Infested by Carol Gore

In horror movies there is a period of time that is referred to as the atomic age. This is a period during the 1950s where movies were about how radiation would effect wildlife or even humans. When you look at what was going on in the world during that period of time the nuclear radiation movies make total sense. It had only been 5 years since the US had dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People saw first hand the horrible reality of this new harnessed power. People didn’t know what the radiation was going to do. There had never before been anything on this planet that had the destructive capability of the atomic bomb. So they turned their fear into movies about ordinary insects and reptiles into monster of enormous size that thirsted after humans. The atomic age of movies died down with the introduction of slasher movies. There was a resurgence in the late 80s/ early 90s where chemicals and not radiation would be the cause of mutation. Infested reminded me of all the movies in the 50s with a splash of 90s nostalgia. Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy.

Synopsis: A park ranger goes to battle with a infestation.

What I like: Gore’s writing was fast paced and fit with the story she was telling. The characterizations were familiar but that allowed me to root really hard for the main character. LOL. The premise of the story really made me happy. I always enjoy a new take on an old favorite. The new take was fresh and I appreciated it. I was totally there for the twist. What I enjoyed was that the twist was taken from the pages of science. I really enjoy when there is an element of non-fiction in the horror I am reading

What I didn’t like: Nothing

Star Rating: 4

My thoughts: I felt like the characters were characters that I had read before. However, that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story. Mind you I read a lot and watch a lot of movies. This was just something that I noticed. That didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. I can’t say too much about the twist BUT, I do know that National Parks have looked into this and I can say that my state actually does this. After reading Infested I am a little wary of it.

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!!

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.

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.

Tunnel Of Bones by Victoria Schwab

After reading City of Ghosts I was desperate to get my hands on a ARC for Tunnel of Bones. I called a very good friend of mine who reads a lot of MG/YA. Lo and behold she had an ARC for Tunnel of Bones. I stopped by one night and picked this lovely book up. I sat down the last week and devoured the second book in Schwab’s series. I am so glad that I read the first book and was able to read the second book without waiting.

Synopsis: A girl and her ghostly best friend go to Paris with her parents to continue making a paranormal show.

What I liked: There is so much to like about this book and series. There is a seamless transition from the first book to the second book. Many of the themes that are in the first book are carried over into the Tunnel of Bones. Schwab’s characterizations are still written so well. You truly believe that Cassidy is thinking like a 12 year old would. I love how some of the characters where carried over.

What I didn’t Like: It ended!!

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: These are the books I needed when I was around Cassidy’s age. I really think that Schwab is onto something with this series. It is just spooky enough for younger readers to not be frightened. But is still spooky enough to entertain older readers. I really appreciate that spooky books for MG readers are being published. I can’t wait for third book and learn more about Jacob and Cassidy.

Booker Long List: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When the Booker awards long list came out this year I was truly surprised. A book about a serial killer on this prestige list. Then I did a bit more digging and decided I wanted to read as many of the books on the long list and review them as I could. So I started with one that had been on my radar for awhile. Prior to 2019 I had only read true crime books about women that would have qualified as serial killers. So when Emily from Book Happy liked this one I knew I had to read it. I am really glad that it is on the log list for the Booker Award.

Synopsis: A nurse’s sister keeps “accidentally” killing people….is she a serial killer or is more going on.

What I liked: This is one of those books that’s written so well you want to keep reading it. The pacing of the story is perfect. It really lets you chew on the story as it goes along. The characters in the story are so well written you really feel like the MC is talking to you throughout the story. The premise of the story is really unique and fresh. Braithwaite is a very talented. She was able to take a backstory and weave it within the narration perfectly. The end of the story was really surprising.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely Nothing

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this story so very very much, I can totally see why this was nominated for the Booker long list. Even though it isn’t listed as Horror there are many horrific elements to the story. I really appreciated the freshness of the story and I can’t wait to read more by Braithwaite.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

I recently took part in a blog blitz (I believe that is what it is called) for Salvation Day by Kali Wallace. I was talking to Jen from over at Book Den about how much I enjoyed the story and she pointed out that Wallace had also published a YA horror called Shallow Graves, as I am now reading YA and MG horror as well I got the book from my library. I am so glad that I did. I may be on the hunt for a copy to keep as well. I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about this book before. Seriously, I can’t believe I haven’t heard all about it in the YA book community.

Synopsis: A girl wakes up in her grave and goes on a trip across the country.

