[Roxie Reviews] | ‘The Lies That Bind Us’ by Andrew Hart


‘The Lies That Bind Us’ by Andrew Hart
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5
Finished on June 24, 2018
Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription
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Jan, full of secrets, is flying to Crete to reunite with a group of friends she made on vacation five years prior. Being in a beautiful climate allows her to pretend she belongs, even alongside her ex-boyfriend, Marcus.

She realizes that none of them really know one another when she awakes to find herself chained in a dark room. Desperate to reconstruct what happened to get her there, she discovers her friends are not as perfect as she thought, and she’s forced to come to terms with her own secrets.

There was a lot I liked about this book and a lot I didn’t.

I liked the concept of telling a story through the eyes of someone like Jan, a compulsive liar, and I really liked how it was all tied together with Greek mythology. I liked the construction of this story — how it went from flashbacks to the present. It kept me wanting to read.

I did not like the majority of the characters in this tale. They were all rude as all get out to each other, but they were supposed to be friends? I didn’t understand why anyone would tolerate the verbal abuse they did without standing up for themselves. It just didn’t feel like real reactions between people who supposedly enjoy one another’s company.

This is minor, but as someone with terrible vision, I found it really hard to believe that she would choose to go through her whole vacation without her glasses after she loses them in the sea. She could have even lied (imagine that!) about needing to get a new pair for whatever reason. Her losing her glasses felt like a convenient way to hinder her without making a whole lot of real-life sense.

I was not satisfied with the ending either. It felt like it came out of nowhere — wrapped up too quickly. And Jan’s reaction to when her friends don’t believe her after she’s lied to them, again and again, was too much.

This book isn’t badly written or un-engaging, but it left a lot to be desired for me.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘The Memory Tree’ by John A. Heldt


‘The Memory Tree’ by John A. Heldt
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on June 22, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle

Still looking for their time-traveling parents, the Carson siblings begin their search in 1918. Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota while the twins head back to Pennsylvania, Greg travels out west and down to Mexico, and Natalie finds her stride in France writing about the war.

Disaster seems to follow the family, though, as a catastrophic wildfire heads straight for the newlyweds and soon-to-be parents, and Greg finds himself in more trouble with the law.

In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In this second installment of The Carson Chronicles, we find our beloved siblings searching for their parents in another tumultuous time period. World War I has taken the lives of many, and the Spanish Flu has taken its fair share.

But the Carsons won’t give up the fight until they are reunited — a family whole, again.

I enjoyed this book as much, or more, than the first one. I’ve come to really love these characters and feel as though they are real, flesh and blood, people. It’s become impossible not to root for them and hope they not only find their parents but that they are one day able to resume their lives.

One of the things I love the most about the characters Heldt has created is that despite their circumstances and their worries, they continue to live their lives as best they can. There’s barely any self-pity, and they take the opportunities provided through time travel to enrich not only their lives but the lives of others. Many folks in their positions would be so paralyzed by panic and desperation, they’d do not even a fraction of the things the Carsons do. They’re a great example for a life well lived, I think.

Patricia was a delightful addition to the cast. I might just think that because I’m a Texan, too, making me a little biased, but she seems to balance things out in just the right way. And it was so lovely to be reunited with Emma and to see how twenty-plus years changed her relationship with the twins but did not diminish it.

I am assuming there is going to be a third installment of this series, and I am excited to read it. Heldt has truly created a gem of a series, here.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Lightning Child’ by Martha Pound Miller


‘Lightning Child’ by Martha Pound Miller
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5
Finished on June 10, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $.99 on Kindle

During a summer thunderstorm, young Sparrow Thibault is inexplicably drawn to the waters of the Arizona Canal. There, she is struck by lightning and the voice of Joan of Arc who tells her of her unbelievable destiny.

This destiny puts her in danger of those who believe in prophesy, but she’s got a priest, Father Patrick Kilian, and God on her side.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Religious-centric books aren’t typically something I choose to read, but I’m glad I made an exception for ‘Lightning Child’. It tells a spiritual story without being too preachy or in-your-face about it.

Sparrow is an extremely likable and relatable character. She’s never given God much thought and doesn’t understand why she’s been chosen for something so incredible. Father Kilian provides a sort of father figure to Sparrow, and I felt like she really needed that.

I think Miller has done a great job of creating a book that both believers and non can both enjoy. Her writing is concise and well-paced. Her characters feel like real people, and the struggles they face were believable despite their astounding circumstances.

