Review: Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre

cover for Anton Cancre's poetry collectionMeaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre
Dragon’s Roost Press (October 2020)
114 pages, $9.99 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love, Anton Cancre creates scenes of death and works to capture them in short, poignant poems. Cancre works within various horror tropes but does his best to keep the ideas fresh and visceral for the reader. This is an interesting collection, and while the poetry is inconsistent at times, fans of horror poetry will enjoy perusing it.Continue Reading

Review: Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals by Bitter Karella

cover of Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight PalsSubmitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals by Bitter Karella
Guttersnipe Publishing (2020)
99 pages; $25 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I assume you know about @midnight_pals and The Midnight Society. If you dig horror literature, I don’t know how you could have missed it. You know, THE twitter gathering of great minds from across generations. Where Mary Shelley slaps the soul out of anyone pretending to the throne. That Midnight Society.

If you don’t know it, just look it up. I don’t have the space here and it is worth your time. This is the best literary satire currently going. And it is actually funny.

If you do, then I am sure, like me, you wanted to know why you should buy a book of stuff you can get online for free. But Bitter Karella has some treats in store for you here. Cute drawings that add to the lampooning of your favorite writers? Check. Plus additional faux stories from those authors we all love that really nail the silliness we all look past.

And if you want to find out about new horror talent, this is a surprisingly good place. Amid the gags at King and Barker and Lovecraft, there are pokes at the likes of Mary Sangiovanni (one of the bewb gags had me spitting while I sat on the toilet) and Betty Rocksteady, aka the sneaky snake of Canada that will rock your world.

The only downside is that orders can only be placed through direct contact via twitter at @midnight_pals but it is totally worth it.

Review: A Complex Accident of Life by Jessica McHugh

A Complex Accident of Life: Blackout Poetry Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Jessica McHugh
Apokrupha (June 2020)
104 pages; $18.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Writing poetry is a tough gig. Trying to put together poems from someone else’s words, even tougher. Putting together personal, meaningful poems from someone else’s words and using their location to make for impactful, visually appealing art seems nigh impossible. So, of course the inimitable Jessica McHugh has done just that.Continue Reading

Review: Escape from the Billings Mall: A Select Your Own Timeline Adventure by Chuck Tingle

cover of Escape from the Billings Mall by Chuck TingleEscape from the Billings Mall: A Select Your Own Timeline Adventure by Chuck Tingle
Independently Published (April 2020)
154 pages; $12.66 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Dr. Chuck Tingle tends to be treated as a joke. That guy who writes those silly Pounded books. However, that is only by those who have not bothered to read his work. No one can pull off weird like he can and still hold the humanity of it. Dr. Tingle knows people, hearts and what drives us.Continue Reading

Review: Devil’s Bane: Tales of a Fourth Grade Warrior by Ken MacGregor

cover of Devil's Bane by Ken MacGregorDevil’s Bane: Tales of a Fourth Grade Warrior by Ken MacGregor
Dragon’s Roost Press (May 2020)
160 pages; $8.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I know Ken MacGregor mostly for his harder stuff. That Burnt Fur, Sex and Centipedes stuff. I always liked it. He can be super abrasive, rambunctious, gross and fun while still keeping a fair amount of heart in the ordeal. But a middle grade book? I thought he was joking.Continue Reading

Review: The Films of Uwe Boll, Vol. 1: The Video Game Movies by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

Cover of The FIlms of Uwe Boll Volume OneThe Films of Uwe Boll, Vol. 1: The Video Game Movies by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Moon Books (September 2019)
142 pages; $9.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

You read that right, folks. A book on the films of someone who has been often called one of the worst directors of our times. And it is only Volume One? They are making more? Someone has to watch 11 Uwe Boll films and then watch more of them?

Yup, and that person is Mat Bradley-Tschirgi. May some Being bless him, because this feels like a job of the damned right here.Continue Reading

Review: In Dreams We Rot by Betty Rocksteady

Cover of In Dreams We Rot by Betty RocksteadyIn Dreams We Rot by Betty Rocksteady
Trepidatio Publishing (October 2019)
200 pages; $16.95 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ve made no bones about my absolute adoration of Betty Rocksteady’s work. Her novellas have all kicked me squarely in the heart-booty and the couple of shorter works I have read in anthologies were great. So, I can save you a little time and just tell you to buy her first collection of short fiction, In Dreams We Rot.

Okay. Clearly some of you need convincing. That’s fine.Continue Reading

Review: Rose by Rami Ungar

Rose by Rami Ungar
Castrum Press (June 2019)
166 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ll be honest; I’m particularly conflicted on Rami Ungar’s debut novel, Rose. On one hand, I dig the heck out of the story being told here. On the other hand, there are some severe problems with how it is told that rub me very much the wrong way.Continue Reading

Review: The Place of Broken Things by Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti

The Place of Broken Things by Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2019)
88 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Let’s face it: No matter how little we may want to admit it, we’re all at least a bit broken. Something, somewhere in each of us shattered at some time or another. We’ve all felt displaced, alone, in the face of the feeling. The Place of Broken Things is centered around looking at those broken places both within us and without and about placing them in the world.Continue Reading

Review: Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch
Raw Dog Screaming Press (July 17, 2019)
98 pages; $13.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

This collection opens with a four line poem. A simple, unintimidating sentence:

Demons come in many forms Some with teeth and some with horns But none so vicious as the hordes That came to be when you were born.

Continue Reading

Review: Neon Dies at Dawn by Andersen Prunty

Neon Dies at Dawn by Andersen Prunty
Grindhouse Press (March 2019)
130 pages; $12.95 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I will admit that I was drawn to this book by the cover. That vaporwave, retro ’80s look is all the rage nowadays, and this one surely pops with just the right balance of bright light and dust. I was not prepared for the story inside, though, which is kind of my own fault for thinking I was prepared for anything Prunty writes.Continue Reading

Review: Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning by Michelle Scalise

The cover of Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning by Michelle SclariseDragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning by Michelle Scalise
Lycan Valley Press (May 2019)

56 pages; $15 hardcover; $8.50 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Death may be our most common denominator, but loss is the thing that really connects all of us. While we all die eventually, we don’t usually have much to say about the experience afterwords. But, when someone we care about passes into the dense fog of whatever it is that follows, all of us are left dealing with the absence. That coping is what Dragonfly is about.Continue Reading

Review: Halloween Fiend by CV Hunt

Halloween Fiend by C.V. Hunt
Grindhouse Press (February 2019)

112 pages; $12.95 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

CV Hunt is becoming a legend in extreme circles, but I don’t think she gets nearly the credit she deserves for her ability to work in quieter spaces. Luckily, we have Halloween Fiend, a South of Heaven move to follow the Reign in Blood that was last year’s Cockblock.Continue Reading

Review: Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III

Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III
Cinestate/Fangoria (February 2019)
380 pages; $12.86 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ve dug a few things Max Booth III has put out, especially The Nightly Disease, and am not immune to the warm nostalgia of Fangoria‘s return. Also, werewolves are pretty gosh-darned rad. I guess it isn’t particularly surprising that I was excited about Carnivorous Lunar Activities.Continue Reading

Review: Triple Axe by Scott Cole

Triple Axe by Scott Cole
Grindhouse Press (July 2018)
134 pages; $11.95 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Triple Axe is essentially a murder-revenge story involving the serial murder of porn actresses and the decision of a few to fight back. There isn’t much more to the plot itself than that and you likely already know whether or not you want it.Continue Reading