Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior
By Stephen Graham Jones
Available 6/20/17
Publisher: Tor.Com
ISBN13: 9780765395108
Pages: 112
Genre: Novella


Mapping the Interior is a horrifying, inward-looking novella from Stephen Graham Jones that Paul Tremblay calls “emotionally raw, disturbing, creepy, and brilliant.”

Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.

The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost.


Mapping the Interior is a stirring novella that is difficult to label. While there is a certainly element of horror and the paranormal occurring within its absorbing pages, there is something more magical happening.

Mapping the Interior is the story of a 15 yr old boy who is unexpectedly reacquainted with his father after leaving the reservation. However, there is a small complication with the encounter. His father lost his life under unexplained circumstances. What ensues is a poignant tale of life, loss and family and that is beautifully saturated with culture and wonder.

We are supplied with a young protagonist who is facing adversity on multiple levels. Young Junior is mourning the loss of a father that he cannot fully comprehend. He is living off of the reservation and adjusting to a new life that is not without challenges. He holds an adherent obligation to protect his younger brother Dino who is suffering what can best be described as seizures and cognitive impairment. His single mother is at the disadvantage of struggling to provide full financial support for the family, while also attending to Dino’s healthcare needs. We are thrust into a dismal environment that quickly plays on the emotions, creating an intense experience that will obscure the lines between reality and fantasy.

This is a ghost story brilliantly utilized to fashion a tale of discovery and realization. Haunting components are manipulated in order to carry Junior through a journey that will dare him to confront a difficult past and the reality of the present. Sometimes things are not as they seem. Sometimes we must look deep within ourselves to find the answers and closure we seek.

Mapping the Interior is as refreshing as it is transfixing. Culture, grief and family dynamics merge to construct an unforgettable story that evokes multiple emotions and resonates with powerful meaning. This is likely to be a very personalized experience with each encounter. I am resolutely giving Mapping the Exterior the highest recommendation.

* I would like to thank Tor for providing me with this copy. The review above is my own unbiased opinion.

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Belated Birthday Bash!


Better late than never , but over a week ago when I found myself having to take a break, BVT and myself both aged 1 year 😉 So today I am celebrating each of you who have made this year one that I will not forget!

What This Year Has Meant

When I first started this blog, it was a frightening time. Opening up to others and posting my thoughts can be challenging. I struggled to even share a review on Amazon or Goodreads. And I certainly had no idea what this journey would entail.

But as fate would have it, I have an amazing nonhusband who saw my passion and pushed me to take the leap. Since that time, I have discovered that BVT would soon become something more than just a blog. It quickly grew into an outlet and second home. I could never have been prepared for the amount of support and friendship that awaited me. Each of you have provided positive feedback and encouragement. You have listened when I needed an ear and you have taken time to know me and reach out when I was unwell. Each day has been filled with a newfound happiness that I have drawn strength from, even on the hardest of days. Truth be told, it is each of you who make this blog successful and all that I want it to be.

Thank You ❤


In order to thank you for all you have given me this last year, I am hosting a small giveaway. I have 2 drawings. One is for a $15 e-gift card to Teavana, which can also be used at Starbucks (unfortunately, this is open in the US only). The second is for up to $15 US dollars to spend on the book of your choice with Book Depository or Amazon which is open internationally to anyone that Book Depository ships to. Both giveaways are open for 1 week.

(This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Teavana, Amazon or Book Depository)

A couple small details:

  • You must be 18 years of age to enter and able to provide a valid email and shipping address.
  • You must be willing to have your name mentioned on the blog and social media (I will not share your email or personal details).
  • The Teavana gift card will be sent electronically through email.
  • The $15 to spend on a book will be open internationally and may be sent Amazon (if winner is US) or Book Depository (International).
  • I will notify winners in one week. You will have 7 days to respond before another winner is selected.

Enter to win $15 Teavana e-Gift Card here (US only)

gft2Enter to win $15 US Dollars to spend on a book of your choice (International)

Good Luck!

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Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylen

Long Black Veil
By Jennifer Finney Boylan
Publisher: Crown
ISBN13: 9780451496324
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Long Black Veil is the story of Judith Carrigan, whose past is dredged up when the body of her college friend Wailer is discovered 20 years after her disappearance in Philadelphia’s notorious and abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary. Judith is the only witness who can testify to the innocence of her friend Casey, who had married Wailer only days before her death.

The only problem is that on that fateful night at the prison, Judith was a very different person from the woman she is today. In order to defend her old friend and uncover the truth of Wailer’s death, Judith must confront long-held and hard-won secrets that could cause her to lose the idyllic life she’s built for herself and her family.


Long Black Veil is rather unique in what it brings to the table. What essentially begins a mystery centered around the loss of a friend develops into a detailed exploration of the lives of Judith and 4 other individuals forever connected by their past.

“You carry the past with you. Even if there’s a before, and an after, in your life. It’s still the same life. The trick is to build a bridge between that and what comes later.”

20 years ago Judith and 5 other college friends decided to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Only 5 of them would ever leave. It was a day that would forever alter the course of their lives. Now events from that tragic day have resurfaced, and Judith finds that she must return to face a past she left far behind or a friend may be charged with a heinous crime he did not commit. But returning also means possibly sacrificing everything that she values in life.

I hesitate to label Long Black Veil as a mystery. There is an unsolved disappearance at the core of the story, but this is a beautiful examination of characterization and life.  Through an eccentric ensemble of cast, we are exposed to the trials of Judith’s journey into self acceptance and happiness. Judith is a refreshing protagonist the contributes many valuable and attractive variables that solidified the success of this story for me. It is unfortunately impossible to discuss the heart of what makes her so profound and fascinating without spoiling the book’s most rewarding and surprising facet.

“I think it’s very human, the hope that an all-encompassing love will change us into someone else, someone better. That this hope usually turns out to be false makes it no less human; the world is full of hopes far more unlikely than being transformed by love.”

While the setting is credible, this a character driven novel that relies heavily on the thoughts and actions of each individual in order to tell a complex story. The narration shifts from past to present and frequently passes between characters. But each transition is clean and easily defined, creating a fluid experience.  However, I find it fair to warn that due to the larger number of individuals involved, I found it took several chapters to acclimate myself. But once I did, it was impossible to put Long Black Veil down. This is the sort of book that beckons you to turn the light back on and read one more chapter.

Boylan’s writing is elegant and immersive. Her words carry you effortlessly through each page, creating a hauntingly lavish experience with a welcomed element of diversity that begs to be devoured. I have read reviews of those who flaws with the author’s approach to certain topics, but I cannot be counted among them, nor do I recommend reading them before approaching the book. I am enthusiastically recommending Long Black Veil to anyone who seeks an engaging and personal reading experience.

*I would like to thank Crown Publishing and Blogging for Books for supplying this copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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