Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Amy Jo Cousins

Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Amy Jo Cousins

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

2017 has been one damn rough year.

From the personal to the political, this year has been pretty much nonstop stress and anger and sadness for me, and I didn’t actually read a ton of new books this year. In these kinds of situations, I tend to do a lot of comfort rereading instead, especially of mystery and SFF novels, and let me tell you…my bookcase got a workout. But when I picked up a new book this year, I made some stellar choices, so I’m here to tell you about my favorite reads of 2017.

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole makes 1917 Harlem come alive, with the politicians and nightclub owners, the prostitutes and church ladies, the immigrants and the police, the number runners and the hairdressers, all moving in and out of each other’s orbits in a tight-knit world of labor and corruption and gossip and kindness. Bertha is magnificent. She is fierce and demanding and controlling and care-taking. And Amir is angry and judgmental and kind and sexy as hell. I just loved the both of them, and the secondary characters too. This is the kind of book where, after I finished it, I wanted to turn right back to page one and start all over again. It’s fantastic. (Alyssa’s Civil War series that starts with An Extraordinary Union is also recommended, but brace yourself. I was so tense reading it, I almost gnawed my own hand off.)

My number one goal for 2018 is to get Hillary Clinton to read Hamilton’s Battalion by Sarah Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole (yes, Alyssa again!). This collection of novellas set during and after the American Revolutionary war is magnificent, bringing us one of the angriest heroines it has ever been my absolute pleasure to read, along with so many missing pieces of American history: Jewish soldiers fighting in the hope of creating a nation where they will be welcome, LGBTQ folks, people of color, and bit about cheese that really ought to be in the history books. I did the literal LOL thing, and then pages later I would find myself crying, because there’s a lot of truth, painful honesty, and compassion in this book.

Yoon Ha Lee has blogged about how he didn’t intend to write about being trans in a book, because that would touch too close to home, but realizing he’d done it anyway with Ninefox Gambit. He’s also written a brilliant military sf book about math, sacrifice, loyalty, manipulation, madness, and revolution. I found it intensely apropos to current events and brilliantly written. Oddly enough, I particularly recommend this book to Tolstoy fans, especially those who read SFF too.

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson is a gorgeous story of love and magic, gods and math, wending through time and a world where men dance and war while women study. Beautiful writing, really intriguing worldbuilding, with a gorgeous and risky m/m romance, I was full of stress reading this one because I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a romance novel or a SFF novel with strong romantic elements. The HEA did not seem guaranteed, which leads to Much Anxiety. But it is indeed a romance novel, and a beautiful one.

The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres is a historical romance set in the Spanish Caribbean. The opening scene of this book hooked me in an instant, as the heroine plots to get herself into a big enough scandal to convince her fiancé to end their engagement, while the heroine’s aunt calmly ignores her every provocation. Add a conflicted but admiring hero, excellent secondary characters, a saturated sense of place, a sharp awareness of class issues, and a terrifically witty narrative voice, and this delightful book became one of my favorite historical romances of the year. 

I am a huge fan of the holiday novella and this past year of reading gave me two of my favorites: The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish and Suleikha Snyder’s story in the Silver Belles anthology, “A Taste of Blessings.” Suleikha’s story is set during the Indian holiday of Durga Puja and is full of large community gatherings, much food, and gossiping aunties. I was so happy to find it in an anthology of stories featuring characters over forty. Roan’s Corbin Wale is a fey loner who is very gently invited to share meals and friends and more by a magical baker (yes, magical) whose return to the small town where his mother lives is complicated by many feelings about his own failures and possible futures. A fairytale with a clear eye for the real world, The Remaking of Corbin Wale was a pure pleasure.

When I’m stressed (and 2017 was pretty much nonstop stress, as previously discussed), I reread more than pick up new books. This year, I did a lot of rereading, including a week-long binge of everything KJ Charles has ever written. (Happy sighs. That was awesome.) Spectred Isle by KJ Charles kicks off her latest series, the Green Men, and ties in to her Simon Feximal stories. Post WWI, a small handful of remaining occultists and arcanists are left from the wreckage of the battlefield to protect England from ever-growing magical threats. The two men who feature in Spectred Isle are wounded and jaded and pretty damn miserable, until they meet each other, figure out they’re better off working together than yelling at each other, and save the world. Not a bad day’s work.

