Review: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven, #1)The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all know babysitting comes with a lot of responsibility. You are literally responsible for maintaining the health and wellness of little humans. But did you also know that some babysitters are responsible for protecting the entire Earth from evil forces?

It’s true and when Esme Pearl formed her Babysitter’s Club, she didn’t know that either. Unfortunately for Esme, she’s about to find out the hard way.

I feel weird sort of giving that away but it’s nothing you won’t read in the synopsis of the book. Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part the good ole’ Babysitter’s Club series, this book brings horror comedy to a whole new level.

I was giggling to myself for over half of this novel. Apparently, the author and I share a brain and have exactly the same sense of humor.

Esme was such a fun character to read about and although parts of this were predictable, I had a great time reading it. The culminating scene does occur on Halloween as well, so perfect for the Fall Spooky season.

I loved all the pop culture references, the definite homage to Buffy and that fun teen horror atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fast and funny teen scream.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to seeing what this author comes up with next!!!

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Review: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HexHex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

A town cursed by a witch or a woman cursed by a town?

This was an odd book that has certainly provided me with a lot to think about.

Welcome to Black Spring. A charming little village set in the Hudson River Valley. As picturesque as can be, an outsider would have a hard time imagining the horror that this town’s citizens endure every day.

The Black Rock Witch, a 17th-Century woman, murdered by her contemporaries after having her mouth and eyes sewn shut, lurks amidst the townsfolk to this day. Not a hazy apparition that only certainly people sense or see, she’s there, in the flesh. They can touch her and even harm her if they choose.

No one ever does though as they anticipate her vengeance would be swift and brutal. Why don’t they just move away, you wonder?

Well, that’s just it. They can’t. No one can. Once you are settled in the town and privy to its secrets, you can never leave. As in, a supernatural force literally blocks you from escape.

This was a really unique take on a haunting. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I also really enjoyed the way the town dealt with it. They had developed, as town, a great system for tracking and monitoring the spirit. They used high tech surveillance to make sure all was well with her, but in turn, ending up tracking a lot of the citizen’s actions as well.

When some of the teenagers become frustrated with living under strict regulations they start acting out towards the spirit. Their cruel actions ultimately cause all hell to break loose.

Although, I was never able to fully sink into this one, I still decided to round up to 4-stars due to the unique nature of the overall story. Haunting stories have been done numerous times but this one did offer up something new in my opinion.

Also, I am wondering if the difficulty I had connecting to the story was more due to the fact that it is translated from the original Dutch than the actual story itself. The writing style seemed very blunt. I was always aware I was reading a book instead of being told a story, if that makes sense.

Overall though, I would definitely recommend this to horror lovers. Especially people who are looking for something out of the ordinary. This story is definitely worth giving a shot!

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Review: The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well, #1)The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the hosts of the Dragons & Tea Book Club announced this as our October pick, I was genuinely excited. A YA horror novel I had never heard of, I was completely intrigued.

Then I discover people comparing the vibe to one of my favorite horror movies of the early 2000s, The Grudge, and I was sold!

I am so happy to report that I really enjoyed this. I could not put it down once I started. I love this type of horror. It was smart and visceral with great characters and atmosphere.

One of the biggest surprises of this book was the perspective from which it is told. A 300-year old vengeful spirit is our narrator. She becomes tied to our protagonist, a troubled boy named Tark, and we follow along with them as she tries to protect him from others out to do him harm.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. It was a very engaging plot with a lot of Japanese cultural influences which I found just so interesting. The cultural perspectives in regards to spirits, the afterlife and all things related to those topics, it was really well done. I seriously would consider reading this again because I am sure that I missed a ton of fine details.

During the course of the story our characters travel from suburban American to Japan. It is there that the creepiness begins to kick it up a notch. We have ancient temples, local folklore and legends, crazy ass doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms.

This story is very graphic and definitely doesn’t shy away from violence on page. Some of the scenes were hard to read. The narrators detachment in the midst of violence, pain and suffering was truly unsettling. Well done on Chupeco’s part. That has to be hard to write consistently from that perspective.

I was really impressed with this overall. It wasn’t perfect. There were some points in the narrative that were a tad confusing or even repetitive but overall, very solid horror story.

I definitely plan to pick up more books from this author in the future!

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Review: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

CampfireCampfire by Shawn Sarles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up because I feel this book deserves a higher overall rating**

((How’s that for honesty?))

When Maddie Davenport heads on a friends and family camping trip she has no idea that it is a trip that will change her life. But we all know what happens when teens go camping.

Y’all, this book is a teen slasher flick come to the page. If you enjoy the campy, bloody, sometimes ridiculous movies like Cabin Fever, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, House of Wax or Wrong Turn, I think you could enjoy this.

