St. Martin’s Press | 2022
Filed Under: Men as demon dogs
I don’t think this necessarily accomplished what it was trying to accomplish, but as a feminist witch, I appreciate the effort.
It just needed more cowbell.
…or maybe less cowbell.
It needed more cowbell and less cowbell, simultaneously.
For one, the horror in this was way too understated, and at times, put on the back burner. And the soapbox aspects read like the author wanted to beat me over the head with how shit men can be. And like, I totally get it and I agree.
But the themes of women being judged, belittled, condescended to and dismissed by men tended to drown out the actual narrative for me, which was supposed to be about a spooky evil killer known only as the Cur who was ripping obstinate young woman into meat threads.
The author clearly has strong opinions that they wanted to turn into social subtext to add meaningful depth to the plot, but it could sometimes be less subtext and more screaming street preacher, you know what I mean?
Like, balance is all I’m looking for, so give me more horror and murder alongside the man-hating.
Continue reading “Review: Such A Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester”
Mariner Books | 2021
Filed Under: Break glass in case of an emergency that requires gothic pulpy graphic writing
I said I wanted more gay thrillers and my book friends said fucking read Yes, Daddy, you bitch and now here we are.
So, I’ll say it to you too – read this book, you bitch.
It’s fucked up in the most perfect and twisted ways, to the point that it’s very powerful not just wild. I promise you will not be able to put it down and you’ll be all like, “wtf is happening I’m so uncomfortable but I love it.”
This was like a gay Jeffrey Epstein meets Harvey Weinstein meets #MeToo meets the Republican party meets that church Justin Beiber goes to meets that scene in 8MM where Nicholas Cage goes to an underground porn market for all the really demented shit and the guy is dressed in leather, pinching his own nipples.
You get the vibe.
Continue reading “Review: Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage”
Strange Light | 2021
Filed Under: Desperately trying to put that fourth wall back together
I really and truly wanted to love this as much as everyone else, but as should come as a surprise to literally no one, I did not. I liked it enough, but a few things were throwing me off – it reads like two different books, the pacing is all over the place and the anthology-style chapters became repetitive because there really didn’t seem to be a point.
I mean, I guess the point could be that bad things happen to the LGTBQ+ community and there really never is a “good” reason; it’s predictable and constant exists because of cruelty – the cruelty is the point.
But maybe that’s too subversive for my weed-addled brain, so I struggled to be totally engaged.
That said, this is an LGBTQ+ horror novel that would be perfect for your Pride reading list and there are a million other readers gushing over it, so take my review with a pinch of, like, whatever you want to pinch, I don’t know, it’s up to you but I’m not forcing salt on anyone.
Continue reading “Review: Red X by David Demchuk (🏳️🌈)”
Inkshares | 2017
Filed Under: Seriously, he’s scared of spiders.
Okay, first of all, let’s be real – this is not totally a haunted house story because most of the plot doesn’t actually take place in the house that is haunted.
I feel like describing this as a haunted house story is selling it short because it’s so much more involved than that. Maybe too involved? Because damn can this read slow.
The first half of the novel is like an episode of The History of Horror, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I genuinely love learning about the genre. Side note: If you are a horror fan and are not watching/listening to this show/podcast hosted by Eli Roth, then you’re missing out. In conversation with big names, you get to delve deep into everything to do with the genre – how your favourite pieces came about, all the tropes, sub-genres and (obviously) the history.
This novel takes on that vibe a little bit, with a lot of examining horror as a genre as it relates to the MC, Sam McGarver, a one-hit-wonder horror author turned writing professor who has lost his mojo like Austin Powers and just can’t seem to write another novel that doesn’t suck.
Continue reading “Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas”
Pamela Dorman Books | 2021
Filed Under: Officer Doofy, Reporting for Duty
The hype. That cover. The synopsis. Damnnnn was I excited to read this one, but it just didn’t live up to the high spooky gothic bar that was definitely set by… me, I guess? I mean seriously, that cover!
