Monday Mash-Up #063 Staying Home

Well, today our state governor made an official “stay at home” proclamation for Washington state.  I’ve been staying at home already, not so much out of fear but because I tend to be a homebody anyways.  Here are just a few things that have been keeping my mind occupied for the past week or so…..

My yarn stash is about as large as my unread book hoard so I’ve been knitting cotton washcloths and working on my winter hat I started a few months ago (maybe I’ll actually finish it before next winter!!).  These are all things I’ve always enjoyed doing, and I find them essential to help escape reality for a bit.  And no, that’s not a vodka tonic in the center……or is it??!??   😉

And is anyone else having problems with being able to focus on reading?  I know I am.  But after a few days of “media distancing,” I found I was able to start focusing again, and managed to finish a few books.

The Week in Books

Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke — 4.5 out of 5 stars!

As you may already know, I love me some Lutzke, and this novella did not disappoint.   It’s the story of a boy born with a skull for a face, who travels to California to look for the man who may be his father; along the way he meets a variety of characters and finds himself in some interesting situations.  It’s essentially a dark coming of age tale, and anyone who has ever been singled out because of their differences will understand and root for Levi.

The Dawn of the Living-Impaired and Other Messed Up Zombie Stories by Christine Morgan — 4 out of 5 stars!

If you are under the impression that all zombie stories are the same, you should check out this collection from Christine Morgan.  There’s humor, lots of horror, stories set in the past and the future, really a mixed bag and something for (nearly) everyone.  Fair warning, it’s not for the squeamish, but still a damn entertaining way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Dead in the Water by Stuart Woods — 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is one of those fast-paced mysteries featuring the studly main character, the wily seductress, and a variety of good and bad guys to round out the story….and I liked it!!  I see more of this series on my to-read list in the future!

Be healthy, stay safe, and as always, Happy Reading!

Monday Mash-Up #062

This has probably been the most surreal week I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure thousands of others will agree.  But I couldn’t forget to send out St. Patrick’s Day wishes!

Even though everything has been cancelled and closed down, I still hope you can find some Irish cheer at home.  I made some shamrock-shaped sugar cookies, that’s about the extent of our celebrations in this household!

While many are practicing “social distancing” I will be doing some media distancing over the next few days.  The overwhelming amount of news coverage on the internet and television has been exhausting, and I have found myself stressing out and focusing way too much on the what ifs.  Don’t worry, I’ll be keeping up to date on Goodreads and here, maybe check in on Instagram, but that’s about it for a least a few days.  I know from past experiences that brief vacations from the internet can be truly relaxing, giving my mind time to detox from all of the negativity floating around out there.

And it should give me more time to attack my book hoard!!

The Week In Books

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones — 4.5 out of 5 stars!!

A huge thanks to NetGalley for sending me an e-copy for review.  Watch for my review closer to the release date in May 2020.  *Update* review was posted here on March 13!

Snow by Ronald Malfi — 4 out of 5 stars!

If you love the first snowfall of the year, maybe standing in the swirling flakes and admiring the beauty of nature, this book may make you rethink that.  A fast-paced horror tale that I can totally see being made into a movie for the SyFy channel.  Be sure to check this out, especially if you’re a fan of strange creatures trying to take over the human race.

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey — 3.5 out of 5 stars

This was a good, solid mystery with plenty of twists and a large list of suspects.   My biggest problem was not being able to connect with the main character/narrator, Detective Gemma Woodstock.  I just didn’t like her.  Even by the end when things changed a bit, it just didn’t do enough to change my opinion of her.

The Names of Our Tears by P. L. Gaus — 2.5 out of 5 stars

A bit of a spoiler—there is no resolution in this one, which is frustrating to say the least.  But that wasn’t the only problem for me (even though it’s the biggest one).  There is just an overwhelming amount of uninteresting, flat characters, many of whom have similar names to confuse the issue (This is one of my pet peeves.  There are thousands of names out there, why use Emma and Emily, or Tim and Tom?  You’re the author, get creative!!).  And when I’m counting down the remaining pages by the end of the second chapter, well, never a good sign.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy in the coming weeks.  Try to lose yourself in a good book, it’s always a great way to escape the real world for a bit!  Until next time, Happy Reading!

Review — The Only Good Indians

I usually have a lot to say about a book, good or bad.  I also usually know where to start a review.  I want to say so much about The Only Good Indians, yet I feel that anything I try to say will be insufficient.  But here it goes…..

I went into this one pretty blind on the storyline, and I’m glad I did.  This is one of those books that you can’t really describe without giving away major plot points, something I try not to do in my reviews.  But to sum this up as best as my limited vocabulary can, it’s a story that is realistic yet surreal; there are modern graphic horror bits and Native American mythological  stories interwoven into one.  It truly is a story of revenge and redemption, and maybe not in the ways you may think.

