Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Thursday, December 12, 2019


4 Stars

4 Stars

This was my fourth title by author Carrie Bates. It was good--and the conclusion left me with a philosophical--metaphysical--puzzle. But for some reason I did not adore it as I did THE HAUNTED MINE (read in August 2019), DECK THE BLOODY HALLS (read in December 2019) or A CHRISTMAS HAUNTING: CLARK MANSION (read in December 2019). I am not certain why: maybe because I find Campgrounds unutterably Spooky, even when not Haunted? It just seemed as if this one was not as polished. I found both the events with Camper Maria and the Epilogue events not quite realistic in context.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Review: SNOWBALL by Gregory Bastiannelli

5 Snowflakes!!!!!
SUPER Scary! I've now developed some new phobias! SNOWBALL is a "locked-room mystery," in which said inescapable room is other-dimensional or otherworldly, emphasis on inescapable. Think open-air "Hotel California" but on a Christmas Eve, snowbound New Hampshire turnpike, stranded travelers, vehicles stuck...Then, think Snowglobe. 

Lots of gore, tremendous Scares, Character Evolution: twists and turns everywhere. Implacable Horror. I absolutely adored being terrified (whistling through the graveyard here--smile).

Saturday, December 7, 2019


5 stars!

Distinctly spooky, set in a quiet village in Kent, England, peaceful but a hotbed of the paranormal, where Christmas Eve and Christmas for one family, holds chronic horror as well as familial joy.


5 Stars!
I enjoyed this scary holiday novella every bit as much as I enjoyed reading DECK THE BLOODY HALLS yesterday. I'd venture to say there is perhaps more of the psychological emphasis in this one, further delineating the original backdrop; but rest assured, there's plenty of scary heaped in.

Review: DECK THE BLOODY HALLS by Carrie Bates

5 Stars!!
This novella was great! Tremendously sad, yes, beginning to end. But the powerful reader's hook, the smooth and subtle characterizations accomplished in a brief space and never belabored, the knockout conclusion. I found it both well-written and impassioned and I wanted to leap right back in again.


5 Stars
Release Dec. 10 2019

All my life since early childhood I've railed at Injustice and promoted the Underdog. THE CORRUPTION OF ALTON HOUSE certainly ignited that mindset. "Corruption" indeed. Some mightily evil characters indeed populate this book, and so do too many of those to whom 18th Century statesman Edmund Burke referred: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In other words, those who turn their backs and ignore injustice, or worse, serve it.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: SPRING SLAUGHTER by Sara Clancy (Bell Witch Book 4)

5 Stars!
Release: Dec. 6

I can't rave highly enough about Sara Clancy's BELL WITCH Series, currently a quadrilogy. I read SPRING SLAUGHTER as an ARC, and boy, did it blow me away! Deeper and deeper in each volume we go: don't  stop now! These four protagonists have become so much a part of me, as have some of their family members. Be prepared for shock after shock after shock! 

Review: THE WITCH'S CAVE by Sara Clancy (Bell Witch Book 3)

5 Stars!

I want to say this series is "getting better and better," but I loved it from the beginning. Instead, I'll say "deeper and deeper," and are we provided with both backstory and nonstop action here! These characters never fail to surprise me, and that explosive denouement? To die for!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review: SACRIFICIAL GROUNDS by Sara Clancy (Bell Witch Book Two)

5 Stars!

This is the second installment in the Bell Witch Series and quite possibly I like it even better than THE HARVEST, Book One. The character of Basheba Bell is really growing on me and reading her backstory here helped my admiration increase. I'm eager to watch this series unfold.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: ASPIRE TO DIE by M. S. Morris

5 Stars!

First of a series, ASPIRE TO DIE is an entralling British police procedural with the setting of Oxford, England: specifically Oxford University. Newly Detective Inspector Bridget Hart is assigned, by default, a brand new case--the death of a Christ College, Oxford, brilliant student. Often disparaged due to her small stature, Bridget is a tenacious bulldog determined to solve the case, which is a tantalizing mystery for the reader too.

Review: THE HARVEST by Sara Clancy (Bell Witch 1)

5 Stars!

I was agreeably impressed by the creativity and complexity of this novel, first in the Bell Witch Series. Author Sara Clancy took a historical legend and wove from it a compelling tale of survival, dysfunctional family tradition, evil sorcery, and demonic manifestations. The focus of the legend and the series is on a rage so consuming, it survives after death. The bicenntennial of the Witch's death is fast approaching. Imagine any emotion enduring two centuries of afterlife, growing in intensity with each passing year and with each loss of life.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review: LIGHT GOES OUT IN LYCHFORD by Paul Cornell

5 Stars!!
Oh yes it does! I was anxious going into this installment, fearing the "end of series," end of Lychford, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it. Indeed, World-Ending is exactly what the Powers That Be in the Outer Realms intend, and it all starts in tiny Lychford, England.

