10 Things That Get Us in the Mood (to Read)

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.This Top Ten Tuesday, the theme was things that make us instantly want to read a book. There are lots of things that get us in the mood, but we’ve managed to narrow it down for you. (Mostly.) Note that this is a list from both Gracie and I but we’re not saying what belongs to whom. Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things That Get Us in the Mood (to Read)

 

Monsters (and I’m talking proper *creatures*, not vampires and werewolves, thank you!)

If you put a Megaladon, a gigantic Squid, or even just some part of a monster like it’s ferociously intent eyeballs on the cover… I’m sold! Gimme. Gimme gimme gimme gimme.


Demons (or Possession)

Book cover for The ExorcistI may be an atheist, but if you tell me someone’s immortal soul is in danger, and some do-gooder is gonna have to go toe-to-toe with Satan or one of his minions? Let me grab the popcorn and I’m there!


Haunted/Haunting (or Ghosts. Ghosts is a good word too.)

Demons are the ultimate scary, but there’s something deliciously shiver-inducing about a haunted house (or car. Or anything, really.) The creak of a floorboard, the faucets turning on suddenly, a dark figure looming behind you when you look in the mirror. It’s all good. (And by good I mean terrifying, of course.)

 


Lovecraft / Cthulhu (Coolthulhu!)

Book cover for The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror by John Llewellyn ProbertIf you didn’t expect Lovecraft or Cthulhu to show up on this list, then you obviously don’t know where you’ve ended up. And you might want to back away slowly. Lovecraft’s mythos is legend, Cthulhu is awe-inspiring, and that is all there is to say about that.

 

 


Spaceships

The book cover for We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. TaylorI know, I know, I’m a walking cliche, but I love going into a book knowing I can anticipate a good shoot-em-up happening in space.  In terms of things that get us in the mood to read, you can’t go wrong with a long, strong phallic symbol getting ready to wreck death and destruction on some alien scum! *cough* Or a cute story about an AI named Bob works for me too.

 


Hard

Book cover for Tau ZeroYes, right on the heels of talking about phallic symbols, I’m bringing the word hard into it. However, I’m talking about hard science fiction, of course. So if you thought otherwise, well, we should be friends. That’s all there is to that.


Anthologies

Book cover for Book of CthulhuJust to prove I’m not a lecherous female (most of the time), we’re back to playing it perfectly innocent. I’m always drawn to collections of short stories whether they’re by the same author or a variety of authors. If it’s an anthology that has the words ‘Haunted’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Lovecraft’, or ‘Cthulhu’ in the title then it’s instant attraction.

 

 


Plague/Virus/Infected

Book cover for The Laptev VirusOooh, there’s just something about those words that make me happy. I don’t need it to promise death and destruction upon the world, of course (shut up, Coolthulhu Crew). But a breath-taking thriller starring something that needs to be stopped just in the nick of time, preferably by a smart-aleck anti-hero? Mine mine mine mine mine mine! (FYI, Laptev doesn’t have an anti-hero, but it’s still a bloody good read.)


Shutter/Camera

Book cover for Shutter I love photography, so any time there’s a book with a horror or paranormal bent that involves cameras, I’m going to pick it up. I just have to. There’s not even a question about it. (I might pick it up and put it right back down after reading the back cover, but I am, at least, going to lift it from the shelf and cradle it gently whilst I peruse its prose.)

 


A Great Cover

Book cover for The Red TreeOkay, this isn’t a word or anything like that, but it’s true. There have been times when both of us have picked up a book we might normally not even look twice at just because the cover was so eye-catching. There are books I’ve carried home from the bookstore that I never end up reading, but I had to get it just because the cover was so shiny fantastically well-drawn or conceptualized.

The Most Unique Science Fiction and Horror Books We’ve Ever Read

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.This Top Ten Tuesday’s prompt was an exciting one for us. Considering the variety we come across in reading science fiction and horror, it’s high time we acknowledge these stand-outs. Whether it be for plot or characters, you won’t be forgetting these unique science fiction or horror reads anytime soon.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

 

 

 


Lilyn’s Most Unique Science Fiction and Horror Reads

Book cover for Deathworld Title: Deathworld
Author: Harry Harrison
Genre: Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: The setting. The title of the book should give you a clue. On Pyrrus, everything – from the smallest animals to the very grass itself – is out to kill you. And yet humans are just too stubborn to go live somewhere else. Nature vs Man on an epic level.

Read the review.

 

 

 

Title: Apocalypse Cow
Author: Michael Logan
Genre: Horror / Comedy
It’s unique because of: The zombie cows. Seriously, zombie cows. “Forget the cud, they want blood.” Not only are they zombie cows, but they’re horny zombie cows.

