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review 2020-01-04 16:11
Smoke And Dagger
Smoke and Dagger: A SPECTRA Files Prequel - Douglas Wynne,Thomas Fitzsimmons

I haven't read the SPECTRA files novels, to which Smoke and Dagger was a prequel, but I liked the cover so I wanted to give this book a try even though I had no clue what to expect.

It set immediately after WW2 and as such there is a lot of talk about communists and other un-American activities. The main character is the first woman allowed into some kind of Freemason organization and send to investigate a character from another organization, because he likes redheads. There is a lot of talk of the occult and an endless supply of arcane occult artifacts, be it daggers, mirrors or otherwise. Thrown into the mix also is a secret organization investigation the paranormal which is so secret, even its own members don't know what the acronym stands for.

While it was in fact an easy and not unpleasant read, I found the pacing a bit odd at times and I missed something that could give it that little bit extra. I only found out in the acknowledgements that this story is set some generations before the main series, but for now I'm undecided whether to continue with the main series.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2019-07-30 18:45
SMOKE & DAGGER: A SPECTRA FILES PREQUEL by Douglas Wynne
Smoke and Dagger: A SPECTRA Files Prequel - Douglas Wynne,Thomas Fitzsimmons

 

THE SPECTRA FILES books have all been a pleasure to read. Now with SMOKE & DAGGER, we get a peek behind the scenes at the beginning of it all. What fun!

 

In New York City, feeling far from her seaside home in Massachusetts, Catherine Littlefield haunts the local museums when she's not studying for her college courses. She especially likes to sit and gaze at a certain meteorite. It gives off some kind of...signal, a kind of...hum, which she can actually feel. She notices an elderly gentleman, often on the bench opposite from where she sits, and she wonders if he feels it too. Soon the two meet, one thing leads to another, and then she's working for the man and off to California to investigate! There are reports of black magic, sex magic, spells and singing-all with the intent of bringing through the Old Gods. Who are the people so devoted to doing this? What and who exactly, are the Old Gods? Lastly, will this group be successful? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I loved the trilogy of SPECTRA FILES books, and thought the author was finished with those tales, until I saw the beautiful cover of this book on Twitter. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but there are a number of lovely illustrations inside, though many of them are of monsters and the Old Gods themselves. Some are renditions of ancient spells and chants from grimoires devoted to the black arts. These illustrations added another level of "cool" to this tale. (I'd love to see this book come out in a signed/limited edition including the drawings.)

 

I've come to expect a level of satisfaction from Douglas Wynne when it comes to his SPECTRA FILES books. They combine Lovecraftian type story telling, (dark, ominous and atmospheric), without the flowery language, racism and other distasteful portions of Lovecraft's actual writing. What I really love about Wynne's work though, is his characters. They are always so devoted to protecting the world from the Old Gods all while being unable to claim the credit for doing so. In this book, however, things are a little different. I wasn't sure about Catherine Littlefield's inner motivations, and it was her adventure that kept my eyes glued to the page. I'd love to read more about her in the future, and more about the Order to which she was initiated. In short, I just want more!

 

You do not need to have read the trilogy in order to appreciate SMOKE & DAGGER, though I recommend you do anyway, because...FUN. This volume can stand alone, tickling your sense of adventure and your curiosity. Combining those things with a brave, admirable heroine, and some Old Gods action, I just cannot see how you wouldn't have a good time!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Available everywhere August 20th; you can pre-order here: SMOKE & DAGGER

 

*Thanks to Douglas Wynne for the beautiful paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

**Also, thank you, sir, for the wonderful inscription that made me both blush and smile.**

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text 2019-07-24 03:40
Booklikes-opoly Roll! (Finally)
Smoke and Dagger: A SPECTRA Files Prequel - Douglas Wynne,Thomas Fitzsimmons

It's been another chaotic weekend here at CHC, but I finally finished THE LAST ASTRONAUT, so I'm ready to roll. But first, a quick bank update:

+$5.00 (400 pages), brings me to $83.00. Since I'm on space 36, I will have to pass GO, so another $5.00 for that, so $88.00 it is!

