3 Chilling Books to Dive Into This Spring

If like me you’re fully vaccinated and eyeing the upcoming summer months as a means to finally escape the lockdown inferno we’ve all been living in – then you may have been wondering what books you should throw in your beach bag as you head off to the nearest beach or holiday. For horror fans – these three books are a perfect mixture of creepy and chilling. So slather on some sunscreen and pull out of these novels for a thrilling ride.

REDDER DAYS BY SUE RAINSFORD

Twins Anna and Adam live in an abandoned commune in a volatile landscape where they prepare for the world-ending event they believe is imminent. Adam keeps watch by day, Anna by night. They meet at dawn and dusk.

Their only companion is Koan, the commune’s former leader, who still exerts a malignant control over their daily rituals. But when one of the previous inhabitants returns, everything Anna and Adam thought they knew to be true is thrown into question.

THE UNWELCOME BY JACOB STEVEN MOHR

Kait’s volcanic temper has already scared most of her friends away, and a bad breakup with her college boyfriend Lutz has left her crippled by guilt and painful memories. So, when she learns that her best friend Alice is planning a three-day sabbatical in a secluded mountain cabin, Kait jumps at the chance to tag along, convinced that rekindling their fractured friendship is the key to fixing whatever’s breaking down inside of her. She should have known… Lutz would never let her go so easily. After a chance roadside meeting, Kait’s jealous ex-boyfriend pursues her into the foothills, revealing the monster under his skin for the first time: a body-snatching inhuman entity capable of assimilating and adopting the guise of any human host. Lutz is determined to prove his twisted love to Kait, even if it means carving his monument to his devotion in the pilfered flesh of her closest friends. Now, with miles of snow-hushed Appalachia between them and civilization, Kait must unite her friends against this horrifying threat, and learn to embrace her own inner monster, before the shadows of her past swallow up her life for good.

SUMMER SONS BY LEE MANDELA

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble.

And there is something awful lurking, waiting for those walls to fall.

Which of these books are you looking forward to read?

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Poetry: Paper Monsters

A black Sicilian veil cloaks my ashen thoughts.

He tastes like half-eaten candies,

Licorice and cinnamon.

Cobblestone streets reflect minuscule paper monsters.

My heart is filled with a fiery lava, the kind that

Explodes from Etna in the sky at night.

I’ve been waiting for his return.

I’m afraid that soon the fire in my heart

Will fade and become an ice black.

Almond blossoms adorn my bed,

His last words echo in my brain and I writhe

Restlessly….

My body aches for his touch—

I just want to break a little….

I dream of becoming a tragic heroine

A Giovanni Verga character incarnate.

This is how you draw a broken heart:

Dip your fingers in blood and don’t

Hesitate to botch the final project.

His image hovers over me like

A storm cloud in April…

Ever present but translucent

As the flesh fades to cold coal.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Did you enjoy this poem? You can find this poem and many others in Lost Girls Go Everywhere: Poetry & Prose on Amazon!

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Love or Hype: My So-Called Life

It’s 1994 and all my teen mags bleed My So-Called Life – from giving tips n how to mimic Rayanne Graff’s (A.J. Langer) iconic bohemian grunge chic style to swooning over Jordan Catalano’s (Jared Leto) puppy dog eyes, and lusting over Angela Chase’s (Claire Danes) crimson locks and trendy flannels. It seemed like everyone was talking about this cult show that only lasted for one season, and yet since I was living in Italy at the time, this show never made it across the pond. So when I saw that Hulu finally had the show, I decided to dive in and see if I had missed something truly amazing. Spoiler alert: I did.

The show introduces us to a very young Claire Danes as Angela Chase. Watching the show, I was reminded as to how much I was taken by Danes’ charm and how much she emulated the awkward teen years so well. The winning point of this show is that it shows real teen dynamics and the characters spoke like real teens, which means that they don’t always have amazing come backs and rather mumble or take awhile to find the right words, such as like in real life. In other words, this show doesn’t feel scripted as far as the dialogue goes.

For the two weeks that I spent to watch this show, I really emerged myself in the late 90’s and the nostalgia for that time really hit me like a two ton truck. It was fun to be a part of Angela’s life. Although the real scene stealer was Rayanne (and rightfully so), I couldn’t help but really loved Ricky Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). He was an openly gay character who had pearls of wisdom when it came to love, although he never found love in the course of the show. Although everyone was gaga for Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto), I couldn’t see why since for a good portion of the show he barely speaks and when he does he doesn’t say anything too charming. But towards the end of the show Jordan got more airtime and I actually liked him more after he and Angela broke up than prior.