This is a story of miracles, family, friendship, and faith. If these sound appealing to you, you should give this book a read.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘River Rising’ by John A. Heldt


‘River Rising’ by John A. Heldt
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on June 7, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $21.83 on Audiobook

Tim and Caroline Carson disappear while on a hike leaving their five children searching for them. The oldest son, Adam, is given a letter from his parents’ lawyer with an unbelievable story of where his parents have gone — they are time travelers who have gotten trapped in the past.

Adam studies the information his parents left behind for him and becomes convinced he can find them and bring them back to 2017. He rallies his siblings — Greg, Natalie, Cody, and Caitlin — and they all agree to travel to the 1880s.

Greg, the most adventurous and resourceful of the five, takes off to the Wild West while his siblings stay behind in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. What none of them know, though, is that a devastating flood will destroy the town on May 31. 1889.

In RIVER RISING, the first novel in the five-book Carson Chronicles series, five young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they experience America in the age of bustle dresses, gunslingers, and robber barons.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

‘River Rising’ is a charming novel with lovable characters that melds historical fiction and time travel.

The Carson siblings are incredibly endearing in both their desire to find their parents and to stay together while doing so. They don’t make any decision without the support of all of the others, and they travel to an era entirely opposite of the one they came from.

This selflessness of the female siblings, Natalie and Caitlin, struck me the most. They left an era in which women are allowed to choose their lives, their careers, their political leaders, and their partners. Yet, for the love of their parents, they traveled to one devoid of most all of those things. I’m not sure I could do the same if in their situation.

Along their journey to be reunited with their parents, the siblings meet several people who will change their lives forever, and when the massive, fatal flood hits Johnstown, they learn about love, heartbreak, and the preciousness of life.

This book is an absolute joy to read. I am already currently half-way through the second installment, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for the Carson clan.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘The REM Project’ by J.M. Lanham


‘The REM Project’ by J.M. Lanham
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on June 3, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $14.95 in Paperback

It’s been six months since the release of Asteria Pharmaceutical’s sleeping pill, Ocula, and the disaster in Costa Rica. The original outliers of the drug’s clinical trials are on the run while the drug has been dispersed to the masses without regard of its side effects.

The director of the CIA has taken notice, though, and has set her sights on getting rid of the drug. Even if it means restarting a dangerous and morally ambiguous project she said she’d never condone.

As the original outliers get pulled deeper into the Ocula conspiracy, they’ll soon discover that they’re not the only ones dreaming.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

‘The REM Project’ is the exciting and action-packed sequel to ‘The REM Effect’. In it, we find the outliers six months after the incident in Costa Rica. They’ve been on the run but have realized it’s time to bring Asteria down.

Using their unique abilities, both brought on by Ocula as well as those they have innately, they come back together to accomplish a common goal. Along the way, they discover they are not the only ones dreaming, nor are they the only ones using these dreams to their advantage.

Lanham has once again written a clever and fast-paced thriller. He’s tied together regular people, corrupt corporations, and sly government agencies to build a tale that keeps you intrigued from the get-go. The ending of ‘The REM Project’ is intense and almost shocking in its brilliance.

Apparently, Lanham has one more book in this series, and I’m excited to see how it all culminates. I have my predictions, but I’ve no doubt he will blow them all out of the water.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘U Got to Have U Some Fun’ by Andrew Harkless


‘U Got to Have U Some Fun’ by Andrew Harkless
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on May 24, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $13.74 in Paperback

John Smith, recently divorced and the father of a deceased soldier, comes home from his job at a rubber band factory one day to discover someone has sent him a cruise ticket. He assumes it’s from his late son, Carson, because he made John promise to one day take a cruise and have some fun. He decides to take the ticket and fulfill his promise to Carson.

During seven days of various Caribbean destinations and sea days, John meets a diverse blend of passengers and crew who influence his life in monumental ways. Each new day brings new experiences, pleasures, a new challenge to overcome, and information about the source of the ticket.

As John begins to emerge from his shell—less and less average, more and more adventurous, and destined for a new and richer life—the question still looms:

Who bought John’s ticket?

