The Festering Ones by S.H. Cooper

I love stories where there this a kick ass female protagonist. I also love when a female protagonist sees the writing on the wall but still pushes forward. Not matter if their back is against the wall there is still this drive pushing them forward to kill or solve whatever issue is in front of them. Honestly, that is what makes a strong female character and Cooper has that down.

Synopsis: A woman’s past comes back to haunt her but she takes control.

What I liked: I really enjoyed Cooper’s characterizations. Her characters are three dimensional and you can care about them. You want them to win. You become very invested in the story. I really like Cooper’s writing style. It is a very quick read that you really don’t want to end. You want to continue reading the story of these women. The monsters….I want everyone to read just to meet Cooper’s monsters. Her descriptions of them are vivid and you can see in your mind’s eye exactly what they look like. There is so much to like about Cooper’s writing.

What I didn’t like: I didn’t want it to end.

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: I read The Festering Ones in two sittings. I really enjoyed the premise. There is something that was really important to me that Cooper did really well. Her characters where strong women without being bitchy and abrasive. They were brave and faced their demons with spunk and grit. I really appreciated that. The idea that a strong woman doesn’t have to be abrasive or a bitch was lovely.

Thank you too S.H. Cooper for the review copy!!!

Women In Translation:Now You’re One of Us by Asa Nonami trans. by Michael Volek and Mitsuko Volek

I am very happy at the moment. Women in translation month really opened my eyes to all the amazing books in the world. I have been doing a lot of research into translation and publishing here in the States. Needless to say, I am pretty disappointed. The stories that are floating around out in the world are amazing and truly deserve to have everyone screaming about them. Now You’re One of Us is a book that I personally hadn’t heard anything about. I was looking all over for Japanese women horror authors and came across Asa Nonami. Now I want to scream about her books from the roof tops.

Synopsis: A newlywed joins her husbands family

What I liked: I loved the dreamlike quality that Nonami interjects into this story. Reading this story was like walking around without the right amount of sleep. The story is a slow burn. It starts out innocently enough but it progresses to all out craziness. Then pulls back again. You really want to believe that the character is crazy. But you soon realize that she isn’t. I really enjoyed the entire story. Nonami is so talented and I wish that there were more people reading her books.

What I didn’t Like: Nothing there was nothing that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: When I got the book through interlibrary loans it was marked as a mystery. I completely disagree with this. It isn’t a mystery but rather a horror that deals with social taboos. The entire book is written like a dream. The reader finds out why the story is told like that later and it is shocking but what the main character does is even more shocking. I really wish there were more people screaming about Asa Nonami. She is truly a talented writer.

The Fearing Book Four Earth and Ember by John F.D. Taff

Again I am just going to say that I loved the idea of a book being serialized. I hate to use the word vintage or throwback….but in the era where we can have anything delivered via an app on our phone it was refreshing. As I am writing this I think that there is more to this story then just an apocalyptic story. I’ll talk more about that later….But the story feels very personal.

Synopsis: The last book in The Fearing serialization.

What I liked: Something that I really enjoyed was the ending. I wasn’t happy about the trip of the story being over. However, I love where Taff took it too. The ending itself made me happy. Through out the story there was this feeling of anxiousness. The entire story was a race…..a race between good and evil. But it wasn’t truly that. It was a truly fresh take on fear. What fear actually is and how fear works. Taff is truly talented. The plot through the story moved perfectly….there are times where you can slightly catch your breath and then you are taken on a roller coaster ride through the countryside.

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

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: I didn’t really want to read the ending of this serialization. I really enjoyed waiting for each book. It was like waiting for the next movie in a series or waiting for the next episode of a TV show. In the era of movies on demand or binge watching tv shows, it reminded me of being patient and enjoy the waiting. I want to say that the story felt a lot more personal. Fear is an interesting emotion and the idea that fear could destroy the world is so poignant right now. I will say this I personally loved the ending. I can’t talk about the ending without giving it away but I loved the ending.

The super cool thing is that the covers can be put together to form a cool picture.

Thank you to Grey Matter Press for my review copy!

The Toll by Cherie Priest

I love fairytales. Some of my favorites are about trolls that live under a bridge that won’t let you pass until you pay a toll. Once that toll is paid you are allowed to pass. The Toll is slightly like that but with swamp witches and monsters. When I won The Toll I was super excited. However, this isn’t your grandmother’s fairytale.

Synopsis: A town where no one ever leaves until they do.

