This is my fourth Hendrix novel and I am a huge fan. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s note at the beginning that states the inspiration behind the story was to get far away from the pandemic and dive into something else. I actually read this book in three days while being in quarantine, so it was exactly the distraction I needed!
I thought it was going to be a ghost story just after reading the title. Then, the main character’s family is very religious and talks about demons and I had just finished “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” and thought, “Oh no, not this story again!” However, that is not how the story ends and I was extremely surprised. It’s one of those stories where you are like, “WTF!” but you keep reading to find out what happens to the family and the house.
My only complaint is that I wish it had more gore. There are tons of creepy moments, but there is only one big scene where the main character and her brother are getting attacked and it was grisly. I just wanted more.
Puppets are creepy, especially when they move around the house independently, leave notes for you, turn the tv on, and start talking. I haven’t read a horror novel that includes puppets before, so thank you, Hendrix, for writing such a creative story that kept me entertained and distracted!
We only have 8 copies, so if you want one, order a copy online or stop by tomorrow! Also releasing tomorrow is Grady Hendrix’s new novel, How To Sell a Haunted House and we also have signed copies!
About The Shards: A novel
A sensational new novel from the best-selling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged Los Angeles high school friends as a serial killer strikes across the city.
Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel is a story about the end of innocence, and the perilous passage from adolescence into adulthood, set in a vibrantly fictionalized Los Angeles in 1981 as a serial killer begins targeting teenagers throughout the city.
Seventeen-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equaled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with the Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them—and Bret in particular—with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence. The coincidences are uncanny, but they are also filtered through the imagination of a teenager whose gifts for constructing narrative from the filaments of his own life are about to make him one of the most explosive literary sensations of his generation. Can he trust his friends—or his own mind—to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, he spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between the Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.
Set against the intensely vivid and nostalgic backdrop of pre-Less Than Zero L.A., The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction, the real and the imagined, that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at seventeen—sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage. Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting, and often darkly funny, The Shards is Ellis at his inimitable best.
This book ripped me apart over and over. Stacy Willingham has a way of twisting a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end!
Isabelle Drake’s toddler son goes missing from his bed in the middle of the night while she and her husband are sleeping. A whole year has gone by and Mason is still missing, Isabelle’s husband has left her, she has not slept a full night since Mason’s disappearance, there has not been a break in the case, and Isabelle’s ex has started a new relationship and seems to have moved on from her and Mason all together.
Isabelle doesn’t give up, though. Even when everyone suspects her, blames her, shames her, and pities her.
Everyone should read this to find out what happens to Isabelle and Mason, but also read this because Isabelle is a strong mama jama how deserves some respect!
I didn’t ever expect to be this excited about a middle-grade book about a wrestling school, but it’s coming out tomorrow and here I am! I’ve been waiting on this to come out for months so I could tell people about it!
So it’s like this: MJ is a girl in middle school who’s being bullied in her gymnastics class and dealing with her complicated feelings about her dad, who has left her and her mom. She still loves him, but her pain and betrayal at his departure is complicating her emotions. One thing associated with him that’s still fun for her is watching professional wrestling, a shared hobby of the two of them. She’s well aware the results are predetermined, but the athleticism, showmanship, and excitement of it are all very real.
She meets an elderly next door neighbor and it turns out he used to be a respected name in the wrestling business and he still runs a training gym that occasionally puts on shows. After some cajoling aimed at her mother, she drops gymnastics to get away from the toxicity of her peers, and starts taking classes. She finds that the gym’s fellow students and staff are welcoming and supportive but the first thing she has to do is learn to take a bump: how to land and take an impact safely. There’s some tricks to it. It takes practice and cooperation to not actually break anything in some of the moves, and strength to do it reliably, and it’s the fundamental skill the rest of professional wrestling is built on.
No matter what you do, taking a bump hurts a bit. The process there teaches MJ: Life hurts, no matter what you do, but you can pick how it hurts, be ready for it, and it’ll hurt a lot less with friends to help.
The author, Matt Wallace, is a former wrestler himself and the discussions of the mechanics and backstage life are informed by his lived experience. Anyone who’s been to middle school will identify with the petty games of social dominance bullies play that MJ has to live with, and further along MJ learns about how even doing something well-meaning and the right move can cause jealousy and hurt feelings that have to be addressed and mended.
I didn’t expect to read this book and have the memories of middle school cliques wake up like they did. Matt Wallace very accurately nails the pains of that age down on page, and I think he has some lessons here that’ll help kids get ready for life. I know some of this would have helped me, back in the day.