It’s all about the mindset you go into a book with. I was looking for a campy, silly slasher that would make me nostalgic for my Junior High years, devouring every Fear Street book I could get my hands on. This did that. It gave me exactly that.

This does definitely read on the younger side of YA so if you aren’t into Tween reads, I would steer clear. I would put this at a target audience of 7th through 10th grade, which is completely fine. People in that age group deserve to have books too and for a fun, Spooktober read, this is great.

The writing is simplistic and the storyline was easy to follow. There are a ton of flawed characters to hate on so when bodies start dropping, you probably won’t shed too many tears.

If you are looking for a quick read, something to remind you of your younger years, when you first started to learn that scaring yourself was fun, you should probably check this one out. I was laughing out loud to the cheesy lines at the end. It was a good time. Glad I picked it up and I feel like you should too!

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Review: Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman

Contagion (Contagion, #1)Contagion by Erin Bowman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

OHHHH BABY!!!

Zombies in space! Y’all know, everything is better in space.

When an SOS goes out from a mining crew on a distant planet, a quickly assembled team heads out to investigate. Their number one selling point, they are the closest individuals to said planet.

They don’t seem to be prepared with manpower, experience, equipment, you name it, but off they go anyway. Once arriving they discover an abandoned site and a bunch of dead bodies but is there someone else there? Are there any survivors?

The rest of the book is a high-octane race to escape the planet before they too are are turned by the contagion infecting it. Zombie chases and fight scenes. Brutal zombie slayings. Bodies dropping. Dark, cold landscapes and abandoned space ships. All pretty stellar stuff.

This does follow multiple POVs which at times seemed perhaps a little unnecessary but in a way, I do understand the author’s choice. Because of the multiple POVs, jumping back and forth, it did gain some intensity from that. I know that is a personal choice as a reader, whether or not you enjoy that format. I can honestly say, I didn’t mind it at all.

I would definitely say this is more of an action-based story to a character-based story. For me, the action was high pretty much the entirety of the story. The ending was the perfect leave in anticipation of the sequel which I have already purchased and am hoping to get to real soon.

In short, if you like horror or science fiction involving remote planets, zombies, mass infections and / or rescue missions, you should definitely give this book a try!

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Review: The Town That Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer

The Town That Feared Dusk (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 17)The Town That Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short Sharp Shocks! Book 17

DEMMER!!!

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

I don’t know how he does it. The ability to elicit such an ominous atmosphere with so few words, it’s a true talent.

This short-story follows intrepid reporter, Sylvia Bernstein, as she travels to a small town to investigate their abnormally high suicide rate. All the alleged suicides seem to take place at dusk on a certain bridge in the town.

Sylvia decides to visit the bridge on her own, scope it out a bit. Once there, she has a bit of a supernatural experience and comes to some heavy realizations. Now she knows there is way more at play here than just a bunch of suicides.

I just adore Demmer’s style of writing. It’s like every word is carefully selected to pack the most punch. There are always moments in his stories that hit you like an adrenaline jolt. Moments of quick and genuine fear that are so enjoyable!

Thank you to the author, Calvin, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I loved it and cannot wait for more!!

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Review: One By One by D.W. Gillespie

One by OneOne by One by D.W. Gillespie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When the Easton family moves into a decrepit old house they are divided as to whether it is a good thing. Alice, the youngest, and her father, Frank, are excited to learn the secrets of the old house, while older brother, Dean, and mother, Debra, are less enthused.

Frank insists the fixer-upper is exactly what the family needs. A project to draw them closer together. As they start to settle in, Alice, discovers a child’s drawing under some tattered wallpaper. She calls the rest of the family to look and after the entirety of the drawing is revealed it becomes clear it is a drawing of a family. A family exactly like theirs.

When the family pet in the drawing is mysteriously drawn over with a giant black X and their aloof cat, Baxter, disappears, you are hit with the reality that something is very wrong with this house.

As with any horror story, the Easton family doesn’t initially react to this as you would expect them too. They each suspect that someone in the family has done it as a sort of misguided trick. However when the X appears over Dean, they start to take things a little more seriously.

This story has a nice, eerie intensity running throughout, making it a perfect read for Spooktober. There is a found diary element to this that I also really enjoyed. You learn a bit about the mysterious family that lived in the house prior to the Eastons. As that is filled it, the horrific truth is finally revealed to the reader and it was pretty disturbing!

The Epilogue really tied everything together and I loved that the author chose to include that portion of the story. It was a really satisfying conclusion. This was my first Gillespie book and I definitely look forward to reading more from him in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. If you are looking for a quick spine-chiller to round out your October TBR, you should definitely check this one out!

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Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in a historical United States, where the country is plagued by the walking dead, Jane McKeene is just trying to get by at Miss Preston’s School for Girls. Life hasn’t always been kind to Jane and she has developed a thick resolve to help push through hardships.

