Friday, December 9, 2022

TORTURED WILLOWS poetry by Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray & Geneve Flynn

Today Alex recommends TORTURED WILLOWS poetry by Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray & Geneve Flynn. We hope you'll check it out! 




Tortured Willows poetry by Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray & Geneve Flynn

"The willow is femininity, desire, death. Rebirth. With its ability to grow from a single broken branch, it is the living embodiment of immortality. It is the yin that wards off malevolent spirits. It is both revered and shunned. In Tortured Willows, four Southeast Asian women writers of horror expand on the exploration of otherness begun with the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.

Like the willow, women have bent and bowed under the expectations and duty heaped upon them. Like the willow, they endure and refuse to break.

With exquisite poetry, Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn invite you to sit beneath the tortured willow's gravid branches and listen to the uneasy shiver of its leaves.”

Amazon | Goodreads 


Alex's Review

TORTURED WILLOWS: BENT. BOWED. UNBROKEN is a poetry anthology from a powerhouse cast of writers/poets. It's loaded with Asian heritage, profoundly personal experiences, and the resilience of women. Culture clash vs. multiculturalism, erasure culture, identity, and systemic sexism are just a few themes mixed into these poignant and brilliant poems. Oftentimes, women are both the haunted and the ghosts. There are not enough words to convey how impressive and strong the words are on every page. A must-read, must-experience anthology!




Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about any or all of these works of poetry as well as any recent reads in the comments below.




We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.





Alex is a Horror Spotlight contributing reviewer. You can find Alex on Goodreads, on Twitter as @finding_montauk and on Instagram as @findingmontauk1.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Follow Me To Ground by Sue Rainsford Review

Today Cassie recommends FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by Sue Rainsford. We hope you'll check it out! 




Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

"A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal - one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairytale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning."

Amazon | Goodreads  


Cassie's Review

“Sometimes our feelings aren't the best indication of what we should be doing.”

This was memorable in its strangeness, and I think if you go into it knowing as little as possible, you'll like it more. It's about a girl and her father who live on the outskirts of a small village of people who come to them for their abilities and magical powers of healing.

It has some pretty serious themes, and others that are only briefly touched upon or insinuated, so check out content warnings if you know that you may need them - stay safe!

If you're into weird horror-y fiction like Comfort Me with Apples and Bunny, you'll probably enjoy this one! I'd also recommend it as an audiobook, because that's how I listened to it and it gave it a deliciously dark , southern gothic feel - so good!




Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about any or all of these works of poetry as well as any recent reads in the comments below.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.






Cassie is one of our contributing reviewers and contributes website content. Find her online at her website ctrlaltcassie.com, Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, Instagram as @readinginaprism, or over at her Etsy store, where she has amazing original art prints, cross stitch kits, bookmarks, and more!


Monday, December 5, 2022

Join Us for Movie Night!

Horror Spotlight Movie Night: Run Sweetheart Run

We are doing another movie night on Wednesday, December 7, 2022

4:30PT/5:30MT/6:30CT/7:30ET PM.
 

Please join us to watch Run Sweetheart Run on Amazon. Join the Horror Spotlight Discord for the link, instructions, and updates. Hope to see you there! 

 



  •  Director
    •   Shana Feste
  •  Writers
    • Shana Feste
    • Keith Josef Adkins
    • Kellee Terrell
  • Stars
    • Ella Balinska
    • Pilou Asbæk
    • Clark Gregg

About Run Sweetheart Run: After what seems to be an innocent date, Cherie now faces a night of terror when her date hunts her down and tries to kill her. She now must run for her life throughout the city and escape his grasp.

Friday, December 2, 2022

The Forest by Lisa Quigley Review

 Today Alex recommends THE FOREST by Lisa Quigley. We hope you'll check it out! 




The Forest by Lisa Quigley

"Everyone in Edgewood believes their annual tithes at the fall festival are what purchase Edgewood’s safety, but as Faye and her husband prepare to take over as town stewards—a long tradition carried out by her family for generations—they learn the terrible truth: in order to guarantee the town’s safety, the forest demands an unthinkable sacrifice.

