Review: She Left by Stacie Grey

She LeftShe Left by Stacie Grey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been twenty-years since the Memorial Day Massacre that claimed the lives of five of Amy’s friends. It happened at a small house party they’d been enjoying together.

After Amy was made to feel like she didn’t belong though, she left. Little did she know, that was the luckiest choice she could’ve ever made. Within an hour, all of those left at the house were be dead.

In the present, Amy, along with ten other people connected to that night have been invited to a cliffside lodge by a journalist preparing to do a piece on the murders.

After arriving at the home, and being introduced to one another, events quickly take a dark turn. With inclement weather closing in, isolating them even more from the outside world, it becomes clear that this weekend isn’t what any of them expected it to be.

As bodies start dropping, Amy and the others must fight to figure out who orchestrated this event and stop them before they complete their goal; keeping the secrets they’ve been hiding for twenty-years.

Y’all, I really enjoyed this. I went into She Left with zero expectations. I hadn’t heard anyone talking about it and I was unfamiliar with this author’s other works. I was attracted to it purely for the cover and synopsis.

The synopsis was giving me a classic mystery/horror set-up, where people get invited to an event, like a dinner party or weekend retreat, only to arrive and realize it’s not what they thought. It’s very And Then There Were None, amongst others.

Grey succeeded in her delivery of that set-up. I loved how this started off, meeting all the characters and learning how they were all connected to the Memorial Day Massacre.

They’re not all as directly connected as Amy was, so it was interesting to figure out all of that. We do get glimpses into all the various character perspectives, but Amy is definitely our main focus, and as an FBI Agent, Amy really had the most to offer as far as figuring the whole thing out.

Grey also succeeded in really building out her atmosphere. I loved the setting of this. She didn’t just tell us it was remote, it felt remote. The inclement weather, and potentially hazardous mudslides, added an extra element of danger that only aided in the feeling of anxiety and desperation.

This is extremely fast-paced, as well as engaging and easy to follow. I listened to the audiobook and loved that as a format choice. I absolutely flew through it.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly ground-breaking about this story, but I didn’t need there to be. It was still highly-entertaining and that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Overall, the plot is gripping and fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still delivers a well-plotted, intense mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.

Thank you to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press and Dreamscape Media, for providing me with copies to read and review. I’m pumped to read more from this author!

View all my reviews

Review: Indian Burial Ground by Nick Medina

Indian Burial GroundIndian Burial Ground by Nick Medina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

After reading Nick Medina’s story, Quantam, in the Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology, Never Whistle at Night, I knew I needed to pick up more of his work.

It was one of my favorites of that collection. I loved his storytelling style and couldn’t wait to be immersed in another one of his creative tales.

In this story, we follow two perspectives: Noemi and Louie. Noemi provides us with a Contemporary Mystery. While Louie, Noemi’s Uncle, delivers us a beautifully-executed Coming of Age Horror element.

In present day, Noemi’s boyfriend, Roddy, dies suddenly and tragically. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding his death, but the authorities categorize it as a suicide. That doesn’t track for Noemi though, who feels like something more sinister may be at play upon their tribal lands.

Just prior to receiving this tragic news, Noemi’s Uncle Louie shows up on her doorstep, in town for an upcoming powwow. After more than a decade away, it’s a bit of an awkward reunion, but soon enough Uncle and Niece are bonding just like old times.

When Louie hears the news of Roddy’s mysterious death, it brings to mind for him some very dark memories, all of which occurred in the Summer when he was 16-years old.

We alter back and forth between Noemi, taking us through the current events, and Louie recounting what happened on the reservation, all those years ago.

Medina wastes no time jumping into the intrigue of this story. The very start is fascinating, as we get a glimpse into the events surrounding Roddy’s death.

I was immediately impressed with the writing. IMO, Medina just has a natural storyteller’s voice. The way he delivered this story, specifically the sections from Louie’s perspective, felt like Louie was speaking his story directly to me.

You forget that you are reading a book. It feels that fluid, and comes across as an actual person would tell the story of their life, versus an author trying to impress you with all the big words they know…

This is exactly the type of writing that I like to read!

It was fascinating to go back and forth between the two perspectives. I couldn’t see right away how Louie’s past was going to help Noemi understand her present, and I loved how Medina ultimately wove the two together.

The Coming of Age aspect was the highlight for me, but I think as a genre blend, this worked together so well.