This one’s for the epistolary fans! Zen Cho is a delightful writer, witty and kind and full of sparkling insight. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo is recorded in the journal entries and letters of Jade Yeo, who writes articles about dress hemlines for women’s magazines and one scandalously scathing book review for a literary mag, Zen Cho’s book sings with the wittiness of Austen or KJ Charles. I love Jade’s blunt honesty and also her utter obliviousness to the lovely man who’s absolutely fallen for her.

Devin Harnois’s Rainbow Islands exists because of a tumblr post where the replies to a homophobic comment about gays and lesbians dying out if they were all sent to separate islands became the outline of a killer dystopian LGBTQ adventure novel. If I hadn’t seen that original tumblr post, I might have found the worldbuilding a little too precious, but because I had read it, the entire story was just nonstop fun.

The best nonfiction book I read this year (and one of the best I’ve ever read) is The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. We do a terrible job in this country of teaching ourselves our own history, and Rothstein’s book rewrote the past one hundred years for me, showing me how our nation’s racial segregation was codified by hundreds of laws and explicit government regulations. This book will radically change your understanding of how segregation happened and how our attempts to stop it in the future did nothing to address the calculated damage done by 20th century laws creating and enforcing systemic racial oppression.

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman is a sweet, funny, Jewish f/f romance about two artists, a painter and the yarn dyer who is inspired by the painter’s color palette. This novella is a super charming, closed-door romance about two delightful women who navigate the early days of a relationship with caution and care for each other’s sore spots. It’s just lovely. 

One of the proudest bits of 2017, for me, has been my involvement in the Rogue anthologies. Kicked off on Twitter by Emma Barry’s brainstorming about a couple admitting they were in love amidst a constitutional crisis involving the president, the Rogue anthologies became the place for us to fight all our fears by writing about our hopes for those battling on the side of equality and compassion and science and the power of government service to do good and not evil, while guaranteeing nonstop HEAs. (WHICH WE ALL NEED. IT’S NOT JUST ME. THROW US A FRIGGING BONE, 2017.) I have loved reading all of my anthology-mates’ stories, but Kris Ripper’s story in Rogue Affair has a special place in my heart. A widowed female president and her bodyguard, a younger trans man, fall in love so gradually and with such care for each other, my heart was made happy.

I don’t generally do well with serials, as my impatience knows no bounds and I am easily frustrated by cliffhangers and waiting. But I started reading Mia West’s post-Roman Empire Into the Fire series when all the books were already out and collected into multi-book volumes, plus I’ve loved her Tell Me When time travel erotica series (don’t get me started about the volume that made me cry my eyes out, which was not what I expected from time travel erotica!) and her Grizzly Rim shifter books. Her writing just clicks with me. I’m still working my way through this one, rewarding myself with a new volume when I’ve accomplished something particularly onerous, and I love reading about the developing relationship between the ex-Roman soldier and the powerful blacksmith who are traveling together across the wasteland of a fallen empire.

Maybe my favorite book of 2017, period, Peter Darling by Austin Chant is magic. It’s about the loyalty of fairies and adventure, the dangers of rage and forgetting, swirling frock coats and fabulous boots, and the seductive lure of imagining yourself as the hero, even as you figure out that you might be the bad guy. It’s funny, and heartbreaking, and always, always full of hope, with a HEA that made my heart happy. “”That’s the trick of growing up. Nothing stays the same.” Hook sounded oddly sympathetic. “You see the faults in everything. Including yourself.””

Okay, so it turns out, I read even more great books in 2017 than I’d remembered. Here’s hoping 2018 reading will be done for reasons of pleasure and not mental health protection! Help me kick off the year right by telling me your favorite reads of 2017? Thank you!


Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series again. Amy Jo is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Connect with Amy JoWebsite


Enter to win the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 8GB! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the other 12 giveaways featuring swag, ARCs, and Final copies of books by your favorites!

Prize Packs 1 – 3: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0341/

Prize Packs 4 – 6: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0342/

Prize Packs 7 – 9: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0343/

Prize Packs 10 – 12: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0344/


Please follow and like us:
1k+

Guest Post + Giveaway: When Romantic Suspense and True Crime Accidentally Meet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Hi all! Happy Halloween! To help us celebrate this spookiest of holidays, author Rebekah Weatherspoon joins Binge on Books to talk Romantic Suspense and True Crime and also to bring you, a giveaway!


When Romantic Suspense and True Crime Accidentally Meet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

I’ve been a fan of true crime since America’s Most Wanted made me suspicious of every white man over the age of twenty-five. Now-days you could say I’m obsessed. From the old school American Justice and Forensic Files to NBC and CBS’s Dateline and 48 Hours I have a thing for what a friend of mine dubbed “Murder Shows”. Despite this weird interest of mine, I’d never considered writing horror, mystery or romantic suspense. That all changed in 2016. For obvious reasons the world got a little darker. I wanted to write something dark. I wanted to let out a little bit of the anger that was cranking through me. I started drafting HAVEN, which opens with two homicides. When I first picked the location for Shep’s mountain home I didn’t think to google any true crimes in that area. Why would I? I was writing fiction, based on my own imagination.

But, not 24 hours after I started working on HAVEN (I’d written the 2 murders in question and put the heroine and hero through one hell of a meet cute) fellow romance author, HelenKay Dimon tweeted about watching a true crime show on the Keddie Murders. I caught the tweet and just had to google. The Keddie Murders are a horrific, violent crime that resulted in the death of four people back in 1981. It also happened in the same Northern California town where I had set up Shep and his secluded cabin. I couldn’t believe it. Later, when I started listening to the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder, they too, covered the Keddie Murders that are still unsolved to this day. I ended up changing the name of Shep’s mountain because while real life does drive fiction, I didn’t want to link the two that way. The next book in the series, HARBOR, will have an intentional link to the Long Island Serial Killer, an ongoing, unsolved investigation.

 

You can learn more about what happened in Keddie California here or check out episode #13 of My Favorite Murder.

 


Rebekah Weatherspoon is celebrating Halloween with a special HAVEN giveaway! Enter below to win your choice of either an e-copy (international) or paperback (USA) of her bestseller, HAVEN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About Haven

A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.

 

 

 

 


Bio: Award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon was raised in Southern New Hampshire and now lives in Southern California where she finally found her love for writing romance.
 Most recently her queer paranormal romance, SOUL TO KEEP, Book 3 in the Vampire Sorority Sisters Series won the Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Erotica. And her coming romantic suspense title, HARBOR hits shelves Spring 2018. Come on by and get to know Rebekah on twitter at @rdotspoon . You can find more stories by Rebekah at rebekahweatherspoon.com

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Release Day Interview and Giveaway: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Five years ago, Adam Silvera started a notebook that turned into They Both Die At The EndThe release date—September 5, 2017—is coincidentally the same day in which Mateo Torres and Rufus Emeterio receive their respective Death-Cast calls, with notification that within twenty-four hours they will die.

Sound devastating? 

Well, it is. But it’s also incredibly hopeful. These two boys still have one day to live. Once they find each other, Mateo and Rufus turn out to be a perfect foil for each other’s short comings, allowing each of them to … well, you are simply going to have to pick up this book and read it in order to find out for yourself. 

If you’re familiar with Silvera’s work, you’ll know this sort of sweet, funny devastation isn’t a one-off effort. 

More Happy Than Not burst onto the scene in May, 2015 and hit the New York Times Bestseller List the next month. His ambitious debut featured Aaron Soto, a kid who lives in projects in the Bronx who, in struggling with his attraction to other boys, seeks out the Leteo Institute in order to wipe his mind and start again. It’s the greatest of all do-overs and destined to fail. His sophomore effort, History Is All You Left Me, tells the story of Griffin Jennings who is grieving the loss of his love and ex-boyfriend, Theo McIntyre, while his OCD gets progressively worse.

