Review: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix


Author: Grady Hendrix
Published: 2014
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
Rating: A-

You don’t have to wait long for creepy things to start happening in “Horrorstör”. Employees of Orsk, a knock-off IKEA, have been dealing with weird things since the store opened. Staff keep getting lost on the floor, are receiving text messages that say “help” from blocked numbers and the furniture is trashed while the store is closed. Amy, a disenchanted employee, can care less about all this. Her main goal is to fly under manager Basil’s radar until her transfer comes in. When corporate sets a date for a team of evaluators to visit, Basil panics. He’s desperate to figure out who is vandalizing the store before corporate’s arrival. So, he bribes Amy into staying overnight with him to catch the culprit. As the night deepens, Amy begins to realize they’re trapped inside the building with a malevolent entity bent on “reconditioning” them.

Seeing as I’ve definitely gotten lost in the twisting labyrinth of an IKEA store before, I loved the idea of a haunted knock-off version. Orsk’s similar windowless floor layout is what made it such a great setting for a ghost story. It was easily believable that the characters would have such a hard time escaping the store, especially in the dark with things hunting them. Continue reading

Review: Double Play by Kelley Armstrong

double play

Double Play
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2016
Genre: Thriller
Series: Nadia Stafford #3.5
Rating: A-

For a lot of fans of the Nadia Stafford series, “Double Play” was a huge surprise. This series is a trilogy and not as popular as Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld or Young Adult books. So, fans had to wait years between each installment. When the third book, “Wild Justice” finally hit shelves, I hadn’t expected Armstrong to write anything further in that world. So, I was thrilled to see notification of this novella’s release pop-up in my email. Did I want to read a little more about Nadia and Jack? Why, yes. Yes I did.
Continue reading

Review: Hunter’s Season


Hunter’s Season
Author: Thea Harrison
Published: 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Elder Races #4.7
Rating: A

Hunter’s Season” is definitely the best out of the Elder Races novellas. While I thoroughly enjoyed all the others, my biggest complaint always centered around how the main plot was handled. The other novellas had fairly large plots and felt like they really should have been full length titles. The result was intricate plots getting wrapped up too easily (“True Colors“), left feeling unfinished (“Natural Evil“), or feeling extremely rushed (“Devil’s Gate“). Luckily, that wasn’t the case here. Continue reading

Review: Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick


Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike
Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Illustrator: Emma Rios
Published: 2014
Genre: Comic
Rating: A-

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick is a comic that borrows from several genres. The most prominent ones being western, folktales and horror. In 2014, it was nominated for a handful of Eisner Awards and I can see why. The illustrations by Emma Rios are gorgeous and the writing, as always with DeConnick, is fabulous.

I blasted through this volume pretty quick on a 45 minute bus ride one morning. (Warning: for those of you who like to read on your commutes: if you’re considering doing that with this one, you probably don’t want to take that empty seat next to the little old lady. There is nudity and sex on several pages, which makes for some “I’m judging you” side-eye. Don’t be like me.) Continue reading

Review: The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

the fire rose

The Fire Rose
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published: 1995
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Elemental Masters #1
Rating: A

The Fire Rose is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, which re-imagines classic fairy-tales. This one is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but is set in the early 1900’s in California.

Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died; leaving behind a mountain of debt and no way to pay it all off. Now all Rose has to her name is a couple of ratty dresses and a handful of worthless mementos. And, since this is 1905, her options of employment are pretty limited. So, when Rose receives a job offer to be a governess for the railroad baron, Jason Cameron, she accepts it and moves to San Francisco. Continue reading

Review: House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels


House of Many Shadows
 Barbara Michaels
Publish Date: 1974
Genre: Gothic Mystery
Series: N/A
Rating: A –

In House of Many Shadows, Meg Rittenhouse is having hallucinations after being hit by a car. Her doctor had told her to expect this and that they’ll eventually wear off. But after seeing an elephant strolling down a busy street in New York, Meg has decided to find somewhere more relaxing to live. So, she calls up her rich cousin, Sylvia, for help. Sylvia agrees that Meg needs help and offers to let her stay at the large Victorian house she owns in the country. But the house has a twisted history and suddenly Meg is having joint hallucinations with Sylvia’s step-son, Andy, about a family that lived on the grounds before the current house was even built.

Meg and Andy join together to discover who the people are in their visions and why there are shadows lurking around the house at night. As their research starts going deeper into what happened to the family who previously lived on the property, the hallucinations start becoming more real and revealing. The great thing about this book is that both Meg and Andy have had some issues that keeps you guessing if what they’re seeing is really paranormal or if they’re just feeding off of each other.  Continue reading

Review: Perfume by Patrick Suskind


Author: Patrick Süskind
Published: 1985
Genre: Horror
Series: Standalone
Rating: A

Perfume follows the life of fictional serial killer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in 18th century France. From the minute he’s born, the people who come into contact with Grenouille recoil from him without truly knowing why. As Grenouille ages, we see him develop  from an emotionless child to a full grown adult who develops a sick obsession.

