The story selected for this week’s SSS is the first I’ve read from H.P. Lovecraft. If you enjoy weird fiction or horror, then you have to read this short story. Available for FREE on Amazon as well as other online sites.
Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email. If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.
The Shunned House by H. P. Lovecraft
Originally published: 1924
Retail Price: FREE
Review: No book blurb is available for this short story by H. P. Lovecraft, however the descriptions within the book will overload your senses. Lovecraft braids together mood and visual details to paint a picture of quite possibly the most repulsive and horrifying haunted house.
The narrator (never named) and his uncle are obsessed with this haunted house. The story deviates from the present to include the horrible history of the house and its inhabitants, so when it returns to the present to follow the narrator through a night spent with his uncle in the house’s cellar, you experience the same dread and anticipation as the characters.
THE SHUNNED HOUSE also has quite possibly the longest sentence ever written:
A weak, filtered glow from the rain-harassed street-lamps outside, and a feeble phosphorescence from the detestable fungi within, showed the dripping stone of the walls, from which all traces of whitewash had vanished; the dank, fetid and mildew-tainted hard earth floor with its obscene fungi; the rotting remains of what had been stools, chairs, and tables, and other more shapeless furniture; the heavy planks and massive beams of the ground floor overhead; the decrepit plank door leading to bins and chambers beneath other parts of the house; the crumbling stone staircase with ruined wooden hand-rail; and the crude and cavernous fireplace of blackened brick where rusted iron fragments revealed the past presence of hooks, andirons, spit, crane, and a door to the Dutch oven — these things, and our austere cot and camp chairs, and the heavy and intricate destructive machinery we had brought.
Have you read H.P. Lovecraft? Do you have any favorite stories to recommend?Read More
Feature and Follow #5
For this meme, you can follow me however you’d like. Whatever makes you come back a second time! Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to follow you back.
Q: What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback etc?
If I plan on re-reading the book, I want it in either hardcover or paperback. I find that I can connect to a book better when its in my hands. I also prefer my library to be on my bookshelf instead of on a computer file. I can find any book I want on my bookshelf in seconds, even if I can’t remember who wrote it or what it’s called. I remember it instantly from the cover. When I have to flip through files on my Kindle, it takes me forever to find the exact book. Plus, since it is in black and white, I don’t even know what the covers look like for the majority of books on my Kindle. And I like picking up signed copies of books. Having a signed ecopy version just isn’t the same.
If I’m reading a book for review purposes, I prefer using my Kindle. Firstly, I don’t want to waste an author’s time or money on a book I might not like and will probably never read again. Secondly, I like making notes. I don’t mind writing notes on my Kindle books, but I would freak if anyone wrote notes on my paperbacks/hardcover books, especially the signed ones.
Then, depending on the situation, I will bring either my Kindle or a paperback. If I’m anywhere around water, I bring a paperback. If I’m planning on going to the library or eating, I bring my Kindle. If I’m going to be outside and in the heat, I bring a paperback. In a car, I bring either or both.
What format do you prefer to read your books?Read More
You might notice some special graphics in this review. All previous reviews will eventually be edited to include them. They were designed especially for the new blog. Although I won’t be directing traffic there for another day or two, you can check out the new design HERE.
What Kills Me by Wynne Channing
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
The fight for survival begins.
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.
So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.
How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
Overview: I think that I would of liked this book better if I hadn’t read so many in the genre. I never got the feeling that this story and the characters were special. The danger felt contrived and the characters safe in a formulated story. I can understand why people love this book, but I don’t think it was unique enough for my liking. It did have some humorous scenes and one-liners that were nothing short of awesome. The excerpt is one of my favorites.
Characters: Lucas felt short for me. He was too rough and bitter in the beginning and his transformation by the end was too abrupt to be believable. I liked Axelia for the majority of the story, although her part in the very beginning was nothing short of stupidity. There’s no way that a “good” girl would decide to meet a stranger in the dark, after curfew, when everyone warns her not to…just not believable either. Besides that, I did like her. She acted like a dumb blonde sometimes, but the way Lucas played off of that trait was so darn funny that I liked it.
Plot: Girl meets boy. Girl dies and becomes vampire. Girl has lots of people that want to kill her because she’s the chosen one. If this was the first vampire novel I have ever read, I would have loved the plot. I LOVE reading vampire books (and have read way too many) and so I the plot in this book kept reminding me of what I’ve read in other books. It wasn’t predictable, however, and I wasn’t quite sure how Axelia and Lucas would escape the people wanting to kill them until it happened.
Ending: The VERY end felt cheesy to me. It wasn’t what I expected, but really disappointed me.
