Waiting on Wednesday 07/03/19

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

A Golden Grave by Erin Lindsey (September 17th, 2018 by Minotaur Books)

I had a lot of fun last year with Erin Lindsey’s supernatural mystery Murder on Millionaires’ Row and I’m so excited to see that the sequel’s on its way (with such a pretty cover too)!

“The follow-up to Murder on Millionaires’ Row, Erin Lindsey’s second historical mystery follows Rose Gallagher as she tracks a killer with shocking abilities through Gilded Age Manhattan. 

Rose Gallagher always dreamed of finding adventure, so her new life as a freshly-minted Pinkerton agent ought to be everything she ever wanted. Only a few months ago, she was just another poor Irish housemaid from Five Points; now, she’s learning to shoot a gun and dance the waltz and throw a grown man over her shoulder. Better still, she’s been recruited to the special branch, an elite unit dedicated to cases of a paranormal nature, and that means spending her days alongside the dashing Thomas Wiltshire.

But being a Pinkerton isn’t quite what Rose imagined, and not everyone welcomes her into the fold. Meanwhile, her old friends aren’t sure what to make of the new Rose, and even Thomas seems to be having second thoughts about his junior partner. So when a chilling new case arrives on Rose’s doorstep, she jumps at the chance to prove herself – only to realize that the stakes are higher than she could have imagined. Six delegates have been murdered at a local political convention, and the police have no idea who–or what–is responsible. One thing seems clear: The killer’s next target is a candidate for New York City mayor, one Theodore Roosevelt.

Convinced that something supernatural is afoot, Rose and Thomas must track down the murderer before Roosevelt is taken out of the race–permanently. But this killer is unlike any they’ve faced before, and hunting him down will take them from brownstones to ballrooms to Bowery saloons. Not quite comfortable anywhere, Rose must come to terms with her own changed place in society–and the fact that some would do anything to see her gone from it entirely.”

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Audiobook Review: The Brink by James S. Murray with Darren Wearmouth

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Brink by James S. Murray with Darren Wearmouth

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Series: Book 2 of Awakened

Publisher: HarperAudio (June 18, 2019)

Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins

Author Information: James S. Murray | Darren Wearmouth

Narrator: James S. Murray

The Brink by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth is the sequel to the supernatural horror-thriller Awakened, which introduced a terrifying threat to the world in the form of an ancient breed of subterranean monsters. Compared to the first book, it is even edgier, bloodier, crazier—and fun for what it’s worth. At times the story gets to be so over the top it’s hard to take seriously, but as long as you go into the novel knowing what to expect, it has great potential to be an enjoyable summer popcorn read.

Picking things up following the events at the end of Awakened, The Brink follows now former New York City mayor Tom Cafferty who has become a changed man ever since surviving the horrors of the subway tunnels beneath the Hudson River. The encounter with the monsters has made him realize that humanity is under threat, and that New York isn’t the only place these bloodthirsty creatures have established a stronghold. All across the globe, they have been planning in their underground nests, preparing and growing stronger for the day they will finally conquer the sun and reclaim the world from humans.

One clandestine organization has known about these creatures for generations, and they been completely devoted to the goal of eradicating them from the planet. However, far from being altruistic, the head of this organization, a fanatical megalomaniac named Van Ness, is trying to hold the leaders of major countries hostage, demanding billions in payment for the knowledge on how to fight the creatures. Needless to say, the United States with its position on never negotiating with terrorists will have none of it, but Van Ness also holds all the cards, threatening the president with large-scale destruction and millions of Americans dead unless he gets what he wants. With their hands tied, the US government must put their trust in Cafferty and his team to infiltrate Van Ness’ organization which is situated in the heart one of the largest creature nests in the world, and pray that they put a stop to his plans before it is too late.

