Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Sunday Post #341

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #341

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

Is it spooky season yet? I think I'm going to declare it spooky season because I want to read all the horror stuff.

I read Heartbreaker: Stories by Maryse Meijer. This might be the most disturbing short story collection I've ever read. I think my reaction to every story was, "Oh, that's nasty."

The characters in this collection are all using each other. They either don't understand or don't care that they're being used. I guess it's a commentary on loneliness? People are so desperate for love that they'll put up with abuse.

In this collection, there's an arsonist who falls in love with a forest fire, a feral child who commits crimes while her adopted father praises her, a murderer who brings his victims back to life so he can torment them again, and a teenage bully who gives porn to her mentally disabled classmate to find out what will happen. It's all very unsettling.

I both love and hate this book, which was probably the author's intention. It's fascinating to see how far the characters will push the boundaries of acceptable behavior. How much abuse can a person take? On the other hand, some of the stories left me confused and slightly nauseous. These stories are gross! The author has to be a brilliant writer to create such vivid scenes.

Read this book if you have a strong stomach and really like stories about villains. There are no good guys in here.

Then I read The Death Of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling. This horror novel was awesome . . . for a while. It's set in an alternate version of post-WWII England. Jane doesn't want to be a burden to her foster family anymore, so she agrees to a marriage of convenience with the town's doctor. At first, everything is pretty cool. Jane loves the doctor and enjoys helping in his surgery. Then she starts uncovering odd information about her new husband. He has a family mansion that she's forbidden to visit, and maybe he was married before?

This book was super intriguing at first. Jane and the doctor quickly captured my attention. I enjoyed the mysteries of the creepy house and the doctor's odd friends. Then paranormal stuff started happening, and the plot turned weird. I got confused. Then I got more confused. Then I got bored and started wondering why I was spending my time on a book I didn't understand.

I guess I'm disappointed? I liked the beginning so, so much! Maybe you'll have more patience for this book if you love paranormal stuff.

Speaking of paranormal stuff, I read a graphic novel called Thornhill by Pam Smy. It's excellent! Very atmospheric. It's about a teenage girl named Ella who moves into a new house. She starts to notice odd things happening in the overgrown garden of the abandoned house behind hers. The house has been empty for 30 years, but it was once an institute for mentally unstable orphan girls.

This book is massive, but don't let that scare you. The story is told half in ghostly illustrations and half in diary entries from a girl who lived in the institute. It's a quick book to read, even though it's 500+ pages.

I love this book because it perfectly captures an insidious style of bullying that I experienced as a kid. The bullies do small things that disrupt your life and get on your nerves, but they're so small that complaining about them seems petty and pointless. The small things add up until you feel like you're going insane. That's what happens in this book. It's a weirdly relatable horror story.

Like most horror books, this one has plot twists. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It caught me off guard, so I guess it's a successful twist, but I'm not sure if I understood all the characters' motivations.

If you're a fan of horror graphic novels, check this one out. I enjoyed it.

Okay, one more. Of course, it's horror. I read Gallant by V.E. Schwab and thoroughly enjoyed it! The illustrations are beautiful, and I can't resist a portal fantasy. This one is about Olivia, a teenager who gets invited to her family's mansion. While exploring the garden, she discovers a stone wall and a doorway to another version of the mansion. This one is full of ghouls and monsters who won't let her leave without a fight.

If you like stories that are all about the magical vibes, then this book is for you. The plot is pretty simple: a kid explores her new home. It reminds me of a young adult version of Coraline. The plot isn't what you remember. The creepy imagery will stick with you for a long time.

Also, that ending? I think it took a lot of courage to end the book that way. It's dark!

This novel is a bit light on plot and character development for my tastes, but I still had fun with it. If you read The Secret Garden and wished it was creepy, then read Gallant.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. Labor Day weekend is over! I'm relieved and exhausted. Labor Day is (usually) the final chaotic day of the year at work. I'm still working a ton of overtime, but hopefully it'll be calmer overtime now. I can tell I need a break because stuff that should stay in my head is starting to come out of my mouth. On Labor Day, I was directing traffic in 100-degree heat, and a lady got pissed about the park's entry fee. She pulled up to me and snapped, "It's Labor Day. Why isn't there free entry?" I said, "Because I'm out here laboring?" The death glare she gave me! 💀 OMG. I shouldn't have said that.
  2. Has anyone watched Alone? It's a wilderness survival show. I watched the first few seasons, and then forgot the show existed. Now I'm watching/rewatching it. I'd probably die on that show, but it's fun to watch people suffer.
  3. I was actually cold this morning! I'm extremely done with summer. I don't want to be hot anymore. I was thrilled to wake up freezing.
  4. I'm loving horror books right now. I just want to eat candy and read horror in bed. That sounds like a perfect day.
  5. Wildflowers. There are so many yellow flowers blooming in the roadside ditches. I like seeing happy flowers everywhere.

More Things I Shouldn't Have Said:

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Some good books and movies for Halloween. Glad you survived the Labor Day weekend working.

  2. I hope tinsmith calm down a bit on your work now that labor Day is over, that sounds stressful! I am done with summer too, but we had a really hot first week of September. Those wildflowers look so pretty! I hope you have a great week!

  3. Well anyway that woman shouldn't have snapped at you AJ!

  4. I think spooky season starts as soon as pumpkin season, so you're good. That short story collection sounds too high brow for me. I get put off by that sort of stuff. That woman deserved some snark. She was out of line. I don't want to be freezing, but I don't want to be hot either. It's complicated.

