Review: Horror Movie by Paul Tremblay

Horror MovieHorror Movie by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We’re all someone’s bad guy eventually.

Brilliant. I can’t express how much I love this book. IMO, this is Tremblay’s best work yet. A Horror Lover’s dark and heartbreaking dream.

Additionally, one of the best audiobook productions I have ever experienced and trust me, this is an EXPERIENCE.

It’s so funny. I read this book in less than two days over a week ago. At the time that I read it, I hadn’t looked at, or listened to, any reviews yet. The whole way through, I knew this was gonna be a 5-star for me.

Additionally, I seriously thought it was going to be a 5-star for everyone. Now that over a week has passed, and this book seems to be everywhere, I have seen a lot of reviews, and admittedly, some of them aren’t great.

I was shocked. Am I living in my own little Horror bubble? It’s possible. It really is, but regardless, having thought about it more, I can see this might work best for a certain niche market. Luckily, I happen to be a part of that niche.

I’m happy to stake my flag on outlier island and fully anticipate this making my Best Books of 2024 list. I’m already excited to read it again someday.

I loved how it was constructed. From the present perspective, that had a confessional feel to it, to the actual screenplay sections, to the flashbacks of making the movie, I found it all so gripping. It felt like an origin story to me, but was equally a love letter to this oft misunderstood genre.

I loved the idea of the whole low-budget movie-making process and even though, only certain scenes were released, that it still managed to turn into a cult-sensation even decades later. That’s absolutely something that would happen in the Horror community.

I also liked the idea of the movie itself being cursed. Our narrator is actually the only surviving member of the original production. This brought to mind Poltergeist and the curse that is said to surround the making of that trilogy.

For me, Poltergeist, which originally released in 1982, is part of that golden age of Horror cinema. It’s the first movie that genuinely traumatized me as a child, instilling in me an ever present fear of clowns, and I love it so much not in spite of that, but because of that.

In my opinion, this is a good fit for Readers who end up loving I Was a Teenage Slasher by Stephen Graham Jones, a book I absolutely loved a couple months back.

Basically for me, these two books felt a bit like Tremblay and SGJ had a conversation, maybe about the origins and influences in modern Horror, maybe about why we are attracted to and love Horror, or maybe on how Horror seems to be having a resurgence at the moment…

And then they both walked away from the conversation, inspired to a degree, and wrote books encapsulating those themes. Obviously, I am not saying that’s ACTUALLY what happened, but I felt, as a life-long Horror Lover, seen by these books, validated by them in a way.

They both examine so many different aspects of the genre, or why people may be drawn to it, and they both contained so much heart. They may be dark hearts, but they’re there nonetheless and both books broke mine.

I would recommend this to everyone who thinks it sounds interesting. Give it a shot. Go in knowing as little as possible. The synopsis really says everything you need to know about the plot. I feel like it’s a pretty even mix on opinions right now, so you could end up loving it as much as I did.

Also, I cannot recommend enough reading a physical copy while listening to the audiobook simultaneously. It’s a very unique reading experience and should be attempted if you do have access to both formats.

In summation, (haha) I think Paul Tremblay is a genius.

I love his imagination, his dark humor, his ability to write characters that I care about and the fact that he keeps surprising me. I find his stories smart, gripping and unpredictable. I look forward to whatever he gives us next!!

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Review: Bury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle

Bury Your GaysBury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Bury Your Gays is a novel that’s perfectly-aligned with a new trend in my reading for 2024, and that is reading books set in, or revolving around, the television and movie industry.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked this up. I’ve heard great things about this author’s 2023-release, Camp Damascus, but I’ve never actually read their work before. My final judgement = I need more Tingle!!!

In this story we are following Misha, a long-time Hollywood script writer who has just been nominated for his first Oscar.

It’s as he is on the precipice of this great event that he gets called into a meeting with a studio executive and told that he needs to kill off two popular gay characters from his Travelers series. Misha is alarmed. He doesn’t want to do that; not at all, but he’s told if he doesn’t he may be let go.

Thus, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows hit our MC pretty much simultaneously. His back is to the wall and he is struggling to make a decision. What is he going to do?

The synopsis doesn’t really go into too much of the action here, therefore, I don’t want to either. All I will say is that I was pleasantly surprised to discover this involves one of my favorite Horror tropes, and that’s dark fictional characters coming to life and interacting with their creators.

