Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

I have not been a big middle grade or YA reader; even when I was in middle grade I was looking at other things to read. Some of the ladies of the LOHF have been enjoying middle grade and YA horror. So I wanted to make sure to give it a try myself. I have loved Arden’s other books so naturally I turned to Small Spaces as an introduction to middle grade horror.

Synopsis: A girl who has had a rough year steals a book and then weird stuff starts happening.

What I liked: I like Arden’s writing style generally. She makes the story very accessible for younger readers which I really appreciated. I really enjoyed how the story was setup. The pacing was good through the story and the characters were well fleshed out. I enjoyed the subject matter of the story and it would lend itself well to be read aloud. The story within the story was really well done as well.

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

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I believe that this is going to be a series and the second book is going to be coming out this year? Honestly, it was a book that I would have loved to read as a 7th grader. Many of the feelings and emotions that the main character are going through are relatable. The creep factor is there for children and there is a major Halloween vibe through the story which I really loved. It made me think of apple cider doughnuts, hot chocolate and pumpkins. Yes I miss fall….alot.

The Resurrectionists by Michael Patrick Hicks

I love history. I have a bachelors and a masters in Archaeological Science. I really love history. Something that was new to me the last couple of years was historical horror. This my dear friends has opened a whole new world to me and I LOVE IT. I was very lucky to receive The Resurrectionists By Michael Patrick Hicks. This tome has lead me down a couple of different internet rabbit holes since I finished reading it. Which has been fantastic.

Synopsis: Resurrectionists are digging up graves of freed POC in New York. One man is going to stop them. But in order to do so, he has to stop a cult.

What I liked: I loved the concept. Hicks picked a interesting time in our nation and a historical event that I had never heard of and built an entire narrative out of it. The pacing of the novel was good. I enjoyed the climax of the monsters and learning about the cult. I really enjoyed Hick’s writing style. He handled a couple of delicate topics extremely well. Hick’s character building was done extremely well. His characters are three dimensional and well fleshed out.

What I didn’t like: I found the beginning to be a bit slow. However, it was important to build the setting and the characters.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I really liked it and I can’t wait for the second book. I think the way Hicks handled some of the nuances was really good. It think it really shows his skill as a writer. I really love that this book is a horror take on an actual event. The time that Hicks put into researching this subject is evident in his writing. It was deliciously gory and bloody. If you haven’t read any of his work I would highly recommend you pick this up honestly it is a helluva ride.

Thank you to Micheal Patrick Hicks for a review copy.

Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Mauro

There is something to be said for books that you can’t put down. Where the stories pull you in and don’t let go. Where the horror creeps up on you. At first you think you are safe….but in reality you aren’t. The false sense of security it lovely….until you no longer are safe. Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Mauro was one of those horror sleepers.

Synopsis: Collections of short stories that are set all over from the Arizona Desert to a Frozen Finnish lake.

What I liked: There is so much to unpack in this collection. Personally, I think that love and acceptance take the center stage in many of the stories that Mauro writes. Mauro weaves love through the horror of many of the stories which such ease which says a lot about her as a writer. Mauro’s writing style is smooth and flows so well throughout the stories. The arrangement of the short stories was spot on and they flowed well with each other. Even though many of the stories were set in different places Mauro brought out the beauty and the harshness in each book.

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

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: Mauro is a helluva a writer. She is able to take very mundane situations and really twist them. I have to say the first story gave me the feels…shape shifting and stories and love. There are so many different things that I want to talk about but I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone. But I will say this Undertow is a publisher to really keep your eye on!!

Salvation Day By Kali Wallace with a Special 24 Hour Giveaway!!!

I have been on a roll lately with books. Most of them I have really liked for the fun story or how they made me feel. But Salvation Day was different. It was a fast paced read but there is a lot to unpack in this book. The difference between haves and have nots. The cult of personality etc….elitism. There was a lot to think about all wrapped up in a space story with a virus. Wanna see the book trailer!! Salvation Day will be out in the wild on July 9th, 2019

Synopsis: A spaceship is hijacked by a cult. They are on a mission to get to a ship which has been decommissioned due to a virus.

What I liked: The story was well paced. I didn’t feel like it dragged at any part. Wallace’s characters were well written and three dimensional. The reader was able to connect with both the main protagonist and antagonist. I thought many of the threads through out the story were interesting and well written. Wallace brought the story arcs together neatly. To be honest that is a hard thing for a writer to do but she pulled it off wonderfully. The story itself is told from two different POV each of the POV were woven together perfectly. I really enjoyed the idea of space, virus and HELLO CULT. Wallace really did pull it off with this one.

