Review: All Hallows by Christopher Golden

All HallowsAll Hallows by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

All Hallows, Christopher Golden’s upcoming Horror release, is set in Coventry, Massachusetts.

More specifically, all the events contained within this story surround Halloween Night, 1984, in the solitary neighborhood of Parmenter Road.

The energy in the neighborhood that day is electric, as everyone puts the last-minute touches on the night’s events, decor and costumes.

The Barbosa Family will be hosting their annual and this year, their final, Haunted Woods event. Tony and his daughter, Chloe, have been pouring their hearts and souls into this event for years; setting up just the right props and scares for neighbors and strangers alike to enjoy.

Also that evening will be the typical door-to-door trick-or-treating by neighborhood kids, as well as a block party hosted by the Koenig Family. There’s a lot happening.

The Reader follows the unfolding events via multiple perspectives of individuals living in the neighborhood, including both children and adults.

As the night begins to build, more and more drama is exposed on what one might suppose is a quiet little street. Parmenter Road, like many small town streets, contains a lot of people harboring a lot of secrets. A few of which are about to be brought to light in a big way.

On this night in particular, there are outsiders added to the mix as well. Children dressed in old-fashioned costumes, a Clown, a Scarecrow and a Raggedy Ann, begin to insert themselves into the activities, pleading with the local children for help.

They need to hide, just until midnight from The Cunning Man. Will anyone help them?

I had a lot of fun with this. I love neighborhood-focused stories and this one night on Parmenter Road gave me all the spectacle and intrigue that I could want in that regard.

There was just the right amount of family drama, 80s-references, kills, gore and creepy imagery to keep me 100% invested all the way through.

There are a lot of perspectives, which I feel like not everyone will be crazy about, but for me it made perfect sense. Considering how the story plays out, I actually can’t imagine it being told any other way.

I also loved the atmosphere. Golden brought me back to the Halloween Nights of my youth. Traipsing around with the other neighborhood kids under our claustrophobic masks, carrying plastic orange pumpkins, hitting up as many houses as we could, walking a little faster through the dark spaces between homes.

The strange children and the idea of The Cunning Man definitely brought the chills as well. Nostalgic and scary, I definitely enjoyed the unsettling vibes.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me a copy to read and review. I always enjoy checking out Golden’s new work, sure to be full of creativity and frightening imagery.

Hallow’s Eve is being released on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Preorder your copy now!!!

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Review: The Wakening by J.G. Faherty

The WakeningThe Wakening by J.G. Faherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Greetings Geeks & Ghouls!

Halloween Weekend is FINALLY upon us. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Am I right?!

If you love possession stories, if you love an exorcism, if you love an exorcism gone wrong, may I present J.G. Faherty’s, The Wakening, for your consideration. This could be the perfect weekend read for you!

This story follows a group of individuals, pulled together through an eerie set of circumstances, trying to save one small New York town from the grips of an ancient evil.

The story actually began over 50-years ago in a remote Guatemalan village, when a young Father Leo Bonaventura was called to assist a friend with a complicated exorcism.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well. In an effort to learn from that day, Bonaventura brings some evidence of that exorcism back with him to the United States to be studied. Ultimately depositing the objects at a University in upstate New York.

The University is in the small town of Hastings Mills. Over the years the town witnesses multiple atrocities, including an extremely vivid scene taking place in the abandoned attic room of one of the University buildings, when a group of students gathers to perform a seance.

I’m talking, extremely vivid. This was honestly my favorite scene of the entire book. It got my pulse racing. It seriously creeped me out. I could picture it all and the horror imagery was absolutely fantastic!!

It’s a little difficult to explain the set-up of this one, but after the background of the paranormal activities of the town, we begin to follow a group of paranormal investigators who get called to assist with a young girl, Abigail, who appears to be possessed.

Stone Graves is their leader and he is the host of a reality paranormal show. The group gets to Abigail’s home, much to the relief of Abby’s father, a single-parent, and immediately begin filming.

