Author to Author with Caitlin Starling (#TheDeathofJaneLawrence)

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.

Buy Links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

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August and September 2021 Reading Recap

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):

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ARC Review: THE DEATH OF JANE LAWRENCE by Caitlin Starling (2021)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: October 5th, 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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.

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2021 Bookish Hype Train

2020 was trash, but brought us many, many gifts in terms of books that came out. Here are the presents coming to us in 2021 that I’m personally far too excited to read.

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My 2020 in Reading

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!

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Author to Author with Caitlin Starling (#YellowJessamine)

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.

Buy links: Physical copy | ebook

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August 2020 Reading Recap

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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

ARC Review: YELLOW JESSAMINE by Caitlin Starling (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy Novella
Year Release: September 2020
Source: eARC from Neon Hemlock Press
Buy links: Physical copy | ebook

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.

June 2020 Reading Recap

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June was my birthday! I wound up reading a whole bunch of ARCs, a few new favorites, and even interviewed K.A. Doore to celebrate the release of the Chronicles of Ghadid finale, The Unconquered City.

In addition the blog, you will now be able to find my reviews on The StoryGraph, in addition to Goodreads. My handle is JoReadsBooks

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Review: WALK AMONG US by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling (2020)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror Novellas
Year Release: 2020
Source: Libro.fm

Content warning for suicide ideation, blood consumption, gore, violence, manipulation

Genevieve Gornichec’s “A Sheep Among Wolves” performed by Erika Ishii
A college student looks for companionship and finds it in the unlikeliest of places. I really appreciate how Gornichec approached the recruitment strategy, and laid out a solid framework for that final reveal. The mental health aspect of it was also relatable, plus the general loneliness that comes with being in college. Very atmospheric.

Cassandra Khaw’s “Fine Print” performed by Neil Kaplan
Of the three, I think this one might have been the grossest. Khaw takes the approach of food insensitivities and the paperwork that goes into  becoming a vampire. It also tackles individual interpretations of privilege that are both incisive and has you rooting for the antagonists in the best way. Sometimes the vampires are the good guys.

Caitlin Starling’s “Land of Milk and Honey” performed by Xe Sands
The setpiece of a verfiable blood farm was exquisite in this work. Leigh just wants to have an ethical source of vampire food, and nearly compromises the Masquerade in the process. If you’re looking for some sapphic pining, this novellas also has plenty of that to go around. The women are complex, and the attention to detail regarding animal husbandry is particularly good.

A must-listen for people needing more vampire stories in their life.