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review 2017-12-11 12:45
The Listener by Robert McCammon
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

What a great story this is! Set in the American south during the Great Depression, The Listener is a unique tale. Starting with a man we'll call Pearly and ending with the opening of a free clinic, Robert McCammon sucked me in as he always does and now I have another book to add to my All Time Favorites shelf!

 

With a young black man as the protagonist and a few visits to characters we've met in the past, (I want to say so much more about them, but I can't spoil the surprise for you!),

I wasn't sure for the longest time where this story was going. But when Pearly meets Ginger LaFrance, and joins her cold quest for riches, I knew I was in for the long haul.

 

Not since the book MINE, has Robert McCammon created such a cunning female villain. Crafty and OH SO cold, Ginger is capable of anything. When she concocts her evil plan with Pearly as her back up, you just know it's not going to go well. And when another of her family members joins their crew, you cannot help but feel that it was a mistake on  Ginger's part. You also hope that Ginger doesn't succeed. 

 

At a certain point in The Listener, you just have to hold on for dear life because this tale races to the denouement and you HAVE to know what happens. I recommend shutting yourself in a room for the last 50 pages so you can read it without being bothered. Trust me on this! You will be rewarded with an ending so poignant, yet so perfect and totally satisfying that you might find yourself with a tear in your eye. Not saying that happened to me, (it TOTALLY happened to me), but you know, prepare yourself. Perfection in an ending is so rare, but I think McCammon achieved it here. 

 

The only bad thing about getting an ARC, (and in this case it's a REAL ARC, that I can hold and hug tight to my chest, not that I did that), is that there isn't anyone to talk to about this story. I can't wait for you to read it so we can talk about Curtis and Pearly and good old Nilla. 

 

In February when it's released, I hope you will remember my words here today and hop on the opportunity to read The Listener. Please come and share your thoughts with me when you're done. I hope that Curtis invades your mind space as he has invaded mine, and we can talk about how much we both love him. Or perhaps we can talk about THAT character that was such a memorable part of another GREAT, (maybe the best?) Robert McCammon book, and how much we loved seeing them again? I sure do hope that we can, my fellow readers. I sure do hope we can.

 

The Listener has earned my highest recommendation!

 

*Thanks to Cemetery Dance for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-12-05 22:30
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, narrated by Penelope Rawlins
Talulla Rising - Penelope Rawlins,Glen Duncan

 

When I was listening to THE LAST WEREWOLF, I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series. I liked the bloodiness of it, and I enjoyed the world building, but was less than thrilled with the tons of graphic sex going on.

EAT, FUCK, KILL is the werewolf mantra.

(spoiler show)

 

However, there was such a great hook at the end of the narrative AND the library had the audio of this one in stock, and here we are!

 

Right now, I feel the same way as I did when I finished the first book in the series. Here there were many surprises, (maybe too many to be believed, but hey-it's a werewolf book), and a good amount of action. However, I didn't feel that the quality of the writing was quite as good as THE LAST WEREWOLF.

 

Once again, close to the end, there is another surprising tidbit that makes me want to continue on with the series. This time, though, I'm going to read a few books in between, and then see if I still feel like continuing.

 

*I checked this audio out from my local library for FREE. LIBRARIES RULE!*

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text 2017-12-04 22:33
November 2017 Round up!
The Devoured - Jason Sprenger,Curtis M. Lawson,Curtis M. Lawson
Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson
Deadbomb Bingo Ray - Jeff Johnson
The Travelling Grave and Other Stories - L.P. Hartley,John Howard Reid
Room - Emma Donoghue
Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains
Childgrave - Ken Greenhall
The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror - Eric C. Higgs
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

I read 12 books during the month of November!

 

Audio books:

 

The Devoured by Curtis Lawson

Room by Emma Donohue

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS:

 

Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson

The Traveling Grave and Other Stories  by L.P. Hartley

Childgrave by Ken Greenhall

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror by Eric Higgs

The Listener by Robert McCammon

 

Total: 5

 

Reads for Review:

 

Sweet Aswang by Anthony Hains

Red Room Magazine Issue One

 

Total: 2

 

Random Reads:

 

Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson

 

Total: 1

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley

September: 1  Carter & Lovecraft

October: 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)

November: 0

Running Count: 7

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

August count: 5

September: 1

October: 1

November: 0

 

Running Count: 35!

Challenge Met!

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review 2017-12-04 18:45
Alive in Shape and Color, edited by Lawrence Block
Alive in Shape and Color: 16 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired - Lawrence Block

 

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this collection as much as I did last year's: IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW, which contained stories centered around the art of Edward Hopper. This time around, the authors got to choose whichever artist/painting they liked, upon which to base their stories.

 

If you had to guess which artist upon whom Michael Connolly based his story, it would be easy for anyone familiar with his work to do so. For those of you who are not familiar with Connolly's fictional detective Harry Bosch, his name comes from the painter Hieronymous Bosch, and this story was inspired by Bosch's work "The Garden of Earthly Delights," (the third panel). This was my favorite story within-short, sharp and packing a punch.

 

Jeffrey Deaver also impressed me with his story inspired by prehistoric cave drawings at Lascaux. This clever little revenge tale takes place in the present and perhaps captures the intricacies and competition within the world of archaeology.

 

S.J. Rozan's story was inspired by "The Great Wave" by Hokusai. I was not previously familiar with Rozan or Hokusai, but now I feel compelled to learn more about them both. This tale was another gut puncher, but somehow I finished it feeling satisfied and happy for the protagonist.

 

The Great Wave by Hokusai

 

Lastly, Joe Lansdale's tale was inspired by Norman Rockwell's "First Trip to the Beauty Shop." Even though the painting is perky and cute, the story is definitely not. It was sad, poignant, and scary-all at the same time. I enjoyed the heck out of it. 

 

 

All told, that's 4 stories that impressed me a great deal. That's pretty good for any old anthology, but I expected so much more from this one, based on my experience with IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW. Perhaps it was a case of being disappointed by my own high expectations, or perhaps it's just that these tales didn't work as well for me as they did for other people. Whatever the case, I'm glad I read this anthology, otherwise I would have been wondering what I had missed.

 

Recommended!

 

Alive in Shape and Color

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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text 2017-12-04 18:15
Task for Square 15: Boxing Day-

 

Bamma in a Box!

 

 

Updated Bingo Card!

 

 

Bonus Point for Melbourne Cup +1

1 point: Epitaph (square 1) Woman in Black
2 points for squares 6+9 (Childgrave and Deadbomb Bingo Ray)
1 points for squares 2 (Bon Om Touk)
1 for square 4 Thanksgiving Day (Things for which I'm grateful)

1 point for playing the Dreidel Game 

1 point for square 15: Boxing Day

Running Total: 8 points

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