A Wrap-Up of the Netgalley Books I Read in May-June 2021

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It Came From Miskatonic University: Weirdly Fantastical Tales of Campus Life by Various Authors

I requested this book on Netgalley and I’m so glad I did!

I lucked out when I found not one but two great anthologies on Netgalley. This one–as the name indicates–runs with a Lovecraftian theme. Different stories in it describe different aspects of student life at the Miskatonic University Campus. Some students are just trying to survive, so they can sit for an upcoming exam, like in The Secret Trials of Oscar Bloom and Ordinary People.

Others are running against time with a quickly approaching deadline for a paper they had to write (Between the Holes). Still others are striking partnerships with deities to avenge the deaths of loved ones (Fear of a Black Planet) and for being experimented upon (Student Body)–hey it’s the Miskatonic, what’d you expect?

Interdimensional relationships are the subjects of some stories, like Gills and Intermediate Yithian. Others are about people just trying to do their jobs as best as they can–which is a lot of hard work, given their place of employment– such as in Hashtag TPE.

There are gods parading down the halls of the hallowed institution, out for revenge (Office Hours and After), make the place their own (Identity Crisis) or just to take over the world–you know, the way Elder Gods will. But things do not always go the way you’d expect them, because even a visit to the library becomes tricky business, It Takes A Special Girl to Steal the Necronomicon. Anthologies like this one are always fun and full of gems that short bursts of creativity can produce.

Here’s a list of stories you’ll find in this collection:

  • Identity Crisis by Lynne Hardy
  • Fear of a Black Planet by Tonya Liburd
  • Office Hours and After by S.L. Edwards
  • Student Body by Richard Lee Byers
  • Gills by Jacqueline Bryk
  • Intermediate Yithian by David Kammerzelt
  • Hashtag TPE by Dawn Vogel
  • The Secret Trials of Oscar Bloom by Chuck Regan
  • Mowbray’s Museum by Oliver Smith
  • The Librarian’s Handbook by Jennifer Brozek
  • Ordinary People by Mary Berman
  • It Takes A Special Girl to Steal the Necronomicon by Jill Hand
  • Between the Holes by Dani Atkinson
  • The Kingdom of Is by Matt Maxwell
  • The Last Observer by Erica L. Satifka & Rob McMonigal
  • My Miskatonic: A Who’s Who of Arkham by Matthew M. Bartlett
Cover of the book, We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker, showing silhouettes of a mom and her kid. The latter's wearing a Pilot, which makes one capable of multitasking.

We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker

Another author that I was reading for the first time courtesy of Netgalley. Overall, this was a pleasant read and would be perfect for book clubs and other similar gatherings. The questions presented at the end can serve as pointers for a good discussion too. For a more detailed review, go to I Smell Sheep.

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Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley

All in all, if you asked me to summarize this book in a line, I’d say that it was based on an original concept that wasn’t treated as well as it should have been. For a more detailed review, go to I Smell Sheep.

Mother of Frankenstein: Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman and Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (Author), William Godwin (Author), Constanza Ontaneda (Foreword)

I received a copy of this book for review and I’m so glad for it!

If Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein blew my mind, Mary Wollstonecraft’s book left me astounded! For a more detailed review, go to I Smell Sheep.

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It Calls From the Sea: An Anthology of Terror On the Deep Blue Sea by Alanna Robertson-Webb (Author, Editor) and Others

It’s so rare that I get to experience an anthology where almost every story’s a winner. I enjoyed this book immensely! Here’s a brief rundown of the stories in it:

Steve Neal’s Hostile Territory
Huge crocs and other sea horrors

Trey Dowell’s Abyssal Horror
Sperm whales and other sea beasts

Dan Le Fever’s Xook
An ancient civilization that has no intention of being an extinct one

Christopher Bond’s The Ocean Sings Softly
Grandma and granddaughter face an old horror

McKenzie Richardson’s The Hunter and the Prey
A boy who doesn’t understand consent and a girl who teaches him a lesson

Tim Mendees’s Fronds
A research mission on a water body, built due to impact by an asteroid, goes very wrong.

T. M. Brown’s Buoy 21415
Malfunctioning buoys or something more sinister?

Alanna Robertson-Webb’s She Calls from the Sea
A pirate captain and her dark past with mermaids.

Watt Morgan’s Please Leave
A husband who cannot grieve over his wife’s death since she won’t let him!

Georgia Cook’s Dead Ships
A sleepy town keeps coming across ships piloted by the dead while the world around them falls silent.

Holley Cornetto’s Heaven’s Lake
For a lake with such an innocent name, its craving for violence may come as a surprise.

M.B.Vujacic’s Jelly
Are there jellyfish in your pool? Tummy? Life? How sure are you?

Lin Darrow’s Cry of the Hunger Fish
The Oceanarium houses the weirdest specimen ever to have populated the ocean’s floor. All of them agree that the Hunger Fish’s the worst.

Chris Bannor’s Euphoria
A kelpie in action.

S.O. Green’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth High
How far would a mother-daughter team go to fit in?

Chris Hewitt’s Reef Encounter
Coral reef orgasm gone wrong.

Julie Sevens’s Shoney’s Revenge
Marine Alien-like worms.

Mason Gallaway’s The Sea Reaches Up
This vacation would have been great for a divorced father and his daughter, except for the coral Hand of Glory.

R. L. Meza’s Long Pork
A starving crew on a ship stuck in the middle of nowhere, a captain who’s trying to prevent mutiny, and a stowaway boy.

David Green’s Into The Depths
The Mariana Trench doesn’t want to be explored. Those who ignore its wishes, beware! 

For more about this book, go to I Smell Sheep.

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The Ice Lion by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

With global climate changing the way it is, cli-fi books should be all the rage. I tried my hand at reading this one, which is of the post-apocalyptic genre. Set in a world where various pre-historic species are the only types of humans to survive, this book describes how their lives are full of fighting for survival against the elements, beasts, inter-tribal battles, and superstition. Since this is the first book in a series, we don’t get many details about what caused the world to become as it is. I may read the next one or not. In the meantime, you’ll find a detailed review at I Smell Sheep.

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Green Goo Goblin by Gretchen S.B.

Some books are just so comfortable to slip into that you feel like you were a part of their universe. It speaks to an author’s skill when they shove you into a new world without making you feel like a newcomer. This short story had humor, interesting characters, and a world of supes that I’d like to read to more about. You’ll find my full review of it here.

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