I loved this story.  This is one to be savored and appreciated, and one I think you won’t be able to put down.  This is also one that will haunt my dreams for some time to come…. my less than 5 stars is only due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to basketball which pulled the story down a bit for me.

A huge thank you to NetGalley for sending me an advanced e-copy for review.

And another huge thanks to Stephen Graham Jones for writing this!!

Monday Mash-Up #060 and #061

Things have been pretty quiet in my little corner of the world.  But signs of spring are beginning to pop up and the sun is showing its face a little bit more, making me feel a bit like this:

The past week was a great week for book mail.  Not only did my signed copy of The Roo arrive, direct from Australia, but…….

It’s time for another Night Worms delivery!

This month’s theme is “The Thunderstorm Returns,” featuring limited signed editions of Snow and How We Broke from Thunderstorm books.  Also included:  a signed copy of Those Who Go Forth Into the Empty Place of Gods from Wyrd Horror; a signed music cd from author Ronald Malfi’s band, Veer; and various artistic swag.  Another great month!

My reading has even been pretty slow these past couple of weeks, but I did finish a few great ones (and a couple of okay ones).

The Week in Books

Walk the Darkness Down by John Boden — 5 out of 5 stars!!

My review from Goodreads:

When a book best described as weird western horror makes me cry one chapter then has me uttering “What the holy f**k” the next (and has my husband question my sanity and reading choices while witnessing these two things), then gives me the added bonus of nightmares involving the most spine-chilling scarecrow and, well, just the character of Levi in general…. it deserves a huge 5 stars. This book did me in, and I loved every minute of it. Thank you John Boden, I can’t wait to read more from you!

The Bedford Boys:  One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice by Alex Kershaw — 4 out of 5 stars!

The true stories of the 22 young men from a small Virginia town who lost their lives in World War II, 19 of whom died in the first few minutes of battle on D-Day.  The stories are tragic, but there are also the stories of friendship and heroics.  A must-read for history enthusiasts.

Columbus Noir edited by Andrew Welsh-Huggins — 4 out of 5 stars!

One half of Akashic’s latest collection was fantastic, everything I want and expect from their noir series.  The other half was a mixed bag of okay and pretty darn good.  My personal ratings for each story averaged out to a 3.8 though, so I’m rounding up (as well as recommending for some good short stories).

The Secret Rooms:  A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Family Duchess, and a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey — 3.5 out of 5 stars

This one was good but a bit misleading.  While doing research for another project, the author came across some interesting information and discrepancies in the family history of the 9th Duke of Rutland, who died in a small room of the family castle in 1940.  The author set out to find the whys of the family mysteries, using the enormous cache of diaries and correspondence kept in the family archives.  The first half moved along smoothly, but the second half started out on tangents that seemed to be more confusing than clarifying.  If you like World War I history and reading about the lifestyles of the rich and entitled, give this one a shot.  Oh, and a BTW, the idea that the family castle was actually haunted was mentioned once, so don’t expect a bunch of eerie sightings or disembodied voices.

Wilder Girls by Rory Powers — 3 out of 5 stars

This one intrigued me with the different take on an apocalyptic-style viral infection (quick note—no zombies here!!).  It kept me interested, had me caring for some of the characters, had me thinking a solid 4 star rating…..then I read the ending.  I did not like it and felt it was somewhat of a cop-out blah conclusion after such an engaging beginning.

The sun is out so I’m going to get outside and enjoy it for a bit.  Behave yourselves, and until next time, Happy Reading!

March — A Month of Mysteries!!

I’ve always loved a good mystery story.  My first forays into the genre included childhood favorites like Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys.  Then I discovered Agatha Christie and I was truly hooked.  Over the years, I’ve found numerous authors who I will go out of my way to read everything they write.  There are also the new voices who write such gripping tales that I can’t wait for their next book.

The other day, as I was sorting through my giant to-read hoard, I realized that a large percentage of my books would fall into the mystery category…….and that’s a freaking lot!!!  So how do I narrow down a top twenty, let alone a top ten or five, to read for March???  (And I won’t even get into the multitudes I have waiting for me on my Kindle!!).  It was difficult, and I’ll admit a couple were picked by blindly pointing to a pile, but these are the ones I’ve decided to put on my must read list for March.

From favorite authors to new voices, I thought this was a good representation of my collection.  Now the question remains:  will I be able to finish them all this month?  Stay tuned!

Goodreads Group Reads

A very eclectic selection from three of my Goodreads groups:  The Reading List Completists (Dracula), Bookworm Bitches (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark), and Horror Aficionados (The Roo)….

I read all of these just recently so I’ll be passing on rereading them so soon, but I wanted to share them to perhaps provide some reading inspiration….plus I highly recommend all three!!

February Check List

For such a short month, I was able to finish 18  books, including my two selections for the month (Elegy for Iris and The Time of My Life) and two group selections (Animal Farm and Inheritance). Not a bad month; now on to the next!

Happy Reading!