The Serpent’s Shadow by Daniel Braum

I was given a free copy of this for my honest review. The Serpent’s Shadow takes place at a vacation resort in Cancun, Mexico. It is told in first person by David, an 18-year-old college student who, with his sister and parents are vacationing. David and his sister, Regina, sneak out at night to hit the clubs. While doing so they meet Anne Marie who is also vacationing there.

They hit it off in a way that one might criticize as insta-love, including myself, but Braum handles this very well by using Anne Marie’s incredible beauty as a strong motivation for David’s falling for her. She seems pretty smitten with him as well. It is how the young ones tend to act, so it didn’t hamper my suspension of disbelief at all.

Things get pretty weird when they leave the resort together one day to investigate an old Mayan pyramid and a cult of Mayans practicing the old arts, so to speak. Through a cab driver they learn of a secret war between the Mayans and Mexican over an ancient power that holds the potential to destroy humanity, and David has found himself stuck in the middle of its dark and strange depths.

The Serpent’s Shadow is a fun romp through Cancun and Mayan culture. It’s weird and manages to remind me what it was like as teenager. I recommend this one as it’s short and goes by quickly, but what solidified my enjoyment of this one were the characters, especially of David and Anne Marie.

Buy it at Amazon!

Hieroglyphs of Blood and Bone by Michael Griffin

Cover for the book

Michael Griffin is fast becoming a well-known writer within the contemporary weird fiction movement. His first collection, The Lure of Devouring Light, made waves back in 2016, and his next collection is due out in June 2018, which will include his novella An Ideal Retreat. It’s exciting times for Michael Griffin, and especially so for his fans.

Hieroglyphs of Blood and Bone tells the tale of Guy, whose marriage of two decades ends suddenly and he’s living with a co-worker, Karl who is much younger. As one would expect when living with a younger bachelor, Karl is trying to get Guy laid, to experience life beyond the chain of his broken marriage and emotionally abusive ex-wife. It’s not working out so well.

Hieroglyphs of Blood and Bone, I think, is about how we, in our lives, live in different chapters. One chapter can be completely alien to the next. This book is a character study that asks what happens when a person changes chapters abruptly and without any real choice in the matter. How does one find their way after living a life for 20 years of smooth transitions between chapters, and how does our protagonist find peace amongst the emotional chaos while finding a new rhythm. How does one survive while facing what is perhaps the most frightening aspect of all, yourself? Along the way, Guy meets a mysterious woman, Lily, who completely captures his attention and somehow manages to warp time and thought.

This story is a Journey down the literary rabbit hole that questions reality and sanity, time and place. It is, in the end, a piece of art that had me guessing and thinking about the story throughout the entire process. It also managed to scratch the proverbial itch I have been having lately to read something on the literary. A full five stars on this one. Recommended.

Picture of Michael Griffin

Here is my video review:

BookTube Video #1

This is my first BookTube video where I talk about the BookTube newbie tag. Please check it out! If you like it, please subscribe and like. Thank you!!

Here are the questions I answered:

1.Why did you start this channel?

2.What are some fun and unique things you can bring to Booktube?

3.What are you most excited for about this new channel?

4.Why do you love reading?

5.What book or series got you into reading?

6.What questions would you ask your favourite booktubers?

7.What challenges do you think starting a booktube channel will be the hardest to overcome? 8.When did you start reading?

9.Where do you read?

10.What kind of books do you like to read?

YouTube

Alright, so I’ve been thinking of starting a YouTube channel where I will review books, movies, maybe some music, all the while talking of my journey in writing while possibly passing on some things I’ve learned along the way.

The thinking part of it is done. I will do this. As to why I don’t blog but podcast and now want to video blog, I’ve no idea. I think there’s some deep rooted desire I hold for people to see and hear me. Whatever the reason, videos, when they come, will appear here. There will also be some blogs written up. I hope. As mentioned in this first blog, I suck at keeping it up. Which makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s easier to pound out a few words on any topic and hit “post”. Doing podcasts and videos, I know, take for-fucking-ever to accomplish. And yet I chose this path…

Stay tuned. We shall see what’s to come in the near future. I’ve been watching a lot of BookTube videos lately and am pretty sure this is something I can do, especially considering that I want to help promote more in weird and horrific fiction, which isn’t represented enough on YouTube in my opinion. And I have a lot of things to say.

What really motivated me to do this was an AMA I did for Urban Books about a week ago. I had a lot of fun making those short videos and answering questions. So I thought it would be fun to maybe extend that and create my own BookTube/AuthorTube channel. It should be fun. So stay tuned!

I Suck

I have built two pretty good and successful blogs in my time. They are for the podcasts I’ve created, Darkness Dwells and Fuzz of Doom.

So then why do I suck so nuch at creating content for just me as a writer and podcaster?

I don’t blog very often and I want to change that. I think it would be cool to have a place where I can talk family, books, music, my writing, and anything else that’s important to me. An online journal. Just as blogs once were.

So! Wish me luck that don’t suck this time.

Until next time, here is the article I wrote for Darkness Dwells of The 20 Women Horror Writers You Need To Read. It is a flawed list. I regret not putting some big names in there, but next year will bring another February and another Women in Horror month. And perhaps Another 20 Women Horror Writers You Need To Read list.

Also, my thanks to an awesome friend, Michael Schutz, who has been a tremendous force for both The Darkness Dwells Podcast and Blog.