Review: The Beast You Are: Stories by Paul Tremblay

The Beast You Are: StoriesThe Beast You Are: Stories by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-star rounded up**

The Beast You Are: Stories is a recently compiled collection of short works from beloved author, Paul Tremblay.

I have enjoyed three previous novels from Tremblay, but have never read any of his shorter works. I was happy to receive a copy from the publisher and check them out.

Overall, I felt like this was an interesting collection. It’s quite a mix of topics, which made every new story feel fresh and unique. Additionally, I think it’s a great example of Tremblay’s creativity and speculative style of storytelling.

Unfortunately though, the last story, the novella for which the collection is named, was my least favorite. Therefore, it ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth at the close, which isn’t how I like to finish off a collection.

Other than that one though, I felt it was very solid.

I loved how a couple of the stories are lightly connected to A Head Full of Ghosts. That was fun, like little Easter Eggs.

That has been my favorite of Tremblay’s novels, so it was exciting to see those connections revisited here.

I believe the majority of these stories have been previously published in other collections, or magazines, etc., but this is the first time they have ever been presented together.

I think for long-time Tremblay fans, this will be an enjoyable way to get your hands on so many of his shorter works. I would absolutely recommend it to those readers looking to get easy access to that type of story.

I’m happy I read this. Always happy to be reading Tremblay and am looking forward to whatever he publishes next!!

Thank you so much to William Morrow for providing me with a copy. I appreciate it!

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Review: Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & Delight, Editors — Shelly Page and Alex Brown

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & DelightNight of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & Delight by Shelly Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & Delight is a fun, spooky-time YA-Anthology full of great representation and diverse stories.

This is the perfect collection to get you in the mood for Fall!!

Editors, Shelly Page and Alex Brown, did an incredible job bringing together a great assortment of authors to contribute to this collection.

I loved how each story takes place on Halloween night, when there is a rare Blue Supermoon. It’s thought this special occasion could open up our world more easily to all sorts of supernatural and creepy occurrences.

It was fun to see how each of these authors took that prompt, that setting, if you will, and created something unique and engaging, all of their very own.

Anthologies can be tough sometimes, because it’s rare to connect with each and every story equally, but for me, this was well-rounded and exciting enough to keep me hooked throughout.

Of course some stories fit my personal tastes more than others, but I can absolutely see how every single Reader will be able to find something within this collection to enjoy and connect to.

I really enjoyed so many of these of stories and cherished how different they all were from each other. It never felt repetitive, or overdone.

Some of the standouts for me were: The Visitor by Kalynn Bayron, A Brief Intermission by Sara Farizan, The Three Phases of Ghost Hunting by Alex Brown and Nine Stops by Trang Thanh Tran.

My favorite story overall was Anna by Shelly Page. This one just had everything I love to get myself geared up for a solid spooky season. It had a babysitter, twins, a ouija board, an attic and a ghost. I mean, what is not to love about that!?

Finally, I will just say how much I appreciate the thought and care these editors and authors put into this collection. The vast and inclusive representation is so important and I feel like they all did a great job creating super fun and creepy stories, while also being mindful of the original intent of the collection.

I would absolutely recommend this anthology as a way to get yourself in the mood for the Spooky Season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and books that showcase that are my favorite kinds!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’d love to read more from every one of these authors!

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Review: They Lurk by Ronald Malfi

They LurkThey Lurk by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

This 2014-novella collection has been lovingly-repackaged and rereleased by Titan Books and Tantor Audio.

I am so pleased with how the cover pairs with Ghostwritten. I really enjoyed that collection as well and feel like these two would make quite a duo on the shelves.

The stories included are: They Lurk, Skullbelly, The Separation, The Stranger, After the Fade and Fierce.

I felt the arrangement was great, as my favorite story was the first one and my least favorite was last, but by least favorite, we’re still talking like a solid 3.5-star rounded up.

Ronald Malfi is one of my favorite authors. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a fangirl, but honestly, I feel like this collection has something for every Horror Reader to enjoy.

Each story had it’s own vibe, but the one thing they all had was a overriding creepiness as the narrative unfolded. There were times I was feeling like Bone White vibes, other times I was getting The Mist, I was hooked.

I listened to the audiobook and would definitely recommend that as a medium. Both narrators did an incredible job bringing these stories to life. Well done!

It’s rare for me to find a short-story collection that works for me so well. This was fantastic. I can’t praise Malfi enough. Every time I pick up one of his books, I’m reminded of how in love I am with the tone and delivery of his stories.

Chef’s freaking kiss!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tantor Audio and Titan Books, for providing me with copies to read and review. I’m working my way through Malfi’s backlist and these rereleases are certainly helpful!!

If you love Horror and have yet to read Malfi, you need to change that ASAP. 10-out-of-10 recommend!!!

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Review: A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor

A Sliver of DarknessA Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

A Sliver of Darkness is a short-story collection comprised of 10-tales by beloved author, C.J. Tudor. This was Tudor’s only 2022 release, a fact that she addresses within this book.

