Sluts and Whores by C E Hoffman ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Sluts and Whores by C E Hoffman ๐Ÿ“š

I read a digital edition of Sluts and Whores that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Urban fantasy, erotica

Publisher: Thurston Howl Publications

Originally published: January 27th, 2021

Pages: 208 (paperback)

Synopsis by the publisher:

A jealous girlfriend trips on acid; a traumatized mother attempts to masturbate; a spa worker is challenged to take control of her fate.
A haunted jeep parks in front of student housing; a sex worker grows wings; and a hitchhiker is picked up by someone sheโ€™d never expect.
SLUTS AND WHORES is a #OwnVoices short story collection. In C E Hoffmanโ€™s debut, one will find a pile of Pandoraโ€™s Boxes waiting to be opened.
Exploring the humanity of sex workers (โ€œwhoresโ€) and people who are proudly sexual (โ€œslutsโ€), this collection questions stereotypes that are long out of date, merging horror with heartache, and magic with the mundane.
Welcome to a world where anything can happen- and often does.

My thoughts:

I want to start with an important note; this short story collection is not for everyone. It’s filled with sex, drugs, heartache, love, loss, and darkness. The title should already give you somewhat of an idea of that already. It’s not for the fainthearted, but for the readers who enjoy the theme of sex and darkness, I would highly recommend diving into Sluts and Whores!

I love steamy reads, and especially the writers that dare to push some boundaries with their stories. Hoffman does exactly that! I don’t often come across stories about sexuality with this kind of depth, fantasy, and mystery. And not only that, it is written in such a raw and beautiful way that I couldn’t help but being sucked into these stories and poems. I highlighted so many parts of this book and even though I don’t usually reread books that often, I will be reading this again in the not-so-distant future.

Sluts and Whores is a solid short story collection that surprised me in more ways than one! It’s filled with good representation and diversity which made it an even more enjoyable reading experience. I think every reader will take something different with them from each story. It’s high on emotions and even though some of these stories are surreal and incredibly dark, I think most readers would find a lot to relate to throughout this collection. 

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I picked this one up, but I was blown away by the strong voice and brilliant storytelling that Hoffman offers through these pages. 

I’m so happy that I picked this book up! It took me on an adventure that was dark and different. It stirred up a lot of feelings and it made me reflect and wonder. I can’t wait to read more of Hoffman’s writing!

I dare you to give it a try!

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it๐Ÿ’›

Prince of the Vampyres by Rohb Victory ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Prince of the Vampyres by Rohb Victory ๐Ÿ“š

I read a digital edition of Prince of the Vampyres that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publisher: Lulu

Publication date: June 4th, 2021

Pages: 105

Synopsis by the publisher:

This work leans more towards science fiction than fantasy unlike many vampire books. Prince of the Vampyres tell the ‘true’ story of how the first vampire was created at the fringes of the Milky Way galaxy. It is a tale of a young boy’s fascination with a coven of vampires whom he secretly observes as they feed at night.

The creatures of the night feed on bovine herd animals, not humans. That is, until one fateful night one of them creeps into the walled enclave the boy calls home. It covers the history of how his people crash landed on an M-Class moon, terraformed part of this hostile environment, and made a deal with the enigmatic original vampire they would live to regret.

Through a series of adventurous encounters, the young hero ends up on earth, in the 15th century as Vlad the Impaler. Rather than focus on the usual vampire lore, I show the reader how it all came to be in the first place.

My thoughts:

Over the years, I have read my share of vampire stories, and I don’t often come across ones that surprise me. But when I read the synopsis for Prince of the Vampyres, I was immediately intrigued! It sounded like a very different and new approach to the subject of the living dead. And it turned out that that was exactly what it was!

Rohb Victory writes an engaging, funny, and original story that looks at vampires in a totally new light! 

Following these characters was such an interesting ride into a world where space and vampires meet, and it’s a perfect match! The characters had some depth to them, and the book covered a lot of ground even though it was quite a short read. 

I really enjoyed Rohb Victory’s writing and world-building. Sci-fi novels can sometimes be slightly confusing when introducing new worlds, characters, and systems, but that didn’t happen here. It was easy to follow along with both the whereabouts of the story and the characters as well. He has a seamless way of telling a story where a lot is going on, and the characters had unique voices that made them feel real and relatable.

It is a bold move to write a story about a subject like this that has been done so many times before, but I think Victory did a fantastic job with this one! It’s original, different, and definitely worth the read!

