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review 2019-09-15 16:27
WICKED WEIRD edited by Amber Fallon, Scott Goudsward and David Price
Wicked Weird: An Anthology of the New England Horror Writers - Amber Fallon,Matthew M. Bartlett,Brian K. Vaughan,Jeffrey Thomas,Victoria Dalpe,Sylvia Morgan- Baker,Scott T. Goudsward,Peter N. Dudar,David Soares,David Price

WICKED WEIRD is a fun anthology of weird tales, all written by authors from New England. I enjoyed the hell out of it!

 

I can't go into each and every story, so here I'm going to stick to the ones that I thought were wicked good. (Here in the northeast, when we use the word WICKED we mean extraordinary. For example: Dunkin' Donuts coffee is wicked good. Dunkin'? I'll be waiting for my check!) With no further ado:

 

A STRANGE HAZE by Matthew Bartlett. For those of you that can identify with feeling like an outsider, always saying the wrong thing, and often saying it in the wrong tone of voice. 4*

 

A SONG OF WAR AND DEATH by Errick A. Nunnally. My notes say "Reads like a Twilight Zone episode." 4*

 

(The above two authors I've heard of and I was happy to find that I own books by both of them already! I need to get some reading done!)

 

SALT CAVE by Morgan Sylvia. Here's one line from the story:

"The spiders sing madness into my thoughts."

 

 

I was not previously aware of this author and now I just want to hunt down everything they wrote. 5*

 

THE SWEETNESS AND THE PSYCHIC by LL Soares. Two words: Basement. Cockroaches. 4*

 

A FEAST OF FLIES by Steve Van Samson. A stranger visits the camp of starving men. 4*

 

THE MASS OF THE GREATEST SIN by Trisha J. Wooldridge. I really dug the narrative voice in this one, and I definitely could relate to a lot of the protagonist's feelings. 4*

(I'll be searching out more work from this author as well.) 

 

THE PAINTED GIRL by Paul McNamee. Native American Cosmic horror. How could it not be good? 4*

 

RECLAIMED by William D Carl. I feel like this story could have been written by Lovecraft himself, but I like this author's writing style better. 4.5*

 

STARRY NIGHT by Jason Parent. Features Merle Haggard, (no lie), AND it has creatures.

 

4* SANGUISUGA by Kate Moulton. I'm not saying anything to ruin this, but it kicked all kinds of ass. 5*

 

THE LOST MINE OF ST. ELOI by J. Edwin Buja. Intense tunnel action in WWI. 4*

 

THE PROMISED DEATH OF ZEBEDIAH DEWEY by John Goodrich. When even the devil doesn't want you, you're in trouble! 4*

 

THE PERFECT PARENT by Peter N Dudar. Twisted and a little hilarious all at once. 4*

 

YOUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE GUIDE by Jeffrey Thomas. This was an excellent little tale, well told and left me wondering for long after. 5* (I am already a fan of Thomas' work and own several of his book that I haven't read yet. Story of my life!)

 

I found WICKED WEIRD to be an above average collection and I have no reservations about saying:

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Scott Goudsward for providing an e-copy of this anthology in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2019-09-12 20:38
3 Out Of 5 STARS for The Survival of Molly Southbourne
The Survival of Molly Southbourne - Tade Thompson

 

Molly Southbourne #2

 

 

FEATURING⇢

 

Unique Storyline
Creeptastic and Horror-if-ic
The Second Half of A Complete Story
Science Fiction

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (TOR.COM'S WEBSITE)

 

 

 

MY RATING⇢ 3 STARS | GRADE C

 


MY THOUGHTS⇢

 

The first book introduced a very disturbing story...that quite literally blew my mind with its sheer craziness. Unfortunately, the second book felt a little like he didn't really know where he wanted to go with the story...almost as if he was never really planning on continuing the story at all. Like an idea that never fully formed.

 

I want to say it was worthwhile overall...and it definitely wasn't $3.99 worthwhile. In fact, the more I think about it...the more I feel that this was better off without a sequel at all.

