what I’ve been reading

by Kaylah Stroup

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Night’s Edge by Liz Kerin.

“Having a mom like Izzy meant Mia had to grow up fast. No extracurriculars, no inviting friends over, and definitely no dating. The most important rule: Tell no one of Izzy’s hunger – the kind only blood can satisfy.

But Mia is in her twenties now and longs for a life of her own. One where she doesn’t have to worry about anyone discovering their terrible secret, or breathing down her neck. When Mia meets rebellious musician Jade she dares to hope she’s found a way to leave her home – and her mom – behind.”

This was such a fun and totally different vampire book (although, one must note, they’re never specially called ‘vampires’ in the book) It was hard to put down. It was so easy to become involved with the characters and care for them.

Hurry up and grab a copy before the sequel, First Light, comes out later this month. I cannot wait to read it!

Mostrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova.

“Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses―though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care―threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.”

I knew this one would be a heart-breaker. Generally that would scare me away. I don’t really love digging into those feelings on purpose. (I mean, c’mon, I’m a huge horror reader for a reason!) BUT there was just something about this one that drew me in. Maybe it was the cute little critter on the cover.

Y’all, I LOVED this book. I was sad to see it end because I really enjoyed the characters and the story. It was beautiful, original and yeah, heartbreaking. I did a nice little cry at the end.

This feels like an early contender for top 10 of the year!

The Watchers by A.M. Shine.

“You can’t see them. But they can see you.

This forest isn’t charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina’s is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams.”

Look, there’s more to that description of the book but honestly, all I needed to see was ‘you can’t see them. but they can see you.’ paired with the word ‘forest’. SIGN ME UUUUP. Horror stories involving the woods are my favorite.

A little push for you to read it next – it’ll be coming out as a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan this year. The trailer looks pretty darn good.

Seed by Ania Ahlborn.

“With nothing but the clothes on his back―and something horrific snapping at his heels―Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.”

After reading (and LOVING) Brother, I’ve been very excited to dive into another Ania Ahlborn book. This one did not disappoint! She builds fantastic atmosphere that makes for one spooky story.

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor.

“Time slips. Doomsday scenarios. Killer butterflies. C. J. Tudor’s novels are widely acclaimed for their dark, twisty suspense plots, but with A Sliver of Darkness, she pulls us even further into her dizzying imagination.

In “The Lion at the Gate,” a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends. In “Final Course,” the world has descended into darkness, but a group of old friends make time for one last dinner party. In “Runaway Blues,” thwarted love, revenge, and something very nasty stowed in a hat box converge. In “Gloria,” a strange girl at a service station endears herself to a coldhearted killer, but can a leopard really change its spots? And in “I’m Not Ted,” a case of mistaken identity has unforeseen fatal consequences.”

This is the first of two books from C.J. Tudor in this post. I have become quite a big fan of her work over the last year or so. She’s an excellent writer with a dark mind. Her stories are full of twists and turns. If you like to dip your toes into an author’s work before diving into a four hundred plus page book – check this out for sure. She’s got some real winners in here!

I had a hard time putting this collection down. I just kept saying “Ah, one more story!” until I basically had the whole thing done in one sitting.

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor.

“500 years ago: eight martyrs burned
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished
Two months ago: a vicar died mysteriously

Welcome to Chapel Croft.
For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s a fresh start. New job, new home. But in a close-knit community old superstitions and a mistrust of outsiders mean treading carefully.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why did no one say the last vicar killed himself? Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls? And who is sending them threatening messages?

Old ghosts with scores to settle can never rest. And Jack is standing in their way . . .”

The second C.J. Tudor book in this post! This book was SO GOOD. I genuinely think the less you know about it going into it, the better! Lots of reviews gave away small details I felt were spoilers. I enjoyed every little surprise along the way.

Peruse the ‘books‘ category here on the blog for similar posts. Keep an eye on my instagram stories if you’re looking for even more recommendations!

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