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Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory PowerBurn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Burn Our Bodies Down is the second book I’ve read by Rory Power, and I’m really wondering if she is maybe just not the author for me. Wilder Girls was enticing but the ending just left me a bit dissatisfied because I was expecting more, and Burn Our Bodies down had such potential to discuss a tense mother-daughter relationship but instead it was a slow burn story that, again, ended kind of strangely?

Also, this author has a real thing for plants.

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Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Mexican Gothic has proven to be a really tough book to review! I have mixed feelings about the book, but those mixed feelings are, on the whole, positive, if that makes any sense? Basically, there’s nothing I disliked about Mexican Gothic. It’s an atmospheric, eerie gothic story, and I was super invested in it for the most part.

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Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul TremblaySurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government's emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie's husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie's only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink. 

As Paul Tremblay books go, this one Survivor Song isn’t my favourite. It’s another one of those books that left me wondering what the point of it was. Survivor Song is a story about two women called Rams and Natalie who are trying to get to a medical clinic during a mutated rabies outbreak. Sounds fun, right?

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Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat EllisHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker - she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map - and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there's someone - or something - stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

First of all, look at that cover. Is that not the creepiest thing to look at late at night?? I’m glad I read this on my Kindle to be honest. I’ve been trying to read more horror books lately, and so when I saw that Harrow Lake was up on NetGalley I swept it up.

I have to say, the atmosphere of this book is on point. It’s suuuuuper creepy for the first two thirds when you have no idea what’s going on. Lola, the main character, goes to stay in a small town with a grandmother that she barely knows, and is surrounded by rumours of her vanished mother. It’s CREEPY. There are creepy puppets and shadows and noises. I had to stop reading it late into the night because some parts were giving me chills. Kat Ellis pulled the atmosphere off perfectly.

As for the plot, I would say it’s pretty standard for a YA horror. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did, but it’s not something that I will rave about and I wouldn’t say that the twist(s) were anything spectacular. I was’t necessarily reading this horror book for the twists though, because what I really wanted was to be creeped out and on the edge of my seat because of FEAR.

I did feel a bit disconnected from Lola, especially because she seemed to hate everyone that she came into contact with. While this made sense for her character (and be patient if you don’t necessarily get it in the beginning) it made it quite hard for me to fall in love with the story and her journey.

I think if you’re into classic horror movies then you’ll really enjoy Harrow Lake for the chilling atmosphere and the sleepless nights!

Book Review: Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

Book Review: Devils Unto Dust by Emma BerquistDevils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 10th April 2018
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Willie has always survived. No matter what life in Glory, Texas, has thrown at her. The sickness that swept through the state and turned most living creatures into terrifying shakes. Her own mother succumbing to the disease. Her father disappearing into saloons and gambling and liquor. Willie survives. And she'll make sure her younger brothers and sister do, too.

Then her good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most merciless shake hunters in town, and Willie is on the hook for his debt. With two young hunters as guide, Willie sets out across the desert to find him, and make him pay up.

But the desert holds many dangers—and the shakes are only a few of them. This is no place for the weak.

You guys have been sitting on this book! I read Devils Unto Dust when it first came out, and let me tell you that it’s THE zombie Western that you’ve been waiting for.

Devils Unto Dust is a debut novel, and yet it feels as though Berquist has years of writing experience. She drew me in right away with the desert landscape and the adorable family that are trying to survive the apocalypse. Not only was the writing descriptive and lush, the characters were easy to connect to and gripped me from the very start.

I was addicted the entire time, and I’m so, so pleased that I picked up this debut. I only regret not shouting about it sooner! Devils Unto Dust is super intense and action-packed, and I couldn’t put the book down once I’d started it. Now that I’m talking about it again – over a year later – I kind of want to revisit this world in either a sequel (PLEASE) or a reread.

I loved the cross between a Western and zombies, and it’s something that I suddenly need more of in my life. If you’re a fan of zombie horror or survival stories, then this is definitely the book for you. If you love reading about families and siblings doing anything for one another then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.

While Devils Unto Dust isn’t an all time favourite, it’s one that has clearly stuck with me, and will probably continue to stick with me over the years. I’ve already read the author’s sophomore novel, Missing, Presumed Dead, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future.