Read the review.

 

 

 

Title: On the Edge of Gone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: A young female with autism is the main character in this science fiction novel. Other diverse elements included as well.

Read the review.

 

 

 

Title: Puppet Skin
Author: Danger Slater
Genre: Bizarro Horror
It’s unique because of: The premise itself. When kids reach a certain age, they get turned into living puppets. And then there are things that come from the wood. And a trip to somewhere unexpected, and we can’t tell you more without spoiling it, but you’ll definitely be wanting a strong stomach to read this at times.

Read the review.

 

 

 

Book Cover for the Manhattan Projects Vol 1Title: Manhattan Projects Vol 1
Author: Jonathan Hickman
Genre: Alternate History Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: Albert Einstein doubling as a barbarian badass. This is not the first book, nor will it be the last, to do alternate history with recognizable figures. However, it’s uniqueness lies it’s in its complete lack of giving a flying frog about respecting the reverence with which we traditionally treat major characters in science.

 

 

 

 


GracieKat’s Most Unique Horror Reads

Book cover for House of LeavesTitle: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
It’s unique because:  Besides the very different, twisty-turny format with the creative layouts it is also an interestingly multi-layered story. Part of it is told through an unreliable narrator, through meandering footnotes, transcripts of a tape that may or may not exist and letters.

 

 

 

 

Book cover for EntwinedTitle: Entwined – Tales from the City
Author: A.J. Armitt
It’s unique because: The book is a series of short stories with each successive story tying into the previous one via a character from the preceding story. Sometimes it’s the main character, other times it’s a side or a very minor background character. The tales are woven together very well. They also skim from realism, fantasy, fairy tale and straight up horror. It’s a mix that should not work together well, but they do.

As a side note, I was a little disappointed and is also one of the common perils of reading indie authors. The end previews a teaser for a sequel that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been written yet and I was very interesting to know where else it could go.

 

 

Book cover for Shadows in the AsylumTitle: Shadows in the Asylum
Author: D.A. Stern
It’s unique because: I like the way it was set up as a case file with diary entries, newspaper clippings, etc. The transcripts of Dr. Marsh and his patients are interesting in the way it shows his progression into madness and obsession but yet he remains (realistically) oblivious to it. I would recommend buying the physical book.

 

 

 

 

Book cover for Shock Rock ITitle: Shock Rock
Editor:  Jeff Gelb
It’s unique because: Even though metal and horror often walk hand in tattooed hand it’s very rare to find a novel or even short story linking the two together. It may be more common of late but when I first came across Shock Rock I was ecstatic. A book uniting my two greatest loves! Music and horror. Swoon! (There is also a Shock Rock II but in my opinion Shock Rock I is the better of the two. Not that Shock Rock II is terrible by any means, I just think the first is better.)

 

 

 

Book cover for Emo Bunny That ShouldTitle: The Emo Bunny That Should –  A Story for Demented Children
Author: John H. Carroll
It’s unique because: John H. Carroll’s Stories for Demented Children are a fun spin on the typical children’s books. They take a normal fairy tale type trope and spins it around. My son and I read these together and absolutely loved them. His favorite of the series was Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy. Another favorite was The Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

 

 

 

 

It’s your turn! What are your most unique books? (They don’t have to be unique science fiction or horror!) Let us know!

Must-Have Wall Art for Classic Horror Fans

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we were asked to come up with something relating to fandoms. Unfortunately, neither of us really do that, so it felt nigh impossible. However, soon we realized there was something we both could talk about for hours. Horror; specifically old school horror. So (after a bit of time tossing ideas back and forth, we put together a partial list of jewelry for horror fans. Which somehow then morphed into decor for horror fans, which culminated in this list of must-have wall art for classic horror fans. Because sometimes the post wants what the post wants.

So you get 10 original works by 10 different artists from Etsy that deserve to be hanging on your horror-hound walls. Etsy has some surprisingly fierce horror art!

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of the Broke and Bookish.

It probably shouldn’t need to be said, just because I’ve referenced the creator of each piece in the caption, and linked each piece back to it’s individual Etsy page…but… None of these are mine. I didn’t create them. I had nothing to do with them. I’m not receiving anything for posting them on here.


