Review: The Fearing Book Two: Water & Wind by John F.D. Taff

Book cover for The Fearing Book Two: Water and WindThe Fearing, Book Two: Water & Wind by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (August 20, 2019)

130 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

The Fearing is an epic, apocalyptic horror story by “King of Pain” John F. D. Taff,  told over the course of multiple, individual book installments published by Grey Matter Press. Book One is titled Fire & Rain, which I reviewed for Cemetery Dance in June. Here’s a quote from the review:

And this is where Taff is a damn genius. He proves time and time again that in just a few pages, in just one scene, he can manipulate the feelings of his readers and make us care about these people on the page like THAT *snaps fingers*.

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Review: The Hungry Ones by Chris Sorensen

The Hungry Ones by Chris Sorensen
Harmful Monkey Press (May 2019)

313 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

If you enjoy keeping up with all the new releases in horror, then no doubt you heard about 2018’s The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen. Book #1 of the Messy Man series received a warm welcome from the horror industry with glowing reviews across the board from multiple sources, including me! I loved The Nightmare Room. having this to say about it:

…a really well written haunted house story that’s easy to follow and scary enough to leave the light on or read during the day. I loved it! This is a must have for your horror collection.Continue Reading

Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Cover of the book The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten WhiteThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Delacorte Press (September 2018)
304 pages; $8.27 hardcover; $19.99 paperback; $10.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

What a treat that a signed hardback copy of this book showed up in my mailbox just a few weeks before I learned that Kiersten White had won the 2018 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a YA Horror novel. Hearing such glowing reviews made me eager to read this popular retelling of a classic, horror favorite. Continue Reading

Review: Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (July 25, 2019)

288 pages; $24.95 hardcover; $14.95 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

The Sorrows  is a wonderful example of a place exercising its influence over its occupants. Gothic horror at its finest.”Frank Errington for Cemetery Dance

This review is dedicated to Frank who would have loved to read and review the sequel to The Sorrows. I miss my friend.Continue Reading

Review: Ghoul by Brian Keene

Ghoul by Brian Keene
Eraserhead Press (2012)

228 pages; $11.59 paperback; $7.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

“Boys have scars”, he thought. “Some of them fade—and others don’t. Some scars stay with us for life.”—Brian Keene, Ghoul

Even though this book was originally published some years ago, stories this good are timeless and a well-written book can find its audience yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Ghoul will now join the ranks of my favorite coming-of-age horror tales. And I know what some of you are thinking right now, “We know all about Brian Keene and Ghoul, Sadie. You’re a little late to the party!”Continue Reading

Review: A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben
Word Horde (March 2019)

270 pages; $15.42 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

This debut novel from Carrie Laben sure sticks to your ribs long after you’ve read it. The prose itself is rich but it’s all the subtext and symbolism that fills up your mind with food for thought. Continue Reading

Review: The Fearing, Book One: Fire & Rain by John F. D. Taff

The Fearing, Book One: Fire & Rain by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (July 9, 2019)

$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I think it’s a fact that human beings are obsessed with stories about our own cataclysmic demise. There’s something about this potential threat to the end of the world as we know it that inspires writers to pen epic sagas exploring humanity under extreme duress. Off the top of my head, I have enjoyed apocalyptic books like The Stand by Stephen King, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, and The Passage by Justin Cronin.Continue Reading

Review: The Bone Weaver’s Orchard by Sarah Read

The Bone Weaver’s Orchard by Sarah Read
Trepidatio Pub (February 2019)

194 pages; $12.36 paperback; $4.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Where are my fellow John Bellairs fans? Raise your hands and be counted. I need to know who you are. It’s important to this review because I’m an avid horror fan who was first nourished on the horror milk of John Bellairs novels. Bellairs wrote dark, gothic mysteries for young readers and he never shied away from being “too scary” for kids. I relished my time in those pages.

Here I am now at forty-two years of age and Sarah Read, the talented author of The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, has just rekindled that fire by tapping some of my favorite things I loved as a young reader.Continue Reading

Review: A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward

Cover of A Penny for Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt HaywardA Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward
Poltergeist Press (June 1, 2019)
264 pages; $21.99 hardcover; $15.99 paperback; $5.39 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

As far as introductions go, I couldn’t ask for a better way to familiarize myself with the talented voices of Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. A Penny For Your Thoughts is the collaborative effort of both authors. I’m impressed with how harmoniously they blended their storytelling because this read like one, seamless narrative.Continue Reading

Review: Growing Things by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (July 2, 2019)

352 pages; $25.99 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

“I’m terrible at remembering plot and character specifics…if the story is successful, what I do remember and will never forget is what and how that story makes me feel.”—Paul Tremblay in the “Notes” of Growing Things.Continue Reading

Review: The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (April 2019)

352 pages; $16.48 hardcover; $10.37 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

2019 is the year of Jonathan Janz. There. I said it. Flame Tree Press performed the remarkable act of acquiring his previously released titles and then doling them out to us on a pretty aggressive schedule, which is an impressive gesture all on its own…but wait! There’s more. Flame Tree is also releasing new titles from Janz.Continue Reading

Review: In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
Skyhorse (March 2019)

384 pages; $13.80 paperback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Stephen Graham Jones posted on social media a few times about a book called In the Valley of the Sun and I took note, but it wasn’t until he posted the book’s cover that I got excited. The cover boasts a human skull bleeding from the eye sockets. It’s wearing a cowboy hat and vampire incisors are clearly visible.

Interesting.Continue Reading

Review: Tribesmen by Adam Cesare

Tribesmen by Adam Cesare
Black T-Shirt Books (January 2019)

154 pages; $9.95 paperback; $32.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

You know, sometimes Mother Horror feels a little left out of the conversation. I don’t watch very many horror movies, so when some of my horror fiction friends start bringing movies into a bookish discussion, I’m often left standing alone in the corner with not much to say.Continue Reading

Women in Horror: An Interview with Ellen Datlow

If you’ve read an anthology of horror, science fiction or fantasy stories in the last couple of decades, chances are good it was edited by Ellen Datlow.  In addition to editing more than 100 anthologies over the course of her 35 year career, Datlow has served as the editor magazines such as OMNI and Event Horizon, and currently acquires fiction for Tor.com.

Datlow’s impeccably keen eye for talent has made her one of the most important figures working in modern horror fiction. We at Cemetery Dance are honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

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Women in Horror: An Interview with Alma Katsu

In 2018 Alma Katsu took the world of horror fiction by storm with The Hunger, her re-imagining of the tragic story of the Donner Party. The Hunger was named to NPR’s list of 100 Best Horror Stories, and made the “Most Anticipated” lists of a number of media outlets, including The Guardian and io9.

Katsu is currently working on a new novel centered around another historic tragedy—the Titanic—as well as a spy novel and other projects. She was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to chat with Cemetery Dance. Continue Reading