Anything from Tudor would get me excited, but I was particularly looking forward to trying out some shorter fiction from her. This collection was definitely interesting.

I found these stories to be unique and entertaining. It’s pretty clear Tudor has entered her dystopian/post-apocalyptic era and I’m not mad about it.

This explored themes that felt fresh and relevant to our post-pandemic world. It also got pretty murdery and twisted; two things I adore in dark, or speculative, fiction.

I enjoyed how each story had a short introduction by the author. This reminded me of King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. I always enjoy when an author includes these types of insights into their inspirations, or connections, to each story. It makes the experience more personal.

Additionally, I feel like it helps to set-up the proper tone for each story. I’m definitely glad that Tudor decided to include them in the final copy of the book.

Overall, I found this collection to be varied, unpredictable, well-written, engaging and it definitely gave me a lot to think about.

Considering all the world has been through over the past 3-years, I don’t think it is surprising that this is the type of creativity Tudor felt like expressing. It definitely feels apropos for the times.

Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I love Tudor’s style and will continue to pick up everything she writes!

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Starlight Stories

Star Wars The High Republic: Starlight StoriesStar Wars The High Republic: Starlight Stories by Charles Soule
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Star Wars The High Republic: Starlight Stories is a beautifully-arranged, collector-quality collection of short-stories and behind-the-scenes content for true Star Wars fans.

The short-stories come from veteran Star Wars writers, Charles Soule, Justina Ireland and Caven Scott. All are set on the Starlight Beacon, the incredible satellite station that plays a heavy role in the High Republic era.

I liked the stories a lot. They weren’t high stakes, but it was nice to see what life was like on Starlight Beacon and to see some recurring characters from the era.

Starlight Beacon is mentioned frequently in the books that I have read from this era, yet the stories don’t actually took place there. It was fun for me to see how the station was functioning and what a typical day would look like there.

The highlight of this, for me, though was actually the interviews with the contributing authors, which in addition to the authors listed above include, Claudia Gray and Daniel Jose Older. I have wondered since it was announced how they actually went about creating this all-new era.

It seems crazy complicated if multiple people are involved, but obviously it’s way too much for one person to do alone.

I really loved hearing how they all got involved in the project and the steps that went into creating it. The brainstorming sessions at Skywalker Ranch would be an absolute dream come true for me. Can you even imagine!?

I would definitely recommend this to serious fans, particularly anyone who has been enjoying the High Republic materials as much as I have.

In my opinion though, this is not a great place to start if you are interested in getting into either the High Republic era, or Star Wars in general. This is definitely more for longtime fans of this world.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this. The artwork was stunning, the stories fun and I love the insight I was given regarding the creation of this highly-entertaining new era.

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Review: Bad Dolls by Rachel Harrison

Bad DollsBad Dolls by Rachel Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Bad Dolls is a collection of 4-short stories from Rachel Harrison, one of my new go-to Horror authors. I recently read Harrison’s October 2022-release, Such Sharp Teeth, and absolutely loved it.

After I finished, I thought, do I need to wait an entire year to get another new release from Harrison? If so, how sad. I checked out her author page and was delighted to discover this collection releasing Tuesday, December 6th.

Berkley came through for me and I was delighted to be able to check out this collection a little early.

For me the collection was perfectly arranged, with each story increasing my enjoyment level. The first story follows Jordan, who picks up a Magic 8-Ball for nostalgia’s sake at a flea market and it ends up influencing her life in big ways.

I enjoyed this story as a start to the collection. It didn’t knock my socks off, but was well-written and had an intriguing concept.

The second story follows Nat as she attends her best friend from childhood, Hailey’s, bachelorette party. Nat doesn’t really know any of the other women that well, as they are Hailey’s friends from college. It explores her feelings of exclusion and how friendships can change over time.

This one went in such an interesting direction that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed Nat’s narrative voice and love how this one ended.

The third story follows Meg, who decides to join her friend on a diet prior to attending her ex’s wedding. The women download an app called, Goblin, that is supposed to help them stick to their plan.

The exploration of body issues and struggling with an eating disorder was very well done. I loved the idea of the Goblin. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I would throw a caution flag on this story for Readers who may be triggered by active eating disorders, or BDD.

Finally, the fourth, and my favorite story of the lot, follows Mackenzie, who moves back to her hometown following the death of her little sister, Audrey.

This story explores grief, guilt and regrets. Mackenzie rents an attic apartment and discovers a porcelain doll there. Things get weird, things get creepy and I absolutely loved it. This story for me was a perfect example of why I love Rachel Harrison’s work so much.

Overall, this is a great collection. I definitely recommend it for anyone who has enjoyed Harrison’s novels, or anyone who enjoys short-Horror in general.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. These stories are going to stick in my mind for a long time. Well done!

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Review: Ghostwritten by Ronald Malfi

GhostwrittenGhostwritten by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ghostwritten is a collection of 4-novellas by one of the most compelling voices in Horror Fiction today, Ronald Malfi.

I didn’t know anything about this collection going in, seeing Malfi’s name on the cover was enough for me, but was so pleased to discover the connecting theme amongst the stories contained therein: BOOKS!