I loved how Tingle decided to tell Misha’s story. In the current timeline, we get to know a bit about his work and personal life, but we also get glimpses into Misha’s past through sections aptly referred to as, Inspiration.

These Inspiration sections were among my favorites. It’s there we learn the pivotal moments and people from Misha’s life that helped to shape his writing. These sections felt intimate and had a lovely Coming of Age quality to them that I found incredibly captivating.

In additional to the fantastic character work and strong writing, I thoroughly enjoyed the social commentary and reflective exploration of issues within this novel.

In particular, I found it to be thought-provoking in the area of intellectual property rights, the power of creators and their rights to their work. I also enjoyed how Tingle touched upon the greed within the system, and the development and use of AI in writing and the arts.

You’ll never think of the algorithm the same again…

I did listen to the audiobook and cannot recommend that format highly enough. It’s a full cast audio with sound effects that truly help bring this crazy story to life!

I would recommend this to every Horror Reader, but particularly to Social Horror lovers, or those looking for strong Queer stories. Also, if you were a fan of The X-Files, something about this one just brought that to mind for me; maybe the light Sci-Fi concepts, or the villains…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. The audio production was chef’s kiss!

This book is smart, original, engaging and eerie. I walk away with a full heart, looking forward to more from Tingle!

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Review: Thunderhead (Arc of the Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The World:

I hate reading sequels.
Ew, the dreaded second book syndrome strikes again.
Can it ever live up to the magic of the first book?

Neal Shusterman upon writing Thunderhead:

Honestly, and I mean this, Thunderhead is one of the most delightful sequels to ever sequel. There is absolutely no dreaded second book syndrome here.

I feel like I am the last person in the world to read this, but just in case I’m not, Thunderhead is the second book in Neal Shusterman’s Arc of the Scythe series.

This YA series is set in a future where natural death has been eradicated. While natural death may be a thing of the past, population control is still necessary. Thus, we have the Scythes, whose job it is to glean people, aka. end their lives.

These books start by following some Scythe apprentices and then we sort of escalate from there. I was concerned this would lose some of the initial intrigue. Sometimes that happens with series, all of the magic lies in the world-building in the first book and then it will sort of dissipate.

Luckily, Shusterman was far from done building out this world. We’re introduced to new things in this book, including characters that really added to the overall story.

I also loved the trajectory for our two mains from the first book, Rowan and Citra. Rowan’s arc, in particular, really evolves in this one, heading in a different direction than what I would have originally anticipated for him.

There’s also a vein of this story that starts investigating the intentions of the founding Scythes. That avenue helped to build out the lore of the world. It brought in history and really got my brain cranking about how vast this scope actually is. It’s truly impressive.

Shusterman has a plan for everything with this one: past, present and future. There’s also so much commentary here, it’s overflowing with religious symbology and if you are searching for those types of connections, it certainly offers up a lot of food for thought.

Additionally, for a longer book, the pace of this never lets up. It builds and builds until one of the most shocking conclusions that I have ever read. It’s perfection.

My jaw was on the floor. I never in a million years could have predicted the end. It was one of those finales that made me so glad that I waited until all the books were released before I started it. I never could have waited.

I did start The Toll immediately upon finishing this and am so glad. If you haven’t made time for this series yet, you absolutely should. I recommend it to all Readers. It’s so unique and engaging. It’s definitely worth a go!

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Review: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton AngelsThe Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels features two rival authors after desperately hunting down the same scoop.

Amanda Bailey and Oliver Menzies have a history together, not necessarily pleasant. Yet they’re about to be back in each other’s orbit as the both investigate the whereabouts of a baby who survived a cult, the Alperton Angels, close to two decades ago.

The Alperton Angel cult brainwashed a teenage girl into believing her baby was the anti-Christ. Eventually, the girl came to her senses and contacted the authorities for help.

It was a huge case at the time, which garnered a lot of attention due to its sensational and bizarre circumstances. The Angels committed suicide, but the baby was free and survived. However, after that, the baby disappeared, their circumstances never made public knowledge.

Now that baby has turned 18, and the world is dying to know, where have they been all this time? What is the true story behind the Alperton Angels cult? And where is the baby now? Who have they become?

