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Rachel Rates!

Reviews by Rachel Schommer!
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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text

For You

By Mona Kabbani

 What a unique concept! I don’t want to say too much and ruin it, but this is, at it’s core, a love story. Not at all what you normally think of when you think of a love story; it’s not written about a partner, it’s written about the most pure love of all…and you’re going to have to read it to see what love that is 😊.

The setting felt like some sort of medieval middle eastern fairytale – if G.o.T was written by the brothers Grimm and set in Lebanon. Or if Aladdin and Game of Thrones had a love child. I really enjoyed the setting, it was much different than what I typically read, and I did have to go back and read some parts a 2nd or 3rd time because some of the lore, characters, or religious aspects were things I’m not familiar with at all and had to be sure to wrap my head around so I could make sure I was getting the full effect of the storyline. The Middle East is FULL of lore, legends, and spooky stuff, I really should look into more from that region of the globe, or maybe I’ll just let awesome authors like Mona bring a bit of their culture to me via their beautiful words.

 I sobbed like a baby. This hit me HARD, and if you know me, you’ll know why. It is such a beautiful and heartbreaking read. Even thinking back on it now has my eyes a bit wet.

Rachel Rates 4 out of 5. 

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By luna rey hall


I HATED THIS BOOK to start, lol. Oh, my goodness, Hall created one of the most annoying and aggravating characters and situations I’ve ever feasted my eyes upon. I actually contemplated DNF-ing this book. Then, I took a hard look at why I was having such an emotional response and realized they had hit a sore spot for me in creating a character that reflects some people in my own life…eeek. So, I kept reading, and I’m so glad I did!

This book touches on everything – mental health, identity, LGBTQIA+, RESPECT, failings of our U.S medical system, etc. When I said everything, I meant it!

Because of all the things this one touches on, the further I read, the more I came to enjoy the main character who previously annoyed me. They weaseled their way into my heart and created a nice little pocket where I wanted to protect them from harm.

This is written as a poem? A thought-flow…stream of consciousness? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s very unique and it works so freaking well. Honestly, it couldn’t be told in any other form, it’s just perfect how it is. I believe Luna Rey Hall is also a poet, and this book is the perfect melding of art form – prose and poetry.


Rachel Rates 4.5 out of 5 for…everything. What a freaking journey! 

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Kelli Owen

I absolutely love a good haunted house story! That means I’ve read quite a few, but this was something a bit different than what I’ve read before and that impresses me. I love when someone can take a unique spin on a ‘tired old’ trope, a.k.a just make something popular feel fresh and new.

Typically, I’m not a fan of stories that center the parent/child relationship or focus a bunch on being a parent, because, I’m not a parent, and I hate how society puts so much focus on people needing to procreate – it’s not a necessity, if you don’t want to, don’t. *hops off soapbox* - that is to say, I hate feeling preached at about how amazing and necessary having a kid is, and I find 98% of books that center a parent/child relationship feel preachy to me. This one did not. At all. And that allowed me to connect to the characters more.

Let’s talk about the characters – Oh. My. Goodness. SO PURE. Seriously, this whole book felt like I was reading about friends of mine. Just the nicest most respectful people. Even when they ‘weren’t’ they were. This book centers a married couple and is written from each of their perspectives. The husband is the main POV, but we do get the wife’s take on a few things, and this provides a look at both the motivation behind actions and what the perceived intentions are. They don’t always align and that was entirely too relatable. I just loved how real the characters felt!


I’ll be very honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from this one, but Kelli Owen called my bluff and I wound up enjoying this read so much!

Rachel Rates 4 out of 5.   

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Candace Nola, Mike Ennenbach, Eric Butler, and Nikolas P. Robinson

I’ve been reading a lot of collections/collaborations/anthologies lately and I have to say this is the most unique concept I’ve had the pleasure of reading! I loved how each author’s story was part of a much larger plot. ‘The Generator’ isn’t just a TOC with a slew of stories lined up with a similar theme, yet completely separate from one another.


This is a heavy read. The stories themselves are all really good, but the unsettling part is moreso the overarching plot. It is dark and evil and takes you right up through the very last page. There’s no break in the malevolence. Well done, Candace!

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger – will there be a 2nd installation? Please say yes, please say yes…

Honestly, I loved everything about this. I even loved that I loathed the main character – I actually think you need to for the plot to work as well as it does. Joel is absolutely supposed to be hated; pretentious, no talent hack that he is.

Rachel Rates: 4.5/5 Flawless execution

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Edward Lee & Wrath James White

 I had a friend tell me this book was too much for them, so of course, I had to dive right in. Seriously, I ordered it from Amazon immediately after that conversation. I’ve read quite a bit of Lee this year, so I knew what I was getting into, but I did still have a small gag reaction pretty quickly in the 1st chapter. It’s what Lee does.

