THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE ABOUT MY BRAIN by R. L. Stine
WILL MY CAT EAT MY EYEBALLS by Caitlin Doughty
MYRRH by Polly Hall
WHERE THE SALT GROWS HEAVY by Cassondra Khaw
WHERE THE DEAD WAIT by Ally Wilkes
With the holiday shopping season kicking off this week, I thought I'd get my monthly reads out a bit ahead of schedule because if they're not already there, these books deserve a place on your TBR pile!
Look, I'm a sucker for two thing: craft books and Goosebumps. As such, I'd long had Stine's craft book, THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE ABOUT MY BRAIN on preorder, and I tucked right in the second it arrived on my doorstep. A couple hours later, and I have more appreciation than ever for Bob and his work, and the way his wonderfully weird brain works. Even if you don't write MG, even if you don't write spooky stuff, this is still an excellent, accessible, easy read to inspire your inner-writer.
As November is "nonfiction November," and I'm hard at work on the BLESS YOUR HEART sequel, another read on weird, dead stuff was right up my alley, and Caitlin Doughty does not disappoint. Written in short-form Q&A style, WILL MY CAT EAT MY EYEBALLS answers, in essay form, some of our top questions about dead bodies, funeral processes, and other things macabre. Fun facts and filled with heart, you'll forget entirely that you're reading about decomposition.
An advance copy of MYRRH came to me from the UK, and I was happy to read. A short novel (or long novella, depending on where you put 50k-words (about 260pp)), filled with twists and turns, this festering account of the horrors women hold in their wombs--and the ones their daughters inherit--will absolutely f*ck you up.
I red THE SALT GROWS HEAVY as an ARC over the summer, but decided to tuck in for seconds to support one of my MFA students this semester (and she won the Best Student Paper Award from the Brothers Grimm Society of North America based on her critical essay of mermaid in revisionist fairy tales and folklore!!!). On my second read, this novella continues to shine as my favorite Cassandra Khaw read. Vicious and breath-taking.
Already released in the US, WHERE THE DEAD WAIT came to me for the UK Titan release. Slow burning Polar Gothics aren't my go-to read, but Wilkes certainly has a new fan in me. Eerie, atmospheric, and immersive, this tales of how our deeds haunt us, cannibalism, and despair chills much deeper than the bone.
A KISS OF SHADOWS (Merry Gentry #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
TENDER IS THE FLESH by Agustina Bazterrica
THE INVISIBLE HOUR by Alice Hoffman
NOT FOREVER BUT FOR NOW by Chuck Palahniuk
Wow, my reading list this month says a lot about me! What can I say, other than I'm a well-rounded reader, LOL.
I first read Laurell K. Hamilton in the early-aughts, and lately I've been craving a little guilty pleasure in my reading, so I've decided to re-read the entire Merry Gentry series, beginning with A KISS OF SHADOWS. There's so much to love about an estranged sidhe princess embroiled in fey politics who is told that she might inherit the throne–if she can beat her (rather evil) cousin to producing an heir. Re-reading this first book brought back so many memories from when I first discovered Hamilton's work, and I already know that once I finish with Merry, I'll be ready to re-read the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.
Speaking of cravings, lately I've become very interested in the theme of hunger in horror fiction. TENDER IS THE FLESH has admittedly been on my TBR for some time, but I gobbled this juicy novella down over the course of two nights and am still recovering from the delicious stomachache. There is so much to love about Bazterrica's cannibalistic future, and her meaty yet subversive discourse on everything from women's roles to factory farming. Highly recommended to those with an iron gut.
Lighter fare is to be found in THE INVISIBLE HOUR, but that doesn't make Alice Hoffman's latest simple. Beautiful woven with Hoffman's characteristical literary voice, this story of two generations of women who lose themselves to and find themselves in a cult (the Community)–as well as ample servings of love, heartbreak, self-discovery, and the enduring magic of books–is a page-turner. Brimming with soiled beauty, this novel is yet another reminder that Alice Hoffman is a national treasure.
Okay, look. I love Palahniuk's weirdness as much as the next girl, but the amount of enjoyment I've had reading NOT FOREVER BUT FOR NOW has caused me some concern. A horror satire that makes A Clockwork Orange look like a children's bedtime story, once you sink into the voice of this novel, you're already a goner.
