Sunday, December 31, 2017

First Book of the Year 2018


Sheila over at Book Journey is once again hosting the "First Book of the Year" event. My pick last year turned out to be a hot mess and so did my year so fingers crossed that this year's pick will turn out to be a much better selection!

My first book of 2018 is going to be The Listener by Robert McCammon.


I've done a decent job at shielding myself from the plot, but I'll include the Goodreads blurb here so you can see what it's about. (McCammon is an auto-read for me so I prefer to go into it blind.)

1934. Businesses went under by the hundreds, debt and foreclosures boomed, and breadlines grew in many American cities.

In the midst of this misery, some folks explored unscrupulous ways to make money. Angel-faced John Partlow and carnival huckster Ginger LaFrance are among the worst of this lot. Joining together they leave their small time confidence scams behind to attempt an elaborate kidnapping-for-ransom scheme in New Orleans.

In a different part of town, Curtis Mayhew, a young black man who works as a redcap for the Union Railroad Station, has a reputation for mending quarrels and misunderstandings among his friends. What those friends don't know is that Curtis has a special talent for listening... and he can sometimes hear things that aren't spoken aloud.

One day, Curtis Mayhew's special talent allows him to overhear a child's cry for help (THIS MAN IN THE CAR HE'S GOT A GUN), which draws him into the dangerous world of Partlow and LaFrance.

This gritty depression-era crime thriller is a complex tale enriched by powerfully observed social commentary and hints of the supernatural, and it represents Robert McCammon writing at the very top of his game.

A friend was sweet enough to send me her ARC. Since it doesn't release until February, I've been holding on to it until 2018. I try not to read any books before the year they are published in case they wind up being a "best of the year" book. I always have the highest of hopes!

Do you have a special book planned for the first book of the year? I'd love to hear what you will be reading!

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

GOODBYE 2017 | Recent Updates and Currently Reading

As amazing of a reading year 2017 turned out to be, I'm so glad to see it go. It was a really rough year, and there's something about a new year and a clean slate that I could really use right now.

I hope everyone has had a great holiday season. Other than my son coming down with the flu Christmas morning, we've been enjoying the season. Hubs and I have both had some much needed time off from work this week. Santa was very good to me this year, and I finally have proper bookcases. I've spent most of this week unboxing/moving/organizing books which is always a great way to pass the time. I'm hoping having easy access to my books will lead to reading more of the books I already own. #resolutions

Posted Last Week


Last week I posted my "Favorite Books of 2017" list.

Read Last Week



Despite it taking me more than half of the year to make my way through Marisha Pessl's Night Film, I loved it.

Into the Water is another book I've been attempting for a while. I decided to DNF at 55% because I'm still not hooked by it.

Current Distractions


Hubs and I began our holiday vacation the day before the kids were out of school so naturally we used that day to go see Star Wars. I absolutely loved it. I understand why some people are having a hard time loving it, but I'm not one of those people.

I finished watching Mindhunters this past week. It held my interest, but I don't feel like I got a full season from it.

I'm still making my way through Punisher. There's not a very strong plot pulling me back in. I'm also starting to dislike his character. I don't think he became an asshole after his family was killed - I think he was an asshole whose family was killed and now he has an excuse to punish people.

I've been watching a lot of Best of 2017 (and Worst of 2017) book videos on YouTube. Do you guys have any folks you follow regularly on YouTube? I only have a few, and I'd love some recommendations. YouTube has a tendency to recommend the popular personalities, and I'd like to go beyond those channels.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Favorite Books of 2017

One of the blessings of 2017 was having a great reading year. By the end of this month, I will have read 70 books in 2017. These are my favorite books of the year.

Best Novel Published in 2017



In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

I'm still not ready to spoil what In the Valley of the Sun is about, but I will say it's staking a claim for the horror genre and I love it! {Review}

Runner Up:


The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The Devil Crept In is a slow burn horror novel with awesome character development. It's a great introduction to Ania Ahlborn if you need a place to start. {Review}

Best Classic Novel



Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

This was my first year to read Rosemary's Baby, and I absolutely loved it. {Review}

Runner Up:


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I knew going into The Picture of Dorian that it was a well loved book, and yet I was still surprised by how much I loved it. {Review}

Best Novella Published in 2017



The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling

The Final Reconciliation is a mix of music and horror, and I highly recommend it. {Review}

Best Classic Novella



The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

The build up of tension (not to mention the personification of nature) made The Willows an awesome read for me. {Review}

Best Anthology Published in 2017



Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror edited by Mark Matthews

Garden of Fiends is a themed anthology of horror stories centered around addiction. Every story in this collection is a solid horror story. {Review}

Best Nonfiction Published in 2017



Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

If you are a horror fan, Paperbacks from Hell demands to be seen. {Review}

Best Reread



It by Stephen King

This was my second reading of It. I think it was even scarier the second time around. {No review}

Runner Up:


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

This was my third time to read A Wrinkle in Time. {Review from second reading}

Honorable Mentions





Have you read any of the books that made my favorites list this year?

