Review: Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder (Murder, She Wrote #57) by Terrie Farley Moran

Murder, She Wrote: Fit for MurderMurder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fit for Murder is the 57th, and latest installment, in the long-running and beloved Cozy Mystery series, Murder, She Wrote.

If I am counting correctly, this is the 36th-book that I have read in the series. I absolutely adore Jessica Fletcher. These are my go-to, number one, comfort reads.

They’re nostalgic, relaxing and always entertaining. I just love MSW and its intrepid amateur sleuth.

This mystery is entirely set in Jessica’s hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine. As much as I love when Jessica travels, getting to learn about different places and being dazzled by new settings, I do always love a story set in Cabot Cove.

I enjoy the comfort of being with Jessica at home, surrounded by her very best friends, and often nosy neighbors. This installment was no exception to that.

This mystery involves a new-to-town fitness instructor, Martin Terranova, who causes quite the stir by paying a little too much attention to some of his older clientele.

One woman in particular, Bertha Mae Cormier, whose property abuts Terranova’s gym, appears to be of particular interest to the trainer, decades her junior.

When one-time Cabot Cove Gazette editor, Evelyn Phillips, points out the startlingly-unbalanced relationship to Jessica, she can’t help but agree.

The optics aren’t great, but what could Terranova stand to gain from a relationship with Bertha Mae?

Shortly after Terranova comes to Jessica’s attention, he is found dead in his weight room. Before you even say it, no, Jessica didn’t do it. We all know that, but someone did.

We go along with Jessica as she digs into Terranova’s past and tries to suss out the killer.

With Jessica’s friend Evelyn as the leading suspect, the clock is ticking. Jessica needs to get to the bottom of this and quickly, before Evelyn takes the fall.

This was a fun one. I love how in a tither the whole town got about this guy’s presence. It was like they had never seen a personal trainer before. People flocked to him, but were also highly suspicious of everything he did.

There were a lot of interactions amongst the townspeople during Jessica’s investigation and I really enjoyed that. Many of the characters, most actually, we’ve met before in previous installments, so it was fun seeing them again.

I also enjoyed Evelyn being back and she and Jessica working together. Evelyn is bullheaded and has a tendency to steamroll through anything in her path, but Jessica seems to be a calming force for her. That worked well here.

There was some drama included involving the town Budget Office, which I wasn’t expecting and frankly, I’m not sure why was included. The book was exciting enough just following the mystery surrounding Terranova’s murder.

With that being said though, that was really the only thing I felt was a little wonky. Overall, I have been so delighted with Terrie Farley Moran being at the helm of this series.

Since the passing of the series original author, Donald Bain, Farley Moran has done the best job of capturing the original tone and feel of the series. I am so happy this long-running series is still going strong and I will continue to pick them up for as long as they are published.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Another great installment from Terrie Farley Moran. These books are the epitome of Cozy to me, and I’ll continue reading them until the end of time. Keep ’em coming!!!

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Review: The Heroes (First Law #5) by Joe Abercrombie

The HeroesThe Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Heroes is the fifth-book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law World. This is an Epic Grimdark series that sucked me in from the very first book and hasn’t let go.

Best Served Cold, the fourth-book in the series, is one of my favorite books of all time and while I was excited to move forward in this world, I was also a little nervous. How could anything live up to that?

The truth is, this didn’t surpass Best Served Cold as far as my enjoyment went, but it was still a bloody brilliant story more than worthy of a 5-star rating.

At its heart, this is a story of war. The players, the action, the strategy, the outcome and the aftermath. We examine portions of each. I loved that it felt like a giant game of chess; moving players around the board, shuffling up alliances and allegiances.

The war is between the Union and the Northmen, lasting for three brutal days, that feel like many more to all involved.

There were a few shocking things that happened toward the end of this that I absolutely was not expecting. Abercromie definitely succeeded in giving me more than one solid jaw drop moment.

I’m really looking forward to continuing on in this world.

