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

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

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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!

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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.

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Book Review: The Reyes Incident by Briana Morgan

What really happened in that bunker?

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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!

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Book Review: Sundial by Catriona Ward

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

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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!

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Book Review: The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson

Who killed Brooke Donovan?

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Release Date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $17.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. She’s not talking, so where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .
 
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
 
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into. 

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Fans of Agatha Christie will rejoice at rookie detectives Alice and Iris. Last summer Alice went missing for five days much like her favourite author – after she finds out that her ex-boyfriend and ex-bestfriend become a couple. Halloween night – Alice’s former bestfriend Brookes goes missing. Alice with a penchant for mystery decides to join forces with her tutor Iris and convinces her that they can solve this mystery. Much like an Agatha Christie novel, the twists and turns this novel takes are outrageous – almost too preposterous – however it’s a fun wild ride and I loved the unlikely duo, Alice and Iris are perfect teen protagonists.

I don’t know if this will be a series, but the ending pretty much alludes that there might be a sequel and I am here for it.

Check this one out if you love Agatha Christie and her oddball characters Miss Marple and Poirot.

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

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Book Review: I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers

Come to Aspera, when you’re old enough….

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Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books)

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty―but who is guiltiest.

A spiritual successor to the breakout hit SadieI’m the Girl is a masterfully written, bold, and unflinching account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

As a reader, I always know that going into a Courtney Summers book means that there will be no happy ending, in fact, you will be utterly devastated by the end of the journey. Now, does this make me back away from reading them? No. Maybe I’m a masochist or maybe I prefer unhappy endings in art (what can I say? Watching Romeo & Juliet at 4 has fucked up my expectations).

Georgia Avis has grand expectations for herself and she’s convinced that working at the exclusive resort Aspera will bring her in close contact with people who matter and will help her kickstart her dreams. Although life for her takes a dark turn when she stumbles upon the dead body of 13-years old Ashley James and the killer is still on the loose and has stolen Georgia’s modeling photos. In order to repay her brother back of the $4k she stole to pay for her modeling photos, Georgia gets a job at Aspera, but is sad when she’s not offered to become an “Apera girl” but rather is left to work in an office alone.

Georgia yearns for the life of the rich and famous, thinking that it will save her from her boring existence, but she doesn’t know the price one truly has to pay to sometimes get the things they want. There’s a particular scene in the book that is equal parts disturbing and horrifying as you see how a man in power manages to expertly manipulate Georgia into thinking that she actually has the power, while in reality she never did.

The thriller/murder mystery aspect of the novel was expertly executed and I loved how everything fell into place without feeling like it came out of the left field for the sake of a twist.

The ending will leave you feeling both frustrated and helpless, but knowing that in the circumstances Georgia was in, it was going to be a given that she’d never had the upper hand.

Another deliciously binge-worthy read that will have you flipping the pages as you get immersed in the decadent world of Aspera while leaving you with a serious case of FOMO like Georgia as she wonders what is going on the executive floor.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Something strange is happening on the last house on Needless Street and Dee is going to find out….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $13.99 (hardback)

Release Date: September 28, 2021

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

This is one of those rare books that came with a TON OF HYPE and actually LIVED UP to the hype and then some! I really loved that this book started out in one direction and completely reeled you in another by the end!

Right from the very beginning, the reader knows there’s something very wrong the moment we dive into the story. This novel excels in creating this crescendo of dread and unease that by the time you’re hit with the climax, you’re questioning your own sanity.

Ted lives alone in a run-down home with his beautiful kitty Olivia while his daughter Lauren comes to visit him from time to time. When Dee moves next door to him, convinced that he had something to do with her little sister’s disappearance things really start to escalate into chaos for everyone involved. This thriller is a wild ride and one you won’t easily forget once you’re through with the final page.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Believe the hype, it’s worth reading!

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

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Book Review: Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Some ghosts don’t live only in your head….

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Release Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Price: $27.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Surrounded by barren trees in a snow-covered wilderness with a dim, dusky sky forever overhead, Siberia’s Kolyma Highway is 1200 miles of gravel packed permafrost within driving distance of the Arctic Circle. A narrow path where drivers face such challenging conditions as icy surfaces, limited visibility, and an average temperature of sixty degrees below zero, fatal car accidents are common.But motorists are not the only victims of the highway. Known as the Road of Bones, it is a massive graveyard for the former Soviet Union’s gulag prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of people worked to death and left where their bodies fell, consumed by the frozen elements and plowed beneath the permafrost road.Fascinated by the history, documentary producer Felix “Teig” Teigland is in Russia to drive the highway, envisioning a new series capturing Life and Death on the Road of Bones with a ride to the town of Akhust, “the coldest place on Earth”, collecting ghost stories and local legends along the way. Only, when Teig and his team reach their destination, they find an abandoned town, save one catatonic nine-year-old girl—and a pack of predatory wolves, faster and smarter than any wild animals should be. Pursued by the otherworldly beasts, Teig’s companions confront even more uncanny and inexplicable phenomena along the Road of Bones, as if the ghosts of Stalin’s victims were haunting them. It is a harrowing journey that will push Teig beyond endurance and force him to confront the sins of his past.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