The Horror imagery itself was very well-crafted. There were some truly unsettling moments. Things that gave me downright chills. It was never difficult picturing exactly what was happening to these characters.

I loved the examination of the real life horrors, as well. Particularly in regards to addiction, which really is its own vampire in a way, isn’t it?

Additionally, the family drama and other events occurring on the reservation brought a heavy emotional component to the story. This one definitely moved me and the ending hit me like a punch to the gut.

Ultimately, Louie’s story will live on, rent free in my heart forever, and ever, Amen. This is a special book.

A slow burn mix of Indigenous Horror with a powerful Coming of Age story; what’s not to love about that? The themes explored and rich quality of storytelling are impressive to say the least.

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

This is for sure on my Most Memorable List for 2024!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Cinderwich by Cherie Priest

CinderwichCinderwich by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Decades ago, Kate Thrush’s Aunt Ellen mysteriously disappeared. Even though Kate is too young to even remember Aunt Ellen, she was actually named after her and Ellen has been the shadow looming over her entire life.

As a young adult, Kate befriended Ellen’s long-time girlfriend, a college professor, Dr. Judith Kane. Judith and Ellen were partners at the time of Aunt Ellen’s disappearance, and Judith has never truly been able to let go of that experience.

Eventually, Kate and Judith grew apart, so when Kate hears from Judith seemingly out of the blue, and Judith asks for her assistance, Kate is curious and takes her up on the offer.

Judith has continued searching for any evidence that may tell her what happened to Ellen all those years ago. She’s recently come across something she feels could be connected.

A story, really more of a local legend, regarding a woman’s body found years ago in a blackgum tree in the small town of Cinderwich, Tennessee. Children know the chant, Who put Ellen in the blackgum tree?

Many have traveled to Cinderwich over the years, trying to determine the identity of the body found in the tree. Some of these people were even searching for Ellen’s of their own, others were mere trauma tourists. Either way, the people of Cinderwich are used to strangers passing through and asking questions.

Kate and Judith make a plan, and meet up in the small town, checking into an eclectic local hotel. Immediately, they being digging into the town history, looking for answers. They’re ill-prepared for what they’ll ultimately encounter there.

I really enjoyed this highly-readable Horror novella. I was initially attracted to it because of the eerie cover and I have to say, the cover suits the story perfectly. It’s got a sweet Southern Gothic feel to it, heavy with mystery vibes.

Kate and Judith were such a fun pair. An odd couple of sorts, but I adored the dynamics of their relationship. It was a great premise as well; them meeting up in the small creepy town and looking into a decades old mystery.

The overall themes explored were well done and I found Priest’s writing to be fluid, as well as engaging. This was actually the first I have read from her, and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up more. I’ve had The Toll sitting on my shelves for way too long now.

I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook for this one and absolutely recommend that format if it’s available to you. We’re getting this story from Kate’s perspective and I felt that the narrator, Traci Odom’s, voice was perfect for Kate.

My only slight critique would be that I wish it could have been longer. I feel like that way frequently with novellas that I enjoy, mainly because I just don’t want them to end. For this one, I feel like it wrapped up rather quickly, I wouldn’t have minded more time to really dig into this conclusion.

Overall, I feel like this is a fast, compelling, creepy read, with great vibes and characters. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Southern Gothic stories, stories that feature small town vibes with creepy local lore, or unlikely friends investigating cold cases.

Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

View all my reviews

Review: I Was a Teenage Slasher by Stephen Graham Jones

I Was a Teenage SlasherI Was a Teenage Slasher by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1989, Tolly Driver was an average 17-year old boy, just living his life in his small West Texas hometown of Lamesa.

He’s a good kid, who mostly keeps his nose clean, helping his Mom at her hardware store, and spending time with his best friend ((crush)), Amber. All it took was one crazy Summer night to change everything…

This book is presented in a sort of confessional style. It’s Tolly writing about that summer, about the events that occurred, relaying them and also reflecting upon them. He’s addressing Amber, so it feels genuine and personal.

I connected with this one from the very first pages. I love how SGJ chose to present Tolly’s story. It’s much more than a Slasher. It’s a Coming of Age tale from the perspective of a killer. A Slasher with a twist.

Reading this, it feels like a personal story for SGJ. Not the murdery-bits of course, but the sense of place, the experience of being a teenager in West Texas in the 1980s and everything that went with that.