Must Have Wall Art for Classic Horror Fans

Painting of Kurt Barlow 2

$23 – Etsy – Xenovibes

Painting of Creature From the Black Lagoon by Evil Nerd Studios

$30 – Etsy – EvilnerdStudios

Styled Hellraiser Poster

$48 – Etsy – The Geekerie

Painting of The Shining

$54.32 – Etsy – Borganic

Picture of a Wolfman Drawing

$64.57 – Etsy – GingerGuyDraws

Painting of Herman Munster

$80 – Etsy – SelphRoadStudios

Painting of The Mummy

$85 – Etsy – Artisdumb

Evil Dead Painting by Retrosprays

$175 – Etsy – Retrosprays

Canvas painting of Vincent Price

$200 – Etsy – Mark Redfield

Painting of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates

$300 – Etsy – MusicandMonsters

 

Lilyn: My favorite is either the Wolfman or Jack from the Shining. With the Wolfman, I think I’m just in awe of the amount of time that had to have went into that particular print. With Jack, it just looks so menacing… in a postcard way. Wouldn’t that make a great postcard to send to your friend in Florida or somewhere warm where it’s dead of winter and freezing where you live and they’ve taunted you about the warmth one too many times?? And rip off a Liam Neeson quote while you’re at it. “I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Gracie: I love The Mummy and I like the particular art style on the print. I like the color tones behind the Mummy, it really brings it out and the bandages look very detailed. (In case you can’t tell, Lilyn’s the one inclined to ramble.)

*If you are the artist of one of these works, and are offended by me linking it here, just send me an email at contact @ scifiandscary.com, and I’ll sadly take it down.*

Back for More: Ten Dead Sci-Fi & Horror Writers We’d Totally Bring Back

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.

I’m not one for wanting to meet authors. I’m that type of person that sees people going gaga over getting signed copies and think “Er…okay? What’s the big deal?” (Other than maybe at some point they might be worth something.) So this Top Ten Tuesday topic (brought to you via Broke and Bookish) was a bit difficult for me, personally. However, my cohost got write on it –pun intended– and inspired me to come up with a few of my own. Just for giggles, I haven’t indicated who wants to meet which author below. Some of them won’t be too hard to figure out, but others might toss you.

These are ten dead sci-fi & horror writers that we just need to talk to. Whether it’s to pay a compliment, ask a question, or do a toe-rag assessment on, their spirit needs summoned asap.


Ten Dead Sci-Fi & Horror Writers We’d Totally Bring Back

(for a few minutes at least.)

William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918): I would love to meet him. He seemed to live an interesting life. He had a large written body of work, my favorite being ‘Carnacki, the Ghost Finder‘ although ‘House on the Borderlands‘ is a bit more famous. He was also a merchant mariner, photographer, and weight-lifter. He also started ‘W. H. Hodgson’s School of Physical Culture in Blackburn, England’. The Blackburn Police Force was one of it’s earliest members.

Edgar Allan Poe picture

Edgar Allan Poe – Pic from Wikipedia

H.R. Wakefield (1888-1964): I’d like to meet him to see if he was really as bad as has been reported. Since most of his private papers were burned after his death, most of the reports come from a niece. I don’t like second-hand information about people so I’d like to meet him to see if he was bad as they say he was.

M.R. James (1862-1936):  I really like his stories and a lot of them have a dry humour to them. He’s just someone I think would be interesting to talk to.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008): I love a lot of Clarke’s books, and I hate a lot of them too. I’d love to get a chance just to ask him how he approaches his series, and why they often turned out so uninteresting compared to the first books. My favorite of his books is, of course, Rendezvous with Rama.

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965): Mostly I’d like to meet her to talk about The Haunting of Hill House. What she intended with it. What some of the scenes meant. I’d also like to ask about some of her other books.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): Everyone is familiar with Edgar Allan Poe, and most are familiar with the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. Who doesn’t want to bring him back/summon his spirit just long enough to answer “Dude, what happened?”

Photograph off HP Lovecraft

HP Lovecraft – Pic from Goodreads

 

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930): This guy could write. I mean, we all acknowledge it when we bask in the glory of Sherlock Holmes, but he didn’t just write Sherlock Holmes either.  I can’t say there’s anyone specific question I want to ask him, but somewhere in there I’d poke about The Hound of the Baskervilles, of course.

H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937): I’d love to meet him to tell him just how famous his work is now and how influential his works would be on future writers, games, and movies.

 Ambrose Bierce (1842-1916):  Mostly I’d like to meet him as a ghost (or whatever) just to know what happened to him. Was his disappearance intentional? Did he die? And if he did was it an accident or homicide? I’m just very curious to know what happened.

William Shakespeare (????-1616): Okay, he doesn’t really ‘belong’ on this list, but he’s another one I think anyone would bring back to life just to see what he was like. The man wrote some kick-ass insults, ya know? I’d like to hear him personally spew a few of them. I bet I could annoy him into it, if necessary.