(I received a copy of this novel from the author (LibraryThing) in exchange for an honest review.)
This is a great novel for those who haven’t read many paranormal or vampire novels.
“What about guns with silver bullets? Would that slow them down?”
“Silver bullets? We’re not werewolves.”
“Werewolves are real too?”
He glaced at me and then did a double take, seeing my bewildered face.
“Yes,” he said, watching my eyes widen. “They hang out with Santa and the Easter Bunny.”
I remained frozen for a moment and then pushed his arm.
“Hey, I’m driving,” he said. He turned away from me to check the left lane over his shoulder but not before I caught a subtle smile on his face. It was gone so quickly tha I wasn’t sure if I had seen it at all.
A few minutes passed. ”So, they’re not real, right?”
(Picture and Information borrowed from Goodreads.)
Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist.
She started writing horror/fantasy tales as a girl. She still has the first novel that she wrote when she was 10. It’s (unintentionally) hilarious.
Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite).
She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”Read More
Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae
Publisher: Eternal Press
Genre: Dark Paranormal
You can purchase Halo of the Damned on ebook or paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. More reviews available on Goodreads. There is a separate giveaway for a paperback version of this book on Goodreads that you can enter from Oct 1-31st. You can read my reviews of other books by Dina Rae: Be Paranoid Be Prepared and Bad Juju.
Click HERE to enter the giveaway for an ebook version of Halo of the Damned as well as a $10 gift card to Amazon.com. Giveaway is opened internationally. There will be one winner.
Overview: Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing. It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last. The dialogue and writing feel over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye. I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller. I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes. It’s dirty, but not gory. A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.
Characters: Like in her other novels, there is a huge cast of characters with distinct personalities. With such a large amount, there isn’t much character development for many of the characters, but they will leave you guessing from scene to scene. Joanne is the star of the novel and she is both a recovering drug addict and an ex-con. I like how her view of the world was more jaded than the typical heroine and how she didn’t fall madly in love instantly with the first male who showed interest in her. There is a little bit of a love triangle, but honestly, one of the men was way out of his league in trying to get her. The romance is very underplayed and the plot definitely hog most of the spotlight. One person I couldn’t stand was Marie – as she in no way resembled a 6-year-old in her mannerisms behaviors, or vocals. I think her character would have been more convincing if she was at least 12 or 13.
Plot: It could be viewed as a good or bad thing, but many of the scenes are revisited by different characters. Scene A might be told in Joanne’s POV and end in a cliffhanger. A chapter or two later, Marcus will pick up the same scene either explaining the events leading up to Scene A or the events that happened because of Scene A. Halo of the Damned is definitely a non-linear story, but surprisingly the pacing of the novel is strong even when the information in the book is familiar to the reader.
Ending: Thankfully this was not a cliffhanger. I could see the potential for a series involving many of the characters, but even as a stand alone this book has a satisfying ending. There’s a few twists that happen during the path of the book and I had a general idea of what would happen at the end – but there was no predictability to the actions of most of the characters. Overall though, it was a good read. A “light” read for those who like “dark” books.
This is great book for those who wants something different in the paranormal genre.
A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.
About the Author:
Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.
Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.Read More
Check out this guest Post by author Dina Rae and then enter the giveaway to win a copy of Halo of the Damned and a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com. The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm. You can check out a full list of the participating blogs (OVER 400!!!) by clicking HERE. Giveaway is open internationally and winner has 48 hours to respond by email or a new one will be chosen. You can read my full review of Halo of the Damned, which I rated a B+, or scroll down to the bottom of this post to read a mini review.
ebook + giftcard = ONE LUCKY PERSON!
Halo of the Damned
Guest Post by Dina Rae
In my recent novel, Halo of the Damned, I used research about the ancient Yezidi religion (spellings vary). The Yezidis originated from northern Iraq. The religion spread throughout the Kurdish community, eventually making its way into Europe.
Yezidis worship angels, especially Malak Tawas (spellings vary). The peacock symbolizes this angel who many believe to be Satan. Malak’s story in the Koran matches the same stories in the Bible and Old Testament about a rebellious angel who wages war with a third of all of God’s angels against God and the remainder of angels in Heaven. Once defeated, God sends all of them to Hell. Yezidis believe God created Malak first, before all other angels, in His image, therefore he is also God. They also believe the world was first created as a pearl. Their holy books are Black Book and Book of Revelation. Their afterlife ideas are vague, but lean towards reincarnation. I found the religion fascinating and used it as part of the plot.
Book Description: A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.
Quick Review: Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing. It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last. The dialogue and writing feels over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye. I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller. I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes. It’s dirty, but not gory. A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare. (B+ rating)Read More