Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R.J. Garcia


Finished: October 3, 2018

R. J. is one of my fellow writers over at Parliament House Press, and when I heard about this book, I simply had to pick it up!

My review:

I didn’t expect this to be a roller coaster ride, folks. I didn’t expect this to be a book that was a compulsory read once I hit that halfway point. I had trouble putting it down and then looked forward to when I got the chance to pick it up again. When I recently had my Kindle stolen, I was devastated because I wanted to finish this book so bad!

This story starts out with Tommy moving to a new town and having to adjust. He makes new friends: Finn, Silence, and Annie. Things seem pretty normal, until they turn for the worst. I don’t want to say too much because this slow-burn thriller is too good to spoil, but let’s just say when things get real, they get real fast. As a debut novel, I’m super impressed and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from R.J. down the road! The suspense, the environment, the struggles of these four kids really hit home. You feel for these four and they’re all fighting their own battles. I’m happily giving this book five stars!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? Did I mention I had trouble putting it down??
  2. Would you recommend it to others? If thrillers in the vein of Stranger Thing appeal to you, then this is definitely a book to pick up!
  3. Does it stick with you? These characters are fantastic, and I think they’ll stick with me for a long time. But ya’ll know how I am. I love characters dealing with dark turns.

My overall rating? 5/5

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson


Finished: July 19, 2018

Candace is one of my fellow writers over at Parliament House Press, and offered me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Let me tell you this book didn’t disappoint!

My review:

Wow… this book!

When I was given an ARC of this just before I went on a beach vacation, I thought I would crack it open and read a little bit of it. I didn’t realize that I would get 60% through it because the plot hooked me so well! The writing is so fluid and when they get to the scenes within the Glass Vault, it was just so difficult to put down. I kept wanting to see what happened next and find out where the characters would go. I can feel Candace’s strong love of old horror movies come through on the pages. Each one made me smile.

The cover and premise already had my interest piqued, but the book itself is just fabulous! Think Waxwork with a very big twist. That ending – oh my gosh, I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! It definitely threw me for a loop and now I’m checking on when the next one gets re-released. I screamed with Perrie, I loved Maisie’s creativity, I felt sorry for Neven, and I swooned for August. Definitely a book that will pull you in.

Perrie is a high school student who has recently had a difficult break up with Neven. It doesn’t help that her heart is being stolen away by August, a fellow band member. While she’s dealing with all these emotions, a strange Glass Vault appears. As more of Perrie’s friends go missing, and the police start eying her suspiciously, Perrie has no choice but to investigate. But Quincey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is nothing like she expects.

Let’s just say that as someone who loves classic monster movies, loves horror and fantasy, and totally will binge watch Vincent Price films, I am really digging this series!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? Absolutely! I can’t say too much without giving spoilers, but yes it is.
  2. Would you recommend it to others? If you love classic horror films or books that make you keep turning the pages, check this out!
  3. Does it stick with you? These scenes… oh my gosh, again no spoilers, but yeah. Some of these scenes will never leave me, and I love it.

My overall rating? 5/5

Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson and Gerardo Delgadillo


Finished: June 7, 2018

Candace is one of my fellow writers over at Parliament House Press, and offered me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. How could I resist, I mean have you seen that cover? And trust me, this book is just as cute and colorful as the cover!

My review:

Oh my gosh, this book is so much fun! It’s full of adorable, romantic silliness but it’s also not afraid to take on darker topics as well. One of the first stand-out pieces (or slices hehe) was the amount of diversity! We have Kiev, who is Mexican and speaks Spanish while at home. We have Lia, who has a mom and two dads (her father and mother got divorced, and now he’s with her second dad). Then we have Barnabus, a goth kid whose family immigrated from Cambodia and is an incredible harpist. I mean, any one of these people sound like they would be fun to hang out with, but all of them in one book? Just fantastic!

Oh and did I mention that Kiev has a pet armadillo? As someone who lives in the southeast of the U.S., we see these little guys a lot, and the idea of him keeping one as a pet just made me smile every time. I don’t want to give anything away, but he totally steals the show too.

It also isn’t afraid to handle some dark topics, but in a light manner so as not to drag the book down, which I appreciated! There was family drama, substance abuse, obsession, and anger issues, but handled in a fairly positive way the entire way through. We need more books like this, that show incredible diversity and give positive examples of managing hurdles in life.

