Summer Scares 2019 Resources

Click here to immediately access the Summer Scares FAQ and Resource page so that you can add some professionally vetted horror titles into your reading suggestions and fiction collections for all age levels.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top 10 SF/FSY/Horror from Booklist

Click here for  to read Booklist’s list of the Top 10 reviewed SF/FSY/Horror from the last 12 months.  Remember, since Booklist reviews are geared toward a general public library collection, these titles are excellent choices for your speculative fictions collections.  And, most have a darker bent, so will be of interest to your horror fiction fans specifically.  I have also reposted the text below for ease of use.  Please credit Booklist.

Top 10 SF, Fantasy, and Horror: 2014. 
Hooper, Brad (author). 
FEATURE. First published May 15, 2014 (Booklist).

 Creativity knows no bounds in today’s sf, fantasy, and horror worlds, as attested to in our latest roundup of top 10 novels in those categories, all of which were reviewed in Booklist between May 15, 2013, and May 1, 2014. 

Blood of Tyrants. By Naomi Novik. Del Rey, $26 (9780345522894).
Novik’s re-creation of much of world history based on the existence of intelligent dragons has been so well crafted that all eight books in the series are highly recommended.
The Bone Season. By Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury, $24 (9781620401392).
The first in a series of seven novels, in which we find ourselves in a totalitarian state in England around 2059, is a dazzlingly brainy, witty, and bewitching tale of courage and freedom.
Dark Eden. By Chris Beckett. Broadway, paper, $15 (9780804138680).
In British writer Beckett’s superb novel of speculative fiction, a world called Eden is populated by a mere 532 inhabitants, all descended from two common ancestors who came to the planet 163 years earlier.
The Humans. By Matt Haig. Simon & Schuster, $25 (9781476727912).
In a thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight, an alien comes to Earth from Vonnadoria, an almost incomprehensibly advanced world, both to destroy and collect information.
The Kraken Project. By Douglas Preston, Forge, $26.99 (9780765317698).
The Kraken Project is a NASA initiative to send a probe to Titan, a large moon of Saturn; the author sells his premise by sheer force of will and with compelling characters and persuasive storytelling.
A Man Came out of a Door in the Mountain. By Adrianne Harun. Penguin, paper, $16 (9780670786107).
Teenage Leo and his friends live in an angry, desolate logging town in British Columbia; in mesmerizing prose, the author spins a chilling tale shot through with both aching realism and age-old folktales.
On the Razor’s Edge. By Michael Flynn. Tor, $25.99 (9780765334800).
This magnificent and satisfyingly open-ended conclusion to the tale of the civil war between the Shadows of the Names is a beautifully told story with colorful characters out of the epic tradition.
The Returned. By Jason Mott. Harlequin/MIRA, $24.99 (9780778315339).
All over the globe, the dead are returning to their families, causing massive confusion and a pervasive anxiety that countries will run out of room and the resources to care for the enlarging population; ultimately, this is a beautiful meditation on what it means to be human. The ABC television series Resurrection is based on the novel.
Shaman. By Kim Stanley Robinson. Orbit, $27 (9780316098076).
This novel, featuring spectacular world building, follows the character of Loon from his experience on a late-winter shaman’s journey of skill and endurance to his true manhood.
The Shambling Guide to New York City. By Mur Lafferty. Orbit, paper, $14.99 (9780316221177).

When Zoe takes a job editing a new travel-book series for Underground Publications, she needs to decide whether to get paid in hell notes, blood tokens, occult favors, or regular dollars; obviously, an entertaining urban fantasy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bram Stoker Winners With Sore Loser Comments

Official word from the HWA, at this link and copied below.

But a quick note first... no, more of a question.  Did those who vote actually read the entirety of NOS4A2? Did they read through the Notes on the Type?  Because I dont think they did.  I read Dr. Sleep. I havent written my review yet, and I agree it is very good.  However, the contrast between the absolutely amazing and original ending to NOS4A2 [which does t happen until the very last page with writing on it] with the AA preaching at the end of Dr. Sleep is the clincher for me.

