Undead by John Russo

Undead by John Russo
Publisher/Year: Kensington Books, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐



George A. Romero’s classic 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, launched a new era of gut-munching mayhem, relentlessly terrorizing the hearts of moviegoers and launching the zombie movie phenomenon. Screenwriter John A. Russo turned the flesh-eating frenzy into two horrific, blood-drenched novels…


A cemetery in rural Pennsylvania. A brother and sister putting flowers on their father’s grave. A strange figure shambling toward them–eyes dead and teeth gnashing. So begins a night of endless terror that would live on in infamy. Seven strangers locked inside a small farmhouse fight off an army of walking corpses. Who will survive? And who will have their flesh devoured…?


Not long after the first zombie outbreak, a bus crashes in a small American town. Local churchgoers rush to the scene to save the living–and destroy the dead. But they’re too late. A terrifying new plague of undead has been unleashed. A new horde of victims has been infected. And this time, they are ravenous…


What I thought

I’ll admit–I originally picked this one up because THAT COVER! And once I saw that there were two classic zombie stories inside, I was sold. I’m glad I picked it up because I did enjoy it. I will throw a disclaimer out there–if you’re looking for a truly frightening read or something with outstanding writing, this ain’t it. Night of the Living Dead is a novelization of the movie, and Return of the Living Dead is a novelization of a screenplay for a sequel idea (not the movie most are familiar with). So, that translates into a lot of tell vs. show writing and a lot of campy horror. If you can go into this with your expectations in check, you’ll enjoy two fun zombie tales for what they are–groundbreaking tales for their time. I dunno, I thought this was a fun, easy read. It would be good to read around a campfire!

Salvage by Duncan Ralston

Salvage by Duncan Ralston
Publisher/Year: Shadow Work Publishing, 2014
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 281
Rating: ⭐⭐


Something is lurking under the lake…

When his sister drowns, Owen Saddler follows in her footsteps, determined to uncover the circumstances surrounding her death by diving into the murky waters of Chapel Lake.

30 years ago, the town of Peace Falls was flooded for a hydroelectric dam, and its ruins remain below. The disappearance of the church’s Pastor and parishioners still haunts the citizens of Chapel Lake, but does the church haunt the lake itself? Is Owen really seeing ghosts, or has he succumbed to the depths of madness?

Salvage is the debut novel of author Duncan Ralston, a darkly disturbing story of depression, religious fanaticism, and the afterlife, illuminating the darkness lurking within us all.

What I thought

Unfortunately, this book was just an okay read for me. It looks like plenty of others loved it, though. I think Duncan Ralston is a talented writer, don’t get me wrong. This story is completely original. I’ve never read anything even remotely similar, which speaks for this book in a way. I also really enjoyed Ralston’s use of description. He definitely had a way of writing that brought Chapel Lake to life, and as a reader, I love when an author creates a vivid world in which I can escape for a little while. I think where I struggled with this one was that I never reached that moment where it just clicked for me, where I was hooked. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I just never connected with this book. But that’s only me–you might really enjoy it, plenty of readers do. For a debut novel, it was pretty good, I just think it could use a little trimming and polishing, that’s all.

Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre by Glenn Rolfe

Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre by Glenn Rolfe
Publisher/Year: Alien Agenda Publishing, 2018
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Pages: 155
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Demon lights, granted wishes, strange things, and brutal love at the Lucky Lounge Motel. A haunted sister, desperate parents, a little human touch, and the end of the world…

These are the stories whispered among dead leaves, the script etched bare for all to see. When the chills sink deep and your heart begins to pound…are you alone? Welcome to Glenn Rolfe’s Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre.

