What We've Been Reading
Book Reviews,  Reading Recommendations

What We’ve Been Reading #94

We have three recent reads to share with you today! We hope you find your new favorite book and don’t forget to click either tag above to find more recommendations that you need in your collection.

Lakewood by Megan Giddings

A startling debut about class and race, Lakewood evokes a terrifying world of medical experimentation—part The Handmaid’s Tale, part The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, and the full extent of the family debt is revealed, the black millennial drops out of college to support her family and takes a job in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan.

On paper, her new job is too good to be true. High paying. No out of pocket medical expenses. A free place to live. All Lena has to do is participate in a secret program—and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood. An eye drop that makes brown eyes blue, a medication that could be a cure for dementia, golden pills promised to make all bad thoughts go away.

The discoveries made in Lakewood, Lena is told, will change the world—but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. As the truths of the program reveal themselves, Lena learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family.

Provocative and thrilling, Lakewood is a breathtaking novel that takes an unflinching look at the moral dilemmas many working-class families face, and the horror that has been forced on black bodies in the name of science.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Audra’s Teaser Review

Introspective, strange, and lyrical, Lakewood exemplifies my favorite kind of horror novel: ones that dig in to societal issues by exploring something real through the lens of the speculative. This book is a mix of the moody atmosphere of Catherine House with the politically charged medical horror aspects of When No One is Watching.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.

Laurie’s Teaser Review

Lakewood is a disturbing tale of classism, racism, and desperation and those who take advantage of others because they can and for their own gain. It’s horrifying on so many levels and definitely worth reading.

Read Laurie’s entire review at Goodreads.

Hooker by M. Lopes da Silva

Los Angeles, 1984: Sylvia Lumen was just trying to make a living, but when her sister is murdered by a serial killer bent on targeting sex workers, she unleashes a bloody trail of vengeance as…

Hooker: a violent vigilante who uses actual hooks – from fish hooks to hand scythes – to exact her righteous revenge and get her point across to the patriarchy.

For too long the City of Angels has been a haven for sexist predators. With an intrepid reporter as her partner, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Hooker will splatter her way across 1980s Los Angeles in this retrowave pulp thriller full of action, ferocious friendship, and queer love.

Book 16 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Alex’s Teaser Review

HOOKER has a lot going on for a short novella: a serial killer targeting sex workers, a woman seeking vengeance for her murdered sister using actual hooks to take down the patriarchy and advocate for sex work, and some bonus queer love, too!

Read Alex’s entire review at Goodreads.

Audra’s Teaser Review

M. Lopes da Silva takes on this trope of murdered sex workers and turns it on its head. She not only writes a compassionate story about sex work and the women in the industry but also reveals them as people with passions, dreams, and others who love them. They become active heroes instead of just nameless victims.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.

A Complex Accident of Life by Jessica McHugh

“I am a vessel of dauntless courage and severe evil. My joy will endeavor, my rage possess.”

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jessica McHugh’s debut poetry collection, A Complex Accident of Life, combines visual art and text to create 52 pieces of Gothic blackout poetry exploring the intense passion, enigmatic nature, and transformative pleasure of life, viewed through the kaleidoscopic lens of a female horror artist.

Goodreads | Amazon

Jen’s Teaser Review

All of the poems in this collection were created using pages out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I loved it. The poems were incredible, and I’m really inspired by the whole process.

If you’re a fan of poetry, do check it out.

Read Jen’s entire review at Book Den.

Alex’s Teaser Review

Oh, wow! A COMPLEX ACCIDENT OF LIFE by Jessica McHugh is a stunning collection of BLACKOUT POETRY set to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Whaaaaat?! You read that correctly!

Read Alex’s entire review at Goodreads.

Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.

If you are a LOHF writer and have a book you’d like us to consider for a review please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our LOHF Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, oversees the Ladies of Horror Fiction directory, and manages our LOHF Goodreads group.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

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