Tag Archives: cherie priest

My Reading List for 2015

My Reading List for 2015

As is now a yearly tradition, I share my reading list for the year. Last year I surpassed my goal of thirty books with thirty-seven. This year I had a goal for thirty-five and ended up with exactly that. (I’m not the fastest of readers.)

Since this list is so long, I tend not to fill it with reviews, but you’re welcome to follow me on Goodreads where I do review books I read from time to time. At the end of the list, I will call out some of my favorite books of the year. As before, all links will go to Amazon as a default, but if one of these books sound interesting to you then I would encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and purchase through them.


Novels:

  1. The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1)
    by Kameron Hurley
  2. Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy #2)
    by Chuck Wendig
  3. Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
    by Frank Herbert
  4. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
    by Erik Larson
  5. The Hour of the Oxrun Dead (Oxrun Station)
    by Charles L. Grant
  6. The Martian
    by Andy Weir
  7. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5)
    by Patrick Rothfuss
  8. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
    by Scott Lynch
  9. Something Wicked This Way Comes
    by Ray Bradbury
  10. Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach #1)
    by Jeff VanderMeer
  11. NOS4A2
    by Joe Hill
  12. The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)
    by Jeanne DuPrau
  13. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2)
    by Gail Carriger
  14. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5)
    by Stephen King
  15. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  16. Karen Memory
    by Elizabeth Bear
  17. The Flight of the Silvers (Silvers #1)
    by Daniel Price
  18. Southern Gods
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  19. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
    by Neil Gaiman
  20. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  21. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1)
    by Catherynne M. Valente
  22. Black Chalk
    by Christopher J. Yates
  23. Redwall (Redwall #1)
    by Brian Jacques
  24. Chapelwood (The Borden Dispatches #2)
    by Cherie Priest
  25. The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  26. The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle #2)
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  27. The Dunwich Horror
    by H.P. Lovecraft
  28. The Harvest (The Heartland Trilogy #3)
    by Chuck Wendig
  29. A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1)
    by V.E. Schwab
  30. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  31. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
    by David Bayles, Ted Orland
  32. The Spirit Machine
    by Robert Hazelton
  33. A Witch’s Feast (The Memento Mori Series #2)
    by C.N. Crawford
  34. The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap #1)
    by Stephen R. Donaldson
  35. The Deep
    by Nick Cutter

If there is one takeaway I have, it’s that I read way to much Sanderson. He’s on the list four times. While I’m not discounting him as a writer (his books are a lot of fun), that’s way too much for me. So next year I vow to be Sanderson free (even if the next Stormlight book comes out.)


Favorite Novel of 2015:

Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

The Flight of the Silvers (Silvers #1)
by Daniel Price

It would have been easy for me to select Dune or Something Wicked, both classics and both books I love. However, I wanted to pick something that was a new favorite, something that stuck with me after I put it down. Flight of the Silvers was that book. Daniel Price wrote an amazing world with incredible characters all struggling together and against one another. A fresh new sci-fi series and I cannot wait for the sequel.

Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2015:

Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

Chapelwood (The Borden Dispatches #2)
by Cherie Priest

The sequel to last year’s runner-up, Maplecroft. This book exceeded its predecessor and was easily one of the best books I read all year. Priest’s take on new mythos is both fresh and familiar, it’s dark but is still heartfelt and incredibly engaging. I loved every minute of it.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
by Scott Lynch

I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to read this book and even a few chapters in I was dubious. I’m glad I stuck with it. I loved this book. The world is familiar but feels fresh and fully realized, its characters are well-crafted and real, and the plot was amazingly complex. I found it impossible to anticipate and quite difficult to put down.


Graphic Novels:

Unlike last year, in 2015 I read a whole swath of great graphic novels and a handful of some pretty terrible ones. As with the previous list, at the end I’ll pick my favorite graphic novel from 2015. (I’m not going to pick Saga… I’m not going to pick Saga… I’m not going to pick Saga.)