From Awakened to The Brink, there’s a noticeable effort to raise the stakes as well as a definite shift from a creepy and oppressive atmosphere to a flat-out action-horror thriller complete with a completely exaggerated Bond villain-type bad guy and a death toll in the millions. The authors are no longer keeping the monsters a localized threat in the subway tunnels beneath the city of New York; they’re taking things global and showing just how badly the human race is screwed. These creatures, now that they’ve been revealed, are also featured much more prominently in this sequel, and from the descriptions of their physical appearance and behavior, it’s obvious they are heavily influenced by the Alien franchise. In fact, I all but pictured them as the xenomorphs in my mind—not that it’s such bad thing, mind you, considering how terrified I was of those movies growing up. Still, I have to say I missed some of the more irresistible horror elements from the first book, including the claustrophobic mood and edge-of-your-seat suspense. It’s like the authors made a conscious decision not to waste time with the subtleties in this follow-up, turning up the campiness and blood-and-gore instead.

For one thing, we have a villain who’s so over-the-top evil and extreme he comes across as a goofy caricature. Shockingly, the creatures in The Brink aren’t the scariest thing in the novel, for that distinction belongs to Van Ness. The man is pure crazy. As the son a Nazi soldier, he’s hell bent on bringing back the Third Reich, but only after he has purged the world of the monsters and “impure” races so that civilization can start over. He also has no qualms about turning the entire planet into a nuclear wasteland in order to bring his vision about. The man operates out of a state-of-the-art underground lair with the monsters he claims to hate so much, protected by his unquestioning minions and billions of dollars’ worth in high-tech lasers, I kid you not. And of course, we mustn’t forget his pet peeve for naughty language, because all cheesy villains need an eccentric quirk.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to take The Brink too seriously, which is a shame because the first book really knocked it out of the park with regards to striking a balance between hair-raising horror and irreverent campy entertainment. Murray and Wearmouth carried things a bit too far in the latter direction this time, a shift that threw me off somewhat, I confess. Still, if you’re looking for a fun creature feature-type read and don’t mind if things get a little (okay, a lot) farfetched, give it a shot for your beach reading list this summer.

Audiobook Comments: Once again, I had the pleasure of listening to James “Murr” Murray narrate his own book, which definitely added an extra dimension of immersion since no one knows the story better. I think some of his accents could have been better, but overall his voice work was superb and it’s clear his theater and television experience has served him well.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Awakened (Book 1)

Audiobook Review: The Rumor by Lesley Kara

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Random House Audio (June 18, 2019)

Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: Karissa Vacker, Olivia Mackenzie-Smith

I’ve been listening to a lot of thriller-suspense and mystery in audio lately, and The Rumor was another fun one. Inspired by a true crime story, author Lesley Kara takes readers to a quiet seaside town of Flinstead where single mom and budding realtor Joanna Critchley has decided to settle down with her son Alfie. Being in a smaller and more close-knit community would be a good change for them both, Joanna reasoned, especially for Alfie, who was being bullied horribly at his old school in the city. Even though the move would take them farther away from her good friend and Alfie’s dad Michael, who takes a very active part in the boy’s life, Flinstead is still close enough to the city where frequent visits to see each other would be possible. And with Joanna’s mom living right in town, Alfie can also be closer to his grandmother and they will have a good support system.

At first, however, things don’t go as well as Joanna had hoped. Alfie is still having trouble fitting in at his new school, and Joanna herself is also struggling to make friends among the townsfolk and the tight group of PTA moms. In an effort to gain acceptance, she carelessly lets slip a rumor she heard about a notorious killer who was released from prison years before who might have settled in Flinstead. This murderer, named Sally McGowan, was just a girl herself when she brutally stabbed a young boy to death. If the rumors are true, then this means a heartless psychopath might be living among them right now, hiding out under a guise of being reformed.

To Joanna’s dismay, the rumor quickly winds up snowballing out of control, especially when Michael, a journalist, gets wind of it. Now he wants to write a book about McGowan and is hoping to stay with Joanna and Alfie while he conducts research and tries to track her down. Unfortunately though, the whispers may have already reached the killer’s ears, and who knows how far she will go to keep her identify from being revealed?

