I read 198 books this year in a split of: 39 ARCs, 59 audiobooks, 85 manga volumes, 9 physical copies, 2 light novels, and 6 eBooks. As my boyfriend said, “That’s a lot of things, Jo.” It is that time of year where I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my top 20 2021 books, top 20 books from before 2021, and, a new feature, 5 manga.
I realize that I make lists for books I’m excited for and book I want to read, and failed on both those lists. So, my lists for 2022 books is mostly about boosting others works regardless of if I personally get around to reading them. That’s just how it is when you’re employed and vastly mis-measure what kind of focus you’ll have as the year goes on. Moving also robbed me of a bunch of my focus, which should not have been as surprising as it is. On top of working full time. On top of being in a relationship and trying to participate in the communities I’m a part of.
The Death of Jane Lawrence blends the gothic atmosphere and mood of Crimson Peak with some chaos magic and a marriage of convenience that turns into anything but. Caitlin Starling delivers a spooky season treat here, and I’m so thrilled to talk to her on this eve of release about the kind of research and craft work that went into this viscerally terrifying, ghostly novel.
August and September were two months I can only describe as liminal spaces. Long story short, we moved into one apartment, and then transferred to another apartment. I didn’t feel like doing an August recap without having settled in. So here we are. I’ve also been busy otherwise.
I did several author interviews (and there are so many more to come):
Read an eARC from NetGalley Content warning: gore, blood, old-timey surgery, miscarriage, vivisection, drug abuse, gaslighting, war, PTSD
Jane Shoringfield thinks she has it all figured out when she gets into a marriage of convenience with the handsome Doctor Augustine Lawrence. She gets to continue being an accountant without the other trappings of marriage. Things aren’t as they seem, however, when she spends the night at Lindridge Hall. Things go bump in the night, red-eyed ghosts visit, and Doctor Lawrence has friends with more occult interests. Next comes a whirlwind of chaos magic, unfinished rituals, intricate mathematics, and scares perfect for fans of Crimson Peak and Penny Dreadful.
The author Caitlin Starling will be featured on the blog on October 4th, the eve of release date.
I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
Happy release day to Yellow Jessamine from Neon Hemlock Press. This novella is a gothic tale of murder, poison, and sapphic pining, perfect for the fall season. In this interview, author Caitlin Starling talks about research, inspiration, and her favorite poisons.
Summer is coming to an end, I guess. The autumn equinox doesn’t hit until September 22nd, but we can already get pumpkin spice lattes, so I’m saying summer is over. A few more books read this month. No interviews, but I have so much excitement coming in September. Continue reading →
Content warnings: Poisoning, ideation, vomitingYellow Jessamine starts as a boat belonging to Evelyn Perdanu’s shipping company arrives home several people get sick with a mysterious illness. She’s already developed a bit of a reputation with her garden and tragic past, but it’s a race against transmission as the afflicted have one obsession: Evelyn.
Paranoid is one word to describe Evelyn. The way the fears, both self-inflicted and external, permeate the page creates its own kind of atmosphere. It adds to the gothic qualities of the novel, with the mourning veils, sprawling mansion, haunted histories, and the burden of an empire. There is also a sense of cycles that stretches from beginning to end that’s very well executed, but to say anything more than that, would be spoilers.
I really enjoyed Evelyn’s characterization beyond the paranoia. She has some clear regrets and an agenda that isn’t just her own survival. In addition, her expertise on poisons and medicines (and the balance between the two) fits and flows throughout the narrative and works double-duty as a means to set the mood. Plus, the love between Evelyn and Violetta is the kind of queer pining that fits the mood of these kinds of deadly, melancholic works.
An excellent entry into the gothic literature canon, with some queer pining throughout.