Book Review: The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart

His lips touch my stomach, each wound, each scar.

Order on Amazon!

Release Date: March 15, 2022

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $11.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY

It’s been three months since The Night on the Bathroom Floor–when Lily found her older sister Alice hurting herself. Ever since then, Lily has been desperately trying to keep things together, for herself and for her family. But now Alice is coming home from her treatment program and it is becoming harder for Lily to ignore all of the feelings she’s been trying to outrun. Enter Micah, a new student at school with a past of his own. He was in treatment with Alice and seems determined to get Lily to process not only Alice’s experience but her own. Because Lily has secrets, too. Compulsions she can’t seem to let go of and thoughts she can’t drown out. When Lily and Micah embark on an art project for school involving finding poetry in unexpected places, she realizes that it’s the words she’s been swallowing that desperately want to break through.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

This was a gut-wrenching journey that vividly depicts the difficulty of dealing with an anxiety disorder while also dealing with people in your life that have attempted suicide. Lily’s world isn’t the same ever since her sister Alice slit her veins – but she’s trying her best to keep up a happy facade at school. But it all quickly crumbles the moment Alice returns home from rehab. In the midst of all this, she meets and falls for the new boy Micah – who also stayed at the same rehab center that Alice did after he tried to take his own life.

The reader can’t help but cheer for these very broken souls and yearn so much to see them heal and find some solace in the darkness.

Told from Alice’s POV and her poetry, this was a very emotional read that I simply couldn’t put down, in fact, I read it in two days. I highly suggest this book if you want to read a very raw yet ultimately uplifting story. However, there are many trigger warnings for those who suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and anxiety.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: Teen Killers in Love by Lily Sparks

AN UNCONFESSED CRUSH IS NOTHING. IT IS AN AIRELESS VOID THAT WILL SUFFOCATE YOUR HEART QUITE COMFORTABLE.

Pre-Order on Amazon!

Release Date: August 9, 2022

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Price: $18.99 (harcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

The Teen Killers Club is on the brink of destruction, with one faction pitted against another in a deadly game of survival. Erik and Signal are part of the group who’ve had their “kill switches” disabled, and the others are under orders to hunt them down—or meet their own demise. Now, Erik and Signal have to find a way to neutralize the others’ switches and clear Signal’s name. In the middle of a manhunt that is going viral and turning them into an internet-age Bonnie and Clyde.
 
Erik and Signal are both Class As—the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile—but Erik is the ultimate Class A, with ten kills to his name and a secret in his past that will change everything.
 
As if being hunted down wasn’t enough, Erik is determined to get Signal admit that she loves him. But Signal is hellbent on crushing her own growing attraction.
 
It’s a race against time to save the Teen Killers Club from its worst nightmare—having to kill the friends they need more than ever.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

I’m not gonna lie – I loved the first book of this series because it had such an interesting plot – teen killers sent to a camp of sorts to learn how to better fight and kill so they could be used as human weapons. Plus I really loved the characters Signal, Erik, and Nobody. So of course when book two dropped I absolutely had to read it. Now, while I enjoyed book two because I simply love the characters, for some reason I couldn’t get that motivated by this book’s plot. I don’t know if this was because of uneven pacing where it was fast-paced for so long and then suddenly stalled at the climax. But I found reading this sequel felt a bit like a chore. I don’t know how I feel about the ending – as it seems like there might be another sequel, and I will read it solely based on my love for the characters, but I really hope that the plot will have better pacing and hold my interest more than this one did.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

3 QUEER HORRORS TO CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH

OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA BY JULIA ARMFIELD

Leah is changed. A marine biologist, she left for a routine expedition months earlier, only this time her submarine sank to the sea floor. When she finally surfaces and returns home, her wife Miri knows that something is wrong. Barely eating and lost in her thoughts, Leah rotates between rooms in their apartment, running the taps morning and night. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. As Miri searches for answers, desperate to understand what happened below the water, she must face the possibility that the woman she loves is slipping from her grasp.

THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN BY JENNIFER GIESBRECHT

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

MANHUNT BY GRETCHEN FELKER-MARTIN

Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.

Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.

After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics—all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE QUEER HORRORS?


DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!











Book Review: Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

A Chicago cul-de-sac is about to get a new neighbor…of the demonic kind.

Order on Amazon!

Release Date: August 30, 2022

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Price: $17 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY

   Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and moved to the suburbs, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, snarking together from the outskirts of the PTA crowd. One night during their monthly wine get-together, the crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz’s backyard—a space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.
 
    But the night after they christen the She Shed, things start to feel . . . off. They didn’t expect Liz’s little home-improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that’s before the homeowners’ association gets wind of it.
 
    Even the calmest moms can’t justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood . . . before the suburbs go completely to hell.

GRADE: A

REVIEW

If you love your horror with a pinch of comedy, then Suburban Hell is the book for you. Written in a manner that’s evocative of Grady Hendrix, the pace is fast and hella funny. Amy is convinced her good friend Liz is possessed after a hole in the other woman’s yard unleashes a foul odor and brings about unexplained incidents. The possession is slow, and at times one can’t tell whether it’s true or if Amy is overreacting, as she herself questions if she’s jumping the ship like in the 80’s Satanic Panic. But after a pivotal incident, Amy now knows that something sinister and supernatural has overtaken their suburban lives and she is dead set on proving her suspicions to her friends Melissa and Jess. Often while reading the book I wasn’t sure what was more hellish, having a possessed friend living next door to you or dealing with the ridiculous suburban wives that Amy had to deal with on a daily basis. The writing flows well and is pressed on a fast tempo, only slightly slowing down for a few moments to only pick up right away. The winning point of this novel is that sure, it’s a fun read, but when the horror sets in, it doesn’t disappoint, as it is dark and extremely creepy!

I recommend this book if you love your horror to have a dash of comedy to it. This book is a mashup of The Exorcist and Desperate Housewives.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair

Selma Blair writes her way through her pain.

Order On Amazon!

Release Date: May 17,2022

Publisher: Knopf

Price: $19.85 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

The first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. With her mouth pulled in a perpetual snarl and a head so furry it had to be rubbed to make way for her forehead, Selma spent years living up to her terrible reputation: biting her sisters, lying spontaneously, getting drunk from Passover wine at the age of seven, and behaving dramatically so that she would be the center of attention.
 
Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. She often felt like her arms might be on fire, a sensation not unlike electric shocks, and she secretly drank to escape.
 
Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, devastating memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood, and, finally, the surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
 
In a voice that is powerfully original, fiercely intelligent, and full of hard-won wisdom, Selma Blair’s Mean Baby is a deeply human memoir and a true literary achievement. 

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Memoirs are a tricky thing, they can either be fascinating or they can fall short. I’ve watched several movies that Blair has been in, and just as though she felt like an outsider looking in when it came to Hollywood, the same can be said of the characters she has portrayed. Initially, I bought this memoir as an attempt to better understand the illness (MS) that has afflicted both a friend of mine and Blair. But as I tried to relate with my friend, I discovered that there was so much that I could relate with Blair. There are dark moments in Blair’s life that one wouldn’t readily imagine considering the positive image I personally had of her and wasn’t aware of the amount of darkness she actually had for many years.

She talks about heavy topics like alcoholism, suicide, and sexual assault. Her writing is honest, raw, and never tries to sugar coat even the worst moments. But the memoir isn’t only about darkness, but rather finding the light in the dark, and there are a lot of fun 90’s anecdotes. Blair talks about the time she convinced Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon that she was indeed friends with Puff Daddy as a way to impress them, or how she used to greet people with a bite until Kate Moss bit her back and made her lose the quirky habit.