Silvera writes to break our collective hearts. As an own voices author writing queer and latino boys from New York, he’s as authentic as authors get. But there is something in this third novel that’s a little bit different. In the author’s note in my ARC, Silvera writes about how the prior two books stemmed from personal experience but this one came from his own inexperience and in finding the courage to explore that. 

I recently got the chance to chat with Adam Silvera about his newest book.

Alex de Morra: In each of these three novels, the hero’s sexual identity is tied heavily to the story arc. In More Happy Than Not, Aaron wants to erase that part of himself and ends up erasing more than that. In History Is All You Left Me, both Theo’s death and Griffin’s queerness is immutable, as is Griffin’s sense of them as a couple. In They Both Die At The End, Mateo’s identity and his evolution towards living are slowly revealed as he lives more and more of his ‘lifetime in a day.’ Will you talk about that?

Adam Silvera: Since History was the third book I wrote, I was aching to write a narrator whose sexuality wasn’t sheltered or scary. Griffin is just happily gay. And Mateo is relatable because I didn’t come out until I was 19, but had I known that I was going to die at 18, I would’ve come to grips with it on that day. No doubt. I would kiss a guy and say I love you and embrace myself in full force. Not instantly, of course, it would be gradual, but it’s a finish line that would be important for me to cross. 

AdM: It’s interesting that you mention History was actually the third book you wrote even though it was the second one published. What led to swapping History with They Both Die? 

AS: I just knew this book needed more time and wasn’t worth presenting to any editor just yet, and I’ve spent a total of five years on this book from initial thought to final manuscript. The world and characters have grown so much.

AdM: In both Happy and They Both Die, the worlds are built off present day New York but in each case, these are changed due to the presence of a new technology corporation: Leteo Institute in Happy and Death-Cast in They Both Die. But while a name for those who went through the Leteo procedure didn’t feature, there is a name for those who have gotten the call from Death-Cast: Decker. It struck me that when these types of neologisms come up— Cylons, Replicants, Muggles, Hobbits—they are no longer considered human by some even while their humanity is at the core of the story. What does the term Decker mean?

AS: The term Decker is a sort of slang for someone whose fate is “on the deck.” And vocabulary evolving is a natural part of the world changing. The distinctions for deckers felt urgent and heartbreaking. It’s literally a word that someone can personally identify as for less than a day. 

AdM: You have a gift for writing friends that are both intensely loving and fiercely, painfully honest. Will you talk about creating these characters? 

AS: I love when my friends keep it real. When we confront each other and say uncomfortable things, even if it stirs some conflict. We’re most honest with the people we love the most because we want the best for them.

AdM: Speaking of friends…the book ones count, too! I’m so excited to see a reprisal of The Scorpius Hawthorne books. It’s also interesting to see them pop-up even though the speculative worlds of Happy and They Both Die are different ones. I had even heard a rumor you had plans to put them in History. Should we keep our eyes out for them in future books?

AS: Im so happy this Easter egg made its way back in too! And yes, the character Dhonielle in History got cut because I failed to give her the depth she needed to read as a convincing character. But Scorpius Hawthorne was invented as a fun play on Harry Potter and if I write more grounded speculative novels, I think I’ll continue to sneak in this fake saga about the demonic boy wizard. Even if it’s a one-liner.

AdM: If we had forever to talk, I’m sure I could come up with a million questions. Fortunately for us, you’ve got to get back to writing your next effort. For now, though, what question are you hoping someone asks you about this book? And what’s your answer? 

AS: I’d love for someone to ask me if they actually die at the end and I’ll tell them to read and find out.  🙂

A very special thank you to Adam Silvera for joining us today. If you want to follow his writing exploits, please follow him on twitter at @AdamSilvera as he’s likely to give a heads up on touring, writing sprints, and sneak peeks of his writing. Oh, and buy this book. All of his books. And tissues. Trust me. You’ll need tissues. 

