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. 

Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger

I didn’t really start reading poetry until this year. The darker the better. Sometimes it spoke to me like Amanda Lovelace’s poetry other times it didn’t. But when something you read absolutely wrecks you it s the best feeling ever. That you read the words and they truly mean something to you. It maybe about murder and blood but the emotion behind the murder and blood is something that you feel deeply. When I was in school if this was the type of poetry that we were introduced to I may have continued to read it. But what ever you do pick up Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181025135209282_COVER

 

Summary: Wonderful dark and devilish poems about love and lust. With some murder and stuff thrown in.

What I liked: I picked this up when my friend Emily reviewed it and gave it 5 stars,  I now know why!  Tantlinger’s prose is beautiful and horrific at the same time. This is a poetess who can turn murder and bondage into a beautiful act of love or hate. There is so much to love about this poetry collection. The mixture of the horrific and the beautiful   I don’t think that many people would be able to pull off successfully but Tantlinger does exquisitely time and again in each poem. I really wish that poetry teachers would be able to teach poetry like this as I believe it would keep kids engaged and wanting to know more about the sentiments behind the words.

What I didn’t like: Not a damn thing!!

Star Rating: As many stars as you can give it

My thoughts: I never know what to say about poetry. I don’t have a degree in literature so I never know what to say to accurately convey the way poetry can make you feel. There are so many feelings behind the words that Tantlinger writes I just want to hug them all. I needed this poetry collection when angsty goth kid Toni was trying to bumble her way through Keats, unsuccessfully I might add, but I would have totally understood this and loved this collection. Sara please write more and more!!!

Doorbells at Dusk edited by Evans Light

In the words of the immortal Misfits “Bonfires burning bright. Pumpkin faces in the night. I remember Halloween.” Yes, it the holiday that all Horror lovers and children wait all year for. I finished Doorbells at Dusk a couple of weeks ago but I wanted to review it on Halloween. Many of the stories in this anthology capture the wonder and mysteries that Halloween night holds for kids. I am not by any means saying that this is a anthology  is for children but rather the emotions that you feel as you are reading it.

55526834

Summary: A spooky anthology of horror stories centered around Halloween.

What I liked: The stories for this anthology were well chosen and fit well together. With this anthology I felt the mystery and the spookiness that Halloween held for me as a child. As a Halloween centered anthology that is what I was looking for from this anthology and it delivered. The cover art is beautiful and really portrays the vibe of the stories in the book.  The stories ranged between a 3 and 5 for me.

What I didn’t like: There were only a couple of stories that fell a bit flat for me.

Star Rating: 4.0

My thoughts: I love books that feature Halloween as their main setting. Sometimes as an adult you lose that wonder about Halloween. The magic and the mystery of the entire holiday is slightly lost between the running around for candy and making sure that the kids have their costumes. But when you slow down and read this anthology some of that magic comes back and in your mind you can see yourself as a kid in a costume trick or treating. Walking along sidewalks which for that one night seemed to be magically transformed from the mundane to the creepy.

Big thanks to Corpus Press and A Hook of a Book for sending me a review copy.

Her Smile will Untether the Universe By Gwendolyn Kiste

Sometimes you read something that resonates with you so deeply that there aren’t even words that you can put together that will do it justice. You can’t describe the depths that a story or a book can speak to your soul. Her Smile will Untether the Universe will defiantly do that.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181023112703747_COVER

Summary: A collection of stories that will rip your heart out.

What I liked: Kiste’s writing is beautiful. Her use of imagery is exquiste and horrific at the same time. Kiste’s stories are multilayered and speak to you at different levels. There are horrors that Kiste uncovers within yourself with her writing and that is what makes the horror of the short stories so effective. The pacing of each story is perfect and there are no lulls between the stories. This is not a collection that you want to put down. The stories flow seamlessly between each other, complimenting each other perfectly. Kiste, is a magic story teller. World creation in short stories is difficult put Kiste does it so beautifully.

What I didn’t like: There is absolutely nothing about this collection that I did not like.

Star Rating: All the stars

My Thoughts: I’ve read a lot of horror. The most effective horror plays on your fears and your experiences in life. Kiste is able to take these fears and twist them into beautiful stories. As you read them you are pulled by her words into these little universes that she creates. This was a hard review to write. I loved the stories so much but I didn’t want to reveal too much. I want other readers to be pulled into Kiste’s worlds by her words and be moved. This was a time when the words won’t accurately convey the amount of feelings you have while reading. This is one of those times. This review can’t even come close to how much I loved this collection.

Twin Lakes: The Autumn Fires By Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason (Sisters of Slaughter)

I’ve only read one book by two different authors before. Needless to say I didn’t like it. You could see where one author ended and the other began. It wasn’t seamless and it was hard to get through as you could see two different writing styles. However, in our wonderful horror community we have the Sister’s of Slaughter. A twin sister horror writing team who where able to meld two separate voices into one in Twin Lakes: The Autumn Fires.

IMG_20181023_112750

Summary:A hitch hiker lands in a bunch of trouble in a small town with secrets.

What I liked: I really enjoyed the story. It almost felt like two stories wrapped in one. The hitch hiker story and the ancestors story. But the sisters writing really draws the two stories together seamlessly. The characters where very well written and three dimensional. As a reader the motivations of each character was clear and crisp. The setting was well written and draws the reader in. The pacing was spot on. There were no parts of the story that dragged at any point or where I felt the pacing was slipping.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked more of a backstory to the ancestors. We got to glimpse into the past but I feel it was like a snack sized bite in a whole world that can be built on.

Star Rating:4 Stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. There were supernatural elements, beasties and demons. There were no real love type relationships in the book but the friendships that are peppered throughout the story are heart warming and don’t feel forced. As a reader you want to meet some of the people that are players in this drama that is unfolding before your eyes. This is a story when you start reading it you don’t have a full idea as too the talents of each character. But by the end you are rooting for the good guys and hoping the bad guy losses. I can’t wait to read more from the Sisters’ of slaughter!!!

Black Magic Women: Terrifying Tales by Scary Sisters Edited by Sumiko Saulson

Before working with the Ladies of Horror Fiction I never really thought too deeply about my book shelves. Yes, I have international authors and I wrote a blog post about it. I lumped American writers together. Once we started planning and discussing the Ladies of Horror Fiction some things really came to light for me. I did not have many diverse horror authors. To say I was disappointed with myself is a understatement. LOHF received an author spotlight request from R.J. Joesph. Which lead me to Black Magic Women and a whole new set of writers to read.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181006140857786_COVER-2

 

Summary: Anthology of terrifying tales that range from steampunk to zombies

What I liked: If you have read my blog at all you will know that I read a lot of collections and anthologies. I love the mixture of stories. Vampires, werewolves and even a queen bee 🙂 People are neither completely good or completely bad and I think that this collection explores all sides of a woman. The dark side with good intentions. The good side with bad intentions. The duality of people is explored in depth in this anthology. Different subgenera of horror is held in-between the cover and the back..From steampunk to scary pharmacology and even zombies!! I truly enjoyed the ride between the different worlds that these amazing authors have weaved.

What I didn’t like: This is not a reflection on the star rating but the ending of Trisha and Peter WTH!!! I would love to read a full length novel exploring that world and their relationship.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this anthology. It has opened up a whole new set of authors for me. I love that. What bothers me is that it took me so long to find it. I want to scream how great this was from the roof tops and shove it into people’s hands. I can’t wait to read more from these authors and explore the Mocha Memoirs catalog more!