Reading Mash-Up #192

Wow, these past couple of weeks have flown by, and now it’s the eve of my favorite month, October!  Autumn has already brought some cooler temps and some much-needed rain to my corner of the world, and between getting things put away for winter, hauling out the Halloween decorations, and lots of reading, I’ve been keeping pretty busy!

What I’ve Been Reading

The Human Son by Adrian Walker — 4.5/5 out of 5 stars

My September TBR selection.  In the distant future, humankind is extinct and human-like creatures called erta inhabit the earth, and have worked for centuries to reverse the damage to the ecosystems brought on by humans.  Now they must decide whether to reintroduce humans to the world, so they create one child to raise and see if they are worthy of coming back.   I fell in love with this book!  The writing sucked me in from the beginning, and Ima’s early approaches to parenthood had me laughing more than once.  There were a couple of times the narrative started to slip more into preaching than telling, which lowered it a bit for me, but overall this is sci-fi with heart and one that I would highly recommend.

Ghostly Encounters:  True Stories of America’s Haunted Inns and Hotels by Frances Kermeen — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 6/31)  It’s the bucket list I never knew I needed until I came across this book: a list of haunted inns to visit and take my chances with some ghostly encounters!  Frances Kermeen owned the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, a mansion known as one of the most haunted places in the U.S., so she knows a bit about creepy places.  She has put together a list of forty haunted inns and hotels, complete with detailed histories and eyewitness stories.  I had a blast reading this, with the only downside for me being a lack of any photos (I would have loved at least some outside shots of the various places just for visual references).

Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 7/31)  Rory moves back to her hometown to help out her pregnant twin sister.  Little did she know that a chance encounter late one night would lead to some major changes in her lifestyle.    This was one of the more entertaining werewolf stories I’ve read in some time.  Yes, there are some nasty bits, but the overall vibe is more Charlaine Harris/Sookie Stackhouse rather than in-your-face gorefest type of werewolf novels.  And I hate to admit this, but I wouldn’t mind a sequel to this one.  High recommendation, especially if you’re looking for a bit lighter Halloween reading.

The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie — 3.5 out of 5 stars

(H 8/31)  A young girl named Jack has seen the skeletal creature that enters her home late at night, but what does this creature want?  And will anyone believe her?   For me, while I thought the overall story was pretty good, I just couldn’t muster up any feelings for the main character, which is always problematic when it’s first-person narration.  I did eventually settle in to the story, and, though not what I was expecting, found it to be a decent creepy read fit for the Halloween season.

—Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

America’s Scariest Places (magazine) — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 9/31)  I came across this 100-page magazine and knew I had to bring it home for the spooky season!  The title says it all:  this is packed with photos, backstories, and encounters from places across the United States, from haunted hotels to creepy institutions, as well as sites of horrific tragedies or mayhem.  Makes a great check list for ghost hunters.

Sump Pump by A.E. Hodge — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 10/31)  If dark basements and lots of spiders are your go-to for a scary read, check out this short story (I found it as a Kindle freebie not too long ago).  The author does a great job of mixing dark humor in with the creeping build-up.  Fast and fun.

Wild Spaces by S.L. Coney — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 11/31)  A boy, his dog, his strange grandfather, and family secrets are the basis of this coming-of-age horror novella.  Coney breathes fresh life into this common trope and delivers a dark (but not too dark) slow-burn that I couldn’t put down.

A Darker Shade of Noir — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

(H 12/31)  If you’re looking for short stories featuring body horror that will take you on a disturbing, twisted, strange, and sometimes darkly humorous ride, then look no further than this latest offering from Akashic Books.  Every story is truly unique, even when incorporating common horror ideas like werewolves and vampires.  For my personal reading experience, there were stories I loved, others I liked, and a couple that left me wondering what the hell I just read, but the overall experience was entertaining and something I would recommend for the Halloween season.


Stay safe, and Happy Reading!

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