Category Archives: Reviews

Recommendation: Marlena, by Julie Buntin

I just finished reading Julie Buntin’s Marlena.

The novel tells the story of Cat and a dark bond she shared with her friend, Marlena, when they were high schoolers in Minnesota. As an adult living a swank life in New York City, Cat thinks she’s left it all behind—until one day, someone from their shared past asks to meet. As those unsettling months resurface, Cat learns that, thankfully, it really is true that you can’t go home again—but sometimes, just remembering is bad enough.

Oddly, the reason I found this book was because I was working on a short story, and I needed a novel that my main character could read that would contribute to my piece’s single effect. My plan was just to grab a title that’d make sense, but I popped open the Amazon preview and was sucked right in (I know this book has been listed for prizes and has also been named Book of the Year in several media outlets, but honestly, I don’t go by that. Suck me in and keep me there. That’s the only thing, for me, that counts).

Marlena flows Read the rest of this entry

DARK DISCUSSIONS turns 10! We visit ALIENS …

Dark Discussions -- Aliens Mast_Episode479

Dark Discussions, the horror film discussions podcast, turned ten years old last month!

For our big episodes, we usually talk about a “tent pole” film, asking our listeners to vote for a title they’d like us to cover—this time around, it was 1986’s Aliens.

I came to the Alien franchise later in life, as I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies when I was a kid (even though I did sneak in a few here and there at my grandmother’s house, because no one was paying attention). While I enjoyed Alien—which I saw in my twenties—I really liked this sequel better. Wonderful allusions, a solid story, a slight shade of a burgeoning romance, an oppressive atmosphere, a James Horner score, a really young Bill Paxton and a gorgeous rendering of an abandoned station—this one rung all my bells.

To listen to our discussion, visit here: https://www.darkdiscussions.com/podcasts/dark-discussions-podcast/dark-discussions-podcast-episode-479-10th-year-anniversary-aliens-1986/

Fan of alien films? Also on that page is a listing of all of the other Alien and extraterrestrial films we’ve covered thus far.

 

CEMETERY DANCE lauds WICKED WOMEN; “Arbor Day” gets a shout-out!

Cemetery Dance Logo

Cemetery Dance’s stellar review of the most recent NEHW anthology, Wicked Women, included a shout-out to my short story “Arbor Day.”

You can read the full review here: https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/review-wicked-women/

If you’ve not picked up Wicked Women, you’re missing out! There’s fantastic fiction by 21 talented women, including Hillary Monahan and Jane Yolen, and Patricia Gomes’ poem “Tree Limbs Block the Road” was nominated for a Rhysling award by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. Now’s the time! You can get your copy here: https://bit.ly/WWArborDay

Wicked Women Anthology Cover

Recommendation: DOLL CRIMES, by Karen Runge

Cover of Doll Crimes by Karen Runge (Crystal Lake Publishing)

If you’ve read my novel Bad Apple and enjoyed it, then don’t miss out on Karen Runge’s Doll Crimes.

This is a gorgeously written, terrifying examination of the complicated mother-daughter relationship; how they love and respect each other despite flaws; how they can damage each other no matter the depth of that love. This is real-life horror that reaches into the very bones of any woman who has loved her mother or daughter despite emotional crimes, big or small. Rife with sharp, stunning details and strong internal narrative, it’s possibly one of the most moving, visually beautiful–and yet accessible–books I’ve ever read, fraught with tension, sadness–and a strange kind of joy, because no matter where we are in our relationships with our mothers or daughters, their men, and the people who have done them wrong, we know that we are not alone. If you love dark fiction and are a mother, daughter, or both; or, if you have struggled with that emotionally fragile, yet seemingly unbreakable, bond between you, then this book is for you. High recommend.

Doll Crimes is published by Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s available everywhere, but here’s the Amazon link for ease: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1646693140/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_aRO5DbJF27VPK

Still haven’t read my book Bad Apple? You can get it here: http://bit.ly/BadAppleKPS

Mom and I 1978 -- 2019

My mother (left) and I didn’t have the easiest relationship. She died when she was 39 and I was 15. DOLL CRIMES really spoke to me.

