The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes
Steena Holmes’ novel The Forgotten Ones is a slow-paced thriller that questions the idea of what makes a family and how a family can break apart. At its heart, the story is about the choices a person faces when caught between family and what is right. Silence has a price, even if it seems convenient at the time.
It's an intriguing story with a compelling narrative and an enjoyable story line. The characters are alternately sympathetic and horrific. I thought Ms. Holmes also did a good job of exploring aspects of mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder. And the mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat from the start of the book until the end.
For a full review, check it out here at Bewildering Stories. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!
I recently finished reading The Black Tide: Rebellion (Tides of Blood, Book 2) by Baileigh Higgins. I did a full review of Book 1: Remnants at Bewildering Stories, which you can read here. I was also so excited by the first book that I asked Ms. Higgins if she'd do an interview with me, and she was kind enough to agree. You can read the full interview with her here.
Now, let's dive into Book 2 of the series. Almost everyone else is gone after a deadly disease called The Black Tide has swept across the world. In the first book, the disease was passed manually from victim to victim when in close proximity to someone who was sick - sort of like the flu. The way to avoid contagion was wearing a mask and avoiding contact with bodily fluids. But the first book closes on a horrible mutation of the sickness, which makes it airborne. The survival strategies of hiding from the disease become useless, and the second wave of The Black Tide wipes out nearly everyone.
Ava, her younger sister Lexi, and two acquaintances of theirs are four Immunes, who remain untouched by the disease. But with death surrounding them, they flee their hometown of Riebeeckstad to a remote cabin owned by her ex-boyfriend's family. Ava's still in love with Brian, her ex-boyfriend. They had a brief romance during the first phase of the disease, but he's a soldier, and he was sent to guard the border of South Africa before the second wave hit. Yet she still hopes against hope to see him again, although she knows it's highly unlikely he survived. Immunes are fairly rare.
Yet in Book 2, the reader anticipates a reunion between the two of them. Brian does survive the second outbreak, and he is traveling back from the border with two fellow soldiers, everyone else having perished. His only mission is to find Ava again.
Ava, meanwhile, is just trying to survive. She meets four other Immunes when she makes a supply run to the nearby town, and she's unsure whether she can trust them or not. Her decision could be the turning point of her life, and might lose her the hard-won peace that she's found with her friends and family at the cabin.
Although Book 2 is a bit slower, action-wise, than the first book, I really enjoyed the slow build of tension. As a reader, you just know something's about to hit the fan. And the ending of the book doesn't disappoint, being as much of a cliffhanger as Book 1. I went to turn the page and - darn it! - there wasn't any more.
Book 3: Vanquish will be available in October - and I can't wait to see what happens next (although I'll have to!). If you're a fan of apocalyptic fiction, this is a great series to pick up. I'd definitely recommend it.
One element of fiction that I enjoy is the nonfiction aspect of it. What I mean by this is that I always like to learn something new, something factual from the real world. For example, I love to read about a profession I’m not familiar with or a location I’ve never heard of or been to or, just generally, a way of life that is different from mine.
It was with this thought in mind that I picked up Cindy O’Quinn’s book Dark Cloud on Naked Creek. It explores the world of Appalachian folklore and the "Cunnin' Folk," and while it is speculative fiction, it had a lot of interesting details about a way of life that is unique.
If you'd like to know more about the book, please check out the review published in Bewildering Stories today. You can read the review here. Hope you enjoy it!
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Ever since I ran out of Terry Pratchett books, I've been looking for a new humor writer with that particular twisted look at life that can make me laugh. I found it in Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel. I love Christmas, but sometimes it can have a little too much saccharine gooeyness, especially near the end. This book is the proverbial cold, soft slap of anti-reality that will make you see the holidays in a whole new light.
The full review of the book can be read at Bewildering Stories magazine, located over here. I'm always thrilled to discover a new humor writer with a number of publications. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Moore's books!
Lethal Kisses, edited by Ellen Datlow
I'm a bit behind in posting this, but I recently read a very intruiging collection of short stories called Lethal Kisses. Edited by Ellen Datlow, it contains a number of big names, such as Joyce Carol Oates, Pat Cadigan and Michael Swanwick, to name a few. As you can probably guess from the title, it's a collection of stories about revenge. I would recommend it - there were some great and unexpected stories, and all were enjoyable to read. You can catch my full review at Bewildering Stories magazine here.
Capricious Visions by Edward Ahern
I've known Edward Ahern for a couple of years now, and I was pleased to pick up his new collection of short stories, Capricious Visions. A mixture of fantasy and horror stories, the writing is at times fun and other times macabre, but the stories always held my interest from start to finish. I've written a more in-depth review at Bewildering Stories, which you can read here. I hope you enjoy the collection as much as I did!
Hyperpowers, edited by Bascomb James
I've often enjoyed reading the anthologies by Third Flatiron, often edited by publisher Juliana Rew. In fact, I had a story published by them a couple years ago in Abbreviated Epics. So I started to read their new anthology, Hyperpowers, with anticipation. It was guest edited by Bascomb James, and the theme of the book was space opera and military SF stories, genres I've enjoyed since reading Heinlein when I was a kid.
I have a full review of the anthology published at Bewildering Stories magazine.
Four Dead Ones by Joel Ansel
Four Dead Ones by Joel Ansel are four fun, zombie-related stories. I would have liked the stories to be a bit longer, as there was a bit of summary that I would have enjoyed to see as more expanded scenes, but they were nicely entertaining ideas.
I read a lot - depending on my writing schedule, I can usually read about a book a day. Some of the books are fantastic and I would love to recommend to everyone - some, not so much. Either way, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I'm reading at the moment.