Weekly Mash-Up #177

Happy Thanksgiving!  This year has certainly been up and down for me, but even when the downs left me feeling trapped and alone, I tried to remind myself of the good things.  I’ll admit it was very difficult a lot of the time, but taking regular breaks from social media and refocusing my attention has done wonders.

So as we start the holiday season, I just wanted to say thank you.  I’m truly looking forward to continuing to share my love of books with you!  I’ve even been toying with some new ideas, so stay tuned!

The Week in Books

Gothic by Philip Fracassi — 4 out of 5 stars

In this creepy novel, horror author Tyson Parks receives an antique desk for his birthday. Little does he know the evil behind this seemingly innocent gift, and the lengths one person will go to reclaim it.  There was a lot I liked about this story, from the pacing and characters, to The Shining vibes.  The one thing that threw it off a bit for me was the backstory.  I thought it felt out of place and didn’t have the same “feel” as the rest.  Overall, highly recommend.

Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph — 3.5 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction set in the late 1800’s, this is the story of Shanti, who leaves her family home in India to avoid an arranged marriage and, thinking that she has found a new beginning, instead becomes an indentured laborer at a South African sugar plantation.  I appreciate the research the author did to recreate these places and events.  I liked the overall story, but at times the dialogue felt stilted, and certain plot points felt watered down.  While these certain technical aspects were not to my personal liking, I would recommend this novel.

A Stain on the Silence by Andrew Taylor — 3 out of 5 stars

James finds out he has a daughter from an affair he had twenty-five years earlier.  Not only does he have this new-found daughter, but she’s pregnant and on the run for murder…     There was a lot to unpack with this mystery/thriller.  From the backstory of the affair, to the backstory within the backstory of a tragedy kept secret for years, to the present day “whodunit” involving half-siblings and a missing man, it just got to the point of absurdity.  Still, a pretty quick read, and even with all of the strange twists a pretty decent mystery.

The Complete Book of Ghosts by Paul Roland — 2.5/3 out of 5 stars

To say this book was a disappointment would be an understatement.  I was excited to read this collection of true ghostly encounters and haunted places, especially for Halloween, but I thought the writing was dry and uninspired, and many of the “true” tales were just rehashed urban legends.  There were a few interesting bits, but I found myself so bored with the writing that I wound up skimming through the last 200 or so pages.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Human Tenderloin by Craig Wallwork — 4 out of 5 stars

These short stories offer a wide range for horror fans, from bleak to disturbing, to darkly humorous.  As with all collections, some stories resonated with me more than others, but all were solid and well crafted.  I honestly don’t know how I’ve only just found out about Craig Wallwork (I just read my first intro to his work, Heart of Glass, a couple of weeks ago). After finishing this short story collection I can honestly say I am a fan and can’t wait to dig into more of his works in the near future!



Stay safe, and Happy Reading!

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