Sunday, September 23, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | September 23

This has been a pretty wonderful weekend of rainy, somewhat cooler weather. I'm ready for Fall!

I want to invite everyone to participate in the upcoming Rebecca readalong hosted by the Ladies of Horror Fiction team. We will all be reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier during the month of November and posting discussions for the community each Sunday. I've never read Rebecca! Have you? If you want to join in on your blog or on the LOHF site, you can find all of the details on the Community Wide Readalong: Rebecca post.

Finished Reading

Husk by Rachel Autumn Deering ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I'm excited about this debut.

Creature by Hunter Shea ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I promise to have a review of this one out soon because I loved it.

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson ⭐⭐ - This was a buddy read with Bark, Emily, Lilyn, Toni, and Tracy. They enjoyed this one a bit more than I did.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I'm torn on my rating for this one. Until I write out my full thoughts, I'm going with 4 stars.

Currently Reading

The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie - I'm almost done reading The Toy Thief.

Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye - This poetry collection pulls together poems from three of Nye's collections and it is amazing.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King - Tomorrow I start my reread of Stephen King's Bag of Bones. It's been about 20 years since I read it, and I have a feeling adult me will find a different story in the pages.

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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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Review | We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls is a new horror novel from Grady Hendrix.

In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania.

Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry's meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris's very soul.

This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It's a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that's darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul...where only a girl with a guitar can save us all.

First of all, I love horror books centered around music. Books like Robert McCammon's The Five and Todd Keisling's The Final Reconciliation are among my favorite books. I could not have been more excited when I heard Grady Hendrix had written a metal horror book. I'm such a fan of Grady Hendrix. Paperbacks from Hell was a stunning book, but My Best Friend's Exorcism is what placed him on my must read author list. It was a very unexpected read (in a great way).

We Sold Our Souls was an unexpected read as well, but for more traditional reasons. A lot of scenes in We Sold Our Souls took me by surprise. Some were unpredictable and some were just downright brutal. (Barb, I'm pretty sure no dogs were harmed in the making of this one!)

Grady Hendrix's writing is so much fun. It immediately puts me in a great place as a reader. The music references and Hendrix's personal interjections in We Sold Our Souls were a big bonus, too. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.


Review copy provided by publisher


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Monday, September 10, 2018

Book Review | The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz

The Siren and the Specter is a new horror novel from 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.

Why did I read The Siren and the Specter?

I enjoyed Jonathan Janz's Wolf Land, Children of the Dark, and Witching Hour Theater. When I heard he was releasing a ghost story novel, I wishlisted it immediately.

The Strengths

The Siren and the Specter creeped. me. out. It's a great example of what I want my ghost stories to be. I'm pretty sure it broke tons of rules, and I'm OK with that.

Janz is great at both character development and action, and The Siren and the Specter is the most balanced work I've read from him so far. These two strengths blended well together throughout the book.

I really enjoyed the cross between horror and mystery in The Siren and the Specter. There were a lot of layers to this book.

I complain a lot about "unlikeable" characters, but what I really mean when I'm complaining is "uninteresting" characters. Pretty much all of the characters in The Siren and the Specter were unlikeable, but they were all interesting.

Sheriff Harkless. I want to see this character again!

The Weaknesses

Some of the characters were a bit unbelievable in the beginning, but things got so crazy and over the top in the best possible way by the end of the book that the characters really set the stage for what was to come. 

Would I recommend The Siren and the Specter to others?

Absolutely! The Siren and the Specter was a creepy ghostly book, and I loved it*.

9/10: Highly Recommended

*Be aware there's disturbing sexual content, suicide, and neglect/child abuse.

Review copy provided by the publisher


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Monday, September 3, 2018

Book Review | The Sky Woman by J.D. Moyer

The Sky Woman is a new release (out September 6) from J.D. Moyer.