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

‘U Got to Have U Some Fun’ is a delightful, heartwarming novel about a man learning to leave both his mundane life and his grief behind. In a beautiful tribute to his son, John Smith shows the reader how important it is to honor those we love after they have passed. John continually steps out of his comfort zone to honor his son, and in doing so, he reinvigorates his life and comes to terms with the losses he’s faced. He learns he’s more capable (and likable!) than he ever imagined himself to be.

Harkless has written a charming novel with a lot of heart. Every character in this novel brings a brightness, a vitality, that rubs off on the main character, John. By the end of this book, you feel like you’ve become friends with these cruisers, too.

There are a lot of coming of age novels about teens or young adults, so it’s a nice change to see one about a grown man. Because it’s never too late to discover (or rediscover) who you are and what sort of life you want to lead. Every new and exciting challenge and adventure John faces, he takes on with gusto. He’s not afraid to look silly or to fail. We could all learn a lot from boring ol’ John Smith.

I’ve never taken a cruise. They actually sort of frighten me, but after reading this book, I wanted to! It was hard not to be inspired and invigorated by the things John experienced and the relationships he made along the way.

This is the first book I’ve read from Andrew Harkless, but I would not hesitate to read more of his work. ‘U Got to Have U Some Fun’ felt reminiscent of Paulo Coelho to me, so if the rest of his work is like this book, there’s a lot to enjoy from Harkless.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Vanish Into Midnight: What Goes On in the Walls at Night, Vol. II’ by Andrew Schrader


‘Vanish Into Midnight: What Goes On in the Walls at Night Vol. II’ by Andrew Schrader
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on May 16, 2018
$2.99 on Kindle | $13.99 in Paperback

These stories and nine more fill the pages of Vanish Into Midnight, the second book in the What Goes On in the Walls at Night speculative fiction series. Do they forebode an unthinkable fantasy — or a nightmarish reality that waits, like a thief sharpening his blade — just around the corner?

First of all, I absolutely love the cover and size of this book (and ‘What Goes On in the Walls at Night’). They are reminiscent of old-school pocket novels in size, and the covers are delightfully retro-creepy. They’re truly beautiful.

Just like ‘What Goes On in the Walls at Night’, this collection is tied together by a larger over-arching narrative. We meet the “listener” from the first book, as he seeks out the experiences told to him in the first book.

This collection includes the stories:

“Give Me All Your Sunsets”
A wife urges her husband to go through a procedure to make him her “dream man”.
This is my favorite story of the lot, and how appropriate it opens the collection. My favorite sort of horror stories are those with a little bit of tenderness mixed in. Honestly, there isn’t much more haunting than regret, and this story is the perfect depiction of that feeling.

“The Angler”
Captain Tusk was once the top fisherman. He had a gift of finding the most lucrative spots. But now, the fish are gone. Or so everyone thinks.
Nature always finds a way to right itself, and in this story, it doesn’t forget. Delightful.

“We Just Want to Watch”
When a husband finds out his new wife is massively in debt, she decides to make things right by signing up for an experiment in which she’ll be spied on 24/7.
Why anyone would sign up for something like this is beyond me, but it makes for an extremely creepy story!

“Dimethyl Tetrahydrazine”
A student of amphibious biology discovers the diabolical truth behind a horrific compound.
It’s no secret to most of us that large companies are not always out for the public’s interest. This story is about precisely that. The ending actually made me laugh out loud.

“Crap Mappers™ Inc.”
Albert Spencer, an astronomical failure, thinks he’s landed on the idea of a lifetime when he figures out how to map out the poop of everyone in the world by connecting them through social media and selling their data to every company imaginable who would want such information.
Sometimes a sh*tty idea might seem like the best one you’ve ever had.

“20,000 Light Years from Home”
A group of space travelers becomes stranded after their ship is partially destroyed. This story chronicles their final days.
Oh, man, this is a heartbreaking story. Schrader has captured hopelessness, camaraderie, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit in this tale.

“Look at My Memories”
“Look at my memories. Aren’t they great? I spend all day looking at them.” In this story, a woman looks back (over and over) on a lifetime of memories.
This story is bleak but, like all of Schrader’s tales, it’s sharply poignant. It shows how malleable memories are and how they can be used against us.

“O Dentist! My Dentist”
A dentist uses his skill to make life with his wife more bearable.
Dang! This is a twisted story in the very best way.

