Review: Red X by David Demchuk (🏳️‍🌈)

★★★½

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 couple things were throwing me off the whole time – 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 guess the point could be that bad things happen to the LGTBQ+ community and there never is a real reason; it’s predictable and constant only 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 (🏳️‍🌈)”

Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

★★★

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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Review: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

“Life’s fucked up. It just is. It’s got ups and downs and I say it’s worse not appreciating the good things, because then what’s the point? It’s like the Native Americans used to say, right? Gotta use all of the buffalo. Life is a whole damn animal, and you can’t waste any part of it.”

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★★★★½

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: The Return by Rachel Harrison

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★★★½

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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Review: Behind the Door (Kathy Ryan, #2) by Mary Sangiovanni

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★★★

Lyrical Underground | 2018

Filed Under: Don’t Dead, Open Inside


Eh, so this was a bit weird. Not terrible, but not great either. Because I’m so behind in reviews, I read this months ago and honestly, I’m still not really sure how I feel about it outside of one thing: editor needed.

This is the second novel in the Kathy Ryan series, but it can be read as a standalone because she’s barely in it. And when she is, there’s no information about Kathy that has too much bearing on the novel as part of a series. Really, without this being strictly marketed as in a series starring Kathy Ryan, I would never have known.

Seriously, why is she not in this book at all until like the 50% point? The chapter plotting is just so fucking weird. I’m sorry. Whoever saw this book plotted out and thought, “yes, good job,” was on drugs. And not the good kind.

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Review: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

“Nothing says “fuck off” like eyeliner as dark and heavy as my soul.”

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★★★★★

Razorbill | 2018

Filed Under: Wiccans do it better.


FINALLY! It’s been 84 years… Okay, no it’s only been like four or five, but it’s true! I have FINALLY found a YA novel that I genuinely LOVED.

Thank you, Lily Anderson. It’s been a fucking struggle to get here, just like the old woman from the Titanic.

This novel is part murder mystery, part witchy supernatural fun, and part teen drama but with none of the cheesy dialogue or after-school special bullshit that is usually the reason I’ve disliked every YA novel I’ve tried to read.

There’s none of that here. This is mature in the writing, appropriate for teens but not annoying to adults. It has relatable plot points for every reader, with a mystery element that takes the spotlight instead of things like “we held hands once, are we dating now?”

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This is a passionate, fun, interesting and original YA story that everyone should be reading. Maybe everyone already has and I’m late to the party, but still, read it!

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Review: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

“What about the house? The pentacle? The empty coffins? The symbols written in blood?!”

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★★★

Double Day Books | 2017

Filed Under: Jinkies and Zoinks!


Here’s a fun fact about me: one of my go-to stress-relieving past times is getting as baked as a potato and watching Scooby-Doo.

I have always had an affinity for mystery-solving kids because I myself wanted to be a mystery-solving kid. But as it turned out, I had really boring neighbours growing up so I had to live vicariously through shows like Ghostwriter, The Secret World of Alex Mack and the Scooby Gang.

I suppose it says something about my love for Scooby-Doo that I still watch it in my 30s. It’s just that nowadays I’ve turned it into more of an adult activity.

So, kick me in the crotch and spit on my neck if I wasn’t through-the-roof excited to find that someone had taken my Scooby Gang and turned it into an adult caper! Not only that, it’s mixed with a little Lovecraft flare?!

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE, my heart screamed.

Turns out, my heart jumped the gun and it is still firmly in the “cartoons and weed” category.

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That’s not to say that this wasn’t a fun read. It totally was. It just didn’t live up to the hype or the nostalgia it so clearly was trying to honour.

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Review: A Wolf Like Me (Thomas Spell, #1) by Andy Fitz

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★★★

CreateSpace Independent Publishing | 2017

Filed Under: If a less zany Ace Ventura was a werewolf.


Okay, first things first: I do not typically read werewolf fiction because I’m not a big fan of the werewolf mythos unless I’m playing Skyrim and become one to join the Companions, then it can come in handy.

Given the choices that we typically get – vampires or werewolves, pick one! – I am much more into vampires.

Not the sparkly kind who fall in love and insist on staying in high school forever and just want to do good even if their hearts are cold. No. Give me Gary Oldman’s Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or some 30 Days of Night absolute horror. That to me is so much more interesting and creepy. Vampires are the first horror monster to scare me as a child, making me pull the blanket up to my neck at night as if that would protect me.

People who turn into big, scary dogs are just kind of weird. But I get the appeal to horror fans.

That being said, this book is pretty decent even for a werewolf hater like myself.

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Review: N0S4A2 by Joe Hill

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★★★½

William Morrow | 2013

Filed Under: I’ve never read Stephen King before


OMG, I HAVE FINALLY READ THIS FUCKING BOOK. What’s it been, 30 years?!

I’m tired, guys. I’m so so tired.

I feel like I just escaped from Christmasland and my life force is nearly drained.

My head hurts. I think this book gave me a headache – that’s how intense it was.

The gist is Victoria ‘Vic’ McQueen can travel across a covered bridge on her bike and arrive on the other side wherever she wants to be.

Charlie Manx can drive his vintage 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith to a supernatural amusement park, which he created, called Christmasland. And the Rolls Royce is the key to getting in. On his way there, he kidnaps children. During the ride, the kids are drained of their life force in order to keep Manx alive, because you see, he’s a few hundred years old. Can’t let that decay start sloughing off body parts, can we?

“She told me about Charlie Manx. She warned me about him. She said there was a man, a bad man with a bad car. He used his car to suck the life out of children. He was a kind of vampire – a road vampire.”

Continue reading “Review: N0S4A2 by Joe Hill”