Before you go…we also have an opportunity for you to win it below! Enter now and win an ARC of this gorgeous and devastating book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Alex claims to read more than any normal, healthy adult should though the rest of the Binge on Books team would beg to differ. You can read all of his reviews here.

Connect with Alex on Twitter: @Alex_deMorra

Please follow and like us:
1k+

New Audiobook Release + Quickie Giveaway: Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish

Hey everyone! If you’re new around here, you may not know the deep and abiding love I have for all things Roan Parrish! Her books? AMAZING! Even the audio (which takes a lot for me to say as I just have some sort of mental block that disallows listening to books but for her…I could listen for hours and hours)! Today we’re celebrating the release of Roan’s newest audiobook, Where We Left Off, with a giveaway! Featuring the vocal talents of Spencer Goss this is one audiobook you do not want to miss! So read all about it and enter the quickie giveaway below for your chance to hear it!

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Follow Me Into Darkness Reboot

Hey book friends! Judith here!

Now as some of you might have seen, the Carinvale/Mardi Gras anthology, Follow Me Into Darkness, got a reboot this week in honor of its one year anniversary. ONE YEAR! A year that flew by so oddly fast that I can’t really remember much of it though a few solid, exciting things do stand out:

J.C. Lillis put out a phenomenal f/f book about musicians!

Roan Parrish finally gave me Leo and Will’s story and it was everything I wanted and hoped for (and some things I didn’t even realize I wanted and hoped for!)

J.R. Gray wrote his first m/f novel! 

Santino Hassell wrote so many books I can’t keep up! But here he tells you all about them!

Kris Ripper banged out The Queers of La Vista! (oh and has a patreon account now. Totally go support Ripper!)

In honor of all these amazing things, the Follow Me Into Darkness crew has a giveaway plus a MEGA SALE on the book itself. 99 cents won’t get you a cup of coffee anymore (I mean, really Starbucks? 2.33 for a cup of coffee?!) but it will get you five diverse stories about people trying to take off their masks and just live. So enter the giveaway, buy the book, and take off your masks right along with us.

-Judith

 

Links to buy Follow Me Into Darkness for only 99 cents:

Amazon | B&N | Publisher

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway starts 12 am on 2/26/17 and ends at 12 am on 3/6/17. Giveaway prizes: 1 of 3 (three) $5 Amazon Gift Cards and 1 of 2 (two) e-copies of a backlist book by one of the Follow Me Into Darkness authors. 5 chances to win!

Praise for Follow Me Into Darkness:

“The end was both expected and unexpected; this story has settled in my chest, a lingering ache.” author Jude Sierra, from her review at From Top To Bottom Reviews.

“I desperately need more of this in my life!” El, from her review at Just Love Reviews.

“Five queer romances taking place during Mardi Gras will grip readers in a way that’ll have them on the edge of their seats — and begging these authors for their full stories.” From the review at RT Book Reviews.


Want to help us promote books and projects like this one? Sign up now!


Please follow and like us:
1k+

Countdown to Halloween: Hidden Gems in the Dark by Avon Gale

countdown-with-bob

Hello! My name is Avon Gale, and I’m here today to tell you about a few of my favorite horror movies. As a horror fan, my favorite films tend to be atmospheric, supernatural movies but I’m a sucker for found-footage films, anything having to do with demons, and a good twist-on-a-classic. I think I’ve probably watched the entirety of Netflix’s horror collection, and I’ve given more than a few Amazon Prime horror films (or, more appropriately, “films”) a chance. I’d say about 35% of what I watch is enjoyable, and of that, 10% is fantastic.

So, while I have a lot of well-known favorite horror movies – my favorite being The Haunting (the old version, that remake is dead to me :|) – including classics like The Shining, The Exorcist, etc, I wanted to share a few of the gems I’ve found that you might not have heard of. They range from sci-fi horror to supernatural horror to psychological horror, but each one spooked me and I’d recommend any movie here without reservation.

Here we go!


