Thursday, August 22, 2019

Poetry Recommendations | Poetry Magazine and Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Poetry Magazine July/August 2019

I recently subscribed to Poetry Magazine. Eleven times a year I will receive a book sized collection of poetry.

The current volume (July/August) showcases Global Indian English poetry, and I absolutely loved it. The voices and the themes were so varied, and they were amazing.

"The poets included herein represent neither cohesion nor diversity, in fact there is nothing represented in these pages except exemplary poems from people with complicated relationships to the words global, Indian, and English either in combination or separately."

I'm looking forward to reading many more volumes of Poetry Magazine in the future.


Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch is an invocation, an ancient invitation that summons the darkness within and channels those lonely spirits looking for a host. It's a collection that lives in the realm of ghosts and family curses, witchcraft and urban legends, and if you're brave enough to peek behind the veil, the hauntings that permeate these pages will break seals and open doorways, cut throats and shatter mirrors.

You see, these poems are small drownings, all those subtle suffocations that live in that place between our ribs that swells with panic, incubates fear. Lynch shows her readers that sometimes our shadow selves--our secrets--are our sharpest weapons, the knives that rip through flesh, suture pacts with demons, cut deals with entities looking for more than a homecoming, something better, more intimate than family.

It's about the masks we wear and the reflections we choose not to look at, and what's most terrifying about the spells is these incantations show that we are the possessed, that we are our greatest monster, and if we look out of the corner of our eyes, sometimes--if we've damned ourselves enough--we can catch a glimpse of our own burnings, what monstrosities and mockeries we're to become.

So cross yourselves and say your prayers. Because in this world, you are the witch and the hunter, the girl and the wolf.

If you've been on the fence at all about trying horror poetry, Choking Back the Devil is a great place to start.

This was my first time to read Donna Lynch, and it definitely won't be my last. I loved the poems in this collection, and I highly recommend Choking Back the Devil as a collection to try.



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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Guest Post | The Night Crawls In, LOHF Writers Grant, and Steve Stred

The Ladies of Horror Fiction has the honor of partnering with Steve Stred for the Annual LOHF Writers Grant. We will be able to select a recipient each year to receive grant funding toward their writing career. Please welcome Steve Stred to Book Den today, and be sure to preorder a copy of The Night Crawls In in order to help contribute to the LOHF Writers Grant!

From Steve Stred:

How exciting has the news been about the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant?!!

I know I’ve been absolutely blown away with the response! Thank you to everyone who has kindly pre-ordered, liked, shared, commented, hosted or even tagged someone!

For full details and how to apply, please click the link:

Now to help fund the initial grant disbursement, I’m releasing a poetry/drabbles collection. On September 1st, 2019 The Night Crawls In will arrive. Containing 33 drabbles and 17 poems, all ebook presales and 1st day paperback sales will go towards funding the first grant. All additional sales there-after will be put towards future grants!

My normal partner in crime, Mason McDonald designed the cover for the release and as always, he knocked it out of the park!

Jen from the LOHF crew kindly offered up a guest post spot, so I’m here to share two drabbles that will be featured in The Night Crawls In!

The Clearing. (A Drabble)

It took us three days to hike to the edge of their territory. My daughter grew heavier and heavier on my back, but I knew we needed to make it.

When we arrived, I stopped, surveying the area.

The woods parted, fifty feet of open land, then the woods returned just across the clearing.


The agreement said ‘those who make it across are free.’

We had to try. We wanted to live, to survive.

With no creatures in sight, I gripped her tight and started running.

I heard them cry out, rush towards us.


We were so close.


The Bear. (A Drabble)

We stood in shock watching what the bear was doing.

We were all in the cabin, windows shut, door locked, dogs put away. Had we left some food out in the car that had lured it in from the woods? Was it the electronic music we had blaring or the cussing and yelling of college aged kids doing ridiculous things that had drawn it in?

We didn’t know.

Now we stood and watched as it ripped the doors off the Subaru and made short work of everything inside the car.

This included my grandma who’d been having her afternoon nap.


Now, a bit about these two drabbles.

‘The Clearing’ is a short story I had sitting around for some time. I don’t recall when I came up with the idea, but something created this idea of a group of beasts who were territorial. They kept humans within this sector, but the humans did have a chance – they just had to make it across a clearing. So I modified it and turned it into this 100 word creepfest.

‘The Bear’ was born from my growing up in British Columbia. We always see news clips every summer of bears destroying cars and trucks after food has been left inside of it etc. I remember one news report during one such incident had caught my attention. A man was being interviewed after his van had been ripped apart and he said normally at this time of day he’d be having a nap in the van. So I switched that up with a grandma. Poor, unsuspecting grandma.

So thank you to the amazing crew at Ladies of Horror Fiction – both for hearing my idea and jumping on board, but also for letting me submit a guest post here in the hopes we can work to growing this grant idea bigger and better every year!

The Night Crawls In: Amazon | Goodreads
Steve Stred: Wordpress | Twitter


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Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Review | House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

House of Furies is a YA horror/fantasy by Madeleine Roux.

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.

Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

I enjoyed reading House of Furies. It was a bit more fantasy than I was expecting. I think the new paperback cover suits the story more than the original hardback cover.

