The Corpse Bride’s Recommended Reads for Halloween 🦇

My favourite time of the year is approaching – Halloween!  🦇

Here are  my Halloween reading recommendations. These are the books that have scared or thrilled me over the years!

Winterbay Abbey by John Bladek and Davonna Juroe

This is a creepy, atmospheric, old style ghost story with a sad, haunting ending. Will, an architect, goes to the historic Winterbay Abbey to design a grand restoration, but Will and his wife soon fall foul of the abbey’s curse.

The in Woman Black By Susan Hill

This gothic tale is well known as being one of the scariest books in the past few years and it lives up to its reputation. Arthur Kipps goes to the isolated Edel Marsh House to sort out the affairs of the late Alice Drablow. A chilling and brilliant ghost story.

 The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand is not only one of my favourite horror novels, but also my favourite book. It’s an epic,  apocalyptic tale of good versus evil. The horror only begins when a deadly influenza spreads rapidly across the world.

Heart – Shaped Box by Joe Hill

This is a modern, original ghost story from Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. Scary and gory and further proof that you should not buy ghosts on the Internet! Rock star Judge buys a ghost to add to his occult collection, with horrific results.

IT by Stephen King

IT does not need much of an introduction with the current release of the movie version. The book will always be superior – over 1000 pages of pure horror in the town of Derry at the hands of an ancient evil and the terrifying Pennywise the clown.  🤡 .The characters, settings, atmosphere and scenes are perfect.

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

This was recommended to me by David at Blue Balloon and it is excellent. This is wicked, twisted, surreal horror – a child killer, Christmasland and a Mother trying to save her son.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

I first read this as a very young teenager and I’ve read a dozen times since. The vampire tale of the beautiful Louis and the enigmatic Lestat is bloody, mesmerising and stunning.

Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe

This had been the only book  that I’ve ever had to leave to one side before finishing because it scared me so much. A particular gruesome, ghostly scene would not leave my head. Charles’ daughter goes missing Christmas Eve and is later found murdered. This is is only the start of the terror for Charles and Laura.  A ghost story and a mystery.

The Ghosts of Sleath by James Herbert

All of James Herbert’s Ash series are excellent, but I picked this one for the list. Psychic David Ash goes to investigate a town full of hauntings. This had lots of gruesome imagery, along with heart.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula, the father of all vampires and written by an Irish man. The tale of Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula and Mena is eloquent, timeless and scary. I think I need to re-read this one soon!

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

This is the first YA book on the list. Creepy little dolls, a windswept location, oijua boards, deaths and a tortured teen make for a brilliant YA horror.

Dark Matter by Michelle Pavar

I listened to Dark Matter in audiobook form and it entranced me. An Artic expedition results in Jack being stranded in a rough, artic Winter alone, but he’s not alone. Haunting, tense and gripping throughout.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Dead House is also a YA addition. A psychological, gory and original tale told from a variety of sources, including police interviews, video footage and the diary of Kaitlyn and Carly, a girl with multiple personalities.

House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson has a fantastic way of twisting the readers emotions and confusing them.  A classic tale of terror when a group of strangers go to Hill House to take part in a study. The reader is unsure whether this is a a real haunted house or the manifestations of one of the main character Eleanor’s mind.

Zom-B Series by Darren Shan

Zom-B series is a twelve book series, with an extra novella. I read the whole series of a period of months and when it finished, I was devastated to say goodbye to B Smith and the other characters like Mr. Dowling. Zombie filled and action packed, this also highlights more political themes like racism. I devoured this like warm brains.

The Fog by James Herbert

The Fog is a brilliant,  demented and grotesque book.  When the fog invades a small village in England and rapidly spreads, it drives people insane and makes them act on their most depraved and horrific instincts.

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories – edited by Doug Murano and Alexander Ward

This anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing re-kindled my love of the short story. Each story is unique, beautiful but also horrible. A mixture of poems and stories to entrance and disgust.

 

Turner by Karl Drinkwater

I knew that I’d love Turner from the moment I saw the bloody chainsaw on the cover.
I loved the isolated Welsh setting and the atmosphere of the village, reminded me of Summerville Island from The Wicker Man.  Three strangers fight for their lives on an isolated Welsh island where the locals are not welcoming.

