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Andreya's Asylum

Insanity, horror and dark fiction are my catharsis. Brutally honest reviews are on the house.


 Professional Reader        80%


Review of Suspended in Dusk II, edited by Simon Dewar

Suspended in Dusk II - Simon Dewar

Anthologies are always something I both look forward to and dread. I love short stories, but I rarely like more than one or two stories in an anthology that I'm reading and often I hate the rest. This is one of my exceptions. I liked almost every story and I loved several of them. I didn't care for a few but they were the minority. I've seen the process for a few anthologies, and between submissions, editing, and just being able to pick stories that mesh well together, I have nothing but admiration for someone who can make one read more like a book than just a collection of stories.


My favorite story was Lying in the Sun on a Fairy Tale Day by Bracken MacLeod. My other favorites were: The Immortal Dead by J.C. Michael, Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer, The Mournful Cry of Owls by Christopher Golden, and Wants and Needs by Paul Michael Anderson. My least favorite part of reviewing is telling you what I didn't like about a book or a story. The only story I truly disliked in this collection was The Hopeless in the Uninhabitable Places and not entirely for the story itself, which I thought was okay. The biggest issue I had with this one was the complete lack of punctuation in dialogue. I realize that some people consider this a "style," but I find it annoying and feel that it makes the story seem less coherent.


Overall I think that Suspended in Dusk II is a solid anthology with some amazing authors, who I already knew, and a few I am happy to have discovered. I would highly recommend it and as I haven't read the first anthology, I am looking forward to reading that as well.


I received a copy of this from the editor in exchange for an honest review.


@ 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke

Skullface Boy - Chad Lutzke

So, I'm going to start this off with saying that I really am not fond of "coming of age" stories. I realize this is an unpopular opinion and no, I don't want to read McCammon's A Boy's Life either. You can argue with me all you want, I don't care for them. This is one of them, which I wasn't expecting, so I can't claim complete unbias here.


I thought it was a cute story. The characters were well-developed and memorable. The writing is solid and doesn't leave you hanging. I didn't dislike this, I just can't say, like everyone else, that I'm in love with it.


This was the first book I've ever read by Chad Lutzke and definitely will not be the last, as I have several lined up that I will read as soon as I have time to get to them. This guy can write and everyone else I know gave it 5 stars, so you should probably read this one too.


I received an e-copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.


@2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Creature by Hunter Shea

Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea has been a favorite of mine for a while now, so typically my liking the current book from him is not surprising. Several people warned me that this one was not like his other books and I still can't tell you how much I wasn't expecting this. Shea, who to me, has been known for his quick and fun reads hit it into an entirely different ballpark with Creature. This book was neither quick nor easy for me to read but it was amazingly worth it.


I think it's easy for people who don't live with chronic pain to look at this and decide that it's too monopolizing to the story or that maybe it's even over exaggerated. People who live with chronic pain and autoimmune diseases don't have that luxury, it's with them every moment of the day, and for me that was the hardest part to get through. I don't have either of those things and this book made me realize just how much I take that for granted.


It's hard to sum up a book that absolutely guts you. If you're looking for mindless gore, this isn't your book. However, if you want something that takes what you thought you knew about horror and flips it upside down- amplifies it, this one is for you.


I received an ARC of this from Flame Tree Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz

The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz


The Siren and the Spector is a book that I am finding difficult to review. I want to say 5/5 because it’s Janz, and I love his writing, and I love his characters. I also want to give you an honest opinion, because without that there is no point in even reviewing books. I did love it, and I did have issues with it, and I’ll try to break that down some.


This book has all of the right elements that I want in a haunted-house-themed horror novel.  The atmosphere is there, the characters are complicated, and the ghosts are scary. That, by the way, doesn’t even begin to give you the story itself, which the entire premise is thought-provoking and well-written. My biggest issue was with the amount of characters/story lines that are packed into this book. Most of them work as a whole, but to me it feels like there is a lot that is sacrificed from the story when you are trying to lead in so many different directions. I want to know more about almost every character in here, including the main character, even though I personally couldn’t stand David. I feel like this could easily have been a mind-blowing book series. The bones of the story are solid, I would just liked to have seen more depth and history behind it.


This is the 8thbook that I have read from Jonathan Janz, who is without a doubt, one of my favorite authors. Do I recommend that you read this? Absolutely. I will continue to read any Janz books that I can get my hands on, because even when it’s not my favorite book of his, it’s still ten times better than most books that I read on a regular basis. Most people who read this have given it a 5/5, so perhaps I’m just biased to his previous work, but that’s for you to decide and I absolutely think you should.


I received an e-ARC of this from Flame Tree Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.


@ 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum 


Reblogged from Hol:

Review of YOU, by Caroline Kepnes

You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

Very few books have left me both speechless, and in such a post-book fog. YOU is obsession in word form. I am not a fast reader. I devoured this book in just over a day: I read it, I ate it, I slept it, until there was no more to consume. I wanted to know what happened, but I didn't want it to end. YOU is a party that I don't regret being late to, because I wasn't tainted by spoiler reviews, and meaning-well friends giving me the entire plot. It was just YOU and me, and an obsession that, for a day, wasn't just my own.

