Review: Strange Girls: Women in Horror Anthology

Strange Girls

Authors: Charlotte Platt, Jude Reid, Alyson Faye, Claire Hamilton Russell, Rachel Bolton, Angelique Fawns, E.F. Schraeder, Angela Sylvaine, Sam Lauren, Marnie Azzarelli, Hillary Lyon, Rebecca Rowland, Danielle R. Bailey, Ash Tudor, Azzurra Nox, Emma Johnson-Rivardy, Regan Moore, Phoebe Jane Johnson, Maxine Kollar, Madison Estes, Wondra Vanian, and Erica Ruhe
Publisher: Twisted Wing Productions
Released: February 18th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Necrophilia, rape, assault, mutilation, stalking
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Strange Girls through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Strange Girls is the newest anthology out on the racks, and it has a specific and unique focus. This whole collection is a variation on the standard horror themes – with girls and women being the focus and authors behind it all.

Naturally, when I saw this compilation I knew I had to give it a read. I’ve been getting really into horror lately, but have been wanting to see different takes on the matter. This anthology seemed to do exactly that, while providing insight and perspective that I would very much appreciate. I loved that this anthology aimed to empower women and girls in the world of horror, that’s not something you see every day.

As with any anthology, there are certain short stories that I felt really spoke to me. In this instance, my favorites were Night Terrors, Patterns of Fairytales, Cracked, Campfire Tales: The Bloody Rings, and A Song Only She Can Hear.

My rating is based on the average of all the ratings I gave each short story in this anthology. So to get a better idea for each one, take a peek down below. I’ve included a quick description, warning label, and rating for each one. As well as a quick rundown of my opinion for them all.

 

“And in a world where everyday women’s choices are dwindling or are at stake, this anthology serves to celebrate these girls’ choices.”

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Review: The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay

The Last ConversationAuthor: Paul Tremblay
Series: Forward Collection #5
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Released: September 17th, 2019
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is the fifth novella in the Forward Collection – a project created by six different authors. The entire idea of the project was to showcase a far-flung future, all written with the hopes of getting the reader (or listener) to think.

The world has changed. Not that Dr. Kuhn’s patient knows that. They woke up in this contain room, and they remember nothing before this time. Imagine living in a world so small, where you would be forced to trust your caregiver to tell the truth about every facet of your being.

That is the world created in Paul Tremblay’s writing. It is by far the most horror-esque novella in the series, with dark and disturbing tones liberally strewn throughout.

 

“What does the knowing imply about your person, your interests prior to your being here?”

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Review: Spider-Gwen Vol. 6: The Life of Gwen Stacy

Spider-Gwen Vol. 6Author: Jason Latour
Artists: Robbi Rodriguez, Renzi
Publisher: Marvel
Released: October 2nd, 2018
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Spider-Gwen 30-34
Rating: 4 kitties

I read Spider-Gwen Vol. 6 as single issues through the Marvel Unlimited app.

Spider-Gwen Vol. 6: The Life of Gwen Stacy is the final volume in this run of Spider-Gwen. But don’t worry! Her story is far from over. This just marks the end of Jason Latour’s writing for the series. Seanan McGuire picks up the reigns from here.

Gwen Stacy has been through a lot these past few years. But now she has to be up for fighting one last foe (for now): the Kingpin. Matt Murdock has been making her life a living hell, and worst of all; he knows her secret.

But Gwen has realized that if she’s going to be the change in the world, she’s first got to change herself and the way she behaves. And that means taking down the Kingpin through proper means.

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Review: The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

The Unspoken NameAuthor: A.K. Larkwood
Series: The Serpent Gates #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: February 11th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Human sacrifices
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of The Unspoken Name through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Unspoken Name is the first novel in a new epic fantasy series by A.K. Larkwood. It’s also a novel that I’ve been hearing nonstop chatter about – all gushing reviews and commentary. So naturally, I knew that this was going to be a piece worth checking out.

Csorwe has lived her entire life knowing when and where she would die. She grew up knowing that she was the Chosen Bride of the Unspoken One. And that meant that on the day of her fourteenth birthday, she would become a sacrifice to him.

Her birthday came, but the sacrifice did not. For one wonderful wizard walked into her life and offered her a choice. It was the first real choice ever offered to her, and it changed her life forever. Literally.

 

“The Chosen Bride of the Unspoken One was set apart by protocol, but also by pragmatism. There was no point cultivating the friendship of a Chosen Bride.”

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Review: Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

SensationalAuthor: Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Series: Spectacle #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: February 11th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Graphic depictions of murder
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Sensational through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sensational is the second novel in Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Spectacle series. And dare I say that it surpasses the first novel? Set in an alternate version of Paris in 1889, this novel infuses fantasy elements with detailed character development, creating a thrilling tale.

