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review 2020-02-17 19:00
The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read
The Bone Weaver's Orchard - Sarah Read

"Ghosts don’t bleed."

This book was a debut? Wow, I am super impressed. It was creepy, polished and the main character was a sweetheart of a kid who loves his buggy friends.

Charley is sent off to boarding school with his collection of exotic creatures. At school he encounters meanies and cruelties and adults who do not seem to give a good goddamn that kids are going missing. Charlie takes it upon himself to investigate the catacombs of the school and finds some horrifying, sinister and rattling secrets but I am NOT going to tell you what any of them were. You should read the book.

Charley is a fantastic character. He makes you feel for him from the very first time you meet him. I think you will love Charlie, even if you're not into all of the creepy crawlies. He is a kind, strong soul and an admirable little person. But if you do dig the creepy crawlies this book has them. I was surprised by some of the gruesome turns in the final section, yikes! Prepare thyself.

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review 2020-02-17 18:19
VELOCITIES: STORIES by Kathe Koja
Velocities: Stories - Kathe Koja

VELOCITIES: STORIES is a diverse, energetic and mysterious collection of stories by a woman who has mastered the art of storytelling. 

 

I am a latecomer to Kathe Koja's work, having only read one novel to date, which was SKIN. It was quite far out of my comfort zone, but as such, her writing was like a revelation to me. When I saw this collection available as an ARC I requested it right away and here we are. 

 

Not all of the tales within worked for me, but in collections they rarely do. The stories that did work, worked so very well, they left me hungry for more. 

 

THE MARBLE LILY was my favorite tale in this volume. A story about a janitor working in the morgue has never been so mysterious and hidden such surprises.

 

ROAD TRIP is the story of a man looking for redemption. I don't think it can be found. 

 

LA REINE D'ENFER is a disturbing tale worthy of the title HELL QUEEN. The use of slang and language here was a wonder to behold. 

 

COYOTE PASS When a full time carer loses their patient, blood relative or not, it leaves a void. 

 

FAR AND WEE for me, had a distinct feel to it that I cannot describe. A farm boy comes to the city and says he's done with the farm and the beasts. "Plenty beasts in the City, young man." 

 

Kathe Koja uses language in such a way...it's very special. Sometimes sharp and staccato-like, sometimes lush and luxurious. Either way, her writing is magical and I plan to eventually read everything she has written. 

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available April 2020, but you can pre-order here: VELOCITIES: STORIES

 

*Thank you to Meerkat Press via Edelweiss for the e-ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

 

 

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review 2020-02-17 17:27
THE PRISONERS OF STEWARTVILLE by Shannon Felton
The Prisoners of Stewartville - Shannon Felton

Bravo to Shannon Felton on this, her debut novella! After reading her short story in MIDNIGHT AT THE GRAVEYARD, I was super excited to read more from this author and she did not disappoint!

 

Beneath a dying town, whose only means of support is the prison, a young man and his friend discover hidden tunnels one night when a brick fell out of the basement wall. From that point on, something seems to spread throughout this already bleak place. Were these tunnels used by escaped prisoners? What's causing the noises in the walls townsfolk are now hearing? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Stewartville as a town rang true to me. There are several places here in the northeast that have dwindled to nothing as manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas. Just driving through some of these places you feel suffocated with despair. There is also a severe opioid crisis going on in several of these towns as well. In this manner, Stewartville became an all too well known character in this tale. The despair....the grayness...it became an entity of its own.

 

Ms. Felton has demonstrated a command of language and characterization that, I'm sure, will hold her in good stead as she, (hopefully?), continues her career in dark fiction. As far as I'm concerned? You can sign me up right now for anything she writes in the future!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-02-10 17:38
The Boatman's Daughter by Andy Davidson
Boatman's Daughter, The - Andy Davidson

From the first harrowing scenes all the way until the bittersweet end, this book had me enthralled!

 

Set along the rivers and bayous of Arkansas, this tale is about Miranda, and how she manages keeps her life afloat. Running drugs for the bad guys to help her support the local "witch" and the special boy the witch hides and cares for. Discarded and left for dead, this boy is very special indeed-and so is Miranda. A bow-hunting woman of the bayou, she is not to be taken lightly.

 

The drug runners, featuring locals and bikers, a dwarf of a man as their main grower, and a mad preacher man who basically does whatever he wants. Among these men, there is nothing considered taboo, and I mean nothing. Will Miranda, the witch and the boy be able to continue to survive and live life as they have been? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

In addition to the characters I've already mentioned, I also need to highlight the hot and humid atmosphere. All the bug infested routes throughout the bayou, rivers and streams. The old homes near the river that aren't fully vacated, but are crumbling prey to the humidity, the mold, and the heat. The old mercantile that Miranda's father once owned, falling prey to dust and disuse after her father died. In my head I pictured all of this perfectly and as such, these locations became characters to me as well.

 

I remain impressed with Andy Davidson's style of writing and how effortlessly he combines things like small town life, witches, Russian fairy tales and so on. He does it so deftly that I never questioned any of it. It just WAS. Davidson created people I feel for because they feel real. Then he put them all in danger and I found it difficult to pull myself away.

 

I read his previous book IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN and I knew I was on to something special with this author. Now, with THE BOATMAN'S DAUGHTER I'm more sure than ever that Davidson is the real deal and I will sign up for anything he writes from here on out.

 

Highly Recommended!

 

Available everywhere tomorrow, but you can pre-order here: THE BOATMAN'S DAUGHTER 

 

*Thanks go out to the author who saw my desperate plea for an ARC and sent me one in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2020-02-08 17:45
THE NEON RAIN by James Lee Burke, narrated by Will Patton
The Neon Rain - James Lee Burke,Will Patton

A Twitter pal talked me into starting these books and I'm glad she did.

 

My husband and I went on a trip to New Orleans in 1995, (so pre-Katrina), and I loved it. To this day it was the best vacation we ever had and the very best food I ever ate. We went shortly after Mardi Gras and it was warm and beautiful. We visited the zoo and botanical gardens, had lunch on the banks of the Mississippi, rode a street car through the Garden District and had dinner in the French Quarter. This book took me back there completely. Not to the touristy areas though-not at all.

 

The writing here is top notch, and the characters are complicated-nothing is black and white. I developed a real feeling for Dave Robicheaux and I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

 

I bought this audio with my hard earned cash through Audible, but I won't be buying the second one from them! (See below)

 

**A note to Audible-What is up with the severely abridged version of the audio for book 2? It's only 3 hours long and many reviews are complaining about that. Looks like I'll be doing some actual reading on the second book.**

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