I've come to truly admire these characters and enjoy Lychford.


5 Stars!

I very much enjoyed this haunted and haunting tale, from the beginning where the stage was brilliantly drawn to frame the initial cause, right along as Granddaughter Zelda, an attractive upscale Londoner, inherits her Grandparents Livingston's estate, then is cautioned from "beyond the grave" (via letter entrusted to solicitor) to stay far away over Christmastide. That doesn't suit willful Zelda: she WILL have a Christmas Eve gala, and it WILL be filmed for BBC. 

Only: the Livingston Christmas Curse says different. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Review: LONG DAY IN LYCHFORD by Paul Cornell

5 Stars!

A very long day, indeed, as Lizzie's, Judith's, and Autumn's magical sight and abilities prove seriously troublesome. Autumn is forced to confront entrenched bigotry first hand in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote; her response proves over-the-top in magical terms and soon all 3 are lost.

Review: LOST CHILD OF LYCHFORD by Paul Cornell

5 Stars!

WITCHES OF LYCHFORD was engaging and scary, but also encouraging, as the village wise woman took on an apprentice and brought the new Vicar into alignment.

LOST CHILD OF LYCHFORD is riveting and terrifying--but it is NOT encouraging. Lovecraftian-type horrors take center stage , in a massive attempt to pry open the barrier to Other Realms.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Review: WITCHES OF LYCHFORD by Paul Cornell

5 Stars
Lychford Book One

I first read WITCHES OF LYCHFORD in May 2016, after reading Paul Cornell's SHADOW POLICE series made me a staunch fan (and introduced me to NEVERWHERE and the concept of a London both Esoteric and Arcane). I just reread it, as a beginning to continuing the series (4), and as part of my personal British Folk Horror Revival.

Three main protagonists, and oh do they turn out to be Strong Female Heroines! Determined to save the Village of Lychford (not just an ordinary English village, mind you), Vicar Lizzie, magic shop owner Autumn, and long-term village resident, Witch, madwoman Judith, collaborate to stop the incursion of a big-box supermarket chain, Sovo. The problem isn't increased traffic or offered jobs. Lychford is a barrier against Other Realms. Literally. Multiple. Lychford was purposely laid out, centuries ago, by those who knew the Old Crafts. Sovo is here by design, and it's not just for Big Business: its purpose is to break down the barriers to the Other Realms.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES Vol. 6 by Team Scare Street

5 Stars

I so enjoy these periodic collections from Team Scare Street. Vol. 6 features two of my favourite Scare Street authors. 

"Mirrors" by Ron Ripley revolves on one of the best reasons to keep Mirrors covered; and ponders whom is scarier--the dead or the living? Then author Ripley delivers a delicious helping of Poetic Justice.

"The Post" by David Longhorn is true English rural folk horror. When you're all alone in your isolated country home and you start hearing voices ordering you: Watch out! Before it's too late!!

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES Vol. 5 by Team Scare Street

5 Stars

Another "why did I read these at night?" Horror trio from authors at Team Scare Street.

Inescapable horror is even more terrifying when it speaks a different language.

A germaphobic nurse discovers a situation that would terrify the most ardent mycologists.

A routine visit to the Garden Center at the local home-improvement store flips gender expectations upside down and results in breathless terror.

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES Vol. 4 by Team Scare Street

5 Stars!

A trio of tales you really don't want to read at night: a peaceful cemetery walk, til reality bends and erupts in implacable horror!
A carnival sprung out of nowhere, offering all your worst memories, your guilt--and your death.
Grief is terribly painful--but it's not the worst that can happen.

Review: CAMP LENAPE by Tim Baldwin

5 Stars!!
CAMP LENAPE is an early-YA (c. Age 14, early high school) novel, both engaging and intriguing, which I enjoyed very much, and hope to see the protagonists return. Alissa, Marcus, Nate, and Janice are long-time friends and long-term Camp Lenape campers. This year the four are junior counsellors and Marcus' younger sister Bri is a camper. Nate and Marcus enjoy investigative adventures, and stumble into an actual case, both factual and potentially deadly! The characters are well-drawn and immediately elicit reader's empathy and the situation is realistic.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


5 Stars!
Release November 26 2019

I ask myself:
Which of these potentials is worse?

  1. Facing a full-bore unstoppable Zombpocalypse?
  2. Knowing your government is willing to nuke major cities?
  3. Watching the one you love most in the world die--then return?
  4. Knowing your beloved is out there--somewhere-maybe?
  5. Something Even Worse?

Tough questions, all--but that's what the Survivors in author Thomas S. Flowers' brand-new release, ESCAPE FROM PLANET OF THE DEAD, face. If you love Zombies, hate Zombies, fear Zombies, or just don't care: read this one. There's a lot more here than only Zombies. And it's a fast, nonstop, roller coaster. Jump on!