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | December 16

We only have one week left until Christmas. What? And it snowed last week! I live on the Texas gulf coast where it doesn't snow so it was my first real snowfall. It was such a great day.

Read Last Week


November was a really rough month for me. The reading has not been happening. I have been reading a little bit of Lonesome Dove. There were a lot of references to it in the final season of Longmire so I grabbed it off of my shelf.

In My Mailbox




Bone Music (Burning Girl #1) by Christopher Rice - The folks at Thomas & Mercer sent me an ARC of Bone Music. "Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew—a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image." I'm going to tread lightly going into this one, but I enjoyed A Density of Souls and Snow Garden by Christopher Rice. I'd love to read another book by him.

My sweet friend Becky sent me The Listener and Widow's Point.

The Listener by Robert McCammon - McCammon is my favorite author so I haven't looked much into what The Listener is about. McCammon is an amazing writer. I can't wait to lose myself in this book. It's going to be a tough wait, but I'm saving this book to be my January 1 first book of the year.

Widow's Point by Richard Chizmar, Billy Chizmar - This one is a novella length ghost story. This will probably be the very next book that I read.

Thanks, Becky!

Current Distractions


Did guys watch the final season of Longmire? If you haven't seen that series yet, check it out. I loved it. I bought the first book on an audible deal so I guess I will have to start reading the books now that the Netflix series is over.

I started watching The Punisher this past week. The production value is high, but I'm not sold on the story yet.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Tynga's Reviews' Stacking the Shelves, and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review | Artemis by Andy Weir

Artemis is a science fiction novel from Andy Weir.


Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I was excited about Artemis for the simple fact that it was a new Andy Weir book. I loved The Martian so I was anxious for more Andy Weir. I was hoping to go into reading it blind, but I spoiled myself to the premise as I was adding it to my Goodreads. Once I saw it was a heist story set on the moon, I had to read it immediately.

There was a level of fun to Artemis. I'm sure a lot of readers will enjoy it. I hoped by the time I sat down to write my official review, the fun aspects of Artemis would overtake my issues, but the opposite has happened. When I look back on reading Artemis, the problems are what I remember most.

Most of my issues revolve around the main character Jazz. This makes sense since there really weren't any other developed characters in Artemis. It was a formula that worked well for Mark Watney's character in The Martian, but I wasn't a fan of Jazz at all.

Not only was Jazz not likable, her character development was problematic. The reader is told on several occasions that Jazz has a sexual history. Why? What does the fact that Jazz has sex tell us about her character? As many times as it was brought up, I assume it was supposed to mean something.

My assessment of Jazz's character is Andy Weir tried to create a badass female character like Devi Morris from Rachel Bach's Paradox trilogy and failed miserably.

Jazz's back story was filled with the awful choices of her youth. I didn't see how her back story was any different from her current story. She was still making awful choices. I wish I could have cared about her, but instead I felt she deserved whatever she got.

Complaints aside, the science in Artemis was fun. The science was a huge part of what I was hoping for going into reading Artemis. Like The Martian, I have no idea if the science was accurate, but it didn't need to be.

At the end of the day, my opinion of Artemis isn't going to sway anyone and it really shouldn't. I wanted a new Andy Weir novel and that's what I got.

I will be excited for his next release, but I'm also hoping it will be a while before we get his next female protagonist.

Despite having issues with Artemis, I came away from reading it waffling between 2 and 3 stars so I'm going to stick with my initial reaction and go straight up the middle with my rating.

5/10: Decent Read

Review copy provided by publisher

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | October 28

I always get bummed out at the end of October. The spooky and the scary slip away from every day life, and I just want to hold on to it so tightly. This year October has flown by in a blink without being able to really pause and enjoy it.

NaNoWriMo Participant

Is anyone taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? NaNoWriMo used to be one of my favorite things out of the entire year. It was so. much. fun.

My NaNoWriMo stats are telling, though:

NaNoWriMo Statistics

Those numbers represent 2001-2006. My first child was born in 2007. I've popped into NaNoWriMo each November since, but I haven't managed to participate much.

This is the year I'm going to try to jump back into the fun.

If you aren't familiar with National Novel Writing Month, it's where you write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days (the month of November).