 

You rolled 2 dice:

4 5

Timestamp: 2019-07-24 02:06:05 UTC

 

 

Wherein I arrive at 8:

 

 

 

I'm racing around to spot 33:

 

And my choice is:

 

 

Smoke and Dagger: A SPECTRA Files Prequel - Douglas Wynne,Mat Fitzsimmons 

 

 

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text 2017-11-02 22:45
October 2017 Round Up!
Cthulhu Blues (Spectra Files) - Douglas Wynne
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
Halloween Carnival Volume 4 - Kealan Patrick Burke,C.A. Suleiman,Ray Garton,Brian James Freeman,Bev Vincent
Coraline - Neil Gaiman,Dave McKean
The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels - Joe Hill
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey
Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever - Tom Neely
Halloween Carnival Volume 5 - Lisa Tuttle,Kevin Quigley,Norman Prentiss,Richard Chizmar,Brian James Freeman

 

October was a crazy month here at the Horror Corner! 

 

The most important, (and beautiful thing), was that my lovely niece married her best friend of 20+ years. The ceremony was wonderful and the reception a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Then, two weeks after that was the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival!

You can find my post about that HERE.

 

Here's a photo of myself with Rio Youers. Isn't he the cutest? He's also extremely gracious and very funny. 

 

All of this is why I only read 10 books this month! 

 

Graphic Novels: Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever by Tom Neely and friends.

 

Total: 1

 

Audio Books:

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 

Coraline written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

 

Total: 3

 

ARCS:

 

Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne

Halloween Carnival: Volume 4

Halloween Carnival: Volume 5

The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

 

Total: 6

 

 

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!)

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

 

Running Count: 35! Challenge Met!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-03 18:44
Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne
Cthulhu Blues (Spectra Files) - Douglas Wynne

 

Cthulhu Blues is the third and final book of the SPECTRA FILES trilogy. I'm sad to see the series end! 

 

In this volume, Becca Phillips is in the hospital trying to find a way to get some sleep. While being monitored overnight, Becca begins to sing, while asleep, and weird things begin to happen-not the least of which is the mirror in her room coming alive with... something. Something from the other side?

 

Jason Brooks, Becca's friend and colleague is still around, and working for SPECTRA, albeit under a new director, when he hears about Becca. He also discovers that a few children have been singing while asleep as well, and now those children are disappearing, one by one. He invites Becca to stay at his house, (turns out he's having trouble sleeping too), and together they begin work on the mystery of the song. They work together, that is, until Becca filches an important artifact from the SPECTRA stores, and joins the missing children to sing WITH them. What will come through, if the chorus is allowed to continue until completion? What will happen to the earth and all of mankind as a result? You will have to read this to find out!

 

It would be hard to pick up this volume without knowing what happened in the first two, but it's not impossible. (However, I recommend reading the first two because they're creative and a lot of fun!) I have developed quite a liking for both Becca and Jason over the last 2 years as their stories have unfolded. Neither of them are perfect people; they are dealing with PTSD, sleep disturbances and all kinds of other problems that make them come across as more real to me. Even Becca's dog, Django, has a place in my heart. SPECTRA itself is an interesting entity, being the group that helps keep cosmic horrors out of our realm. 

 

Speaking of which, there is no shortage of imaginative cosmic horror here. There are all kinds of Lovecraftian creatures and there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to give up everything, even their lives, to help them take over. 

 

The last entry in this trilogy delivers on the great storytelling that took place in the first two. I have no problem recommending it, or all of the books, really. They're innovative, full of engaging characters, and fascinating monsters. They're everything a horror lover could ask for! 

 

 

You can get your copy here: Cthulhu Blues

 

*I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

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