  1. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
    by Kieron Gillen (Author), Jamie McKelvie (Author, Illustrator)
  2. Prophet, Vol. 1: Remission
    by Simon Roy (Author), Farel Dalrymple (Author), Giannis Milogiannis (Author), Brandon Graham (Author, Illustrator)
  3. East of West Volume 1: The Promise
    by Jonathan Hickman (Author), Nick Dragotta (Illustrator)
  4. Moon Knight Volume 1: From the Dead
    by Warren Ellis (Author), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator)
  5. Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was a Man
    by Jason Aaron (Author), Jason LaTour (Illustrator)
  6. Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadows
    by Warren Ellis (Author), Jason Howard (Author, Illustrator)
  7. Saga, Vol. 5
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
  8. Catbeard the Pirate, Book 1: Keelhauling & Kitty Litter
    by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)
  9. Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop
    by Matt Fraction (Author), Chip Zdarsky (Illustrator)
  10. The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad
    by Jonathan Hickman (Author), Nick Pitarra (Artist)
  11. Neonomicon
    by Alan Moore (Author), Jacen Burrows (Artist)

Favorite Graphic Novel of 2015:

Prophet, Vol. 1: Remission
by Simon Roy (Author), Farel Dalrymple (Author), Giannis Milogiannis (Author), Brandon Graham (Author, Illustrator)

I didn’t pick Saga! But seriously, there was something so engaging about this reboot of Prophet (a former, and awful, Image character from the 90s) that I loved. It’s Conan in space, the artwork is beautiful, the stories bizarre. Prophet, Vol. 2: Brothers is already on my list for next year.

Favorite Graphic Novel Runners-up of 2015:

Catbeard The Pirate Book One: Keelhauling & Kitty LitterCatbeard the Pirate, Book 1: Keelhauling & Kitty Litter
by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)

As you can tell from my list, when it comes to comics, I usually am not drawn to comedy. However after a recommendation from a friend, I picked up Matt Nelson’s fantastic book. Catbeard is charming, witty, and was a delight to read. What else would you expect from a book with cat-beard voodoo curses, dinosaur riding heroes, and strange pirate adventures? It was the perfect respite between some of the darker graphic novels I was reading. Ready for the next one.

Trees

Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadows
by Warren Ellis (Author), Jason Howard (Author, Illustrator)

Trees is one of those books I wish I thought of, the setting is simple, but the ramifications of its simplicity are complex. What would society do if strange and enormous aliens arrived on Earth? Ten years after that event, Trees seeks to explore that idea, with what appears to be terrible ramifications, I can’t wait for more.


So that’s my list for 2015. A lot of really great stuff, and I’m looking forward to new books in 2016. I was also given a new challenge! If you recall, in 2014, I was challenged to read more women authors, and I ended up doing just that. Well, my friend Steve Toutonghi, author of the upcoming sci-fi novel Join, challenged me to read more classics in 2016. So that’s my plan. First on my plate (after I read my advanced reader copy of Join) is to dive into Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges and then it’ll move onto Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.

How about you? How does your reading list compare this year? Did anything stick out? Did you find a new favorite book or favorite author? What are your plans for 2016? Is there any new book you’re excited to read? Are there any classics I should visit in my 2016? Leave a comment and let me know!

The 2015 Lovecraftian-Inspired Gift Guide

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide

Last year I assembled a fun little list of Lovecraftian gift ideas for the holidays. It ended up being popular so I figured since the holiday season is upon us yet again I’d do it one more time! As before, if you’re a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos or have someone on your list who is, I figured it’d be helpful to put together a little gift guide linking to some of my favorite Lovecraftian merchandise from across the web.

Like before, I’ve organized the list by category and ordered them by price making it easy to browse. Have a favorite New Weird or mythos-themed item I left off? Leave a comment and let us know!


❅ Quick Jumps ❅

BooksMusicApparelGamesMiskatonic


[About the Art:] This year’s gift guide’s Featured Image comes from the artist Mark Helwig. Check out the full-color version on Deviant Art.


❅ BOOKS

Chapelwood by Cherie PriestChapelwood by Cherie Priest
$11.98 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Last year I featured Maplecroft, the first in Cherie Priests New Mythos series, The Borden Dispatches. I’m pleased to say that book two is even better than the first. Borden finds herself assisting an old friend in the deep south investigating strange disappearances and an even stranger church.


Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs
$13.30 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Part southern gothic and part Lovecraftian, John Hornor Jacobs debut novel from 2011 follows the story of muscle-for-hire Bull Ingram as he’s tasked with following the trail of the musician Ramblin’ John Hastur, who has been rumored to have sold his soul to the devil.