Let Us Prey

This is a Scottish horror movie about a mysterious prisoner who shows up in a police station, and causes…things…to happen, with the other prisoners *and* the police. It’s admittedly got a few problems, but I love this film mostly for the unconventional romance (seriously, the ending. OMG. /swoons). It’s a clever little movie but please be advised – it’s *very* graphic with some heavy bloodshed. This is part slasher film and part supernatural horror, and yes, part romance. I tweeted about how romantic the ending was, in fact, and the film’s director (!) tweeted back saying very few people appreciated the romance. Leave it to a romance fan, eh? Anyway, not for the faint of heart, this one, but the ending. Gah.

Spring

This is technically creature!horror with a bit of a supernatural twist…but it’s mostly a romance. It’s got amazing dialogue that will crack you up when you least expect it, and it’s so well-done. It’s about a guy who goes to Italy following some family woes, and meets a girl with whom he falls immediately in love. But she’s more than just a girl. Seriously, this is *delightful*, okay? Just watch it and then come squee with me about how amazing it is.

 

It Follows

This is, hands down, the best horror movie I’ve seen in probably a decade. You might have heard of this one, as it got a lot of attention a few years ago. But listen – I still think about a certain scene from this movie when I wake up at night and am in the kitchen or the bathroom. It makes me shiver and dash back into my bed, so. This movie is beautifully written, gorgeously shot (there’s an awesome time-dysphoria thing going on, which lends a dreamlike, timeless quality to the film) with a simple and chilling premise. I also want to talk forever about the various interpretations and meanings, and I love the characters so much.

 

White Bear episode of Black Mirror

I highly recommend the entire Black Mirror series, which you can find on Netflix. The series features chilling tales about the dark side of technology, and while I love all of them, “White Bear” remains one of the most unsettling and terrifying things I’ve ever seen. What’s so frightening about this is how it could happen, and…ugh. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s only an hour and trust me, it’ll freak you out. It’s giving me the shivers just thinking about it.  

The Atticus Institute

It’s no secret that I love anything having to do with demons and demonic possession. No matter how bad it is, I will probably watch it (ditto with found-footage films). This film has one of the most interesting takes on demonic possession that I’ve come across, and it’s filmed as a faux-documentary, which is a conceit I absolutely love.  Rather than taking a religious angle, this film is about a woman who shows up at a paranormal research institute in the 70’s, and is kept for observation for several weeks. The mockumentary-style film is set in present-day with flashbacks to the 70’s, and deals with the idea of the military attempting to weaponize a demonic entity. This movie was actually the inspiration for my upcoming short story in the “All in Fear” anthology by Open Ink Press, thanks to a quick interview with an Air Force soldier that planted a seed in my demon-loving brain. Really unique take on a favorite horror trope.

The Invitation

This is a wonderful example of how horror doesn’t have to rely on ghosts or masked madmen to be effective. This one’s a psychological thriller in some ways, about a group of people at a dinner party who have intertwined – and complicated, uncomfortable — pasts. There’s a masterful build-up of tension in this movie, and you’re never quite sure what’s happening or if things are as sinister as they appear. This is not a movie that is going to appeal to everyone. If you’re not into the slow-build thing, you might want to skip this one – but if you give it a chance, trust me, the payoff is more than worth it. Thinking about the last scene of this movie gives me chills. 

The Witch

A very slow-burn horror set in Colonial America, this movie is incredible. It’s brilliantly written and acted, and deals with a family that’s been ostracized from their community. It’s another one that relies on tension and dread to be effective, and some people might hate the period-appropriate dialogue but I absolutely loved it. A perfect atmospheric horror film for a cold night. Unique and original and just all around a wonderful addition to the genre. 

Arq

This is a Netflix Original that just came out, and it’s about a machine that causes a time loop, an estranged couple, and a dystopian future. If I say any more than that, I’ll ruin it. Brilliantly acted film with an obvious low budget, this is horror sci-fi at its best – a great mix of tension and interpersonal drama that moves the plot along instead of stymying it. The action starts off right at the beginning and doesn’t let up, and I loved this movie for not forcing the audience to try and understand why the characters are in the situation they’re in. It just throws you in with them, and lets you figure out as they do. Really brilliant.

