Review: EXTASIA by Claire Legrand (2022)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2022
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: religious trauma, misogyny, dead parent (mother), dead dog, attempted sexual assault, suicide (mentioned), vomiting, gore

Extasia takes place in a post apocalypse where supposedly the last bastion of humanity is a village called Haven, run by patriarchal fundamentalists who believe that a woman’s role is to be a pure baby maker. The main character, whose saint name is Amity, has wanted nothing more than to be a saint, especially after her mother was ousted from the village. But she catches two other girls wandering off to a coven of literal witches, and suddenly, she has an idea to put an end to the increasingly mysterious and gory deaths of the men in Haven once and for all.

The magic is very real and the cult seems omnipotent, this book is a little less The VVitch and little more like The Village, but definitely in conversation with works like The Grace Year by Kim Liggett.

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Review: FLOWERS FOR THE SEA by Zin E. Rocklyn (2021)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2021
Source: Sirens Con 2021 (Unabridged Books Buy Link)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warning: realities of birth, generational trauma, vomiting, infant harm and death, body horror, threat of drowning

On an ark escaping from a flooded kingdom, Iraxi is ostracized both on land and at sea, with her pregnancy the only thing keeping her company. Claustrophobic in its intimacy, this story has her narrowly escaped hell only to find herself in a new nightmare of razorfangs and other things that stalk the deep.

The language in this novel is intimate and precise. The location is tight – it takes place entirely on a ship escaping from a drowned world. Outside, there is the danger of literal sea monsters. Inside, there is starvation and distrust, especially as Iraxi seems to be the only one to have successfully gotten pregnant in the last five years. There’s hope in the new birth, but also fear of what comes next from her fellow passengers and rejection as Iraxi questions if she even wants the child altogether. The other characters aren’t much help either, though they definitely explain a lot as to why Iraxi feels the way she does about her predicament, both personally and on a community-level.

The horror found within pulls no punches, with key moments engaging both visual fears as well as audio, making for incredible reading jump scares. Pregnancy is part of the peril here, as is the child that comes of it. There is some body horror in addition to uncomfortable nightmare sequences to depict the before-times. I won’t go more into specifics because it’s best experienced first half, but it is as terrifying as it is awe-inspiring.

Anger simmers and propels the plot forward. Though there is time ticking with the upcoming arrival of the baby, Rocklyn keeps the reader going with hints as to what got Iraxi on this path, why she’s so angry, arriving an ending that tracks perfectly.

ARC Review: LURE by Tim McGregor (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: July 18th, 2022
Buy Links: Tenebrous Press Site | Kindle Edition

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the publisher
Content warning: dismemberment, vomiting, physical child abuse (depicted), infection, spousal abuse (aftermath depicted), alcoholism, poverty, blood, gore

In a small fishing village named for a famed hero, Kaspar and his family run the local parish and rely on generosity to make ends meet. Things start getting weird and deadly when a mermaid arrives in town. People start going missing and madness ensues while deciding whether

Haunting and folkloric with elegant prose, this novella is a treat of deadly mermaids, townsfolk getting it wrong, and what feels like a rapture.

An interview with the author will be going up on release day, July 18th, 2022.

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Review: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (2013)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2013
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: misogyny, suicide

Finally, at long last, I have been granted the ability to listen to this mess of a tale. Enron started off as a natural gas company looking to disrupt the industry which turned into strict trading of energy that led to an energy crisis that endangered and disrupted the lives of millions. There’s much economic and office-political maneuvering to be found within this book.

Fascinating in its deception and complexity, the authors of this account provide fiction-esque portrayals of the key players while keeping in mind the vast losses and far-reaching consequences.

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ARC Review: JUST LIKE HOME by Sarah Gailey (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: July 19th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warning: murder, torture, gore, blood, sleep paralysis demons, emotional abuse, parental terminal illness

Vera Crowder comes home to settle the estate while her mother lives out her final days. Their relationship has always been strained and it doesn’t help that her father is Francis Crowder, a storied serial killer who used the house for his deadly extracurriculars. Though her father died years ago, something else haunts the house, leaving behind notes and making sure Vera doesn’t get a wink of sleep.

Claustrophobic, melancholy, and atmospheric, this story about a woman packing up her family’s possibly haunted house is a delight for both true crime and horror fans alike.

An interview with the author will be going up on release day, July 19th, 2022.

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ARC Review: JACKAL by Erin E. Adams (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: October 4th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warning: kidnapping, gore, child death, alcoholism, domestic violence, partner abuse, fatphobia (challenged), anxiety, racism

Liz Rocher returns to her predominantly white town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania to attend her best friend’s wedding. She thought the worst she would have to deal with are micro-aggressions and passive-aggressive reunions with people she hasn’t seen, in some cases, since high school. But when the couple’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing in the world, what unfolds is a race against time and a horrific history of Black girls going missing in the woods every summer for years.

It’s a little bit The Ritual meets Hereditary on a community level, and a lot bit about a divided past that haunts not only the town as a whole but also the characters driving the story.

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Author to Author with Andrew Joseph White (Hell Followed With Us)

Hell Followed With Us came out this week, and if you’re a fan of Resident Evil and The Last of Us, but want more books with trans and autistic characters, you’re in a for a treat. Benji is a trans boy raised by a cult to become the ultimate monster weapon, Seraph. But he wants none of that, and instead runs away to find a survivor community of other queer kids. They team up to take down the cult which also ushered in the apocalypse in the first place.

Join me in celebrating this gory debut in this interview with author Andrew Joseph White. Learn more about the inspiration behind this ferocious book, outlining versus pantsing, what he’s working on now, and what he looks forward to reading later.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

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Author to Author with Maya Deane (Wrath Goddess Sing)

Wrath Goddess Sing is now available wherever books are sold and wow, I am so excited for everyone to read this retelling of the Iliad. Achilles is a trans woman and a gods-blessed warrior who fights for love as fiercely as she fights for glory. This story is full of multi-faceted womanhood, tense battles, complex cultures, linguistic exchanges, and detailed mythology. It’s fun. It’s fierce.

I’m thrilled to have author Maya Deane on my blog today to celebrate the book’s release and chat a bit about the craft and mythological inspiration behind this trans take on a Greek epic.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

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Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 5 by Tomoki Izumi (2022)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Ghosts, body horror, disturbing imagery

The ghosts continue to be horrifying and Miko is avoiding them with varying success. We get some more school insights, but the plot moves along nicely.

The female friendships in this series are so good. There’s the link between Godmother and Miko, there’s Yuria, Miko, and Hana as a trio, there’s also Hana and Miko as lifelong friends. The protection and care they show towards each other is so cute. I really liked the scenes of Miko trying to preserve Hana’s aura via snacks and meals.

Meanwhile, Yuria investigates Shindou Romm’s ghost tours. The ghosts are the scariest yet, and it’s unclear whether or not Romm can see them. The Ardyn Izunia-looking YouTuber has several tricks and grifts, and possibly blackmail, up his sleeve, and I’m so nervous for Miko teaming up with him to learn the truth about the mysterious shrine.

May 2022 Reading Recap

My May goals were fairly modest: get new glasses, start the process of renewing my passport, and continue working on the revision. I did all that! And I worked out 3-4 times a week, and I feel like things are steadily trucking along. I think I can finally listen to audiobooks again, and I super missed it.

There was an author interview practically every week. Take a look:

June is my birthday month! And my goal there is to catch up on my reading goal (I’m 4 books behind), especially since I’m traveling at the end of the month.

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