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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DNF Review: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

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★½

Imprint | 2019

DNF’d @ 53%


You know me – I generally don’t quit on books. I’m almost physically incapable of putting down a book if it means I will never know how the story unfolds. Even if I don’t necessarily like the story. It’s a neurotic trait that probably has something to do with the part of my personality that likes to know fucking everything, even the shit that doesn’t involve me.

Like, I don’t want to be involved in drama, but do I want to know about it? You bet you’re fucking ass. Tell me word-for-word what was said.

But, it turns out if the story is boring as all fucking hell, I have no issue putting it away and leaving it behind forever.

That’s the case with The Tenth Girl.

I am sorry, but this was possibly the most boring book I’ve ever read??? I’m struggling to think of something that has made my eyelids this goddamn heavy. All I can come up with is a curriculum book in tenth grade English class. I had my friend explain the book to me and I bullshit that essay like I do these reviews.

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Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

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★★★★★

Quirk Books | 2016

Filed Under: Don’t take acid in the woods.


I 👏 FUCKING 👏 LOVED 👏 THIS.

I own Horrorstör by this author, but I haven’t read it yet. I only bought it for the cover and format, without any idea of what the book was about or if I liked the author. And honestly, I wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for the same reason. This is 100% a “#bookstagram made me do it” read.

The alternate cover is gorgeous VHS 80s goodness. And the yearbook format print that I had was goddamn adorable. I literally read every single message written on the front and back covers with unabashed nerdy glee.

Clearly, Grady Hendrix is killing the book format game and there’s nothing that turns me on more than someone who throws cliches out the window and walks a creative path less followed in writing. It’s like half the reason I married my husband, who wrote me bizarre poetry on the reg.

But, it turns out Hendrix is also killing the horror writing game because this is one of my most favourite books that I’ve read in a while. And I’m so bummed it wasn’t in my life so much sooner.

I STAN GRADY HENDRIX SO FUCKING HARD.

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Review: Twelve Nights at Rotter House by J.W. Ocker

“Where else was I fundamentally wrong about life and the universe and how everything worked? Is life a cycle of us realizing how stupid we are over and over again until we die?”

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★★★½

November 2019 | Turner

Filed Under: Eric Andre screaming “let me in!”


While I love horror as a genre in any form, I admit I don’t read as much of it as I would like. And when I do read it, I find I’m disappointed that things aren’t as scary or twisted as I want them to be. Maybe my expectations are just too high. I’m 100% that book bitch. But I am making an concerted effort to read more horror until I find my lane in the genre.

That said, for me, Twelve Nights at Rotter House is on the slow-burner end of the horror spectrum. For much of the middle of the book, I wondered if anything really scary was ever going to happen; I could feel my typical disappointment start to brew. There are some disembodied screams, unexplained noises, figures that disappear, and of course the quintessential dumbwaiter that never reveals anything good, but none of it was really getting my heart rate up.

The main character of Felix was a little overwrought in how skeptical he was of everything, and his extreme rationalizing created a slower atmosphere. Scary moments were consistently downplayed, sucking the spooky guts out of the story and lending itself to my question of if anything truly scary was going to happen because any time I thought something creepy was afoot, Felix came in and just Debbie Downer’ed all over the place.

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He’s a dream killer, is what he is.

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Review: The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #10) by Darynda Jones

“I’m married to a billionaire, like in all those books I read where the super rich guy falls in love with the poor chick who may not have much in the way of money but is wealthy in vivacity and sprightliness, and is really into bondage?” 

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★★★★½

St. Martin’s Press | 2016

Filed Under: The ghost whose body is buried in the backyard.


What is there to say about this series that I haven’t said nine previous times? Literally. I find it particularly difficult to write reviews for a series that has had very few missteps and never pisses me off…too much.

Really, writing harsh/critical reviews is where I feel that I shine as a reviewer. I’m not good at being nice and heaping praise. And certainly, my kinder reviews are not getting the same traction as my more ranty ones.

I think there’s probably a whole psychological element to my life and personality that could be dissected because of this, but I don’t feel like holding up that goddamn mirror right now, if ever.

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My inability to express any emotion that could be seen a vulnerable aside, this is probably one of my favourite books in the series so far.

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Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9) by Darynda Jones

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★★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2016

Filed Under: Amnesia is a bitch.


I took a break from this series in order to catch up on some books that I owed reviews on, but since I was given the final book in the series through Netgalley, I’m back on the Charley Davidson bike, as it were. And I’m going to ride this son-of-a-bitch right to the finish line.

The ending of #8 was a little bit of a cliffhanger, but more than that it was just a bummer. Actually, the whole book was a bit of a bummer for me. I didn’t like how different it felt to everything else the series had been up to that point. It was a little heavier, a little too lovesick-romantic – just a little much all around, with not enough levity. It was like the series lost its way.