The Rumor was such a fun read, and I was immediately drawn to its mystery even though it took me some time to warm up to its protagonist Joanna. She was very much at the center of the novel causing all the drama, and there were times where I just wanted to shake her and tell her to shut her big fat mouth because it seemed like everything that was coming out of it was making things worse! And why did she give a damn what everyone thought anyway, just go live your life the way you want and to hell with all the judgey people who probably aren’t worth your time. But of course, once the narrative gradually established that Joanna was trying to fit in for the sake of her son, I became more sympathetic. Alfie was having a tough time adjusting at school and being one of only a few mixed-race kids in his class wasn’t helping. Joanna would do anything for her son, something I can understand and agree with. She thought she was doing a harmless thing by bringing up McGowan in a bit of conversation, even though she regretted it almost immediately.

Admittedly, the story did take a while to get off the ground. Part of the reason was the amount of setup it required, including Joanna and her situation with Michael, as well as why she felt moving to Flinstead was the best thing for Alfie. Another reason was that there were a lot of characters in town to establish—understandable, considering how the entire mystery hinged upon trying to figure out who Sally McGowan was (and how one of Joanna’s “clues” was that people with new identities often chose names that kept their original initials, leading to a disproportionate number of “S.M.” characters to keep track of). More people meant more possibilities and a better guessing game, though this did result in a confusing at the beginning trying to recall who was who—especially in the first half of the book when character development for all characters was still in its early stages. The audio format also presented its own challenges, though the narration/voice work was fantastic, making it easy to distinguish between the characters.

Still, I have to say that once you got over a certain hump, the flow of the plot improved drastically. Sometimes though, I do wonder if reading more thrillers has made me become a lot more alert to the tricks and trends of the genre because I found parts of the ending to be rather predictable. That said, my enjoyment was in no way affected, and I also liked how certain themes related to guilt, absolution and atonement were explored.

Overall, The Rumor was an entertaining and satisfying mystery-thriller in its own right, and a delight to listen to in audio. It’s also quite impressive for a debut, and I would love to read more by Lesley Lara. I already have her next book in my sights.

YA Weekend: Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Hardcover: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Audiobook: Hachette Audio (June 11th 2019)

Length: Hardcover: 352 pages | Audiobook: 12 hrs and 42 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: Marisa Calin, Polly Lee, Gemma Dawson, Allan Corduner, Steve West

I’ve read all of Dawn Kurtagich’s YA horror novels so far and Teeth in the Mist is probably the most elaborate but also the toughest to get into. A loose retelling of the legend of Faust who sells his soul to the devil for knowledge and power, the novel weaves together past and present to tell the stories of sixteen-year-old Zoey Root, a modern-day high school student, as well as Roan Eddington, a young woman who lived nearly 170 years before.

In 1851, Roan finds herself moving into Mill House, a remote mansion in the Welsh mountains owned by her new guardian Dr. Maudley following the death of her father. It is said that the house is haunted by the ghost of its architect’s wife, who was burned at the stake as witch. When Roan arrives, she discovers others around her age at the mansion, including Rapley, Maudley’s adopted son, as well as Emma and Seamus, Irish siblings who are also wards of the doctor. Together they find that Mill House is also home to something more sinister with roots to an ancient secret.

Shifting gears to the present day, Zoey has always held a fascination for the burned-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House, and not only because of its atmosphere and intriguing history. Years before, her father made a research trip there to learn more about the circumstances behind his birth, only to return a shadow of himself, having lost his mind and most of his memory. Like him, Zoey also possesses supernatural gifts—which come at a high cost. By retracing the steps her father took, she is determined to find out what happened in the hopes of getting some answers for them both.

Spread out in between Zoey and Roan’s perspectives is also a third point-of-view, presented to us in the form of diary entries written by a sixteenth century woman named Hermione. Newly married to a man with plans to construct the largest water mill in the area, her writings reveal clues from the past about the unsettling provenance of Mill House.

