Saturday, June 24, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | June 23

I missed posting an update last weekend. I think I was in "I don't want to because it's summer!" mode. This week has been dreary and rainy so I've had much more success on the reading front. I had some time off of work due to tropical storm Cindy so I was even able to catch up on some blog tasks and reviews.

Posted Last Week


Book Review | In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

Read Last Week



I've been starting more books lately than I have been finishing. I did, however, finish both Skitter and No Mercy this past week. In a move very unlike me, I have already written reviews for them so expect to see those soon.

Review Copies




No Mercy
by Alessandro Manzetti - I dove straight into this one and finished it already. It's a horror poetry collection. How could I say no to that? Impossible!

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill - I have no words for how much I want to read Cargill's latest book. He told me at Comicpalooza that this one is pure scifi. All that's left are the robots and now it's time for them to start killing each other. SIGN. ME. UP.


Everything That's Underneath: A Collection of Weird and Horror Tales by Kristi DeMeester - Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester’s debut powerful horror collection, is full of weird, unsettling tales that recalls the styles of such accomplished storytellers as Laird Barron and Tom Piccirilli.

Ugly Little Things by Todd Keisling - I became a big fan of Todd Keisling after reading The Final Reconciliation. I'm looking forward to reading this collection of stories.

Entertaining Demons by Daniel I. Russell - A teenage girl is staring in a reality TV show about a paranormal investigation. I'm a complete sucker for hauntings so I will be giving this one a try.

Current Distractions



I have started watching Under the Dome on my lunch hour. Even though it is Stephen King, I haven't actually read the book. I will eventually.



I know my TV choices are weird right now! Hubs and I never really got into Game of Thrones back in the day so we've decided to start over from the beginning. We both know not to get attached to any of the characters.


Our summer of board games has continued with the last couple of weeks being mostly about Roll for It and Uno. My favorite thing about Roll for It is you can combine both editions and play up to 8 players. This works really well for our family of 5.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or playing) 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, June 21, 2017

Book Review | In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

In the Valley of the Sun is Andy Davidson's debut horror novel.


For readers of Joe Hill, Cormac McCarthy, and classic Anne Rice, a chilling tale of suspense and horror set deep in the Texas desert.

Travis Stillwell spends his nights searching out women in West Texas honky-tonks. What he does with them doesn’t make him proud, just quiets the demons for a little while. But his nights soon take a terrifying turn in a desert cantina, where Travis crosses paths with a mysterious pale-skinned girl in red boots. Come the morning, he wakes weak and bloodied in his cabover camper, no sign of a girl, no memory of the night before.

Annabelle Gaskin spies the camper parked behind her rundown motel and offers the disheveled cowboy inside a few odd jobs to pay his board. Travis takes her up on the offer, if only to buy time, to lay low, to heal. By day, he mends the old motel, insinuating himself into the lives of Annabelle and her ten-year-old son. By night, in the cave of his camper, he fights an unspeakable hunger. Before long, Annabelle and her boy come to realize that this strange cowboy they’ve taken in is not what he seems.

Half a state away, a grizzled Texas ranger is hunting Travis down for his past misdeeds, but what he finds will lead him to a revelation far more monstrous than he could ever imagine. A man of the law, he’ll have to decide how far into the darkness he’ll go for the sake of justice.

When these lives converge on a dusty autumn night, an old evil will find new life—and new blood.

Deftly written and utterly compelling, this is an atmospheric literary fiction debut perfect for fans of horror, psychological suspense, and Western fiction.

In the Valley of the Sun reminds me of my experience with The Girl with All the Gifts. I went into it not knowing what kind of horror book it was, and my experience was much better for it. In the Valley of the Sun never actually names the horror so I'm not going to either. My hope is that you will give it a chance without finding out too much about it. It's a really great book, but it's a great experience, too. One of my favorite things about In the Valley of the Sun was the slow unveiling of what was really going on.

In the Valley of the Sun is scary, too. I was so nervous for everyone, even the villains. Only the best of horror novels can make you love the villains, and In the Valley of the Sun is one of those books.

As much as I love the horrors in In the Valley of the Sun, every bit of the credit goes to Andy Davidson's writing. This book is so well written and so well crafted. He has given us a really beautiful addition to an old horror myth, and I could not be more excited about it.

This has been an amazing year for horror releases, and you will definitely see In the Valley of the Sun on my best of list for the year (maybe even in the top spot).

9/10: Highly Recommended

Review copy provided by publisher

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | June 11

Thank you guys so much for the board game recommendations last week! I've been spending my weekend making my way through them and researching new games. I will be sure to let you know what games are working for us.

Posted Last Week


Book Review | The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
June 2017 New Horror Releases | Horror Spotlight

Read Last Week



The only book I successfully read last week was In the Valley of the Sun. It's the kind of book that induces a major book hangover so I'm floundering around in a few other books for now.

Current Distractions


Thanks to my total book hangover, I spent my Friday night catching all the way up on Orphan Black. I am definitely not going to wait before watching season 5. I normally wait until the whole season is out, but not this time. Since this is the last season, I will be keeping up until the end!