I would have loved for it to have been a little longer and follow some of the characters for a longer period of time, but maybe there’s hope for more stories? If so, that is definitely something I would pick up.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it๐Ÿ’›

Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder ๐Ÿ“š

I read a digital edition of Cooking for Cannibals that was sent to me for free by Laugh Riot Press in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:ย Comic thriller

Publisher:ย Laugh Riot Press

Originally published:ย January 21st, 2021

Pages:ย 371 (Kindle edition)

Synopsis by the publisher:

Carrie Cromer pushes the boundaries of science, not her social life. The brilliant behavioral gerontologistโ€™s idea of a good time is hanging out with her beloved lab rats and taking care of her elderly mother and the other eccentric old folks at the nursing home. So no one is more surprised than Carrie when she steals the labโ€™s top-secret, experimental medicine for aging in reverse.

Two-time ex-con Johnny Fairfax dreams of culinary greatness. But when his corrupt parole officer tries to drag him from the nursing home kitchen, the suddenly young-again residents spring to his defense and murder the guyโ€”and then request Johnny cook them an evidence-devouring dinner to satisfy their insatiable side-effect appetite.
As their unexpected mutual attraction gets hot, Carrie and Johnny find themselves caught up with the authorities who arrive to investigate the killing. But even more dangerous than the man-eating not-so-senior citizens could be the arrival of death-dealing pharmaceutical hitmen.

Can Carrie and Johnny find true love in all this bloody madness?

Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then youโ€™ll have a feast with Rich Lederโ€™s wild ride.

My thoughts:

And what a ride it was!

I am a sucker for dark humor, so when Laugh Riot Press reached out to me and told me about this book, I was intrigued!
I read another one of Rich Lederโ€™s books a few years back that I really enjoyed, so I had high hopes for this one as well. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed!

Cooking for Cannibals reads like a fast-paced action-comedy. There is never a dull moment, and it is filled with interesting and quirky characters. There is also no shortage of blood and gore in this story, so if thatโ€™s something that makes you queasy, then I would recommend you consider skipping this one.
I, on the other hand, love some darkness and gore in my books, so this book was a perfect match for me!

One of the things I especially enjoy with Leder’s writing is how he writes characters that are relatable at the same time as they are incredibly weird. My personal favorites in this book were The Fixer and The Cleaner, the two hitmen out to get our main characters.
It was fun to have a peek into the mind of these men, each with their preference for torture and with a complete lack of morals.

Rich Leder has a way of making a story where everyone acts terribly in their own way. So, you end up rooting for Carrie and Johnny even when they murder, cook, and serve the parole officer to the Copa crew. There’s a little bit of evil in everyone.

Speaking of the Copa crew! What a delightfully quirky and eccentric bunch of characters! I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them! I would’ve loved to have gotten to know even more of their background stories.

I giggled my way through this pageturner, and even though I could predict some of the things that happened, I enjoyed every second of it!

If you like humor on the darker side and fast-paced stories with lots of twists and turns, I would highly recommend checking out Cooking for Cannibals!

It is as grotesque as it sounds at times but in the best possible way!

Vlogmas Day 15 ๐ŸŽ„ Favorite Christmas Books

Showing you some of my favorite Christmas reads ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŽ„

Links to the books mentioned (Bookdepository with FREE worldwide shipping):

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (not the same edition)

My True Love Gave to Me (new edition)

One Day in December by Josie Silver

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Krampus the Yule Lord by Brom

My review of Krampus

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Lovecraft Country ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff ๐Ÿ“š

I read a paperback edition of Lovecraft Country.

Genre:ย Horror, sci-fi, fantasy

Publisher:ย Pan MacMillan

Originally published:ย February 16th, 2016

Pages:ย 384 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 12 hrs and 13 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

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 one of Atticus’s ancestors – 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.

My thoughts:

The thing that drew me to this book was the trailer for the HBO series that I haven’t watched yet), and I decided that I needed to read the book before watching it.

I’ve read quite a bit of Lovecraft, and I love the stories (not the white supremacist author), so I was intrigued to find out how another writer would incorporate Lovecraft’s stories into their own.
I thought Matt Ruff did an excellent job of making the story his own and giving it that Lovecraft vibe. I also think that it’s so wonderful how Ruff took inspiration from a racist author and made this story with such an incredible cast of black characters and also portraiting racism as the real monster of the story at the same time. I always appreciate it when our author reveals that the real monsters to fear are often the ones that live inside the people we see every day.

