Let me tempt you with books about gay frogs and dismembered rock and roll hands.

It is somehow August so that means if you’re a member of one of my book clubs a book is flying toward your home from me, or if you’re an honorary member you’re waiting to see which books I’ really loved’m recommending this month. WAIT NO MORE.

My Fantastic Strangelings pick was an easy one because R. Eric Thomas is an auto-buy for me. So funny. so irreverent. So relatable in spite of the fact that I’m not a gay black playright married to a Presbyterian minister who was a writer that anachronistic Emily Dickinson tv show that Hailey and I adored.

Your copy will not be decorated with cat bite marks unless you also have a cat like Hunter S. Thomcat who chews paper obsessively and ate two of my contracts this year. WHY?

Eric’s latest book of essays is hilarious and heartbreaking and lovely and tender. And delicious to cats, apparently.

And for Nightmares from Nowhere I chose FEVER HOUSE by Keith Rosson.

A small-time criminal. A has-been rock star. A shadowy government agency. And a severed hand whose dark powers threaten to destroy them all. Reading this was like reading The Stand for the first time. Also, it ends in a way that was satisfying but also made me go “I WANT MORE” so I was relieved to find out a second book is coming. WHOOP.

Need more books to get you through the month? Here are a few new releases I loved:

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas – Did you read The Hacienda?  Same author!  Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher –  OMG I love T. Kingfisher., Thornhedge is the small tale of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

The Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power – The long-awaited, profoundly moving, and unforgettable new novel from PEN Award-winning Native American author (and my friend) Mona Susan Power, spanning three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women from the 19th century to the present day.

Terrace Story by Hilary Leichter  – Annie, Edward, and their young daughter, Rose, live in a cramped apartment. One night, without warning, they find a beautiful terrace hidden in their closet. It wasn’t there before, and it seems to only appear when their friend Stephanie visits.

I Hate This Place, Vol. 1 by Kyle Starks– A dark graphic novel about a mysterious farmhouse that’s attracted ghosts, aliens and all kinds of supernatural being for decades.

Which August book are you most intrigued with?

PS. I’m about to open up the discussion facebook pages for last month’s books, but in case you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments. And as always, no rush and no need to join in on the discussion. There are no deadlines in bookclub. I personally have 28 unread books on my counter right now and that is the sign of a feast to be anticipated at a later date rather than (as Victor says) a sign that I have a serious problem.

24 thoughts on “Let me tempt you with books about gay frogs and dismembered rock and roll hands.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Love T. Kingfisher. And I would love to be present for the “…my cat ate my contract” conversation

  2. Definitely a feast. 🙂 I have so many library books out right now that I bought an honest to goodness library book cart to hold them all. It’s an early birthday present to the child version of me who always wanted one. Zero regrets.

  3. In the future, can we specifically order books that have been “tested” by Hunter S. Thomcat? Because that would be awesome.

    Also, you might like “I Hate Fairyland”, a comic and graphic novel series


    My thoughts on HOW CAN I HELP YOU:

    Such a strange and twisty book that kept me guessing and fascinated in spite of the fact that the main characters were psychopaths. (I think?)

    This book seems so simple…a serial killer nurse stalked by a conflicted story-teller in search of a muse…but I loved the deeper themes.

    I loved how many elements of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle were here. (Spoilers ahead.) The obvious ones of both women reading the book but the others like the fact that Margo would destroy her trophies as a talisman to keep herself safe, the same way Merricat did. The idea that Merricat was protecting her sister who was the killer, when in fact it was Merricat who was the murderer and her sister was willing to lie to protect her…much like Patricia with Jane. Also, the theme of burning down places (even ones they rely on) to cover their tracks. Oh, and demented Uncle Julian who is obsessed with writing a book about it all…like both Patrica writing about Margo and also Margo who creates her own scrapbook of her murders.

    When I first started reading about Patricia I felt bad for her because she’s obviously a frustrated writer and feels like her talents at solving problems are wasted so I could see how she would want to solve this puzzle and use it as a story, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes obvious that Patricia is becoming as psychopathic as Margo. Not just in her excitement and lack of remorse for the victims but in her inability to connect with people. Even her boyfriend she sees as a hassle and goes about being with him as a chore. I kept wondering why she didn’t break up with him but then I thought maybe she knew was a psychopath and needed to act out the idea of being in love as a cover? Maybe I’m reading too much into that. Maybe this is more about how normal people can slowly become used to evil? And how when you slowly become part of evil it creeps up on you until suddenly you become evil yourself.

    BUT…I also sort of wonder if this isn’t all the inner workings of an author creating a character. For example, there were many times when things were so coincidental that it was hard to believe that Patricia didn’t have some inner access to the crimes, almost as if she was writing them. And it was interesting that Patricia’s boyfriend was SO adamant that she should not be writing anymore…to the point that he almost seemed like it was dangerous to her to write. In many ways it reminds me of the obsessiveness that comes to writers when they immerse themselves in the darkness…much like Shirley Jackson, who sometimes wondered if she was psychopathic or insane. One of the biggest things that makes me that maybe Margo being a murderer was a figment of Patricia’s imagination is this is that Margo went by the nickname “Jolly Jane” and Jolly Jane was the nickname of an actual serial killing nurse who murdered almost exactly the same as Margo and it reminded me of how writers pull from real life. In fact, is it possible that Patricia was the murderer all along and convinced herself that Margo was a killer? I’m probably reaching, but it’s interesting how easily an unreliable narrator can change everything.