If you are taking part and want to join up as a "writing buddy", let me know. I think you can add me here. I'd love to have/share some encouragement along the way.

SciFi Month

Hopefully my blogging and reading won't suffer too much through November since I'm planning to take part in SciFi Month.

I'm not quite sure how the participation works for SciFi Month, but I'm hoping to read and post about SciFi whether I figure it all out or not.

Posted Last Week


Book Review | The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Book Review | My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix


Donna Galanti posted about dreams. Be sure to check it out and enter her giveaway for an Amazon gift card: Guest Post | Do Your Dreams Have Power Over You?

Read Last Week


My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix ()
You can read my full review here.

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine ()
Killman Creek did not disappoint me!

Review Copies


Let's Get Monster Smashed: Horror Movie Drinks for a Killer Time by Jon Chaiet, Marc Chaiet

Let's Get Monster Smashed: Horror Movie Drinks for a Killer Time by Jon Chaiet, Marc Chaiet

This book pairs drinks with horror movies! There are shots, gelatin, punches, special fx, and non-alcoholic recipes in Let's Get Monster Smashed. The movie pairings elevate this book to super cool status, but the recipes are perfect for horror fans (or just fans of alcohol really). My sister-in-law and I invent new scary drinks each October and this book is damn handy for me right now. I do wish there were more traditional cocktails, but I'm happy for the level of originality here.

On a related note, I need this wine glass I just found on Pinterest:

Pinterest Pumpking Wine Glass

Current Distractions


  • The Astros made it into the World Series. They are up a game and looking great!!
  • Due to the World Series and other aspects of life, I have not yet started season 2 of Stranger Things. At some point today, it will happen! Are you watching?

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Tynga's Reviews' Stacking the Shelves, and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Guest Post | Do Your Dreams Have Power Over You?

I'm very excited to welcome Donna Galanti to Book Den today. Be sure to enter her giveaway and check out which books are on sale for free and $.99. Her books have been on my wishlist for a while so you know I'm scooping them up!

Do your dreams have power over you?
by Donna Galanti


Do you dream about the same thing over and over?

For years I had theme dreams. How I wish they were of nice things. Rainbows. Birthday parties. Cooing babies.

Nope. Mine were scary. A man with a machete chasing me to whack off my head. Of course I never actually died in this dream. I always woke up just before being decapitated. But the heads of my loved ones did roll.

Maybe dreaming of monsters is why my favorite show is Supernatural. Okay, it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Dean and Sam Winchester are HOT! I guess I’ll have to keep them forever in my dreams. Sigh…

And perhaps we’re better off not remembering our dreams – or re-living them over and over. Perhaps they need to stay as dreams to ward off the dark.

In my paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, Laura Armstrong is also haunted by nightmares of an evil man chasing her. Only, this man is not a figment of her imagination. He is very real and very capable of killing her from afar. When her dreams become a reality and she discovers her stalker is part of her own destiny she has to decide whether to kill him or redeem him. Ben Fieldstone in A Human Element also dreams of a Laura and a meteorite coming to crush him to death, as it did his parents.

But back to machetes. I ran for miles in my dreams avoiding decapitation from that unknown machete wielding maniac. He swung blades of steel seeking my neck. He chased me. On and on.
Then one day a crowd came. They surged onto the brute and whacked him to death with garden hoses. He disappeared and never returned. For the first time someone came to help me. And they destroyed the thing that haunted me most. They gave me hope.

Maybe this is the reason I write from the darker side with a touch of hope. No matter how dark things are, there is hope for survival.

And then it hit me. The machete man was awfully familiar to the villain in my book, X-10. I think he hides inside me and comes out when I write, and that is the only place he’ll remain safe from now on. If not, I’ll send back in the angry hoard of garden-hose attackers to get him good.

The power of dreams, right? Have your dreams had power over you?

P.S. I’m also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card below!

Excerpt - Ben Fieldstone’s Dreams That Haunt Him:


That night he dreamed.

He stood at the lake on its shore. The stillness covered him in peaceful quiet. The moon shone high overhead painting the wave tops with gold that lapped at the water's edge. Something moved in the distance on the path leading around the lake. It was a girl. She walked toward him as if she knew him. Finally, she stood before him and smiled. He found himself smiling back.

She took his hand and stared at him with her large, brown eyes. She looked so lovely. Her hand was warm in his, her touch sent waves of yearning through his body. She reached up on her toes and kissed him. He squeezed her hand and found himself kissing her back. Their tongues intertwined in a soft, embracing dance. He gave himself to her mouth, falling into her sweet wetness.

