Review: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American PsychoAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wow, okay. American Psycho wasn’t what I expected. I honestly thought, going in, that I would end up loving it.

I know quite a few people who would include this on their favorites list, but after my experience with it, I don’t see why?

I just did not enjoy my time with this. It was so gut-wrenchingly boring for almost the entire book.

It wasn’t the content. I read a lot of brutal, gory stuff; frankly, I thought it could have used some more of that.

Although any scene involving a dog? Yeah, you know I skipped that sh*t.

It was just brain-drainingly repetitive. I get it. Moving on. Happy to have checked this one off of my TBR, now I know.

Thank you so much to my dear friend, Shannon for gifting me an audiobook copy of this.

I never would have made it through otherwise!

I could eventually have some more thoughts on this, but for right now, I’m over it.

View all my reviews

Review: The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones

The Last Final GirlThe Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

I am really torn on the rating for this. My heart says give it a 5, while my brain says, 4-stars is more accurate.

After contemplation, I’ve decided to slice it right down the middle for this ode to Teen Slashers.

I grew up watching all things Horror. I had two older siblings, who both enjoyed the genre, so I was exposed to it at such a young age. Honestly, I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t watching Horror movies.

From the years of being so freaked out by Poltergeist I couldn’t sleep in my own bedroom for 3-months, to watching The Gate on repeat because I had an 8-year old’s crush on Stephen Dorff, Horror movies have always been a positive part of my life.

In The Last Final Girl, Stephen Graham Jones brings the spirit of all that is great in Slasher Horror to the page.

The format of this story is unconventional, to say the least. It’s written in the style of a screenplay, with the narrator setting our scenes and describing characters actions, the POVs switch quickly and often, and there is a lot of rapid fire dialogue.

You really need to pay attention if you want to catch it all!

I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator did a phenomenal job. I had a huge grin on my face the entire time.

I loved what SGJ did here. It was like he made a list of all things important to that genre, including movie names, characters, actors within those movies, fictional towns, tropes, themes, the well-known rules of Horror and then connected them all with an actual coherent story.

It was amazing and so fun. I could picture every scene because it was like I had seen it all before. The river, the discarded Halloween masks, the mysterious figure standing in the corn, characters like Lindsay, Izzy and Crystal, the scenes at the high school, the final showdown; I loved it all!

I would definitely recommend the audiobook if you are interested in this one. Having read some other reviews, it doesn’t sound like people who read the hard copy had quite the same experience with this that I did.

SGJ definitely took a risk with this one; it’s really for a niche market of die hard fans of this type of movie. If you are, as it appears SGJ is, a student, if you will, of the genre, this is an absolute delight.

Every reference had me giddy and there are a lot. I love SGJ’s edgy style and always appreciate his nods to the classics. I will continue to pick up his work. This was certainly a fun ride for me!

View all my reviews

Review: Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

Ring ShoutRing Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Ring Shout audiobook is an experience. I loved it!

The historical elements were so well done. The SFF elements were fantastic. The body horror and gore were top notch. The narration was PERFECTION!

Maryse Boudreaux is a Georgia-bootlegger with a magic sword a taste for hunting monsters.

The monsters in question, Ku Kluxes, are plotting to unleash hell on Earth, using D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation to channel their message to the masses.

Maryse, along with her fellow monster-hunting friends, think the world is already tough enough, they don’t need any more challenges to overcome.

They set out to rid the South of this blight and save the world from the hate that wants to consume it.

Clark packed a lot of punch into this novella. There were so many important, and timely, details to consume. The narrator helped to channel life and emotional power into it that I’m not sure I would have felt on my own had I read a hard copy.

I loved the historical feel of the story and how there were strong elements of the fantastical mixed with real life horrors.

I thought it was balanced really well to provide maximum impact; especially towards the end when the final showdown ensues.

Maryse and her friends were fantastic, but Butcher Clyde was such an incredible villain. He stole the show in my opinion.

My goodness! He was horrifying. Well, him and his minions.

I highly recommend this novella, particularly the audiobook. It’s a quick read, but so worth picking up. If you’re not sold yet, perhaps a few of my favorite lines will entice you:

‘This one carries the anger of her people. Pure, yet untapped. We could do much with this.’