 

What authors would you like to bring back to life for a quick chat or two? Tell us below!

Why Size Doesn’t Matter

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.Let’s face it, for most people, size matters. They might not say that it does, but it does. Who wants a corndog bite when they could have the foot long corndog? Or, alternately, sometimes someone doesn’t want something 3 inches thick. They want something that’s going to be quick and not make their muscles sore just holding it. People generally fall toward one end of the spectrum or the other. We want the in-it-for-the-long-haul romp that leaves us tired and happy and unable to even think about doing it again immediately, or multiple tastes of heaven to be taken at our leisure.

I’m talking, of course, about the size of books. Not only their actual size but how ‘big’ they feel.

Relativity for bookworms: 30 minutes with a good book feels like 5, and 30 minutes with a bad book feels like 105.

So, for this Top Ten Tuesday, we’re going to talk about those long books that were quick reads.

To decide these, we went into our Goodreads list, and organized our read books by number of pages. Then we promptly spent precious minutes double checking those numbers, because those books surely weren’t that long were they?! That’s the one bad thing about e-books. You don’t really get a feel for how ‘big’ the book is. Just how it reads.

Note: Some of these books aren’t really that long. They’re more on this list because we were surprised at how long they actually were.

This TTT is brought to you courtesy of The Broke and Bookish


Long Books, Quick Reads

It by Stephen King (1116 pages) – Alright, the site is part horror, so no one is surprised that this list starts with a Stephen King book, right? He actually appears on this list twice. But I would like to note that this was GracieKat’s inclusion. I remember it as being a massive brick that was enjoyable but still looooooooooonnnnnngggggg.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (736 pages) – Gracie told me that “I thought was going to take forever because of the footnotes and stories within stories and all the weird formatting. I ended up finishing it in two days, though!” (For the record, I picked up House of Leaves in the library. Looked at it for about 1 minute, went ‘nope’ and reshelved it. This is why it’s good to have a cohost that has ‘similar but different’ tastes.)

Necronomicon by H.P Lovecraft (878 pages) – A compendium of a man’s works SHOULD feel like a long read, shouldn’t it? Unfortunately (or maybe not), this one didn’t to Gracie.Book cover for Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft - Long Books Quick Reads

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (620 pages) – This one is probably the most shocking one to me. At no point do I remember thinking that this was a big book. Instead, in my head, I think of it as one of the shorter Dan Brown books. That’s so completely wrong. I guess that proves my point effectively. I felt like I spent maybe an hour or two reading this, but at 620 pages, it had to have taken me at least four or five.

Feed by Mira Grant (599 pages)  – Okay, so this one had a bit of heft to it. I remember looking at the paperback in some consternation, but once I started reading it, time flew.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub (567 pages) – My cohost told me for this one that she went into it expecting something different because her mom kept talking about how long and boring and dry it was. So zooming through it was definitely a surprise.

Moonfall by Jack McDevitt (560 pages)  – I refuse to believe this book has 560 pages in it. Not going to believe it until I can get my hands on my hard copy that’s hiding somewhere in my house and verify it. Moonfall was a quick, engrossing read that kept you going right from the beginning. And yeah, nope, no way it’s 560 pages. Not happening.

Dracula by Brahm Stoker (488 pages) – This was first published in 1897. It is old. So, as Graciekat said, obviously she assumed she’d be having to look things up and whatnot, right? Apparently, a good story is a good story is a good story regardless of the year it was written. (Oh, and she was 11 when she read this.)Malus Domestica for Long Books Quick Reads

Cell by Stephen King (449 pages) – I’m amused by Cell’s inclusion on this list, I won’t lie. Normally whenever I mention Stephen King on this site, it’s in relation to how wordy the man is. But I thought Cell was like…25o pages, tops. Yeah, I was just a wee bit off there.

Malus Domestica by S.A. Hunt (448 pages) – Easiest 448 pages I’ve ever read. Malus Domestica was engrossing, used extremely modern verbiage, and is the only book I’ve ever read that featured youtube to such a large extent.

Bonus: 

Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz (429) – Okay, so if doing this list has taught me anything, it’s that my reading speed gives me a skewed perception of what a long book is. Flex is 429 pages? Really?  I zoomed through this one. I know, I know, bookworm relativity and all. But seriously. It feels like I read this book in a ridiculously short amount of time.

Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it. This Tuesday we’re revealing our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR (To Be Read) list. This list is ever changing, ever growing, but always filled with good books. If you’ve read any of the ones on our list, feel free to rave (or rant) about them below.  These books are all books that have already been released in 2017, but didn’t hit our radar immediately.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of www.brokeandbookish.com


Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

Book cover for The Golden GateThe Golden Gate by Robert Buettner

Release Date: January 3rd, 2017

Synopsis: LIVE FOREVER—OR DIE TRYING. When the world’s richest man is the victim of a car bomb and literally blown off the Golden Gate Bridge the attack is attributed to terrorists and the world moves on. But some still wonder. Was Manuel Colibri targeted because, as Silicon Valley rumor has it, he was about to make the dream that people alive today can live to be one thousand come true?

Two people are pursuing the truth. Tech journalist Kate Boyle and recovering Iraq war veteran Ben Shepard race through the Bay Area chasing the only clues the reclusive Colibri left behind. They discover not only each other but a cosmic secret that can change human history—and may cost them their lives.

Thoughts: Reviews have compared it favorably to the DaVinci code, and have said that even though the narrative seems a bit meandering, it pays off in the end. While I’ve never read Buettner before, this one is looking steadily more appealing.

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Lotus Blue

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Thoughts: Reviews are generally favorable for  Lotus Blue, but there are several complaints/concerns about the fact that there are too many characters. This makes me a bit reluctant to buy Lotus Blue, but it’s definitely listed as a library-read for me.  || Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman’s Daughter by Gavin Smith

Release Date: January 6th, 2017

Synopsis: Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Storrow, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?

Thoughts: Reviews say its classic military sci-fi (Yay!), the main character is crazy (likened to Harley Quinn), and it sounds like utter madness with a great narrator for the audio book. …………. I’m sold. Amazon

 

 

 

Book cover for The Keeper of Portals

The Keeper of Portals by VS Nelson

Release Date: January 28th, 2017

Synopsis: Everything in the universe is maintained by its own keeper, from the most insignificant insect to time itself. When 15 year-old Martin moves into a stately home that’s dangerously overhanging a cliff, he meets the Keeper of Portals and learns of the mysterious door at the end of his bedroom.

One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom is open. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Upon discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel gain the ability to control time and travel through portals.

After being attacked by hordes of brainwashed villagers, Martin and Isabel learn that the master of the house has a devious plan, one the keepers are powerless to stop. Martin and Isabel must jump between the present day and the 17th century in order to hide from the twisted master, avoiding past versions of themselves, as powerful keepers thwart them at every turn. But as items from the future begin to bleed into the past and the present day is plagued by malfunctioning portals, Martin and Isabel’s only option is to confront the master – the Keeper of Questions.

Thoughts: Even though this is sci-fi/fantasy, which is not a line I like to cross much, it’s a middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy book. That’s enough to make me sit up and pay attention. I know I’d looked at this book before, but I had never caught the middle-grade thing. I have now, and now I need to read this. Reviews are generally positive, stressing that you keep in mind that this is not a book for adult readers. || Amazon | B&N

Book cover for Memento Mori

Memento Mori (Anthology)

Release Date: January 23rd, 2017

Synopsis: Memento Mori: A Digital Horror Fiction Anthology of Short Stories
If you’re looking for an array of Horror stories to sink your teeth into, look no further than Memento Mori…pay the Ferryman, and prepare to take the ride of your life.

The title, Memento Mori, is Latin and literally means: “Remember you too must die.” An ominous-sounding phrase, the saying derived from Puritan settlers who would often display tokens of death as a reminder to the living of the fragility of life…not to mention the eternal punishment awaiting those who wallowed in wickedness.

Death has always been a fascination to the living, meaning different things to different groups of people. Edgar Allan Poe nailed it when he said: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”

Thoughts:  The cover is creative, I like the title and I really, really like themed anthologies – GK

Amazon 

 

Book cover for The Folcroft Ghosts

 The Folcroft Ghosts by Darcy Coates

Release Date: January 10th, 2017

Synopsis: Tara and her brother Kyle are sent to stay with their estranged grandparents when their mother is hospitalised. May and Peter Folcroft are warm and charming at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, seems idyllic.  But strange things start happening.  The swing moves on its own. Peter paces around the house at night and is obsessed with the lake where his sister drowned. Doors slam. Indistinct figures glide through the fog.

When a storm cuts the phone line and blocks the only road to town, May shifts from doting to obsessive. Tara and Kyle try to keep up the pretext of a happy family, but an empty journal and locked room provide clues to the unforgivable lies, secrets and decades-old murders entwined with the Folcrofts’ history.  Worse, the ghosts are growing agitated. Tara must confront the restless spirits if she and her brother have any hope of leaving the house alive.