Hannah by Shaun Horton

When Eli, Naomi and their two children return from a camping trip, strange occurrences start in their house and family pet Hannah starts acting viciously and strangely. I’m terrified of dogs, so this canine horror scared the beejaysus out of me.

The Beast House by Richard Laymon

In true Laymon style, this is gory, twisted, sexually charged and action packed. Thanks to my old library in Dungarvan, I discovered Laymon. Tourists come to visit the infamous Beast House, where multiple murders have occurred and get more than they bargain for.

The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe

Dominic, a wounded former soldier,is sent to the countryside with partially deaf sister Octavia during the blitz. This has eerie scenes, an atmospheric creepy location and a sense of dread throughout.

This House is Haunted by John Boyne

By now, you can probably tell that I’m a fan of the classic ghost story. 👻 Governess Eliza arrives at Gaudlin Hall.  Abandoned children, unexplained occurrences and terrifying experiences await her.

 

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

This book is aimed at teens and is the perfect mix of scary and humourous. This is the first in the series where the team of courageous Lucy, the enigmatic Lockwood and Georges,  first start investigating hauntings across London. Hugely entertaining!

Ring by Koji Suzuki

This is the book that spawned the Ringu and Ring films. Again,  the first in a series, this story of a videotape that kills you seven days after you watch it is a tense and creepy horror.

The Ghosts of Magnificent Children by Caroline Busher

Though for younger readers, this book had to make the list, everyone knows that children love ghost stories! It was haunting and gripped me until the bittersweet ending. Four magnificent and gifted children are taken to Badblood’s circus, where a dark fate awaits them. 100 years later, their ghosts appear the Irish coast, where they befriend Rua, who must help them.

The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan

Billy O’Callaghan’s first novel is a beautifully written ghost story. Set in the wilds of West Cork, a group of friends visited artist Maggie and try out a ouija board. Maggie unravels emotionally and artistically as the real, unseen terror unfolds. The clever, perfectly eeerie ending to this book will stay with the reader for long after the last last page.

Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Darkmere is a ghost story told in dual timelines by modern day Kate and nineteenth century young bride Elinor  and their experiences at Darkmere Castle. This a fun,  YA horror with a mix of romance, ghosts and mystery.

The Demon Road Trilogy by Derek Landy

When Amber turns sixteen, she finds out that she’s not the boring girl she thought, she’s also a beautiful red-horned demon. This is an epic rollercoaster of a journey as Amber and Milo travel across America to try to escape Amber’s parents. A brilliant trilogy featuring demonic bikers, vampires, undead serial killers and awesome characters

Zombie Girl Saga by Alessia Giacomi

This is the second atypical zombie series on the list. Eve Brenner goes on an archaeological dig with friends Akex and Cam, and is bitten by something that causes her to become a thinking zombie. This series was full of great action sequences and friendship, it reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Hell House by Richard Matheson

It’s a very long time since I read this, but I can still remember the opening chapters and our introduction to the ominous Belasco House or Hell House. Four people are hired by a millionaire to enter the house and investigate the paranormal phenomena. Chilling and psychological, another classic ghost story.

The Haunting of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers

This is a recent read for me and the Psychic surveys series is entertaining and scary. The series follows Ruby’s psychic investigations agency as they try to help trapped spirits. Each book has a great story at the heart and feisty characters.

The Other Side of the Wall by Andrea Mara

This is the only real thriller on the list. I had to add this as it’s the only book in a long time to really freak me out! One scene had me hiding under the covers and listening for noises downstairs.  Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door…

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Vicious, strange, heartbreaking and bloody, a vampire novel unlike any other. Loner Oskar is befriended by new neighbour, the strange Eli, who never leaves the apartment during the day. The real horror in this unfolds as Oskar is horribly bullied. Utterly brilliant and disturbing.

Mr. Sparks by Danny Weston

Ventriloquist dummies have scared me ever since I came across Mr. Slappy in Goosebumps! Mr. Sparks is an even creepier character! After Owen’s father goes missing in the war and his Mother has a breakdown, he is left with his cruel aunt in her boarding house. Mr. Sparks shows him a way out, but soon it becomes  apparent that Mr. Sparks is not as friendly as he first seems. A tense, gripping and scary YA horror.

I’ve finally come to the end of my list! Have you ready any of these? What books really scared you?

