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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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review | Garden of Fiends edited by Mark Matthews

Garden of Fiends is an addiction themed anthology edited by Mark Matthews.

The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin--drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It's the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is an intense yearning not unlike that of any other blood-thirsty monster.

The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.

The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.

A WICKED THIRST, by Kealan Patrick Burke

THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE, by Jessica McHugh

EVERYWHERE YOU'VE BLED AND EVERYWHERE YOU WILL, by Max Booth III

FIRST, JUST BITE A FINGER, by Johann Thorsson

LAST CALL, by John FD Taff

TORMENT OF THE FALLEN, by Glen Krisch

GARDEN OF FIENDS, by Mark Matthews

RETURNS, by Jack Ketchum

Whoa.

Garden of Fiends is a really solid collection. I love the format of having such variable length stories, too. Two of the stories are novella length which is fantastic. The first novella is from Mark Matthews (also titled Garden of Fiends). There are so many layers to this story of a man trying to save his daughter from addiction.

The second novella is from Max Booth III.


Spiders, y'all. You haven't read a spider story like this one!

There are also short stories by Jessican McHugh (a stand alone excerpt from one of her novels), John FD Taff, Glen Krisch, Kealan Patrick Burke, and Jack Ketchum.

These are top-notch authors, and their stories are everything you would expect them to be.

There is also a flash fiction piece from Johann Thorsson which was the perfect offset to some of the longer works in the anthology.

I don't think this is a collection for everyone (nor do I think it tries to be). I do, however, think the audience it is intended for will love it. If you are a fan of any of these authors, I can't imagine that you would be disappointed.

Garden of Fiends takes on the horrors of addiction at full throttle, and I highly recommend it.

9/10: Highly Recommended

Review copy provided by editor/author

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Monday, May 8, 2017

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

For a few years we were lucky enough to get a Robert McCammon release in May. It's amazing how easy it is for a certain month to become synonymous with a favorite author! I'm a spoiled brat that wants a McCammon release every May. We don't get one this May, but we do get a lot of other awesome books to lead us into "summer reading". I'm getting my stockpile ready.

These are the books I am most looking forward to reading stockpiling in May:

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3) by by Robert Jackson Bennett

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by Orbit

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3) by by Robert Jackson Bennett
Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by Broadway Books

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane Dark Cities edited by Christopher Golden

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by Riverhead Books

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Little, Brown Book Group

Dark Cities edited by Christopher Golden
Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Titan Books



River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Expected publication: May 23rd 2017 by Tor.com

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
Expected publication: May 23rd 2017 by Ecco

Monstrous (Savage #2) by Thomas E. Sniegoski House of Furies (House of Furies #1) by Madeleine Roux Night Magic (Nightstruck #2) by Jenna Black

Monstrous (Savage #2) by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Simon Pulse

House of Furies (House of Furies #1) by Madeleine Roux
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by HarperTeen

Night Magic (Nightstruck #2) by Jenna Black
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Tor Teen

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King, Richard Chizmar
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Cemetery Dance Publications

I have been so out of touch lately. Are there any releases that you are surprised didn't make my list? Please let me know! What are you most excited to read in May?

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | May 7

I know it's ironic that my most exciting update for this past week is that I read books, but the struggle has been real!

Read Last Week



I finally managed to read Garden of Fiends. Thank goodness my mojo is back; it was worth the wait!

I also read The Argus Deceit which was really unique. I enjoyed it.

Currently Reading



Red Sister will be my first Mark Lawrence book. All of the tropes are calling out to me in this one.

Current Distractions



I finished season 2 of Hap and Leonard. (So happy to hear there will be a season 3.) I'm once again in the mood for a Hap and Leonard binge read. As much as I'm loving the TV show, they haven't figured out how to capture East Texas yet. You can only get that straight from Joe Lansdale.

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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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 22

If you didn't see my mini-update earlier in the week, we have completed the demolition of our old house. I was going to try to give a much better update today, but that was really the biggest hurdle.

I hate that I had to take a hiatus leading into summer because I have such a hard time reading in summer. I want to be outside doing all the things. I feel like I'm alone in this, though. I always hear phrases like "summer read" or "beach read", and it just sounds like an oxymoron to me. Maybe I should try to set up a reading spot outside.

Posted Last Week


Planting the Seeds of the Garden of Fiends | Guest Post by Mark Matthews - Garden of Fiends is an addiction themed anthology. Mark Matthews wrote a great post sharing his background with addiction and the origin of Garden of Fiends.

Currently Reading



I finished reading The Return by Joseph Helmreich last week. I will post my review for that this week. (I enjoyed it!)

Review Copies



Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep - I know this series is very popular. Have you read any of it? I'm obviously not going to jump in at #16. (This year's theme seems to be "unsolicited sequels".) I'm curious about the series, though. I don't read very much urban fantasy, but I know there are a lot of fun books in the genre.

Current Distractions



We've been watching Orphan Black lately. I'm in season 2 right now, and I'm really liking it. The actress that plays most of the characters is really great at what she does. She looks like a girl I grew up with so it's freaking me out a little, but it's a really fun show.