 

THE BREAKDOWN⇢

 

Plot⇢ 2.8/5
Characters⇢ 3.7/5
The Feels⇢ 3.2/5
Pacing⇢ 3/5
Addictiveness⇢ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇢ 3.5/5

 

Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 3/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇢ 4/5
Originality⇢ 4.3/5
Ending⇢ 3/5 Cliffhanger⇢ Not really...

_____ 

 

Book Cover⇢ It's better than the first book's cover...bloody hands aren't quite as creepy as a bloody nose.
Setting: This book is definitely the UK...London, mostly.
Source⇢ Own Kindle eBook
eBook Length⇢ 128 pages

 

 

 

I Read This For the square: Read by Flashlight or Candlelight

 

 

 

 

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review 2019-08-31 18:26
4 Out Of 5 STARS for The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
The Murders of Molly Southbourne - Tade Thompson

 

Molly Southbourne #1

 

FEATURING⇢

 

Creep-tastic & Weird AF
WTF did I just read?
First Half of A Complete Story
Duology (of Short Stories)
Horror-if-ic
Sort of Science Fiction &
Sort of Fantasy


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (TOR.COM'S WEBSITE)

 

MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+

 


MY THOUGHTS⇢

 

I got this free from tor.com and on the one hand, it's cool that I got a book for free...but on the other hand, I have to buy the second book for $3.99 and it's barely over 100 pages. Under-handed is what that is. You sucked me in...and I caved, I needed the ending to this wholly unique experience that I had with this book. Well done TOR...Reading of said book to commence soon, hopefully.

 

With an almost frenetic pace...or maybe that was just me, that day I read it. Whatever it was, I found myself racing to read this. I even found myself telling people at work about it. It was just so out there. The premise of this book had me thinking, no way would this plot work...but it actually did. At least for me. Overall, if I hadn't gotten this for free, I would have never read this series, because at eight dollars (roughly $4 a book) it's a little costly to me.

 

THE BREAKDOWN⇢

 

Plot⇢ 3.8/5
Characters⇢ 3.5/5
The Feels⇢ 5/5
Pacing⇢ 3.5/5
Addictiveness⇢ 4.7/5
Theme or Tone⇢ 5/5 for the creep factor...
Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 4/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇢ 4/5
Originality⇢ 5/5
Ending⇢ 3/5 Cliffhanger⇢ YUP!
_____

 

Book Cover⇢ It's Creepy.
Setting⇢ I'm not sure...maybe Ireland or the United Kingdom.
Source⇢ Freebie from Tor.com
Length⇢ 122 pages

 

 

 
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review 2019-08-25 15:03
Generation Zero: We Are the Future (graphic novel, vol. 1) written by Fred Van Lente, art by Francis Portela, Derek Charm, and Diego Bernard
Generation Zero Volume 1: We Are the Future - Fred Van Lente

Keisha Sherman desperately wants to find out the truth about what happened to her boyfriend, Stephen. He supposedly got drunk and died in a car crash, but she knows he wasn't the kind of guy to do that - he didn't drink, do drugs, or smoke. Since her dad, the local Sheriff, won't listen and thinks she's just in denial, Keisha turns to the only people she can think of: Generation Zero. She makes a desperate plea for their help...and they answer.

This was another graphic novel I requested via ILL after finding out about it while doing some research for a grant proposal. It was a 2017 Virginia Library Association Diversity Award Honor Book.

I can't recall the last time I read a Valiant series. Honestly, looking through their list of titles, it's possible I've never read a Valiant series. I certainly haven't read any of the Harbringer comics, which are apparently related to the Generation Zero comics somehow.

Although I could definitely tell that there was some backstory I was unaware of (I didn't realize until after I'd read the whole graphic novel that the description on the back cover included some useful info for complete newbies to this world, like me), I think I was able to follow along pretty well. The members of Generation Zero had originally been taken from their families and trained as weapons. Each of them had of them had special powers of some sort, and each of them dealt with their trauma and having their childhoods stolen from them in different ways.