All these disparate and complicated threads are pulled together in an organized enough manner, though I won’t lie, it made for a rather dull, sluggish beginning. The first half of the novel sought to establish the three characters, separated by the centuries. It’s difficult to tell at first how their storylines are related, but in time their connections are revealed, and mainly, they have to do with Mill House and the man who built it. Then, of course, there are the allusions to Faust and his infamous deal with the devil. In addition to exploring this theme, the early plot also attempts to expand upon the classic story by moving beyond the basics.

Still, despite the lackadaisical pacing of the first half, Teeth in the Mist intrigued me with the interplay between its three timelines. Dawn Kurtagich is fast becoming a well-known name in YA horror, not only establishing herself as an authority when it comes to creating atmospheric settings but also a creative genius when it comes to presentation—as in how to play with the structure and format of a story to make it compelling and fun for the reader. For example, these methods were used in her last novel And the Trees Crept In to a great extent, where coming across disjointed prose and different font sizes and styles on the same page in order to portray the unraveling sanity of the main character was fairly common. It’s meant to pull you in and make you feel more immersed, and it’s very effective.

I also think the story picks up in the second half, as the links between the three women became more apparent and dynamic. Because of the constant shifts, however, I didn’t feel that Teeth in the Mist was quite as creepy or moody, possibly because keeping up with all the moving parts was also a lot more demanding on my attention and drained my mental energy.

Still, overall I enjoyed the book. I’ve had several busts this year already when it comes to horror YA, and at the very least I wasn’t disappointed in Teeth in the Mist even though it is probably not Kurtagich’s best. That honor still belongs to The Dead House, but I will still rabidly look forward the author’s books and I’m eager to see what she’ll write next.

YA Weekend: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 1 of Gumiho

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (June 25, 2019)

Length: 429 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

I’m sure one day I’ll come across an Asian mythology inspired fantasy and not be immediately tempted to add it to my TBR, but today is not the day! Wicked Fox caught my eye for several reasons, not least of them the fact it features the gumiho, or nine-tailed fox demon, a creature of legend from Korea. The story is also set in the present day, and I was quite curious to see how its traditional folktale elements would be combined with the modern.

For 18-year-old Gu Miyoung, a half-human shapeshifting gumiho, immortality comes at a steep price. In order to survive, she must feed on the gi, or life energy of men. Unpleasant business to be sure, but it must be done, though making murderers and other evil men her exclusive prey is one way Miyoung seeks to assuage her conscience. And in the bustling city of Seoul with its steady supply of wretched criminals, it’s as good a place as any to feed and to hide. By day, she’s a quiet and unassuming teenager about to start classes at her local high school, but in the night by the light of the full moon, she’s a reluctant hunter, searching for her next meal. To choose her targets, Miyoung has sought out the assistance of a young shaman named Nara, who can communicate with the ghosts of the murdered to find their killers.

But one night following a feeding, Miyoung encounters a Jihoon, a boy from school, out walking his dog and completely oblivious to the fact he’s about to become a goblin’s late-night snack. Miyoung rescues Jihoon, and inadvertently reveals her true nature in doing so, losing her fox bead to him and creating a connection between their life forces. At school, the experience has drawn them together, though Miyoung remains wary about letting any human boy get too close. From her capricious mother Yena, Miyoung has learned that she cannot always trust the gumiho within, the otherworldly part of her that is always volatile, that always hungers. And with a part of her soul gone with her bead, her situation is also growing even more desperate by the day.

Let me first start by saying there are parts of Wicked Fox I really enjoyed, but also parts that I thought were weaker or could be reworked. Namely, I loved all the supernatural aspects. If you enjoy urban fantasy, I think you will also find this world inhabited by legendary spirits, demons, ghosts and monsters greatly appealing. And the best part? All these paranormal elements are incorporated into the enchanting, vibrant setting of modern-day Seoul.

In fact, I wish we could have seen more of this side of Wicked Fox. But the novel also had its lulls, including the long sections devoted to high school dramatics. I thought the narrative dwelled too long on Miyoung and Jihoon at school and their time in getting to know each other, as it felt like in these chapters, nothing else significant happened at all. It also took me some time to warm up to Miyoung, mostly because in general I find self-pity to be a very irritating and unbecoming trait in YA protagonists. Simply put, at times her actions and dialogue contained too much angst and woe-is-me for my liking. Needless to say, Jihoon was a real sweetie, an infinite font of patience to put up with her some of her crap. That said, I’ve seen some reviewers describe this book by making comparisons to Korean soap opera dramas, so it is quite possible for Miyoung and Jihoon’s relationship to be a tribute to those.

Thankfully, the second half of the novel picked up considerably, with more intense conflicts and higher stakes that really blew me away. The intrigues and reveals towards the end made it all worth it, connecting all the threads established earlier about Miyoung’s past and dropping some pretty big bombshells about her family. Not to mention it was immensely satisfying to finally get some actual answers as well as the much-needed release from tensions simmering beneath the surface since the intro. This went a long way in making up for some my frustrations over the slower chapters that dragged down the middle of the book.

Overall, I would recommend Wicked Fox by Kat Cho for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal YA, especially if you are fascinated by East Asian traditions, cultures, and mythology. After a stellar beginning, the story took some time to develop, but time and patience will pay off in a big way in the end with plenty of delightful revelations and a satisfying conclusion. I was glad to learn that there will be a sequel to follow this one, because I can’t wait to read more set in this world.

Friday Face-Off: Striped

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

“And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas”
a cover featuring STRIPES

Mogsy’s Pick:

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Vengeful was probably the best book I’ve read by Victoria/V.E. Schwab since…well, its predecessor Vicious. I really wish she would write more adult novels like this, because I think letting loose gives her the opportunity to go beyond a lot of the usual story clichés that seem to plague the YA fantasy genre, allowing her to develop a more nuanced and mature approach to the personal voices in her stories.

Anyway, speaking of nuanced, let’s check out the various covers for this book, which I think are all quite expressive and striking.

From left to right:
Tor Books (2018) – Titan (2018)

Spanish Edition (2019) – Russian Edition (2019) – German Edition (2020)

Winner:

All the covers this week are pretty nice, and I actually waffled between the two English editions (the German edition also had promise, but begone, evil yellow sticker, begone!) before settling on my favorite. In the end, I went with the Tor cover. It’s the version I own, and it’s also beautiful in real life.

But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

Audiobook Review: Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Macmillan Audio (June 25, 2019)

Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrator: Therese Plummer

I just finished Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong and it was so intense that sitting down to write this review now, my heart is still pounding a mile a minute in my chest. I’m a huge fan of the author’s thrillers, in particular her Rockton series, and it was a delight to find that this was in the same league in terms of excitement and drive, though of course it was also different enough to offer a new and refreshing change of pace.

In this standalone novel, we follow protagonist Aubrey Finch who has just recently separated from her husband Paul. But while she has long since accepted the fate of her doomed marriage, what she refuses to give up on is joint custody of her daughter Charlotte, who is Aubrey’s whole world. Despite being an independent, resourceful and smart woman, Aubrey knows her questionable past and lack of financial resources would not stand a chance in court against Paul, a successful defense lawyer who can provide stability for their child. And so she throws herself into being the best mother she can be, bringing Charlotte to the park on their weekends together, trying to mingle with the other moms to prove to others and herself that she is perfectly capable of taking care of her daughter.

This is how Aubrey first meets the young blonde woman, who shows up at the park sometimes with her little boy. They’ve talked on occasion, though never shared names. Just the usual kind of chitchat you have with your typical friendly mom who brings their kid to the playground. But then one day, during a jog through the park on her lunchbreak, Aubrey witnesses the blonde woman’s son being pulled forcefully into a car, with the woman herself nowhere to be seen. In a panic, Aubrey calls the police to report a kidnapping, expecting them put out an Amber alert, mobilize a search, the whole nine yards. Instead, nothing happens. The police say that no one has reported their child missing, so there’s nothing that can be done other than to follow up on the limited leads that Aubrey has provided, which have been checked and have gone nowhere. Frustrated, Aubrey decides to do her own digging into the situation, knowing what she saw was real, that somewhere out there, a child is in danger. And yet, the more she pushes, the more trouble she seems to find herself in. People are starting to question her sanity, wondering whether her fears of losing her own child might be making her delusional. Worse, her investigation activities might be drawing some unwanted attention, threatening to expose details from her past that she would prefer to leave unexplored.