The Final Girls

So, I love horror but one thing I could do without? The “woman in peril” plotline. Not that I can’t appreciate it when it’s done well, and I know that most survivors in horror movies tend to *be* women, but I especially can’t stand it when the woman has to be pregnant just to “make it more horrible” that she’s in danger. Anyway, tangent aside, this movie is a highly-stylized production that reminded me a bit of a comic book. It’s beautifully filmed, with these deep bright colors and contrasting shadows, and it’s unclear what time period it’s set in. The premise is a girl who has been trained to take on a group of murderous, privileged young men who like to hunt and kill women. Watching the main character kick ass is so satisfying, I can’t even. This movie might not appeal to many *because* it’s so stylized, but it’s different and unique and I found it really enjoyable.

(note – there are two movies with this name, and honestly, I recommend both of them. This one is the shorter of the two, and was my favorite simply because it was so different from anything I’ve ever seen.)

 

Muirhouse

This movie has a terrible rating on IMDB, and it infuriates me because I thought it was awesome. It’s a slow-burn horror movie as well, about a paranormal investigator who spends some time – not even a night – in the haunted Muir House. Look, this isn’t the movie for you if you want jump scares galore or things explained and resolved. The majority of the movie is this one guy in the house, in which strange things keep happening and freaking him out. This is a supernatural movie that does amazing things with tension and dread, and one of the better found-footage films I’ve seen in the last few years.  

The Ceremony

I’m putting this movie on here because it is absolutely one of my favorites, and I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve searched and searched, and it’s like this damn thing no longer exists. It’s from 2008 and it’s about a guy trapped in his house while sinister things happen…and other than that, I can’t really explain it without giving anything away. All I can tell you is that I’m SO MAD I can’t find this, because I was only able to watch it twice and now it appears to have vanished (there are other films with this title, but this one is from 2008 and there’s a single trailer on YouTube that is terrible and not representative of this film at all). The film is about as low-budget as you get, featuring one actor in a perfectly normal college-ish duplex, stuck inside with the remnants of his absent-roommate’s class project. So good.

IF ANYONE FINDS ME THIS MOVIE I WILL SERIOUSLY SHOWER YOU WITH GRATITUDE, BOOKS, WHATEVER YOU WANT. I’m so enamored of it that I have a half-written story inspired by it, and I can’t work on the story because every time I try, I just get angry that I can’t find the movie >:( One day, ONE DAY, this will be available again and you’ll hear me yelling from Missouri.

A couple others to check out if you’re so inclined:

Housebound, They Look Like People, The Taking of Deborah Logan, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (the most brilliant take on a slasher film ever), The Dark, Grave Encounters, The Houses October Built, Ava’s Obsessions (hilarious horror-comedy), Rows,  Hush, You’re Next, and Lake Mungo.

Honestly, I can go on and on, so if you want to talk horror, please do! Hit me up on Twitter at @avongalewrites anytime!!

 

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Countdown to Halloween: Loving Halloween with Stacey O’Neale + Giveaway


countdown-with-bob

Loving Halloween with Stacey O’Neale

I love Halloween. It’s my second favorite holiday.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been intrigued by the history of Halloween in this country and beyond. Because of this fascination, I spend a lot of time watching the History channel during the month of October. They always show different specials about the history of the day, and other fun things like witches, pumpkins, and costumes. I guess you could say it’s become a tradition.

Another is that I watch Hocus Pocus every year. It’s my all-time favorite Halloween movie. I’ve been known to quote the movie from time to time. Bette Midler has so many quotable lines, and I think it’s one of her best performances. The other two witches are great, but she really steals the show. It’s fantastic. I never get tired of it. And now that my daughter is nine, she watches it with me.

I also enjoy decorating. My house is cluttered with orange and black of everything. I have spiders, pumpkins, witches, monsters, vampires, and candy everywhere. We even have a blow-up black cat that sits in the driveway. And regardless of how much I own, I buy more every year. I can’t help myself. It’s so much fun. I swear, I’d keep those decorations up all year if my family would let me.

