Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Till We Become Monsters by Amanda Headlee


*No Major Spoilers*

Monsters exist and Korin Perrin knew this as truth because his grandmother told him so. Korin, raised in the shadow of his older brother Davis, is an imaginative child who believes his brother is a monster. After the death of their grandmother, seven-year-old Korin, blaming Davis for her demise, tries to kill him. Sixteen years following the attempt on Davis’ life, racked with guilt, Korin comes to terms with the fact that Davis may not be the one who is the monster after all.

Past wrongs needing to be righted, Korin agrees to a hunting trip with his brother and father. But they, along with two friends, never make it to their destination. An accident along the way separates the hunters in the dark forests of Minnesota during the threat of an oncoming blizzard. As the stranded hunters search for each other and safety, an ancient evil wakes.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am a big fan of cryptids and other mythological creatures. Since I live in Oklahoma which may not be the epicenter of Bigfoot sightings, this state does have more than a few known Bigfoot hunting grounds. However, there is no Bigfoot in this story, Till We Become Monsters is focused on the Wendigo.

For those unfamiliar with the Indigenous Peoples’ Mythologies, a Wendigo is a creature that is created from the dire straits people in the northern areas can find themselves in if they get caught in a snowstorm unprepared. They say once someone gets a taste of human blood, the never-ending hunger grows and morphs the person into a monster.

Back to the book, we meet Korin who we watch grow up feeling emotionally neglected by his parents. His big brother Davis has both of his parents’ attention and love throughout childhood and into adulthood. Seeing the events from mostly Korin’s perspective makes you feel bad for him.

“We never know how far we have fallen until we become monsters.”

Amanda Headlee; Till We Become Monsters

After about halfway into the book, we see Korin’s childhood from both parents’ and Davis’ perspectives. It doesn’t negate how his parents neglected Korin and that they spoiled Davis to the point where the whole family dynamic is toxic and borderline abusive. It just provides context for the reader that the parents fumbled the parental football to the detriment of the family.

Even though no one in the family is worth rooting for, you can’t help rooting for all of them to survive the aftermath of the car accident. I think this shows that the author took the time to give each character a slight redeeming quality. I think if everything was left in Korin’s perspective, we’d want all the family to fail.

Overall, this was a good book. I got swept up in the action, and the building of Korin’s character. I think the mythological aspect of this novel was pulled off really well. I also think if you are interested in cryptids, survival horror, and just all around spookiness, then I would say give this novel a try.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Mastodon by Steve Stred

*No Major Spoilers*

*Trigger Warning for body horror, animal death/cruelty, and death of a parent*

17 years ago, Tyler Barton was born in the Rocky Mountains, while his parents were on a hike.

On that day, his mother disappeared, never to be seen again.

Now, history repeats itself.

On the 17th anniversary of her disappearance, Tyler’s father is flying home when the plane he’s on disappears – in the same area where his mother was last seen.

Undeterred by officials, Tyler decides to hike into the area in search of his father, hoping to find him alive and bring him back to safety.

But there’s a reason that area is prohibited to enter and even though Tyler doesn’t care, he’ll soon find out that the wilderness can hide some of the deepest, darkest fears known to man.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I remember when I saw the promo for this book, I was so excited because the cover reminded me of a Wendigo, an Indigenous mythological creature. I couldn’t wait to dive in to it. After some time to read it, digest it, and gather my thoughts, I’m ready to explore this review of Mastodon.

This valley was wearing his rational mind down to the point of not believing anything he saw, but also accepting that anything was possible.

Steve Stred, Mastodon

This novel isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. Not that the summary led me astray, it didn’t. It was the cover on top of my assumptions that left me unprepared for this mind-twisting read. What I thought was a simple answer, turned into something I never saw coming until it was too late.

Tyler reminded me of Brian from The Hatchet in the way there’s not much personality there so we, as the reader, can get a more fulfilling experience seeing the world through his eyes. However, there’s not much to his character other than his parents being missing and all of the hiking and camping trips he and his dad went on throughout his life.

One thing that adds to the mystery surrounding this restricted military compound is how the scale seems to shift and change to fit the current moment or situation. It felt like months for Tyler to reach the spot where his dad’s plane crashed even though it had only been three or so days.

One small gripe I have about this story is how bland and boring Kyle is as a character. Like I said previously, that might have been to give us a more open view of his world and experiences. However, it made the story drag a bit.

Another critique I have is how rushed the ending feels. It’s like the author wrote the main scene(s) that he wanted to write and then the rest was rushed just to finish writing. The final twist ending left me unsatisfied and disappointed.

Overall, this was an okay read. There’s plenty of horror elements to last you a lifetime as well as disturbing imagery. I think you’d like Mastodon if you like the horror subgenre splatterpunk, as well as those who enjoy monster tales and Kaiju stories.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: London (Surviving the Evacuation #1) by Frank Tayell


*Minor Spoilers*

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Gore, and Blood.


