Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring upcoming science fiction titles I’m excited to read! I feel like I haven’t read enough scifi lately, and I definitely want to change that. As usual, pub dates change without warning, so keep that in mind! You can also click on the cover photos for more detail/bigger file size.
Battle of the Linguist Mages, by Scotto Moore – This is enough to make me want to read this immediately: Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of “power morphemes”—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skillfully pronounced. (expected pub: January 11, 2022)
The Best of World SF: Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar – I love reading science fiction from other places, especially non-Western ones, and I think this might be out already?? I see two different dates. Either way, definitely an anticipated read for me. (expected pub: April 14, 2022)
The Blood Trials, by N.E. Davenport – This one blends magic and science and is the first half a duology that focuses on a young Black woman who must survive deadly trials in order to become an elite warrior. I see comps to The Hunger Games and Stars Wars, and so far everything I’ve seen interests me! (expected pub: April 5, 2022)
The Kaiju Preservation Society, by John Scalzi – an alternate Earth, Kaiju, John Scalzi? A winning combo to me! (expected pub: March 15, 2022)
The Misfit Soldier, by Michael Mammay – Something about this cover drew me in, and then it being a ragtag bunch of soldiers in a military war drew me in, with comps to Martha Wells and John Scalzi. (expected pub: February 22, 2022)
Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! The latest feature for these reads some of my current reads, either recently finished, presently reading, or will read in the immediate future!
The trees have to be tied down by sunset. When the Woodsmen come, they always try to run.
The girls who are skilled foragers fashion little iron stakes to drive through the roots of the trees and into the earth, anchoring them in place. With no gift for forging between the two of us, Boróka and I haul a great length of rope, snaring any trees we pass in clumsy loops and awkward knots. When we finish, it looks like the spider web of some giant creature, something the woods might cough up. The thought doesn’t even make me shiver. Nothing that might break through the tree line could be worse than the Woodsmen.
The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with Jewish and Hungarian roots that I am currently reading and enjoying!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring upcoming YA fantasy titles I’m excited to read! As usual, pub dates change without warning, so keep that in mind! You can also click on the cover photos for more detail/bigger file size.
Together We Burn, by Isabel Ibañez – flamenco dancers, dragons, medieval Spain??? sign me UP (expected pub: May 31, 2022)
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, by Axie Oh – a Korean myth retelling, with Sea Gods, the most beautiful girl in the village attempting to wake him, and all the spirits in between. This cover is absolutely stunning, but I’m also here for myth retellings in any form (expected pub: February 22, 2022)
Extasia, by Claire Legrand – witches and covens, villages at the edge of the woods, mysterious things living in those woods, and truths buried in lies gives me a lot of M. Night Shyamalan vibes and I’m here for it. (expected pub: February 22, 2022)
Echoes and Empires, by Morgan Rhodes – forbidden magic, looks a little steampunky, possibly an enemies to lovers trope?? (expected pub: January 4, 2022)
Castles in Their Bones, by Laura Sebastian – this bit from the blurb – “there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria” – is all I need to know (expected pub: February 1, 2022)
The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself.
On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price.
Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul "Pee-wee" Reubens, honing her comedic skills.
Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn't shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.
We all have our own scars. Let them be a blessing and not a curse.
Elvira is a horror/Halloween/spooky season icon, so as soon as I heard about this book, I immediately put it on my wishlist. I only knew of Elvira as the iconic character, and I knew nothing about Cassandra Peterson or about the creation of that character. Peterson’s memoir is conversational in tone, lending to the quality like you were sitting next to her while she told you about herself and her career.
I tend to go into reading Hollywood memoirs expecting a little gossip, a little scandal, and insights about the industry – especially after the Golden Age of Hollywood – and this one particularly delivers. Sometimes celebrity memoirs can feel superficial, but this one has a lot of depth and introspection about the highs and lows with a sense of vulnerability and humor that I appreciated. And it has an undercurrent of empowerment running through it, as surviving in Hollywood as a woman is no easy feat.
As far as celebrity/Hollywood memoirs go, this one felt authentic in the sense that you know Peterson wrote it herself. It is her story, unfiltered, and her voice shines throughout. If you’re interested in the Hollywood/entertainment scene in the 1970s and 1980s, enjoy horror, and enjoy celebrity memoirs, this might be something you’d enjoy!
Content warnings include: drugs, sex, sexual assault, emotional abuse, fatphobia.
Many thanks to Hachette Books for sending a complimentary review copy my way!
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore. His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.
Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.
I finished this book almost two months ago, and I still think about it at least once a week. I read a lot, so it’s rare that a book will stick with me for so long because my brain just jumps to the next thing because yay distractibility, but Tender is the Flesh is going to stick with me for a while.
Essentially, animal flesh becomes inedible, and the government enters the “Transition” in which “special meat” is processed for consumption. “Special meat” is human meat, and Bazterrica holds nothing back in the description of that transition. Marcos, the main character, is a processor at one of these processing plants, and the first third of the novel is him methodically trying to distance himself from what he is participating in.
When he’s given a live female specimen, though… that’s when everything turns upside down. While he begins to treat this female specimen with a sort of kindness and gentleness, the violence of everything else, including of Marcos’ own doing, amplifies, and the novel turns more gruesome and brutal as it devolves into how brutal people (especially men) can be to one another when it comes to power and control.
This was a book I could not put down because I needed to know what happened next, how this would all resolve, and the last page of this novel is one of the most chilling conclusions I have ever read.