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, April 18, 2017

Planting the Seeds of the Garden of Fiends | Guest Post

Hi, guys! To those of you I promised an update, we were able to demolish our old house last week. Things are starting to settle down, and I will be back this Saturday with a much better update.

As for today, I'm very excited to welcome Mark Matthews to Book Den! Mark is the editor and a contributing author of the addiction themed anthology Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror.


Planting the Seeds of the Garden of Fiends

By Mark Matthews, editor and contributing author

From an early age, books shaped who I was. Writers were heroes to emulate. I wanted to be Thoreau, I wanted to be Mark Twain. I wanted to be Jack Kerouac.

There was something inside me that only stories could reach, a music only literature could play.

A similar reaction occurred when I had my first drink. The warm confidence, the blissful contentment. A union with God. All my curses lifted, all my deficits erased. It was love at first sip. Other drugs soon followed. I said “no” to nothing, “yes” to everything.

Pretty soon, I needed it to function. I started drinking alone. Getting shakes. Sweats. I went on drug binges and mixed drinking with cocaine, acid, or crystal meth every chance I could. I needed substances to feel normal, otherwise, I had perpetual flu-like symptoms and was intensely angry and bitter at the world. I didn’t care if I died and was quite certain that, due to drugging and drinking, I would die before I was 30 years old.

I nearly proved myself right. By 23 years old, I had alcoholic hepatitis of the liver, a swollen pancreas, my stomach was bleeding and I was shitting blood (sorry, I know that’s gross to read). More than once I went to detox to sober up after the pain got too much, but then I would drink soon as they released me. When money got tight and I needed $1.89 for a half pint of vodka, I visited car washes since that was the best place to gather 10 cent cans. Crazy thing was, the more disgusting I became, the more I needed to delude myself about who I really was. In my twisted mind, I was some misunderstood genius who society hadn’t found a place for, and therefore drinking was my only crutch to live with lesser mortals. Truth was, I was a pathetic lump of flesh.

A turning point came when, rather than just detox, I finally succumbed and went to residential treatment for 3 weeks. I didn’t want to go, but I had no other options. My body could not take any more liquor in it. My spirit was drenched with despair. I remember sitting in the treatment center, unable to stop the tears, and looking out the window with plans to leave, but I had no place to go. Instead, I stayed put, endured the pain of living, and found some humility and some courage. Each day sober felt like a miracle. I learned so much about why I was doing what I was doing, how to stop it, and most importantly, decided my life was worth saving.

No way in hell did I ever think I would go back to college to help other addicts, but that’s what I did. I got a masters in counseling, became a certified addictions counselor, and worked in many different treatment centers. My curse had changed to my calling.

And I returned to my desire to write.

Once I got sober, I started writing again. Writing out the darkness I had experienced was incredibly therapeutic, for if you want to tell the truth, best to do so by making up a story. I wrote one novel, Stray, which was based on a treatment center where I worked that shared a parking lot with an animal shelter. Next I wrote MILK-BLOOD, which tackled poverty, urban despair, and heroin addiction with a supernatural slant. Many readers were shocked by the darkness in the book, but the crazy thing is, it was all true (even if it didn’t happen) and much of the darkness in the book was actually understated. After writing the sequel, All Smoke Rises, I decided to reach out to other authors of dark fiction to see how they would tackle the subject of addiction.

The blog post for ‘addiction horror’ received 10,000 hits. I received hundreds of submissions and had to boil these down to eight pieces, largely of long fiction and novellas. I can’t promise you’ll like this collection, but I can promise it is different. In scope, in length of stories, in content. I’m incredibly proud of what’s inside, since addiction and horror seem a perfect fit. In order to tackle the modern day epidemic of addiction, it takes works of horror to fully explore the devastation.

Addicts, in a certain sense, are not that different than vampires: they live within society but hide their true nature while they feed off the living, siphoning their money, their sanity, always safest in the shadows. They feel cursed with their affliction but unable to stop the compulsion to suck the blood out of others.

And the family of an addict suffers as if something monstrous has taken over their loved one. I can’t help but think of the movie The Exorcist, perhaps the most terrifying horror movie ever made, as an analogy of a family dealing with addiction.

In The Exorcist, a desperate mother seeks out every kind of professional help after her daughter starts acting strangely. Nobody has answers. Things get worse, the young girl’s behavior gets more bizarre. Her very skin seems to be changing. The last resort is to seek help from something spiritual. A war begins to save a life. This true horror story happens every day, probably on your street. Parents losing their child to an addiction that has possessed their spirit. Thankfully, there are parents who are having their child saved through recovery. I know it works. I’ve seen the horror and the damage done, and I’ve seen many come out the other side and survive. Not without their share of scars.

This is the story of some of them. Check out Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror



The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin--drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It's the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is an intense yearning not unlike that of any other blood-thirsty monster.

The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.

The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.