Red Litten WorldRed Litten World by K. M. Alexander
$15.00 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $4.61 (eBook)
In the third installment of my Bell Forging Cycle, Caravan Master cum Guardian Waldo Bell returns to the multileveled megalopolis of Lovat and finds himself thrust into a conflict that will lead him to the cities blood-soaked spires.


Cthulhu Fhtagn!Cthulhu Fhtagn! Anthology
$19.99 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
A fantastic anthology assembled by Ross Lockheart that happens to be one of the best Lovecraft-inspired collections to date. There’s a lot to love here. Cosmic horror tales from names like W. H. Pugmire, Laird Barron, Cameron Pierce, Wendy N. Wagner, Ann K. Schwader, and loads more.


The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft edited by Les Klinger
$27.78 + Free Shipping (Hardcover) $22.99 (eBook)
I’m keeping this on here from last year. This gorgeous coffee table book annotated by Les Klinger is now the definitive collection of Lovecraft’s best work. If you have a fan on your list or wanted to spend a little bit of time with Lovecraft’s works, this is the book to get.


Not finding a book you like? Check out last year’s list →


❆ MUSIC

 Azathoth by Cryo Chamber CollaborationAzathoth by Cryo Chamber Collaboration
$9.00 (Digital Download) $20.00 + Shipping (CD)
Once again the dark-ambient label Cryo Chamber has created another collaboration named after one of Lovecraft’s monsters. This set is themed around the Azathoth, the outer god, and the album has a tone of ancient otherworldliness drenched with vast echoes, terrifyingly wonderful.


The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.
$15.00 (Digital Download or CD) + Shipping (CD)
What do the sailors of Innsmouth, Massachesues sing while out on their boats? You’d be surprised. In this collection, the Miskatonic Connolly Memorial Men’s Chorus explores the Innsmouth variants of classic shanties. The tunes might be familiar but the lyrics… the lyrics are very different.


Dark Adventure Radio TheaterDark Adventure Radio Theater
$12.00 (Single Downloads) – $200 (Full Collections) + Shipping
Dramatizations of H. P. Lovecraft’s words done radio-theater style. The quality is fantastic, and I highly encourage getting the CDs that include the props as well. Makes it all the more fun to follow along with the story.


Not finding the right music? Check out last year’s list →


❅ APPAREL

Bell Caravan Patch Now AvailableBell Caravans Patch
$5.00 + Shipping (Order by Dec. 11th for Christmas Delivery.)
This beautiful 3″ patch, designed by illustrator Sean Cumiskey, is the perfect way of declaring your loyalty to your beloved caravan master. Put it on your backpack, a tote, or display it on the sleeve of your jacket, just make sure the world knows who you roll with.


Cthulhu BandanaCthulhu Bandanna
$10.00 + Shipping
Bandanas are handy, but why not have one that is slightly different from the rest. Featuring an original border design that incorporates Cthulhu, Nightgaunts, The Hounds of Tindalos, and more! Available in black, green, red, teal, and hot pink.


Cthulhu Varsity JacketCthulhu Varsity Jacket
$90.00 + Shipping
When a tee shirt just isn’t enough and you need to take your love of the mythos to the next level. Features a wool body and leather sleeves with an embroidered HP on the chest and a large Cthulhu on the back.


Looking for something else? Check out last year’s selection →


❆ GAMES

The Last Door: Season 2 Collector EditionThe Last Door: Season 2 – Collector’s Edition
$7.99 (Digital Download) FREE (In-Browser)
I loved Season 1 of this old school adventure game and Season 2 was just as gripping. Heavily influenced by turn-of-the-century horror and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, The Last Door: Season 2 places you at the center of a mysterious conspiracy of darkness and terror.


Sunless SeaThe Sunless Sea
$18.99 (Digital Download)
After playing and loving Failbetter Games’ browser game Fallen London, I immediately ran out and picked this up from Steam. One of the few games I have spent any time with this year. The tone and music are wonderful, the locations and exploration superb. What will you find the in vast oceans of the Unterzee?


Eldritch HorrorEldritch Horror
$43.64 + Free Shipping
In this cooperative board game (similar to Pandemic), you and your fellow investigators travel the globe in an attempt to thwart the plans of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones while trying to stay sane in the process.


