Monday, May 29, 2023



Rating: 3.2/5 stars

“You Follow Wherever They Go”—1.5/5 stars 

Not off to a great start. This story really did nothing for me and I’m not sure what the point of it was. It was also very short, and I’ve noticed that the shorter the short story, the less likely I am to like it. 

“Bodies Are for Burning”—3/5 stars 

This story definitely has tense undertones, and the author writes it in a way where you feel kind of nervous and worried for the character the whole time. I thought it was well-written and an interesting concept. Enjoyment-wise it was middle-of-the-road for me though. 

“The Strange Thing We Become”—4/5 stars

I enjoyed the forum-post style this story was told in. It was counting down to an event, giving it that ominous air of something gone horribly wrong but you don’t know yet what happened. This story was sad but also compelling. I think I liked it. 

“The Trees Grew Because I Bled There”—4/5 stars 

Well if that wasn’t the most disturbing story I’ve ever read. It definitely goes head to head with “Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke,” but I really don’t know which one was more egregious. This story was creepy and unsettling, evoking feelings of imminent disgust and ominous dread lingering in the distance. Definitely worth a read for any body horror fans out there. 

“You’re Not Supposed to Be Here”—3.5/5 stars 

I didn’t particularly enjoy most of this story, but it had a very impactful ending. The ending completely threw me for a loop and made me rethink the whole of the story up to that point, which I think is the mark of a twist done well. This story will definitely stick with me. 

“Where Flames Burned Emerald as Grass”—2/5 stars 

This story ventures into some animal-themed horror. All of LaRocca’s stories that I’ve read have interesting concepts and masterful executions, but not all of them are enjoyable for me to read, and this is one of those. I don’t love reading about kidnapping as that is a truly terrifying concept to me, and this narrative bordered on that. I’m not totally sure what the point of this story was or what the title is referring to, either. 

“I’ll Be Gone by Then”—3.5/5 stars 

Starts out as a pretty normal story with a few morbid moments throughout, but then concludes with an eerie and unsettling ending that kind of turns the nature of the narrative on its head. I liked this story, but didn’t love it. 

“Please Leave or I’m Going to Hurt You”—4/5 stars 

This wasn’t horror, just kind of sad and maybe a little uncomfortable to read, but not horror by any means (as far as I can tell). I enjoyed the story, but this is one where I don’t fully understand the implications of the ending. The romantic in me also wished for a different outcome. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023



Rating: 3.75/5 stars 

“Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke”—4/5 stars 

So this was the most disturbing story I’ve ever read. I’ve heard about this book a lot without ever hearing what this book was about. I’m trying to find my niche horror genre so I’ve been reading different types of horror stories lately, and this was definitely the most disturbing of the bunch. 

“Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke” is an epistolary novel that chronicles the correspondences between two people. It dives deep into manipulation in a master/slave type of relationship. That’s all I’m going to say though because I think it’s best to go in knowing little. 

I don’t really know what to rate this story as I couldn’t look away and was completely engaged as I flew through the narrative, but I also don’t know if I really enjoyed it or not. The story will stick with me as it’s definitely unforgettable, but it’s also just so disturbing. I know I’ve already used that word in this review but it really is the best way to describe this novella. It’s disturbing and gross and, at times, baffling. It’s almost like the author deliberately included scenes that were intended to have the biggest shock value with the reader. 

Even saying all that, I would recommend this to fans of horror—maybe specifically those of body horror?—and fans of fast-paced epistolary stories. 

“The Enchantment”—3.5/5 stars 

Once again, this was disturbing, but not as much as “Things Have Gotten Worse.” Maybe that’s just Eric LaRocca’s style. 

It’s about a couple who goes to live on an island all alone when weird things start happening to them. 

I thought this story started out strong and had a good middle, but I didn’t love how it ended, mostly due to the fact that the story isn’t speculative but then adds in speculative elements at the end. I think I have found that I prefer non-speculative horror, while I prefer speculative elements solely in fantasy and sci-fi instead.  

I am curious after reading the first two stories what the author’s fixation is with crucifixion as it comes up in both stories. 

“You’ll Find It’s Like That All Over”—3/5 stars 

This was the weakest story in the collection for me. Still interesting, but not as memorable and disturbing as the first two. 

A man finds a shard of bone in his backyard with his neighbor’s initials carved into it and begins to investigate it. This story is about how far one will go to maintain appearances to continue being a “good neighbor.” 

As stated in the author’s afterward, all three stories in this collection focus on the human desire to connect with someone or something else, and to what extent someone will go to find or maintain that connection. I appreciated that they all had a connecting theme to tie them together. I would recommend this collection to fans of macabre horror stories that shock you and make you think. 

Review: NIGHTFALL AND OTHER DANGERS by Jacob Steven Mohr


Rating: 2.4/5 stars 

My rating for this book based on an average of my ratings of all the individual stories is 2.4/5 stars.

I am fairly new to the horror genre, having really just started reading it earlier this year. I was able to meet the author of this short story collection, and he sold me on it by telling me that it contains stories from a variety of horror subgenres, so it would help me figure out which subgenres I prefer reading. 

I’ve always struggled with short stories in general because of the lack of any kind of character development, world building, or concrete plot, so do keep in mind that I’m already a little biased against them. I know short stories are meant to deliver something different than the aforementioned story traits, but it’s still hard for me to enjoy most short stories simply because they are so short. 

