2015 Favorite Reads – A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

One of my “2015 Favorite Reads” in the Novels category is A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. I might have recommended this book more often and more widely than anything else last year. I only realize now, looking back, I never wrote even a basic review. Luckily, the book succeeded based on strong word of mouth, and didn’t need my review.

In case you haven’t already heard, A Head Full of Ghosts is a family-focused story that could be summarized as “The Exorcist in the era of reality television.” Of course that doesn’t nearly do it justice. More accurately it examines the effect on the family of Marjorie Barrett, a teenage girl who may be either possessed, or just acting out due to severe mental health difficulties. The interaction between Marjorie and her little sister Merry is so real, sometimes sweet, sometimes mutually antagonistic, and occasionally terrifying.

Of all my favorite reads of 2015, this is one of the few I’d confidently recommend to any kind of reader.

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A Head Full of Ghosts on Goodreads

A Head Full of Ghosts on Amazon

2015 Favorite Reads – The Glittering World by Robert Levy

One of my “2015 Favorite Reads” in the Novel category was Robert Levy’s The Glittering World. I stumbled upon this book when I met Robert at ReaderCon and he (or his publisher?) had the clever idea to hand out a tiny little pamphlet-sized booklet containing the first chapter of the novel. When I got to the airport, that brief sample was enough to hook me on the characters, their history and the setup. I bought the Kindle version of the book as soon as I found my seat on the plane, and read most of it on the flight home.

I ended up recommending this book to many people, and everybody I know who read it has enjoyed it like I did. The Glittering World seems to be one of those rare “can’t miss” recommendations, enjoyed by all and disliked by none.

On Goodreads I said:
A very engaging, character-focused story that hooked me right from the beginning. There are four main characters — Blue, Jason, Elisa and Gabriel — and about a quarter of the book follows the perspective of each. The Glittering World is the first thing I’ve read by Robert Levy, and I enjoyed it so much I’ll definitely seek out his work in the future.

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The Glittering World on Goodreads

The Glittering World on Amazon

2015 Favorite Reads – Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters

Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters is one of my “2015 Favorite Reads” in the Collections category. This one came out early in 2015, released by Apex Books.

For the past several years, the stories of Damien Angelica Walters have been appearing steadily in all the best magazines and many prominent anthologies. I’ve sought out as many of these as I could find as they appeared, but it’s great to have so many collected together. Once a writer’s work is lined up like this, story after story, finally to be read back to back, their concerns and obsessions become clarified. Here, the reader can’t help but recognize the power, emotion and elegance of which Walters is capable.

On the strength of this work, I’m really looking forward to Paper Tigers, the novel Walters has coming out this month from Dark House Press.

On Goodreads, I wrote:
A very fine collection, beautifully written, harrowing and painful. Damien Angelica Walters is one of my favorite writers.

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Sing Me Your Scars on GoodReads

Sing Me Your Scars on Amazon

Head Down, Grinding

I’ll be mostly offline all weekend. I’ve got my head down and I’m grinding away on this story for a deadline.

I’m having a hell of a lot of fun, and really love this story, even as I begin to question how it will be received by the editor for whom it’s intended. The thing may just be too long and kooky to suit the book, but still, I love it. Cowabunga!

I Can’t Show You the Front, But Maybe the Side

We’re not quite ready for a cover reveal yet, but soon. For now, here’s a stack of ARCs (Advance Review Copies) of The Lure of Devouring Light, my debut collection coming out in April from Word Horde. You can see the spines! Yes, I know the side isn’t quite as exciting as the front cover.

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If you’re an a book reviewer, you can request one by emailing publicity [at] wordhorde [dot] com

If you’d like to preorder a copy from Word Horde, you can do that HERE. For $16.99 you’ll get both paperback and ebook, and in my own experience preordering many books from Word Horde, the ebook may arrive earlier than announced.

2015 Favorite Reads – Vermilion by Molly Tanzer

Vermilion by Molly Tanzer is one of my favorite reads of 2015 in the 2015 novels category. Subtitled “The Adventures of Lou Meriwether, Psychopomp,” Vermilion was published by Word Horde, and was a breakout release, getting great reviews and positive word-of-mouth from what seemed like every direction, all year. You know, raves from NPR, Publishers Weekly, and so on.

On Goodreads I wrote:
A very accomplished novel, especially for a debut. Vermilion is fun, charming and engaging throughout. Lou Merriwether brings to mind one of my all-time favorite TV characters, Calamity Jane from Deadwood. I love every character and setting here, and want to see more. Here’s hoping Molly Tanzer gives us many more like this!

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Vermilion on GoodReads

Vermilion on Amazon

Vermilion on Word Horde

2015 Favorite Reads – Xs For Eyes by Laird Barron

Because I’ve decided to expand the scope of my “2015 Favorite Reads” series to include a few chapbooks and standalone novellas, I’m going to include Xs For Eyes by Laird Barron, published by Bizarro Pulp Press, an imprint of Journalstone.

This book is a hell of a lot of fun – much faster, leaner and pulpier than much of Barron’s work. Further good news is that Barron and the publisher Journalstone appear to be interested in releasing more installments of the adventures of the Tooms brothers.

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On Goodreads I said:
The most demented “teen adventure” book you’ll ever read. This reminded me a bit of Barron’s The Light is the Darkness, with the same breathless pace, and a similar focus on larger-than-life events happening just under the surface of a world that mostly resembles our own. It even has a character named Navarro, like Conrad Navarro in The Light is the Darkness. Other familiar Barron characters like Mandibole also appear. This story was a kick-ass, high octane blast of fun.

Xs For Eyes on Goodreads

Xs For Eyes on Amazon

Xs For Eyes on Journalstone

2015 Favorite Reads – The Incoming Tide by Cameron Pierce

The Incoming Tide by Cameron Pierce is one of my favorite reads of 2015 in the Collections category. This is such an unusual book, both refreshingly simple and affectingly, surprisingly deep. It combines very short stories, poems and prose poems in a little slip of a volume, easily read in one setting. But the size of The Incoming Tide is no indication at all of how much wisdom, perspective and emotion it contains.

On Goodreads I said:
A charming, wonderfully sensitive and mature collection of poems and very short stories about fishing, rivers, beer and life. I loved every page of this.

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The Incoming Tide on Amazon

The Incoming Tide on GoodReads