Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge

The Louisiana bayou is a place that holds a lot of fascination. All the animals and the mystery of the swamp. There is so much that we don’t know about the swamp. But if you are one of the lucky few to live deep in the swamp there is a chance that you will have heard about the supernatural creatures that live deep in the swamp.

Synopsis: A young swamp witch has to fight off a very specific monster.

What I liked: Eldredge’s writing is perfect for the age demographic the book is aimed at. The story was charming and creepy. It was just spooky enough for the age the book is marketed for. The illustrations are also super charming. The pacing for the story was perfect. I really enjoyed my adventure with Evangeline.

What I didn’t like: Their isn’t anything that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My thoughts: I really wish that books like this had been around when I was a kid. It was just the right amount of spooky. I love that many of the middle-grade books have girls as heroines. From Ages 11 – 13 girls begin to change. They start to lost the self confidence and that spark that they have during childhood. This is one of the main reasons that books where the girl is the heroine at that age is really important. Girls need to understand that they are strong and they can still have adventures even when teenage hood is knocking on the door. We are so much more than workers and family members. Just my opinion…..I think as girls grow older they are discouraged from using their imaginations. Unless, it is for playing house, playing mommy or for romantic type things. I really hope there is another book about Evangeline.

Infernal by Cheryl Low

Adventure horror it is totally a thing right?! A story where someone goes on an adventure (in the jungle or on a boat or something of that nature) and then horrible things happen to them. I never really thought that it was it’s own genre of horror until I sat down to write this. I was mulling things over and over in my head where do stories like this fit. We have body horror, splatter-punk, ecological horror and psychological horror…so why not adventure horror. So I dub a new sub-category adventure horror! Okay, so I may not have the power to create a new sub-category but lets just pretend shall we.

Thank you for the review copy Cheryl!!! Sorry it took so long 🙂

Synopsis: An adventure team heads to a isolated island with dire consequences.

What I liked: I really enjoyed the pacing of this story. Once the characters hit the ground running you where swept right along with them. The action didn’t actually stop until the end of the story.

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

Star Rating: 4 stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the premise of the story. If you follow me on twitter you will know that I am not a fan of the ocean. Like I really don’t like the ocean…..THERE ARE THINGS THAT WILL EAT YOU in the ocean. So the fact that the book was set around and island already made me a little anxious. No this is not a different retelling of every ocean horror. (coined a new sub-category) But rather the ocean and the island were actually characters in the story and I really appreciate that. When they are featured like Low did it just reaffirms my belief that we don’t belong on the ocean. If you want a fast paced adventure horror (see what I dd there) defiantly pick this up.

Seeing Things by Sonora Taylor

We all have authors that are must read authors. Sonora is one of those for me. When she releases something I must must read it. In the un-year, I received Seeing Things and my heart skipped a beat. I excitedly tore into the first few pages and was as always pulled into Taylor’s story. I put the book down due to things that were happening in life at that time. However, over Christmas I took some time and picked this book back up. I am so so very glad that I did.

Thank you Sonora Taylor for my review copy!

Synopsis: A girl begins to see things. But what does it all mean.

What I liked: I really enjoyed how the story unfolded. It was a total artichoke. The petals on the outside leading to the a delicious center. What I am trying to say things were revealed in a way that I needed to keep reading to understand where they were going to go next. What was going to happen next? That is the beauty with Taylor’s writing. Once you open the book there is a little string attached to your head from the book and it just draws you in. (That actually sounded much better in my head but you get my meaning).

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like but I WANTED MORE!! I want to know what happened to the person that did the thing. (no spoilers here folks)

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: Like I said Sonora is a must read author for me. Sonora writes such fantastic characters. They are believable and well rounded. They never feel two dimensional or like characters; they feel like they could be living breathing people that I know. Sonora takes pride in her stories and it shines through in the way that the words come to life on the page. If you haven’t read anything by Sonora I would defiantly fix that…..her other works are just as wonderful as Seeing Things.