Leave it to Kelley Armstrong to write such an addictive and immersive thriller! I was captivated from the moment it started, and I don’t think the pace slows down at all. Story-wise, Wherever She Goes might come across as the same old, same old—a missing child, an amateur detective protagonist whose obsession with the case leads others to doubt them, and so on and so forth—but what Armstrong does that few other authors can pull off is a perfect sense of timing and a writing style that can convey a sense of desperate immediacy. We’re with Aubrey every step of the way as she carries out her own investigation, feeling the full brunt of her anxiety, fears, and tension. Any moment this fragile situation could come tumbling down on her, jeopardizing her own life as well as those she loves.

And speaking of Aubrey, what a fascinating character Armstrong has created. Aubrey Finch a bright young woman with a real knack for technology, but life hasn’t exactly gone her way due to some unfortunate circumstances as well as mistakes on her part. Throw in a bit of social awkwardness, and others aren’t always willing to trust her because they find her aloof and slightly strange. The fact that this story takes place in a big city doesn’t help, where people are either apathetic to point of nihilism or so prying and judgmental that they always seem to be sticking their nose in your business. Aubrey finds herself dismissed as a crazy person trying to make trouble, and it was so frustrating seeing her brushed off by everyone. Still, this is a lady you don’t want to mess with. Whether she’s hacking into network systems of fighting off thugs that are more than twice her size, she can take care of herself. She’s also fiercely independent, refusing to accept help even if she could really use it. Despite her occasional bullheadedness and her tendency to run headlong into the unknown though, I still found her extremely likeable and relatable and easy to root for.

There were also some surprises in this otherwise straightforward thriller, including discovering that Paul was actually quite a decent guy despite Aubrey’s initial fears that he might fight her over custody arrangements for Charlotte. And there were so many twists and turns in the second half of the novel, it was hard to know who to trust anymore.

Bottom line, Kelley Armstrong is an author who knows how to keep you on your toes. Granted, I have not read many of her paranormal/fantasy work, but with books like Wherever She Goes, I definitely find myself gravitating more towards her thrillers. This was another winner for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys exciting and suspenseful mysteries.

Audiobook Comments: I absolutely adore Therese Plummer, whom I think is one of the industry’s most talented narrators. I became a fan when I first listened to Kelley Armstrong’s City of the Lost (and then the rest of the Rockton series) in audio, and I was so glad to find out that Plummer was on board for this one too. Her voicework gave dimension to Aubrey’s character, making her personality feel genuine, and the sense of urgency her performance brought to the plot was perfect for a thriller.

Waiting on Wednesday 06/26/19

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong (February 4, 2020 by Minotaur Books)

So happy that Kelley Armstrong is keeping these Rockton books coming. Add to that, I just finished her standalone thriller Wherever She Goes and LOVED it. I can’t get enough of what this woman writes.

“In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.”

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019: July to September

Summer is now in full swing! It’s time to look ahead to the Science Fiction and Fantasy reads I’m most excited about in the months of July to September. Not only is it fun to organize my reading and to make lists, they also have the added benefit of focusing my attention to the highly anticipated releases that I’d like to check out. This year, I decided to try something a little different by posting a list every quarter to make the TBR seem more manageable. There’s already an impressive tower of books on my to-read pile, and while I’m under no illusions that I’ll be able to read them all, hopefully I can get to most of them (and also put some new books on people’s radars)!

So what are your most anticipated releases for the third quarter of 2019? Looks like my July is going to quite a month for exciting new releases, while August will be relatively lighter. And I might as well just barricade myself in my house for the whole of September. Can’t talk, too busy trying to read myself out from under Mount TBR!

