One Sentence Reviews: My 3rd Quarter 2019 Reads

image of e-reader

If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader. Here are the fiction and nonfiction books I’ve read this quarter with my corresponding stabs at coherent, one-sentence reviews. (I’ll try not to cheat and string a bunch of sentences together with and!)

The Genius of Solitude by William Alger is a century-old collection of difficult (mostly over my head) essays and reflections about how creative people need human connections yet crave solitude.

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman. I loved the plot of this eerie ghost story, but the short, choppy prose wasn’t to my liking.

Strangers by Michaelbrent Collings is hands-down the most gory, claustrophobic, scary home invasion story I’ve ever read!

This Darkness Light by Michaelbrent Collings has bizzaro, Lovecraftian creatures that make this fast-paced, scary book almost science fiction, but no, it’s definitely apocalyptic horror with a good-vs-evil theme.

Gift Book

Double Take by Kevin Connolly. Connolly’s engaging, feel-good memoir is about his life as a lower income kid in Montana, a professional photographer, a boyfriend, a buddy and brother and son, an athlete, a traveler, and someone born without legs. (It’d make a great gift for anyone interested in photography or traveling.)

Murmurs of Evil by Carrie Dalby is a Southern Gothic paranormal story with wonderful historic details and an emphasis on (clean) romance.

image of roaches
Did Douglas have to pick roaches for his antagonist? Ugh!

The Nest by Gregory Douglas. It’s older (1980) and sexist, but it’s the best bug-critter (roaches!) horror novel I’ve ever read, and now I’m scared to walk around at night barefooted!

Wasp Farm by Howard Evans. All bug and nature geeks would enjoy this fascinating journal about Evans’ wasp observations. (Did you know there are tens of thousands of species of wasps?!)

image of rat
Thanks to Gilbert’s Willard and Herbert’s The Rats, I’ll never again look at rodents the same way!

Willard by Stephen Gilbert. This classic 1963 novel about rats has the best protagonist character arc of any horror story I’ve ever read. (Highly recommended if you can stand the rats!)

Another Rat Story?!

The Rats by James Herbert. In this 1974 novel, Herbert brings giant mutant rats to life in the London suburbs . . . ew, gross . . . awesome!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. In this 1959 Gothic ghost novel full of slow-burn, foreboding prose, Jackson takes a tiny thread of insanity and pulls on it until the protagonist’s mind has come completely unraveled, making this a five-honking-big-star read!

5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing by C.S. Lakin et al. This thick, useful book with practical exercises teaches basic writing skills like POV, but it’s got more complex stuff, too, like pacing and tension.

Invisible Chains by Michelle Lane. In this debut novel, Lane skillfully writes from the prospective of a young woman slave in the 1800s and creates a frightening story of voodoo, vampires, werewolves, and, scariest of all, the brutality of slavery.

Dark and Deadly Things by Kelly Martin. OMGosh, I did not see the fun plot twist coming in this first book of Martin’s Haunted Houses series, a collection of ghost novels aimed at New Adults.

Forbidden Fruit by Gail Pellett. Pellet’s (kinda whiny) memoir, documenting her rough time as a foreign journalist in 1980-1981 China, really made me feel sad for all the political turmoil the Chinese people have endured.

Tales for the Camp Fire edited by Loren Rhoads, an anthology of bizarre or gross or clever horror stories, has a story called “The Quarry” by Ben Monroe that truly scared me and reminded me why I will never go swimming in a lake where I can’t see what’s lying in wait under the surface!

Evil Lurks edited by Samie Sands. Eh, like all anthologies, there are a couple of stories I liked (“Cat Food” by Armand Rosamilia, for example) and some I didn’t.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is supposed to be funny, but this stand-up comedian’s story didn’t click for me as it did for other reviewers.

Kill Switch edited by Dan Shaurette. This nicely curated anthology of science fiction horror is all about technology misbehaving with “Subroutines” by Phillip Stephens freaking me out the most.

The Mind’s Plague by Morgan Tanner is a collection of genre-heavy short stories with imagination, gore, and weirdness.

314 by A.R. Wise. This is book one in Wise’s Widowsfield trilogy, and I found the prose immature, but I did notice that books two and three in the trilogy have higher ratings, so I think Wise improved with time. (Hopefully we all improve with time!)

Happy reading.:-)

Kindle photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash.

Rat photo by vaun0815 on Unsplash.

Hissing cockroaches photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash.

48 thoughts on “One Sentence Reviews: My 3rd Quarter 2019 Reads

  1. Wow – you got some reading done, Priscilla! I’ve always wanted to read The Haunting of Hill House, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I have no excuse. Nice to see Armand Rosamilia’s name mentioned. He’s participated in Bad Moon Rising on my blog since the very beginning, and will be featured later this month.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One-sentence reviews sound like a great idea. Boiling the reading experience down into a tasty nibble. I’ll have to try it. I found The Haunting of Hill House an uncomfortable read, like an ill-fitting garment. Maybe because I couldn’t identify with any of the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your one sentence reviews!
    I remember reading Willard as a teenager. And reading through this list reminds me I have the Haunting of Hill House waiting on my Kindle. I really need to make time for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness, Priscilla, to think I thought that I was busy! My eyes would have come unscrewed from my head if I had done that much reading! I am bookmarking this page to come back to if I ever get the time to add more books to my Kindle from your reviews. By the way, they were GREAT reviews, just enough specific information to let others judge for themselves whether or not they want to read them.

    As always, thank you so much for visiting my little blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not THAT much reading because it’s over the course of three whole months. Thanks for the kind words re my reviews. I think with your poetry background you might like Shirley Jackson’s novel if you haven’t read it already. It’s spooky, and chatty at times, but it also has lovely, lyrical passages.

      I like visiting your blog.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, years ago when I was in my 20’s, I loved poetry – classic poetry. My late husband and I used to drink wine by candle light and read from “America’s Favorite Poems”. That book is tattered and stained but holds so many memories for me. AND, modern poets don’t come close to the classics. I don’t read today’s version of poetry.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I got bored with the TV show but I’m dying to read The Haunting of Hill House! I’ll have to mentally prepare for the “slow-burn” aspects of it 🙂 but at least I have the promise of a mind that “has come completely unraveled” and a “a five-honking-big-star read” 🙂

    You make me want to read ALL these books! Especially Strangers (who doesn’t love claustrophobic scary??),
    This Darkness Light (Lovecraftian apocalyptic horror?? YES!) and Murmurs (I’m a sucker for Southern Gothic paranormal!)

    I am BIG fan of your reviews! But they are deadly for my poor TBR beast 🙂

    Ty for all these great recs Pri!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Strangers by Michaelbrent Collings sounds good, especially if the horror movie is based off this book. After watching that, I was afraid to answer a knock on my door for two weeks!

    Keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

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