What I thought

This was the first work by Glenn Rolfe that I have read, and rest assured, this won’t be the last. For me, starting out with an author’s short stories can be hit or miss, but I’m happy to report that I’ve found another horror author to watch for. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but as with any anthology, I enjoyed some stories more than others. Or rather, I should say some resonated with me more than others because I truly enjoyed all of the stories here. Anyway, here’s how I would rate each story (for me):

-“Land of Bones” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Ghosts of Spears Corner” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Simon” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Not Kansas Anymore” ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
-“Fire” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Welcome to Paradise” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Wish” ⭐⭐⭐
-“Avenging Kitten” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“Charley Sings the World Away” ⭐⭐⭐
-“The Fixer” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-“The Rooster” ⭐⭐⭐
-“Too Much of a Dead Thing” ⭐⭐
-“Little Bunny” ⭐⭐
-“Death Lights” ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the talent here in this short collection. It was great for reading while packing up our house for moving. I could pick this up and get sucked into a story for a while. I also liked that while some of the stories gave me goosebumps, not all of the stories were the same type of horror. Being tied together around the theme of loss, they often hit and evoked a different set of feelings. I’d recommend this one if you’re looking to find a new, quality horror author. Land of Bones was an impressive intro to Glenn Rolfe’s works.

Daughters of Darkness (The Willoughby Chronicles #2) by Meg Hafdahl

Daughters of Darkness (The Willoughby Chronicles #2) by Meg Hafdahl
Publisher/Year: Inklings Publishing, 2019
Format: e-ARC
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Daphne Forrest and Edwin Monroe forget their past shared trauma by building a life in the big city. But the death of Doris Woodhouse pulls them back into the strangely enigmatic town of Willoughby. Surrounded by the familiar gothic landscape and its dark underbelly of secrets, a mystery unfurls, revealing a catalyst set in motion long ago. One that has caused a unique evil to lurk in the hearts of Willoughby’s citizens. A shocking truth once confronted by protective mother, Doris Woodhouse, and the dashing Holden Small in the winter of 1961.

Daphne and Edwin in the present, and Doris in the past, come to fathom the terrifying reality behind the bucolic edifice of Willoughby. Will Daphne be able to save herself and the town she has grown to love? Or will Willoughby’s evil infect her own heart?

What I thought

One of the coolest things about being a part of the bookstagram/book blogging world is getting the opportunity to work with authors. Obviously I love reading, and I love talking about the books I’ve read, but I can’t actually fathom writing one. It goes without saying that there is nothing more exciting to me than when I get to interact with authors and become part of the process of sharing their book with the world. It’s even more exciting when it’s an author whose work I love, which is why I was thrilled when Meg Hafdahl contacted me about her newest addition to the Willoughby series.

I enjoyed Her Dark Inheritance so much that I couldn’t wait to dive into Daughters of Darkness. And it did not disappoint! Except for the fact that now I’m over here dying for book #3! I don’t want to say too much about the plot, for fear of giving anything away, but it was truly a joy being back in Willoughby with my favorite characters. Daphne has become one of my favorite protagonists in the horror genre, and I’ve enjoyed watching her character grow so much. And Doris! I loved her role in this installment, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Besides the characters, I also loved the town of Willoughby itself. Hafdahl brings the town to life so much so that it feels like an entity in its own right. And I so appreciate that she doesn’t immediately reveal all of Willoughby’s secrets at once. Not only does that leave me looking forward to the next book, but the unknowing leaves the reader with the most delicious, sinister feel while reading.

Once again, I have nothing but good things to say about Meg Hafdahl and her writing. As the books in the Willoughby Chronicles become darker and more evil rears its ugly head, I’m enjoying these books more and more. Daughters of Darkness proves once again that Meg Hafdahl is a strong addition to the #ladiesofhorrorfiction authors. And that final chapter? It’s killing me–I’m dying for book #3 already!

**Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC copy of this book from the author, Meg Hafdahl, in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions presented here.

American Supernatural Tales edited by S. T. Joshi

American Supernatural Tales edited by S. T. Joshi
Publisher/Year: Penguin Books, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 477
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The ultimate collection of weird and frightening fiction by American writers

It takes an unusual caliber of writer to deliver readers into the terrifying beyond–to conjure tales that are not only unsettling, but unnatural, with elements and characters that are all the more disturbing for their impossibility. From Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King, American authors have excelled at journeying into the supernatural. You’ll find them here, including H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others. An unprecedented anthology of phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic writing, American Supernatural Tales celebrates our enduring need to be spooked and horrified.

