Stranded By Renee Miller

This is my last read of 2018. The last blog post that I am going to write this year. It is 10:55 PM and I just finished my first read by Renee Miller. It made me think of what I would do for a lot of money. How greed manifests itself in many different ways and what it can do to a person or make a person do. I wanted something I could read for my last day of 2018 and I am very glad I picked this chomp and stomp that was much deeper then the average monster story.

Synopsis: A realty show set on a deserted island in the Arctic mets a horrible end.

What I liked: The pacing of the story was perfect for a chomp and stomp. The characters while you knew their motivations where well written and you had feelings about each one of them. Whether it was hate or a little bit of sympathy. I liked the Miller’s fresh voice in a genre where you at times feel you are reading the same story line over and over again. I appreciated the reality show angle. I will defiantly be reading more by Miller in the upcoming year.

What I didn’t like: I wanted it to be longer. I wanted to know what happened after the end.

Star Rating 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I feel like there is a lot to this story. I would like to reread it again next year. I really watch reality shows. I am not a fan of the tropes that are portrayed in them and well I think that they send bad messages to children especially young girls. I found it interesting that when I was reading the story I felt like it was a monster story about good, evil and greed. That the monster was a manifestation of whether the person was good. With that being said it was a really great read to end 2018 on. I can’t wait to read more from Miller in the upcoming year.

A World Of Horror Edited by Eric J. Guignard

When you look at your shelves…what authors do you see? I see a lot of diversity in some of my genres. But not as much within the genre that I read the most…horror. When Eric J. Guignard contacted me to review a book that has horror stories from around the world I jumped at the chance. To say that I am happy that I did would be an understatement. I fell like my horror world opened up after reading A World of Horror.

Synopsis: Horror and dark speculative fiction anthology with stories from around the world.

What I liked: Anthologies can be hard to review. In this case it isn’t. All the stories range from 4.5 to 5 stars for me. I love hearing all the different voices from around the world and seeing the different stories. I had heard of a couple of authors but most were new to me. The stories in the anthology were well chosen and fit together well. I loved the amount of women that were featured in this anthology. I felt like I was able to get a glimpse into the world of horror in each of these different countries and I loved that.

What I didn’t like: There was nothing that I didn’t like about the anthology.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I want to read more stories from around the world. The fact that all these authors where in one place was amazing. I will be diving down the rabbit hole of gathering more of their stories in the new year. I would love if Dark Moon Books would put out another one of these anthologies. I think they are awesome as they list so many new too reader authors. So please Dark Moon and Mr. Guignard please put out another one!!

A BIG THANKS to Eric J. Guignar for sending me a review copy!!

Teeth By Kelli Owen

I have a lot of feelings about equality and diversity. I come from a family that holds a rainbow of different people. I am lucky that is the world that I grew up in. So many different people and different life experiences to learn from. Teeth made me wonder if my family would be so open if one of us was a vampire otherwise known as a Lamian…..

Synopsis: Coming of age Vampire novel with a serial killer thrown in.

What I liked: Kelli’s characters are well rounded and three dimensional. You can tell that Owen took time in crafting each one. I loved the premise. It was very much a coming of age novel with multiple story lines. The story lines are well crafted and they dip in and out of each other. I really liked how Owen wrote the serial killer story line. The build up to Henry’s mania was perfect and followed the pattern that serial killers normally follow. I really appreciated that. The ending was on point and I wasn’t sure who was going to do the deed (no spoilers) but I was happy with who did the deed.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t enjoy in the writing nor the crafting of the story.

Star Rating: 4 stars

My Thoughts: There was a lot to this novel and I appreciated that. It wasn’t just a story but rather there was a lot built into the story about tolerance and equality. I really appreciated that. Too often we find ourselves hearing stories of intolerance on the news and within our own communities. Owen took a lot of what is going around us and placed into into her story. One of the story lines made me sad. There are a lot of people that have experienced that type of intolerance and hatred. That story line made me want to hug that character. All in all it was a well crafted story of tolerance and equality set in a slightly different world.

A big thanks goes out to the Author for sending me a copy of the book for review.

Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked By Christa Carmen

Normally I would write a little blurb here about my childhood or horror or something. This time I am going to talk about addiction. I am personally not an addict but I have known many in my life. Addiction is a one of those things that touches a good amount of the online community and their families. It is a taboo thing that we really don’t talk about except in our group chats. But no one puts it out there as the nightmare and horror scenario that it is. When I started the collection I wasn’t aware the author was a recovering addict. But after reading the collection I can see it and am aware Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked was a very personal and cathartic collection which drags you through the true horror that is addiction and recovery.

What I liked: Many collections of stories are disjointed from each other but this collection flows. What I find interesting is that a few of the stories have some similar character names….and settings. I am assuming that the collection was crafted that way. It was like an expansion of some of the stories and I truly appreciated that. Carmen’s pacing and plots were streamlined and very well written. The characters were 3 dimensional and I truly cared about them and their stories outcome. All in all I liked everything about this collection.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this collection

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I see a lot of people talking about Red Room. It was a good story but not my favorite. I loved loved the story of Olive. The twist at the end made me smile. It was twisted and I didn’t see it coming. I also loved the zombie story. I love zombies in general but there is something about this story. 1. I love Bruce Campbell…..but 2. I live in a city where drug abuse is rife. You can see people walking down the street that are tweeking. The shuffling feet, the jerky movements and the vacant look in their eyes have always reminded me of zombies. The hunger that the walking dead have leads to many home invasions. For me the story hit all the high notes and felt very personal at the same time.

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm

A couple of years ago I went through a period where all I wanted to do was read fiction from super cold countries: Sweden, Iceland, Russia…You get what I am talking about. I feel absolutely head over heels with some of these author and the writing. There are days I think we all would like to disappear…..just get on a plane or in our car and leave our old lives behind. Nicolai Houm explores this idea in The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland.

Synopsis: After a horrible incident Jane Ashland leaves the US to travel to Norway.

What I liked: The premise of the story is very good. I think it speaks to everyone who has gone through something horrible. But the story takes it to such a dark place. I really enjoyed how the story was like a story within a story. There was the story of what Jane was going through in Norway; but there was also the story of why Jane had gone to Norway. I normally read Horror; although this book is not marketed as horror there are many horror type elements to the story. The ending was very surprising and I wasn’t expecting it.

What I didn’t like: When I say the ending was surprising I liked it but I didn’t like it. It hit me in the feels and I am not sure if it was the good feels or the bad feels. It just made me feel like I wanted to actually know what happened.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: This is a dark book. It isn’t marketed as horror but there are many type of horror elements to the story. But there is also so much sadness that it pervades the entire story. The pain and anguish that Jane feels is so well written that you feel it as you are reading. You want to reach out to help Jane but she doesn’t want anyone’s help. She is so stuck in this horribly dark place. There are many thoughts about this book but I don’t want to ruin the entire book.

The Fiends in the Furrows Edited by David T. Neal and Christine M. Scott

There are so many different aspects to Horror. There is something for everyone. Whether it is psychological to body horror…It isn’t all about monsters and gore. The stories can come from deep within our psyches, our deepest darkest fears or from legends and myths we have been told as children. Folk horror hold a special place in my heart. I grew up reading Scary Tales to Read in the Dark and hearing stories from my nan about changelings and fairies. Fiends in the Furrows fed my desire for new folk horror and gave me some stories that I won’t forget anytime soon.

Synopsis: A anthology of folk horror stories.

What I liked: I love how the stories fit well together and fit with the theme. It was perfect for an Autumn moving into Winter read. There was a wide variety of stories that were presented from people eating stone circles to a community that have to pick fruit. I don’t want to go into to many details and ruin this lovely book for anyone.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this anthology.

Star Rating 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: This anthology is firmly ensconced in my heart. There are so many things to talk about. But I don’t want to ruin this lovely anthology. This is probably going to be a seasonal reread for me. It felt like autumn. It felt like the stories fit the season. If you haven’t read any folk horror then this would be a great introduction. If you are already a fan of folk horror then Fiends in the Furrows would be great addition to your library.

BIG thanks to Nosetouch Press for sending me a review copy!!