It’s clear that Abigail’s issues are no farce, the adults find themselves in a true battle, not just for their lives, but for the lives of the entire town. How can one little girl be so powerful?

Father Bonaventura, now well past his prime, just may be the key to it all.

Dun, dun dun. Y’all, this book was pedal to the floor the entire way through. I hope I have given an intriguing enough synopsis to get at least some of you Horror fans interested.

I don’t think it gets enough love yet, but we can change that. I appreciated the set-up of this so much. You can literally watch the timeline unfold of the horrors of this town.

And trust me, there are a lot of horrors happening with Abby’s house being the center of it all. When I mentioned above it is pedal to the floor, I meant it. There are no pages and pages of nonsense waiting for something paranormal to occur, it is in your face all the time.

Sometimes, maybe it was too much. I can see how some Readers may feel that way. My one small criticism would be that I did feel it was a touch too long. There was so much happening at Abby’s house that on occasion it began to feel a bit repetitive.

Also, this didn’t bother me at all, but I feel like I should provide a caution for others, the entity involved is sort of a demon of lust and chaos. Therefore, their power seeping over the town can cause blatant acts of hyper-sexualization.

To be clear, you will find that on page. Again, didn’t bother me, but if you feel you are sensitive to highly-sexual content, this may not be the book for you.

With this being said, I did love the build-up, including the set of characters that were brought together to battle the evil and the entire possession element. Even though it was a touch too long, I feel like it was worth the investment of my time.

I absolutely plan to pick up more of J.G. Faherty’s work. I was impressed by the imagery he was able to evoke with his words. Yikes.

Overall, The Wakening is an entertaining, pulse-racing, toe-curling, gag-inducing possession story!

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Review: Daphne by Josh Malerman

DaphneDaphne by Josh Malerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best parts of any sleepover is scaring yourself. Whether it’s with scary movies, games or just scary stories told amongst friends, there’s no denying it’s a fun way to pass the time.

In the small town of Samhattan, when the girls basketball team gets together for a sleepover, one of the girls decides to tell the story of a local legend, Daphne.

Daphne attended their high school a few decades ago, around the same time as many of their parents actually. She was a 7-foot tall, social outcast, who wore Kiss makeup for no apparent reason and made a lot of people, children and adults alike, very uncomfortable.

Legend has it that she died tragically, at the hands of classmates and ever since that time will haunt anyone who dares to think about her. Daphne allegedly appears and kills with her bare hands.

The concept is along the lines of Bloody Mary. We all know her, many of us fear her, but this is worse. With Bloody Mary, you have to be consciously summoning her, saying her name, doing certain things that are said to bring her forth.

With Daphne, all you have to do is think about her though. Everyone knows that the more you try not to think about something, the more impossible it becomes. Thus, Daphne is now pretty much an inevitability for these teen girls.

Kit Lamb, one of the star players, has a really hard time not thinking about Daphne. As a matter of fact, she even asks the rim about her; a tradition the girls have.

She asks the rim if Daphne will kill her. The ball goes in. I think you can all deduce what that means. Then it is a non-stop terror train of thoughts about Daphne for poor Kit. How can she possibly shut these thoughts off?

Will any of the girls basketball team survive knowing Daphne’s story? Honestly, it’s so awful. How could they not think about her after being told?

Daphne was a weirdly-fun and captivating story. Even though I wasn’t crazy about some of the structural choices, it felt quite disjointed to me due to odd perspective shifts, overall, I really enjoyed it!

Truthfully, Malerman’s work has been hit or miss for me; we have a 50/50 relationship. I was actually thinking this would be the last shot I was going to take. Regardless, I’m glad I took the chance as this story paid off.

I really appreciated the exploration of anxiety through Kit’s perspective and also enjoyed the whole idea behind this town and Daphne’s legacy. The idea that it could collectively be blocked from the town memory, without anyone pushing for that to be so, was a really interesting concept.

