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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mother Horror's List: 20 Scariest Books of All Time (...that you might not have heard of)

Josh Malerman retweeted Cosmopolitan's list of 21 Scariest Books of All Time. I agree with some of the books on the list ( I love BIRD BOX!!) but not even close to all of them AND the list was mainly best sellers. Correction: ALL BEST SELLERS. It included Frankenstein and Dracula and IT...okay, okay. YAAAAAAAWN.
So I see your list, Cosmo and I'm gonna raise the game. My list is going to be books that readers might not have heard of but they need them in their lives because they are THE SCARIEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME (according to me).

1. IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN by Andy Davidson. I can remember scenes with vivid detail if I close my eyes and think of them. This book is so good, you'll have a bookish hangover for daaaays afterwards.

2. LITTLE HEAVEN- by Nick Cutter. Wait a second, let me suck my eyeballs back into their sockets--after I read LITTLE HEAVEN, my eyes bugged out of my face and I never quite got them to retract back into place. Also, let me pick my jaw up off the floor.

3. BROTHER by Ania Ahlborn. Do people get sick of me recommending this book? I don't care. Fight me. I binge read this book and tried to make my family some dinner while my face was glued to the pages of this book. It was really difficult. But I could not stop reading about this heinous, murderous family! Terrifying!!

4. VIOLET by Scott Thomas. Maybe people have heard about this book, I'm not sure. I thought everyone read his first novel, KILL CREEK and I'm still shocked when I discover horror fans that haven't read it. I loved KILL CREEK but VIOLET is scary in a different way. This one needles at you for a long length of time before it sticks you with the pointy end. 

5. I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid. You get to the end of this book, your read it. You sit back and stare into space and then you turn to page one and you read it again. I'm serious. And if you haven't heard of this one, YOU WILL!! You will. Get on it, now!

6. BENEATH by Kristi DeMeester. What the hell did I just read?? Seriously, what just happened. There are scenes in this book where your mind is like, WHAT?? WAIT, WHAAAAAAT??? Terrifying. Truly some folk/cult horror madness. 

7. THE WICKED by James Newman. The demon in this book.....ewwwwww.....do I have to say his name?? MOLOCH. See? I remembered just off the top of my head because, because, it's gross and terrible and scary! So scary in a very creepy, dirty-bearded, old man way. *shivers*

8. THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS by Jason Arnopp. This has some bat shit crazy scenes in it. I'm thinking of one in particular where I was whispering to the main character to STOP THAT because he was messing around with something he ought not to be messing with! It's like watching someone self sabotage in the worst way and all you can do is watch. Scary stuff.

9. GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST by Nicholas Day. This one is dark. Brutal. Unflinching. My favorite book for 2019 and the scariest villian I've read in a very long time. You want scary?? There's lots of scenes in here that will shock you. Trust Mummy.

10. COYOTE SONGS by Gabino Iglesias. This book is scary because it's true. The stories themselves might be fiction, born out of the author's imagination but they are rooted in truth. Inspired by true events, real fears, real worries, real dangers. You can't ever unsee or unfeel this book.

11. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL by John Hornor Jacobs. Freshly released the two novellas told in this book are some fresh hell, my friends. Jacobs is one of those storytellers where you totally forget that what you are reading is fiction. I believed every word and I was terrified.

12. SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLOOD SOAKED by Christa Carmen. Not a novel. A collection of stories. Very, scary stories. RED ROOM will forever be burned in my horror-loving brain. And so will the rest of them--LIQUID HANDCUFFS as well. The whole collection is great. Scary greatness.

13. DEAR LAURA by Gemma Amour. This is a novella. Probably the fastest read in this list but impactful. Heart pounding. All too real. I loved it. It haunts me. 

14. THE SWITCH HOUSE by Tim Meyer. Oops, I lied. This is a fast read too and it's disorienting and scary and unpredictable. A must read.

