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Joined 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Heavy on sci-fi that respects physics, horror that literally keeps me up at night, abstract novellas that break my brain, fantasy that steps outside European colonialism, literature that glares angrily at the world, anything with broken and non-confirming characters, and any pop lit that has something to say. Non-fiction typically centers on exploratory deep dives on the natural world.

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Godmother Night (1996, Abacus) 3 stars

Almost Great

3 stars

The first half of the book is the story of a lesbian couple meeting and negotiating their relationship. The magic bit is minimal. It's drawn out, a bit convoluted, and if that were the book, it would be one star. The second half is the story of their daughter, who can speak with the dead because her godmother is Death, and that is genuinely interesting and thought-provoking. More magic, less boring. If that were the book, it would be four stars. So we'll split the difference.

Solid rec for fans of 90s feminist fiction with strong themes (but no real plot lines) of magic and witchcraft.

The secret life of a satanist (1992) 4 stars

The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey is a biography …

Half good, half bad

3 stars

First of all: excellent writing. Honestly. Strong line-by-line articulation of ideas.

The first half of the book is Anton LaVey's background and it's honestly fascinating. His childhood, years in the carnival and early exploits are genuinely fun. He lived 10 lives before he was 40. Of course, almost everything is entirely fabricated and has been debunked. So treat it as pure fiction.

The second half was written while LaVey was still alive but after the point he became a recluse. It's mostly him spouting off on his sexist, racist, old-man-yells-at-sky bullshit. It goes on for a shocking length, and frankly I skipped entire passages.

Recommended as a manufactured historical artifact, but not a moral compass, and that has absolutely nothing to do with religion.

reviewed The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence (Hardcover, 2021, Harper) 4 stars

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, …

I do not understand the appeal.

1 star

I tried. The story of unjust incarceration in the beginning was fascinating. Then, everything fell absolutely flat. I tried to understand any of the characters, but they all kind of bled together over weird scattered diversions and the story went nowhere. Gave up 25% in. I wanted to love this -- the premise sounds great! -- but couldn't find anything to grasp.

Between Two Fires (EBook, 2020, Services LLC) 4 stars

His extraordinary debut, Those Across the River, was hailed as “genre-bending Southern horror” (California Literary …

Extraordinary Medieval Horror

5 stars

Dark, creative fantasy/horror set in France during the height of the plague. Every chapter is a bounty of supernatural horror as well as the terrors of desperate people surviving in times of insane loss and death. Extremely well-crafted. The tight writing is lit up by sharp historical details and believable, relatable characters. Highly recommended for horror fans as well as fans of a high-resolution medieval set piece.