Written by Paula Limbaugh
Looking back at 2016 we see that it has been an eventful year for many reasons, we lost so many celebrities, authors, musicians, and friends. We have had dramatic changes in government not only here in the States but also across the world. And yet, despite the bad, the disappointments, we sally on and continue to be amazed at the books we read, the movies we see, and the good that can be found if we only look. For as a species are we, not survivors?
To lighten the mood, I thought I would look back at reviews I have written for books published in 2016 and share a few of my favorite reads. Listed in no particular order these are some of the books that have stayed with me.
Have you ever driven around the city, just to browse through different neighborhoods? Sometimes you glance at these old buildings and have to wonder, who lives there, what do they do? Are their lives like mine, or is there something else hidden behind the façade?
Jonathan Winn has given us a glimpse into one such building, set on Eidolon Avenue, we are introduced to the residents of the first floor. Each reliving a past that is better forgotten. With explicit detail, we are brought into their lives, to get a taste of living on Eidolon Avenue.
Telling a short story is an art form. One has only so many words in which to plot out his story, flesh out his characters, and bring everything together to form a cohesive tale. I think Taylor Grant has truly nailed this. Each story here is worthy of reading.
There is quite an eclectic collection to be found here. Although they are horror stories, there is something to be learned. A study in humanity if you will, but with only the dark side showing through once the veneer has been pulled away. Entertaining and frightening at the same time.
Every so often, something comes along that just hits you in such a powerful, deep way that you just have to step back and give yourself time to digest it. That’s what Tim Waggoner’s novella, The Winter Box did for me. Tim masterfully relates a story of love and loss, and the haunting reminders of what is left when we think there is nothing left to salvage.
This is a wonderfully told story of growing up, facing one’s fears, and taking that first step into adulthood. Its dark subject matter is balanced with the authenticity of Denny’s character. You want everything to go in his favor, you want him to come out stronger for his actions, you can’t help but cheer him on! Like a story plucked from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, it is one that will be remembered long after you’re done reading.
You know, it’s said that after the body dies the soul lives on and I think that’s true. I think we all leave a little essence of ourselves behind. James Everington gives us a story of such in Paupers’ Graves. History has a way of rewriting itself, but can one truly ignore the facts or forget they happened? Here we find the souls of the past bringing forth their lives to those in the present.
Every once, in a while, you read a book that just floors you. The story so strong that you know emotionally it will be with you for a long time. These books are those rare gems that make you wonder how much of the author’s soul was put into that story, what price did they pay to bare such raw feelings?
Whoa!! Talk about a powerful read, Mark Matthews has given us a horror story steeped in reality. We all have heard the horrors of addiction and perhaps some of us have even dealt with such a curse, but to have it thrown in our face so brutally such as Mark has done is really terrifying. Mark knows of what he writes about, he has worked in the mental health and substance abuse field for over 20 years and so he is able to relay emotions so heart wrenchingly real.
The story opens simply enough we are given a detailed tour of a home. A beautiful home with a lovely family dwelling within. Little do they know that their world is about to be shattered. A stellar creepy, over the top, read that I just had to finish in one day… I wanted to know what would happen next!!
Jasper Bark never fails to astound me. The Final Cut is an amazing story filled with graphic detail that may cause one to cringe, so be forewarned this is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps you wonder why does Jasper need to add such vivid descriptions, well… if he didn’t do you really have the life experiences to imagine such scenes?
Wow, that’s all I can say. What a creepy read! Mark West has managed to deftly engulf us in a shadow of doom. One by one his characters are faced with psychological terror that has you imagining the same happening to you. No monster needed to give you a scare, just your own wild imagination, or… is there something to it?
Well, there you have it, my picks for 2016. If you haven’t read any of these yet, I do hope I have piqued your interest enough that you will check out some of these most excellent reads. Wishing you all a happy ending to 2016 and a great start for the new year, cheers!