Review: Such A Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

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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.

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Review: Red X by David Demchuk (๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ)

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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.

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Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

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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.

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Mini-Review Dump ๐Ÿ’ฉ: The First One You Expect, The Pale White, The Bell Chime and Murder House | Horror Reads Under 150 Pages!

All the novellas in this post are under 150 pages and are available for free through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime Reading.

And unlike my previous post, I actually liked most of these.

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Reviews in this post:

  • The First One You Expect by C.V. Hunt
  • The Pale White by Chad Lutzke
  • The Bell Chime by Mona Kabbani
  • Murder House by C.V. Hunt
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Review: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

โ€œLifeโ€™s fucked up. It just is. Itโ€™s got ups and downs and I say itโ€™s worse not appreciating the good things, because then whatโ€™s the point? Itโ€™s like the Native Americans used to say, right? Gotta use all of the buffalo. Life is a whole damn animal, and you canโ€™t waste any part of it.โ€

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Del Rey Books | 2021

Filed Under: It’s only missing Voldemort


Oooo shit, this is one hell of a novel.

Coming in at nearly 600 pages, it looks like an intimidating read and ya girl is definitely not a fan of thicc novels, but let me tell you, this does not read like a big ass book.

There is so much happening all of the time in every single chapter, that the pace never takes its foot off the gas. You fly through this fat-bottom girl like… I don’t have a metaphor for this, but whatever. It’s a fast read is my point. You get it. And that’s a testament to Wendig’s plotting and writing voice.

I’m calling Wendig the Tolkein of horror because this book is an epic. This couldn’t be a movie. It would need to be a TV series to fit in every scene – they are all important and if anything was cut out I would fucking riot. Don’t get it twisted though, I don’t mean Tolkein in the boring, over-detailed way J.R.R. does fantasy.

Don’t come for me Tolkein stans! I don’t care! You know reading about thirty different kinds of rocks and trees is boring AF.

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Review: It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan

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Crooked Lane Books | 2020

Filed Under: Damien babies as birth control


I love gothic horror and I love haunted houses, so this book had all the balls in its court from the jump. Big balls, little balls. Balls of all sorts. We don’t discriminate around here.

But there was one serious downer that stood out for me: this is a wordy motherfucker.

When it comes to a genre novel that should be building suspense, dread and thrills because the story requires it, being too long or a maniac with purple prose can be a serious issue. The only time length isn’t an issue, is when the plot events are making up that length, like so much is happening it requires extra pages.

In this case, it wasn’t that there was so much story to tell, and certainly the page count isn’t very high, but rather that the author was far too interested in metaphors and purple prose and just couldn’t stop using them. Like, an intervention was needed. Without all that filler, this would probably be closer to being a novella.

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Review: Camp Slaughter by Sergio Gomez

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Independent Publication | 2019

Filed Under: I see you found my trophy room, Dalton. The only thing missing is your ass!


Ugh, damn it…

This is such a bummer.

I really wanted to love this, but nope, couldn’t get there. It was just meh for me. It’s got all the things you expect from a slasher story – unsuspecting victims being gruesomely murdered in the woods by a psychotic killer – but, really all it has are things taken from other slasher stories. A lot of this felt off, like it was simply a copy of a copy rather than a story with something of its own to say. And it wasn’t exactly scary.

The plot invests in giving the cannibal killer a backstory, but I found it kind of boring, with pieces that didn’t totally connect. He was living independently off the grid, has excellent hunting skills, can make pants out of human skin and has escaped detection as a prolific serial killer for years, but he’s also intellectually disabled with the linguistic skills of a third grader? And he’s a cannibal, but also interested in keeping women as pets? Um, okay.

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The killer was a mishmash of every other killer from other slasher stories and that felt kind of lazy. Like, just put Leatherface, Jason and The Hills Have Eyes cannibals into a cabin in the woods and then fold in the cheese. And voila! It’s this fucking guy.

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Review: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

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Minotaur Books | 2021

Filed Under: Patrick Swayze’s subway ghost friend


If you wouldn’t spend a weekend camping in a probably haunted abandoned town with a nefarious past then we can’t be friends.

I’m not saying it’s at the top of my travel bucket list, but it’s definitely on there. Chernobyl? Yes, please! You wouldn’t want to go there? Minus all the radioactive nuclear issues and other terrible shit that happened, it’s got to be interesting and creepy. Perfect vacation destination! Or like just a stop on the itinerary. Please don’t make me sleep there.

Going into abandoned homes, snooping through all the stuff left behind like a time capsule – that’s a dream! A dream I’ll probably never get to do in real life, so a novel might be as close as I can get.

The Lost Village is all of these things, so fucking duh I was going to read it.

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Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison

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Berkley | 2020

Filed Under: Hopeful, despite the rotted teeth


This was definitely interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing this time. It’s a novel I won’t soon forget and the catalyst for my decision to not read horror novels involving teeth for the rest of my fucking life. Thank you very much.

This is hard to review because it’s essentially a spoiler minefield from beginning to end, but I’ll do my best to explain why you should read this book if you’re looking for, what I’m calling, Girls’ Weekend Horror.

Honestly, I didn’t hate this. I might have actually really liked it. I think my expectations were tempered by the abundance of disappointed reviews I came across before I ever cracked this one open – and by cracked open, I mean swiped open because #netgalley. I get some of the criticisms, but for me, I had a good time. And I wasn’t even high!

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Review: The Chill by Scott Carson

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Atria | 2020

Filed Under: Can’t stop, won’t stop talking about dams


I’ll be honest, I read this book in July 2020 and it was so fucking boring that to write a review now is going to be difficult. All I know for sure is that it was a snoozer when it was supposed to be a pee-in-your-pants supernatural horror/thriller.

So, we’re off to a great start.

Basically, the small village of Galesburg in upstate-New York was flooded a century ago to create the Chilewaukee reservoir – nicknamed The Chill – to provide water to millions of southern New Yorkers. Of course, Galesburg residents weren’t super psyched to have their hometown put underwater, which is totally understandable, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. It was a political decision that was moving ahead whether they liked it or not – their town was being confiscated.

That didn’t mean, however, that the townsfolk would go down without a fight. They banded together, starting a fierce rebellion that promised to kick ass and get revenge, no matter how many lives were lost along the way.

But, you know, government versus village rebellion means the government won.

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