“De occidendum rei publicae”
Everyone spends all their time on something called “The Forum”. They think it’s harmless and fun but, in reality, it’s corrupting them in ways they could never imagine.
I’m sure we’ve all spent more time than we are proud of on Internet forums or in chat rooms. But what if we didn’t simply find we’ve wasted hours after pulling ourselves away but instead found ourselves carrying out terrible acts we can’t control? That’s what this story depicts, and it’s chilling, to say the least.

A scorned man is stuck in his apartment listening to the sound of his former lover in the next apartment.
The title of this is lovely. Sometimes, a worm burrows itself into the human heart, pickling it, and making nothing short of a desperate act make sense.

“Triumph of the Fact”
Everyone lives their life online in this tale. Everyone is constantly connected, being force-fed what the government wants them to know through implanted devices. Some folks are perfectly happy with this, but others are not. They aren’t at all.
This story is so scary because it’s not all that hard to believe this sort of future could be possible. If I’ve grasped one thing from reading Schrader’s work, it’s that he has a way of using “what could be” to deeply frighten.

This might just be my top book of 2018. Schrader has a gift. Every single one of these stories is not only beautifully written, but they are haunting in their truthfulness. They are tales of the darkest and most corruptible sides of humanity.

This is a collection I will undoubtedly read over and over again. Schrader’s writing has burrowed itself deep down inside me. It’s been nearly a month since I finished this collection, and I still find myself thinking about these stories. There’s something really, really special about that.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘How To Exit Your Body: and Other Strange Tales’ by Christopher Maxim


‘How To Exit Your Body: and Other Strange Tales’ by Christopher Maxim
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5
Finished on May 15, 2018
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | FREE on Kindle | $5.99 in Paperback

How does one exit their body? Could there be more than 24 hours in a day? Is it possible to use cheat codes on a ouija board? What is the meaning of life? Find the answers to these questions and more in the chilling collection from popular NoSleep/creepypasta author Christopher Maxim (with a foreword by popular YouTube narrator CreepsMcPasta). This book is guaranteed to horrify you in the best way possible. Open it up, turn the page, and take a journey to a world consumed with mystery in madness.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

‘How To Exit Your Body: and Other Strange Tales’ is an eclectic and satisfying collection of short horror stories. It includes the stories:

“How To Exit Your Body”
Two friends who can lucid dream use a guidebook to take their nighttime adventures even further with tragic consequences.
Lucid dreaming is a fascinating phenomenon, and this story takes an already compelling concept to new levels. It’s well-written and gripping up until the very end.

“I Discovered The Meaning of Life”
Would you buy the meaning of life online for less than a couple cups of coffee? Some people do, and the MC of this story makes a nice little chunk of change from it along with his fair share of hate-mail. When he starts getting letters from “Red”, things get a lot more intense.
A lot of us have been taken advantage of by online sellers, so this story is strangely satisfying while still being creepy.

“A Diner Opened 25 Hours A Day”
On his way home from a business trip, this story’s MC makes a fateful decision to stop for a bite to eat at a roadside diner.
I loved this story. It has a delightfully spooky atmosphere that ramps up in perfect pace and ends with a bang.

“My Wife Won’t Stop Sleep Talking”
After moving into a new house, a husband’s wife begins behaving strangely including talking in her sleep. The things she says are bone-chilling.
My partner sleep talks, so I know how jarring it can be. Thankfully, he typically says funny stuff, not the sort of stuff the wife in this story spouts. Maxim has written yet another little gem of a tale here.

“The Axe Man’s Lullaby”
Sometimes, family secrets are buried for a reason.
Every good short horror collection includes a ghost story, and this one hits the spot. It shows just how one’s decisions always have consequences.

“Never Use Cheat Codes on a Ouija Board”
This story’s MC likes to frequent a local occult shop, and there they find a hand-carved, beautiful Ouija board they can’t resist. This particular board not only comes with a planchette, but it comes with cheat codes.
Who doesn’t enjoy Ouija board stories? There are a billion of them out there, but this one is different in the best way.

“Elevator Code”
After finding a strange multi-digit elevator code in their hotel room, a convention planner can’t resist using it.
This was among my favorite stories in this collection. It packs a big punch and tells a startling tale in a short amount of time.

Maxim does short horror well. Every story in this collection, as short as it is, brings a new and exciting element to the reader. There are no flops but several gems.


[Roxie Reviews] | ‘From Twisted Roots: Thriller, Horror, and Mystery Short Stories’ by S.H. Cooper


‘From Twisted Roots’ by S.H. Cooper
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on May 14, 2018
Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription
FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $.99 on Kindle | $12.99 in Paperback

From twisted roots comes poisoned fruit, and even the most wholesome families have their dark secrets.

