Yoyogod's 2018 Callenge
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It looks like I read 144 books in 2017, and now I'm back to see if I can read more this year. I've already got one finished (that I started last year):
1) Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr
This was a decent enough fantasy, though I can't help but wonder why there's a blurb from Andre Norton calling it sword & sorcery when it very clearly isn't. Even though I liked it, I doubt I will seek out the rest of the series.
Hey, my favorite deity of round things on strings is back! Happy new year! I haven't read any Kerr in decades - maybe I need to hunt some down.
Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.
Pretty good, though it's been a while since I read her stuff. Characters are her strong suit, very Celtic in her world-building.
>5 aqeeliz: This was the first Kerr I read, but as drneutron said, it did have good characters and was very Celtic.
2) Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series by Alyse Wax
This book is essentially an episode guide for the late 80s horror series, Friday the 13th: The Series, also known as Friday's Curse in some regions. It contains a detailed summary of each episode with commentary by the author (the book'a author not the episode's) as well as behind the scenes details from the cast and crew. It's well worth getting if you're a fan of the series.
3) The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
I picked this up a couple of weeks back when the ebook was on sale. I really liked this book, which isn't surprising as I usually enjoy Sanderson's books, except for Oathbringer, which I haven't been able to get into. This one is set in a world where some people, called Rithmatists, can use a sort of magic based off of chalk drawings. The main character is a boy who knows a lot about the magic system, but can't use the magic. He, an absent-minded professor type, and a spunky girl type get involved in the investigation into the disappearances of several Rithmatic students. It makes for a fun, fast-paced story.
Hi, Nathan. Dropping a star.
Looking forward to following your thread again this year!
>9 rretzler: thanks
4) The Ghost Club by William Meikle
This one has a bit of an odd premise. It starts with an introduction about an old London club that had gone into receivership, and when its assets were being sold, a book was found in a storage room that had been ignored since "the war." It turns out that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and Henry James had at one time hosted a small supper club on the premises where they invited literary figures of the day to dine in exchange for a ghost story. This book is a compilation of those fictitious stories and features works in the styles of Leonard Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Jules Verne and many others.
I'm not expert enough to say how well Meikle did at imitating the voices of the various writers. I can say that I enjoyed all of the pseudo-Victorian ghost stories, especially the one by "Oscar Wilde," which actually had me laughing out loud at the end.
5) Magic by William Goldman
This one wasn't very good. It's a bout a magician/ventriloquist. Since it's not a work of supernatural horror, it goes down the "ventriloquist has a split personality and the dummy personality is evil and making him kill people"-route instead of the "dummy is alive and kills people"-route. It was rather dull and predictable, except for the ending, which was just confusing.
>11 yoyogod: I saw the movie many, many years ago when I was in HS. I believe that Anthony Hopkins starred in it. It scared the heck out of me at the time!
>13 rretzler: I'll have to try and see the movie some time. I suspect I'd like it more than the book as I also enjoyed the film version of The Princess Bride a lot more than the book. I suspect that Goldman's writing style just doesn't appeal to me.
7) A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 3 by Kazuma Kamachi
This is the third volume a light novel series that usually combines fantasy and sci fi elements. This volume however, is mostly sci fi. The series is set in Academy City, which exists primarily to train young people in the use of ESP. The students are given levels of zero (no measurable ability) to five (could probably beat up Superman). There are only seven level fives in the city. One of them, Mikoto Misaka, was tricked into giving a sample of her DNA to researchers when she was very young. The DNA was supposed to be used inresearching a cure for Muscular Dystrophy, but was actually used to create 20,000 clones of her in an attempt to raise the city's top level five esper to the mythical level six by slaughtering the clones in combat. The story is about Mikoto and Touma Kamijou, the series' protagonist, trying to stop the experiment and save the remaining clones.
8) Exponential by Adam Cesare
This is the sort of horror novel that I can't help but think would make a good movie. The story starts with a rather dim-witted janitor steals a lab mouse that is being used in an experiment that appears to have something to do with increasing growth rates. Despite what you might expect, this doesn't result in a giant mouse rampaging through the countryside. Instead a slime monster bursts out of the mouse and rampages across the countryside. It isn't just a knockoff of The Blob though. This slime is more intelligent, can use the bones of its victims to give itself structure, and is capable of sending out small pieces to act independently.
The only real complaint I have is that it takes a little too long for the story to get to the main action, which is the slime attacking an isolated dive bar. I was also a bit annoyed by the unanswered questions of "Why was there a blob inside that mouse?" and "Why does a lab that is putting killer blobs inside of mice not have better security?". Even so, this was a great, gore-filled monster story.
9) The Devil Is a Part-Timer, Vol. 2 by Satoshi Wagahara
And I continue another light novel series. In this volume, a mysterious young woman in a kimono moves into the devil's dump of an apartment building, and a "Sentucky Fried Chicken" opens across the street from the "MgRonalds" that the devil works at. Naturally both of these occurrences are connected to the fantasy kingdom the devil originally came from.
10) Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
Horror author Brian Keene is having a book club on his podcast this year. This is February's book, and oddly the only announced book I hadn't read, so I read it. It's a post-apocalyptic vampire novel. The few remaining humans are trying to hide from the vampires, and a group of the vampires are trying to capture the humans for use in a breeding program so they have a blood source. It's a really good book.
11) Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders, Volume 1 by Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, and the artists
I've been listening to a podcast called Defenders Dialog in which a pair of middle aged horror/comics authors discuss the 70s era Defenders comics, some of which are really weird. I'm not sure how this volume got in my Kindle library, as I didn't buy it, but it's there so I finally read the comics and loved it. Luckily for me, all of the Marvel Masterworks titles seem to be on sale for the Kindle at the moment, so I picked up the rest of the Defenders ones for cheap.
>18 yoyogod: Have you seen the Defenders series on Netflix? My family has watched all of the Marvel Netflix series and really enjoyed them.
>19 rretzler: I saw it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it considering I could barely get through the first episode of Iron Fist.
12) Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders, Volume 2 by Steve Englehart
I think I enjoyed this one more than the first volume. This one contains the Avengers/Defenders War storyline, has Nighthawk join the team to battle Nebulon and the Squadron Sinister, and has the team help Professor X battle Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Hey, I picked up Black Hammer Vol 1 the other day - interesting pastiche of Golden Age ideas and elements combined with a bit of superhero satire. You might like it!
>20 yoyogod: Agreed, Iron Fist left a lot to be desired. My family actually kind of liked the first episode of Iron Fist, but it all went downhill very, very quickly after that. Somehow the addition of Jessica, Matt, and Luke made Danny Rand much more easy to stomach! We recently finished watching The Punisher, and really enjoyed it too, although it was much, much darker than the rest of the Marvel Netflix shows.
>20 yoyogod: Agreed, Iron Fist left a lot to be desired. My family actually kind of liked the first episode of Iron Fist, but it all went downhill very, very quickly after that. Somehow the addition of Jessica, Matt and Luke made Danny Rand much more easy to stomach! We recently finished watching The Punisher, and really enjoyed it too, although it was much, much darker than the rest of the Marvel Netflix shows.
>21 drneutron: That looks interesting. I'll have to check it out.
>22 rretzler: I've got to get around to finishing The Punisher. For some reason I got distracted about half way through the series and haven't finished it yet.
13) The Children's Hour by Douglas Clegg
This wasn't very good. It's one of those horror novels about a small town with an ancient evil lurking beneath it that wakes up and causes trouble. The main problem is that the evil doesn't really do anything until about halfway through the book. Before that, it's a rather boring story about a man returning to the small town he grew up in to see his dying mother who he hated for her alcoholism and affairs.
I managed to finish off a few yesterday:
15) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Journey Into Mystery, Volume 1 by way too many people to list
I picked up quite a few of the masterworks while they were on sale, and I decided to take a quick break from the Defenders to read some pre-comics code horror. The stories are kind of a mixed bag. Some were good, some were bad, and some were mediocre.
16) We Believe the Children by Richard Beck
This is a nonfiction book about the 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse panic with special emphasis on the McMartin Preschool case. It made for an interesting take on a subject that has always fascinated me.
