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review 2018-11-19 18:26
Kilty As Charged by Amy Vansant
Kilty As Charged - Amy Vansant

I read this book for my local reading group. There are seven of us. Three of us finished this book and none of us are reading the sequel.

Now I’ll be fair here. This is a book featuring a time-travelling, kilt wearing Scottish Highlander who says things like, “Dinnae ye want to see mah wizard’s wand?”and I bored of these suckers about a decade ago. I didn’t have good thoughts going in but once I was in I decided to stick with it because it was only mildly irritating and, at times, slightly entertaining and I thought I was going to have to converse about its plot intricacies or lack thereof (turns out the other 2 had nothing at all to say).

Catriona is a “fixer” for wealthy movie people. She’s used to dealing with odd requests and weirdos so when she discovers a man wearing a kilt on set, with nothing on underneath, she gives that naked bum a smack to get it and his “twigs and berries”moving. 

Well, wouldn’t you?

Catriona thinks, “She made it a point to know everyone on the lot who was someone. This guy was no one.”

Ugh.

Turns out he isn’t your average, everyday nobody, of course. He’s a time-travelling Scottish mercenary and they have an adventure to go on. Or something like that.

There is a lot of time spent ogling his bod but there’s some other stuff happening too. Just don’t ask me what it is because I read this last week and the details have already fled in terror from my head. I do remember that there is a villain and his two inept sidekicks who belong in a remake of Home Alone instead of inside a novel written in 2016. 

To wrap this up, silliness happens, sexual encounters almost happen, and they insult each other and pretend they don’t find each other attractive and there’s tons of awkward dialogue there to stumble over. I honestly believe that I am too grouchy for this book. I am totally, 100% the wrong audience and will not deny that. I found it contrived and not funny. I think it tried way too hard to be cutesy and ended up annoying the heck out of me. But even more annoying was the fact that NONE of my questions were answered when I turned the last page because there is a sequel. There is no real character depth or relationship development either but if you’re looking for a read so light and free of substance that it may fly away, this might be the thing for you.

 

But don't trust me as the final word. Apparently, I am in the minority, as usual.

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review 2018-11-14 19:51
Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz, Narrated by Matt Godfrey Review
Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road - Jonathan Janz,Matt Godfrey

This unabridged audio contains two excellent connected stories of demonic possession. One is a novella that sets the scene for the novel to follow. You’ll want to read/listen to them back to back because they’re both horrifyingly hard to put down.

EXORCIST ROAD sets everything up and is a pretty complete story on its own about a young teen being savaged by a demon and who is suspected of being a murderer. Is it all an act or is a true case of demon possession? Two priests are called in to investigate and perform an exorcism. The younger, inexperienced priest discovers some horrifying secrets about the family and nearly everyone soon becomes a suspect in the Sweet Sixteen Killings.

EXORCIST FALLS continues the story of the young priest who has been shaken but not destroyed by all he has experienced. He is now very haunted and conflicted but I can’t tell you why. The search for the Sweet Sixteen Killer continues and it’s pretty much non-stop action from here on out. There’s a little side of lust and a budding romance brought over from EXORCIST ROAD that I felt completely out of place in both storylines considering the trauma the woman recently experienced. Her character is woefully underdeveloped which probably explains my disbelief of her “romance” storyline. The last thing I’d be looking for after all of that was some love from a new guy. The reader is continually told that she is amazing but I didn’t feel her amazingness was ever shown which is kind of a shame. All of the men are very well developed though and she’s a bit player so it’s a minor nitpick, really. I loved the Jason Crowder character so much. A tormented priest with a horrible backstory and a demon ready to exploit all of his human weaknesses? Yep, you’ve got my attention.

Both stories are pitch black and ghoulish and very graphic. Terrible things are said and terrible deeds are done and I loved it but it may not be for everyone as the scenes are so realistically described you can pretty much picture it all going on very clearly. Maybe a little too clearly in some cases!

I can easily recommend the audiobook narrated by Matt Godfrey who has such a down to earth, calming voice he makes even the evilest of deeds go down a little easier. He does an excellent sinister demon voice too! Don’t miss it if you love this kind of story. 

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review 2018-11-13 19:59
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was my first reading of this classic tale of dark secrets written in 1872. 1872?! That fact stuns me after finally giving this a novella read. There is a quite a surprising amount of sexuality for such an ancient tome or did the world get ever more prudish as the years went by? There were lesbian kisses and touches and I think I even detected a wee bit of some non-consensual touchy-feely too! But, man, is it ever flowery in its telling.  The purple prose is oh-so-strong but it really does throw one back in time and allow the atmosphere to drip off the page so I’m not complaining. Just prepare yourself for some unrestrained writing. There are trembling embraces and languid and burning eyes and so much more to behold here.