    I found myself wondering…who is worse? Margo who is murdering people or Patricia who is helping her?

    What did you think?

    My thoughts on Camp Damascus: I loved this book. It was terrifying and funny and kept me guessing. And the idea that we are haunted by our demons, but that sometimes our demons aren’t our own and are assigned to us by others…so good. I loved that it nailed all of the hypocrisy of religion but at the same time one of the best characters (Saul) was still Christian and caring and loving…showing that it’s not religion that’s the problem, and that you can be religious and not be a hypocritical demon summoner. WHO KNEW?

    I loved how the power went back to the kids and the victims in the end, and how beautifully it showed love and self-sacrifice and the idea of a chosen family.

    I also loved picking up all of the Peter Pan allusions and I’m sure I’ve missed a ton but everything from the shadow, to Rose’s family being named “The Darlings” like Wendy’s family was, to Neverton like Never-Never Land, to Pastor Bend and the hat-tip of losing a hand (like Capt. Hook.) Even “Bend” is a simile for “Hook” now that I think about it. But I didn’t entirely understand the metaphor. Is it because the families all seek to keep their children sheltered and child-like and unable to make their own decisions? Or because the kids are considered “lost” if they don’t follow the exact rules set up by the church?

  5. You meam”Tasted by Hunter S Thomcat” ?Id sunscribe to that Lol

  6. I am amping out about “Fever House”. Hoodlum noir, skullduggery? Yes please! I have tried to get arrested over the years and have never even received a ticket. (Handcuffs twice but those times were not fun). The “walking dude” from ‘The Stand’, I remember him. A lovely thing is this: Cool new bookstore—maybe like yours—has opened in Palm Springs. Finally. It has been a wasteland for decades here in the desert. I plan on becoming a hooligan, hoodlum and get into some skullduggery soon. And the new store? ‘The Best Bookstore in Palm Springs’. I am just a nobody but it is wonderful to find cool books in this wasteland. My favorite local book? ‘The Guncle’.

    (Two people have told me to read “The Guncle”. Gotta pull that one out. ~ Jenny)

  7. Gotta pimp my friend’s book here a little: My Name is Iris, by Brando Skyhorse. I’m about 3/4 of the way through and it’s getting tense.

    (I literally have that on my giant stack of to-be-reads. ~ Jenny)

  8. Thornhedge was such a blast, I wish it was a full length novel. And it would be great if she turned this into a series.

    (Or a graphic novel series, right? ~ Jenny)

  9. Vampires of El Norte. I loved Isabel Cañas’ Hacienda and can’t wait to read this new novel!

  10. Adding some books to my TBR list at this very minute!

    I had an English Cocker Spaniel who had a thing for the title of my car. I needed to get it registered, and I kept finding her slowly sliding it out of my purse. To be fair, that particular paper smells different than regular paper, but dude! My TITLE!

  11. I’ve got Thornhedge on my TBR! But I guess I’m not cool enough for an ARC so I’ll have to wait another week.

  12. Is the Vampires of El Norte scary? It sounds good but if it is scary, I can’t do it. Also- have A Terrace Story and A Council of Dolls on my TBR list now. Thanks!

    (It’s a little scary. Not so scary I had to lock it in the freezer at night but definitely on the horror side. ~ Jenny)

  13. I’ve got my first check for a total of thirteen thousand USD. I am so excited, this is the first time i Actually earned something. z20 I am going to work even harder now and I can’t wait for next week’s payment. Go to the home tab for more detail.
    I highly recommend everyone to apply…… http://workpayments.blogspot.com

  14. T. Kingfisher is so, so good!!! Paladin’s Grace (and The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking) got me out of a depression spiral that was going nowhere good. I would love to give her a hug, or tacos, or lay my velvet cloak over muddy water in front of her path.

  15. Oh! Kingfisher! I read Wizard’s guide in a hungry blur and then just totally forgot to look for other titles. Also, I have been biking around town with the Camp Damascus bandana tied around my head like a little horror babushka and I love it.

  16. P.S. For thems as likes T. Kingfisher, may I also recommend to your attention the works of Margaret Owen (fantasy! queerness! ugly girls! consent!), Frances Hardinge (every book is different, every book is good), and Garth Nix’s new series The Left Handed Booksellers of London (quietly starts chanting, books books books books)

  17. I literal have two bookcases filled with tbr books. And more on my e-reader. And more in a “haven’t bought yet” list. Vampires of El Norte was already in there, but I will now be adding R Eric Thomas

  18. I had a cat that loved to chew along the edges of my books. It was ok until it was a library book.

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