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andreya

Andreya's Asylum

Insanity, horror and dark fiction are my catharsis. Brutally honest reviews are on the house.

 

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Review of Subterrestrial by Michael McBride

Subterrestrial - Michael McBride

I was lucky enough to read Subterrestrial when it first came out and got a nice beautiful copy from the Amazon Kindle Scout program. I may be biased but I have to say it's by far the best book I've received from Kindle Scout.

It seems that I don't need to give you a plot summary because most of the reviews I've read have already done that for me. If you liked Burial Ground, you will love Subterrestrial. If you're familiar with his work then you already know that you have picked up something good. That you have found an author who always seems to manage to top himself and not because any of his previous work was less than stellar. If you haven't read McBride, this is a good place to start. If you like intelligent thrillers, Michael McBride is your guy. 

From the author of my favorite book, Condemned, comes another brilliant, fast-paced, expectation-bending suspense. McBride doesn't just throw something at you and expect you to believe it, he will convince you that it does and with research that makes it more than plausible. When you're done reading Subterrestrial I recommend reading Condemned, Sunblind, Snowblind, and pretty much everything else you can find by Michael McBride, your next favorite author. 

 

© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

My Top 10 Books of 2015.

Since everyone else is doing it and I'm a follower, here is my list of top books I read in 2015: 

 

1. Condemned - Michael McBride

 

2. The Shining - Stephen King

 

3.  God's End Trilogy - Michael McBride

 

4. Sour Candy - Kealan Patrick Burke

 

5. A Head Full of Ghosts - Paul Tremblay

 

6. The Intruders - Michael Marshall

 

7. Dead Sea - Tim Curran

 

8. Jack & Jill - Kealan Patrick Burke

 

9. Milk-Blood - Mark Matthews

 

10. The Event - Michael McBride

My Top 10 Books of 2015.

Since everyone else is doing it and I'm a follower, here is my list of top books I read in 2015: 

 

1. Condemned - Michael McBride

 

2. The Shining - Stephen King

 

3.  God's End Trilogy - Michael McBride

 

4. Sour Candy - Kealan Patrick Burke

 

5. A Head Full of Ghosts - Paul Tremblay

 

6. The Intruders - Michael Marshall

 

7. Dead Sea - Tim Curran

 

8. Jack & Jill - Kealan Patrick Burke

 

9. Milk-Blood - Mark Matthews

 

10. The Event - Michael McBride

Review of Michael McBride's Snowblind II: The Killing Grounds

— feeling amazing
Snowblind II: The Killing Grounds - Michael McBride

Snowblind II: The Killing Grounds is the long-awaited (by me) sequel to DarkFuse’s 2012 Book of the Year, Snowblind.

 

As the second storm in a row passes through Wolf Creek Pass, philandering Len Badgett and his current fling are heading back to civilization after their cozy (ski-less) skiing trip in the mountains, when Len hits what appears to be a man standing in the middle of the snow-covered road…

 

Seven years ago John Avery’s girlfriend and four of her friends vanished without a trace during a ski trip in Colorado’s untamed Rocky Mountains. Although Avery has been searching for her since then, it isn’t until his video camera is unearthed that the Sheriff’s office agrees to take another look. With Avery in tow, Archuleta County’s Sheriff Wayne Dayton (the same Sheriff Dayton from Snowblind) attempts to track down the locations seen in the videotape and perhaps squeeze some more information (a confession?) out of Avery.

 

“THEY COME AT NIGHT”

 

When something starts attacking and killing their little search party, it quickly becomes apparent that whatever is hunting them is a lot larger and smarter than they ever could have imagined. As the storm rages on their chance of finding out what happened to Avery’s girlfriend diminishes as rapidly as their chance of survival.