Amanda and Oliver, against their own inclinations, decide to collaborate in their baby research. If they both agree to focus on different aspects of the case, it shouldn’t be a problem to both cover the case at the same time.

In fact, it may actually be helpful, as each book could create more interest for the other. But the truth about the Angels is much more disturbing than they originally anticipated, putting them dangerously close to the heart of the story.

Janice Hallett has made quite the name for herself as the Queen of the Unconventional Narrative. Her books are always a journey, a truly a unique reading experience.

As the Reader, you are supplied with all of the same documents a researcher may use when studying a real life case. You have access to things such as emails, text messages, news articles, and even transcripts from phone conversations.

These things are blended together in such a way that eventually helps to perfectly piece together the overall story. It’s pretty amazing how well Hallett can build out a story using solely these mixed media elements.

For me, her novels seem to work better via audiobook, but that’s 100% personal preference. I have read one of her books physically, and it at times it seemed jarring, and occasionally, even a little boring.

The other two I have listened to via audio, and because of the vibrant narration, have felt more pulled in and engaged with the story. This one in particular was fantastically executed via audiobook and I would recommend that format.

This story got pretty wild. I definitely wasn’t expecting the direction it ended up going. Writing a novel in this format has got to be extremely challenging, but somehow Hallett nails it every time.

I won’t claim to have been able to follow every single detail of this. Hallett’s stories are impressive in scope. There’s a lot going on, and at times, it can feel chaotic. Regardless, this one was never dull. Fast-paced and intriguing the whole way through, this was a great time.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Hallett’s uniquely-presented and impeccably-plotted Literary Mysteries will keep me coming back as long as she keeps cranking them out.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Review: A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston

A Novel Love StoryA Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Elsy Merriweather has a few things in her life she knows she can count on: her best friend, Pru, their shared love of Romance novels, and their annual book club retreat.

Elsy, a literature professor, loves getting lost in the pages of a happily-ever-after story, even if she feels like she’ll never live one herself. Been there, tried that.

But things are changing. Pru is on the cusp of getting engaged, her upcoming trip with her boyfriend unfortunately falling on the same week as the book club retreat. Additionally, the rest of the book club has sent their regrets for this years trip; everyone is busy.

Elsy needs the retreat though, whether or not anyone else will be attendance. She decides to go, solo-road trip it to the remote cabin, where she will drink copious amount of wine and read all the Romance.

Honestly, this sounds like heaven to me too, so I was fully supportive of Elsy’s plans. On her way there though, her car breaks down and she finds herself stranded in a quaint little town that seems all too familiar.

It’s Eloraton, the small town setting of her favorite Romance series! How the heck is this possible? Eloraton is a fictional place, yet here she is…

Rachel Flowers, the author of the series, passed away while writing the final novel, so the story was never finished. Because of that, Eloraton is trapped in time, where everything remains the same even as time passes.

Elsy feels like that could be the reason why she’s ended up here. To help the town, and thus all the people in it, find their perfect storybook ending.

There’s a character she doesn’t know however, and wasn’t counting on, a grumpy bookstore owner named Anders, with minty green eyes, and his own reasons to want the town to continue on forever just the way it is.

We follow Elsy, trapped in her favorite fictional town, as she meets the characters she has grown to love over the years of reading this series. It’s so cute, because it’s like she’s meeting celebrities. Of course, they have no idea how infatuated she is with all of them, or why.

I really did love this set-up. It’s so Poston, to have such a creative and quirky twist to an otherwise normal Contemporary Romance story.

I appreciate how unique Poston’s style is now. She’s really created a nice little niche for herself within the genre and her writing is so distinct. You could tell this was one of her books just from the writing and characters alone.

I did enjoy the dynamic between Elsy and Anders; their back-and-forth was entertaining and there was definite chemistry smoldering away.

The middle portion wasn’t quite as exciting for me as some of Poston’s other works. I found some elements a bit repetitive and there were times that I wanted more actual substance from her interactions with the townspeople. I wish it could have had some more drama in that regard.

The highlight of this for me was the growth of Elsy’s character over the course of the story. She comes to some solid revelations about her life while she’s in Eloraton, and I especially enjoyed the exploration of her friendship with her best friend, Pru.

With this being said, this is still an amazing story. I am just comparing it, maybe unfairly, to The Dead Romantics and The Seven Year Slip, both of which I 5-star level loved.

