Thursday, August 11, 2022

What I Read in July

I keep saying this but how the heck is the middle of August already? I'm not sure how time just keeps flying by me like this...

How many books did you read in July? Was it a good reading month for you? In case you were curious, here's a peek at the books I read and reviewed last month!

Danger Slater's Moonfellows
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

Moonfellows is an alt-historical sci-fi (without the science) story about a group of folks who are sent to the moon in the early 1900's to mine it for MacGuffinite, a precious mineral that has the potential to change the world as they currently know it. But the mission goes to shit pretty quick and the crew soon find themselves not only stranded on its dry, dusty surface, but also fighting for their lives as one of their very own begins to transform into something horrible...

I read this in nearly one sitting. You know how sometimes you pick up a book expecting to read just a few pages and before you know it, you've finished it? Well, this is one of those books, you guys. It was just. that. friggen. good! Absolutely unputdownable! Cosmic space horror goodness for the win!

And not to sound cheesy, but I believe this is his best book yet! It's been so amazing reading his work over the years and seeing how much he's grown as a writer. I cannot wait to see what he writes next. I'll be first in line to get my grubby, space-sluggy hands on it!!

Ottesa Moshfegh's Lapvona
Pengiun Press (Audio)

WTF did I just read?!

There were parts I really liked, that carried echos of books like Mammother and The Book of X, and parts that were just nasty-cringy and gross which doesn't usually don't bother me... but this kind of nasty-cringy and gross shit did.

Ottessa narrated the book and did a really nice job. It was pleasant to listen it (minus the nasty-cringy gross shit) and had a vaguely dark fairy tale feel to it.

Best not to know what you're walking into when you open this door, methinks.

T. Kingfisher's What Moves the Dead

Tor Nightfire

This book has THE most perfect title and cover, doesn't it? I mean, they both will make so much more sense once you get deeper into the story but c'mon... amiright?!

What Moves the Dead is fungal body horror at its creepiest. It's been a hell of a long time since I've read Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, so I really have no idea how close it stays to the bones of the original, but the prose feels as though it was literally pulled off those pages and spat right out onto these. It oozes victorian dread - dark and dreary setting complete with a decrepid crumbling mansion, pale and sickly residents, maids throwing themselves from the roof, and a private murky pond that gives off strange flickering green lights at night.

Madeline, the mistress of the mansion, look like she's recently joined the Undead. Her brother Roderick is as timid as a mouse and just as twitchy. The wild hares in the surrounding woods are acting incredibly odd. And there are rumors of curses and witches. But our protagonist Alex, who was summoned by Madeline when she first took ill, soon discovers there is something much more horrible at foot.

The tension and suspense is what makes the whole thing work so well! Highly recommend.

Sarah Gailey's Just Like Home
Tor Books

Is it me or does Sarah Gailey reinvent themselves in all the best ways every! single! time! they write a new book?!?!

This time we're treated to a horror-house story with Just Like Home, when Vera Crowder is called back to her childhood home to watch over her estranged mother as she lay dying. We immediately sense that there is some horrible family secret we're not yet clued into, and that the itself house holds some exhilarating, and terrifying, secrets of its very own.

As Gailey slowly wraps us in their tantalizing web, peeling back the familial trauma and gory ongoings in the basement through flashback chapters, we begin to understand that Vera and her mother are not alone in the Crowder House...

Honestly, I'm surprised to see it shelved in the regular fiction section at the bookstores because of the suspense and horror components it contains. An absolute page turner if for nothing other than the SHEER NEED TO KNOW just wtf is going on! And holy crap does it get CRAAAAZY in the last 3/4s of the book! 

Mia Moss's Mai Tais for the Lost
Underland Press

A punchy sci-fi noir novella, set 90 years in the future, that takes place in an underwater city while the now-uninhabitable surface world burns away.

In it, we find ourselves following Marrow Nightingale, the Electric Blue Moon's only private detective, as she begins to crack the case of her murdered brother. She quickly discovers there's something larger at play here, and meets up with some interesting characters along the way. There's an AI mermaid stripper, a super intelligent octopus, and of course there's lots of drugs, an orgy-wake, and some nefarious government types who will do anything to remain ahead of their competition.

It's incredibly fast paced, and I read it in nearly one sitting out on the back deck today. My only compliant is that the speed at which the story unfolds doesn't allow time for the author to flesh out the world we have found ourselves immediately plunged into. While I don't necessarily need the history on what happened to the world topside and pushed everyone to seek a life underwater, I would have loved to have a more clear picture of the underwater cities themselves.

If you're looking for what I like to call "brain candy", this book is going to be perfect for you, but if you're seeking something with more depth and a focus on world building, you'll end up disappointed.

Michael Seidlinger's Anybody Home?
Clash Books

A more intimate spin on books like A Cabin the Woods and movies like The Strangers, Michael Seidlinger's Anybody Home reads like a how-to manual for home invaders.

Told from the perspective of someone who has been at this a long time, we are pulled into the role of a fledgling invader under their tutelage. They show us how to scope out a house, break and enter undetected, how to hide among the family to learn their habits and the lay of the land, all in preparation for the terrifying and horrific invasion which is being staged and filmed in the hopes of becoming a "cult" hit.

It's unsettling and slighlty horrifying, if not as a direct result of Seidlinger's writing (which could be a little difficult to follow at times) then definitely for the niggling seeds of doubt and worry that it creates - are any of us truly safe in our homes? would we know if we were being watched? what role would we play if someone threatened our safety, our family? would we have what it takes to survive it?

If thoughts like these, and graphic depictions of bodily mutliaton, are triggers for you, consider yourself warned.

Not too shabby! I read 5 physical books and listened to 1 audiobook. (Anyone else pick up on the black and pink theme? That was totally unintentional, by the way, haha!)

I'd love to know what books you read last month!

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