What I thought

If you are looking for a collection of “supernatural”/horror short stories, look no further. This was a solid sampling of stories from some of the genre’s best authors. I was so excited to dive into this one to not only read selections from some of my favorite authors, but also to discover some of the other greats that I hadn’t read before. As with any collection, there were some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but for the most part, I really liked what I read and even found a few new favorites. I also really enjoyed Joshi’s introduction and found his commentary on the genre to be fascinating, although I highly disagree with his opinion of Stephen King. All in all, I thought this was a comprehensive anthology and one I’d like to add to my own shelves!

Here’s my rating of each story:

–“The Adventure of the German Student” by Washington Irving ⭐⭐⭐
–“Edward Randolph’s Portrait” by Nathaniel Hawthorne ⭐⭐⭐
–“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe ⭐⭐⭐
–“What Was It?” by Fitz-James O’Brien ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Death of Halpin Frayser” by Ambrose Bierce ⭐⭐
–“The Yellow Sign” by Robert W. Chambers ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Real Right Thing” by Henry James ⭐⭐⭐
–“The Call of Cthulhu” by H. P. Lovecraft ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis” by Clark Ashton Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Old Garfield’s Heart” by Robert E. Howard ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Black Bargain” by Robert Bloch ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Lonesome Place” by August Derleth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Girl With Hungry Eyes” by Fritz Leiber ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Fog Horn” by Ray Bradbury ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“A Visit” by Shirley Jackson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Long Distance Call” by Richard Matheson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Vanishing American” by Charles Beaumont ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Events at Poroth Farm” by T. E. D. Klein ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Night Surf” by Stephen King ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Late Shift” by Dennis Etchison ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Vastarien” by Thomas Ligotti ⭐⭐⭐
–“Endless Night” by Karl Edward Wagner ⭐⭐
–“The Hollow Man” by Norman Partridge ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Last Call for the Sons of Shock” by David J. Schow ⭐⭐⭐
–“Demon” by Joyce Carol Oates ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888) by Caitlin R. Kiernan ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Her Dark Inheritance (The Willoughby Chronicles #1) by Meg Hafdahl

Her Dark Inheritance (The Willoughby Chronicles #1) by Meg Hafdahl
Publisher/Year: Inklings Publishing, 2018
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 316
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


On the day her mother died, Daphne Forrest learns the devastating truth. She’d never really known the woman who raised her, not even her real name. Fueled to unravel the tragic mystery behind her mother’s secrets, Daphne abandons all she knows, traveling to the bucolic yet sinister town of Willoughby, Minnesota.

Navigating through the memories of her own bloody legacy, Daphne throws herself into the insular and haunting small town of her ancestors. She investigates the murder that led to her mother’s shame aided by charming, yet tortured, local, Edwin Monroe. Edwin has a unique understanding of the darkness in Willoughby, and how the town holds a lurking threat more foreboding than any unsolved murder.

As Daphne gets closer to the truth, Willoughby itself rebels against her. She bears witness to terrifying scenes from the past. Is her mother a murderer? Is that Daphne’s dark inheritance? And is she strong enough to battle an evil more frightening than her own past?

What I thought

I have to give a big shout out here to thank the ever-wonderful Ladies of Horror Fiction for introducing me to Meg Hafdahl’s writing! I was very impressed by Hafdahl’s debut novel, and I’m always glad to add another female horror author to my authors-to-watch list.

From the very first chapter, I had a hard time putting this one down. The writing was descriptive without being overdone, the characters were vivid and diverse, the town of Willoughby came to life, and at the end, I didn’t want the story to finish! I’m glad that this will be a series because I’m looking forward to more from Hafdahl!