I’m not much into costumes. I used to do it every year, but it became a hassle now that my daughter is into it. She loves dressing up and usually creates a matching costume with my husband. Last year, they were Star Wars characters. She was Darth Vader and he was a Storm Trooper. She doesn’t care much for the girlie princess stuff. She usually dresses up in whatever character she’s into at the moment.

It’s difficult to point out which Halloween-type books I like to read because fantasy is my favorite genre. Instead, I’ll just name a few YA fantasy series that I really enjoyed. Vampire Academy, Hex Hall, Starcrossed, Splintered, and The Mortal Instruments are all completed series I loved from beginning to end. There are many individual books I liked, but there’s not enough space to name them all.

fragile-reign-amazonEach year, I also tinker with the idea of writing a witch series. I’ve done a truckload of research on the subject. Actually, I did an entire presentation on witchcraft in college. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with something that I’m just dying to write. I have one idea about five witch families in a small town. Sort of a mish-mash of the Covenant and Secret Circle. But I haven’t fleshed it out yet. Maybe someday.

Big thanks to Judith at Binge On Books for giving me the opportunity to talk about such a fun subject. If you’re interested in reading something in YA Fantasy, my book, The Shadow Prince, is available for free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s about an exiled fire elemental prince that has to decide if he’s willing to kill an air elemental princess he has never met to save his court. Sound interesting? I hope so. 😀

Happy Halloween!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


author-photoAward-winning author, Stacey O’Neale, lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult fantasy and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

the-shadow-prince-amazonStacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Goodreads. You can also visit her blog at staceyoneale.com/.

Please follow and like us:
1k+

A Spotlight and Giveaway for…Magic Mansion by Jordan C Price!

Now it’s no secret that I’m a rabid Jordan C Price lover: she has so much talent and so much energy and so many crazy, fantastical, wonderful stories inside her that you can’t NOT be a fan. She’s one highly engaging writer of urban fantasy and these ideas she gets? Well…let’s just say that I’d be hard pressed to name anyone of any era who can match her there.

One idea she had – for a reader interactive story where characters were voted out as the story progressed – became the novel we know today as Magic Mansion. Don’t know it? Well, let me break it down for you:

Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.

Ricardo Hart’s career has sunk so low, he’s resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.
magicmansion-ace But there’s a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, and the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.

Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out….

magicmansion-neverperform

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

How We Began Anthology Giveaway Extravaganza!

How We Began AnthologyHow We Began by Alexis Hall, Delphine Dryden, Vanessa North, Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Geonn Cannon

Available on: Amazon

Release Day Extravaganza Organized by: Liz

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this anthology a few weeks back, and after I finished it, I felt like I was in a bit of a daze and also floating on the happiest bubble into a rainbow. This collection of stories, the proceeds from which are all going to benefit The Trevor Project, felt almost monumental to me. Some stories are bigger in scope than others, but all are so human and touching and every single one of them is affirming in a way I wish I could have had when I was in high school.

So, we thought about how best to showcase this wonderful anthology, and decided that hey, a giveaway is a beautiful thing. A TRIPLE giveaway? Even better. All money goes to charity? Sound the trumpets!

It’s time for an Extravaganza!

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

I Love YA Fiction is now Binge on Books plus a HUGE Book Giveaway!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I Love YA Fiction is looking a little…different? Unusual? Completely not the same at all? Whatever word(s) you choose, it’s true! There’s been a complete site overhaul and now you’re looking at the new, improved, gloriously, more aptly named: BINGE ON BOOKS!

*throws confetti* *shouts* *plasters a big smile on and opens arms wide to all the guests* Welcome to the new site! We’re still just as cool and fun as before but now we can more comfortably talk about the books and book news that you enjoy. It’s a win for everyone! And you know what I have to do whenever there’s big news on the site…

binge-on-books-twitter giveaway

Read More

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please follow and like us:
1k+