Upcoming Reviews and Art

I realize I’ve strayed a bit from reviews lately. I haven’t had and suspect I won’t have much time to read for awhile. I’ve been sprucing up some older ones to bring them up to quality and finish some NetGalley ARCs and abandoned reviews, but it’s not my highest priority in the face of larger projects, so maybe if you’re here for the reviews you’ll forgive me. 😉
It may look otherwise but I’m not actually that fast of a reader, I prefer to spend time with a book and take my time dissecting it. Piecing together a book of my own has really been my focus, so it’s been easier on me to post poetry and little articles.

February will bring a few more reviews, specifically for the events Women in Horror, and Black History Month, which both begin February 1st. There may be some unrelated books scattered in, but the main focus will be on darker fiction by women authors and books by African-American authors.

I am becoming more active on Twitter and DeviantArt after being dormant on most of my social media due to finally recovering from a long, drawn-out illness that kept me from wanting to bother. What else is there to do, really? I will also be redoing the gallery here. Eventually.
You can follow me on Twitter, if you want, though I can’t post some drawings there due to their content, so those will have to be on DA. I become very strange on Twitter though. Fair warning.
I will also be revealing an ambitious project, Haunt Me To Sleep, on there, which is a combination ghost story, poetry and horror fiction compilation, along with some other future shenanigans you might enjoy. It’s on Goodreads, too.

I never announced it formally, but horror-fantasy monstrosity Absolute Heaven has been available on Kindle for awhile. It had some mild problems that I haven’t been well enough to deal with, I don’t know if and when it will come to paperback. The Kindle version looks fine, though. For some reason, it’s never shown up on my author page. Absolute Heaven’s nature as a B-side to Loverboy has caused me never to warm to it, though I think it turned out quite solid if you enjoy experimental, fantastical and dark poetry. It’s only like 2 bucks for a lot of poems, so if you want, check it out. A fellow author wrote a very wonderful review for it that is worth reading if you might be interested.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M5P3LRV

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Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019

2018, what were you, exactly? Were you the pit or the pendulum? A little of both perhaps? Just a skim against the axe’s edge, but still not as bad as it… could’ve been?
Ah well. There will always be another year for redemption.

Firstly, thank you all for reading my little book blog. This month was its one-year anniversary and I never expected it to do so well. In my spare time, I’ll be revamping it to look cleaner and include a good bookshelf for my finished works.
I have gotten rather unfocused with book reviews due to the poetry books I’ve been trying to perfect and release. Loverboy and Absolute Heaven are both finally out on Kindle if you want a copy. The paperback for Loverboy is available but AH‘s will need a bit of touch-up, as it’s kind of massive for what it is.
You’ll have to be patient with my independent book releases. I have a sensory disorder and other unrelated ghastly stuff tends to happen around publishing time, and it’s only me working on it. Better for the books to come out later than I want than come out incomplete, no?

Anyway, I’ve got so, so much planned for 2019. I have remixed versions of my four chapbooks, two separate poetry compilations (one of which may get traditionally published – yay!), and three rather intriguing fiction works.
I found the chapbooks extremely excrutiating to read in their raw forms, but I never really… received any negative feedback at all? There was like, one or two bad ratings somewhere, I think? So maybe it’s just my perfectionism, I don’t know. The horror ones I definitely found more stupid than the romantic ones, but guess which ones were more popular? Continue reading “Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019”

Looking for Book and Poetry Reviewers

If you’re a book reviewer interested in taking on either of my upcoming compilations, the ARCs will be finished and sent out in about ten days. Please let me know as soon as possible through the contact form or a comment! This helps me out, plus you get a free book!
One is contemporary and one is experimental and a combination artbook, both are poetry and both could be described as horror. The ARCs are in PDF format.
These have been year-long projects and both I believe have blossomed into something very wonderful. I am biased, though.

All I ask is that you have five or more reviews publicly visible on a blog or Goodreads. The style or genre of them does not matter. Requests for review copies will still be considered until October.

Info on Absolute Heaven

Info on Loverboy

Brief Request Hiatus [July 4-October 1]

Due to personal issues, backlogs and writing-related deadlines, I’m afraid that I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from individual book requests through Blood Red Velvet. It began July 4th and will probably end around the 1st of October. Requests made before July 4th as well as review trades from Goodreads will still be considered and / or accepted as usual, of course, and I will still reply to ones made after if there were any, but unfortunately I can’t accept any new ones until October. My apologies, I love to read new books and am flattered to get requests, it’s just that I have an extreme amount of work ahead of me, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough time to give them the full attention they deserve. Thanks for understanding.

-S. M., July 2018

Cancellation and Review Copies of Poetry

So there’s good and bad news. The bad news is that I’ve decided not to publish the last of my haiku books, Medical Heaven, individually. I honestly have no drive to do this, despite the fact that the previous ones got a surprisingly large number of downloads and views. I’ll still finish the original cover art, but it’ll just be a singular painting.

