Sunday, April 29, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 29

Finally some beautiful weather! One of the reasons I've been complaining about the weather so much is I've been having to haul my vegetable plants upstairs and out in the garage and back out in the sun waiting to plant them. I finally got most of them planted yesterday, and I found these turtle eggs out in the garden (ironically underneath my son's plastic turtle).


It looks like some of the eggs have already hatched so I'm on turtle watch! We don't have a pond in our yard so I'm trying not to worry about these little guys making it where they need to go.

Posted Last Week


Last week I posted my review of Catherynne M. Valente's Space Opera.

I also posted the books that made it onto my wishlist last week.

Read Last Week



I had to DNF The Nightmare Room @ 46% because there were too many layers of child horror for me, but it was a great haunted house story with a lot of imaginative scenes. I would still recommend it to folks who don't purposely avoid child related horrors. There's going to be a sequel, and I'm hoping there's a chance I can jump back in on that one.

I was planning to read 1984 this year as part of my 2018 TBR jar, but Lilyn at SciFi and Scary suggested I read Fahrenheit 451 instead. I wound up reading it as a buddy read with Lilyn. I loved it. I'm planning to fall down a giant Ray Bradbury hole.

Recent Acquisitions



I got to meet Joe Lansdale last weekend at the Boomtown Film Festival. I say that casually, but it was a huge highlight for me! He signed a limited edition of The Magic Wagon for me.



The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay - Many, many thanks to William Morrow for the review copy of The Cabin at the End of the World. I could not be more excited to read this one!

Entropy in Bloom by Jeremy Robert Johnson - I grabbed this short story collection on the cheap from Amazon. I've heard amazing things about these stories so I'm looking forward to spending some time with them.

The October Country by Ray Bradbury - I checked out a couple of Ray Bradbury's collections from the library including The October Country.

So what about you? 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? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On My Wishlist {14}

On My Wishlist is where I share books that have recently made it on to my radar. These are the books I added to my wishlist in the past week:

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz


When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.

I've read a few of Jonathan Janz's books (Children of the Dark, Wolf Land, and Witching Hour Theatre), and I enjoyed them all. I'm looking forward to reading more of his books including this new release set for September.



The Oracle Year by Charles Soule


Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

This book would not have caught my eye if it hadn't been for great reviews like the one Tammy posted over at Books, Bones, and Buffy.



Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review | Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Space Opera is a science fiction novel by Catherynne M. Valente.


IN SPACE EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU SING

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented-something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix - part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny - they must sing.

A one-hit-wonder band of human musicians, dancers and roadies from London - Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes - have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

The only Valente books I had read prior to reading Space Opera were the Fairyland books, but Space Opera was every bit as imaginative as her Fairyland series. I'm anxious to hunt down a lot more of Valente's adult novels.

Despite being a huge fan of Valente's writing, I would have loved more variety in her writing style throughout Space Opera. It was easy for me to put it down at times.

Overall, though, Space Opera was a really fun read. I loved the story, and I enjoyed the cast of characters. As wacky (and awesome) as the book blurbed sounded, Valente was able to pull it off.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On My Wishlist {13}

On My Wishlist is where I share books that have recently made it on to my radar. Some recommendations and reviews made me wishing for the following books this past week:

Fen: Stories by Daisy Johnson


Daisy Johnson’s Fen, set in the fenlands of England, transmutes the flat, uncanny landscape into a rich, brooding atmosphere. From that territory grow stories that blend folklore and restless invention to turn out something entirely new. Amid the marshy paths of the fens, a teenager might starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl and grow jealous of her friend. A boy might return from the dead in the guise of a fox. Out beyond the confines of realism, the familiar instincts of sex and hunger blend with the shifting, unpredictable wild as the line between human and animal is effaced by myth and metamorphosis. With a fresh and utterly contemporary voice, Johnson lays bare these stories of women testing the limits of their power to create a startling work of fiction.

Fen made it on to my wishlist thanks to a tweet by Andy Davidson.




Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland


Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

I've been hearing great things about Dread Nation, but Mogsy's review sealed the deal for me.



Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten April 2018 New Horror Book Releases


I've been struggling to come up with a solution to keep my horror spotlight posts going this year. This week's Top Ten Tuesday freebie may have given me the answer I needed. Going forward, I plan to replace a TTT topic each month with my top ten nine new horror book releases for that month. I hope narrowing down my horror spotlight to nine books doesn't disappoint anyone. It's fantastic that the horror genre is rapidly growing, but it has made it harder and harder to publish a thorough post of new releases!