It's hard for me to talk about House of Furies without spoiling the best parts so I can really only tell you I had a fun time reading it. House of Furies was a great first book in a series. There was plenty to make me happy I have the rest of the series, but I also felt satisfied that I got a complete story.

If you like YA horror and folklore elements, House of Furies is a nice blend of both.


Review copy provided by publisher


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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | August 18

My kids went back to school this week. This was definitely the quickest summer ever. At least I read some amazing books this summer! My reading really dies off when summer hits, and I have been picking up one amazing book after another.

We are celebrating our one year anniversary over at Ladies of Horror Fiction next month! We are going to be hosting an #lohfreadathon (wherever and however you'd like to join in!)

You can scroll through our recommendations on Instagram if you need book ideas.

Posted Last Week

I posted my ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review of Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly. I hope you take a look at this book.

Finished Reading

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Yet another amazing book. Hollow Kingdom is so good!

Poetry Magazine July/August 2019 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I also loved the July/August Poetry Magazine collection.

The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon by Todd Zwillich ⭐⭐⭐★★ - This was an interesting audiobook.

Currently Reading

Doorways to the Deadeye by Eric J. Guignard - I'm a little ways into Doorways to the Deadeye and enjoying it so far!

Recent Acquisitions

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang - You guys! I am doing this reading thing all wrong! My preorder for The Dragon Republic arrived, and I haven't even read my copy of The Poppy War yet. I clearly have no idea what I'm doing.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon - I've been longing for the audio version of this beast of a book. I was excited to see it pop up as a daily deal on Audible.

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, August 15, 2019

Book Review | Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

Theme Music is a debut thriller from T. Marie Vandelly.

An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly

For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it, but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old Dixie was left alive, infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter.

Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember, so when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in, re-creating a macabre decor with her family’s salvaged furniture. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the home that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father, or a demon of her own making.

In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another, and, perhaps most tragically, to Dixie herself. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre and redeem what little remains of her soul.

Fans of thrillers and horror pay attention! Theme Music is awesome. It's brutal and it's unreliable, and it's so much fun.

Theme Music is a perfect example of the power of the bookish community. I never would have picked it up on my own, but it was highly recommended by Emily (book.happy). Now I'm highly recommending it to you!


Review copy provided by publisher


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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Book Review | Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion is the latest thriller from Blake Crouch.

Memory makes reality.

That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

I wasn't sure what I would get with Recursion, but I hoped I would get something similar to Dark Matter. Thankfully my wish was granted! I hope Blake Crouch is able to give us a few more releases in this realm of Quantum Physics. I love it!

I'll be honest - Recursion broke my brain a little, but it sure was fun. If you loved Dark Matter, Recursion is a must read.


Review copy provided by publisher


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Monday, August 5, 2019

Kathe Koja Cover Reveal: Velocities

I don't normally participate in cover reveals (I'm pretty sure this is the first one I've ever said yes to!), but I'm making an exception for the new Kathe Koja collection. Get your 2020 wishlists ready! Velocities promises to be "flying at the speed of strange".

Velocities by Kathe Koja

Release Date: April 2020

About Velocities

Kathe Koja’s second short fiction collection, Velocities, is dark, disturbing, and heartfelt. It includes thirteen stories, including two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

About Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja is a writer, director and independent producer. Her work combines and plays with genres, from YA to contemporary to historical to horror. Her novels–including THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, and the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy–have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She creates immersive fiction with a rotating ensemble of video artists, dancers, musicians and performers.

Her latest novel is CHRISTOPHER WILD. VELOCITIES, her second short fiction collection, is upcoming in 2020 from Meerkat Press, along with a reprint of her classic novel THE CIPHER.

She's globally minded, and based in Detroit USA.


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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | August 4

I cannot believe we are gearing up to go back to school already. I'm dreading the madness of having three kids in three different schools again and all of the homework our school district piles on each of them. We are just about finished with all of our clothes and supply shopping. Life is just so fast.

On a much brighter note, this week's reading update is filled with all of the stars.

Posted Last Week

I posted my ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review of Wilder Girls by Rory Power.

Finished Reading

Recursion by Blake Crouch ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Definitely for fans of Dark Matter.

Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling, Adolfo Muñoz García (Translator), Nieves Martín Azofra (Translator) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I'm still loving reading the Spanish editions of Harry Potter. It is taking me a while to make my way through them, but I feel closer than ever to these stories.

Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Wow, was this book a surprise!

What is this madness? All the stars for all the books?! I will have reviews of Recursion and Theme Music up soon.

Currently Reading

The Last Astronaut by David Wellington - I'm starting The Last Astronaut today. I've heard such good things!

Harry Potter y el càliz de fuego (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling, Adolfo Muñoz García (Translator), Nieves Martín Azofra (Translator) - I also started reading Goblet of Fire. These books just get bigger and bigger, don't they?

Recent Acquisitions

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand - We are starting to put a bigger focus on YA and MG horror over at Ladies of Horror Fiction so you will be seeing them more here as well. If you have any favorite LOHF YA or MG books, I'd love your recommendations!

Cardinal Black (Matthew Corbett #7) by Robert R. McCammon - Someday I'm going to make time to catch up on the Matthew Corbett series.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis (Narrator) - The Hobbit is in my TBR jar this year. I loved the Rob Inglis audios of LOTR so I decided it would be a good idea to grab the Rob Inglis narration of The Hobbit.

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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