2015 Books I Can’t Wait to Read

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Although I am constantly adding to my TBR pile as any voracious reader does, so it’s quite likely there will be books released in 2015 that I will love but that weren’t necessarily on my “pre-buzz” list. Nevertheless, I wanted to put together a smattering of the books I am most looking forward to reading that have 2015 releases. There may be a part 2 or even a part 3 depending on what comes up on my radar, but in the meantime, here’s the list so far:

half resurrection bluesHalf-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead. But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…

 

witches of echo parkThe Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson

When Lyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her. Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…

 

pirates alleyPirate’s Alley by Suzanne Johnson

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear. Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal….

 

scarlet gospelsThe Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker’s most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D’Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with baited breath for years, and it’s everything they’ve begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker’s horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories. The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?

 

flexFlex by Ferrett Steinmetz

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form….

 

book of phoenixThe Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women….

 

trailer park faeTrailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that’s the way he likes it. He’s left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae—by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer’s Court is breaking loose.

 

last first snowLast First Snow by Max Gladstone

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation—especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city. The King in Red hires Elayne Kevarian of the Craft firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to fix the wards, but the Skittersill’s people have their own ideas. A protest rises against Elayne’s work, led by Temoc, a warrior-priest turned community organizer who wants to build a peaceful future for his city, his wife, and his young son. As Elayne drags Temoc and the King in Red to the bargaining table, old wounds reopen, old gods stir in their graves, civil blood breaks to new mutiny, and profiteers circle in the desert sky. Elayne and Temoc must fight conspiracy, dark magic, and their own demons to save the peace—or failing that, to save as many people as they can.

 

killing pretty sandman slimKilling Pretty (Sandman Slim #7) by Richard Kadrey

No official description yet, but it’s the seventh (and highly anticipated) volume of the Sandman Slim series. Nuff said.

 

 

a deafening silence in heaven A Deafening Silence in Heaven (Remy Chandler #7) by Thomas Sniegoski

He was once known as the angel Remiel. But, generations ago, Boston PI Remy Chandler renounced Heaven and chose to live on Earth, hiding among us humans, fighting to save our souls….

 

What are some of your most anticipated reads of 2015? Sound off below!

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Let’s Talk Women in Horror Month 2015

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It’s the 6th annual Women in Horror Month this February. Here’s how you can get involved.

Women in Horror Month coverage, although crucial to the genre, is often a one note affair. Women writers hear most of the same kinds of questions–what do they think the state of the horror genre is today, what changes would they like to see going forward, how do they think women are perceived in the genre, etc.

Don’t get me wrong–these are important questions and they need to keep being discussed, but this time around, I wanted to shake things up a bit in presenting my WiHM coverage.

I’m doing fun and informal Q&As featuring a handful of female dark scribes whose works I think are underrepresented. I think each of them has something unique to bring to the table and they go beyond what you’ll find in the lists and round-ups of “the usual suspects” when it comes to women in horror.

That said, since its inception, Women in Horror Month has led to some fantastic coverage of women in the genre, so with that in mind I present to you a further reading of links for those interested:

The Vampire Diaries Mid-Season 6 Return

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(c) The Vampire Diaries Wikia, http://vampirediaries.wikia.com/wiki/The_Vampire_Diaries_Wiki

What I Like So Far In Season 6:

  • Bonnie is done with the angsty “Oh no, where am I powers? Without my magic I am nothing!” emo thing she had going on for a while in the previous season
  • The Travellers are gone. Yay! Most. Annoying. “Big Bad”. Ever.
  • Caroline continues to be one of my favourite characters, telling Stefan in no uncertain terms that he acted like a douchenozzle when she needed him most. Not cool, Stefan.
  • Katherine Pierce is no more. Fiiiiiinallly. Sheesh! And Alaric is back. Score!
  • Enzo. I know he’s got mixed fan reactions, but he’s got some of the best dialogue and you’re never quite sure what he’s up to. Bonus points.

What I’m Not So Crazy About:

  • So…Damon. Yeah. I like that he’s been trying to “do the right thing” these past few seasons, especially since being with Elena, but he’s definitely lost his edge and his obsession with “getting Elena back” is, well, something I could do with less of.
  • Elena. Granted, vampire Elena is far less annoying than human Elena that we endured for a few seasons, but she’s a bit obsessed with herself.
  • Kai. Someone has to be the villain, and he plays his part well enough, but there’s just something super irritating about how he tries so hard to be funny and sarcastic as if he’s trying to make up for Damon or something.
  • I really hope that Jeremy gets his hunter groove back, because he’s been pretty irritating this season so far.
  • Liv, aka the Queen of Angst and hurt feelings. I’ve never really been a fan.