What I liked: I really enjoyed how Priest used Staywater as a character. Many times, towns are just used as a backdrop instead of an actual character. I also enjoyed the pacing. The beginning of the story is a slow burn which caused me to be slightly confused. But as the story went on it drew everything together. I really enjoyed the cousins….I always enjoy stories where little old ladies are strong willed.

What I didn’t like: There are a few things that I would have liked to understand about Staywater a bit more. Such as the doll house etc.

Star Rating: 4 stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story so much. I did have a few issues where there were was something that was discussed in the story but there was npc background. For me, the dollhouse was one of those and why everyone could see ghosts. It seemed very natural but I wanted to understand why this was the case there. Personally, I would have like to understand that a bit more. Also I wanted to know more about Jess. How did she know. So for me there were a couple of things I wanted to know more about.

Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand

Every month on Goodreads the LOHF host a group read. This months choice was Sawkill Girls. I really just started reading YA horror this year and have been enjoying what I have read.

Synopsis: Three girls with special powers take on a evil demon.

What I liked: I enjoyed the first part of this book. There was a very mysterious aspect to the beginning of the story but…towards the middle of the story it more or less fell apart for me. I don’t really think that the cult aspect really fit in the story. It felt a bit forced when I was reading it. I think that the story would have flowed better without the cult. It felt like an after thought. This is just my opinion and a lot of people have really enjoyed the book. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

What I didn’t like: I think that the cult aspect of the story didn’t flow very well. Just my opinion.

Star Rating: 3.5 stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the diversity in this story. The diversity in the story worked really well and didn’t feel forced. I really appreciate that aspect. For me the story was like Mean Girls meets Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.

The Fearing Book Three: Air & Dust

I know I have said this before but I really wish that more publishers would serialize their stories. It has been so much fun waiting for each novella and then devouring it as soon as it comes in the mail. Honestly, it reminds me of watching a regular TV show and needing to wait a week to watch the next episode. It has made me super happy.

Synopsis: Book 3 in the serialization of The Fearing.

What I liked: I love the story. I really, really do. With the fact that it is serialized it allows the pacing to pull the reader in. It was really nice waiting for the next installment. The introduction of Mr. Jackoby was really interesting and added new flavor to the story. The characterizations are so well written, as a reader I am worried about some of the characters. Taff’s story is so well written that you really don’t want it to end. I do have book 4 and will be reading it this week. But I really love how Taff has built the story up. I can’t wait until to read more about Monday as well.

What I didn’t like: ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING

Star Rating: 5

My Thoughts: Seriously, I wish that more publishers serialized their stories. It was really nice not binging the entire thing. I really hope the Grey Matter does this with another book. It really drew out the enjoyment of the story.

The Girl in the Fort by Tracy Fahey

I read a book earlier this year which was by Irish author Tracy Fahey. OMG!!! Her writing made me very very happy. She took stories that my grandmother told me when I was a child and worked them into a modern day stories. So when I saw she had another book out I had to read it.

Synopsis: A girl goes to live with her grandparents and learns the mysteries of fairy forts.

What I liked: Fahey’s characterizations are spot on for kids the age that she is writing. The pacing of the story was perfect for the story line. Fahey has the ability to weave folklore and horror seamlessly. I loved the ending to this story. It was one of those stories that really made your heart happy. (well certain aspects of the ending). You need to read it if you want to know what I am talking about.

What I didn’t like: I loved the entire thing.

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: This is the second book of Fahey’s that I have read and her writing still makes me happy. It is like sitting with my grandmother and listening to stories. I think that this book would work for ages 10 and up. It isn’t so much in your face, gorey scary. Which is something that I really appreciated. I want to shove this in so many people’s hands.

Hex Life Edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering

Autumn is my favorite season. It starts to cool down in the desert and makes me think of past autumns. When I was a kid I dressed up as a witch with the full green face makeup or the horrible plastic mask. I would ride around the house on a fake broom stick. I have a love of witches and everything witchy. So when I saw Hex Life being floated around I had to review it.

Synopsis: An anthology of witchy stories written by women.

What I liked: There were so many different takes on witches! There was a fairytale retelling which I enjoyed immensely and a take on Baba Yaga. I loved them all. I loved reading all the different takes on the witch theme. This is going to be an anthology that are going to be re-reads every year. I have also not read anything by Hillary Monaghan before but her witch story was fantastic. Every story stayed within the theme and were well paced.

What I didn’t like: Nada

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My thoughts: I am so very very happy that I read this anthology. The stories were wonderful and I found some new authors to read. What makes an anthology really great is the stories within it. This is going to be a yearly re-read for me. So many different takes on witches. I can’t wait for everyone to start reading it!!

Big THANK YOU to Titan Books for a review copy!!!

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.