The good news, however, is that come late July-early August, I’ll be giving away review copies of two poetry collections of mine – Absolute Heaven and Loverboy. The first is an experimental (and massive) compilation including all 10 haiku books and 30+ traditional poems, and Loverboy is a standard collection of “romantic-grotesque” poems. I recommend both for older teens and adults due to dark and sensitive content – including topics of violence, trauma and mental illness. There is little-to-no explicit language, however.

They are early copies and may be missing some material, especially as several poems out of Loverboy may appear in other publications before it comes out. It won’t be anything that effects the book as a whole.

I’m not positive on the final publication date of either – I’m aiming for late 2018 at the earliest, but if you’re a reviewer interested in a free book, now is your chance to sign up for one. There are still about 40 or so copies left. Just let me know, either on Goodreads or in the comments. 🙂

-S. M., June 2018

Upcoming Book Reviews (Updated!)

I know, I know. I’ve been straying from them to focus on poetry. I’ve decided not to review some of the ones I took on earlier in the year – either I just haven’t got anything insightful enough to say to bother, or I wasn’t interested the book enough to finish it, in which case it’s really not fair to review it based on only a portion of the book.

Here is the essential list for what’s coming up June through September, give or take a few books I might add in on whim. This is for my convenience mostly, but I do recommend searching these if you wish, they are all interesting books.

Mystery / Thrillers

The Shadow Killer – Arnaldur Indridason
Nightingale – Amy Lukavics
Triptych – Karin Slaughter

Horror

Ghost Virus – Graham Masterson
The Sisterhood – Florence Stevenson
In the Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami
The Evil Trance – Mark Dysan

Fiction / Drama

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
Wolfspy – Bruce H. Markuson

Poetry

A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver
Glimmerglass Girl – Holly Walwrath

Fantasy

Star-Touched Stories – Roshani Chokshi
Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Art and Manga

Silent Hill Omnibus (1 + 2) – Scott Ciencin / Tom Waltz
Lychee Light Club – Usamaru Furuya
The Jungle Book (Adaptation) – Chrystal S. Chan
Ravine, Vol. 1 – Stjepan Šejić

Most Difficult Books to Review

On one hand, it’s always seemed appealing to review professionally. But on the other, more ominously gnarled hand, that means I would have to review both books I hate and books which take longer than usual to review. I wanted to talk about these a bit, as ironically I end up taking on a few of them quite often, knowing full well that it’s going to take about thirty years to crank out a decent review, if even I can find enough to say for that! Sometimes it’s the opposite case, in that I can find a lot to say and quickly, but I purposefully cancel these words out, for solid reasons.

Anyway, roughly the top four most difficult sorts to review, for me at least, are these:

Disturbing subject, but solid book.

I’m unashamed to say I’m a fan of books which openly showcase madness and the twisted corners of human psyche in a bright and unforgiving light, as well as books with heavy tints of surreal horror. I value them for their potency as art and literature, though obviously I run into books with a lot of controversial subjects this way. These by nature are extremely difficult to review. I don’t necessarily think the grittiness of a book should keep one away from it, especially not if it has something important to say. A great example of a book well worth reading, but tricky to review because of its grim qualities, would be Ryu Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies.

I do have a rather strict review standard that it must be fairly tasteful – if it glorifies realistic violence or promotes hatred or abuse, then I can’t consider it to be literature, and I will say so. Your average “dark” novel doesn’t do this, however, at least not in my experience. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a violent novel and a novel that promotes violence.

Most forms of nonfiction, but especially…

Anything with a political or social bent – I avoid political books, period. Social issues are a fascinating, if frustrating, topic which I honestly love to write about. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to and also to avoid controversy. Apparently.

Knock on wood, literally the only review so far I have ever had someone else get belligerent about was on a feminist book. Yes, a rather bland, neutral review on a so-so book is enough to garner that sort of intolerance – imagine if I had actually written a good review…

Regardless. I like feminist books and books on social issues, if they have good points and are fair. Still, reviewing them is tough even without having to worry about some unwarranted backlash on a small opinion, so I tend not to.

Contemporary fiction and short stories

I… just don’t have a vocabulary built to review contemporary fiction, unless it’s angsty, artsy or everyone in it is a psychopath. My reviewing style is definitely designed more for other genres. I can review light contemporary reads, I just don’t think it sounds very fitting in my voice.

Short stories are just complicated and awful to review – fantastic to read, though. A lot of collections I’ve read have drastically varying types of stories or themes, which in itself does not lend to an even review. I will usually do a “best of” or piece-by-piece review rather than a combined review like you normally would do for a novel, as it is almost always impossible to review a collection that way and capture its essence. They tend to be, ironically, both less and more complex than a novel, and not to mention most short stories rely on subtlety and heavy metaphor to get meaning across in a brief span.

-S. M., April 2018

You can find my reviews and other novelties here on Blood Red Velvet.