I am Not Your Final Girl: Poems By Claire C. Holland

I’ve watched a good deal of 80s and 90s slasher movies. There was always the one girl that normally was a fighter; who fought but she eventually succumbed. Or She fought through the night and was able to hobble her way to freedom the next day.  I found that I rooted for them as they hobbled through the forest and the dark. So whether you fancy yourself Laurie from Halloween or Nancy from Friday the 13th this dark poetry book is defiantly for you.

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Summary: Poems based on the final girls in popular horror movies.

What I liked: I have really enjoyed all the dark and horror related poetry I have been reading lately. I really enjoyed the concept of the book. The poems were dark and disturbing. What I thought was interesting was that this was the Holland’s feelings about these women, brought about by the political climate. I found each of the poems to be gut wrenching and heart breaking. When you really digest the words and the meaning he fear and anger behind the words is palatable. I believe that the women that are noted through out the book break the log used trope of women not fighting back and being weak. Especially in the horror genre.

What I didn’t like: It is a small thing was one of the poems was attributed to Sarah in The Craft but Holland seemed in the poem to be talking about Nancy. I could have read it wrong.

Star Rating 4.5

My thoughts: There were some movies that were noted in the book that I hadn’t seen. But that gives me more to watch. The concept was super intriguing and I really am glad that I read it. My favorite poems from the collection are Selena from 28 Days Later and Jennifer from I Spit on Your Grave. Both of these poems are hard hitting and really gut punch you.  Both of these are movies that I have enjoyed and I always root for the two characters that Holland wrote about.

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

I watch a lot of horror films. A good chunk of them don’t scare me anymore. Especially haunted house films. Seriously, how many times can you see pretty close too the same story line in a film. Group of friends go into a “haunted house” and then ghosts try to get them. They all die and one escapes to tell the tale. It is a story that is told over and over again. What if the ghosty in the haunted house wins? What would happen then?

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Summary: A dilapidated house located by a cemetery is setup to be a haunted house for Halloween.

What I liked: I enjoyed the cheese factor. It really reminded me of 80s teen slasher films especially the end. The concept of the story was intriguing. I loved the whole haunted house becoming a fake haunted house. My favorite part of the story was the last 25% of the book.  I loved the idea that a house that was a slaughter house ended up being a real slaughter house.

What I didn’t like:  I would have liked more of the houses backstory. We got quite a bit of Katie’s backstory but not of the house really. Especially the little room. I wanted a bit more of that.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: So there there is something that I am not a big fan of that was done in The House by the Cemetery a number of times. I have a pretty good memory. I can usually remember a character based on their name. I am not a fan when authors consistently describe a character by their ethnicity or a defining feature especially if that was how they were introduced. If a character is surly I will remember that the next time this character is brought up. It is a small thing but for me that drives me nuts. Unfortunately, Everson does this through out the book.

 

Fright into Flight edited by Amber Fallon

I have a deep appreciation for anthologies. I think that they offer people who read a lot a bit of a pallet cleanser between heavier reads. There are times when you find an anthology that just speaks to you.  I truly thought that my time had come…Stephen King and Bev Vincent where editing a horror anthology based on travel. I like going places just the traveling part is stressful, with so many moving parts that can go wrong. I  reviewed the contributing authors list and there was a glaring error….there were no women authors. I was shocked and possibly a little crushed.  There wasn’t one short story written by a woman.There are a ton of amazing women horror authors. It was shortly after that I came across a tweet from Word Horde press there were looking for reviewers to review their new travel horror anthology edited by a woman with a full cast of women horror writers. I jumped at the chance……Fright into Flight was delivered into my  mailbox a couple of weeks later.

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Summary:  16 dark stories centered around flight. Whether that is wings or floating away.

What I liked: OMG! I want to say that I have the words to do this anthology justice. The stories that have been carefully curated by Fallon fit with the anthology theme so well. It was like reading back to back episodes of Tales from the Darkside. All the stories were well written and edited. The stories fit so well together that while I was reading them I was never outside of the story. Many times with anthologies there are a couple of amazing stories and a good chunk that are just okay. But this wasn’t the case with Fright into Flight each story was just as good as the one before it. There were so many different themes that ran through this gathering of stories I can’t name them all. The stories are beautiful, heartbreaking and horrific.

What I didn’t Like: Nothing, it was beautiful.

Star Rating: All the damn stars

My Thoughts: This was a great answer to those of us that were perturbed that there were no women authors in the other anthology. The stories where so well chosen and fit the theme perfectly. I appreciated the fact that each story had different types of flight. The opening story sets the scene for the anthology perfectly and draws you right in. Once you dive in you just keep swimming. It was truly a pleasure to review this anthology. I truly hope that Fallon edits another anthology as this was right on the money and more.

Fright into Flight is available September 4th from Word Horde. Click on the picture to be transported to the publisher page for purchase.