‘What we owe this world? Why save it, when its never done a thing to save us?’

I can’t wait to read more from this author. This was all-around fantastic.

View all my reviews

Review: The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

The ShudderingThe Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s not to enjoy about a classically-constructed gore fest with horrifying monsters!?

The Shuddering follows a group of friends on a snowboarding holiday in the unforgiving Colorado mountains.

The Adler twins, Ryan and Jane, spent a lot of their childhood at their parent’s posh ski cabin. Now that their parents are no longer together, their father has decided to sell the memorable property.

Ryan, who has just accepted a job overseas, decides to plan one final weekend at the home with his twin and his best friend, Sawyer.

Jane, recently divorced, decides to bring along her best friend, Lauren and Sawyer brings his gloomy girlfriend, April. Jane, who dated Sawyer in high school and really never got over him, isn’t exactly excited about April’s presence.

As the weekend gets underway, it’s clear tension is going to be the name of the game. Unfortunately, for the Adler party, that’s soon to be the least of their worries.

There’s something lurking in the woods, observing them, coming closer and closer to the cabin and it’s hungry.

Oona, Ryan’s beloved husky, is the first to notice something is amiss.

Her strange behavior leads Ryan to believe that a wolf pack may be hunting in the area.

When a blizzard hits, they become snowed in and the agitation reaches a new peak. The group ends up separating as April and Sawyer try to depart the property.

It doesn’t end well.

From there the intensity and action never stops. As you learn the truth of what pursues the group of weekend travelers, the desperation of their circumstances becomes more and more clear.

I love how Ahlborn built this out. It’s a classic set-up for a horror story and that was exactly the vibe that I was looking for when I picked it up.

I was stressed about the dog, of course. If you have ever read any of my reviews, you probably could have guessed that was coming, so that did have a slight effect on my enjoyment level.

Also, some the decisions made by the characters were questionable, but at the same time, I think that is half the fun. I mean, is a Horror movie even enjoyable if you aren’t yelling at the screen half the time?

The gore and violence were very well done. It was disgusting, it was bloody, it was stomach-churning and it was unrelenting.

I would definitely recommend this to any fan of the horror genre; particularly, if you, like me, enjoy horror stories set in Winter. This is the perfect book for that vibe!

I was a fan of Ahlborn’s work prior to this, but this definitely seals the deal. I will read anything she writes!

View all my reviews

Review: The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

The Ravens (The Ravens, #1)The Ravens by Kass Morgan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars**

I’m so sorry, y’all. I really wanted to love this.

The Ravens has so many great elements that I thought would really work for me, but unfortunately, it just didn’t.

The story alternates between two perspectives, Scarlett Winters and Vivi Deveraux.

Scarlett is a legacy Raven at Westerly College, aiming for the slot of sorority president, like her mother and sister before her.

Vivi is a freshman, who is shocked when she receives a bid to join the exclusive sorority. From what she gathered at the rush party, she’s not really Kappa Rho Nu material.

But the sisters saw something in her and that something is power. Magic power.

The Ravens are witches, each and every one of them.

Vivi didn’t realize she was a witch. Her mother had always dappled in occult practices, but Vivi assumed it was all an act. Apparently not.

After rush, Vivi’s pledge class are assigned their Bigs and then set about learning not just the history of the sorority, but everything else they need to know about being a proper Raven.

I was so excited when I started this novel. I was in a sorority and was looking forward to getting nostalgic about rush and all the amazing time and friendships that followed.

While initially, I did get a few of those feels, I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to be taking this seriously or not.

I am not sure how best to explain what I mean by that. It was like I couldn’t interpret the tone. From there it was just sort of all over the place for me.

I had moments when I was really into it and a lot of moments where I couldn’t care less.

Around the middle I could tell, it just wasn’t for me. I felt nothing for the characters and I didn’t feel like any part of the plot was particularly compelling.

There were two male characters who were basically interchangeable for me. I could really only tell which one it was when another character said their name.

That’s never good.

Bottom line, this just wasn’t the right story for me. I never connected with it and was happy when it was over.

As I always say however, just because it wasn’t the right book for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be the right book for you. If you think the synopsis sounds intriguing, pick it up and give it a go!

