Author to Author with S.A. Hunt (#TheHellion)

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Malus Domestica continues as Robin Martine and her boyfriend Kenway roadtrip through the American Southwest, only to befriend a mother and daughter on the run from a bikers-turned-werewolves. It’s Mad Max: Fury Road with shifters. I’m pleased to host author S.A. Hunt once again to talk about crafting this story and what’s next.

Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

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ARC Review: THE HELLION (Malus Domestica #3) by S.A. Hunt (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: July 2020
Source: NetGalley eARC
Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

Read a NetGalley eARC from the publisher
Content  and trigger warnings: domestic violence, dismemberment, gore, emetophobia, self-harm, misogyny

The Hellion picks up a few months after the end of I Come With Knives. Robin and her boo Kenway are on a road trip through Texas. On their way, a mother and daughter hide in their RV, away from an abusive father who may or may not be a shapeshifter. High octane violence ensues, and the witch hunter must harness new powers and protect friends new and old.

How Hunt keeps pulling off this pacing is truly outstanding. The book is split into an A side and a B side, like a cassette tape with a series of tracks. The first half definitely focuses on more human problems, while the second half goes full supernatural. The energy, however, does not let up at any step of the way. The denouement works so well because there is a hint of what’s coming next, but with enough breathing room for the characters to process the entire book that just happened

What I also greatly appreciated was that Robin was finally allowed to have some girl friends. The friendships here are spiky, but powerful. There is a lot of love, whether the characters want to admit it to themselves. The way Robin fights for those around her also strikes me as inspiring. Turns out this badass does have a soft interior, even if sometimes it is covered by a demonic exoskeleton (that’s all I’ll say about that.

On 9/15/2020, prepare for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road with shifters and even more found family feels and queer representation.

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: NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS by Stephen Graham Jones (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: September 2020
Source: NetGalley ARC
Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

Read an eARC from NetGalley

A slasher film comes to the page in this misadventure in a teenage prank gone wrong. Sawyer and his friends sneak a dressed-up mannequin into a movie theater and at the end, the mannequin gets up and leaves. Everything goes downhill from there.

This novella nestles deeply into Sawyer’s head. We get everything from his lens: his impressions of his friends, their families, his family, his logic (and all its holes), the town they live in, and all of it. The sentences meander, but paint such a clear image of his descent into paranoid homicide. By the end, you find yourself wondering what’s real and what’s a delusion and it works so well. Like a finely illustrated car wreck, I could not look away. Every moment had me wondering where Sawyer was going next, even when he was straight up telling the reader.

A wild ride from start to finish, definitely a must-read for fans of 80’s films coming to you on 9/1.

 

Review: A CERTAIN HUNGER by Chelsea G. Summers (2019)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2020
Source: Audible Exclusive

Trigger warnings: Rape, cannibalism, butchering of humans, car accident, arson, prison

Books with detestably unlikable female characters hold a special place in my heart. Dorothy Daniels is in prison and recounts her midlife crisis in which she murdered and ate a few of her exes. It is Eat, Pray, Love as narrated by Amy from Gone Girl with cannibalism.

This book does not blink at any of its details. Seeing that Dorothy is a food critic and thus the description of every meal are absolutely top notch, including the ones that would be frowned upon in polite company. The way Daniels unabashedly asserts her power and autonomy, using a variety of tools. No one is safe, until you remember that the narrator is in prison. Summers fantastically teases the answers, a hypnotic ebb and flow between posing questions and delivering responses.

The part that I found most fascinating was the interlude that explored Daniels’ childhood. Some of the choices her parents made definitely influenced her career. But the way that the strength of teen friendship and the unique ways women can harness power through sexuality and information-gathering. These themes continue throughout the story, book-ended with indulgence and violence.

Like a deadly car wreck, you simply cannot look away from the horrors, indulgences, and hungers found within. I read this in basically one sitting, glued to the twists and reveals chapter after chapter after chapter.

 

July 2020 Reading Recap

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I hit my goal of reading 100 books in July! Which sounds absurd, but between Animal Crossing, unemployment, and ongoing lockdowns, there is so much reading to be done (television, for whatever reason, cannot hold my attention).

This month, I did two blog interviews:

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Author to Author with S.A. Hunt (#IComeWithKnives)

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Malus Domestica is a series about a queer YouTuber who hunts witches for the entertainment of her subscribers and for revenge. Join me today in celebrating the release of the second entry, I Come With Knives. Author S.A. Hunt talks about the inspiration behind the scenes, her writing process, and what her favorite reads are.

Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

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Review: FEVER DREAM by Samanta Schweblin (2014)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2014
Source: Library Audiobook

Listened to the audiobook

A short, psychologically twisty novel about a mother at death’s door talking to a child which may or may not be hers.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It takes place in the country, and the lengths the descriptions go on to depict it as a respite from the city crank the unsettling. The fact that it is told entirely in dialogue with none of the tenses matching in a cause-and-effect way increases the dread. Many different types of fear are tackled in this one, especially around parenthood and acceptance, but also of mortality and the things not done yet.

The pacing and tensions are also superb, which makes this book really live up to its title.

 

ARC Review: THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones (2020)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: July 2020
Source: NetGalley eARC
Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content and trigger warning for gore, animal violence, body horror, death of (several) dogsI like audibly screaming when reading a horror novel. The Only Good Indians follows four childhood friends who got a little greedy on a hunting trip and are now paying the price as adults.

This book hits all the highs of horror with gruesome imagery, specific language, and a deeply personal story. It is so intimate, with several layers of lived experience that just add depth to a book that also excels at delivering thrills. What makes this story particularly terrifying is the way Jones deliberately and pointedly plays with POV. For the most part, we see the terrors unfold from either Lewis, Ricky, Cass, or Gabe’s POV, but there are some surprises, like the shift to second person told from the Elk Head Woman’s perspective. She’s scary both from a character design standpoint and the strength of her character arc.

There are so many characters in this book and none of them feel frivolous or extraneous. Jones plays with the “final girl” trope in a way that I can’t speak more about because spoilers, but it is such a great exploration.

Gross at times and makes playing basketball one-on-one an absolutely terrifying experience, definitely a favorite new release of 2020.