This past week I took part in a readathon put on by Destiny and the Unexpected Readathon Time group on Goodreads. The past few readathons I’ve participated in have not been very productive on my end, as I’ve been in a downward spiral of falling short on my page and TBR goals. This time, I made zero plans, no TBR list, no page total or time goals. And it worked! It felt good to make a dent in my unread piles and, with the exception of one novella, truly enjoy everything I read! My seven-day totals came out to 1,219 pages read, finishing two novels, three novellas, and one short story collection. I’m already looking forward to the next one!
The Week in Books
Upgrade by Blake Crouch — 4.5 out of 5 stars
If you’re a fan of Blake Crouch and fast-paced sci-fi thrillers, be sure to mark your calendar for Upgrade‘s release on July 12, 2022! In the near future, Logan accompanies a SWAT raid, only to become infected with a strange virus. Instead of extreme illness, the virus rebuilds his DNA, making Logan stronger, smarter, a more super-human version of himself. Who created this virus and for what purpose? What will Logan have to give up to learn the truth? I was quickly pulled into the story, and I loved the fast pace and the mind-blowing twists. I can’t wait to get a physical copy to add to my library (and to read again!). Highly recommend.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell — 4 out of 5 stars
One of my most anticipated reads and it did not disappoint! Some may say this is just a modern-day version of Lolita, and in part it is. But it’s also much more. This story comes from the victim’s point of view and examines the complex emotions brought on by years of abuse. I wish Vanessa would have developed more self-awareness than she did, but overall a haunting piece of fiction.
Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies
Beneath a Pale Sky by Philip Fracassi — 4.5/5 out of 5 stars
One of my February selections. Fracassi’s collection offers some fresh takes on old-school horror. There’s a classic story of a meteor falling to earth with a buggy twist; a man looking back at his childhood and growing up with his best friend, who just happens to be Death; a creepy small town and its mysterious lake. Fracassi’s writing is amazing, and even the couple of stories that I marked as “weird/???’ in my notes blew me away with the writing. The closest to a 5 star collection I’ve read in a looooong time! Highly recommend.
Waif by Samantha Kolesnik — 4 out of 5 stars
This arrived on Wednesday in my latest NightWorms package and I immediately dropped what I was doing and started reading! Best described as body horror, it’s the story of Angela and her obsession with a stranger, which later leads to a series of truly fucked-up plastic surgeries and a journey into the dark world of “specialty” porn. It’s a crazy ride and definitely not for everyone.
Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III — 4 out of 5 stars
I wanted to call this bizarro novella an anti-Valentines story, but there really is a love story here, so I’ll just call it the most fucked up love story you’ll ever read. What’s more endearing than a tale of young love, about an awkward boy who falls for a cute, yet very weird, girl? By the way, when the girl gets excited, her face explodes. Yes, you read that right. I thought this quirky, disgusting, and downright bizarre little tale was hilarious and entertaining. Not for everyone, but worth a try if you’re looking for a different kind of love story.
See You When the World Ends by Simon Paul Wilson — 4 out of 5 stars
Tim and Naomi are great friends who are slowly realizing they may be in love with each other. While Naomi is away for a family wedding, Tim begins to have strange nightmares about her. Upon Naomi’s return, things take a strange turn to the supernatural. The build-up was great, and the horror aspect was creepy as hell. A great choice if you prefer scary over gory in your horror reading.
Burning Bridges Along the Susquehanna by Paul Nelson — 2 out of 5 stars
This short tale (the first in a series) starts out okay, with siblings traveling back in time to escape some bad stuff in their current lives, but I soon found myself trying not to roll my eyes (and not succeeding very well). Aimed at YA but the writing is very middle grade and the plot holes are enormous. I won’t be traveling any further with this series.
Stay safe and Happy Reading!