We all love books, don’t we?

How about haunted books, evil books or murderous books? Color me intrigued! I would definitely check them out.

This collection starts out with a bang with The Skin of Her Teeth. I adored that story. It was giving me Secret Window, Secret Garden vibes and I was living for it. The tone and suspense of it all helped me to fly through it so quickly.

It was crazy fun!

The second and third stories, The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride and This Book Belongs to Olo, were both enjoyable as well. They were so dark, fast-moving and creative. How does he come up with this stuff?

With these middle two though, for me, I wasn’t captivated to the same extent as I was with the first story. I began to think that maybe the first story would end up being my resounding favorite. Then I started the fourth and final story, aptly titled, The Story.

The Story involves a very dark web, twisted version of a Choose Your Own Adventure story. I was obsessed with those types of books when I was a kid.

I always wondered just what would happen if the choices I was making in the book actually had an effect on my real life. I guess Malfi once upon a time wondered the same thing…

I loved this one so much. It was horrendous in all the right ways. The way it ended, sheer perfection.

Overall, this was a completely enjoyable, sure to be memorable collection.

For me, since the first and fourth stories were 5-stars, and the second and third were around 3.5-stars, I decided to slice it right down the middle with a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ final rating. Also, I definitely recommend the audiobook!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Titan Books and Tantor Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

If you are looking for a creepy collection to pick up this Spooky Season, you should absolutely get your hands on Ghostwritten. There’s something for everyone here!!

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Review: Goblin by Josh Malerman

GoblinGoblin by Josh Malerman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Goblin, originally published in 2017, was rereleased by Del Rey in 2021 with this stunning new cover. As soon as I set eyes upon it, I knew I had to have it.

It’s giving me the colors, ambiance and haunted house vibes that I crave. It has to be incredible, right?

Unfortunately, for me, I never should have judged this book by the cover.

Goblin consists of six novellas, well summarized by the publisher in the book synopsis. It also begins with an interesting Intro and then pulls it all the way through with the Epilogue.

I love the idea behind this. Six separate stories, all set in one creepy town and even though they are separate, there are places, people and themes that keep coming up throughout. These were the aspects that I enjoyed the most.

I think Malerman did a great job of creating this place and the corresponding lore to go with it.

For me, what lost me was the writing of the individual stories. I was just bored. There’s really no sugar-coating that. It felt overwritten for what I got out of each one. I just wanted it to end.

While I can appreciate why a lot of Readers enjoyed this one, it never hit for me. The first story was my least favorite and it ended up setting the tone for the rest of my read. I was completely turned off to it after that.

My favorite of the collection was The Hedges, which is the final story before the Epilogue and what I believe the cover is influenced by. Standing on its own, I would give that story 4-stars. It was engaging.

As always, I would encourage you to give this one a go for yourself if you think it sounds interesting. Please do not let my opinion sway you either way.

There’s a Reader for every book and a book for every Reader. Unfortunately, this one just wasn’t for me.

Thank you to the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate having the opportunity to share my opinion.

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Review: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

The Bazaar of Bad DreamsThe Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams turned out to be a really superb collection. I absolutely loved my time spent reading this.

Honestly though, am I surprised?

Included are 20-short stories, most never published before, that span a wide gamut of topics and provide plenty of food for thought.

I really enjoyed how varied the stories in this collection were. Going from one to the next, I was always surprised with where I ended up.

I found it to be unpredictable in the best way. One moment you are reading about savage cars, the next, names written in the sand, dueling fireworks shows, all the way to the literal end.

My favorite aspect of this book, however, was the short introductions, where King would give insight into his inspirations or personal connections to each story.

Those sections really helped to set the tone going into each story and for me, I think I took a lot more from each one because of that.

I highly recommend this collection, particularly if you are already a King fan and are familiar with his style and humor.

Even if you are new to King, however, I think you will really enjoy this one. It’s just a darn good time!

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Review: Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

Hearts in AtlantisHearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

My first time reading Hearts in Atlantis, if Goodreads existed, I would have given it 3.5-stars and rounded up to 4.

Alas, it was the Stone Age and it didn’t. Dark times, my friends. Dark times.

Many years have passed and I think the fact that I now have age and experience on my side, allows me to view this work from a completely different perspective.

While this most likely explains the significant jump in my rating, I think the fact that I have now read the first six books in the Dark Tower series, also contributes.

There are a lot of interesting references and connections between this book and those.

While the Hearts collection is more understated, it is very powerful. There’s a lot of food for thought in here and I think every reader will take a little something different away.

I really enjoyed how each story follows a different child of the 60s at different stages of their lives. So, while it follows different people, it still keeps that classic coming of age vibe.

I think the collection as a whole fits very well together.

I won’t claim to understand every nuance of these stories, but I do feel like I got a significant amount of meaning out of it this time around.

I would love to read this again someday; maybe in another decade or so. I’m sure it would affect me differently at that time.

This feels more introspective for King. One for his generation. It’s impressive, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful and it’s definitely worth picking up!

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