Have a wicked Halloween! 🦇 🦇 🦇

 

#Book Review: Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders

Behold is a colourful kaleidoscope of weird, wacky and bizarre stories and poems.

About the Book

Want to see something weird? Embrace the odd. Satisfy your curiosity. Surrender to wonder.

From Crystal Lake Publishing and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated co-editor of the smash hit Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories comes Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.

Sixteen stories and two poems take you into the spaces between the ordinary—and the imaginations of some of today’s masters of dark and thrilling fiction.

A travel writer learns the terrible secrets at a hotel that’s not at all as it seems.

A disfigured woman and her daughter explore methods of weaponizing beauty.

An amateur beekeeper acquires an object that shows her the true
danger of the hive-mind.

Drifters ride the rails seeking something wondrous that could change their fates forever.

A strange creature that holds our very existence in its hands shapes the lives of two lovers to touching and devastating effect.

A young man helps his grandfather—and something much more monstrous—atone for bargains made during wartime.

And much, much more…

Best Read

Lying in an empty grassy field on a splendid sunny day or in a giant tent, while sipping on something magical.

My Thoughts on the Book

 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book for months and I’m delighted to have received a launch day copy to review! Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders is an anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing, edited by Doug Murano and featuring a vast array of authors, including Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. My obsession with short story collections was triggered by another Crystal Lake anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. Gutted was also co-edited by Mr. Murano, so I had very high hopes for this.

This is another cracking anthology from Crystal Lake. This is a wondrous collection, full of strange other-worldly tales and fans of Fantasy Island will devour this.  Every addition is unique and leaves the reader feeling like they are entering different tents at a carnival, with many different, some grotesque wonders to behold. Below are snippets of my favourite stories.

Larue’s Dime Museum

This story opened the anthology – a stylish and clever take on “carnival freaks” and curiosity. Beware of what you pick up in Larue’s Dime Museum!

Wildflower, Cactus Rose

A strange tale that is sad in parts. The most horrific part to this story is humanity and our obsession with outer beauty. This was brutal in parts, but I loved the message. The author quotes it perfectly: “The world is a mirror, what we see is a reflection of who we are. So the question is, what do you want the world to see?” The ending leaves the reader keep pondering the question.

The Baker of Millepoix

Set in a beautiful French village, this is both charming and grotesque. A miraculous baker with a secret ingredient that will leave a taste in your mouth.

 Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament

Clive Barker’s sprawling tale mingles horror, pleasure, obsession and love. Brilliantly written, this is a monstrous story with gore and heart. Jacqueleine is unlike any other woman, imaginary or real.

An Exhibition of Mother and Monster

I don’t normally read poetry, but I loved this nighmarish poem. It features a delicious collection of Nature’s freaks for a cheap price – “A Wholesome Fee for the Devil’s Smile.”

Chivalry

Neil Gaiman’s addition to the collection is a quirky, magical tale, with a lovely touch of humour. Mrs. Whitaker, the main character, is a feisty old lady with a great eye for antiques.

A Ware That Will Not Keep

A dying Grandfather tells his son of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. It’s a tale of escape, release, true horror and desperation.

Earl Pruitt’s Smoker

A wonderful, vivid flight of the imagination with a bee-keeper.

As A Guest at the Telekinetic Tea Party

I loved this poem, the second I read the alliterative title. The second poem anthology is vivacious and the cadence reminds me of a dance. It’s a dark tale of a witchy afternoon tea.

Knitter

Knitter reminded me of a gruesome Grimm’s Tale, where the unsuspecting characters have a sad fate awaiting them. Creepy and disturbing with a mystical twist.

Through Gravel

A surreal, strange tale of an underground world where the Kindred pluck their offspring from the world above.

Each story in Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders is a gem. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, so dig into this treasure trove and you won’t regret it.

 

Click here to purchase the book.

 

 

#BookReview – Twice Upon an Apocalypse

Twice upon an Apocalypse

Dark Fairytales in a Lovecraftian Landscape

I’m a big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing’s short story anthologies, so I jumped at the chance to receive a launch copy of Twice Upon An Apocalypse. These are all the well known favourite fairytales tossed into a hellish world.

Fairytales in their essence are quite horrific,  not all love and happy endings.