  • A WICKED THIRST, by Kealan Patrick Burke
  • THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE, by Jessica McHugh
  • EVERYWHERE YOU'VE BLED AND EVERYWHERE YOU WILL, by Max Booth III
  • FIRST, JUST BITE A FINGER, by Johann Thorsson
  • LAST CALL, by John FD Taff
  • TORMENT OF THE FALLEN, by Glen Krisch
  • GARDEN OF FIENDS, by Mark Matthews
  • RETURNS, by Jack Ketchum



Mark Matthews has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He is the author of five novels, including On the Lips of Children, MILK-BLOOD, and All Smoke Rises. All of his novels are based on true settings, many of them inspired by his work as a counselor in the field of mental health and treatment of addiction. He's the editor of the anthology GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR. He lives near Detroit with his wife and two daughters. Reach him at xmarkm@gmail.com

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | March 18

I'm going to try to keep this crazy update as brief as I can. My husband and I have been trying to get our old house ready to sell. We still had a lot of our stuff in it, and the attached garage had gotten to the point where it really just needed to be removed from the house.

We decided my husband would take off spring break (this past week) with the kids and schedule all of the work to be done that week. That gave me a deadline to go through everything we owned to either donate, bag up to put in the demolition dumpster, or crate up/set aside to keep. All of my extra time and energy after work has gone to meeting that deadline.

Fast forward to this past week, the demolition of the garage went extremely well. My husband spent the rest of the week having the electricity and water lines capped off that were running to the garage and getting things cleaned up. By yesterday he had found a realtor that we really liked and was able to do a walk through with her yesterday afternoon. All we had left to do was get our stuff out and put it on the market.

We were just settling in last night when the fire department called to tell us our old house was on fire.

Life is so weird. It was an electrical fire in the back wall of the house. The fire department says it wasn't related to the demolition. They found some wires in the wall that were bare and touching. The scary thing is they must have always been that way. I'm assuming they had to have moved because of the demolition or the breakers being turned off and on had something to do with it. Or life is just so, so weird.

More than anything I'm thankful no one was hurt.

My plan was to return to blogging after this week, but I don't know, guys. I might not get my mind back for a while. I'm going to see how this week goes, and I'll post another update next weekend.

I haven't done much reading in the past couple of weeks. Thankfully Bonnie invited me to read The Fellowship of the Ring with her. It was the perfect book choice for me since I've read it a few times already.

Currently Reading



Review Copies




The Return by Joseph Helmreich - Joseph Helmreich sent me an ARC of The Return. This is on my list of must reads for this year. It's half alien abduction scifi, half man on the run globe hopping thriller. I'm really hoping I can manage to read it this week.

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror edited by Mark Matthews - Garden of Fiends is another priority read for me. Look at this list of authors: Kealan Patrick Burke, John FD Taff, Jessica McHugh, Jack Ketchum, Max Booth III, Glen R. Krisch, Johann Thorsson, and Mark Matthews.

The Hidden School by Dan Millman - The Hidden School showed up on my porch the other day. It's the third book in a trilogy that I've never heard of. Have you read the first book Way of the Peaceful Warrior? It's supposed to be a life changing bestseller. It's fiction but also autobiographical and a self-help book... I'm all kinds of confused. It has great reviews, though, so let me know if you have any experience with this series.

So that's where I'm at and where I've been. Regardless of how my blogging goes, I do plan to catch up with everything that has been going on with you guys. I apologize for not being around and for the comment bombs that are likely about to take place. Let me know what you're reading 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, February 23, 2017

February 2017 New Horror Releases | Horror Spotlight


Better late than never, here are the February 2017 new horror book releases! It's exciting to see so many horror releases in February. I've already vouched for a couple of these (The Final Reconciliation, The Devil Crept In). I'm looking forward to checking out a few more, especially the new J.H. Moncrieff psychological sea monster book and Universal Harvester. Each book cover is linked to the appropriate page on Goodreads.

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling Year Of The Dead: Book 2 by Ray Wallace

Wind Through the Fence: And Other Stories by Jonathan Maberry DeadLights Horror Fiction Magazine: Volume #1 Issue #1 by David Wilson, Brian Knight

Dying Valentine (Dark Celebrations #7) by Calvin Demmer The Cult of Ocasta by Mark Allan Gunnells SAFE HAVEN: RISE OF THE RAMS by Christopher Artinian

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem

Dead of Winter: An Anthology by Pamela Jeffs Monsters in Our Wake by J.H. Moncrieff The Front: Red Devils by David Moody, Craig DiLouie, Timothy W. Long

Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong Book 2) by Cassandra Khaw Flanagan by James H. Longmore The Fallen by Tarn Richardson

All The Places I've Ever Lived by David Gaffney Hieroglyphs of Blood and Bone by Michael Griffin Stone Cold Bastards by Jake Bible

Sycorax's Daughters by Kinitra Brooks (Editor), Linda D. Addison (Editor), Susana Morris, PhD (Editor) Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal by Mike Mignola, Tom Sniegoski Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Infernal Parade by Clive Barker Sacred Heart Orphanage (The Haunted #5) by Patrick Logan Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil's Wing (Outcast #4) by Robert Kirkman

Were you able to read any of these this month? Did any of these make it on to your wishlist? If you know of any horror books that didn't make it on to the list, let me know!

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