Sunday, July 30, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | July 30

I had a fantastic reading week this past week. I was able to mood read all week, and I enjoyed everything I picked up.

Posted Last Week

Book Review | Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Read Last Week

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine: Goodreads | My review

I finally picked up the first volume of Saga. I think the graphic novels Barb has been reading lately is what put me in the mood. Now I want to read them all, but my library only had the first one. This is going to test my patience.

I also read Witching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz. It was just the quick, fun read I needed.

Current Distractions

  • I finished season 3 of Game of Thrones which means I've officially experienced the Red Wedding. OH. MY. GOD!
  • I finally saw M. Night Shyamalan's Split. I really, really wish I hadn't put that off. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be, and the ending threw me for such a loop! My husband tells me there are going to be more movies set in that world, too. I've missed that side of M. Night.
  • I'm super excited about the upcoming IT movie. (I'm still rereading it. Slowly...) Did you see the trailer this week? It looks absolutely terrifying! I really hope it's a HUGE smash at the box office so we can get some more (including non-Stephen King) horror adaptations.
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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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review | Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake is a mystery/thriller from Rachel Caine.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

I've mentioned my fascination before of women who are unknowingly married to monstrous men. Much to my delight, Stillhouse Lake was about a woman who was married to a serial killer. It wasn't until a stranger accidentally crashed into her (off limits) garage that she found out the truth about her husband and their life together.

What I loved most about this book, though, had little to do with the plot.

I had such an emotional connection to the characters from the very beginning of Stillhouse Lake. Part of this was being able to identify with the main character as a mother, but there was also a lot of subtext going on about what it's like to be a woman in general. I wish I had some badass analytical skills to break it down for you, but that's not really how I roll.

I will say I didn't want to put this book down - even when the suspense was lacking. Rachel Caine is a phenomenal writer.

I was lucky enough to attend a Rachel Caine book signing/reading, and I chose Stillhouse Lake to be my first book by her because an adult thriller is a pretty safe bet with me. Now that I know how compelling her writing can be, genre won't matter. I will definitely seek out more books by her.

Stillhouse Lake is the first book in a series so I was a bit shocked by the ending. I wanted total resolution after going through hell with these characters. You can be certain I'll be reading book two.

If you are a fan of Rachel Caine, I would love to hear which one of her books I should pick up next.

7/10: Recommended Read

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | July 22

I've decided I'm no longer going to accept review copies or any requests for guest posts or giveaways. This may be a permanent change. I try hard to accept very few review books, and I think the time has come to say no to all of them. The frustrations that come along with blogging have been seeping into my reviews and my enjoyment of posting.

All I want to do here is recommend great books, get great recommendations, and get to know other readers. I'm looking forward to focusing all of my blogging time on that. 💗

Posted Last Week

Quick Reviews | Every Dead Thing and Gwendy's Button Box

Read Last Week

After hearing of George Romero's passing, I decided to spend a couple of days reading my copy of Dawn of the Dead. It had been a while since I'd experienced slow zombies. It was actually jarring to me which was a huge surprise because I have always had a love and a preference for the Romero zombies. I need to spend more time revisiting Romero's world.

I also read Entertaining Demons. I may do a quick review for that one soon. It turned out to be more about the demons and less about the paranormal activity.

Review Copies

This NetGalley request happened before my decision to go on a review copy hiatus. I told a couple of you last weekend I was trying to hold off on getting a copy of Artemis. Yeah, that lasted until Monday morning. 😂

Artemis by Andy Weir - I actually have no idea what this book is about! I'm not going to look either. All I can say about this book to you is that it is written by Andy Weir. That's pretty much all that's necessary if you ask me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Current Distractions

  • The Exorcist is officially the scariest thing I have ever seen on TV. I'm only a handful of episodes into season 1, and it's terrifying.
  • I have now finished season 2 of Game of Thrones so I'm still making my way through. Everyone I have ever known and loved is dead and burned. OK, not really, but folks are not lying about the death in this show.
  • All of this TV watching does nothing for my reading progress, but it is great for crafting. I made a ton of progress on the blanket I'm crocheting for my mom. If I keep up this pace, I may have it done by her birthday in August even though I was planning it for Christmas.
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, July 18, 2017

Quick Reviews | Every Dead Thing and Gwendy's Button Box

Every Dead Thing is the first book in the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly.

Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker #1) by John Connolly

When former New York City detective Charlie Parker is pulled into the search for a missing woman, he finds insight into the murderer responsible for the slayings of his own wife and daughter -- a monster/artist/serial killer who uses the human body as his canvas and takes faces as his prize.

Aided by a beautiful young psychologist and two career killers, Parker becomes the bait in a trap set in the Louisiana bayous and faces a brutal confrontation with the killer known only as the Traveling Man.
Charlie Parker. Every time I come across the Charlie Parker series, I see nothing but high praise for it.

My first introduction to John Connolly was last year when I read his young adult novel The Gates. I was struck by his sense of humor, and I knew I needed to read more of his books.

Every Dead Thing was a great introduction to the series. I didn't find the dark humor I expected after reading The Gates, but I did find a solid thriller. The introduction of the Charlie Parker character took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting such a rough and heavy introduction. I'm taking it as a good sign that this will not be your average series.

I'm looking forward to continuing on with the next book. There are fifteen Charlie Parker books at this point so I may have a long treat in store.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by publisher

Gwendy's Button Box is a horror novella from Stephen King and Richard Chizmar.

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat...

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!

I think I've changed as a reader. They say no two people read the same book. I truly believe that. Back before I had kids, I loved books with kids in peril. I remember the night I started reading Mary Higgins Clark's Where Are The Children? I stayed up all night reading it in one sitting. After devouring Greg Iles' 24 Hours, I passed it around to family members. I remember how mad I was at Stephen King after reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I couldn't wait to read the story of a little girl lost in the woods. It was going to be scary, and King was going to show her no mercy. But it wasn't, and he did, and I became one of the folks who simply wasn't a fan of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Gwendy's Button Box reminds me a lot of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Old me probably would have hated Gwendy's Button Box, but current me really enjoyed it. I'm not somehow a better reader, but I'm probably a changed reader. I won't even go near a book with kids in peril now that I have kids of my own.

I'm really curious what other readers thought the buttons would do? I did not expect the buttons to do what the buttons turned out to do. This has me thinking - do the buttons do the same thing for each person who becomes the proprietor of the box? The man with the hat said something along the lines of "you already know what they do". If Gwendy believed the buttons made it rain, would it have rained when she pushed the button?

I've read way too many magic treehouse books so you can probably guess what my buttons would do. My buttons would be far less sinister than Gwendy's buttons, but my responsibility as a button proprietor would also pale in comparison to what Gwendy had to face.

So Gwendy's Button Box has left me pondering quite a bit which is a great thing. Stephen King is an amazing writer. This book is worth reading just for the touch King puts on everything he writes. This is possibly my first Richard Chizmar story.

I don't know what else to compare a King story to other than another King story. (Who else compares?) There was an 11/22/63 feel to Gwendy's Button Box, but it's obviously a much, much smaller tale in scope. I feel like Captain Obvious when I recommend a Stephen King book, but fans shouldn't miss out on this one.

8/10: Great Read

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | July 15

Last night I got to meet Rachel Caine at a book reading/signing. She was fascinating! I am in awe of how fast she can write. I could have listened to her stories forever.

Posted Last Week

This past week I posted my review of Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero.

Read Last Week

An Angel Fallen by Andy Graham Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

An Anger Fallen was a quick read which was just what I needed. I'm almost done reading Every Dead Thing (the first book in the Charlie Parker series).

I'm still reading (and enjoying!) Stephen King's IT. It's a nostalgic read so far. There are things I remember well, and things I don't remember at all. It has a tough beginning! Right now we are taking a look at the adult lives of the characters in IT, and it's not pretty.

