Thursday, 11 July 2019

And Then There Were Crows by Alcy Leyva Review + Guest Blog Post (Horror, 8/10E)

 December 2018 and July 2019 , Black Spot Books, 280 pages, Ebook, Review copy 

Content: horror elements, death, grossness, some swearing,

Summary for And Then There Were Crows by Black Spot Publishing 
 New York City has always been a big fat sack of stress for Amanda Grey. From turning herself into knots to evade rubbing ass cheeks with strangers on the train, to round-housing public bathroom door handles to stave off plague contaminations, Grey has always found the simple technique of avoidance best in dealing with NYC. Luckily, the one-bedroom apartment in Queens she shares with her parents has always served as a refuge from a world that’s too loud and too bright for Amanda Grey.

When she inadvertently rents a room to a demon, Grey goes from a woman concentrated on her own personal demons to the woman responsible for recapturing the six Shades from Hell she’s unleashed upon the city. She manages to survive by accepting the help of Barnem, an antisocial seraphim who just happens to reside in an upstairs apartment and the demon she now shares her apartment with—and who is oddly eager to help her vanquish the Shades, though she can't be sure if he’s motivated by roommate loyalty or a secret plot to enslave humankind. Probably the latter.

Together the unlikely trio will have to face off with the devils of New York politics, break the curse of infomercial jingles, and figure out exactly how Grey has become the leader of a cult, all as Grey begins to realize that maybe the end of the world is exactly what her life needed. Now she just needs to figure out how to survive it.

Nayu's thoughts
Oh my word, this book was more horror filled than I thought it would be. After mistakenly thinking it was a thriller (it has a thrilling element to it), I didn't think it would be as horrific in a good way as it was. Not that there's anything good about birds coming forth from creatures, and hideous things happening which I won't mention so as not to spoil the book for you. The grossness was extremely well done, although I did have to skim past some sections that I couldn't handle. 

To be fair there was quite a bit of humour which I enjoyed, especially when opinions were given on a leader of a large country which I fully agreed with. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened to Mandy, to make sure she stays safe. She doesn't, and is frequently in situations that are the opposite of safe. What the story entailed meant I reached my threshold for horror, and couldn't read the sequel that is out this month, although I did read the final chapter of that book so I knew how things ended. 

I am predominantly not a person who can handle a lot of horror, but Alcy's writing had me hooked and needing to know about Mandy, and also her sister who personally was my favourite character, for her behaviour, her secrets, and just how she ends up being more of a help than a hindrance, which is how Mandy initially feels about it. Just don't ask me to read all of book 2! I had to postpone playing a game with horror elements because of my horror limit overflowing. This is a good thing, it shows how great a writer Alcy is to have freaked me out a lot.

I was intrigued about this book  because I wanted to know what trouble a demon would cause for Mandy. I still loved that aspect of Mandy's life, creepiness aside I thought of the demon as a cute pet, despite it not always looking cute and certainly not always behaving how a pet does, it does care for Mandy in it's own way which is charming, considering most of the book's content. It hid itself to some of the world when it needed to, in a way that made both me and Mandy laugh. Demons aren't all bad! Okay, most are, but I read this because I know that demons can have good in them from books by other authors (see suggested read) and this is true for Mandy's demon, mostly. Her enemies were pure evil, she is put in so many situations where her survivial seems non existant, her hermit ways are tested and she has to deal with people which is a challenge in itself for introvert Mandy. 

Despite the content I do love this story, I won't be rereading it as it is memorable enough in what happens, and I'm fairly sure my brain didn't join some dots together to protect me from the true horror of this tale. Yet I can take horror in books more easily than a horror film, and there are different types of horror, with this book being managable and films like The Exorcist being something I can never ever watch. Ever

You can follow Alcy on Twitter.

Suggested read 

and the other, A Fistful of Frost by Rebecca Chastain (Urban Fantasy, 10E/10E) is why I wanted to read about this demon because others have been good: 

Guest Blog Post from Lindy Ryan, Owner & Publisher of Black Spot Books

 Nayu: Knowing that Black Spot Books is a small and relatively new publisher had me wanting to know more about them, so Lindy kindly wrote this guest blog post.

As an independent press specializing in speculative fiction, we opened our doors at Black Spot Books in January 2018 with a frontlist of engaging novels from fresh American voices, most of which were debut authors. Since then, our catalog has grown to include a range of titles that span from urban fantasy to dystopian futures, historical fiction, and psychological thrillers. During our first two years, Black Spot Books has thrived by carving a niche in the market and building industry partnerships, all while maintaining a collaborative, author-centric culture that sets our house apart from other small publishers.

At Black Spot Books, we operate under the guiding principles of passion, creativity, and investment in the long-term success of our books and our authors. We wanted to forge a new publishing company that focused on bringing great new books to market from authors who may not have found a home with the large publishing houses, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our culture as a publisher is based on collaboration, both internally with our authors and team members, and with the industry at large. As we’ve solidified our place in the publishing community, our efforts have been guided by our passions as book lovers first and producers second. We’ve brought fresh new voices to market, published boundary-challenging fiction from new and emerging writers who have stories we believe in—and that’s exactly what we will continue to do.

Building a new small press from scratch is a labor of love, and it truly takes a team of dedicated, creative, and passionate people. As owner and publisher, I couldn’t be happier with how we’ve evolved from the new kid on the block to a sustainable small press, and I am looking forward to continuing to be part of this industry for many years to come as we bring new voices and new projects to our readers around the world. I’m so proud of our authors and our titles—series like Sam Hooker’s Terribly Serious Darkness and Alcy Leyva’s Shades of Hell; strong fiction from bestselling author Seven Jane and hybrid authors like Stacey Rourke; Matthew Binder’s  controversial near-future political dystopian, The Absolved, which has stoked conversations everywhere from Quillette to Quartz; and so many more. As we set our sights on 2020, we can’t wait to introduce more installments in serials, new works from in-house authors, and fresh new voices. We’ve also planned several collaborative multi-author projects from some of our leading in-house authors, including our first anthology, A Midnight Clear, a collection of not-so-merry Yuletide stories available on preorder now for release in November!

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