Inside you’ll experience intimate first hand accounts of modern day murders, kidnappings, and violent revenge. Other stories are heartwarming with whimsical mysteries, gothic fairy tales, and supernatural monstrosities. Nothing is as it seems, nothing is safe, and anything is possible as you embark upon these thrilling tales to uncover the truth.

Aptly titled, this book is a delightfully twisted collection of short horror stories. Right from the start, Cooper draws you into her world and keeps you there. You never know what you’re going to get from one story to the next, but you know you’re going to enjoy the ride.

This collection includes the stories:

“Fran and Jock”
As a young girl, Sadie is gifted a talking teddy bear from each of her grandfathers. Each bear plays a recording of her grandfather saying, “I love you, Sadie”. They became treasured items in her household, especially after her grandfather’s passed away. But, as all kids do, Sadie grew up and lost interest in the toys. When she moves out, she leaves them at home with her parents.
Eventually, Sadie’s parents ask her to house-sit while they go on a trip. Glad to do it, she returns home and settles into her old bedroom full of memories. And her talking bears.
This is a fun story with a charming, unexpected ending.

“The Signs Were All There”
A doctor who has a family history of experiencing death omens gets one about her daughter from a young patient. Not one to take something like that lightly, she frantically scrambles to get home to her daughter with terrible consequences.
I really liked the atmosphere of this story. Cooper does a great job of making the reader feel her panic and fear. The pacing is perfect and not a word is wasted.

“As Long As There Are Children”
There’s rumored to be a carnival exclusively for children deep in the woods. Of course, this proves irresistible to Bill and his friends. Bill reluctantly brings his little brother, Noah, along unknowing they are both about to get the fright of their lives.
I don’t know what it is, but I have always been a fan of creepy carnival/amusement park stories. This one has a very Stephen King feel to it, and I enjoyed it very much.

“Her Last Call”
Catarina is the cousin everyone loves to hate. She’s snotty and mean and just generally a not-great person, so when the main character’s mom insists Catarina come to stay for a week, she knows she’s in for the weekend from hell. When Catarina receives a phone call from a girl she’s bullied at school, things quickly spiral out of control.
Who doesn’t like a story in which the bullied get revenge on their tormentor? This one is downright creepy.

“The December Tapes”
Libby Helmer gets abducted on her way home from school, and for the next several years, her family receives a package containing an audiotape of Libby speaking to them. Eventually, the tapes break Libby’s mother, and she refuses to listen.
The plot of this story is original and gripping. Child abduction alone is a terrifying scenario, but to be tortured over and over again by the captor adds a whole new level of horror.

Audrey and Connor discover food missing from their house and realize their son, Jamie, has been stealing it. He says he’s been feeding “Smidge” beneath the house, and Smidge has a growing appetite.
This story is so fun! If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I absolutely love a good monster story, and this is one of the good ones. I particularly like how vague Cooper leaves Smidge. I hate when we are “shown” the monster in too much detail. It’s so much creepier to me when we are able to imagine it on our own.

“The Ringing in My Ears”
An anesthesiologist suddenly starts hearing a ringing in his ears after his daughter is attacked.
This is one of those stories in which the ending makes the story. It’s unexpected and bizarrely satisfying.

“Through the Peephole”
Elaine and Reg move into a new home, and Reg decides to install one of those doorbell cameras to keep Elaine safe. Especially while he’s away on business trips. One night, after he’s left for one of these trips, someone rings Elaine’s doorbell. Using the camera, she sees her husband on the porch demanding to be let in, but something is very, very off.
There’s something inherently creepy about surveillance cameras, baby monitor cameras, etc. You never know what you’re going to see on the other end. This story does a lovely job conveying that scenario.

“Death’s Choice”
What would you do if you had to choose whose life is more important? More worth living? That’s the situation the man in this story is faced with.
This wasn’t my favorite story in the collection, but it was still a good read.

“The Quiet Neighbor”
When a brother and sister move into a new house, they were warned about their weird, mean neighbor. At first, they avoid him and his anger, but after the brother’s fun new birthday present is snatched by the neighbor after it flies into his yard, the siblings decide to retrieve it. What they find in his house is beyond their wildest dreams.
Oooh, I really enjoyed this story. It’s scary but strangely heartwarming in what the neighbor is willing to do for his wife.