I’m happy to report, however, that #9 is a clear swing back around to Classic Charley. Only this time she has no idea who she is. She’s living a “just the essentials” kind of life as a waitress named Janey. She’s trying to figure out who she is, where her people are – she must have people, she has a wedding ring on after all! But she’s also just living her life without too much pressure.

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Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

“Never talk to strangers. If someone ever tries to take you, fight with everything you have. Scream as loud as you can. (He’d never told her what to do if the man was too strong and there was no one to hear her screaming.)”

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★★★

Touchstone | 2016

Filed Under: I see dead people-ing it.


I don’t know why I keep trying books with psychic characters, because I never like them.

Also, apparently, this could technically be considered part of a series called The Hollows, but I have zero experience with Lisa Unger or that series, so perhaps that’s why I’m not as jazzed about this book as other readers have been.

This does read like a standalone for all intents and purposes, though.

Basically what you have here is a twenty-something who is a developing psychic, so she goes to live with her grandmother, who is an experienced psychic, to get her psychic abilities up to snuff. While she’s doing her psychic training she starts to hear a persistent noise – squeak, clink – and her psychic grandmother is all, “that’s your psychic gift telling you to start doing psychic shit,” so she gets onto the case of a missing child, who has some psychic connections in her life as well.

Basically, everyone is a goddamn psychic.

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I’m not sure how a town full of psychics hasn’t been able to find the answer to “where’d that kid go?” but they haven’t and everyone is distressed; marriages are falling apart and life is just generally terrible.

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Review: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

“On the morning of the exorcism, I stayed home from school.”

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★★★★

Titan Books | 2016

Filed Under: Don’t eat the pasta.


Finding really good, disturbing, well-crafted horror novels is hard for me, even though I love horror. Obviously, this is probably because I’m a picky bitch, but I regret nothing.

Paul Tremblay has been on my list of “horror authors to possibly trust” for a long time, but I think I put off reading his work to avoid the letdown.

But now that it’s officially “stick a pumpkin up my ass and pumpkin spice everything” season, I figure what better time than now to find out if Paul Tremblay is a horror author I can call myself a fan of?

And I’ll tell you, I think I am.

I didn’t love this with an unbridled passion like some other reviewers, but I did like it a lot.

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Review: Fellside by M.R. Carey

“Rough edges were what you needed because they were what you sharpened yourself against. Nobody ever got sharp from lying in a feather bed.”

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★★½

Orbit | 2016

Filed Under: Casper but in prison.


I was really interested in reading this, but once I cracked this baby open my interest quickly petered out, giving way to an overall feeling of not really giving a shit, mixed with annoyance and yawning.

Jess has been given heavy prison time for deliberately starting a house fire that not only destroyed her face and injured her asshole heroin addict boyfriend but also killed a 10-year-old boy named Alex.

Jess essentially martyrs herself, accepting her punishment with a heaping side of self-flagellation, deciding her time in prison will be short once she goes on a hunger strike/suicide mission. The only problem is that Jess can’t remember any of the sins she’s been told she committed, so she just takes everyone’s word for it (like you would.) As she withers away in the prison infirmary, dead Alex comes to her with an afterlife request – find out who really killed him, because he’s sure it wasn’t Jess and he can’t find his ghosty peace without knowing the facts.

The blurb is essentially Orange Is the New Black but with ghosts and mystery.

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Review: And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

“Rotting in your skin, rotting in your mind. You are rotting in this house. In this house you’ll die.”

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★★★★

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | 2016

Filed Under: Stay out of the forest


This book is a love story between sisters. It’s a love story about a boy who can’t love. It’s a story about a teenage girl trying to decide what decisions are best while carrying guilt and confusion and stumbling through her reality, unsure and uneasy.

…But mostly it’s creepy AF.

Silla Daniels, and her mute sister Nori, arrive at their aunt’s decrepit mansion, La Baume, after having escaped their abusive father. They are looking for peace, for a place to call home, and they have pessimistic hopes that La Baume will be that for them.

…But, you know, it’s not.

Because something is off. Their aunt is odd. The house makes noises that fill Silla with dread. And the woods surrounding the property seem to be moving closer to the house; woods where something dangerous lurks, something that won’t let them leave. Could it be the Creeper Man?

As the food supply runs dangerously low, Silla starts to lose her mind. Because at La Baume, nothing is what it seems.

“He’s out there,” I say, turning back to the window. “Always watching. Getting stronger.”

I read this on audio, and I have to say it’s probably the most interesting, engaging, well-done audiobook I’ve ever listened to. I almost felt like I was back in the days when there was no TV and families gathered around the radio to listen to shows. The narration was beautiful and bold, and the production value filled my ears with so much tangible setting that I felt like I was there, an unseen observer.

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