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review 2020-04-20 14:44
Fabulous Monsters: Dracula, Alice, Superman, and Other Literary Friends - Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel’s book Fabulous Monsters details those fictional characters that he seems to feel the most for. At times it is a stranger list. There is Phoebe Caulfield for one. But it is an international list and that in of itself is a pleasure. Each character gets his/her own essay. The book, like most of Manguel’s work when he writes about reading is engrossing and great fun.

At times, though, it is very strange and, dare I say, very male.

Manguel’s reading of Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty are bit disturbing, off putting. They are not necessarily wrong. But strange. He takes about the seductive power about Red Riding Hood, and while he is not wrong when he calls her both the seduced and seducer, there is something weird about that expression considering that the version Manguel mostly deals with is the Perrault version, which is really about women and sex. He also does not mention the coda in the Grimm version (I can see Angela Carter rapping his knuckles about that), and so there is a disjointed feeling.
The same is true about his reading of Sleeping Beauty where the rape versions are not mentioned, which is strange because there is a French version. It makes for slightly strange reading.


But his essays about Alice and Gertrude in particular are absolutely wonderful. His take on Alice is great and his opinion of Gertrude is quite amusing. He also gets you to look at Catcher int eh Rye in different way (besides Holden as an ass). He is one of those people who does feel something for Gertrude.

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review 2020-04-15 02:19
The Book of Hidden Things - Francesco Dimitri
The Book of Hidden Things - Francesco Dimitri

I would like to start by pointing out that Elentarri warned me about this book. I didn't listen. Next time I would be wise to listen. I would have listened better if this book had been a little bit more difficult. However, it was a pretty easy read. The writing, while incredibly messed up, wasn't difficult by any stretch of the imagination. 


My life is full of what the f*ck moments. This book was more than a moment. Honestly, I'm not even sure what I read. It was somewhere between a mafia drama and soft core porn. Sure that combination works out on television but when you add in a crazy mf'er who rambles on and on about "Hidden Things", you get something other than cable entertainment. Again, I'm not really sure what I just read. I definitely do not recommend it. I've already sent a text to the local librarian saying that this book should just go away. It's the type of book that's going to offend someone around here. Like bring back out the book burning (burning would be an acceptable fate for this book) brigade type of offense. Ahh....rural, red America. It's a lovely place to raise a family.  I digress. 


If I'm being honest, I'm not surprised this was a bad book. I always tend to get bad books back to back. This means my next read is either going to be epic or another utter disaster. There's no in between. At least I'm consistent.




Read 4/13/2020 - 4/14/2020

Book 26/75




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review 2020-04-14 02:46
The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas
The Flower Reader - Elizabeth Loupas

This book was such a disappointment. I loved Loupas' book, The Red Lily Crown. I loved how she told tales of the de Medici family and brought Renaissance Italy with all its intrigue to life. Someone who did what she did with the de Medici's should have easily handled Mary, Queen of Scots, and all the drama of her Scottish entourage. One would think.


This book was a disaster from the start. Rinette's wedding is forcibly disrupted by a group of Scottish brutes who want to force her marriage to someone else. This starts a theme that will carry throughout the entire novel. ALL Scottish men are brutes. They are savage, bodice-ripping, dagger-carrying, brawling-in-the-streets brutes. The French aren't any nicer but they dress better so the author is a little more forgiving of their actions.


And then there is the one and only Mary, Queen of Scots. She was worse than the brutes. For starters, Loupas' MQoS made Charles VI of France look sane. I recognize that there were actual, legit issues with MQoS. Most biographers suggest she suffered from the same disease attributed to King George III's bouts of madness. Sorry but if Mary is really as awful as Loupas makes her out to be, her bastard half brother actually makes her disappear and puts the crown on his own head. He doesn't waste years fighting with her before fleeing the country. So maybe it's all a little more complicated than that. But is it really? Loupas would have you believe that it's really not. After all, Scotland is overrun with violent, wild men who can't stand being told what to do by any woman no matter what her title is.


Somewhere in all of this, there's a casket (foreshadow alert) containing letters and a mysterious prophecy written by the one and only Nostradamus. These items were property of Mary's mother, Marie of Guise. Rinette is entrusted with this casket and told to deliver it into Mary's hands upon Marie's death. Instead of just handing the casket to Mary as soon has she is off her French boat, Rinette decides she's going to hold on to it. She thinks she's going to bargain with someone she hasn't talked to or seen since they were eight years old. Before she had been Queen of France and Queen of Scotland. Spoiler alert- It doesn't work out very well for Rinette. 


Last issue with this book -

I'm so over authors who spend all kinds of time telling me about their heroines who are strong, brave, and independent women who don't need a man only to have the story ending with a woman who needs a man because she spent the whole book making bad choices. That was a terrible run on sentence. It's exactly how the thought came out of my brain. I'm not apologizing. Just acknowledging. Anyway, if she's (Rinette or Mary. Take your pick.) so smart, why does she continue to make so many bad choices? Both things can't be true. Beyonce has told us as much several time. 


Loupas has one other published work I have on my TBR. It takes the reader back to Italy. I'll probably pick it up only because I loved her last venture into Italy. Maybe it's just Scotland with all of its brutes that's the problem. 