So, while this isn’t my favorite of Poston’s Adult Contemporary novels, it’s still hella cute and enjoyable. I would absolutely recommend it to all Contemporary Romance Readers, particularly if you’ve enjoyed Poston’s style in the past.

There’s just something so cozy and comforting about her stories. It’s almost required to cuddle up under a blanket with a hot drink to read them.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me a copy to read and review. I always look forward to Poston’s new releases and this didn’t disappoint!

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Review: Love Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell

Love Letters to a Serial KillerLove Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Letters to a Serial Killer is like nothing I have read before. This one is truly in a category all of its own, and the more I think about it, the more I think I enjoyed it!

This story follows Hannah, who in her 30s, finds herself in a rut. Her job is a bore, she feels disconnected from her soon-to-be-married best friend, and the guy she’s been in love with has moved on to someone else.

Hannah is lonely. She needs a change. When four women are killed in Atlanta, apparently by an active serial killer, Hannah discovers True Crime forums. She’s immediately hooked into the energetic community of online sleuths.

When a handsome lawyer, William, is arrested for the crimes, Hannah’s interest quickly becomes obsession.

Captivated by the case, Hannah decides to write William a letter as a way to air all of her frustrations and anger. What harm could come of it? It feels like a great way to express herself, and no one else will ever know anything about it.

Unexpectedly, William writes back. His letters are surprisingly charming and he seems so interested in her. It’s hard to reconcile his beautiful letters with the horrible monster the world is claiming him to be.

As mentioned, this whole thing has become an obsession of sorts for Hannah. It takes over her life. After losing her job for poor performance, she decides to leave her life behind and head to Atlanta to attend William’s trial.

The trial is a media frenzy, but in spite of the chaos, Hannah attends each and every day. She ends up befriending some other attendees and eventually begins to feel more at home there than she ever did in her old life.

When a 5th-woman is murderer while the trial is underway, it throws everything into question. How can William be the guilty party, if women are still being murdered the same way while he’s locked up?

With this huge development, and the prosecution having nothing more than circumstantial evidence against him, the jury has no choice but to find William not guilty. Guess who he calls upon after?

That’s right. Hannah. The two move in together and officially become a couple. Everything is great. William is so supportive of her, she doesn’t even have to get a new job.

All the more time for investigating him, because Hannah still suspects William could be a serial killer, acquittal or not.

Honestly, Love Letters to a Serial Killer is an odd little story. Even though I didn’t like Hannah, or her bonkers choices, I still found it to be ridiculously compelling.

I could not stop reading!

I feel like this one is going to garner some strong opinions upon its release, and I’m definitely interested to read them all. I found it to be completely original and wickedly fun, but it definitely tackles some taboo topics.

It did take me a minute to commit to the story. Hannah seems so desperate in the beginning. It annoyed me. I thought to myself, no wonder she is going to fall for a serial killer. She was just looking for any attention AT ALL.

Once it got to the point where she discovered the forums though, I was hooked. Then there was the letters! Was she nuts? He hadn’t even gone to trial yet. She was thinking he’d be locked up forever, but that’s never guaranteed.

Her choices were just a string of, WTF, Hannah?!?, moments, and I was eating it up.

As it goes along, it gets more and more wild. The family gets involved, other people, and then their relationship. OMG, I just, I’m not really sure how to sum up my thoughts on it.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, it’s slightly deranged, but I liked it. Hannah is like the Carole Ann Boone of the Romantic Thriller genre.

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

This is an incredibly memorable one for me and I can’t wait to get more from this author!

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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!!

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Review: Bless Your Heart (Bless Your Heart #1) by Lindy Ryan

Bless Your HeartBless Your Heart by Lindy Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Bless Your Heart is a Cozy Mystery-meets-Horror novel that I never knew I needed!

This was so stinking cute. My Horror Heart adored it. It was way more graphic than I expected and I loved the small town Southern vibes. Bonus: it’s 1999!

Set in Southeast Texas, this story focuses on the Evans women, who are the owner/operators of Evans Funeral Parlor. Their small town has a bit of a history with the dead becoming restless and the Evans are well-versed in making sure they meet their final rest.

The town has spent the last 15-years in peaceful normalcy. That’s a pretty long stretch, and it’s about to end.

When the town gossip, Mina Jean Murphy’s, body is brought to the Evans for a regular burial, yet she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi problem is back.