Being trained as an attendant means not just etiquette and other basic schooling, it means weapons training as well. A lot of it. You see, Jane’s job will someday be to protect some rich family she’s not a part of.

But before she knows it, things go a little…astray. She gets caught in the midst of some snooping on some powerful people and is punished by being sent away from Baltimore Country entirely. A prisoner aboard a train with her picture-perfect frenemy, Kate, and her ex-beau, Red Jack, Jane finds her situation pretty helpless.

Their destination, Summerland. A sort of Western outcrop community reminiscent of Deadwood. Once there a whole host of drama ensues, including standoffs with the undead, known throughout the novel as ‘shamblers’.

There were so many compelling things about this story. The historical landscape was wonderfully done, I thought, as well as the frank representation of race relations in this time period and place. In fact, I feel that the level of historical elements woven throughout the story was perfect.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Jane and Katherine, who Jane always calls Kate, even though she is asked not to do so. They start out not caring for one another but their relationship evolves so much over the course of the story. It was truly moving. I always enjoy that kind of friendship in a story, particularly female/female.

I also thought the zombie element was really tastefully done. It is descriptive enough, and concept-driven enough, to make this a full-fledge tale of a world fighting zombies, without overwhelming and negating some of the other important plot points.

It’s like zombie-light and I do mean that in a good way.

My only, very slight critique, is that it seemed a little long to me. I would have been just as happy with this story if 30 or 40-pages, or so, had been edited out. As I always say, however, that is 100% personal preference and opinion.

I do think this left off at an incredible spot for a continuation. California here we come! I will definitely be continuing on with this series and look forward to watching Jane be her brutal, badass self.

If you are looking for a fun, zombie-inspired tale to pick up this Spooktober, I would definitely recommend this!

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October Reading Plans

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!

That’s right, witches! It’s OCTOBER!!!

Many bookworms will tell you that October is by far the best month of the year to be a reader. There is nothing better than getting cozy in your nice warm house, in your comfy clothes, lighting a bookish inspired candle and reading a creepy story well into the night.

To be frank, it is my absolute favorite activity. I generally read a lot of creepy, scary things but for October, I feel extra inspired to pick up exclusively eerie content. With this being said, it will come as no surprise to anyone that my October theme is: SPOOKTOBER READS!!

As with my previously themed reading months, the goal is to complete 10-books that are spooky, creepy, eerie, scary, all my favorite adjective things. DARK. I want to be afraid to turn my lights out at night.

I also hope to participate in Spookathon, hosted by Kayla over at the YouTube channel, Books and Lala. To view her Spookathon announcement video, click here: Spookathon 2019 Announcement where she will list the dates, challenges, etc. I won’t have a specific TBR for that week but will try to meet all of the challenges.

So, that’s it for now! Are you planning to read a lot of creepy books this month? What is your favorite scary book or movie? I want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Until my next post, Cheers & Happy Reading~

Stephen King Reread #4 of 2019: The Dark Half, Review

The Dark HalfThe Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


George Stark. Not a very nice guy.

Stephen King Reread #4 for the year and it was just as brilliant as I remembered. Equal parts warped, dark and brutal, this story is a must read for any King fan.

I won’t get into the connections between this and King’s own life and experience with Richard Bachman. Let’s hope this twisted tale of a pseudonym gone rogue is 100% a work of fiction.

I mean, a man gets beaten to death with his own prosthetic arm! That’s rough and that doesn’t even begin to brush the surface of this super violent narrative.

The story begins when our protagonist, Thad Beaumont, is just a kid suffering from debilitating headaches and auditory hallucinations. During surgical exploration of his brain, it is discovered that Thad absorbed a twin in utero and parts of that twin suddenly began growing again causing the symptoms he was experiencing!

With that strange occurrence out of the way, Thad goes on to live a normal life. He becomes a college professor and writer, gets married, has twins, creates a pseudonym, George Stark, to write under that he subsequently kills off after being outed…

You know, the usual.

There’s one problem with this life plan, however, George Stark doesn’t want to be dead. He wants to continue his successful pulp fiction writing and he needs Thad on board in order to do so.

When people involved with Thad’s career begin being brutally murdered, Thad is the prime suspect. Even though he has a solid alibi, there is physical evidence linking him to the crimes, like fingerprints!

Thad is innocent and sets out to prove it, as well as stop the person responsible. Along with everyone’s favorite Sheriff, Alan Pangborn, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together with startling results.

The sparrows are flying again…

If you are looking for a viscious, creepy read to pick up this Autumn, look no further. This King Classic has some of the best body horror ever written and will leave you with a sense of dreadful anticipation the entire way through!!!

Highly recommend!

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