The real understated heart of the show was Angela’s mom Patty (Bess Armstrong) who truly loved her family and husband and yet no one gave her the time of day, same as Angela’s young sister Danielle (Lisa Wilhoit) who actually wasn’t as annoying as everyone acted like she was. The one character I wasn’t crazy for was Brian Krakow (Devon Gummersail). He was the typical awkward, nerdy fake nice guy who most likely grew up to be an incel. He was the one who came up with the rumor that Angela and Jordan had slept together, only because he was jealous that his love for Angela was unrequited.

To say that I loved this show is an understatement. The show really captures real life teens with real life problems. Often times, teen shows show teens that are very rich and very beautiful (think The OC, Gossip Girl and Beverly Hills 90210), while My So-Called Life depicted the typical teen, meaning that a lot of times you saw Angela wearing clothes from previous episodes in different ways, much like a real teen would do, or styling your hair the way a real teen would, not having amazing blowouts or impeccable makeup. This show was very authentic and hit a nerve. It’s too bad that we never got a chance to see Angela and her friends evolve and grow, instead they remain trapped in amber in that idyllic 90’s moment that everyone will always cherish.

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Poetry: Midnight Secret

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

It’s that time of night

Where I shut off my brain

Where I cast out the world

And I am alone

With you.

I purposely never speak of you

Frightened that my eyes will

Light up at your very memory

Too scared

That I won’t be able to conceal

The sugared affection in my voice

Were I to utter your name.

My tongue might lie

But my heart cannot.

I’ve never understood

What you and I are

But whatever we are

Our souls are forever intertwined

I’m the Catherine to your Heathcliff

And we’re just as hapless

As Wuthering Heights

It’s that time of night

Where I can relive our moments together

As I slowly drift to sleep

With hopes that I’ll meet you in my dreams

Because I know that once I’m awake

I will have to be without you

Another day.

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Book Review: My Name Is Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin

“I am a girl. I am a monster, too.”

Pre-Order on Amazon!

Release Date: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

Plot Summary:

Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.

Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.

But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.

Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?

Grade: B-

Review:

Margaret Moore loves her Deck Five girls – every summer she goes to Marshall Naval School and the summer is the only time she feels alive. But something happened the year before with a boy and that has changed the dynamics of the new year. The writing is a lyrical punch in the gut – and ever since I read Foul Is Fair last year I fell instantly in love with Capin’s writing style. However, this novel didn’t keep me as engaged as her previous one. Not because I didn’t enjoy the story or the protagonist, because I did. And there’s a huge twist towards the middle of the novel, and maybe it’s because I anticipated the twist or maybe because the ending happened way too long after the twist that the novel began to feel a tad repetitive.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because once you know the twist, you’ll understand why there’s the repetitiveness to it. And yes, this novel too is filled with ferocious friendships and violent revenge, but I suppose since reading her previous novel that was far bloodier, I was expecting a bit more?

If this is your first time reading Capin, you may love this book more because it’s got a group of friends you will root for, a protagonist that is both relateable and someone you can feel empathy for, and again, the writing is both razor sharp and poetically beautiful. So there is much to love in this novel if you’re a new reader.

I recommend this book if you love feminist revenge stories with strong female friendships.

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Review: Mudmasky – Leave Me On Winter Mask

What It Is: Leave On Moisturizing Mask

What it Does: Protects, nourishes, moisturizes, repairs skin and also helps with anti-aging.

Active Ingredients: Linoleic acid, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Oil, and Moroccan Lava Clay.

Verdict: I gotta be honest, the cream itself was alright, but it really wasn’t anything to go crazy about. I didn’t see much difference using this cream as opposed to another one. Although if you’re looking for a light moisturizer, then this may be up your alley. Or if you’re someone who’s been having skin problems because of wearing facemasks, this moisturizer has anti-acne ingredients that will keep the dreaded “maskne” at bay. So, this moisturizer has a lot of merits, but I just personally wasn’t too crazy about it because in comparison to others that I’ve tried and based on the price, I don’t think it’s a must-have, however, if you do face some of the issues that I’ve stated above then you may want to check this out.

Price: $44.40

Where To Buy It: https://mudmasky.com/product/leave-me-on-winter-mask/

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Book Review: Snow White’s Shattered Coffin by Cynthia Pelayo

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Price: $17

Plot Summary:

Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery is the resting place of thousands of people, and as many myths and legends. When a little girl attends a funeral at the cemetery she discovers some myths and legends refuse to die, and will remain with you, like an infection, unless you can find an escape.

