Sunday, April 14, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 14

I forgot to mention last week the readalong schedule has been posted for The Winter People over at Ladies of Horror Fiction. I know a few of you were interested in reading it with us next month.

The Winter People Readalong

Posted Last Week

Book Review | The Last by Hanna Jameson

Finished Reading

The Last by Hanna Jameson Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

The Last by Hanna Jameson ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - (Loved it!) You can read my review here.

Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell ⭐⭐⭐★★ - I needed a bit of a break from fiction, and I'm in the writing book mood right now. This "midpoint" concept wasn't enough to warrant a full book, though.

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - I enjoyed this book on multiple levels. Stay tuned for a review this week!

Currently Reading

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon 2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon - This is a buddy read with the LOHF team. I'm just starting it, and I'm really looking forward to this one.

2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron - This is a fascinating look into Rachel Aaron's writing process.

Recent Acquisitions

I found a few gems at 2nd and Charles this weekend:

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson The Magician King by Lev Grossman Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

I got to spend Friday night in the company of the amazing Mr. Joe Lansdale.

Joe Lansdale and The Bottoms Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers by Joe R. Lansdale

Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers by Joe R. Lansdale

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 10, 2019

Book Review | The Last by Hanna Jameson

The Last is a mystery novel from Hanna Jameson.

For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

I was not expecting such a post-apocalyptic novel!

What intrigued me the most before reading The Last was the "Agatha Christie meets Stephen King" quote. There was just no way I was going to pass that up. First of all, I didn't find Agatha Christie or Stephen King in the pages, but it's a cool quote. The Last is a mishmash of mystery and apocalyptic fiction, though.

I want to be clear - I loved this book. I do feel like it wasn't sure what it wanted to be most of the time. I know what I wanted it to be - a pure post-apocalypse. I loved the world of The Last, and I could have stayed there much, much longer. There were so many aspects that could have been expanded and explored. The framework of the novel was a mystery, though, and the apocalypse was one hell of a setting!

This was my first experience with Hanna Jameson's work, and it definitely won't be my last. She crafted something really great not just with the setting but with the characters as well. More than anything, The Last was about the characters and the relationships they built while the world was ending.

In the end, I'm giving The Last four stars instead of five simply due to the unexplored/unexplained aspects, but I still highly recommend reading this one.


Review copy provided by publisher

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 7

I skipped posting an update last weekend because I finally managed to spend some time down at the beach. 💙🌴🍹☀️🌊 The weather was wonderful on Saturday. On Sunday it turned really cold and rainy. I was just as happy to stay inside and read, though! Today's update is going to look extra heavy because I'm including the week before as well.

Posted Last Week(s)

Look at all those stars. 🤩

Finished Reading

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ {review}

Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky - I'm still mulling over my thoughts, but I may land in the middle with this one. ⭐⭐⭐★★

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ {review}

Finder by Suzanne Palmer ⭐⭐⭐★★ {review}

Currently Reading

The Last by Hanna Jameson - This is post-apocalyptic, and I'm loving it.

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz - This one is a lot of fun, too.

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson - Yikes! I'm taking part in a group read of this on Instagram. I'm actually enjoying the language a lot more than I thought I would, but I have no idea what's going on in this book.

Recent Acquisitions

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson - I bought this on audio during Audible's $5 sale and then I ran into a print copy at the thrift store so I grabbed that one, too! I will totally conquer this book.

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin - This is another book I grabbed during the Audible sale. Lilyn and I are going to buddy read it later this year if you'd like to join us.

Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1) by Nicholas Eames - Another Audible grab. I was mad that I missed the recent Kindle sale so I was happy to be able to grab the audio.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - I've heard so many amazing things about this book so I grabbed this one during the Audible sale as well. It's outside of my normal genres so I'm hoping I can make some room for it!

Nod by Adrian Barnes - I discovered this book while watching a "favorite fantasy books" YouTube video. It turns out it's more horror than fantasy so yay! I can't wait to read it.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - I order Elantris because I just really want to read it!

