Teresa Frohock

Dark fantasy and horror author. I've long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

Half-Sick of Shadows - David  Logan I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could see why it picked up the Terry Pratchett Prize. The prose is quick and clever. This is not a young adult novel, though. The plot takes a very dark turn quite rapidly in the second half of the story, and although the ending initially threw me (not telling, you must read it for yourself), I found that, on reflection, it quite fit the character and the story.I love books that take chances and Half-Sick of Shadows was well worth my time.
The Heir of Night - Helen Lowe The Heir of Night is the first book of the Wall of Night series, which is a more traditional epic fantasy (think Brooks, not Abercrombie), a sub-genre that I don't normally gravitate toward; however, I wanted to challenge my reading habits in 2013 and try new novels and new authors. I never know when a novel will introduce me to a new way of thinking or bring me back to a sub-genre that I drifted away from, such as the more traditional epic fantasies that I enjoyed so much when I was younger.In The Heir of Night, Lowe tweaks the old tropes by giving us a female protagonist, Malian, a precocious young woman who finds that there is much more to being a hero than she first imagined. What interested me was how Lowe deviated from the traditional third worlds of epic fantasy with her backstory of the Darkswarm and the Derai.The Darkswarm and the Derai move across space to fight through the centuries on different worlds, a storyline that gives Heir of Night a science fictional spin. Lowe utilizes necromancy and other dark arts to give the novel the right touch of dread for epic fantasy fans--not so much as to qualify for horror, but just enough to send a shiver down your spine.Lowe keeps a firm grip on her world and her magic systems to deliver a well written, well told story, and I can think of no greater compliment to give to another writer. If you enjoy Tad Williams, David Eddings, and Terry Brooks, then you will definitely enjoy Lowe's Wall of Night series.
Joyland - Stephen King Nice tight little tale that I read in two evenings. Not one of King's more complex works, but definitely enjoyable with lovely characters and a twist at the end.
The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves One of the most beautiful novels I've ever read.
The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel - Carlos Ruiz Zafon I'm trying to remember the last time I read a novel that moved me so deeply.

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita - This is the most enchanting tale that I have read in years. I love it. I'll be purchasing my own copy so I can reread it. If you love fantasy, you should definitely read this book.

Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire 1)

Prince of Thorns - Mark  Lawrence Nothing, NOTHING piques my interest more than a novel that causes other reviewers to either love or condemn a story. When I see such vacillation, I know I have to read it so that I can decide for myself. And so I did. Mark Lawrence tells the story of Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, a young man who was once a privileged royal child. At the age of nine, Jorg witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and younger brother. By the time Jorg turns thirteen, he leads a gang of outlaws with the sole objective to extract revenge against the Count of Renar, the man who ordered his mother’s death. Jorg has nurtured his rage and tends it like a dark garden in his heart. He seeks vengence and his days with his outlaw brothers have taught him the brutality he needs to achieve his goal. There is only one thing that frightens Jorg and that is returning to his father’s castle where he must confront the horrors from his childhood and win his place as the true prince of Ancrath. Lawrence gives us a broken empire in chaos where violence is rampant, but it is our world, easily recognizable. The novel is told entirely from Jorg’s point of view, and Lawrence handles Jorg’s character with the right amount of verve and pathos thrust in equal measure to keep the reader engaged. Just when Jorg’s violence becomes extreme, Lawrence slows the pace and gives the reader a clear-eyed view into the heart of a child who has known nothing but grief. Only the coldest soul could not see the armor Jorg has placed around himself, caustic wit shields his fear and he buries his sorrow beneath rage. He is a young man who tries to scald love from his heart and he often succeeds. Yet no man is ever completely untouched by those around him, and Jorg is no different. Jorg is a complex character in a world both familiar and strange, and though the Broken Empire is seen entirely through Jorg’s eyes, the other characters are just as intricate as Jorg himself. Lawrence’s pacing is exquisite and he exhibits a penchant for horror with several well crafted scenes. It is a dark tale well told, you’ll be up into the wee hours as you follow Jorg and his brothers down their bloodied path.

Gormenghast Novels: Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone

The Gormenghast Novels - Quentin Crisp, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake Robert Dunbar recommended this book to me and from what I've read of the first few pages, I can see why. It's lovely.I purchased the edition that contained all three books in the series.It is a very large book with tiny print.This might take a while.
Life - Keith Richards, James Fox I know he upset poor Mick, but this book is wonderful. I just feel like he's right beside me, telling me all the great stories about his life and the early days of rock 'n roll.
Occultation and Other Stories - Laird Barron One of the creepiest, most excellent collection of horror short-stories that I've read in years. I have to say that "Strappado" was my favorite. Loved it and will read it again.
The Art of Blacksmithing - Alex W. Bealer I'm not kidding, I'm reading this book and really enjoying it. Excellent history of the blacksmith and technical details on making everything from everyday items to weapons. The best part is that it is well written and entertaining too.