Thoughts: I love the sepia-toned cover and the story features two of my favorite things: locked rooms and creepy journals.- GK  ((Lilyn: In the interest of full disclosure, I *have* already read Folcroft Ghosts but did not review it on the site. It was a good read!)) || Amazon

 

Book cover for Black Feathers

Black Feathers (Anthology)

Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.

There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the lifeblood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.

Thoughts: The cover is beautiful and Ellen Datlow usually puts together a pretty good collection

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Hekla's Children

Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: A decade ago, teacher Nathan Brookes saw four of his students walk up a hill and vanish. Only one returned – Olivia – starved, terrified, and with no memory of where she’d been. After a body is found in the same woodland where they disappeared, it is first believed to be one of the missing children, but is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior, nothing more than an archaeological curiosity. Yet Nathan starts to have terrifying visions of the students. Then Olivia reappears, half-mad and willing to go to any lengths to return the corpse to the earth. For he is the only thing keeping a terrible evil at bay…

Thoughts:  This was actually just mentioned on this site, in our last “This is Horror” issue. I love a mix of creepy and history so this seemed very interesting to me (and you gotta love the creepy ‘the well’ cover).

Amazon | B&N 

 

 

Top Ten Lovecraft Mythos Anthologies

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.Lovecraftian Horror

  Anyone who even barely dips their toes into the dark and bloody pool that is the horror genre has heard the name Lovecraft. With his output at over 150+ short stories, poems, novellas, ghost written stories and fragments it is a staggering body of work.

  Fans could argue amongst themselves about their favorites (personally the Dream Quest series leaves me cold). Non-fans can denigrate his writing as ‘overly hysterical’ and ‘melodramatic’. Even the proclaimed ‘Lovecraft Expert’ S.T. Joshi has some snide things to say about certain of Lovecraft’s works (and the same snarkiness is implied toward the people that do like them). To me, it’s a damn shame that he didn’t know how successful he would become within his own lifetime. Why is that so often the artist’s lot?

  I do think the one thing that almost all horror fans can agree on is his far-reaching influence on the world of horror.  An influence, in fact, that created its own genre: Lovecraftian Horror.


Top Ten Lovecraft Mythos Anthologies

  It’s a genre that sits comfortably on its eldritch throne. A horror to make us feel small in comparison with the cosmos. And whatever could be lurking there, ready to crush us with one well-placed tentacle.

  It is also a genre that can be built upon. Stone after slimy stone, Lovecraft seemed to encourage the building of his worlds with the result being the new generation of Weird Fiction, began on trade pamphlets they made at their own cost and circulated by mailing lists. Now, in the age of the internet, written freely, produced even more cheaply than Lovecraft was able to do and sold to those who devour it hungrily.

  This is a little list I summoned up when the stars were right of some good Lovecraft anthologies and collections with a bonus link or two at the bottom for those interested in reading his works for themselves.

Black Wings of Cthulhu – edited by S.T. Joshi       (series)

So far there are 5 books altogether in this series. It’s probably no big secret that I’m not a huge fan of Joshi. I dislike the tendency he has to consider himself the Official Voice of Lovecraft. I also dislike his tendency to dismiss any horror that isn’t directly related to the Cthulhu Mythos or cosmic in nature. Even in the introduction to this same anthology he casts a barbed compliment at a story that includes Lovecraft as a ghostly character. Saying Lovecraft “Might not appreciated his resurrection as a ghost”. I will admit, though, that he does put together an awesome, well-rounded Lovecraft anthology. While I haven’t read every book in the series (I’ve read 1-3) the ones I have read were a good mix of stories. The quality remained consistent throughout the first three so I can’t imagine they go down. Some directly tied into the Cthulhu Mythos while others had a touch of the Lovecraftian flavor to them.


Lovecraft’s Monsters – edited by Ellen Datlow

Now this one was a bit hit or miss with me but Ellen Datlow usually puts together pretty solid collections and anthologies and what pleases me others may find boring and vice versa. Plus, it has a great cover.


By the Light of a Gibbous MoonScott Jaeger

I have to admit that when I reviewed this on Goodreads it wasn’t a 5 Star read for me. It was a 3 which to me is a solidly entertaining book and not a bad rating in any way. You could see the influences in his stories. Sometimes a bit too much. However, I think that if he keeps writing he’ll find his own voice and niche in the simultaneously small and vast world of Lovecraftian weird fiction.


Lovecraft Unbound – edited by Ellen Datlow

Another great collection put together by Ellen Datlow with an awesome cover.