17) Hell Train by Christopher Fowler
This is a horror novel about a bunch of people trapped on a hell-bound train during World War I, with a framing story about a man writing a script for Hammer Horror about the train story. Frankly, I've never cared that much for framing stories, and this book would have worked just as well without it., though the fictional look behind the scenes of Hammer was mildly interesting. I did like the train part of the story, which felt a lot like a Hammer Horror-style tale.
18) Another Way to Fall by Brian Evenson & Paul Tremblay
This book contains two novellas, Baby Leg and The Harlequin & the Train. Baby Leg is about a man who wakes up in a cabin with no idea who he his, how he got there, or why he only has one arm. He has strange dreams about a woman with one normal sized leg and one baby sized leg. Things just get weirder and more disturbing from there. ,em>The Harlequin & the Train is about a man who's driving a train, when someone throws a mannequin that's shaped like a harlequin and is fill of meat onto the tracks. Then things get weirder and more disturbing. I enjoyed the Evenson novella, but the Tremblay one just left me confused.
19) The Face of Midnight by Dan Padavona
This is a decent serial killer-type horror novel that is very obviously inspired by the works of Richard Laymon, though without the sex and a lot less gore than you'd find in the typical Laymon novel. It's about a man who finds a young woman hiding in the backseat of his car. At first he thinks she's a corpse, but realizes his mistake when she jumps out of the car. He becomes a bit obsessed with her, and eventually tracks her down to discover that she's homeless and sleeps in other people's houses while they're on vacation. When he gets evicted from his apartment, the pair stay together, eventually ending up in a creepy foreclosed house in the middle of nowhere, which just happens to be the lair of a serial killer. I enjoyed it, but do think it was a bit slow at points.
20) Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders, volume 4 by Steve Gerber
The first falf of this is one of the better storylines so far, and despite being over 40 years old, it still feels very relevant. It's all about the Defenders fighting the Sons of the Serpent, who are essentially a bunch of neo-Nazi types who dress in silly snake costumes and are secretly being manipulated by a rich guy to make money. The second storyline isn't as political, and features the Defenders teaming up with the original 31st century Guardians of the Galaxy to fight aliens. It's still exciting, and does feature a panel that I found silly, so I screen-capped it:
21) Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders, volume 5 by Steve Gerber
And now I have finally reached the end of the Marvel Masterworks Defenders volumes with with one of the most bizarrely convoluted storylines ever written. I'm not even sure I can explain it. It involves the Hulk adopting a deer named Bambi. Then Nighthawk gets his brain swapped with Chandu the Mystic, and when the Defenders catch on, they put Chandu's mind into Bambi's body and Jack Norris's mind into Nighthawks's body while they go to rescue Nighthawk's brain. Jack Norris manages to get away with Nighthawk's brain, but is kidnapped by Nebulon the Celestial Man who has also kidnapped Chandu (still in Bambi's body) as part of a plan to learn the human concept of peace so he can start a sort of New Age self help group that revolves around wearing Bozo the Clown masks. And it just gets weirder from there.
>30 yoyogod: Yikes!
We have our tickets to Black Panther this weekend - I'm looking forward to it.
Happy Valentine's Day, Nathan
>31 rretzler: I've heard good things about Black Panther, but I'll wait till it's on Netflix. I hope you enjoy it.
22) Blister by Jeff Strand
Usually I really like Strand's books, but I had a hard time getting into this one. It's about a cartoonist who goes to stay at his agent's cabin after an incident where he used a chainsaw and fake severed head to frighten off a pair of children who were throwing rocks at his dog. One night he goes to a nearby pub, and a pair of drunken locals take him to see Blister, a young woman whose face was horribly mutilated by a boyfriend. "Seeing Blister" means peaking through the window of the shed she lives in, and when the cartoonist does so, he screams. The next day, he feels bad about it, and goes back to apologize to Blister. The pair quickly become friends, which angers the locals, who would prefer Blister remain hidden so that the secrets about what happened to her also remain hidden.
This one is full of Strand's usual blend of horror and humor, but it just didn't work for me this time.
23) Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III
This is a love story about a teenage boy who falls in love with the weird girl at school. When I say weird, I mean weird. She attracts spiders, and when she gets excited, her face explodes. It makes for a funny, touching, and weird story.
24) Marvel Masterworks: Golden age Marvel Comics, Volume 1
since I finished The Defenders, I decided to start with the very first Marvel comics. These comics include the origins of Namor, the Submariner, who was one of the Defenders, and is also the only character from these early comics who's still around today. There's also several characters who share names with more modern characters: the original Human Torch, who is an android; The original Ka-Zar, who is a Tarzan knockoff who lives in Africa (unlike the modern version who lives in the Savage Land, which is a Lost World Knockoff); and The Angel, who isn't the mutant from the X-Men, but is a vigilante in a really stupid looking costume. Besides those, there's also The Masked rider (a cowboy), Electo (a remote-controlled robot), American Ace (a fighter pilot), Ferret (a detective), and a few others.
The artwork for these early stories is pretty awful. The writing is very simplistic,and not always good. The best of the stories were those featuring Namor, The Human torch, and Ka-Zar, and even those weren't super great. However, they are interesting stories (some of them anyway).
25) The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
I've been listening to the audiobook version of this at work. It's such a great story.
26) The Man who Never Died by William M. Adler
And I've been reading this at home. It's a biography of Joe Hill (the labor icon/song writer not the horror/comics author). He's one of those people I'd heard of through his music and some of the songs written about him, but all I really knew about his life was that he was framed (and executed) for a murder he didn't commit. This was an informative book that made me realize that fights going on in US politics today are (except maybe the gun control debate) very much the same fights that Hill and the IWW were struggling over more than a century ago.
27) Clickers Forever edited by Brian Keene
This is a tribute anthology to horror author J. F. Gonzalez. As the title suggests, many of the entries are set in the world of his Clickers series, which features killer crab/lobster/scorpion creatures that serve a race of malevolent amphibious humanoids. There are also several stories set in the worlds of some of his other books, including Primitive, Restore from Backup, and Survivor. There are also several essays, which include reminiscences of Gonzalez and literary criticism of his works. My favorite story is probably Amber Fallon's "Click Busters," which is a Clickers/MythBusters mashup. However, the best entry is Kelli Owen's deeply personal essay, "Complications Of..." about watching a loved one die of cancer (the disease that killed Gonzalez) and was written while she was sitting by her father's deathbed (also cancer). It's a really great book.
28) Stealing the Elf King's roses by Diane Duane
I liked the start of this book, and I liked the end of it, but the middle just seemed to drag on too long. It's all about a lawyer and her talking-dog partner who get involved in solving the murder of an elf, end up having to go to elf land, and get caught up in an elven conspiracy. Also, there are seven connected universes, but we really only see much of the protagonists world and the elf world. It's not a bad book, but it's not a great one either.
29) Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics, Volume 2
This was also left me with mixed feelings. The artwork is generally pretty bad in these old comics, and the plots are often so simplistic that they might have been written by the children they aimed at. The best of the stories are those featuring Namor, who at this point seems to like to just run around smashing stuff. The other super hero types (the Angel, the Human Torch and Electro, Marvel of the Age) are a bit on the dull side as they mostly tangle with ordinary gangsters who don't pose them any real danger. As far as the non-superheroes go, Ka-Zarr (a Tarzan knock-off) is alright, the Masked Raider (a Western hero) is a bit repetetive in his stories, and the Ferret (a detective) is probably the worst detective I've ever seen.
30) Hunter of the Dead by Stephen Kozeniewski
This was a fun vampiric horror novel. It's all about a fledling (female) vampire called Idi Han and a young (male) vampire hunter called Nico Salazar, and while there is a bit of romance between the two, that is far from the focus of the story. It's mostly about the pair growing as individuals, and about a monstrous being known as the Hunter of the Dead who has returned after centuries to kill humans and vampires alike. It's definitely not the sort of book where vampires are heroes, or antiheroes, or just misunderstood, either. Here they are monsters who quite happily kill and eat people (including several children). It's gruesome, and violent, but it was also hard to put down.
32) Musclebound Mario by Kevin L. Donihe
I've enjoyed some of Donihe's other books, but this one not so much. It's a bizarro novella, so it's supposed to be weird, but this is weird in a way that doesn't entertain.
