Wednesday, October 18, 2023

What We've Been Reading | October 18, 2023

We're back to help you find a new favorite creepy novel! Check out our latest reviews below 🠇

Rouge by Mona Awad

From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny comes a horror-tinted, gothic fairy tale about a lonely dress shop clerk whose mother’s unexpected death sends her down a treacherous path in pursuit of youth and beauty. Can she escape her mother’s fate—and find a connection that is more than skin deep?

For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.

Snow White meets Eyes Wide Shut in this surreal descent into the dark side of beauty, envy, grief, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. With black humor and seductive horror, Rouge explores the cult-like nature of the beauty industry—as well as the danger of internalizing its pitiless gaze. Brimming with California sunshine and blood-red rose petals, Rouge holds up a warped mirror to our relationship with mortality, our collective fixation with the surface, and the wondrous, deep longing that might lie beneath.

Laurie's Teaser Review

"This book is effortlessly sinister. Everything about it is unnerving, especially the “Tom Cruise” appearances 😂 and that’s all I’m saying. Read it and freak yourself out. That’s my advice."

Read Laurie's entire review at Goodreads.

The Collector by Laura Kat Young

A frightening dystopian horror novel where grief is forbidden and purged from the mind – a nightmarish mix of 1984 and Never Let Me Go

The Bureau has your best interests in mind

Some people kill themselves first. Dev is the Collector of the month. His job is to record memories of grief for the Bureau’s catalogue before the person is Reset. After all, sorrow is unproductive, inefficient. 

But after Dev records the memory donations, he returns home and secretly preserves them for himself in a notebook, kept hidden behind a wall in his tiny apartment. But the Bureau is always watching. And Dev’s small transgression leads to a terrible betrayal from which there is no way back.

Goodreads | Amazon

Teresa's Teaser Review

"The biggest thing I can say is this book was just dread, dread, dread for miles. It is a slow burn, you don't really realize you are in the hot seat until you can no longer get out of it, like the frog in slowly boiling water."

Read Teresa's entire review at Goodreads.

Wild Spaces by S.L. Coney

Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life meets H. P. Lovecraft in Wild Spaces, a foreboding, sensual coming-of-age debut in which the corrosive nature of family secrets and toxic relatives assume eldritch proportions.

"Can a horror story be beautiful? Wild Spaces tells a terrible truth in the most achingly beautiful way."—Alma Katsu, author of The Fervor

An eleven-year-old boy lives an idyllic childhood exploring the remote coastal plains and wetlands of South Carolina alongside his parents and his dog Teach. But when the boy’s eerie and estranged grandfather shows up one day with no warning, cracks begin to form as hidden secrets resurface that his parents refuse to explain.

The longer his grandfather outstays his welcome and the greater the tension between the adults grows, the more the boy feels something within him changing —physically—into something his grandfather welcomes and his mother fears. Something abyssal. Something monstrous.

Goodreads | Amazon

Tracy's Teaser Review

"Horror, when it demands readers relinquish their hearts, provides a comfort and a pain that can be difficult to describe. Add in the coming-of-age factor and even the most hardened fans will have a difficult time not falling in love with this novella. An excellent debut from S.L Coney requires us to remember that “...we all have doors inside leading to cracked places and wild spaces."

Read Tracy's complete 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.

Our Reviewers

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, helps out with our Instagram/Twitter accounts, and is a contributing reviewer. You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads where she never shuts up about the things she's reading.

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.

Tracy is a contributing reviewer.  You can also find Tracy on twitter as @tracy_reads79, on Instagram as @tracy_reads79 and on Goodreads

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