From the very first page, the reader is greeted with a bone-chilling cold that doesn’t let up for the entirety of the novel. The Road of Bones is the Kolyma Highway found in Russia where some of the coldest parts of the world outside of Antarctica exist. The road got its ominous name because prisoners forced to build the road under Stalin died during the construction, where an estimated 250,000-1,000,000 people lost their lives and were buried right into the road’s permafrost. If that doesn’t already make for a chilling horror, this novel also finds itself grappling with supernatural entities and the ghosts that haunt us even when they’re merely just a manifestation of our guilt.

The protagonist is Teig, a reality-show star that creates shows much like Ghost Adventures with his best friend Prentiss. The only issue is that his past few projects have bombed and he owes a lot of people money, including his best friend. Then he gets an idea, why not make a show about the Road of Bones? A place haunted by the past as well as the unflinching cold, where car trouble could have one dying within a matter of minutes from the extremely low temperatures.

I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold temperatures, so to have a supernatural thriller set in the cold, already has me both terrified and fascinated.

The mystery amps up when Teig, Prentiss, their Russian translator, and a hitchhiker they picked up on the way, finally arrive at their destination only to find every single home in that town empty. It looks as though the residents left their homes mid-dinner and disappeared. This is when things start getting weird and dangerous for the group.

This novel is very fast-paced and it mostly takes place in one night much like those survival horror movies do. This was a fun, freaky read and I really loved how well fleshed out the characters were. I recommend this novel for anyone who loves supernatural thrillers set in Siberia.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Fan Club by Erin Mayer

Devotion is thicker than blood.

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Release Date: October 26, 2021

Publisher: MIRA

Price: $14.49 (paperback)

Plot Summary:

Day after day our narrator searches for meaning beyond her vacuous job at a women’s lifestyle website—entering text into a computer system while she watches their beauty editor unwrap box after box of perfectly packaged bits of happiness. Then, one night at a dive bar, she hears a message in the newest single by international pop star Adriana Argento, and she is struck. Soon she loses herself to the online fandom, a community whose members feverishly track Adriana’s every move.

When a colleague notices her obsession, she’s invited to join an enigmatic group of adult Adriana superfans who call themselves the Ivies and worship her music in witchy candlelit listening parties. As the narrator becomes more entrenched in the group, she gets closer to uncovering the sinister secrets that bind them together—while simultaneously losing her grip on reality.

With caustic wit and hypnotic writing, this unsparingly critical thrill ride through millennial life examines all that is wrong in our celebrity-obsessed internet age, and how easy it is to lose yourself in it.

Grade: B-

Review:

When I first dove into the novel I found the protagonist’s ennui relatable, as we both have boring office jobs that feel limiting to our capacities. And although as an adult I couldn’t relate to her obsession for a pop star, I can understand as a teen when I was so swept up by a certain celebrity that I had to buy any magazine they appeared in or view every single movie they were ever cast in no matter how terrible. The protagonist finds herself getting immersed in the devotion for Adriana Argento (who is a stand-in for Ariana Grande) and soon she finds like-minded stans who will do anything for their idol. I don’t know why this book was marketed as a thriller because we never fear for the protagonist’s life, and the death of a fan happened prior to the protagonist getting involved with the fan club. This isn’t a thriller but more of a women’s lit for disillusioned millennials. It’s not the genre that slowly turned me off of this novel rather the fact that not much happened. During the middle-end portion of the book, the pacing was turtle slow and I truly struggled to complete it. I also wish that the author would’ve written about an original pop star rather than take Ariana Grande’s life details and create a fictional character out of it. Many readers seem to have enjoyed this so if you like celebrity-obsessed groups you may be into this, if you’re looking for a thriller, then you may want to skip it cause this isn’t one.

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

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Book Review & Author Interview: What One Wouldn’t Do Anthology edited by Scott J. Moses

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Release Date: September 27, 2021

Price: $13.99 (paperback)

Plot Summary:

What One Wouldn’t Do for…what?

Power? Safety? Love? Revenge?

Here’s to the lengths one might go to for everything.

