Condition The Captive Condition

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (July 7, 2015)

From a thrilling new voice in fiction comes a chilling and deliciously dark novel about an idyllic Midwestern college town that turns out to be a panorama of depravity and a nexus of horror.

For years Normandy Falls has been haunted by its strange history and the aggrieved spirits said to roam its graveyards. Despite warnings, Edmund Campion is determined to pursue an advanced degree there. But Edmund soon learns he isn’t immune to the impersonal trappings of fate: his girlfriend, Morgan Fey, smashes his heart; his adviser, Professor Martin Kingsley, crushes him with frivolous assignments; and his dead-end job begins to take a toll on his physical and mental health. One night he stumbles upon the body of Emily Ryan, an unapologetic townie, drowned in her family pool. Was it suicide or murder? In the days that follow, Emily’s husband, Charlie, crippled by self-loathing and frozen with fear, attempts to flee his disastrous life and sends their twin daughters to stay with the Kingsleys. Possessed by an unnamed, preternatural power, the twins know that the professor seduced their mother and may have had a hand in her fate. With their piercing stares, the girls fill Martin with a remorse that he desperately tries to hide from his wife. Elsewhere, a low-level criminal named the Gonk takes over a remote cottage, complete with a burial ground and moonshine still, and devises plans for both. Xavier D’Avignon, the eccentric chef of a failing French restaurant, supplies customers with a hallucinogenic cocktail. And Colette Collins, an elderly local artist of the surreal, attends a retrospective of her work that is destined to set the whole town on fire.

Kevin P. Keating’s masterly novel delves into the deepest recesses of the human capacity for evil.

Buy, read, and discuss The Captive Condition

IndieBound | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Kevin P. Keating Kevin Keating

After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, KEVIN P. KEATING became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, and Lorain County Community College. His essays and stories have appeared in more than fifty literary journals, and his first novel, The Natural Order of Things, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. His second novel, The Captive Condition, will be released by Pantheon Books in July of 2015. He lives in Cleveland.

Connect with Kevin

Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

I generally really enjoy dark fiction, but I had a difficult time with The Captive Condition in part because some of the scenes in the early part of the book – twins picking on their little brother – really disturbed me. I am, after all, the poster child for being able to watch any movie as long as no kids or dogs are harmed. Then, too, I read it at the same time that both of my husband’s parents were going through major medical drama – drama which is not yet resolved – so I wasn’t in a good place to really appreciate this story.

That said, author Kevin P. Keating absolutely captures the dark malevolence of this small midwestern town perfectly. Critics have compared him to Poe, and there’s definitely a lot of that in his voice. His use of language is finely honed. His ability to set a scene is phenomenal. I was especially struck by the description of the bridge across the falls early in the novel. The man can clearly write the hell out of anything.

What I found difficult, however, was that there were really no characters that I sympathized with, especially in the first third of the book. Our narrator/protagonist Edmund is a little too clueless, a little too arrogant, for my taste. His girlfriend seemed mean. His advisor seemed petty. Maybe I was missing something, but I just couldn’t get invested in the story.

As readers, we bring as much of ourselves to the stories we read as do the writers who create those stories. In The Captive Condition Keating has given us a thought-provoking look at the kind of pervasive evil that colors entire lives and communities, and it’s a story I probably would have responded better to if all these external things hadn’t colored my reaction.

Goes well with strong coffee and warm apple pie. Trust me, you’ll need them.


Kevin P. Keating’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Wednesday, August 26th: Mallory Heart Reviews

Saturday, August 29th: Books that Hook

Monday, August 31st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, September 2nd: Read Love Blog

Friday, September 4th: 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 8th: Book Chatter

Wednesday, September 9th: It’s a Mad Mad World

Thursday, September 10th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, September 14th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, September 16th: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, September 23rd: Bibliotica

Date TBD: Wildfire Books

Date TBD: The Steadfast Reader

TBD: More Than Just Magic

TBD: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Andersonville, by Edward M. Erdelac #review #TLCBookTours

About the book, Andersonville Andersonville

Hydra | Aug 18, 2015 | 272 Pages

Readers of Stephen King and Joe Hill will devour this bold, terrifying new novel from Edward M. Erdelac. A mysterious man posing as a Union soldier risks everything to enter the Civil War’s deadliest prison—only to find a horror beyond human reckoning.

Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union prisoners of war pray for escape, cursing the fate that spared them a quicker end, one man makes his way into the camp purposefully.

Barclay Lourdes has a mission—and a secret. But right now his objective is merely to survive the hellish camp. The slightest misstep summons the full fury of the autocratic commander, Captain Wirz, and the brutal Sergeant Turner. Meanwhile, a band of shiftless thieves and criminals known as the “Raiders” preys upon their fellow prisoners. Barclay soon finds that Andersonville is even less welcoming to a black man—especially when that man is not who he claims to be. Little does he imagine that he’s about to encounter supernatural terrors beyond his wildest dreams . . . or nightmares.

Buy, read, and discuss Andersonville

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Edward M. Erdelac Edward M. Erdelac

Edward M. Erdelac is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the author of six novels (including the acclaimed weird western series Merkabah Rider) and several short stories. He is an independent filmmaker, award-winning screenwriter, and sometime Star Wars contributor. Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of children and cats.


My Thoughts MissMeliss

Sometimes gritty reality can be more horrific than anything supernatural, and that’s true for Edward M. Erdelac’s Civil War novel Andersonville, the prison at Camp Sumter. It’s place where prisoners fight over food and personal dignity, where darkness and misery are the only constants, and where death is often a release.

It’s also a place that Barclay Lourdes, a black Union soldier (who, it’s worth pointing out, was never a slave) is trying to get INTO so he can see the truth of what’s going on.

Erdelac tells the dual stories of Lourdes and Captain Wirz (camp commander) with as much historical accuracy as a contemporary writer can. Certainly in our world where we strive for inclusion, the use of period language was both jarring and integral to the plot (well, certain words – mostly variations of the n-word – which, no, I’m not afraid to write, but refrain for the sake of sensitive readers).

The fact that there’s a supernatural element at play is just another layer, and Erdelac makes it strangely plausible. In this place where lives are worthless, how much scarier could things possibly get?

The truth, of course, is that the supernatural elements of this story add more depth than they do horror. The real horror comes from what humans do to each other, whether or not they’re excused for their behavior because, “we’re at war.”

Erdelac’s writing hooks you from the first page, and the pace of this novel keeps you hooked. It’s part slow southern drawl and part quick, clipped, northern speech, and all of it – all of it- is incredibly lyrical and haunting.

Read this if you want a gritty, reality based horror story, if you are fascinated by the Civil War, or if you just want to dive into a story that is both provocative and perfectly chilling.

Goes well with pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, and lemonade.


Edward M. Erdelac’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, August 17th: Stephanie’s Book Reviews….100 Pages a Day

Monday, August 17th: Bell, Book & Candle

Tuesday, August 18th: Fourth Street Review

Tuesday, August 18th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, August 19th: The Reader’s Hollow

Wednesday, August 19th: Tynga’s Reviews

Thursday, August 20th: A Book Geek

Monday, August 24th: Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday, August 25th: Kissin’ Blue Karen

Wednesday, August 26th: Kari J. Wolfe

Thursday, August 27th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, August 28th: Vic’s Media Room

Monday, August 31st: It’s a Mad Mad World

Tuesday, September 1st: SJ2B House of Books

Wednesday, September 2nd: Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, September 3rd: Kimberly’s Bookshelf

Friday, September 4th: Jenn’s Bookshelves

Monday, September 7th: From the TBR Pile

 

The Uninvited by Cat Winters (@catwinters) #review #TLCBookTours #TheUninvited

About the book, The Uninvited The Uninvited

• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 11, 2015)

Twenty-five-year-old Ivy Rowan rises from her sickbed after being struck by the great influenza epidemic of 1918, only to discover that the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s lifelong gift—or curse—remains. She sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked for and unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918, Ivy sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death in the Great War of Ivy’s other brother, Billy.

