Weekly Mash-Up #95

Another Halloween in the books, and I can say this literally, haha!  I managed to meet my personal goal of reading 31 Halloween-inspired books (see my #31 below) and enjoyed a quiet weekend watching movies and reading.

Then there’s tomorrow.

I am posting this on the eve of the November 3 US Presidential elections.  I vowed to keep my blog politic-free when I started it, but I have to tell you all, for the first time with such an election I am truly scared.  No matter the outcome, there will be fallout for months, if not years.  I’m going to try to stay off of social media and avoid news channels tomorrow, watch some of my favorite sitcoms I have on DVD, and only come out of my self-imposed shelter when I have to.  **Deep breath**

But enough about the bad, lets focus on some good!!!

The Week in Books

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz — 4 out of 5 stars

Book 31 of my Halloween challenge, I finished this around noon on Halloween!  One thing I love about Jonathan Janz is seeing him grow as an author.  While I didn’t really care for The Sorrows, one of his earlier works involving a bunch of people staying at a haunted castle on a remote island, The Dark Game (which has a bunch of people on a writer’s retreat/contest at a remote castle-like mansion in the woods) is so much better in so many ways.  Sure, there are the usual stereotypes, what horror story doesn’t have those, but they weren’t as cartoony (for lack of a better word) and the evil aspect was much more interesting.  Great read for Halloween!

Purple People by Kate Bulpitt — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up.  The UK government is turning criminals who engage in anti-social behavior purple, and Eve Baxter, a journalist with a tabloid-like news agency in the States, returns to her hometown to figure out the how and why behind the purpling.      There was a lot I enjoyed about this book, from the wit, the satire, and the prose.  What brought it down for me (and this is all personal opinion and nothing to do with the author’s writing) was the random focus on lost love opportunities.  It seemed like every time I came across a two page paragraph focusing on this, my mind would shut down and I would put the story away for several days.  Other than my own personal tics with the storyline, I thought this was well-written, entertaining, and great at social commentary without shoving it down the reader’s throat.  Recommend.

A Sick Gray Laugh by Nicole Cushing — 3 out of 5 stars

Not since Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves have I been so utterly confused, yet strangely fascinated, with a book.  I can’t begin to explain this book, other than there are three distinct parts, and you’re basically reading a story as told by a mentally ill person spiraling into psychosis.  If you like a challenge, you might want to try this one.

Short Stories, Novellas, and Anthologies

Halloween is a great day to find horror freebies, and while it’s been hit or miss in the past, I managed to find some diamonds in the rough…

The Dark Side of the Room by Tyler Jones — 4 out of 5 stars

First, I want to thank BookDad Andrew for promoting this free novella on Halloween, I am now looking for anything written by this author!!  It’s a story about the descent into madness, or is it?  What’s real and what’s part of the dark corner??  I can’t describe this one in the way it deserves so I’ll just say read it and let me know what you think!!

Dollhouse by JC Bratton — 4 out of 5 stars

A man buys an antique dollhouse, complete with three dolls and a handwritten journal telling their eerie tales.  Only 25 pages long, this short story intrigued me and has me hoping Bratton will be writing longer stories in the future.  I saw a lot of potential in these tales and wished they were a bit longer to really create the creepy doll feel.

Sour Milk:  A Short, Sharp Horror Shock by Morgan Delaney — 4 out of 5 stars

An orphanage/school run by a sadistic woman and “Mr. Leonard.”  There’s a definite Psycho vibe going on, and trigger warning for child abuse.  But overall, it was a strange, horrific read and I would recommend it as long as you  make sure to read the author’s notes at the end of the book!!!

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and I will continue to say Happy Reading!!!

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