These are my top nine new horror book release picks for April:



The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp
Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem
They Feed by Jason Parent



Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
The Dark Angel: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume Three by Seabury Quinn
Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J. F. Gonzalez edited by Brian Keene



Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
The End by M. Rose Flores

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 15

I hope everyone had a great week. It was a roller coaster week of highs and lows for me. I'm grateful for the highs, but I'm ready to have a break from the lows. I'm also ready for winter to be over! This crappy weather is not helping matters at all.

I managed to get some blog posts out last week! I don't usually blog ahead, but it helped to get them all written and scheduled on the weekend. I think that's going to be my method from now on since I am clearly not capable of blogging after work. I'd much rather plop down and read your posts instead.

Posted Last Week



Read Last Week



Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente - I'm hoping to have a review out this week for Space Opera.

Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative by Danielle Krysa - I went to bed thinking about my internal editor, and I woke up (with a bout of insomnia) to an audible daily deal of Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk. This book was supposed to be aimed at all creative types, but it was mainly written for artists. Unfortunately, I didn't find there to be a lot of insight in Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk.

Recent Acquisitions



They Feed by Jason Parent - The night uncovers all we wish not to see. Thank you to Jason Parent for the copy of They Feed.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris - Bring Me Back will be my first B.A. Paris book. Her thrillers have been getting a lot of hype so I'm looking forward to finally reading one. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the review copy.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas - Kill Creek was another audible daily deal I jumped on this week. I'm excited to finally read this one. I'm sure I'll be hitting play before the week is up.


Cold in July by Joe Lansdale - My son has to see an eye doctor that is a few hours drive from us, but the good news is the clinic is four minutes from a Half-Priced Books store. Hidden away in the clearance section was this British edition of Cold in July for $2.00!

House of Windows by John Langan - I also found House of Windows for a whopping $2.00.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Rounding out my adventures in the clearance bin was Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I'm pretty sure this edition was only $3.00 when it was new, but I love Huckleberry Finn. I'm hoping my kids will let me read it to them since they let me read Tom Sawyer to them a couple of years ago.

Current Distractions


I think the only media I had time for this week was the end of Hap and Leonard. The wait between seasons of Hap and Leonard is rough, and they haven't announced a renewal yet. Fingers crossed!

So what about you? 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? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On My Wishlist {12}

It's been a while since I've done one of these wishlist posts! I want to get back to some of my old posts that I used to love doing. These are some of the books that recently made it onto my wishlist:

The Music of the Deep by Elizabeth Hall

Fleeing an abusive marriage and tormented by her past, Alexandra Turner finds solace in a small coastal town on Puget Sound and a job with a local marine biologist studying orcas.

After befriending a group of locals, Alex learns that she has moved to a place that has a reputation of being the “most haunted town in Washington.” Such superstitions would be easy to dismiss…if Alex wasn’t already on edge.

Haunted by shreds of memories of her days with her husband, Alex can’t keep from looking over her shoulder. As unexplained sounds and scents accumulate and unnerving forces seem to take hold, Alex is beginning to believe that she’s not escaping her ghosts, after all. In fact, she might finally be inviting them in.


The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn't suffer.

But Isabella's parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella's... condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor.

Or is there...?


Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem

In the worlds of Steve Rasnic Tem a father takes his son “fishing” in the deepest part of downtown, flayed rabbits visit a suburban back yard, a man is haunted by a surrealistic nightmare of crutches, a father is unable to rescue his son from a nightmare of trees, a bereaved man transforms memories of his wife into performance art, great moving cliffs of detritus randomly prowl the world, a seemingly pointless life finds final expression in bits of folded paper, a nuclear holocaust brings about a new mythology, an isolated man discovers he’s part of a terrifying community, a photographer discovers the unexpected in the faces of dead children, and a couple’s aging dismantles reality.

Winner of the World Fantasy, British Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards, Tem has earned a reputation as one of the finest and most original short fiction writers of our time, blending elements of horror, dark fantasy, science fiction and surreal nightmare into a genre uniquely his own. This new volume collects for the first time thirty-five of Tem’s best tales, selected by the author, and includes an introduction by Simon Strantzas.


We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill

From the critically acclaimed author of Sea of Rust and Queen of the Dark Things comes a hair-raising collection of short fiction that illuminates the strange, humorous, fantastical, and downright diabolical that tantalize and terrorize us: demons, monsters, zombie dinosaurs, and Death itself.