I will preface my reviews of each story by saying that I think Mohr is a good writer, but a lot of these stories were simply not my style preference. I rate books based solely on my enjoyment level, so while I didn’t really enjoy too many of the stories in Nightfall and Other Dangers, I think seasoned horror readers and short stories lovers will enjoy this collection more than I did as they are more used to the genre conventions and will be able to tell the difference between the various subgenres within. 

“Nostalgia”—3.5/5 stars

I love the idea of a garden of hands, but at only half a page long, this story is too short to even be called a story. At best, this is the start of an idea for a story. I wish this had been longer because I enjoyed what little there was. 

“You Are the Hero of Legend”—3/5 stars

Every sentence in this story starts with the word “you.” I love stories told in second-person perspective, but it felt a little repetitive here. I feel like that’s the point though, although we never discover who the narrator is, which I feel is one of the best mysteries in any second-person POV story. I liked the writing style, but the story was quite short again so it’s hard to form a real opinion on it. 

“Song of the Summer”—1.5/5 stars

Finally a story of a proper length, but unfortunately this did nothing for me. I saw the twist coming and I was kind of bored with this one. I also don’t prefer slasher stories. 

“The Panic”—5/5 stars

This story was great! The only one in the collection that I truly loved. I love stories that feel unsettling and eerie, that evoke a sense of impending dread. There’s something inexplicably mysterious and creepy going on and I was desperate to figure out what was happening. The only thing I didn’t prefer here was that this story had an ambiguous ending because I am someone who needs ANSWERS. But I still liked it. I need more horror like this, but I don’t know what to call this subgenre. 

“Some Bad Luck Near Bitter Downs”—2/5 stars 

Two brothers accidentally obtain a severed head. Sounds cool, except this story felt like it was a western, which I didn’t like. Guns and whiskey and guns: not my thing. I like the idea of severed heads, which may or may not still be alive, but I didn’t like the setting or characters in this one. 

“Mister Mickenzie”—3/5 stars

This was a longer story that had me simultaneously intrigued and bored. Two little girls are joined during playtime by their mysterious imaginary friend who decides the rules to all the games: Mister Mickenzie. My main problem here was once again the lack of a concrete ending. I like my stories wrapped up neat with a bow, but this one had a more ambiguous ending, alluding to something but it’s still not clear what will happen. Those who enjoy open-ended stories will likely like this better than I did. It wasn’t bad—certainly creepy and unsettling—but it was also not really my jam either. 

“1855”—1/5 stars 

I don’t have much to say about this story as it did nothing for me and I was honestly quite bored, which is unfortunate as the author states this is his favorite story in the collection. 

“A Real Likeness”—2/5 stars 

This story had a strong start but ultimately was a flop for me. A college art student notices something strange take shape in his portraits. I thought it sounded cool, but there was no real resolution, no noticeable horror aspect, and the ending didn’t make sense to me. 

“Copilot”—4/5 stars 

This is a bit of sci-fi horror, although the horror element is pretty minor to me. I like stories where other beings invade human bodies though, so this worked for me. This is my second favorite in this collection, and the only story besides “The Panic” that I genuinely enjoyed here. 

“Red Meat”—2/5 stars 

I don’t know if this is Japanese horror or just a generic gory story, but it didn’t really do anything for me either way. The gore didn’t bother me, and the ending was interesting, but I just felt nothing while I read. I think it needed to be longer. 

“Last Supper”—2.5/5 stars 

Definitely an interesting concept with a cliffhanger ending, but again, it needed to be longer. I want to know more about the world because I kind of get the sense the two characters are some of the last characters alive and I want to know why. 

“She’s New in Town”—1.5/5 stars 

A girl with weird eyes buys a pair of sunglasses at a grocery store. That’s it, that’s the whole story. What was the point? Where was the horror? 

“When It Rains”—1.5/5 stars 

Once again, what? Maybe I’m just dumb or a very unseasoned horror reader, but I’m just not seeing the point of most of these stories or what makes most of them horror stories. This story was kind of pointless to me. A sort of anti-meet-cute. 

“Sometimes You Get Two”—2/5 stars 

I’ve never cared about hunting, and this, the longest story in the collection, happens to be entirely about deer hunting. Completely just not my thing, and I could not wait for it to end. And then then end was so convoluted that it just made me angry. What the heck even happened? It made absolutely no sense to me. 

“The Machete at the End of the World”—1.5/5 stars 

I got more from the author’s description of what’s happening in this story than I did from the actual story. He said it’s a slasher meets post-apocalyptic fiction, and I wouldn’t have guessed either of those genres from actually reading it. I feel like a broken record at this point, but this was confusing and I don’t understand what it was supposed to communicate. 

Review: SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys


Rating: 1.5/5 stars 

DNF at 44%. 

Ruta Sepetys has a real talent when it comes to writing historical fiction, and this book is no different. It is well written and well researched. The reason I DNFed it though is that it is very sad, and I have realized I can’t do sad World War 2 fiction anymore. I just have no desire to continue reading it. I need something happy. But if you enjoy authentic WW2 stories then I would definitely recommend this novel, and I would also recommend checking out other books by Ruta Sepetys as well, especially The Fountains of Silence, which is just as well written and researched, but it’s happier and romantic instead.