Tunnel Of Bones by Victoria Schwab

After reading City of Ghosts I was desperate to get my hands on a ARC for Tunnel of Bones. I called a very good friend of mine who reads a lot of MG/YA. Lo and behold she had an ARC for Tunnel of Bones. I stopped by one night and picked this lovely book up. I sat down the last week and devoured the second book in Schwab’s series. I am so glad that I read the first book and was able to read the second book without waiting.

Synopsis: A girl and her ghostly best friend go to Paris with her parents to continue making a paranormal show.

What I liked: There is so much to like about this book and series. There is a seamless transition from the first book to the second book. Many of the themes that are in the first book are carried over into the Tunnel of Bones. Schwab’s characterizations are still written so well. You truly believe that Cassidy is thinking like a 12 year old would. I love how some of the characters where carried over.

What I didn’t Like: It ended!!

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: These are the books I needed when I was around Cassidy’s age. I really think that Schwab is onto something with this series. It is just spooky enough for younger readers to not be frightened. But is still spooky enough to entertain older readers. I really appreciate that spooky books for MG readers are being published. I can’t wait for third book and learn more about Jacob and Cassidy.

Booker Long List: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When the Booker awards long list came out this year I was truly surprised. A book about a serial killer on this prestige list. Then I did a bit more digging and decided I wanted to read as many of the books on the long list and review them as I could. So I started with one that had been on my radar for awhile. Prior to 2019 I had only read true crime books about women that would have qualified as serial killers. So when Emily from Book Happy liked this one I knew I had to read it. I am really glad that it is on the log list for the Booker Award.

Synopsis: A nurse’s sister keeps “accidentally” killing people….is she a serial killer or is more going on.

What I liked: This is one of those books that’s written so well you want to keep reading it. The pacing of the story is perfect. It really lets you chew on the story as it goes along. The characters in the story are so well written you really feel like the MC is talking to you throughout the story. The premise of the story is really unique and fresh. Braithwaite is a very talented. She was able to take a backstory and weave it within the narration perfectly. The end of the story was really surprising.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely Nothing

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this story so very very much, I can totally see why this was nominated for the Booker long list. Even though it isn’t listed as Horror there are many horrific elements to the story. I really appreciated the freshness of the story and I can’t wait to read more by Braithwaite.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

I recently took part in a blog blitz (I believe that is what it is called) for Salvation Day by Kali Wallace. I was talking to Jen from over at Book Den about how much I enjoyed the story and she pointed out that Wallace had also published a YA horror called Shallow Graves, as I am now reading YA and MG horror as well I got the book from my library. I am so glad that I did. I may be on the hunt for a copy to keep as well. I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about this book before. Seriously, I can’t believe I haven’t heard all about it in the YA book community.

Synopsis: A girl wakes up in her grave and goes on a trip across the country.

What I liked: Wallace’s writing style lends itself so well to this story. This story flows so smooth and that is down to Wallace’s writing style. The character’s are well written and three dimensional. The pacing is perfect for the way the story unfolds. The plot holds together extremely well. The premise of the book was very original and Wallace’s writing really shines through out it.

What I didn’t Like: I would have loved a second book….or for this to be a series. I really want to revisit the characters!!

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I love YA/MG horror. I feel like this was a missing genre when I was growing up. So much of the YA/MG horror I am reading right now is really good. Wallace is an author that I recently reviewed, I really enjoy her writing style. I hope that everyone picks this book up!! A super big thank you to Jen for telling me about this book!!

Women In Translation: Things We Lost in The Fire by Mariana Enriquez

August is women in translation month. If by reading my blog you haven’t guessed that I read so many different things. Women authors are a particular passion of mine. Especially, women in horror authors. To know that there are so many stories out there that I haven’t read and authors that I know nothing about makes me feel like I am missing out. In researching an article for the LOHF, I found that we really are missing out on a ridiculous amount of stories.

Synopsis: A collection of short horror stories.

What I liked: I think that each story gives you a small glimpse into some of the political and social unrest in Argentina wrapped in horror stories. The stories aren’t particularly gory. But personally, I think that is more horror in the everyday that is discussed in each of the stories. There is so much to the backstories where the stories are taking place that I was very glad there was information about the landscape in Argentina while the author was growing up.

What I didn’t Like: Some of the stories where a bit too short and I wanted a bit more. It seemed as though they were cut off short and some seemed to run too long without enough meat in the story.

Star Rating: 3.5

My Thoughts: I am going to be changing the way I approach a translated work. I was reading an article about the amount of translated works that are being published in the US. I am approaching this as the content of the story not the translation itself. What I found in reading about translations, there are things that

The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell

Over the last year in a half I really have started to enjoy reading poetry. The one thing that I learned is that I need to read poetry which contains themes that I enjoy reading. Twist and brooding. Campbell examines different aspects of humanity that most people don’t talk about. Campbell is an author who also has a book tube channel. If you have a moment head on over to you tube and have a little peek at her channel. Besides being a writer she talks about bodily difference, fairytales and so many interesting topics that I don’t want to spoil it.

Synopsis: A collection of twisted poems.

What I liked: This little collection is one that I will probably read over and over again. Campbell can take the ordinary or things that we don’t think about and twist it until it reads like a short fairytale. Campbell tackles so different elements and themes in her poetry. From the idea of women being held in an aquarium, mermaids and glow worms. The collection has it all and If I could I would thrust it into the hands of all my friends, even if they don’t read poetry, and make them read it. I appreciate so much about this collection.

What I didn’t like: I wanted more….

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I’ve never read a poem that was written in geordie dialect, but holy hell….I want more. I remember driving up to Durham and seeing the Angel of the North. It is beautiful standing up on the hill with her arms spread. She is captured so elegantly and beautifully by Campbell. If you don’t know what The Angel of the North is I highly recommend that you google her. Then check out Campbell’s you tube video to hear her reciting it. If it doesn’t give you the shivers then you aren’t human.

Guest Post: Steve Stred

A couple of months ago the LOHF received an email from a lovely author that personally blew me away. He wanted to partner up and offer a grant based on the pre-sale of his poetry book he was putting together. I thought it was an amazingly generous offer that really made my heart happy. The LOHF took Steve up on his offer and a couple of us offered up guest spots to help promote the LOHF Grant. Enough of reading me waffle about. Steve sent a guest post with a little taste of The Night Crawls In by Steve Stred.


Hey Everyone! 

The news has been gaining steam and from what I’ve seen – many people are excited about this partnership between myself and the LOHF. We were really please to announce the 1stAnnual Writer’s Grant. I wanted to find a way to give back to the horror community and the Ladies of Horror Fiction are all about helping facilitate this!

For full details and how to apply, please click here.

To help fund the initial grant disbursement, I’m releasing a poetry/drabbles collection. On September 1st, 2019 The Night Crawls In will arrive. Containing 33 drabbles and 17 poems, all ebook presales and 1stday paperback sales will go towards funding the first grant. All additional sales there-after will be put towards future grants!

I worked with Mason McDonald once again to create some killer artwork for the cover, which you can see here as well!

I’m here to share two drabbles and a poem that will be featured in The Night Crawls In!

Autopsy. (A Drabble)

“Patient appears to be fifty years old. Male. Approximate height is five feet eight inches. Approximate weight is two hundred pounds. Body has multiple slash marks across his face, neck and torso, exposing his organs behind. Weapon could possibly be a machete or a large knife. Male has a large protrusion in his lower abdomen. May be a pre-existing hernia. Will begin incision at navel.”

The coroner applies light pressure to the deceased man’s stomach, the blade of the scalpel slicing easily through the skin. As the man moves along the skin ruptures.

“Good lord… there’s… something in here… moving.”

END

Ocean Breeze. (A Drabble)

We stood on the sandy beach, holding hands.

We thought of the old days – falling in love, our kids, our pets, the life we had lived together.

We looked at each other, waiting for the sun to rise and warm our bones.

She smiled, the lines on her face telling their tales.

I smiled back, my eyes sunken, my spirit fading.

As the sun rose, we took off our hats, our hair long since gone.

The doctor’s had tried their best, but there wasn’t any way to save us now.

With tears in our eyes, we walked into the water.

END

New Friends. (A Poem)

I lay on the ground and watch all of the leaves

Leap to their deaths from high in the trees.

From behind comes a noise that makes my skin shrink

A beast has appeared and is taking a drink.

It doesn’t know that I’m so very close

But it stops all movements when I kiss its nose.

Instant friends now, I hear it purr

And the woods part before us as I wrap into its fur.

END

Now, a bit about each of the shared drabbles and poem.

Autopsy, was an idea I had come to me when I was watching one of those amazing ‘TOP 10’ videos on Youtube.  You know, those videos that take you down the worm hole of endless click bait lists. I saw a video titled something like “Ten Most Shocking Autopsy Moments.” The mortician/coroner guy was blacked out and voice disguised. I won’t tell you what was actually inside the person, but it was unique.

Ocean Breeze, is obviously (on the surface… sorry!) a sad tale, but it’s also a happy story. I was inspired by a news story I had heard years and years ago. A husband and wife who were married for 3 or 4 decades were both diagnosed with terminal cancer. They tried treatments and nothing worked. Then a few weeks later their truck was found at the end of a logging road. They’d left a note saying essentially that they wanted to spend their last moments together and simply walked into the woods, never to be seen again.

New Friends, is a poem that I wrote that was originally going to be included in my son’s story book. Then I realized after re-reading it – it’s a bit dark for a kid’s book! So here it is!

Thank you to the amazing crew at Ladies of Horror Fiction – both for hearing my idea and jumping on board. I hope we can work to growing the grant bigger and better every year!


About Steve Stred

Steve Stred is an up-an-coming dark, bleak horror author.  

Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: The 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.

On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will be released.

Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.

Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

Early in July, the Ladies of Horror Fiction where extremely lucky to work with Wunderkind PR for a giveaway of Madeleine Roux’s House of Furies series. Jen and I wanted to read something that was a bit fun so we started House of Furies one Friday night. Jen finished it before I did but told me that I would enjoy it…..she wasn’t wrong! This story has so many elements that I absolutely love in it.

Synopsis: A girl with a secret begins to work in a country house.

What I liked: I enjoyed the entire book. The pacing is perfect for this book. So spot on. The story itself pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the last page. Even then you want the story to keep going. Roux pulls you into this alternate world where you actually question the rights and wrongs of the story. Actually the story makes you think a little bit deeper than just reading the story. It actually forces you to question a couple of your own morals. What would you do in such and such situation? I rather enjoyed that. I believe that the story is YA accessible and there isn’t anything that you wouldn’t want your YA reading.

What I didn’t Like: That the book ended when it did.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: As I was buddy reading this I received a message from Jen telling me that I was going to love an aspect of the book and she was right. Now I can’t say anything as that will ruin the story. But it was a great twist in the story. There is a beauty to the characters in the story. Even which each of their unique qualities you really come to like them especially when you find out more about their backstories. Also there is a book within a book which Roux does very well. It actually ties the stories of the characters together. I really enjoyed the extra back story.