The Bride of Glass by Candace Robinson

Finished: Friday, December 14, 2018

Candace is one of my fellow authors over at Parliament Houes Press. Knowing how much I loved book 1, she was kind enough to offer me a review copy of book 2 as well in exchange for an honest review.

My review:

So if you saw my review for Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, then you’ll understand how quickly I sped through the first book in this series. (And if you’ve been taking notes on how often I review books, you’ll know that’s a rarity!) I don’t want to spoil anything, but book 1 had an amazing, unexpected ending, and book 2 picks up right where things left off.

I honestly wasn’t sure where Robinson could take it after book 1 based on where it ended. The whole situation was completely unexpected so when book 2 came along, I realized that I was along for one heck of a ride on this roller coaster and threw my expectations out the window. It did not disappoint!

One of the things that I loved with the first book was the wonderful mix of dark horror and old-school monsters. The array of creatures was just fantastic. Book 2 digs even more into these crazy monsters and I legit had to message Candace directly at one point because of one of the monsters that showed up. (Bonus points if you can figure out which one that was!) If you have so many wicked monsters, you have to choose how to handle the gore, and she did not skimp there! This isn’t a bland monster story, Robinson digs in with some visceral descriptions where you won’t be able to pull away.

I also love Perrie’s storyline. She’s the protagonist from book 1, and she carries the main storyline in book 2 as well. However she’s a very different person than she used to be. The events that occur change her in realistic ways and it was wonderful to see that portrayed. Maisie is still one of my favorite characters too, but I also grew an unexpected soft spot for Vale. I can’t say too much without dropping some major spoilers, but let me just say that by the end of it, I felt for all of them. It was quite an amazing read and a perfect end to this series.

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? Definitely! I was grinning during some of the scenes because I just loved Robinson’s unique take on the characters or the unique monster that appeared.
  2. Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but especially to anyone who loves old-school monster movies. Or even fans of current monster films. You’ll get a kick out of this more than the average reader because you’ll get the references.
  3. Does it stick with you? Yes! Vale’s character in particular and his interaction with Perrie is going to be a pairing I’m going to reflect on for a long time. I felt like one of the biggest strengths in this book is the characterization of these two and you feel like you’re right there with them through it all.

My overall rating? 5/5

Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Yesterday R. Michael made a post, Blogging Lessons and Woes, about how it’s important as an author to write outside of your comfort zone. In his case, he was very referring to blogging. After a year of having his blog, he was shocked at how much he appreciated it. I’ve run this blog for almost six years now, and I can easily admit that it gets difficult figuring out what to blog about. (Doing the Blogging University challenge this month has helped, but more on that in another post.) I’ve come to accept that blogging is always going to be a challenge, but I’ve also learned there are far much more uncomfortable subjects to write about.

I’m a nature lover. As a kid I dreamed of growing up to be a veterinarian. I follow The Cornell Lab’s awesome newsletter, getting info on fun topics like how to build proper bird houses and where to place them in your yard. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw, nested in the comments, someone detail how they get rid of House Sparrows which are apparently considered pests in certain areas. Not only did they detail the method, but they also gave an estimate of how many birds they had disposed of over the past two years.

crowTrapsI was horrified but, being a writer, I wanted to know more. I live in the U.S. South, so I understand how overpopulation can become an issue. That’s why we have deer hunting season after all, and even though deer are my favorite animals, I understand how they can take over a place if left unchecked. I soon stumbled upon control methods for crows, using a disturbing but ingenious cage. I found out that they’re difficult to deal with because they’re just so darn intelligent.

One amusing comment from this video stuck with me, and I just had to share it:

I don’t have time to scroll through all 2768 comments at the moment but I have lived, treeplanting, in the woods with ravens on Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada and this simple test is nothing compared to the ravens stealing my lunch. Pardon me, my third lunch in three days.   Opening my click locks, then opening the zipper then pulling out the tupperware and getting the duct tape off of it to open it and then eating my sandwich. THEN flying by me on the side of a mountain to caw at me!!! Did I mention the cedar sticks and large boulders I put on the knapsack within which this prize was hidden? This was the third lunch they stole from me and after that I LEARNED to just leave them a freebie on the ground and they’d leave me my lunch.  I still shake my fist every time I see a crow. They are brilliant.

