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review 2020-02-17 19:00
The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read
The Bone Weaver's Orchard - Sarah Read

"Ghosts don’t bleed."

This book was a debut? Wow, I am super impressed. It was creepy, polished and the main character was a sweetheart of a kid who loves his buggy friends.

Charley is sent off to boarding school with his collection of exotic creatures. At school he encounters meanies and cruelties and adults who do not seem to give a good goddamn that kids are going missing. Charlie takes it upon himself to investigate the catacombs of the school and finds some horrifying, sinister and rattling secrets but I am NOT going to tell you what any of them were. You should read the book.

Charley is a fantastic character. He makes you feel for him from the very first time you meet him. I think you will love Charlie, even if you're not into all of the creepy crawlies. He is a kind, strong soul and an admirable little person. But if you do dig the creepy crawlies this book has them. I was surprised by some of the gruesome turns in the final section, yikes! Prepare thyself.

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review 2020-01-29 20:19
River of Souls by T.L. Bodine
River of Souls - T.L. Bodine

I, probably like many of you, have OD’d on zombies a little. Not so much in fiction, for me, but in movies and tv and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little wary of them. Sure, I’ll stick with The Walking Dead as it stumbles to its slow, cruel death because I am a glutton for punishment but I don’t seek out zombie novels to read in my spare time unless they’re funny or super disturbing or promise to bring me some new twist.

This one offers the new twist. So I read it. But I read it not really expecting all that much because honestly, how many books promise you the world and fail to deliver? Far too many, if you are asking jaded me. The blurbs, oh how they can lie and be deceptive creatures! No worries here though, I will always give you nothing but the brutal truth even when it gets me in trouble. And I have good news! River of Souls does have a somewhat unique storyline (unless you’ve watched IZombie) and I liked it a lot because it also has great characters.

In this world people who die continue to walk the earth but society has found a way to integrate them back into society with a drug called “Lazarus” which tames their worst impulses and allows them to function without eating people and being too disgusting. But it’s not working out too great for most people because dear old dead dad is now a walking vegetable that needs constant care and a daily dose of drugs and he’s not terribly thrilled with getting poked each day. This is asking a lot of citizens. Especially teenager Davin who is left alone to fend for undead dad and his younger sister (who has not been zombified, thank goodness, because she is full of sass and I love her). When Davin is invited to enroll dad into a new but secretive treatment program, who can blame him for wanting to relieve himself of some of his burdens? Not I. This poor kid has way too much on his shoulders.

Davin’s life takes a strange turn shortly after visiting the facility and I won’t spoil it for you because I’m not a complete jerk. But I wasn’t expecting the turn and the things that followed and I loved that. There are good characters here and I can always get behind a well written brother-sister bond and this writer does a fabulous job with their relationship. These are people you want to care about. People you want to win or at least people you hope can catch a break.

There are also a few side characters who are interesting too, namely Randy who is my favorite. He is fun, flirty, and colorful. Just full of life which is a weird thing to say in a book about the undead but there it is. There is adventure and, more importantly, some humor here and I’m always there for some humor. It’s a little gross and a lot of goodness and I can easily recommend it to you even if you are sick to death of zombies.I hope there will be a sequel because I want some more of these characters and their adventures, and that’s not something I say often because I already own a zillion books!

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review 2020-01-24 19:10
The Twisted ones by T. Kingfisher
The Twisted Ones - T. Kingfisher

I knew I was going to read this book someday so I avoided all of my friends reviews and went into it blind. I was expecting it to be good but I wasn’t expecting it to be such a perfect book for me! One of the main characters is a redbone coonhound which is same breed as my pup, the plot is genuinely unnerving and some scenes are chill-you-to-the-bone and seep-into-your-soul scary but the best surprise was the humor. I was not expecting humor and I appreciated the humor so much. So many books I read are deadly serious, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but some of them could benefit from a little snark and/or comic relief to help you relate better to a character or break up the tension and/or relentless impending doom! This one does it right. The humor is organic and part of the character development and it never felt forced.

I’d like you to go in blind with this one as well so you can cherish all of its unsettling turns so I’m not going to hit you with a plot dump. I’m also feeling meh and a little lazy, so there’s that too. This book is folk horror which is a little hot after the release of Midsommar and The VVitch. I’ll be honest here and tell you that I had no clue what folk horror actually was until very recently. I always thought it was retelling stories rooted in those dark old fairy tales where the wolf eats grandma and feeds some of her parts to LIttle Red but it goes much deeper than that and now I want to read it all.