Honestly, it felt so rich with heart, emotion and nostalgia. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s because SGJ and I came up around the same time, both in small towns and probably with a lot of similar interests, or if it’s just the humanity channeled into his stories, but they hit me differently.

Maybe it’s as simple as our mutual love of this nuanced genre of Horror; Slashers in particular, I don’t know, but there’s something special in his delivery that takes me right back to my youth. I feel it.

I’ve never read anything like this. It’s special. I absolutely loved it. There’s only so much you can say about a book you loved without diving off the deep end into fangirl territory.

Stephen Graham Jones is one of my favorite authors. Out of the 8-books of his that I have read so far, the lowest rating I have ever given is a 4-star, and it was just the one.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I finished this, and I actually think this is my favorite SGJ work EVER!

For those of you crying yourself to sleep every night ((like I was)) because you just finished the last book in The Angel of Indian Lake trilogy, have NO FEAR, this one will fulfill your darkest Slasher desires and then some.

I’m so excited for this to release this Summer so that I can add a hard copy to my shelves. I can’t wait to read it again. Tolly is a character I will never forget.

I would recommend this to any Horror Reader. It’s a perfect Summer Scream story. My heart slowly shattered over the course of this novel, but it simultaneously made me ridiculously happy. I want everyone to feel that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it far exceeded even my lofty expectations.

Stephen Graham Jones is such a gifted storyteller, who truly breaths life into his characters with the power of his words. His stories are edgy, raw, emotional, powerful and nostalgic. I’ll never stop coming back for more.

10-out-of-10 recommend!!

View all my reviews

Review: Grey Dog by Elliott Gish

Grey DogGrey Dog by Elliott Gish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first line of the Publisher’s synopsis for Grey Dog, by Elliot Gish, promised me the following good time:

A subversive literary horror novel that disrupts the tropes of women’s historical fiction with delusions, wild beasts, and the uncontainable power of female rage…

There is no way I could walk away from that and I’m so glad I didn’t. This has probably been my most surprising read of the year in the best ways possible.

Words cannot express what I felt after reaching the conclusion of this novel. Grey Dog delivered EXACTLY what I was promised. I absolutely loved it!

It’s 1901 when Ada Byrd, described as a spinster, schoolmarm and amateur naturalist, accepts a teaching post in the remote town of Lowry Bridge.

We get told this story through a series of Ada’s journal entries, beginning as she arrives in Lowry Bridge for the first time. We follow along with her as she settles into her home and begins to navigate life in this new environment.

She arrives a wee bit before the school year starts, so she does have time to meet people and acclimate a bit to her surroundings. Ada is very happy to have this chance at a fresh start, around folks who know nothing of her past.

Ada makes friends, gets to know her students and explores the lush natural setting of the small farming community. Everything seems to be going swimmingly, but then Ada begins to notice odd things around her.

Like insects and animals behaving in unnatural ways. Her senses tell her to be afraid. The longer she’s there, the more unsettled she seems to become. It starts to weigh heavily on her mind. It’s taking a real toll.

How much of Ada’s story can we believe though? She’s a tainted woman, after all. Maybe it’s in her head, the result of some previous issues? Or is there something actually evil lurking in Lowry Bridge?

I had the pleasure of listening to this on audio and highly recommend that format. The narration of Natalie Naudus was perfect for the voice of Ada.

Being presented as journal entries, and listening to it, it made it feel so personal; like I was getting a secret glimpse into Ada’s life. It made for a gripping reading experience.

In addition to this, I found Gish’s writing style, in and of itself, to be a fantastic fit for my tastes. It was very fluid and engaging. Highly readable. The historical feel of this was spot on. I felt transported.

When I was reading this, I was so invested. When I wasn’t reading this, I was thinking about it and wanted to be.

I liked how it felt subtle and understated. There was an overall gothic-sort of feel that stayed eerie throughout. I felt ill at ease frequently without being able to pinpoint why.

I wouldn’t say it delivers earth-shattering levels of action, or suspense, but it’s just uber-intriguing, the human nature of it all. It gets under your skin and stays there.

Overall, I was very impressed with this. The ending had my jaw on the ground and a wicked laugh escaping my lips.

It was a perfect conclusion; wow. I definitely plan to get a hard copy for my collection. I’d love to reread it someday and annotate.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for not only providing me with a copy to read and review, but also for introducing me to the talent of Elliott Gish.

