What We've Been Reading
Book Reviews,  Reading Recommendations

What We’ve Been Reading #108

We’re back with our recently recommended reads and linkage to our full reviews. Check out the previous 107 editions by hitting the tags up above!


Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Audra’s Teaser Review

Zombies have been done to death (pun 110% intended). OR HAVE THEY?

Justina Ireland sets her zombie (or shambler, as they are called in the book) tale to begin during the Civil War. In this alternate history, zombies disrupted the war, and people from both sides had to pivot to stay alive. Black and Indigenous boys and girls are taken from their families and sent to schools where they learn combat so they can become Attendants (aka the badasses who keep the white people who can’t be bothered to do things for themselves alive). In the author’s note, Ireland talks about how she based this idea on the real-life schools where Native American children were sent and subsequently forced to leave behind their heritage and assimilate to the white “ideal.”

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.


The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath

A haunting ossuary of tiny poems covering a wide range of topics such as love, romance, relationships, queer sexuality, religion, death, demons, ghosts, bones, gender, and darkness. The Smallest of Bones guides those on an intimate journey of body acceptance, with sparse words dedicated to peeling back skin and diving bone-deep into the self. Raw, honest, and powerful, this collection is an offering to those struggling to find power in the darkness.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Alex’s Teaser Review

These tiny poems are large with insight, making me remember certain things I was sure I had forgotten. There’s a range of topics from love/romance, queer sexuality, religion, death, demons/ghosts, and more. Some of these poems will be ones I think of often. And one I already made a copy of and put it on my book cart. I want to look at it every day.

Read Alex’s entire review at Goodreads.


Go Down Hard by Ali Seay

What if a victimized woman decided to be a silent guardian angel for other women and turn the tables on predatory men? What if she stumbled into the hunting grounds of a cocky serial killer while looking for her own private murder den? What if a confident killer met his match in the form of a jean-clad, whiskey-swigging stranger in an hour glass-shaped package – and she made him want things – things he’s far too superior to want?

When predator meets predator, the only question is: Is the attraction they feel to bed one another… or kill one another?

Meg isn’t expecting to catch Jack red-handed with his most recent victim. Jack isn’t expecting Meg to come busting through his front door while chasing her current prey. Now that each recognizes a fellow killer, what urge will win – kiss or kill?

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Laurie’s Teaser Review

This is a brutal and gleefully fun novella! I highly recommend it if you’re up for something like that.

Read Laurie’s entire review at Goodreads.

Emily’s Teaser Review

Go Down Hard is a solid debut novella! I loved the setup of two serial killers accidentally meeting in the midst of murdering, and realizing they might be into each other.

Read Emily’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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