Updated: Sep 17
Due to technical issues with my website, the Uncomfortably Dark Reviews will be posted here in the blog this week and next week. I will move all reviews to their respective pages as soon as things are worked out.
This week, we have reviews from Christina Critiques, Rachel Rates, and Besonen Breakdowns so let's get started!
anOther Mythology by Maxwell I. Gold
If you haven’t gotten on the Maxwell I. Gold train yet, I don’t know what you are doing with your reading life.
In anOther Mythology (that title is so gotdamn clever and you will understand it once you read the book, I promise) the reader is taken on a journey of the character’s self-discovery of being more than a mortal amongst Gods, and really, the reader does to.
This is not to be read quietly and to yourself, you need to read each word aloud, forcing the words to come alive in the universe. I’m serious. I read this to my six year old for bedtime and she was captivated. The way Gold conjures images in the readers mind and they dance off your tongue with each word… remarkable.
Want proof? Here are some of my favorite lines:
“Fear, the leathery serpent-boy who slunk across the dark musty innards betwixt star and broken dreams of the universe, danced atop crumbs of dread, forever smeared beneath him.” (Say those words aloud and tell me I’m wrong!)
“Doomed to care for these wild unfortunates who glide through His lips, His sloppy seconds.”
“…granite eyes peering into my soul where he found the missing piece of his metal heart.”
Gold stuns my literary heart AND mind every time I read the newest release. I’m a fangirl through and through.
An OFF THE CHARTS, DOUBLE RECOMMENDATION 20/5.
PREY TO GOD by Jesse D’Angelo
Transparency before the review: I’m not typically a creature feature fan. My brain doesn’t want to conjure the images of something that may never have existed, so I usually stay away but friends, let me tell you, we are sleeping on a banger here.
When pre-historic worlds and the real world collide in a series of intertwining fates, there is about to be some bloodshed.
That’s not a lot of information on the book but I want you going in as blind to it as possible. The characters, story, plot, everything worked so freaking perfectly in PREY TO GOD. I found myself shedding a few tears and I wasn’t prepared for it. (I would also like to point out, I think this is Sean Duregger’s best work to date.) He brought the story to life in a way I couldn’t have if I wasn’t listening.
DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS LIKE I DID. I don’t mean to use my outside voice, but I need to. PREY TO GOD is something special.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
PUZZLE HOUSE by Duncan Ralston
I know you guys haven’t heard of Duncan Ralston before since he’s kinda unknown. But let’s give the scamp a shot with his newest release.
Imagine an escape room but like an escape house with Saw like shenanigans and no one is to be trusted. That’s PUZZLE HOUSE.
Again, not a lot of information. I don’t want to give you much, you need to go in blind to this one as well because well, it gets insane quick. One thing I really noticed with this story was the research Ralston put into it. PUZZLE HOUSE is a book you are going to learn some cool stuff from and I love that thrown into a fantastic story and this is.
It’s a super quick read and keeps your attention throughout. My only complaint (and it’s my typical complaint) is I wish it was longer. But really, is that a bad thing to bitch about? Ralston keeps us guessing and refuses to allow the reader time to get their bearings much like the characters.
A definite must read 5/5.
MIDNIGHT MASQUERADE by Greg Chapman
1. This is a collection of 9 Halloween tales that will be released on 10.31.23. 9 Halloween tales!! As a Halloween stan (aka basic white girl) I’m constantly looking for the right book to read during spooky season and this was it! I loved each and every one of the stories, which is incredible! I’m usually satisfied with a collection or anthology if I enjoy 50% of the stories, so to find one that I truly enjoyed 100% of is unheard of. I’m not mad that I read this collection, but I am salty I read it in August instead of October (Thank you, Candace and Uncomfortably Dark for the ARC!)
2. I’ve not read any Greg Chapman before, and I think this was a perfect introduction to his work. I love his writing style. Anyone who has previously read him may have read a few of the stories in this collection already, but there are new stories as well, so please don’t let that deter you from scooping this up. And it’s all packaged together nicely for you to grab for future Halloweens when you’re needing something seasonally appropriate.