Abercrombie’s world-building is a masterclass on how to draw the Reader in. The cast of morally-grey characters is fantastic. It’s like a Grimdark Soap Opera. They’re bringing the drama, each and every installment.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Epic Fantasy, particularly Grimdark fans. There’s so much delicious content here to sink your teeth into. A must read series!

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Rereading a Favorite Horror Novella: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

What Moves the DeadWhat Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5-stars yet again!

This was exactly what I wanted for my first read of October, which is why I chose to reread a tried and true favorite Horror novella by one of my favorite authors, T. Kingfisher.

My goal was to set a tone for the month and What Moves the Dead certainly succeeded in that. It’s more than just a gorgeous cover. Kingfisher creates such an eerie, fun and mysterious tale in under 200-pages. She’s a marvel.

As with many other rereads, I think I was able to enjoy the details of this story even more this time around. Since I knew where the story was going, I could concentrate a little more on the finer points.

My biggest take-away this time through was how much I truly enjoy reading from Alex’s perspective. I love how Kingfisher brings her signature sense of humor to every main character she writes and Alex is no exception.

Alex is such a unique protagonist. They make you feel like you are sitting with a friend who is telling you a story of their last vacation. Granted a really messed up and horrifying vacation, but entertaining nonetheless.

I’m super stoked that Alex is coming back in February in the sequel to this book, What Feasts at Night. It sounds like it is going to contain the same sort of horror-based mystery for Alex to investigate.

Personally, I am counting down the days until I can get my hands on that. It’s definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2024.

If you love Horror, but haven’t picked this one up yet, what are you doing with your life? Seriously? Get to it! This is the perfect way to kick off your Spooky Season reading!


In What Moves the Dead T. Kingfisher expertly reimagines Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

That fact alone sold me on this book, well that and the fact that T. Kingfisher is one of my favorite authors, but then this cover dropped.

A masterpiece shall grace our shelves. Mine for sure because I’ve already preordered a copy and you should too!

The year is 1890 and Alex Easton has just received word that their childhood friend, Madeline Usher, is on the brink of death. Thus, Easton heads off to the countryside to the Usher family estate to be with Madeline and perhaps provide some support to Madeline’s brother, Roderick.

Arriving at the once lavish estate, Easton is shocked that the manor home has fallen into such a horrible state of disrepair. It’s unnerving to say the least.

Equally unnerving is the state in which Easton finds Madeline. They knew Madeline was quite ill, but her behavior belies any illness that Easton is aware of. Madeline’s behavior, speech and appearance are bizarre. She’s actually frightening to be around.

Denton, an American doctor and friend of Roderick Usher, is staying at the home as well while tending to Madeline. It’s clear that Denton has no explanation for Madeline’s mysterious illness.

Additionally, Roderick Usher isn’t quite himself either. He’s not sleeping and claims to be hearing things in the walls of the home. Could he be succumbing to whatever has infected Madeline?

In addition to our main cast we also get some great side characters. Hob, Easton’s trusty horse, was of course my favorite. No one writes animal companions quite like Kingfisher. She gives them such strong personalities, which for anyone who has an animal companion of their own will seem quite relatable.

Another favorite was the intelligent and plucky Miss Potter, a local woman who spends her time researching and painting specimens of fungi. Easton and Potter meet and develop a quick rapport. Easton ends up learning a lot about the local area, lore, flora and fauna from Miss Potter.

The classic gothic vibe of What Moves the Dead meshed so well with Kingfisher’s fresh and witty humor.

Picking up a new Kingfisher story is so comforting for me. It’s like settling in for story time with a horror-loving friend. That’s exactly the feeling I got from this one. It’s eerie and sinister the entire way through, while also somehow managing to keep me laughing.

I loved going along with Easton on their investigation into the mystery surrounding the House of Usher. There is some truly horrifying imagery included that was so well done.

I could picture, smell and taste the decay of this property. It definitely got under my skin.

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Tor and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copies to read and review.

As I mentioned earlier, this was absolutely one of my MOST ANTICIPATED releases of the year and it did not disappoint. Kingfisher is knocking them out of the park in 2022!!!