15. A PLACE FOR SINNERS by Aaron Dries. This is shit. I'm telling you right now, you think you're ready for this book? You are NOT. You are not ever ready for the horrors in here. Just don't even bother. You can't handle it.

16. KNOCK, KNOCK by S. P. Miskowski. And now I'm getting pissed because why isn't this author a household name and why isn't everyone reading this book at Halloween?? It's scary! It has female protagonists! Scary children!! And I mean VERY SCARY children. Buy this now. Buy all her books, now.

17. ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews. Holy Hell. Addiction horror?? Level up. This book scared me REAL GOOD. I wasn't prepared with how dark and depraved ths one was going to get. And neither are you.

18. WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom. The two novellas in here are (excuse me) fucked up. In the best possible way of course because if you came looking for horror, Elizabeth has you covered.

19. RITES OF EXTINCTION by Matt Serafini. This one will blow your mind. You will not see this coming, I promise you that. And it's a pretty quick read. Compelling, but hold on to your butt for that conclusion.

20. EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz. If possession horror is your thing, if you enjoyed THE EXORCIST, this one will satisfy. But there's no redemption here--no happy ending, so just know that scares in this book will stay with you.



*not pictured is GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST which comes out on the 10/10/19
**The book between Jack Sparks and Sinners is DEAR LAURA


Thursday, September 19, 2019

31 Books for October

I used to have this dream of owning my own brick-and-mortar book store. Over the years this fantasy has morphed and evolved into its current status of being strictly a place for readers that enjoy dark fiction--horror, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, true crime, YA...literally all the genres represented but DARK, DARK, DARK and of course Horror would have a place of honor with the most shelves and the most attention given.
I thought a cool name for a bookstore would be, "October Country" after the Ray Bradbury collection. the decor would be stuck in a time warp of continuously living in the month of October. Of course, there would be a lounge-in coffee bar as well.

I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to this "October Country" aesthetic, simply titled "Dark".
A favorite dream of mine is waking up early and going to my bookstore to change the window display for Halloween and make a huge table display in the center of the store with all of my recommended reading for the month dedicated to lovers of the macabre.
In this dream, a customer walks in with fat money to spend and zero horror books at home. This person says, "I want to read nothing but horror every day all day for the month of October so I want to buy 31 books for my library." Here is what I would send them home with:

1. Doorbells at Dusk Edited by Evans Light, published by Corpus Press
2. The October Country & The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury published by Penguin Classics
3. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (fancy SST edition)
4. On This, The Day of the Pig by Josh Malerman (fancy Cemetery Dance edition)
5. PenPal by Dathan Auerbach
6. In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
7. Salem's Lot & Night Shift by Stephen King (worn-out paperback editions)
8. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones published by William Morrow
9. Ghoul by Brian Keene published by Deadite Press
10. Brother by Ania Ahlborn published by Simon & Schuster
11. The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read published by Journal Stone
12. Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz published by Sinister Grin
13. Halloween Fiend by C.V. Hunt published by Grindhouse Press
14. The Fisherman by John Langan published by Word Horde
15. Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester Published by Apex Publishing
16. The Fearing Books 1-3 by John F. D. Taff published by Grey Matter Press
17. Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt published by Apex Publishing
18. TEETH by Kelli Owen (the fancy ThunderStorm edition)
19. The Switch House by Tim Meyer
20. A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries
21. The Forgotten Island by David Sodergren
22. The Locke & Key graphic novel set of books published by IDW
23. Out Behind the Barn by Chad Lutzke and John Boden
24. We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone by Ronald Malfi published by Journal Stone
25. When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom published by Valancourt Books
26. Bones by Andrew Cull
27. Grind Your Bones to Dust by Nicholas Day published by Excession Press
28. The Wicked by James Newman published by Apex
29. Knock, Knock by S. P. Miskowski published by
30. Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked by Christa Carmen published by Unnerving
31. Widow's Point by Richard Chizmar published by Cemetery Dance

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Authors That Will Make You Cry Like The Wittle Baby You Are

It's weird how I used to fight the tears when I was younger. I didn't want anyone to know I was crying. The first time I remember doing that was watching DUMBO and I started feeling all these emotions so I tamped it down. NO CRYING!
Then I saw my first movie in the theater, THE LAST UNICORN. I could not stop the tears. I actually remember bawling at the scene where the unicorns are riding the ocean waves back to existence. Crazy emotional.