It's all about a muscular guy named Marcus who's a big fan of Super Mario Brothers. He goes to a Super Mario Brothers convention, where nobody ends up liking him because he's kind of pushy and annoying. He ends up getting in a fight, is brought before the real Mario, and is banned from the convention for life. After that he somehow ends up in the game Super Mario Brothers, and things start getting weirder and weirder in a way that seems dream-like or possibly the result of a hallucinogen. This was definitely not one of my favorite bizarro books.
33) Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Volume 1 by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
These are definitely a step up in quality from the golden age Marvel comics I read previously. Not that they're great, but definitely better. With Kirby involved, it's not surprising that the artwork is much better, though as it's early work, it's still not great. The writing is better too. It's gone from reading like hokey crap written by young boys to hokey crap written for young boys, and is more entertaining for it. There are even actual super villains, with the Red Skull putting in an appearance in the first issue.
34) Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
I've been watching an anime adaptation of Ito's works, and really loved it, so I decided to pick up some of the original manga. It's a collection of really short horror stories that tend to be dark and weird. I really love it and I have to get some more of his stuff.
35) I Have a Bad Feeling about This by Jeff Strand
Strand's YA novels were on sale for the Kindle a while back, so I picked up the two I didn't have, which included this one. It's a tremendously funny story about a teen-aged boy who is sent to "survival camp" because his dad thinks he's a bit of a wuss (and he is). Unfortunately, there are only five kids at the camp, the counselor is insane, and a few days in some gangsters show up looking for money the camp's owner owed them. It's all wildly chaotic and loads of fun.
And now for a couple more golden age comics compilations:
36) Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Volume 1
This is a comic that features adventures of Timely Comics most popular heroes--Captain America, Human Torch, and Submariner--and some of their lesser heroes like the Whizzer and the Angel. Like much of the golden age stuff, the writing isn't spectacular and neither is the artwork, but they're still fun.
37) Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies, Volume 1
Hoo boy. This is one of those "product of its time" comics. It's about Bucky and Toro (respectively Captain America and Human Torch's sidekicks) and a team four other young boys who help battle the Axis powers. Unfortunately, one of the boys is an African American named Whitewash who is a walking racist stereotype with a head shaped like a monkey's, lips that take up a good 1/3 of his face, clothes that would look garish on a circus clown, and a fondness for watermelon (and far too many other things to mention).
>45 FAMeulstee: That sounds like an interesting book. I'll have to see about getting a copy.
Thanks to getting a foot of snow on Tuesday & Wednesday, I've managed to get a bit more reading done:
39) Marvel Horror: The Magazine Collection
This is a collection of black and white horror comics from the 70s. The stories are well written and the art is good. It even includes samples from some of the staples of Marvel's 70s horror comics, including Blade, Dracula, Satana, and Zombie. The only problems I had were that I really wished I could spend more time with the characters as they each only got one story. Also, I was reading it on the Kindle, and the individual panels didn't look as good when blown up to fill my Kindle's screen, but were a bit too small for my middle-aged eyes to read easily ifI viewed the whole page on my Kindle. I suspect the print version would have been a better choice.
40) Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Team-Up, volume 1 by Gerry Conway
And this is 70s era Marvel super hero stories featuring Spider-Man teaming up with a variety of other heroes. It's fun, light-hearted action.
41) Hal Spacejock: Double Trouble by Simon Haynes
The long-awaited (by me anyway) 8th volume in the sci-fi/humor series Hal Spacejock was finally released last week. In this story Hal discovers he has an exact double who happens to be a former police officer on the run from a murderous gangster, who naturally mistakes Hal for his double. While it's a really good story and very funny, I didn't think it was a s funny as the previous volumes. Even so, it was well worth reading and finally revealed the link between Hal Spacejock and Hall Jr. (the protagonist of Haynes' YA series).
42) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales of Suspense, Volume 1
43) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales to Astonish, Volume 1
These are two golden age anthology series that seem to have been pretty much interchangeable. They both contain about 90% sci-fi stories with the occasional fantasy or horror tale thrown in to mix things up. A lot of these stories are really stupid (I don't know which was the lamer alien invasion plan: aliens disguised as billboards or aliens disguised as wooden African statues). They were also fairly repetive (I read at least 5 stories featuring a "big" reveal that aliens are tiny compared to humans). Also, far too many of these stories were written in the first or even second person for my liking.
44) A Certain Magical Index, Volume 4 vy Kazuma Kamachi
This is yet another volume of a Japanese light novel series that I love. As with the previous volumes in this series, I had already seen the anime adaptation of this story, however this time around the original novel was fairly significantly different. The novel is all about a magical spell called Angel Fall that has caused everyone, except the protagonist and a few others, to have their bodies switched with other people, and has caused an angel to fall to Earth. The major difference between this and the anime is that there is a major subplot about an escaped serial killer that was cut from the anime version for some reason. The story actually makes a lot more sense with that included.
45) Jackrabbit Smile by Joe R. Lansdale
This is the 11th novel in the Hap and Leonard series (and if you haven't seen the TV adaptation of the earlier books with season 3 currently airing on the Sundance Channel, you should check it out). In this volume, Hap and Leonard have been hired to find a young woman nicknamed Jackrabbit, who went missing in Hap's old home town, Marvel Creek. The place isn't as much of a racist, poverty-stricken hell hole as it was when Hap was a boy, but a segregationist hog farmer called the Professor seems to have taken over most of the local businesses. As the bodies start to pile up, things start to look grim, but the book ends with a surprise twist I didn't see coming. It's a great story.
46) Werewolf By Night: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1
This is a really fun collection of Marvel's 70s horror comic, Werewolf by Night. It's all about a man named Jack Russel who, on his 18th birthday, discovers that he has inherited the curse of the werewolf from his deceased father. In true Marvel fashion, he spends his time battling mad scientists, evil sorcerers, assorted monsters, Dracula, and even Spider-Man, plus occasionally brutally murdering someone (since he is a werewolf).
47) Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw
This is a sci-fi humor story about a space pilot who is just trying to make a living in a world where space piloting has been rendered obsolete by teleportation. He ends up having to impersonate the unknown author of a series of hugely successful space pilot stories who is loathed by space pilots for stealing their stories. This leads to his being forced to take part in the kidnapping of the son of a mob boss and the daughter of the president of a facist regime. It's all very funny.
48) The Frighteners: Why We love Monsters, Ghosts, Death & Gore by Peter Laws
This is a great book for horror fans. It's written by the Rev. Peter Laws, who writes a horror movie review column in Fortean Times magazine. In each chapter he looks at one aspect of horror (zombies, ghosts, werewolves, murderers, etc.) and talks about why people are fascinated by it. He also gives an account of some activities he took part in that relate to those parts of horror, including a going on a ghost hunt, visiting a sop that sells serial-killer memorabilia, stopping by a furry convention, going ti Whitby on the day of its annual influx of vampires (not supernatural one of course), etc. and he treats all the people he meets along the way with respect no matter how weird or disturbing they and their obsessions may appear to the world. The book ends with him explaining how as a Christian he can still enjoy horror despite many Christian types viewing any type of horror as the devil's work.
49) At the Edge of the Forest by Dennis L. McKiernan
I've always like McKiernan's Mithgar novels, so I thought I'd try this fantasy/mystery,romance book. I've never been a big fan of romance, and frankly this didn't change my mind. I generally enjoyed the book, but found the romance boring, and wanted to slap the characters for being so uneducated in fantasy and folklore that they didn't pick up on the obvious clues that fairies are involved.
50) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Strange Tales, Volume 1
This is a collection of pre-Comics Code horror stories. It's not as good as the EC Comics horror of the same era, but is definitely better than the Strange/Astonishing Tales from Atlas.
51) One Last Gasp
I picked this up a few weeks ago when it was free on Kindle, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It's a horror novel with a World War II setting, and it's one of those books where Nazis mess around with occult forces and/or super science and unleash something even more dangerous and evil than themselves. There are a lot of books and films with those sorts of plots, but this one was really good. This was partly due to the excellent characters, especially of the first person narrator, and was also partly due to the author making great use of suspense and mounting tension. I was surprised that I never heard of the author, because he's obviously talented.
