Writings: September Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Kira Jane Buxton, Bec McMaster, and Ottessa Moshfegh September Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

I resolved to back off on reading and focus more on writing this month, but also to give a better synopsis of each book I read. Please reach out to me if you have any suggestions like going back to my previous monthly book style or anything else.

I picked up a humorous book for my first novel this month, Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton. The novel is a post-apocalyptic dystopian setting in Seattle, WA. Our main character is a crow who was raised by a somewhat crass human and believes himself a hybrid, a crow who is a half-human or just should have been born a human. His human caretaker named him Shit Turd or S.T. for short. Be forewarned that the language is often using potty humor or elementary level with elements of simple cursing. If you are like me, you can overlook it. It does make some sense that this crow is uncultured... how could he have learned better with his singular parent who watches only porn, reality tv shows and youtube? It does paint us humans, or MoFos as S.T. would say, collectively negatively, but I can't argue too strongly against that. Many other animals are written about besides our hero crow, S.T., such as domestic dogs and cats and does make me wonder what would happen to our pets if we get hit by a zombie disease... I, for one, hope there are many crows such as S.T. to save our beloved pets! The novel has moments of true laugh out loud inspersed with chuckles where you have to think slightly and some trashy cussing, but overall, this is an enjoyable read!! There are some dead pets, I feel I must warn you on that, and a death scene that is over the top... However, this is a nice change from the normal style of apocalyptic zombie novels and a welcome one to me!

Then I moved to a paranomal romance, Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster. This novel is not one of those common ware-related sex romp, instead the paranormal comes from blood suckers (and a warewolf whose flushed out story comes in book 2 of the series) in this early century london steampunk novel. The blood suckers exist from an infectous virus. The English ruling class inject themselves for the benefits of super stength, sight, hearing, and smell and disallow anyone else from partaking. They are known as Blue Bloods. They are not immortal but instead long lived and are immune to diseases. They can die from the traditional vampire be-headings, fire, and silver bullets and one new way - they can go mad and become vampires and must be taken down. Unfortunately, at that point, they are even stronger and harder to take down. It is also considered The Fade as they lose or fade away from what they were. I really like the premise and have always had a softspot for well written steampunks. This novel does not touch on the steampunkiness too much, it's just a backdrop. It does fall into the annoying trap of most romances where I don't believe that it's possible they could love each other so quickly, but if you are able suspend disbelief on that point you're all set! Final thought is that it's enjoyable paranormal romance in a nice new setting/world! I hope the rest of the novels in the series extend more on the steampunk of the setting.

My third novel in September was a suggestion from July (sorry to be so late!). Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh. I had thought it was a suspenseful mystery. It definately had moments of suspense and mystery but the story was almost all happening in the mind of the main character Vesta and possibly the conversations she has may also have been modified in her mind before we readers are told her thoughts. (ghostly Woo noises!) Vesta is a wildly imaginative 72 year old woman who lives alone but for her dog and her mind goes on wild walks, leaving us the reader always confused or worried or maybe even yelling at her in our minds, "Don't do that!" There are quite a few spoilers I could list that made the novel better, but I won't. If you get it and it seems boring, finish it! Things will make better sense if you read to the end. This novel is an original idea for me and if you like dark and twisted novels that really make you think, pick this one up! It did make me worry for all the widows we may have as neighbors and what trouble they may have if they are living alone, with no family coming to check on them :(

I did pick a forth novel in September, but I am only to about the half-way point so look for my thoughts on Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding in next month's Reading List and keep the suggestions coming!