My two favorite things about this book were the character of Daphne and the town of Willoughby. I loved watching Daphne’s character develop, and I especially appreciated the fact that she was a flawed character, not cookie-cutter, by any means. The town of Willoughby reminded me of Stephen King’s Derry so, of course, I loved it. I only wish we knew more about Willoughby’s evil background, but maybe that’s for future books.

All that being said, I’m so glad to have read this one–I enjoyed it so much. I don’t know what you call it, but this type of horror is one of my favorites–the kind where you have this sense of dread and unease to the point where you don’t want to stop reading because you have to know how it turns out (thriller, maybe? I dunno). I can’t wait to read more from Meg Hafdahl, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Publisher/Year: Little, Brown and Company, 2005
Format: Mass market paperback
Pages: 909
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written, The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family’s past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe–in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world.

What I thought

Wow. Okay, where do I even start here? This is my second time reading The Historian and this time around it definitely cemented its place as one of my favorite books. I think what did it for me this time was that I was more patient–I embraced the slow read. That’s not to say that it was a boring read, but rather, I took some extra time to look up all of the various locations, as well as a rudimentary overview of the history involved. Those extra moments helped to make this story just THAT much more immersive. Kostova’s writing is so atmospheric and evocative as it is, it really was worth it to do a little extra research of my own.

Speaking of Kostova’s writing, I fell in love all over again. My copy is riddled with quotes that I underlined out of pure enjoyment. Her storytelling ability is incredible. For as long as my paperback copy is (900+ pages), I can’t say that I was ever bored. I wouldn’t call this a page turner–it was just that I got so drawn into the story and its rich complexity that the book didn’t FEEL like a long book. I genuinely enjoyed each time I sat down to read this. Despite all of the multiple story layers, I never found the plot hard to follow. Like I said, it just requires a little patience. It really is a great book for a long winter night.

As for the horror aspect, I will point out that although The Historian is more of a historical fiction novel than a “vampire novel,” it still left me feeling an overall sense of dread, especially after that ending. There were definitely a handful of times when I regretted reading this into the night. Having said that, The Historian is a literary, research-based, and research-driven novel, with just as much focus on history as on Dracula himself, so just be aware of that if you decide to pick this one up. This is definitely one of those novels for book lovers, but I venture to say that you also need to share a love of history to fully enjoy this, as well.

The Historian is not a flawless novel, by any means, but I was able to look past any flaws because I so completely enjoyed the experience of reading it. Between the immersive storytelling, the fascinating history that I just couldn’t stop discussing with my history-loving husband, and the fact that I know I won’t be able to stop thinking about this read for a while, The Historian ranks itself among my favorite books–one that I highly recommend if you are at all interested!

Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe

1153622Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe
Publisher/Year: Scholastic Inc., 1989
Format: Paperback
Pages: 210
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐



The Pit and the Pendulum…The Purloined Letter…The Tell-Tale Heart…A Descent into the Maelstrom…and six other choice chillers by the acknowledged master of mystery, fantasy, and horror.

These ten absorbing stories, selected by a famed anthologist of science-fiction and the supernatural, prove that even after a century Poe’s imagination still works its macabre magic.


What I thought

Update – 2018

Since this was a re-read for me, I don’t have too much to add on top of my original review. I will say that this little collection of stories has become one of my favorites, and it does contain a good handful of my favorite Poe stories. While it pains me that it seems like a lot of people are quick to dismiss Poe’s verbose writing, I will say that his writing does get heavy after a while. I do think this collection is the perfect size to get a feel for Poe and appreciate his words without getting bogged down. With the gloomy, chilly, rain-filled fall we’ve been having here, this was just the right time to re-read this one. If you’re looking for a good introduction to Edgar Allan Poe’s prose, this collection would be a good place to start. Plus, look at this creepy vintage cover–I just love it!

Original review – 2010

I can be an atmospheric reader. Certain books should be read in a certain setting. Thoreau should be read on a stump in the middle of the woods. Jane Austen should be read curled up in bed with a cup of tea in the middle of winter. Twain should be read lazing under a tree in the grass in the middle of the summer. And Poe should be read in late fall, somewhere around Halloween.