If you’ve read Lee and White both – it’s pretty apparent who wrote what (at least I *think* it is), so if you’re hoping for a seamless meshing of styles, this is not it. But if you’re looking for good f-ed up fun from 2 awesome authors that may also tickle your gag reflex, this is it.


Religious horror will always be one of my favorite sub-genres…tropes…whatever. This is a different take on it than I’ve read before and it was highly enjoyable. I especially loved how broad of a brush the authors painted with when crapping on religion. *NOT faith, mind you, organized religion – there is a difference.

Rachel Rates: 3.5/5 Solidly disgusting

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By J. H. Markert

This was a fun combination of crime fiction, mystery, thriller, and horror. The plot was unique and involved – as you’d expect it to be in order to include all of those genres 😊

This may be a slight spoiler, so proceed with caution: as someone who reads a lot of extreme horror, there’s nothing I want less than those storylines to start playing out in real life. *for the purpose of this review, we’re going to skip over the fact that a lot of it is rooted in reality* That said, I found the premise of this novel fascinating.

The mystery aspect did keep me guessing. I did figure it out before the reveal, but that’s because Markert leaves some pretty obvious breadcrumbs that lead you to the answer, however, there are other mysteries surrounding the answer, so it doesn’t ruin the intrigue.

Rachel Rates: Definitely enjoyable – 3.5/5

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text

The Rack & Cue

By David Owain Hughes

This book was a bit of a slow burn to start off. I’ll admit, that’s difficult for me, but once this story gets rolling, it does pick up quite a bit and then it’s pretty constant action or competition.

In the beginning there were a LOT of characters and it wasn’t clear how they were going to fit together, but it did eventually all make sense and in a good way. Right away in the book you’re getting introduced to person after person after person and I was completely questioning if I’d be able to remember all of them or if they really even mattered. Yes, they do matter, and Hughes finds a fun way to pull everyone together and really make them more ‘personal’ and stand out in their own ways.

This is kind of a 2-for-1 story. There’s the first 3/5-ish of the book where the story is going 1 way and there’s a short mention of something that could have meant something, but you get the feeling it’s a little bigger than just a mentions and then the last 2/5s of the book completely switch and follow this theme, which felt wildly different to me. Not gonna lie, this took me by surprise!

Rachel Rates: 3/5

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Wrath James White

 I’ve struggled with writing this review – there’s a ton to unpack with this book, and a lot of it I simply cannot understand. I can try to relate or empathize, but not understand. I’ve tried to put a few thoughts together, but this is not nearly all I have to say on this one. This book will be with me a loooooong time.

The main relationship in this book is between a black man and a white woman, and, as the title suggests, race plays a huge part in what happens throughout the novel, but it’s not everything. I loved the race aspect; it made me think and made me ask myself some difficult questions. Being a white woman myself, I simply cannot understand what BIPOC individuals go through living in an inherently racist society. That said, I also try not to bury my head in the sand like Natasha does. Seeing her challenged in the ways she was throughout this book was extremely satisfying at times because in her silence she was complicit in furthering the divide between white/white passing and BIPOC individuals.

From the jump it appears that race is the main focus of the book, but then the whole BDSM angle is unveiled and that’s where my mind was fully blown. I am not a part of the BDSM community. I don’t have anything against those who are, but I admit I know virtually nothing about it, so learning about the power dynamics in Dom/Sub relationships was incredibly interesting. However, it was made extra difficult when coupled with the race aspect of this novel – it’s not always apparent which ‘relationship’ Kenyatta is playing on for the things he comes up with. Is it race? Is it BDSM? Is it his sociopathic tendencies?

And…in poorly articulating that last thought I realized there may be a more overarching theme in this book: society is similar to a shady BDSM relationship for minorities; where there isn’t consent on the part of the sub, or where the sub doesn’t realize they should be holding the power until too late because their dom is shady AF and managed to steamroll them into something they later regret.

This novel had some of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read. I hated every one of them, but the writing and subject matter was so good I couldn’t put it down. I read this as part of a buddy read and blew the schedule out of the water because I couldn’t stop reading, I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next.  5/5 for how it continues to live in my head rent-free.

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text

Bob's Pest Control

By Ryan Hyatt

 What a weird and delightful little story! Bizarro humor mixed with 1980’s vibes = you can’t go wrong.