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Rereading 1922 by Stephen King

19221922 by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

1922 is the first novella included in my favorite short-story collection, Full Dark, No Stars.

This is the second time I have read this story and its impact was not diminished with repetition. In fact, I think I appreciated it more this time around.

One thing I had actually forgotten about this story is that the entire thing is told via a written confession. Epistolary format generally does work for me anyway, but in King’s capable hands, it elevated this to a higher level.

The quality of the writing makes you feel like you are actually listening to a haunted man tell his story. In this case, that man is Wilfred James, a farmer from the Hemingford Home area of Nebraska.

King’s Constant Readers may recognize that name from other works, most notably, The Stand.

The publisher’s synopsis for this story explains it best: A powerful tale of betrayal, murder, madness and rats, 1922 is a breathtaking exploration into the dark side of human nature. That’s exactly what this is.

The story flows organically and steadily, while unsuspectingly gettin under your skin. Before you know it, you’ll be flinching at the smallest noises around you. Any little scratch or scatter could be the rats coming for you.

I frequently mention that when I reread King’s works that my attention is drawn to different elements each time. With the initial horror of the story out of the way, I found myself more able to focus on the relationships this time through.

The relationship between Wilf and his son, Henry, of course, but also the relationship between Henry and his young love. Additionally, I felt more drawn to Wilf’s inner turmoil after the horrors began. It’s like a 1920s-Midwestern version of Crime and Punishment.

Overall, the way this story is told, it’s absolutely captivating. Even the gruesome bits will have your eyes glued to the page, dreading whatever will be coming next.

Readers are cautioned to scenes of animal hurt, or harm, but truthfully, it’s a farm and the circumstances involved are things that would, or could, occur on a working farm. I will admit to skim reading some of those scenes though.

As with the rest of the stories included in the Full Dark, No Stars collection, 1922 is ultimately a story of ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary, and gut-churning, circumstances.

If this sounds at all intriguing to you, I absolutely recommend checking it out. I’m so happy that I took the time to reread this. It’s definitely secured itself in my mind as one of my top novellas ever.

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Review: Best Served Cold (First Law #4) by Joe Abercrombie

Best Served ColdBest Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


As many of us know, revenge is a dish best served cold and that’s exactly what we’re served in this stunning Grimdark Fantasy by beloved author, Joe Abercrombie.

I loved the initial trilogy in the First Law world, composed of The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings. I gave them all 5-stars and grew to love that set of characters with my whole heart.

In fact, I loved them so much, I was a little sad when I first learned that this book, Best Served Cold takes place many years after the end of Last Argument of Kings.

19-years have passed and this is a dangerous world, it would have to be following all new characters, right? I was going to miss my tried and trues.

Would I even enjoy it half as much?

I should have trusted Abercrombie. Of course this was going to be amazing. I feel sheepish looking back. How dareth I have questioned his prowess with a pen!!

In this story we follow Monza Murcatto, known as the Snake of Talins, she is the most feared mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ. Stories of her victories are told around every table, she’s hugely popular. A real woman of the people.

She’s a little too popular by Orso’s estimation. He can’t have it. It’s a threat to his rule. This thinking leads to a swift and bloody betrayal.

Monza’s beloved brother is slayed and she is attacked, beaten, thrown out a window to roll down the rocky cliff below and left for dead. Miraculously, she survives and through her dirty, painful recovery she has one thing on her mind. Vengeance.

Gobba, Mauthis, Prince Ario, General Granmark, Faithful Carpi, Prince Foscar and Grand Duke Orso of Talins.

Seven men were in the room when she was betrayed. They’ll all pay. The countdown begins.

Monza assembles a team and off they go. This was incredibly easy to read. At just over 600-pages, you may think you’ll get bogged down in it, but every moment was fascinating. My attention didn’t wane at all.

I loved this cast of characters so much. I was extremely nervous that Abercrombie was going to shatter me in the end, but you know, it’s hard not to walk away from such an incredible story a happy girl. Regardless of the outcome.