 

Basically this a story about a sheltered young lady whose father takes in a strange, beautiful young lady named Carmilla  after her mother inexplicably leaves her for three months to take care of some business or another. Carmilla is ailing from what appears to me to be nothing more than a case of the vapors but mom dashes off anyway, saying she cannot take the poor ailing thing along with her. Hmmm, I don’t know about the rest of you but that would make me mighty suspicious!

 

Carmilla is ailing from something a bit more sinister than the vapors and mom’s dump and drop makes a lot of sense when everything is eventually revealed. I won’t reveal the whole thing because it’s short and I think you should read it for yourself. Just know that it was enjoyable and beautifully atmospheric and if you’re a fan of Dracula and all of his offspring and offshoots, you should give this a read.

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review 2018-11-07 18:39
Flight or Fright
Flight or Fright - Stephen King, Arthur Conan Doyle,Richard Matheson,Dan Simmons

I listened to the unabridged audiobook. I have to thank my library and Overdrive for saving me some cash, especially since too many of the stories here were a little meh for my liking.

This anthology features stories about the fear of flying and the terrible things the imagination and reality can cook up to speed up your demise. If you’re afraid of flying, this book isn’t going to help you out with that. There are coffins in the back and monsters on the wing!

I’m not going to go into the details of every story because I will lose the will to live and if you want to read this there is no point in me ruining it for you. I didn’t take notes because sometimes you just want to listen to a book without turning it into a homework assignment. Sorry. Sometimes you get a real review from me, other times you get this. There’s a decent mix here of old decrepit stories and newer ones. Many of them I had read already read so, yeah, glad I didn’t spend money on this. All of the writers are males because women aren’t afraid of flying, I guess. We are built of sterner stuff, lol. Anyhow, the results are mixed. 

Stephen King writes a kick butt introduction, as always and his story here is one of the better ones. I only wish it had been a wee bit longer because I’m greedy. Still, that man knows how to write a short story. Now on to (some of) the others. CARGO starts things off and it is a good creeping dread tale but was so based in reality that it was more sad than scary for me, especially having just seen the Jonestown documentary. Then there’s NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET. You know that story made famous by Captain Kirk and that creepy-ass Twilight Zone episode? Yep, this is the source material and, because I was a creepy kid, I watched it a million times growing up so I knew how it all went down. One of the stories here had tentacles but don’t ask me which one because my brain is full. The tentacles were a nice little bonus in an otherwise bland story. Joe Hill’s contribution was a frightening read because, well, it could happen! It could happen any damned, cursed moment. You’ll know what I mean when you read it and especially if you live in the USA. There’s a tale about a dude who finds a time travelling ring and can’t keep his murderous hands to himself. He totally gets what is coming to him and what’s coming to him isn’t pleasant! I think I enjoyed DIABLITOS the most. It’s a sinister little tale about a guy who steals something from the wrong lady. The ending completely caught me off guard and created an image in my head that still lingers. Loved it. I also thought AIR RAID was fantastic and nailed the whole Twilight Zone vibe. MURDER IN THE AIR was a decent little murder mystery but not at all a horror story.

The problem with this collection is that many of the stories weren’t all that interesting to me personally. There are so very many boring war time stories and those don’t do it for me. Most are incredibly depressing or about guys agonizing about imminent death and I didn’t find them very gripping. In fact, my thoughts while listening to many of these stories wasn’t one of sympathy but more along the lines of “stop your whining and embrace your fate”. But I’m a jerk like that

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review 2018-11-05 19:33
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
The Last Time I Lied - Riley Sager

Hmmm, I have to say that this book was a wee bit disappointing. The reviews are stellar, for the most part, and my hopes were high but all I can summon up when I try to write a review is “meh”.


I guess I’m broken again. Or maybe I’ve read too many of these but, boo hoo hoo, I was hoping for something sinister, something blacker and meaner than what was written upon all of these pages. I also guessed the present day villain and I am not at all good at this game, trust me. The past one got me though so points for that.

 

Three friends go missing at a summer camp and the surviving girl, Emma, carries the burden of surviving and also of pointing the finger of guilt at her first love Theo. The camp is closed for obvious reasons but fifteen years later Emma is contacted by the owner and asked to return for reasons that make NO SENSE to me but don’t think about that because I am a nitpicker and without those lame reasons there would be no book.

 

Alas, Theo returns too and he is as handsome as ever so there’s some lusting and confusion going on there as Emma attempts to determine exactly what the heck happened to her camp friends so many years earlier and Theo isn’t entirely in the clear.
This book was too damned long for its own good. It seemed to go on forever. There was so much mean girl drama that even I got tired of it and I always enjoy some mean girl dramatics. I think it boils down to the fact that I didn’t find Emma very interesting, sympathetic or engaging so thusly the mystery of it all wasn’t enough to hold my attention.

 

I think I need to rewatch Sleepaway Camp to put the good, gory, summer camp vibes back in my head.

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