Read 6/4/15 - 6/9/15 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended: grind-zarro, gritty, and features a car that can kick Christine's ass Pages: 142 Publisher: Double LRead 6/4/15 - 6/9/15 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended: grind-zarro, gritty, and features a car that can kick Christine's ass Pages: 142 Publisher: Double Life Press Released: May 2015
It was the last god damn time anyone was going to break into his car. Gilbert had had enough.
From gritty cover to grindhouse content, Andrew Hilbert's Death Thing is the best kind of revenge novel. Cleaning up a little blood and gore is a small price to pay for crotchety ole Gilbert, who just about loses his mind when another miscreant breaks into his car. Set on teaching the local riffraff a lesson, he converts his car into a death thing - a booby trapped "bum motel" that will impale and burn his victims alive. Just let them reach in and grab the bait he left on the front passenger seat! And when his wife wakes him in the middle of the night and he hears the screams of the dying, Gilbert know he's on to something great.
And there's only one setback. A minor one, really. As he fine tunes his killing machine, Gilbert becomes the unfortunate recipient of some pretty nasty facial burns when testing the propane trigger. But no matter. This only fuels his (a-hem) fire more, and with his oozey, disgusting outsides now matching his miserable, cranky insides, he enlists the help of his neighbor Larry with disposing of the bodies, which are starting to pile up quite nicely. All seems to be going well until they catch the attention of the local police, which brings with it an entirely new game changer.
An unrepentant gore-fest, Death Thing was an absolute delight to read. Hilbert is like the Simon Pegg of slasher novels. He's grindzarro horror (yes, I'm coining a term, part grindhouse, part bizarro horror), where the characters are actually characters, with, you know, real personalities and stuff, that do some pretty fucked up shit and keep us glued to our seats, turning the pages just to see how much more fucked up things can get.
A perfect debut novel from what I anticipate becoming a new favorite publisher. And a deliciously pulpy start to the summer!...more
Read 5/21/15 -5/27/15 3 Stars - Recommended to fans of gritty, punky, edgy, LGBTQ lit Pages: 166 Publisher: Ladybox Books Released: March 2015
Back in JanuRead 5/21/15 -5/27/15 3 Stars - Recommended to fans of gritty, punky, edgy, LGBTQ lit Pages: 166 Publisher: Ladybox Books Released: March 2015
Back in January, I helped fund Broken River Books' Year Two March Madness kickstarter. As a backer, I landed my choice of any three ebooks - future or past. Jigsaw Youth looked pretty rad, and it was being released through BRB's Ladybox imprint, so I jumped all over it.
Tiffany Scandal's sophmore novel is a gritty, punky little thing. If it had teeth, it'd be nibbling and gnawing at your fingers as you flipped the pages. It's a sweetly fierce collection of connected vigenettes that tell the semi-life story of Ella, a fledgling queer with a 'sperm donor dad' who has been-there-done-that and had it all done back to her, too.
The novel starts off with a bang, catching Ella knee-deep in a ratty relationship with this chick Hope. Hope is a hopeless cheater and Ella just keeps on taking her back until she absolutely can't take it anymore. I think we've all been in one of those relationships. You know the kind, where you know the person is no good for you, and no good to you, but you just can't ball up enough to walk away and you end up staying with them for much longer than is healthy.
"I was telling myself, Please don't do this. Just walk away. But I couldn't. I turned. Hope was a mess. Veiled with tears and snot. Looking like total defeat. Not like the monster I wanted her to be. I got her a tissue from the kitchen."
Im sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that Hope appears here and there throughout the book and you get the feeling that our Ella never quite completely breaks free of whatever hold she had on her.
The next chapter details the night Ella was raped by a guy she thought of as a friend. And it's written as if Ella were writing it for him.
"I woke up to you fucking me. My sweats and underwear around my ankles. Your slender frame and tiny dick wriggling between my legs."
She brings us along as she showers, once she kicks him out, and as she rages, and as she drags her stinking mattress to his girlfriend's house with a spray painted message for everyone to see.