World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories – edited by Brian M. Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass

Has some great stories in it that blend in well with the war theme. Lovecraft and war wouldn’t seem to go together but they do. World War Cthulhu answers the question of what would happen if The Old Ones did break through.


Cthulhu Lies Dreaming: Twenty-three Tales of the Weird and Cosmic – edited by Salome Jones

A great variety of stories in keeping with the arcane unknown that defines Lovecraftian horror. And, again, a beautiful cover to match.


The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft – edited by Aaron J. French

Another very awesome cover. I haven’t read this yet but it has a lot of good reviews behind it. My co-conspirator is reading it right now and so far the verdict is good. The sepia toned illustrations are beautiful looking. This looks like an anthology you might want to invest in the physical book rather than an e-book. It looks absolutely gorgeous.


Searchers After Horror – edited by S.T. Joshi

While not listed exactly as a Lovecraft anthology per se, it’s themes and stories call to mind Lovecraftian tones.


The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack and The Second Cthulhu Mythos MegapackVarious

               

Put out by Wildside Press these volumes contain stories by H.P. Lovecraft. They also contain stories written by contemporaries of Lovecraft that forayed into Cthulhu’s domains. At $1.00 each they’re one heck of a bargain.


Autumn Cthulhu – edited by Mike Davis

Another I haven’t read yet but with enough good reviews to justify it’s inclusion here. In fact, the lower reviews I have read about it mainly complain that most are not directly tied into the Cthulhu Mythos. Reading the description however it’s not marketed as being strictly Cthulhu stories. The synopsis leads me to believe they were going for stories with a Lovecraftian flavor.


Since these next two books are Lovecraft only collections I didn’t want to include them in the main list but they are great collections.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

A beautifully bound edition that’s too pretty to read. Which brings me to my next entry…

Complete Collection Of H.P.Lovecraft – 150 eBooks With 100+ Audio Book Links(Complete Collection Of Lovecraft’s Fiction,Juvenilia,Poems,Essays And Collaborations)

 

 

 

 

 

Insanely cheap this is, as of yet, the most complete collection I’ve found of Lovecraft’s stories. The e-book also includes audio readings and teleplays of his works. The audio collection varies in quality but the e-book does not. Arranged and linked beautifully, it’s only $0.99 in the Amazon store. I highly recommend it.


Have I forgotten any? If you have a favorite Lovecraftian anthology that I’ve overlooked please let me know.

Best B-Movie Monsters: Magnificent Mutations

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.If you’ve followed Sci-Fi  & Scary for any length of time, it’s no secret that we absolutely love B-Movies around here. These (mostly) low-budget purveyors of cheese, chuckles, and charnel put us both in our happiest of happy spots.  In our humble opinions, you haven’t experienced true film bliss until you’ve spent at least a few hours rotting your brain on these preposterous plots.

So, for this Top Ten Tuesday, we’ve rounded up our favorite fiends and most magnificent mutations of the B-Movie screen. (All the links will take you to IMDB.)

 

 


Best B-Movie Monsters: Snakes

There aren’t nearly as many truly awesomely horrible snake movies as there needs to be. At least not ones that are very well-known.  If you feel the need to expand your repertoire, though, we definitely recommend starting with the movies below. (After that, MoviesGalore44 has a great list of snake movies you can work your way through.)

Movie cover for Python

 Python 


Best B-Movie Monsters: Spiders

Arachnophobia is the King of Spider Movies. We all know that. But it’s actually legitimately scary at points, whereas the movies we’ve listed below just weave a web of wackiness with an apparent zeal.

 

 


Best B-Movie Monsters: Sharks

Believe it or not, there are other bad shark movies out there that are much better than Sharknado. The devils of the deep practically have their own sub-genre of sci-fi/horror films. The thought of these leering leviathans is enough to make sure some of us can never truly enjoy the ocean. So it would only make sense then that they feature in so many of these silly stories.

    Roboshark         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   


No doubt there are many lovers of the genre would argue belong on here, but these are the ones that really tickle our toes.

We’d like to give special mention to gems such as Lake Placid and Deep Blue Sea which were a little too good to earn themselves a place on this list. In our hearts, though, they are amongst our favorite monster movies.

Absolutely incensed that we left a particular movie off this list? Tell us in the comment section below!

