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books and reading

Sorrowland

Title: Sorrowland

Author: Rivers Solomon

Genre: Black science fiction

Thank you Netgalley for this book!

Holy smokes this book. I have already read An Unkindness of Ghosts and The Deep, so I am familiar with Rivers Solomon’s genre-bending style. I discovered them in last year’s PopSugar challenge for the “author who is trans or non-binary” prompt, so I’m using Solomon’s preferred pronouns of they/their. I am so thankful I stumbled upon their work because all their books have been outstanding. And seriously, thank you to Netgalley for letting me have this one. I was so excited to read it.

From Goodreads: Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

So, this book isn’t at all what I thought it would be. I should have known not to expect “traditional” when it comes to a book written by Solomon. I was thinking it would be a story about a woman escaping a cult and struggling with the outside world. It is that, of course, but so SO much more. Vern begins to notice that her body is stronger than it should be. She doesn’t tire as quickly and can heal herself. By the time she realizes this, she knows she has to figure out why.

Vern’s journey takes her to people who are kind and helpful, and she finds a home, of sorts. Her children are protected, while Vern can search for answers. And those answers, whew, they are pretty crazy. And so terrible. I had no idea where this book was going once Vern left the woods, but the story just becomes richer and richer as the story unfolds. What a fantastic, important adventure.

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books and reading

Little Heaven

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At some point, Stephen King recommended one of Nick Cutter’s books. I make a point to check out his recommendations when I can. I’ve learned that he is pretty spot-on with his recommendations. And Nick Cutter is for sure a great one. I’ve read The Deep and The Troop and enjoyed them both. The Deep was better, for me, but The Troop is more graphic if that’s your kind of thing. So, when I needed a western for the PopSugar Reading Challenge, I knew I had to think out of the box. I don’t like westerns, and I really have no desire to read them. I’m sure some are great, like Lonesome Dove, but I would rather read something Western-ish. I recommend Unbury Carol, if you haven’t read that one. It’s definitely a western but also really great.

The podcast. Books in the Freezer, mentioned Little Heaven as a horror/western, so I went with it for my selection. This book, however, took me a while to get through. I try to read while I wait in the pick-up line for my kids. I get a good 30 minutes of quiet reading time. And even with that time, I just didn’t connect to this book. Then the quarantine happened, and my reading got all out of whack. I couldn’t figure out where to fit reading into my day with all the homeschooling I’m doing now. So, this book went on the back burner for a bit. Once I picked it back up, I got sucked into it.

The story is told in two different time periods, 1960s and 1980. We start in 1980 where Micah’s daughter has been led away from their house by an entity. Micah immediately knows what it is, and then we switch to the back story. Micah, Minerva, and Ebenezer have been hired by a woman to go to a remote part of a forest to retrieve her nephew from a cult. Sounds easy enough, but they soon learn this forest is also inhabited by some mystery. As the cult dissolves, the mysteries rise.

Even though it took me a while to get through this one, I did enjoy it. I would recommend his other books first, though. They captured me from the beginning, and I flew through them. He writes a great horror novel, though, and I look forward to reading more from him.