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Cat's January Reading Round-Up

Hello all!

After talking with Tasha about what sort of hot takes and deep dives I should be contributing to the website, I have decided to start with something easy. And what is easier than telling everyone what I've read in the last month?

If it goes well, this will be a recurring feature. I'd love to share my excitement about new releases, thoughts on the ARCs I've received, and potentially some little teasers about my upcoming articles. (There are certainly a few books in this list that I'd love to delve into once they're released.)

So, without any further ado, here are the things I read in January, 2023:

Starting with the Re-read.

I only revisited one book this month, but it was a very timely classic.

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker.

I decided to read this one again for inspirational purposes regarding some research I was doing for a short story. This is also just a good year to refresh your memory about this one, with both Renfield and The Last Voyage of the Demeter coming to the big screen this year.

Moving to More Published Books

This covers both recent releases, and books that I've just finally made it around to reading personally.

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon This was the only non-horror book that I read this month. Both the content and the pacing left me a little disappointed, but if you're looking for a sapphic fantasy novel with a lot of dragons, it does deliver both those things.

  • They Were Here Before Us by Eric LaRocca This one has been my least favorite LaRocca title, but considering how much I love his other books, that doesn't mean much. The subject matter was difficult for me personally, but it still had all the style that draws me in every time.

  • Dear Laura by Gemma Amor I have been wanting to read this one for so long, and let me just confirm that it was worth the wait. The story was emotional, tense, and mature in a very satisfying way.

  • (Un)Bury Your Gays by Clinton W. Waters This was everything I hoped it would be and more. The Re-Animator is one of my favorite classic horror tales, and seeing a queer retelling of it so brilliantly executed absolutely thrilled me.

  • In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami I was not even sure I liked Murakami based off of the first title of his I read. This one definitely converted me. It is tense, disturbing, and surprisingly beautiful.

  • All Hail the House Gods by Andrew Stone This is a wild one, and probably not for the easily shaken. The dystopian elements are grim and disturbing, but written about in such a matter of fact way. I adored it.

  • How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix This is probably the weakest Hendrix book I've read, but it was still an exceptional, fun read. If I'm being honest, it was actually sort of a relief not to be sobbing by the end of one of his books.

  • The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward I missed this the year that it was super popular and winning all the awards. I came back to it after reading and loving Sundial, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. The style is still spot on, but the subject matter and its presentation rubbed me the wrong way. Still a fan of the author, and am looking forward to Little Eve.

Then to Short Stories...

I read two stand alone short stories last month, and wasn't sure if I should list them with the full books even though they are both amazing (and Goodreads certainly counts them.)

If you have read our beloved Ruth Anna's work, you pretty much know the emotional heartbreak that you're going into with both of these stories. If you can handle that today, you should go check them out. I am particularly fond of Everything You Love is Gone.

Finally Wrapping Up with the ARCs

Here are the amazing ARCs I was sent and got to read this month, all of which you should be keeping an eye out for in the coming months.

  • A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett I know I said Priory was the only non-horror book I read this month, but I lied! There was also this short story collection about the experiences of eleven trans women, that absolutely defies genre. I wouldn't call it horror (at all -- it's not), but I would recommend it.

  • Deep by Aquino Loayza Though it's a slower burn, this featured one of my favorite villains of recent reading history. If you like cult and or cosmic horror, you need to keep an eye out for this one.

  • Linghun by Ai Jiang I am a little biased because I'm a fan of Ai's work, and lucky enough to consider her a friend. But this was such a startling beautiful novella that was tightly focused with a haunting scope.

  • The Breaking of Mona Hill by Christy Aldridge This one has officially broken into my list of the Top 20 most disturbing horror stories I've ever read, and I am obsessed with it. If you also would like to be disturbed, and don't have any specific trigger warnings, this may be the read for you.

And that has been it! I am well into my February reads at this point, and even though I doubt the list will be as long, I am looking forward to sharing those with you as well in a few weeks.

If you have a book that you would like to send me in exchange for a Goodreads review, I suggest that you come find me on Twitter. I reserve the right to refuse that deal, but I have very rarely ever turned down a free book.

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