Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 2020 Wrap Up

It's so strange. March felt like the longest month ever, but I have no idea where April went. I think the monotony of never leaving home has turned the month into one long day. Thankfully I was able to read this month. Spending lots of time outdoors really helps, and I've been enjoying picking up comics when my attention can't hold on to anything. Below are all of the things I finished reading this month.

One good thing about easily putting books aside right now is all of the books I finished are pretty highly rated!

The Books




Reviews:
Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy #1) by M.R. Carey ⭐⭐⭐⭐★

Upcoming Reviews:
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Apocalyptic Mannequin by Stephanie M. Wytovich ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Anika Orrock ⭐⭐⭐★★

Unreviewed:
Poetry Magazine February 2020 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Comics




Lumberjanes #2 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐★★
Lumberjanes #3 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Lumberjanes #4 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Lumberjanes #5 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Lumberjanes #6 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Lumberjanes #7 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lumberjanes #8 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐★★.
The Sandman: Master of Dreams #1 by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Sandman: Master of Dreams #2 by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Swamp Thing (1982-1996) #20 by Alan Moore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My favorite book I read in April (even though it's not the highest rated) is The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey. Its the one that was pulling me back into reading the hardest this month.


Jennifer

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

On My Wishlist {28}

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! This week I'm finally remembering to join up with Can't-Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale
Expected publication: July 21st 2020 by Mulholland Books

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale

Edgar award-winning author Joe Lansdale returns with the hard-boiled story of a no-nonsense used car salesman ready to turn his life around

Ed Edwards is in the used car business, a business built on adjusted odometers, extra-fine print, and the belief that "buyers better beware." Burdened by an aging, alcoholic mother constantly on his case to do something worthier of his lighter skin tone and dreaming of a brighter future for himself and his plucky little sister, Ed is ready to get out of the game.

When Dave, his lazy, grease-stained boss at the eponymous dealership Smiling Dave's sends him to repossess a Cadillac, Ed finally gets the chance to escape his miserable life.

The Cadillac in question was purchased by Frank Craig and his beautiful wife Nancy, owners of a local drive-in and pet cemetery. Fed up with her deadbeat husband and with unfulfilled desires of her own, Nancy suggests to Ed- in the throes of their salacious affair- that they kill Frank and claim his insurance policy. It is a tantalizing offer: the girl, the car, and not one, but two businesses. Ed could finally say goodbye to Smiling Dave's, and maybe even send his sister to college. But does he have what it takes to see the plan through?

Told with Joe Lansdale's trademark grit, wit, and dark humor, More Better Deals is a gripping tale of the strange characters and odd dealings that define 1960s East Texas.

A stand alone Lansdale reminiscent of Hap and Leonard? Yes, yes, and more yes, please.



The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy #2) by M. R. Carey
Expected publication: September 15th 2020 by Orbit

The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy #2) by M. R. Carey

The journey through M. R. Carey's "immersive, impeccably rendered world" (Kirkus) -- a world in which nature has turned against us -- continues in The Trials of Koli, book two of the Rampart Trilogy.

The earth wants to swallow us whole...

Koli never planned to set foot outside his small village. He knew that beyond its walls lay a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and Shunned men. But when he was exiled, he had no choice but to journey out into this strange world where every moment is a fight for survival.

And it's not just Koli's life that is threatened. Whole villages just like his are dying out.

But Koli heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If he can find it, there may still be a way for him to change his own fate - by saving the lives of those who are left.

After having just read The Book of Koli {review}, I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.



Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
Expected publication: July 7th 2020 by Delacorte Press

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

After absolutely loving Wilder Girls {review} last year, I can't wait to read Rory Power new release!



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

Jennifer

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book Review | The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Book of Koli is a new science fiction/post-apocalyptic novel from M.R. Carey.


The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don't get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don't venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn't know is - what happens when you aren't given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Why did I read The Book of Koli?

I adored The Girl with All the Gifts. That makes me automatically take a closer look at anything M.R. Carey releases. I loved the sound of this trilogy. It's been a while since I've read a really great dystopian, and a deadly forest sounded perfect!

The Strengths

I immediately fell in love with the language in this. I think some readers may have trouble with the grammar and other nuances, but I really connected with Carey's writing in this one. There was poetry to his voice and his language here, and I just really enjoyed spending time with it.

I also loved the characters. Koli is a bit of a Harry Potter type of character. He's the star of the show, but all of his supporting characters are more powerful and more interesting. Monono reminded me a lot of the operating system in the movie Her. If you liked The Book of Koli or Her, I highly recommend the other!

I loved the world building, but this is also going to appear in the weaknesses for The Book of Koli. I'm a sucker for post-apocalypse and natural forces outweigh political forces for me every time. I can't wait to learn more about this world.

The Weaknesses

The Book of Koli is the first book in the Rampart Trilogy. It helped tremendously seeing the covers for the next two books on the back of my Koli paperback. I was prepared to only receive the first third of a complete story, but I'm never going to be 100% OK with a book not being able to stand on its own.

