ARC Review: GEOMETRIES OF BELONGING: Stories and Poems from the Birdverse by R.B. Lemberg (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy Collection
Year Release: November 29th, 2022
Buy Link: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Received an eARC from the author
Content warnings: In-universe prejudice, discussions of war, grief

The Birdverse is among the richest worlds I have ever been given the gift of visiting. Between The Four Profound Weaves and The Unbalancing, it is evident that this is a wholly realized world with its only political structures and magic system. This latest excursion, a collection of short stories and poems, really bring forth that incredibly unique creativity. Told in a multitude of styles, from missives to annotations to more structured tales, this collection offers an invitation to a world ruled by the magic of names and where the land responds to the human activity happening in its space.

R.B. Lemberg will be featured on the blog on November 29th, 2022.

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Review: THE LAST WISH by Andrzej Sapkowski (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy Short Story Collection
Year Release: 2022 Deluxe Edition (2008 first English release, 1993 in Poland)
Buy Link: Physical Copy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: violence, gore, references to genocide, references to rape, fantasy racism, dismemberment, war

I guess I am on a Sapkowski kick. This time, I am returning to that Geralt tradition by rereading The Last Wish collection of short stories. An excellent introduction to the fantasy world of the witcher, where Geralt just wants to get by by slaying monsters and earning coin. In this one, we are introduced to mainstays of the series, like Dandelion (Jaskier), Yennefer, and several of the sorcerers and kings causing problems on purpose. A modern classic for all fantasy fans, these tales hold up especially with their specific brand of Eastern European exhaustion about the state of the world.

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Author to Author with Carlie St. George (You Fed Us to the Roses)

Happy release day to You Fed Us to the Roses, Carlie St. George’s horror short story collection. So full of love for the genre, this is a set for horror fans, by a horror fan. I’m excited to have her on the blog to talk about how she comes up with her tales, the way she plays with tropes, deciding the collection’s title, and what’s coming next for her.

Buy Link: Books2Read

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ARC Review: YOU FED US TO THE ROSES by Carlie St. George (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror Short Story Collection
Year Release: October 18th, 2022
Buy Link: Books2Read

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Received an ARC from Robot Dinosaur Press
Content warnings: ableist language, animal death, bullying, child death, death, domestic violence, gore, harm to animals, imprisonment, intimate partner abuse, murder, parental death, parental neglect, physical abuse, religious abuse, sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts, suicide, violence

These short stories are for horror fans by a horror fan. From demonic possession to werewolves to slashers, each genre gets time to shine in this forthcoming collection from Robot Dinosaur Press.

Each one has a treat for all kinds of horror lover, and I’m looking forward to sharing a blog interview with the author on October 18th, 2022.

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Review: REVENGE by Yōko Ogawa (2013)

Genre: Adult Horror Short Story Collection
Year Release: 2010 (2022 on audio)
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Trigger warnings: death of a child, blood, gore, surgery, mold, vomiting

My introduction to Yoko Ogawa is via this collection of short stories, each one scarier than the one that came before it. We follow a mourning mother, lovers in a quarrel, doctors too committed to their jobs, doctors not committed enough, and scoundrels slithering in the dark.

This short story collection itself reads like a single novel with several narrators, several which appear in different stories. Masterful in the way it amps the terror of otherwise pedestrian life.

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Review: THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY by Stephen Graham Jones (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror Short Story Collection
Year Release: 2010 (2022 on audio)
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook

Prolific horror author Stephen Graham Jones also has a short story collection that are small doses of terror. From urban legends about murdered bulls, to kids making mistakes during the summer, to an island of shifters, to several families keeping secrets, these stories touch on a variety of horror.

With elegant language that keeps a sharp focus on the characters, these chilling tales drop the reader right into the middle, gently guiding them along a ramping up sense of dread and shattering reality for all parties involved.

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July 2021 Reading Recap

What even was July? It was my last month in Chicago, I moved to Texas (am still moving in Texas, no, I won’t be getting into more specific details). Reading was a bit fraught. I had lofty goals, like reading everything I borrowed from the library (didn’t happen). But I did enjoy a bunch of what I read, which is always a blessing.

I had two authors interviews on my blog for their debut works. First, horror YA writer Ryan Douglass talked about his debut, The Taking of Jake Livingston, and short story writer Charles Payseur told us a bit about his process of putting a short story collection, The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories.

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Author to Author with Charles Payseur

The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories is a queer short story collection from across the full spectrum of speculative fiction, from heart-felt fantasies, to wrenching science fiction, to creepy horror. There is something here for everyone, and I found myself drawn to the lovely imagery and all-too down-to-earth stories found within.

On this summery Sunday, I’m excited to celebrate this collection’s release with author Charles Payseur as he talks about putting The Burning Day together, short story crafting process, and more.

Buy Links: Unabridged Books | Amazon

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ARC Review: A SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders (2021)

Genre: Nonfiction (Writing Craft)
Year Release: January 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop | Libro.fm | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC

This is my first foray into nineteenth century Russian short stories and Saunders’ experience teaching them page-by-page shines through this craft book that is also a specific craft study. Saunders selected works by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol to explore how these stories work and the connections between readers and authors.

What really stuck out to me about this collection was the subjectivity of the analysis and the dispersal of advice. Saunders makes it abundantly clear that the reader is allowed to get out of this work what they will. Disagreement with his impressions is encouraged throughout, and he even used the page space to refer to his own evolving relationship with these works. The balance between analysis of each story and more zoomed-out writing advice and Saunders’ own insights play well together, and it kept me engaged from start to finish.

There are definitely bits that I am taking with me as far as the exercises go, and some of the adages of what makes great writing work. A recommended read for people who learn by example (like yours truly).

Author to Author with Nino Cipri (#Homesick)

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Happy book birthday to Homesick: Stories, a wonderfully queer collection of speculative short stories by Nino Cipri. The collection spans several formats with feelings ranging from nostalgia, sarcastic humor, determination, and, of course, homesickness. Nino stops by the blog to talk about they chose the best format for each story, crafting the collection, and things you should read next.
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