 

Snowblind was excellent. In my opinion, SB2 is better! And for a limited time you can still pre-order a signed/limited hardcover edition from DarkFuse. I have already secured mine. Although this book can stand on its own, I highly recommend reading Snowblind so that you can get the full awesomeness of Michael McBride’s perfect little winter collection.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of The Godgame (#1) by Keith Deininger

The Godgame - Keith Deininger

How do you sum up a world? From our brilliant storyteller, Keith Deininger, we have The Godgame, a full-immersion plunge into a fantastical world known as Meridian. First introduced in the book Shadow Animals ( a personal favorite of mine), we delve straight down the rabbit hole - and we keep on going. Although that is the only Alice in Wonderland comparison I can give you, because this is not your children's bedtime story.

 

The Godgame is partially horror, all fantasy and entirely entertaining. Keith does an excellent job of not only bringing each one of his characters to life but also seamlessly interweaving them into his world. There are no generic personalities here. Every character is entirely original and viewed from Keith Deininger's unique and often quirky perspective. The majority of the story in the Godgame takes place between the city of Talos and the small village of Fallowvane. Talos is the a technologically advanced mecca under the rule of the The Archon and the mystical and violent hallowgeons. Fallowvane is a small farming village inhabited by the Novan's, who for the most part reject the teachings of the Talosians. As rumors of unrest and a war against Nova are spreading, so is the tension between the two and a war, intentional or not, may just be unavoidable.

 

If you enjoyed Shadow Animals, The Godgame will be the icing on your cake. The first in a series of (at least) six books, I am very much looking forward to what Keith has in store for us in the series.

 

I received a free copy of this book in return for my honest opinion and there you have it.

 

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Milk-Blood: A Tale of Urban Horror by Mark Matthews

Milk-Blood - Mark  Matthews, Richard Thomas, Elderlemon Design

"This is how it's going to be."

 

How do you measure horror? It depends on where you're from. For 10 year old Lilly, who has never known anything else, it would probably be measured in the sum of her years. Born in the slums of Detroit, with a defective heart and almost zero chance of survival, the least of Lilly's concerns is the street she lives on. She knows this street and the street knows her... better than she could possibly know.

 

"You do the best with what you got. That's what we do."

 

Life is hard for Lilly's father Zach, who alone takes care of both Lilly and his ailing elderly mother. There's never enough food, never enough money. The welfare and social security checks just aren't enough to feed three bellies and Zach's habits. Zach is no saint, but he's doing the best he can with what he's got.

 

"The bathroom is a slaughterhouse. You need to be careful there."

 

When Lilly's life collides (not-so-accidentally) with Jervis, the schizophrenic who lives in the burned-out house across the street, it unleashes an evil that was never meant to unburied, better known as Lilly's mother.

Who says that the monsters without are scarier than the monsters within? The horrors that await Lilly are nothing compared to her daily struggle just to stay alive. To this imitation of life on a street that bleeds hell. That hemorrhages it. The real horror is not always that which takes away life. It's that endless chasm of a life from which there is no release. From a mental and physical anguish that cannot be extinguished.

 

Milk-Blood just became one of the top books I read this year from an author whose prose I am in love with.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Bad Apples 2: Six Slices of Halloween Horror

Bad Apples 2: Six Slices of Halloween Horror - Kealan Patrick Burke, Evans Light, Jason  Parent, Gregor Xane, Adam   Light, Edward Lorn

Excellent Halloween anthology from some of the nicest guys I know and some stellar authors as well. So I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this simply because because I loved the first Bad Apples so damn much. However, let me just say that the addition of Kealan Patrick Burke more than made up for that.

 

The stories in order of appearance:

 

Halloweekend, Edward Lorn: No comment.

 

Candie Apple by Evans Light: As awesome this year as it was last year. Yes, it's republished, get over it. It rocks. Who knew that bobbing for apples could be dangerous. And for Bob Talley, together forever takes on a whole new meaning. If you hear chanting this Halloween it probably won't be for Bloody Mary...

 

Dia de los Muertos by Jason Parent: It's the day of the dead in Mexico City and for Russell, just another day of the horror he has come to know as his life. A former army soldier, Russell relives his time in Afghanistan incessantly and seems to have brought back more than PTSD with him. Constantly cold and thirsty, will Russell ever find relief? Very poignantly written, we get an up-close look at the death that we so casually and carelessly celebrate.

