Review | The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones

Life in a slasher film is easy. You just have to know when to die.

Aerial View: A suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.

Zoom In: Homecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued by a horse and bravely defeated the killer, alone, bra-less. Her story is already a legend. She’s this town’s heroic final girl, their virgin angel.

Monster Vision: Halloween masks floating down that same river the kids jump into. But just as one slaughter is not enough for Billie Jean, our masked killer, one victory is not enough for Lindsay. Her high school is full of final girls, and she’s not the only one who knows the rules of the game.

When Lindsay chooses a host of virgins, misfits, and former final girls to replace the slaughtered members of her original homecoming court, it’s not just a fight for survival-it’s a fight to become The Last Final Girl.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After reading a couple of Stephen Graham Jones’ books and short stories in the past, I have been wanting to pick up more of his backlist. The premise of this one really intrigued me so I thought it would give it a shot. The story and plot itself was interesting and I certainly wasn’t expecting some of the plot twists – but the way it’s formatted really hampered my reading experience. I understand the intent behind it, it’s written like a script in a way where you are constantly changing perspective and scene and they blend into each other – but it made the book harder to read for me. It’s a really cool concept but the lack of chapters and constant shifts did bring down my enjoyment a bit.

Happy reading!

Review | Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1.It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2.There’s something not right about this town.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Harrow Lake is a book that will definitely have you doubting who is reliable and which way is up. There was a good chunk of the book where I was waffling between three or four stars, but the last 100 pages definitely pushed it up to four stars for me. Psychological horror is absolutely my favorite kind of horror and at first I wasn’t sure if this was where it was going. There are definitely some supernatural aspects as well.

I did really enjoy the story once it really got going. So many of the different characters seem either unreliable or like they are clearly holding information back. This sometimes is frustrating as I did find myself wanting more revealed about the town of Harrow Lake and the superstitions/legends that the townspeople had.

A also really enjoyed that as the story continued we found out that Lola herself might not be a reliable narrator as we followed her journey. There’s that constant question of whether or not she’s imagining everything or if there really is something supernatural, and that carried on through the book in its entirety.

If you like psychological horror that slowly unfolds throughout the story, definitely check out this one.

Happy reading!

Review | The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones

I have really been enjoying the Tor.com original short stories that are available and was super happy to see a couple by Stephen Graham Jones out there. Make sure you check out some of the short stories available as so far they are wonderful!

“The Night Cyclist” by Stephen Graham Jones is a horror novelette about a middle-aged chef whose nightly bicycle ride home is interrupted by an unexpected encounter.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After loving previous works by Stephen Graham Jones, I was thrilled to find some of his short stories available. I picked up a couple of them but The Night Cyclist was the first one I decided to read. Since the synopsis was very brief I didn’t know just what to expect, but as always I really enjoyed his writing style. It was really atmospheric especially when he was describing the scenes while the main character was cycling. There was just enough darkness to keep me in suspense until the climax of the story.

Happy reading!

Review | The Getaway by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

In this short thriller from number one New York Times best-selling authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, a young woman’s dream getaway becomes her worst nightmare.

Prepare yourself for a transformative experience. Sometimes, life’s setbacks contain hidden gifts. Here at Lakewood, you’ll find the space to unwrap them.

A weekend at the Lakewood Retreat is exactly what Chloe Powell needs. Freshly unemployed after her boss loses a reelection campaign, the former press secretary desperately wants a break from the bustle of Washington DC. A flier posted at her yoga studio leads her to the getaway, which looks amazing: organic meals, celebrity testimonials, and a serene private property within driving distance of the city.

It’s so perfect, in fact, that Chloe’s barely bothered by the intensely personal questions she’s asked in her application, or the unnerving social experiments her enigmatic host, Sebastian, imposes on her once she arrives at his remote cabin. But when a mysterious new guest shows up, Chloe can no longer suppress her rising panic: This place is not at all what it seems.

A pulse-pounding story from the first minute to the last, The Getaway explores the weight of the small choices we make every day, and their staggering, unintended consequences.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a short thriller that has a couple decent twists, then this one is a great example. At first I was definitely unsure of where it was going, but the reveals definitely snuck up before the pieces fell into place. I did enjoy the dual timelines that slowly converged to tell the story. As with a lot of short stories, especially those with lots of twists, I did find myself wanting a little more character depth and backstory. What was written was sufficient to tell the story, but I definitely could have enjoyed it longer if there was a little more to it.

Happy reading!

Review | The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

What begins as a clever, gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero’s wholly original, modern-day adventure.

When twentysomething A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate of Axton House, deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never even knew he had a “second cousin, twice removed” in America, much less that the eccentric gentleman had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .

Together, A. and Niamh quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and a cushy lifestyle. Axton House is haunted, they know it, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secrets they slowly but surely uncover. Why all the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze and what does the basement vault keep? And what of the rumors in town about a mysterious gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?

Told vividly through a series of journal entries, scrawled notes, recovered security footage, letters to Aunt Liza, audio recordings, complicated ciphers, and even advertisements, Edgar Cantero has written a dazzling and original supernatural adventure featuring classic horror elements with a Neil Gaiman-ish twist.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Even as I’m writing this review I’m still thinking about how I feel about this book. It was recommended to me because I like mixed media format books and I enjoyed Meddling Kids by the same author, so I was happy to pick it up. There were definitely some twists and turns that surprised me, especially towards the end, but I really loved the way the puzzle pieces slowly fall into place as you read – even though you are often left with more questions than answers. Also, I will always appreciate appropriate uses of the word ‘defenestrate’ which is a favorite of mine.