High in the Swiss Alps, the world’s most interesting and cringe luxury hotel has been created from the remains of an abandoned, rumour-plagued sanatorium that once housed those battling long-term illnesses and TB, with dark experiments and violent treatments tested on many of the patients. The new hotel – Le Sommet – has included many artifacts from that time, like gas masks and medical equipment, as historical art pieces around the expensive and expansive renovated building. And I guess that’s fine and normal.
But if it wasn’t fine and normal, it would be super tacky and maybe borderline disrespectful. I don’t know why anyone would make a hotel like this. But would I stay there given the chance? 100% yes. Let’s be honest, staying in an old sanatorium sounds fun as hell. It’s distasteful sure, but hello, I’m definitely hoping to run into a ghost or two. I would be walking around this hotel at 2am doing EVPs like I’m on a Discovery+ show with Jack Osbourne. And if some Beetlejuice-style dance choreo to doesn’t happen, my Google review is going to be strongly worded. I promise you that, Mister tally man.
Continue reading “Review: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse”
Public Affairs | 2018
Filed Under: *flips a table and screams*
This book is sobering AF.
It’s robust, in-depth and densely investigated from every angle, with the authors conducting over 200 interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of court documents to deftly present to readers all the ins and outs of a corrupt system.
I’m wholly impressed with this nonfiction account of Mississippi’s completely fucking horrific justice system and two men in particular who should be punched in the throat every time they step outside.
Like, top to bottom, what the actual fuck are we doing as a society that anything in this book was allowed to happen?
I took some time after reading this before writing my review because I needed to collect my thoughts and emotions – namely rage. Now that I’m sitting here writing this, I’m realizing I’ve actually not gathered myself at all and I’m back to confusion, rage and endless judgement.
Broadly, this book looks at bad forensics, institutionalized racism in the justice system and shitty white men finding loopholes galore because of laws written by other shitty white men and other other shitty white men willing to cover asses to “get the job done,” so that in the end, all the shitty white men are richer and more powerful at the expense of truth, justice and people’s freedom.
It’s fucking disgusting, honestly. But not surprising either.
Continue reading “Review: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist – A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington”
“He fears me because he is small. I will not meet him there. I will not shrink myself down to his size, or anyone else’s, for their comfort. For their appeasement.”
Berkely Books | 2021
Filed Under: Feminist Witch Bitch Lit
Don’t let the synopsis and marketing for this book fool you. This is not horror. This is not a thriller. This is a cozy semi-mystery with Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic vibes and a feminist tilt.
While I might have been expecting horror initially, I adjusted my expectations and ended up really liking this. It’s fucking cute and reads like Rachel Harrison has found her writing niche with this novel.
I really liked Harrison’s first novel, The Return. That was definitely horror but with a heavy female-friendship theme that propelled the plot. Cackle follows in those footsteps, but abandons horror for delightful supernatural elements, like the friendly, top-hat-wearing spider that sleeps under a little blanket at night.
Continue reading “Review: Cackle by Rachel Harrison”
Doubleday Books | 2021
Filed Under: Apparently, there’s not a lot of bathing in a bathhouse
Honestly, can we get more gay thrillers, please!
“Popular” mystery/thriller fiction is lacking in LGBTQ+ centred stories and we all know it or a book like this wouldn’t be such a breath of fresh air. And that makes no fucking sense to me, if reactions to this book are any indication – there is obviously an audience for these stories in the thriller world. Like, the only difference between Bath Haus and a typical mainstream thriller is that the sex was hotter.
This novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except for oThis novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except that it takes its sweet time hitting the gas in the plot. Like there’s a whole scene of a medical conference speed. Zzzz I don’t care. But once you get past the first 100 pages, the story really settles into its stride.
Oliver, a reformed drug addict with a shady past, and his doctor husband, Nathan, have a beautiful life from the outside – a gorgeous renovated home, money and successful careers. But just like a perfectly curated Instagram account, looks can be deceiving. Nathan is controlling and Oliver is bored. So as the saying goes, when the cat’s away the mice will play.
While Nathan is away at a conference, Oliver and his wandering eye take a trip to a private, sexy bathhouse called Haus. Oliver ends up being terrifyingly assaulted by a perspective hook-up and that’s when shit really goes off the rails.
Continue reading “Review: Haus by P.J. Vernon”