After that, I have 1,000 different memories of losing my shit. I actually had to be excused from my high school class during a classroom showing of OF MICE AND MEN. I just couldn't deal with life afterward so my English teacher allowed me to stay in his class and wallow in misery for another 30 minutes.
Now, I cry freely and openly. My husband and I look forward to taking our grownup kids to PIXAR mocvies, Star Wars movies, Superhero movies--any and all movies where we can relax in a dark theater, eat popcorn, drink buckets of soda and drown out the stressors of the world by having a good cry. TOY STORY 4 and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME are recent examples.

But enough about movies. Let's talk about books. Authors that ALWAYS make me cry. These guys bring emotional wreckage, heart stabbing pain, anguish, and tears. All the tears that can be cried. And yes, I'm well aware that these are all of the male persuasion. I don't know what to say. It is what it is. I scanned my selves making sure I wasn't overlooking anyone and this is my truth. These are the authors that bring the heavy for me. But don't worry, I have a blog post ready for next weekend with the ladies.

Paul Tremblay.
I don't think I've read ANYTHING this man writes without crying. All of his books HURT ME. They hurt me soooooo bad. I think DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK was the worst offender. I was not okay afterward. Why Paul?? Whyyyyyyy?

Craig Davidson/Nick Cutter.


Another writer who always goes for the heart. Even his horror is emotional. The ending of THE TROOP was gut-wrenching! But SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB and CATARACT CITY both shot me in the feels over and over. Craig just knows how to reach beyond the page with words and cut deep.

Gabino Iglesias


Gabino is a new addition for me. His book, COYOTE SONGS captivated and crushed me earlier this year. I have Zero Saints sitting on my nightstand just begging for me to pick it up and allow Gabino's carefully and thoughtfully chosen words pierce through skin & bone and go straight for the heart. It's my hope to have many more emotionally wrought stories from Gabino in the future. I'm here for it.


Dennis LeHane.


Ouch Dennis LeHane! Why does every book you write have to sting?? I seriously sat here and tried really hard to think of a book that didn't kill me and I couldn't think of a single one. THE DROP--the last like 10 pages of THE DROP was basically me stopping every few seconds to "unblurry" my eyes so I could keep reading. And MYSTIC RIVER?? Fugeddaboutit. Damn, LeHane. Easy! Dennis LeHane's photo is daring me not to cry. Do you see that in his expression? "Just you try to keep your composure, Sadie. You BABY."

Robert McCammon.



Robert McCammon mocks my pain in this author photo. He's delighting in my agony. BOY'S LIFE?? SWAN SONG?? THE LISTENER?? Please, can we have our hearts back??
I'll never get over the feelings. I can't even talk about them. People start to talk about certain scenes and I shush them. Please stop talking. Don't talk about it. DON'T MAKE ME CRY!!!


Chad Lutzke.


Chad Lutzke, whyyyyyyy??? I love the way Chad writes his little stories. I immediately fall in love with the characters and then Chad crushes me with them. HE HURTS US!! STIRRING THE SHEETS, OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES, SKULLFACE BOY...all the Lutzke books they want to destroy us with our own feelings and they're winning! It's an army of novellas against my wee heart and I don't stand a chance.



Rio Youers.

There should be a special section for authors who have made me cry the hardest. Rio would be there with Stephen King and Paul Tremblay. Rio's book WESTLAKE SOUL was nothing but a giant attack on my heart. At one point, towards the end, I set it down and just had a good, long cry before I even *tried* to keep going. It's like, if I didn't get some of it out, the ending was sure to overwhelm and then KILL ME. It killed me anyway. 




