The Devil’s Dreamland By Sara Tantlinger

I started reading poetry this year. It truly spoke to me in a way I didn’t expect it to. I liked what I was reading. But it didn’t really gut punch me until I discovered Horror Poetry. I am totally and completely hooked now. The way many of these authors mix the grotesque with the beautiful. This is the second poetry collection that I have read this year by Sara Tantlinger and she is so talented I can’t stand it! Just kidding Sara. But in all seriousness if you have a penchant horror, poetry or true crime The Devil’s Dreamland will fill that itch…

Synopsis: A poetry collection based on the life and crimes of H.H. Holmes.

What I liked: Tantlinger is able to mix the grotesque with the beautiful with such ease. In this collection which deals with one America’s first serial killers Tantlinger is able to mix historical fact and murder with pretty words. There is no other way to say it. I love the snippets of historical facts scattered throughout the collection. It says a lot about the amount of research that Tantlinger put into her collection. The layout of the collection is perfection; starting with his birth to his death Tantlinger covers the madness into which he descended with skill and ease.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely nothing. This collection hit the nail on the head for me with every single poem.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: If you haven’t picked up this collection yet what are you waiting for! Tantalinger absolutely slays (pun intended) she expertly weaves beautiful words and grotesque acts together. I truly enjoyed the way she followed the transformation of H.H. Holmes from a conman to a cold blooded serial killer. Tantlinger is so talented. If you haven’t picked up any of her poetry you are certainly missing out and need to have your head examined. So darkly delicious.

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.