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FREE Book for HONEST Review

Blue Cactus Press is putting out an official “Call for Readers” for Samuel Snoek-Brown’s forthcoming short story collection, There Is No Other Way to Worship Them! We’re looking for 20 readers who’re not only eager to delve into the collection, but willing to exchange an HONEST review of the book for a FREE copy, too. If you want to be one of those 20 readers (trust us, you do), here’s what you need to do:

Send an email to BlueCactusPress@gmail.com with the following info:

  1. Your name
  2. Your preference of a digital or print copy of There Is No Other Way to Worship Them
  3. The title of your FAVORITE short story collection and a short explanation about why you love it

The first 20 people to email us will get an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC)  of Sam’s forthcoming book as soon as it pops off the printer! We’ll contact the readers, then post a list of everyone’s favorite short story collection once we finalize the list.

Oh, and did we mention we finalized the cover?! Because we did that, too 🙂 Take a look below and let us know what you think. And don’t forget to show some love to the cover artist, Show Pigeon, while you’re at it!

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Local Book Review: Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown

How often do you pick up a book from one of your favorite authors and hope and wish and pray it’s as good as the last? I do it every time, but truth be told, only about half the books I read live up to my expectations. Lucky for me, Samuel Snoek-Brown’s Hagridden did, in fact, live up to my expectations as I read it while camping in wilds of Utah.

Hagridden is a historical fiction novel and it’s set in the U.S. South as the Civil War came to a close. It follows two women who’re struggling to survive in the bayou and rebuilt their lives with the little (humanity) they’ve got left. The book reads very much like a Cormac McCarthy novel, both in tone and content, but it’s much easier to palate during the gritty moments (read: less depressing and less descriptive of gore … most of the time). I was also pleasantly surprised by the author’s dedication to staying within historical bounds. As someone who doesn’t read historical fiction very often, I’d say this is a great book to start with.

One thing that piqued my interest while reading was that Snoek-Brown doesn’t name either of his protagonists, leaving an air of mystery around the two women. Is the author saying we’re all capable of ugly, animalistic behavior under the right circumstances? Or asking readers to consider how quickly the line between being civilized and being a savage is erased when faced with the harsh realities of survival? I’ll let you read and decide for yourself, and maybe one day we’ll discuss it when we bump into each other at a coffee shop (this is inevitable, trust me).

Lastly, of my favorite aspects of Hagridden was how similarly it reads to Snoek-Brown’s short stories, which were some of the best I’ve read over the last year. Believe me when I say the short stories of Box Cutters are just as good as those of Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours or Primo Levi, author of The Periodic Table. Snoek-Brown’s work, whether in short story or novel form, is consistently dark and eerie, and he’s managed to retain a distinctive, original voice throughout. Overall, I thoroughly enjoy his writing, Hagridden included.

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Book Review: The Breakbeat Poets

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Every now and then I read a book of poetry that manages to jump out of the pages at me, pulling me into the heart of each poem and demanding that I pay attention. I mean really pay attention to what it has to say. The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, is one of those books. Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Nate Marshall, this poetry collection drew me in with its raw, honest poems. It forced me to consider how ethnicity, poverty, sex, and hip-hop have affected not only the collective consciousness of twenty-first century America, but also our individual sense of place and identity.

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