That something so heinous and traumatic, a piece of history, could be swept under the rug, with everyone just pretending it didn’t exist. That sounds pretty true to life, doesn’t it?

The horror was fun. The concept of Daphne was very creative and well-imagined. There were scenes that definitely got my pulse going.

Additionally, this had some twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. That absolutely contributed to my enjoyment. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’m looking forward to more Malerman now!

Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I definitely recommend this one to Slasher fans, or anyone looking for a thoughtful, spooky, fun read!

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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: The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

The SacrificeThe Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When a film crew from the United States arrives on Kisapmata, a deserted island in the Philippines, they are ready to get to work. They need their new show to be a success and with the content they’re after, it should be.

For me it was easy to picture this crew and their motivations. I was thinking something around the lines of Discovery shows such as The Curse of Oak Island, or The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. You know the type of show I mean.

The thing with Kisapmata island is that a God is reputed to live within the island. He goes by different names, some consider him a Death God, some call him the Dreamer, but he is said to have the ability to grant unknowable power in exchange for eight, very specific, sacrifices.

Because of this legend, locals avoid the island as much as they can. It’s uninhabited and while they do have knowledge and respect of it, they tend to give the God his space.

The crew does discover one local teen, Alon, said to have a special relationship with the island. They’re a bit of a caretaker, spending a lot of time there and even maybe communing with the God.

Considered an expert of all things Kisapmata, the film crew are delighted when Alon agrees to stay with them and be their guide during the show.

As they settle in and begin to set up, a giant sinkhole appears in the middle of their camp. In it, belying logic, is a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse wrapped amongst it creepy-as-heck branches.

It’s like the corpse has been feeding the tree for years, but who is it and more importantly, how the heck is this tree growing underground?

Thus begins the horror that is this little island. From there stuff escalates real quick. The crew needs to get their story, but is the payoff going to be worth it?

People start seeing things, visions of people long dead and it seems nowhere is safe. As a storm rages offshore, they lose communication and have no means of escape. Is anyone going to get off this island alive?

Y’all, y’all, y’all! First of all, this is the perfect time of year to pick up this book. This story has almost everything you need for a phenomenal reading experience.

We have detailed and fascinating legends. We have, basically a curse. We have a dynamic film crew with well-fleshed out characters. We have a nonbinary main character. We have inclement weather trapping our cast at a remote location. We have atmosphere for days. We have stunning, toe-curling horror imagery. We have scenes that will make you sleep with the lights on.

The tension builds very quickly and then continues to build. It’s claustrophobic, it’s a bit panic inducing, it’s scary.

I will say that the pace increases so much towards the end, that it almost got a bit too chaotic. I found it more difficult to track what was happening towards the end and challenging to picture in my mind all that was happening. Hence, it’s not quite a 5-star for me.

That is 100% personal taste though, for many people, whose minds possibly work more quickly than my own, this will be a 5-star experience.

I have only read one other Rin Chupeco, The Girl from the Well, and I was super-impressed with the eeriness of that story as well. Chupeco definitely has the gift for horror. I would consider this to be a more-modern, YA-South Pacific version of The Ruins.

The Sacrifice is super-chilling and will stick with me for a long time to come. Chupeco truly knows how to set a scene. I had so much fun with this. 10-out-of-10 recommend!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Now I need to go back and devour Chupeco’s backlist!!

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Review: A Thief of Always by Clive Barker

The Thief of AlwaysThe Thief of Always by Clive Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚🦇 A modern classic. I loved this. 🦇💚

I picked up The Thief of Always as book #3 for my TBR-Haul Project. I hauled this charming paperback edition in April 2018 and she’s been gathering dust ever since.

Clive Barker is well-known as a heavy-hitter in Horror and Dark Fantasy, but this was actually the first thing I have ever picked up from him. I was very excited to check out his work for the first time. It did not disappoint!

This story, fit for all ages, follows a young boy, Harvey Swick, who is bored with his life. Aren’t they all sometimes?

