Wednesday, March 8, 2023

What We've Been Reading | March 8, 2023

Today our team members recommend two excellent short story collections and a favorite novella. We hope you check them out and share your thoughts!

Unshod, Cackling, and Naked by Tamika Thompson

A beauty pageant veteran appeases her mother by competing for one final crown, only to find herself trapped in a hand-sewn gown that cuts into her flesh. A journalist falls deeply in love with a mysterious woman but discovers his beloved can vanish and reappear hours later in the same spot, as if no time has passed at all. A cash-strapped college student agrees to work in a shop window as a mannequin but quickly learns she’s not free to break her pose. And what happens when the family pet decides it no longer wants to have 'owners'?

In the grim and often horrific thirteen tales collected here, beauty is violent, and love and hate are the same feeling, laid bare by unbridled obsession. Entering worlds both strange and quotidian, and spanning horror landscapes both speculative and real, asks who among us is worthy of love and who deserves to die?

Amazon | Goodreads

Teresa's Teaser Review

"In these thirteen stories, the characters are well fleshed out and relatable, the events are harrowing, and they will keep you on the edge of your seat. A rallying cry to all who wish to heed it."

Read Teresa's entire review at Goodreads.

A Small Light & Other Stories by Sara Century

A mysterious woman stalks a seaside town. An isolated couple inhabit a house full of tropical birds. A rowboat floats down a river toward a witch's cave. Death wanders an unnamed city during the plague. Sara Century's debut short story collection carries with it surreal visions inspired by pulp paperbacks, art house films, comic books of all flavors, and classic queer villains. A Small Light & Other Stories gathers tales that hinge on troubled characters with nothing left to lose encountering existential horrors, where everyday problems escalate into insurmountable monsters, and we find ourselves unable to escape dreams long since transformed into nightmares.

Goodreads | Amazon

Laurie's Teaser Review

"A Small Light & Other Stories is an eerie, melancholy collection of sapphic horror and haunting stories focusing on the characters and an always present slow creeping dread. I can easily recommend this collection to fans of this type of horror story."

Read Laurie's entire review at Goodreads.

Transmuted by Eve Harms

Her doctor is giving her the body of his dreams... and her nightmares. Isa is a micro-celebrity who rarely shows her face, and can’t wait to have it expertly ripped off and rearranged to look more feminine. When a successful fundraiser makes her gender affirming surgery possible, she’s overjoyed—until she has to give up all her money to save her dying father.

Crushed by gender dysphoria and the pressure of disappointing her fans who paid for a new face, she answers a sketchy ad seeking transgender women for a free, experimental feminization treatment. The grotesquely flawless Dr. Skurm has gruesome methods, but he gets unbelievable results, and Isa is finally feeling comfortable in her skin. She even gains the courage to ask out her crush: an alluring and disfigured alchemy-obsessed artist named Rayna.

But Isa’s body won’t stop changing, and she’s going from super model to super mutant. She has to discover the secret behind her metamorphosis—before the changes are irreversible, and she’s an unwanted freak forever.

Transmuted is an outrageous and unapologetically queer body horror tale that will leave you gasping, giggling, and gagging for more.

Book 30 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

Goodreads | Amazon

Cassie's Teaser Review

"This was so weird & wonderful; one of my new favorites in the whole Rewind or Die lineup. I loved Isa as a main character, being inside her head was unique and at times, very relatable."

Read Cassie's entire review at Goodreads.

Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us 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.

Our Reviewers

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

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

Cassie is one of our contributing reviewers and contributes website content. Find her online at her website, 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!

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