Overall this was a super adorable YA Contemporary that will leave you thinking on this group for a while. Plus the book is on sale on Kindle right now at $0.99, and it’s totally worth picking up! Definitely a great book to take to the beach!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? These characters really make you love them!
  2. Would you recommend it to others? For fans of cute, romantic antics that don’t mind touching on some poignant topics on occaision, this is definitely the book for you!
  3. Does it stick with you? I’m probably going to think of Bacon Pie every time I see an armadillo to be honest. xD

My overall rating? 5/5

White Death by Christine Morgan


Finished: March 24, 2018

I first read one of Christine Morgan’s stories in the anthology, Not Your Average Monster: A Bestiary of Horrors. Her short story, “Soft-Walker”, just blew me away. Not only was her writing style just beautiful, but her mixture of humanity and gods was just fantastic. If you haven’t read that short piece yet, then you’re seriously missing out.

Needless to say, when I was offered an advanced copy of White Death in exchange for an honest review, I leapt at the chance!

My review:

If you have read anything on the Great Blizzard of 1888, then you’ll have a good idea of where this story is going. The blizzard that tore through was one of the worst in history. Morgan takes what you might already know and gives it a fascinating supernatural twist. What sets off this sudden onslaught, prefaced by such mild weather? Angering the dreaded Wanageeska.

This novel has numerous strengths, but here are a couple that I loved:

  • The introduction of the Wanageeska is a wonderful twist on what is already a horrifying story. I absolutely loved this. The opening chapters really brought a sense of adventure that I rarely see so well portrayed. The description of these creatures and how they are characterized is also really fascinating, and add a layer on top of the gruesome plight of the town.
  • The descriptions of how these poor people deal with the oncoming storm is just heart-wrenching. You really get a feel for how terrible frostbite and those arctic temperatures can be when people aren’t protected against it. One of the major takeaways is just how frail humans are in the face of extreme weather. Morgan goes so far as to describe in great detail how it feels to have your eyelids frozen shut in multiple ways, and as someone who has never dealt with cold of that nature, it gave me chills.

I can imagine this would be even more frightening for people who are currently snowed in, for people who regularly experience snowstorms where you don’t know how long it’ll last. The only difficulty I had with it (which was pretty minor) was that there were a lot of characters which made them hard to keep track of. Though considering how this storm ripped through this town, I entirely understand why Morgan chose to do that. Ultimately it didn’t change how good the book was in the least! I definitely recommend it!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? I don’t know if “fun” is the right word for this book. 😉 More like fascinating. I was curious to see if each person was going to survive or not. Some survived in really surprising ways too!
  2. Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! If you’re curious to see how an unprepared group of people deal with a sudden, arctic front, this is definitely the book to check out. It reminded me of the survival stories in the arctic from explorers to lost travelers. Even shelter didn’t always help these poor people, especially considering how few their resources were during this time of the frontier.
  3. Would you re-read it? There are many scenes I would want to check out again in this. Her language and descriptions are just incredible. I’ve not seen the horrors of arctic weather quite described like this before.
  4. Does it stick with you? Oh definitely! Every time I hear of an arctic front moving in and the dangers of frostbite, I’m pretty sure the imagery from this book is going to come blaring to mind.

My overall rating? 5/5

My Love of Lore

I’ve been a long-time listener of the podcast series Lore. I forget how I first found out about it. My friends know that I write horror and that I love dark tales, so when I ended up having multiple close friends recommend it, I decided to check it out. Basically Aaron Mahnke will choose a particular topic or theme, and then explore it by beautifully mixing tales with history, and analyzing the topic with respect for the time periods he’s analyzing. He’s tackled changelings, werewolves, vampires, etc.

I was thrilled to hear it was going to get a series on Amazon, but I tried not to get my hopes up. The podcast series was great, but I wasn’t sure how well it could be transferred to a video series. I’m happy to say that after spending the last week watching all the episodes available, that my fears were mistaken. In fact, I would even say that the visuals add so much to the words that Mahnke puts to the episodes.

They do historical reenactments, portraying terrifying experiences and really making the viewer experience the same frightening beliefs that their characters do. Sometimes this gets to be very uncomfortable, especially since historically women were powerless or seen as property and therefore are truly at the whims of the people around them, no matter how disturbing their beliefs. They are also able to pull in historical scenes more often too, whether that’s through video clips that are available or historical documents that really bring the stories home. The series also doesn’t shy away from blood and gore, but they do switch to illustrations whenever they go to portray a gruesome scene, thereby showing the gore just as clearly but taking away the potential production costs.

And that artwork is simply gorgeous. The werewolf episode for example just had me giddy as a long-time werewolf lover. The art style changes each episode to better reflect the topic for the episode. It feels organic and fluid and matches beautifully with the topic of the episode. It reminds me of the switch to animation that you see in Kill Bill Volume 1, which I loved then and I still love now.

My only complaint is that the series was too short, though considering the podcast has over a hundred episodes, I think they have plenty to work with down the road.