I loved the way each story was reworked into a unique tale, but still carried the same original story mingled with a unique flavour of Lovecraft. I find it hard to pick my favourites as they are so many good stories! But the twists on Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were excellent with their strong female characters! I also loved the Bluebeard and the Little Mermaid stories. The Little Mermaid has always struck a chord with me, as does the evil tale of Bluebeard.

The joy of a short story collection like this is being able to dip in for a complete story  in a short period of time.

Even though I never stopped at just one story,  because I kept wanting to see which fairytale would come next! I’m already dying to read the next Crystal Lake anthology.

To purchase the anthology  click here.

To find out more about Crystal Lake Publishing click here.

 

The Third Twin by Darren Seegle: Book Review

The Third Twin from Darren Speegle is another original horror novel from Crystal Lake Publishing and I was lucky enough to receive a launch day free copy.

Best Read: While planning an Alaskan or Brazilian adventure!!

The Third Twin

The Third Twin is clever, dark and scary. Not things go bump in the night scary, but scary like someone hurting all your nearest and dearest. There are some truly horrible moments in the book, but all are portrayed beautifully. Like all the other Crystal Lake Publishing books I’ve read, this is original and edgy.

The travel scenes are unbelievable – I want to visit Spider festival in Brazil and the Vampire Ball in Germany! I could see and smell each unique landscape in my head. The cover art is also beautiful and evocative.

A trip to the Spider Festival in Brazil for Barry and his daughter Kristin,  a couple of years after Kristin’s twin’s death,  sparks a horrific and surreal nightmare for the entire family. This is thrilling and mysterious book, with twists and turns throughout.

My only criticism is that the end was maybe a bit too clever? I had re-read the last chapter a few times to try and understand it. Eloquent and well paced, I will definitely be reading more from this author.

To purchase the book: click here.

To find out more about the book click here: click here.

Two New Horror Gems on Netflix UK

There are two new horror gems on Netflix UK this month – Viral and The Neon Demon.

Viral

Viral is a story of two teenage sisters struggling to survive a deadly virus outbreak. This genre is a bit overdone, but this is a fresh take on it. The acting is realistic and not overly dramatic, while the gore is bloody and  beautifully disgusting! My favourite element of this was the dynamic between the two sisters – the horror genre’s Anna and Elsa. I loved this.

The Neon Demon

I’d been waiting for this movie to make it to Neflix for ages! So I was delighted when one of my Best of Netflix Horror buddies informed me​ that it was one of the new additions this month!

This is absolutely stunning movie. Florescent, throbbing colours and lots of slow disturbing scenes. This shows horror of a different kind -the horror of the human species and vanity. Fresh-faced 16 year old Jesse arrives in LA to try to make it as a model. What follows is a disastrous kaleidoscope ​of events. This is weird and beautiful and utterly disturbing. I loved it and it’s nothing like any other film I’ve seen.

 

Netflix, you did not disappoint with these two beauties!

What did you think of these movies? Are you looking forward to anything on Netflix this month?

 

The Easter Bunny – A Creepy Tail

Easter Bunny

There is something extremely disturbing about the Easter Bunny.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Easter Bunny doesn’t speak or maybe it’s the weird eyes? Or is it the outfit? It could be anyone inside there! Give me Santa Claus any day, over this creepy character!

Easter Bunny

My irrational fear of the Easter Bunny led me to write the disturbing tale/ tail below.

Judy Graham was collected at 5.30 am on Holy Monday by a limousine. She  wheeled her suitcase out the front door and pulled the door of her cramped semi-detatched house behind her. She didn’t say goodbye. There was nobody to say goodbye to since her parents had tragically died last year.

The driver took her suitcase from her and wordlessly motioned her towards the back seat of the giant car. She thanked him and he simply nodded. She had never travelled by limousine before, so she assumed it was chauffeur etiquette. If the driver was this posh, imagine how posh the family who had hired her would be.

Judy was going to Addington House, in the Cotswolds, to play the Easter Bunny for the next week. She had played many children’s characters in the past year, including Elsa, a North Pole elf, a witch and a pirate. Judy loved being a freelance children’s entertainer. It meant she was able to travel to lots of different places to work and bring laughter and fun to so many children. Seeing their tiny faces light up with wonder and excitement was the highlight of her working day.