I was smitten with Bongo the not-so-bright dog mentioned above but also with the conversational writing style.Your mileage may vary on this but I felt as if a friend were telling me her story and it was perfect. The only snag I hit was the old journal bits in the book. They were super boring, if you’re asking me, and I had to do a little skim-read of them because my brain just didn’t want to take it in.

This is an interesting story filled with a unique plot, fun characters, tension, humor and genuine creeps and if you stumble with the journal segments as I did just give them a skim and keep on going. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

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review 2020-01-19 22:14
The Apocalyptic Mannequin
The Apocalytic Mannequin - Stephanie M. Wytovich

I haven’t read a lot of poetry in my life. Back in high school my best friend foisted a book of romantic poems on me and all I can remember is that they made me want to cry and it scared me away from poetry for a long while. They were so depressing and sad and they made me hate love for a little bit. Back in the mid 00’s I read a horror poetry chapbook and remember thinking it was okay (but not really my thing) and that’s about as far my knowledge goes. If you’re looking for a poetry expert, I am not your person. But I do know what scares me and this book contained some amazing imagery that will give me nightmares for a long time to come.

Wytovich creates a bleak world devastated by plague, chemicals, ruination and all of the painful truths about humanity that are likely to occur when life as we know it is over forever. It contains beautifully written and frightening visions of an apocalyptic future. Each poem is a little glimpse into a bleak nightmare world.

If I had to pick my favorite line, it would be this one.

“I pray to Lucifer that whatever Hell he’s building, he
Finishes it soon.”

In so few words she gets right to the pain and needless suffering of it all. Love it.

And this one is a close second.:

I am made solely of teeth.

I simply love that imagery.

I refuse to pick a favorite poem because I honestly found something haunting in all of them.

This collection basically scared the shit out of me because I am terrified for the future of the planet we continue to poison and this book didn’t help ease my fears, haha! If you are worried about the state of our world this collection might not make you feel better about that end of it but it may comfort you to know that you are not alone!

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review 2020-01-08 19:24
The Dead Girls Club
The Dead Girls Club - Damien Angelica Walters

I love secretive thrillers almost as much as I love horror novels so I was excited when I heard about The Dead Girls Club because it promised a bit of both. In the end it was more of a thriller with a horror threat/thread running throughout. Those bits were creepy as heck though!


I don’t like to say too much about thrillers/mysteries/suspense novels (or whatever you like to call them) because it is far too easy to say too much so I’m going to keep this brief. Basically it is a tale told in two timelines. There is the Then and there is the Now. Heather features in both timelines because this is her story. Things start out weird when a grown up Heather receives an unwanted surprise. Someone has left an envelope in her office, tucked inside is a necklace that was last seen on a dead girl. This sends Heather into a spiral as her past comes back to haunt her.


I’ll get this out of the way first. Adult Heather is a MESS. She remains a mess and she becomes a bigger mess as more of her story is revealed in the Now. She is a professional woman with a very difficult job but you’d never know it based on some of the decisions she makes in this story. She allows her past to consume her and she acts irrationally. With all of that said, it makes sense. I mean, this woman is hiding some serious shit that would send the sanest person into a panicked spiral so I get it and these aren’t complaints. Not from me, anyway. I like imperfect characters and Heather is most definitely one of those.


“I have done a monstrous thing, but I’m not a monster. I’m not.”


In the THEN section we meet Heather and her closest friends when they’re about 12 or so. They have an obsession with true crime and all things spooky and call their little group the “Dead Girls Club”. They hang out at an abandoned house and tell each other creepy tales. The most compelling one is the story of the Red Lady. They work each other up into a frenzy with that one and it is totally believable. One of the girls is experiencing trauma at home and they attempt to summon the Red Lady and things, as they do, go awry.


I loved the backstory and the entire mythos around the Red Lady. It was goosebump inducing. It's easy to imagine how a group of young girls could become consumed with the appeal of it all. The coming of age story of these girls was a breath of fresh air. We typically get stories featuring boys and their spooky childhoods. This was a very genuine tale about girls. From the talk of periods to the petty jealousy and daily worries and easily bruised friendships, it was all very real and I enjoyed the THEN segments more than I can say. They were painful and authentic to the experience of growing up female. I would like more of this kind of fiction, please!


The Dead Girls Club may not be what I’d consider a perfect story and it has a very wispy thread of horror, but it IS super creepy and mysterious and highly readable – just the way I like my thrillers and I recommend it if anything I’ve said above intrigues you.

I received my copy for review consideration from Netgalley.

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