Horrified, she leaves home and soon realizes that the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for today, because they could be stricken by nightfall. She even enters into a relationship with the murdered German man’s brother, Daniel Schendel. But as her “uninvited guests” begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once again, and terrifying secrets will unfold.

Buy, read, and discuss The Uninvited

Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndieBound  | Goodreads


About the author, Cat Winters Cat Winters

Cat Winters’s debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.

Connect with Cat

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr | Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

From the first page there’s a slow, sort of watery feeling to this book, as if you’re seeing everything through a lens coated with vaseline, or looking through pond ripples, are recovering from a deadly fever. Its a feeling that is obviously intentional, as even a few scenes that should be brutal have a touch of unreality to them – not in the sense that they’re not plausible – but in the sense that a sort of dream-state is still lingering.  Partly, this is because protagonist Ivy can see ghosts, and her long-dead grandmother has just visited. This means someone else’s life has been lost.

As we are introduced to Ivy and her family, all reacting to the combined forces of an influenza epidemic that has taken over their small town, and the war that would come to be known as World War I having taken over the planet, that watery feeling pays off. Ivy has had the flu, and when she overhears that her father and brother have murdered the German owner of a local furniture store, she insists she has to leave home. (She is, after all, twenty-five.)

Author Cat Winters has a great feel for tone. Ivy’s walk felt ploddingly long and her arrival at the hotel was such a relief but the other-ness of the story never really left, so much as it was driven back to the corners as Ivy claimed her own agency.

The characters we meet later, especially Lucas, May, and Daniel, are all fascinating studies in extremes – the fervent idealistic patriot, the wounded widow, the immigrant who fees downtrodden – they are archetypes, but they are also so much more. Rich and layered, all the characters in this novel feel like people we all might have been related to, once upon a time. That sense of familiarity makes them seem all the more dimensional. It’s quite a trick.

I felt The Uninvited was well paced, and well plotted. I especially liked the way the twist near the end was handled so subtly. Like M. Night Shyamalan’s vintage work (you know, back when his stuff was good)  the clues are all there, and things that are easily missed on a first read seem painfully obvious once all is revealed.

I’m not sure if this novel is horror or supernatural romance or kind of both…but it was a gripping read, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Goes well with homemade apple pie, served warm with vanilla bean ice cream and a cup of strong coffee.


Cat’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, August 4th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, August 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, August 7th: Bibliotica

Monday, August 10th: Kritters Ramblings

Tuesday, August 11th: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, August 12th: Jenn’s Booshelves

Thursday, August 13th: Bookshelf Fantasies

Thursday, August 13th: Sidewalk Shoes

Monday, August 17th: The Reader’s Hollow

Tuesday, August 18th: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, August 19th: Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, August 20th: Raven Haired Girl

Friday, August 21st: A Chick Who Reads

Dark Screams (Volumes 2 & 3), edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar #review #giveaway @TLCBookTours

About the book, Dark Screams, Vol. 2 Dark Screams, Vol. 2

  • On Sale: March 03, 2015
  • Pages: 138
  • Published by : Hydra

Robert McCammon, Norman Prentiss, Shawntelle Madison, Graham Masterton, and Richard Christian Matheson scale new heights of horror, suspense, and grimmest fantasy in Dark Screams: Volume Two, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the renowned Cemetery Dance Publications.

THE DEEP END by Robert McCammon
Everyone thinks the drowning death of Neil Calder in the local swimming pool was a tragic accident. Only his father knows better. Now, on the last night of summer, Neil returns in search of revenge.

INTERVAL by Norman Prentiss
Flight 1137 from St. Louis by way of Nashville has gone missing. As anxious friends and family gather around the gate, a ticket clerk finds herself eyewitness to a moment of inhuman evil.

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK by Shawntelle Madison
Eleanor has come from New York City to prep an old Victorian house in Maine for America’s Mysterious Hotspots. Although she’s always thrown herself into her work, this job will take her places she’s never dreamed of going.

THE NIGHT HIDER by Graham Masterton
C. S. Lewis wrote about a portal that led to a world of magic and enchantment. But the wardrobe in Dawn’s room holds only death—until she solves its grisly mystery.