If I were able to get to the library right now, this book would have gone back unfinished. As it is, I cannot get to the library so I might as well read all of the books I have. 



Dates read 4/5/2020 - 4/13/2020

Book 25/75 

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text 2019-08-04 17:25
Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty -- Question for 08/04 (Day 4): Favorites from Halloween Bingos Past?
The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown
White Shell Woman: A Charlie Moon Mystery (Charlie Moon Mysteries) - James D. Doss
Their Lost Daughters - Joy Ellis,Richard Armitage
Cronica de una muerte anunciada - Gabriel García Márquez
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne
The Blackhouse - Peter May
The Ballad of Frankie Silver - Sharyn McCrumb
Men at Arms (Discworld, #15) - Terry Pratchett
The American Boy - Andrew Taylor
The Bride Wore Black - William Irish,Cornell Woolrich

Oh man.  So many! 


Biggest new discoveries:

* Fredric Brown: The Fabulous Clipjoint -- huge thank you to Tigus, who gifted his Ed & Am Hunter omnibus to me.  Where had Brown been all my life until then?

* James D. Doss: Charlie Moon series (via books 6 & 7, White Shell Woman and Grandmother Spider) -- tremendously atmospheric, centers on a Ute policeman (and his best friend, the [white] sheriff of the nearby town, as well as Charlie Moon's aunt, a shaman).

* Joy Ellis: Jackman & Evans series (via book 2, Their Lost Daughters) -- writing so intense it literally took my breath away; set in a suitably wild and lonely corner of Norfolk (and great characters to boot).  Just ... wow!

* Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) -- the deconstruction of an honor killing; an utter and total gut punch in 100 pages.  It had been years since I last read García Márquez, and I am so glad I finally picked this one up.

* Shirley Jackson -- yeah, I know, late to the party and all that, but what can I say ...?

* Peter May -- wonderful writing, really brings the Outer Hebrides (Harris and Lewis Islands) to life; and great crime page turners to boot.

* Sharyn McCrumb: Ballad series ( via books 3 & 5, She Walks These Hills and The Ballad of Frankie Silver) -- these had been sitting on my TBR forever, and I'm so glad I finally got to them.  Man, but that woman can write.

* Terry Pratchett: Night Watch series -- Angua rules!

* Andrew Taylor: The American Boy -- great historical fiction that definitely also made me curious about Taylor's books set in the 17th century (this one is set in the 19th -- the eponymous boy is Edgar Allan Poe).

* Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black -- not so much a discovery of the author but of this novel (that ending!!), and I'm definitely planning to read more books by him.


All favorites by year, including rereads:



Isabel Allende: La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits)

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie: Halloween Party

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sussex Vampyre

James D. Doss: White Shell Woman

E.T.A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman)

E.T.A. Hoffmann: Das Fräulein von Scuderi (Mademoiselle de Scuderi)

Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Shirley Jackson: The Lottery

Henry James: The Turn of the Screw

Peter May: The Blackhouse

Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Tales

Terry Pratchett: Feet of Clay

Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman: Good Omens

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh audio)

Oscar Wilde: The Canterville Ghost



Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey (Anna Massey audio)

Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (Prunella Scales / Samuel West audio)

Raymond Chandler: Farewell, My Lovely (Elliot Gould audio)

Agatha Christie: Mrs. McGinty's Dead (Hugh Fraser audio)

James D. Doss: Grandmother Spider

C.S. Forester: The African Queen (Michael Kitchen audio)

Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)

Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Bernadette Dunne audio)

Ngaio Marsh: A Surfeit of Lampreys (Anton Lesser audio)

Ngaio Marsh: Death and the Dancing Footman

Ngaio Marsh: Night at the Vulcan

Ngaio Marsh: Opening Night (Anton Lesser audio)

Ngaio Marsh: Overture to Death (Anton Lesser audio)

Peter May: Coffin Road

Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills

Ovid: Metamorphoses (David Horovitch audio)

Plutarch: Theseus

Edgar Allan Poe: The Purloined Letter

Terry Pratchett: Men at Arms

Robert Louis Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Christopher Lee audio)

Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black



Fredric Brown: The Fabulous Clipjoint

Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca (Anna Massey audio)

Joy Ellis: Their Lost Daughters (Richard Armitage audio)

Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling): Lethal White (Robert Glenister audio)

Sharyn McCrumb: The Ballad of Frankie Silver (audio narrated by the author)

Walter Mosley: White Butterfly (Michael Boatman audio)

Terry Pratchett: The Colour of Magic (Nigel Planer audio)

Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters

Mary Roberts Rinehart: Locked Doors (Anne Hancock audio)

Andrew Taylor: The American Boy (Alex Jennings audio)



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review 2019-07-08 22:05
Review on Dork Diaries #1
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life - Rachel Renée Russell

I'm a fan of this serie and is literally the only serie I've read.


This book has a great intro and is a great book.


If you look at this book and compare it to the most recent one (13), you can say it's improved. Not only the writing, but also the illustrations.


In this serie (and in any other serie) its better to read them in order. I haven't read them in order and I should've. There are a few references from the book before. For example: If you read the 13 before the 12, you don't know that Nikki had an all-paid trip to Paris (mentioned in book 12). So I recommend you read them in order.


I wish for the series to go on.

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