What I liked: Wallace’s writing style lends itself so well to this story. This story flows so smooth and that is down to Wallace’s writing style. The character’s are well written and three dimensional. The pacing is perfect for the way the story unfolds. The plot holds together extremely well. The premise of the book was very original and Wallace’s writing really shines through out it.

What I didn’t Like: I would have loved a second book….or for this to be a series. I really want to revisit the characters!!

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I love YA/MG horror. I feel like this was a missing genre when I was growing up. So much of the YA/MG horror I am reading right now is really good. Wallace is an author that I recently reviewed, I really enjoy her writing style. I hope that everyone picks this book up!! A super big thank you to Jen for telling me about this book!!

Women In Translation: Things We Lost in The Fire by Mariana Enriquez

August is women in translation month. If by reading my blog you haven’t guessed that I read so many different things. Women authors are a particular passion of mine. Especially, women in horror authors. To know that there are so many stories out there that I haven’t read and authors that I know nothing about makes me feel like I am missing out. In researching an article for the LOHF, I found that we really are missing out on a ridiculous amount of stories.

Synopsis: A collection of short horror stories.

What I liked: I think that each story gives you a small glimpse into some of the political and social unrest in Argentina wrapped in horror stories. The stories aren’t particularly gory. But personally, I think that is more horror in the everyday that is discussed in each of the stories. There is so much to the backstories where the stories are taking place that I was very glad there was information about the landscape in Argentina while the author was growing up.

What I didn’t Like: Some of the stories where a bit too short and I wanted a bit more. It seemed as though they were cut off short and some seemed to run too long without enough meat in the story.

Star Rating: 3.5

My Thoughts: I am going to be changing the way I approach a translated work. I was reading an article about the amount of translated works that are being published in the US. I am approaching this as the content of the story not the translation itself. What I found in reading about translations, there are things that

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

Early in July, the Ladies of Horror Fiction where extremely lucky to work with Wunderkind PR for a giveaway of Madeleine Roux’s House of Furies series. Jen and I wanted to read something that was a bit fun so we started House of Furies one Friday night. Jen finished it before I did but told me that I would enjoy it…..she wasn’t wrong! This story has so many elements that I absolutely love in it.

Synopsis: A girl with a secret begins to work in a country house.

What I liked: I enjoyed the entire book. The pacing is perfect for this book. So spot on. The story itself pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the last page. Even then you want the story to keep going. Roux pulls you into this alternate world where you actually question the rights and wrongs of the story. Actually the story makes you think a little bit deeper than just reading the story. It actually forces you to question a couple of your own morals. What would you do in such and such situation? I rather enjoyed that. I believe that the story is YA accessible and there isn’t anything that you wouldn’t want your YA reading.

What I didn’t Like: That the book ended when it did.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: As I was buddy reading this I received a message from Jen telling me that I was going to love an aspect of the book and she was right. Now I can’t say anything as that will ruin the story. But it was a great twist in the story. There is a beauty to the characters in the story. Even which each of their unique qualities you really come to like them especially when you find out more about their backstories. Also there is a book within a book which Roux does very well. It actually ties the stories of the characters together. I really enjoyed the extra back story.

Choking Back the Devil By Donna Lynch

Last year I got into reading poetry during National Poetry month. I am really glad that I did. I have been lucky to read so many great poetry collections. I review Donna Lynch’s Witches last year and knew that she was going to be a poetess that I would want to read again. I was so thrilled when she came out with another collection this year Choking Back the Devil. She is one to watch out for.

Synopsis: Dark poetry from the mind of Donna Lynch.

What I liked: Donna is a truly gifted poetess. Each poem in this collection is gut wrenching. Lynch has a real skill in taking words and conveying pure and raw emotion with them. All the poems were 4.5 and 5 star reads for me. Through the collection there is some truly heart wrenching subjects. Loss, love and depression. So many things within the this collection. I love how Lynch plays with words and metaphors. There is so much to unpack in this collection that there aren’t enough words to put it all together.

What I didn’t like: There was nothing in this collection that I didn’t love.

Star Rating: 5 stars!!!

My thoughts: After reading Lynch’s other poetry collection witches I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to come up with next. I was not disappointed in the least. I appreciate the the way that Lynch provides twists and turns within her poems. Lynch is truly a talented poetess. She deals with so many horrific themes in her poetry with such beauty.

I want to thank RDSPRess for sending me a copy of Choking Back the Devil in exchange for a honest review.