Judy  had never been an Easter Bunny before, but it seemed like fate. Her Mother had named her Judy, inspired by the actress Judy Garland’s role in the film ‘Easter Parade’. Her Mother would go around the kitchen every Easter Sunday, singing the Easter Bonnet song as she made lunch. That was one of her nicest memories of her.

She had been headhunted by the Addington family. Judy was ecstatic that her hard work and love of the job was finally paying off. The Addington Easter Bunny was iconic, children all over the surrounding areas came to Addington Manor to meet the Easter Bunny. On Easter Sunday, there would be the exclusive Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the sprawling Addington family.

Judy had visited the Cotswolds many times as a child with her parents and had wonderful memories of stone thatched cottages, rolling green hills and ice-cream from quaint little shops. She thought going back there might make her feel closer to them. She would be staying in one of the thatched cottages on the grounds of the manor for the week. Her duties would end early Sunday morning, once the eggs had all been hidden for the giant Easter egg hunt. Nobody saw the Easter Bunny after Saturday, that was the tradition.

She sat in happy silence, admiring the view, as they drove through the different counties of the beautiful Cotswolds. The closest town to the Manor was Blockley. The town looked serene and peaceful and golden Cotswold cottages punctuated the rolling hills. They arrived at the manor at exactly 8 am. The chauffeur opened the door for her and motioned silently for her to walk into the giant stone house. Lord Addington stood waiting in the hallway with an amused look on his long horsey face.

“Miss Graham, if you’d care to follow me into the drawing room and we can go through some of the finer details.” He said, his voice echoed with the high ceilings. She smiled and said “Of course, Lord Addington” and followed him into a stuffy, dusty looking sitting room. He handed her a timetable. Each morning, breakfast would be brought to the cottage at 7.45 am. At 8.30, she would be guided to the children’s play area in her Easter Bunny outfit.  She would do greetings and photographs for two hours. She would be guided back to the cottage for a powder room break and a small lunch. At 1 pm she would return for greetings for a further three hours. Dinner would be brought to her cottage each evening at 6 pm.

She nodded as he went through the itinerary with her. She thought it all seemed very military but he was her employer and he was paying her well. She would do exactly as asked. He told her that it was most important that the uniform must be worn every time she left the cottage during the day. The illusion must be maintained, he explained. The uniform was vintage, it had been worn by every Addington Easter Bunny in the last twenty years. She thought that was gross, but kept quiet.

Easter Bunny

There was no small talk and he led her out to the door where the chauffeur stood waiting by the car. She sat in and was brought to the most charming thatched cottage she had ever seen. A stern looking woman stood waiting by the door. She quickly went through the lighting and heating and left immediately, these people did not like small chat. A giant box with a bow was waiting in her bedroom. She opened it and saw the Easter Bunny outfit. The black eyes of the head stared at her and sent shivers down her spine. The teeth in the mouth protruded over a black mouth. Vintage Easter bunny outfits were really creepy. But the material was soft and fluffy, despite being vintage and smelled of fresh cut grass.

When she tried on the uniform, a queasy feeling came over, she thought she might vomit. She took it off and immediately felt better. The stern woman knocked on the door with a small lunch. She ate every morsel and went for a stroll around the magnificent grounds, they went on for miles. Today was her only day off, as she would be on a schedule from tomorrow.

The next morning she put the suit on and as soon as the suit touched her skin, she got a funny turn again and felt queasy. She ignored the feeling, put on the head and started at herself in the mirror. The outfit was terrifying!

She could see out of the eyes, but there was no trace of the real Judy to be seen. She was brought to the greeting area by the stern woman and she was surprised that the children weren’t afraid of her. They hopped on her lap for pictures and wrapped their small arms around her. Maybe this vintage outfit wasn’t so bad.

Only the babies and small toddlers screamed their heads off when she held them for the photos, the poor mites. All day long, Judy felt strange. Shivers ran down her neck and back. She was freezing, then roasting. Judy hoped she wasn’t coming down with anything. Her eyes were stinging too. She put that down to the heaviness and stuffiness from wearing the head. She was exhausted that night and went straight to bed after her supper.

The next morning, she felt some bit better so she went on with her day as per schedule. As she sat for the greetings, new symptoms emerged. Her fromt teeth were sensitive and sore and her hands were pained and felt swollen.

