ARC Review: DIREWOOD by Catherine Yu (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to a NetGalley AudioARC
Content warning: body & bug horror, death, on-page violence, racial microaggressions, vomiting

Aja’s perfect sister Fiona goes missing and strange things start happening: blood rain, a mysterious fog, blood-sucking grubs, all precursors to the arrival of a vampire. She strikes a bargain with Padraic and tries to free the kids in his thrall, including her ex-friend Mary,

Gross, goth, and steeped in 90’s vampire aesthetic, a fun read for folks constantly searching for new vampire content.

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Author to Author with Valkyrie Loughcrewe (Crom Cruach)

Welcome to the folkloric fever dream that is Crom Cruach. I’m so thrilled to chat with Val about how this novella-in-verse came to me. From the origins of the horrors within, the writing process, the soundtrack, what they’re working on next, this interview has it all. Crunchy, terrifying, and deeply human, this work is such a treat for horror and horror music fans alike.

Buy Links: Tenebrous Press Site | Kindle Edition | Bandcamp

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Manga Review: FIRE PUNCH Vol. 1 & 2 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (2018)

Genre: Horror Seinen
Year Release in English: 2018
Source: Viz Media

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fire Punch is the first manga by Tatsuki Fujimoto, best known for Chainsaw Man. This dystopian horror in which certain humans are blessed with elemental powers feels scoured directly from the litany of things I like in my fiction. It’s hyperviolent, it’s bleak as all get out, there’s an ice witch who destroyed the world, there are people with powers and completely irresponsible ways of using, it’s complete Jo bait.

I’m only two volumes in, and I am definitely continuing with the series as the need for treats come in because wow.

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ARC Review: LUCKY GIRL, How I Became A Horror Writer: A Krampus Story by M. Rickert (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: September 13th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Trigger/Content warning: serial murder, dead family, stalking, spiritual abuse, ritual torture (aftermath)

Ro is a struggling writer with a couple of stories and a group of friends who seemed to have come together randomly at a diner during Christmas. They meet for several Christmases more, and each one seems to end worse than the one that came before as the past haunts them.

More creepy than scary, with people proving to be the real horror with folkloric elements woven throughout that makes the reader wonder if there’s sinister spirits afoot or if people are just like that.

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ARC Review: CROM CRUACH by Valkyrie Loughcrewe (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: September 22, 2022
Buy Links: Tenebrous Press Site | Kindle Edition | Bandcamp

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the publisher
Trigger warnings: body horror, gore, blood, murder, homophobia, racism, transphobia, anti-traveller racism, animal death, Nazis, arson, vomit

A family is found murdered in their homes, but their bodies haven’t quite got the memo. Churches have been burned and locals are quick to accuse others of heinous crimes. Or commit them themselves. Is it a product of something folkloric or something disturbingly human?

With sharp lines, feverish and gross imagery, this horror novella feels like a nightmare with a deeply human cast.

An interview with the author will be going up on release day, September 22nd, 2022.

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August 2022 Reading Recap

August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!

I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.

This month’s blog interviews were:

September is off to a hype start, with me getting to announce a short story with the inaugural edition of the Best Served Cold zine.

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Review: REVENGE by Yōko Ogawa (2013)

Genre: Adult Horror Short Story Collection
Year Release: 2010 (2022 on audio)
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Trigger warnings: death of a child, blood, gore, surgery, mold, vomiting

My introduction to Yoko Ogawa is via this collection of short stories, each one scarier than the one that came before it. We follow a mourning mother, lovers in a quarrel, doctors too committed to their jobs, doctors not committed enough, and scoundrels slithering in the dark.

This short story collection itself reads like a single novel with several narrators, several which appear in different stories. Masterful in the way it amps the terror of otherwise pedestrian life.

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ARC Review: THE HONEYS by Ryan La Sala (2022)

Genre: YA Horror
Year Release: August 16th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eGalley courtesy of the publisher
Trigger/Content warning: death of a sibling, body horror, blood, bleeding, kidnapping, hazing

In the middle of the night when she’s supposed to be away at her prestigious summer camp, Mars’ sister Caroline attacks them within their family home. The encounter ends in tragedy, with a tidy explanation, but Mars suspects the camp itself might have had a hand in the violence. They take her spot, and they start learning about what lurks within bucolic Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy.

I had a fun time getting lost in the haze of La Sala’s prose which deftly takes the reader from summer’s bliss to a trippy nightmare. It’s entertaining and really fun for folks who have seen films like Hereditary and Annihilation, but stars a badass genderfluid teen determined to find out the truth about his sister’s death.

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Review: WITH A VENGEANCE by Freydís Moon (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Paranormal Romance
Year Release: 2022
Source: Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: Dominant/submissive roleplay, rape fantasy, consensual explicit content, dubious consent, deadnaming, misgendering, body horror, dysphoria, reference to off-page sexual assault, murder, violence and gore, spanking, belt play, religious eroticism, religious trauma, familial death, saliva play, blood play, size difference, primal play, breeding kink, psychosis, mention of depression, depressive episodes, suicide ideation, racism, police brutality

Kye Lovato (they/them) returns to their haunted childhood home to settle their recently-deceased mother’s affairs. A demon prince, Eligos, hears Kye’s desperation and possesses them, starting a relationship that’s drenched in the supernatural, complete with powers. As if that isn’t complicated enough, an ICE agent starts sniffing around their mother’s alebrijes business and threatens the community she’s taken care of.

This romance between a nonbinary human and a demon is affirming and hot in its sexual content, while, also having a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe from shady law enforcement. An incredible blend of recovering from trauma, a mystery, and getting split open by a saucy demon.

An interview with the author will be going up on September 1st.

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Review: THE ROUTE OF ICE AND SALT by José Luis Zárate (2021)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2021 (1998 in Spanish)
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content/Trigger warnings: discussion of a hate crime, voyeurism, nightmares, PTSD

Continuing the series of vampire books we, as a culture, were not privy to until very recently (first of which is The Gilda Stories), this novella is a retelling of Dracula’s journey to England from the point of view of the ship’s captain. It originally came out in 1998, but debuted in English last year.

This novella is horny and gothic with all the pricks and discomfort of long months of an icy sea.

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