52) Chinese Ghosts Revisited by Charles Emmons
This book was a bit on the dull side. Unlike most ghost related books I've read, this one was written by an actual parapsychologist, and seems to be intended more for a scholarly market than for the general public. It's a report on a study the author conducted in Hong Kong in the 1980s where he conducted phone interviews and had highschoolers fill out reports to determine how many Chinese people believed in (and had had experiences with) ghosts and other psychic phenomena. I found the snippets of reported ghostly encounters to be interesting, but the where the author tried to interpret things, or talked about the ESP theory of ghosts, and especially the chapter on his encounters with a spirit medium were all a slog to get through. Still, if you have a serious interest in ghosts, this is worth checking out.
54) Master of Kung Fu Epic Collection: Weapon of the Soul by Steve Englehart
Master of Kung Fu is a Marvel comic from the seventies that was created after Bruce Lee caused the Kung Fu craze. At the time, Marvel also had the license for Fu Manchu, so they decided to do a series in which the son of Fu Manchu, who is the master of Kung Fu, rebels against his father and joins forces with Sir Denis Nayland Smith. He also gets to meet a few regular Marvel characters (Man-Thing and Spider-Man in this volume). It's a fun adventure series.
55) The Comical Tragedy of Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman
This graphic novel has some really great art by Dave McKean. It's a sort of coming of age tale intertwined with the story of Punch and Judy.
56) Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, volume 1 by Hirukama
Lately I've been getting into light novels (that's Japanese YA), and one common subgenre of those involves people from the real world ending up trapped in the world of a fantasy RPG, often through reincarnation. As soon as I saw that there was an upcoming release about a guy who gets reincarnated as a vending machine in a dungeon, I knew I had to order it, because that's just the sort of weird premise that appeals to me.
I'm glad I bought this book. It's the sort of book that I could have read all in one sitting if I didn't force myself to put it down when it was getting late, and I knew I needed to get to sleep. Probably the best thing is that the book (except for the prologue and the last few pages) is narrated by the vending machine, despite he fact that he can't move or say anything other than a few pre-programmed phrases such as "Welcom" and "Please come again." He makes for a lovable character as he figures out how to use his vending machine powers to help out himself and his friends.
The only thing I noticed that some might find a weakness (though I didn't) was that the story is very much episodic with no overarching plot. Instead, it's a string of adventures and incidents strung together that still managed to reach a satisfying conclusion.
I definitely recommend this, and already have the next two sequels on pre-order.
57) The Devil's Rosary: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume Two by Seabury Quinn
I've been finding this series both entertaining and irritating. They're fun, pulpy, horror stories of the occult detective type from the early part of the 20th Century. Being from that time period, there is a great deal of casual racism, and just about every time a non-white person shows up, you can be certain that they're some sort of villainous caricature. There's also a lot of religious intolerance as well with every pagan religion being represented as evil. Also, de Grandin's sidekick Trowbridge is annoyingly stupid.
58) Relics of War: A Legend of Ethshar by Lawrence Watt-Evans
I've always like the Ethshar series, but I really haven't kept up with it in recent years. I decided it was time to change that, starting with this book as it was cheapest on the Kindle. It's an entertaining book that's set in a time period the series hasn't explored before, but I do think it was one of the weaker entries in the serie.
59) Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Team-Up, volume 2
Another silver age comic collection featuring Spider-Man teaming up with various Marvel heroes.
60) Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning
This is essentially a fantasy parody of A Study in Scarlet. In it, Holmes is a simple-minded warlock, Lestrade is a vampire, Gregson is an ogre, Moriarty is a spirit, and Watson is intelligent and possessed of good deductive reasoning skills. It's entertaining, but if you're familiar with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle original stories, the plots are fairly predictable.
>59 PaulCranswick: Thanks
61) C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology
As the title suggests, this anthology is a tribute to the 80s horror movie C.H.U.D., which if you haven't seen it is about the government secretly storing toxic waste in the tunnels under New York City, which causes the homeless people who live there to mutate into cannibalistic monsters. The stories are, not surprisingly, a bit limited in subject matter. They are all either about people being attacked/killed by C.H.U.D., people turning into C.H.U.D., or people being killed by the government to cover up the C.H.U.D.
Despite that, the book was mostly entertaining, except for the first story "D.O.G. W.A.L.K.E.R." (yes, all the stories' titles are pseudo-acronyms). This was an incredibly tedious story about a woman who's cheating on her husband, sees some weird homeless people, and the gets eaten bu C.H.U.D. on the last page.
62) Anime Impact by Chris Stuckmann
This is a collection of essays on various animes (series & films). Mostly about how they impacted the essayists. It makes for interesting enough reading, and provided my with a list of some shows and films worth looking into if I can find them.
Wow, I've really been slacking off on updating this:
63) Stone Unturned by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Another Ethshar novel. This one is about a wizard who discovers that several of the statues in his uncle's mansion are people who were petrified by magic and sets about trying to turn them back to normal. In the process, he accidentaly freees an evil wizard with some conquer-the-world type plans.
64) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales to Astonish, Volume 2
This is some decent old timey horror/sci-fi comics.
65) the Unwelcome Warlock by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Another Etshar novel. This one is more or less a follow up to Night of Madness and The Unwilling Warlord.
66) The Sorcerer's Widow by Lawrence Watt-Evans
This is the final Ethshar novel that I haven't read, though it's so short I'm not sure if it isn't actually a novella. It's about the widow of a sorcerer who decides that she wants to leave the village she and her husband lived in and move to the big city to open a tea shop.
67) Marvel masterworks: Atlas era Journey into Mystery, Volume 4
68) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Strange tales, Volume 2
69) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Strange Tales, Volume 3
>62 drneutron: I've always found Ethshar to be a fun series.
70) X-Men Grand Design by Ed Piskor
I didn't care for this very much. It's essentially a retelling of the X-Men comics from a period just before the birth of Professor X up until just before Giant Sized X-Men #1. As I haven't read the X-men comics from that era, I have no idea how much of this is from those comics, how much is from later retcons, and how much is invented by Piskor. I think I'd have been better off picking up the Masterworks editions of X-Men.
71) The Mud Man by Rob Errera
This is another book that I didn't much care for. I found the plot to be needlessly complicated and is (mostly) in the form of an epistolary novel, which is a form of storytelling that I never much cared for. On top of that, the epistolary format is interrupted for a few chapters by a fist person narrative that retells all the stuff from the previous chapters only told directly from the point of view of the Mud Man with no indication of its source, which just disrupted the flow of the story. I also found it a bit annoying that many of the entries from the epistolary parts were from blogs and such set in the (often distant) future with the only real signs that the future is different is mentions of sex scenes in Disney cartoons and that Lifetime Original movies apparently now include violent gory horror.
The overall plot is about a man bringing his son-in-law back to life as a golem, and the golem going on a murderous rampage while we are being repeatedly hit over the head with a stick that has "The real horror is that the government is making a secret mind control drug" written on it. Once you get to the murders and that the book is finally almost finished, you realize that you are in fact only about halfway through and have to read through dozens of pages of rather mundane, everyday life (except for the creation of a second golem who does nothing).
This was just not really all that entertaining for me.
72) A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
I've gotten a bit behind on my reading. This was a book that I was reading because it was one of the selections of The Horror Show with Brian keene's book club. They actually discussed it almost 2 weeks ago, and I started reading it more than a week before that. Various personal problems made it hard to read during that time, and this book's structure made me not really want to read it, but now I've finally finished. It was bit trippy and confusing, but not a bad book or a particularly good one.
73) Dane Curse by Matt Abraham
This is a hardboiled detective story set in a world of superheroes in which the PI, Dane Curse, is a retired "black cape," that is a villain. He gets hired by the supervillain mafia to investigate the murder of Pinnacle, the worlds greatest (and pretty much invulnerable) hero. Naturally, things go wrong and pretty soon people are dying and everyone is after Dane. At first I found the author's attempts at witty banter-style dialogue to be grating, but as the book went on I found myself really enjoying it.