In the midst of everything, Faye is secretly battling debilitating postpartum anxiety that makes her all the more terrified to leave the safe cocoon of her enchanted town.

When everyone turns against her—including her own husband—Faye is forced to flee with her infant son into the forest. She must face whatever lurks there and, perhaps most frightening of all, the dark torments of her own mind.

The Forest is an adult folk horror novel appealing to fans of 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson and Bird Box by Josh Malerman, with a hint of The Changeling by Victor LaValle. It is Quigley’s debut novel.

Amazon | Goodreads 


Alex's Review

I read THE FOREST by Lisa Quigley in two sittings, but the first sitting had me to the 90% waypoint and I only had to stop because I needed to work on dinner. I loved all the dark fantasy and folk horror vibes in addition to some psychological horror. The town of Edgewood is an ideal place to live, where people are healthy and safe. But they don't know that they owe their thanks to the Forest, and the Stewards of the town who have made sacrifices to keep the people/things out there appeased. Will Faye, an upcoming Steward, be able to make an equivalent sacrifice to save the town and the lives of everyone around her ?

The book is told in three parts with alternating POVs: before Faye knows what is going on and after Faye knows what is going on. This format translates into extremely fast page turning because you just can't wait to figure out how the two storylines converge. You know something bad leads up to the current state of fear and actions, but you just have to find out exactly how the puzzle pieces fit together. Quigley excels at leading us deeper into the dark realm of truth the further we get into The Forest.

And oh wow, The Forest is not a place I would want to be alone (or with an infant) at night by myself. It is a character all on its own and the atmospheric vibes are bountiful. Quigley creates a perfect setting here and uses it to her advantage every time.

I do think there are a lot of nuances of being a mother (and maybe a parent in general?) that I did not totally connect with as I am not a parent, but that does not mean the book does not still click or resonate. I just think there is another potential layer of fear and empathy that some readers will be able to experience from firsthand familiarity that I cannot.

This is Lisa Quigley's debut novel and I am absolutely going to be on the lookout for whatever is next. This is a must-read!




Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about any or all of these works of poetry as well as any recent reads in the comments below.




We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.





Alex is a Horror Spotlight contributing reviewer. You can find Alex on Goodreads, on Twitter as @finding_montauk and on Instagram as @findingmontauk1.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder Review

Today Alex recommends EXPOSED NERVES poetry by Lucy A. Snyder. We hope you'll check it out! 




Exposed Nerves poetry by Lucy A. Snyder

"Exposed Nerves continues the explorations into dark poetry by Stoker Award winner and Shirley Jackson Award nominee Lucy A. Snyder, pairing the author's sly wordplay and imagery with grim introspection. By turns challenging, wryly amusing and gut-wrenching, Snyder's work plumbs bittersweet catharsis and maps a survivor's path through dangerous worlds, both the real and the horrifically imagined."

Amazon | Goodreads  Bookshop


Alex's Review

Lucy Snyder's collection of poems, EXPOSED NERVES, is another example upon many of how talented she is with wordsmithing and phrasing. This collection is full of biting examples on social commentary and the daily horrors we face. Something doesn't have to be dripping with blood or chasing you with a knife to be scary. We face terror every day in seemingly mundane ways. Snyder's social commentary and raw approach to a lot of topics and themes will resonate with so many in this collection.

Some of my favorites include: "Scary," "Employee Recognition Day," "Salty," "It Only Hurts When I Dream," "October," "Chronic," "Romantic Overture 6," and "The Disney Gap."




Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts in the comments about Exposed Nerves and/or any recent reads you've been enjoying.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.




Alex is a Horror Spotlight contributing reviewer. You can find Alex on Goodreads, on Twitter as @finding_montauk and on Instagram as @findingmontauk1.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Spotlight on New Releases: November 29

 Welcome to Spotlight on New Releases where we shine a spotlight on a few recent horror releases!

Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are by Kathryn Foxfield

Welcome to the reality game show that'll scare you to death! Have you got what it takes to last the night?

On the reality show It's Behind You!, five contestants competing for prize money must survive the night in the dark and dangerous Umber Gorge caves, rumored to be haunted by the Puckered Maiden, a ghost who eats the hearts of her victims. But is it the malevolent spirit they should fear, or each other?

