Without Condition A Novel By Sonora Taylor

What is it about the horror genre that lends to stories about serial killers. Is it the horrific things that some serial killers do? Or is it the idea that there is someone out there that doesn’t have the same respect or empathy for human life that the rest of society “should” have. I have read quite a bit of true crime and horror about serial killers. But….it is very rare to read a story about a female serial killer. Which is why I was so happy to read Without Condition by Sonora Taylor.

Synopsis: Coming of age story with a murderous twist.

What I liked: I really appreciated the multifaceted way that Cara was written. She was well written and three dimensional. She may have been a serial killer but there was a lot more to her. There was some many different sides to her character. I appreciated Cara’s story in general. For me it was more of a coming of age story with murder. It was more about Cara and growing up and how her relationship with her mother changes as she is maturing and falling in love. The ending really surprised me. I really enjoyed how the story ended. I wasn’t left feeling lost or empty.

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

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I truly enjoyed this story. I think that Taylor really hit on something with this story. Even though Cara was a killer you felt for her. You felt for the child that she was….the woman that she was growing into. I really can’t wait to see what else Taylor has up her sleeve. If you don’t haven’t gotten this in your brain you are missing out.

A big thank you to Sonora for sending me a copy for review.

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison

Over the last year, I have really gotten into collections. Short stories with a smattering of poetry makes my black heart sing. I had seen Ms. Addison perform spoken word on line at a writers event and I loved the way he wording flowed. A couple of my friends reviewed How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend and naturally they had good things to say. So when I had the opportunity to meet Linda Addison I grabbed a copy and took it with me. I didn’t make it to the panel that she was moderating but I did get to meet her in a signing line. I was so thrilled to meet her.

Synopsis: Collection of horror short stories and poetry.

What I liked: I loved the whole thing. It made me so happy just reading through the stories and poems. The darkness and the horror that is bubbling under the surface of so many of the stories. Many aren’t in your face but rather a slow burn that creeps under your skin. There are short stories that I would love to see expanded. Addison is also such an amazing poet. The poems are complex, heartbreaking on one hand and horrifying on the other. AND….the best part

What I didn’t like: There is nothing I didn’t like about this collection.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: There is something very special about this collection. Two of the stories are linked. I loved this because the first story was so good and I wanted more of the two characters. I enjoy how Addison uses language. From her word choices to the voice in which she writes. It is uniquely hers. I read a lot of horror and the cadence in which she writes is different then many of the authors that I have read before.

Witches by Donna Lynch

My dad is a believer. He believes that we as people have the ability to be magic. Not like Magic that was in The Craft but rather magic that is fluid and calls upon nature. Over the years he has had the most amazing library of books about natural power that I have always been a believer. Recently my father had a small surgery. Nothing earth shattering but just enough to worry me. He came out of surgery fine. At his post op appointment later that week his doctor remarked on how fast my dad heals. My dad just chuckles and tells the doctor “I told my body to heal”. My dad just seems to get it; he always has. I was was really stoked when Raw Dog Screaming Press asked if I would review Witches by Donna Lynch.

Synopsis: A illustrated horror poetry collection about witches.

What I liked: I loved the mixed media used through out the book. I have a deep love for mixed media art and it’s use in a literary context. The poetry was viscera and I loved the history that was sprinkled throughout like little gifts. What I really enjoyed was that the book was like a graphic novel or comic book with horror poetry!! The first poem gripped me by the eyeballs and kept me reading through it. Lynch is very talented and I can’t wait to read more from her.

What I didn’t like: There was nothing I didn’t like

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I want to hug this poetry collection. I have revisited a few of the poems and they still give me the feels. I really appreciate the time that went into this collection. The thought that went into the illustrations and how well they worked with the poems. Lynch’s writing is like a gut punch. Pretty words that are meant to make you feel something that isn’t necessarily pretty. Which we all know is the way to my heart.

Husk by Rachel Autumn Deering

So lets get really personal for a minute. I have been around people most of my life that have some type of mental illness ranging from addiction to PTSD. I personally don’t suffer from any type of mental illness but I understand that toll that it takes on individuals and their families. I always find horror books that are written with characters that have PTSD or some other mental illness a bit cringey. My issue with how mental illness is dealt with in horror fiction is usually own to the fact that the bad guy has a mental illness. But that to me is not accurate. Husk was a breath of fresh air in how Deering dealt with the main character’s PTSD.

Synposis: A veteran returns home to his childhood home. However, there is something watching him.

