Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Duncan P. Bradshaw's #Hexagram - Review

My thoughts
This book...wow! It's an amalgamation of a horror novel, historical fiction and an end-of-the-world tale. I loved it!

This line in the book's description..."We are all made of stars." Turns out, the Incas were the keepers of this arcane knowledge and when an important ritual fails in their time, we are taken through a timeline of places and people seeking the truth, all planning to use the knowledge for their own ends.

At first, I didn't quite know what to think, but as the book progressed from the Inca Empire through an 18th century shipwreck, on to the American Civil War to Jack the Ripper's England and finally from the Bahamas in the 80s to present day England, I was taken on an incredible journey of historical and pop culture references with a good amount of gore thrown in. Believe me, if you're not fond of gore, you won't want to read this. Yet, it's necessary to tell the story. It really is.

Much more than just a mere horror novel, Hexagram also tells a story with a message. As I'm writing this, and thinking about what I read, I am reminded of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (which I loved as well). This quote near the end of the book really struck a chord with me:

"Look what we do as people. We've spent our entire time killing each other and everything else on this planet. We invented religion so that people can kill other people who believe in something different, or to offer some hint of better things when you've gone through your entire life serving those with power. It's bullshit. We're supposed to evolve as a species, yet it feels like all we do is go backwards. We find new and inventive ways of killing each other and ruining the planet..."

So true...and so apropos to the current state of our world.

So, as I said, so much more than just a horror novel, this one really makes you think. I like books that make me think, and books that present, and pull off, an original idea. This is that book and it's very much a must-read.

About the book
Their lands plagued by invaders, the Inca resort to an ancient ritual. By harvesting star dust from people, they hope to accumulate enough to raise the sun god, Inti, and reclaim their lands.

Yet when the collection is interrupted, it sets in motion events which will rattle human history.

Six stories. Six different time periods. One outcome.

We are all made of stars.

When an ancient Inca ritual is interrupted, it sets in motion a series of events that will echo through five hundred years of human history. Many seek to use the arcane knowledge for their own ends, from a survivor of a shipwreck, through to a suicide cult.

Yet…the most unlikeliest of them all will succeed.

About the author
Duncan P. Bradshaw lives in the county of Wiltshire, nestled around the belly button of southern England, with his wife Debbie, and their two cats, Rafa and Pepe. During the day, he is a mild mannered office goon, doing things which would bore you, if he was forced to tell you. At night, he becomes one with a keyboard, and transforms his weird and wonderful thoughts into words, which people, like you, and me, can read.

Why not pop over to his website,http://duncanpbradshaw.co.uk/ or give him a like over on Facebook,https://www.facebook.com/duncanpbradshaw or read his ravings on his blog,http://duncanpbradshaw.blogspot.co.uk/

Praise for Hexagram
“Hexagram is a visceral journey through the dark nooks and crannies of human history. Lovecraftian terror merges with blood sacrifices, suicide cults and body horror as Bradshaw weaves an intricate plot into an epic tale of apocalyptic dread.” – Rich Hawkins, author of The Last Plague trilogy

“A rip-roaring boy’s own adventure yarn. This novel contains multitudes, and the sheer scale and breadth of the story is exhilarating. A glorious, unhinged thrill ride.” – Kit Power, author of GodBomb!

Praise for Bradshaw’s Writing
“Duncan Bradshaw has a fantastic writing style. He gets you engrossed in the characters from the very outset. His mix of comedy and horror and real life are superb.” – Confessions of a Reviewer

“The true genius of Duncan P. Bradshaw is the rollercoaster ride of words and expressions. I have never seen an author go from the depths of dark and gore to laugh out loud all within the same paragraph.” – 2 Book Lovers Reviews

“Remember, you’ve now willingly plunged yourself into the mind of Duncan Bradshaw. You’re completely at the mercy of his strange imagination and all the eccentric oddities that his curious mind can conjure up.” – DLS Reviews

“Bradshaw is able to weight the horror set pieces with a dry humour and plenty of laugh out loud moments.” – UK Horror Scene

“One of the first things that I did after reading The Black Room Manuscripts,was to go out and buy Class Three by Duncan Bradshaw. I just found his writing in Time for Tea to have this gleeful kind of undertow to the carnage he wrought on his tea drinkers and wanted to see what his writing was like in a longer format.” – Ginger Nuts of Horror

Buy the book

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gothic September/Season of the Witch - Read-Along Info/Schedules #MissPeregrines #Poe #Lovecraft

Gothic September is just around the corner! Can't wait to get started reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Below is the reading and discussion schedule. On discussion days, I will do a general post of my thoughts and you can post yours in the comments, or on your blog and post the link in the comments, or you can do both. It's all casual.