Board Games! Many of you mentioned loving Monopoly. My 8 year old had a sick day this past week, and that's exactly what he wanted to play. This one is Pokemon Monopoly.

A few weeks ago when I was at Comicpalooza, I picked up a game called Squaremino. We have been playing that one a lot the last few weeks. It's a lot like Qwirkle which we also own but never really understood how to play. We've got it down now so we've been playing both games this week. They are both really fun.


So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or playing) 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, June 9, 2017

June 2017 New Horror Releases | Horror Spotlight


It's time to spotlight the new horror releasing in June. I'm very excited about In the Valley of the Sun and Mapping the Interior. (I just finished reading In the Valley of the Sun, and I highly recommend it.)

I believe The Halloween Children (as well as Come To Dust) was originally a limited release so I'm happy to see to it become available. It looks like a perfect read to me.

The new Hunter Shea (Just Add Water) is based on those little sea monkey ads we used to see on the back of comics in the 80s. It sounds like a very fun read.


Year's Best Hardcore Horror Volume 2 edited by Randy Chandler In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

Year's Best Hardcore Horror Volume 2 edited by Randy Chandler
Published June 1st 2017 by Comet Press

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
Published June 6th 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss Just Add Water by Hunter Shea Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Hydra

Just Add Water by Hunter Shea
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Lyrical Underground

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Tor.com

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall
Expected publication: June 15th 2017 by Bloomsbury Circus

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Expected publication: June 20th 2017 by Tor.com

Come To Dust by Bracken MacLeod Nuke Jersey by Neil Cohen The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti

Come To Dust by Bracken MacLeod
Expected publication: June 23rd 2017 by JournalStone

Nuke Jersey by Neil Cohen
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Permuted Press

The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Titan Books

As always, let me know if there are any June horror books I have left off of the list. I have fallen behind on my horror spotlight posts over the last few months. I'm curious if anyone would like me to do a catch up post on the months that I missed.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review | The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

The Cutaway is a mystery novel from Christina Kovac.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

...in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl...

Can we please stop comparing books to Gone Girl? My expectations were so wrong for this book. I went into it expecting a psychological thriller I wouldn't be able to put down.

That was not the case.

A TV news reporter is investigating a missing woman in The Cutaway, but we aren't really given any details about the missing woman for the first 20% or so of the book. Instead we are given TV news and family drama.

I tried to adjust my expectations when it became painfully clear this book wasn't even a psychological thriller, but I was already wanting to move on. By that point I was reading from a place of obligation, not a place of excitement or want for the story.

My theme while reading The Cutaway was who cares? I wasn't invested in anyone. I knew there was a missing woman, but so? I had no reason to care about her.

I don't know if The Cutaway was a bad book or if I was simply set up to be a bad reader, but I do know it didn't work for me. If you decide to give this one a try, note that it is very much a standard mystery novel (with a lot of time spent interviewing witnesses) and not a psychological thriller.

4/10: Not for me

Review copy provided by publisher

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | June 3

Posted Last Week


I'm finally starting to get my reviewing mojo back so hopefully I will start posting more frequent reviews.

Book Review | The Return by Joseph Helmreic
Upcoming June 2017 Book Releases in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction

Currently Reading


Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I finished reading Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. I really enjoyed it. It's a quick read. If you love Stephen King, you should pick it up.

(I'm putting the pause on Night Film for a couple of books. I'm really loving it, but I'm burning out on it and I don't want to get stuck in a rut.)

I read The Cutaway this week. I will review it very soon. (I didn't like it much.)

Review Copies


Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson

Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson - Old-school horror creeps back to life in this stunning new collection from Paul F. Olson. Featuring tales of uneasy spirits, buried secrets, dark beings, and untold mysteries, originally published in the ‘80s and ‘90s and out-of-print for decades.

Current Distractions


Pictionary Board Game

Summertime board games have begun. My kids are obsessed with Pictionary right now so we've been staying up late drawing clues and having a good time.

I would love to hear your favorite board games if you have any that you like to play.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading (or playing) 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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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Upcoming June 2017 Book Releases in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction

Summer reading is here! I'm determined to make it through the summer this year! I checked my archives, and in the last 5 years there has only been one post made in the month of June. I am just not a summer reader... but maybe this list of books can help change that! These are the books releasing in June that I'm most excited about:

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1) by Mary Weber Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
Expected publication: June 6th 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1) by Mary Weber
Expected publication: June 6th 2017 by Thomas Nelson

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Greenwillow Books

Shattered Minds (False Hearts #2) by Laura Lam

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Expected publication: June 20th 2017 by Tor.com

Shattered Minds (False Hearts #2) by Laura Lam
Expected publication: June 20th 2017 by Tor

Twelve Days by Steven Barnes

Twelve Days by Steven Barnes
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Tor Books

Shark Island by Chris Jameson
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks

The Child by Fiona Barton
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Berkley Books

What about you? What June books are you most excited about? Are there any books on your list that I need to know about?

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review | The Return by Joseph Helmreich

The Return is a science fiction thriller from Joseph Helmreich.


