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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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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