As the production crew ramps up the frights, tensions rise and the secrets of the cast member start coming to light. Each of these teenagers has hidden motives for taking part in the show. But could one of them be murder?

Expected publication: November 29th 2022 by Sourcebooks Fire | Goodreads | Amazon


House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur

Taking inspiration from the author's own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past.

Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents’ impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom’s latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world.

But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark truths of her family’s history rise in ghostly apparitions -- and with it, the realization that as much as she wants to hold onto her old life, nothing will ever be the same.

Told in lush, sweeping prose, this story of secrets, summer, and family sacrifice will chill you to the bone as the house that wraps Sara in warmth of her past becomes the one thing she cannot escape…

Expected publication: November 29th 2022 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) | Goodreads | Amazon



Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister

In a world that has become treacherous and desiccated, Magdala has always had to fight to survive. At nine years old, she and her father, Xavier, are exiled from their home, fleeing through the Sonoran Desert, searching for refuge.

As violence pursues them, they join a handful of survivors on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Las Vegas, where it is said the vigilante saints reside, bright with neon power. Magdala, born with a clubfoot, is going to be healed. But when faced with the strange horrors of the desert, one by one the pilgrims fall victim to a hideous sickness—leaving Magdala to fend for herself.

After surviving for seven years on her own, Magdala is sick of waiting for her miracle. Recruiting an exiled Vegas priest named Elam at gunpoint to serve as her guide, Magdala turns her gaze to Vegas once more, and this time, nothing will stop her. The pair form a fragile alliance as they navigate the darkest and strangest reaches of the desert on a trip that takes her further from salvation even as she nears the holy city.

With ferocious imagination and poetic precision, Desert Creatures is a story of endurance at the expense of redemption. What compromise does survival require of a woman, and can she ever unlearn the instincts that have kept her alive?

Published November 8th 2022 by Erewhon | Goodreads | Amazon



Jen is one of our Horror Spotlight admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Horror Spotlight website. She also keeps a spotlight on new diverse horror releases, middle grade horror, and young adult horror each month.

You can also find Jen on her blog Book Den, Twitter as @bookden, Instagram as @bookdenjen, on Goodreads, and Letterboxd.

Friday, November 25, 2022

December 2022 Horror Spotlight Readalong

In December we will be reading The Family Game by Catherine Steadman for the readalong on the Horror Spotlight discord.  Won’t you join us?


A rich, eccentric family. A time-honored tradition. Or a lethal game of survival? One woman finds out what it really takes to join the 1% in this riveting psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody, and The Disappearing Act.

Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward's eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they've dominated headlines and pulled society's strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. But there are eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before they were pulled back in . . .

After all, even though he's long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.

What is it about Harry that made him give her that tape? A thing that has the power to destroy everything? As she ramps up her quest for the truth, she must endure the Holbecks' savage Christmas traditions all the while knowing that losing this game could be deadly.

Goodreads | Amazon

The readalong begins December 1, and discussions will take place throughout the month of December on the Horror Spotlight discord server. Everyone is welcome to join!


Additional Buddy Read

There will also be a buddy read of The Turnout by Megan Abbot going on in December as well.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's exquisite new novel, "dark and juicy and tinged with horror" (The New York Times Books Review), set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.

With their long necks, sheer tights, and taut buns, Dara and Marie Durant have only known the course of a well-bred dancer. Not much changes when their parents face death in a tragic accident. As Dara and Marie take over their mother's duty of running the Durant School of Dance, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student, the sisters perfect a fine dance, circling around one another, six days a week, keeping the studio thriving.

But when another eerily suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker--a season of tense competition, provoked anxiety, and wild exhilaration--an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters' delicate balance.

With its uncanny insight and writing that haunts, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game--a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity, and power, and a sinister tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

Goodreads | Amazon

If you have any questions, please let us know. We look forward to reading with you! 


Teresa creates the Shelf Edition posts and is a contributing reviewer at Horror Spotlight. You can find Teresa on Goodreads, on Twitter and at Divination Hollow.

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