ARC Review: YOU FED US TO THE ROSES by Carlie St. George (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror Short Story Collection
Year Release: October 18th, 2022
Buy Link: Books2Read

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Received an ARC from Robot Dinosaur Press
Content warnings: ableist language, animal death, bullying, child death, death, domestic violence, gore, harm to animals, imprisonment, intimate partner abuse, murder, parental death, parental neglect, physical abuse, religious abuse, sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts, suicide, violence

These short stories are for horror fans by a horror fan. From demonic possession to werewolves to slashers, each genre gets time to shine in this forthcoming collection from Robot Dinosaur Press.

Each one has a treat for all kinds of horror lover, and I’m looking forward to sharing a blog interview with the author on October 18th, 2022.

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Review: THE DISAPPEARING SPOON: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Element by Sam Kean (2010)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2010
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: war crimes, human experimentation, mention of racism, misogyny

Sam Kean weaves a yarn that takes a trip through the entire periodic table. It’s mostly in order by linear history and delves into a bit about how the table itself can be a communication tool with extra-terrestrials beings (which are more likely to exist than one might think).

Much like The Icepick Surgeon, Kean delivers again on engaging storytelling with appropriate historical context, where madness isn’t as much the focus as it is an emergent property of scientific history.

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September 2022 Reading Recap

Somehow, September also saw me in New York City. We can thank the CDC for letting me reunite with my best friend from my childhood in Poland, along with several others who I haven’t seen in years even before the pandemic. This is also a reminder for folks to get the bivalent booster if you are 18 and haven’t had COVID within the last 3 months.

I finished my revision and resubmitted it, which is my big project completion that robbed me lots of reading time. Now, I’m resting an embarking on a reading adventure to learn how to write a horny goth book. Hopefully, I’ll be able recapping that in October’s post. But we’ll see.

This month’s blog interviews were:

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ARC Review: THE STORY OF THE HUNDRED PROMISES by Neil Cochrane (2022)

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

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read a physical ARC
Content warning: queerphobia (specifically against aromantic and asexual people), transphobia, gender dysphoria, menstruation

The Story of the Hundred Promises is a fantasy novel that centers queer people and queerness in a fairy tale setting that feels lived in steeped, steeped in a familiar aesthetic and the trappings of a classic, complete with curses, magicians, fae, and more. Darragh, a trans sailor, is summoned to his family home where his father lies dying. To help, he goes on a quest to find the magician who helped him tradition several years ago.

The story that follows is full of tenderness, hard-won acceptance, and magic.

An interview with the author is going up on release day, October 4th, 2022.

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ARC Review: DIREWOOD by Catherine Yu (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to a NetGalley AudioARC
Content warning: body & bug horror, death, on-page violence, racial microaggressions, vomiting

Aja’s perfect sister Fiona goes missing and strange things start happening: blood rain, a mysterious fog, blood-sucking grubs, all precursors to the arrival of a vampire. She strikes a bargain with Padraic and tries to free the kids in his thrall, including her ex-friend Mary.

Gross, goth, and steeped in 90’s vampire aesthetic, a fun read for folks constantly searching for new vampire content.

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ARC Review: THE UNBALANCING by R.B. Lemberg (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an ARC from the publisher
Content warnings: earthquakes and the aftermath of natural disasters, references to past ableism

Gelle-Geu is an island city whose star god is restless and earthquakes come closer and closer. Ranra has taken on the role of starkeeper, and her first task is to unravel the problems left attended by her predecessor. She seeks the counsel of Lilún, a poet whose ancestor is begging them to take on the role of starkeeper. Their relationship ignites while disaster strikes, and it’s a race against star charts and magic to possibly save the city.

This novel has all the dreaminess of poetry and being told a bedtime story with intense calamity on the horizon and tender romance at its core.

An interview with the author will be posted to celebrate the release of Geometries of Belonging: Stories and Poems from the Birdverse on November 29th, release day.

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Review: SINKABLE: Obsession, the Deep Sea, and the Shipwreck of the Titanic by Daniel Stone (2022)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2022
Source: Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: drowning, deaths at sea, maritime disasters, Atlantic slave trade

I was definitely one of those kids with a RMS Titanic obsession as a child, that honestly, had nothing to do with the Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet romance movie (didn’t want that until much, much later). The level of hubris and poor planning in the name of aesthetics is what captured many people’s attention, but for me, it’s the physics and aftermath that fascinated me. Humans are characters, but the focus here rests on shipwrecks in general, as a study, as a phenomenon, as a hobby, and some of the greatest tragedies that befell humans on the regular before air travel rose to prominence.

The specific lens that this book tells the tale of the fated voyage is strictly through the point of view of finding and uncovering shipwrecks. Entertaining, informative, and so focused on the final phase of a ship’s life time, rather than the story of a single ship’s demise.

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ARC Review: NONA THE NINTH (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir (2022)

Genre: Adult Science Fantasy
Year Release: September 13th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: gore, references to main character deaths, dissociation, vomiting, gun violence, medical experimentation

The third entry of The Locked Tomb trilogy stars a character born literally six months before the beginning of the book, the eponymous Nona. Innocent and bursting with good will and curiosity, she’s a teacher’s aid at a school in a city on the verge of war against “zombies.” A birthday party gets ruined as a certain tomb is about to opened, and it’s a race against time and necromancy to figure out who, exactly, Nona is.

An entry into the quartet most interested in telling a story than stringing together memes and tropes, Nona by far is my favorite, because of the focus on characterization and literal ticking clock pacing. And the dog does not die (you’re welcome).

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Manga Review: FIRE PUNCH Vol. 1 & 2 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (2018)

Genre: Horror Seinen
Year Release in English: 2018
Source: Viz Media

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fire Punch is the first manga by Tatsuki Fujimoto, best known for Chainsaw Man. This dystopian horror in which certain humans are blessed with elemental powers feels scoured directly from the litany of things I like in my fiction. It’s hyperviolent, it’s bleak as all get out, there’s an ice witch who destroyed the world, there are people with powers and completely irresponsible ways of using, it’s complete Jo bait.

I’m only two volumes in, and I am definitely continuing with the series as the need for treats come in because wow.

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ARC Review: LUCKY GIRL, How I Became A Horror Writer: A Krampus Story by M. Rickert (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: September 13th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Trigger/Content warning: serial murder, dead family, stalking, spiritual abuse, ritual torture (aftermath)

Ro is a struggling writer with a couple of stories and a group of friends who seemed to have come together randomly at a diner during Christmas. They meet for several Christmases more, and each one seems to end worse than the one that came before as the past haunts them.

More creepy than scary, with people proving to be the real horror with folkloric elements woven throughout that makes the reader wonder if there’s sinister spirits afoot or if people are just like that.

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