Weekly Mash-Up #117

After taking a week off for spring break, I’m back, and with some great book mail!

I am so excited to finally get my hands on My Dark Vanessa, a book I’ve been dying to read for over a year now.  On the surface it sounds like a new version of one of my favorite classics, Lolita, but I’m sure there will be much more to it than that.  Six Four is a Japanese mystery/thriller that sounds like a mix of unsolved mystery and police corruption.  I devoured Furiously Happy in one day (see review below), it was the comedic relief I didn’t know I needed.

And, of course, I was able to get some reading done…

The Week in Books

August’s Eyes by Glenn Rolfe — 4 out of 5 stars

Glenn Rolfe is quickly becoming one of my favorite horror authors, and August’s Eyes (to be released in August 2021) shows he just keeps getting better with each book.  There are some truly memorable characters in this novel, and the mix of coming-of-age, mystery/thriller, and supernatural worked well.  There were a couple of things that felt a bit off, but since this was an uncorrected advance copy I will refrain from going into depth in case these are changed in the final copy.  If you’re looking for a truly creepy read with some 90’s nostalgia mixed in (plus lots of spiders!!), be sure to look for this book in mid-August.    Many thanks to Flame Tree Press, Glenn Rolfe, and NetGalley for sending me an ecopy for review.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson — 4 out of 5 stars

Author Jenny Lawson has a slew of things wrong with her, from mental illness to physical ailments, and she knows how to turn these negatives into some truly entertaining anecdotes.  When Lawson is funny, she is hilarious, but be warned:  she seems to have some weird obsession with vagina jokes and references that gets beyond annoying after a bit.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — 4 out of 5 stars

Yes, it’s true.  It’s taken me ten years to finally get around to reading this giant best-seller.  And I don’t know how I avoided spoilers but I did!  The story of a wife gone missing with the husband as the main suspect…this one had me rapidly turning pages to find out what the hell was going to happen next.  I’m not sure I’m 100% behind the ending, but overall I loved this fast-paced read.  The hype is real!

Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong Bates — 3.5 out of 5 stars

The story of a young Chinese girl who moves to Canada with her family in the 1950’s.  This is a kind of slice-of-life narrative which looks at prejudice and family dramas (and some very unusual family drama at that).  While well-written, I thought it became a bit repetitive, and I really couldn’t get a good “feel” for the narrator.  Still, if you’re looking for a quiet historical drama, I recommend giving this one a shot.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Scanlines by Todd Keisling — 5 out of 5 stars

A huge trigger warning for this novella for graphic suicide scenes.  Similar to the plot behind the movie The Ring, this tale centers on the myth of The Duncan Tape which supposedly shows a fallen congressman committing suicide at a live press conference, and what happens when some unsuspecting teenagers think they’ve stumbled across it.  This one got under my skin more than I thought it would, truly creepy and disturbing.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

April — Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year where many of us start some spring cleaning around the house.  For me, that has meant doing some decluttering of the kitchen and closets, deep-cleaning the carpets…and trying to organize my massive TBR hoard!

With two book carts, two book cases, and nine boxes filled with unread treasures, it’s often difficult to decide what to read next.  This month, I decided to pick some titles that have been waiting for my attention for 10 years or longer.  Believe me, there are quite a few!  But these two popped out…

Candle in the Wind has been sitting, overlooked, on my shelf since the early 1990’s!  A different take on the Marilyn Monroe legend, this story goes into alt-history territory by asking “What if Marilyn had lived?”  Well, it’s time for me to finally find out!

A friend introduced me to local author Earl Emerson and his fast-paced mysteries in the late 1990’s, and Going Crazy in Public has been begging for my attention for at least 15 years!   In this installment of the Mac Fontana series, Fire Chief Fontana must figure out who is behind a series of arson fires in the sleepy town of Staircase, Washington.  Sounds like a perfect rainy afternoon read!

Goodreads Group Reads

My Goodreads groups have some great titles picked for this month.  Here’s just a sampler…

How convenient that I received The Sanatorium recently!  I’m definitely putting this creepy tale on my April TBR.

Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth has been on my shelf for some time.  I’m not sure I’ll be starting this epic tale anytime in the near future, but I’ve heard great things about it.  If you start it, let me know what you think!

Mr. Mercedes is the first in Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, and takes us into the minds of a psychopath and the man trying to stop him.  I think of this as more thriller than typical King horror and highly recommend it.

Other group titles include On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, a beautiful heart-breaking tale written as a son’s letter to his mother (and one I highly recommend); and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, a historical fantasy based on events in 19th century China.  This one really intrigues me…I would love to hear your opinions on it!

What do you have on your April TBR?  Feel free to drop me a line, I love to talk books!  Until next time, stay safe and Happy Reading!