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review 2018-07-16 18:45
HOPE NEVER DIES (AN OBAMA/BIDEN MYSTERY) by Andrew Shaffer
Hope Never Dies - Andrew Shaffer

 

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to have it! Thanks to NetGalley and to Quirk Books for granting my wish.

 

Andrew Shaffer takes the former leader of the free world, joins him back up with Joe Biden, and together they work on a mystery. Amtrak Joe lost a friend, an engineer on the train that he rode nearly every day before he before he became Vice President. (This story is told from Joe's point of view.) After discovering a few unsavory facts about his friend and discovering a few things about himself, he teams up with former best friend Barack Obama, and together they set about learning what happened. Will the two solve the mystery of the Amtrak engineer? Will they continue to be friends after this case is over? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I'll admit here and now that I was and am a big fan of both of these men. It's because I miss them and because the cover made me laugh that I requested this book. HOPE NEVER DIES doesn't get into politics much and I appreciated that. (I did enough comparisons between these two and our current administration in my head, I didn't need anything more spelled out.) I have no way of knowing how close this book comes to the real personalities of these two, and you know what? I don't care! It was a fun and entertaining story and that's all that I was looking for.

 

That said, I had only one big issue and it's likely mine and mine alone. I know that Joe Biden loves cars, (well Corvettes at least for sure.) So do I, and I've worked with them in some capacity my entire adult life. With that in mind, I couldn't understand why a lot of the vehicles referenced in this novel were referred to incorrectly. Ford does not make Impalas. I'm pretty sure Plymouth didn't make Firebirds either. (They made Thunderbirds and Superbirds- Firebirds were all Pontiac.) I did receive an ARC of this book, so perhaps those things were tidied up before publication? Even if not, most people probably wouldn't even notice.

 

Other than that, HOPE NEVER DIES was a lot of fun. It's not going to break any literary records or anything, but as a humorous detective story featuring two of my favorite politicians, it certainly fit the bill! I recommend it to anyone who thinks this premise is fun!

 

*Thanks to Quirk Books and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-07-13 18:30
THE SHINING by Stephen King, narrated by Campbell Scott
The Shining [UNABRIDGED ON 14 CDS] (Audiobook) - Stephen King -- Narrated by: Campbell Scott

 

This was a re-read via the audiobook, narrated by Campbell Scott. He is FANTASTIC!

 

I loved every minute of this audio and highly recommend it, even if you've already read the book or seen the movie.

 

*I obtained this audio through my local library. Libraries RULE!*

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review 2018-07-11 18:45
THE MOORE HOUSE by Tony Tremblay
The Moore House - Tony Tremblay

 

When I read Tony Tremblay's THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES, I knew that I had discovered a very special author. THE MOORE HOUSE only serves to prove that I was right!

 

In Goffstown, New Hampshire there stands a house-a house with a history. After a particularly gruesome occurrence there, Father MacLeod and his team of 3 excommunicated nuns, (specialists in identifying demonic possessions), are called in to evaluate the home. They came, did their thing, and it looked like the house was fine. But after Father MacLeod left, the door of the Moore House opened on its own and soon? What the house really is becomes clear to them all. Will they escape the machinations of the house? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This story has a distinct New England feel to it that I recognized instantly. I don't know how to explain it unless you live here. It's the perfect setting for stories like this and Mr. Tremblay takes full advantage of the location. (The fact that many character names used are actually those of New England dark fiction writers also contributed to that feel.)

 

The characters here are all very real. You might think because 3 of the main characters are nuns, (albeit excommunicated nuns), they would all be boring or perfect. That is not the case. Each and every character here, priest included, are altogether human-with all the faults and foibles that go along with that. This fact lent the story a credible feel, which made all of the demonic things even more easy to believe. Not every author can pull this off, but Mr. Tremblay does- and he does it with style.

 

The only problem I had with this tale, and it's a slight one, was the overuse of the phrase "pawnshop owner", or some variation thereof. That's it!

 

The story surprised me in the fact that it's not your typical haunted house tale. It's a story of demonic possession, more than one in fact, which I thought was unique. The level of tension fairly hummed throughout and I had a hard time putting it down. With short chapters and lots of action, this book flew by and I was sorry when it was over.

 

THE MOORE HOUSE is definitely worth your time. To recap: we have demons, we have layered characters that are realistic, we have a cool house with a history and we have the age old fight against evil. What more can you ask for from an excellent dark fiction writer? Nothing!