Throughout the entire novel the reader is in Grenouille’s head. It’s this and the extreme lack of humanity we experience through Grenouille that makes this book so creepy. The narrator likens Grenouille to a tick, a person with cold detachment from anything remotely resembling human emotion and with a self-serving drive that is the only thing spurring him onward through life.

Grenouille lacks a key component that signals humanness, a scent. His lack of a scent immediately disturbs people, even if most of them don’t understand why they have such a strong aversion to him. Because of this, Grenouille gets passed around until he’s an adult. Yet, despite seeing how sadly his childhood unfolds, Grenouille evokes no sympathy because he has no emotional reaction to anything that happens to him. He just accepts whatever is thrown his way and quietly watches the world while he bides his time. When Grenouille finally decides what he wants to pursue, he does so in a methodical and ruthless style that is chilling in how easily he seems to accomplish it.

If you’re looking for a quietly creepy book to read for Halloween this year, I highly recommend giving this one a shot.

Review: Chew, Vol 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman


Chew, Vol 1: Taster’s Choice
Written by: John Layman
Illustrations by: Rob Guillory
Published: 2009
Genre: Comic
Rating: A

After the bird flu wiped out 23 million people, the government outlawed the consumption of poultry. Tony Chu is a vice cop who is a Cibopath. Cibopath’s are a version of a touch psychic, but instead of getting a reading off of something by merely touching it, they have to eat it.

In Taster’s Choice, Tony and his partner are on a case to bring down a chicken smuggling ring when things take a wrong turn. Suddenly, Tony finds himself with a dying serial killer on his hands and the only way he can think to get the names of the killer’s victims is to eat him. As it turns out, his department isn’t cool with that. But the FDA is and Tony is quickly recruited into their ranks.

Chew is glorious with its fun dark humor, oddball characters and warped version of reality. At this moment, I’ve read the first three volumes of the series and Taster’s Choice is definitely the most solid one. It’s largely an introduction story, working to set-up the world, characters and what will be the main arc of the series but it’s done incredibly well. The story is tight and all the characters who take up page time are given distinct traits that make you want to know more.

I highly recommend this to anyone with a taste for dark humor and a bit of mystery.

Review: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb


Innocent in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Published: 2007
Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi
Series: In Death #24
Rating: A

Innocent in Death is number 24 of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series and my introduction to the books.

It’s the year 2060 and lieutenant Eve Dallas has taken a case involving a young teacher’s murder. The case seems like a standard poisoning, but Eve is having trouble building a good list of possible suspects. The young teacher seemed honestly well liked in the community with no real enemies. On the home front, Eve is battling her own insecurities as an old flame from her husband’s, path has suddenly returned. Continue reading

Review: Radiance


Author: Grace Draven
Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Rating: A +

Radiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog before getting released as an ebook.

Ildiko and Brishen, are the royal spares in their respective families. Each only important enough for a marriage of convenience to strengthen the relationship between the Kai and humans. Issue is that humans tend to flee in terror at the sight of Kai, who are armed with sharp teeth and claws. The Kai are equally off-put by human features, believing the way their eyes roll around in their sockets creepy. Despite their misgivings, Ildiko and Brishen are determined to be allies against a brewing battle over trade routes and the poisonous atmosphere of court.

It’s hard not to gush about this book because there was just so much that I adored about it. The slow build-up of a relationship between Ildiko and Brishen was wonderful. I loved how honesty between them was often painted in a courageous light and was the foundation they built their relationship on. Watching them overcome their knee-jerk reactions to each other’s appearance was also a delight. It’s hard to find a romance where both parties think the sight of each other is disturbing and rather hideous. The funny thing is that Draven did a great job of making the things the Kai found creepy about humans believable. Quite a few times in the story I sat there going “huh, I guess that would be a little odd.”

Aside from the relationship, there was also an intriguing political plot occurring in the background. From the epilogue (which acts as more of a teaser for the second book) it seems this will be more of the focus for the next book. It’s the political machinations at work that often had me thinking that things will never be smooth sailing for Brishen or Ildiko. Too much is at play and working against them in ways neither expected. So, I’m on the edge of my seat to discover how they’ll manage to continue forward and remain happy.

I can tell that this is going to be a book that I continually try to force people to read. If you like high fantasy with a strong romance, then I suggest you check this out. I’m already stalking Draven’s website to see when the next novel will be released.