She returned to the cottage and took the outfit off for a break. She looked in the mirror and sore red-rimmed eyes stared back at her. She spotted something sprouting from her ears, something white and bushy. She yanked it out with a squeal, it was a tuft of white hair! What was going on with her body! She had no further time to investigate as the knock came for the afternoon shift. She would have to ask the stern woman if there was a doctor nearby when she brought her supper.

She got through the rest of the afternoon and was delighted when she was able to return to the cottage and get the horrible Easter Bunny suit off her. Had she caught something from the suit?! It was twenty years old, after all. At 6 pm, she stood by the door, ready to talk to Mrs. Stern. She threw the door open when she heard the knock and the woman jumped back. “Oh, Miss Graham! You look under the weather this evening” she said, her voice surprisingly warm this time. Judy told her she was feeling ill, she needed a doctor. “Sorry to hear that, Miss Graham. There’s no doctor available in the evening in these parts. I can try to arrange a visit for tomorrow and bring you something medicinal?” she said. Judy thanked her, that would have to do for now.

The woman returned with a bottle of syrupy medicine and told her to take two spoons before bed. Judy took the medicine and went straight to bed, she didn’t touch her supper. When she woke the next morning, her eyes were bloodshot and the red rims had grown. It was then she spotted two white whisker growing from her cheeks! She grabbed a tweezer and plucked them out! More tufts had sprouted from her ears, and despite the pain, she pulled them out. Her teeth had never been perfectly straight, but now they were protruding slightly over her lip! There was something happening to Judy, there was something very wrong.

The day passed in a blur as children were passed into her swollen hands. Her legs and feet were aching. When she returned the cottage for lunch, she avoided the mirror, afraid of what she might see. She looked down at her belly and saw that it too was swollen. She’d also put on a huge amount of weight on her lower body in only a couple of days. She’d always been a pear shape, but this was ridiculous.

That evening, her thoughts were foggy and scattered. The only thing she could focus on was the Easter egg hunt and the children. She had to keep going for their sake. She heard a knock on the door, but didn’t open it until a few minutes later. She clumsily carried the tray in, ate her supper and left the tray outside. She drank two sups of the medicine and went to bed for the evening. She tossed and turned.  She woke from a bad dream in the middle of the night and to her horror, she felt something growing on her backside! Something large and hairy! It was a bushy small tail!

She squealed. Her mouth felt funny too. When she looked in the mirror, her mouth had morphed into a grotesque shape and four long whiskers now grew from each cheek. Tufts of white hair sprouted from every orifice. Words tried to form in her head, but when she opened her mouth, she couldn’t speak. Her hands and feet were even more swollen and covered in fine hair. She touched her face, not believing what was happening to her.

She put on the bunny head to cover her monstrous face and squeezed herself into the now very snug bunny outfit. As she did the morning greetings, she though about running away. But she had no car, no way out. And what would people think of  her transformation anyway, even if she escaped?

Was this all her imagination? Was Judy imagining that she was a real-life Easter Bunny??

Her thoughts became even more blurred. When she looked in the mirror Good Friday, she could only think of the children and their little faces. The Addington Easter Egg hunt would be unbelievable this year, she would make sure if it. She put on her uniform and bounced out the door after Mrs Stern. On Holy Saturday, she looked in the mirror and realised that she didn’t need the uniform any more. She WAS the Easter Bunny and tomorrow was the most exciting day of the year!

By early Easter Sunday, all of Judy’s memories had faded. Her only task was to get the hunt ready for the children. She spent hours hiding the eggs, even though it was difficult with her furry swollen hands. She heard the excited shrinks and laughter from children in the distance. She bounded away out of sight, feeling satisfied. But the shouts followed her, even though she was going in the opposite direction to the Easter Egg hunt.

“My first hunt, Arthur! I hope I catch it” a girlie voice shouted. “No one catches one on their first hunt, you idiot. You need to learn how they move and how to track them” a boy’s voice said.

Them? It? She bounced away as fast as she could with her giant furry feet.  Someone left out a high pitched scream. “This way! The hunt is on.” The Judy bunny realised that the hunt was for her, not for Easter eggs.

The Judy bunny tried to get away from the children. It had no memory of its former life as Judy. All it wanted now was to escape. A misplaced hop landed the Judy bunny in a giant animal trap. It lay on the grass, it’s broken mangled foot caught in the vice. It struggled and whimpered.

