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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Lor Gislason

Inside Out by Lor Gislason is the perfect primer for those interested in exploring body horror or anyone who likes having a wet, pulpy, and bloody time. 

Told through interviews, VHS recordings, and written transcripts, Inside Out is a found footage meat fest that follows interconnected stories following a mining-induced apocalypse. Readers are introduced to the threat in segments at different stages of the outbreak, and while each story is uniquely its own, a gooey, flesh-filled connective tissue ties everything together as a whole. 

Inside Out is perfect for readers who want to squirm at the almost heave-inducing wetness of this collection. I honestly never thought I'd be able to hear the dripping droplets of a wet tongue, but here I am, unable to get them out of my head. As with any collection, I'll add the disclaimer that some segments stand out more than others, but there really wasn't a story that didn't make me feel a slight lurch in my stomach. 

If you want a gory, fun time, don't hesitate to pick this up. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Emma E. Murray

Sometimes I like my queer fiction warm and cozy, but more often than not, I like it drenched in blood. 

Emme E. Murray delivers so much blood and more in Exquisite Hunger, a 21-page chapbook about an attraction that turns to an obsession that turns to, well, you'll have to read the book, but given the title, it's probably not too hard to guess. But it's not really about the ending, it's how Murray gets us there.

Like Exquisite Corpse by Billy Martin (formerly Poppy Z. Brite), the disgusting is made oddly beautiful, drawing you into appalling scenes and characters until you forget how ugly they are. My stomach jolted at the overwhelming sense of violation throughout this story of fatal attraction, but Murray is graceful in guiding both the unnamed narrator and reader through a desire that turns raw and deadly. 

Definitely not for the faint of heart, Exquisite Hunger is a violently vivid book that will simultaneously make you salivate from nausea and a certain type of hunger. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Kristopher Triana

Considering Triana is a splatterpunk award winning author, it’s easy to think The Prettiest Girl in the Graveyard is going to follow in the stomach-churning footsteps of Full Brutal or Gone to See the Riverman. And while you’ll certainly find visceral scenes of flesh being torn apart, the true strength of The Prettiest Girl in the Graveyard is the slow burn supernatural dread surrounding Triana’s skillfully crafted urban legend. 

Prettiest Girl in the Graveyard managed to do what very few horror books have been able to - actually scare me. Maybe not in the ‘turn on all the lights while I run to the bathroom’ level of fear, but I challenge anyone to not be pulled back to those days of being a kid dared to enter the abandoned house down the block. That jolt of terror and excitement is exactly what’s waiting for you when you crack the spine of this little novella. But you get so much more than just chills as Bella leads you through the catacombs. 

True to form, Triana creates an increasingly tense, atmospheric ride that careens into the deep end in the best way possible. Just when you think you have it figured out, a new twist knocks you off your feet. It’s perfect for fans of 90s horror, where things are a little bit campy, a little bit bloody, and a hell of a lot of fun. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Samantha Eaton

Seventeen-year-old Cara Hughes doesn’t believe in monsters. She certainly doesn’t believe in the urban legend surrounding the Winter Tree or whispers of creatures that lurk within the shadow of the forest. But when Cara’s sister vanishes only to return changed a year later, her search for what happened will change her forever. 

Samantha Eaton mixes a brutal creature feature with small-town urban legends in The Insatiable Hunger of Trees. The backdrop of the Appalachia wilderness is the perfect backdrop to this tense and bloody tale steeped in folklore. Going in blind, I wasn’t expecting such a rich, lore-heavy tale of a sister’s devotion, grief, and loss, especially not alongside such a well-developed creature feature. I’m almost not sure how Eaton wrote such an emotional story that also made me squirm with graphic depictions of gore, but I’m 100% here for it. 

If you love atmospheric and fast-paced chills, definitely snag a copy of Insatiable Hunger of Trees. Just be prepared to get completely sucked into the mystery of what happened to Cara’s sister because once I cracked the spine, I was flipping the pages well into the night. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Eve Harms

Transmuted by Eve Harms is perfect for anyone looking for weird, visceral body horror that’s full of heart. 

