Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Review | Dear Laura by Gemma Amor

Dear Laura is a horror novella by Gemma Amor.

Dear Laura by Gemma Amor

Every year, on her birthday, Laura gets a letter from a stranger. That stranger claims to know the whereabouts of her missing friend Bobby, but there’s a catch: he’ll only tell her what he knows in exchange for something...personal.

So begins Laura’s sordid relationship with her new penpal, built on a foundation of quid pro quo. Her quest for closure will push her to bizarre acts of humiliation and harm, yet no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape her correspondent’s demands. The letters keep coming, and as time passes, they have a profound effect on Laura.

From the author of Cruel Works of Nature comes a dark and twisted tale about obsession, guilt, and how far a person will go to put her ghosts to bed.

This was a fun novella to read. I think this is my first time to read Gemma Amor so I was glad to be picking up something by her. Her writing was compelling, and I flew through Dear Laura in one sitting.

The main reason my rating isn't higher is because I didn't understand the motives behind any of the characters. Also, the stakes were extremely low for the events that were taking place.

Dear Laura was a good evening escape. I look forward to future releases from Amor.


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Monday, October 14, 2019

New Favorites | Hollow Kingdom and Of Foster Homes and Flies

Do you ever read a book that you basically just loved and for various reasons you had a hard time reviewing? Below are a couple of books that I fell in love with recently and highly recommend.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

One pet crow fights to save humanity from an apocalypse in this uniquely hilarious debut from a genre-bending literary author.

S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle's wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®.

Then Big Jim's eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn't quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies--from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim's loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis--fail to cure Big Jim's debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity's extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.

Hollow Kingdom is a humorous, big-hearted, and boundlessly beautiful romp through the apocalypse and the world that comes after, where even a cowardly crow can become a hero.

Hollow Kingdom is so good! And hilarious.

Hollow Kingdom is a science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, comedy, zombie book all rolled up into one told through the POV of a crow. What more could you possibly need to know? (Bonus: his companion is a dog.)


Of Foster Homes and Flies by Chad Lutzke

A neglected 12-year-old boy does nothing to report the death of his mother in order to compete in a spelling bee. A tragic coming-of-age tale of horror and drama in the setting of a hot New Orleans summer.
"Coming of age... is this like Catcher in the Rye?" She makes a funny noise--one of disgust. "No way. I'd never pass that trash on to anyone. Trust me. This one's good."

I see why everyone speaks so highly of Chad Lutzke. I loved Of Foster Homes and Flies so much. I should write a longer review, but instead I'm going to spend my time hunting down more Lutzke stories to read.

If you love coming of age horror, you need to pick this one up.


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Review | The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Vegetarian is a fiction novel written by Han Kang and translated by Deborah Smith.

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy.

In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

The Vegetarian was a strange book. I really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I would recommend it.

The Vegetarian is a Korean literary fiction/somewhat horror novel by Han Kang. It was translated into English by Deborah Smith. I think the translation was fantastic. There are plenty of critics who disagree with me on the translation, but it won Han Kang and Deborah Smith the Man Booker Prize so I'm not alone in my feelings toward the translation.

The Vegetarian is divided into three distinct parts. Each part has a different POV which is always a tough shift for me. The first part (The Vegetarian) is the strongest of the three so a lot of readers have come away from the book as a whole disappointed.

For me, the theme of The Vegetarian is mental illness and how it is handled by those around the main characters.

As I said, I'm not sure I would specifically recommend this to anyone, but I found the writing to be very compelling. I'm glad I read it despite it's oddities.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

On My Wishlist {21}

On My Wishlist is where I share a few books that have recently made it onto my wishlist. These are the books that have recently caught my eye:

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Tor.com

The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones

When Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister--whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice--back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn't always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West's "No Quests" rule is about to be broken.


The Wayward Children series is one of my favorite current series. I'm really looking forward to getting the next one in January!

The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert
Expected publication: January 7th 2020 by Flatiron Books

The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home...

I still have The Hazel Wood on my TBR pile. I'd love to give it a read and continue on with The Night Country.

The Return by Rachel Harrison
Expected publication: March 24th 2020 by Berkley

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.
I am really anticipating the release of The Return in March. The Return is a debut thriller and it sounds like a great one!

Are you planning to read any of these new or upcoming releases? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Review | To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

To Be Devoured is a horror novella by Sara Tantlinger.

What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts.

Her girlfriend, Luna, tries to help Andi battle her inner darkness and infatuation with the vultures. However, the desire to taste dead flesh, to stitch together wings of her own and become one with the flock sends Andi down a twisted, unforgivable path. Once she understands the secrets the vultures conceal, she must decide between abandoning the birds of prey or risk turning her loved ones into nothing more than meals to be devoured.

Good Lord. I don't know how to feel about To Be Devoured. I "devoured" it... and I also wanted to throw up a bit.

If you are a squeamish reader or hate gore of any kind, move along. If you love to be pulled in and disturbed to your core, lay down your money on this one.

Sara Tantlinger is known for her (Bram Stoker Award winning) poetry. This novella is certainly poetic and it's also... I have no words.

In the end, I really liked it, and I was really glad I wasn't eating while reading it.


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