Spring into Horror Readathon TBR

This is my sign-up and goals post for the Spring into Horror Readathon, which is hosted by Seasons of Reading. It is a two week long readathon taking place from April 17th to 30th, and the goal is to read at least one scary book during that time. It doesn’t have to be a horror book, if you aren’t into horror – you can also use thriller, gothic, mystery, etc.

I went through my owned books and picked up a few physical books, a couple of Kindle books, and added one library book to the pile. My goal is to read one or two of these books during the two weeks and, if possible, continue listening to a few chapters of the Dracula audiobook that I started all the way back in November! I will be mainly tweeting my progress @maijareads.

The TBR pile

The Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham – finished, 4/5 stars
Murder of Angels by Caitlín R. Kiernan

These are the physical books I own. Two of them are modern classics: Hangsaman is a book that I want to go in blind, so I don’t know anything about it, and The Midwich Cuckoos features that beloved horror staple: creepy kids. Murder of Angels, meanwhile, is a sequel to Caitlín R. Kiernan’s debut novel, Silk. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Silk, but since the sequel was written so many years later, I might like it better.

Experimental Film by Gemma Files
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
Musta kuu by Mia Vänskä

Two of these are ebooks that I’ve bought not that long ago. Experimental Film is a movie-themed horror novel, and Wylding Hall is about a band. I like horror books that tie into other artistic mediums. Musta kuu (translation: Black Moon) is a Finnish horror novel that I borrowed from the library. It’s about a varied group of people vacationing in some cabins near an ancient sacrificial ground, because of course. That’s just what you do.

Are you taking part? What sort of horror books do you like, or do you read horror at all? Let me know in the comments!

February & March #MountTBR Progress

This is my second progress post for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. I’m aiming for the Mount Blanc level: reading 24 of my owned TBR books during 2017. That means reading two books every month, and I would prefer at least one of them to be from my physical TBR shelf. All of them have to be bought before 2017.

February wasn’t as great a success as January – I managed to read 4 owned TBR books, out of which 1 was a physical book (sadly only a comic trade). I acquired 2 books during the month. In March I went on vacation and only read 1 ebook from my owned books, and no physical books. I did start The Martian by Andy Weir, but didn’t get to finish it before my vacation. I also bought three ebooks that were on sale in March! ;_; I need to step up reading my physical books in April! Here is what I finished in the past two months.

Broom with a View
Broom with a View by Gayla Twist & Ted Naifeh
216 pages / ebook

This is a fantasy retelling of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, with witches and vampires. It’s entertaining and light, but nothing that memorable. I think the characters and their relationships relied on the reader knowing them from the original novel to make them feel fully fleshed-out. The biggest draw was in seeing what changes the writers made to the story.

2.5 out of 5 stars

The Wicked + The Divine 4
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 4 by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
144 pages / physical / comic trade

The comic series about reincarnated gods continues in a very action-packed volume! This is definitely the “action scene” of the series so far. Jamie McKelvie’s and Matt Wilson’s art continues to be divine.

I like that we finally got some answers, and that things weren’t as hopeless as they seemed to be at the end of Volume 2. With that said, although we did get some answers, the plot wasn’t the best in the series, since this volume was pretty much an action scene after action scene. Which can be fun sometimes!

3.5 out of 5 stars

Clay's Ark
Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler
224 pages / ebook

A father and his two daughters are kidnapped to a colony with people infected by an alien disease, and told that they must now live there for the rest of their lives. This is the third book in the Patternmaster series, but its connection to the previous books is very loose, almost nonexistent, apart from a brief mention. I can only imagine that the first three books are more closely tied together in the fourth and final book.

This was a very difficult book, dealing with hard and harsh topics like Butler often does, including but not limited to kidnapping, rape, and incest. It also continues the series’ theme of free will. But the earlier books handled everything better: I could see no point to all the graphic sexual assault and violence in this one. The plot itself was too weak to carry the book, even such a short one as this is. I liked the previous books and hope that the final one gives a reason for this book to exist.

2 out of 5 stars

Of Sorrow and Such
Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter
160 pages / ebook

This novella tells of Mistress Gideon, the local witch of a small town called Edda’s Meadow, who wants to live a quiet life. She gets tangled up with a couple of shapeshifters, one of whom is reckless to the point of foolishness. And the trouble begins.

First off, what a great main character! I loved experiencing the story from Patience Gideon’s point of view and learning about her history. She has a lot of common sense, but is definitely no goody-two-shoes. There are dark things in her past. I liked how the story focused on the lives of women and the relationships between them, as well as talking about how they often have to be under the power of men in order to survive.

4 out of 5 stars

The Man with Two Left Feet by P.G. Wodehouse
168 pages / ebook

This is a short story collection featuring some of Wodehouse’s early works. I’ve been chipping away at it for a while now, but did finish over 50% of it in 2017.

Out of the stories, I loved At Geisenheimer’s, but hated Black for Luck. The early Bertie story, Extricating Young Gussie, is a fun story and also an interesting curiosity for Jeeves & Wooster fans: it’s the first Bertie story (no mention of his last name), although Jeeves doesn’t yet get any characterization. The other stories are just OK.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Those were all the books from February and March that qualified for the challenge. I also read one other owned ebook (The Convergence of Fairy Tales by Octavia Cade), but since I had bought it in 2017, it didn’t qualify. Then I read a bunch of library books, like always.

Onwards to April!