Stephen King.


Stephen King! You hurtful bastard. I think he's given me the most fictional pain. THE DARK TOWER SERIES, THE BODY, THE LONG GREEN MILE, 11/22/63, THE STAND, IT...I mean, the pain never ends. It's always there and it's because King gives us such REAL characters. Kill your darlings?? Yes, well--just be careful who you love because King will take them from you and then you'll feel all hollowed out and used up. It's why we love him though, right?? 


Jeremy R. Johnson.


Last but never least, JRJ. There were a few emotional runners in his collection ENTROPY IN BLOOM so I knew he was fully capable. But nothing could prepare me for IN THE RIVER. I would say between that novella and WESTLAKE SOUL, those were the hardest tears I've cried. Kind of amazing how few pages both of those books have--only proves that if you're a talented writer, you can manipulate your readers in a matter of minutes. Dangerous.

So there they are--my emotional heavy hitters.

Friday, July 12, 2019

30 All Time Favorite Books: Child Protagonists

I am utter trash for a good book where the main characters/narrators are children or young adults. I made a list of 30 favorites and summertime would be the perfect time for any of them. In no particular order...

1. Boy’s Life- Robert McCammon
2. I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith
3. Ghoul- Brian Keene
4. December Park- Ronald Malfi
5. My Best Friend’s Exorcism- Grady Hendrix
6. Danny Champion of the World- Roald Dahl
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith
8. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock- Paul Tremblay
9. The Body- Stephen King
10. The Shadow of the Wind- Carlos Ruiz Zafón
11. The Lord of the Flies- William Golding
12. Children of the Dark- Jonathan Janz
14. In the Scrape- James Newman and Mark Steensland
15. Of Foster Homes and Flies- Chad Lutzke
16. Knock, Knock- S.P. Miskowski 
17. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
18. Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card
19. Bastard Out of Carolina- Dorothy Allison
20. Peace Like a River- Leif Enger
21. IT- Stephen King
22. Coraline- Neil Gaiman
23. The Thief Of Always- Clive Barker
24. The Bone Weaver’s Orchard- Sarah Read
25. The Saturday Night Ghost Club- Craig Davidson
26. The Mummy, The Will and the Crypt- John Bellairs
27. Dog Days O’ Summer- James Newman and Mark Allan Gunnells
28. Locke & Key series- Joe Hill
29. Summer of Night- Dan Simmons
30. Inspection- Josh Malerman

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Thoughts on Coming-of-Age Horror and Dark Fiction


My youngest son, Andy, turns 14 this summer. He has two, older siblings. Natalie is 20 and Ryan is 21. This morning was Andy's 8th-grade graduation breakfast and he was allowed to bring one adult. I just assumed it was me. Yesterday, Ryan calls me up and said that Andy asked if he could take him to the breakfast.
My mom's heart exploded. Not because I was hurt or because I wanted to go, but because there is nothing like your grown-up kids supporting each other. It just feels like all the time you have spent investing in these human beings you have made together, reap big, emotional rewards (sometimes).
Sometimes these boys are a pain in my ass!
Hahaha
*sigh*


Which leads me to my passion for coming-of-age stories. Primarily dark fiction or horror fiction coming-of-age stories. And yes, it's true that most coming-of-age is written by male authors and the stories are about young men, but honestly--because I have sons, I don't care. I love them. 
Of course, I remember my own childhood. This is partly why these stories are appealing. The nostalgia and the memories that come flooding back. I wasn't a girly girl in the sense that I pranced around in dresses and played indoors with dollies (although, I did that too). I was outside with the neighborhood kids riding bikes, playing games in the street, double-dog daring one another and climbing trees.
I have scars.
I totally biffed it riding my bike too fast. The street ended and turned into a dirt road so I braked hard to slow down and I skidded out. My knee ground into the sandy, hard dirt. When I stood up and inspected my knee, a flap of skin was holding like a teaspoon of sand like a little pocket. Blood was welling up. I barfed and limped home. My mom had to scrub out the dirt and sand and put an antiseptic on it. But I was TOUGH!! I was back on my bike with a fat Band-Aid!
We also had a creek that ran behind some of the neighborhood houses and we would play Indiana Jones or Tom Sawyer back there. We killed a frog once. We hid from a scary dog up in a tree for hours. I mean, my youth was pretty colorful and I remember it all vividly.
I also lived through it again watching my own children grow up and go through trials that were very similar as well as new trials. Bullies, first crushes, horrible teachers, bad friends, best friends, moving, dances...all the things.
So these books about growing up and doing shitty kid stuff, I love them so hard! 
Here are some of my favorites (probably not an exhaustive list, okay so don't get up in my face!)