Thank you so much to the audiobook publisher, RB Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I always appreciate the opportunity to give my thoughts!

View all my reviews

Review: Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Jonathan Maberry, Editor

Don’t Turn Out the LightsDon’t Turn Out the Lights by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don’t Turn Out the Lights is a Middle Grade Horror anthology curated by bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, as a tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

The collection is comprised of 35-scary stories penned by an impressive list of authors!

I know what some of you may be thinking, Middle Grade though?

I can assure you, quite of few of these stories legit creeped me out. They’re quick, fun and each one left me wanting to continue reading.

There really is something for everyone in this collection.

No matter what your fears are, you will find a story that works for you. Some things you may not even know you are afraid of until you read this book, like toys, for example.

Although I have always been afraid of certain toys, but I digress. There were a lot of stories in here that I really loved.

The standouts for me were: The Carved Bear by Brendan Reichs, The Golden Peacock by Alethea Kontis, Tag, You’re It by NR Lambert, The Cries of the Cat by Josh Malerman, The Umbrella Man by Gary A. Braunbeck, Brain Spiders by Luis Alberto Urrea and Rosario Urrea, and Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by Margaret Stohl.

I did listen to the audiobook and highly recommend that medium. There are two narrators and they both did a fantastic job bringing every story to life.

Overall, this is a very solid collection with plenty of chills and thrills for readers of all ages. If you like to give yourself the heebie-jeebies, you should definitely pick this one up!

View all my reviews

Review: Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the Song of Death (Pandava Quartet, #2)Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aru Shah and the Song of Death is somehow even more exciting than the first book!

In this installment, the second in the Pandava Quartet, evil is afoot in the Otherworld.

The God of Love’s bow and arrow have been stolen and the thief is creating an heartless zombie horde they can control for their own sinister purposes.

The Gods suspect Aru of the crime, but she had nothing to do with it. Seriously, she is telling the truth this time, but they want her to prove it.

She is given until the full moon to find the thief and return the arrow, or risk being banished from the Otherworld forever.

Luckily for Aru, she is not facing this task alone. She has her Pandava soul-sister, Mini, with her, as well as the recently discovered third reincarnated Pandava brother sister, Brynne, and the cute new boy across the street, Aidan.

Together, this quartet will do whatever it takes to prove their innocence and return the Otherworld to normalcy.

They travel through dangerous territories, battle scary creatures and learn to love and trust one another; although somewhat begrudgingly.

I thought the inclusion of Brynne and Aidan added a great deal to the story. It felt like it grew so much complexity just by adding their personalities into the mix.

This entire story had the classic quest feel that I live for and I enjoyed the little LOTR references thrown in; a charming nod to one of the most epic quests of all time.

I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series. After the first book, I could have stopped there. I enjoyed it, but could have been happy with it as a standalone.

I continued on because this one had such high ratings and I am so glad that I did.

I am completely attached to these kids now. There’s no turning back. I will be with them until the end. Pandavas unite!

View all my reviews

Review: Camp Murderface by Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell

Camp MurderfaceCamp Murderface by Josh Berk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

It’s 1983 and Camp Sweetwater is ready for its grand reopening.

A summer camp in rural Ohio, Sweetwater mysteriously closed its doors 30-years ago, but now it’s refreshed and ready to take campers again.

Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones are two such lucky campers.

As frightening as the prospect of summer camp is, being shipped away from home, alone, with no contact with your family, Corryn and Tez are both ready to leave their regular lives behind for a while.

They meet on the bus trip there and its pretty much decided. They will be best camp friends. It’s at least decided for Tez.

Once at the camp and divided into their respective cabins, the kids go about starting the most epic summer ever. They hope.

It doesn’t take long however, before very spooky, scary things start occurring.

There’s a mystery afoot. One Corryn and Tez vow to get to the bottom of.

This story is hilarious. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. From the very beginning, I was giggling aloud.

The story alternates between Corryn and Tez’s perspectives. The narrators did such an incredible job bringing this to life. The timing of the jokes, the intonation, it was all superb!

As this is Middle Grade, the story itself isn’t super complicated, or overly dark, but I think it is wildly creative and definitely channels all the spooky vibes that are perfect for young readers.

