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Cat's February Reading Round-Up

Hello again!

First, I just want to thank everyone for all the support that you showed my last monthly round-up. It was so much fun to put together for you, and I'm really looking forward to sharing more.

Secondly, I want to introduce everyone to my handsome little tuxedo boy (pictured below.) As you can see, I still have not gotten around to making a proper graphic for this feature. I may well procrastinate that forever because I am not good at making graphics.

Since this placeholder image got a lot of love last month, especially over on Twitter, I just wanted to formally let everyone know that my book model is my cat, Atticus Finch. That is why he is posing exclusively with Harper Lee books. (That and because he has excellent taste, obviously.)

Finally, I just want to say that this month is a little messier than last month because February was short and quite busy -- I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to read/review. That being said, I have a few good titles that I am really excited to share with everyone. So... here we go.

Starting with the Unfinished Read

There is one book that ate up most of my time this month, and which I did not finish (yet.)

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

Though I had the rather quixotic notion to finish this in a single month, that did not happen. Much like the titular knight errant, I got distracted with shinier things that will be outlined below, and I made it about 3/4 of the way through. My intention is to come back and finish the story, because I am trying to round out my knowledge of classics. But I will probably not be finishing in March, because I'll be too busy celebrating Women in Horror Month.

Moving on to the Other Books I Did Not Review

There were a few books this month that, while I read, I have not yet had the chance to review. I wanted to put them in their own category so that I have the extra reminder to review them in the coming week.

  • Other Terrors This was a fantastic anthology that I read early in the month while I was waiting for the books I ordered for Black History Month to come in. (I'm actually still waiting on two of them, which is unfortunate.) I chose it because it features a short story by Tananarive Due, who is one of my favorite authors. I haven't reviewed it yet, because I immediately loaned out my copy, but would like to have it for reference when I review.

  • My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due Speaking of Tananarive Due, this was the only book I ordered in for Black History Month that arrived on time. I haven't reviewed it yet because I only just finished it. When the review does come, it's going to be glowing. This one was fantastic.

  • The Death of Jane Lawrence I finished this one a couple weeks ago, and have written plenty of reviews since then, so I don't really have an excuse other than I'm still sorting through my feelings about this title. I liked some elements a lot more than others, and I read it in sort of a strange headspace.

Now, to Published Books!

Now that I'm done making excuses, I am excited to share my list of two whole published books that I both finished and reviewed. (Three, technically, but I was in one of them, so it feels like cheating.)

  • Pornography for the End of the World by Brendan Vidito This was a weird, and hauntingly depraved collection of short fiction that I would highly, highly recommend.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Like all Toni Morrison books, this was beautifully written prose paired with the most heartbreaking story you can imagine. If you're ready to cry yourself to sleep and you haven't read this one yet, now seems like a good time to fix that.

And also...

  • Ooze Edited by Ruth Anna Evans Here is my cheat book, because I was in it and got my copy early, and read a lot of the stories as they were coming in. BUT! That doesn't make my love of this anthology any less real, nor does it make the anthology itself any less goopy.

Finally Wrapping Up with the ARCs

This is where we get to the meat of my list. I read a lot of ARCs this month, and they were phenomenal.

  • Hysteria: Lolly and Lady Vanity by Ali Seay I would be stunned if this doesn't make my Top 10 list for the entire year. This was my first Ali Seay book, and needless to say there will be more of them after this.

  • Bound in Flesh by Lor Gislason This is a trans body horror anthology and it's perfect. It has a good variety, it's gritty, it's surreal, and again, I'd be surprised if this doesn't end up on my end of the year highlights somewhere.

  • The Stradivarius by Rae Knowles This one was not as dark as I had hoped (a recurring theme for me this month, I think maybe I just fell into a bit of a mood at some point), but it is beautifully written and with some of the most well-rounded characters. It also had interesting themes and great representation.

  • The Darkness by Derek Hutchins I said this in my review as well, but I just know this is going to be someone's favorite book. It's fast-paced, there's a lot of action, and it incorporates elements from great horror classics. Some of the elements didn't work for me, but the end is so supremely satisfying.

  • The Whole Animal by Corinna Chong This was another quiet, short story collection from Arsenal Pulp Press. They are doing some strange, subtle work over there and I am here for it.

  • The Briars by Stephanie Parent If this had been just a little darker, it would probably be my favorite book of the year. It's beautifully written, I adore the setting, and it's a very interesting perspective on a haunting. While it leaned too heavily into the romance for my personal tastes, this is one I'm going to be recommending for a long time to come.

  • Attack of the Killer Tumbleweeds by Antonia Ward This is so much fun. While I strongly preferred the titular story to the other two entries, it delivered absolutely everything that I wanted. It was pulpy, it was outrageous, and it made me feel like I was watching those silly 1970's movies that I love so much.

  • Scarecrow Vodka Jesus This is a short story, and it's already published, so you may be wondering why it's in my ARCs list. The answer is because I was lucky enough to get my hands on a top secret, edition that I cannot wait to tell you more about later this year. In the meantime, I highly encourage you to read the story.

  • Into the Gray by Kathleen Palm This book. I've been saying for years that I don't personally like Middle Grade horror, and Into the Gray changed that. I didn't feel like I was being spoken down to at any point, there was a real sense of eeriness, and it was filled to the brim with representation I wish I'd had when I was in middle grade.

That's it for this month! My round up for March is going to be mostly women in horror and potentially Don Quixote. I have an absolutely amazing lineup and I can't wait to share it with everyone.

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