What We've Been Reading
Book Reviews,  Reading Recommendations

What We’ve Been Reading #114

We hope you’re all finding some time to relax and read a book or two. Our devoted team members are back to bring you three new reading recommendations!

Click the tags above to read our previous review round-ups.


Yours Cruelly, Elvira by Cassandra Peterson

The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself.

On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn’t good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price.

Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul “Pee-wee” Reubens, honing her comedic skills.

Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn’t shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl’s long strange trip to become the world’s sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Alex’s Teaser Review

Highly recommended whether you are familiar with her or not – her life story and teachings will change your life and the way you view yourself, women, the Hollywood industry, and it will make you wish all your favorite entertainers would step up to the plate and put out a memoir of their own! I love this book with every fiber of my being.

Read Alex’s entire review at Goodreads.


Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles. Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Audra’s Teaser Review

A surreal blend of mystery and folklore, this lyrical novella is as tangled as the lantern-bush vines that creep and consume the town at the center of the story.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.


Salt Blood by T.C. Parker

SaltBlood by T.C. Parker

Robin didn’t mean to break the law. Didn’t know at first what law she’d broken. And now she’s on her way to Salt Rock – a new-model prison for a new kind of criminal, way out in the remote Northern Isles of Scotland. On Salt Rock, she’ll meet other prisoners like her – men and women from all over the world, spirited away from the lives they knew for crimes they didn’t know they were committing.

She’ll uncover the complex web of conspiracy that connects them all, confronting some of the darkness of her own past in the process. And she’ll come face to face, finally, with an evil as old as the land itself.

It’s hell in those waters. 

Goodreads | Amazon

Laurie’s Teaser Review

There’s action, there’s adventure, and an excellent cast of strong women who must bond together to outsmart the evil situation they’re stuck in. I recommend it with my whole heart or at least what’s left of it.

Read Laurie’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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