She put her hand behind his neck and pulled him closer. "Ben, do you know what I am?" Her eyes held him in a trance.

"What you are? What do you mean?"

"Come with me, I'll show you."

He followed her as she led him down the path. Then he looked up. Something green shone in the sky. The meteorite. It would crush them. She was leading them toward the spot where it would crash.

"No!" He pulled her with him to go back.

"Come." Her large eyes drew him into her.

"No, follow me," Ben urged. "Can't you see, it's coming!"

"Come." She caressed his hand. "It's where I belong. We can belong together."

"No!" He dropped her hand and ran.

His legs pumped fast over the rocks and fallen logs on the path. He turned once. She still stood there under the moon. The green thing filled the sky behind her as it streaked toward them.

She was smiling.


About A Human Element:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Praise for A Human Element:
“A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author

Praise for A Hidden Element:
“Fascinating…a haunting story about just how far parents will go to protect, or destroy, their children in the name of love.”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times best-selling author

Purchase A Human Element here: On sale for just $0.99 10/27 – 11/2! http://mybook.to/AHumanElement

Purchase A Hidden Element here: On sale for FREE 10/27 – 10/31!
http://myBook.to/AHiddenElement

Donna Galanti Bio:
Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com. She also loves building writer community. See how at www.yourawesomeauthorlife.com

Connect with Donna:
Twitter https://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Review | My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism is a horror novel by Grady Hendrix.

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act...different. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby. Abby's investigation leads her to some startling discoveries--and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend's Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of '80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.

If you are a fan of 80's nostalgia, My Best Friend's Exorcism will fulfill your 80's cravings. I think the only two references from my childhood that are missing in My Best Friend's Exorcism are Caboodles and Aquanet.

My Best Friend's Exorcism is the first work of fiction I've read by Grady Hendrix. I obviously read and loved Paperbacks from Hell {review}, but I didn't read Horrorstör when it was released. I see now that was a mistake.

My Best Friend's Exorcism is accurately billed as Beaches meets The Exorcist. I don't normally get scared reading horror books, but I've decided exorcisms scare the shit out of me. That's the one thing in media that really gets under my skin.

The twist with My Best Friend's Exorcism is the point of view. We are seeing Gretchen's possession from the point of view of her best friend Abby. This is Abby's story of how she met her best friend, saw the changes in her, and basically saved her soul. It's a life long story and not one that I expected to find inside My Best Friend's Exorcism.

Abby is the hero of the story, but that girl should have died at least 26 times by the end of the book. She is the girl in every horror movie that runs up the stairs instead of out of the house. Repeatedly. But I love her. Zits and all.

7/10: Recommended Read

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Review | The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic horror novel by Oscar Wilde.


Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work.

The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment.

Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

Wow. I see why The Picture of Dorian Gray is so loved. I partially want to be mad at myself for waiting so long to read it, but I also feel lucky to be reading it for the first time.

My only regret in listening to this one on audio is I didn't get the chance to highlight the text. This book is so quotable, I'd even give thought to highlighting a print copy. Sacrilege, I know.

The writing is witty and amazing, but the story is amazing, too. I'm not sure how I managed to shield myself from what this story was really about all these years. It makes me hesitant to share too many details because the revelations in The Picture of Dorian Gray were the best part for me.

Even though The Picture of Dorian Gray is a short book, I think it could have been even shorter. Every revelation made each new tangent worth it, though.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is an amazing look at society, youth and beauty, and the arts. It's a "horror" novel in the way that Shelley's Frankenstein is a "horror" novel. There are supernatural things at work, but it's much more about the social commentary than the actual monsters. The horror elements are fantastic, but there is appeal for a much wider audience.

I want to point out the version I listened to was narrated by Simon Prebble. There are several audios available for The Picture of Dorian Gray, but Simon Prebble reminded me of Jim Dale which is the highest compliment I can give a narrator. If you decide to give this one a listen, I would seek out the Simon Prebble version.

My goal in life is now to hunt down the 1945 movie adaptation starring Angela Lansbury as Sybil Vane.

9/10: Highly Recommended

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | October 21

It took long enough, but it's finally starting to feel like Fall!


Posted Last Week


Last week I didn't post a single thing. Since that includes not posting an update last weekend, I'm reaching back an extra week.

Book Review | The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
Why I Love Horror + Some Recommendations

Read Last Week





The Cats of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft (★★★★☆)

Frindle by Andrew Clements (★★★★☆)

The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft (★★★★☆)

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones (dnf)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (★★★★★)

Thank you, Bark, for recommending The Cats of Ulthar! That was a fun one! Lark also mentioned having read The Rats in the Walls so I gave that one a read, too. Unfortunately, the Goodreads description for The Rats in the Walls was one giant spoiler so beware there.