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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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Book Review | Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Finder is a science fiction novel by Suzanne Palmer.

From Hugo Award-winning debut author Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder.

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia's Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He'll slip in, decode the ship's compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus' arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger's enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly--and inconveniently--invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn't help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he's called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.

Hmm. I'm sad I didn't connect to this one like other reviewers seem to have connected with it.

Fergus Ferguson is a bit of an Indiana Jones type character, but he's having his action adventure in space. Fergus is a repo man, and he's on a mission to steal back a spaceship.

I think my issue lies in how action heavy Finder turned out to be. I love action, but this book was pretty full throttle the whole way through. When I started Finder, I thought "Yes! This is going to be so much fun!", but the level of fun kept going and the character-action scale tipped too far down on the action for me.

If you love nonstop action, though, without getting to know who you are rooting for, this might be a really great pick for you.


Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

On My Wishlist {19}

On My Wishlist is where I share a few books that have recently made it onto my wishlist. These are the books that have recently caught my eye:

A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward
Expected publication: June 1st 2019 by Poltergeist Press

Fresh from a stretch in prison, Joe Openshaw is living at home with his father and trying to get his life together again. He has let go of old habits, especially the ones that turned him into an addict and helped land him in prison.

On a hike along the Lowback Trail, Joe stumbles on one of the town's oldest secrets--buried long ago, if not forgotten.

It's an unusual but safe enough treasure--a jar of old pennies. What interests Joe isn't the pennies themselves, but the pieces of paper taped to every coin--a child's handwritten wish on each one.

When the first few wishes come true, they are simple things. Fun. Harmless.

Except as time goes on, Joe realizes they aren't really wishes at all...they're exchanges, and the bill was racking up.

Nothing is free in life.

Sooner or later, you always pay.

Many thanks to Tracy for putting this one on my radar. She loved it, and I have a feeling I will, too!

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

Literary horror!! This sounds amazing, and I need it.

The Institute by Stephen King
Expected publication: September 10th 2019 by Scribner

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

Well, it's a Stephen King book... It gets an automatic direct pass to my wishlist.

Are you planning to read any of these new or upcoming releases? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review | The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead is a scifi/horror novel by Caitlin Starling.

A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, her control giving way to paranoia and anger, Gyre severs her connection with Em and the outside world. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

I absolutely loved The Luminous Dead. It's so rare for me to pick up a book, be immediately hooked, and stay that way through the entirety of the novel. The Luminous Dead is 432 pages, and I would have had no problem reading it in one sitting if life wasn't in the way. Even with life I was able to knock it out in 2 days. I did not want to put it down.

The Luminous Dead is Caitlin Starling's debut novel. Caitlin Starling is now on my autobuy list. The Luminous Dead only had two characters and one setting for the entire book, and yet I was riveted.

The cave setting was the perfect setup for psychological suspense. It wasn't as horror heavy as I was expecting it to be, but I loved the constant sense of dread.

The Luminous Dead is one of my favorite reads so far this year, and I highly recommend it!


Review copy provided by publisher

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review | The Between by Tananarive Due

The Between is a horror novel by Tananarive Due.

The Between by Tananarive Due

A brilliant novel of horror and the supernatural in which a middle-class family’s very existence is threatened by inner and outer demons

When Hilton was just a boy, his grandmother sacrificed her life to save him from drowning. Thirty years later, he begins to suspect that he was never meant to survive that accident, and that dark forces are working to rectify that mistake. When Hilton's wife, the only elected African-American judge in Dade County, Florida, begins to receive racist hate mail from a man she once prosecuted, Hilton becomes obsessed with protecting his family. Soon, however, he begins to have horrible nightmares, more intense and disturbing than any he has ever experienced. Are the strange dreams trying to tell him something? His sense of reality begins to slip away as he battles both the psychotic threatening to destroy his family and the even more terrifying enemy stalking his sleep.