This was my first by Ryan Hyatt, but certainly will not be my last – I love something that is intelligent but also makes me laugh and nostalgic at the same time, and Bob’s Pest Control delivered. What an absolute ride this was – I mean: mad scientists, a less than desirable housing market, crappy neighbors, giant Lovecraftian creatures, and family dynamics all mixed together in a smart and silly 37 page short.

I can’t recommend this enough! 4/5

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By RJ Roles

When I heard that RJ Roles of the Books of Horror Community Anthologies had his very own collection out, I NEEDED to read it! RJ has done so much for the independent horror community, I just had to see what he had brewing in his head creatively and I was not disappointed!

First of all, if you can get Mike Ennenbach to intro your book, you’ve made it. Mike has a very refined literary taste and can sniff out talent like a pig sniffing truffles.

The first 2 stories were very short and had a similar feel to them, it was a nice intro to the collection – like dipping your toe in to test the water.

I truly enjoyed every story in this, but I especially wanted to call out ‘Secret Recipe’, ‘Swine of Another Kind’, ‘Dream Vacation’, and ‘Something’s Wrong With the WIFI’:

Both Secret Recipe and Swine of Another Kind played with my emotions in a very good way.  

Dream Vacation was my absolute favorite of the collection. It had so many different horror elements to it, some a little far-fetched, and some very very real. I love when something is horrifying because it’s plausible (or, semi-plausible). The main character in this one is a medical doctor and everyone knows how terrifying it can be navigating the medical system and putting your full trust into someone while you’re so vulnerable, and that’s the kind of fear I’m talking about. One you feel deep down inside because you relate. Something’s Wrong with the WIFI was just a fun fever dream, incredibly relatable and silly.

Moral is: RJ doesn’t just know how to publish a good book, he knows how to write one too.

RACHEL RATES: 4 out of 5. 

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Lucy Leitner

I’m starting this off by saying I relate hard-core to the main character, Valerie. I’m a gym rat. I’ve spent a large portion of my life being active – from high school and college sports to gym memberships as an adult. Admittedly, and somewhat ashamedly, when social media became as big as it is there was a brief (I mean BRIEF) moment I thought I’d try my hand at being a fitness influencer. NOPE. I quickly learned I do not have the particular brand of crazy that is required for that. Not saying I have no crazy, I surely do, just not that kind. All of the characters in this book are ‘slight’ exaggerations of the types of people you’ll encounter in that space and MAN, it brought memories and feelings flooding back to me. Yikes. Glad I dodged that bullet, says the girl who now spends all of her money on independent horror books and conventions 😉

I love how Lucy so perfectly likens the fitness influencer industry to a cult. Because, honestly, that’s what it is. Not just influencers; it’s not fair to single them out, but the whole industry. It’s so sad, because there are science-based things that are out there and can be helpful to people who need them. I for one, have a diagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency – so I take a supplement – and I notice a difference. NOT EVERYONE needs this, yet I see it all over everything as a magic cure for fatigue (it’s not). Health and wellness are so individualized and it’s also something VERY valuable – beyond monetarily, so it’s incredibly easy for capitalistic vultures to swoop in and ‘woo’ people into buying unnecessary and, sometimes harmful, items/supplements/ideas. Thankfully, I have noticed more and more fit-fluencers out there calling it like it is, making me wonder what their tipping point in the cult was. Hopefully it wasn’t as drastic as what Valerie encounters in this novella…

Little bit of real-life horror mixed with exaggeration and humor, what’s not to love? Especially for anyone who has experience on the health side of any social media!

Rachel Rates: 4 out of 5! 

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text


By Lucinda Berry

This is an Audible Original, so obviously, it’s an audiobook 😉. Gotta get this out of the way early; it isn’t really a comment on the book, it’s also very important: the narrator is great!

One thing I absolutely love about Lucinda Berry is that she makes me think. I mean, she was a clinical psychologist in her early career, and psychology FASCINATES me (hence why I majored in it). There is nothing better than putting yourself into other people’s shoes and trying to look at things from their perspectives.

I’ve noticed that many times I can kind of see snippets of different true crime cases in Lucinda’s work and I enjoy that. I’m a true crime lover (typically in podcasts) and many times I feel like you get a quite biased opinion on podcasts, which is fine, but you have to listen to quite a few to really get the whole story from all sides (again, fine), but Lucinda has this way of writing a book where you see elements of something you may know from true crime or the news, etc. and flipping it around where you’re looking at it in a whole different way which tends to boggle one’s mind.

Throughout this novella you see the lead character Alexis really come into her own, and I LOVED that. It’s a woman finding her strength in tragedy and, to me, that’s so underrated and so so powerful.

Rachel Rates: 4 out of 5!

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Rachel Schommer Reviews: Text
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