Title: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Last year I read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires and I was disappointed by it, I have been recommended Horrorstor a lot so I decided to give it a go. If it doesn’t work for me then the next book I try will be the last chance I will be giving Grady Hendrix as an author before I write them off. All I knew about Horrorstor before getting into it was that it takes place in the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio and has a haunted house theme to it. We are introduced to Amy who almost a year ago transferred to this store but today things start going wrong from the second the employees arrive. She is quickly taken aside by her manager, Basil, who seems to have it out for her along with another employee, Ruth Anne. Amy believes Basil is going to fire her but he offers them an extra shift that night, it seems there has been vandalism on the store of the past few weeks and the security cameras haven’t picked up anything. Basil, Ruth Anne and Amy will stay in the store overnight hoping to catch the person or people responsible for vandalism before people from head office arrive the following day. He agrees to pay them more money at the end of the shift and also agree to approve Amy’s transfer back to her previous store so she and Ruth Anne agree to the extra shift and I have a feeling things might only get creepier from her.
Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3.75 Stars
The opening of My Sister, The Serial Killer definitely was gripping. We are introduced to Korede, who is phoned by her younger sister Ayoola because she has killed her current boyfriend, Femi. We know from the way Korede reacts that this isn’t the first time she’s had to clean up her sister’s need but they had only been dating a month. Korede essentially gets rid of the evidence and the body herself with little help from her sister. After that Ayoola returns to Korede’s place and she is instantly worried by her sister’s behaviour.
Title: Call Me Daddy by Jade West
Genre: Romance, Erotic
Rating: 5 Stars
I have read a few books in the past by Jade West but I didn’t love any of them as much as I did Call Me Daddy. We are introduced to the 18 year old Laine, celebrating her birthday when she ditched by her best friend, Kelly-Anne and she realises that Kelly-Anne has her keys, phone and money in her bag meaning Laine has no way of getting home and to make it worse there is heavy rain this night. She ends up bumming a cigarette of a guy who mistakes her for a prostitute even though nothing about Laine’s looks or personality suggests this and he is on the verge of assaulting her when she runs out into the road to almost get run over by Nick. Nick realises what is going on and rescues Laine from that situation and even lets Laine stay at his place for the night given the fact she can’t get into her house and offers to take her home the following morning and she accepts. From the very beginning there is a lot of tension between the pair but Laine is a virgin and Nick is a lot older than her so nothing happens.
Title: Deep Dive by Ron Walters
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
As the founder and creative director of a small video game development company, Peter Banuk is responsible for overseeing every project they produce. Two years after their second release crashed and burned, Peter is still reeling from the failure and struggling to get a new virtual reality game off the ground. He desperately needs a win, not only to save his struggling company, but to justify the time he spends away from his wife and daughters.
When his tech-genius partner tells him an experimental VR headset called Deep Dive is ready for beta
testing, Peter excitedly agrees to give it a whirl. The trial run goes horribly wrong, rendering Peter
unconscious. Upon coming to he discovers that his daughters no longer exist…
Title: Cinema 7 by Michael J. Moore
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, Horror
Something has taken a liking to the children of Mount Vernon, Washington. Its eyes are orange, and glow like fire. Its hissing voice is the autumn wind.
It hovers over them at night, casting snake-like shadows that dance on the walls. It laughs and taunts as they cry in their beds. It says it wants to take them trick-or-treating.
Halloween is in a week.
Kyle McIntosh is hardly aware when the first four kids are abducted, their families slaughtered. Though news-vans litter the streets, his 16-year-old heart has just been broken. Night-after-night, more children are taken. More bodies are left behind.
When Kyle’s little brother claims an orange-eyed monster has been visiting him at night, ignorance ceases to be an option – because their family might just be next.
Title: Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
Genre: Historical, Satire, Romance, LGBT
Rating: 4 Stars
The opening to Confessions of the Fox was interesting as we see Jack Sheppard being taken to the gallows to die for his crimes but we then jump back to when Jack was a child known as P. P is female it seems and is sold into slavery for ten years by her mother in the early 1710’s. P was tirelessly for these period of time to earn her freedom although throughout this period she refers to herself as Jack using male pronouns and even hates wearing female clothing or even moving in a feminine way making me think that P/Jack might be transgender. We are also introduced to Bess, a young woman fleeing her life for London where she becomes a prostitute in order to make money which she isn’t opposed to and even makes fun of her first client for knowing nothing about female pleasure. Jack and Bess’ stories are entwined as Bess is seen as the lover of Jack Sheppard but we are going to find out. Obviously, this is being told in the past tense with footnotes as this confession was found by Dr. Voth who is examining the confessions prior to publication.
Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: January 18, 2022
The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.
After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.
Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante . . . but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.
Title: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I have heard a lot about Ken Liu especially his fantasy books but I thought I would start with the most recommended book of his which is The Paper Menagerie. Since this is a short story collection I am going to follow the same process I have with other collection and review the stories individually before wrapping the review up with my thoughts on the collection as a whole.
The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species
The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species was a great introduction to Ken Liu’s writing as it blends lyrical speculative fiction with hard science fiction elements. The story is short so there isn’t much to say about it other than it documents the bookmaking habits of three different species and how reading or their interpretation of it changes. The main objective of the story, I believe, is drawing attention to how we make memories and pass the relevant information on to the next generation.
Title: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Historical, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
I have never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert before although I do remember seeing the Eat, Love, Pray movie which was decent, however, the dual timelines of City of Girls and the fact the main character is telling her life story reminded me vaguely of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This coupled with the fact I picked up my copy in a charity shop for less than £2 (hardcover although missing the dust jacket) meant it was finally time for me to pick this book up. We are following Vivian Morris between the present day and the 1940’s when she had been kicked out of Vassar College and sent to live with her Aunt Peg at the age of 19. The story begins with Angela sending Vivian a letter informs her of the death of her mother and asking what Vivian’s relationship was with her father. While Vivian can’t tell Angela what she meant to her father as only he could do that she can explain what he meant to her which hints at a strong relationship between them. However, Vivian begins her response by discussing how she grew up in an isolated home where there wasn’t much love for her and being sent to live with her Aunt Peg seemed to be the best thing for her at the time.
Title: Behind the Veil by E. J. Dawson
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction
Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?
In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.
For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.
When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.
As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.