BOY'S LIFE, Robert McCammon
THE LISTENER, Robert McCammon
CHILDREN OF THE DARK, Jonathan Janz
GHOUL, Brian Keene
DECEMBER PARK, Ronald Malfi
IT, Stephen King
THE BODY, Stephen King
THE LONG WALK, Richard Bachman
THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, Craig Davidson
CATARACT CITY, Craig Davidson
OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES, Chad Lutzke
SKULLFACE BOY, Chad Lutzke
THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU, Chad Lutzke
MONGRELS, Stephen Graham Jones
MAPPING THE INTERIOR, Stephen Graham Jones
SUMMER OF NIGHT, Dan Simmons
BAY'S END, Edward Lorn
GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX, Richard Chizmar & Stephen King
DOGS DAYS O' SUMMER, James Newman & Mark Allen Gunnells
PLAGUE OF GULLS, Stephen Gregory
THE DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK, Paul Tremblay


I realize there are no female authors or books about girls growing up in that list, but there is a big gap there okay?? I'm talking Horror or Dark Fiction, yeah? Not just any old genre--of that there are plenty.
Here are some that I need to mention:
MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM, Grady Hendrix
KNOCK, KNOCK, S. P. Miskowski
THE WORST IS YET TO COME, S. P. Miskowski
THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD, Sarah Read
THE DEVIL CREPT IN, Ania Ahlborn
THE RUST MAIDENS, Gwendolyn Kiste (but I still need to read this!!)

I have read some killer short stories about girls growing up from Kristi DeMeester and Damien Angelica Walters--so, those are awesome too.
SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE, Damien Angelica Walters
THE BEAUTIFUL THING WE WILL BECOME, Kristi DeMeester

So there it is. My obsession for this sub-genre grows stronger and stronger and consider this a nudge to authors that there is a huge space for coming-of-age written by women or about girls growing up. If I missed some, alert me!






Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Youer Than You- Thoughts on Plagiarism

My school teacher once told me, "Copying is the sincerest form of flattery. They copy you because they like what you do so much."

That answer didn't feel good back then and it certainly doesn't fly with me now, but I have words for it as an adult that I couldn't say when I was in grade school--

BULLSHIT.

Where did that adage even come from? I Googled it. 

Oscar Wilde's quote feels a little more satisfying because of that last part that people just leave off. The people doing the imitating are so mediocre, they have to borrow someone's greatness and pass it off as their own. Meh. Imitation still doesn't feel flattering and there's nothing sincere about it. This quote doesn't address how imitation feels.

The real sincerest form of flattery is respect. Respect people enough to praise them for their own, specialness and creativity. Let them have what is their own.