  5. Yes, let's declare the end of summer and start of spooky season! It was in the high 90s all week here and I am so over.

  6. I will never understand people. Really? People expecting to be allowed to enter a park free on Labor Day? And you right there, working your tail off? Oh my.

    You go right ahead and start reading scary/spooky/horror books. I'm too much of a big baby to read any of these.

  7. Good grief - people can be so darn rude. Whatever happened to the "golden rule"? People seem to have lost their ability to be even minimally polite. Sigh. And embracing spooky books means fall is here, right? I'm ready! Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  8. People really get on my nerves sometimes... I'd have a hard time in a public-facing job these days! Hooray for cooler weather and spooky season. It's definitely time!

  9. I already declared it Spooky b season and have been reading lots of horror. But then I normally do. People can be real jerks but I'm glad you put her in her place. The Jane Lawrence book bored me to death after the first half yet I finished too so I feel your pain.

  10. I'm hoping for cooler temps too. But you can have all the horror reads. I do have Gallant because I love the author but I haven't read it yet.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  11. LOL! I had once or twice when I'd been working at the bookstore for several years that I couldn't help but give answers like that. Looks like some good books, even if they weren't all perfect for you. I'm also soooo ready for the cooler temps. My sister-in-laws mom was kind of complaining about having to put a jacket on Saturday morning to sit outside, and all I could think was how I wouldn't have needed a jacket, but would still have loved the cool!!! Have a good week!
    Lisa Loves Literature

  12. I'm in the mood for spookier stuff too. I'm gonna load up.

  13. I couldn't add Heartbreaker to my TBR fast enough. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have ANY Kindle versions!!!

    "Because I'm out here laboring?" -- Bwaaa haaa haa!!!!

    I need to get some candy!!!! What kind of candy are you eating while reading spooky books in bed?

  14. It's cold in the mornings now here too. 45 degrees even but it warms up quickly. The Gallant book looks good -- I recently reread The Secret Garden and it needed a bit of a twist nowadays ... LOL.

  15. I guess officially you shouldn't have snapped at the woman at work, but seriously. Why would anywhere make things free or cheaper on one of the busiest weekend of the year?! And, yes, you were laboring on LABOR DAY HOLIDAY. I'm impressed you didn't do more than make a comment.

    I've begun thinking about the RIP challenge, too. I've read 2 mysteries this month already. I am not good at gore and horror books though.

  16. It sounds like that lady deserved that comeback. Honestly. Some people. Of course, they have to pay! It's gotta be one of the busiest days of the year for parks. Those people need to be paid! Ugh. I swear.

  17. I've declared it fall and spooky season too, and I am irrationally irritated that there are still happy summer flowers around. Lol. Thornhill sounds really good, I will have to look it up. Although I am very sorry you had to endure bullying when you were younger. :(

    And we love Alone! It's been a bit since we have watched it too - now I will have to go find them!

  18. Well, Heartbreaker is definitely not for me then. There’s too much real word horror right now.

    Wishing you a happy reading week

  19. I love all things spooky, movies, books, Halloween night. Oh, yes I am ready! Have a wonderful week ☕📚🍁🌞💛

  20. I don't ever think that it is time for horror books. I am way too suggestible to enjoy that kind of story. I skipped over to your book buying ban post because I don't know how anyone manages that. I read mostly on my Kindle these days so it's hard to tell just how many books I still have unread. LibraryThing says I have 2517. I have been trying to read some of my old print books and know what you mean about tastes changing. Why, oh why, did I buy so many vampire books? Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  21. Heartbreakers sounds more "out there" than I would enjoy. Your comment to the lady on Labor Day... priceless!! :)

  22. outside of Poe and Dracula, I've never been much into horror. Is that you behind that sheet? I wouldn't wear that around here. Someone might thing I was a member of a certain infamous hate group.

  23. I usually enjoy horror books. Maybe I should move the season up too :) In Florida it still feels like beach read season, though :) Hope you have a good week.

  24. I am so done with summer, too! It's my least favorite season. Fall is my favorite and I'm hoping we get some fall-feeling weather here soon. I also love seeing happy little wildflowers. :-)

  25. I've been over summer since Sept 1. The fall decorations are going up slowly, and I'm eagerly awaiting cooler weather. No horror books on my list, but still enjoy mysteries and true crime. Hope you get a chance to read some great books once work settles down.

  26. I think it qualifies as spooky season now. :-) That's too bad about The Death Of Jane Lawrence. I am interested in that one, but it sounds like a mixed bag. Thornhill sounds great though! I'll have to check that one out. My daughter has a copy of Gallant which I may have to borrow from her and read. Another great sounding read.

    I'm so used to September being hot. The weather is teasing me. It starts out overcast and perfect and then gets sunny and hot later in the day. At least the temperatures aren't in the triple digits . . .

    Have a great week and happy reading!

  27. Yes!! It IS spooky reading season. The RIP Challenge (to read darker stuff in fall) begins September 1. I do it every year :) I'm not much into horror, but I'm immersing myself in mystery, thriller, suspense, apocalyptic, dystopian, etc. And I am totally with you on the weather! I can't say it's been freezing here (or even cold), but it's just nice not to be hiding in the a/c from 95 and humid. Yay for fall weather and fall reading!!

    Book By Book

  28. I think spooky season has begun, or at least it has for me anyway. Glad to hear you enjoyed Gallant. I know it's not one of Schwab's more popular books but I really enjoyed it too.