• Horror Book Reviews

    The Sign of the Beast

    What I admire most about Oates’ brand of suspenseful horror is that she truly understands the predatory nature of people. Mrs. S—— is definitely the predator in this case, taunting and teasing Howard mercilessly, making inappropriate comments about his physical development. The story seems very straightforward, that this Sunday school teacher is dressing provocatively to entice young Howard, but by the halfway point my assumptions were challenged. Similar to Miao Dao, The Sign of the Beast deals with the confusion and shame that comes with puberty and the sexual awakening of an adolescent. Howard feels embarrassed about the way he’s treated by Mrs. S—— yet finds himself desiring her sexually.…

  • Horror Book Reviews

    Gwendy’s Button Box

    What a fast and fun little read, Gwendy’s Button Box takes a unique spin on the wish trope and the powerful burden of choice. Young Gwendy is presented with a mysterious gift, a button box with different colored buttons and levers, the functions of which are unknown. She is given ownership of this box by a mysterious man whose intentions are unclear and whose presence seems to haunt her everywhere she goes. Now the story is a little predictable, anyone that is familiar with the wish trope will know some of the themes that go along with it. It is also made immediately apparent who one of the main antagonists…

  • Horror Book Reviews

    The Dead House

    The Dead House is a chilling ghost story about a young woman’s descent into madness as she’s swallowed up by the wild Irish countryside. The prose in this novel is absolutely beautiful and paints a stunning picture of a land that is unsettling, the countryside gives the impression of being stuck in time, still deeply connected to Celtic tradition. The land is haunted by the tragedy of the Great Famine, in which over a million people died of disease and starvation. When I had read that there was a ouija board in the synopsis I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes. I quickly found that I was mistaken in my…

  • Urban Fantasy Book Reviews

    The Line

    The Line is an urban fantasy about a powerful Southern witching family, told from the point of view of Mercy, the family’s black sheep. For the most part I liked Mercy’s character for the majority of the book, I could relate to her and could understand some of the troubles she faced, though by the end there are some inconsistencies in her characterization. There was a love triangle right off the bat which I didn’t care for, the childhood friend and her sister’s boyfriend. Her friend is handsome and dedicated to her, and she knows that she should love him back, but she just doesn’t feel that spark that she…

  • Japanese Thriller Book Reviews

    Confessions

    A teacher finds out that two of her students murdered her daughter and finds herself conflicted between her duty as a teacher and her despair and drive for revenge. This book even from the premise sounds insane and incredibly dark, doesn’t it? Confessions is the debut novel of Japanese crime writer Kanae Minato and is one of only two of her novels that have been translated to English. After reading and loving Penance I knew that I had to pick this book up. This was actually a really difficult book to write a review for because when I finished reading I was left speechless for good and bad reasons. It’s…

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