There’s a lot to unpack in this memoir, and I recommend it, especially if you like reading about a time in Hollywood when actors still had an air of mystery to them prior to social media and the internet. Blair is an inspiring role model of fortitude and persistence, and I look forward to reading any of her future books.

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: This Is Not The Real World by Anna Carey

The nineties have never been so dark…..

Order on Amazon!

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Publisher: Quirkbooks

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Months after Jess escaped from the set of Stuck in the ’90s, the nostalgic reality show she believed was her real life, the teen star is getting to know the outside world for the first time. But she can’t outrun her fictional life forever—or the media empire that owns it.

After Like-Life Productions tracks her down and forces her boyfriend to return to the show, Jess teams up with an underground network fighting to uncover Like-Life’s schemes. To expose the truth, Jess must go back to the set and take Like-Life down from the inside . . . but getting revenge might just cost her everything.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:

This is book two of a duology, the first being This Is Not The Jess Show, which was a mix of The Truman Show but with a 90’s spin on it. Our protagonist, Jess Flynn finds out that her whole life was recorded for entertainment purposes and while she was living on a set thinking it was 1998, it was actually 2035 in the real world.

Book two sees Jess return to the set she had escaped from as a means to oust the producers of doing nefarious things for the world to see. While this book was packed with action, and perhaps had more of a thriller slant to it, it somehow lacked in what made book one memorable. I loved book one because it was steeped in 90’s nostalgia, and while this book had some of it, the focus was more on trying to destroy the fictional town of Swinkley and bring down the organization behind it.

It’s still a fun read, and you definitely have to read book one in order to read this book. I recommend this book if you love the 90’s, the concept of The Truman Show and if you like unapologetic badass female protagonist because Jess gets even grittier than she did in the first book and I loved to see her take control of her life and narrative.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quirkbooks for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

When you’re given a gift, something else gets taken away.

Pre-Order on Amazon!

Release Date: June 24, 2022

Publisher: Trepidatio Publishing

Price: $12.95 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY:

A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door.

A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

I’m still trying to make sense of this fever dream that reads like a horror induced Alice in Wonderland tale. Mara has just lost her father, and she lives with her abusive mother who’s expecting a baby, while an unexpected visitor shows up and wreaks havoc in their lives. We’re frequently told that Mara is an expert storyteller throughout the novella (or liar as her mother likes to chide), so take what happens within the pages of this novella with a grain of salt. What is real and what is fantasy? And ultimately, does it really matter to know the difference? LaRocca weaves a dreadful tale soaked in trauma and grief that is easily gulped in one sitting, but that leaves the reader feeling a bit disorientated. If you’re a fan of Kafka, I think you might enjoy this horror novella very much.

*Thank you so much to Nightworms & the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

3 Terrifyingly Dark Books by AAPI Authors

In honour of APPI month, I wish to showcase three books from APPI authors that I think should totally be on your radar!

THE HALF-LIFE OF RUBY FIELDING BY LYDIA KANG

Brooklyn, 1942. War rages overseas as brother and sister Will and Maggie Scripps contribute to the war effort stateside. Ambitious Will secretly scouts for the Manhattan Project while grief-stricken Maggie works at the Navy Yard, writing letters to her dead mother between shifts.

But the siblings’ quiet lives change when they discover a beautiful woman hiding under their back stairs. This stranger harbors an obsession with poisons, an affection for fine things, and a singular talent for killing small creatures. As she draws Will and Maggie deeper into her mysterious past, they both begin to suspect she’s quite dangerous—all while falling helplessly under her spell.

With whispers of spies in dark corners and the world’s first atomic bomb in the works, the visitor’s sudden presence in Maggie’s and Will’s lives raises questions about who she is and what she wants. Is this mysterious woman someone they can trust—or a threat to everything they hold dear?

THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL BY NGHI VO

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

SIX CRIMSON CRANES BY ELIZABETH LIM

Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear–no matter what the cost.
 
