Thursday, March 3, 2016

February Reading Wrap-Up & Book-of-the-Month Selection

Hey, here's what I read in February, folks:

The Thicket, by Joe R. Lansdale - I listened to the audiobook edition of this novel and loved every minute of it. This book seemed custom built for my enjoyment and instantly achieved 'all-time favorites' status.



The Chemickal Marriage, by Gordon Dahlquist - This is the third and final book in a series that started with the fantastic The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. Was it, too, fantastic? No. But it was a hell of a lot better than the structurally flawed second book in the series, The Dark Volume. For those who like steampunk, I highly recommend The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. It can be read as a standalone, too, if anything I've written here has put you off.



Sunglasses After Dark, by Nancy A. Collins - I've had this book waiting in the wings for a while now, and when I saw that someone had declared February Women in Horror Month, I decided to give this one a go. And it was pretty damn good. This has to be one of the primordial works of the wildly popular Urban Fantasy genre (kick-ass female characters beating the shit out of supernatural creatures). I looked it up, and it predates Laurel K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures by about four years. Sunglasses After Dark is a much better book. It is heavier on the horror than Hamilton's first Anita Blake book AND it's not dull. If you like Urban Fantasy, give it a go.


(Note: The Kindle Edition published by Open Road Media is pretty shitty. It's an OCR conversion nightmare with what amounts to at least one error on every page. This isn't the first Open Road book I've read with this problem. They seem to have a serious quality control issue on their hands.)



Margins & Burrito, by E. Lorn - (Full Disclosure: I beta-read these two shorts for my pal, E.) I'd recommend these to those fans of Edward Lorn the book reviewer and blogger guy who may not be fans of the horror genre.



The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle - A great novella from one of my favorite authors. Mr. LaValle, who happens to be a gentleman of color, has a love/hate relationship with H.P. Lovecraft, but instead of wholly dismissing Lovecraft over his well-known racist beliefs, LaValle decided to play in the old racist bastard's sandbox and make it his own. Highly recommended.



In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair, by Cate Gardner - This surreal novella has some cool imagery and neat ideas, but a lot of the humor fell flat for me, and the surreal geography wasn't explained clearly enough to keep me from scratching my head from time to time. I'd read another by this author. She's got a novella about Mr. Punch I'd like to get my hands on.



The Return, by Bentley Little - This is the second book I've read by Mr. Little, and I must say I like his style. His treatment of the supernatural invasion is grotesque and surreal and often downright silly. I'm glad that I've got a bunch more of his queued up on the old Kindle.



What is my pick for February Book-of-the Month? Hands down, The Thicket. I can't recall the last time I was so thoroughly enchanted and entertained by a work of fiction. Highest possible recommendation. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Joe R. Lansdale is a national treasure!



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