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review 2018-03-14 01:00
This is a DENSE book, ya'll
The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers (Penguin Classics) - Hollis Robbins,Hollis Robbins,Henry Louis Gates Jr.,Henry Louis Gates Jr.,Various

If you're looking for a book that you can dip in and out of over the course of several days (or weeks if you're me) then I recommend you check out The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers. Organized by theme, this book features many writers of different genres. There are poets, essayists, lecturers, novelists, ministers, and teachers to name just a few. The common theme (besides their gender and race) is that they are advocates for equality of the races and sexes. I found that this book was an excellent conversation starter especially if you want to talk about tough topics like economic and social equality coupled with the history of the Americas. It's also an excellent way to discover writers that you may have never heard of as many of them are quite niche. As you might surmise, the topics covered in this collection are quite deep and therefore as a whole it's an emotionally and mentally exhausting enterprise. It's well worth the effort though. It's astonishing to me just how many of these women I had never heard of but when they were originally writing their voices were strong, no-holds-barred, and topical (most are relevant even today). The truths spoken are hard to accept because the topics are still so ingrained and fresh in the memory of our country. It's another reminder that we should continually be expanding our minds and looking beyond what we already 'know'. Embrace learning about new things! 9/10 and only lost that point because by 1/2 way through I was having to hype myself up to pick it back up again.


What's Up Next: Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang


What I'm Currently Reading: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-13 19:00
REVIEW: Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology by Terrible Ten
Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology - Dyrk Ashton,Steven Kelliher,Timandra Whitecastle,Alec Hutson,Benedict Patrick,Bryce O'Connor,David Benem,Phil Tucker,Mike Shel,Ben Galley,Grace Greylock Niles,Laura Hughes,Jeffrey C. Hall,Michele Ashman Bell,Michael Miller

I was invited by Steven Kelliher to participate in a group read of Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology by, Terrible Ten. Having read Steven's work, I agreed. I'm glad I did. This is a great anthology with each story having its own style of fantasy. I rated each book separately. 

No Fairy Tale by Ben Galley - ****
And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick - ****
A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher - ****
Barrowlands by Mike Shel - *****
Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle - **
Paternus by Dyrk Ashton - ***
I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes - **
The Huntress by Michael R. Miller - ****
The Prisoner by Phil Tucker - *****
A Simple Thing by Bryce O'Connor - *****
Palesword by T L Greylock - *****
Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall - ****
Black Barge by J. P. Ashman - ****
Making a Killing by David Benem - *****
The First Thread by Alec Hutson - *****

Overall, I give this anthology a 4.06 = 4 on Booklikes.


Bought on Amazon.

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review 2018-03-13 06:13
Tempting Luck Anthology
Tempting Luck Anthology - Bethany Lopez,Rachelle Ayala


Count on Ms. Ayala to make the eccentricities of life fun. Liam is a story about legends and new beginnings. Marisa made her first appearance in Carol and Nick's journey into love. This time around she finds herself on her own quest for happiness. A foreign land, a crazy opportunity and an out of work actor take her life of cloudy days into what could be a sunny life. If she can relax her mind and follow her heart. Romance, Ayala style is full of wacky moments but never light on heartwarming entertainment.


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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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review 2018-02-19 00:00
Heart2Heart: A Charity Anthology
Heart2Heart: A Charity Anthology - Jeffrey Archer,Chris Owen,William Sloane Kennedy,Alison Hendricks,Lily Morton,Poppy Dennison,Lucy Lennox,Charlie Cochet,A.E. Wasp,Hailey Turner,Ruthie Luhnow,Leslie Copeland Overall rating 4.5 rounded up to 5 Stars

The Magician and the Mortician 5 Stars
A.E. Wasp is one of my favorite authors and in this story she once again hits a grand slam!

The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer by Allison Hendricks 4.5 Stars
Coincidentally the book I just finished before this one was my first Allison Hendricks read. I really loved that one and feel the same way about this short story. Have to admit at the beginning I was kinda wondering how this pairing would work... but it did and very well!

The Assassin and the Dog Walker by Charlie Cochet 4.75 Stars
Prior to this story the only ones by Ms. Cochet that I had read were her North Pole City Tales, which I loved to death. This story is very different theme wise however it still has the amazing heart and incredible story-telling the other had. She had me by my heart and balls throughout this short story and the payoff at the end was awesome!

The Criminal and the Sommelier by Chris Owen 3 Stars
This is my least favorite story thus far... I thought that the chemistry between the 2 MCs was great and the story itself was very interesting. The deal breaker for me was how quickly Phillipe tossed out his issues with Angelo breaking the law so easily and quickly as if just becausae Angelo was sweet and charming that made him being a thief ok.

The Superhero and the NSA Agent by Hailey Turner 5 Stars
First time read of this author... gonna read a lot more of her work! This story was awesome! The verbal banter between the 2 MCs when they meet in the Emergency Room at Harbor/UCLA was so hot it was practically a sex scene. What they got up to after going back to Shane's condo makes this story the hottest thus far in this collection!

The Tattoo Artist and the Writer by Lily Morton 5 Stars
Another new author for me and another reallly awesome story. This one definitely had it scorching moments, but it gets the 5 stars for being the sweetest, most tender and most tear-inducing story. Noah and Sage are incredible!

The Uber Driver and The Phone Sex Operator by Lucy Lennox 4.5 Stars
Lucy Lennox is one of my top 5 fav gay romance authors so I had high expectations for this story. She certainly met and exceeded them! Travis and Azrael were so awesome and so very real. The sweetness and tenderness of this story made me feel all snuggley. And the hot parts... I'll just say they worked just as well!

The Baker and The Seal by May Archer 4.5 Stars
First time reading something by this author... not the last. This was likely the shortest work in the anthology but have to give kudos to her because it was also one of the best. Good things definitely can come in small packages!

The Event Planner and the Electrician by Poppy Dennison 4 Stars
First time to read something by Ms. Dennison, this was good as far as it went but I think it really needed to be just a bit longer to truely feel like a complete story. I liked the 2 MC's a lot, especially Harvey.

The Lawyer and the Lobsterman by Ruthie Luhnow 4 Stars
Sexy and sweet, but too short. So much potential here for exploration. I loved what there was of it. I am confused a bit cuz I would have thought that all authors participating in this would have been asked for approxiamately the same length to there stories. Yet some were much longer than others.

The Florist and The Lawyer by Sloane Kennedy 5 Stars
This is one of my most favorite stories in this anthology. It is sweet, tender and tear-inducing. I loved, loved, loved it!

Setup and Aftermath by ??? 4.5 stars
Really loved these sweet and sexy bookends of the anthology, whoever wrote this did a great job!
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