Cronus (I'm not sure about his powers), who appeared to be the team's leader, wanted to do good. Telic (could see a little into the future), meanwhile, wanted Cronus to embrace the fact that they'd been trained to be weapons. Animalia (could give herself other forms, although I think it wasn't so much shapeshifting as crafting an illusion over herself), one of the group's youngest members, just wanted a life that was nice and good. Cloud (telepath) was the group's gentlest and most positive member, despite constantly being exposed to humanity's collective consciousness. The Zygos twins (super smart?) didn't seem to particularly like humans in general. I didn't really get much of a feel for Gamete, a super fetus who got around by controlling the body of her comatose mother like some sort of creepy puppet.

I wasn't really a fan of the artwork. Facial expressions were a bit stiff, and the artist(s) sometimes had trouble drawing the characters consistently. The female Zygos twin, for example, usually looked almost exactly like her brother, only with longer hair and very slightly more defined lips. In some panels, however, she was inexplicably drawn with more stereotypically feminine features: much more prominent lips and thicker eyelashes. It was weird. I did think the switch to Archie comics-style artwork during the "questioning Adele" portion was really effective, though.

This volume just scratched the surface of whatever was going on in Keisha's hometown, which involved weird faceless Cornermen, technology that shouldn't exist yet, and Momoo energy shakes. The characters were relatively interesting, but I don't know whether I'll be continuing on with this. If I do continue on: Keisha's autistic (?) brother just flat-out disappeared near the end of the volume, so here's hoping the writer doesn't forget about him and actually answers the question of where he went in the next volume.

Extras:

Variant covers and a few examples of the artwork in progress (line art, and line art with some color applied but no shading).

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2019-08-23 21:45
BLACK HEART BOYS' CHOIR by Curtis M. Lawson
Black Heart Boys' Choir - Curtis M. Lawson,Luke Spooner,S.T. Joshi

BLACK HEART BOYS' CHOIR required a bit of time on my part for everything to sink in. Once it did, I felt liking shouting BRAVO and throwing some roses at the author. A friend took me aside and told me this was frowned upon, so I decided to write this review instead.

 

Lucien has recently lost his father to suicide. Shortly after that, he loses his mother to grief, (among other things.) To top it all off, he and his mother are required to move from their rather posh house, to a humbler home in a condominium. He is full of anger and disgust-with himself, and his weak parents. He begins hearing music in his head, as well as voices, and shortly thereafter he discovers a piece of orchestration that his father began to write but never finished. He sets out to quiet those voices and the music-will he be triumphant? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I became a fan of Curtis Lawson last year and immediately bought another of his books when I finished the first. (I haven't been able to get to it yet-story of my life.) However, when he offered me a chance to read this one early, how could I say no? At first, I was a bit confused as to what was going on, and to be honest, I wondered if this novel was going to require some kind of musical knowledge or at least the ability to read music. I needn't have feared, since all that was required was close attention on my part. That wasn't hard to give because the narrative soon swept me up and carried me to the denouement, much like a wave at the beach carries you to shore.

 

Why did I need time to mull over this story? I can mention some of the reasons here, some I cannot because...spoilers. Lucien was not altogether likable, even before some of the more distasteful events occurred. Luckily, I'm okay with real people being the main character-meaning in real life, people are not all good or bad, so why do some expect that in their fiction? Another reason I needed to mull for a moment is mental illness. (Lucien reminded me a lot of a young man I knew who suffered from Schizophrenia.) In the end, this tale broke another way, but somehow I came away from it with a better understanding of the young man I once knew. (Or at least, I think I did.)

 

As a whole, BLACK HEART BOYS' CHOIR tackles a lot in its few pages: suicide, death, abuse, neglect, teen friendships, (and many of us know the friendships made during that difficult time in life are hard to break), resentments, music, mental illness (?), demons...well, you get the picture.

 

Hopefully, you now understand my reasons for mulling over this tale. I believe I will be thinking about it for quite some time. These are generally the types of stories that stick with me-the mull-ers. If what I've described above sounds good to you and if you enjoy thinking about a story long after it's finished, then I highly recommend BLACK HEART BOYS' CHOIR!

 

*Thank you to the author for the e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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