I cannot wait for more!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Eye of the Ouroboros by Megan Bontrager

Eye of the OuroborosEye of the Ouroboros by Megan Bontrager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™

Eye of the Ouroboros is one of those rare books that I picked up on a whim. I knew nothing about it, had heard no buzz, but did notice it on a graphic of April 2024 Horror releases.

There was just something about the cover that called to me and then the title, I was intrigued by that as well.

We follow Theodora Buchanan, who goes by Theo. She’s a park ranger for NPS. More specifically, she’s part of the Search and Rescue team and patrols the forests surrounding her hometown of Mill Creek, West Virginia.

No one knows these woods like Theo. She’s been searching them most of her life, looking for her little sister, Flora, who went missing years ago.

The Buchanan family has never received answers on what happened to Flora, and Theo, who was watching her on the day she disappeared, has been riddled with guilt ever since.

While she has been able to maintain her job, the rest of Theo’s life is a bit of a mess. She’s numbed her pain with alcohol for way too long to be healthy and everything just seems completely out of control.

At the beginning of the book, we follow along with Theo as she searches for a little girl, who went missing while camping with her family. Of course, on every search Theo is also looking for clues as to what happened to Flora.

After the girl is found, some evidence pops up in the aftermath that leads you to believe, these aren’t regular woods. There’s something much deeper and more mysterious here than in your average mountain range.

This had such an intriguing start, by 10%, I was hooked. Theo was someone I wanted to learn everything about. I’ve mentioned before that I’m sort of a sucker for MCs that drink too much, and Theo definitely fits that bill.

Her family dynamics, following the disappearance of her sister, they’re an absolute disaster. I really felt for her, as I felt like if her parents had handled it differently, perhaps Theo could have dealt with it better herself, instead of letting it overtake her life.

After Theo starts noticing really strange things in the woods, she begins going in more and more. It’s like when you think you see something, but you’re not sure if it was real, and you try to recreate what you were doing at the time to see if it will happen again.

This whole aspect, I was so into it. I needed to know if those things were real as well. I felt like I was investigating right alongside her and it was creeping me out.

The vibes of this made me think of T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places, which I loved. If you were a fan of that, I feel like this one could really work for you as well.

It definitely takes some unexpected turns, and I adored the characters that are introduced to help Theo in her investigation. Eventually it turns into a kind of Found Family situation, with Theo’s best friend, her ex-girlfriend, and a high profile conspiracy theorist, all joining in the fun.

Part The Gunslinger, part Men in Black, the concluding portions of this book had me flipping pages so fast, I’m surprised my fingers didn’t catch on fire.

Oh, and the baddie in this, Sator, I was totally picturing Agent Smith from The Matrix for him. Every scene he was in, Agent Smith was in my head. Sator was really well done, a super convincing antagonist.

Overall, for a book I picked up on a whim, this couldn’t have gone better. It was SO WEIRD and SO GOOD.

Never in a million years would I have guessed how swept up into this I would become. It may have thrown off my monthly TBR, but I regret nothing.

A Portal Fantasy Horror story with fantastic characters, gripping action, believable baddies and emotions to boot! I’m so glad I took a chance on this one.

Thank you to the publisher, Quill & Crow Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will definitely be picking up more from this author!

View all my reviews

Review: Cursed Cruise (Horror Hotel #2) by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

Cursed CruiseCursed Cruise by Victoria Fulton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Cursed Cruise, by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren, is the second book in the Horror Hotel series. These books follow a group of teen ghost hunters, Chrissy, Chase, Emma and Kiki, who have their own YouTube show.

In the first book, which I haven’t read yet, the teens stay at a haunted hotel in L.A., that I am imagining to be like the Cecil Hotel. The events of that book are referred to here, but I don’t feel you need to read that one first. I didn’t and don’t feel my enjoyment of this was impeded at all.

However, I will say, after reading this, I definitely want to go back and read that one now. It sounds like it was intense, and I think the setting of the hotel would be really fun.

In this one, the teens get invited on the first voyage of a recently recommissioned cruise ship, the RMS Queen Ann, which gave me total QE2 vibes. I’ve read mysteries set on the QE2 and really enjoyed them, so was excited to see something similar in a Teen Horror novel.

The ship has a dark history, with many deaths and dark happenings occurring aboard over the years. It’s assumed to now be haunted.

The Ghost Gang is not the only ghost hunting team making this maiden voyage though. There’s another group, a bit older and more experienced then our mains, that cause a bit of tension.

