Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

*No Major Spoilers*

*Small trigger warning for brief mentions of gore and torture*

Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten.

A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols’s homecoming…


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I started this audiobook not knowing what to expect. At first it was reminding me of The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey. The main character comes into this small town and maybe not everything is as what it seems. The end result is something dark and twisted that will leave you stunned.

“That was a mean thought, and not funny at all. I let it turn to sand and blow out of my head.”

Christopher Buehlman, Those Across the River

I love how dark, yet beautiful this story was thematically. When Frank and Eudora were just going to the store in broad daylight, you could feel the heavy and intense atmosphere. The financial strain everyone was facing, the PTSD Frank was suffering, and the aftermath of the ending of the ritual made the world feel unnerving.

One thing I didn’t like was how hard it was to keep track of most of the townsfolk. I’m not sure if that was intentional because that seems to be a trope in the horror genre. Where everyone except the main character(s) are cardboard cutouts and monster/demon fodder. I know it’s a necessary evil to convey how full and alive this town is, but even one of the minor plot twists made me feel indifferent.

Overall, this was a beautifully written novel full of small town horror, sophisticated romance, and dark suspense. Frank’s perspective on everything made the townsfolk seem sinister, even when the pastor himself fought to keep the pig ritual reinstated. Frank learns the devil lived in Whitbrow, and the devil soon destroyed the town in the end.

I would recommend this novel to fans of horror, historical fiction, and for fans of The Curse of Crow Hollow and Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics. This story is a great read and would encourage anyone thinking about either getting a fresh take on horror, or just looking for some early Halloween vibes, then I would definitely recommend this book.


Want More Horror? Click Here to see more horror novels I’ve reviewed!

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect #1) by Valarie Valdes

*No Major Spoilers*

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I discovered Chilling Effect through one of the many book-related newsletters I’m subscribed to. What caught my eye about this novel was the cover, how colorful it is and the little kitties wearing space helmets and just being cute in general. I thought this story would be a good one, and I’ll listen to any story that has animals in it. So let’s dive into Chilling Effect!

Love wasn’t an outfit you slipped in and out of when it suited you; it was your skin, your bones, your blood.

Valerie Valdes, Chilling Effect

This audiobook was awesome. I felt immersed into the world of Eva and her crew-mates. The fact that the story starts off by her crew delivering a litter of psychic cats to a cat cafe, and how one pit stop quickly derails into a full-blown war was funny and exciting.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of romance in my novels, I felt that this one was genuine and relatable to an extent.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: X-Files: The Truth is Out There by Various Authors

*No Spoilers*

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a chilling collection of all-new tales of dark secrets, alien agendas, terrifying monsters and murderous madmen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As I always do when it comes to anthologies or short story collections, I take my favorites or most memorable stories and talk about them. For example with other short story collections I’ve reviewed, I usually talk about my favorites and least favorites. However, with this collection, I just did a top five of my favorites. I actually wanted to talk about seven of the stories, but my perfectionism won out, so I narrowed it down to my top five.

There isn’t a bad story in this collection, I enjoyed all of them, but I’m going to be discussing my favorites today. So, in order in which they appeared in the collection, here we go!

We Should Listen to Some Shostakovich by Hank Phillipi Ryan

No X-Files story is complete without some Mulder loves Scully action. In this story, Mulder and Scully have left their jobs at the FBI to get married and decided to start a family. As a wedding present, they receive a mysterious painting from one of Scully’s long lost uncles. As they delve deeper into the painting’s history things get dangerous. 3.5/5 Stars

Mummiya by Greg Cox

When a mummy is shot near a college, it’s up to Scully and Mulder to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction. This story is a good one for fans of Egyptology. There’s a lot about the history and religious beliefs to dive into. I don’t want to go into this story too much because it is a good one and worth the read. 4/5 Stars.

Male Privilege by Hank Schwaeble

The CDC is called to a small Arkansas town where a majority of the male population has developed breasts overnight after the town’s Sadie Hawkins Dance. Scully asks to tag along because she wishes to study this outbreak and maybe provide some insight due to her medical degrees. Mulder asks her if he could come along as well and she hesitantly agrees as long as he doesn’t pester the locals about aliens. However, things quickly derail as Mulder goes to the local library to look into the town’s history and things more mythological may be taking place here. This one made it to my list based solely of all the sarcastic jabbing Mulder gives the local sheriff regarding his newfound breasts, and how the sheriff wasn’t offended by the jabs. Pure dry humor in my book. 3.5/5 Stars.

Snowman by Sarah Stegall

A couple of military men are climbing up Mt. Rainier tracking a lost group of military soldiers that went missing. Soon they come across not only the remains of the missing soldiers’ camp, but their corpses as well. As they continue the trek they come across Mulder on the hunt for the missing expedition as well. However, something on the mountain is tracking the group and the myth of Sasquatch may not seem so far fetched. I love stories about Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti. This one is worth checking out! 3.5/5 Stars.

