Weekly Mash-Up #110

This past Sunday may have been Valentine’s Day, but around here, snow was the main focus!

We had over a foot of the white stuff fall over the weekend, but it didn’t last long.  It started raining early Monday and as I write this Wednesday morning, we have only a few inches left!

After our internet satellite was coated with snow and ice we were without internet access for a couple of days.  Honestly, I didn’t really mind!  It just gave me more time to catch up on some favorite television shows and read some good books!

The Week in Books

The Redwood Asylum: A Paranormal Horror by L.A. Detwiler — 4 out of 5 stars

What evil lurks behind the walls of the Redwood Asylum?  Young Jessica, trying to run from her own troubled past, takes a job at the imposing building and soon discovers a whole new world of nightmares.        This is one of those slow-burn, creepy psychological thrillers with plenty of the paranormal mixed in to keep you on your toes.  Detwiler does a great job creating an atmosphere of mystery and malice, as well as some characters that I think deserve to have  their own stories told.   I do want to say this:  my biggest complaint/pet peeve was the repetition of wiping away tears, all those damn tears!  Seriously Jessica, grow a pair and quit crying every other page!!    Other than my personal pet peeve, I enjoyed this story and I would love to see more tales from the asylum in the future!

Thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing an ecopy for review.

Clade by James Bradley — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

A broken family finds their way through a broken world.    Starting with a scientist and his artistic wife awaiting the results of their latest IVF treatment, each chapter takes us further into a dystopian future through the story of another character, where natural disasters, global warming, and plagues are the norm rather than the exception (sounds eerily familiar, right??).  I rounded up to 4 stars on Goodreads because any book that keeps me reading until 3 am deserves a bump up.  And while the story was very good (and not too preachy), I was left feeling little towards most of the main characters.  I appreciated how quickly the story moved, but I wish there had been a bit more focus on character development.  If you like depressing dystopian fiction with a glimmer of hope, check this one out.

When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord — 1.5/2 out of 5 stars

This hot mess of a novel gives us a grown woman recalling her teen years in a strange small town where the full moon brings monthly changes to the youth of the community.  Nothing fun like werewolves though.  Nope, these teens spend three nights a month running around naked, gang-raping and brutally beating each other, then acting normal during the daylight hours.  While the story started out pretty good, by the mid-way mark I was rolling my eyes so much I thought they would pop out of my head.  Not much more to say here without going full-on rant, so we’ll move along…

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

The Number 121 to Pennsylvania and Others by Kealan Patrick Burke — 4 out of 5 stars

KPB is one of my fan-girrrl favs, and this collection just reaffirms his placement at the top of my list.  There are tales of ghost trains and the ghosts of lost loved ones, an interesting take on Jack and the Beanstalk, some totally weird stories I can’t begin to describe, and some of Burke’s dark humor mixed in as well (you better not light up a cigarette while reading Prohibited!).   With such a wide range of stories, this is a great place to start if you haven’t picked up anything by KPB before.  Highly recommend.

Anoka by Shane Hawk — 4 out of 5 stars

I was impressed with this debut collection from an up and coming dark fiction author.  He describes these as “tales of indigenous horror,” incorporating native folklore and modern issues into the stories.  There’s quite a variety in these six tales, from parents desperately wanting a child to a werewolf on Halloween (and it’s definitely not what you’re thinking!).  My advice is to make sure to read the author’s notes at the end.  They help to tie up a few loose ends.  I’m keeping my eye on this young author and can’t wait to see where his talent takes him!

What have you been reading this month?  Drop me a line and let’s talk books!

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

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