They’re not very kind and the groups have a bit of a competitive spirit amongst them. They both have their sights set on a syndicated television slot. Chase, from our group, really has his heart set on getting that show.

There’s also a bit of romance in the group, with Chase and Chrissy in a relationship, and Emma and Kiki in a relationship. They do have an adult chaperone as well; I think it was Kiki’s Mom, although she wasn’t too big of a presence, I still liked having her there.

We follow along as the teens get settled into their cabins and begin investigating the history of the ship and the bizarre occurrences happening aboard. Chrissy is the one with the most connection to the supernatural, so we get a lot of those aspects from her perspective.

I thought it was interesting that the author’s included the ship’s perspective. You don’t see that very often, but when you do, I tend to enjoy it. I like the feel of a place, or thing, becoming a character unto itself. It’s interesting and I thought it was fun here.

Overall, this was good. I think the authors delivered on what was intended. If I were going to pin this down to a recommended age category, I would put it into a more Tween Horror niche than YA Horror.

I feel like this is more advanced than a Goosebumps, but may best be enjoyed by Readers aged 11 to 14. It’s a great stepping stone to more advanced Horror. I know I would have loved it had it been a part of my Point Horror line-up from the mid-80s. Totally cool.

Thank you to the publisher, Underlined, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was cute. It definitely had a nostalgic feel for me!

View all my reviews

Review: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Ghost StationGhost Station by S.A. Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ophelia Bray is a psychologist specializing in the study and prevention of ERS, a space-based condition, similar to PTSD, that can lead to mental deterioration and violence.

Dr. Bray is assigned to join a small exploration crew as they journey to an ancient, abandoned planet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take Ophelia long to realize that the new crew isn’t exactly excited to have her aboard.

They’ve never needed a Head Doc before, why now?

Ophelia is confident in her purpose though, so she just tries to do her best to fit in and help them to understand the reasons for her attendance. She knows better than most just how imperative her skills may become.

The rest of the crew have worked together before and feel more like a family than a team. Ophelia, as the only outsider, has a long way to go to endear herself to the group.

As they begin to establish themselves on the abandoned planet, they start discovering disturbing signs left behind by the previous colonizers, who apparently departed with haste.

It presents a real mystery for the crew. They have no idea what happened to the previous inhabitants, but signs are pointing to the fact that they didn’t live happily ever after.

The longer Ophelia and the crew remain on the planet, the more unnerving things become, until Ophelia’s worst nightmare starts to come to life.

Ghost Station is the latest from S.A. Barnes, author of Dead Silence, which I read and really enjoyed. I’ve been anxiously anticipating more from Barnes ever since. I loved the SF Horror vibes she delivered in Dead Silence and definitely believe she succeeded on that front here as well.

For me, Ghost Station is way more of a slow burn than Dead Silence, but the content and MC, Ophelia, are so interesting, I didn’t mind that one bit. I enjoyed getting to know Ophelia and learning of her past and motivations, while watching her try to find a place within this new crew.

I also feel like you can see a maturation of Barnes writing in this one, which is lovely to see. We love to watch an author progress over the course of their career.

I really enjoyed the dangerous feel of the atmosphere that was created on the planet they were exploring. There was a sense of foreboding over every page that kept it compelling and also kept my pulse slightly elevated.

The audiobook for this was fantastically narrated by Zura Johnson. I highly recommend that as a format choice if you have the option available to you. The narration style was very soothing to me, in spite of this being an intense story. I really felt myself relaxing into it.

I was extremely satisfied with how Barnes wrapped this up. The conclusion surprised me in the direction it ultimately took. I wasn’t expecting it and I was happy with that.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys SF Horror, or darker SF in general. As far as Science Fiction goes, I would consider this light, with concepts that are easily understandable to a wide audience. You aren’t going to get bogged down in scientific jargon in this one, if maybe that is a concern for you.

This is an easily understandable, compelling story, with chills and thrills, as well as great characters throughout. Additionally, I think this could translate really well to film.

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

As mentioned above, I was anxiously awaiting this one and it didn’t disappoint. I look forward to seeing what Barnes comes up with next!

View all my reviews

Review: It Watches in the Dark (Eek! #1) by Jeff Strand

It Watches in the Dark (Eek!)It Watches in the Dark by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒπŸ–€πŸŽƒ

It Watches in the Dark is a fantastically-tense Spooky Middle Grade story, and the first book in the all-new Eek! series by veteran Horror author, Jeff Strand.