One day, as Harvey is contemplating just how boring his life is, a man named Rictus appears to him and offers him the opportunity to travel somewhere exciting, away from his parents and teachers and school, a place called the Holiday House, where every day brings something to celebrate.

Granted, he doesn’t sell it to Harvey in exactly those terms, but you get the gist.

Figuring he doesn’t have any other enticing options, Harvey agrees and off he goes with Rictus. After arriving at the property he finds other children there already and befriends two of them, Lulu and Wendell.

Through them, the elderly housekeeper, Mrs. Griffin, and good old-fashioned exploration, Harvey begins to the learn the ins-and-outs of the Holiday House and it’s mysterious benefactor, Mr. Hood. Suffice it to say, it’s not all as holiday happy as they may want you to believe.

As the truth behind the property begins to be exposed, it seems Harvey needs to make a move fast or risk never returning to that boring life he took for granted before.

Y’all, I absolutely adored this story. From the very first chapter, I was completely drawn in. The writing style is lush, fluid and ominous, even when you aren’t quite sure why.

For me, that’s a characteristic of fiction that I have always been drawn to, even as a child. I would compare it to the tone of say Alice in Wonderland, or even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Where everything engaging, vibrant and beautiful, but you also have the chills for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on.

Barker absolutely nailed that tone. I loved the progression of Harvey’s story, the way he began to piece together that all wasn’t as it appeared at the Holiday House.

The more he figured out, the faster the pace got as well, so it gave me a sort of heart-racing feeling as I made my way to the conclusion. I loved that aspect. There were so many cool elements throughout to enjoy, but those final few chapters really sealed the deal for me.

I am so very happy, after all this time, that I finally made the time for this one. It’s an absolute treat. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a classic-feeling spooky story. Bonus, it’s perfect for this time of year.

I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Barker’s work!!

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Review: Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire HuntingSerwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting is the latest release from the fabulous Rick Riordan Presents imprint. It follows, you guessed it, a family of vampire hunters, or as they are commonly known, slayers.

More specifically, Serwa’s parents are the experienced slayers and Serwa is essentially a slayer-in-training.

More importantly though, Serwa is just a 12-year old girl trying to make her way through Middle School. That sounds scarier, doesn’t it?

Serwa and her parents are originally from Ghana, although Serwa has lived in the United States since she was very, very young. They’ve sort of bounced around, going wherever her parents skills are needed.

One day, seemingly out of nowhere an obayifo, or witch, from their past shows up at their house and attacks, allegedly searching for a magical artifact that Serwa has never heard of.

Whatever it is, it must be serious business because their home is destroyed and before Serwa can even wrap her head around what is happening, her parents are ditching her in a remote town in Maryland with an Aunt and a cousin she barely knows.

Serwa is shocked. Her parents have always included her in their adventures. She doesn’t understand why they would abandon her now. She needs them.

Making matter worse, Serwa must even attend school. After being home-schooled her whole life, this is bound to be a big adjustment. She’s the new girl and doesn’t quite fit in.

Luckily, she has her cousin and is able to make a couple of new friends. When mysterious things begin happening at the school, though, Serwa is afraid there is a adze, or shape-shifting vampire, in their midst.

Could this be related to the attack at their old house?

When she tries to tell her parents about it over the phone, they don’t believe her and then cut themselves off from her completely.

Wow, that’s harsh. Serwa can’t tackle this very serious issue alone. Thus, she is forced to confide in her new friends. She’ll just have to train them to be slayers as well. She can always wipe their memories after…

What ensues is a wildly-magical romp following Serwa and friends as they try to solve the mystery, protect a magical artifact and save their school from evil forces.

I absolutely adored my time reading this. I listened to the audiobook and definitely recommend it. The narrator did a phenomenal job breathing life into these characters. Oh my goodness, was it fun!!

I loved the influence of Ghanaian culture and folklore felt throughout this story. I liked reading about how her family and culture impacted Serwa.