I loved this, as it gave me such nostalgia for the spooky content I used to enjoy as a kid. I was feeling Scooby-Doo, I was feeling R.L. Stine; it’s just a ton of fun.

Camp Murderface leaves off at a great spot for a continuation of the story. I will definitely pick it up if one is published.

I loved Corryn and Tez both so much! They are just the best. Super clever and sincere. I will go on any adventure with them; no matter how scary.

View all my reviews

Review: The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

In 1665, London, Christopher Rowe is a young apprentice to apothecary, Master Benedict Blackthorn.

Blackthorn saved Christopher from a no doubt, harsh and uncertain future, by adopting him from a local orphanage. Since that time he has acted as a caring father figure and mentor to the young boy.

Christopher is very clever, adept at following chemical recipes, deciphering puzzles and reading complex codes.

Along with his good friend, Tom, the baker’s son, Christopher gets himself into all sorts of wild hijinks with his experiments.

When the city’s apothecaries begin being systematically killed off, it is up to Christopher to figure out who is behind it and stop them before he too, falls victim.

Relying on his knowledge, acquired through his Master’s many lessons, as well as his own ingenuity, Christopher slowly pieces together the mystery of the Cult at the heart of the matter; putting his own life in danger along the way.

I really enjoyed so much about this story. It’s such a strong start to a Middle Grade series.

I loved the historical setting and the relationship between Christopher and Tom most of all. Tom was a perfect, lovable side kick, and those can go a long way in this type of story.

This does get really dark. I was living for it and even as a Middle Grader, certainly, would have been living for it. There are murdery bits, and evil villain bits and actually, fairly scary bits.

If you are a reader who is sensitive to that type of content, just go in knowing you will find that here.

As a science lover, I also enjoyed those elements included in the story. There were even codes for Christopher to work out, left for him as clues.

The narrative really made science exciting and I love seeing Young Readers exposed to a science is cool storyline. Not only is science cool, it saves the day.

I’m really excited to continue on with this series. I am definitely down for going on more adventures with Christopher and Tom.

If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, slightly dark, Middle Grade Mystery series, I suggest you give it a go as well. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

View all my reviews

Review: Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp

Even If We BreakEven If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don’t even know what to say. This book was a huge disappointment for me.

I knew going in, the reviews were not the greatest. Regardless of the super interesting synopsis, it seemed a lot of readers were not enjoying it.

Frequently, I find myself in the minority opinion on polarizing books, however, so I still wanted to give it a shot.

I love slightly cheesy, teen slashers, particularly with weekend getaways or gaming elements. This book sounded like it would be a great fit for my tastes.

We follow five friends, who I believe are in high school, who head off to a cabin in the Arizona mountains for a weekend getaway playing a RPG they created.

There are costumes, a murder mystery to solve and things go south fairly quickly. Before you know it, we have a real life murder mystery on our hands.

I would surmise that incorporating a high fantasy RPG into a narrative story would be a complicated task, and I think I’m right, because I found it confusing AF.

I was still sort of intrigued, but then it went off the rails.

The big baddie was super obvious, so no real suspense there and then the drama to reach the conclusion was ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it was.

There was also a lot of hard-hitting contemporary topics sprinkled throughout that seemed oddly out of place. It made the overall intent of this novel confusing.

There were some diverse characters in here, which I love to see, but in a way, it felt overplayed; like it was just an effort to get them in there for that sake alone.

I don’t know, it didn’t come off as genuine? Perhaps because they were portrayed so one dimensionally.

This is just my opinion, of course, and I would love to see OwnVoices reviews on this story.

If you are unaware, this novel features trans-rep, nonbinary-rep and disability-rep. I also would really like to see reviews from individuals who actually participate in RPG; I would love to hear people’s opinions on how that was represented here.

Without belaboring the point, I didn’t like this. If you pick it up and enjoy it, or even love it, I am so happy you had that experience with it.

Sadly, it just wasn’t the right fit for me. On to the next!

Original:

1. A Weekend Getaway.
2. A Game.
3. Deadly Secrets.

I will
never
skip a book with these buzzwords.

Sign me up!

View all my reviews