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Horror Made’s Top 13 Reads of 2015

top 13 of 2015 thumb3This year I read 85 books. So, I barreled on past my personal goal of 1 book per week! Whoot!! So, out of those 85 books, I’ve picked my

Top 13 Horror Reads of 2015

Now, to be on this list I had to have read the book for the 1st time this year.  This list will include comics, anthologies and novels.

A good chunk of these have reviews posted here on Horror Made, but some were reviewed on Haunting TV and others I just read and enjoyed without posting a review at all. So a few might surprise you.

Here we go:

13) Special Levels of Earthly Hell

Special Levels of Earthly hellAuthor: Merry Freer

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Paranormal, Occult, Horror, True Crime/True Story

About:

Drew Collins has to fight off an evil energy that has begun to posses his wife before it destroys their family. But how do you fight a demon without a religious context?

Why this Book Stands Out: 

This book is not a what I would call a crowd pleaser. It is dark and deals with the paranormal in a very realistic way. In some ways, too realistic.

The story meanders with each of the family members as evil simmers below the surface.

However, what set this book on the list is that it will make you think critically about the world we live in. It questions your ideas on family, religion, immigration, pride, love, and the fickleness of memory.

If you want a book that will move you. Special Levels of Earthly Hell will do that.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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12) Horns

horns3Author: Joe Hill

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Murder Mystery

About:  After a night of heavy drinking and blasphemy,  Ignatius Perrish woke up with a serious hangover… and a pair of horns growing out of his head.

With these new horns came new powers which gave him the push he needed to find and punish the person who brutally murdered Merrin, the love of his life.

Why this Book Stands Out:

I read the book very early on in the year and it has remained in the back of my thoughts ever sense.

Why?

Because, despite the glossy sheen of it’s modern setting and it’s humorous moments, it feels like a classic tragedy. Love and friendship, and guilt all boil together to make a world where revenge is the blood pumping through the heart of this story.

Initial Reaction ∇ Amazon

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11) Courting the King in Yellow

courtingthekinginyellowAuthor: Brian LeTendre 

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Lovecraftian Horror, Thriller

About:

“When Melotte Pharmaceutical moved into the struggling city of Springfield, residents saw it as a godsend.

But while the city’s fortunes appear to be turning around, something sinister is brewing within its homeless population.

Four newfound friends stumble onto a horrific plan for the city, and their lives will never be the same again. Because on Halloween night, a new horror will be coming to Springfield, and they are the only ones who can stop it.” [amazon.com]

Courting the King in Yellow

Why this Book Stands Out:

It’s a fast read, but one that will leave you breathless and wanting more of this world by the end.

This book reads like an action movie and captivates with Lovecraftian mystique, without getting lost in the swirling vocabulary one often finds while reading Lovecraft himself.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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10) Everything Here is a Nightmare

EHIAN-Front-Cover-6-x-9-v3Author: Nelson W. Plyes

Book Type: Anthology Novel

Genre: Horror, Short Stories

About:

A collection of short horror stories that explore worlds where reality twists beyond what it should be.

Why this Book Stands Out:

 

This is an anthology that totally kicks butt.

The stories in this collections don’t always tie together, but each one stands strong all on it’s own.

Out of all the stories in this book, it’s the Lighthouse story that continues to play around in my memory. It’s blend of different cultures and languages took a fairly familiar story and warped it into a whole new experience.

That’s what this collection does best. Taking something you’re comfortable with, and giving it an unexpected bite.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

hm book review EHiaN

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9) Chew

chewAuthor: John Layman   ∇   Illustrator: Rob Guillory

Book Type: Graphic Novel

Genre: Detective, Horror, Black Humor

About:

“Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats.

“It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why.

“He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. – Collects CHEW #1-5. “[Amazon]

chewcomicreviewheader

Why this Graphic Novel Stands Out:

It was the gross-out humor mixed with action and stunning artwork that made this comic stand out this year. I love the CSI flair with the Noir detective flavor that this playfully demented story takes place in.

I only read volume 1 this year, but I have volume 2 sitting on my shelf, taunting and begging me to return to it’s world.