July

July 2 – Crowfall by Ed McDonald, Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

July 9 – The Toll by Cherie Priest, Salvation Day by Kali Wallace, Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

July 16 – The Philospher’s War by Tom Miller, The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, Howling Dark by Christpher Ruocchio

July 23 – Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn, The Last Astronaut by David Wellington, The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

July 30 – Someone We Know by Shari Lapena, Dark Age by Pierce Brown

August

August 6 – Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman, The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang 

August 13 – Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

August 20 – The Warehouse by Rob Hart, The Whisper Man by Alex North, Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

August 17 – Rage by Cora Carmack

September

September 3 – Missing Person by Sarah Lotz, The Nobody People by Bob Proehl, To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff, The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier, The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young, Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

September 10 – Stormrise by Jillian Boehme, The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

September 17 – A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie, The Hanged Man by K.D. Edwards 

September 24 – The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht, Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw, The Bone Ships by RJ Barker

Book Review: The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal

Series: Book 1

Publisher: Orbit (June 18, 2019)

Length: 496 pages

Author Information: Website

A literary tour de force this was not (but I mean, you’ve probably gathered that from the title already), but still most definitely a ton of fun (again, the title). The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with her Mind by Jackson Ford is the perfect book to read for pure irreverent and action-packed escapism.

Meet Teagan Frost, a young woman who possesses incredible psychokinetic powers, something that the government is all too willing to exploit for its own purposes. Under the cover of a moving company, Teagan and the other members of her team are dispatched on various top-secret missions by their handler Tanner to deal with threats to national security.

However, things go spectacularly wrong on their latest mission, when the only way they could get away was with Teagan taking a flying leap out the window of a skyscraper with one of her freaked out teammates in tow. Only by using her PK was she able to save them both. After that fiasco was over, all Teagan wanted was to sleep for a year, but no sooner had she settled down than she was woken up by an urgent phone call demanding her return to headquarters. In a panic, Teagan arrives expecting everything to be in a state of emergency. What she did not expect was to be accused of murder, with her teammates in a fury and ready to arrest her. Back at the site of their bungled mission, it appears that the body of their original had been found, killed by a length of rebar wrapped around his neck. As far as everyone was concerned, only someone with Teagan’s powers could have done something like this, and since there’s no one else like Teagan in the world, she had to be guilty.

But Teagan knows the truth: there had to be someone else out there with PK powers, an idea that both excites her and scares her. Now she has less than 24 hours to prove her innocence, and the first step towards clearing her name is to track down the real killer.

I confess, this was a purely indulgent read for me; I wanted something fast-paced and fun that read like an action-comedy movie and The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with her Mind gave me exactly that. Despite all the comics and comic book character related references, this isn’t really a superhero novel, but it sure as hell reads a lot like one, incorporating themes like secret identities, uncanny origin stories and a super scary evil villain. Its freewheeling plot starts off running and doesn’t take a break for anything, so be prepared to keep up.

Fortunately, books like these are usually pretty simple and straightforward, though that being said, they don’t often give the reader anything or special too unique either, for all that they are full of humor and well-timed and engaging banter. But that’s where the characters come into the picture. Here, the narrative unfolds by alternating between following Teagan and Jake, the out-of-control PK she’s trying to track down and capture. At first, I felt that the reveal of the target so early on might have been a misstep, but my mind was quickly changed as Ford gradually allowed us to go deeper into Jake’s complicated and twisted psyche. His actions, behaviors and origins suggest a deeper mystery to be solved, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the plot. Teagan herself is also a formidable protagonist and a joy to follow, and her determination and optimism is admirable, considering the impossible challenges she must face and all the hardships she’s had to endure in the past.

To tell the truth, there’s not much left for me to say int his review, but that some books are just plain fun to read. And if fun is what you’re looking for, then The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with her Mind is the exactly kind of novel you’ll want to take to the beach or to curl up with in your favorite reading nook after a long day—the perfect blend of action, humor and sci-fi to fulfill all your needs of escapism and entertainment.