74) Marvel Masterworks: Golden age U.S.A. Comics, volume 1
Here we have another collection of golden age superhero comics featuring, among others, Vagabond (a hobo crimefighter who is my favorite golden age Marvel hero), The Whizzer (who has both the silliest name and the lamest origin story of any hero I'm familiar with), The Defender (who seems to be a cheap knockoff of Captain America), Jack Frost (who seems to be the Jack Frost), Major Liberty (who can summon the ghost of Paul Revere), Rockman (leader of an underground kingdom that has since been retconned out of existence), and Captain Terror (who has no real gimmick or powers).
75) A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
This was a strange story that kept me guessing about what was really going on. It's all about a man who is having mental problems due to a head injury he sustained when he discovered a colleague attempting to dispose of murder victims. He decides to work out his problems by writing about them, and is given a typewriter by his wife as a gift. Then he starts to hear the typewriter writing by itself at night, and soon finds letters from the murder victims. He isn't sure if the notes are actually being written by the dead, or if he's writing them while having some sort of blackouts, or if someone else is writing the notes to mess with him. I didn't know which it was for sure until the big reveal, which is pretty rare for me. This definitely makes it a book I'd recommend.
>66 FAMeulstee: & >67 drneutron: Thanks
76) The End of a Perfect Death by John Sims Jeter
This one I didn't enjoy quite as much as I though I would. It's a short story collection that's subtitled "Short Stories with a Thread of the Strange and Wonderful," but some of the stories weren't particularly strange or wonderful. I will say that I didn't find any of the stories particularly bad, and there were some that I did enjoy. It just wasn't what I expect based off of the title and description of the book.
77) Durarara!! volume 9 by Ryohgo Narita
I finally got a chance to read the most recently translatd volume of my favorite light novel series. This volume focuses on Izaya Orihara, the shady information broker. I really enjoyed it.
78) Island of the Lost by Joan Druett
This was a fascinating nonfictional account of two crews who were shipwrecked on the Auckland Islands in the 19th century.
77) Vicious Circle by Mike Carey
I read the first volume in this series last year (I think) and liked it enough that I immediately ordered the second volume, and then never got around to reading it until now. It's essentially a detective story, only the main character's an exorcist and he's hired to find a kidnapped girl who is a ghost. Naturally nothing is what it seems, and lots of people end up trying to kill him. I really liked it and will be ordering volume 3 at some point.
78) The Midnight Eye Files by William Meikle
This is another occult detective book. This time it's an omnibus edition about a Scottish detective who battles Cthulhu, Loki, and werewolves. This one was also enjoyable, but since it's the complete series, I can't order the next volume.
79) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales of Suspense, volume 2
And here's another volume of old sci-fi/horror comics.
I really seem to stop slacking on updating this.
80) The Classic Era of American Comics by Nicky Wright
This is a history of American comic books from their beginnings in the 1930s up until the creation of the Comics Code in the 1950s. At least half of the book is taken up by illustrations from the covers and panels of the comics of that era. It's all not very scholarly seeming, but it is entertaining due the the author's fairly obvious love of comics.
81) Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
This is one of those book that I've been meaning to read for quite a while. It's an adventure-y fantasy novel set in a Middle Eastern type kingdom. I really liked it, and I'll definitely read the sequel if the author ever finishes writing it. I don't know what it is with fantasy authors these days promising series and then never finishing them. Unlike George R. R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss , Saladin Ahmed at least has the excuse of having been doing lots of other writing in the last few years.
82) Keyport Cthulhu by Armand Rosamilia
This is a collection of Lovecraftian horror stories set in the town of Keyport, New Jersey. It's not the best Lovecraftian fiction I've read, but it's not the worst either.
83) Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
This is another book that I've been meaning to read for a while. While it's often labeled as Lovecraftian, it seems to fit better in the wider realm of cosmic horror than in Lovecraftian as it lacked the Elder God name dropping that seems to define Lovecraftian horror these days. This book focuses on Lizzie Borden, the 19th century axe murderer. In it, she tries to protect her small town from an otherworldly menace that seems to be turning the residents into fish people. I really enjoyed it.
>72 drneutron: That's good to hear. I was planning on getting a copy soon.
85) The Traveller's Gate Trilogy by Will Wright
I picked this up a few weeks back when the author was giving away two of his omnibus editions for free on Kindle. The premise is that it's set in a world that has other dimensions, called Territories, attached to it, and some people can travel to those territories and gain magical powers. I really enjoyed it.
86) Widow's Point by Richard Chizmar and Billy Chizmar
This is a fairly standard sort of ghost story. Much like The Mud Man, that I read a few weeks back, this is told in epistolary format, which isn't my favorite type pf story, but this time around it's actually well executed.
87) If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell
This is Campbell's 1st memoir, which covers his life from birth up until his time working on Hercules and Xena (with bonus material that occurred on the tour for the first edition of the book). As one would expect, it's a funny read.
88) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales of Suspense, Volume 3
A collection of post comics code sci-fi/fantasy tales. The plots are fairly repetitive and simplistic, but they're still fun.
89) Infestation by William Meikle
This was a fun little horror novel of the animals-on-a-rampage variety. It's all about a British special forces unit that's sent to Canada to investigate a Russian ship that's believed to be a spy ship. The ship is actually there to do a little unauthorized drilling, and accidentally unleashes a swarm of giant, deep-sea, carnivorous crustaceans which promptly slaughter most of the ships crew as well as a nearby Inuit village. The soldiers have to rescue the beautiful Russian science officer and try to stop the crustaceans from threatening the entire world while avoiding being killed themselves. It all makes for an enjoyable, action-packed horror romp.
90) The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
I somehow never hear there was a sequel to The Long Earth and The Long War. It was fun, but it was also a bit slow to get moving, and despite the title, very little of the book actually takes place on Mars.
91) The Changeling by Victor LaValle
This was a horror novel that got a lot of buzz last year (and just won the Locus Award) from an author whose last book, The Ballad of Black Tom, was nominated for pretty much every major genre award it was eligible for (and won some of them). Naturally when the ebook version of this went on sale last week I snatched it up. It's a bit slow to get started, as the first third of the book deals with the mundane life story of the protagonist. Eve so, that serves as a necessary setup for the horror and strangeness that follows. What a great story.
92) The Deep by Nick Cutter
I had previously enjoyed Cutter's other horror novel, The Troop, so so I've been meaning to read this one for a while. This is a work of cosmic horror that, at times, reminded me very strongly of John Carpenter's The Thing. Both stories are set in isolated scientific research stations, in this case at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and both stories feature menace in the form of otherworldly beings that are completely unlike us, in this case strange creatures who seem to produce monsters and madness. Other than that, the stories are different, though horrifying.
93) True Tenchi Muyo!, Vol. 1: Jurai by Yousuke Kuroda & Masaki Kajishima
I remember really liking the Tenchi Muyo anime series when I saw it on Toonami 20 years ago or so, so naturally I ordered the first Tenchi Muyo light novel now that it's finally been translated into English. This light novel series serves as a prequel to the anime and this volume is all about how Tenchi's grandfather (who is also the father of Princesses Ayeka and Sasami) fell in love with an Earth woman centuries ago. I found it a bit confusing at first, as it had been a long time since I last watched the show, but I ultimately enjoyed it.
94) Red Handed by Matt Kindt
This is a graphic novel about a series of strange crimes which are all connected by the detective who solved them and the criminal mastermind who orchestrated them. It was surprising.
95) Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco
This is an early 70s horror novel of the haunted house variety. Despite the fact that it's apparently considered a classic of the genre, I found it slow moving and I disliked most of the characters. Also the ending kind of sucked.
96) Terror Is Our Business: Dana Roberts' Casebook of Horrors by Joe R. Lansdale & Kasey Lansdale
This is a collection of occult detective stories. The first four stories in the collection are written by Joe Lasdale alone, and despite using the unnecessary framing story where Dana Roberts narrates her adventures at a club, these are the best stories in the collection.
The rest of the stories are co-written by Joe and his daughter Kasey. while I didn't care for these as much, I don't think it's because of Kasey's presence so much as because of the addition of a new character. The three final stories feature a character called Jana, who becomes Dana's assistant, and who I found to be incredibly annoying. Even so, she wasn't annoying enough to make the stories bad, just enough to make them less good. It's still a fun book for fans of the occult detective genre.