Soon precious, I’ll return soon.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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8) Metatropolis – The Dawn of Uncivilization

metatropolisAuthors: Jake Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder

Narrators: Micheal Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, Alessandro Juliani, Stefan Rudnicki

Book Type: Audio Anthology Book

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction

About:

metatropolisalt

UK Cover Art

“A strange man comes to an even stranger encampment…a bouncer becomes the linchpin of an unexpected urban movement…a courier on the run has to decide who to trust in a dangerous city…a slacker in a ‘zero-footprint’ town gets a most unusual new job…and a weapons investigator uses his skills to discover a metropolis hidden right in front of his eyes.

 

“Welcome to the future of cities. Welcome to Metropolis.

“More than an anthology, “Metropolis” is the brainchild of five of science fiction’s hottest writers […] who combined their talents to build a new urban future, and then wrote their own stories in this collectively-constructed world. The results are individual glimpses of a shared vision, and a reading experience unlike any you’ve had before.” [Amazon http://goo.gl/8oxD3m]

Why this Book Stands Out:

4641402645_06399fcccf

German Cover Art

I’m a sucker for Dystopian literature. So when I saw this audiobook I was already hooked.

But in listening to the stories I was transported to a world not too far off from the one we live in. Seeing the bubbles of America’s hypothetical future entranced me. And each of the five stories were so strong on their own that I felt like I was listening to a full series of books rather than an anthology of short stories.

This book runs the gamut from thrilling to suspenseful to laugh-out-loud-hilarious at times.

It’s something I think anyone with even the slightest affinity for Sci-Fi will enjoy.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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7) The Skull Collector

Author: Paris SingerSkull Collector Front Cover

Book Type: Novel

Genre: YA, Horror, Fantasy

About:

In a world where morals are meaningless and dark magic runs rampant, a little girl goes to harrowing lengths to be reconnected with her loved ones.

She finds hope in the macabre doll maker who promises to fulfill her wish as long as she collects enough skulls for him from surrounding cemeteries, but many perilous obstacles stand in her way.

above

Why this Book Stands Out:

This book is a beautiful YA gothic novel. It feels like a bedtime story with some meat on it’s bones.

By that, I mean, even though the story has a bit of a Grimm’s Fairytales vibe, it is a bit grander than those from the Brother’s Grimm.

I find the melancholy gloom of this story and the main character’s determination inspiring. And it’s a world I plan to visit again and again.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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6) Hand over the Candle

HAND-OVER-CANDLE-POSTER-E-BOOK-AUDIO-BOOK-GRAPHICAuthor: Richard Ainsworth

Book Type: Audio Book and Novel

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Occult

About:

A young book dealer named Malcolm wakes up hungover in the bathroom of the town church and realizes he’s unleashed something far worse and far more supernatural than the communion wine he stole.

It’s up to him and his odd team of friends to send the thing back down to the underworld where it came from, before things get too out of hand.

1920-1080-MISLEADING

Why this Book Stands Out:

If you like the quirky occult and Lovecraftian weirdness of Welcome to Night Vale, then you’ll feel right at home in Widdowshins.

The characters are fun and memorable and the whirling pace of the action sequences are vibrantly exciting.

It’s funny, fun, and it’s an addicting slice of a bigger world to come. (I just started reading book 2 in the series!) 

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

 

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5) Pretty Deadly

PrettyDeadly_Vol1-1_362_556_s_c1Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick   ∇   Illustrators: Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles

Book Type: Graphic Novel

Genre: Western, Horror, Fantasy

About:

“Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. [imagecomics.com]

Why this Graphic Novel Stands Out:

It’s gorgeous, unique, and tells a gripping and brutal story under the guise of a folktale. With all of the subtle layers of details masterfully worked into the story, you’ll be able to read this book again and again and still get something new out of it every time.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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4) Demons Dolls and Milkshakes

demons dolls and milkshakesAuthor: Nelson W. Plyes

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Horror, Occult, Adventure

About:

After collecting the necessities needed to survive the encroaching snowstorm (cigarettes, a milkshake, horror movies) Kat Dougherty came face to face with a demon trapped in a tiny ugly doll, who demands her help.

Unfazed by this demon, Kat tells him to convince her to help him. So we get the whole sordid story from necromancy, to zombies, to an epic journey while being chased by even nastier demons.

demons dolls and milkshakes header

Why this Book Stands Out:

You just can’t beat Plyes’ streak of black humor that takes this raucous, gory and irreverent adventure to a whole other level.

