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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Review: KNIVES IN YOUR EYES by RooFiction (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy Erotica
Buy Links: itch.io | AO3 (Read for Free)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Trigger warnings: Full list here, gore, body horror, surgery, eye trauma, torture, insects, graphic sex, dubious consent & lack of consent, incest

This is a self-published novel about a boy who can’t die, a professor who’s actually a god, and hunter seeking a new job. Val is a little freak with a heart of gold who seeks to understand all the people around him while he helps the professor, Dream, search for his brother, Mare, while newly-minted humanoid monsters called spiders wreak havoc in city centers. The reunion is fraught with danger at every corner, including a man called the Cardinal Major with literal daggers in his eye sockets.

It’s intense with some gorgeous writing and a compelling found family, Please heed the trigger and content warnings before diving into this one.

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Author to Author with Aden Polydoros (Bone Weaver)

Bone Weaver tells the story of a girl raised by benevolent undead, a tsar on the run, and a boy witch helping each other survive in a secondary world fantasy inspired by imperial Russia. Its layered world-building, examination of monstrosity, sisterly love, and queer characters make this an enchanting read that will delight any fan of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

Today, Aden tells me a bit about putting this dark fantasy adventure together, from its open image to the research behind the tale. He also shares how the story evolved and what he’s working on next.

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

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August 2022 Reading Recap

August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!

I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.

This month’s blog interviews were:

September is off to a hype start, with me getting to announce a short story with the inaugural edition of the Best Served Cold zine.

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Author to Author with Freydís Moon (With a Vengeance)

I’m so thrilled to have Freydís Moon on my blog today to talk about their debut novel, With a Vengeance. Kye is a human who has a lot on their shoulder: grief, a family estate, a demonic haunting, and a rogue ICE agent sniffing around. This dark paranormal erotic romance is as affirming and as it is hot, while featuring a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe.

Today, Freydís chats with me about the origins of this novel, the myriad projects coming down the pipeline, and the works they’re looking forward to most.

Buy Links: Amazon | Signed Paperback

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ARC Review: BONE WEAVER by Aden Polydoros (2022)

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

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Content warning: on-page murder and violence, decapitation, gun violence, body horror, off-page dismemberment, reference to the mutilation of corpses, religious and ethnic persecution, death of a parent (off-page)

Toma lives in the wilderness with her benevolent upyri parents and younger sister. A dirigible erupts near their home, where the found family nurses a boy back to help. He turns out to Mikhail, the tsar who is on the run from violent revolutionaries. The two run off to find Toma’s sister, Galina, stolen by enemies, and pick up a snarky boy witch on the way.

With layered world-building that examines monstrosity and otherness with an endearing cast, this one is a must-read for fans of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

An interview with the author is going up on September 20th, release day.

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ARC Review: BABEL, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: August 23rd, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Trigger/Content warning: death of a parent, racism, microaggressions, colonialism, imperialism, gun violence, blood, vomiting, sexual harassment, murder, suicidal ideation, child abuse, parental abuse

When Robin Swift’s mother dies of cholera in Canton, a British professor Richard Lovell whisks him off to England to be trained in Greek and Latin to attend the translation program at Oxford University. He befriends his cohort of three other students, Ramy, Letty, and Victoire, but what lies beneath is a mechanism that furthers white British supremacy and goals of global domination. This book and its characters are having none of it, and it begins an exploration of the role of language and translation as a weapon and tool of colonialism.

Magical, nuanced, intense, and gut-wrenching, this is definitely going to live in my heart as one of my favorite reads of 2022.

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ARC Review: THE STONE ROAD by Trent Jamieson (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: July 19th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Trigger/Content warning: alcoholism, death of a relative, vomiting, harm against animals, death, grief

Jean March protects her village from the dead while the paw at her, begging to be heard, begging for more of their own. Her grandma was to supposed to teach her in the abilities to combat the supernatural forces threatening Casement Rise, but when a mysterious from the calamity called Furnace arrives, it’s time to speed run an education in magic and the hungry forces wanting to bring the world to ruin.

This book definitely scratched the itch that constantly chases the vibes of The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Gothic, decaying but not bleak, with an ending that draws on hope that can only be pulled from a community’s strong bonds.

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Manga Review: MADE IN ABYSS Vol. 10 by Akihito Tsukushi (2022)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Body horror, gore, suicidal ideation
There may be spoilers for Volumes 1 through 3, 4 and 5, and 6 through 9.

We’re at the end of another arc in Made in Abyss and all I can say is: glad Riko made another friend, but holy shit at what cost.

The Hollow Village’s upset is definitely more philosophical than strictly bad bodily shit happens to the characters (though there is plenty of that). So, seeing all the emotional threads come together made me glued to each chapter.

I have a theory that what makes dark fantasy and grimdark slap so hard is the promise of cool stuff to look at amidst all the distress and duress. The battle between Faputa and the Turbinid-Dragon is absolutely incredible. It’s so easy to follow, but what really shines here is the culmination of the themes and stakes. I love how Tsukushi ties together the entire concept of value, but more importantly, how it ties into humanity, especially as the bends in this level of the abyss lead to loss of said humanity.

They’re at the literal bottom of the barrel, and I’m so nervous about what’s to come.

Manga Review: THE KINGDOMS OF RUIN Vol. 3 & 4 by yoruhashi (2021-2022)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2020 – 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series. Click here for my reviews of Volumes 1 and 2.

This series continues delivering hyper violence with a politically-charged back drop while humans witches face off in a war of obliteration while one young man is on a mission to eliminate them both.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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