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review 2020-05-07 19:00
ETHAN FROME by Edith Wharton, narrated by Christopher Lane
Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton

I'm not sure why I thought this would be a pleasant, happy story. It is Edith Wharton after all!

 

I've loved her work since I first read The House of Mirth and she lived a good portion of her time in Massachusetts, which is my home state. When I saw I could listen to the audio free through Prime, I downloaded it and here I am.

 

Written in the early 1900's, the story takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield. It's one of the few tales from Wharton that does not take place in a location of high society. It's the story of a simple man, whose life plans change so that he can care for his ailing father. Rather impulsively, he marries a sickly woman to avoid being alone after his father passes. A few years later his wife's young cousin comes to stay and their lives will change forever.

 

I never expected this tale to go in the way it did. It was sad and tragic for everyone involved. It's amazing to me that Wharton was capable of packing so much into a relatively short story. Perhaps it is dated in regards to its setting, but the emotions and the characters involved are still perfectly relatable in today's day and age.

 

I have a volume of Wharton's ghost stories that I hope to read soon. In the meantime, I will be thinking of the cold town of Starkfield and Ethan's fate.

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review 2020-04-29 18:45
BROKEN by Don Winslow, narrated by Ray Porter & Kaleo Griffith
Broken - Don Winslow, Narrated by Kaleo Griffith,Ray Porter

Don Winslow is beyond brilliant as far as crime writing is concerned!

 

BROKEN: SIX SHORT NOVELS, as the title suggests is 6 novellas, all of them excellent. The only one that didn't quite fill the bill for me was the Hawaiian one, but that's most likely because I haven't read the original book in which these characters were featured, (SAVAGES). Not yet, anyway.

 

I'm not going to go blow by blow with each story, but I have to give the final tale, THE LAST RIDE, a special mention because my heart is still recovering from its impact. Here, Mr. Winslow's politics are more involved than usual. In my case that was perfectly fine, because they're in line with my own. Politics aside though, I think most people can agree that children should not be kept in cages. Cal, a border patrol officer in Texas, doesn't think it's right either and he does something about it. THE LAST RIDE had a western feel to it and I'll say it again, it broke my freaking heart. I think my husband heard it break from across the room because he was asking me if I was okay.

 

I still have a backlog of Winslow books to catch up on, and those are something I very much look forward to during these uncertain times.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

*I bought this audio book with my hard earned cash. *

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review 2020-03-22 19:26
FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION by Doug Rinaldi
Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi

FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION is an impressive and imaginative group of stories that swept through me like a slow moving storm and left me like jello, shivering on the floor.

 

I can't list my thoughts on all of them here, but the ones that blew me away were:

 

AN INCIDENT IN CENTRAL VILLAGE- Pond monsters!

 

THE YATTERING-A haunted bookstore. Already, with the title and subject alone, it screams my name.

 

THE SICKENING-At this point in time, what with COVID19 and its effects, this tale was even scarier than it otherwise would have been.

 

At least COVID19 doesn't make us kill each other. At least not yet.

 

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING -A "tables are turned" type of story.

 

LOTUS PETALS: LIMINAL PERSONAE-Body Horror that put me in mind of Geek Love or some of Michael Blumlein's work.

 

SYBARITES (OR THE ENMITY OF PERVERSE EXISTENCE) I don't even know what to say about this other than that this was the tale that cemented my thoughts about how great this collection really was.

 

To be honest, this was a collection where every story worked for me on some level or another. That's a rare occurrence, so I took my time savoring these tales and surrendered myself to whatever it was Mr. Rinaldi wanted to show me. I'm so glad I did!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION 

 

*Thanks to Doug Rinaldi for the paperback arc in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-02-14 03:52
Review: "Certain Dark Things" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Certain Dark Things: A Novel - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Initial reaction: Highly engaging and original story. Probably one of my favorite vampire stories. 4.5 stars overall.

Full review:

I remember back in 2016 when I first read Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Certain Dark Things" that I was blown away by how rich the writing, worldbuilding, and characterization were in this action-packed novel. Even as I revisit the novel today in a different format (audiobook, which was very well narrated by Dan Bittner), I'm still left feeling with a sense of wonder and wanting to dive more into this universe while following the characters and the vision of Mexico and Mexico City depicted here. I wish that this story (now out of print) would be brought back into circulation so that more people could have the chance to experience this for themselves. It's one of the most original and fascinating vampire novels I've read in a long time.

To build a bit of background, in this universe vampires are real and they have been discovered since the 1970s, living and thriving in different parts of Mexico. There are many different types of vampire groups, many of whom you do not want to cross in the wrong path whether you're human or vampire, especially since they are in rival gangs with their own motivations and alliances. Domingo, a sweet, naive, but well meaning protagonist, is a clumsy human who happens to cross paths one fateful night with Atl in Mexico City. Atl is descended from Aztec vampires and walks her own path with her dog Cualli, only really seeing Domingo as a means to an end at first, but she keeps him around. Technically, vampires are banned inside Mexico City, so Atl keeps a low profile, but the two of them meeting sets off an unlikely camaraderie which leads the two into a whirlwind of trouble while crossing paths with rival vampire gangs. Atl's journey is especially heavy as she's on the run from those who want to capture or kill her. She persistently seeks aid after a tragedy befalling her family and left not knowing whom she can trust. Domingo follows her and her dog willingly, fascinated by her intrigue and wanting to know more about her, but ends up learning more than he thought he would about the underground workings of the narco-vampire gangs.

This book is written in third person, and follows a colorful cast of characters which I enjoyed watching. Ana was another character I enjoyed following, a cop who endures a lot of difficult circumstances in the pursuit of several crimes committed by the vampire gangs and her determination to discover the truth of things. Nick, one of the antagonists of the novel, is truly sinister and hell bent on capturing/killing Atl for his own reasons, yet I also found myself following his perspective to see how events would unfold through the novel.

One caveat of "Certain Dark Things" I found overall was the open nature of the ending, which made me think there could be more stories down the line in this universe given the fate of some of the characters (others...not so much considering they meet some pretty brutal ends). If there's a chance of that happening, I would love to follow it, since the action scenes were strong, the characterizations were solid, the building of the different groups of vampires, their lore and history were very well drawn, and it felt like a solid entry in urban fantasy that I wanted to revisit long after I put the book down.

Definitely glad to have this as a part of my library and I look forward to reading more of Moreno-Garcia in the future. For me, it was a wonderful introduction to her work.

Overall score: 4.5/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher. I also purchased a copy of the book in audio.

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review 2020-01-28 18:45
DEEP SILENCE by Jonathan Maberry, narrated by Ray Porter
Deep Silence (Joe Ledger #10) - Jonathan Maberry,Ray Porter

What a ride!

 

Here we join Captain Ledger and the DMS team, once again facing bad publicity and once again, saving the world.

 

Everyone is here, including Mr. Church, Aunt Sally and Ghost. Instead of Doctor Hu, we now have Doc Holiday, and, (of course), she's related to the real Doc Holiday.

 

This series has been a huge part of my life over the past 6 months. I feel like I know all of these people, (and Ghost), as well as, or maybe even better than, my own family. In fact, I like these people MORE than most of my own family.

 

Thanks to Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter for the many, many hours of enjoyment I've spent with the Department of Military Sciences. I'm looking forward to joining everyone again in RAGE: ROGUE TEAM INTERNATIONAL.

 

Until then? HOOAH!

 

*I rejoined Audible solely due to this series. I was tired of waiting for the audios to come in at the library. Plus, the library didn't have them all on audio. I do not for one second regret this decision.*

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