Into Bones Like Oil by Karron Warren

Sometimes there are stories that come into your life and bowl you over. Normally, these are stories that you don’t necessarily see coming. That is until they bite you on the ass. Into Bones Like Oil totally did that. The stories and the characters bit me in the ass and didn’t let go until I finished the story.

Synopsis: A woman moves into a rooming house after she has something really bad happen.

What I liked: Warren’s characters are so well written. The dialog between the characters is very much how you would expect dialog to be in this type of situation. Many of the emotional burdens that the characters are feeling are so well written you actually feel them. Warren doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the claustrophobic feeling of this novella. The pacing was perfect with the build up to the reveal. This novella killed me folks. The language is beautiful and terrible at the same time. Your brain gets a oily sheen.

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

Star Rating: 5

My Thoughts: This novella really got under my skin. It takes the idea of safety and flips it on its head. But you really don’t know this until much later in the story. Warren is so skilled at unravelling the story piece by piece until you arrive at that main nugget of horror. Honestly, in this case I had NO IDEA…..until that slow reveal started. It is like a small sneaking feeling as you are reading and then BAM right there right as you are reading. That is such an amazing talent and skill to be able to do that. Dear loard everyone who loves smart and well written horror need to get this in their hands.

Huge thank you to Meerkat Press for my review copy!!

Women in Translation: Body by Asa Nonami trans. by Takami Nieda

I love body horror in any shape or size. It speaks to me on a very visceral level. The idea that you take a bodily function or just something that happens and you can make a horror story about it. You can take it and make something amazing. It amazes me that people can do that. Body is an amazing collection of body horror stories.

Synopsis: Collection of body horror stories.

What I liked: I really enjoyed each of these stories. Each story is unique and deals with a different body horror type story. Her prose is iso sharp and every word feels like it is particularly chosen. Which lends to the brilliance of the original manuscript and the translator. Each story is so unique. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. I want to shove this book into everyone’s hands. It is so different than many of the other horror books on the market at the moment.

What I didn’t like: That more people aren’t talking about this book.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: I haven’t figured out why I haven’t heard more about this book. Nonami should be on everyone’s radar. There is so many amazing things about these stories that I really loved. The entire collection spoke to me on such a level that I had to read it a second time. This doesn’t happen very often….I want to shove this book in everyone’s hands.

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.

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 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!!!

Little Paranoias: Stories by Sonora Taylor

I love short stories. I use short stories as a palette cleanser when I have been reading a lot of novels. I needed some short stories this week to cleanse my palette before I started on some of the novels that I have lined up. I was lucky enough to have received a review copy of Little Paranoias: Stories from Sonora Taylor a couple of weeks ago and I thought this would be perfect.

Synopsis: Short stories that deal with everyday things……but in a different way.

What I liked: I really enjoy Taylor’s writing. She has a very informal style which lends to story telling. Instead of feeling like you are reading it is more like you are having the story told to you. The pacing of the stories where perfect. Some ranged from a few pages to a couple. Taylor really put some thought into the pacing of each story. I would have to say that there weren’t any stories which are too long nor too short. The stories where just the right length. I really appreciate this. This collection has so many different topics in the stories which is always fantastic when you are reading a collection. I also like how Taylor writes her female characters.

What I didn’t like: Nothing

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the stories in this lovely collection. They range from stories which tug at your heart strings to stories that give you the shivers. One of my favorite stories made me really sad LOL. I want to talk about what the story was about but I can’t do that without giving away what the story is about. There are a couple of different ways you can look at the story itself. My take was more about how people treat other people. But I can’t say any more than that. If you haven’t checked out Taylor’s writing before I would suggest you pick this up and give it a read.

TinFoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton

I finished this book while I was sitting on the dude’s bed. I wanted to really allow the story to sink in while before I sat down to write a review. I wanted to digest my feelings about the subject matter and the characters etc. As I am sitting here at my desk writing it I am still not sure how I feel.

Synopsis: A troubled teenager meets up with a little boy in a snowy ghost town.

What I liked: Moulton writes a great character. You really feel a lot of emotions for the characters in the story. You want to help them. You want them to find help. During the action of the story I found myself holding my breath hoping that they would reach safety. But as with any well crafted story safety is found through self reflection and wanting to survive. While I was reading Moulton’s writing made me reflect on choices. The choice to push through and survive or the choice to stop surviving. I appreciate the way she ended the story. (no spoilers here ladies and gentleman.) I also thought how she wrote Earl was well written and sensitive.

What I didn’t like: I wanted to know more of Earl’s backstory. He played such an integral part of the story but you only get small bits and pieces.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: For me….the story is about the redemption of the main character. That is really sticks for me. There is so much tragedy in this story. So much sadness. But just when you think you are going to drown in the sorrow you get hope.

A big thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for a review copy.

TinFoil Butterfly will be released on September 10th, 2019.

#LOHFReadathon When I Arrived At The Castle By Emily Carroll

I wasn’t a graphic novel fan, until I got Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. It was beautiful and the story really followed a horror fairytale format. The story was lush and the illustrations were beautiful. When the announcement came through, Carroll would be releasing another book this year. I waited very patiently for my library to purchase it. I was so happy that it came just in time for the #LOHFReadathon. I am using When I Arrived at the Castle as my LGBTQIA+ choice.

Synopsis: A cat girl arrives at a castle all set to kill the “woman” that lives there.

What I liked: As always the illustrations where STUNNING. Absolutely beautiful!! I really enjoy the color palette that Carrol uses. I enjoyed the premise of the story and the gothic leanings that were present. I appreciated the nod to Dracula. But what I really get here is Elizabeth B├íthory. There is a part in the story where the woman is talking to the girl and is discussing how many have come before her etc….which is really what firmly lodged that idea in my head. There was a tiny bit of Dracula thrown in there for good measure but the other comes through more prominently .

What I didn’t like: I feel like there is a bit of story that is missing. The beginning and the ending are fully formed but I feel like there is something missing in the middle. I wanted to know more.

Star Rating: 3 stars

My thoughts: So I feel pretty let down here as I really loved Through The Woods. The illustrations weren’t the issue it was more the story. The story just felt lacking. I wanted to love it. I really really wanted to. Alas, I didn’t. Illustrations alone can’t carry a story. There needs to be some meat to the story.

Women In Translation: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa trans. by Stephen Snyder

Can I just say I am loving Women in translation month. I have heard of Ogawa and have seen Revenge on other people’s TBRs and because it was available at the library I snatched it up. I read this book in one sitting. I would love if everyone would pick up this book and read how the stories are interwoven together.

Synopsis: 11 interrelated short stories.

What I liked: I loved Ogawa’s writing style. It is lyrical and haunting. The stories are interrelated; one thread leading to another thread. Stories discussed within stories. Books discussed within stories. Each story is like a build up. The first couple of stories are simple building up to more complex stories towards the end of the book. The complexity of the stories is what makes the ending of this book intriguing. How Ogawa is able to weave all these stories together. Whether it is a single thread that is mentioned in the next story or a story about a book it is done seamlessly. The pacing of each of the stories are perfect and leaves you wanting more.

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

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: The books I have read this month really highlight why women in translation month is so important. If these books hadn’t been translated I wouldn’t have been able to read them. I would have missed out on these stories. Everyone who has read these would have missed out on these stories. These heartbreaking and hard stories. These stories that were written by women in different parts of the world in different stages of life and work. I want to also thank my wonderful public library for having these books available.