In the grown up world, we don't use the word "copying" anymore. People are not "Copy Cats" that is far too cute of name for what is actually going on. The legit word is plagiarism.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "plagiarize" means:
  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
All of the following are considered plagiarism:
  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules) --Plagiarism.org
Why am I writing a blog post about this today? It's because my book reviews and the reviews of some of my friends have been plagiarized and it feels like hot garbage. 
While I'm reading a book, I have a notebook next to me and I'm feverishly writing down my personal and unique feelings/experiences. I also do frequent status updates on my Goodreads
Then, I sit down for about two-three hours and compose my review using MY experiences. MY thoughts. MY feelings and most importantly MY words in the way that I talk. My reviews are extremely conversational. I write like I talk. So when I read someone else's reviews and I see/hear my own voice coming out of someone else's mouth, it literally feels like someone is stealing my identity.
Identity theft. Straight up. 
And it's not word for word because obviously, the people who steal other people's thoughts have the wherewithal to know that copying something word for word is stupid and they'll be found out. So they piece together a review and borrow from multiple reviews and then replace certain identifiable words with words of their own and at the end of it all, their review doesn't EXACTLY sound like anyone else's it just looks like this:

A patchwork of stolen identities stitched together to make a monster.
And I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I mean, you could be thinking, "Big deal, Sadie. So someone copies your words a little bit in their review. Maybe they just like the way you write stuff and they want to be like you. Maybe they're just practicing and when they mature, they'll write their own reviews with their own words and you can forget this ever happened. Feel flattered that you gave them a stepping stone of success."

BULLSHIT.

I'm sorry but it's not right. If someone wrote a book and published it and then someone else basically wrote the exact same book, they just changed most of the words around, wouldn't that be grounds for suing the imitator? Plagiarism is a real legal offense. So is copyright infringement and so is intellectual property. All legal words, my friends. And my words are published in print--which makes them the property of myself and the magazine:
"Copyright infringement is reproducing, distributing, displaying or performing a work, or to make derivative works, without permission from the copyright holder, which is typically a publisher or other business representing or assigned by the work's creator.

I don't understand why anyone would want to pass someone else's ideas and words off as their own but my warning to anyone who has done it, is doing it or has desired to do it...
...reconsider.
Think about why you don't feel confident writing with your own voice. Think about how it makes others feel. Think about how the praise you're getting belongs to someone else and think about how you feel like you've gotten away with it, but you haven't. We see it and we don't like it. 

My suggestion is this:
If you like the way someone writes reviews, ask them how they can help you. Ask them for tips and tricks. Practice using your own voice and send it to people you admire to get feedback. There are so many other ways to be YOU. Please be you--everyone else is already taken.



Monday, May 6, 2019

TOP 10 ANNOYING HORROR REVIEW HABITS

I write reviews for a variety of sources so on Mondays, I make sure that books I have reviewed for SCREAM Mag and Cemetery Dance get their proper lead times before I share them on Amazon and Goodreads. It's helpful for book reviews to be represented across multiple outlets.
I was doing just that this morning--copy & pasting a particular review to Goodreads and Amazon-- when I got distracted reading some other reviews.
My blood began to boil.
I felt a rant coming on...
Instead of unleashing on Twitter, which tends to get me in trouble, I decided to think on it and run the rants through the filter of writing them out properly instead of knee-jerk reacting.
Also, instead of giving myself too much space to ramble, I'm narrowing this down to a TOP 10 List. So here it is:

TOP 10 ANNOYING HORROR REVIEW HABITS:

1. GIFS in Reviews on Goodreads. I'm sorry but these suck and I almost always scroll past them. Often times they're trying to be too funny or cute to be taken seriously. I think there are reviewers on Goodreads who have a following or an audience that specifically shows up for these GIF reviews but I don't think they're at all helpful to anyone and I'm not amused by them. No shame if that's your jam. It's just my opinion that they're annoying.

2. Lowering the star review for not being "scary". It doesn't bother me if the reviewer mentions that they didn't find the book particularly scary but to lower the score for that reason alone is lame. The merit of a quality horror book doesn't rest on if it fulfills one person's standard of scary. All of us are individually scared by different things and it's not the authors sole purpose to meet every, single reader's expectation of scary. That's ridiculous. 

3. Long winded retellings of the plot. It's my understanding that many authors don't particularly enjoy or look forward to writing the synopsis for the back of the book. A lot of work and frustration goes into making that description as concise and informed as it possibly can be without too much detail or not enough details, so a reviewer spending all this time to go over the plot is unnecessary and oversharing to the point of spoiling reader discoveries. 

