Through This Bleak and Barren Land: June in Review

Ok so bleak might be a bit melodramatic, but I’ll be the first to admit the blog was a bit barren in June. After how hectic I made Wyrd and Wonder for myself in May I think I just needed a blogging break last month. What I have been doing though is reading my way through the Subjective Chaos awards reading list and I’ve got a few upcoming reviews I’ll be putting out this month for some of the nominees. Of the ones I’ve read so far The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk is the stand out surprise. Who knew I’d be so invested in fantasy period romance about rich people kissing? I’m being facetious obviously, it’s an incredibly well-written book and has a fair bit to say about class and sexism, and I always appreciate a bit of social commentary in my fiction. Other highlights so far include Ring Shout which, admittedly, is my own nomination and that I actually read when it was first released last year, but still remains the strongest of the novella nominees in what is a very strong group of books. I’ve already reviewed Ring Shout and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, but you can look forward to my thoughts on the rest of the nominees this month.

Beyond that I’ve also kickstarted my desire to read a lot more small press books with this 10 Small Press Books On My TBR post that you can peruse if you want some ideas for small press fantasy, science fiction and horror. I’ve actually reviewed Eric LaRocca’s downright twisted horror novella Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke since that post. This is from small horror press Weirdpunk Books and I’m not joking, I literally screamed out loud while reading this book; it’s so good and so messed up.

Outside of books I’ve been playing a shit ton of Battlefied V on my relatively new (to me) Playstation 4. Me and my girlfriend literally only bought it to play two games; she wanted it for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and I wanted it for The Last of Us (parts 1 and 2, so I guess three games). Suffice to say we’re full on console converts now. I took a week off work when we first bought it and binged both The Last of Us games in like five days cos they turned out to be two of the actual best pieces of media (never mind just games) I’ve ever experienced. Simply phenomenal games. She’s still playing through Valhalla, but we also played through Overcooked together, which is a delightful co-operative game about saving the world from a giant meatball monster by making your way through a sort of fairytale fantasy land honing your cooking skills until you’re good enough to sate the monster’s ravenous appetite and prevent it from destroying the world. I hear a lot of couples get irate and shout at each other while playing it but me and my gf are an absolute dream team, a veritable Delia and Bourdain. We’re partway through Overcooked 2 now, where the Onion King has inadvertently resurrected a load of zombie baked goods (‘the unbread’ lol) and so our skills are once again called upon to save the kingdom via the medium of sushi and burritos.

I’ve also returned to my watch-through of The Walking Dead. I started watching it after I finished playing The Last of Us games as part of my need for more grimdark zombie horror. I thought the first few series were a bit rocky, some great bits, some not so great bits, but I’ve just finished series five which was actually my favourite of the bunch so far. I did see recently it’s supposedly moving over to some Disney+ add-on soon, which I don’t have, but I’m hoping it stays on Amazon Prime at the same time so I can carry on watching it without signing up to yet another streaming service. Though I’m not holding out much hope.

Oh and holy shit, can’t believe I nearly forgot to write about this! I started writing a novella! It’s got the working title of I Came To Kill My Boss and is about a group of supermarket employees who band together with an outfit of eco-terrorists to kill their boss when they discover he’s actually an eldritch monster. The idea came to me as an amalgamation of things; it’s kind of got a B-Movie vibe that I’m basing a lot off of John Carpenter’s They Live! (I’m actually writing a lot to the film’s soundtrack) and kind of combines with concepts in Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka and To Another Abyss! by Zach Bartlett, two small press science fiction and horror stories I mentioned in my 10 Small Press Books post, that I haven’t actually read yet but am looking forward to a lot. Anyway, expect more updates on this as it progresses over the coming months.

That’s it for this monthly round up. Look out for my Mid-Year Freak Out post that everyone else has been doing and looks like a bunch of fun, probs coming out tomoz. Bit of a weird name for a book tag if you ask me (are people really freaking out?), but whatevs. Hoping to put out a few more reviews in the coming days and weeks too, so planning on July being a slightly less bleak and barren month here. In the meantime, happy reading bookwyrms!

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6 thoughts on “Through This Bleak and Barren Land: June in Review

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  1. I just bought a copy of Things Have Gotten Worse, partly based on your review, I can’t wait to read it! And looking forward to hearing more about your novella, very cool😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing! You’re the second person who’s said they’ve bought it after reading about it here. Glad that my small press evangelising is seeing some early success ☺️

      I’ve been having fun writing the novella. Whether it’s any good is entirely another matter lol, as it’s the first time I’ve properly committed to writing anything since I was a teenager. I’m having fun with it though and not thinking about whether anything will happen with it yet.


  2. I just bought it as well. That cover is terrifying. I loved your monthly roundup! Ring Shout was one of my favorite books last year. It was like reading something you knew was going to become a classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ll like it actually Beth, it’s the kind of dark twisted thing I think you enjoy haha.

      Ditto about Ring Shout. Clark and Fonda Lee were the two writers I only discovered last year but very quickly became two of my all time fave writers.


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