Years after a scientist is abducted on live TV, a graduate student tracks down the mysteriously returned, yet reclusive man, ultimately uncovering a global conspiracy.

During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappears from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he's been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.

Equal parts science-fiction and globe-hopping thriller, The Return will appeal to fans of both, and to anyone who has ever wondered... what's out there?

If you are a fan of Blake Crouch's Dark Matter, you might want to put Joseph Helmreich's The Return on your radar. Like Dark Matter, The Return is filled with hard, heavy science, but it's completely accessible. You don't have to understand it in order to enjoy the events that are taking place. I appreciate novels that don't fit neatly into a genre box. The Return spans across science fiction, mystery, and thriller so if you are a lot like me and love reading all three genres, this is a book to be excited about.

It's not just the genre-crossing that makes The Return an unexpected read, though. The story itself is unpredictable in a great way.

I'm excited to learn The Return is Helmreich's debut novel. I will be keeping an eye out for what comes next.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by author

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | May 27

Schooooool's out for summer!

My kids are officially out for summer. No more homework, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks! It's possible I'm more excited than my kids.

Posted Last Week


Book Review | The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

Currently Reading


Night Film by Marisha Pessl Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

I'm currently reading Night Film by Marisha Pessl and Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar.

You will see Night Film in my updates again. I don't think it's a slow read, but it's going to take me forever. I'm hanging on to every detail, every picture, every article in the book.

I had planned to finish Gwendy's Button Box last night, but after a long day at the beach my bed felt too amazing.

Review Copies



In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson - For readers of Joe Hill, Cormac McCarthy, and classic Anne Rice, a chilling tale of suspense and horror set deep in the Texas desert. OK, seriously. It sounds amazing, and it's getting fantastic reviews. This will totally be my next read.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero - The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this! I've mentioned Meddling Kids before, but I just got a galley for it in the mail so I'm mentioning it again. I'm super excited about this one.

Current Distractions



I finished Orphan Black season 3. This season was kind of all over the place with the exception of Alison and Donny. How hilarious are they? The actress that plays *everyone* continues to blow my mind. Sarah, Alison, and Cosima in particular are all such solid, individual characters. Season 3 ends with the worm thing so I have no idea what is in store for season 4. Probably some pretty weird stuff.

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, May 24, 2017

Book Review | The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge is the prequel to M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts.

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.
I'm glad to see The Boy on the Bridge is getting rave reviews. I'm not sure why it didn't work as well for me. There were some good moments, but as a whole I had a hard time sustaining excitement for it.

I'm a huge fan of The Girl with All the Gifts. If you haven't read that one yet, I highly recommend it.

I'm not sure the beginning of this book would pull in folks who haven't already read Girl. I felt like the only thing sustaining me in the beginning was my previous knowledge of the world and the virus. My biggest problem while reading Boy was how much my mind was consistently able to wander and ponder such things. It felt like the good moments were reeling me back in. For whatever reason, I wasn't able to connect to the story until I was about 80% in.

I did enjoy the ending of The Boy on the Bridge. I'm glad I read it, and I will happily read more books set in this world. Unfortunately, I was bored throughout a lot of the book which is why my rating is very middle of the road.

If you loved The Girl with All the Gifts, The Boy on the Bridge would certainly be worth checking out from your library. Based on the other reviews I've seen, it's likely you'll enjoy it more than I'm leading you to believe.

5/10: Decent Read

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | May 21

I missed posting an update last weekend because my mom and I were in Houston all weekend at Comicpalooza. We originally had other plans in Houston, but C. Robert Cargill tweeted this:

Are you going to be in or around Houston this weekend? Because I will be! Come join me. Books! Posters! Movie chat!

which lead me to discover Comicpalooza was happening.

So I naturally we went. And yes, I did get to meet C. Robert Cargill!


He was so nice. (If you haven't read Dreams and Shadows, you really need to do something about that.)

I also met Bev Vincent. I regret not getting a picture with him, but he's actually the one taking the above photo of me, mom, and Cargill. He was super nice, too.

Mom and I were in and out of the convention because we still had the previous plans, but I managed to make it to quite a few panels. It was a great experience. Mom and I plan to go back every year.

Currently Reading



I'm pretty sure the only book I managed to read since I last posted is The Boy on the Bridge.

Current Distractions



Oh my gosh, The Babadook. I could talk about this movie forever. As a mom, this movie struck about 900 chords with me. It's going to be in my mind for a long time. Have you seen it?

Despite my husband being a huge comics/superhero movie fan, I don't watch many of the superhero movies. He's in heaven with what is happening at Marvel right now, but it's hit and miss for me. C. Robert Cargill (see above) co-wrote the screenplay for Dr. Strange and after listening to his panel at Comicpalooza, it was time to give it a watch. Dr. Strange was definitely more my cup of tea. There is a line in the movie talking about how the Avengers protect the world from physical dangers and the sorcerers (like Dr. Strange) protect it against more mystical threats. YES! That is more my side of things. I hope there will be more movies along those lines.

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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