When the Cows Come Home by David Farland

Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate some crop circles and cattle mutilations. Soon things become stranger as they found out that the rancher’s neighbor is a Skinwalker and controls his cattle by whistling. This story was alright, but I wish it could’ve gotten more fleshed out. Scoring this one mainly for the Skinwalker, crop circles, and cattle mutilations. It’s the last short story of the collection so read it if that’s your kind of jam. 2.5/5 Stars.

So there’s my five favorite stories of The Truth is Out There. Like I said earlier, all of these stories are good in their own right. So I would definitely check out this collection if your a fellow X-Files fan or into the weird and supernatural.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Flip-Flop by Jonathan Morris

*Spoilers Ahead*

Christmas Eve in the year 3060, and the planet Puxatornee is home to a prosperous human colony. 

A space craft has arrived in orbit carrying the Slithergees, a race of obsequious alien slugs. Their home world has been destroyed and they are humbly requesting permission to settle on the first moon. 

And if they don’t get permission, then they are humbly threatening to declare all-out war. 

The future hangs in the balance. The decision rests with Bailey, the colony’s president – but she has other things on her mind. 

Christmas Eve in the year 3090, and the planet Puxatornee has changed beyond all recognition. 

The Doctor and Mel arrive, on a completely unrelated mission to defeat a race of terrible monsters, and soon discover that something rather confusing has been happening to history. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have been quiet on the blog recently due to my mental health and feeling burnt out. However, I recently felt like listening to a Doctor Who audio drama so I first listened through Doctor Who: Phantoms of the Deep by Jonathan Morris. I don’t feel like I have enough of an opinion on this audio drama for a full review since it wasn’t very long. However, I will say that I enjoyed it and it was just the thing to get me back to the reading world.

I started Flip-Flop almost immediately after finishing Phantoms of the Deep and I have thoughts about this wacky and weird adventure. There will be spoilers ahead, so be warned. Without spoiling this story, I liked it. Thought it was a good story and unique plot. The ending is up to the listener’s interpretation in a sense. Definitely would recommend this for fans of Doctor Who, time travel stories, and science fiction fans in general.

This entire story is about how The Doctor and Mel get stuck in a time loop. They go back in time against their will to “fix” the past so that the apocalyptic “future” won’t come true. Thus creating a paradox and time loop.

I am somewhat unsatisfied with the ending since there really is no “ending” because it’s a never-ending loop. It’s a time travel story where no matter what happens at the critical point of the president’s assassination, their world is going to be post-apocalyptic. To each version of The Doctor and Mel coming into the story for the first time, they are somewhat aware of the time loop they’re stuck in. The Doctor refers to this as ‘tripping over one’s own footprints’.

One of the possible futures is where the president is saved from assassination and ends up giving their world to the Slithergees or face the threat of an all out war. Since the Slithergees are blind, slug-like creature they end up enslaving the remaining humans as seeing eye dogs.

The other possible future is one where the president is assassinated and all out war is declared on the Slithergees and sends the planet into a nuclear wasteland where the survivors are on death’s doorstep when The Doctor and Mel arrive.

Overall, I liked the story and I think you should check it out. It’s a unique story for Doctor Who fans and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Posted in Book Reviews

What I’ve Been Watching

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Depression and burnout has hit me hard these past couple of months. I haven’t felt like reading or listening to audiobooks so I have gotten back to listening to podcasts and catching up on some TV shows I either have been wanting to watch, or rewatching childhood favorites. So let’s dive in!

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Hulu: My fiancé and I have been making our way through this show recently, when we both come home from work, we turn it on and watch an episode or two while we eat dinner. I grew up watching this show and I love all the characters and their quirks and individual story arcs. Something I’ve definitely missed was all the subtle looks between supervisor Gil Grissom and a fellow CSI Sara Sidle whenever something remotely sexual or romantic comes up during an investigation.

LEGO Masters on Hulu: I first heard of this show when I was binging The Masked Singer and when Will Arnett came on to be a guest panelist. I kind of grew up with LEGO, but more or less I think people who can make masterpieces with the famous bricks is fascinating. I found all the contestants to be likable and memorable. I would definitely recommend this show to the whole family.

Crime Scene Kitchen on Hulu: I thought this was a unique idea, and the premise is fun, contestants have to “investigate” a kitchen and figure out what dessert has been made based on the clues and figure out the real clues vs the red herrings. Contestants aren’t that memorable. Just like a lot of reality TV shows they are just people who are trying to solve the mystery. It’s ok, I’ll continue watching it until the season is over, and if it does get renewed for a new season hopefully tweak some of the things that make this show feel kind of bland and a bit boring.

So this has been everything I’ve been consistently watching and I hope I either recommended some new shows, or just to show some signs of life on my blog. One day the reviews will come back! Just got to wait for this spell to end and I should be back in no time!