The Klan has demons, and Maryse hunts them with a sword that sings.
That is the premise of Ring Shout. Set in 1922 Georgia, she moves through a world filled with a quiet kind of magic–it’s not there unless you know it is, but when you find it, it’s deep.
I’m a longtime fantasy reader. I love it. I read it a lot. One of the drawbacks, though, is how often you see concepts come around again. Ring Shout hit me with stuff that was new to me–and all the more impressive because of how little P. Djèlí Clark made up out of whole cloth. He drew on folklore I’d never heard of, and made some serious A-grade horror and magic happen. Seriously, y’all, some of these demons and monsters pin your imagination down, give it a big wet kiss, and promise you’ll remember them.
And the feels, man. The feels in this book. I cried at this book. Some of the writing is so beautiful, some of the feelings hit so hard, you can’t keep it back.
But despite the horror, despite the violence, despite the talks about power and punishment and penance and people, it all comes through.
“Pray They Are Hungry” is a line that ends up setting a lot of tone in The Hollow Places. There’s so much worse things than being eaten.
The next horror novel from T. Kingfisher (author of The Twisted Ones), I had inaccurate expectations and I was fine once I rid myself of them. I somehow had the notion that this would be another Twisted Ones or a story set in the same world. It’s not, it’s very much its own thing and hits its own flavor in the horror. It’s pretty explicitly based on The Willows from Algernon Blackwood, just as The Twisted Ones was based on The White People from Arthur Machen. It’s spookception all through here.
The Twisted Ones played the slow game, building the tension and creepy and letting it ebb with the plot’s incidental visits to a normal small town and normal life. The Hollow Places gets you to the “weird” part sooner, and keeps you there longer–and then the horror starts.
I was reading it and thinking ‘this is weird but isn’t that spooky’ and then I found out it’s not scary because it’s not meant to be scary and hoo boy Kingfisher knows exactly what she’s doing when she wants to scare you. She hits you with a busload of scary at once, and I now have issues with the word ‘unravelling’.
Once the The Hollow Places ramps up, you’re unsure what’s going on and all your hypotheses are too horrible to contemplate for long. It’s a good book at making, to paraphrase T. Kingfisher from another work, ‘normal’ feel like a thin skin over an abyss. If you’re looking for an October spooky read, you can’t go far wrong with this one.
Where to get it
You can find The Hollow Places in our store or, if you’re unable to pass through the august doors of the Haunted Book Shop because of time or distance or because I renewed the wards and bindings last week in preparation for Halloween, you can get it at our Bookshop website. It’ll be mailed from our distributor, but we’ll still make a commission on the sale.
We have signed copies available of this new fantasy, which releases Tuesday! From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab delivers a brilliant standalone novel, blending iconic periods in history with magic and romantic intrigue, spanning countries and centuries.
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.
An atmospheric fantasy of two people who longed to live a life where others saw them and valued them for themselves, but made Faustian bargains with differing results–those who met Henry always saw what they desired to see in him, and Addie was cursed to never be remembered. Aching and poignant.
Hey, this is Alex, and I’m not even going to pretend to be able to act cool about this. I’ve been waiting for this for too long.
A Snake Lies Waiting, part 3 of Legend of the Condor Heroes comes out tomorrow. I have been itching for this book for a minute now.
If you’re not aware, Condor Heroes is a semi-historical wuxia novel, written in the 1950s by Jin Yong (Real name: Louis Cha), never before officially translated and released in the US. It can be described as the Chinese equivalent to Lord of the Rings–since its release, it’s been deeply influential and popular, with a deep cultural penetration. It mainly follows the life and adventures of a young man named Guo Jing and, to a lesser degree, the love of his life Lotus Huang, in the early 1200s during the Jin-Song Wars in China (Short version: China split into north and south empires. The Song Dynasty is the original and more populated of the two nations, but their corrupt and ineffective leadership lets the Jin dynasty, which has some talented leaders, have a legitimate shot at completely taking over.) For more context, Genghis Khan is also a side character, and the seeds of the Mongolian Empire are planted in the time period of this book–Genghis Khan starts off as Temujin, an important warlord of the Mongolians but not yet THE warlord.
Finding this series has been, without a doubt, one of my favorite things in the past couple of years. I love it when a book teaches me something new as it entertains, and this has history and philosophy along with the incredible action (wuxia is a genre where sufficiently trained martial artists can perform superhuman, even essentially magical, feats of prowess and strength thanks to hard work and training. Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and you’ll be in the neighborhood.)