#ladiesfirst21 The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

When I dropped off the face of the earth last year. I basically dropped all my commitments: read-alongs, podcast episodes…there was no more room in my brain to deal with anything. Which really sucks, because I was suppose to have Alexis Henderson on the LOHFPod and I feel crappy that I didn’t follow through. I was thinking about that whole fiasco when I was choosing my #ladiesfirst21 read of the year. HOLY SHIT I truly missed out. I have so many questions and thoughts. Like a lot of them. I have been thinking about this book since I finished it.

Thank you ACE/Berkley for sending me a review copy.

Synopsis: A girl born under very sad circumstances learns about her heritage and family through trials.

What I liked: My synopsis doesn’t really do this book justice! Henderson’s writing is heartfelt. Her characterizations are three dimensional and believable. The stories pacing was perfect for the groundwork that needed to be laid.

What I didn’t like: There is nothing I didn’t like….besides the fact that it ended 🙂

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: There is a lot of mythology woven into this story. Lilith for example, stems from Jewish mythology. (I don’t want to say anymore than that and give the story away). There was a lot of social commentary that I really enjoyed and was woven into the story really well. Henderson really explores the theme of otherness and belonging. She explores race throughout the story and I was here for it. I loved how she combined all these different themes into story that read like a fairytale. It is commentary on so many different things, at least this is how it reads to me. I highly highly suggest for your next read you pick this book up and devour it.

psstttt…..I heard a little rumor that she is working on something else as well!!

The Invention of Ghosts by Gwendolyn Kiste

Ghosts are something that are found in every culture. In some cultures they are the spirit of someone who has unfinished business. In other cultures they are hungry for something that they wanted in life. I’ve always been fascinated by ghosts. Is it a sentient being, someone’s spirit or energy? If it is a spirit stuck in a loop constantly doing and experiencing the same things over again I would be horrified. Another thing, do ghosts know they are ghosts? Do they remember who they are and what they are doing? Do they remember their past?

Thank you for a review copy Gwendolyn!!

Synopsis: A girl who has no memory of her past deals with her present and future.

What I liked: I have a deep appreciation for Kiste’s writing. It is beautiful and haunting. This chapbook is no different. The story is haunting. The story unfolds as you read it. Kiste leaves small bread crumbs through the story as to what is really going on. Kiste is so damn talented. She knows her craft so well that anything that she puts to paper is beautiful.

What I didn’t like: There is nothing that I didn’t like about the story.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: I love how Kiste played with past, present and future in the story. She played with the friendship in this story with such grace and beauty. This was an amazing look at the memory and the friendship between the two girls in the book. When the story was finished my heart hurt for awhile.

2020 the Year that Wasn’t

Holy crap. It has been a really long time since I have logged in and done anything. For me this is the year that wasn’t a year. It was a long slog through virtual learning, virtual working and all the togetherness that one can handle. At the beginning of the pandemic I started a new job and bought a house. On top of all that there was the protests, the elections, worrying about friends and family all over the world. Watching the numbers in my very very small part of the world continue to increase. I watched reviewers behave badly and authors behave badly. People being hurt but other peoples actions. It was a dumpster fire of a year. Seriously……

So I have decided that 2020 is the un-year. Time seemed to stand still and passed quickly. The days ran into each other, the months passed like a blur. Projects were put on hold and books sat unread. I have binged watched too many crap shows and movies, just to keep my brain occupied with anything other than what is going on in the world. I knew towards the end of the un-year I needed to take my little spot on the internet back and clear the cobwebs out of my head.

It is now the third of January, not much has changed in my corner of the world. The virus rages on, people are still ill tempered; I don’t feel like things are really going to start changing until the summer. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change. Change is a really great thing. I am going to start small. Like blogging again, posting pictures and being more active on twitter. But I have some ideas that I am going to try and the LOHFPod is going to be getting an overhaul and moving homes. I am excited but realistic about 2021 and I know it isn’t going to be easy but I think that this time around we all know what is ahead of us because of what is behind us.

So if you have read up till now you know that I am back :). It is awards season over at the Ladies of Horror Fiction and busy reading days are ahead but for the first time in 11 months I can say without any irony I am really excited.