Here's the schedule...

September 1st - Start Reading - through the end of Chapter 4 (page 103)
September 9th - stop by here for a discussion over the first section
September 9th - start reading section 2 - Chapter 5 through the end of Chapter 7 (page 206)
September 16th - section 2 discussion
September 16th - start reading section 3 - Chapter 8 through the end of Chapter 9 (page 268)
September 23 - section 3 discussion
September 23 - start reading section 4 - Chapter 10 through end of book (page 382)
September 30 - final discussion (section 4/book as a whole)

Note: My edition of the book - trade paperback, 382 pages
This post will be linked to the event button in the sidebar.

In addtion to the read-along, I'm hoping to share a little bit of Gothic all month so if you happen to be reading other Gothic literature (or poems) and would like to do a guest review, or write a guest post, let me know. Would love to have you!

Season of the Witch is going on here in October for the scariest month of the year. I'll be hosting read-alongs of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft stories each week.

Here's what we're reading:

Week One - The Mask of the Red Death, Poe - Discussion on October 7/8
Week Two - The Dunwich Horror, Lovecraft - Discussion on October  14/15
Week Three - The Pit and the Pendulum, Poe - Discussion on October 21/22
Week Four - The Dreams in the Witch-House, Lovecraft - Discussion on October 28/29

Note: I will post a reminder closer to October and share the schedule again.

I'm hoping to share the scary all month long so I'm looking for guest reviews on scary reads, and/or guest posts on favorite spooky topics. Get in touch!

It's going to be a frightfully awesome Autumn! Don't forget, the FrightFall Read-a-Thon will be going on the first week in October over at Seasons of Reading.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Glenn Rolfe's #ChasingGhosts - Review

My thoughts
First, let me make a confession. I love horror movies with inbred people as the killers. Who can forget the power and tension of the first Wrong Turn film (forget the sequels)? Texas Chainsaw Massacre...I believe there's an inbreeding story line in that one too. TCM is burned into any horror fans memory. Oh, and let's not forget Deliverance (not really horror, but horrific just the same). I'm sure there are more and I know I've pretty much seen them all. But let me get to my point...

What is more scary than a clan of inbreds who are also cannibals? Not much. There is something almost urban legend-esque about it. There's a reason why "Home" is one of my favorite X-Files episodes. It's just so damn disturbing. So, Rolfe comes along with Chasing Ghosts and his inbreds are some of the most disturbing I've ever encountered.

You know it's going to be a no-holds-barred, Game of Thrones style read when kids get killed early on. No punches are pulled and it makes for honest horror. Because what do a bunch of inbred dudes care about who they're killing? Not a damn thing.

Rolfe continues to impress me with each new book. Blood and Rain was a deliciously wild ride on the werewolf train and Things We Fear had me thinking along with the fear. You should not miss anything written by Rolfe. I promise. You will be thanking me later.

About the book
The Cobbs were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. Locals in Naples, Maine think they know this story. But are they wrong?

Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.

Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.

Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.

Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.

About the author
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas,Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town,Things We Fear, and the forthcoming, Chasing Ghosts; the short fiction collection, Slush; and the novels, The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain.

His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, was released in March 2016.

Praise for Glenn Rolfe
“Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh

“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller is addictive. A quick, compelling read. Rolfe creates tension with a minimal amount of words. His characters are so well-drawn they come alive (before they die).” — Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

“Fast paced and tense, with one of the most interesting monsters I’ve read about in recent times.” — Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to Be Paid

“Glenn Rolfe is quickly establishing a name for himself as one of a number of excellent new writers to ensure the horror genre is kept alive and well.” — Catherine Cavendish, author of Dark Avenging Angel

“With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we’re in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!” -Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” -Adrian Shotbolt, at Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

Buy the book

For more information on this title and all Sinister Grin Press titles, go to:

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Celebrating five years of horror at Castle Macabre! #blogoversary

That's right...it's five years today that I launched this little corner of the horror universe. I'm so pleased to have started a place to further explore my love of horror...and have been introduced to some terrific new horror authors in the process. Here's to many more years...and thanks to all who follow and read my stuff!

Here's a little blogoversary gift for you....

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Upcoming Fall Events - Gothic September and Season of the Witch in October

Fall is just around the corner and it's time again for two of my favorite events of the year.

Next month is Gothic September and I'm hosting a read-along of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I've been wanting to read the book for some time and with the film coming out at the end of September, I thought it was the perfect time. Yet I wondered if the book could truly be considered Gothic (I think so). I found this article which confirmed my thoughts.

