Husk by Rachel Autumn Deering

So lets get really personal for a minute. I have been around people most of my life that have some type of mental illness ranging from addiction to PTSD. I personally don’t suffer from any type of mental illness but I understand that toll that it takes on individuals and their families. I always find horror books that are written with characters that have PTSD or some other mental illness a bit cringey. My issue with how mental illness is dealt with in horror fiction is usually own to the fact that the bad guy has a mental illness. But that to me is not accurate. Husk was a breath of fresh air in how Deering dealt with the main character’s PTSD.

Synposis: A veteran returns home to his childhood home. However, there is something watching him.

What I liked: I loved this book. I felt like it actually discussed the symptoms of PTSD in a way that is completely understandable and respectful. This was such a fresh take on PTSD symptoms. I also really appreciated that the character with PTSD wasn’t the bad guy but rather he was suffering. Deering’s characters were enduring and well written. You want to reach through the book and try to help Kevin. The attachment that the reader feels to the characters says a lot about Deering’s writing. I love the portrayal of PTSD it really reminded me of the way it is described by some people who have suffered.

What I didn’t like: There was nothing that I didn’t like about Husk.

Star Rating: 4.5

My thoughts: I can’t wait to read more from Deering. I think she has an interesting imagination and she can spin a yarn. I love the approach she took to PTSD. It was so much like I have heard it explained to me. Her writing style pulls you in and doesn’t let go. I normally try to let a book sink in and then write a review but I have been thinking about Husk since I finished it. It is one that stays with you. If you haven’t read it yet I would suggest that you pick it up!!

A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng

2018 was the year that I decided to do things that are outside of my comfort zone. One of the things that I decided to do was to read more poetry. At first I was like I will read some non-genre poetry. That went pretty well. So I started venturing out into horror poetry. I am glad to say that I am never looking back. I have read more poetry in the last year then I had since I was in school. I love it though. There are so many talented poets. Christina Sng is defiantly one of the top tier.

Synopsis: A amazing poetry collection based on nightmares.

What I liked: Sng’s ability to weave nightmare scenarios with pretty language really made my heart happy as I read this. She is so skillful at choosing just the right imagery to create the creepy feeling of many of these poems. Sng takes these dreams that we all have at night and puts them to words. It is like she has snuck into our minds while we are sleeping and took all the bad dreams and put them between the cover of this book.

What I didn’t like: It ended to soon.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I really loved Sng’s writing style. I had a really hard time putting this collection down. The art on the cover was beautiful. This collection made my heart happy and I can’t wait to read more from Sng. If everything else is as wonderful as A Collection of Nightmares then I can’t wait!!

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. 

Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger

I didn’t really start reading poetry until this year. The darker the better. Sometimes it spoke to me like Amanda Lovelace’s poetry other times it didn’t. But when something you read absolutely wrecks you it s the best feeling ever. That you read the words and they truly mean something to you. It maybe about murder and blood but the emotion behind the murder and blood is something that you feel deeply. When I was in school if this was the type of poetry that we were introduced to I may have continued to read it. But what ever you do pick up Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger.

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Summary: Wonderful dark and devilish poems about love and lust. With some murder and stuff thrown in.

What I liked: I picked this up when my friend Emily reviewed it and gave it 5 stars,  I now know why!  Tantlinger’s prose is beautiful and horrific at the same time. This is a poetess who can turn murder and bondage into a beautiful act of love or hate. There is so much to love about this poetry collection. The mixture of the horrific and the beautiful   I don’t think that many people would be able to pull off successfully but Tantlinger does exquisitely time and again in each poem. I really wish that poetry teachers would be able to teach poetry like this as I believe it would keep kids engaged and wanting to know more about the sentiments behind the words.

What I didn’t like: Not a damn thing!!

Star Rating: As many stars as you can give it

My thoughts: I never know what to say about poetry. I don’t have a degree in literature so I never know what to say to accurately convey the way poetry can make you feel. There are so many feelings behind the words that Tantlinger writes I just want to hug them all. I needed this poetry collection when angsty goth kid Toni was trying to bumble her way through Keats, unsuccessfully I might add, but I would have totally understood this and loved this collection. Sara please write more and more!!!

Her Smile will Untether the Universe By Gwendolyn Kiste

Sometimes you read something that resonates with you so deeply that there aren’t even words that you can put together that will do it justice. You can’t describe the depths that a story or a book can speak to your soul. Her Smile will Untether the Universe will defiantly do that.

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Summary: A collection of stories that will rip your heart out.

What I liked: Kiste’s writing is beautiful. Her use of imagery is exquiste and horrific at the same time. Kiste’s stories are multilayered and speak to you at different levels. There are horrors that Kiste uncovers within yourself with her writing and that is what makes the horror of the short stories so effective. The pacing of each story is perfect and there are no lulls between the stories. This is not a collection that you want to put down. The stories flow seamlessly between each other, complimenting each other perfectly. Kiste, is a magic story teller. World creation in short stories is difficult put Kiste does it so beautifully.

What I didn’t like: There is absolutely nothing about this collection that I did not like.

Star Rating: All the stars

My Thoughts: I’ve read a lot of horror. The most effective horror plays on your fears and your experiences in life. Kiste is able to take these fears and twist them into beautiful stories. As you read them you are pulled by her words into these little universes that she creates. This was a hard review to write. I loved the stories so much but I didn’t want to reveal too much. I want other readers to be pulled into Kiste’s worlds by her words and be moved. This was a time when the words won’t accurately convey the amount of feelings you have while reading. This is one of those times. This review can’t even come close to how much I loved this collection.