Chilling and utterly convincing, The Between follows the struggles of a man desperately trying to hold on to the people and life he loves, but may have already lost.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Between! I have had Tananarive Due on my TBR for so long. The Ladies of Horror Fiction team decided to choose her debut novel for our Women in Horror Month readalong and wow! If this is her debut, I am in for a treat with the rest of Due's catalog!

There were so many layers to The Between and they were all expertly woven together. It's a relatively short book at a little less than 300 pages. I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say this is an excellent place to start if you haven't read anything by Tananarive Due yet.


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Book Review | A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration is a mystery novel from Deanna Raybourn.

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker's brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly's house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée--much to Stoker's chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly's wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband's mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker's help to discover the host's true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund...

A Dangerous Collaboration was delightful. I may lose my credibility when I say this, but A Dangerous Collaboration was a lot like reading a Scooby Doo novel. It was definitely an adult version of Scooby Doo, but Scooby Doo nonetheless. Veronica and Stoker were staying in a castle on a haunted island, and everything was gothic down to the candlelight and secret passageways.

A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. I have not read the previous three, but this one seemed to stand alone just fine. I would have liked to have a deeper understanding of the relationships between the characters, but I was able to dive into the story well enough.

Veronica Speedwell is an interesting character. She's a lepidopterist (she specializes in butterflies), and I enjoyed all of the facts about butterflies. It never felt out of place, and I enjoyed the tidbits of nature. A Dangerous Collaboration was plants and butterflies by day, whodunit mystery and family drama by night.

I enjoyed this installment of the series. I would happily read more of them.


Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

On My Wishlist {18}

It's time for another round of "on my wishlist" where I share a few of the latest books I've been pining for lately.

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
Published March 19th 2019 by Head of Zeus

Here are four urgent stories from author and activist Cory Doctorow, four social, technological and economic visions of the world today and its near—all too near—future.

'Unauthorized Bread' is a tale of immigration, toxic economic stratification and a young woman's perilously illegal quest to fix a broken toaster.

In 'Model Minority' a superhero finds himself way out his depth when he confronts the corruption of the police and justice system.

'Radicalized' is the story of a desperate husband, a darknet forum and the birth of a violent uprising against the US health care system.

The final story, 'The Masque of the Red Death', tracks an uber-wealthy survivalist and his followers as they hole up and attempt to ride out the collapse of society.

Cory Doctorow will be at Comicpalooza this year so I may have an opportunity to meet him. Radicalized contains four novellas, and it sounds like an excellent introduction to me. (Thank you to Michael Patrick Hicks for putting it on my radar!)

The Girl on the Porch by Richard Chizmar
Expected publication: August 31st 2019 by Subterranean

From New York Times bestseller Richard Chizmar, author of Gwendy's Button Box (with Stephen King) and The Long Way Home, comes a thriller that will forever change the way you look at your neighbors and best friends...

When the Tuckers’ next door neighbor mentions someone rang their doorbell late the previous night, Sarah and Kenny Tucker check their home’s security camera and discover something shocking: the doorbell ringer also visited their house and it wasn’t a teenager playing a prank, but instead a terrified young woman with a shackle hanging from her right wrist. She anxiously pressed the doorbell again and again, glancing over her shoulder as if someone was coming for her, before giving up and taking off into the dark.

Almost overnight, she becomes known as The Girl on the Porch—and she’s everywhere. There are updates on all the local networks, national coverage on CNN and Fox News, and the video goes viral on social media. Before long, everyone has seen the harrowing security camera footage.

Kenny and Sarah figure it’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes the woman, but as the days pass and no one comes forward, odd things begin to transpire around the Tucker family: a man intensely watches them at a restaurant and then vanishes, fresh footprints appear in the garden next to their house where no one should have been, a neighbor’s pet is viciously killed and mutilated, and a mysterious man has started following their daughter Natalie...

A rollercoaster ride of compelling twists and turns, The Girl on the Porch demonstrates why Stephen King says Richard Chizmar’s writing is “powerful” and Robert McCammon calls his work “hard-hitting, spooky, suspenseful, harrowing, and heartbreaking.”