What I didn’t Like: I would have liked more information collapse. But I put that together in my head.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: So lets talk a little about some of the themes in this books. The cult of personality is one that I thought was handled very impressively. There are aspects throughout the story you are thinking to yourself this could totally be today….especially when talking about misinformation or rather who is privy to information. I felt like Wallace was drawing inspiration from many of the dramas that are played out on our screens everyday. There was a twist that I wasn’t expecting to be honest. I was like OH well okay, sometimes twists don’t necessarily fit the story but this one totally did. It made sense to where Wallace was taking the story. I really appreciated the story and can’t wait to see what Wallace releases next.

NOW for the really exciting news Berkley is holding a 24 hour giveaway for Salvation Day!! Click here to enter the giveaway.

Rabid Heart by Jeremy Wagner

I am a sucker for a zombie novel. There are times when I feel like I have read every zombis scenario imaginable. Then something something new comes along. My lovely friend Laurie from Barksbooksnonsence knows I have a weird fascination with the zombie genre, so when she got an extra copy of Rabid Heart she sent me the extra. I’m glad to say that she did. It was something a bit different that made me happy.

Synopsis: Zombies, a girl and road trip.

What I liked: I enjoyed Wagner’s writing style, fast paced with plenty of action. I am not a fan of zombie books that drag on. It was fun. I enjoyed the characters and the situations that they found themselves in. Brad was an interesting take on a zombie and that made me happy. So often once you have rad one zombie you read them all. I enjoyed that the heroine was a woman that made truly human mistakes. All too often in zombie stories the hero makes all the right decisions. Our heroine truly did not. She acted on emotion instead of a military thought process. I also really appreciated that the zombie virus had a name.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked more chomping of the people. But that is just me.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I enjoyed Rabid Heart quite a bit. It was just a fun book where there were cannibals and zombies. I love that the heroine was flawed. The characters were well written. You can tell that Wagner put a lot of thought into the story in how it unravels. I dislike romance in my stories but this one was kinda sweet in a weird and gross way. For those that have read the book you will know what I am talking about. Anyways, for anyone that appreciates a good zombie story defiantly check this one out.

New Music for Old Rituals by Tracy Fahey

There aren’t many books that I read, I can honestly say feel like home. Where the stories of my childhood are presented in different and inventive ways. But Fahey is able to do that. Fahey took me back to my childhood where my nan would put out offerings for the good folk, she would tell me stories of changelings and the hungry grass. She told me stories of people that would walk off into the country side never to be seen again. So I grew up hearing much of the mythology that Fahey uses in her fiction. To this day I still have a hefty appreciation for the good folk…..because you never know.

Synopsis: A collection of horror stories based on mythology and legends from Ireland and one from Iceland.

What I liked: I loved this entire collection. It felt like sitting in the kitchen with my nan as she cooked and told stories. So many were stories that I had hear variations of that it was comfortable. Fahey’s writing style is very much like listening to a great story teller. The way she interwove legend and mythology into the stories that she told was perfect. At the end of each story Fahey gave you information about the story or her inspiration for the story. I really liked that. So many times you don’t the author’s though process behind a story. I really enjoyed her play with modern and mythology.

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

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: After the first story…..I thought to myself that I missed my nan terribly. I missed the family that is still in Ireland. But the more I read the more this homesickness for lack of a better term was. Each story was like listening to my aunts tell one story after the other while they were cooking or knitting in the evening. I am happy to see an author using the old stories today. I am overjoyed to see the Irish language written down in a story. Go raibh maith agat Tracy. Chun na sean-scéalta a choinneáil beo. Agus chun glúin eile a mhúineadh chun eagla a chur ar na sióga.

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Fairytale retellings take on so many forms. Many aren’t that large of a departure from the original story. When I saw Christina Henry was publishing a retelling of Red Riding Hood I knew I must read it. I really enjoyed her take on The Little Mermaid. Henry’s retelling is everything I wanted it to be and more. It is a very human tale with love, loss, creatures and a girl in a red hoody. I am so very glad I stepped into the world of Red.

Synopsis: A virus which starts as a cough has wiped out a good chunk of humanity, Red goes on a voyage to get to her grandma’s house where she thinks that she will be safe.

What I liked: I love apocalypse literature and Henry does a great job of painting a picture of death, disease and the fall of humanity. There are a lot of different themes explored in the story: race, disability and family. It wasn’t something that I was expected but I feel the Henry handled each theme with purpose and grace. The characters are three dimensional and by the end of the story you really care about them. There is a lot of hope woven through the story and the good and bad of humanity. I really appreciated the way she used imagery to take the reader back to the original story.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything I didn’t like. I would have liked a bit more of the ending at Grandma’s house so you knew that Red was safe.

Star Rating 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I really wanted more of an ending. It was slightly anti-climatic for me as I really wanted to know that everyone involved in the story was safe. I enjoying the chapters that were set before Red went into the forest. I really believe that having that back story really fleshed out her character and you got a good understanding of what her motivations are throughout. It was a fun read with a surprise thrown in and I really enjoyed reading it.

BIG Thanks to Berkley for sending me a review copy for my honest opinion.