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review 2019-06-14 20:38
The Bad Seed ★★★★☆
The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic - William March

OK, I'm going to review this book in a minute, but first I need to tell y'all about the shop I found this book in. 

 

Last month, my mother and sisters and I got together and made a day trip into Brenham, home of The Best Little Creamery in Texas. They have a cute little downtown full of antique and junk shops and a great sandwich/pie shop called Must Be Heaven. Well, lo and behold, what did I spy across the street but a used book shop called The Book Nook. So, stuffed with sawdust pie and coffee, I toddled over to the book shop to check it out.

 

And had to be dragged out by my mother, eventually, but not before I spent some serious money. I could live in a bookshop like this. They even have a romantic little reading nook to settle in on. 

The pictures I took don't do it justice, though. Check it out, especially their Fantasy/Sci-Fi room with the Millennium Falcon rug!

 

Now, about the book: 

 

I had, of course, seen the 1956 movie, but had never realized that it was an adaptation of a novel published two years earlier. It's not unusual for horror movies to have been adapted from some fairly bad books, but I couldn't resist picking this up despite my low expectations. 

 

I suppose the idea of an evil sociopath hiding under the veneer of a polite, neat, well-mannered little girl might have been shockingly novel in 1954, but it's been worn so threadbare in 2019 that I found myself paying more attention to the characters around little Rhoda than the child herself.

 

Not that Rhoda is uninteresting - she's entirely self-aware and surprisingly upfront about her true nature. She wants what she wants and does not tolerate anyone standing in her way. Her imitations of normal childish behavior are so stilted that it's incredible that hardly anyone sees through her. At least, people who are exposed to her long enough eventually conclude that she's a bully and a liar, but none seem willing or able to take the next logical step in connection with the injuries and death that seem to trail in her wake. 

 

The story features a number of characters, all of whom are flawed and unlikeable in some way. Even the most sympathetic character, Rhoda's mother, is weak, whining, and ineffectual,

even when she finally tries to do something about her daughter.

(spoiler show)

 

I don't want to spoil the story beyond what would be impossible to not know about it for anyone who hasn't been living under a rock, so I'll say no more about the characters or plot. But the book is overall well written and interesting, if a bit dragging in places, and well worth the read.

 

Paperback version, with a short foreword by Anna Holmes, reflecting on the story from a modern feminist perspective. 

 

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review 2019-06-12 00:01
Joplin's Ghost ★★★★☆
Joplin's Ghost - Tananarive Due

I had a wildly uneven experience with this book. It has some of the same problems that I have with most novels that try to tell two interconnected stories, one historical, one contemporary. The historical story was easy to fall into, but I kept losing interest during the contemporary timeline. That might be all me, rather than the book, as I have very little interest in 1990's pop music or the lives of fictional 90's pop stars. I was also a little uncomfortable with (the mercifully few) explicit sex scenes and some dubious consent issues. The payoff toward the end was worth persevering for, though, and the prose lifted the story a little.

 

I think it was the audio performance by Lizan Mitchell that really made this book for me - her pace, her voices, her emotion, even the way she changed the whole persona of the narrator based on who's POV is being revealed - were all outstanding.

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review 2019-06-09 18:14
The Parasite ★★★☆☆
The Parasite - Arthur Conan Doyle

The writing is atmospheric and descriptive enough to make this short horror story entertaining, but I might have strained my eyeballs by rolling them so hard through this story of an honorable man whose life and reputation is ruined by the spiteful woman he rejected. Give an ugly woman a little bit of power, and naturally the first thing she does is try to control a man's mind and body, first for love, then for hate. *rolls eyes again*

 

Audiobook, via Librivox. Read by volunteers

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review 2019-06-09 15:57
Thornwood House ★☆☆☆☆
Thornwood House - Anna Romer

This just couldn't catch my interest, but I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I was so annoyed by the initial first person present tense style in the prologue. I thought I could get past it, but for the entirety of the 20 minutes I gave this audio, my mind kept wandering and I found myself both unmoved and uninterested in the story.

 

Audiobook via Audible. DNF after 20 minutes.

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text 2019-05-25 03:41
Friday Featured Spotlight

Friday Featured Spotlight ~ Limabean Designs

 

 

 

 

 

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/05/friday-featured-spotlight-limabean.html
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