With dark fiction from J.A.W. McCarthy, Avra Margariti, Marisca Pichette, Stephanie Ellis, Christina Wilder, Donna Lynch, Katie Young, Scott J. Moses, Angela Sylvaine, tom reed, Cheri Kamei, Shane Douglas Keene, J.V. Gachs, Tim McGregor, Emma E. Murray, Nick Younker, Jennifer Crow, Joanna Koch, Lex Vranick, Laurel Hightower, Eric Raglin, Eric LaRocca, Daniel Barnett, Bob Johnson, Simone le Roux, Hailey Piper, Bryson Richard, Jena Brown, and Christi Nogle.

Grade: A

Review:

This anthology has some really excellent stories that explore the theme of what are the lengths you’d go to for something you really want? Of course with horror, the lengths are very extreme and sometimes very gory. Here are some of my fave stories from this collection (in no particular order):

“Mos Teutonis” by Bryson Richard: A beautiful tale of lust and lunacy, so dark and seductive.

“The Thread That Dreams Are Made Of: by Hailey Piper: I’m a total whore for fairtytales and fairytale retellings so I’m so here for a Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty mashup.

“Silver Dollar Eye” by Laurel Hightower: This story pretty much sums up all the reasons why I’ve never meddled with the afterlife, some things are best left unknown.

“Ella Minnow” by Nick Younker: This story is the brutal tale of the lengths a father will go to in order to find out what happened to his missing daughter. The ending blew me away.

“Blood is Thicker,” by Angela Sylvaine: I’ve had the pleasure of having this author in two of my own anthologies, so I was excited to read a new story from her. I loved this tale of two twin sisters who will go to extreme lengths to succeed as painters.

“The Witch of Flora Pass,” by Scott J. Moses: This was one very creepy and dark story that now left me wary of rivers.

“With Animals,” by J.A.W. McCarthy: This story truly explored the extreme lengths someone would go to for a friend. Very gut-wrenching.

“Moira and Ellie,” by Marisca Pichette: In this story, almost every child has an imaginary friend for a limited amount of time and when you find out how and why these imaginary friends exist, it’s very chilling.

There are many more stories in this anthology that I thoroughly enjoyed, and those above are only a couple that stuck with me long after reading them. It’s a very well put together anthology and I truly recommend it for anyone whose a fan of horror and especially of indie horror.

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

Short Q & A with Author

What made you select the particular theme you chose for the anthology?

I remember finishing Laurel Hightower’s CROSSROADS, and thinking, “How has no one done an anthology around this topic before?” When I got serious about the idea a couple months later, I already knew I wanted Laurel to introduce What One Wouldn’t Do.

A lot of the short stories selected deal with grief – same as your personal short story collection Hunger Pangs – why do you lean towards grief horror more than other subgenres?

You know, that’s a good question. Why do any of us write what we do? I think it’s just in us and that’s that. That said, I’ve always graduated toward the sadder things in life, and think that they, along with bittersweet endings, can shed the most light and hope on the things we’re afraid of or have yet to face.

Which horror authors have got you really excited about their work right now? Any cool books you’ve read this year that you may want to recommend?

Such a tough question, but here goes. A few authors I think deserve more readership are Eric Raglin, J.A.W McCarthy, Joanna Koch, and Daniel Barnett. They’re all astounding to me, and I highly recommend Raglin’s Nightmare Yearnings, McCarthy’s Sometimes We’re Cruel, Koch’s The Wingspan of Severed Hands, and Barnett’s Nightmareland Chronicles.

What are the pros and cons of being an editor for an anthology?

Pros: Reading tons of great submissions, discovering so many writers I really dig, having complete control of the project, and sending acceptances. And honestly, you learn so much about the submission process when you curate an anthology. Great stories are rejected all the time because they just don’t fit with the flow which forms as you read through the slush, or for example, say two stories have similar themes, monsters, and tone. To have both would be redundant, so one has to go, even if it’s amazing. It taught me a lot about rejections with my own work and that there are far more reasons a story gets rejected than it’s quality. Cons: Sending rejections is the worst. Period. Also, wading through the subs that didn’t bother to follow the guidelines. Quick tip: from my experience on this and the 423 submissions I got for WOWD, those who followed the guidelines we’re already ahead of the 30% that did not. That’s a pretty huge percentage when you think about it, yeah? Another con was that in me self-funding this project in its entirety, I didn’t have the resources to buy all the stories I would’ve liked. The spirit was willing, but the wallet was weak.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from writing these last months, but have stories publishing this year in various venues and more on submission. I’m thinking I’ll either keep adding to my sophomore collection or toss around this idea for a novella I’ve been sitting on. Thanks for having me, Azzurra. As per usual, you rule.

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