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review 2018-04-08 12:20
Summer Hours at the Robbers Library
Summer Hours at the Robbers Library - Sue Halpern

I was in the mood for a gentle, general fiction story and got one with this book, but for a gentle story it packed a wallop.

 

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library is a story about three broken people who are thrown together over a summer in the Carnegie library of a dead industrial town.  Sunny is a 16 year old no-schooled daughter of hippies (or as they call themselves 'alternatives') sentenced to a 12 weeks stint at the library after getting caught trying to steal a dictionary from a local bookstore.  Rusty is the enigmatic businessman who suddenly shows up one day and spends ever subsequent day in front of one of the computers for hours at a stretch.   Kit is the reference librarian who starts off coming across as an extreme introvert at best, a future agoraphobic at worst.  She moved to Riverton 4 years previous to the story and her one, over arching goal is to avoid all non-work human interaction.

 

The story is told over the course of a summer post the global financial disaster, and is interspersed with Kit's therapeutic narrative of her past; a slow building story that starts off feeling oh-so-predictable, but by the end set me back on my heels muttering jesus under my breath.  I was pretty sure I didn't like Kit - or, more accurately, that I respected Kit - until the end.  Then, I understood; I'd have done almost nothing differently, in her shoes.

 

I liked Sunny and her story felt so very authentic; her ending might have been a little too perfectly tailored, and I think the author could have packed a double wallop had she chose a different path, but I still enjoyed her character.

 

Rusty felt a little obligatory - probably the least impactful story of the three, but for the time this book was set, his character was representative, and for all that his redemption was a bit too easily found, I still liked him too.  Mostly, I appreciated the author's choice not to go the predictable angst-ridden route.

 

I started this review thinking "4 stars" but really... that ending.  The author deserves the extra 1/2 star because she led me perfectly, exactly like a well written story should.

 

The perfect read for a breezy, sunny, lazy day.

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review 2018-04-07 13:38
The Last Hours by Minette Walters
The Last Hours - Minette Walters

I selected this book based on an online recommendation. The cover and description were appealing, so I decided to give it a shot. The author is new to me, but the era of history is not. Fourteenth century history does, however, seem to be unfamiliar to the author.

Very little of the attitudes, speech, and beliefs of the characters in this book felt 14th century to me. Besides being flat, one-dimensional characters, many of them sounded like modern people thrown into a novel about the plague. Faith and church, which were an important part of life to most people, rich or poor, at this time, are treated with disdain and mockery by almost every character. Medical knowledge of the 21st century is injected throughout the novel to create an island of survivors while everyone around them is dying.

The only character I had any sympathy for was one the author tries very hard to paint as a villain. But I had pity for the neglected and abused fourteen-year-old daughter whose mother had long ago decided that insults were her favored parenting tool. We are supposed to believe that at some point Lady Anne had tried her best with Eleanor, but her treatment of the girl is horrifying, and it is not shocking that the girl has turned into a brat doing whatever it takes to get some attention. That's what neglected kids do.

As for Thaddeus and his boring ramble through the countryside abusing his own crew of teenagers.....I don't even know what the point of that was. There is a murder that is solved along the way, but no one seems too concerned about it.

The book ends with 'to be continued' but I will not be looking for more of these selfish, anachronistic characters' stories. 

This book was received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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review 2018-04-07 06:41
Hope
After Hours - Emjay Haze

Nick meets Alex when he comes in to the club where he is working.  He cannot help but feel the good looking guy seems sweet.  Then he finds out he is everything.

 

Alex has found himself living a good life without any happiness.  He has a lot to be grateful for, but not what he has always wanted.  When he meets a man who is following his own dreams, he second guesses where he is and where he is going.

 

This book was like a chapter out of a persons life.  I felt like I was watching it take place.  I loved the sexy times since they were full of heat.  The banter was cute, and the pace of the story was good.  These characters give us a good solid read.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange of an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

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review 2018-04-02 23:47
The Finest Hours (YA adaption) by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman
The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue - Michael J. Tougias,Casey Sherman

I watched the Disney movie based on the adult book back in January 2017. It was great (read: Chris Pine and Eric Bana provided eye-candy) and one of the special features of the DVD was the screenwriters interviewing survivors/witnesses and showing stuff from the museum. I had made a point of wanting to read the book, so when the 2018 PS challenge came out and the first prompt was "book that was made into a movie you've already seen" I knew which book I would read for it. 

