My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones – Review

A horror obsessed Jade finds out that her hometown Proofrock is in danger—and despite some gruesome killings happening right under her nose, she is a little more thrilled than she needs to be that she’s finally experiencing a slasher in her own life.

Being an outcast in her hometown, a seventeen year old Native American girl named Jade Daniels utilizes horror movies as a coping mechanism to escape her abusive father and the rest of her environment. After discovering two murders that happened in Indian Lake, Jade starts thinking that this might be the start of a premeditated killing spree. In the meantime, the other side of Indian Lake lies Terra Nova; the former Shoshone territory has now been gentrified and altered into a construction site for the wealthy. While most people would be terrified of the continuous murders, Jade sees this as an opportunity to channel her inner Sherlock Holmes and depend on her slasher knowledge to solve the murder mystery.

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I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – Review

In this provocatively titled memoir, former iCarly star Jennette McCurdy details an honest account about her entire life as a child actress and how her mom dictated that journey.

iCarly was one of my favorite television shows as a teen, and I think that anyone who enjoyed watching it growing up can confirm that it was hilarious and entertaining. The role that Jennette McCurdy played—Sam Puckett—was particularly portrayed as witty, fearless and tough, but Jennette herself lived a very different life behind the scenes.

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Galatea by Madeline Miller – Review

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, while popular, can also be classified as being pretty misogynisticMadeline Miller spins this narrative, subverting the gendered tropes in her retelling of the epic tale.

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Review

The grisly, the sublime, and moral quandaries are all fascinating aspects of the Gothic genreand Silvia Moreno-Garcia doesn’t shy away from them in her novel, Mexican Gothic.

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Circe by Madeline Miller – Review

Being the daughter of one of the most powerful gods might give you the most extravagant lifestyle you can imagine–yet Circe’s life is anything but that.

A tale of triumphs, grief, heartbreak, and ego-filled gods, Circe focuses on the peculiar daughter of Helios (god of the sun) and Perse (a nymph and naiad). Since her childhood, Circe the nymph has had to go through all sorts of trials and tribulations that her siblings don’t even have to–and she eventually snaps, getting ousted from the opulent house of Helios.

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Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk – Review

17 people go on a writer’s retreat to craft pretty words with no distractions, no contact with the outside world, all together in an abandoned theater for three months. What could possibly go wrong?

Synopsis:

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a compilation of 14 disturbing short stories that are part of a bigger narrative. Following the lives of 19 people with names representative of the stories they tell, such as Saint Guts, Sister Vigilante, and Mother Nature. Palahniuk adds a much darker and satirical tone in a setting and premise that might remind the audience of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

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Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Review

In the dream-like House encompassed by a sea, Piranesi is surrounded by beautiful statues, endless halls and even dangerous pathways. While this labyrinthine is the only thing he’s ever known, Piranesi discovers that there’s more to it than he realizes.

Synopsis:

The fantasy novel follows the journal entries of Piranesi, a man who lives in a place called the House comprising infinite vestibules, intricate statues, and even an ocean that sweeps back and forth in it. Being the sole inhabitant of the House – besides an occassional visitor he calls the Other whom he does research with – he explores and takes notes of every nook and cranny of it in his journal. From the tidal patterns to the skeletons and statues, Piranesi has great respect for this World – but things start getting fishy about the only place he’s ever known, and we’re not talking about the ones he catches for food.

Review:

Like the House, the prose itself is beautiful – Clarke somehow makes statues and fishing sound intriguing. Although many fantasy books can have complicated world-building that can confuse or bore readers, Clarke’s descriptions are delightfully entrancing. From Piranesi’s journal entries, his appreciation and awe for the House is more than conspicuous, calling himself the “Beloved Child of the House.” It’s akin to how many people often view religion:

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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill – Review

Rock star Judas Coyne with a taste for the macabre decides to buy a ghost off the internet. It sounds gnarly, stupid and a waste of time – but he eventually wishes it was only that.

Synopsis:

[Content warning and spoiler: assault, gore, violence, death, mental, physical and sexual abuse]

This novel follows a rock star, Judas Coyne (Jude), who loves collecting obscure and freakish objects. With his creepy collection that includes everything from a noose to a snuff film, nothing seems extreme to him. So when he becomes the highest bidder for a ghost on sale from a website, he merely thinks it’s a scam. But then, the ghost arrives in the form of a dead man’s suit, in a heart-shaped box. What then ensues is completely unexpected and reveals more of Jude’s past and relationships.

My review:

Heart-Shaped Box sounds like it has a bit of a goofy premise, and I was initially skeptical of it because combining technology with the supernatural has always been difficult to pull off, I find – it either comes across as cringe-worthy or trying too hard, unless it’s intentionally comedic.

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Near the Bone by Christina Henry – Review

Imagine living on a secluded snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere. You’ve been living with your husband, a monster, for 12 years – only to discover that there’s a new one lurking in the woods. How are you going to survive and escape both of them?

[Content Warning: SA, Abuse]

Christina Henry’s Near the Bone explores the horrors that the main character – Mattie – has to endure in an abusive relationship with her husband, William. While the premise does make it seem like the book mainly explores the strange supernatural-like entity living on the mountain, it actually focuses more on the abuse that Mattie endures which I don’t mind, the blurb is just a bit misleading. Mattie and William both have been residing on a mountain, almost completely secluded from the outside world. After years of being trapped and not having seen a single soul, it’s clear that William is not who claims to be and has tried to instill the idea that Mattie’s life revolves entirely around him. Her discovery of a horrifying yet intelligent creature called the “cryptid” alarms her and shows that there’s something else she should be afraid of, which also becomes the catalyst of her realisation that she could try to escape.

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