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Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix - Book Review

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$16.99
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

Take everything that people say about IKEA - stores you can get lost in, hard-to-assemble cheap furniture, making fun of the weird names - and make a full length horror novel from it. Might seem like it's a bit far to stretch the joke but Hendrix is up to the challenge with Horrorstör. While the characters and plot are good (not great), the trappings really make the experience of reading the book. Formatted to look like an IKEA catalog - to the point where a passerby legitimately thought I was reading one - each chapter is preceded by a spot-on product illustration of something in that chapter. It starts innocently enough with Liripip wardrobes and Brooka sofas, but as the story turns these give way to things like the more sinister Jodlöpp "helmet" and Bodavest office chair... complete with full-body restraint system. (It also apes IKEA's hallmark use of the Futura typeface, my personal favorite, because I am the type to have a personal favorite typeface.)

Combine these immersive elements with a story and cast of characters with just enough to say on the nature of soul-crushing retail jobs, and you've got enough for an enjoyable read with just a bit of hesitation left over to maybe put off your next IKEA trip. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy #2) by Tamsyn Muir - Book Review

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$26.99
ISBN: 9781250313225
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Published: Tordotcom - August 4th, 2020

Look, JUST because it's the sequel to my favorite book of 2019... and JUST because it's from the point of view of the character I cosplayed from the first book... and JUST because it beautifully uses second-person narration to disorient the reader... does NOT mean that I'm playing favorites when I say that this is probably going to be my favorite book of 2020! Like the first book, it's a mystery, but the NATURE of that mystery is so complex and metatextual that it requires having read the first book to even know that something is wrong, let alone starting to figure out what's going on. The first four acts slowly line up question after question after question, then when Act 5 hits it is the most SATISFYING thing! ART. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle - Book Review

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$14.99
ISBN: 9780062970701
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Published: Morrow Gift - November 19th, 2019

By allowing us to view our own mundanity through the lens of the "other", Strange Planet shows us just how absurd our day-to-day life is. Certainly a series of narratives worth keeping on one's n a r r a t i v e  r e c e p t a c l e. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


Bloody Rose (The Band) by Nicholas Eames - Book Review

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780316362535
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Published: Orbit - August 28th, 2018

It's not easy growing up in the shadow of your forebears, particularly when your father was the frontman of the most renowned band in history. All her life, Rose has been trying to find herself - and losing herself. When her band, Fable, has one final gig with the prospect of a peaceful retirement at the end, they enlist Tam as their new bard - herself trying to escape the long shadow cast by her own father - and set out. Of course, with a horde running roughshod through the countryside, nothing is as simple as it seems. Like its own precursor, Bloody Rose is told from the point of view of a secondary character, and like Rose, the novel stands to rise above even the greatness of that which came before. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


Kings of the Wyld (The Band) by Nicholas Eames - Book Review

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780316362474
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Orbit - February 21st, 2017

What if there were a fantasy world inspired by rock ‘n’ roll of our past? The usual group of adventurers - “bands”, obviously - go from town to town, but rather than their gigs being to play music, it’s to kill whatever goblins, centaurs, or what-have-yous are troubling the town. Bands gain glory and renown for their exploits, but clearly it was better in the old days. But now, to save the frontman’s daughter, it’s time to get the band back together for one last tour. They may be old, but Saga is about to show the new kids what real heroes look like. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9780525537090
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Published: Riverhead Books - September 3rd, 2019

In What If?, Randall Munroe gathered absurd questions and answered them at the greatest heights that serious scientific rigor would allow. Now, in How To, he flips the formula and takes serious real-world tasks and ponders the most absurd (and yet still scientifically rigorous) processes to complete them. Many solutions cross-reference each other ("How to Fill a Pool" tells you that first you'll need an empty pool to fill and directs you to "How to Dig a Hole"), and a few reference What If?, to the point of one even directing you to a web address for one that wasn't in the print edition. This makes for delightful reading and flipping back and forth - the closest I've come to falling down a Wikipedia hole in print media in a long time. I'd expect nothing less from Munroe. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis


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