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review 2019-10-19 02:07
They Thirst ★★★☆☆
They Thirst - Rowena Morrill,Robert R. McCammon

I’m not sure what to make of McCammon’s vampires. They do all the fun things and play by the same rules as classic vampires, so there’s plenty of neck biting, fangs flashing, mesmerizing/seducing, eyes glowing, coffin sleeping, and bat transforming. McCammon also gives us all the best vampire hunting scenes, too, with the crosses and the holy water and the stakes and the sunlight burning.


But I’m just not sold on the Grand Plan. It doesn’t make sense. I mean,

if vampires intend to take over the whole world by turning all the humans into vampires, at some point there’s going to be a severe supply/demand imbalance. But nowhere is this addressed, in spite of all the evil vampiric dwelling on the Grand Plan that he treats us to. Also, the big boss vampire can’t be unaware that plain old seawater will kill them just like holy water – he had to cross the ocean to get to California – yet he chooses Los Angeles – a coastal city! – to launch his first big urban takeover?

(spoiler show)

Maybe it’s just me, but these kind of things bug me.


I also had some trouble really connecting with all the characters. I’m not sure if he just tried to cram too many into one book so that I ended up with character exhaustion, or if he just hadn’t yet fully developed his character development skills at the time this book was written.


Still, I did enjoy this one very much. There was plenty of engaging action, satisfying evilness, and unlikely heroing. And the audiobook was read by Ray Porter, who gives an absolutely outstanding performance.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Vampires: Vampires, preferably non-sparkly, in all of their glorious fictional permutations.


Prior Updates:

Oct09 – 6%

Oct11 – 27%

Oct12 – 44%

Oct12 – 50%

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review 2019-10-07 21:04
Carrion Comfort ★★☆☆☆ (DNF)
Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons

This wasn't a terrible book. It started off well, and has an interesting premise, and was really good for regrettably brief moments. But it was a struggle - there were long passages of boring in between and the ick factor was high with repeated graphic rape/sexual assault and violence scenes. Gratuitously frequent, that is. I get it, the psychic vampires are terrible people, but they seem to be included for titillation rather than actually furthering the story or revealing character.


Anyway, after 8 hours of slogging through this, I'm done. I can't face another 31 hours of it. Enough. DNF at 21%


Audiobook, via Audible, which I have returned for my $7 refund. The audio performances by Mel Foster and Laural Merlington were fine.


I was trying to read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Vampires: Vampires, preferably non-sparkly, in all of their glorious fictional permutations. Fortunately, I have a good backup ready to go, They Thirst - Robert R. McCammon,Rowena Morrill.



Prior Updates:

Oct07 15%


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review 2019-10-07 03:12
A Cast-Off Coven ★★★☆☆
A Cast-Off Coven - Juliet Blackwell

I am absolutely charmed (no pun intended) by this cozy mystery series. I’m not entirely sure why – I don’t find the MC’s supposedly Texan roots at all authentic, I don’t care about vintage clothing, and I generally dislike Romance tropes appearing in my mystery/supernatural genre books. But, still, its just a lot of fun. The MC is vulnerable, trying to settle into her true nature, and struggling to resist the urge to deny her true nature for the sake of making her romantic interest less uncomfortable. She’s actually a very interesting character, and I rarely want to slap her silly. The mystery and settings are interesting, too, and the murders and supernatural elements are surprisingly dark for a cozy. I can’t say the final whodunnit were much of a surprise, but the journey was still worth reading about.


Paperback edition. I think I may like reading these in bound version better than audio, although Xe Sands does a terrific job on the audios.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Murder Most Foul: Any murder mystery.


Prior Updates:

Oct03 146/323 pg


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review 2019-10-07 02:50
The Testaments ★★★★★
The Testaments - Margaret Atwood,Mae Whitman,Ann Dowd,Bryce Dallas Howard,Tantoo Cardinal,Derek Jacobi

Maybe because I had already been introduced to Gilead and its social/political structure in The Handmaid’s Tale, I did not find The Testaments as shocking. Instead, it confirmed what I already suspected, that a totalitarian regime built on religious fanaticism was established by nonbelievers and enforced by cynically playing on the idealism of the true believers. And yet, this story is somehow more hopeful than Handmaid. We knew from the final chapter of Handmaid that Gilead would eventually fall, but in Testaments we see the cracks in the foundation.


This is still a grim story, though. Probably the darkest moment for me was in the author’s afterword, when Atwood tells us that she invented nothing new with it, that every bit of Gilead was drawn from real human history. At some point, we have done these things to each other, to ourselves. This is genuinely human nature, just distilled into a single story of a few generations. We should never complacently think to ourselves, “this could never happen now”.


Format – both audio & hardcover. I alternated between the two. The audio performance by the full cast was excellent. But Ann Dowd absolutely made Aunt Lydia come alive. I didn’t even realize she plays that character in the TV series. This might push me over the edge into getting a Hulu subscription to see it.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019. I originally planned to read it for the square Poe/The Raven, but I’ve had to rearrange my squares a little, and I’m now going to use it for Dystopian Hellscape: Any book that relates to a dystopian society. This one isn’t on my bingo card, so I’m going to use my second Transfiguration Spell on the Fear the Drowning Deep square. I just couldn’t find anything that I already owned for FtDD, and I really wanted to read this one, anyway.


Prior Updates:

Oct03 9%

Oct03 14%

Oct04 25%

Oct04 60%



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review 2019-10-01 23:12
White Trash Zombie Apocalypse ★★★★☆
White Trash Zombie Apocalypse - Diana Rowland

I’m generally not a fan of zombie lit, nor do I generally prefer my monsters to be anything other than horrifying, but when I read the first book of this series for Halloween Bingo last year, I fell in love. The titular zombie, Angel, is the perfect heroine: sassy and feisty and fiercely independent, but also vulnerable and even tenderly caring at times. In this third book of the series, she is still learning to navigate her new place in the world as both newbie zombie in a hidden zombie society and as a newly semi-respectable, drug-free, contributing member of society with “the Normals”. She’s trying to figure out how to have a healthy, functioning romantic relationship. In one really sweet and sad moment, she is delighted and amazed that she actually has real friends who would show up at her party. But there is plenty of action with a budding war between the zombie mobsters and a defense contractor trying to develop the means to control and weaponize zombies.


Audiobook, via Audible. Alison McLemore’s narration is still absolutely perfect.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Dead Lands: Elements of the undead - zombies, wights, vampires and other revenants. This story is chock-full of zombies, of course!


Prior Updates:

Sep29 2%


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