****Big Thanks as always to Word Horde for sending a review copy for my honest opinion****

Triple Axe By Scott Cole

There aren’t many times I can say that a horror novel or novella is cute. Normally I reserve cute for animals I see on twitter or instagram. Especially sheep, that are bobbing all over the place. Those are the cutest things I have ever seen. There re basically fluff balls that are bouncing allover seriously cute.  But I can honestly say that  I would have never said porn, gore and murder where cute. But honestly Triple Axe by Scott Cole is indeed cute. Sorry Mr. Cole but it was, in a gory way.

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Summary: 3 porn stars are trying to catch the manic that is killing their friends.

What I liked:  The story was fast paced and once I started reading I wasn’t able to put it down. I enjoyed the story line immensely. The characters were well written and likable. You really wanted them to find the killer and win the day. Cole came up with a very  ingenious way for the manic to kill his victims. There is also a cult aspect that I really enjoyed in this book. It helps pull together the story that Cole is telling. Now, I hope with that ending we are going to get a sequel!!

What I didn’t like: Ummm the fact that it ended….on a cliffhanger!!

Star Rating: 4 porn stars

My thoughts: I loved how he wrote these characters. Yeah they were in the porn industry but they were human. The women in this story were bad ass and banded together to take the law into their own hands. He didn’t write the women as weak; they were strong characters in their own right. I appreciated that. There is plenty of gore in the book. But it didn’t come across as a pure splatterpunk. It was more like gore meets the porn world with a heart of gold.

*****A Big thanks to Scott Cole for sending me a review copy for my honest opinion****

The Meg and The Trench by Steve Alten

The ocean isn’t a place that I frequent. It isn’t that I don’t like water or that I can’t swim. I like watching storms come into the beach. The waves getting higher and higher..the grey clouds rolling towards the shore. The sound of the thunder and waves crashing against the shore is beautiful and relaxing. However, I am not a fan of getting on a boat whether it is big or small. You can’t see what is beneath you. There are so many things that are underneath the water that could eat you. I don’t think that my healthy fear of getting eaten in the water is going to be cured by reading The Meg and The Trench.

Summary: A Megladon is enticed out of the Mariana Trench and all the chaos happens. It includes chomping on a lot of people.

What I like: The pacing of the story was fast and I really appreciated that. Alten’s writing reminds me of Crichton’s. There is science mixed in with fiction that could make you scratch your head and wonder whether there could be something to it. The male characters are well written and full fleshed out. The stories were fun and there was a lot of people chomping happening, which is always my favorite part of shark books. I really enjoyed the parts of the books that were written in the POV of the Meg and Angel from The Trench. There is an addition to the story that I really appreciated and it made my heart happy but you need to read it to find out what it is.

What I didn’t like: So here is my only problem with the Alten’s writing…the way he portrays a lot of his women. I believe that he is trying to write a strong woman character but it doesn’t work out well.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: Besides the issue I had with the way female characters are written I loved the chomping. I loved many of the aspects of The Meg and The Trench. They are awesome creature feature palette cleansers.

The Shatter Point By Jon O’Bergh

I love haunted houses at Halloween. They have always been one of my favorite things about Halloween. Going through a dark maze with different scenes or a pop-up skeleton. Every once in awhile something comes across my email about extreme haunts. I’ve always been intrigued but it isn’t something that I really wanted to do. The Shatter Point by Jon O’Bergh brings a little of the haunt to you….

Summary: The story follows the lives of three different characters and what happens when they reach their breaking point.

What I liked: I liked the premise of the story. I enjoyed some of the backstories of the characters. I enjoyed O’Bergh’s writing style.

What I didn’t like: I feel there were elements of the supernatural that needed to be explored. The pacing was very slow throughout the novella. With the length of the novel I would have expected the pacing to pick up towards the middle but alas this didn’t happen. The ending felt a bit rushed. I didn’t feel like all the story lines were complete. There was talk of certain things that had happened but they were not completely explored which left me feeling a bit hollow.

Star Rating: 3

My Thoughts: I really wanted to like the story but due to the pacing and the build up I found that my mind was wandering. I appreciate that O’Bergh trying to weave all these stories together but it didn’t quite work. There were a couple of story lines that I wasn’t sure of why they were left in as they really had no bearing on the outcome of the story. As this story was over 100 pages we really need to make the pages count towards the climax of the story.

Bury the Lead by Cassondra Windwalker

With the advent of the term “fake news” I have been wondering where do we draw the line. What’s real…..what’s not real? Who can you trust and you can’t you trust? Is there  line where the news is publishable and or not publishable? What is true and what isn’t true? Bury the Lead explores this issue in a new and unsettling way.

Summary: A newspaper editor begins a social experiment using his newspaper and embedded advertising.

What I liked: After finishing Bury the Lead I had a deep and unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just like a thriller should. Windwalker’s writing delivers this unsettling feeling with flair and style. Her writing is witty and biting. The storyline was pertinent to what is going on in society today. The ending was deliciously dark and left me scratching my head. I loved that the ending wasn’t laid out on a silver platter. It left a bit to my imagination and with a surreal feeling which was perfect for what I wanted.

What I didn’t like: Nothing there was nothing I didn’t like about Bury the Lead.

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: I finished this quickly but I wanted to really to sit back and think about this story. And it has been a few days and I am still thinking about this book.