Nathalie Baudin has come to terms with her being an Insightful. At times she may not love her gift, but who can blame her? For you see, Nathalie has a very specific gift – if placed in front of a body, she can witness the murder as it happens. From the murderer’s eyes. Still, she loves being able to help out, when she can. Even if it does tend to drag her into the most fascinating of dangers.

A fact that couldn’t be truer than ever, now that the World Fair has come to Paris. As it turns out, somebody else in this city has opted to celebrate the occasion as well, but by a series of beheadings that terrorize the streets of Paris.

 

“This wasn’t having a vision or reading a book. This wasn’t attending an execution. This was seeing something appalling and uncomfortably compelling.”

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Blog Tour: Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

Courting Mr. LincolnAuthor: Louis Bayard
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Released: April 23rd, 2019
Received: Blog Tour
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Courting Mr. Lincoln in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Courting Mr. Lincoln is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of Abraham Lincoln – but with a twist. This novel takes a deeper look at the people so pivotal in Lincoln’s life; Mary Todd and Joshua Speed.

Mary Todd is the woman that Abraham Lincoln would one day marry. That’s a story many history fans are well aware of. But what of her life leading up to their introduction? Or their time of the courtship itself? These are frequently overlooked parts of the story.

Then there’s Joshua Speed, the famous best friend of Lincoln. His story is yet another that has been slimmed down to a one-dimensional focus. That is what makes his half of this novel so breathtaking.

 

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

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Review: The Wagers by Sean Michaels

The WagersAuthor: Sean Michaels
Publisher: Random House Canada
Released: January 21st, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of The Wagers through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Wagers is the second novel released by the one and only Sean Michaels. This time around, he’s writing about a comedian, and he needs a major change in his life. Or in his luck. Either would suffice, at this point.

Theo Poitris has been doing standup comedy on the side since he was a teenager. He’s loved the thrill and truth of it, refusing to ever tell a joke more than once. But then one day he realizes that he’s chasing an old dream and not getting anywhere, so it’s time for a dramatic change.

 

“When Theo went on stage he wanted to be able to trust whatever happened – to get up and tell a joke and to know without a doubt, for a few faint seconds, whether that joke was any good.”

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Review: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Scavenge the StarsAuthor: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Released: January 7th, 2020
Received: Own
Warnings: Abuse, drug use, maiming, child slavery, gambling
Rating: 4 kitties

Scavenge the Stars is the first novel in a new series of the same name, written by Tara Sim. It’s been described as a gender-bent retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, and being a massive fan of that novel, I just knew I had to give this one a try.

In a world where debts are an unfortunate reality, certain (and wealthier) members of society have found a solution. A way of getting their money back. They’re called debtors ships. These ships take on people – adults and children alike – and force them into work until they’ve paid off their (or their family’s) debt.

For the last seven years, that has been Amaya’s life. Not that she was allowed even her name, while onboard the ship. Instead, she was merely Silverfish. But she is a girl with a long memory, and she will have her revenge, once she is free.

Cayo is the son of a merchant, but not a wealthy one. No, those funds went away with Cayo’s gambling habit. But that is far from the end to Cayo’s story, for the city he lives in is as complex as the day is long.

 

“Women with knives are shaper than any mind.”

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Review: You Have Arrived At Your Destination by Amor Towles

You Have Arrived At Your DestinationAuthor: Amor Towles
Series: Forward Collection #4
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Released: September 17th, 2019
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

Amor Towels’ You Have Arrived At Your Destination is the fourth novella in the Forward Collection – a project created by six different authors. The entire idea of the project was to showcase a far-flung future, all written with the hopes of getting the reader (or listener) to think.

Sam and his wife have finally decided to have a child. But they’re not willing to leave anything to chance – so they’ve reached out to Vitek. Vitek is a company that believes that they can design a child’s genes so accurately as to determine their future behavior and their path in life itself.

This might sound compelling to some, but things quickly turn disturbing for Sam, as he sees more and more about his potential future child and their life.

 

“There was no better predictor of an earnings disappointment than a brand-new corporate headquarters.”

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Review: Bury the Lede

Bury the LedeAuthor: Gary Dunn
Artists: Claire Roe, Miguel Muerto
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Released: October 9th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Hanging
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Bury the Lede through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Bury the Lede is a new graphic novel out in the wild, and it is a bitter crime noir graphic novel. Not exactly something you see every day (though it’d be nice if that changed). This story tells the darker side of reporting – what a reporter might have to go through in order to snag a story. And the burning wreckage they leave in their wake.

Madison T. Jackson just managed to snag herself an internship at The Boston Lede. All she really has to do to coast through the semester is support the full-time reporters on staff. Or she could do what it takes to get some recognition.

Luckily for her, a murder and a missing child give her exactly the opportunity she needs to shine. But one should never expect a happy tale, not when the beginning is so dark and disturbing.

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