COVER REVEAL + REVIEW: HEART, HAUNT, HAVOC by Freydís Moon

Genre: Adult Gothic Horror Romance
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Buy Links: Amazon | Etsy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had the immense privilege of reading this book early. It’s about a haunted house, a broken relationship, mysticism, and genuine scares. It’s also incredibly hot, and the healing but horrifying journey these characters go through made my heart swoon.

I’m incredibly excited to be part of today’s cover drop. You are completely unprepared.

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January 2023 Reading Recap

Happy 2023! January feels like it was many things. I wrote over 15,000 words of fanfiction and short fiction for deadlines. I re-outlined all of my novel code-named AquaShame. I did a lot of reading and watching movies, and honestly, it’s been a pretty good time. The biggest thing, however, is that I dropped the title of my forthcoming novella! I made a handy dandy press kit that has all the information you need: content warnings, links to goodreads/storygraph, pre-order information, and more.

Blog Interviews are resuming next month with Freydís Moon (who is also showing up on the blog tomorrow with a cover drop).

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Review: THE DANGERS OF SMOKING IN BED: Stories by Mariana Enríquez (2021)

Genre: Adult Horror Story Collection
Year Release: 2021
Buy Link: Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
General content warnings: Blood, body horror, missing children, murdered women

In preparation for reading an ARC of Our Share of Night, I decided to delve into my backlist and read this collection from the author. I was not disappointed. This collection has a variety of terror, mostly in the form of hauntings and the way it affects the narrators who have to live in the places. But the problems presented are deeply human and unsettling in their rawness. I’ll mention my favorite stories in this brief review.

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ARC Review: BAD CREE by Jessica Johns (2023)

Genre: Adult Literary Horror
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Buy Link: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the publisher
Content warnings: death of a sibling, brain hemorrhage, discussion of alcoholism, blood, gore, violence against animals (birds, the dog does not die), drowning. generational trauma

Mackenzie lost her older sister, Sabrina, several years prior in what seemed like a natural cause. But recently, horrible nightmares have been plaguing her sleep, including items being pulled from the dreamscape into the real world. Turning to her remaining sister, cousin, mother, and aunties for help, perhaps she can quiet the supernatural disturbance once and for all.

Johns masterfully uses dreams as both a narrative and a plot device to tell the story of trauma both personal and generational with a focus on finding support in one’s family and community for respite and healing.

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My 2022 in Reading: Jo Needs a Nap

I read 192 books this year in a split of: 54 ARCs (up from last year), 33 audiobooks (down from last year), 72 manga volumes (down from last year), 20 physical copies (up from last year), 8 light novels (up from last year), and 5 eBooks (down from last year). I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my favorite 20 2022 books, favorite 10 books from before 2021, and my favorite 5 manga. I would have done a favorite 20 of backlist books, but, unfortunately, I did not prioritize this year, and I think that contributed to my exhaustion.

Overall, it’s not as many things as last year, and it did bring me dangerously close to burning out on reading. 2023 will be a year for resetting some of my priorities with regards to reading, which will focus on my backlog and reading a whole lot of light novels.

Note: Harper Collins book links have been replaced with the linktree for the Harper Collins Union until that publisher goes back to the bargaining table

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December 2022 Reading Recap

December is a strange month for me because of traveling to get home and other plans, and having to recon with my own success at completing my own goals (not going to touch on that whatsoever here). It was a month where I read a bunch of things in translation and a singular ARC which feels more in the direction of how I want to be reading into 2023.

December’s only blog interview:

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Original Work: A Problem for Tomorrow’s You

This is a horror story about how taking ADHD meds feels like putting on a glamour every morning and what happens if the glamour achieves its own sense of self.

It was originally written for an anthology that fell through and its publisher completely folded. After a slew of lovely rejections in other markets, I decided to give it a home by self-publishing it on my site. Enjoy!

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Review: EARTHLINGS by Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (trans.) (2020)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2020
Source: Audible

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Trigger warnings: child sexual assault (graphic), incest, murder, suicidal ideation, child abuse, child neglect, depression, murder, cannibalism, vomiting

Don’t let the adorable cover fool you, this book is an exploration of trauma and never feeling quite human. Natsuki is essentially a child neglected by her parents and her best friend is the plush toy on the cover, Piyyut. Summer proves a reprieve when she spends time with her best friend and cousin Yu, while her city home life is a nightmare of being preyed upon by a teacher and her parents ignoring her. What ensues is a deeply interior journey of understanding “the factory” that makes the adults around Natsuki the way they are and the stark ways she does not want to partake in that system, either implicitly or explicitly.

Brutal in its prose and harsh in its indictment of the ways parents and society fail children at every turn, absolutely heed the trigger warnings before giving this one a read.

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November 2022 Reading Recap

November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).

November’s blog interviews were:

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Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 6 by Tomoki Izumi (2022)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Ghosts, body horror, disturbing imagery

Miko goes to the temple hidden by a forbidden barrier with Mitsue and Rom, despite Mitsue warning them both about trying to put those spirits to rest. The young woman might be the key to putting the disturbance to rest, however.

This volume has smaller cast, featuring just the three in the summary with references to Hana and Yuria in flashbacks and mentions. The focus of the art in this one, as a result, is centered on the horrific ghosts, and Izumi really shows off what they’re capable of. I recoiled at some of the panels, and it’s great fun.

I did not expect to get so emo about the ghost psychic shill, Rom. The backstory about him and Mitsue is among the most touching. While this series veers towards more comedy and slice-of-life, those take a backseat to horror and more linear plot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious that Rom metal music playing from his phone as part of his ghost-taming arsenal. But, it’s a mostly seriously volume that has me on the edge of my seat for the next volume.