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review 2017-10-18 21:38
Great Tales of the Peculiar
Tales of the Peculiar - Ransom Riggs

I swear if Riggs had included more stories like this in his trilogy I would have ended up liking the series a lot better. We get to read about tales that are put together by one of the characters we read about in Miss Peregrine's series. "Tales of the Peculiar" is supposedly written by a former Miss Peregrine ward, Millard Nullings. I don't know if you all know about him. But he was the character that was invisible. I would suggest reading the series before this book since there is not that great of an introduction before you plunge into these tales. 

 

The Splendid Cannibals (5 stars)-Definitely a cautionary tale about greed in this one. I did like the story of a village of peculiars selling their body parts (they grow back) to cannibals who tire of eating rotting body parts. I did laugh though at the villagers trying to one up each other with how stylish their homes were getting. 

 

The Fork Tongued Princess (5 stars)-I would love to read a follow-up story about this character. A gorgeous princess with a forked tongue and scales being treated like a monster by her father and her fiancee. When she is revealed to be a monster, she eventually has to run away to seek a better life. She at one point says that she is through with princes, and when you see what she is put through, you can see why. It though is ultimately a tale of forgiveness. 

 

The First Ymbryne (5 stars)-We find out about these birds that could become humans and how they changed life better for the peculiars. I loved reading about how loops were discovered. This could have been a really cool pre-cool book for the series. But I actually like it better as a short story. 

 

The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts (4 stars)-An okay story, it was fairly short I thought. I loved the idea of a young woman who could see and speak to ghosts. She gets a pretty happy ending too. 

 

Cocobolo (5 stars)-I don't want to give anything away. But I loved this one! So original and I was worried about how it would end, but it ended happily. I think. 

 

The Pigeons of St. Paul's (3.5 stars)-Another short one compared to other stories. I think this was originally in one of the books. I don't feel like looking it up. Okay story, but compared to the other stories, not as great. 

 

The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares (5 stars)-This one made me shiver. Plus we got an alternate ending which was straight up horror when you read it. Loved it. 

 

The Locust (4 stars)-This is a tale about loving your peculiar children or bad things can happen. I liked the ending though I was surprised Riggs didn't give us another alternative horror one after the last story. 


The Boy Who Could Hold Back the Sea (4 stars)-I thought this was a pretty cool story. A boy who could control the sea and all of the problems it brings him. 

 

The Tale of Cuthbert (3.5 stars)-Only because I read this before I think in book #2 of the series and I already knew how it ended. 

 

I found the illustrations to be beautiful in this e-book. I would love to see the gold lettering and illustrations in a hardcover. 

 

Loved this little trip back to Miss Peregrine and her children. 

 

 

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text 2017-10-18 19:52
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Tales of the Peculiar - Ransom Riggs

This was a great collection of short stories!

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text 2017-10-18 16:03
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Tales of the Peculiar - Ransom Riggs

I am reading this for "Free Space/Creepy Raven" square. So far so good. I like this a lot more than books #2 and #3. This includes some really cool illustrations too. At least Riggs resisted the urge to put in creepy photos that it tries to make the story fit around.

 

"The Splendid Cannibals" (5 stars)-A tale of warning to those who decided that selling their body parts (they grow back) to a group of hungry cannibals can end up with you living as just a type of vegetable that they water now and again.

 

"The Fork-Tongued Princess" (5 stars)-I really wanted this princess to kick the crap out of the worthless princes she came across. I would love a longer story about her. The ending was so fun. 

 

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review 2017-09-23 06:31
Halloween Bingo - Raven Free Space - Mysteries, Ghosts, Monsters
The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt

 

 

Not all mysteries involve murder.  Not all ghosts were once human.  Bewitchment can be enchanting.  And monsters lurk everywhere.

 

John Berendt conjures up a gallery of intriguing characters for this magical tour of Venice in the aftermath of the 1996 fire that gutted the historic La Fenice Opera House.  At the heart, of course, is the investigation into the cause of fire -- was it arson?  was it negligence?  was it just an unfortunate accident?  But how the fire touched various lives, and how those lives were part of the mystique of the city, makes for fascinating reading.

 

Spoiler -- The cause of the fire is determined at the end and the responsible parties are convicted.  Or are they?  In a city like Venice, it's hard to say.  Is corruption rampant?  Well, maybe yes.  That's part of its charm. 

 

The whole city is haunted by its own 1500-year-old past, and menaced by the monsters of time and water and pollution.  If ghosts don't actually walk the halls of the palazzos, their spirits remain unforgotten by the living. There are the rooms where Robert Browning  read his poetry . . . and where he died.  There is the house where Ezra Pound lived with his mistress of 50 years, the house almost stolen by someone perhaps eager to cash in on Pound's fame. 

 

Venice may own much of its current survival to American millionaires who, for whatever reasons, sought to preserve its patrician glamour, perhaps in hopes some of it would magically rub off on them. 

 

Halloween, or the Celtic Samhain, is a time when the veil between our physical world and the spirit world thins to permit visions and visits back and forth.  While I was reading John Berendt's fascinating descriptions of the places and people of turn-of-the-millenium Venice, I couldn't help but think of John Ruskin's monumental The Stones of Venice and the impact it had both on his and subsequent generations of both art historians and social reformers, as well as Madeleine Brent's 20th century gothic romance, Tregaron's Daughter.  The atmosphere of the gothic winds through the three works like morning fog twisting over the lagoon and drifting down the canals.

 

An interesting note:  Ruskin obtained his own camera in 1849 to take photos of Venice for research.  The City of Falling Angels lost half a star for not containing illustrations!  Perhaps Berendt expected his readers to sit beside their computers -- or read on them? -- and look up their own photos.

 

The January 1996 fire, from www.VeniceOnline.it, which has quite a gallery of photos from the fire.

 

 

And the rebuilt La Fenice -- "The Phoenix," rising again from its own ashes -- in 2004.

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-09-12 05:33
Reading progress update: I've read 24%.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

This is a whirlwind tour of classic crime fiction which is in the process of exploding my tbr.

 

Martin Edwards is the current president of The Detection Club, and was appointed its first "archivist" in 2011. He apparently has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things classic crime, and is the anthologist who put together the Locked Room Mystery anthology which I am currently reading. He has also put together several other anthologies for the British Library Crime Classics series, many of which play off of the chapter titles within this book, including: Chapter Six, Serpents in Eden (murders occurring in rural/country settings); Chapter Seven, Murder at the Manor, Chapter Eight, Capital Crimes (murders occurring in London) and Chapter 9, Resorting to Murder (murders on holiday).

 

I am just beginning Chapter 9. I'm literally reading this with GR open on my chromebook next to me, adding books to a shelf as they catch my interest. With so many out of print books coming back into availability as ebooks, I'm astonished at how many of them I can download for under $5.00.

 

The GR list that I've created while reading can be found here, if anyone is interested.

 

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