Review: Cackle by Rachel Harrison

“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.”

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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.

Cute Spider GIFs | Tenor
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Women in Horror Month: Goddesses of the Dark & Twisty You Need To Read!

Okay, booknerds, you’ve probably heard already, and if not, I’m here to let you know that February is Women in Horror Month!

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What’s that you ask? Stupid question. I don’t know why you even asked it. I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory…

WiHM is an international, grassroots initiative aimed at showcasing and bringing awareness to the underrepresented work of women in horror industries. Movies, novels, TV… you name it! Women are getting creepy shit done when it comes to artistic expression in horror. Don’t you want to celebrate that and make it more visible in a largely male dominated genre? Of course you fucking do!

There are even events you can attend, which you can check out here.

Listen, I love horror. I’m a woman. And the truth is that I definitely don’t base my entertainment choices on the gender-identity of the creator. Does that make me a bad feminist? Depends on who you ask. Should I be trying harder? Goddamn right I should be.

Continue reading “Women in Horror Month: Goddesses of the Dark & Twisty You Need To Read!”

Female Sleuths You Need To Know! (Other Than Nancy Drew)

Most of us ladies who are obsessed with crime fiction, likely got our start reading Nancy Drew when we were young girls in pigtails; young girls who didn’t really want to play the games our friends were playing. We liked puzzles and being observant and maybe kids thought we were weird or awkward. We watched Goonies and Ghost Writer and read The Babysitters Club. We wanted to go on a mystery adventure and solve a crime!

So we played at being Nancy Drew with our Sailor Moon “casebooks,” watching from our windows and writing down the neighbours’ activities as if we were going to catch them doing something sinister, like rolling a body into a carpet.

calm down bruce campbell GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead

And as we got older, we moved on to more adult crime fiction mysteries, but always gravitated towards Nancy like characters – Veronica Mars, Olivia Benson, Clarice Starling. Because Nancy had taught us it was okay to be into what we were into. We’ve never forgotten Nancy even though we have grown up. She’s frequently cited as an inspiration by writers and readers alike. Her name is mentioned in my “about” page for this blog, and I have been working on a collection of her books for a few years, picking them up from antique markets and used books stores. (Only the ones originally published by Dunlap & Grosset.)

But let’s be real for a moment – in hindsight, Nancy was kind of boring, tame. A true basic bitch. She was rich and white and polite, doing her sleuthing in sweet collared dresses and Mary-Jane pumps with a perfectly coiffed flipped bob. Of course, the series started in the 1930s, so what do you expect? There wasn’t really any room for Nancy to change societal norms drastically, nor was there a market for it.

Really, if you go back to those original books, you’ll find them to be racist and anti-feminist in a lot of their elements. Again, what do you expect from the time?

Continue reading “Female Sleuths You Need To Know! (Other Than Nancy Drew)”