I’m now more in love with this world than ever and cannot wait to continue on.

If you’ve been curious about this series, love Grimdark Fantasy, or books with fascinating characters and top-tier world development in genreal, you absolutely have to give this series a go!!

I highly doubt you’ll regret it.

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Review: Danger at Dead Man’s Pass (Adventures on Trains #4) by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Danger at Dead Man's Pass (Adventures on Trains, #4)Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**


Danger at Dead Man’s Pass is the 4th-installment of my favorite Middle Grade series, Adventures on Trains.

This series follows Hal, a talented young artist with a talent for solving mysteries. Hal’s Uncle Nat is a travel writer, who specializes in trains and he takes Hal along with him on some of his journeys. Hence the name of the series.

In the first three books, Hal and Uncle Nat had adventures in their native-UK, in the United States and South Africa. This book takes them to Germany at the request of an old friend, Baron Essenbach.

The Kratzensteins are wealthy and powerful railway tycoons with a rich history and spooky mansion in the mountains. Essenbach’s wife is a Kratzenstein.

After the mysterious death of a family member, Uncle Nat and Hal are asked to travel to the funeral to investigate the death and an ominous witch’s curse.

Assuming fake identities in order to infiltrate the family’s funeral events, Hal and Uncle Nat immerse themselves in the world of the Kratzensteins.

With danger and warring motives at every junction, will Hal and Uncle Nat be able to crack the case before their time in Germany is up?

As always, I had an absolute blast with this story. I’ve grown quite attached to Hal and his Uncle Nat over the course of this series. I want our adventures to go on forever.

This was another successful mystery. There was a large cast of quirky characters, some believed Alexander died of natural causes, and others believed it was the curse rearing its ugly head. But could there be another answer?

This one is a bit different than the previous three in that, we aren’t on a train the whole time.

Uncle Nat and Hal do travel by train to get to Germany, and then the Kratzenstein’s do have a private funeral train that is used for Alexander’s services, but besides that, you are at the Kratzenstein’s gothic-feeling home.

I did miss being on the train the whole time, I feel like that always adds a nice closed circle, or even locked room element, to the mystery. However, I’m never one to turn down time at a creepy, gothic mansion, so this setting worked as well.

I also liked the exploration of the family curse, its history and whether or not it was real. It brought a nice is it supernatural, is it not supernatural twist to it.

Hal did make some new friends in this one as well, which is often the case for him. Everyone loves Hal. They helped him a bit in his investigation. I particularly enjoyed Hilda, who had a penchant for mystery stories.

The conclusion of this one was quite exciting. A bit of a nail-biter for young Hal. I’m seriously so excited to continue on with this series.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a solid, heart-warming, engaging Children’s Mystery.

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Review: The Last Word by Taylor Adams

The Last WordThe Last Word by Taylor Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the pleasure of Buddy Reading The Last Word with my beautiful niece, Lyss. I knew when she texted me the night we started saying she couldn’t read it if she was home alone, it was going to be good.

And it was!!! We had such a fantastic time with it. Although I am sure having someone to chat to about it while I was reading it, enhanced my experience, I am still proclaiming this to be my favorite book of 2023, so far.

The Last Word is getting a lot of buzz right now and IMO, it’s totally warranted. This is Adams returning to his No Exit-style and a lot of people, myself included, are eating it up.

If you aren’t aware, this story follows, Emma Carpenter, a woman who after a personal loss has secluded herself in a beach house on the Washington Coast. She’s technically house-sitting, but really she’s licking her wounds and trying to heal her broken heart.

Her days are spent with her dog, Laika, reading a ton of cheap e-books, walking on the beach, doing some drinking and chatting with the only neighbor via a whiteboard and binoculars. You know, the usual winter activities on an abandoned coastline.

After reading a particularly horrendous Slasher Horror novel, Emma can’t help herself. This book is trash. Absolute trash. She has to warn other unsuspecting e-book readers.