I love how the story pieces together through mostly diary entries, letters and video transcriptions – it made it a super fast read and kept my attention the whole time.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Sisters of the Moon by Alexandrea Weis | Review

Sisters of the Moon
Alexandrea Weis
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 22nd 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

** A Novella ***

A monstrous fate will turn a girl into a legend.

On an island in Lake Obersee, where The Sisters of St. Gertrude abide, a destitute Moor named Durra arrives. Sold for taxes, she and her two companions tend to the nuns and their collection of cats. At night, she combs the library for details on the order, the remote island, and the beasts howling outside her window.

But when a prank reveals the sisters’ gruesome secret, Durra is forced to accept a new fate. Bestowed an unearthly power, she must choose between life as a nun or living among the monsters beyond the convent walls.

Her path is about to change the tide in the ultimate war. The war between good and evil.

Goodreads / Amazon


I wasn’t expecting this book to be horror, I knew it had paranormal elements, but I’m so glad that it was horror and that I wasn’t fully aware of that going in – it made the reading experience so much better. As soon as I started reading this story I couldn’t put it down and found it to be a quick and well paced read.

This was perfectly suited to the spooky mood I’ve been in and seeing these girls who have been sold to pay tax debts be able to empower themselves and grow was an added bonus. I really enjoyed it’s gothic feel and the way it used history to display how women were treated. In a way this story dismantles that in some way, giving them power. In that way I really enjoyed the kind of dual layers of this story, while also fully enjoying the horror aspects as well.

Author Bio:

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

Weis writes romance, mystery, suspense, thrillers, supernatural, and young adult fiction and has sold approximately one million books. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. http://www.AlexandreaWeis.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter


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Review | Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy exploration of a knockoff Ikea where employees get more than they bargained for when they stay overnight, but I sadly think it was a little overhyped for me. I had heard numerous people talk about how creepy this book is and how they couldn’t read it after dark, etc. Hearing those things I was super excited, but I would get to pages that were noted as being extra creepy and while they were creepy and the descriptions were done really well – it didn’t scare me or send chills down my spine. Granted, this is totally a me problem, it may be because I’m just desensitized to some stuff and it doesn’t really affect me as bad.

That being said I really enjoyed the adventure of this story, and the creepy twists that were thrown in. The backstory that Hendrix created was perfect and fit in with everything depicted really well. Many of the characters aren’t necessarily likeable, but they all fit into the puzzle and the events that happen. All in all, it was a great read to start off October and a really good story.

Happy reading!

Review | Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve only read two of Stephen Graham Jones’ books so far, but I’m thinking he’s definitely going on my auto-buy list. I spent a lot of Night of the Mannequins wondering what was really going on and even when I reached the end there was a part of me that was left guessing, I loved it!

Graham Jones’ writing is masterful, it flows so well and is so immersive that you really don’t notice the time passing. I read this one pretty much in one sitting and just couldn’t put it down. I don’t want to get into the actual plot of the book because with this one I think it’s a great idea to go into this book knowing as little as possible – that way it’s even more twisty when things ramp up. I really enjoy more psychologically bent horror and this one definitely fit the bill. This book had the perfect amount of humor tossed in while also being really twisted and dark. It was just amazing and great for this time of year.

Did this just break into my top 5 reads of the year? I think it did. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see about adding more of his books to my wishlist.

Bonus! The ebook is currently $3.99 on Amazon – go pick it up!

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Stranger In the Lake | Review

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | IndieBound |
Books-A-Million | Kobo | AppleBooks |Google Play

This is the first book I’ve read from Kimberly Belle and based on her writing style alone I will be picking up other books from her. I enjoyed the way the story slowly unwound through both modern day and flashbacks, though there were some portions that I felt were a little slow.

I loved the setting and the descriptions of the environment, town and their house. I definitely had a creepy shiver when thinking about those big windows that weren’t covered in any way. So many secrets and moments of deception wove things together and really were the meat of the story, it definitely kept me wondering and on my toes.

All in all I really enjoyed this psychological thriller and will definitely be checking out more of Belle’s writing in the future.

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Social Links | Author website | Facebook: @KimberlyBelleBooks |
Twitter: @KimberlySBelle | Instagram: @kimberlysbelle | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | My Sister Dear | Review

In Hannah Mary McKinnon’s psychological thriller, SISTER DEAR (MIRA Trade; May 26, 2020; $17.99), the obsession of Single White Female meets the insidiousness of You, in a twisted fable about the ease of letting in those who wish us harm, and that mistake’s dire consequences.

The day he dies, Eleanor Hardwicke discovers her father – the only person who has ever loved her – is not her father. Instead, her biological father is a wealthy Portland businessman who wants nothing to do with her and to continue his life as if she doesn’t exist. That isn’t going to work for Eleanor.

Eleanor decides to settle the score. So, she befriends his daughter Victoria, her perfect, beautiful, carefree half-sister who has gotten all of life’s advantages while Eleanor has gotten none.

As she grows closer to Victoria, Eleanor’s obsession begins to deepen. Maybe she can have the life she wants, Victoria’s life, if only she can get close enough. 

Buy Links | Harlequin  | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |
Books-A-Million | Powell’s

While I wouldn’t necessarily call this book a thriller, it’s definitely domestic drama or suspense. It was well crafted and full of twists that just kept coming throughout the story. There were some character decisions and situations that were perhaps a little unrealistic, but overall it was an exciting read that I had a hard time putting down. While some things weren’t as surprising, the major pot twists were definitely surprises.

The story was well written and as implied, the pace felt fast and went by smoothly without anything that dragged it down. If you’re looking for drama and suspense, this is a great one.

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @HannahMMcKinnon | Instagram: @hannahmarymckinnon | Facebook: @HannahMaryMcKinnon | Goodreads

Happy reading!