Review Copies

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V. Brockmeyer

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti - The Blackbird Season is getting a lot of early praise. The blurb has a definite psychological thriller feel, but it makes no promises and there's no mention of "Gone Girl" or Paula Hawkins so my expectations are mercifully grounded.

Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V. Brockmeyer - Kind Nepenthe is one of this month's horror releases. Rebecca thought she'd find a hippie paradise when she moved to the desolate back hills of Humboldt County. A place to commune with nature and teach her five-year-old daughter how to live off the land. Instead she discovered a nightmare.

Current Distractions

  • I've decided to DNF The Mist TV show after 3 episodes.
  • I did start watching The Exorcist TV show last night, though! I'm really excited about the atmosphere so far. It's rare for TV.
  • Last night I figured out I can pair my bluetooth headphones to my TV! This is going to open up a whole new world for me while the family is asleep.
  • Wimbledon! My hubs and I decided if both Federer and Nadal won on Monday, we would both take vacation Friday. DAMN YOU, MULLER! But what a match between Nadal and Muller! I'm happy Muller got the win even though I was stuck in the office working yesterday. I feel like I'm getting a time capsule this weekend!! Federer AND Venus?! I love it so much. Do not forget Roddick and Clijsters will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next week. I haven't given a hoot about women's tennis since Clijsters retired, but I'm all about that Venus match today!
  • Crochet: I'm currently making this Remembering Bruges Throw for my mom. I've been looking for a pattern with shells that wasn't all shells for a long time. I was very excited when they posted this pattern last week. It's stitching up fast.
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, July 11, 2017

Book Review | Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids is a horror mystery from Edgar Cantero.

For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. 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!

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

Meddling Kids is about a teenage detective club reuniting as adults to go back and solve a mystery from their youth. In the prologue, one of the guys who was foiled by this teenage detective club (and their dog) is up for parole. The manner in which the parole board describes his apprehension involving "a high-speeding serving cart, two flights of stairs, and a fishing net" as well as his admission to staging a haunting in an old mansion and dressing up as a giant salamander was incredible. The prologue was so much fun, and it promised a Scooby Dooby great time!

The unfortunate thing about having a prologue is the excitement usually drops once the story gets underway, and the reader is left waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. That period of waiting is something I never enjoy, and when a book like Meddling Kids never delivers on that promise, the entire book can be very disappointing.

Even if the story itself had been a great one, the writing style in Meddling Kids was something I wouldn't have been able to overcome. The book kept popping in and out of screenplay format. It wasn't just random dialog being presented that way. There was also stage direction among the narrative.

I also had issue with the dialog itself. I don't mind a fucking f-bomb here or there, but 143 times in a 300 page book? There is no way I could have been invested enough in the story to not have been pulled back out due to the writing style, not to mention all of the made up words like "triviaed" and "tragichuckled".

Meddling Kids is being marketed for fans of Scooby Doo, but it definitely wasn't for me. In the end, the only thing that worked for me was the first 10 pages.

2/10: Hated It

Review copy provided by the publisher

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | July 9

What a great bookish weekend this has turned out to be! Yesterday my husband and I went to one of Andy Davidson's book signings. {See my review of In the Valley of the Sun}

Andy Davidson and me

Andy did a Q&A, and then we were treated to a reading from In the Valley of the Sun. (It made me want to read it all over again.) I also got to meet Andy's wife Crystal (she's absolutely adorable and a great champion of Andy's work), Bob Pastorella who is also a horror author and a co-host of the This is Horror podcast, and Kenneth DeVille, a local author.

Posted Last Week

Who knew July was going to be such a huge month for horror releases? Last week I posted all of the horror books releasing in July. Go check them out!

Read Last Week

The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids

After reading Edith Wharton's Summer, I was still in the mood for a classic so I read The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I also read Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids. Guys, it was worse than Little Heaven for me. I need a quick slump busting read stat!

