A Quick Update

So through the rest of the week and over the weekend, you’ll see a number of reviews published on Bookbanter, which is all part of the lead up to Bookbanter’s Top 20 Reads of 2015. I’m moving the big post to Monday morning, so that I can get all the reviews up that are mentioned in that post. This is the first time I’m going to get the “best reads” post up with reviews on every book mentioned, which I’m pretty happy about.

So be ready.

Bookbanter’s Shape of Things to Come

So here’s how the rest of January and some of February is going to play out in all things Bookbanter, since the month is shooting by and we have some important posts to get done. It’s going to be a busy couple of months.

January 19 – Book News

January 21 – Review of 2015 Writing Goals

January 23 – Review: The Sandman: Overture

January 26 – Book News

January 28 – Writing Goals for 2016

January 30 – Review: The Marvels

February 2 – Book News

February 4 – Review: Saturn Run

February 6 – Bookbanter’s Best Books of 2015

At this point Bookbanter will regress to the usual three-post a week schedule with a weekly book news post, 1-2 book review posts a week, along with occasional writing pieces.

In February I’ll also be debuting “King Capsules,” which will be running monthly featuring one-paragraph reviews of various Stephen King books in each “capsule.”

Books Read in 2015

And so we come once again to the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, which means it’s time to look back at what we read in the past twelve months. As a mail carrier, I got to do a lot of driving during the days of 2015 and squeezed in a lot of audiobook reading. My goal for 2015 was to get more nonfiction read, which I did, and to up my books by female authors, which I also managed to do. Unsurprisingly, my ebooks read also went up. Below is a quick tally for these three categories.

Nonfiction: 7

Books by female authors: 12

Ebooks: 14

Books read in 2014 and previous years can be found here.


