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Search tags: 5-rated-4-stars
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-25 21:13
Swan Song ★★★★☆
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

Oh boy, was this a wild, fun ride-along with characters that I loved and characters that I loved to hate. There was plenty of explicit gore, some of which actually did make me cringe and stop for a bit. But there were some truly touching moments, too. Much like the post-apocalyptic world of this book, it’s not all darkness and cruelty and death, but also some hope and love and a tiny spark of belief in humanity.

 

It’s not quite a five star read, though, because I had to work pretty hard to suspend disbelief that 

a world in which a nuclear winter lasts for 7 or 8 years, where supposedly nothing can grow, not even weeds, and all plant life has died, seems unlikely to be able to sustain any life at all. Sure, most people starved and some could survive on the remnants of canned food or rats, but what would herbivores survive on? How did they keep that horse alive, if nothing was growing? If there are no herbivores left, did the carnivores/omnivores like rats and bobcats and wolves survive just on eating each other? If there are no plants, then a significant population of insects would go extinct, wouldn’t they? The disruption of the food chain seems unlikely to have allowed survival for that long a period of time.

(spoiler show)

 But this isn’t explained or even addressed, so I wondered and doubted, and that took something away from the story for me. Although it does strike me as funny that I didn’t have the same problem with 

people growing an entire warty coating on their heads with their faces beneath becoming something entirely different that reflects their true self/soul, or non-human creatures growing extra limbs and heads, or an inhuman creature who thrives on death and destruction and performs supernatural feats, or a girl who can magically make plants grow at an accelerated pace, etc.

(spoiler show)

 Why I should fixate on the

nuclear winter

(spoiler show)

thing, I don’t know.

 

Audiobook, purchased on sale from Audible. The performance by Tom Stechschulte was absolutely fantastic. I’ll look for other books read by him. Warning, though, this is a 34 ½ hour audiobook, so you have to really love audio to consume it in this format. It’s a LOT of listening.

 

Previous Updates:

7/17/17 – 2% 

7/18/17 – 9%

7/18/17 – 16%

7/19/17 – 23%

7/22/17 – 51%

7/25/17 – 97%

 

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review 2017-07-16 17:41
A Tap on the Window ★★★★☆
A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay

There were a lot of characters to sort through and mysteries to unravel in this story, but it wasn’t too complex to easily follow along and guess at, even on audio. The clues were ambiguous enough to keep me guessing through at least two thirds of the book, but it was satisfying at the end to find that I was wrong on a few of my guesses, due to some successfully planted red herrings. There’s a lot of moral relativism at work amongst pretty much all the characters, so this is not a book for readers who want a hero to root for.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive using the Libby app. Mark Zeisler provides a good performance – he sort of disappears inside the story, so I honestly didn’t notice much about his reading style. Which I guess is a recommendation in itself.

 

Previous Updates:

7/14/17 – 18%

 

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review 2017-07-01 23:00
The Husband’s Secret ★★★★☆
The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty,Caroline Lee

Sometimes I get impatient with the kind of novel where you have to follow what seems like a bazillion characters and their disparate storylines, until those stories finally come together at the end. This one, however, kept me engaged from the beginning, because each storyline was populated with realistically interesting and flawed characters, and I was genuinely curious to discover how their stories would all resolve. Admittedly, it did seem to rely on a lot of convenient coincidences, but most novels do.

 

This was a story of relationships, choices, and the consequences of allowing pride, unconscious prejudice, and assumptions to drive decisions. I enjoyed it very much.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Caroline Lee does her usual outstanding job of giving voice to a cast of characters.

 

 

Previous Updates:

6/25/17 – 4%

 

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review 2017-06-23 02:48
If Walls Could Talk ★★★★☆
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

The only other cozy mystery series I’ve tried was not very satisfying, so I had low expectations coming into this one. But what a pleasant surprise! The author introduces each character with descriptions that drew a clear picture in my mind and also gave some hint of what was to come. I learned a little history and felt some of the MC’s enthusiasm for her work in restoring historic homes. The whodunnit was not especially difficult to figure out before it was revealed, but the journey to get there was plenty of fun.

 

Audio version, purchased via Audible. Although there’s not a lot of differentiation between her male characters’ voices, Xe Sands’ performance is very good in terms of pacing and emotion.

 

Previous Updates:

 

6/20/17 6%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573004/if-walls-could-talk-6

 

6/20/17 15% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573053/if-walls-could-talk-15

 

6/21/17 43%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573208/if-walls-could-talk-43

 

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review 2017-06-16 17:15
Mile 81 ★★★★☆
Mile 81 - Stephen King,Thomas Sadoski,Edward Herrmann

This is the short story/novella version of every 1950’s Creature Feature B movie, where the teenagers witness everything and frantically try to get help, only to have all the adults dismiss them as crazy kids pulling a prank. Except in this case, it’s little kids instead of teenagers. Good entertainment, SK style.

 

The “bonus story” The Dune is much shorter story, with fairly classic SK story elements, but there’s no horror or gore here, just an odd little story of mysterious events, with a fun little twist at the end.

 

Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library. Thomas Sadoski (Mile 81) and Edward Herrmann (The Dune) bring their stories alive, perfectly capturing the characters through whom the story is told.

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