4. Suggesting people not buy the book. What?? Are you kidding me? Why on earth would anyone recommend that people not "waste their time" or "not buy the book"? I mean, unless the author personally and directly attacked you or harmed you in some way that we should all know about, there is absolutely no just cause in recommending people not read the book or buy it. A review is basically your unbiased reading experience. It's not an opportunity to put people off from trying it for themselves. If your review is written well enough, people may or may not make a choice based on how you felt about the book-to go the extra mile of telling them what to do is over the top. In my humble but strongly felt opinion.

5. Technical aspects. With the exception of editing-like grammar/spelling/typos that make it through to a final copy-I don't think font size or printing errors, publishing mistakes, orders taking too long to arrive--like anything about the condition of the book that doesn't have anything to do with the author, should bare any weight on the actual merit or score. It's just not important. I don't mind when a reviewer mentions it but I get annoyed with whole opening paragraphs being a rant about something that has nothing to do with the story or the author who wrote it. Sorry. It certainly shouldn't reflect in the rating.

6. Rating a book three stars or less but then writing a glowing review. This confuses me so much. If you scored a book 3 stars or less but don't mention anything even remotely critical, it makes me wonder why it's missing those stars. I'm sure anyone who reads the review will wonder what happened or why it didn't rate higher. If there's nothing unsavory worth mentioning, maybe it should rate higher? 

7. Talking too much about other books/authors. I always get a little sad when a book/author falls victim to being compared to other authors/books. The reviews I read this morning were about a book that has a semi-familiar plot trope (not an overused plot trope) and this reviewer spent ample time explaining why they enjoyed this other book with a similar plot trope better. Why?? That's so annoying. Comparison in a favorable way like, "Hey, fans of Stephen King might like this one!" or "This guy writes a bit like Cormac McCarthy" are flattering. But comparisons in the negative like, "This book was trying too hard to be Dracula and here's how it failed in 20 different ways to BE as good as Dracula" isn't helpful because what if your comparison is totally off? I've seen that. Or maybe you should just read Dracula if that's your favorite vampire novel and you compare all other vampire novels to it. It's just unrealistic. (Unless the author is straight up copying someone or something, then full on say that--I have said that before)

8. RUDE, RUDE, RUDE. You don't have to be a bitch in a review of a book you didn't enjoy. It's immature. I recently read a 2 star review of a favorite book of mine where the reviewer praised the concept of the book but then had the audacity to recommend authors that would be better suited to write the book. WTF?! Does it get any more rude? No friends, it does not. The concept and plot of a book comes from the mind of the author. It is the author's story to tell. To suggest that it was a good idea but someone else should have written it, is rage inducing. It's just horribly rude. I also don't think you're qualified to make a statement like that. Who are you? Stay in your lane. 

9. A book is not responsible for your expectations. I've had this discussion before about people saying that a book was overly hyped as being good but then it is the reviewer's assessment that everyone was wrong and the book fell short of their high expectations. Come again?
If a book is getting praise from other reviewers/readers who know their shit and then you read the book and don't like it, it doesn't mean the book was overly hyped or that the hype is wrong. It just means that the praise doesn't line up with your reading experience and that's on you, Sweetheart. It doesn't mean everyone else is wrong. It just means the book wasn't for you. Own it. Don't blame the hype-the hype might be real and the problem is you. That's OK! It's not okay to be arrogant by suggesting the problem is with everyone else. 

10. Tangent reviews. I'm all for a good tangent/rant. Look at this post! It's cathartic for me to write this stuff because it helps me to calm down after I've gotten it all out. But it's not okay to use review space of a specific book to go off on some tangent or pet peeve. I see this a lot. Maybe it's a social issue the book brought up or maybe it's a genre or a writing style, whatever the case may be--save it for a blog post or a tweet or your best friend's text messages--but the review space is for that book. It's not fair to turn it into a personal diary entry.

Anyhoodles.
I feel better.