The outbreak started in New York. Within days the infection had spread to every corner of the world. Nowhere is safe from the undead…

Bill watched from his window as London was evacuated. His leg broken, he is unable to join the exodus. Turning to his friends in the government, he waits and hopes for rescue. As the days turn into weeks, realising inaction will lead only to starvation and death, his thoughts turn to escape.

Forced to leave the safety of his home he ventures out into the undead wasteland that once was England, where he will discover a horrific secret.

This is the first volume of his journal.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have had my eye on this series for a couple of years now. The fact that you get to see what a zombie apocalypse would look like to someone who wasn’t in the military was interesting. However, you soon realize why most zombie apocalypse survivors are ex-military, or currently enlisted.

He missed most of the beginnings of the end of the world because on the day news got to London about the outbreak, he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. So he was in a coma during all the action and deterioration of London and the United Kingdom as a whole. Nukes got launched, Missiles flew, and yet it seems like all the governments has collapsed.

It’s an oddly disquieting experience being surrounded by coffins inside while the undead are outside.

Frank Tayell; London (Surviving the Evacuation #1)

The only other person Bill, aka our protagonist, has ever known in his life it seems is his best friend Jen. He talks about her a lot. I understand that she is involved in the government and is the one who tried to send him care packages to hold him over until she was able to send someone to help him evacuate, but it seemed like she was the only thing in Bill’s entire universe.

The amount of pure dumb luck this character has, is ridiculous. He is trying to creep around London with a full cast and crutches. By the way, he loses one of them during his adventures along with a bunch of other stuff that the author forgot about. I think it would’ve helped everyone involved if Bill had kept an inventory, and not just how much food and water he has. I don’t know, this just frustrated me.

Overall, this novel was okay. I was disappointed with the ridiculousness this story had. Not the best zombie apocalypse books I’ve ever, read, but it scratched the itch for now. I would recommend this novel for those looking for a more fun zombie story.

Posted in Personal Blogs

My Go-To Book Recommendations

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com & edited by Elisha’s Book Review

Since I have been trying to get more social on apps like TikTok and Twitter, I usually get a lot of book recommendations that get added to the never ending “To Be Read” list. However, when I can I try and recommend a book in return.

I have a short list of books that come to mind when someone is looking for a new read. So I guess I’ll now share mine.

  • The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris this is an adult mystery novel about a boy with Synesthesia and is on the Autism spectrum. His neighbor is murdered and he’s an unlikely witness.
  • Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt this is a middle grade coming-of-age story about Delsie who lives with her grandmother in Cape Cod. This is an emotional story about growing up, losing and gaining friends, and what it’s like realizing you’re economic status affects how others see you.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva this is an adult survivor story about a woman nicknamed Zoo who enters to be on a reality TV show. Things quickly go awry when a superbug wipes out a majority of the TV crew. However, Zoo thinks the cameras are still rolling. Can she survive in the wilderness without the sparse resources the crew provides?
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter I see this book somewhat frequently amongst book communities, so I don’t recommend this very often unless you’re brand new or wanting to branch out to the horror genre. This is basically a modern, higher-stakes Lord of the Flies.
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George is the story about a boy who runs away from home and goes to carve a way of life in the Catskill Mountains. This reminded me of The Hatchet series, and I found it to be more relaxing and not as intense.

Some of these I have reviews for and others I either read before I started the blog, or felt like I couldn’t do the book justice. If any of these catch you eye or fancy, I hope you read them and let me know what you think about them!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

*No Spoilers*

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I joined TikTok to find more book recommendations (like I need more books). And this was one of them. I wish I could remember which BookTok I saw talking about it. However, I’m glad I dove straight to this dark adventure! Let’s hop into The Last One.

I listened to this one as an audiobook, and I believe this is the best way to enjoy this novel. You have two distinct voices narrating; the present from Zoo’s perspective and another narrating what happened once the filming for the TV show began. The TV show perspective is more of a third person point of view. Often referring to the contestants by stereotypical nicknames such as ‘black doctor’ and ‘cheerleader boy’.

I’ve heard believers speak of the coldness of science and the warmth of their faith. But my life has been warm too, and I have faith. Faith in love, and faith in the inherent beauty of a world that formed itself.

Alexandra Oliva, The Last One

The Last One tapped into my irrational fear of coming back from a long night shift at work and not knowing that the world is actively falling apart around you. The atmosphere is portrayed beautifully. I was actually waiting for Zoo to come across her first zombie and how she’d handle that scenario. Thankfully there’s no zombies here.

When Zoo breaks her glasses after getting attacked, that made me feel even more nervous and on edge since I wear glasses and I am like Velma when she loses her glasses. I couldn’t imagine having to survive in the wilderness without the ability to see clearly.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last One. It’s full of suspense and a relatable main character you can really root for. I would recommend this novel for people who enjoyed Bird Box by Josh Malerman and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you haven’t read those novels, that’s okay. If you like Survival Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, or stories with strong female leads. Then I would check out The Last One by Alexandra Oliva.