 

Tommy Rotten by Adam Light: Tommy is lonely. Tommy Rachen is a legend in town but not in any heroic sense. One day Tommy's body was discovered in a pumpkin patch located next to a haunted house on Cypress Lane. Today, just like every Halloween, Tommy hopes for someone to play with.. I have an affinity for haunted houses and have since I can remember. This story is Halloween for me.

 

The One Night of the Year by Kealan Patrick Burke: Caleb is an old man who has been left with nothing but his dog Rufus and his memories of happier times when he had a family instead of simply a dusty old farmhouse. Halloween, the one day of the year that he hopes for/dreads the most. Will they come this year? Does he want them to? What if they don't? So many questions, but alas, Caleb is ready once again... I loved this. A brilliant story from a brilliant writer that I am glad joined the Bad Apples crew.

 

Doctor Proclivity & Professor Propensity by Gregor Xane: First off, I am reviewing this one even there were no goats. NO. GOATS. Kids are going missing and the only common link seems to be a yearly Halloween puppet show that no one seems to know much about. When little Jimmy and his sidekick Uncle Shel go out to investigate, they find themselves in the midst of perhaps the oddest puppet show ever to exist and a whole lot more... I'm not sure what else to say about this weird little story other than to read it. It's Gregor so you know it's good. It's Gregor, so you also know that it's strange and strange he delivers in his little sick puppety story. I, of course, enjoyed this.

 

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Brother by Ania Ahlborn

Brother - Ania Ahlborn

There doesn't seem to be anything (in the horror genre) that Ania can't nail. If you think that a family of serial killers can't possibly be anything but a recycled and regurgitated (ad nauseam) plot line- you're wrong. I will admit that as a lover of Kealan Patrick Burke's novel Kin I was rather skeptical. I had nothing to worry about. Although the stories share that detail, that's pretty much where the similarity ends.

 

I won't rehash the story line because that's probably already been done for you by half a million reviewers by now. I will tell you that it's disturbing in that Silence of the Lambs kind of way. That perhaps if you're the sensitive type, you should consider taking your blood pressure meds before you pick this one up. That, in this sick sad world, Brother wants to be king. It also really makes me glad that I was an only child.

 

You know what it's about (sort of). You know that it's Ania. You know that you want to read it. Perhaps you're on the fence because let's face it, nobody wants to pay $7.99 for an e-book. If that is you, then I highly recommend just buying the paperback because the cover is awesome and it looks so much better in person. Either way, it's worth it. Although I received my free e-ARC from NetGalley/Gallery Books, I also bought the paperback version for my bookshelf. Thank you to Ania for another great read and I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

 

P.S. If you haven't read Seed, The Shuddering, The Bird Eater or The Pretty Ones, rectify that immediately. You'll thank me.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Gilded Needles by Michael McDowell

Gilded Needles (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Christopher Fowler, Michael McDowell, Mike Mignola

Another great read from Michael McDowell. Gilded Needles is set in New York City in the late 1800's. For those who aren't familiar with McDowell's writing, his often formally written prose is laced with both subtle humor and outright wit. Although I felt that a few parts of the book could have been shorter, the story itself is captivating and well-paced.

 

The Stallworth's are a wealthy family living in one of New York's wealthier neighborhoods. The Shanks' are a family of criminals living in the slums of the city in what is known to the affluent as The Black Triangle. Their paths first cross when Judge James Stallworth sentences Black Lena's husband to death, her to jail, and tries to put her children in foster care. In the time after Lena gets out of jail, she manages to put what's left of her family back together. The Stallworth's are just a bitter taste of her past until Duncan Phair (Stallworth's son-in-law) and the local paper, The Tribune, decide to target the Shanks' in their witch hunt of The Black Triangle. The Stallworth family is about to find out the meaning of the paraphrase from William Congreve: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

 

I enjoyed Gilded Needles as much (if not more...) as Katie, the first novel I read by Michael McDowell. McDowell possessed what many modern-day horror writers lack: the ability to write a gut wrenching tale of horror without relying solely on gratuitous gore or recycled plot lines. His stories are original and proof that human beings can be much scarier creatures than the monsters we were taught to fear.

