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review 2019-09-24 18:45
A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL by John Hornor Jacobs
A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror - John Hornor Jacobs,Chuck Wendig

After reading THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY, I became an instant fan of John Hornor Jacobs. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL reassured me that my respect and high esteem for the man was earned and well placed.

 

This book is comprised of two stories, the first a novella, (the aforementioned THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY), and the second, a short novel titled MY HEART STRUCK SORROW. This review is going to focus almost solely on the second tale. When I saw on Twitter that this book was coming out, I clicked the pre-order button right away. (There wasn't a description there yet, and I didn't know that THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY was going to be included. When I did discover that, I didn't care because...support.) You can find my review of THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY here:

 THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY

 

I went into MY HEART STRUCK SORROW almost totally blind. I was excited to find out that music was a central theme to this tale. I'm a lover of Blues music and I'm fascinated by many of the old artists who were the basis for a lot of the popular music of today. You cannot imagine how stoked I was to find a deep connection with music from the old south in this book.

 

Cromwell and Harriet are called in to the Parker estate to itemize and catalog Parker's extensive collection of old acetate recordings and journals. I loved this way of framing the story as we are then taken to Parker's point of view for much of the book. He was traveling the south interviewing and recording musicians as an ethnomusicologist, (like the real-life Alan Lomax), dedicated to capturing and preserving music. He traveled with a SoundScriber, the heavy, awkward machine with which he recorded said musicians.

 

These artists and the areas in which they lived were brought to vivid life in my mind's eye. I easily pictured them. I smelled them. I felt the humidity and heat of the south. I felt the humanity in their songs, and how they changed from one town to another, especially the songs about Stagger Lee. (Or Stacker Lee, or whatever title was used.)

 

"In Mississippi, in the delta of Arkansas and northern Louisiana, they speak in harsh tones, clipped syllables, as if their entire morphology of communication were angry and inflamed."

 

One of the men he interviews, Honeyboy, is actually in prison. Parker is able to obtain permission to interview and record him. During those scenes I came across this passage:

 

"Even the guards laughed at this, and for a while the barracks were full of the laughter of incarcerated men. They sounded like any group of men gathered together. Each full of his own particular sorrow, his mirth, his guilt, the comet's tail of his existence pulling wreckage after him."

 

This got me to thinking about my comet's tail and what kind of wreckage I carry around within it.

 

Jacobs deftly weaves the threads of the past and the present, most especially those of Parker and Cromwell. Turns out they had a few things in common. I didn't see what they were at first, but as this tale unraveled, I did. Grief, loss and most of all, guilt, come to each life-how we handle those things, or not handle them as the case may be, made for an engaging and stunning denouement.

 

I find myself lacking the words and/or skills to properly communicate to you how this book made me feel and why I think you should read it. The tales within are distinctly different from each other, one more a tale of torture, politics and cosmic horror, the other- for me, being at heart a story of loss, guilt, and grief, well framed and partially hidden in a tale about blues and folk music. I'm not going to pretend that I "got" everything there is to get with this story, I already know I will read it again. I'm not going to pretend that I know a lot about ethnomusicology, but I can say I want to learn more about it and about Alan Lomax in general.

 

Leaving behind my inadequacies in getting across how this tale made me feel, I'll wrap with saying that both stories here are extremely well written, unique, thought provoking and powerful. I'll leave you with this quote:

 

"We are sound waves crashing against the shore with no SoundScriber to take down our likeness, our facsimile. Words like these are just echoes of that original sound. We are but small vibrations on the face of the universe."

 

With that, my fellow small vibration on the face of the universe, I give A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL my HIGHEST recommendation!

 

Available everywhere October 8th, but you can pre-order here: A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL

 

*Thanks to Harper Voyager and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. I'm buying the book anyway, but I got to read it sooner this way!*

 

**Please forgive me for the quotes, but I felt they were necessary to help convey me feelings.**

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review 2019-09-11 18:45
WANDERERS by Chuck Wendig, narrated by Dominic Hoffman and Ze Sands
Wanderers - Chuck Wendig

WANDERERS was a fun listen, alternating between two narrators, one male and one female. This format worked really well for me and I enjoyed this tale quite a bit.

 

It's an "end of the world" book and even though the terms "walker" and "sleepwalker" are used, these are not really zombies like THE WALKING DEAD walkers, and they're not sleepwalking either. This is why the book was so interesting and different.

 

The characters developed quite a bit throughout, none of them the same as they were in the beginning. None of them are perfectly black or white characters either, which made them seem more realistic to me than say, Mother Abigail from THE STAND or Sister from SWAN SONG. Even though the setting of WANDERERS brings those books to mind, it's completely different from both of them.

 

Overall I loved listening, and I very much enjoyed the ending because it was surprising and eerie. I can't say more about it without spoiling the story, so I'll just end with this:

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

*Thanks to my local library for the free audio download. Libraries RULE!*

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text 2019-08-28 19:15
My First Halloween Bingo Book!
Wanderers - Chuck Wendig

Right now, I think I'll read this for:

 

 

But I reserve the right to change that later! 

This is an 800 page behemoth, (but I'm listening, instead of reading.)

Either way, there's NO chance I'll be done before Sunday. 

 

So as Captain Picard would say: 

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text 2019-08-14 18:45
Halloween Bingo Preparty-New Releases- A Little Late!
Full Throttle: Stories - Joe Hill
Violet - Scott Thomas
Slash (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea
A Book of Bones: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 17. From the No. 1 Bestselling Author of THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS - John Connolly
A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror - John Hornor Jacobs,Chuck Wendig
Twilight Man - Koren Shadmi

 

I have a little bit of time today, so I thought I'd post about some new horror releases. 

 

As most of you know, I get a lot of ARCs and above are a few of them I'm really excited about. 