It’s amazing to me that we spend so much energy trying to capture and dispose of nuisance animals when sometimes we might be better off learning to live with them.

So yes, the story was very difficult to write and I’m pretty sure I was frowning the entire time I wrote it. However I think my disgust only made the story better. It took longer to write since I was putting so much energy into it. I challenged myself in a way I hadn’t done before, and I think the writing benefits from it. Of course, you’ll have to read it for yourself and let me know!

“Tiny Necks” is set to be released in Not Your Average Monster Volume 2  by Bloodshot Books on February 29th, but should be up for pre-order earlier than that.

People Want a Mystery

So when I logged on to Facebook this morning, guess what I saw trending on the sidebar? Something along the lines of…

Man takes picture of the Jersey Devil!

You can probably already guess the ridiculous photo that is associated with it, but I’ll send you over to the original article. Go take a peek, I’ll wait.

Pretty silly, huh? Other than the fact that it looks like a thrown stuffed toy, there’s another way you can tell this was faked. Instead of sending the picture to a scientist, he sent it to a news agency. Now if you took a photo of some crazy thing in the woods at night, or even in the day like this photo, would your first instinct be to send it to the news? Of course not, unless you thought you might get some notoriety/money/attention from it. Most logical folks would send any picture they legitimately believed was a new species off to a university, perhaps even submit it to cryptozoologists who are used to vetting this kind of evidence. If it was a picture of a new potential insect or bird, it wouldn’t have first been sent to a news agency.

Yet it was trending on Facebook, so that means plenty of people found it interesting enough to share it. Why do we find these stories of monsters hiding in the woods so fascinating? Why do we eagerly go to look at what the supposed Jersey Devil looks like? Why do we hunt for Bigfoot footprints, long lost sea monsters, and vampiric squirrels even when we know it will more than likely be a waste of time and energy, or at least not live up to our grandiose expectations?

tufted-squirrel-featSeriously, the vampiric squirrel did not live up to expectations!

Perhaps in this increasingly understood world, where we can glimpse beautiful photos of Saturn’s rings (that you at first think must be Photoshopped because surely nature couldn’t produce something so perfect), where we can use pencil lead to wire circuitry, where we can carry a device to communicate around the world in our back pockets, people want a mystery. People want to look at their surroundings and see more than just trees or buildings around them, they want to see the potential for something different, something beyond the familiar. That isn’t to say that the world isn’t full of mysteries waiting to be solved, or locations that have never been explored, but it’s much easier to toss a homemade toy into the air and have a friend snap a picture than it is to become a deep sea explorer.

So like the famous hoaxes of the past, I’m sure this one will soon be debunked too. I just wish they had gone somewhere other than the news media first though, because this kind of press always makes cryptozoology look bad in the public eye.

More Frights on the Way!

Whew, now that all the excitement from Dragon*Con has passed, I think I have time to give another horror story announcement, jam packed with far more monsters than I saw at the con. (I did see a ton of War Boys and Jokers though! We also passed a gaggle of assassins from Assassin’s Creed and saw a bazillion amazing Deadpools.)

Their numbers were legion…

Just as I’m still reeling from having one horror story picked up for Creepy Campfire Quarterly, I find out another one has been picked up!

It’s quite a dark tale with many feathers and unforgettable characters. “Tiny Necks” will soon be published in Not Your Average Monster Volume 2, set to tentatively be released around the end of February 2016. *Cue the confetti!*

I’ve always been a fan of monster stories. I think a good chunk of that is due to my mom, who I have many memories of getting ready for work in the morning with some strange monster flick on TV. As such, monsters have a way of creeping into my imagination, and show up in all sorts of ways in the stories that I write. When I saw this anthology was being put together, I knew the exact story I wanted to toss into the hat!

If you want to see the full list of stories set to be included in Volume 2, check out the full listing.

And if you can’t wait that long to get some good old fashioned monster horror stories in your hands, don’t worry. Volume 1 will be having a cover reveal soon, which I’ll be sure to post here too don’t worry.

For now I’m going to try to remember how to live in the real world again post-con.