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover. How devilishly-divine is that scarecrow!? It’s giving me all the Autumnal vibes that I cherish in my every day life.

Jumping into this one, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I ended up enjoying it so much. The writing is fluid and engaging, with eerie Horror imagery throughout. I loved how quickly it kicked off, and never let up.

In this story, we follow twins, Trisha and Oliver. At the start of our tale they are on a canoe trip with their Dad, which is something they do often. On this particular trip through, they hit a series of unexpected rapids and their Dad is injured, knocked unconscious.

Not knowing exactly what to do, the kids tie up to the first dock they find and go ashore in search of help.

They end up coming across a tiny town in the woods, Escrow, population 999. Everything about the place seems a little odd, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? The twins seriously need to find their Dad help.

They meet a few townspeople, who though strange, seem to be willing enough to help, and they’re adults, they have to know what they’re doing.

Their Dad is retrieved and taken to the local medical center, but from there the kids are kept away from him. Germs and all that. Oliver and Trisha are left to their own devices and the more time they spend in Escrow, the more their senses tell them to beat feet out of there.

Perhaps it’s the enormous creepy scarecrow sitting sentinel in the town square that’s giving them that feeling. It seems to be watching them and the townspeople are obsessed with it, talking about it like it’s a living being.

As dark approaches, the kids are feeling panicked. They want to leave. They do not want to spend the night in Escrow, but they can’t move their Dad on their own.

The townspeople become more threatening and it suddenly feels imperative to escape. Will the kids be able to figure out a way to rescue their Dad and flee Escrow together, or will this be the end of the road for one, or all, of them?

It Watches in the Dark is a super solid Spooky Middle Grade read. I would definitely recommend this to any Reader who enjoys Middle Grade Horror.

It does have a sort of Goosebumps charm to it, but was creepier than that, really. Especially the initial chapters. I appreciate how Strand set-up this spooky town. It was definitely getting under my skin.

The more the kids interacted with the residents of Escrow, the more tense and stressed out I felt. I just wanted them to run away, but they couldn’t after their Dad was taken to the medical center. They didn’t want to abandon him, of course, and they were still wanting to trust these adults so much.

Oliver and Trisha were great too. I liked that they worked together and appreciated each others strengths, instead of just fighting all the time, as siblings tend to do in fiction.

Overall, I found this extremely entertaining. I think Strand did a great job of making this punchy, with plenty of action and spookiness on every page. I already have an early copy of the next book in the series, Nightmare in the Backyard and I’m excited to get to it!

Thank you to the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Kids, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was such a fun read; very well done!

View all my reviews

Review: The Angel of Indian Lake (The Indian Lake Trilogy #3) by Stephen Graham Jones

The Angel of Indian Lake (The Indian Lake Trilogy #3)The Angel of Indian Lake by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Angel of Indian Lake is the final book in the Indian Lake Trilogy. It’s also my most anticipated release of 2024.

I finished this a week ago and have been sitting with my thoughts ever since. I find myself thinking of the story at random times during the day, and trying to decide how I would explain my overall experience with this trilogy.

I really haven’t come up with anything that I think serves it justice. At this point, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is just one of those 5-star reads that I may never end up writing a full, thoughtful, and analytical review for.

It simply is what it is. I love this series with my whole heart. It’s special to me, because in a way, I feel like this series validates my passion for the crazily nuanced genre of Horror.

Stephen Graham Jones is such a talented storyteller. His nostalgic, yet edgy-style, brings a distinct voice to his stories, while also bringing heart and emotion. We swoon.

While I recognize this trilogy won’t be for everyone, for the people it is for, for the people it resonates with, it’s truly a gift. My heart hurts that it’s over. Is this really the last time I’m going to spend with these characters I love?

I know I can read it again and again, as I do with my favorite King books, but still, I’m going to miss them nevertheless. SGJ is clearly a life-long Horror lover, a student of the genre, and someone that can tell one hell of a story.

I’d love to hang out with him around a campfire…

I highly recommend this series to Horror Readers. Particularly to Horror Readers who have been turning to the genre their whole life for comfort and to face fears. Perhaps you’ll see a little of yourself in here too.

Also, coincidentally, I did happen to rewatch Scream III while reading this and loved coming upon Randy’s rules for Slasher Trilogies, which definitely could be applied here. It was great to hear those again from him whilst reading this.

So perfect. We love making beautiful Horror connections!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I already can’t wait to read this one again!

View all my reviews