Book Review – The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a project by John Koenig that he has undertaken since 2009. Originally a blog and then a YouTube series, the author’s work culminated into this book, which was published in November of 2021. All of them created by the author, the book is a collection of new words and their definitions, which encapsulate emotions we all feel but have difficulty putting into words.

This review is going to be a little different from normal, as fiction/nonfiction is more typically my wheelhouse. I don’t feel I’m equipped to examine it more deeply as a reference book or a work of linguistics. However, I wanted to write a little something about this book anyway to share some of my feelings about it, so this is going to be a less formal review among my posts.Read More »

Book Review – Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

SleepingGiants

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is the first novel in the Themis Files series. Seemingly at random, a mysterious object of massive scale is found in a sinkhole in South Dakota after a young girl crashes her bike into it. Rescue crews working to get her out are baffled by the fact that she rests in a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the hand’s purpose and origins are still a complete mystery. Some can’t let secrets lie, however, and Dr. Rose Franklin, the girl who first stumbled upon the thing, is now a physicist who leads a top-secret team determined to uncover the truth. The work is challenging, but the object’s hidden power is greater than they could have imagined. As they get closer to unlocking its secrets, it becomes impossible to keep such a thing hidden from the world, which may not be ready for it.Read More »

Book Review – A Black and Endless Sky by Matthew Lyons

A Black and Endless Sky

A Black and Endless Sky is a recently published horror novel by Matthew Lyons. In it, Jonah Talbot’s life has fallen apart. After 12 years of marriage, the love between him and his wife has simply faded away, and the two have finalized their divorce. Jonah is left with no choice but to leave California and move back home to Albuquerque, accompanied on his drive home by his sister Nell. The two of them used to be inseparable but became estranged after he suddenly left town and got married all those years ago. Now, they hope maybe they can start mending their relationship on this road trip home. However, the open road has more in store for them than they can fathom, as a bizarre incident at an abandoned construction site in the Nevada desert results in Nell’s body playing host to an ancient, otherworldly presence.Read More »

Book Review – The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

The Last Continent

The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett is the 22nd novel in the author’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the sixth in the Rincewind sub-series. Following the events of the previous novel, Interesting Times, Rincewind finds himself once again to be a stranger in a strange land, this time in Fourecks (or XXXX), a continent relatively unknown to the rest of the Discworld. It is a desolate and arid place full of surprisingly jovial people and terrifying wildlife. Though at first simply trying to survive as best he can, it would seem destiny once again has a mission for the put-upon, subpar wizard, one that will have him embarking on a odyssey across the landscape, making him a hero among the locals whether he likes it or not.Read More »

Book Review – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

We Were Liars is a 2014 young adult mystery thriller novel by E. Lockhart. The story follows Cadence Eastman, a teenage girl who is part of a large, wealthy, and influential family, the Sinclairs. She spends every idyllic summer on Beechwood Island, privately owned by her family and situated near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, upon which her grandfather built homes for himself, all of his daughters, and their families to stay in. She would spend much of these summers with her cousins Johnny and Mirren and Johnny’s best friend Gat, who is invited to come along every year. Together, the four of them are known as the “Liars.” The summer of her fifteen year, Cady had a whirlwind romance with Gat, experiencing a sense of love that dulled the pain of her parents’ divorce.

However, that’s all Cady remembers of that summer. She had an accident, though she doesn’t remember the cause, and now she suffers from crippling migraines. Gat was nowhere to be seen as she recovered in hospital, none of her family wants to talk to her about what happened, and it’s been two years since she last visited the island. Relishing the chance to reconnect with her cousins and her beloved Gat, despite the pain of him disappearing on her, she is determined to find out what happened to her that fateful summer.Read More »

Book Review – Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn Treason

Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn is the third novel in the author’s Thrawn trilogy, set in the new canon of Star Wars. Grand Admiral Thrawn has proven himself time and again to be a cunning and resourceful asset in service of the Empire, but the politics within the Imperial Navy mean that his tactical proficiency in war is not enough to curry favour. As such, the Grand Admiral’s TIE Defender program is at risk of being halted in favour of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project. However, if he can solve a seemingly petty issue with the latter project’s supply chain, he can secure his own interests. With only limited time, what begins as a rather simple investigation into pest control unravels into a much deeper conspiracy of treason within the Empire and an incursion of enemy forces from the unknown regions of the galaxy.Read More »

Book Review – The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

The Complete Cosmicomics

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino is a collection of short stories, bringing together into one volume many stories from across the author’s bibliography. Within this collection are the 12 stories included in the book Cosmicomics, the 11 stories from the book t zero, 4 stories from Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories, and 7 other tales translated into English for the very first time in this collection.

Often following the ageless narrator Qfwfq, each story covers natural phenomena in our universe, specifically drawing inspiration from real-world scientific discoveries as they were understood at the time each respective story was written. Be it the extinction of the dinosaurs, the separation of the Moon from the Earth, or the formation of the very atoms that make up our universe, each tale takes these scientific concepts and mythologizes them into a surreal exploration of the natural world.Read More »

Book Review – A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland

A Gathering of Ghosts

A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland is a historical fiction novel with dark fantasy elements. Set in the wilds of Dartmoor in the year 1316, the story centres around the isolated Priory of St. Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St. John. At this priory, led by Prioress Johanne, they see to the infirmed who are in need of care, as well as provide shelter for pilgrims and other travelers making their way across the hazardous countryside. Their main attraction is the healing well that sits in a cave beneath their chapel, once associated with a pagan goddess but now dedicated to Saint Mary, which brings them many visitors from near and far.

With the country at large gripped by the Great Famine and tin miners ravaging the moorland for its precious ore nearby, everybody is feeling the strain as desperate times become worse and worse, including heavy rains that seem unending. The arrival of three strangers to Dartmoor—a knight, a blind child, and a woman with a withered arm—only seems to make matters worse, as soon after their arrival the holy well is beset upon by uncanny plagues.Read More »

Book Review – ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Salems Lot

‘Salem’s Lot is a 1975 horror novel by Stephen King, and it is the prolific author’s second novel. Set in the small fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine, the story follows a young author named Benjamin Mears. He has returned to the town, where he spent a number of years growing up, in order to face some old childhood fears and continue working on a new novel inspired by the source of those fears, the foreboding and abandoned old Marsten House, which looms over the town on a hill.

Although his arrival in the Lot is met fairly warmly, a mysterious new pair of residents have arrived at the same time, lodging in that decrepit old mansion that Ben can’t help fixating on. Though at first these changes are simple curiosities, the disappearance of two local boys is a sinister portents of things to come, as the town’s new residents have brought with them a nightmarish blight that threatens to consume the town whole.Read More »

Book Review – The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

The Grip of It

The Grip if It is a 2017 horror novel by Jac Jemc and my first Frighteningly Good Read for 2021. Married couple James and Julie have purchased their first home together in a small town just outside of the city where they met. They have decided to seek a fresh start after James’s gambling problem leaves his personal savings emptied out, putting some strain on their relationship. The transition to their new home is so seamless, however, it’s almost too good to be true.

They purchased the house, which has a forest behind it that leads to a beach, for a great price too. The seemingly innumerable hidden rooms are strange, but they provide a lot of extra storage space. And that constant deep, vibrating noise just at the edge of hearing, not unlike throat singing, is probably just the house settling, or so they tell themselves. They try their best to settle into their new home and lives, but it seems the house has other plans for them.Read More »