MINI REVIEWS—HORROR EDITION: Everything That’s Underneath, A Monstrous Love Vol. 2, Pumpkinhead, Knee Deep in Little Devils

The last mini review post went over well, so I decided to start making this an occasional thing! This week’s mini review round-up is HORROR themed!

Some the reviews below are the shortened version of my review, but the “goodreads” link buttons will take you to the full review. Enjoy!


Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester

TITLE: Everything That’s Underneath
AUTHOR: Kristi DeMeester
RELEASED: August 29th, 2017
GENRE: Horror/Speculative Fiction
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Crawl across the earth and dig in the dirt. Feel it. Tearing at your nails, gritty between your teeth, filling your nostrils. Consume it until it has consumed you. For there you will find the voices that have called from the shadows, the ones that promise to cherish you only to rip your body to shreds.

In Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester explores the dark places most people avoid. A hole in an abandoned lot, an illness twisting your loved one into someone you don’t recognize, lust that pushes you further and further until no one can hear your cry for help. In these 18 stories the characters cannot escape the evil that is haunting them. They must make a choice: accept it and become part of what terrifies them the most or allow it to consume them and live in fear forever.

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I’ve been hearing a lot of positive chatter about Kristi DeMeester’s work lately, so I was eager to give her a try for myself, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed! I’d say Everything That’s Underneath is a healthy mixture of horror and speculative fiction.

That night, she locked their bedroom door. Outside, the creature moved up and down the hallway. She did not sleep.

While I’m tempted to give a rundown for each story, some of them would be too hard to describe without spoiling them, so I’ll just list my favorites:

Everything That’s Underneath:
The title story follows a couple reeling from the husband’s recent MS diagnosis, which lends an eerie, sorrowful feel to the entire story as the wife and narrator is forced to find a balance between helping her spouse and not interfering with his autonomy. He decides to take on a new project of carving a door for their home, but the longer he works the wood, the more terrifying his behavior becomes.

All That is Refracted, Broken:
A girl’s younger brother wasn’t supposed to live, but he did, and she loved him very much, despite the fact that he refused to look at her unless he could look at her reflection in a mirror. The ending to this story actually stunned me, and I’ve got chills just remembering it right now.

December Skin:
A brother is forced to go to terrifying, dreadful lengths to save the world from the monster his sister has become. This, like so many other stories in the collection, is equal parts creepy and tragic—my very favorite combination.

Overall, Everything That’s Underneath is a fantastic collection of stories and was a perfect introduction to DeMeester’s work. It’s piqued my interest enough that I can’t wait to read more from her, and I highly recommend picking this one up!

5leaves


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TITLE: A Monstrous Love, Vol. 2
AUTHOR: Magen Cubed
RELEASED: October 21st, 2018
GENRE: Horror/Erotica
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Just in time for Halloween: A MONSTROUS LOVE VOLUME II, two F/F erotic horror romances. This year, a woman gives herself in every way to the demon she loves in BLOOD AND BREATH, while a vampire submissive does her best to please her human domme in HUNGER IN BONDAGE. Demons, vampires, leather, and blood in two short stories about monstrous women in love.

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I’m not giving this a star rating because there’s nothing wrong with the book at all, it just wasn’t what I expected. I loved the first volume of A Monstrous Love so I immediately purchased this volume when I saw that Magen had released it, but I wasn’t aware that it was so much more sex-based than the first volume. I enjoy sex in my books—especially realistic and well-written f/f sex like this!—but I prefer a lot more build-up and development around the sex, whereas these short stories are almost solely sexual in nature. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the book at all, and Magen’s writing is beautiful and enchanting as always—it’s just not what I thought I was purchasing.

One last thing, though, is that this book contains positive depictions of blood-play and BDSM, as well as demon/human sex and vampire/human sex, which is awesome! I almost never see that depicted in f/f stories, and if Magen ever decided to flesh out the couples from this collection into longer novellas or novels, I’d be all over it!


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TITLE: Pumpkinhead
AUTHOR: Cullen Bunn
RELEASED: October 23rd, 2018; Dynamite Entertainment
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
For thirty years, the demon of vengeance has been still, its corpse buried in a pumpkin patch graveyard in the hills. But when a reckless driver accidentally kills a pair of children, the creature is called up once more. This time, though, the monster’s intended target is protected by a cruel backwoods crime family. They hatch their own supernatural plans for dealing with Pumpkinhead. For each of man’s sins, a special demon exists, and when seven infernal creatures roam the hills and the hollows, no one–guilty or otherwise–is safe.

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I didn’t think anything from the Pumpkinhead franchise could be quite this bland and boring, yet here we are.

I loved the 1988 Pumpkinhead movie as a kid. My mom and I had a Blockbuster membership (wow, I feel old), and whenever we had free rentals to use and nothing new was out, we’d see what the cheesiest horror movie we could find was, and I’ll never forget us laughing our way through the film, but it was a classic that you couldn’t help but enjoy, you know? Sadly, all of the camp and twisted fun is sucked right out of the story in this graphic novel. I found it incredibly boring, and even Pumpkinhead’s terrifying destruction couldn’t pull me in, sadly.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

1leaves


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TITLE: Knee Deep in Little Devils
EDITOR: WorD Publishing-pgh
RELEASED: October 20th, 2018
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
In a restless suburb of Pittsburgh PA, there dwells an odd writing and critique group called Write or Die. Celebrating a mysterious annual rite, the authors disclose secret and sometimes tragic circumstances; evident only to those who have experienced the incidents . . . until now.

The stories in this collection will take you for perilous jaunts on All Hallows Eve, send you sprinting down a beach at midnight, drown your soul in inky waters, soak you in the blood of wizards and dump you down the rabbit hole of insanity.
Whether these are parables that predict or tales to instruct, prepare yourself to be… Knee Deep in Little Devils.

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Knee Deep in Little Devils is an interesting little collection of short stories, artwork, and haikus. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of most of the artwork, and the haikus felt out of place, strange, and like empty place-holders. As for the stories, while half or so of them were 3-star reads or less for me due to lackluster plots or writing that I couldn’t get into, a few were absolute gems!

My particular favorites were the first two stories, A Check-Up for Mr. Bangles and A Walk in the Park. The first of these stories follows a father whose little girl is convinced her doll is dying, and he finds some peculiar things when examining the toy. The second story is about a man walking through the park late at night, determined to find anything to be afraid of, and it really is a fun reminder of how hard we horror fans might try to frighten ourselves sometimes. The other story I wanted to mention is Dead Dog Gone, a surprisingly adorable story about a woman who finds a hellhound on Halloween and decides to keep him as a pet.

Altogether, Knee Deep in Little Devils is a mixed bag, but if you’re looking for some fun flash fiction to entertain yourself with on Halloween, I think it’s worth giving a shot.

Thank you so much to WorD Publishing-pgh for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

3leaves


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Just a 26-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

5 thoughts on “MINI REVIEWS—HORROR EDITION: Everything That’s Underneath, A Monstrous Love Vol. 2, Pumpkinhead, Knee Deep in Little Devils

    1. Thank you so much! ♥ Oh my gosh, right?! I miss Blockbuster so much lol! The one we lived by had this membership plan where for whatever amount a month (I don’t know, I was a teen and my mom paid it haha), we got 4 rentals per month off the main shelves (not the “new releases”), and 1 “new release”, and then every other rental after those was $1, I think. We used to love going every week and picking out our new movie, and then they would always have those awesome bargain bins where you could buy their overstock movies for like 4 movies for $20 and we would stock up on those once every few months. It was so much fun! What good memories ♥

      Liked by 1 person

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