Also, without giving away the ending, Hill had the courage to write a believable ending while King’s has a lot of wish fulfillment.  Too many people come away intact in Dr. Sleep.

I don’t know.  Maybe it is a generational thing.  You can’t go wrong with King’s great novel.  And just for the extra dimension of enjoyment and complexity it adds to the all ready classic, The Shining,   it may be worth the vote for best of the year.  But, I read a lot of books, and I still can’t get the ending of NOS4A2 out of my mind.  I know too many people who stopped reading before they got to that great ending too.  Did the judges read the entire story and still not vote for it, or did they stop before the kick in the gut that is the real end of NOS4A2.  Hmmmm.....

One final note, props to friends of RA for All Joe McKinney and J.G. Faherty on their much deserved wins. Both are great authors, but more importantly, good people.


The winners of the Bram Stoker Awards® for 2013 were announced at the Awards Banquet on May 10, 2014, at the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend and World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. The winners for superior achievement in each of the categories are:

Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (Scribner)
First Novel
Rena Mason – The Evolutionist (Nightscape Press)
Young Adult Novel
Joe McKinney – Dog Days (JournalStone)
Graphic Novel
Caitlin R. Kiernan – Alabaster: Wolves (Dark Horse Comics)
Long Fiction
Gary Braunbeck – “The Great Pity” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)
Short Fiction
David Gerrold – “Night Train to Paris” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan./Feb. 2013)
Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead: “Welcome to the Tombs” (AMC TV)
Eric J. Guignard (editor) – After Death… (Dark Moon Books)
Fiction Collection
Laird Barron – The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories (Night Shade Books)
William F. Nolan – Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (Hippocampus Press)
Poetry Collection
Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, and Linda Addison – Four Elements (Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press)
The following awards were also presented:
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen Jones
R.L. Stine 
The Specialty Press Award
Gray Friar Press
 The Silver Hammer Award (for outstanding service to the Horror Writers Assn.)
Norman Rubenstein
The President’s Richard Laymon Service Award
JG Faherty
Congratulations to all the winners!
----Ron Breznay and Norm Rubenstein
     Co-Chairs, the Bram Stoker Awards Committee

Friday, May 9, 2014

Trends in YA Horror

Kelly over at Stacked has this great snapshot look at YA Horror in 2014 with books that are out now and those coming soon.  From her intro:
Last fall, I wrote about young adult horror for School Library Journalhitting a wide variety of subcategories within the genre, as well as offering up a significant reading list. It's still one of my favorite pieces I've written, and since it came out, I've been thinking a lot more about horror and keeping an eye on what's coming up in the genre. I thought it might be worthwhile to do a roundup of forthcoming 2014 (and a couple of 2015) titles, since I know I've been feeling some of these out in my own reading and for building my own to-read pile. 
One of the trends I'm particularly fascinated with (and love seeing) is how many of these titles are being written by females. It looks like this is a pretty strong year especially for the more literary-leaning horror titles, like AmityFiendish, and The Fall

I know I'm going to miss some stuff, so feel free to chime in with other forthcoming horror titles that should be included. All descriptions come from WorldCat, unless otherwise noted. I've indicated when a title is part of a series, since some of these are sequels or installments on longer-running series. 
Click through to see the full list and her comments. I have an ARC of Amity sitting on my desk at work begging to be read, but other work awaits right now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Halfway to Halloween Reading Ideas

Click here to see my Library Journal column with six titles sure to reacquaint you and your patrons with the pleasure of a great scary read.

I have also added these annotations to the horror review index.

Friday, May 2, 2014

In Memoriam: The Monster Librarian

The following is a repost from The Monster Librarian Blog in appreciation for all he did to promote horror in libraries.

