Small Kingdoms and Other Stories


Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: JABerwocky

Pages: 176

Anne DeWitt is not the kind of principal that one wants to cross. Before coming to Travis High she had quite a different job at a very different type of school, and a different name. That was before the incident, of course. She now has her new name, new job, new town, and new life- unless her old one catches up with her. Anne likes her new life, a lot in fact, and she’s willing to do anything to protect it… anything. She may have to put that resolve to the test when her past makes an appearance in her present. 

As a long time fan of Charlaine Harris’ work, I was very excited to receive her latest work for review, and I was not disappointed! This is a book of four short stories centered around Anne and another character (introduced in the first story) Holt, and their exploits under new identities and new lives. Both of the main characters are well developed the first story and continue to become more fleshed out as the stories continue on. The secondary characters that are introduced in each story are also interesting and well developed. These stories were very different from my favorite series’ of Harris’ (Midnight, Texas is one of my favorite trilogies!), but it is definitely written with her voice and style. While I certainly wouldn’t say that it is laugh out loud funny, there is some great snark and sass combined with a bit of dark humor from these characters that I found quite enjoyable. I truly didn’t want these stories to end, and hope that there are more to come from this world! 

Many thanks to JABerwocky for the ARC! 

This is out May 28! 


Horrorstor: A Novel

Horrorstor cover

Author: Grady Hendrix

Genre: Suspense/Horror

Publisher: Quirk Books

Pages: 240


Orsk Furniture (basically a knock-off of Ikea) is a wonderful place to work for some, and a dead end for others. Something incredibly odd is happening there, though. Every morning when the employees arrive, they are finding smashed furniture, shattered glassware, a some very nasty substances smeared on couches. The security camera footage shows nothing. The managers are freaking out, because people from corporate will be arriving soon to evaluate. One of the floor managers, along with a couple of employees, volunteer to work an overnight shift in an attempt to find and put a stop to whomever is wreaking havoc. They assume that it is someone sneaking in, and managing to avoid the cameras. What they find, however, is much more sinister than breaking and entering.

This was my first Hendrix novel (also the author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism), and it was thoroughly enjoyable! It was horror, in the traditional sense, but it definitely had a nice creep factor to it. It was elevated by a very nice dose of humor, which I always enjoy. I loved the format of this book, as it was made to mimic a catalog, which really fit the storyline nicely and was very unique. The characters were pretty well developed. Maybe not as well as I would normally like them, but it didn’t seem to detract from my enjoyment of the story the way that it would in a more traditional storyline. If you’re a fan of books with a bit of a creepiness to them, I would recommend this one.

Little Heaven


Author: Nick Cutter

Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 496


It’s 1966 and Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva are assassins for hire, the best mercenaries of their time, and they all end up in the same place to kill one another. Needless to say, this does not turn out well. They band together, and are all hired by a woman to do a welfare check on her nephew, who has been taken by her father in to a religious compound known as Little Heaven. This leads to them having to face off with the Biggest Bad that any of them have ever faced before. Cut to 1980 and Micah’s daughter has been taken by one of the bad dude’s minion’s as what he knows is a lure to lead them back to Little Heaven to face off once again.

This book was strange, thrilling, and had nice horror elements all at once. It shifts between the “original” story of 1966 and the “present day” story of 1980, so the reader gets some nice world building for the supernatural elements, and a great backstory. The character development for the main characters was very well done, aside from the “standard” of using rape as one of the female’s main motivations. It is overused, overdone, and I know I am not the only one that is really wishing that authors would, please, come up with another backstory to use for their female characters to motivate them. It is not discussed often throughout this novel, really only in the divulging of her story, but if the mention of it is a trigger- here is your trigger warning. It is also a bit heavy on the racist slurs as part of the dialogue. That could have been cut down a bit. As to the story itself, I really enjoyed it very much! This was my first Cutter book, and his writing style reminded me a bit of King whom I am a huge fan of. It even seemed to borrow some elements from King stories, although not shamelessly or in any sort of a plagiarized manner. If you are a fan of the horror/supernatural suspense genre, I think that you would probably enjoy this novel. I will definitely be reading more Cutter novels in the future.

Thanks to Gallery Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories


Author: Stephen King

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Horror

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 512


As I have said many times before, short stories are one of my favorite things. This newest collection by King did not disappoint. In fact, it is what finally got me out of my reading slump. I had already ready several of the stories in previous collections/editions, although a couple were reworked or rewritten for this collection. Regardless of having read them before, they were all worth reading again. It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite story from this collection, but UR (a kindle with some very interesting features), Dune (an elderly judge has been making the canoe trip to a dune outside of his home since he was a boy to see the names of people who are to die soon written on its shore), and The Little Green God of Agony (a very wealthy man, who was in a plane crash and can’t get rid of the blinding pain, calls in a preacher to help him) are a few of the gems in this edition that I really enjoyed. The thing that I think that I loved the most about this collection was the pages that actually came before the stories themselves. Before each short story, King gives the reader a glimpse in to how the story came to him, what or who inspired it, and some of what his thought process was when he was penning it. It is incredibly interesting to get a glimpse in to this great author’s mind. Overall, I loved this collection, and would recommend it to any King or short story fan.

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train cover

Author: Paula Hawkins

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Pages: 336


Rachel takes the same train in to town every day. Every day she sees the same couple, and watches as their lives (as she sees them) unfold before her. Their lives that are being lived just a few houses down from the life that she so recently lost. She has made up her own story about their perfect life. In her mind, it is a wonderful life. It is wonderful, until the day that it isn’t. Rachel sees something that shatters her image of “Jess and Jason”. Not long after seeing this, “Jess” goes missing. Rachel is suddenly thrust in to the middle of, not only the investigation, but their lives and the lives of everyone around them- including her ex-husband and his new family. Will they believe what Rachel has to say?

I will start by saying that it actually took me two tries to really get in to this book and read it all the way through. I believe that was a “me” thing though. It is a book that you have to be in the mood for, and I don’t think that I was in the right frame of mind the first time. The second time, however, I really enjoyed it. It is told from different narrators, but mostly from the unreliable narrator that is Rachel. It would be easy to feel a bit lost if you aren’t paying attention to the book as you’re reading it, as the narrator is an unreliable one (a drunk), so it can be difficult to tell if you’re really getting the story or not. That being said, it is a great psychological thriller with a wonderful twist! If you enjoy books that keep you thinking and guessing, this is a good one for you!