None of these games sounding interesting? Here’s last year’s list →


❅ MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY

Miskatonic University StickerMiskatonic University Sticker
$3.50 + Shipping
With these handy stickers you can make anything in your home an official product of the Miskatonic University. Slap ’em on a notebook or a mug or a water bottle. It’s a handy (and cheap) was to show your pride in your school.


Miskatonic University Lapel PinMiskatonic University Alumni lapel pin
$10.00 + Shipping
An elegant little lapel pin features a purple logo of Miskatonic University. A nice subtle way to confuse your coworkers as well as show your alumni allegiance to the Ivy League school that never was. Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; Ex Luce Ad Tenebras.


http://store.cthulhulives.org/collections/apparel/products/miskatonic-antarctic-expedition-sweatshirtMiskatonic Antarctic Expedition Sweatshirt
$55.00 + Shipping
The “official” gear from Professor Lake’s ill-fated 1931 Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition. Features the logo of the MU Biology Dept. on the front and the Expedition logo on back. Comes in a combo ($72 + Shipping) with the sweatshirt, a radio play, and a personalized letter from Professor Dyer.


No Miskatonic related items you wanted? Here was last year’s list →


❅ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❅
Three Great Horror Reads For Halloween

Three Great Horror Reads For Halloween

Since today is Halloween (or High Hallow as it’s known in the Territories), I thought it’d be fun to share some of the more memorable horror novels that I have read over the last few years. Since I have been reading horror since I was a kid, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to any of the books I have read during my participation in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. You can see my list for 2013 and 2014 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2015 over on Goodreads. Let’s get to my picks!


Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian: or the Evening Redness in the West
by Cormac McCarthy

I’ve talked about Cormac McCarthy’s novel a few times in the past, and over the last few years it has easily become one of my favorite books, and ultimately my favorite horror novel of all time. This story tends to get classified as a western, but after spending some time with the kid, and the mysterious Judge Holden it becomes apparent that there is much more to this narrative than a brutal western. Following the trail of several scalp hunters along the Mexican border, this novel is a disturbing tale of violence, blood, and possibly the devil.


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury

While the trope of the Circus of Fear can be traced back to the 1919 German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it’s safe to say it was Bradbury who made it popular with this novel. When Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Greentown, Illinois, two young boys and best friends begin to explore its strange and ultimately evil attractions. Bradbury is amazing at capturing the life of the young boy, and the challenges of fatherhood. Easily one of the best gothic horror novels ever written, and a classic within the genre.


Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

Chaplewood (Borden Dispatches #2)
by Cherie Priest

The second novel in Cherie Priest’s modern take on Lovecraftian mythos goes above and beyond even book one (which was one of my runners-up last year.) Following the adventures of the Lizzie Borden of legend, Chaplewood takes us from book one’s rain-soaked coast of New England to the heart of the sultry deep South. As a dark gospel is spread by a strange cult, and an ax murderer runs rampant, a detective, a young woman, and an elderly matron must face down a growing evil. Easily one of my most memorable reads this year.


So there are three of my favorite horror books from the last few years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are you favorite horror novels? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

A terrifying Christmas to all!

A Lovecraftian-Inspired Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us! If you’re a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos or have someone on your list, who is I figured it’d be helpful to put together a little gift guide linking to some of my favorite Lovecraftian merchandise from across the web.

I’ve organized the list by category and ordered them by price. So that should make it easy to browse. Have a favorite new weird or mythos-themed item I left off? Leave a comment and let us know!


BooksMusicApparelGamesMiskatonic


BOOKS:

The Witching ElmThe Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford
$.99 (Digital Pre-order)
I heard about C. M. Crawford’s debut novel recently and while it’s not specifically Lovecraftian it definitely seems like something a reader of mythos and new weird would enjoy. I mean: talking ravens, bone-wardens, and other worlds? Sounds great, sign me up.


The Atrocity Archives by Charles StrossThe Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
$7.99 + Free Shipping (Print) $7.60 (eBook)
Meet Bob Howard, a computer hacker who ends up working for the secret British organization: The Laundry. But this isn’t your typical super secret agency, instead of terrorism The Laundry that faces off against something much stranger.


Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches by Cherie PriestMaplecroft by Cherie Priest
$11.00 + Free Shipping (Print) $7.99 (eBook)
I picked this up on a whim after listening to an interview with Priest on the Seattle Geekly Podcast, and I loved it. Priest’s new-mythos tale spins a yarn about madness, fear, and the sea using the historical character Lizzie Borden as the protagonist. I look forward to more.


The Stars Were Right by K. M. AlexanderThe Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
$12.60 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $2.99 (eBook)
Have a Lovecraft fan on your list? Pick them up a copy of my first novel, The Stars Were Right. Let them join Caravan Master Waldo Bell as he goes on the run in the coastal megalopolis of Lovat on a quest to clear his name.


Old Broken Road by K. M. AlexanderOld Broken Road by K. M. Alexander
$12.50 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $5.99 (eBook)
My latest Lovecraft-influenced urban fantasy novel: Old Broken Road picks up a year after the events in the previous book and follows Wal and his friends as they travel down an abandoned road full of dark apparitions, bizarre monsters, and ancient evils.


The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft (Author), Leslie S. Klinger (Editor), Alan Moore (Introduction)The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft edited by Les Klinger
$25.50 + Free Shipping (Print) $19.24 (eBook)
This gorgeous coffee table book annotated by Les Klinger is now the definitive collection of Lovecraft’s best work. If you have a fan on your list or wanted to spend a little bit of time with Lovecraft’s works, this is the book to get.


MUSIC:

Cthulhu by Cryo Chamber Collaboration

Cthulhu by Cryo Chamber Collaboration
$7.00 (Digital Download) $15.00 + Shipping (CD)
If you’re into ambient music, I highly recommend this collaboration from the dark ambient label Cryo Chamber. Themed around Cthulhu this album is drenched in distant echoes and vast chambers that will put you in the mood for terror.


Reliquiae by Atrium CarceriReliquiae by Atrium Carceri
$7.00 (Digital Download)
This haunting album is the soundscape I’d turn on when writing Old Broken Road. Heavy with mood I found myself loving every minute of it. (It’s also my go-to soundtrack when my friends and I play Mansions of Madness.)


APPAREL:

Bell Caravan Patch Now AvailableBell Caravans Patch
$5.00 + Shipping (Order by Dec. 15th for Christmas Delivery.)
This beautiful 3″ patch, designed by illustrator Sean Cumiskey, is the perfect way of declaring your loyalty to your beloved caravan master. Put it on your backpack, a tote, or display it on the sleeve of your jacket, just make sure the world knows.


Cthulhu Ski MaskCthulhu Ski Mask
$60.00 + Shipping
Winter has settled into the mountains, and the ski resorts are opening. It’s good to protect one’s face while shredding the slopes. Terrify other skiers and snowboarders in a handcrafted ski mask made by the Mad Knitter in a disturbing shade of Cthulhu green.


GAMES:

The Last Door

The Last Door Collectors Edition
$9.99 (Digital Download) FREE (In-Browser)
I don’t play many video games these days, but I absolutely loved this old school adventure game. Heavily influenced by turn-of-the-century horror and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, The Last Door, places you in the center of a dark mystery.


Mansions of MadnessMansions of Madness
$60.00 + Free Shipping
My wife can attest how obsessed I’ve become with this board game. It’s a blast. Investigators have to solve a mystery while the Keeper tries to kill them off. The perfect blend of Lovecraft and action adventure. A lot of fun.


MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY:

Miskatonic Combo

Miskatonic University Mug
$15.00 + Shipping
One of my favorite mugs in my house, with a beautifully designed Miskatonic University seal. It’s also nice and big and, therefore, holds extra coffee (the secret to my power.) Comes in white or nightgaunt black… naturally.


Miskatonic ComboMiskatonic University Combo Pack
$45.00 + Shipping
Get a Miskatonic U. t-shirt, Miskatonic stickers, the M.U. Course book, an M.U. Library card, a customized letter of acceptance, a customized student ID, the M.U. Mug (for those all night study sessions,) and a customized diploma!


Miskatonic University Class Ring

Miskatonic University Class Ring
$99.99 – $1,773.00 + Shipping
Need a classy engagement ring? Maybe you own everything else on this list and have some money to burn? Why not show some pride in the Ivy League school that never was and get a fancy 24k gold Miskatonic University class ring? Oh, you so fancy!