We then follow along, both with the Evans women, and with a local Deputy, Roger Taylor, as they try to figure out what has caused this recent unrest, and as they try to stop it.

This was so fun. The small town vibes, family dynamics and the horror elements, were all very well done.

I was actually surprised at how graphic some of the darker scenes actually were. It was great, just the dichotomy between the cozy and the dark. I loved that part.

It was giving me Sunnydale, but the Texas version, and it was giving me The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, mixed with a touch of Designing Women. I was here for every minute of it.

I listened to the audiobook and absolutely recommend that format if it’s an option for you. The narration style of Stephanie Nemeth-Parker fits the overall story so well.

For me, the only critique is that I wanted a bit more of the mystery. I wanted more substance, more suspense, but I am hoping as the series continues the balance between the other elements and the mystery will balance out.

Speaking of ‘the series’, I’m so happy to learn this is going to be a series. I feel like the more time we get to spend with the Evans, the more attached to them we’ll become and the more we’ll see them grow and change.

I’m particularly interested in Luna, as she’s the youngest, so it’ll be interesting to watch her learn about their powers and responsibility and see how she is going to use it.

If you are someone who enjoys Horror, but also love Cozy Mysteries ((like me)), you have to check this one out. I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything like it and I’m definitely looking forward to more in this charming Southern setting.

Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Lindy Ryan, you’ve impressed me. I can’t wait for more!

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Review: Everfound (Skinjacker #3) by Neal Shusterman

Everfound (3) (The Skinjacker Trilogy)Everfound (3) by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Everfound is the final book of Neal Shusterman’s backlist series, Skinjacker. I started this trilogy last Fall, Buddy Reading it with a friend, and we both fell in love with it.

Admittedly, this final book did take me three months to finish, but at no point was that a reflection on my enjoyment level. I was loving it, I just didn’t have the time to pick it up as often as I would have hoped.

However, even though I was distracted by 1,000,001-new releases, it’s a testament to this book that no matter how much time I took away from it, whether it was 5-days, or 2-weeks, I never had a difficult time remembering who the characters were, or what was happening.

I found this entire series so unique and memorable. If you aren’t aware, this story follows souls, more specifically the souls of young people, who don’t get where they need to go and are stuck in a limbo land known as Everlost.

Everlost is like an eerie, distorted version of our own world and there’s a lot of souls trapped there. I loved learning about this place and feel like Shusterman was able to create a complicated and detailed world in a fully accessible way. It’s easy to understand and engaging.

As this is the third book, a lot has happened by the time we get to this point. Even from the start of this you can feel the tension continuing to build. It feels like a major showdown is on the horizon; between good and evil forces.

The various characters were like pieces in a chess game. There’s a lot of moves made in this story, lining up the pieces where they need to be for the finale to occur.

There’s a lot of action in these books, but the characters are also extremely well done. You get attached to them and my emotions were all over the place. It’s intense and at times sad, while definitely providing a lot of food for thought.

Overall, I feel like this is a fantastic series that has stood the test of time. While it’s over a decade old, it didn’t feel dated to me at all. Additionally, I feel like the philosophical nature of this can provide enjoyment to Readers of all ages.

I would absolutely recommend this series. It has an interesting full cast of characters, strong action and is extremely well plotted.

I’m so very glad that I made the time for it!!

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Rereading My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

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

5-stars yet again, for the 3rd-time around. I’m guessing that no one in the room is surprised.

Some may be questioning why I am reading this for the 3rd-time though, when I currently have 1,547-books on my ‘want to read’ shelf that I haven’t made time for yet?

I will offer up a small explanation for this seemingly insane behavior. With the 3rd-book, The Angel of Indian Lake, releasing at the end of the month, there’s no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to read this again.

It’s literally one of my favorite books of all time. I’m not going to beat a dead horse here and repeat all of the reasons why this is one of my favorites.

I will, however, leave up my two original reviews below so that you can see more thorough, coherent thoughts.

I will say one small thing though, Stephen Graham Jones is a genius. I know not everyone is going to appreciate what he created here in the same way that I do.

Nonetheless, you have to doff your cap to the level of humanity and non-stop Slasher lore that he brings to the pages of this story. It is outstanding. I will never stop rereading this book.

Previously

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!

Original:

**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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