Therefore, she heads over to Amazon to leave a snarky 1-star review. She’s surprised moments later to get a direct reply from the author. He’s offended by her review and demands she take it down.

She refuses, or course. They go back and forth for a bit and he tells her that if she doesn’t take it down, she’ll regret it. Emma’s not playing this game. Sorry, loser, but your book sucked. Emma refuses to engage further.

Then things start happening…

Y’all, I loved this from the first 5-pages. I was hooked immediately. I’m not even exaggerating.

Honestly, the self-absorbed part of my brain wondered, did Taylor Adams write this after reading my review of Hairpin Bridge? Feeling frightened, I went back and read my review. It wasn’t that bad, so I figured I, at least, was in the clear.

As a reviewer and horror lover, this novel is disturbing, fun and disturbingly fun in so many different ways. It played on some of my biggest fears.

While I can see that there are some aspects of this that not everyone will love, for me, it was pretty much a perfect reading experience.

Even though I saw many of the twists coming a mile away, it didn’t damper my enjoyment of them one bit. I was still completely engaged and loved sitting by as Adams revealed it all in his own time.

I also loved the characters. Emma was a classic-feeling ‘good for her’ horror-girlie and I’m always down for that. Some of her lines had me laughing out loud and I loved watching her sort of come back to life throughout the story.

Lyss and I had some great discussions regarding this plot, both while we were reading it and after. I would absolutely recommend reading this with a friend. There really is a lot to discuss, as far as themes, structure and character development.

This is a case where I would recommend reading the hard copy, if you have the opportunity to do so. The way the book is arranged, including things such as the font choices, makes this a unique reading experience. I love how it was layed out.

I am so happy that Adams knocked this out of the park for me. Wild, crazy, gripping, anxiety-inducing terror ride of seclusion and desperation. I loved, loved, loved it.

I’m really looking forward to his next release!

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Review: The Highland Falcon Thief (Adventures on Trains #1) by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

The Highland Falcon Thief (Adventures on Trains, #1)The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Highland Falcon Thief is the first book in the Middle Grade Mystery series, Adventures on Trains, by writing duo, M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman.

I first heard of this series when Gavin, from How to Train Your Gavin on YouTube, mentioned it in a Book Haul video. I was instantly intrigued.

I’ve never traveled via Sleeper Train, but I’ve always wanted to do so. A bucket list item for me, for sure. Imagine how fun it would be traveling that way and having an actual mystery to solve while aboard!?

With these books, you get to experience that.

This story follows 11-year old, Hal Beck, whose Mom is getting ready to enter hospital to have a baby. His parents decide it would be best for Hal to have a getaway, while they are otherwise engaged with the birth of his little sister.

As luck would have it, Hal’s Uncle Nat, a travel writer specializing in trains, is about to board a four-day journey on the Highland Falcon, a royal train taking her last journey through the U.K. It’s perfect timing and the perfect opportunity for Hal to join him.

Hal begins the journey with some trepidation. He hasn’t spent a lot of time with his Uncle and is nervous about traveling just the two of them.

Also, he’s a little concerned about leaving his Mom as she enters the hospital. What if she needs him? He’s honestly the sweetest boy. In spite of his fears, he holds his head high and joins his Uncle for the memorable final journey of the Highland Falcon.

On board, it quickly becomes apparent that Hal is the youngest passenger. No other kids, no video games, no distractions. He’ll have plenty of time to focus on his art.

Then Hal spots her. A girl that shouldn’t be there; a stowaway. Who is she and what is she doing here?

The two become secret friends and when jewelry begins being stolen from passengers on the train, they make an adorable detective duo, as they investigate the crimes.

However, after the Prince and Princesses board the train and her famous necklace is stolen, around the same time the stowaway, Lenny’s, presence is discovered, all suspicion falls on the little girl.

Will they be able to find the real thief in time to save Lenny from serious repercussions?

Y’all, I loved this so much. We’re talking, all new favorite Middle Grade series for me.