Grade: A

Review:

My obsession for fairytales began at a very young age (3 or 4) and since I was living in Sardinia as a child, it meant that the fairytale books I was read from weren’t Disney-fied but rather literal translations of the original Brother Grimms. Snow White was one of my faves because in the versions I had, the stepmother is forced to wear shoes with burning coals in her soles – and thus has to dance to keep her feet from burning – ultimately resulting in her dancing herself to death. The image is very horrific and if that weren’t gory enough the book’s artist provided an actual visual. Is it any surprise that I grew up being drawn towards the dark and the macabre?

In this collaboration with It Came From Beyond the Pulp, Cynthia Pelayo returns with another fairytale retelling – and you guessed it – this time she tackles Snow White.

The short story is loosely inspired by the legend surrounding Inez Clark, a young girl that died and is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. The protagonist of the story finds herself becoming the victim of a curse when curiosity draws her towards the glass coffin of Inez. The coffin is littered with lady bugs (folklore stating that they bring good luck, but can also bring bad luck if you kill one). Much to the protagonist’s dismay she accidentally kills fifteen of them. This sparks Inez’s ire to start haunting the protagonist and having her befall horrendous things. The short story slowly builds up to the horror part, creating this suffocating sense of dread that hovers over the reader like a machete ready to strike. And when it strikes, it’s bloodshed.

The drawings that accompany the short story are Gothically horrific and capture the mood and horror found within its pages.

I recommend this book for all of those that love fairytale retellings and for those who love old school horror books that come with terrifying drawings that are just as nightmare-inducing as the story itself.

*Thank you so much to the author and It Came From Beyond the Pulp for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Later by Stephen King

“Sometimes growing up, means facing your demons.”

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Hard Case Crimes

Price: $9.62 (paperback)

Plot Summary:

The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave. 
 
LATER is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel ItLATER is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.

Grade: C

Review:

It’s no secret Stephen King is a veteran when it comes to the craft of writing and being such means that he can spin any tale and make it seem effortless. His newest novel is in the series of Hard Case Crimes. A few years ago I read Joyland and enjoyed it very much. Later was part of the Night Worms Book Club subscription and since it was short I decided to quickly dive in.

The premise is very much The Sixth Sense – a young boy sees dead people and with it comes good and terrible things. King is a master storyteller so he quickly reels you in – but nothing too interesting happens in Later that hasn’t already been seen in previous King novels – along with giving the novel one of the most God-awful endings of all time.

Although not particularly original – the story was entertaining although it references so many of his past works. But what really soured the experience for me was the end. Just terrible. I could go into details but that’s something for another time. Maybe, later.

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Short Fiction: My World is Glass by Erica Ruhe

My world is glass. Sometimes it’s a window. Sometimes it’s a mirror. Sometimes it’s dark and smoky. Sometimes it is radiant white. Sometimes it is as clear as the sky. When reflections take me to dark spaces within, sometimes I need a clear view, a clean window to look out and free my thoughts for a while. Sometimes these flights of fancy become hollow and vapid and my soul yearns to look deep into the well of the tragic and trudge through its depths for meaning. Sometimes my diversions lead me to dive into darkness I did not know was there. My world is glass. Sometimes I need a window and sometimes I need a mirror. Fragile, capable of distortion and illusion and yet the most convincing proof I have of my own existence. It allows me to peer through, and in to, and out of, and not. When the looking glass breaks I pray it will be the one that hides the truth of myself. It may not be the window. It may not be the mirror. Perhaps it is the lens that is bound to my eye. Until then I will look for that which is true; that which is me. Sometimes I need a window and sometimes I need a mirror but each will reveal that which I desire to see.

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Review: Sisley – Masque Creme A La Rose Noire

What It Is: A rich moisturizing masque.

What It Does: Instantly restores youthfulness and plumpness to the skin.

Active Ingredients: Black Rose, Padina pavonica, and Alkenegi calyx extracts, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, and Red Vine.

Verdict: Full disclosure, I thought this masque was one you left overnight, apparently, you should wipe it off after fifteen minutes, however, my review reflects me keeping it on overnight. A rich, ultra moisturizing and fast absorbing cream. I love that it leaves your skin feeling silky but never greasy. This is a major plus for me since I have oily skin. I use it mostly at night on my forehead and neck and always wake up to perfectly smooth and hydrated skin the following morning. I highly recommend this if you’re looking to invest in a very rich masque that guarantees results.

Price: $172

Where To Buy It: https://www.sisley-paris.com/

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