1 Black House Stephen King & Peter Straub Horror Audiobook
2 Rolling in the Deep Mira Grant Horror
3 The Empty Throne Bernard Cornwell Historical Fiction
4 The Time Traveler’s Almanac Ann VanderMeer Science Fiction Ebook
5 Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen Garth Nix Young Adult Audiobook
6 Symbiont Mira Grant Horror Audiobook
7 Foxglove Summer Ben Aaronovich Fantasy Audiobook
8 Unbound Jim C. Hines Fantasy Audiobook
9 The Sculptor Scott McCloud Graphic Novel
10 Firefight Brandon Sanderson Young Adult Audiobook
11 A Better World Marcus Sakey Science Fiction
12 The Screaming Staircase Jonathan Stroud Young Adult Audiobook
13 Christine Stephen King Horror Audiobook
14 Stranger Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith Young Adult Ebook
15 Nanovision Paul T. Harry Science Fiction Ebook
16 Blood Infernal James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell Thriller Audiobook
17 Trigger Warnings Neil Gaiman Short Stories Audiobook
18 The Living Years Mike Rutherford Autobiography
19 Get in Trouble Kelly Link Short Stories Audiobook
20 Darwinia Robert Charles Wilson Science Fiction Audiobook
21 Blind Lake Robert Charles Wilson Science Fiction Audiobook
22 Saga Volume 4 Brian K. Vaughan Graphic Novel
23 Don’t Look Inside Spike Black Horror Ebook
24 Uprooted Naomi Novik Fantasy
25 Mistborn: Final Empire Brandon Sanderson Fantasy Audiobook
26 Less Than Hero S. G. Browne Fiction
27 A Tiny Tale Olivier Cri to Coeur Fantasy
28 The Well of Ascension Brandon Sanderson Fantasy Audiobook
29 The Fold Peter Clines Science Fiction
30 Working for Bigfoot Jim Butcher Fantasy
31 The Hero of Ages Brandon Sanderson Fantasy Audiobook
32 The Alloy of Law Brandon Sanderson Fantasy Audiobook
33 The Atlantis Deception Nick Thacker Science Fiction Ebook
34 Under the Dome Stephen King Horror Audiobook
35 The Affinities Robert Charles Wilson Science Fiction
36 The Collapse and Recovery of Europe Jack L. Schwartzwald History
37 Flare Jonathan Maas Science Fiction
38 The Stand Stephen King Horror Audiobook
39 Waterloo Bernard Cornwell History
40 The Skystone Jack Whyte Historical Fiction Audiobook
41 Weird Tales Lyn Murray Horror Ebook
42 The Wright Brothers David McCullough Biography Audiobok
43 The Colorado Kid Stephen King Horror Audiobook
44 The Fifth Heart Dan Simmons Thriller
45 Rose Madder Stephen King Horror Audiobook
46 System: With His Face in the Sun Jon A Davidson Science Fiction
47 The Scarlet Gospels Clive Barker Horror
48 The Singing Sword Jack Whyte Historical Fiction Audiobook
49 Waiting for the Machines to Fall Peter Oberg Science Fiction Ebook
50 Finders Keepers Stephen King Horror
51 Four Past Midnight Stephen King Horror Audiobook
52 Seveneves Neal Stepehnson Science Fiction Audiobook
53 The Westing Game Ellen Raskin Young Adult
54 Drunken Fireworks Stephen King Horror Audiobook
55 The Regulators Stephen King Horror Audiobook
56 Fables Vol. 21: Happily Ever After Bill Willingham Graphic Novel
57 James Herriot’s Animal Stories James Herriot Animals
58 Different Seasons Stephen King Horror Audiobook
59 Rage Richard Bachman Horror Audiobook
60 Night Shift Stephen King Horror Audiobook
61 Tin Men Christopher Golden Science Fiction Audiobook
62 The Best Team Money Can Buy Molly Knight Sports
63 The Robusta Incident Jennifer Fales Horror Ebook
64 Aurora Kim Stanley Robinson Science Fiction
65 Throttle Stephen King Horror Audiobook
66 In the Tall Grass Stephen King Horror Audiobook
67 Solaversia Toby Downton Science Fiction
68 Armada Ernest Cline Science Fiction
69 The Green Mile Stephen King Horror Audiobook
70 Duma Key Stephen King Horror Audiobook
71 Fables Vol. 22: Farewell Bill Willingham Graphic Novel
72 Hyperion Dan Simmons Science Fiction Audiobook
73 With the Reading of Vincent Macraven Horror Ebook
74 The Fall of Hyperion Dan Simmons Science Fiction Audiobook
75 Roadwork Richard Bachman Horror Audiobook
76 Neverwhere Neil Gaiman Fantasy
77 The Owl From Oblivion Rusty A. Biesele Fantasy
78 Shadows of Self Brandon Sanderson Fantasy Ebook
79 The Running Man Richard Bachman Horror Audiobook
80 Thinner Richard Bachman Horror Audiobook
81 The Marvels Brian Selznick Young Adult
82 Endymion Dan Simmons Science Fiction Audiobook
83 Siege of Praetar David Kristoph Science Fiction Ebook
84 The Rise of Endymion Dan Simmons Science Fiction Audiobook
85 Misery Stephen King Horror Audiobook
86 The Lost Codex Alan Jacobson Thriller
87 The Horrible Void Between the Trenches Dr. Clifton Wilcox History
88 The Eyes of the Dragon Stephen King Horror Audiobook
89 Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Susanna Clarke Fantasy Audiobook
90 Zodiac Neal Stephenson Thriller Audiobook
91 The Author Facundo Raganato Fiction Ebook
92 A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens Fiction Audiobook
93 Wind/Pinball Haruki Murakami Fiction
94 Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights Salman Rushdie Fantasy
95 The Paris Protection Bryan Devore Thriller Ebook
96 Death Wave Ben Bova Science Fiction
97 Oliver Twist Charles Dickens Fiction Audiobook
98 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving Fiction Audiobook
99 The Halloween Tree Ray Bradbury Kids Audiobook
100 Twelve Creepy Tales Edgar Allan Poe Horror Audiobook
101 Saturn Run John Sandford Science Fiction
102 Great Expectations Charles Dickens Fiction Audiobook
103 A Wild Sheep Chase Haruki Murakami Fiction
104 The Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens Fiction Audiobook
105 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George R. R. Martin Fantasy
106 The Bazaar of Broken Dreams Stephen King Horror
107 The Sandman: Overture Neil Gaiman Graphic Novel
108 Career of Evil Robert Galbraith Thriller Audiobook
109 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Frank L. Baum Holiday
110 The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041 Andrew Blencowe Science Fiction Ebook
111 Dead Ringers Christopher Golden Horror
112 A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens Holiday
113 Cycle of the Werewolf Stephen King Horror Audiobook

Some Free Halloween Audio Tales

It’s been some time since I’ve talked at all about the awesomeness that is LibriVox. Essentially it is an organization of volunteers who record and produce audiobooks of works that are in the public domain and not under copyright. I’ve actually recorded a few myself. I’ve also recently been enjoying some great readings of some of Dickens’ works.

And then I recently thought with Halloween nigh upon us, why not . . . and have since enjoyed some great Halloween-related audio titles that are a blast.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is of course a well-known Halloween classic. And this particular reading is a joyful one to listen to.

