Thursday, May 24, 2012

Horror Novels to Chill Your Soul - or Make You Feel Queasy

Sometimes, you just want to read a good scary book.  You know, one that keeps you up at night.  Or one that you have to keep in the freezer because it's just too scary to leave out.  Your faithful blogger's favorite scary novel is, hands down, The Shining by Stephen King (Check Our Catalog).  Revisit one of your favorite classics or try one of these newer award-winning horror offerings.

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates
2011 Bram Stoker Award Winner for Fiction Collection
An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. “The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Taken by an older girl from her school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden, in which a girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, Marissa is kept in a secluded basement and convinced that the world has ended. Marissa’s seemingly inevitable fate becomes ever more terrifying as the older girl relishes her power, giving the tale unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion. In “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, a lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendship. She has no idea what kinds of doors she may be opening. The powerful stories in this extraordinary collection further enhance Joyce Carol Oates’s standing as one of the world’s greatest writers of suspense. Check Our Catalog

I am Legend by Richard Matheson
2011 Bram Stoker Award Winner for Vampire Novel of the Century
Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone.
An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.
By day, he is a hunter, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn....  Check Our Catalog

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
2010 Bram Stoker Award Winner for Novel
On a Midwestern campus in the 1960s, a charismatic guru and his young acolytes perform a secret ritual in a local meadow.  What happens is a mystery—all that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present.  Forty years later, one man seeks to learn about that horrifying night, and to do so he’ll have to force those involved to examine the unspeakable events that have haunted them ever since. Unfolding through their individual stories, A Dark Matter is an electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel that proves Peter Straub to be the master of modern horror.  Check Our Catalog

Festival of Fear by Graham Masterton
Award-winning horror writer and master of the macabre, Graham Masterton presents a blood-curdling array of treats: twelve stories of terror celebrating the bizarre and grotesque, guaranteed to quicken the pulse. Marvel at the mirror dug up in secret and better off buried . . . Thrill at a pair of lovers, whose promises to each other lead them down a disturbing path. Observe the haunted house . . . Come closer, dear reader – the hour of the festival is upon us . . .  Check Our Catalog

John Dies at the End by David Wong
In this reissue of an Internet phenomenon originally slapped between two covers in 2007 by indie Permutus Press, Wong—Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin's alter ego—adroitly spoofs the horror genre while simultaneously offering up a genuinely horrifying story. The terror is rooted in a substance known as soy sauce, a paranormal psychoactive that opens video store clerk Wong's—and his penis-obsessed friend John's—minds to higher levels of consciousness. Or is it just hell seeping into the unnamed Midwestern town where Wong and the others live? Meat monsters, wig-wearing scorpion aberrations and wingless white flies that burrow into human skin threaten to kill Wong and his crew before infesting the rest of the world. A multidimensional plot unfolds as the unlikely heroes drink lots of beer and battle the paradoxes of time and space, as well as the clich├ęs of first-person-shooter video games and fantasy gore films. Sure to please the Fangoria set while appealing to a wider audience, the book's smart take on fear manages to tap into readers' existential dread on one page, then have them laughing the next. [Publishers Weekly review]  Check Our Catalog

Anything by these Lifetime Achievement Award winners - these people know horror!
Joe R. Lansdale
F. Paul Wilson
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Thomas Harris
Peter Straub
Michael Moorcock
Anne Rice
Stephen King
Ramsey Campbell
William Peter Blatty
Robert Bloch
Ray Bradbury
Brian Lumley

And a few more...
Clive Barker
H.P. Lovecraft
Shirley Jackson
Richard Laymon
Robert McCammon
Dan Simmons



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Want to Read... at the Beach!

The water temperature is perfect... not too hot, and not too cold.  The sun is warm and the humidity hasn't gotten to unbearable levels.  Let's go to the beach!  Here's a list of our staff's favorite breezy beach reads to keep your mind occupied while you enjoy the sand and surf.

Alicia's Pick: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum’s all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad’s, doing her best to sever the world’s longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case. Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook. Check Our Catalog

Angela's Pick: Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa. It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal ceremony in which they poured the essence of their unborn child into a very special stone. Fela keeps the stone with her, waiting for the chance to finish what she started. When the plantation owner approaches her, Fela sees a better opportunity for her child, and allows the man to act out his desire. Such is the beginning of a line of daughters connected by their intense love for one another, and the stories of a lost land. Mati, a powerful healer and noted craftswoman, is grounded in a life that is disappearing in a quickly changing world. Concha, unsure of her place, doesn't realize the price she will pay for rejecting her past. Elena, modern and educated, tries to navigate between two cultures, moving to the United States, where she will struggle to keep her family together. Carisa turns to the past for wisdom and strength when her life in New York falls apart. The stone becomes meaningful to each of the women, pulling them through times of crisis and ultimately connecting them to one another. Check Our Catalog