 

Highly recommended for fans of haunted house tales and/or demonic possession stories! Available for pre-order here: THE MOORE HOUSE

 

*I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Tony Tremblay to be a friend in real life, but this did not affect the honesty or content of my review.*

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review 2018-07-08 15:37
GIVE ME YOUR HAND by Megan Abbott
Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott

At 1:30 Saturday morning, I finished reading GIVE ME YOUR HAND. It was worth every one of those late minutes!

 

Kit Owens and Diane Fleming are not your normal teen girls. (I'm not sure if Megan Abbott has written any stories about normal teen girls, come to think of it.) They are good students and they both jog. They push each other to be better runners and they both come to realize that they want to be scientists. Every since the beautiful and mysterious Dr. Severin came to their school to talk about her lab work and what it meant to perform studies and to do research, they both dedicate themselves to their goal. Then Diane shares a dark secret with Kit, one that Kit can't get out of her mind-one that's eating her alive. But eventually Kit gets past it and they both graduate and move on with their separate lives.

 

Fast forward a number of years and Kit has achieved her goal. She works in Dr. Severin's lab and is vying for an important spot on a team studying PMDD, a horrible offshoot of PMS that causes all kinds of problems for women. She's almost certain to obtain that rare position-that is until she's told that Diane Fleming is also vying for the same spot. How will Diane's return affect Kit? Who will get those valuable positions on Dr. Severin's team? What about the secret they both share, how will it affect them now that they are together again? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Megan Abbott's writing is pure gold and this book is no different. Inside the warped minds of teenage girls and then again inside their heads as women, she nails it. Not only that, she unflinchingly depicts what it's like for women in the mostly man's world of scientific academia. With fierce competition at hand these men are respectful...until they're not. As a woman in a mostly man's world, (just cars, nothing hoity toity like science), I could identify with these women and what they went through. In the end though, a scientific world and some chauvinistic attitudes are only a small part of this twisted tale.

 

I felt that the pacing of this story was fast and I had a difficult time pulling away from it. Just when I thought I'd read one more chapter something else would happen and I was compelled to read on. This is my favorite Megan Abbott book so far, (though I still have a few to read yet), and it was partially because I'm a super fan of the THEN and NOW format and it worked beautifully here. It helped build the tension and suspense and just kept me going on. And on. And on...until the stunning denouement that floored me. Floored me, I say!

 

GIVE ME YOUR HAND was an excellent mystery/thriller/suspense novel full of interesting and mysterious characters and it was a BLAST! I highly recommend it!

 

Available everywhere on July 17th, but you can pre-order your copy here: GIVE ME YOUR HAND

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-07-06 18:30
WHITE DEATH by Christine Morgan, narrated by Matt Godfrey
White Death - Christine Morgan,Matt Godfrey

WHITE DEATH is the first book I've read from Christine Morgan and it was a winner!

 

Set during the Great Blizzard of 1888, it's apparent that Ms. Morgan has done her research. Set in the small town of Far Enough, Montana, this novel depicts what it was like for the inhabitants in a time when there were no weather forecasts, or warnings of any kind, before a storm.

 

At the same time, the author also weaves in some native American folklore in the form of a Wanageeska. In fact, it's the crossing of this creature that sets everything else off. I loved the characters in Far Enough, Montana, except for for the founder of the town, who deserved everything that happened.

 

The only problem I had was the large cast of characters, which are easier to follow on paper, than in audio. (I did find that jotting down notes on everyone helped quite a bit.) I thought the writing here was above average and detailed-if you ever want to know exactly what it feels like to have frostbite, or to debride the skin around your eyes trying to remove ice, than this is the book for you!

 

My only problem was that I didn't feel I got to know as many of the characters as I would have liked. However if I had, the book probably would have been much longer and the pacing slower. Perhaps a slightly smaller cast would have worked better and we could have become more familiar with people like Emma the schoolteacher, and a few others.

 

I listened to the audio of this story, narrated by the always excellent Matt Godfrey. In regards to excellence in audio, he never fails.

 

WHITE DEATH was entertaining and informative and caused me to want to learn more about the Great Blizzard of 1888. It was also quite a bit of fun where the Wanageeska was concerned and I would like to know more about that creature as well. Overall, it was a great time listening to WHITE DEATH and I definitely recommend it!

 

 

You can get your copy here: WHITE DEATH

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the Audible copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Matt to be my friend, even though we've never met, but this did not affect the honesty of my review.*

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