A Universe of Wishes,A We Need Diverse Books Anthology, Edited by Dhonielle Clayton, A Quick Review

This incredible book of short stories took my breath away. Find the best way to spend a wish. How to make hard choices. Pushing boundaries. Be bold. Not to forget your past. That you may need a partner in crime. Dare to Dream. That wishes can come true. To learn the true story of the heart in unexpected ways. The true price of not feeling heartbreak. To unfold your own myth and be connected across the ages. Stories of beauty. A fairytale in NYC. How love is always real, no matter the form it takes. These stories create an enchanting and, sometimes, heart wrenching way to look at love and I cannot reccomend this higher. I do not think any of these tales will leave me any time soon.

Malice by Heather Walter, A Quick Review

This take on a Sleeping Beauty fairytale with a twist is just as beautiful as it is dark. Alyce is the Dark Grace. She is at least half Vila, which is a different kind of Fae than all the other Graces she works around in the kingdom of Briar. A Grace usually uses her power to make a person more beautiful, more charming or more wise, not so with Alyce. Alyce is marked different, not only by her blood, but by her mainly negative potions she creates for others to use against their enemies. She usually will create something to cause warts, or perhaps hair loss, before a big event. This and the cruel treatment of the other Graces causes Alyce to believe she really is a monster. It is not until she meets Princess Aurora that things change. Princess Aurora has a curse upon her, a curse that will kill her at age 21 unless she receives true love’s kiss. Alyce must find a way to help the princess, grow stronger in her true power, all without becoming the monster almost everyone believes she is. The question is, will Alyce save the kingdom or destroy it? I highly recommend this gorgeous fairytale to fans of fantasy. It is a truly mesmerising story that had me reading late into the night! Expect Malice to be released in April of 2021. I’d also like to thank Netgalley for this ARC!

Dreams of the Dying by Nicolas Lietzau, A Quick Review

This book serves as a prequel to the game Enderal, which I have never played and, honestly, know nothing about… besides reading this book I suppose. However, my lack in Enderal expertise didn’t matter and I was immediately drawn into this story by the very first incredibly haunting section. Jespar is the main character and he suffers from nightmares, particularly of a corpse with flaming hands that is trying to make him, “See”. This book has a mix of humor, amazing details and descriptions of this world, while also dealing with some serious moral issues that can be hard to read about but, still, enlightening. I recommend this highly to fans of fantasy, you do not need experience with the game Enderal to enjoy this, however I certainly want to strike out farther into this world now. The author, Lietzau, is also the creator of this game, and I am absolutely fascinated by this world after reading this.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, A Quick Review

This story takes place in the year 1950 and follows the confident and beautiful Noemi. After being called away from a costume party by her father, she is told that she absolutely must go to her cousin, Catalina, and try to get to the bottom of the disturbing message she has sent them from her new home at the mansion High Place. It’s when Noemi arrives at this once beautiful and grand, but now grandly dilapidated, house that the creepiness begins. Noemi is a strong-willed woman and brave, however she cannot make sense of the visions and illusions that haunt her in High Place or the strange state of her cousin. This book is creepy in every way and the characters have stayed on my mind since I finished reading. The idea behind this tale is disturbing and pushed me to wonder about the morbid and hateful ideals spoken of throughout this book. It’s not just the actual imagery of horror but the mindset that created it in the first place, the master of the house and his whole horrible objective. There were parts that had my skin crawling with chills and goosebumps. Definitely a great read for this spooky season!

The Raven by Jonathan Janz, A Quick Review

This action packed thriller set in a post apocalyptic world follows Dez as he attempts to find someone that was taken from him. Dez is a Latent, meaning he doesn’t have any powers. When the world went crazy, people everywhere developed Supernatural powers turning them into the monsters of myth. This dangerous world is not only horrifying but incredibly interesting in its structure. Little did I know when I began reading this book how much I would love it. I loved Dez’s character and felt like I was part of the story, at times feeling like he was speaking directly to me particularly when he was journaling. Overall The Raven was a really fun read and a perfect fit for this creeptastic time of year!

After Sundown edited by Mark Morris, A Quick Review

This was a great collection of horror short stories. All the authors involved are incredibly talented at creating creepy atmospheres that would frighten anyone. From monsters to simply unsettling themes, this collection contains it all. I highly suggest this to anyone looking for a scare!

A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

First of all, I do not know how anybody can pass by this cover without feeling the NEED to know more. And, I’d like to say this story is just as beautiful as it appears. I really appreciate the author’s note at the beginning. A kind of warning about topics that could make a reader uncomfortable. However, all these topics were covered with such class that I had no difficulty. This is based on a Portuguese story about a princess named Ysabel. Ysabel is not a typical princess and believes she is cursed. She is basically starving herself because the food she touches and tries to eat turns into flowers. However, with the help of an unexpected new arrival she learns to turn this curse into a blessing. This book has so many layers, from religious to political to the fantastical. What this comes down to is can Ysabel accept herself, all the things that make up herself, and be true to herself.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, A Quick Review

I had no idea how much I needed Yadriel and Julian in my life! This is such a vibrant book that simply overflows with love and acceptance. Yadriel is a 16 year old trans boy that is right on the cusp of discovering that not only can he be accepted by his family but he will find a way to be more accepting of himself as well. Before he meets Julian, Yadriel thinks that all he needs is to become a brujo, which he believes will show everyone that he is also truly a boy. When he secretly completes the ritual to become a brujo, he also tries to raise a spirit and this is when the ghost of Julian enters the story. This is an eye opening tale in many ways and I was captivated until the end.

Percivious Insomnia by JJ and AJ Cook, A Quick Review

I loved the idea behind this book. It begins with new information being released about the future of mankind and our evident downfall that is approaching. What would really happen if we found out that everything we thought we knew about life itself was a lie? The introduction to all the different characters was great and I felt like the authors created a really good cast for this story. The concept makes for a thrilling tale, particularly that last chapter. I had a “Wow” moment at the end that makes me excited for the next book. The only issue I had was a little confusion following which character’s POV I was reading because it would sometimes change from paragraph to paragraph. However, I was able to get used to this unique style of writing and wound up really enjoying this book.

Monstre: Volume One by Duncan Swan, A Quick Review

This was so intense! Right from the very beginning to the very last line in this debut novel by Duncan Swan. The apocalypse has come for our planet, and it begins in a really interesting way which the reader learns about towards the end. This is not a typical horror novel. It covers two different time periods, day 0 and onward, and then starting at day 89 and onward. I loved seeing this play out with the different characters and their point of view. Also, the monsters themselves are very creepy and wow, INTENSE. I think creepy is the perfect word for this, literally giving me chills at times. A gory, creepy and intense ride into a world turned into a nightmare, read at your own risk!