3. The breadth of subject matter/plot was impressive. I know it’s 9 stories about Halloween by the same author. You’re probably thinking ‘how much different can the stories be?’ VERY different. There are stories that tug at your heart (Happy Daze and Vaudeville), stories that keep you on the edge of your seat (The Last Night of October) and an overall sense of childhood nostalgia that makes you want to don a costume, grab a pillowcase, and knock on neighbors’ doors for candy.
4. As a bonus, I really enjoyed the structure of this collection – it starts and ends with a longer novella-ish story with 7 shorts in between. Very reader-friendly. Very easy to just fall into when you only have 15 or 20 minutes and you want to read but don’t want to be pulled out of a story when time is up.
Highly recommend! 4.5/5
A WELCOME REUNION by Lucinda Berry
1. Lucinda Berry is one of my all-time favorite authors and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I’ve read almost everything she’s ever written and every story has stuck with me but there are 2 in particular that I think about almost daily (I’m not even joking) – ‘Saving Noah’ and ‘The Perfect Child’.
2. The latter of those 2 books is one of the most unsettling things I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s so freaking creepy because it’s legitimately something that could, and does, happen. (Hello, Dr. Berry bringing her years and years of experience in psychology to the masses). This short story is the continuation of ‘The Perfect Child’ and man, it is exactly what I was hoping the continuation of this story would be.
3. I pre-ordered this but then saw it on NetGalley and I was so impatient to read it that I got it early! Honestly, I’m saddened to see that some of my predictions for Hannah, Christopher, and Piper came true, but there was no way that it could have gone any other direction. The whole saga of Janie is just heartbreaking for so many reasons. I can’t give too many details without ruining it for people who have yet to read these stories, and I don’t want to do that!
4. This could be read by itself and be completely stand-alone, but it’s much much better if you read ‘The Perfect Child’ first. I think there will be a lot more emotion invested into this short (81 page) story if you have the connection to the characters the novel will give you.
4.5/5 I’m sad it’s over! Darn it, Lucinda!
Today's first breakdown is for "Nightmare Nirvana" by Aron Beauregard.
Sometimes you read an author and just know from page one that it is going to be a well written thrill ride, Beauregard is one of those writers. Hearing this book was Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, I just had to read it and see what it offered. The offer, was a book not soon to be forgotten! Full of blood, gore and grossness, it is clear to me why Aron is one of the top names in the Indie Horror community. My least favorite was easily "When The Phone Rings" because it is pure depravity, but hey this is Horror and ya get what ya get!! I felt the variety told here was a great example of a vast imagination.
Second breakdown of the day is for "Rejects" by Alyanna Poe.
When I heard of a collection of stories rejected by publishers being put out, I had to dive in. I didn't love every tale told, but I definitely felt that there were some strong enough to make me wonder why they were rejected. A handful of endings felt abrupt, and I think that they could have been flushed out a bit more, but overall, I liked this collection. I've never seen an author so obsessed with their characters raising one eyebrow, so you know I'll be visiting other Poe titles in the future!!
Third breakdown of the day is for "Summerhome" by Thomas R. Clark.
The story was a bit scattered at times, but felt it was tied up together nicely by the end. I didn't care much for the humor in this one, but that's typical of my feeling when reading Horror. The story itself had some cool concepts, overall pretty enjoyable, I just wish it had focused a bit more on scary aspects. I listened to the audiobook version of this one on Audible.
Fourth breakdown of the day is for "The World Beneath" by Chisto Healy.
Oceanic Horror terrifies me, this one had me nervous from the start! It triggered my claustrophobia and kept it tripped throughout the terrifying journey. It gave me "Sphere" by Michael Crichton vibes, where you're helplessly trapped in an underwater nightmare but having a fantastically dreadful time. Take a dive and see what world lies beneath us...