Tag Archives: Horror

Dollhouse (Dark Carousel Book 1) by Anya Allyn

Dollhouse (Dark Carousel #1)Dollhouse by Anya Allyn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cassie has moved from the US to Australia. She goes out with her new friends for a hike, when Aisha goes missing. Aisha’s boyfriend Ethan is initially treated as a suspect, and when he runs away to the forest trying to find her, Cassie and their other friend Lacey insist on coming with him. Several other girls have gone missing in the past few years in this same forest; and Cassie, Ethan, and Lacey stumble into the same trap.

A curious underground carousel, behind which is some kind of twisted dimension, a “Dollhouse” where life-sized dolls and strange inhabitants treat those who fall into their grasp as their own playthings.

Written in the same type of language as a YA novel, this book contains a bit of a mystery, and some “mild peril”. There was little back-story to many of the characters, beyond their current states of mind, so it was not necessarily easy to get to know the protagonists. The threat posed to the inhabitants of the dollhouse did not feel particularly visceral, until that is, towards the ultimate conclusion of the book. No spoilers here.

This was an entertaining diversion for a few days at least.

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Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

Suicide Forest (World's Scariest Places #1)Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun engaging read. Blair Witch in Japan, but with less irritating characters!

Several years back, I watched an episode of a show called “Destination Truth” with Josh Gates going all over the world working out if monsters and stories of hauntings were real. He went and spent the night in Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest, and BOY did they see some weird ****! Nowadays, he’s on a show called Expedition Unknown on the Travel Channel (I like this guy’s style!). Check it out if you can.

Anyway, this book is set in that same forest. A group of friends initially meet up to climb Fuji-san, but bad weather forces them to find something else to do. They join up with another couple who they meet by chance, and decide to camp out in Aokigahara. Great idea! A day or so in, they lose their way, run out of food and water, and one by one the friends start to die.. or did they kill themselves?

A great narrative, characters you don’t mind hanging around with in a dark forest, and a satisfying eventual reveal of what is going on around them in the woods.

Would probably make a better horror film than the original Blair Witch! (Which I don’t dislike, but this is still way ahead).

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Lurk by Adam Vine

LurkLurk by Adam Vine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This would probably make a good horror movie, if treated right.
Drew is a college student living in a shared house with quite a reputation; the house, and its occupants, and the “legendary” parties that go on there.

Drew himself is a bit of a stereotype: overweight, addicted to video games, a stoner (along with his house-mates), frustrated, awkward with girls, in his 20s and still a virgin. He’s treated well by his friends for the most part, but his inner neuroses prevent him from truly feeling like they are his friends for honest reasons. When he finds a box of old photographs buried in the basement, he learns of the previous occupants of the student house from years past, and their exploits both past and present. But when those same photographs start showing him different images, weird things start to happen all around him. Is it just his imagination? Is there someone trying to send a message from the past, or from the other side, through the photos? Can he trust his friends with his secret?

Very much a psychological thriller/ghost story. At times you’re not sure whether or not the problem is in Drew’s head. Gripping and surprising throughout. A great read.

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Odd Man Out by James Newman

Odd Man OutOdd Man Out by James Newman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quite a disturbing novella. Not a fantastical horror story, but bullying and a hate crime.

A group of young boys are sent to a new holiday camp as a test group before the camp itself properly opens to the public. The supervision is relatively lax, and the main owners are drawn away from the camp when one of the boys has a medical emergency, leaving the less experienced teenager in charge. Being left primarily to themselves, the group therefore begin to bicker and argue. Two of the boys knew each other from earlier in their childhood, and one of those is at first clingy, and soon revealed to be gay. What then follows is bullying and taunts, psychological segregation between the “us” and “them”, and inevitably ends with the boys goading each other into performing terrible acts.

The story is book-ended with the grown-up main protagonist, Dennis, being involved with a vote in their local church on whether or not to continue to allow the Boy Scouts to use their facilities after a change in rules that no longer allows exclusion of individuals based on their sexual orientation. Again here, fear leads the way.

It is an extreme example of how group mentality can rapidly descend into hate, far easier than to accept people simply for being different. Fear of the unknown, and all that leads to, seems to win out more often than understanding and acceptance. Before some people have even thought about the big picture, and how our differences enrich our culture more than uniformity, they’ve already made up their minds that “If you’re different from me, I don’t like you”.

As much as recent news items have brought these extreme views into the public eye. It’s worth remembering that more often than not, these are usually smaller groups who shout loudly to get attention. Some of the individuals involved are, like the characters in this story, likely goaded into these actions through peer pressure and may not feel these things for themselves. I’m a firm believer that the majority of people are good at heart, and the views actions of these others do not represent the whole. Take care of one another.

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This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It by David Wong

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It by David Wong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A second abstract visit to the town of [undisclosed] and its’ inter-dimensional nightmare creature inhabitants. Once again narrated primarily by the protagonist (and Author) David Wong, and his best friend John; two losers who unwittingly find themselves at the centre of the apocalypse. Again.

As to the title? Well, I’d say that’s pretty self-explanatory. This book is full of spiders. Lots and lots of spiders. Evil (and invisible to most), parasitic, mania-inducing, extremely difficult to kill, “zombifying”, creep-you-out-forever, SPIDERS… *shudders*

Seriously dude. Don’t touch it.
Unless you’re like me and can’t help yourself!

Written in the first person, and as though these events were somehow true (they might be, you never know!), we follow David and John as they simply try to stay alive, to track down David’s girlfriend Amy/Amy to track down David, and maybe find a way to save the town and the world. It’s wacky, cringe-worthy, and like a “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for Horror fans. It’s linked to just enough real-world oddities to make you think that maybe there’s something more out there..

Excuse me, I think I just felt something move against my leg…

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