 

FULL THROTTLE by Joe Hill, (Stephen King's son)

I've met the man a number of times and he's sweet and very funny. 

I've loved everything from him so far, but I've seen some so-so reviews on this one. 

Available October 10th.

 

VIOLET by Scott Thomas

His debut novel KILL CREEK blew me away, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing if that was a fluke or not. I'm betting NOT. 

Available September 24th.

 

SLASH by Hunter Shea

Shea is my go-to guy for creature features, but sometimes he writes out of that subgenre. His book CREATURE, despite the name, was a heart-rending book about chronic illness and the toll it takes on a marriage. (Among other things.)

This one looks like a straight up slasher story. Should be fun!

Available October 10th.

 

A BOOK OF BONES by John Connolly

This is the 17th installment of the Charlie Parker series. It was made available in April to those of you in the UK, but here in the US we don't get to see it until October 15th. 

 

A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL by John Horner Jacobs

Last year I wrote a review of this spectacular cosmic horror novella:

THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY

This new release contains that novella and a short novel.

I pre-ordered that shit as soon as I saw it. I am also trying to make it a priority to read some of his older works that I already own. 

Available October 8th

 

THE TWILIGHT MAN

I haven't been approved for this yet, but I am hoping I will be.

It's an illustrated memoir about Rod Serling. 

'Nuff said!

Available October 8th

 

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review 2019-07-06 00:34
Good Story and Good Characters
Wanderers - Chuck Wendig

Shana stood looking at her little sister’s -Nessie- empty bed and though she ran away again. The first time Nessie ran away was when they went to Giant Eagle and their mother was just gone. After seeing the camera it showed their mother walking out the front door and out of their lives for good. So two years ago almost to the door Nessie packed some can goods, bottled water, and a couple of candy bars and ran away. They found Nessie four hours later at the wooden bus shelter in Granger. Nessie was fifteen now and  Shana was almost eighteen and couldn’t figure out why she wanted to runaway. Than out of the corner of her eye she saw Nessie come up the driveway still in her pj’s and barefoot. Shana ran out to meet her and Nessie bumped into her and kept going, she didn’t blink , nothing, she had dead eyes and just kept going. Staring straight ahead Arms stiff by her side. Shana tried to stop nessie as they came to Herkimer Covered Bridgethat had broken glass all over and will cut Nessie’s feet all up. Shana hugged nessie to stop her and she did stop but she kept struggling to be free and her body temperature was going very high and her nose started to bleed , and a low whine, an animal sound rose out of Nessie. Shana let go and Nessie blinked for a minute but then her eyes clouded over again. Nessie kept walking. Right across the broken glass, seemingly not to feel it. Shana ran back to get her dad and he got his old truck and found Nessie still walking and staring at nothing. The Shana saw mr Blamie who was her geometry teacher. But he was just like Nessie and turned to go nessie’s way. Than he reached her and walked beside nessie. Benji ray felt teh jet lag in his bones. He just wanted to go home. As he went toward the front door, a young woman said his name and she said she was Sadie Erniku and she worked for Benz-Voyager. She needed to speak to him. He said not today , he just got off a very long trip. Then she said something’s gone wrong. An outbreak maybe… In Pennsylvania. He told her to come in he’d fix some coffee. She said her and Black Swan thought it maybe an outbreak. Benji told Sadie he was wary of their growing fascination with replacing human work with artificial intelligence. Black Swan was a PMI or predictive machine intelligence. Benji distrusted Black Swan and its predictions . Sadie said Black Swan wasn’t something she merely designed; it cut her. Benz-Voyager created Black Swan specifically with the ability to detect upcoming outbreaks, pandemus and every zoonetive jumps where a disease leapt from the animal to human. A third joined Shana sister and teacher. EMTs were called and tried to give Nessie a sedative by a needle in the butt but the needle broke. The three sleepwalkers and they became called just kept walking. Bengi went to CDC- which had been his home for almost two decades. Sadie had designed Black Swan -she lead the team. Benji was to meet black Swan. A cop had tried to force her teacher into the car. When he got him in there the man exploded. Shortly after the cop died in the hospital. The number of the sleepwalkers grew. Four more people joined Nessie and the woman they now knew was Rosie. Shana now thought of them as the herd. Shana’s father said it was time to go home, the farm wouldn’t run itself. But Shana refused to leave her sister, she had to protect Nessie. Shana called Zig -her best friend, to hang out with her as she followed nessie , he was always there for her. Zig loved her bust she didn’t love him like that. He had gotten a gun she put in her backpack that way she had it encase she had to use it to protect Nessie.  Now there was a total of ten people that joined Nessie in their zombie like shape still walking. Shana’s father bought an old RV and he caught up to her again -saying he hadn’t been there for his girls since his wife had left but he was here now. The herd didn’t seem to have to eat or drink, or rest, or even go to the bathroom. As more people joined the “sleepwalkers” more family and friends joined to watch over their loved ones as the sleepwalkers walked to a destination only they knew of. They families and friends were eventually called “Shepherds” and the walkers “ the herd.” As time goes on Benji becomes a protector of the herd. Than a former rock idol joins the group of Shepherds but to be back in the limelight but things do change as time goes on as does reasoning for following the herd in some cases. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the author brought in many things such as compassion and empathy, right or wrong. Or the way to treat the herd and so much more. I also really liked the author used people from all walks of life and ages both as Shepherds and Sleepwalkers-or part of the herd. I didn’t want to put this down. As I wanted to see what was going to happen next. This grabbed my attention right from the beginning until the very end. I also liked how the author brought in issues like politics, and religion as well as others. I did feel this book could have been a ;little shorter and I felt the end was a little rushed . This did drag for me at times but nowhere near enough to stop reading this book. I really enjoyed the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend it.

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