The Whitefire Crossing

The Whitefire Crossing - Courtney Schafer First of all, I enjoyed this novel. I wouldn’t be writing like this if I didn’t. I mean, I really, really had a good time reading it, and hey, isn’t that what it’s all about?So what can you expect from Schafer’s debut? I know we all like to pigeon-hole books into categories. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just so we can have some kind of idea of what to expect. I think the best way to describe The Whitefire Crossing is to use Schafer’s label of an “adventure fantasy.” With a heavy emphasis on adventure.I’m not going to rehash the blurb. You’re smart. You read it before you ever scrolled down to the reviews and if you didn’t, go read the blurb and come back. Otherwise, I’m going to talk to you like one fantasy reader to another.I quit reading epic fantasy for a long time, mainly because the emphasis was on epic and the reader could have inserted cardboard standouts for the characters. Schafer brings in wonderful, full dimensional characters without missing a beat on the adventure side of the story. I was pulling for Dev and Kiran from page one.Dev is a smuggler, who was abandoned to the streets as a child, and Schafer hits the right note with Dev’s adult character and his myriad trust issues. Kiran, a mage of great power, was also abandoned, but he had the advantage of being taken into a structured home. The two characters counterbalance one another beautifully and Schafer leads them to trust one another with skill.Schafer creates a believable world full of magic and danger. I especially liked the tension between the two rival countries of Ninavel and Alathia. The delicate balance between Ninavel and Alathia mirrored the complex relationship between Dev and Kiran throughout the novel.It was just a wonderful read and I’m looking forward to the next book in her Shattered Sigil series, The Tainted City. I think you will be too.
The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula - Eric Nuzum

In his “Ridiculously Unnecessary Author’s Note,” Eric Nuzum makes sure the reader understands that although the events are real, some scenes are composite scenes; however, these composites do not change the basic facts. He also changes the names of real people and alters a few facts about these people so they won’t be embarrassed. Nuzum does make it perfectly clear that:


"This is not a James Frey thing, I do not claim to have spent time in jail, saved drowning kittens, prevented a revolution, or whatever.It is what it is."


The Dead Travel Fast simply is one of the most refreshing and hilarious books on vampires and vampire lore that I’ve read in some time. What began as a desire to write a history of the vampire soon turns into a quest to experience the vampire in all its cultural forms. Nuzum examines the vampire movement from top to bottom, juxtaposing fact with humor to look at why we are so fascinated by the vampire.Nuzum informs the reader of the making of the novel Dracula and intersperses history with one of the most entertaining travelogues I’ve read in years. If you read nothing else, you must read the chapter entitled “I Don’t Believe in God: The Crucifix is to Keep Away Vampires” where the author travels to the land of the vampire and along the way deals with dog attacks, floods, possible amputation, and running out of hand sanitizer. Nuzum goes to Transylvania on a Dracula-themed tour with some unpredictable results.It’s not all fun and games; Nuzum knows when to get serious as he chronicles vampire-themed murders across the globe. As the outsider looking in, he assesses the Goths who feel empowered by the vampire lifestyle they seek to emulate. Nuzum attends Goth clubs, Buffy the Vampire marathons, and haunted houses in his quest for what it means to be a vampire.Check out the undead and the company they keep.

Willy - Robert Dunbar Willy begins with the arrival of an unnamed adolescent at his next stop in the institutional cycle, a school for boys with emotional problems. His last doctor has suggested that he keep a diary, and so begins the story of a withdrawn child shuttled to a school that is so decrepit it barely functions. There he meets his new roommate, a boy named Willy, whose charisma draws the other young men to him.Within the first few pages, Robert Dunbar thoroughly places you in the young diarist’s head, and it is heartbreaking to read the thoughts of a child with such low self-esteem. No one encourages him or attempts to draw him from his shell, except for the principal of the school and eventually Willy.With the arrival of Willy, the diarist begins a subtle transformation that Dunbar communicates with eloquent prose. I was reminded of Flowers for Algernon as I read the diarist’s words grow from those of an isolated child to become the thoughts of a young man. Yet Dunbar doesn’t overreach by creating an adult clothed in an adolescent’s body; he stays true to the diarist’s character and he shows us how love can transform and damn a soul.This is the kind of novel that makes me yearn for a book club that discussed superior dark fiction. With Willy, the reader gets the best of both worlds–an excellent story for the casual reader, but if you’re like me and like to look a little closer, Willy is a tale of depth both in terms of story and characterization.This is Robert Dunbar’s finest novel to date and certainly my favorite.
Sweetie - Kathryn Magendie Shy, stuttering Melissa meets the wild Sweetie in school, and the two girls fast become friends. Sweetie's wild ways infuse Melissa with confidence, but not everyone is enchanted with Sweetie. Set in an Appalachian town in the 1970s, others see Sweetie as an outcast.Magendie has written a beautiful novel of friendship that should appeal to readers of all ages. Melissa is the soul of reason and Sweetie is the wild wind from the mountain. Magendie takes the reader into their lives with her poetic prose. She captures what it means to live in a rural North Carolina town in the 1970s as she takes on prejudices and bullies. She also shows you the lives of two beautiful girls, who are as different as night and day.A good story well told.

Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King Four wonderful stories to slip into and enjoy. A friend on Twitter mentioned that King has a way of telling a story that makes it feel like he's sitting right next to you with his hand on your arm. She is right.I also enjoyed his afterword where he talks about storytelling.

Currently reading

The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329
René Weis