Weekly Mash-Up #173

It’s taken a while, but things are finally starting to feel like autumn around here!  Chilly nights, changing leaves, the smells of spiced cider overtaking the house.  Along with my Halloween reading list, I’ve been watching a ton of new-to-me movies perfect for the season (thanks to finally having the technology to stream some of the great free services out there).  They’ve ranged from truly terrifying to “so bad they’re funny” and it’s been a great way to spend the dark, cold evenings.

The Week in Books

Dead Space by Kali Wallace — 3.5 out of 5 stars

One of my September Sci-fi and Scary selections.  Hester is forced to take a dead-end job with a security firm out in the asteroid belt after a horrific accident/attack.  Then a strange message from a friend (who was also involved in the accident/attack) followed by his mysterious death leads Hester to an isolated mining operation on a distant asteroid, searching for answers.    This is a good mix of sci-fi/mystery/thriller, but I have to say, I found it pretty slow going at first.  Once it picked up, I thought it was great (however, I still have some unanswered questions).  While my reading experience wasn’t five star (probably due to my ongoing reading slump blahs), I would still recommend this to sci-fi fans.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage — 2.5/3 out of 5 stars

(H 13 /31)  Based on the glowing reviews I kept hearing about this novel, I am definitely in the minority with my rating, but I can’t begin to tell you how much I fucking hated this book.  I have issues with parents who let their kids rule the household, you know, the ones where the kids can do whatever they want with zero repercussions.  This is nearly 400 pages of that shit and I almost threw the book across the room a few times.  There were some good elements that kept me reading, so I guess I didn’t hate the entire book…just a majority of it.  Added positive bonus:  the author will be releasing the “children’s” book that was the bedtime story featured in this one and I am looking forward to that!

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Human-Shaped Fiends by Chandler Morrison — 4 out of 5 stars

(H  14/31)  This was my first read by Morrison, and it was definitely…different!  The actual splatter western part of the novella was okay, but the meta-fiction author interludes put it over the top for me, and I found myself laughing when I knew I shouldn’t.  I really can’t in good conscience recommend this to anyone, so if you decide to pick this up don’t say I didn’t warn you!

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher — 4 out of 5 stars

(H  15/31)  It’s been a loooong time since I’ve read Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher (something that I will be remedying before Halloween), but you really don’t have to be familiar with the classic tale to enjoy Kingfisher’s adaptation.  A creepy lake, possessed animals, strange fungal growths…I mean, what else could you ask for in a creepy Halloween read?!  I really liked this one, my only complaint is feeling a bit distant from the characters.  Perfect read for a dark, rainy night.

Shallow Graves by Robert Essig and Jack Bantry — 4 out of 5 stars

(H  16/31)  These eleven tales offer a variety of chills as well as some pretty twisted dark humor.  Some of my favorites in the collection include The Itch (a man visits a prostitute and learns a painful lesson), Rejected (the secret to preventing yourself from changing into a werewolf), Starving Artist ( the ultimate bad houseguest), and Keep Safe (who needs a guard dog when you can have this!).  While these were my favorites, I thought the entire collection was solid.  Great for horror fans who like to mix things up a bit.

The Paper Mache Man by Jesse Pullins — 4 out of 5 stars

(H  17/31)  Two friends love horror movies, but when one of them wants to find something even more extreme, they discover the horror of the Paper Mache Man.  Sometimes the kindle freebies are worth checking out, especially in this case.  Great writing and build-up, and I couldn’t help thinking that this could be the love child of two movies, Urban Legend and The Ring.

Plop:  A Horror Short Story by Samuel Small — 3 out of 5 stars

(H 18 /31)  A man’s growing dread as something from the past gets closer.   A kindle freebie that’s a good creepy tale to get you in the Halloween spirit.  At seventeen pages, there’s no backstory or huge character development, think of this as a tale to tell around the campfire.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

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