Hitori No Shita "The Outcast: Season 3 Episode 2(2020)The fight choreography in this episode has some tight martial arts on display. From Tai-Chi to Bajiquan. pic.twitter.com/fxeaI6MMLG
Pretty much, the characters are fighting like this on page. A common recurring element in Condor Heroes is the pressure point hit to disable someone, which ends the fight in this clip.
For those who are aware of the series, possibly because I’ve geeked out to you in the store (Hi! Thank you for listening!), I think in the end Condor Heroes will be “Character Growth: How to Do It.” Guo Jing starts off an innocent, even naive, young man who believes strongly in the virtues of generosity, loyalty, and patriotism. As the story progresses, he remains generous, loyal, and patriotic, but he gets wiser and more nuanced about it. A Snake Lies Waiting has this recurring element where Guo finds a historical memorial of some kind, and finds out about the person it dedicates; in some cases his evaluation of the great names of the past can be quite harsh when before he might have simply revered them. His increasing tendency toward independent thought has been interesting to see, and I’m curious where he’ll end up in part 4. Lotus is also maturing; in the beginning, she’s clever (a genius, really) but spoiled and whimsical. Her father, one of the great martial arts masters, provided her an excellent education and trained her, but she thought actual practice was boring so she wasn’t as accomplished a martial artist as she could have been. Her growth has been about her learning there’s some things that need to be handled seriously, and her growth in power keeps pace with Guo Jing. I’m quite interested to see who she’ll be when this is all done.
Yes, A Snake Lies Waiting is the third of four parts, and it shows: Subplots are beginning to be resolved, and the tensions between some main characters are building toward some sort of resolution, but it doesn’t truly stand on its own as a narrative–I imagine someone who hasn’t read A Hero Bornand A Bond Undone would be quite lost at the characters who suddenly show up, not to mention it casually mentions a character backhanding a 200-pound shark out of the water. Hitting that hard is just something master martial artists can do in this series and it’s described and treated as such.
For all its quirks, though, I’m excited and pleased with this book, and now I’m waiting for A Heart Divided to come out. In several months. Dang it.
Lots of great releases today! Helen Macdonald, author of Hawk, has a new collection of nature essays Vesper Flights. Also out is a gorgeous picture book about Aretha Franklin:
Also out, two Young Adult novels — Where Dreams Descend and Kind of a Big Deal, the latter by Shannon Hale, author of the popular chapter books, Princess in Black. Our employee Candice reviewed Where Dreams Descend earlier this summer.
Hometown author EO Wilson returns with another foray into ants, with Tales From the Ant World, and rounding it out today are several easy readers, a board book, a fantasy novel, a new, feminist, translation of Beowulf, and several other picture books
I recently reviewed Tasmyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, a book which gave you enough setting details to go on but didn’t dwell on explaining every single little facet of its big weird gothy universe (as so many science fiction and fantasy stories do, for good or ill), and a story told from the irreverent viewpoint of Gideon herself in a third person limited viewpoint. Gideon’s attitude towards people and the society she’s in colors that whole book.
Tasmyn Muir decided to run with that theme and she gives us Harrow the Ninth, and believe me, the inside of Harrow’s head is a chilly, scary place compared to Gideon’s. In a complete shift in authorial voice, you’re given this big weird gothy universe as seen through the eyes of a necromancer who’s grown up intelligently analyzing motivations and balances of power despite the bundle of nerves and anxiety and shames she is underneath that.
Harrow the Ninth sets up a central mystery right off the mark, a very big ‘wait, what?’, and a lot of the book is spent feeding piecemeal information about the Very Strange Thing. Gideon the Ninth’s plot was, in some ways, a locked-room mystery. Harrow’s plot is pretty much solving a crime which no one witnessed. Fair warning, this book won’t make much sense if you hadn’t read Gideon yet.
I didn’t guess Gideon to go the way it did, and I didn’t guess Harrow to do what it did, and I know there’s a third book and all I can say is I have no idea what’s going to happen or where this trilogy is heading.
And I can’t wait to find out.
How to Purchase
Most of the books mentioned above are linked directly to our website where you can purchase for curbside, delivery or shipping. However, if we’re sold out, or you live out of town and would like them shipped, you can use our 3rd party supplier who will ship them to you (but will give us a commission)
And while supplies last, get an exclusive Harrow the Ninth pin (pictured)