My expectation going into reading The Book of Koli was the environment was going to play a huge role in this trilogy. Hopefully it still will, but there was a lot less man versus nature than I was expecting. I want to know more and I want to see more! The good news is we are just getting started.

Would I recommend The Book of Koli to others?

Yes! Especially if you have loved other books by M.R. Carey. I'm really excited for the rest of the trilogy, and the next two books are at the top of my most anticipated list.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★
4/5 stars

Review copy provided by publisher


Jennifer

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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 26

At this point we are spending the majority of our time outdoors working in the yard, reading, playing frisbee... whatever we can to be out of the house. My project for this weekend was finally getting some grapefruits trees into the yard. My dad gave them to me as seedlings he had started from seed, and I've been growing them in containers for a couple of years.

grapefruit tree another grapefruit tree the last grapefruit tree

The weather has been beautiful, but we've had a couple of storms roll through. These pictures are from yesterday when the sky was amazing to see. Looks like Stranger Things.

storm clouds storm clouds close up more storm clouds

Finished Reading


The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey The Apocalyptic Mannequin by Stephanie Wytovich

I loved both The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ and The Apocalyptic Mannequin by Stephanie Wytovich ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! Reviews coming soon for those!

Lumberjanes: #7 Lumberjanes: #8

I also enjoyed the next two issues of Lumberjanes: #7 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and #8 ⭐⭐⭐★★.

Currently Reading


Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

I'm almost finished with Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall, and it's so good.

Recent Acquisitions


The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix If It Bleeds by Stephen King

I'm excited that both The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix and If It Bleeds by Stephen King arrived this week! I can't wait to read both of these!!

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1) by Lana Popović The Haunting by Lindsey Duga

I also ordered a YA horror novel: Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1) by Lana Popović and an MG horror novel: The Haunting by Lindsey Duga. I'm super excited to read these as well!


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.

Jennifer

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 19

I have lost all track of time!

Last night was the Bram Stoker Awards. Since StokerCon has been postponed, the awards were all virtual over YouTube. I was able to watch over Skype with some of my Ladies of Horror Fiction friends. The women kicked ass again this year in the Stokers.

Be sure to check out the winners.

Today is birthday day for my now 11 year old. There will be much needed cupcakes today.

Posted Last Week


I posted my ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ review of Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons.

I shared all of the April new releases that are on my radar.

I also posted my ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ review of Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise.

Finished Reading


Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons

Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons was really cute. My ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ review posted this week.

Lumberjanes: Pungeon Master (Lumberjanes #2) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen Lumberjanes: Everything Under the Sun (Lumberjanes #3) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen Lumberjanes: Robyn Hood (Lumberjanes #4) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen
The Sandman: Sleep of the Just (The Sandman: Master of Dreams #1) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth The Sandman: Imperfect Hosts (The Sandman: Master of Dreams #2) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth Swamp Thing (1982-1996) #20 by Alan Moore

I've really been enjoying comics while in lock down. They are the perfect size for holding my attention.

Lumberjanes: Pungeon Master (Lumberjanes #2) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐★★
Lumberjanes: Everything Under the Sun (Lumberjanes #3) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Lumberjanes: Robyn Hood (Lumberjanes #4) by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
The Sandman: Sleep of the Just (The Sandman: Master of Dreams #1) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Sandman: Imperfect Hosts (The Sandman: Master of Dreams #2) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth ⭐⭐⭐⭐★
Swamp Thing (1982-1996) #20 by Alan Moore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Currently Reading


The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

I'm currently loving The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey. I'll hopefully have a review out in the next few days.

Recent Acquisitions


The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence The Guest List by Lucy Foley The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison The Fisherman by John Langan La guerra de los mundos by H.G. Wells

Many thanks to Ace for sending me a copy of The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence! I'm really looking forward to starting this one.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is my Book of the Month pick for April.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the ecopy of The Night Swim by Megan Goldin!

A few of the books I purchased from Audible: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison, The Fisherman by John Langan, and La guerra de los mundos by H.G. Wells.

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.

Jennifer

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Book Review | Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise

Catfish Lullaby is a horror novella by A.C. Wise.

Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise

Lewis is a town of secrets.

There have long been rumors of something unnatural in the swamp, and more than one person has gone missing. Many blame the Royce family while others believe in a local monster, rising from the dark waters.

As a child, Caleb witnessed something inexplicable the night the Royce place mysteriously burned to the ground. As an adult, Caleb returns to take over his father's role as sheriff, and the long shadow of the Royce family returns to haunt him. Caleb struggles to solve an eerily familiar crime and finds himself face to face with another old mystery--the legend of Catfish John.

Yay! I'm on a roll this year with southern books set in the swamp!

Catfish Lullaby begins with a coming of age style story and ends with the main character as an adult returning to a childhood mystery. I'm normally not a fan of time jumps, but books like Catfish Lullaby show me it can be done in a way that keeps me on board.

As is often true with a novella length book, I can't say much about the story itself without spoiling the best bits of the story. I will say Catfish Lullaby turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, and I'm so glad I read it. I will be on the look out for more to read from A.C. Wise.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★

Review copy provided by publisher and/or author

Jennifer

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