Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Book Review | The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low

The Midnight Lullaby is a horror novella by Cheryl Low.

Everybody has secrets…

For years, Benedict Lyon has been living a lie. Not even his family knows the truth he's been keeping from the world. Only Emmeline knows his secret—and she's dead.

…some are darker than others…

When the matriarch of the Lyon family passes away, Benedict is summoned home for the funeral. Emmeline urges Benedict not to go, certain that if he returns to that house, neither one of them will escape.

…but are they worth dying for?

Their presence in the family home causes the spirit of Gloria Lyon to become restless, and as the remaining members of the Lyon family attempt to put their mother to rest, long buried secrets, some deadlier than others, are unearthed. Who will survive…

The Midnight Lullaby.


Thank you to Tammy for putting this novella on my radar! (And thank you to Grinning Skull Press for sending me out a copy for review!)

Ghosts have always been my favorite horror element so I get really excited when I read a ghostly book that brings something new to the table. The Midnight Lullaby did just that! I don't want to spoil anything for you, though. At 165 pages, The Midnight Lullaby escalates quickly!

This was my first book by Cheryl Low, but I'm definitely going to go back and pick up Infernal.

We are at the beginning of spooky season, and we are all going to be spending a lot more time at home this year. The Midnight Lullaby is on my list of books that I recommend you add to your horror pile this fall.

⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
4.5/5 stars

Jennifer

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review | Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation is a YA historical fiction/horror novel by Justina Ireland.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


Even though this is a zombie book, I knew going into Dread Nation that it would be light on the horror elements. I think that helped me adjust to the right expectations going into this. Thankfully there was a more to Dread Nation than the zombies.

Dread Nation was very successful at building the story over the course of the entire novel. I love when a book gets better and better and then thoroughly hooks me by the end. That doesn't always make for a quick read, and it did take me a while to get through Dread Nation. I was able to put it down and pick it back up again days later.

By the end, though, I was hooked and anxious for more. I'll be picking up Deathless Divide (the second half of this duology) soon so be on the look out for that review as well!

⭐⭐⭐💫★
3.5/5 stars

Jennifer

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Book Review | The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians is a horror novel from Stephen Graham Jones. 

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
I love how you just don't know what to expect when reading one of Stephen Graham Jones' books. I'm also going to be posting a review of his The Night of the Mannequins novella soon, and I will be reiterating the same thing. His writing is unpredictable in the best of ways.

This may have been the wrong time for me to read The Only Good Indians, though. It was confusing, and my current attention span may have made it even harder for me to pay attention overall.

I'm such a fan of Stephen Graham Jones, and I will continue to read whatever he writes. Even though I'm middle of the road on The Only Good Indians, I still want to encourage people to pick it up - especially folks who are already fans.

Here are some of the early reviews that I loved and think you should check out:
 
⭐⭐⭐★★
 
Review copy provided by the publisher 

Jennifer

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Monday, September 7, 2020

Book Review | All That's Fair by S.H. Cooper

All That's Fair is a horror short story collection by S.H. Cooper. 


A maiden looking for love in all the wrong places.

A mother in an endless search for missing children.

A crone whose passing is marked by the tinkling of tiny bells.

All That’s Fair is a collection of twenty-two short horror stories themed around women who are made up of anything but sugar, spice, and everything nice. Be they human, ghost, or something else entirely, one thing holds true for all: These are not the girls you’ll find (or want) next door.

All That's Fair contains 22 horror short stories. These short stories really are short which helped make All That's Fair a fun book to fly through. Several of Cooper's stories made me think this would be a great collection for adults like me who grew up loving the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark volumes.

Don't get me wrong in my comparison to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The comparison fits because she has such a fun storytelling style that I love, but her stories are also disturbing.

After loving her novella The Festering Ones {my review}, I jumped at the opportunity to read All That's Fair, and I'm so glad that I did.

My favorite stories in the collection were The O'Sullivan Song, Twelve Hands, The Crone's Woods, The Wishing Sisters, and The Hardest Lesson.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★

Content warning: suicide

Review copy provided by the author

Jennifer

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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | September 6

Well, my return to blogging was short lived! I posted an update 2 weeks ago, and the next day they called a mandatory evacuation due to Hurricane Laura. I was out of my home for the next 8 days, and our A/C was out for another few days. Our trees took a beating, but the house and my family are fine otherwise! I'm doubly behind on reviews now, but that's the way this year is insisting on going. I'm happy to be back. Again.

Finished Reading


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

I finished reading All That's Fair by S.H. Cooper. It was a great collection, and I'll have a review posted for it tomorrow. ⭐⭐⭐⭐★

I also read The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James which was another 4 star read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐★

Currently Reading


The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low

I'm still reading and enjoying Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.

I also started reading The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low, and I'm loving it so far.

Recently Watched


La Llorona
I'll Be Gone in the Dark Mermaid Down You're Killing Me Braid I'm Thinking of Ending Things

La Llorona was more of a drama than a horror movie. It was OK. ⭐⭐⭐★★

I watched the I'll Be Gone in the Dark series. If you've read the book, I recommend watching the show as well. It gives a lot of insight into Michelle McNamara and her obsession with the Golden State Killer. ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Even though the reviews weren't very good, I had some hopes for Mermaid Down. I love mermaids and ocean horror so I was willing to give it a chance. Wow, the film makers tried to put every idea they had into this one movie.  ⭐⭐★★★

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is hosting movie nights every Friday night this month if you'd like to join us! We used You're Killing Me to test out the functionality of Amazon Watch Party the night before our first watch party. It was a perfect watch party movie. It was so ridiculous and a lot of fun! ⭐⭐⭐💫★

Braid was our first official watch party movie. I had seen it before, but I didn't remember much and was anxious to watch it again. It's a strange and beautiful movie. I recommend it.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐★

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: Every shot in this movie is beautiful and the cast is amazing, but I hate this movie. I was going to give it 1.5 stars, but the horribly long dance scene - and the rest that followed - stripped that final star down to nothing. What a weird disappointment. Kudos to those who can take something away from this. 💫★★★★


So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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