Joe. For 448 pages I loathed Joe. I am Joe. What I hated in him is what I also see in myself. I'm not a stalker, but the potential for it is a line that is blurry, possible. We spend our lives deluded that insanity is a giant plunge off of a tall building, an event that makes an explosion when it happens. I believe that it's a destination that some of us have been edging towards since the day we were born, some just get there faster than others, and with less diversion. I think that sometimes there is no visible line, when YOU, the object of my affection, block out the sun.

YOU is, without a doubt, one of the best books I have ever read. As a book lover/collector/hoarder, I am surrounded by words, but very rarely do I find those which I can relate with on my level. Perhaps I'm insane, but briefly I didn't feel alone in that insanity, and I am in love with YOU in so many ways.


© 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Obscura by Joe Hart

Obscura - Joe Hart

This book. This book is worth the hype. All of it. I had no clue what it was about going into it, which as someone who has read way too many reviews that give away the entire premise, I considered a win. I like Joe Hart, possibly because I may have confused one of his books with Joe Hill when I bought it, and liked it anyway. I knew that he could write with The Exorcism of Sara May. I've realized that he is on my must-read list after this.

Obscura hits all of the right notes in all of the right areas, which is a real diamond amongst books. Most books are somewhere on the Goldilocks spectrum: too long, too short, lacking, over-doing, etc. This one is perfect in almost every way. Yep, I said it.


I received an ARC of this from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Now I just need a signed/limited edition of this. Please?


© 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum


Review of The Listener by Robert McCammon

The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

     The Listener was actually the first book that I had read by Robert McCammon. I have heard the name almost since I started reading horror, but he was always in my “someday” pile, which I had meant to get to a lot sooner. I now understand why literally everyone I know raves about his writing, because he lives up to the hype.


            I will admit that the story started off a bit slow for me. I spent the first probably quarter of it thinking that it wasn’t really my thing, and that perhaps everyone else was mistaken. I can’t remember what part of the book it was that grabbed me, but once it did, I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to read until my eyes bugged out, and fell asleep a few times, and dropped my precious ARC onto the floor. Eek! I’m not a fan of writing a book report into my review, so I won’t. I will say that the ending still haunts me.


            I am only sorry that I did not start reading Robert McCammon’s work sooner, but shall be rectifying my neglect of this as soon as possible. If you aren’t reading McCammon, you need to be, and I would highly recommend starting here.


            I received an ARC of The Listener from Cemetery Dance as an advanced review copy, and as my copy came in the mail yesterday, I am apparently a bit behind in posting my review.


© 2018 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Bone White By Ronald Malfi

Bone White - Ronald Malfi

I will have to admit some biased to this book. I am from Alaska and although the story is not set in my home town, it did definitely elicit some homesickness on my part. Bone White started out a tad slow for me but once it picked up pace, I couldn't put it down. A serial killer, a small creepy Alaskan village, and rumors of the Devil in the woods, make for a page turner that will leave you unsettled but wanting more.

I received a copy of this book from Kensington Publishing Company and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Halloween Carnival: Volume One

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Brian James Freeman, Robert R. McCammon

3.5 stars.


I loved 2 out of 5 stories in this collection but the stories I loved, I loved hard. Strange Candy by Robert McCammon and The Rage of Achilles by Kevin Lucia are worth the admission price alone. Demon Air by John R. Little was okay but underwhelming. I did not finish La Hacienda De Los Muertos by Lisa Morton and I skimmed parts of #MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells because I was bored.

I received an e-ARC of this from Hydra and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum


Dark Screams: Volume Seven

Dark Screams: Volume Seven - Brian Hodge, Bill Schweigart, Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman, Robert R. McCammon

Dark Screams: Volume Seven is obviously the 7th edition of the Dark Screams anthology. Containing six stories, the first and the last story made the collection for me.

LIZARDMAN by Robert McCammon
The hunter or the hunted? Tonight is the night-- he can feel it -- and it ends one way or another. My second favorite story in this collection.



Fascinating premise. I think this one could have been a lot better, it gets a little bogged down and then just bizarre at the end.


FURTHEREST by Kaaron Warren

A beach trip on acid, this one will have you rethinking just how far is too far.



This was an odd story that was well written. I wanted to like it more than I did.


THE EXPEDITION by Bill Schweigart

I DNF this one.


SNOW SHADOWS by Mick Garris
My absolute favorite story in this collection. Beautiful and tragic, this story will haunt you--it did me.


This collection is totally worth the $3.99 on Amazon to buy it. I received mine as an e-ARC from Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum


Review of Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

Optical Delusion - Hunter Shea

Optical Delusions, is the latest in Hunter Shea's Mail Order Massacre line. Although it starts out a little slow, it fully delivers the horror that you have come to expect from Mr. Shea. What could possibly go wrong with cheap X-ray vision sunglasses that actually work? I quite enjoyed this short bit of terror and can't wait for the next one.


I received a copy of this from Kensington Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of The Halloween Children by Norman Prentiss and Brian James Freeman

The Halloween Children - Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss

Quite possibly the best Halloween book I've ever read, reading The Halloween Children has become my yearly tradition. Since it was originally only available as a signed/limited edition from Earthling Press, I was somewhere north of stoked when Hydra decided to release this as an e-book. I was even more thrilled when I got approved for a NetGalley ARC.

How well do you know your neighbors? The residents of Stillbrook Apartments have a Halloween party every year, but as this one approaches, the general mood is becoming less than festive. With strange things happening around the building, even the handyman seems to be behaving oddly. By the time the Halloween party is cancelled, everyone is on high alert with each other and even...their own family?

The Halloween Children reaches a level of anticipation/anxiety that I've rarely had in reading a book, and if children didn't creep me out in general, this one seals the deal for me. Needless to say, I am in love with this book and very much hoping that the dream team, Norman Prentiss and Brian James Freeman, will be producing more of this creepiness together in the future.

I received an e-ARC of this from Hydra/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Just Add Water by Hunter Shea

Just Add Water - Hunter Shea

I don't like to say that he's my favorite 'mindless read' because it sounds borderline offensive, but Hunter Shea has quickly become my go-to for when I want a well-done monster flick in the form of a book. He pulls of a fast-paced, creature feature in a way that not only makes it seem damn near plausible but that you morbidly almost want to happen.


As someone who liked to repeat the same mistake with AMAZING LIVE SEA-MONKEYS! Or in my case, amazingly dead brine shrimp... Just Add Water was right up my alley. I felt the same excitement with their AMAZING LIVE SEA SERPENTS! and same letdown when they also succumb to false advertising... Or do they? When neighborhood pets start go missing and then neighbors, it doesn't take long for the 'why' to rear its ugly head. An ugly head--and body-- that look amazingly similar to their would-be pets...


This was a short but fun read that was everything I could have hoped for and more. I'm told this is the first in a series of amazing 'back of comic goods' stories and cannot freaking wait for the next ones. So no, Hunter Shea isn't mindless, but he is fun and a nice break from reality with some wicked-nasty monsters up his sleeve.

I received this e-ARC from Kensington Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Dark Screams: Volume Six

Dark Screams: Volume Six - Stephen King, Norman Prentiss, Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman, Joyce Carol Oates

My favorite so far out of the Dark Screams series, Volume Six delivers the goods. I knew I had to have it when I saw the lineup of some of my favorite authors, including Stephen King and Tim Curran. I had been meaning to read Joyce Carol Oates and was not disappointed. 

I honestly loved 4/5 stories which is pretty high for an anthology for me. 

The Old Dude's Ticker by Stephen King: So although I appreciate the 70's lingo, my only gripe with this one was the amount of times he asks 'can you dig' - yes, I can. One of King's more amusing stories in my opinion, it was a great opener.

The Rich Are Different by Lisa Morton: This is probably one of my favorite stories by her and I have read a couple books and a short story collection previously. An eyeful into the life of the rich and famous will leave you wanting more and I would very much like to see more into this particular world. 

The Manicure by Nell Quinn-Gibney: My least favorite of the bunch, I liked the premise but the story and ending fell flat for me. 

The Comforting Voice by Norman Prentiss: This is one of my favorite stories from Norman. I can still hear the voice in my head and particularly enjoyed the ending.

The Situations by Joyce Carol Oates: Daddy decides how it ends. No, really, if there is one parent that you don't want to upset, it's Daddy.

The Corpse King by Tim Curran: Can I just tell you how much I loved this? I have the limited edition sitting on my shelf but had not gotten around to reading it. Very 'Graveworm' in its presentation, this is one sick story that I think is a perfect ending to this collection and one that I'm glad to own. I freaking love Tim Curran and his ability to creep the crap out of me on a consistent basis.

If you haven't read Dark Screams, I highly recommend that you start and since they are mini-anthologies, I would start with this one. It was a fast read for me that I enjoyed immensely. 

I received a copy of this from Random House-Hydra and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

Review of Ararat by Christopher Golden

Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

Ararat is the first book that I have read that was written solely by Christopher Golden. Previous to this I read Bloodstained Oz which was co-written by him and James A. Moore and it was wicked. I had been seeing a lot of hype for Ararat everywhere and was lucky enough to get approved for an ARC through NetGalley.


Ararat was not what I was expecting. It was so much better. An inhospitable mountain. The discovery of what very well may be Noah's Ark tucked into the side of the mountain. The remains of what appears to be an actual demon inside. Everyone knows the biblical telling of the story of the Ark, but an adventure-seeking couple may just have stumbled upon the truth and the truth does not always set you free. When an odd mix of scientists, religious representatives, overseers from the Turkish government, and the team that discovered the ark begin uncovering the secrets of the lost Ark, this discovery is more amazing than any of them ever imagined and quite a bit more deadly.


I loved every minute of this book and it pained me any time I had to put it down. Next on my list to read from Golden will be Dead Ringers, Ancient Enemy, and whatever else I can find by him. I only can't believe that I had not read him sooner. This will definitely be on my top list for 2017 and I hope to have a signed copy of this on my bookshelf soon. If you aren't reading Ararat, you should be.


I received an e-ARC of this from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


© 2017 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum