Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.
A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.
It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.
But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.
And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I absolutely loved the premise of this story, I’m always up for a haunted house story, but I was a little disappointed by the final product. This was one of those novellas that left me wanting more. I wanted more backstory on the relationships between the five main characters as well as on the house itself. We are given the bones of the story behind the mansion and little tidbits here and there but I definitely wanted more.
I did really enjoy the writing style and all the details about the house itself. The descriptions of the house as it changed over time and the things that happened were suitably creepy and easy to imagine in the mind’s eye.
Overall I did enjoy the story as it was, but I would have loved to have so much more.
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.
Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.
September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.
Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.
As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?
Rating: 4 out of 5.
This book was quite a ride that I was not expecting. I loved the sound of it and as someone who listens to true crime podcasts which include crime cases from the early to mid 1950s I figured it would definitely be in my wheelhouse. Once I got into the book I really enjoyed the interviews between Michael and Marie. As the story moves on you definitely have that aspect of wondering if there is really something supernatural or if it is all the act of humans.
Michael, with his yearning for the truth and love of journalism was a very compelling character, while Marie was at the best of times unreliable but tragic in her own way. Other characters such as Pilson, McBride and Nancy were also well dimensioned and really fleshed out to where their personalities were clear.
There were a few times I had to remind myself this was set in the 1950s as there was perhaps some more modern language or just something that rang modern, but overall I loved the aesthetic of this story and the way it progressed. There was just enough left up in the air to give it an even more unknowing and creepy feeling which was both unsettling and satisfying.
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.
Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?
It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I had heard that this book was dark and twisty as well as being told in a mixed media format – which was a huge draw for me – but I didn’t know just how much I would enjoy it. If you’re looking for a spooky book with tons of touches of mythology, urban legend-esque stories, paranormal creatures and dark situations, then make sure you check this one out. This story is so well crafted in it’s writing and structure so that the elements of the story and the twists slowly reveal themselves piece by piece. There are many points where even the reader is left wondering what is truth and what is not and it made it so some twists were hard to predict. It was a hard book to put down once I got about a third of the way in since there was so much happening.
Wait for Night by Stephen Graham Jones is horror story about a day laborer hired to help clean up a flooded creek outside of Boulder, Colorado, who comes across what could be a very valuable find.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
This one definitely took a turn I didn’t expect. I can’t say much about the story itself since I don’t want to spoil anything but I love the abrupt twist that Stephen Graham Jones wove into this one. He’s definitely an auto buy author for me and his short stories are just as enjoyable as some of his novels. This one sucked me in fast and the writing flowed so well that it was over far too quickly. It definitely satisfied my need for a quick, creepy story.
Could you survive a week in a haunted house? Mara is the daughter of spiritualists. Her childhood was filled with séances, scam mediums and talk of ghostly presences.
When Mara finally left her family’s home, she vowed she would never allow superstition or false religion into her life again. Now she’s ready to start over with her fiancé, Neil, in a world based on rationality and facts.
But her past isn’t ready to let her go just yet.
Mara and Neil purchase Blackwood House, a derelict property outside of town. They’re warned about strange occurrences in the crumbling building. Doors open by themselves, voices whisper in the night, bloody handprints appear on the walls, and cold spots linger in the basement, where the house’s original owner was murdered.
But Blackwood was dirt-cheap and came with a large plot of overgrown land. Mara loves her new home, and disregards the warnings.
Because ghosts aren’t real…
Rating: 4 out of 5.
This was my first experience with Darcy Coates’ writing, but I had been wanting to pick up her books for ages and so many of them had caught my eye. I wanted to start with this one because the synopsis grabbed me and I was not disappointed. If you’re looking for a creepy haunted house book that is also psychological, this is a great example. I kind of wished more of the history of Blackwood House had been revealed a little earlier as I did feel that some of the foundation of the story was a little slow, but when we did get to the meat of the history it was definitely a great payoff. Mara did sometimes get on my nerves with how…fiercely independent she was, but that was explained in a great way that made it very understandable, so I was happy about that. While I did guess the final twist before it happened, it didn’t lessen the story’s impact for me, so I will definitely be picking up more of Darcy Coates’ books in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!