Hal is a fantastic character. He has all of the characteristics one would look for in a young hero. He’s smart, loyal, kind, inquisitive, honest and super smart.

Hal is an artist. He does amazing drawings of his surroundings and his drawings actually help him to notice clues pertaining to the mystery. The book contains his drawings and I found the illustrations added a lot to the overall presentation of the story.

I looked forward to getting to the illustrations, so I could see exactly what Hal was seeing. It was especially fun when he was drawing the other passengers. I felt like you could glean a better impression of their character through that.

Additionally, I loved how Hal and his Uncle Nat’s relationship grew over the course of the story. While Hal was always respectful and a bit in awe of his Uncle, you could see as the story progressed how they learned to really trust and love one another.

I liked how his Uncle gave Hal the freedom to explore and enjoy the train on his own without hovering over him. That freedom gave Hal the confidence to interact with a lot of different people.

I also loved the mystery itself. Once the thefts began, I really started to notice how many suspicious characters were on this train. There were a lot of possibilities for whodunit.

Overall, this book was an absolute joy to read. The setting of the train was perfection and I loved the varied cast of interesting characters.

I definitely recommend this one to fans of Middle Grade stories, and Middle Grade Mysteries in particular. 10-out-of-10 recommend!!

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Review: Don’t Fear the Reaper (The Lake Witch Trilogy #2) by Stephen Graham Jones

Don't Fear the Reaper (The Lake Witch Trilogy, #2)Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Don’t Fear the Reaper released just in time for Valentine’s Day. Be still my Slasher-Loving heart. This was everything!

Stephen Graham Jones is a genius. His writing style is completely unique, distinct and is an absolute master class in Slasher lore. I’m hooked. ((pun intended))

In anticipation of this release, I recently reread the first book in the trilogy, My Heart Is a Chainsaw. I love that book and honestly, was concerned that nothing could top it.

Somehow, defying the general law of sequels, this was bigger, badder and more blockbuster than the first!

It’s been 4-years since the Independence Day Massacre. Jade, now going by her given name of Jennifer, has spent those years in prison. When her conviction is overturned, Jade returns to her native Proofrock.

As Jennifer’s luck would have it, on the very night she returns, a prison transport van carrying convicted serial killer, Dark Mill South, flips over in a blizzard. Dark Mill escapes and heads straight for Proofrock.

Back in town, Jennifer is reunited with her previously chosen final girl and dare I say, friend, Letha Mondragon. It’s a bittersweet reunion for the two women. They’ve both changed dramatically since that brutal night four years ago.

Very quickly bodies start dropping in harsh and creative ways. Is Dark Mill responsible for these killings? What would his motive be here? If not him, who?

True to character, Jennifer and Letha dive head first into the action, putting themselves in incredible danger. They essentially saved the town before. It looks like they’ll have to do it again, but if there’s really just one final girl, who will make it out alive?

This book starts with a bang and never ever lets up. Not for a moment. It has the classic slasher opening scenes, where stuff is already hitting the haunted ceiling fan.

In addition to all the phenomenal Slasher connections and references, I absolutely adored the character development displayed in this one. For both Jennifer and Letha. The student has truly become the master.

Also, I enjoyed getting more of the twins, Ginger and Cinnamon. I feel like their interactions with Jennifer and Letha added a lot to the narrative. It was like the older generation passing on the torch of horror to the younger generation.

Not that Letha and Jennifer are that much older, they aren’t old at all, but the experience of the Independence Day Massacre has certainly provided them with knowledge and seniority when it comes to be able to survive a Slasher.

I have no idea when the next book is slated to be released, but I do know I’ll be regularly stalking SGJ’s author page until we find out. I’m super anxious to learn the title and see the cover.

This series is everything I have ever wanted. Having grown up on a fairly steady diet of Slashers, thanks to my super cool older siblings, these stories bring me so much nostalgia and joy. I love the entire vibe.

While I recognize that this series may not be for everyone, I know that with the people it resonates with, it’s going to really hit. I cannot stop thinking about this. I’m really looking forward to reading both books again just prior to the release of the third.