What I liked: I loved this book. I felt like it actually discussed the symptoms of PTSD in a way that is completely understandable and respectful. This was such a fresh take on PTSD symptoms. I also really appreciated that the character with PTSD wasn’t the bad guy but rather he was suffering. Deering’s characters were enduring and well written. You want to reach through the book and try to help Kevin. The attachment that the reader feels to the characters says a lot about Deering’s writing. I love the portrayal of PTSD it really reminded me of the way it is described by some people who have suffered.

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

Star Rating: 4.5

My thoughts: I can’t wait to read more from Deering. I think she has an interesting imagination and she can spin a yarn. I love the approach she took to PTSD. It was so much like I have heard it explained to me. Her writing style pulls you in and doesn’t let go. I normally try to let a book sink in and then write a review but I have been thinking about Husk since I finished it. It is one that stays with you. If you haven’t read it yet I would suggest that you pick it up!!

A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng

2018 was the year that I decided to do things that are outside of my comfort zone. One of the things that I decided to do was to read more poetry. At first I was like I will read some non-genre poetry. That went pretty well. So I started venturing out into horror poetry. I am glad to say that I am never looking back. I have read more poetry in the last year then I had since I was in school. I love it though. There are so many talented poets. Christina Sng is defiantly one of the top tier.

Synopsis: A amazing poetry collection based on nightmares.

What I liked: Sng’s ability to weave nightmare scenarios with pretty language really made my heart happy as I read this. She is so skillful at choosing just the right imagery to create the creepy feeling of many of these poems. Sng takes these dreams that we all have at night and puts them to words. It is like she has snuck into our minds while we are sleeping and took all the bad dreams and put them between the cover of this book.

What I didn’t like: It ended to soon.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I really loved Sng’s writing style. I had a really hard time putting this collection down. The art on the cover was beautiful. This collection made my heart happy and I can’t wait to read more from Sng. If everything else is as wonderful as A Collection of Nightmares then I can’t wait!!

Return to Dyatlov Pass By J.H. Moncreiff

When I was a kid there was a show called Unsolved Mysteries. I read recently Netflix is going to be resurrecting it. I am SUPER excited. I also listen to the awesome Astonishing Legends podcast, which is where I first learned about Dyatlov Pass. Once I heard about the mystery I had to know more!! I read Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of Dyatlov Pass by Donny Eicher as well as the movie that was made about Dyatlov pass. Yes I am that person. I was super excited when I saw Return to Dyatlov Pass I knew I had to read it.

Synopsis: A podcast crew tries to find out what happened at Dyatlov Pass.

What I liked: I love that Moncreiff took this mystery and ran with it. I really liked the way that she setup the ending of the story. The characters were well written and three dimensional. I love the character twist that was introduced in the middle story. I also really liked the ending. I wasn’t expecting that ending and to be honest I believe that it would play well on the big screen. Actually, I think that the entire story would play out well, I digress. The pacing kept me engaged and interested in the story and what was happening to the characters. I really appreciated that there was quite a bit of history woven into the fiction that Moncreiff posted which I believe was very well done.

What I didn’t like: The only thing that I would have liked it more information about what the snowmen could have been.

Star Rating 4.5 Snowmen in the sky

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the story. Personally, I love that the characters talked about the different theories that have been mentioned surrounding Dyatlov Pass. I can’t wait to see what else Moncreiff has up her sleeve.

Zombieville by CV Hunt

I love a good zombie book. Zombie books make me happy. The mindless creature that doesn’t stop for any reason. It is the one monster that always gets me. It is hard to imagine a monster that never gets tired who is only fueled by hunger. But what if the rhythm of music is what brought the body back from the dead? Zombieville gives us a different type of zombie story

Synopsis: A girl and a funeral director begin a relationship that involves zombies.

What I liked: I really appreciated a different take on zombies. Yes you still got the chomping but there was a bit more to it. With the juju bags and etc. Now what I found interesting is that music brought the zombie alive. Not alive but with music he would move and in one line it was noted that he was bopping along to the music. It makes me actually think of hoodoo and I found that was an interesting detail in the story. The romantic angle in the story was interesting and not saccharine. It fit the narrative really well.

What I didn’t Like: I was a little confused to begin with as the cover shows a female zombie. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story or from my rating.

Star Rating: 4.0 Stars

My thoughts: I really appreciated the twist in the Zombie genre. It didn’t follow the normally formulaic story lines. The love story within the story was sweet in a twisted way and I really appreciated that. It wasn’t over done. I find that a romance in a book can really mess up the flow for me. But Hunt handled the romance just perfectly for me.