Well, as I just found out, he makes for excellent campfire reading, as well.

For me, Poe is the ultimate of suspense. As a reader, it is evident just how haunted of a man Edgar Allan Poe really was. This makes his writing quite effective and allows the reader to become pleasantly creeped out. I love his writing and adore immersing myself in his words. An absolutely classic author, I dare say.

What’s unique about this edition is that it goes to show that Poe writes more than just horror–namely suspense and science fiction (and don’t forget poetry and romance, even though they don’t appear here). I also enjoyed this little edition because even though it includes Poe classics like “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” it also includes less well-known stories.

Overall, not a must-have for Poe enthusiasts (as this is just a little snippet of his total works), but recommended for those who would like to become better read in Edgar Allan Poe or who would like to see what he is capable of.



The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

TheSeaWasaFairMaster_CoverThe Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
Publisher/Year: Unnerving, 2018
Format: E-book
Pages: 83
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Summary (from author)

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

For the sea was a fair master.

CalvinDemmer_PhotoAbout the Author

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.



What I thought

This was my first time reading flash fiction, and I’ll be totally honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m all about development, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about stories that were all less than 5 pages long, especially stories from several of my favorite genres. But I have to say, these were pretty darn good stories! As with any collection, I prefer some over others, but I really did enjoy a majority of them. Since they were so short, I wanted to take my time with them, so I only read one or two per day so that they would linger with me. And I’ll tell you what, Demmer really knows how to pack a punch in just a handful of words! Overall, I was truly impressed. I’m definitely curious to see what this author could do within the realm of short stories or even with a novel!

Thank you very much to Calvin Demmer for providing me with a digital copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my review.

The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin


The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin
Publisher/Year: Doubleday, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 374
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟



How long has it been since a novel sent chills up your spine? The Dead Path is a tour de force debut of visceral imagination and taut suspense–featuring the creepiest setting since the sewers in Stephen King’s It.

A haunting visage peering out from the trees sends Nicholas Close tumbling from his motorcycle–setting in motion a series of terrible events that leave him a widower surrounded by startling hallucinations. There is no other way to say it: he sees ghosts. They don’t say a word, but they are seemingly forced to repeat their final, harrowing moments in an endless loop before his eyes.

Fearing for his sanity, and with nowhere else to go, Nicholas returns home to his childhood home. Tallong is a sleepy suburb filled with an eccentric cast of characters and a host of memories from his past…all leading to the overgrown woods on Carmichael Road. As Nicholas attempts to reconnect with his estranged family, he becomes entangled in a disturbing series of disappearances and murders. He is now both a police suspect and the target of a malignant force that draws him to an old secret waiting in the heart of the woods. To stop the town’s violent history from repeating itself, Nicholas will have to face his greatest fears and discover what lies at the end of the path.

The Dead Path is the kind of chilling debut readers love to discover. Stephen M. Irwin’s electric use of language, memorable characters, and suspenseful pacing add up to a creepy, can’t-put-it-down tale full of twists and turns, building up to a surprising and unforgettable conclusion.


What I thought

I should know better than to fall for a “this is the next Stephen King” blurb. I wanted to like this a lot more than I did.

I really did enjoy this story. Being that I’m deathly afraid of spiders, I did find myself getting genuinely creeped out. Honestly, the story is what kept me reading. I just had to know what was going to happen. Even though I wasn’t particularly attached to any of the characters (other than Hannah, whom I adored), I still wanted to see how their fates turned out. And that ending? It was pure gold–totally unexpected & it gave me goosebumps.

Where this book fell flat for me was the writing. SO many people have praised it, so maybe I’m just missing something. The style was just not for me. It was overly descriptive, and what I mean by that is not that he went into too much detail, but that he used all these metaphors that just didn’t click for me. It felt like reaching, like he was trying too hard to be profound. For me, this kept jarring me out of the story, so it felt like I was slugging through this book. Like I said, though, many people love his writing, it just wasn’t to my taste.