It’s almost too easy to fall in love with Isa, a trans woman on the cusp of undergoing facial feminization surgery after a lifetime of inner turmoil. Fate, unfortunately, intervenes when her estranged father is diagnosed with cancer, and her sister forces Isa to cough up the money for surgery to save his life. Things look like they’re turning back around when an ad offering a free, experimental surgery pops up on her Instagram, but what starts off a dream come true begins morphing into a tediously ugly nightmare.

When I say I love body horror, I mean I love it weird, pulpy, and on the brink of throwing me into a wet mix of sludge I can’t crawl out of. Harms delivers in the best, most brutal ways possible. Throwing convention to the side to create a world that constantly leaves you questioning, “what the fuck,” Transmuted works best when you give up control and allow yourself to be thrown deep into the blood-soaked, gore-infused madness. And trust me when I say opening yourself to a vivid world of stuffed animals with human eyes, grotesque transformations into insect-like creatures, and mutant sex is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Beneath the heave-inducing transformations, however, is a story of self-validation and finding beauty in ruin. Yes, it’s fun to wade through bodily fluids, but having a steady thread of emotion guiding you through an off-the-rail transformation is an important anchor for a story that’s almost too much. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text


By Hamelin Bird

Cracking the spine of Drencrom by Hamelin Bird feels like free-falling into a gruesome acid trip that’s way too intense, but somehow so fun you don’t want it to come to an end. 

Bird uses confusion to his advantage as he thrusts you into Coda’s adrenaline-fueled spiral after tracking down an elusive drug on the black web. Reality effortlessly cracks at the edges the deeper Coda delves into Drencrom’s hallucinatory effects, and her high transcends the page until you’re both crashing through the walls of a warped reality. That’s to say this isn’t a book you ideally read. It sweeps you up in its gritty undercurrent until you helplessly face the horrors of Drencrom’s as they bubble to the surface. 

In less adept hands, this is a novella that could easily careen off the tracks, losing itself in the chaos of Coda’s messy tumble. But Hamelin is the perfect guide, helping you navigate a weird, hallucinatory world filled with horrors that threaten to push you into a void you can’t come back from. Instead, Hamelin lets you linger at the precipice, testing your boundaries as he assaults you with a growing sense of dread. 

If you love your fiction drug-fueled, fast-paced, with reality cracking at the edges, don’t skip out on this addicting novella. 

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text



I've trusted Daniel J. Volpe to take me to some pretty twisted and depraved places, so it's fitting that I follow him into his first foray into fantasy. To be fair, I've been salivating for more disturbing fantasy since devouring The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht, so I leaped at the chance to read A Story of Sorrow: Book 1: Of Flesh and Blood when it came out. 

A Story of Sorrow has everything you want in a fantasy novel - a down-on-his-luck protagonist, twisted magic, and non-stop action from the first page…just don't expect to find any heroes here. From Sorrow to the hired hands he finds himself entangled with, readers are thrust into the ranks of men who brag about their kill count as they investigate ominous rumors circling a small town. Those familiar with Volpe will feel right at home with his gratuitously gritty prose about colons being popped open, but he shows new strength in vivid world-building only his twisted mind can create. His splatterpunk roots strip away the hopeful padding that often buffers run-of-the-mill fantasy books, depositing you in a world that feels cruel from the first mention of a whip held in a character's hand. Death here seems ugly, agonizing, and permanent. But living means facing monstrosities that make you think you were better off dead.

With only 105 pages, A Story of Sorrow reads like a prologue for more twisted adventures yet to come, but it's enough time for Volpe to introduce you to his merciless world and characters. Maybe I shouldn't have become so endeared to a group of sell swords with women and children on their rap sheet, but Volpe manages to humanize the unlikeable, and I'm fully invested in following Sorrow through whatever hell he walks through next.

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Sonja Ska Reviews: Text
Zombie Rising and hands Out Of A Graveyard cemetery scary In Spooky dark Night full moon.
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