Hello readers, and welcome to the end! With September almost officially past, October is soon upon us. Between end of year deadlines, fall semester, and the upcoming High Holiday, things are busier than ever in my little corner of the world. The past few weeks have been packed, and with travel, events, and special announcements coming over the next few weeks, October promises to be just as busy, so let's get to it: here's everything that happened in September!
First, I wrote an open letter to librarians about BLESS YOUR HEART, and the place libraries (and librarians!) hold in my heart. You can read the full letter–along with a brief Q&A about four generations of women tasked with battling a vampire to protect their town–on the Macmillan Library site here.
BLESS YOUR HEART began as an exercise—or maybe an exorcism—to say goodbye to the women I loved most. A way to bring them back to life on the page, hear their voices again, and give them different endings. And not just my grandmothers, but my friends, those kids who, like me, were too different to fit into the confines of their small towns. Those beautiful boys and girls who grew up scared to be themselves in small minds. Who, unlike me, never left. Whose stories, like the Evanses’, refuse to stay buried.
And last, but certainly NOT least: earlier this month I was able to rekindle my love of All Things Boulet Brothers by sharing amazing news–come Halloween, THE BOULET BROTHERS' DRAGULA is BACK with Season 5!
This season promises to be bigger, better, and more horrible than ever and I AM HERE FOR IT. Check out the full announcement over at Rue Morgue where you can also read up on last season, my interview with DRAGULA TITANS winner Victoria Elizabeth Black, and more!
That's it for now! Happy almost-October, and remember, Halloween is only 33 days away!
Currently Reading: TENDER IS THE FLESH by Agustina Bazterric
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Spooky Season!
As we move into Fall, I'm resurrecting the blog. Expect fun news, announcements, reflections, and other exclusive content, as well as monthly recaps right here–starting, not surprisingly, with the August recap!
Calling August a whirlwind month is an understatement. In sum, we traveled 15 states–from San Francisco, CA alllll the way across the southern half of the US and then up the Eastern Seaboard to NYC.
For our first stop, Finn and I drove up to Pennsylvania and The Highlights Foundation for the Western Connecticut State MFA Summer Residency. We had a phenomenal week working with students, reading and learning, and enjoying live readings from students and other visiting authors, as well as spending lots of time being surrounded by good friends and beautiful nature (check out the pics on Instagram!). From there, we flew to San Francisco and started making our way back east. Along the way, we *finally* got a chance to check out Bone Haus Brewing, a boutique craft brewery I invested in a few years back. When I was first introduced to the company, I fell in love with their branding and art, but after spending time on location, the beer is pretty darn good, too! (My personal fave is the Hilton's Hollow Marshmallow Porter–yum!) Take a gander around the brewery: Porter
Afterward, we took a short trip off-route and headed down to Tombstone, AZ, where we did some sight-seeing (and some fun research!). We brunched at Big Nose Kate's Saloon, visited The Bird Cage Theater, and came home with LOTs of trinkets.
All this time in the Old West made for the perfect backdrop to chat with Charlaine Harris about her brand new book (and the fifth installment in her Gunnie Rose series), ALL THE DEAD SHALL WEEP.
Our last stop of the month, after a quick jaunt by my university to kick off fall semester with grad student orientation and after a quick stop at an upcoming new film studio locale in Hoboken, we made it into NYC for one thing and one thing only.
*Insert primal yell* GROBAN! Specifically, Groban as Sweeney Todd in the Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. I simply cannot tell you how incredible this experience was! We dressed up, we paid too much for merch and snacks, and we cried during "Johanna." Josh Groban and the entire cast did a phenomenal job, and naturally we can straight home and watched Tim Burton's version of the same play, because why not?
By the end of the month, we were home and back to work, and I'll be spending all of September wrapping up one novel and working on the sequel to BLESS YOUR HEART. I'm wrapping up edits on not one but TWO upcoming anthologies, and working on a number of small pieces, blurbs, and other end-of-year projects, before ramping up for 2024.
That's it for now! Happy September, and remember, Halloween is only 57 days away!
Currently Reading: THE INVISIBLE HOUR by Alice Hoffman
Official blog of author Lindy Ryan.