 

I received this e-book from Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review. Although it did not affect my opinion of this book, I give much thanks to Valancourt Books for bringing back such brilliant horror classics as this one and for giving them the attention that they deserve.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Dark Places #79 (More Book Art)

 

If you're a new follower, Dark Places is a long running series that just shows the darker things in life. Book art draw on books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked them check the last post Dark Places 78 (Book Art 1)

 

Review of Winterwood by J.G. Faherty

Winterwood (Childhood Fears) - JG Faherty

4.5 stars, rounded up.

 

Christmas in May? Yes, please. Winterwood will make you glad that it's almost summer and not anywhere near wintertime. Based on Icelandic folklore, this little tale of Yuletide horror is indeed every child's worst nightmare and may just be yours too. Anders grew up in the Black Forest of Germany with not only all of the old tales of the Holly King, Jólaköttur (the Yule cat), and Winterwood, but with the scars to prove that they exist. Now living in America with his less-than-superstitious daughter Anders is chastised for scaring his grandsons as he did Anna all of her life. Christmas is supposed to be fun and magical, filled with Santa and presents and joy... not with scary tales of Yule Lads snatching bad children and baking them into pies. Anna is adamant that her children not be traumatized. At least until they both disappear and Anna ends up in the midst of all of her father's "superstitions" come to life.

 

Whether you read this now or at Christmas, it will have you looking at the holiday in a whole new light and probably with a diminished desire to sit on Santa's lap. This horrific little bit of folklore is another great story by an author who has yet to disappoint me. I enjoyed this one very much.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Vector Borne by Michael McBride

Vector Borne - Michael McBride

For those who love Burial Ground, Vector Borne by Michael McBride is another awesome thriller from one of the horror genre's best authors.

 

12 years ago scientists discover odd humanoid remains in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, that are the first of its kind. 5 years later, very similar remains are discovered in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Three years after that another one is discovered in Guatemala. 5 months ago yet another is discovered in Zambia. What is becoming clear with each find is that "Chaco Man," obviously named after the original discovery, could very well be the next step in human evolution.

 

It's present day and in the Feni Islands, South Pacific Ocean, 52 km East of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, and an earthquake-induced tsunami has devastated the region. A research boat sinks off of the coast and when the rescue team shows up, it's very quickly obvious that this wasn't entirely accidental. Whatever took down the ship is still out there and it's hunting them...

 

I wish that I had half of this man's writing ability. McBride takes you on another adventure in the South Pacific, one that will terrify and enthrall you at the same time.

 

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

Burnt Offerings (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Robert Marasco, Stephen Graham Jones

Burnt Offerings, by Robert Marasco, is far from your typical haunted house story. Ben and Marian Rolfe decide to get away from the city for the summer with their son David and aunt Elizabeth. When Marian finds an ad to rent a mansion in the country for the summer at a reasonable price, it seems too good to be true. Ben is suspicious but Marian, always the optimist, believes that the house is fate—that they are meant to have it, and Marian is unusually insistent upon this. Ben reluctantly agrees to go look at this house they cannot possibly afford, if only to prove his point.

 

The house is everything Marian imagined and more. The Allardyces’, Roz and Brother, however, are beyond strange. And there’s a catch… The house is indeed reasonably priced but comes with the Allardyces’ elderly mother. Their mother who is said to never leave her room and who only needs three meals a day. It’s an odd request but one that Marian doesn’t think unreasonable for the use of such a lavish house to live in for the summer. For the use of a house that is everything she has ever wanted.

 

A classic, slow burning tale of the things that consume us and the things we are willing to sacrifice to have it all. Robert Marasco is a man who knew obsession. He is a man who understood a level of insanity that I sincerely hope never to attain. A well written story with an ending that won’t disappoint, I highly recommend this one.