A tiny girl, no more than six years of age stood above it and shouted to the other approaching children.  “I won the hunt! I won the hunt! The head is mine!”

The Lord of the Manor appeared above the Judy bunny. “Oh, Cordelia, Grandfather is so very proud of you. You caught the Addington Easter Bunny.” The Judy bunny stared up  at him. One chocolate tear streamed out of her glassy black eye as Lord Addington chopped it’s head off with a sharp axe. He held up with a cheer, to the delight of the children. The Addington Easter Hunt was over for another year.

The Tracks- A Creepypasta with thousands of hits

This evening, I’m sharing something different on the blog, “The Tracks”, a Creepypasta written by Banshee Irish Horror blog co-admin (and my little brother) James the Jester.

James’s Creepypasta “The Tracks” (link here) was picked up and narrated as part of a Youtube compilation, which has over 92K hits (and counting).  “The Tracks” is the first tale of the compilation. It is a post apocalyptic story of survival. With gory detail, the Creepypasta engages the listener from start to finish and has the reader rooting for the survivor and his unlikely companion.

For more deliciously creepy tales by James The Jester click here.

 

Creepypasta are online horror stories, memes or pictures, copied and pasted around the internet. Their main purpose is to scare the living crap out of people!

Creepypasta hit the mainstream media in 2014 with the so-called “Slenderman” stabbings.  Two twelve year old girls lured another girl into the woods and stabbed her. They claimed to do this to impress the fictional Slenderman, a Creepypasta character. Truth is more horrific than fiction in this case.

 

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling: Novella Review

 

The Final Reconciliation is a hard metal symphony of terror.


Final reconciliationWritten in an album format, The Final Reconciliation is a tale of the occult, a gypsy who is more than she seems and a hard metal band striving to hit the big time. When The Yellow Kings have the performance of their lives, there is only one survivor.

I was delighted to receive an ARC of The Final Reconciliation from Crystal Lake Publishing (link to the Crystal Lake website). This is the third book I’ve read from Crystal Lake Publishing, including Gutted Beautiful Horror Stories.  Gutted was the most memorable, brutal and beautiful collection of stories from last year.

The pace and length of this novella were perfect for the tale, narrated 30 years after the tragic concert, by a journalist interviewing aging rock star Aidan Cross. The Yellow Kings are struggling to make their dreams come true when Camilla, a seductive gypsy character appears on the scene. Her introduction to them is the start of their nightmarish fate.

Friendship is key to the story, as were the changing dynamics of the group. The scenes where the band are pouring their souls into their final album are described in gory and grotesque detail.

There is dark beautiful imagery during the visions of Carcosa. The ending was both disturbing and mesmerising.  The album reaches its’ crescendo with a horrifying climax.

The Final Reconciliation is a horrifying tale, which will appeal to lovers of heavy metal and horror alike.

 Here are the links to purchase this book:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/TheYellowKing

http://www.crystallakepub.com/the-final-reconciliation/

Neverlasting by Johnny Daggers: A book review

Neverlasting

To my shame as a horror fan, I’d never come across Johnny Daggers until our Twitter paths met! Johnny is an interesting creative character  and I jumped at the chance to review an audio version of his book Neverlasting. I couldn’t wait to listen to my very first audio book!

About the Book

Choosing where you wed is just as important as who you wed. Ultimately, the wrong choice can lead to certain death. Sadly, this was the case for Nora and Ned, a young couple who wanted nothing more than to build a life together, but when they said their vows in the old Herring Grove, “’til death do us part,” took on an entirely new meaning.

As their vows of sanctity echoed through the hollow, they awoke a century old curse which vowed to never let love enter its hills again. Now forced to confront both their inner demons and ghosts from the past, Nora and Ned must fight to uproot the seeds of lost love and despair and bring new life to the plagued, barren land.

My Thoughts on the Book

Neverlasting was dark and hauntingly beautiful. This Corpse Bride found it mesmerizing from the first word! I’m sure that fans of Tim Burton and Edgar Allen Poe will also love this –  dark curses, stricken haunted graveyards, creepy mansions and neverlasting love. The book starts with the sad tale of Barron Victor Von Herring and the untimely death of his one true love, his wife Eva LaMoure. Driven to madness by the loss of his love the Barron puts a terrible curse on the land.