What I Thought of the First Episode Back, Woke Up With a Monster (Season 6, Episode 11):
If you haven’t watched Season 6 yet or haven’t watched this episode yet, there are some mild spoiler-ish comments below.

  • Bummer that we didn’t get to see Bonnie yet.
  • I reallllly can’t wait for someone to kill off Kai for good. He gets more and more irritating. He’s like an annoying fly that you swat.
  • However, Kai torturing Elena won her some sympathy points from me.
  • Caroline’s struggle with her mom’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis is admirable and adds to the tension of her plotline this season because it’s not another easy fix.
  • Luke, Liv’s twin, wins some brownie points for not just blindly submitting to the will of Elena and the gang.

What did you think of this first episode back? What did you want to see more of or less of? Sound off below!

Why The #BellLetsTalk Campaign Is So Important

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On social media today, particularly Twitter, you’re going to see the #BellLetsTalk hashtag. Every time that you use this, Bell Media will donate 5¢ to Mental Health initiatives in Canada.

Why is this so important? Although Western society has come a long way in terms of accepting that disorders like depression, anxiety and related mental health issues affect millions of people and psychotherapy doesn’t have the stigma that it once did, we still have a long way to go and there are still many, many people who don’t believe in asking for help, think that a mental health issue will just “go away on its own,” or the worst, “it’s all in your head.”

Just because you can’t see a physical symptom or a person doesn’t “look sick,” it doesn’t mean that the person isn’t suffering in pain on the inside. We need to stop making these assumptions just by looking at people. Many so-called “invisible” diseases and disorders include arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and many more.

But another, far more pernicious “invisible” affliction that affects millions of people worldwide every single day is depression.

Everyone has a different comfort level talking about their personal experiences publicly or even among friends. I know many brave friends who have spoken about their individual experiences with mental health issues, including people who, on the surface, look like they’re as happy as can be, but the truth is? They’re very good at hiding what’s bothering them.

And so am I. Now, I’m not quite ready to speak publicly about my issues, but I do want to draw attention to the Bell Let’s Talk campaign going on today. Making the decision to get help for my own issues and my personal demons has been one of the most positive steps that I have taken in my life. People with similar issues often hope that this type of thing will “go away” or that it will resolve itself on its own or that they just need a few years to go by and then they’ll feel “okay” or “normal.”

It won’t. Not if you don’t do anything. Not if you just sit there asking yourself repeatedly what’s wrong with you and why can’t you just buck up and cheer up like everyone tells you to do. Not if you continue to hide your pain and expect it not to do long-lasting damage to you.

Let’s end the stigma around mental health issues and be mindful of the fact that mental health has a huge impact on a person’s well being. Please don’t assume you have any idea what’s going on in a person’s head. I know I used to make this mistake, and I have called myself out on it to stop, because it adds to the problem.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the past few years is that sometimes, we make the huge mistake of assuming we know what a person is thinking or what must be going through their head. The truth? In most cases, you could not be more wrong, and you have no idea what’s going on with that person.

We love to psychoanalyze others and pretend we know what exactly is “wrong” with them, and we’re so confident that we’re right. We’ll say, “Oh, well, she (or he) was acting rudely because she or he is insecure,” or any number of other theories that we come up with to explain to ourselves why we have had a not-so-positive interaction with another human being. I see people do this all the time at grocery stores or shopping lines in general, thinking the worst of a “difficult customer,” or someone who is taking “too long.”

We’ll say things about them like, “Oh, this woman (or man) must be unhappy in her or his personal life so she or he is taking it out on the store employee,” or we’ll look at a “difficult” employee who is perhaps being not-so-nice and assume, “Oh, she (or he) must hate his or her job and his or her life, so it’s no wonder why he or she is being so rude to me.”

Let’s stop the negative assumptions, realize that there are millions of people out there who need help dealing with their mental health issues, remove the stigma of having these issues, and hope that this campaign and similar ones will encourage people to get the help they need and deserve.

Find out more about the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign