What We've Been Reading
Book Reviews,  Reading Recommendations

What We’ve Been Reading #129

Today we have three recommended reads for your tbr pile! Our team members review books by Kirby Kellogg, Alexis Henderson and Gemma Files. We hope you find something you’ll love!

Click either tag above to read more team recommendations.


Trampled Crown by Kirby Kellogg

Trampled Crown by Kirby Kellogg

Valerie Barnes is tired. Tired of wrangling snarky teens through their math lessons, tired of helicopter moms with no respect and even less kindness, and – most importantly – tired of hearing about Canary Lane High’s upcoming homecoming dance. She’s been planning it for months and promises, if only to herself, to give the kids a night they’ll never forget.

But when strange things start happening and people’s lives are threatened in the days before the dance, that promise becomes more ominous than ever. Even the administration is getting antsy, and fingers are pointing to Valerie. With time running out and stakes getting higher, it’s up to Valerie to keep her students safe, clear her name, and figure out who’s been threatening all of their lives.

Book 10 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

Cassie’s Teaser Review

What is it about high school dances that are just SO much fun to read about in a horror setting? High school by itself is pretty horrifying, but add to that a whole bunch of brutal deaths, and it’s just a recipe that I love being served up again and again and again!

Read Cassie’s entire review at Goodreads.


The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Tracy’s Teaser Review

One of the best reading experiences is picking up a debut novel and falling in love. Especially when that book is full of dark and dangerous things just waiting to ensnare your imagination. The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson is just such a book. Themes of oppression, race, religion, and more weave together to create an immersive experience in this dark fantasy/horror mash-up. Be sure to check out the synopsis posted above for more information.

Read Tracy’s entire review at Sci-fi and Scary.


Experimental Film by Gemma Files

Experimental Film is a contemporary ghost story in which former Canadian film history teacher Lois Cairns-jobless and depressed in the wake of her son’s autism diagnosis-accidentally discovers the existence of lost early 20th century Ontario filmmaker Mrs. A. Macalla Whitcomb. By deciding to investigate how Mrs. Whitcomb’s obsessions might have led to her mysterious disappearance, Lois unwittingly invites the forces which literally haunt Mrs. Whitcomb’s films into her life, eventually putting her son, her husband and herself in danger. Experimental Film mixes painful character detail with a creeping aura of dread to produce a fictionalized “memoir” designed to play on its readers’ narrative expectations and pack an existentialist punch.

Goodreads | Amazon

Audra’s Teaser Review

This is cosmic horror without being Lovecraftian, procedural without being dull, phantasmagorical without being opaque. There are several horror books and movies that I can think of that attempt a similar enmeshing of the meta with the literal in this way, but none are as fully rounded as Experimental Film.

Read Audra’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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