And it is in this memoir-y way that Tiffany continues to stir and shock us, her readers, with the moments that shaped and scarred Ella... the time she dreamed of Henry Rollins. The day she learned of Kurt Cobain's suicide. The torment she felt when her boss forced her to serve her rapist a cup of coffee, and the elation of catching her boss jerking off into food in the diner's back room. The loss of her childhood best friend when she came out coupled with the overwhelming relief of her family's acceptance. The horrible dating advice her grandmother gave her and her fear of meeting her absentee father face to face for the first time. The lousy relationships she hid in and the nurturing ones she flourished in.
Tiffany Scandal is Lindsay Hunter's literary punk rock sister. Her language is raw and jagged. It is honest and unapologetic. She lays it all out there, in true take-it-or-leave-it fashion. And althought I haven't read her earlier novel, I get the feeling Tiffany is really only just coming into her own. You better watch out world. Scandal is going to be kicking ass and taking names, and I think it's best if you simply step aside and let her....more
Listened 5/15/15 -5/30/15 4 Stars - Highly Recommended in audio; an intriguing watery apocalypse with a floating circus, you guys! Length: Approx 11 houListened 5/15/15 -5/30/15 4 Stars - Highly Recommended in audio; an intriguing watery apocalypse with a floating circus, you guys! Length: Approx 11 hours Publisher: Random House Audio Narrator: Katy Townsend Released: May 2015
The premise of Kirsty Logan's debut novel The Gracekeepers - a post apocalyptic world where the sea has swallowed most of the land - immediately brought to mind the 1996 Kevin Costner film Waterworld. (Oh come on, don't tell me your mind didn't go there! But also, don't worry, it's miles better!) In it, society has been broken up into two parts: the "landlockers", a higher class of people who live privileged lives on the remaining islands, and the lower class "damplings" who are forced to make a life at sea.
Callanish hovers between the two, self-exiled on a small island where she performs the solitary and somber role of Gracekeeper. That's a fancy term for administering shoreside burials, known as restings, for the damplings who sail their recently deceased into her graceyard. Once she releases the body into the water, she marks the spot with a caged Grace - lovely little birds that are raised to be starved to death out on the ocean. Their death, interestingly enough, signifies the end of the grieving period for the bereaved. Callanish performs these restings in exchange for food and supplies.
Floating from archipelago to archipelago is the glorious Excalibur and its motley crew of circus performers - led by Jarrow, the ringmaster, and his demanding and extremely pregnant wife Avalon. The circus boat pulls itself ashore, night after night, to entertain the landlockers and fill their bellies with their hard earned food. Theirs is a show unlike any others - with gender bending maypole dancers; acrobats; a fire-breather; bitter, subversive clowns; and a girl who dances with a bear.
When an unexpected storm takes the life of one of their acrobats, the Excalibur makes its way to Callanish's graceyard and an instant bond develops between the Gracekeeper and North, the circus's bear-girl. Through their meeting, North finds the strength to share a secret that has been weighing heavily on her for some time and Callanish finds a kindred spirit, someone who will not judge her for her differences. Once the performer's body had been laid to rest, the two women reluctantly say goodbye - North and her bear climb aboard the Excalibur as the circus moves on in search of work among the islands, and Callanish is left alone again, to grieve the things she thought she'd put behind her for good. But they have left lasting marks on each other and its ripple effect will change the course of both their lives.
Kirsty Logan's world is very much on the brink of war. Tension is building everywhere. It's found within religion, both that of the 'World Tree' worshipping islanders from Callanish's past to the more ritzy Revivalists who sail the seas in giant luxury ships. It lives in the social struggles between the damplings and landlockers, which greatly influences our little circus - many of those on the Excalibur have ties to land in one way, shape, or form, but none hunger for it more greatly than Jarrow and Avalon, though for very different, and potentially deadly, reasons.
A haunting, stirring novel, The Gracekeepers was brought to life beautifully by Katy Townsend's whispery narration as Kirsty's mystical and dreamlike prose gently guided us through the book's alternating chapters. And like any good performer, Kirsty subtly weaves Scottish lore and myths throughout this watery world of hers as she distracts us with the glitter and gold of the circus life....more