The Devil’s Dreamland By Sara Tantlinger

I started reading poetry this year. It truly spoke to me in a way I didn’t expect it to. I liked what I was reading. But it didn’t really gut punch me until I discovered Horror Poetry. I am totally and completely hooked now. The way many of these authors mix the grotesque with the beautiful. This is the second poetry collection that I have read this year by Sara Tantlinger and she is so talented I can’t stand it! Just kidding Sara. But in all seriousness if you have a penchant horror, poetry or true crime The Devil’s Dreamland will fill that itch…

Synopsis: A poetry collection based on the life and crimes of H.H. Holmes.

What I liked: Tantlinger is able to mix the grotesque with the beautiful with such ease. In this collection which deals with one America’s first serial killers Tantlinger is able to mix historical fact and murder with pretty words. There is no other way to say it. I love the snippets of historical facts scattered throughout the collection. It says a lot about the amount of research that Tantlinger put into her collection. The layout of the collection is perfection; starting with his birth to his death Tantlinger covers the madness into which he descended with skill and ease.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely nothing. This collection hit the nail on the head for me with every single poem.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: If you haven’t picked up this collection yet what are you waiting for! Tantalinger absolutely slays (pun intended) she expertly weaves beautiful words and grotesque acts together. I truly enjoyed the way she followed the transformation of H.H. Holmes from a conman to a cold blooded serial killer. Tantlinger is so talented. If you haven’t picked up any of her poetry you are certainly missing out and need to have your head examined. So darkly delicious.

Unmemory By Kristi DeMeester

I remember when I was in kindergarten. My brother was babysitting, anyone that reads my blog knows that my brother is the cause of many firsts, I was suppose to be in bed instead I decided to sit on the stairs and watch the movie he had on TV. The move was The Thing. I was horrified but I couldn’t look away. For nights afterward every time I closed my eyes to go to sleep I would see the part where the dog was transforming. I was totally freaked out for a long time but I eventually got over it and went on to love The Thing.  It was the weeks afterward that Unmemory reminded me of. 

Synopsis: A child whose mother is part of a religious cult is not allowed to watch TV sees a snippet of a movie that haunts her until she is older. 

What I liked: I love DeMeester’s writing style. I love the way that she plays with the horror element in this story. It is right in your face but it is this overall feeling you get when you are reading her writing. It is this unnerving and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. DeMeester delivers this in spades in Unmemory. Don’t let the small size of this chapbook fool you. The story that is between the covers will stay with you.  I did like the ending of the story. What I liked about the ending was that it didn’t follow convention. 

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything about the story that I didn’t like. 

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: Honestly, There is so much about to love about DeMeester’s writing. It makes heart happy to read anything that she writes. This story is interesting. I feel like there is more there then just the words. I feel this with so much of her writing. I like unconventional endings and DeMeester brings that and so much more. If you haven’t picked up any of her work you are really missing out. 

The Rust Maidens By Gwendolyn Kiste

There are times when a book sweeps in and captures your heart and imagination. I was a kid in the 80s but I remember hearing about the rust belt and how all the factories where closing down and people where losing their jobs. There was so much uncertainty at this time. 38ish years later we see the result of the the factories closing. The skeletons of rusted hulks litter the landscape of the mid-west. 

What I liked: I find after reading a few of Gwendolyn’s books I really enjoy the way that she writes. The pacing of the book is amazing and right on point. Kiste’s writing is both beautiful and horrific at the same time. I loved the concept of the story and Kiste does an amazing job at putting it together. The characters are well balanced and three dimensional.When I was reading I felt like I knew the girls in the story which drew me in even more. 

What I didn’t like: There is nothing that I didn’t like about this book. It was perfection just the way it was. 

Star Rating: All the stars……Every single star

My Thoughts: I have so many thoughts about The Rust Maidens. I feel like I am constantly repeating myself about this story. It is horrific and beautiful. Here is what I find interesting is that is seems that the story really highlights many of the things that was going on in the 80s in the Midwest.  I feel like part of it may have been because I grew up in the era where this was happening that I felt such a connection to the story. I didn’t grow up in the mid west but many of the changes did effect my family in one way or another. Every book that I read of Kiste’s just highlights her love of storytelling. Her stories are multi-layered and filled with so many different horror elements. She has become one of my favorite authors over the last year. If you haven’t picked up this book yet please don’t wait. Or anything else that Kiste has written you won’t be disappointed.