Angelo's Pick: Promise Me by Harlan Coben. Myron Bolitar, former basketball star (Boston Celtics) turned sports and entertainment agent and occasional knight in shining armor, is back in fighting form in his action-packed eighth thriller. For the past six years Myron has been leading a quiet life, much of it at his parents' old house in Livingston, N.J. A new girlfriend, Ali Wilder, a 9/11 widow, is helping to bring him out of his shell. Concerned that Ali's teenage daughter, Erin, and Erin's friend, Aimee Biel, might fall in with the wrong crowd, Myron gives them his contact information in case either of them feels she needs help. Aimee later calls him in the middle of the night for a lift to a friend's house, on condition that her request remain a secret. When Aimee turns up missing in circumstances mirroring those surrounding another vanished girl, Bolitar himself becomes a suspect in her disappearance and must use his wits and martial arts skills to uncover the truth. Check Our Catalog

Aukse's Pick: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson. A mostly funny, irreverent memoir on the foibles of growing up weird. In blogger Lawson's debut book, "The Bloggess" (thebloggess.com) relies entirely on her life stories to drive an unconventional narrative. While marketed as nonfiction, it's a genre distinction the author employs loosely (a point made clear in the book's subtitle). On the opening page she defends the subtitle, explaining, "The reason this memoir is only mostly true instead of totally true is that I relish not getting sued." Yet Lawson also relishes exaggerative storytelling, spinning yarns of her childhood and early adulthood that seem so unbelievable they could hardly be made up. Check Our Catalog

Jessica's Pick: Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. A raunchy, romantic comedy about art forgery, thievery, and all manner of con-artistry that's as hard to resist as one of Davy Dempsey's cons. Davy comes from a long line of scam artists. He arrives in Columbus, Ohio, to steal back his own money from ex-girl friend Clea, a charmer whose wealthy husbands tend to die under suspicious circumstances. Davy's plan is to go straight once he has the money, but old habits die hard. Check Our Catalog

Lill's Pick: My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline. New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline struck a chord with readers, book clubs, and critics with her smash-hit essay collection, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. This time, Lisa teams up with Daughter Francesca to give their mother-daughter perspective on everything from blind dates to empty calories, as well as life with the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, Mother Mary, who won’t part with her thirty-year-old bra. Three generations of women, triple the laughs—-and the love. Check Our Catalog

Lyn's Pick: Virals by Kathy Reichs. Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot--if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends--they're a pack. They are ViralsCheck Our Catalog

Mary's Pick: The Lion's Paw by Robb White. Sister and brother, Penny and Nick, live in an orphanage on Florida's east coast. The siblings, afraid they will be adopted and separated, run away. They meet an older boy, Ben, whose mother died in childbirth and whose father is missing in action in the South Pacific. Ben lives with Uncle Pete, who wants to sell dad's beloved sailboat. No way, Uncle Pete! After dark Ben sails the boat away and takes along Penny and Nick. The orphanage wants Nick and Penny back. Uncle Pete wants to find his nephew and the sailboat and offers a reward for their return. All manner of strangers, dangerous and mean like the bad preacher in Night of the Hunter, go hunting for the feral children. They endure storms and mosquitoes, snakes and alligators. It's The African Queen set in Florida — for kids. Check Our Catalog 

Michelle's Pick: Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. Heather Wells used to be a teen pop sensation...until her label dropped her for gaining a few extra pounds. Now Heather's walked out on her famous ex, moved in with his brother (but will things stay platonic with Cooper forever?), and found a job in a freshman dorm at New York College...who knew it was nicknamed Death Dorm?  Check Our Catalog

Nicole's Pick: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. In this hilarious, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she's convincing her third-grade class that she has been tapped to play Goldie Hawn's daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations. Check Our Catalog

Rita's Pick: The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. Set in the popular tourist attraction in present-day London, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is an exquisite story of love, loss, and a one-hundred-eighty-one-year-old pet. Balthazar Jones has lived and worked in the Tower of London for the past eight years. Being a Beefeater is no easy job, and when Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie of the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower gets all the more interesting. Penguins escape, giraffes go missing, and the Komodo dragon sends innocent tourists running for their lives. Still, that chaos is nothing compared to what happens when his wife, Hebe, makes a surprise announcement. What’s a Beefeater to do? Check Our Catalog

Terri's Pick: The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. What inspires the yearning for a soul mate? Few writers have explored, as Kidd does, the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about the passions of the spirit and the ecstasies of the body; one that illuminates a woman’s self-awakening with the brilliance and power that only a writer of Kidd’s ability could conjure. Check Our Catalog