Trio Review: The SMALL SPACES series by Katherine Arden (2018-2021)

From left to right: covers for Small Spaces (2018), Dead Voices (2019), and Dark Waters (2021), all by Katherine Arden

To get in the mood for spooky season, I’ve decided to dip back into some horror reads. Katherine Arden’s shift to Middle Grade has been on my radar for a bit. What a delightful series it is. We follow the scary adventures of Ollie Adler, Coco Zintner, and Brian Battersby, three middle schoolers with different experiences of the supernatural. These books are scary but heartwarming, with tense situations and fantastic character development. The cliffhanger Dark Waters ends on makes me impatient for the next book, but they are a delight and highly recommended for fans of things like Over the Garden Wall, Crimson Peak, and urban legends coming to life.

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Duo Review: DEVIANT (1985) and PSYCHO USA (2012) by Harold Schechter

It took me ten days to listen to the interview between Last Podcast on the Left, Harold Schechter, and Eric Powell discussing their new graphic novel project because I kept getting distracted by reading Schechter’s work. I thought it would make more sense to combine the reviews.

Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original “Psycho” (1985) on the left and Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You’ve Never Heard of (2012) on the right, both by Harold Schechter

I spend more time than is probably recommended listening to Last Podcast on the Left. Which is why it surprised me that it took me days to get through an interview that’s just under an hour long. Infected with Marcus Parks’ enthusiasm for Schechter’s work, I wanted to dive in and do some of my own reading. Wow, the hype is definitely well-earned. The discussion of mental health in both works seem somewhat progressive for their time, especially given the subject matter. The structure of both novels also kept me engaged and is worth studying from a story-telling perspective.

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Duo Review: THE PROJECT by Courtney Summers (2021) and THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN by Jeff Guinn (2017)

I read these books in close proximity to each other. After learning that the non-fiction was used as research for the fiction, I thought it would be neat to combine them.

The Project (2021) by Courtney Summers (left) and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (2017) by Jeff Guinn

Cults are a subject that have fascinated true crime writers and fans for quite some time. From their deadly demises to the strategic and manipulative ways they entice people to their group, there is so much to examine, and so many opportunities for heart-break. In 2021’s The Project, Courtney Summers tells the story of a budding journalist, Lo, who tries to reconnect with her sister, Bea, who had been lost to a cult, The Unity Project. The rise of Lev Warren can be easily mapped onto the rise of Jim Jones and Peoples Temple in the 70s, a socialist organization which had a flimflam man who believed himself God at its center. Both books are chilling, heartbreaking, and compliment each other so well.

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October 2020 TBR

Doing something a little different this month: posting about books I recently acquired or have some kind of deadline on reading.

As far as blog posts go, later this month, I’ll be posting about my second bout of burn-out. Riveting.

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August 2020 TBR

I’m wrapping up a beta read and starting another one this month. How is it August? What is time?

I will also be launching a serial on Wattpad sometime this month! It’s called Sable Cetacea Revolution and it will have mechs, whale titans, queer rep, and political intrigue.

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June 2020 TBR

I read most of May’s TBR. Check out this month’s reading list, trying to crunch through my ARCs and things that are in progress according to Goodreads. Things with a * are from last month’s TBR.

Hard Copies

  • Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus*
  • The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
  • The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco*
  • Scapegracers by H.A. Clarke (ARC)*

Kindle

  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (ARC)*
  • Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore*
    • In progress
  • The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer (ARC)*
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC)*
  • Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark (ARC)
  • Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano (ARC)
  • Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin*
  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (ARC)

Audiobooks

  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer*
  • The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2) by Jenn Lyons
  • Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall*
  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  • Walk Among Us by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, Caitlin Starling
  • White Tears by Hari Kunzru

In terms of other reads, I have a novel and a short story to beta read. My own work will continue marinating in the back of my head as I prepare for the rewrite.

May 2020 TBR

Shelter-in-place continues through May in Illinois. Halfway through this month, I’m going to slowly start making a plan regarding employment and read these fine reads in the mean time. Things with a * are from last month’s TBR.

Hard Copies

  • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
  • Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus*
  • The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco*
  • Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford (ARC)
  • Scapegracers by H.A. Clarke (ARC)*

Kindle

  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (ARC)
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (ARC)
  • Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore*
  • The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer (ARC)*
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC)*
  • The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy (ARC)
  • The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (ARC)
  • The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore (ARC)
  • Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin*

Audiobooks

  • Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer
  • Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

My own novel is still with alpha readers, so I’m returning the favor and also doing some beta reading this month.