“Going to Grandma’s”
Sheila’s grandma lives in a big, beautiful, Victorian home. But Sheila refuses to ever go there again after she spent a night in it after her own home burned down. Family secrets can be haunting.
Dang, I love a good ghost story! I especially liked how what’s in the house seems to have changed over time. You don’t often see that in a ghost tale.

“The Aftermath of Murder”
What would you do if you discovered there’s a murderer in your family? That’s what happens to the Graham family in this story, and it changes thing forever.
This is an interesting, compelling take on a terrible situation.

“The Gift That Keeps On Giving”
Sisters Jackie and Leah are best friends, despite Leah’s often bizarre behavior. She has always been fascinated by blood. That fascination turns frightening when Jackie buys Leah a gift cursed by blood.
I liked this story. There are a lot of tales out there about cursed items, but Cooper adds her own, unique, spin with this.

“Ring Once”
Home alone, a teenage girl is frightened when the telephone keeps ringing a single time over and over again. When her parents come home, the truth of the situation is revealed.
This is an absolutely lovely story. It hit me right in the feels, as the kids say.

When dozens of women go missing, everyone wants to know who’s taken them, but the truth is stranger than they expected.
All I’ll say is Cooper does creature tales well.

“Spider Girl”
A four-year-old girl’s affinity for spiders results in tragedy.
This was not the story I expected it to be, and I’m so glad it wasn’t. This was my favorite story in the collection, I think. It’s got spiders, adults who don’t believe children, and something really nasty. What more could you want?

“Dad’s Souvenirs”
As an international pilot, Dad always brings his kids home exotic souvenirs. But the secrets they hold are life-destroying.
This story is a continuation of another tale, “The Skeleton Key” in another of Cooper’s works, ‘The Corpse Garden’. It was a pleasant surprise to delve back into that world. Sometimes, the most monstrous things are humans themselves.

“The Lesson of the Tiger”
Sunny learned about patience through a story about a tiger. She learned that sometimes, it’s better to let keep the tiger calm than it is to run or to fight. This lesson comes in handy when a college boy thinks he is entitled to more than he is.
I liked everything about this story, but I especially liked how to lesson gets twisted on its head.

“Daddy’s Little Princess”
After Fiona’s mother dies, her father vows to never let her feel bad again. But this is not the sort of parenting that’s good for a child. Or those in their life.
The dad tries to do the right thing by his little girl but, sometimes, too much of a good thing can be really, really bad.

A father passes on his childhood “monster fighter” to his daughter to help her sleep through the night and gets more than they bargained for.
Cooper really knows how to capture both what it’s like to be a child — the innocence and the fear — and what it’s like to be an adult. All of these stories show that, but perhaps none more than this one.

“From the Basement”
Cassie, sixteen, is asked to house-sit for her aunt when she goes on vacation. Cassie absolutely does not want to do it, but her parents force her. Her desire to get out of the house grows exponentially when strange sounds start coming from the basement.
Oh, man. This story is scary because it could actually happen.

“Little Old Lady Magic”
When a teenage girl’s father dies, she discovers just the sort of person her mother really is. With the help of an unexpected friend, the score is evened.
This is one of those stories that had me inwardly cheering by the end. It’s a real gem.

“My Brother’s Voice”
Kerri while on her way home from work gets abducted. During her ordeal, she holds onto a conversation she had with her cop-brother in which he told her, if anything ever happened to her, he would find her.
The connection of family, of love, is tested in this story, and I loved it.

“The Little People”
Grandma always told the kids not to talk to the “little people”, but the surest way to make a kid do what you don’t want is to tell them what not to do.
This story is a perfect example of childish innocence and grown-up mistakes.

“Moomaw’s Curses”
Brad learns that his grandmother’s words just might be more powerful than anyone realizes.
I love the idea of simple curses being bigger than they’re meant to be. I’m from the south, and people use the sorts of sayings Meemaw does all the time. They don’t really mean anything, but what if they *did*?

“The Past Repeats”
Sage’s birthday is approaching, and she’s worried she’ll never have another. Again.
I am a fan of time-twisting tales, and this one is well-done.

Cooper’s work never disappoints. She has a way of telling a concise and vivid tale that leaves you satisfied yet somehow still wanting more. She’s a jewel of the horror genre.