When love’s young dream Ned and Nora decide to wed at Herring Grove, spooky dramatic scenes unfold. The early scenes with Nora and Ned were intimate and lovely despite their love for the spookier side of life. The entwining of their souls and the descriptions of their graveyard wedding was delightful. The macabre romance spoke to my own dreadfully romantic side. The later scenes are action packed and wonderfully grim.

The reading of the book was poetic and downright beautiful. The accompanying sounds and evocative reading played through my phone like a wonderful melody. I could see all the scenes so vividly in my head. The tale reached its climatic and slightly dreadful ending, surprising me and leaving me slightly melancholy.

I adored Neverlasting. The only downside for me was that it ended too soon. I can’t wait to re-listen to this!! It introduced me to the joys of the audio book which has changed car journeys to work for me for nevermore!

Purchase Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Neverlasting-Johnny-Daggers/dp/0997773014

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Neverlasting-Johnny-Daggers/0997773014

About the Author

Neverlasting

Johnny Daggers was born October 7th, 1974, to John P. Ellenberger and Georgeann Graff, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a small rural town located approximately 40 miles east of Pittsburgh. He became obsessed with the macabre at a very early age. At the young age of 4, Johnny recalls his mother finding him alone, crying on the kitchen floor. When she asked “what is wrong?”, Johnny sullenly replied, “I only have 70 years of life left to live”. Yes, by the age of 4, Johnny had already begun questioning his own mortality. This fascination with death only continued to grow the older Johnny got. He frequently and openly discusses his personal experiences with ghosts. By the age of 12, Johnny began to log his encounters in notebooks, and it was around this time that he began to undertake writing as a passion. Much of his early writings still exist in these personal notebooks that somehow managed to survive the past thirty some years. Perhaps we will see a collection of past and present work as an official anthology in the future? You can find out more on Johnny by clicking here.

 

 

Book Review: Hannah by Shaun Horton

Hannah

I was so excited when I received an email from the author asking if I’d like to review Hannah! I’d come across Shaun on online media and his horror books really appealed to me. I have two of his books Class 5 and Path’s waiting for me on my Kindle.

As soon as I downloaded the book and noticed the cover, I felt a bit uneasy. As you can see from the awesome cover art this book is based around man’s best friend, the loyal dog. Dogs are my second biggest fear after birds! But I pushed my unease aside and persevered, and I’m glad I did.

Eli and his family return from camping to a house that’s not the same as they left it, appliances malfunction, doors with no locks refuse to open, and strange whispers float through the halls and rooms. The family dog, Hannah, is acting strange as well, chasing the wild rabbits with more ferocity than usual. The only question is whether her watchful eye, strange barks, and quiet growls are a warning… or a threat…

The book opens giving the reader an insight into the family’s life, of which family poodle Hannah plays a huge part. She is loved by the parents, Eli and Naomi and even more so by their two children, Abigail and Peter. I love the idea of something benign and normal turning into something to be feared.

Early in the book, the reader is made aware that Eli and Naomi’s relationship is by no means without its’ troubles. The problems in Eli and Naomi’s relationship starts tension building in the story.

As the dog’s strange and predatory behaviour increases, weird incidents also begin in the house, experienced differently by each character. I loved the creepy occurrences in the book. The paranormal scenes made me feel the fear of all the members of the family.

Towards the middle and end of the book there are some vicious and grisly scenes. One particular scene in the middle of the book really made me uncomfortable. I think the scene might have been a step too far to scare and shock the reader. In saying that, it’s the one scene I can’t get out of my head, so it was definitely effective.

Another tense and horrific scene was so realistic that I was wincing while reading it. The author had me hearing and seeing every bloody detail in my head. I already have a fear of dogs and bites in particular, so this book probably affected me more than it would other readers.

Hannah was a scary and gore-filled read. There were some really grisly scenes in the book that kept popping back into my head while trying to sleep. I really enjoyed the creepy haunted house type scenes in the book and I’d recommend this to other lovers of horror. I look forward to reading more of Shaun’s work (preferably without any canine characters!)

 

To purchase Hannah on Amazon US click here

To purchase Hannah on Amazon UK click here

Hannah, Shaun Horton

Shaun Horton writes from home in the pacific northwest in the company of two cats, one that ignores him and another that constantly pesters him. In addition to Amazon, he can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. He has a blog that he posts on generally once a week – (see Shaun’s blog here).