A new Richard Chizmar. What else can I say?

Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Expected publication: June 4th 2019 by Tor Teen

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they'll have to step into the shadows to see what's lurking there—murderer, or monster?

Five Midnights is a “wickedly thrilling” (William Alexander) novel based on the el Cuco myth set against the backdrop of modern day Puerto Rico.

Five Midnights is a YA horror, and it sounds awesome! (Thank you Mogsy for putting this one on my radar!)

Are you planning to read any of these new or upcoming releases? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book Review | A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben

A Hawk in the Woods is a horror novel by Carrie Laben.

When newscaster Abby Waite is diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, she decides to do the logical thing… break her twin sister Martha out of prison and hit the road. Their destination is the Waite family cabin in Minnesota where Abby plans a family reunion of sorts. But when you come from a family where your grandfather frequently took control of your body during your youth, where your mother tried to inhabit your mind and suck your youthful energies out of you, and where so many dark secrets–and bodies, even–are buried, such a family meeting promises to be nothing short of complicated…

There's a lot to process in A Hawk in the Woods! I know I'll continue to think about it for quite some time. Books like this one tend to grow in my mind and in my heart as all of the pieces continue to meld together. It's a little bit like a movie you want to start back from the beginning once you have reached the end so you can experience it again knowing all of the secrets. (I'm feeling the exact same way about Jordan Peele's Us right now.)

A Hawk in the Woods is told through two different timelines. After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Abby makes plans to bust her twin sister out of prison and head back to the cabin they grew up in. One timeline chronicles Abby and Martha's childhood growing up with a mother and grandfather who were heavily involved in witchcraft and the other follows Abby and Martha in the present on their road trip home.

The multiple timelines in A Hawk in the Woods was really well done. The past and the present both managed to move the story forward, and I had trouble pulling myself away from either one.

There are story elements in A Hawk in the Woods that I love but rarely get to talk about because they are almost always spoilers. This makes it very difficult to compare A Hawk in the Woods to other books I have enjoyed. Thankfully, A Hawk in the Woods can stand on its own as an excellent debut. I can't wait to read more from Carrie Laben in the future. If you enjoy family rooted witchcraft, you are going to want to pick this one up.


Content warning: infant related horror; Review copy provided by publisher

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Book Review | In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In An Absent Dream is the fourth book in Seanan McGuire's fantasy series Wayward Children.

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

I think this one is my favorite of the series!

I'm all caught up in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series now. I'm sad because I've been able to read four of them so close together and now I will have to wait to read the next one.

I'm not a great series reader. I burn out easily so it takes a lot for me to keep coming back to a series. I think in this case it helps that each book is so different from the last. (That and the fact that they're so good.)

I felt like there was so much allegory happening in In An Absent Dream. I would love to know what it was really about in Seanan McGuire's mind. The story was like a fairy tale, and the writing was so wonderful for me.

If you haven't started reading this series yet, just do it. I waited longer than I should have to get started.

I won't lie and say she took the story in directions I wanted it to go. I'm a little bit wrecked by this one, but also anxious to see where McGuire takes me in the next one.


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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | March 24

Happy weekend! I hope the weather is as beautiful for you as it is for us right now. I'm making plans to go to the beach next weekend. *fingers crossed*

Posted Last Week

Finished Reading

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - This was delightful. I will post a full review soon.

Girl Most Likely by Max Allan Collins [DNF] - It seems like every year there's that one book that you loathe. Girl Most Likely is this year's book for me.

Currently Reading

Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky - There's a chance I may finally finish this before book 2 comes out. 😂

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben - I'm loving this! So much so I considered skipping this post today so I could curl up with this book instead!

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller - I'm really loving the writing in this one.

Recent Acquisitions

The Ladies of Horror Fiction is hosting a readalong of The Winter People in May. I'm looking forward to it. It will be my first Jennifer McMahon.