97) Operation Antarctica by William Meikle
since I enjoyed reading Infestation last month, I decided to get the sequel as my free Amazon Prime book this month. In this volume the British Special Forces unit led by Captain Banks is sent to Antarctica to investigate an Antarctic Nazi UFO base. It turns out that instead of using alien technology, the Nazis were creating this UFO using a demon they had captured using occult knowledge gleaned from a journal belonging to Carnacki the Ghost Finder that they had somehow acquired. This soon leads to frozen Nazi zombies running around killing people. It's all a bit silly, but fun.
98) Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales Of Suspense, Volume 4
Yet more old sci-fi/fantasy/horror stories from the silver age.
99) Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
This is the 6th book of the Temeraire series, and it's been sitting on my TBR pile for quite a while now, despite the fact that I really like the series. This was a fun enough book, but not the best of the series. I'll still be getting the next one though.
100) Tim E. Less by Lucas Milliron
I picked this book up because it was heavily advertised on one of my favorite horror podcasts, and after reading it, I really wish I hadn't. The general premise sounded interesting enough. It's about Tim E. Less, a man with amnesia, who's in a mental hospital. He suspects his amnesia has to do with the disappearance of his wife and son. He's haunted by visions of Coyote. Weird things are happening at the hospital.
It all sounds good, and there is a good story hiding in this book, but it's very poorly realized. The book reads like a first draft of someone's first novel. It definitely could have used some professional copy editing and regular editing, too. The book is riddled with homophone substitution errors like using break for break, their/they're/there confusion, and at one point using genitor (which I didn't even know was a word until I looked it up) instead of janitor (when he meant janitorial). Then there's all the times the author uses 's for plurals, and frequently doesn't use it for possessives. On top of that the author is constantly putting spaces in the middle of compound words like hellfire and smokestacks. Also, he frequently tries to use poetic language in his descriptions, but his attempts to do so are very clumsy and often confusing.
This is definitely not a book I would recommend to anyone.
101) Thieves' Quarry by D. B. Jackson
This is another fantasy novel that's been sitting on my TBR pile for a while. I enjoyed this one too, and will be getting the next volume in its series at some point.
I've gotta stop waiting to do these until I have a ton to post
102) Hardboiled Horror ed. by Jonathan Maberry
This is a collection of original occult detective stories. I found them to be generally enjoyable, except for Heather Graham's contribution, which isn't surprising as I haven't really liked anything of hers that I've read.
103) Vacation by Matthew Costello
This is one of those zombie novels where the zombies aren't undead, they're just large groups of people who've gone homicidal. It's set in a world where water shortages and blight have made food and water scarce, and for some reason turned large numbers of people into cannibals called Can Heads. The story s about an NYPD officer whose main job is to kill any Can Heads that get into safe areas of NYC. After he's injured in a Can Head attack, he's forced to take time off, so he and his family go on a vacation to a camp in upstate New York, and naturally, things there aren't quite what they seem. It's a pretty good book.
104) The Haunted Forest Tour by James A. Moore and Jeff Strand
This is another horror novel. This one is about a monster-infested forest that springs up in Arizona in a matter of minutes. Naturally, it's turned into a tourist attraction. This is about a visit where thing go horribly wrong and the monsters start killing people. I really liked this one.
105) Green Lantern: The Silver Age, Vol. 1 by Gardner Fox
I decided to take pick up a few DC titles. I never realized that the silver age Green Lantern's ring was nearly omnipotent (as long as he wasn't using it on anything yellow). I prefer these over the overly simplistic golden age stories, and maybe even over the more modern stuff where everything's part of some really long story arc (and it tends to be so gloomy).
106) Deal or No Deal? by William Meikle
This is part of the Midnight Eye Files series that I read an omnibus of few weeks back. It's a short novella about a bunch of men who, in their youth, sold their souls for some beer and snacks, and are now being hunted by a demon. It's a bit silly, but was still fun.
107) Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All Winners, Volume 3
These golden age stories, especially the WWII ones, aren't all that great. The ones that didn't directly involve the war weren't too bad, and the time the Red Skull showed up was cool, but there's only so many scenes of super heroes punching out Nazis I can take before it gets boring and repetitive. The ones where they punch out the Japanese are even worse due to how cringe-inducingly racist they are (especially the one where the villain was an escapee from one of the Japanese internment camps).
108) Durarara!!, Volume 10 by Ryohgo Narita
I this volume of the light novel series, Ryugamine seems to be continuing a descent into darkness, Kadota gets run over by a car in a hit-and-run "accident," and Shizuo gets arrested under fake charges. Plus, there are all sorts of weird and evil schemes manipulating events in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo. It's a good read, but it lacked any resolution to the plot threads it introduced to the series.
109) The Flash: Silver age, Vol. 1 by Robert Kanigher
More DC comics silver age goodness. It's goofy fun, and includes appearances by many of the members of Flash's Rogue's Gallery.
110) A Certain magical Index, Vol. 5 by Kazuma Kamachi
This volume in the series is essentially 3 short stories about what some of the characters did on the last day of summer vacation, which mostly involves rescuing young girls and battling sorcerers.
111) The Devil Is a Part-Timer, Vol. 3 by Satoshi Wagahara
This is the first of the light novels that wasn't used in the anime adaptation, so it's the first one whose plot I didn't know ahead of time. In this volume a toddler appears through a portal and claims to be the daughter of the Devil and Emi, the Hero. She isn't really, but they both treat her as their daughter, which leads to scenes of the books' characters taking care of a child and culminates in a fight with the archangel Gabriel who wants to reclaim the child as she is part of one of the fruits of the Sephirot. I have to say, I enjoyed the scenes of characters from a fantasy kingdom raising a child in modern Japan way more than the mystical stuff and the fight scene at the end.
112) Defenders Epic Collection: The Six-Fingered Hand by J. M. DeMatteis
Another great 80s era Defenders story. This one involves almost all of Marvel's supernatural characters of the time (Werewold By Night and Frankenstein are absent) teaming up with the defenders to battle a group of demons.
1130 Charlie Chan: Five Complete Novels by Earl Derr Biggers
I mostly picked this up because my dad is fond of the Charlie Chan movies, and I wanted to see what the original source material was like. I was pleasantly surprised. These are fairly enjoyable mysteries that are far less racist than I would have imagined from a series of American mystery novels from the 1920s and 30s featuring a Chinese detective (and certainly less racist than the movies with their yellowface actors). My greatest complaint is that there are only six books in the series, so I don't know why they just didn't toss in Charlie Chan Carries On to make it a complete set.
114) The Dark Angel: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume Three by Seabury Quinn
I didn't care for this volume of the series too much. I suspect this is largely because it includes the only novel in the series, The Devil's Bride, which seemed to drag on interminably.
115) Milky Way Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa
This is a classic Japanese children's tale about a boy and his friend who take a ride on a train through the Milky Way, not in a sci-fi way though, so much as in a journey through the afterlife way.
116) A Certain Magical index, Volume 6 by Kazuma Kamachi
This volume is about a girl who is the personification of the psychic fields generated by espers and a sorceress who wants to start a war between the realms of magic and science. Naturally Kamijou Touma and Index are there to try and sort things out.
117) Paternus: Wrath of Gods by Dyrk Ashton
This is the second volume in the Paternus series, which is one of those "what if all the ancient gods were real and still around" types of fantasy.
118) Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
This is the next Temeraire novel. I thought it was a bit better than the last one. This novel has Temeraire and company being sent to Brazil, but they are shipwrecked along the way and end up in the territory of the Inca. I actually liked the Incan parts of the story (except for the end as that came out of nowhere), but once they got to Brazil it was rather dull.
119) Batman: The Golden Age Vol. 1 by Bill finger and Bob Kane
Like most of the golden age stuff I've read, these stories are weird, kind of poorly written, and often racist (Batman straight up murders a group of pygmies who are trying to rescue the caveman they worship as a god in one story). Still, it's interesting to see where characters like Batman, Robin, joker, and Catwoman began.
120) Claimed! by Francis Stevens
This was an early 20th century horror novel about people incurring the wrath of Poseidon.