I wound up DNF'ing The Salt Line at 35%. I couldn't get into it, and I have no idea why.

I loved The Picture of Dorian Gray. If the stars align for me, I'll have a review out this week for it.

Review Copies



Many, many thanks to Rachel Caine for the review copy of Killman Creek. Killman Creek is the sequel to Stillhouse Lake (review). I've been so anxious for this book so I was thrilled to receive an invite for an early copy.

Current Distractions


  • American League Championship Series: Astros v. Yankees. One game left to determine who makes it to the World Series. (Go 'Stros!)
  • I finished season one of Riverdale. So. Many. Feelings. I 100% plan to catch up on season 2 this weekend. I'm not waiting.
  • Since I needed a Riverdale/Netflix replacement, I started watching season 12 of Supernatural. How is this show still going?
  • I'm getting very, very excited about Stranger Things next week.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Tynga's Reviews' Stacking the Shelves, and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why I Love Horror + Some Recommendations

What do you do if you are a librarian who doesn't read horror, but you need to be able to recommend horror books to your patrons? You turn to Becky Spratford. Becky is a Readers' Advisor who trains librarians in helping their patrons find books to read. She literally wrote the book on Readers' Advisory for Horror. She's one of the greatest champions we have in the horror community.

Becky asked me to write up a post on why I love horror and to talk about a few of the horror books I've loved. If you're interested in reading a little bit about why I love horror, you can find that post on Becky's RA for All: Horror blog. I tried to recommend some horror novels that are pretty recent but not widely read. If you are a regular reader of my blog, my horror recommendations will not surprise you. You've heard me recommend each one of these probably more than once already.

I love that Becky is sharing some of the reasons horror readers enjoy the genre. Feel free to add your comments on why you love horror (if you do!) or let me know here.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review | The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

The Willows is a novella by Algernon Blackwood

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Two friends are midway on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Throughout the story Blackwood personifies the surrounding environment—river, sun, wind—and imbues them with a powerful and ultimately threatening character. Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which "moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible."

"The Willows" is one of Algernon Blackwood's best known short stories. American horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature. "The Willows" is an example of early modern horror and is connected within the literary tradition of weird fiction.

I've been sharing my journey with Lovecraft lately, but the story that brought me back to Lovecraft was Algernon Blackwood's The Willows. I wasn't planning to review The Willows, but it turned out to be such an awesome read I decided it really needed to be shared.

What struck me while reading The Willows was how much Blackwood's writing reminded me of H.G. Wells'. So much so that as soon as I finished reading The Willows I did a search to see if there were any essays comparing their work. What I found was Blackwood and Wells were friends. I don't know how that influenced their writing, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.

In The Willows, two friends are taking a canoe trip up the river, and the rough water forces them stop for the night on an island among the willow trees.

The build up of tension (not to mention the personification of nature) made this an awesome read for me. I can't wait to dive into more of Blackwood's work in the future.

I was able to get my copy of The Willows free in the Kindle store. It's also available on Project Gutenberg and other places you can typically find these old classics.

9/10: Highly Recommended

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | October 7

I hope everyone has been able to embrace the spooky side of October this week. Every October I get in the mood for short stories, and I have a feeling Lovecraft is going to be taking over most of my short story time this month.

I got some Halloween decorating done this week. Hopefully I can get some more done before the holiday flies by. Sometimes I consider just leaving it out all year...

Posted Last Week


Review | The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones
Review | The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft
Review | The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
Review | The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

Read Last Week



You can read my full review of The Blackbird Season here. The characters kept me from connecting to and enjoying that one.

I loved The Thing on the Doorstep (review). It's my favorite Lovecraft story so far.

The Call of Cthulhu, on the other hand, is not one of my favorites (review).

I also read Joe Lansdale's A Fine Dark Line. A Fine Dark Line is very similar to both The Bottoms and Edge of Dark Water. Of those three, A Fine Dark Line is the weakest, but I really enjoy Lansdale so I was happy to have read it.

Review Copies


The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea edited by Ellen Datlow

There's no cover yet for The Devil and the Deep, but it's an original anthology of horror set in the deep blue sea with new stories from Seanan McGuire, Christopher Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, and others.

Current Distractions



I'm embracing Riverdale this week. There are so many "unlikable" characters and yet I root for and care about every one of them.

My husband and I also started watching True Detective. I promise this is pure coincidence and not a cry for a Lovecraft intervention.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or watching) this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Tynga's Reviews' Stacking the Shelves, and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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