What Halloween reading isn’t complete without some tales by the one and only Edgar Allan Poe. This collection, Twelve Creepy Tales, features all the “big ones” from Poe with a great variety of readers and is worth the listen.

And if you’re looking for something else in the horror vein, you can browse through the Horror and Supernatural Fiction Section.

A Free Halloween Fright for You: “Blood is the Life”

Blood is the Life


Alex C. Telander

The boy had not eaten in days. His skin was pale, an indication of his sickness; his eyes were sunken into deep hollows, his cheekbones clearly visible beneath his stretched skin. His hair was thick and black, matted with clumps of dirt. His mouth was practically non-existent, just a thin line scythed into his face. He was just over five feet eight inches tall, though his frame was hunched over, due to his weakness. Each step he took resulted in a streak of white pain that coursed through his body like a bolt of lightning, as he dragged his frail form along. His mind no longer functioned properly, hallucinations appearing before him everywhere: one minute the street was congested with fat, sweaty people, noisy and uncouth; the next, it was entirely deserted, except for the rats that crawled along the gutters, searching for scraps of food.

Then the boy saw the Tall Man, dressed all in black, with a top hat, approaching him. The Man held a cane in hand, swinging by his side, its handle of shiny gold, which reflected the blanched light of the dim streetlights. He slowed down as he came closer to the boy. The boy looked up at the Man’s face and saw him staring right back at him. He was an old man, somewhere in his seventies; there were deep lines etched into his haggard face, but amongst all this tired and used flesh there was anger. The Man’s lips were drawn tight, dimpling his white cheeks in an evil way. The boy looked into the Man’s eyes and gasped at the viciousness within them. They were of no enchanting color, just a cold heartless black, absent of happiness, unable to conceive of compassion or love.

As the Man came closer, he began slowly lifting the cane above his head, his arm quivering because of his crippling arthritis. The air was icy-cool, steam permeating between the Man’s lips as he prepared himself for the beating. Now the boy became scared . . . he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I d-did nothing w-wrong . . . it wasn’t m-me,” the boy cried, shivering with fright and cold; he wore only rags.

“You know it was all your fault, you retched troll!” the Man answered in a low, quiet-but clear voice that pierced the goose-pimpled skin of the boy like hot needles.

The boy began crying, tears streaming down his face, creating canals through the dirt on his cheeks; they never reached his dry mouth, but froze onto his cold flesh. The Man stopped just three feet from the boy. The cane was now high above his head. The boy watched as the Man moved his arm in the first strike.

Just as the cane was about to crunch onto the boy’s head and split his skull open, he screamed.

The apparition disappeared.

The boy looked up . . . the Man was gone. It had all been a hallucination.

The boy continued towing his body along the street. Then he heard the smash of a bottle in the alley to the left of him. He turned and hauled himself into the alleyway. There was an unidentifiable lump on the floor. It grunted at the boy kicked it; it was a useless bum. The boy looked up the alley to the right of him, it was a dead-end; to the left him, from where he’d come, it was silent, gloomy and devoid of life. The boy looked down at the dirty thing. His small hands reached out: one seized the man’s dirty greasy hair, getting a tight grip on the chunks of grime; with his other hand he seized the drunkard’s shoulder, clinging, like an eagle’s sharp talons, digging into the flesh. He pulled the shoulder and head in opposite directions, exposing the supple white throat.

The man began grunting and groaning, wondering what was happening. The boy bent down towards the hobo’s throat; he opened his mouth, brandishing two long sharp pearly-white fangs. The teeth sunk smoothly into the soft pliable flesh; blood dribbled from the two incisions. The boy began sucking noisily, his craving for blood increasing by the second, his sickness being cured, his hunger satiated, his strength regained.

Warmth began returning to his body.

When the boy had finished, he let the body slip to the floor, dead; he stood tall and strong, replenished. A trail of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth, and a long lascivious tongue slithered out and licked it up before it could drip to the floor.

Originally written way back when in 1995.

Some Scary Halloween Reads Featuring Some Reviews and a Free Short Story

To start gearing up for Halloween which is now just around the corner, below are my usual Halloween recommended reads you might want to check out to get some crawling up your spine. Here’s a link to a Halloween story I wrote some years ago, and on Saturday I’ll be putting up another scary short featuring lots of blood, just how you like it.


Neverland I am Not a Serial Killer Feed Horns
Death Troopers
The Strain The Terror The Living Dead
Living Dead 2
World War Z Full Dark No Stars Handling the Undead
Illustrated Man Handling the Undead Handling the UndeadHandling the Undead


Among the Ghosts Coraline The Graveyard Book

Halloween Tree Rot and Ruin