For Better or Worse: Science Fiction & Horror Books That Surprised Us

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.This Top Ten Tuesday we’re looking at the books that surprised us (in both good and bad ways). These aren’t random grabs, but instead are ones that we heard lots of good (or bad) things about, and decided to check out for ourselves. Sometimes it worked out unexpectedly well. Sometimes we wanted to put our fist through a wall. Ya win some, ya lose some, eh? See our list of surprising science fiction and horror books below.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Links lead to Goodreads.

 


For Better or Worse: Science Fiction & Horror Books That Surprised Us

 

1.) Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. Given my previous experience with the man (Slaughterhouse Five) to say my expectations were low for Sirens of Titan would be a bit of an understatement.  However, Vonnegut managed to make me snicker more than once and sit thoughtfully for a moment after I finished it. For that reason, I rated Sirens of Titan 3/5. And if you’re wondering why only 3/5, it’s because the man’s a douche who put a line in his book where a woman thanked a man for raping her. So, yeah. Moderately entertaining writer at times, but still never willingly reading him again. / BETTERBook cover for A Princess of Mars

2.) Tales from the Midnight Shift by Mark Allan Gunnells. I read The Quarry by the same author and loved it. When I saw the ‘Tales from the Midnight Shift’ anthology I thought I would love it but, no, not quite. The stories were just meh and didn’t seem as well-written as The Quarry. Also, from the title, I kind of expected them to be midnight shift, job-related stories but I think there was only one like that. /WORSE

3.) Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was expecting stuffy, staid attempts at adventure. What I got was loads better. Though there are definitely problems with Princess of Mars, I found it an easy going fluffy read that left me grinning when I was done with it.  / BETTER

4.) Just Plain Weird by Tom Upton. I didn’t go into this story with any real expectations beyond a good story. I just did not enjoy it. The female character was supremely annoying. I think the author was going for cute and quirky but veered off into annoying and a bit psychotic. The story had way too many convenient deus ex machinas to it with no real explanations. /WORSEBook cover for Tales from the Midnight Shift

5.) Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke. Okay, so this one definitely came out of left field for me. Clarke’s writing can be absolutely fantastic, but it is rarely funny. So, I wasn’t expecting much when I picked up Tales from the White Hart. Figured I needed to give it a go, though. And it was in turns absolutely hilarious. /BETTER

6.) Redshirts by John Scalzi. This book managed to exceed my expectations and disappoint me utterly all in one book. But ultimately, perhaps because it ended on a disappointing note, I have to file this one under /WORSE

7.) Carnacki, the Ghost Finder by William Hope HodgsonI bought this as a random free one and at first I didn’t think I’d like the writing style. The stories are told as though they’re being told directly to the narrator so in a way it’s like he’s talking right to the reader. It took a little getting used to but I ended up liking them a lot. I was bummed there weren’t anymore. /BETTER

8.) Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. Apparently, Alastair Reynolds is fantastic with hard science fiction, and Pushing Ice is considered one of his best books to start on. I hate this book. I hate this book so much that I’m putting it on this list and I’m technically not even done with it. Not what I was expecting from a man as lauded as Reynolds is. /WORSE

9.) The Spirit Chaser by Kat Mayor. When I first got it to read (through this site but before I became a part of it) I initially didn’t see the ‘Paranormal Romance’ tag so when I did notice I have to admit I wasn’t that thrilled. I ended up loving the story. I liked the interaction of the characters, some of whom surprised me into liking them. I had to create a new shelf on GR because of this book. /BETTER

10.) New Tales of the Yellow Sign by Robin Laws. As much as I love the stories of  Robert W. Chambers ( at least his horror stories) it can sometimes be that books that expand on an idea or world can be better than the source material. While I wouldn’t say this surpasses it exactly, I went into it not expecting to like it much. I thought it wouldn’t do the source material justice. That it certainly does and the stories aren’t so interconnected that a reader who has never read the originals can still enjoy them. /BETTER

 

 

What about you? What books would make your For Better or Worse listing for Top Ten Tuesday? Feel free to link (or just tell us) in the comments below!

Anti-Valentine’s Day Folk Songs

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.Happy (Anti) Valentine’s Day!

As you can probably tell I’m not all that into Valentine’s Day. In my opinion if you’re in a happy and healthy relationship then neither partner should be forced to prove their love on a single day. If you’re happily single then it’s annoying to get those “You’re not doing anything tonight?” gasps of pity.

So I’ve created a list of folk songs that may be about love, but it’s love askew, awkward and perhaps a bit murderous and tragic at times. However, since I do realize that some people do like Valentine’s Day (and possibly because I’m a bit of a softy at times) I may have let one or two good ones slip by unnoticed.

We’ll just have to see.

This post is in relation to Broke and Bookish‘ Top Ten Tuesday weekly meme.

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