Current Distractions

  • I finished season one of Game of Thrones. I knew not to get attached to anyone, but wow, that was fast!!
  • I finally watched John Wick: Chapter 2.
  • I watched the first couple of episodes of The Mist. The characters are annoying (classic Stephen King TV, amirite?), but the show is getting scary and I dig that.
  • We've had a couple additions to the summer of board games recently with Tsuro (a tile laying strategy game) and Forbidden Island (our first co-op game). They are both gorgeous games and so far a lot of fun, too!
  • Wimbledon! Wimbledon is my super bowl so these two weeks are always a favorite of my summer. The first week has been a big disappointment as far as sportsmanship goes, but I'm going to shake it off and enjoy every minute of week 2 tennis.

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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Friday, July 7, 2017

July 2017 New Horror Releases | Horror Spotlight

What an amazing month for horror! I love when I get to feature this many horror books in my spotlight post.

I'm in the middle of reading Meddling Kids right now, and I see McCammon has a new tale in Dark Screams: Volume Seven.

I hear The Sound of Broken Ribs is Edward Lorn's best work yet.

Nightmare Magazine, Issue 58 by Nightmare Magazine
Published July 1st 2017 by John Joseph Adams

Deadman's Tome: Monsters Exist edited by Deadman, Theresa Braun
Published July 1st 2017 by Deadman's Tome

I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski
Expected publication: July 7th 2017 by JournalStone

Safe Haven: Realm of the Raiders by Christopher Artinian
Expected publication: July 7th 2017 by Headless RAM Publishing

Short and Creepy: Ten Weird Tales by J.M. Pedri
Expected publication: July 10th 2017 by J.M. Pedri

Abode by Morgan Sylvia
Expected publication: July 10th 2017 by Bloodshot Books

Final Girls by Riley Sager
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Dutton

The Devil's Colony by Bill Schweigart
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Hydra

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine (The Best Horror of the Year #9) edited by Ellen Datlow
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Night Shade Books

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Doubleday Books

Nights of the Living Dead: Anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin

The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files #8) by Charles Stross
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by

Death by Paul Kane
Expected publication: July 15th 2017 by The Sinister Horror Company

Through the Abyssal Gates by Brian J. W. Lee
Expected publication: July 15th 2017 by Brian J. W. Lee

Naming The Bones: Dark Minds Novella 5 by Laura Mauro
Expected published July 15th 2017 by Dark Minds Press

The Journal of Jeremy Todd by John Quick
Expected publication: July 15th 2017 by Sinister Grin Press

Apocalypse Barnes (The Gentrified Dead #1) by Andrew K. Lawston
Expected publication: July 17th 2017

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood
Expected publication: July 17th 2017 by Newcon Press

Night Moves: A Collection of the Bizarre, the Tragic, and the Horrifying by Mary SanGiovanni
Expected publication: July 21st 2017 by Post Mortem Press

Raid by K.S. Merbeth
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Orbit

Dark Screams: Volume Seven edited by Brian James Freeman
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Hydra

Entertaining Demons by Daniel I. Russell
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Apex Publications

The Truants by Lee Markham
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by The Overlook Press

Bone White by Ronald Malfi
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Hounds of the Underworld by Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray
Expected publication: July 26th 2017 by Raw Dog Screaming Press

These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw
Expected publication: July 26th 2017 by Tor Books

Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V Brockmeyer
Expected publication: July 27th 2017 by Black Rose Writing

Those Who Follow by Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason
Expected publication: July 28th 2017 by Bloodshot Books

BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders by Doug Murano
Expected publication: July 28th 2017 by Crystal Lake Publishing

Day of the Serpent (Ouroboros #3) by David Longhorn
Expected publication: July 31st 2017 by

The Sound of Broken Ribs by Edward Lorn
Published July 2017 by Thunderstorm Books

As always, be sure to let me know if there are any horror books releasing in July that didn't make it onto my list!

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