The Original Monster Librarian
Published by Kirsten on April 26th, 2014 - in Uncategorized
In Memoriam: Dylan Kowalewski, The Original Monster Librarian
September 5, 1973-April 17, 2014

Monster Librarian was the idea and passion of Dylan Kowalewski. Dylan, in a typical burst of optimism and energy, with an intense love of horror fiction, started the site at the end of 2005. Where he got the energy and conviction to start it off less than three months after our first child was born, while working full time and attending library school, I do not have the slightest idea. Library school was an eye-opening experience for him, as over and over again he ran into librarians or soon-to-be-librarians who told him they didn’t like horror fiction, didn’t want to read it, and didn’t know what to hand readers who asked for “something like Stephen King.” He was tired of going to bookstores and finding only the same three or four authors in the “horror” section. Anne Rice and Stephen King were just the tip of the iceberg, but you would never know that from looking there.
Dylan himself grew up down the street from a used bookstore called “Granny’s Attic”. Remember used bookstores? I do. The one I frequented at that age was run by a guy with a beard and a very sneaky cat, with shelves of yellow-spined DAW paperbacks. Dylan’s, apparently, was stocked with killer animal (and killer plant) books from the 1970s and 1980s. As we cleared out the bookshelves in his basement study so new carpet could be installed, he let go of a lot of books, but Guy N. Smith’s Crabs books, James Herbert’s The Rats, and many other well-worn paperbacks stayed.
While I’m not actually working in a library anymore, I do have the degree, and I’ve been a children’s librarian in a public library, a school librarian in an elementary school. I’ve also had plenty of anecdotal experiences in which I’ve run into people who were non-readers who became readers when they discovered Stephen King, or Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, or R.L. Stine. I’ve seen all of these attacked by censors and belittled as trash reading or merely a stop on the way to “real” literature.  And I firmly believe that the world becomes a better place when people learn to read and to love reading. Dylan believed that too, and felt that a lot of kids, teens, and adults, were turned off to reading because the people who have the most influence– parents, teachers, and librarians– didn’t see the value of reading horror for pleasure. He always maintained that reading for entertainment is enough reason to read– there doesn’t have to be deeper meaning, and sometimes a tree really is just a tree.
And so he started Monster Librarian, writing short, objective reviews of just a few sentences, almost completely by himself, and publishing them every week, to create a resource for all those people (especially librarians) who told him “I don’t like reading horror, but I need to know about it”. For a long time that’s the only name by which people knew him. At a conference he attended, someone finally took him around and introduced him– “This is Dylan, the Monster Librarian”.  And he’s the only person who, I think, can ever own that title. At one point he worked full time, had a second job in a library, and put in probably the equivalent to a part-time job in time and effort for the site, as well as being a devoted and loving father and husband.
Most of the people who knew Dylan through Monster Librarian knew him mainly online, but both he and I have been lucky to have both authors and reviewers call us friends. This site became what it is because, in spite of his being an intensely private person, his personality and love of the genre and the horror community always shone through. Bret Jordan, Bob Freeman, David Agranoff, Rhonda Rettig (formerly Wilson), Erik Smith, Kelly Fann, Michele Lee, Colleen Wanglund, Darlene Wanglund, Dave Simms, Patricia O. Mathews, Diana Lord, Sheila Shedd, Hannah Kate,  Aaron Fletcher, Julie Adams, and so many more contributed to making this site what it is– a place where parents write to thank us for finding the right book for their reluctant reader, authors contact us to tell us that finding their book reviewed here convinced them to keep writing, small presses and self-publishers get their names out into the mainstream, Midwestern moms confess their love for horror, and librarians discover the gems of the horror genre.
The work of all these people has made the site a success.
But Dylan is the one who made it happen.
And to quote Amy Dalton, his former manager at the Southport Library, “the only thing monstrous about the Monster Librarian was the size of his heart.”

If you have any memories or stories about your friendship or interactions with Dylan that you would like to share, feel free to email me at