That’s really the beauty of this imprint. I’ve always learned from these books and find the different legends and folklore from around the world captivating to read about. This was certainly no exception.

The fact that it incorporates vampire lore makes it that much more fun!

I really enjoyed Serwa as a character. Her personality actually reminded me a bit of Aru Shah. I think that may have been because even though Serwa didn’t quite fit in, it didn’t stop her from being true to herself; a fun-loving, curious, determined young person.

Not everyone can be the super popular kid, nor should they want, or need to be. I loved how Serwa’s character was able to overcome being alienated from a lot of her peers. Once she found her friends, they became so close and really grew stronger together. It’s quality over quantity, y’all.

I also loved the mystery to this and the high stakes. Brown did an incredible job building the intensity as the story progressed. There wasn’t a dull moment to be found.

I did get super frustrated with Serwa’s parents though. Oh my word, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake them at times. We can’t expect adults to get everything right though, can we?

There was a truly jaw-dropping revelation towards the end of this. It basically flipped what I thought I knew on its head. I loved that! It took me completely by surprise.

Even though I found some scenes towards the end a tad confusing, I definitely think this concluded in a great spot to keep Readers drooling in anticipation of the sequel.

I cannot believe I have to wait a year to see where this story is going to go from here. You got me, Roseanne A. Brown. You got me good!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Another stellar addition to the Rick Riordan Presents imprint!!

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Review: The Girl in White by Lindsay Currie

The Girl in WhiteThe Girl in White by Lindsay Currie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Mallory has felt out of place ever since her family moved from the bustling city of Chicago to the small seaside town of Eastport in New England.

Certain aspects of the town’s local culture drive Mallory a bit crazy if she’s being honest, like the fact that it feels like Halloween 365-days a year.

While this may sound absolutely fantastic to some of us, Mallory feels very differently. The constant reminders of local ghost stories and lore weighs on her last nerve.

Her parents, who own and run a cozy restaurant known as The Hill, have bought into it hook, line and sinker. Her mother even regales visiting guests with spooky tales during meals at the restaurant. It’s like dinner and a show.

As time goes by, instead of getting better, Mallory feels like things are getting worse. She’s having a difficult time sleeping and feels like she is being watched.

The nights are the worst. She’s losing time and waking up dirty and wet; that’s how Mallory initially starts to figure out that she’s actually been sleepwalking. That paired with the nightmares, make Mallory’s nights something to fear.

When a neighbor boy, Joshua, confesses to Mallory that he has been sleepwalking as well, the two begin to share stories. It seems they are even plagued by the same dreams.

What is going on? The more they compare notes, the more they begin to fear that what is happening to them may be connected to one of the town’s most infamous legends, that of Sweet Molly.

Together with Mallory’s other friends, Emmie and Brianne, the kids begin a deep dive into the real story of Sweet Molly.

They feel like she’s connecting with them for a reason. Even though it’s scary, maybe she just needs their help. They hope that with enough information they’ll be able to help Molly achieve peace, so that she can move on and they can finally sleep through the night.

The Girl in White was my most anticipated Spooky Middle Grade release of the year and it did not disappoint.

Currie knows how to deliver that perfect, cozy, spooky small town atmosphere, all while pairing it beautifully with likable, strong-willed, curious and determined characters.

This was such a fun story and definitely had some top-notch creepy moments. I liked the investigation the kids undertook, following clues and trying to get to the truth behind the legend of Sweet Molly.

I also enjoyed the message at the heart of this story. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that it shined a light on doing the right thing, even though it might be difficult.

I did feel the ending to be a little abrupt, but that’s most likely because I didn’t want it to end. I definitely recommend this one to all Spooky Middle Grade Readers.

You know who you are…

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

I’m obsessed with Lindsay Currie’s stories. They are so cozy, spooky and fun. All the the things I love in my Middle Grade. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

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Review: Mina and the Slayers (Mina and the Undead #2) by Amy McCaw

Mina and the Slayers (Mina and the Undead, #2)Mina and the Slayers by Amy McCaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


((…screams in 90s-pop culture…))

Mina and the Slayers is the follow-up to Amy McCaw’s 2021-debut novel, Mina and the Undead.