 

I received this e-book from Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love

Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love - Jason Parent, Evans Light, Gregor Xane, Adam   Light, Edward Lorn, Mike Tenebrae

Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love is from the same awesome guys who brought us Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror; an awesome anthology if you haven't already read it. 

Eleanor, by Jason Parent: When a disfigured baby is dropped at his door, Father Stuart McKenzie doesn't know what to do other than take it in. Figuring it is a sign from God, he raises Eleanor as his daughter but unbeknownst to the rest of his congregation for the fear of the repercussions that would come with anyone seeing her. As much as he loved her, even he couldn't bear to look at her and made her wear a mask to cover her deformities. As Eleanor grows older she starts wanting the only thing that he can't... shouldn't... give her. 

Love Lies in Eyes, by Evans Light: When Nathan meets the girl of his dreams not once but twice, he decides then and there to never let her go. Fortunately for Nathan, Eve wants the same thing and makes him promise to be hers forever. Life is good until Eve starts suffocating him and he has to let her go. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be one of his options...

Panacea, by Adam Light: Rob and Molly have been together since they were young. Still very much in love, Rob is left to face the possibility of life without her as Molly is dying from cancer. But what if there was a cure? A Panacea? Would you not give anything for the one that you loved and would it not be worth it if you could have them for just a little bit longer? 

Cinder Block, by Edward Lorn: Toby's dad is gone and his mother is a whore. When Toby finally finds someone he loves he will do anything to make sure that no one gets between them, no matter what. Love may not last forever but Cinder Blocks do. 

Loving the Goat, by Gregor Xane: Gregor loves his goats and so does Bill Capra, a graphic artist who can't get enough of them. Literally. When Bill finally tracks down the thing he wants most in life, he goes after it with reckless abandon. He will be ridiculed and shunned for his love no more! Right?

Great stories. Great authors. Buy it. Read it. Love it. Just don't let Gregor catch you loving the goats--those are his

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of The Event by Michael McBride

The Event - Michael McBride

A brilliant, hands down 5-star read. Although CONDEMNED is still my favorite by McBride, this one ranks pretty high on my list.

 

"With an expulsion of gas, the screams of the living metamorphose into the screams of the dying." A deadly attack at the New York Stock Exchange perhaps only rivaled by 9/11 is the result of an angsty teenage boy....or is it? Special Agent Renee Lawson has covered several other mass killings in the last 5 years that all seem to be connected. Without any conclusive evidence of who is perpetrating these horrific attacks, Lawton's only hope is catching this someone before they strike again.

 

In a world where mass killings and senseless violence are an every day occurrence, The Event hits home on so many levels. No one is safe and no amount of money can save you...

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Burial Ground by Michael McBride

Burial Ground - Michael McBride

The son of a wealthy treasure hunter (not so ironically named Hunter) turns up dead (murdered) in the Peruvian jungle and the team that accompanied him is still missing. Found in Hunter's backpack is an odd assortment of things that all point to the very real possibility that he had stumbled upon an ancient burial site shortly before his untimely demise. The anguish, drive for revenge, and possibility of undiscovered treasure is more than enough reason for his father, Leo Gearhardt, to assemble his own expedition to re-trace his sons tracks through the Andes Mountains.

 

Unfortunately, Leo isn't he only one who is aware of the contents in Hunter's backpack or the implications that they carry. However, competition for the prospect of treasure may be the least of their concerns. Something is out there. Something that Leo's guides call a demon and that has the capability of obliterating its prey--and it doesn't appear to discriminate as to what that prey is... In one of the few places in the world that has yet to be tamed (and pilfered), the question is whether Leo will find the answers to both his son's death and a lost civilization, or will he and the rest of his team meet the same fate as Hunter in the jungle of Peru?

 

Another great story from Michael McBride. Reminiscent of his book Fearful Symmetry (or is it the other way around?), Mike takes you deep into the unknown and shows you the things you never wanted to know that lurk out there.

 

 

© 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum