Tag Archives: lila bowen

Top 5 Weird Westerns

Ever since I was little, I’ve enjoyed westerns. A large part of that is probably because I adore horses and the other part was watching movies with adults that liked westerns. I’ve seen a decent amount of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies, and so many others I couldn’t possibly name. Take that western love and add it to my love of fantasy and weird westerns are clearly going to be winners in my book. Here I showcase my love for five:

  1. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher. (To be fair, this book makes it on a LOT of my lists.)

“Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation. “

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

2. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift. “

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3. Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

“Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She’s a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don’t call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood and he turns to black sand.

And just like that, Nettie can see.

But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn’t understand what’s under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding—at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead her to find her true kin . . . if the monsters along the way don’t kill her first.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

4. American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

“Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

By the 1890s, the vast bayou that was once America’s greatest waterway belongs to feral hippos, and Winslow Houndstooth has been contracted to take it back. To do so, he will gather a crew of the damnedest cons, outlaws, and assassins to ever ride a hippo. American Hippo is the story of their fortunes, their failures, and his revenge.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (Not a weird western but a good western.)

“Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As you can see, all of these are rated 5 out of 5 stars so I may be a little more in love with this genre than necessary.

Any weird westerns not on this list that you think I should check out? Leave a comment, I’m always in the market for more weird westerns!

Wake of Vultures – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

Nettie Lonesome is half-Injun, half-black and 100% alone in this world. Abandoned as an infant for unknown reasons, and raised by low class filthy white people who “run” a dilapidated ranch, Nettie has been alone for her entire life save for a one-eyed mule. She’s made to make Pap and Mam’s breakfast every day and do all the chores to keep the farm running. Her only friend an old cowpoke at the ranch next door who took pity on her and began teaching her how to break broncs. Now, she breaks the mangy nags that Pap brings home and sells for a little bit of money. Since she turned twelve and Pap saw her naked in the river washing, and the look in his eye was unsavory, she’s been dressing as a boy ever since.

One night, Nettie is attacked by a strange man in their yard, another man looking at her in an unsavory fashion. Except he doesn’t try to hide it. There’s something wrong with him, besides the obvious, his eyes are an unnatural color and he has fangs. Now Nettie Lonesome is no coward, so she sticks a sickle in his eye. He doesn’t die. Not until she stabs a stick into his heart. From then on, she sees things that have no right to be real.

Shortly thereafter, the ranch boss next door witnesses her skill at breaking broncs and hires her on. He doesn’t know she’s a girl but that’s okay, she’s more comfortable as a boy anyway. She’ll get to make money, have a roof over her head, food in the her belly, no longer be beat and do what she loves, working with horses. It’s everything she’s ever wanted from life, until a dying Indian woman curses her.

Now she’s being forced to hunt the Cannibal Owl by the Indian woman’s ghost and if she doesn’t she’ll die. The Cannibal Owl steals all the children of Indian tribes. Attacks in the night silently, the parents awake to find their children forever missing. No one knows what it looks like or what it does with the children. Nettie is about to embark on a journey of the paranormal to protect the new life she has built for herself and maybe she’ll learn more about who she is and where she comes from along the way.

Have you been looking for a book that just blasts the shit out of tropes and stereotypes and gives you an authentic glimpse into a person? That exposes the many ways that humans are not black and white? That there are shades of gray to everything and that that is perfectly okay? Here you fucking go. I have not read a more accepting book in a very long time. It made me feel all warm and glowing on the inside. It tickled my pizzle.