This super fun YA-series follows 17-year old, Mina, who moves to New Orleans from Whitby, in England ((incidentally, the town that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula)), to live with her older sister, Libby.

A lot goes down in the first novel, where McCaw does an incredible job setting the stage for what I am hoping is going to be a long running series. The New Orleans atmosphere is completely on point.

Mina and Libby work at a Horror Mansion, with interactive live scenes from some of your favorite horror movies, and that continues on into this second novel.

I had so much fun reading the first book. It was such a nostalgic treat and this one was no different. The first book definitely left off in a great spot for a sequel, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release for a year.

I’m happy to report, not only did it not disappoint, but it actually exceeded all my expectations. McCaw’s writing and character development has continued to grow and we absolutely love to see that!

In this installment, we have a few new things going on in Mina’s life that really helped to build out this story.

First, and my favorite new aspect, is that Mina is now job shadowing with the local police department. She’s paired up with an Investigator named Cafferty and when mysterious stabbings begin plaguing the city, she’s along for the ride and the subsequent investigation.

I love investigations of any type of violent crime, so this was such a pleasant surprise. I had no clue this was going to be a new part of Mina’s life.

We also find Mina a bit estranged from her boyfriend, Jared, due to something that happened to him in the first book.

Regardless, the couple is working on their relationship and I enjoyed watching that evolution over the course of the story.

Finally, y’all know this is a vampire book, right? Did I mention that?

Well, with that in mind, let it be known, there is slaying in this book. There are bad ones in the city, killing humans and of course, you need people who know about the existence of vamps to be willing to fight to save human lives.

Someone has to do it. When vampires walk amongst us, things can get dangerous real quick. I mean, just ask the residents of Santa Carla, California…

Yeah, so overall, I had an absolute blast with this. It was intense, with high stakes, great character development, a fun mystery and nostalgic vibes for days.

I’m not sure, but I am getting a feeling that we’ll be getting a third book and I am absolutely here for it.

Thank you so much to the author, Amy McCaw, for providing me with an early copy. This sequel would make John Carpenter, John Hughes and John Stamos proud, so I certainly hope you are proud as well!!


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Review: This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno

This Thing Between UsThis Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The exploration of grief is a fairly common topic in Horror. It’s also something I really enjoy sinking my teeth into.

I knew that was going to be an aspect of Gus Moreno’s This Thing Between Us, but it still hit me like a gut punch. I’ve rarely, very rarely, experienced it done so well.

At the start of this story we find our main character, Thiago, working himself through the early stages of grief after the sudden, tragic loss of his beloved wife, Vera.

The narrative is second person and Thiago is expressing his thoughts and feelings to Vera, even though she’s gone. I loved this choice by Moreno. It made it feel so intimate and frankly, real.

I did listen to the audio version and the narration by Robb Moreira was so well done. He was Thiago to me.

Thiago takes us through their relationship with his musings. There was a lot of love there and many good times. There was also a smart device that started to go a little wonky. That’s where the creepiness really begins to set in.

Thiago, unable to rest comfortably in the home he and Vera once shared, decides that getting out of Chicago would be the best thing for him. Thus, he packs his bags and heads to a remote cabin in Colorado.

From here, I cannot go further into a synopsis. You’ll have to discover that for yourself. Just know, it gets crazy, weird, disturbing and I’m not quite sure I know what actually happened in the end.

I have my own conclusions I have drawn and choose to live with. Regardless, I was impressed with this. Overall, Moreno has me intrigued.

This story was weird in such a good way. It definitely made my mind work overtime, I’m not going to lie. If you pick this one up, which I recommend you do, prepare to be scratching your head at the end.

I would love to go back and annotate a physical copy someday. Maybe I could glean just a tiny bit more out of it if I did that. It would be worth it.

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