123) The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Wow. I think this might be the best horror novel I've read in a long time.
124) The Defenders Epic Collection: Ashes, Ashes... by J.M. DeMatteis
I saw this on the discount rack at my local Books A Million and decided to pick it up, since I love the old Defenders. It's fun stuff, but not as fun as some of the previous stories.
125) Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright
I listened to the audiobook version of this, and really liked it. It's a nonfiction book on some of histories greatest plagues including the Antonine Plague, the Black Death, syphilis, smallpox, Spanish flu, and lobotomies (yeah, I'm not sure why there was a chapter on those). It's some interesting stuff.
127) Behind the Door by Mary SanGiovanni
This is a great horror tory featuring occult detective Kathy Ryan. It's set in a small town with a strange door in the woods. For years the townsfolk have known that if you write a wish down and slide it under the door, it will come true, though not necessarily in the way you'd like. When one grieving mother wishes for the pain of her daughter's death to go away, and it happens by having her memories of the daughter begin to vanish, she opens the door in an attempt to get her wish undone, and unleashes horror upon the town.
It's got some good worldbuilding, and great characterization (though having a repentant pedophile be portrayed in a fairly sympathetic light will be offputting for many), which does mean that it does take a while to get to the killing. So this definitely isn't for those expecting a thrill-ride of terror, but it's a great read for those seeking a little cosmic horror.
128) Teen Titans: The Silver Age Vol. 1
I didn't care for these as much as the other silver age comics I've reading. I found the goofy, old-fashioned teen slang annoying and though the plots often seemed to pander to teens.
129) Tomie by Junji Ito
This is a collection of horror manga about a girl named Tomie who is essentially a succubus who drives men to madness, which often involves chopping her into tiny pieces, and each piece eventually regenerates into a new Tomie. It creepy stuff, but it's better not to binge read it as some of the stories get repetitive if read all in a row.
130) An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan
This was an ER book. It's a collection of (i guess) fantasy short stories. I found them all incredibly dull. The only ones I really liked were the last two, and even they weren't really all that great.
131) Reborn As a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, volume 2 by Hirukuma
So, the strange tale of a vending machine maniac who is reincarnated as a vending machine in a dungeon in a world that operates much like an RPG continues. This time around, despite being an inanimate object, Boxxo the vending machine manages to kick major butt and takes out two dungeon lords (boss monsters). I'm not entirely sure why, but I really love this series.
132) The Strange Case at Misty Ridge by David Brian
This book was heavily advertised on some of my favorite podcasts, and when podcast host and horror author Brian Keene mentioned that he had been reading it, and really liked it, I figured I should give it a shot. It's a good haunted house story featuring a paranormal investigator.
133) Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
This is another haunted house-type story only the house is an American knock-off of Ikea. This one was also good, and had some clever stuff about making itself look like a catalog (that gets really weird as the story progresses).
134) Blackest Night by Geoff Johns
This is a story about all of the dead heroes and villains of the DC universe being brought back as zombie members of a mysterious Black Lantern Corps. Then all the living heroes and villains punch the zombies in the face until the full spectrum of other Lantern Corps (there's a whole ROY G BIV of them) can get their acts together and form white light to stop the zombies. At first I found it a bit confusing as, since I'm not much of a DC fanboy, I'm not really up on all the interpersonal relationships and backstories that were important in the beginning of the story, but by the end I was enjoying it.
135) The X-Files: Cold Cases
Audible recently started a thing where in addition to the one audiobook a month, you also get 2 short audiobooks (from a limited selection) in an attempt to compete with Walmart's new service, I'm guessing. This was one of this month's choices. I's a collection of X-Files audiodramas that collectively make up a story about people coming back from the dead and aliens and Fluke Man. It's too bad it's not cannon as I liked it better than the actual last two seasons of the X-Files.
136) The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
I've been meaning to read this for a while, and when I saw copies at my local comic shop I decided to finally pick it up. It's about a boy who's destined to be the greatest mage of the age and is given a tour of the magical parts of the DC universe by four of the magical hero types.
137) Elseworlds: Batman, Vol. 1
This is collection of alternate reality Batman stories including: Civil War Batman, Batman teams with Houdini, Batman as Dr. Frankenstein, pre-WWII Batman who fights US fascists, weird fantasy setting Batman, Batman vs. theocratic America, Batman as Green Lantern, and Robin in Space. They were all good stories, except for the Robin one, which took up twice as much space as the others despite being boring and wasn't even finished.
138) Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
This is a fairly dark fantasy novel. It's all about princess who's lust for power causes her to murder her older brother and her mother so she can assume the throne and who then wants to gain magical power so she can become a goddess.
139) The Saga of the Swamp Thing, volume 1 by Alan Moore
This is a horror take on the DC hero Swamp Thing from one of comics greatest writers. It's good stuff.
140) The Doom that Came to Gotham by Mike Mignola
This is another Batman Elseworld book. As the title suggests, it's very much Lovecraft inspired.
141) The Thing's Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales by John Locke
I think this might qualify as the most esoteric book in my library. It's a history of the tumultuous first two years of Weird Tales, a magazine which has had a significant impact on modern horror. It made for a surprisingly interesting story.
142) The Devil Is a Part-Timer, vol. 4 by Satoshi Wagahara
In this volume the Devil finds himself temporarily unemployed and homeless when the fast food place he works at temporarily closes for renovations and simultaneously he has to leave his apartment while a big hole he smashed in the wall in the previous book is repaired. luckily his land lady has a niece who runs a business on the beach, so everybody heads there.
145) A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 7 by Kazuma Kamachi
This volume of the series revolves around a fight between some Roman Catholic nuns (called Roman Orthodox in the series for some reason) and a Japanese church called Amakusa Style with the English Puritan church (and the series hero Touma) getting caught in the middle.
146) The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One ed. by James D. Jenkins
This was collection of rare horror stories. They were pretty good.
147) Blackwater by Michael McDowell
This is an omnibus edition of a 6 volume series of southern gothic horror. It was good, but really long in audiobook format.
148) Welcome to the Show ed. by Doug Murano
This is a horror anthology with all of the stories set in a fiction music venue called The Shantyman where all sort of weird things happen, ranging from vampires and demons to serial killers and suicides. It was a pretty good collection.
149) Things You Need by Kevin Lucia
This is a short story collection, and is the fourth volume in Lucia's Clifton Heights series, which is set in a small town where really weird things happen. Another good book.
150) Erebus by Michael Palin
I wasn't to sure what to expect from this going in as I am mostly familiar with Palin from his work on Monty Python. This is a serious book about the HMS Erebus, a ship which successfully sailed the Antarctic, and tragically failed to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic.This is the story of the ship from its creation to it's loss on the aforementioned Arctic expedition. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are mentions of Palin's own trips to places the Erebus visited. It makes for an interesting historical tale.
151) Frankenstein by Junji Ito
This is a manga adaptation of Mary Shelly's classic Frankenstein, with a few short, original pieces about a boy named Oshikiri who lives in a house that has a portal to other dimensions (and I'm not sure that all the stories feature the same Oshikiri as many seem to take place in different realities) and a couple of stories about his (Junji ito's) mother's dog. I didn't particularly care for the adaptation. I didn't think it was as much fun as his original works, and he made a few changes (with the death of William Frankenstein and the creation of the female creature) to make the creature more monstrous and Frankenstein less so. Those changes made the story far less interesting than the original.
>103 FAMeulstee: Thanks
152) Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
This is the 8th Temeraire novel. I couldn't help but think that the book would have worked better if it had been written as 3 separate novels (or at least novellas). It's divided into three sections, each with a different story. The first is about Capt. Laurence being shipwrecked in Japan with amnesia. In part 2, after Laurence is rescues, everybody goes to China to fight rebels and assassins. Then in part 3, they all go to Russia to fight Napoleon. It made for a good story, but I feel that each section would have benefited from being fleshed out more.
153) Always Look on the Bright side of Life by Eric Idle
This was hilarious, especially since I got the audiobook version, which is narrated by the author.
155) A Sharp Stick in the Eye (and other funny stories) edited by Rob Smales
The stories are pretty good. Not surprisingly, the funnies by far was Jeff Strand's "Clyde the Necrophile."