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: The Reyes Incident by Briana Morgan

What really happened in that bunker?

Order on Amazon!

Publisher: Self-published

Price: $11.99 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY:

A local legend gone haywire.

A small-town cop.

An impossible eyewitness testimony.

Which is easier to believe—that killer mermaids exist, or that one person is worth risking everything for?

For fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Into the Drowning Deep comes a chilling horror story steeped in urban rumor.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

Killer mermaids is one of my favourite tropes, or in general, any story or film that has a mermaid already feels instantly cool so once I found out that this book had killer mermaids I knew I had to read it asap. In film form, I’m usually not a fan of found footage, but I do like the format in book form better (or at least ones I’ve read like World War Z or The Living Dead were awesome).

Having read the play Unboxed, I enjoyed the little Easter egg that the author placed in this book. The premise is pretty simple, a group of friends who have a YouTube channel decide to investigate an old military bunker in Georgia. What the group finds when going into the bunker is killer mermaids – and only one girl (Liv) survives to tell the tale. The police officer whom Liv is telling her story to Andie begins to catch feelings for her and readily believes her story. Although I don’t know if she believes Liv’s story because she’s blinded by her feelings rather than actually believing in the existence of mermaids. I don’t know why, but it seemed kind of unlikely that someone would readily believe such a far-fetched story, let alone someone in law enforcement.

We find out that the mermaids were being experimented on by the military, but I would’ve preferred the journal that they found to reveal a bit more as in a how they acquired the mermaids and how the military knew of their existence in the first place. I would really love a prequel to this novella to know the history of what actually went on in the bunker prior.

The story is very fast-paced and delivers all the slasher/gore needs a horror book should. I did like that the ending is ambiguous, but wasn’t a fan of everyone spilling their feelings for one another while they’re being killed (I can understand one person doing this, but then another does, and then the same person a couple of days later suddenly has feelings for another person, for a book so short, it just feels like they’re catching feelings way too fast). But other than that, the book is a fun, wild read and I recommend it for fans of horror who like gore.

*Thank you so much to Nightworms & the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!

Book Review: Sundial by Catriona Ward

You can’t escape what’s in your blood….

Order on Amazon!

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Unsettling. That’s the best word I can find to describe Ward’s latest novel. It’s told in multiple POV’s in a nonlinear narrative which some readers found hard to follow, but that I personally love because it allows for the story to slowly unfold, the secrets to slowly be revealed for the picture to finally come into view, although the reader’s perspective will continuously change because much like The Last House on Needless Street, the heroes and villains aren’t so easily distinguishable.

Ward takes us deep into the Mojave Desert (a place that I already find creepy due to all the real-life disappearances that occur there every year). Rob and Jack are twins living with their research scientist parents Mia and Falcon. They live a somewhat hippy-ish life, isolated from anyone of their own age. Something terrible occurred in that desert and initially the reader isn’t sure exactly what it is or how it all ties in with Rob’s present – now married to a professor whose equal parts charming and terrifying in his subtle cruelty. But what’s got Rob worried is her older daughter Callie, who displays the typical signs of serial killers and thinks that the only way she can save her daughter is by taking her to the one place she vowed to never return to: Sundial. And so a terrible family saga unfolds.

I read this book in a matter of days, because I was so invested with wanting to know what exactly happened at Sundial, because from the very first page the prose is steeped in blood and dread and you know that the journey you’re about to embark on will be a dark one. It’s difficult to use the word “enjoyed” in terms of reading this book because of the unsettling things that occur that leave you cringing or feeling sick, but I did want to know more so it kept me flipping the pages well into the night.

There’s a story within a story, and I wish I understood the symbolism behind it because I’m quite unsure exactly what it revealed (if it revealed anything at all).

Overall I loved the darkness of this novel but if you’re a reader who detests any forms of animal cruelty in literature, then steer clear of this read – you’ve been warned.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!