The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

In my personal opinion horror and folklore go hand in hand. Whether, we are talking about folk horror or just folklore that is used in a horror story. It meshes so well. I want more folk horror and horror that uses folklore. We all need more. So when I started the The Twisted Ones I was super excited.

Synopsis: A woman and her dog go to clean out her dead grandmother’s house with some interesting consequences.

What I like: There is a heavy folklore element to the story and I LOVE THAT. I really enjoyed Kingfisher’s characters. As a reader I cared about what happened to Mouse. The pacing was really well done and the folklore narrative was inserted in the story really well. I liked how Kingfisher was able to draw a linear line between folklore in Wales to folklore in NC. There was a great deal of Welsh migration to that area and I really enjoyed that little tidbit.

What I didn’t like: The story became slightly slow about 3/4s of the way in. I thought it would have picked up a bit during this climatic part of the story but it didn’t.

Star Rating: 4 stars

My Thoughts: I really wish that more horror had folkloric parts to it. With the rise of folk horror I am hoping that we will get more of this in the future. For those of us the enjoy folklore it adds to the story and can bring a different element to the horror genre. I really enjoyed this book. If you really enjoy folk horror pick this one up.

Big Thanks to Saga Press for a review copy!!

Doll Bones by Holly Black

I have really enjoyed some of Holly Black’s other books. She has a flair for the fantastical that I really enjoy. When I was going through my libraries MG horror category this popped up. I was talking to Jen about it and she told me that she thought I would love it. She wasn’t wrong.

Synopsis: Three friends go on a adventure lead by a ghost.

Things I liked: I loved the idea of these three friends which are growing up going on that one last adventure. MG is that awkward age between being a teenager and child. Black dealt with this wonderfully in the story. It was more of a coming of age story wrapped around a ghost story. The pacing of the story was perfect. The characters where very well written. The awkwardness of the changes the characters were going through were dealt with so well. The story was ended very well.

Things I didn’t like: I would have liked for this to be a series.

Star Rating: 4 stars

My Thoughts: I wish MG horror books I have been reading, were around when I was a kid. There are some wonderful themes of friendship and the changes that you go through as you grow up. I really enjoyed this story. I wish that this was a series but I enjoyed the way Black tied the story up. I enjoy Black’s writing but this is a book that I would recommend for anyone with a spooky loving child.

Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson

If you haven’t realized that I am a bit of a nerd yet then you really haven’t been paying attention. As the host of a podcast you tend to do lots of research on whatever topic that you are talking about. I have been fortunate in that I talk about a lot of women horror authors. So when I saw this beauty floating around in the twitterverse I had to have it. The book itself is just beautiful!!

Synopsis: Each chapter deals with a influential women in the horror and speculative fiction genres.

What I liked: I loved that I was able to dip in and out of this book while I was reading it. The writing style was super accessible and I really enjoyed the information at the end of each profile. It tells you what to read by the author and other things to read if you enjoyed the author’s work. The illustrations through out the book are lovely.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely nothing

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I think that this is a really important book. Women have been a part of the horror genre since the beginning. Whether they were writing Gothic horror or are writing now. Women have been instrumental in shaping the horror genre. This is a very important work that lists the most influential women. If you support women in horror this is a book that you will want on your shelves.

Big Thank you to Quirk Books for sending me a review copy. AND A HUGE THANK YOU to Lisa and Melanie for mentioning the Ladies of Horror Fiction!!!

Women in Translation: Our Life in the Forest by Marie Darrieussecq trans by. Penny Hueston

There is so much out there. Honestly since starting women in translation for the Ladies of Horror Fiction I have absolutely been swept away by the amount of amazing fiction that is there by authors I would have never heard of otherwise. Darrieussecq for example is one of these. I was watching a video at the end of July and Text publishing had been brought up. I had a look at their catalog and this beautiful cover jumped out at me. I am so so glad I bought it because I think my brain melted just a little bit.

Synopsis: A women lives in a forest with her half. *you totally have to read the book to understand that*

What I liked: So I think my brain melted..just a little. I wasn’t expecting the ending at ALL. Darrieussecq was so skilled I had NO idea where the story was going to go. I mean literally my jaw dropped. The story is written very all over the place going backward and forward. It reminds me more of having a story told to you instead of written by an author. The synopsis on the back of the book doesn’t do it justice. It is a bit of a slow read because of the way it is written but I enjoyed slowing down and really reading the words.

What I didn’t like: Some of the back and forth in time was hard to follow in the middle of the book but that is fine.