In the novella "The Soul Thief’s Son" C. Robert Cargill returns to the terrain of the Queen of the Dark Things to continue the story of Colby Stevens . . .

A Triceratops and an Ankylosaurus join forces to survive a zombie apocalypse that may spell extinction for their kind in "Hell Creek" . . .

In a grand old building atop a crack in the world, an Iraq War veteran must serve a one-year term as a punisher of the damned condemned to consume the sins of others in the hope that one day he may find peace in "In a Clean, White Room" (co-authored with Scott Derrickson) . . .

In "The Town That Wasn’t Anymore," the village of Pine Hill Bluff loses its inhabitants one at a time as the angry dead return when night falls to steal the souls of the living . . .

And in the title story, "We Are Where the Nightmares Go," a little girl crawls through a glowing door beneath her bed and finds herself trapped in a nightmarish wonderland—a crucible of the fragments of children’s bad dreams.

These tales and four more are assembled here as testament to Cargill’s mastery of the phantasmagoric, making We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories a collection of unnerving horror and fantasy will keep you up all night and haunt your waking dreams.


Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Books I’ve Only Read Once but Would Love to Reread

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read”. I love rereading so much, I can’t think of a good reason not to reread a book I loved. Maybe some other lists can enlighten me today. In the meantime, please enjoy this list of Books I’ve Only Read Once but Would Love to Reread.



The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder {my review}
The Princess Bride by William Goldman {my review}



And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie {my review}
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
East of Eden by John Steinbeck



11/22/63 by Stephen King {my review}
The Five {my review}
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman {my review}

Do you like to reread books? What books are you wanting to read again?

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review | Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol is a horror/western novel from Josh Malerman.


Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.


I have been hyped up on the Malerman this year after having read Bird Box. When I heard what Unbury Carol was going to be about, I could not have been more excited about it.

The Strengths

The premise of Unbury Carol was unique and interesting. The main character Carol slips into comas that make her appear to be dead. Carol's husband decided to use the opportunity to pass her off as dead so he could bury her and steal her fortune.

The scenes I enjoyed most were told from Carol’s perspective. Unfortunately, these were not the focus of Unbury Carol, and I would have loved to have more from Carol.

Even when I knew Unbury Carol wasn’t working for me, it was able to hold my attention.

The Weaknesses

There wasn’t a lot of character development for any of the characters so I was frustrated with their actions and confused about their motivations. I had no reason to root for Carol. I still don’t know her even after having read the book.

The pacing was slow until the halfway point, but it did finally pick up and hold until the end.

The most interesting part of the ending (Carol’s fate) was told to the reader. I would have loved a lot more show throughout the book.

After the intense reading experience of Bird Box and the assumption that being buried alive would be a large focus of this one, I was disappointed that Unbury Carol wasn’t a suspenseful read. The western aspect took me by surprise.

I wish there had been a lot more world building both inside Carol’s coma world and outside in this western setting. I would have loved to know more about the coma world just because I was fascinated by it, but I needed more information about the outside world just to understand the setting.

Overall, Unbury Carol was a miss for me, but Josh Malerman is still on my must read list.

3/10: Didn't Work For Me

Review copy provided by publisher

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 7

This was a great bookish week. I got a lot of reading done, and I feel like I'm starting to get my reviewing mojo back.

Read Last Week



Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn was a chunky book at 700 pages, but I had trouble putting it down. I'm still mulling over my rating. I feel like it's one of those books that will continue to grow on me and some day I'll look back and wonder why I didn't give it 5 stars.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman - Believe it or not, I'm actually planning to post a review this week.

Recent Acquisitions



Aetherchrist by Kirk Jones - My 2018 has been lacking in novellas so I was excited Apex sent me a copy of Kirk Jones' Aetherchrist. "A small town in Vermont broadcasts prophecies of its residents deaths." What? I can't wait to find out what that's all about.

The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea - I ran into a paperback of The Montauk Monster, and it seemed like something I would need this summer.

Bandwidth by Eliot Peper - I hardly ever remember to download First Reads books on Kindle, but I did this month. I went with the scifi selection.


All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells - Tor.com gave this away as part of their ebook club. Um, yes, please! I've been dying to read this one.

Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan - I bought this along with Mistborn for fantasy month in May, but I already jumped the gun with Mistborn. This volume has the first two books of The Riyria Revelations. Hopefully I will get a chance to read it next month.

Lisey's Story by Stephen King - This was a thrift shop score. I've never read it before!

So what about you? 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? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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