Car-En, a ringstation anthropologist on her first Earth field assignment, observes a Viking-like village in the Harz mountains. As Car-En secretly observes the Happdal villagers, she begins to see them as more than research subjects (especially Esper, a handsome bow-hunter). When Esper’s sister is taken by an otherwordly sword-wielding white-haired man, she can no longer stand by as a passive witness. Knowing the decision might end her career, she cuts off communication with her advisor and pursues the abductor into the mountains.

In my opinion, The Sky Woman wasn't really a scifi book although I'm not exactly sure what it was trying to be.

The Sky Woman started out like a medieval fantasy with characters Arik and Trond forging their own weapons on Earth. Truth be told, I enjoyed the beginning. I had high hopes for the plot and for the characters. Unfortunately, The Sky Woman wandered all over the place.

There were some interesting ideas in The Sky Woman, but there were so many things happening I never got to enjoy the depth of any one concept. I wound up not caring about the characters and rolling my eyes at the relationship that was supposed to be a "struggle of love".

In the end, this scifi book set on Earth that was really a fantasy with instalove and convenient plot points was a miss for me. I'd love to wrap it up with a positive so I will say at least I got to read it as a buddy read with friends.

Rating: 2/10

Review copy provided by publisher


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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | September 2

I have exciting news to share!

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who participated in or shared the #LadiesofHorrorFiction Instagram challenge. It was an amazing month. We had over 1300 photos of books by women horror authors shared using the hashtag!

If you've been following along, you've seen the hosts teasing you a bit that there was more to come. Yesterday we unveiled the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. Lilyn, Toni, Bark, Tracy, Emily, Alex, Gracie, and I have been working on this project over the summer, and it's been a hard secret to keep! Please go check it out. We even have a directory of women horror authors! We will be posting reviews, guest posts, interviews, etc, and there will be even more exciting announcements coming soon.

Finished Reading

Tau Zero by Poul Anderson ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - This was a buddy read with Lilyn. It's not a book I would have picked up on my own (hard science fiction), but it was a really great read.

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 - I finally finished reading The Siren and the Specter. Don't let the length of time it took me to read it fool you. I loved it.

The Mouth of the Dark by Tim Waggoner ⭐⭐⭐💫 - Wow, this was a weird book. I need to hunt down some of Waggoner's older titles.

Currently Reading

My reading plans for the week include Baal by Robert McCammon, The Sea was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer, and Creature by Hunter Shea.

Review Copies

We Sold Our Souls: A Novel by Grady Hendrix - Thank you so much to Quirk Book for the finished copy of We Sold Our Souls. Be on the look out for my review closer to publication date September 18.

Thank you to Dark Moon Books for the following review copies. These are all gorgeous editions!

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem edited by Eric J. Guignard - This is an introduction to the work of Steve Resnic Tem. "For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, genre-crossing tales."

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #2: A Primer to Kaaron Warren edited by Eric J. Guignard - This one is an introduction to the work of Kaaron Warren. "Australian author Kaaron Warren is widely recognized as one of the leading writers today of speculative and dark short fiction. She’s published four novels, multiple novellas, and well over one hundred heart-rending tales of horror, science fiction, and beautiful fantasy, and is the first author ever to simultaneously win all three of Australia’s top speculative fiction writing awards (Ditmar, Shadows, and Aurealis awards for The Grief Hole)."

That Which Grows Wild by Eric J. Guignard That Which Grows Wild collects sixteen dark and masterful short stories by award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird, horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.

A World of Horror edited by Eric J. Guignard - "Every nation of the globe has unique tales to tell, whispers that settle in through the land, creatures or superstitions that enliven the night, but rarely do readers get to experience such a diversity of these voices in one place as in A World of Horror"

The Five Senses of Horror edited by Eric J. Guignard - "Hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste: Our impressions of the world are formed by our five senses, and so too are our fears, our imaginations, and our captivation in reading fiction stories that embrace these senses. Whether hearing the song of infernal caverns, tasting the erotic kiss of treachery, or smelling the lush fragrance of a fiend, enclosed within this anthology are fifteen horror and dark fantasy tales that will quicken the beat of fear, sweeten the flavor of wonder, sharpen the spike of thrills, and otherwise brighten the marvel of storytelling that is found resonant!"

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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