If you love Horror Cinema, and Slashers in particular, and you haven’t picked up this series yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough. You don’t want to miss out on this!

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Gallery / Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was my most anticipated release of 2023 and it didn’t disappoint for a moment. Chef’s kiss!!

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Rereading My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

My Heart Is a Chainsaw (The Lake Witch Trilogy, #1)My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My heart is full. I’m so glad I took the time to reread this one before diving into Don’t Fear the Reaper. This time around, I am switching my rating to a full 5-stars.

I feel like I got to know Jade’s character more this time. The first time, I was so focused on the Slasher references, some of the texture of the story was lost on me. Not this time. I see you, Jade, and I hear you loud and clear.

I think my biggest take-away this time through was actually Jade’s relationship with Slashers. I have a better understanding now of what drew her to that genre, what compelled her to learn all she could and what keeps her mind constantly cycling through all she knows as life gets tough, or uncertain, around her.

In a way, it is a self-soothing act for her and that makes my heart ache for her character even more than it did before. Jade has not had an easy life.

With the precariousness of her life, her living situation and future, Jade is searching for something solid and true. She craves a structure that won’t let her down.

She finds all she is looking for in Slashers. Any student of the genre knows that to be true. It does follow a certain pattern and Jade draws from that to relate to events that are going on around her. It’s a coping mechanism in a way.

I feel like the first time I read this, I was so invested in all Jade had to say about the genre that I failed to focus as much on why she was saying it.

Reading this again allowed me to focus more on the substance behind all that in-your-face Slasher goodness.

I am so excited to move forward with the next book. Don’t Fear the Reaper is releasing this coming Tuesday, February, 7th!! You’ve got just enough time to read this one before that release, if you haven’t already. Time to get cracking!


**4.5-stars rounded up**

My Heart Is a Chainsaw is Stephen Graham Jones most recent and brilliant, love letter to the Slasher genre. It’s also one of my most anticipated books of the year. Happily, it did not disappoint.

I actually finished this on September 2nd. Subsequently, I wrote a full review, which if I do say so myself, was pretty darn good.

Then due to major stupidity on my part, my laptop got inadvertently shutdown and all of my efforts were erased.

Normally, I would try to find another person within striking distance to blame, but unfortunately, it was just me, my dog and a potentially haunted ceiling fan.

But I digress…let’s try it again:

Jade Daniels is a social outcast in her small, lakeside town of Proofrock, Idaho. A half-Indian girl, forced to live with her abusive father, Jade changes her hair color often and views the world through a prism of her vast knowledge of the Horror genre.

As her high school career comes to a close, there’s not much on the horizon for Jade. She works as a janitor for the local public school system, and it seems she may be doing so well into the future.

That in and of itself is fine. If she could just stay away from her Dad and his pervy friend, it would all be okay.

When mysterious events around town start mirroring the plot structure of her favorite genre, however, Jade knows it’s finally happening. Oddly, she’s excited by the prospect.

Proofrock has a real-life Slasher on their hands!

Therefore, she does what any logical Horror Aficionado would do and tracks down the most obvious choice for Final Girl, in this case, new girl, Letha Mondragon, so she may teach her the fine art of defeating a Slasher.

Sure, there’s likely to be a high body count, that’s a given. After all, it’s almost time for the annual 4th of July celebration and we all know Slashers cannot resist events like that, but the final girl should still be able to stop him. Eventually.

I’m always amazed by how much Jones can pack into a story. Each page feels like a Master Class in the Horror genre; full of references and the rules that make my heart soar.

In addition to that though, he always doses us full of hard-hitting real world issues as well. There are many layers here, as there are in other novels of his that I have read.

This story was so much fun to read. It’s intricate, gritty, bloody, gory, smart, sarcastic, biting and fierce. The writing is top-notch and it’s going to remain in my mind for a long time to come.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am sure there are a lot of things I am forgetting to mention about this, but what can I say?

I’m silenced by greatness!

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