Lovecraft country follows a cast of fascinating characters but does an excellent job of giving them each a unique voice so that as a reader, I never got confused. That being said, I wish we would’ve had more time to get to know them all. With so many lead characters, I felt like I missed a bit of the depth that would’ve made me more invested in them. We also got introduced to some places and creatures that I would’ve liked to know more about.
But the story was fast-paced and action-packed. It was filled with mystery and well-developed characters.
It all wrapped up quite quickly at the end, and I felt like it left me with quite a few questions unanswered.

Lovecraft Country was a fun, dark, and interesting ride. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ruby will get her own book someday!

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Vlogmas Day 1 – October and November Wrap Up

Kicking off Vlogmas 2020 with a Wrap Up of the books I read in the months of October and November๐ŸŽ„

Links to the books mentioned (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Disloyal by Michael Cohen

A Forever Story by Cathleen Lynn Boyle

My Reedsy Review of A Forever Story

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

A Forever Story by Cathleen Lynn Boyle ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of A Forever Story by Cathleen Lynn Boyle ๐Ÿ“š

I read a digital edition of A Forever Story that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Publisher: BenSky Publishing, LLC

Originally published: April 4th, 2020

Pages: 400 (Kindle edition)

Synopsis by the publisher:

A Forever Story has been a story dying to be told. It is based on real events that were recorded in journals and memoirs. The actual names of the people involved have been changed to protect identities, and situations have been fictionalized.

Fifteen years ago on Easter Sunday, I learned from a strangerโ€™s voice at a hospital emergency room on the west coast where my daughter was attending college, she was dead-on-arrival from GHB poisoning. The men, a local hip-hop rapper, and his band, who brought my daughter to the hospital, admitted in sworn statements to the police she had been at their music studio forty to fifty minutes when she fell to the floor convulsing before entering a coma. The men, despite attempting CPR, quit the effort, and failed to call 911. They waited nine hours before seeking medical attention. To date, my daughterโ€™s case remains a San Francisco cold case of suspected homicide.

Cathleen Boyle lives in Colorado with her son, and can be found blogging on womenโ€™s issue at https://daterapeawareness.wordpress.com/about/

My thoughts:

A Forever Story starts with Sofia sharing her life, work, and love interests in San Fransisco. We get to know this young woman trying to make a name for herself in a big city while also trying to figure out what she wants in life. We dive into her life and get to know her before everything changes when Sofia and her friend Bella are drugged at a party, and Sofia never wakes up again.
The second part of the book tells the story of the people that Sofia left behind, mainly her mother and younger brother, as they search for truth and justice 15 years after it all happened.

It is an interesting and heartbreaking story and knowing that real events inspired it makes it even more impactful. And even though the party that Sofia was drugged at was set in 1999, it is still such a relevant subject to this day. It is a scary reminder of how quickly things can go wrong, how easily it can happen without one knowing, and how difficult it can be to seek justice.
A Forever Story gives an insight into the legal procedures of a case like this, and a lot of the story is set in the courtroom. For me, some of those parts felt a bit like I was reading a movie script because of all the back and forth dialogue in the courtroom. At times, this could feel slightly repetitive, although I do understand Boyleโ€™s desire to stay true to how the procedure would go down in real life.

A Forever Story is quite dark and sad, but with some rays of hope and sunshine finding its way through. And although I enjoyed this story, I donโ€™t think itโ€™s a book for everyone. There are quite a few elements throughout that I can picture being triggering for some readers, so thatโ€™s something to be aware of.
Other than that, I found this book to be entertaining, interesting, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking. A disturbing but enjoyable read!

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it๐Ÿ’›

The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island by Scott Semegran ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island by Scott Semegran ๐Ÿ“š

I read a Kindle edition of The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island that I received for free fromย Reedsy Discoveryย in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:ย Thriller, Suspense

Publisher:ย Mutt Press

Publication date: ย October 1st, 2020

Pages:ย 316 (Kindle edition)

Synopsis by the publisher:

The summer of 1986. Central Texas. William and his friends should be having a blast. Instead, they are hounded by the Thousand Oaks Gang and their merciless leader, Bloody Billy. William found Billyโ€™s backpack. And because of what it contains, Billy desperately wants it back, and heโ€™ll do anything to get it. William hatches a plan for his friends to sneak away and hide in an abandoned lake house, except they become stranded on the lakeโ€™s desolate island without food or water. Will their time on the island devolve into chaos? Will the friends survive and be rescued?