WHATEVER by Richard Christian Matheson
A 1970s rock ’n’ roll band that never was—in a world that is clearly our own . . . but perhaps isn’t, not anymore . . . or, at least, not yet—takes one hell of a trip.

Buy, read and discuss Dark Screams, Vol. 2

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million  | Goodreads


About the book Dark Screams, Vol. 3 Dark Screams, Vol. 3

  • On Sale: May 12, 2015
  • Pages: 108
  • Published by : Hydra

Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.

THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub
A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.

GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.

NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.

I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank
Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.

THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge
When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.

Buy, read, and discuss Dark Screams, Vol. 3

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million  | Goodreads


My Thoughts

I love horror. I love short stories. I understand (as much as anyone without formal training can) the psychology of the human brain that gives us pleasure and a bit of a thrill when we’re scared. In these two ebook anthologogies, Dark Screams, volumes 2 & 3, I was given a couple hundred (and change) rich pages of all the things I love.

There wasn’t a single story in either volume that I found unreadable, though the subject matter in a couple of them (most specifically “I Love You, Charlie Pearson”) did make me uncomfortable. But horror shouldn’t be just empty scares. It needs to hit you in the sweet spot where the Amygdala and the Cerebrum whisper to each other, where intellect and emotion intertwine, and all of these stories do that, and they do it well.

Not that I’m surprised. I mean, look at that list of authors. Even if the only name you recognize is Peter Straub, consider that he would never allow himself to be in the company of authors of unequal caliber – or at least, he’d never allow his work to be so. And I’m not just highlighting his name because his contribution, “The Collected Short Stories of Freddie Prothero,” is my favorite from Volume 3 – written from (mostly) a young boy’s point of view, it’s both chilling and poignant.

My other favorite from volume 3 is “Nancy,” because I identified with the character of the ‘new girl’ trying to navigate her way through the popular and not-so-popular crowds in a town that also has its fare share of actual (as opposed to metaphoric) ghosts.

Volume 2 felt, to me, a bit more polished – the stories of a more equal quality, although I confess, I had to read the novella at the end – Richard Christian Matheson’s “Whatever,” twice in order to really ‘get’ it. Then I was blown away. Still, I want to give “The Interval” (Norman Prentiss) which gives new meaning to the limbo we all feel when we’re caught between hope and reality, and “The Night Hider” (Graham Masterton) which posits a dark and interesting origin story for C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, special attention. Both those stories really played with convention, reality, and what we think we know.

Also on my personal “hit list” is “The Deep End,” by Robert McCammon, which does for swimming pools what Jaws did to the ocean when it was first released (just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Y…) and made me seriously glad that the constant rain has kept me OUT of my own swimming pool so far this year.

If you love horror, if you appreciate the pace and brevity of a short story, if you were the kid whose favorite part of summer camp was telling ghost stories after dark – you will love these two anthologies.

Just make sure you turn on the lights as you enter rooms for a few days afterward.

Goes well with buttered popcorn and either slightly sweetened cinnamon iced tea or crisp apple cider.


 Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Dark Screams: TLC Book Tours

Monday, April 27th: A Fantastical Librarian – Volume 2

Wednesday, April 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller – Volumes 2 and 3

Monday, May 4th: Bell, Book & Candle – Volume 2

Tuesday, May 5th: From the TBR Pile – Volume 2

Wednesday, May 6th: Wag the Fox – Volume 2

Thursday, May 7th: Bewitched Bookworms – Volumes 2 and 3

Friday, May 8th: The Reader’s Hollow – Volume 2

Monday, May 11th: Bibliophilia, Please – Volume 2

Tuesday, May 12th: In Bed with Books – Volume 3

Thursday, May 14th: Bell, Book & Candle – Volume 3

Friday, May 15th: Wag the Fox – Volume 3

Tuesday, May 19th: From the TBR Pile – Volume 3

Thursday, May 21st: The Reader’s Hollow – Volume 3

Thursday, May 28th: Bibliotica – Volume 2 & 3

Friday, May 29th: Sweet Southern Home – Volume 3

Monday, June 1st: Kahakai Kitchen – Volumes 2 and 3