The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle

Synopsis: People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break? Continue reading “The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle”

Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff

Synopsis: Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two year old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb—which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s—destruction. Continue reading “Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff”

Winter Tide – Ruthanna Emrys

Synopsis: After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature. Continue reading “Winter Tide – Ruthanna Emrys”

Top 25 of 2019!

Oh, hello. I’m just here, making a list. As I do. It’s the end of the year, y’all. I’m sure you’ve seen many Best Of lists on your timeline recently, but there’s always room for more.

Right?

Right.

I’m forever the Fantasy Chick™ but this was the year that I felt like I got back to reading a bit more broadly & diversely again.

I read many phenomenal books this year, folks. SO MANY! I rated a whopping 36 books 5 stars. FIVE FUCKING STARS! I know what I like, what can I say?!

Narrowing the glorious Best Of list down wasn’t an easy decision. I did simplify it by removing authors that had books appear multiple times by choosing my absolute favorite. Once again, because I have a slight rebellious streak, I counted the badass Seanan McGuire (also writing as Mira Grant) as two different entities. I DO WHAT I WANT!! For the astute meat suits among you, yes.. there are 26 books in the pile (the wee one between High School & Holy Sister without writing on the spine is Jedi Summer!) It wouldn’t be a Holly list if I didn’t include a sneaky bonus pick!

Without further ado, my top 2(6) books read in 2019! ::air punch:: Continue reading “Top 25 of 2019!”

Solace Lost – Michael Sliter

Synopsis: During times of war, no one goes unscathed. By Ultner, even in times of peace, few can escape suffering. Ardia is on the brink of civil war, though most citizens are woefully unaware of this fact.

Fenrir de Trenton, a disgraced guardsman-turned-ineffective-criminal, is accustomed to taking orders. So much so that, despite the danger, he finds himself neck-deep in the politicking of his current superiors as well as the rulers of the country. The fact that Fenrir’s father would rather see him dead doesn’t help matters.

Emma Dram, a handmaiden of the great Lady Escamilla, hates Fenrir with a fiery passion and with good reason: he lopped off most of her hand. Nonetheless, she finds herself in close proximity to her former lover as she seeks to serve her lady liege in fomenting her own rebellion.

Hafgan Iwan is a Wasmer, a race reviled by humans, who serves the same masters as Fenrir. His efforts to assimilate with human culture only earn him the derision of his own race, and he seeks to find belonging amidst the escalating conflict.

Meanwhile, Merigold Hinter, a serving girl with an unusual power, lives a simple existence, hoping for love, adventure, and to see the world. Her life should be untouched by political maneuvering and war. However, her world becomes a crucible—how much can one woman bear before breaking? Continue reading “Solace Lost – Michael Sliter”

God’s War – Kameron Hurley

Synopsis: Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn’t make any difference…

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on…

There’s not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war–but at what price?

The world is about to find out. Continue reading “God’s War – Kameron Hurley”

The Blood-Tainted Winter – T.L. Greylock

Synopsis: Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold. Continue reading “The Blood-Tainted Winter – T.L. Greylock”

Doctor Sleep – Stephen King

Synopsis: On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon. Continue reading “Doctor Sleep – Stephen King”

Deadman’s Road – Joe R. Lansdale

Synopsis: Deadwood meets Cthulhu in this wild and profane Western romp featuring zombies, werewolves, evil spirits, and one pissed-off gun-slinging preacher.

The Wild West has never seen the likes of Reverend Jebediah Mercer, a hard man wielding a burning Bible in the battle between God and the Devil, in an endless struggle he’s not sure he cares who wins. Laced with fast-paced action, nonstop humor, and spine-tingling horror, Deadman’s Road is your ride to hell, in which a vengeful shaman curses the town by conjuring a seemingly unstoppable army of the undead; an ill-advised shortcut leads to a bees’ nest of terror; a man stands condemned, not for murdering his wife but for raising the Lovecraftian horror that killed her; a woman is attacked by werewolves and left for dead in a ghost town; and a mining camp faces off with a horde of cannibalistic fiends. Continue reading “Deadman’s Road – Joe R. Lansdale”

A Little Hatred – Joe Abercrombie

Releases: 9.17.19.

Synopsis: The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specializes in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another… Continue reading “A Little Hatred – Joe Abercrombie”