156) Dragon Ball:That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha by Dragongarow Lee
This is something that fans of Dragon Ball will like, but otherwise people won't get it. It's about a Dragon Ball fan who dies, is reincarnated a Yamcha--who is pretty much the weakest fighter in Dragon Ball, and uses his knowledge of the series to become a truly strong fighter.
157) The Doctor Satan Megapack by Paul Ernst
This is a collection of early 20th century stories featuring Doctor Satan, a wealthy playboy turned criminal mastermind/scientific genius/master of the occult, and his nemesis Ashton Keane, a wealthy playboy turned criminologist/scientific genius/master of the occult. The stories are weird and gruesome pulpy fun.
158) Vampires or Gods? by William Meyers
This is a weird nonfiction book from a man who asserts that many of humanity's gods (including Hercules, Osiris, Jesus, and Quetzalcoatl) were actually vampires. He doesn't offer anything even remotely resembling proof for this claim.
159) A Rival from the Grave by Seabury Quinn
The penultimate volume of the collected tales of Jules De Grandine is pretty much like the rest of the series.
160) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, vol. 1 by Fuse
This was recently adapted into an anime series, which I'm loving, so I decided to pick it up. It's all about a Japanese guy who dies and is reincarnated a a slime in a fantasy RPG-esqe world, and somehow seems to be one of the most powerful beings in existence (though he doesn't seem to realize it). As I loved this (and the vending machine series), I suspect I should also try the other reincarnated-as-aweird-thing-in-a-fantasy-RPG-world book, (So I'm a Spider, So What?).
161) Gun in Cheek by Bill Pronzini
This is a book about "alternative classics" in mystery fiction, i.e. the stuff that's bad but still oddly entertaining. It's a topic that I find oddly fascinating, and I have actually ordered a copy of The House of Terror, which was one of the books mentioned which had an insane sounding plot and was available cheaply (though the price seems to have gone up since I ordered).
162) Beatrice Beecham's Fete of Fate by Dave Jeffery
I really enjoyed the first volume of this series, and since a new volume was just released, I figured it was time to read the rest of the books. This one was fun too.
I've really been slacking off on updating this for the past week.
164) Driving to Geronimo's Grave by Joe R. Lansdale
This is an enjoyable collection of short stories in various genres including horror, sci fi, and western. I admit I mostly picked it up for the western, which is a sequel to his novel Paradise Sky, which features the real life cowboy Nat Love.
165) The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume 2 ed. by James D. Jenkins
This anthology wasn't as good as the first one. Most of the stories were good, but there were two whose inclusion I found dubious. First is "The Watcher by the Threshold" by John Buchan, which is about a guy who gets a message that an old friend is ill, so he reluctantly goes to visit and this are all darkly atmospheric, and then he gets a message that he has to go back to work immediately and the story ends. Yawn. The other was "No Sin" by John Metcalfe about a widower whose wife left instructions in her will to build a nude statue of herself, and also the widower had been having an affair with his young, blind ward since she was 16 (ew) and then the statue falls on them and kills her but not the creepy perv.
166) Hi Bob! by Bob Newhart
This is an audiobook consisting of conversations between Newhart and various younger comedians Conan O'Brien, Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Silverman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Judd Apatow. If you have an interest in the world of comedy it's well worth a listen.
167) Grand Sumo by Lora Sharnoff
I've recently become interested in sumo, and decided to try some books on the subject. Unfortunately most of them are badly out of date. This one is nearly 30 years old. While all of the current info is badly dated, the parts on the history of sumo are presumably still accurate, and the book is still interesting.
And I've been slacking on updating this again:
168) Beatrice Beecham's Cryptic Crypt by Dave Jeffery
This is the next novel in the Beatrice Beecham series. This book takes place several years after the previous novel, has a much darker tone, and has supernatural elements playing a much more prominent part. The book starts with a youth organization coming to town, and while they at first seem good, it's pretty quickly revealed that they're more Hitler Youth than Boyscout, which isn't surprising as the book revolves around reviving a secret base full of cryogenically frozen Nazis.
169) Operation: Siberia by William Meike
This is the sequel to Operation: Antarctica, which I read back in July. This time around S-Squad (the military unit that stars in the series) is sent to escort a group of scientists to an experimental zoo in Siberia. The book is pretty much a pulpier Jurassic Park with Pleistocene-era mammals instead of dinosaurs.
170) Worse Things Waiting by Manly Wade Wellman
This is a reprint of a long out of print collection of horror and fantasy stories. It was mostly good, though I found the Civil War era stories (particularly those with Confederate protagonists) to be a bit tedious.
171) What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
I mostly listened to the audiobook version of this because I discovered it was free to listen to on Audible. It was very entertaining.
172) Wardenclyffe by F. Paul Wilson
This is a short horror novel about Nikola Tesla (and a fictional assistant) and the events surrounding his electricity broadcasting tower in Wardenclyyfe. It's tied into Wilson's overarching Secret History of the World stories and ties into events in his Repairman Jack series. It was a good book, and it was interesting to read a story set over 100 years ago with a protagonist who's trans.
173) Pennsylvania's Haunted Route 30 by Ed Kelemen
This is a collection of true ghost stories that I've been reading on and off for months and decided I should try to finish before the year's end. It's not the best book of the type I've read or the worst. The main thing it has going for it is that I've lived near PA Route 30 my whole life, and both my high school and my college are mentioned in the book, though I personally never heard any ghost stories while attending either.
174) Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G. S. Denning
This is the second volume in the series, and continues the adventures of Warlock Holmes, who is just like Sherlock Holmes, only he's a warlock instead of a detective. I listened to the audio version, which was generally great, except that the narrator couldn't do a convincing American or Canadian accent to save his life.
175) The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley by Ted Harrison
This is another book that I've been reading on and off for months and finally decided to finish before the end of the year. It's one of thos books that I'm not entirely sure why I bought it. I'm not really a big Elvis fan, and frankly I found the book a bit dull.
176) Discover Sumo: Stories from Yobidashi Hideo by Hideo Yamaki
This is a more recent book on sumo. This one is written by an insider, not a sumo wrestler though, a yobidashi, who among other things constructs the ring, calls out the wrestlers, and drums. This is an interesting look at the world of sumo, though it uses way too many Japanese terms for most people who aren't already at least marginally conversant with the sport (or are fluent in Japanese).
177) The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
I listened to this one in audiobook format. I found it to be pretty good, though obviously intended for a much younger audience than me.
178) So I'm a Spider, So What?, vol. 1 by Okina Baba
I decided it was time to start reading the other "reincarnated as some weird thing in a world that operates like a JRPG" light novel series. I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this one a lot. This is about a Japanese schoolgirl who is reincarnated as a spider monster in a dungeon. Spiders are pretty much the weakest monsters in the dungeon, so the book is all about her struggle to survive (by killing and eating other monsters). I'll definitely be picking up the other volumes of this as soon as possible.
179) Tomb of Dracula: The Complete Collection Vol. 1
This is a collection of 70s era Marvel horror comics featuring Dracula. Besides the Tomb of Dracula, it also has several issues of the black and white comics magazine Dracula Lives! I actually liked the B&W stuff better as it was more horror-y than the Tomb of Dracula stuff, which felt more like standard superheo comics of the era (especially once Blade joined the cast).
180) Reborn As a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, Vol. 3 by Hirukuma
And now I have read the third volume of the series about a guy who is reincarnated as a vending machine in a dungeon in a world that works like an RPG. This book is about our hero making new allies and traveling to a level of the dungeon where he battles undead monsters. Also a new villain appears. I really enjoyed it, and I hope a fourth volume is forthcoming, though one hasn't been announced yet.
>120 thornton37814: Thanks. Happy New Year to you as well.
It looks like I managed to get two final books finished just under the wire.
182) Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual by G. S. Denning
I have now finished the audiobook version of the third Warlock Holmes book. This one was mostly enjoyable, though when Holmes encountered a demon named Coveffe, who he described as orange with white circles around its eyes and whose manner of speech sounded suspiciously like Donald Trump's method of tweeting, I did let out a groan.
183) Jack Kirby's The Demon by Jack Kirby
This wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.
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