 

Here's the deal - I don't care about boats, nor do I care to read endless paragraphs of boats structure, size, etc. If you do, read the adult book; I went with the YA adaption of the book so I could get to the actual story faster and not read mind-numbingly pages of boat details. The problem was that it was written for more the MG crowd than YA; the writing at times seem choppy and I couldn't really connect with the people in the story; I felt the movie was better in getting the audience to care about the rescuers and those on the oil tankers. There was also too many people, especially the ones on the oil tankers, profiled - it was hard to keep them separate in my head while reading.

 

Still it is a decent story for those MG readers that want to know about an important event in the ever-evolving history of disaster management.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-10 22:50
Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn
Darkest Hours - Mike Thorn

Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With monsters that hunger for flesh, ghosts that lie in wait, and brutality at the hands of humanity - this collection certainly has it all. Delving into the satirical, chilling and downright disgusting, this is a must read for those that like a bit of horror in their lives.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Mike Thorn for giving me the opportunity!

This anthology has sixteen individual stories, each offering varying degrees of horror in different forms; bizarro, quiet and psychological are just a few of the sub-genres that are incorporated. Chances are you'll find something that tickles your fancy within the wide spectrum that is Thorn's imagination, just as I did. I do, however, feel the need to mention the reoccurring themes that present themselves throughout the majority of the book. Despite each short being unrelated and diverse in form, there were certain factors that kept resurfacing; the heavy metal, the smoking (specifically marijuana and Camel cigarettes), and lastly, academia. It just didn't work for me all that much - instead of characters blending together, I would've preferred differentiating attributes.

I always find it difficult to review these type of books, for the sole reason that I feel there's so much to write - I can get carried away with my thoughts and write paragraph upon paragraph. For my own sanity I've decided to forgo a ten-page essay detailing each and every short, and instead highlight the the top three that I enjoyed the most.

A New Kind of Drug
This is the first story that really piqued my interest, primarily due to the fact I've never read anything quite like it before, and it caused me to think of how we, as a species, are awfully enticed by substances that alter the state of consciousness. It's said that we're always looking for the next big thing, the next high that will affect us in new and oftentimes dangerous ways. I liked how Thorn took that aspect, and spun something that didn't seem so far-fetched in regards to human cruelty. Whether the creature was a demon, an alien, or whatever else, I felt pity for it and thus viewed the people themselves as the monsters. The added possibility of there being another plane of existence only interested me further.

And maybe I was screaming too, I don't know, but I'm quite sure I would've done something to stop this awful spectacle if I'd had the time, or the will, or even just a modicum of bravery.



Economy These days
Clearly the ugliness of humanity's a personal favourite of mine; the type of horror that's closer to home and more real than any supernatural beast. This particular short reminded me of the film Hostel, with the concept that people pay money to hurt a stranger. The difference was, in this case, both parties acted upon a consensual basis, where rules and regulations were strictly set in place. I have no doubt that something like this exists today, and whilst I don't consider it terrifying in the traditional sense, it's immensely thought-provoking.

But in this moment, money seemed like some grotesque abstraction; these terrible means dwarfed the process of reaching agreeable ends.



Lucio Schluter
Yet another example of human savagery, yet in an entirely different manner. Appreciating art as much as I do, I couldn't help but feel fascinated by Schluter's work and the way in which Thorn truly captured its disturbing essence. To turn actual people into such ghastly pieces of craftsmanship, it's delightfully macabre. The artist himself was a character I favoured because of the unnerving, yet obvious way he felt strongly for his victims - perhaps even a sort of love for them.

To really look at one of Schluter's subjects was like seeing a reflection of yourself ten years from now, somehow locked in a stasis of fear and eternal nakedness.



Other honourable mentions are The Auteur, Long Man, Sabbatical and Fusion.

Of course, due to the differing of story-types, there were some I didn't care for, and some I outright disliked. With Mired, Fear and Grace, and Speaking of Ghosts, my attention considerably waned until I just wanted them to end as quickly as possible.

In conclusion - A well-written concoction of the dark and twisted. My interest fluctuated depending upon the concept, but it's clear that Thorn has talent. An author to keep an eye on, for sure.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/03/10/darkest-hours-by-mike-thorn
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