So, mark your calendars. Leave a comment if you think you might want to participate, and I'll post the reading schedule on the first of September.

October is my annual event, Season of the Witch. This year, I'm going to host some short read-alongs of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft short stories. I will announce which stories later in September to get ready for October.

I would love to have some guests during either event, so if you like Gothic or spooky, feel free to contact me via the contact tab. Would love some guest posts or guest reviews.

Can't wait for...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Kristin Dearborn's Stolen Away - Review #StolenAway

My thoughts
Kristin Dearborn is a talented author. I read her Woman in White earlier this year and was impressed. Now Stolen Away...I'm floored!

Stolen Away is not just a horror novel about demons. No. It's much more than that. There are many more horrors present in this book that every day people deal with. Drug addiction, crushing feelings of worthlessness, family judgment, heartache and loss. It's all here. And Dearborn doesn't hold back. She tells it all viscerally and honestly...all the dirt and grime and shame right out there in the open. It's honest and real. It lets you know that, yes, demons are scary, but sometimes real life can be even scarier.

The demons and demon world were incredible. The concept of them and their existence was very plausible. I know I say this often because of my love for horror films, but I really think this one would make a great movie.

This book is so well-written, I couldn't stop reading. If you're looking for a page turner with a great story and characters, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

About the book
Trisha will admit she’s made a few mistakes in her life but that checkered past is behind her. She loves her kids, even if it’s tough being a single mom. But her loyalties are put to the test when her infant son disappears in the middle of the night, and his big sister says a monster took him.

Now Trisha has to face the full truth behind the one-night-stand that produced Brayden in all its scaly torridness—Brayden’s father wasn’t human and isn’t interested in sharing custody. However, even though DEMON has pulled this stunt many times before, he made a mistake when he chose Trisha.

The one thing she won’t do is give up her son without a fight. Along with her ex-boyfriend, Joel, Trisha is dragged back into the seedy underworld in a desperate fight to reclaim her son, only this time she’s got a lot more to lose.

Of note: Brian Keene included Dearborn’s novel in his honorable mentions for best book of 2015 after reading her sold out Thunderstorm edition.

About the Cover 
The cover was created by Italian artist Daniele Serra. He is a winner of the British Fantasy Award and has worked with companies such as DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales Magazine and PS Publishing. Recently his work was featured as interior art in a scene of Stephen King’s The Cell, with Samuel Jackson looking it over. Visit his web site to see more of his art: http://www.multigrade.it

Links for Stolen Away
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About the author
If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. Kristin has written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out.

She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Kristin’s latest DarkFuse release is Woman in White.

Find more about Kristin online at kristindearborn.com or Facebook.

Praise for Kristin Dearbon
“In Stolen Away, Kristin Dearborn writes with a confidence and ferocity that demands you keep turning pages. Where lesser writers would flinch and look away, Dearborn tells the tale the way it should be, with cruelty and fascination for both her characters and the story. Kristin Dearborn isn’t just a writer to watch, she’s a writer to watch out for. If she’s swinging, you might want to duck, because she hits hard!—Bracken MacLeod, author of Mountain and Stranded

“Kristin Dearborn’s fast-paced horror thriller, Stolen Away, will possess readers as they strap in for a demonic thrill ride of sin and redemption.”—Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of An Exorcism of Angels

“Gripping nonstop suspense and unsettling horror that blazes the pages from start to finish. You’ll swear Stolen Away was written by a seasoned veteran of best-selling novels. Expect to want more after reading the second novel by Kristin Dearborn, an author whose work will shoot her straight to the top of reading lists.”—Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Evolutionist

“Kristin Dearborn catapults readers into an intricately layered world that is bleak and terrifying but never so damned as to be without hope or redemption. If the devil, so to speak, is in the details, then this book raises hell, exploring not just demons internal as well as external, but also all the beautiful, heart-wrenching, contradictorily complex, powerful little things that define human experience. This book earns a prominent place of the bookshelf of any fan of demonic fiction.” —Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower trilogy and Chills

“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards

“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night

“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Blister

“Dearborn has a wonderful sense of the macabre, along with the ability to balance the spookier aspects of her work with well-rendered, solid characterizations…Sacrifice Island is a blazing fast read, with engaging characters and a compelling narrative.” —The Maine Edge

“Sacrifice Island is a fresh and interesting take on a tried and true horror setup.” —Examiner

Find out more about RAW DOG SCREAMING PRESS

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