Overall, this may not have completely worked for me, but I still think this was a strong debut. If you enjoy horror novels, give this one a try & I promise, you’ll never look at the woods the same! One last note, this book has a beautiful design, including a creepy cover with glow-in-the-dark words!

The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell

34599010The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell
Publisher/Year: Venture Press, 2017 (orig. Tom Doherty Associates, 1980)
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Pages: 369
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟






Rose Tierney and her husband Bill are successful writers, picking apart films and enlightening the masses.

They are invited to New York  to talk business and get invited to a party where one of the guests, a quiet Diana, is interested in the occult. Bill has a tarot card reading and dismisses it out of hand, but when it’s Rose’s turn, it sparks something in her.

That night, she has an odd out-of-body experience and is attacked by an unknown force.

Diana, through a premonition, found Rose and helped her back to her apartment to recover. The assault seems to waken her dormant psychic powers, and Diana excitedly encourages Rose to pursue them, to learn how to master them.

Rose quickly begins experiencing premonitions and discovers that her self can leave her body, later discovering all the intricacies of astral projection.

At first frightened by her newfound powers, she soon begins to explore, both her own abilities and the world that they belong to.

She soon discovers that her sinister feeling greenhouse, Hitler and the Nazis, and her quiet hometown all seem to have something in common. As her powers grow, her relationships with those around her grow increasingly turbulent.

Rose Tierney is no longer alone in her own body, and her newfound powers belong not to her, but to that Other.

The evil seed that was planted in Rose twenty years ago is about to flower.


What I thought

I have SO many mixed feelings on this one.

I’ll start with the not-so-good & end on a positive note, how’s that?

I did like this book, but there were some things that just didn’t do it for me. The thing I struggled with the most was the pacing–it was so up & down. I mean, I would read a hundred pages in an hour or two & then it would take me a couple days to get through just one chapter. I think this was due mostly to Campbell’s writing style. I’ve heard of a slow build, but at certain points, this was just painful. Yes, I will say that feelings of unease & dread increased as the story moved along, which let to that ultimate feel of a horror story. It was just that every once in a while, it seemed like Campbell would fixate on describing every. last. detail. & every. minute. thought. I’d be reading along & just hit a brick wall.

All that aside, I’m glad I decided to keep going when I was ready to give up. This tale was genuinely terrifying & I can see how Campbell has earned his place among the horror genre’s classics. That prologue was enough to keep me reading through the tough spots–surely writing that scary couldn’t be a one time thing. And let me tell you…it wasn’t.

If you can get used to Campbell’s writing style (or simply get past the slower parts), this is a must read for fans of the horror genre. It might not be the right book for all readers, but I liked it & I’ll be looking to read more from Ramsey Campbell.



Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe


Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
Publisher/Year: Pocket Books, 2003
Format: Paperback
Pages: 457
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟



Born to an unfortunate heritage, orphaned, unsympathetically raised, and then abandoned, Edgar Allan Poe struggled for greatness in an adverse social and economic climate–a setting not improved by his fiery temperament and caustic criticism of others. Poe’s melancholy brilliance, his passionate lyricism, and his tormented soul would make him one of the most widely read and original writers in American literature. Here, in one volume, are his classic short works: masterpieces of horror, terror, humor, and adventure–and the finest lyric and narrative poetry of this ill-fated genius whose influence on both prose and verse continues to this day.


What I thought

I feel like this probably goes without saying–as with any collection, I definitely preferred some stories and poems over others. And really, I’ve come to find out that I prefer Poe’s prose over his poetry. That’s not to say that his poetry is bad. Some of my favorite classics were present here. I just think poetry is so much more personal, so not all of his poems resonated with me. Not to mention, Poe is more versatile with his different story types, and they are simply just more entertaining. All in all, this is a very conclusive collection of Poe’s writing & an excellent addition to any fan’s shelf. Moody, atmospheric writing–this makes for a perfect fall read.