A review of the novel COLD SKIN, by Albert Sánchez Piñol

Cold Skin Movie Shot

David Oakes (Friend) catches a first glimpse of what’s to be his Antarctic island home for a year in the 2018 film, COLD SKIN.

I first learned of Cold Skin when Dark Discussions watched and reviewed the 2018 film last November. When the film was released, most reviewers went on about how it was a “twist” on The Shape of Water. If they’d bothered to look a little deeper, they would’ve realized that it was based on a book of the same title by Albert Sánchez Piñol—and it was published in 2002.

Cold Skin is an Read the rest of this entry

DARK DISCUSSIONS doubles down on Shudder’s exclusive THE RANGER

Dark Discussions shares its thoughts on what it thought of Shudder’s exclusive The Ranger—and then got a chance to interview Jeremy Holm (The Ranger) himself! You can listen to both episodes on Stitcher and ITunes, and at the following links:

The Ranger: Review http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_389.html

The Ranger: Interview with Jeremy Holm http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_390.html

 

DARK DISCUSSIONS enjoys ONCE UPON A TIME … at the annual Mystic Meetup!

Dark Discussions’ fourth annual Meetup in Mystic, Connecticut was a huge success! The DD crew and our friends from The Dorkening enjoyed a couple of meals and a flick, in this case, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

DD and The Dorkening in our t-shirts

The DARK DISCUSSIONS and DORKENING crews sport our meetup T-shirts–courtesy of DD’s Mike–pre-movie at the Waterford Regal 9. In case you’re wondering, we’re standing in front of the POP for 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED.

Want to know what we thought about Tarantino’s latest Read the rest of this entry

Peele’s film US gets released today!

A family is terrorized by strange beings in Jordan Peele's latest film, US.

A family is terrorized by strange beings in Jordan Peele’s latest film, US.

Jordan Peele’s latest psychological thriller, Us—about a family terrorized by strange beings—gets released today on Blu-Ray, DVD, and 4K. It is also available to rent on VOD. You can pick up the hard copy here on Amazon here, or rent the VOD on Amazon here.

Dark Discussions US collage

Hear what we have to say about Jordan Peele’s film US on DARK DISCUSSIONS. Photo collage by Philip Perron.

Dark Discussions covered and reviewed this film shortly after it came out. After you see the film (if spoilers bother you, then definitely wait until you’ve seen it before listening to the episode), you can hear what we said about it on Stitcher, Itunes, and here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_378.html

Personally, I loved Get Out, but I thought Us was even better. I’m hoping to see more films from Peele. I love his sensibility and layering, and I have to be honest—Us had moments that scared the crap out of me. If you’re looking for a disturbing thriller with depth, this should fill the bill. Enjoy!

HELLNOTES calls THE SHADOWS BEHIND “incredibly smart writing”

Hellnotes Reviews Masthead

Hellnotes, a major reviewer of horror fiction, film, and art, has reviewed my latest short story collection, The Shadows Behind, and given it a rave! Reviewer Elaine Pascale has written: “The stories within tell of lingering loss via imaginative and incredibly smart writing. Schoonover writes of grief and regret that follows like a shadow, and the stories in this collection will remain like a shadow for some time after you finish reading…the writing is intelligent and the themes transcend genre. Add this book to your summer reading list.”

I am SO EXCITED about this! You can read the full review here: https://hellnotes.com/the-shadows-behind-book-review/

You can get your copy of The Shadows Behind here: http://bit.ly/shadowsbehind. Or, if you want a signed copy, reach out to me through my Contact Page or in the comments and I’ll get in touch with you about making arrangements.

A trip through time: The Bronx Zoo’s DINOSAUR SAFARI

Dinosaur Safari Green Screen Pic

I think this is hilarious. We’re being chased by a Tyrannosaurus and we look like we’re on a cruise.

I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, because nothing ruins an adventure like knowing every damn little thing about it beforehand (it’s really not an adventure if that’s the case). However, I’m going to include a couple of my favorite photos and share some details, so if you’re planning on visiting the Bronx Zoo’s Dinosaur Safari this summer and want to stay completely in the dark, I’d advise skipping the rest of this post (except scroll down to “A word on buying tickets.” That stuff you’ll want to know). Read the rest of this entry

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