The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island is Lord of the Flies meets The Body by Stephen King, the inspiration for the classic movie Stand By Me.

A gripping suspense story with adventure and danger, tinged with humorous banter between the four friends, the middle schoolers face certain death without adults to protect them from the unrelenting natural elements, as well as the wild creatures that lurk in the wilderness around the lake. With a backpack filled with money and marijuana they stole from the merciless gang leader, itโ€™s only a matter of time before the high schoolers come looking for them, too.

My thoughts:

I think I went into this story thinking it would lean more towards the horror side because of the mention of Lord of the Flies and Stephen King, but this story focuses more on friendships, adventure, suspense, and characters.
I think if I had gone into this story with slightly different expectations I think I would have had a very different reading experience. I would’ve probably enjoyed the story even more instead of waiting for something that didn’t happen.
But that is not the author’s fault, that’s entirely on me for making assumptions and reading more into the synopsis than what was probably meant to be there.

That being said, The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island is a really well-written novel about an adventure gone wrong. I really enjoyed getting to know the four boys, their friendship, and to tag along on their adventure gone wrong.
The way these boys love and care for each other was what made this story interesting, and you could see how that strong bond and they as characters grew as they went through some tough times together.
It’s also sort of nostalgic to read about friendships during the time before smartphones and internet access everywhere was a thing. It definitely had its pros and cons which we got to witness throughout this story.

I liked Scott Semegran’s writing style. He writes about the boys’ adventures in a way that makes it very easy for the reader to picture it all playing out, without going overboard on the details. I would’ve loved to have gotten to know even more of what was going through the minds of the boys while they were on the island though. But never the less, the challenges and fears they go through there were very well executed and interesting to read about.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island. It’s a story that I wish I had gone more blindly into, but it still ended up being a very entertaining and interesting read. I would love to pick up more of Semegran’s writing in the future.

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs ๐Ÿ“š

I read a paperback edition of The House With a Clock in Its Walls. This is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series.

Genre:ย Children’s fiction, middle grade fiction, fantasy.

Illustrator: Nathan Collins

Publisher:ย Templar, Picadilly Press

Originally published:ย 1973

Pages:ย 192 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 33 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

TICK TOCK,
A DEADLY CLOCK…

When orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan, he is amazed to find out there is a wizard in his family!

Lewis experiments with Uncle Jonathan’s spells and uncovers the mystery behind the ticking that he can hear throughout the house, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s an evil clock and it could destroy humankind.

My thoughts:

I had never heard of this book or the movie adaption of it before the trailer popped up on our Netflix feed. Immediately after having watched it, I thought “This sounds like it must’ve been adapted from a book!”, so I did a bit of a Google search and found the Lewis Barnavelt series where this was the first book.

The movie trailer looked absolutely magical and dark, so just up my alley, and I had to read the book before we watched it. I also have somewhat of a soft spot for Jack Black when it comes to movies because he’s such a wonderful actor and he’s perfect for quirky and mysterious roles in my opinion.

I loved the magic and darkness in this story. It’s one of my favorite things when authors dare to be a bit more on the darker side in their children’s books. I remember loving that as a kid myself.
We get to experience some of the grief that Lewis experiences after having lost his parents, and also the struggle of trying to find your place and to fit in. This book also touches on the subject of bullying and the challenges of finding out who your true friends are.
And the banter between Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann was hilarious!

But even though there were a lot of things in this book that I really liked and enjoyed, there were a few things that I didn’t like as much.
I think one of the biggest drawbacks for me as a reader was the amount of buildup to the big climax, and then having it resolved so quickly. It felt somewhat anticlimactic, and as if a chunk of the story was just left out altogether.
I also felt like I had quite a few questions that went unanswered, but knowing that this is the first book in a twelve book series makes me think that I’ll get more answers further down the line.

But all in all, I did enjoy The House With a Clock in Its Walls, but I did not love it. It’s one of those very rare instances where I actually liked the movie more than the book. That doesn’t happen too often.
Even so, I will continue on with this series, and I will let you know what I think of the other books as well.

It is creepy, dark, quirky, and funny, but I just had a bit higher expectations for it that it failed to meet. But if you have kids who like Goosebumps and other slightly dark and creepy children’s books, then I would recommend giving this book a chance.

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

July 2020 ๐Ÿ“š Wrap Up

Talking about the books I read in the month of July ๐Ÿ“š

Links to all the books (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewel

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

The Shining by Stephen King

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Luke Christodoulou (Amazon – could only find this one as a Kindle edition)

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›