I took advantage of the 2 for 1 deal on Audible and grabbed Michael McDowell's The Elementals and Blackwater. These have both been high on my wishlist so I was excited to see them listed in the sale.

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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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Quick Reviews | Geek Love, Fountain Dead, The Haunting of Henderson Close

Here are some quick thoughts on a few books I've read recently.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

I’ve decided this book is impossible to review. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read (which is the best part about it.) Geek Love is a character driven book and all of the characters are horrible and fascinating. It’s disturbing and well written and one of those books you really just need to read for yourself.


Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun

Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past.

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house's dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

Fountain Dead was one of my selections for the Ladies of Horror Fiction readathon. Unfortunately, the format of Fountain Dead didn't work for me. The timeline in Fountain Dead shifted back and forth between 1988 and the 1860s. There was a lot of jumping not just between timelines but also within the narrative of each section. It was hard to keep up with what was happening. I wasn't able to properly lose myself in the story or the lives of the characters.


Review copy provided by the author

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.

Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?

The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.

The Haunting of Henderson Close was a very atmospheric read. There were so many elements of haunting and supernatural stories that I love, but it may have suffered a little from having too much and a lack of focus.


Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

On My Wishlist {17}

I've been adding so many amazing books to my wishlist lately I decided it was time to do another edition of On My Wishlist! Here are a few books that have caught my eye lately:

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
Expected publication: August 13th 2019 by Saga Press

When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization—but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined.

Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind?
Have you ever dreamt of a better world?
Can a dream sustain a lifetime?

A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race.

And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.

It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.

And something always goes wrong.

I first saw this on Tammy's blog, and it sounds like such a great read! I need to have it in my life.

A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by John Hornor Jacobs
Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Harper Voyager

The award-winning and critically-acclaimed master of horror returns with a pair of chilling tales—both never-before-published in print—that examine the violence and depravity of the human condition.

Bringing together his acclaimed novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and an all-new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, John Hornor Jacobs turns his fertile imagination to the evil that breeds within the human soul.

A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself.

In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South—which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself.

Breathtaking and haunting, A Lush and Seething Hell is a terrifying and exhilarating journey into the darkness, an odyssey into the deepest reaches of ourselves that compels us to confront secrets best left hidden.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of John Hornor Jacobs. I have this one on pre-order, and I can't wait!

Selected Poems of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton, edited by Irene Goldman-Price
Expected publication: July 9th 2019 by Scribner

Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her novel The Age of Innocence, was also a brilliant poet. This revealing collection of 134 poems brings together a fascinating array of her verse—including fifty poems that have never before been published.

The celebrated American novelist and short story writer Edith Wharton, author of The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Age of Innocence, was also a dedicated, passionate poet. A lover of words, she read, studied, and composed poetry all of her life, publishing her first collection of poems at the age of sixteen. In her memoir, A Backward Glance, Wharton declared herself dazzled by poetry; she called it her “chiefest passion and greatest joy.”

The 134 selected poems in this volume include fifty published for the first time. Wharton’s poetry is arranged thematically, offering context as the poems explore new facets of her literary ability and character. These works illuminate a richer, sometimes darker side of Wharton. Her subjects range from the public and political—her first published poem was about a boy who hanged himself in jail—to intimate lyric poems expressing heartbreak, loss, and mortality. She wrote frequently about works of art and historical figures and places, and some of her most striking work explores the origins of creativity itself.

These selected poems showcase Wharton’s vivid imagination and her personal experience. Relatively overlooked until now, her poetry and its importance in her life provide an enlightening lens through which to view one of the finest writers of the twentieth century.

Edith Wharton was an amazing woman and one of the lesser known pioneers of horror fiction. Having enjoyed both her novels and her short stories, I'm excited to read her poetry. [You can learn more about Edith Wharton and listen to Toni read one of her short stories (The Lady Maid's Bell) on the Ladies of Horror Fiction podcast.]

Are you planning to read any of these upcoming releases? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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