The cast of characters is fairly large, but each one gets enough attention for you to understand and appreciate their side of the story. It’s such a vivid world and I think everyone (with a bit of a twisted sense of humor) will relish reading this book.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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3) A Penny Down the Well

pennyAuthor: J.A. Crook

Book Type: Anthology Novel

Genre: Horror, Short Stories

About:

A Penny Down the Well is a collection of 5 horrifying short stories “focused on turning events that we experience in our everyday lives into something dramatically more twisted and profound.” (Crook Loc 46).

Why this Book Stands Out:

This book takes anthology horror  to a whole new level.

Each story is so well fleshed out that it feels like a stand-alone novel.

For anyone who loves Neil Gaiman’s fantastical realism and Stephen King’s IT, this is a book to add to your collection.

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

 

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2) The Graveyard Book

TheGraveyardBook_HardcoverAuthor: Neil Gaiman

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Adventure

About:

“Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he’s the only living resident of a graveyard.

Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.

“Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?” [Amazon]

Why this Book Stands Out:

I’ve come into Neil Gaiman’s work by way of the Sandman graphic novels and American Gods. I’ve loved everything of his I’ve ever gotten my hands on and The Graveyard Book was no different.

The characters, particularly Bod, are so vivid that reading this book is like living with them for a little while.

I love the gloomy grandeur Bod exists in and how his choices cause his stagnant life to ripple and change as he ends up on bigger and more dangerous adventures.

It’s an epic tale that Horror, Fantasy, and Gaiman enthusiasts of any age will enjoy.

Thank you to Dan Foytik for recommending I read this! ∇ Amazon

 

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1) Braineater Jones

braineaterjonesAuthorStephen Kozeniewski

Book Type: Novel

Genre: Noir Detective, Horror, Zombie

About:

After waking up dead (dead dead). Braineater Jones ends up on a mission to figure out who snuffed him out, and how to adapt to his new existence in un-life.

His journey introduces you to Lazar, who takes Braineater Jones under his wing and introduces him to how things work for the undead of Chicago. His first lesson is that zombies need booze to slow their brains from rotting to the point of turning breather-eater.

Braineater Jones eventually becomes the zombie slum’s local private eye and after solving a few cases he finds himself on the trail of his own murderer and other nefarious schemes happening in his city.

Why this Book Stands Above the Rest:

top13of2015LONGThere are a lot of zombie novels out there, but nothing quite like Braineater Jones.

It’s a fun read with all the gore and violence a zombie novel needs set in the vivid alternate reality of prohibition era Chicago. Mobs, the drunken private eye and a twisted, excited mystery is was makes this book so addictive.

It is certainly written for mature audiences with a strong stomach however.

So you’ve been warned.

There are some really mature and equally gross scenes mixed into the story. But they’re placed with purpose so it never comes off as gratuitous.

The Pulp part of this book isn’t the only enjoyable element however. This book is also a cleverly subtle conversation about  racism, classism, and our fear of death.

If I could only recommend 1 book for your reading pleasure based on 2015, Braineater Jones is the one.

Unless, of course, you are a younger reader or someone who does not thrive on gore.

If that’s the case, then refer back to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. 😉

Initial Review ∇ Amazon

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Whoo! Thank you so much for reading, and if there are books that were at the top of your list this year, let me know! I’ll add it to my “Read It” list for 2016.

Have a good one!!

 

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11 thoughts on “Horror Made’s Top 13 Reads of 2015

  1. Pingback: What might our soul experience after we die? | Horror Made

  2. Pingback: Sex, zombies, and pee. | Horror Made

  3. Pingback: AWRW Book Review ★ Braineater Jones ★ by Author Stephen Kozeniewski @OutFortune @RAPublishing | A Well Read Woman

  4. I’m thrilled! Thanks sooooooooo much for even considering our dear old little village for your enjoyment! Happy and prosperous 2016 dears! Love and Blessings Richard

    Richard Bardsley Creative Head @ Kubek Design Consultancy Office: +44 (0) 120 445 88 02 Mob: +44 (0) 793 915 95 84 richard@kubek.net

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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