Star Rating: 4.0 stars

My thoughts: I know I keep saying that there is so much to read out in the world. But there is…..Darrieussecq is a very well known French author who has had a very prolific publishing career but I have never heard of her. Darrieussecq falls more to the speculative fiction side of the house but there are some horrific elements through out the story. There are also some moral questions that this story really brings up. Which I can’t talk about or it will ruin the story. But all in all I really really enjoyed it.

Little Paranoias: Stories by Sonora Taylor

I love short stories. I use short stories as a palette cleanser when I have been reading a lot of novels. I needed some short stories this week to cleanse my palette before I started on some of the novels that I have lined up. I was lucky enough to have received a review copy of Little Paranoias: Stories from Sonora Taylor a couple of weeks ago and I thought this would be perfect.

Synopsis: Short stories that deal with everyday things……but in a different way.

What I liked: I really enjoy Taylor’s writing. She has a very informal style which lends to story telling. Instead of feeling like you are reading it is more like you are having the story told to you. The pacing of the stories where perfect. Some ranged from a few pages to a couple. Taylor really put some thought into the pacing of each story. I would have to say that there weren’t any stories which are too long nor too short. The stories where just the right length. I really appreciate this. This collection has so many different topics in the stories which is always fantastic when you are reading a collection. I also like how Taylor writes her female characters.

What I didn’t like: Nothing

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the stories in this lovely collection. They range from stories which tug at your heart strings to stories that give you the shivers. One of my favorite stories made me really sad LOL. I want to talk about what the story was about but I can’t do that without giving away what the story is about. There are a couple of different ways you can look at the story itself. My take was more about how people treat other people. But I can’t say any more than that. If you haven’t checked out Taylor’s writing before I would suggest you pick this up and give it a read.

Women in Translation: The Vegetarian by Han Kang trans. by Deborah Smith

The last few years have seen a proliferation of odd fiction and movies and I am here for it. I had watched Braid on recommendation from my friend Emily. As part of Women in Translation month I came across a few reviews for The Vegetarian which sounded like an amazingly odd tale. Can I just say it scratch the odd fiction itch for me.

Synopsis: A woman becomes a vegetarian out of the blue and chaos ensues.

Things I liked: Kang really takes you on a roller coaster of a story. She actually fits three stories into one. I really appreciated how she approached the story of this woman from three different angles and how her choices actually affect her family. What I appreciated was how she spun the vegetarianism as a character in the story. Kang is a fantastic writer and the pacing of the three stories was perfect and really pushed towards the ending.

Things I didn’t like: There is a trope that is used that I am never too keen on being used but I can see why Kang used it.

Star Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved the weirdness of the three stories. The first story was amazing. I totally loved it. However, I felt like it was being used as a introduction to the rest of the book. Which was a shame. I did like the idea that Kang used three different stories to look at what was happening to the woman. However, they didn’t really tie together really well. The second story is set some time in the future but you don’t get that information. This is the same with the third story. I just feel like some details where missing.

Blog Tour: Wonderland

Every time I go to the bookstore I always look at the copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I want to buy it for a child and watch them read it. Watch their eyes light up as they read about the March Hare or the Cook that had a pig for a baby. Which, incidentally was the part that scared me the most. I really couldn’t tell you why either. The jabberwolky never scared me…..just the cook and the pig baby. I digress though. I love retellings of many different stories, so when Titan Books asked me if I wanted to participate in the blog tour for Wonderland I jumped at the chance.

Synopsis: Within these pages you’ll find myriad approaches to Alice, from horror to historical, taking us from the nightmarish reaches of the imagination to tales the will shock, surprise and tug on the heart strings.

So, it’s time now to go down the rabbit hole, or through the looking glass or….But no, wait. By picking up this book and starting to read it you’re already there, can’t you see?

Contributing Authors: Jane Yolen, M.R. Carey, Cat Rambo, Angela Slatter, Laura Mauro….and many many others.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: Many of the stories worked really well in the wonderland type back drop. There were a couple that didn’t really work for me. But that didn’t mean that the story was great it just didn’t fit with the others. Saying that all the stories were so well written. The poems by Jane Yolen which opened and closed the anthology were so beautiful. Each story was very different then the other.

If you have an itch to return to Wonderland in a more adult manner then please check out Wonderland it does not disappoint at all. There is something there for each genre.

Make sure you go to the next stop on the blog tour!!

Big Thanks to Titan Books as always for including me in an amazing blog tour.