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review 2017-10-12 18:30
Delightful, but perhaps a bit unavoidably repetitive
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman

Some really great little selections here, but, as I titled it, it's a bit repetitive in places.  There may be two essays back to back that come from a similar root, or key stories that are referenced multiple times.  Other essays are wholly distinct from each other.

 

It also, of course, has the advantage of being read by the author, so that is always pleasant.

 

Definitely made me curious about some authors and works I've never listened to, and it is overall a solid collection.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-12 07:32
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–October Edition

 

 

These are the books that I read in different Octobers throughout my reading life and have left an impression on me.

 

2015

 

Minette Walters became an automatic buy for me right after I had read her for the first time. This novella wasn’t any different even though it was inspired by true events.

 

 

Set in London…good!

Steampunk…good!

Shades of UF…good!

Part of a series…good!

Need I say more?

 

Okay, so this series has me confused. While I love the Asian culture that is prolific in the books, I keep thinking there is something missing. It could be that it took the lead couple like 3–4 books to even admit their feelings to each other. I don’t want to stop reading this series but I do have to be in the mood for it.

 

I haven’t read many MM novels but I did read this one and loved it.

 

My Mini-Review for this book: Everybody loves a good apocalypse and I’m no exception! There was a female lead who, if not exactly capable of kicking ass, was a leading geneticist– brains over brawn any day! The freaky way the vaccine changed them all was amazing-no death causing viruses or flesh-eating zombies, yet horrific in its own way. Prison takeovers are the scariest things ever and the author combined it with a post-apocalyptic scenario! The ever-present threat of the convicts getting to our heroine was sufficient to keep me reading.

I loved the fact that the author didn’t even need to show much violence to keep the readers hooked– she just let us imagine what “could” happen if they got to her.

 

Irreverence is a personal favorite of mine, which you might have guessed from my binge read of the Preacher graphic novels! This novel was funny but dragged in some places.

“If manta rays are going to be harmless, they should look more harmless, Pardee thought. Fuckers look like aquatic Draculas.”
“He didn’t understand religion. It was like heroin or golf: He knew a lot of people did it, but he didn’t understand why.”
 

I can’t stop myself once I have read the word, Steampunk, being associated with a book. This was a fun romp of a book and I enjoyed reading it, even if it did get bogged down in certain places.

 

Read my review here. My favorite stories from this bunch:

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES by Jodi Picoult ★★★★
 How parents deal with the loss of their 7-year-old daughter.

A LIFE IN FICTIONS Kat Howard★★★★
 She was a part of his stories..literally!

THE THERAPIST by Jeffery Deaver★★★★
 Nemes are very real and you may be susceptible to them!

PARALLEL LINES by Tim Powers★★★★
 Twins-one sister dies and decides she wants to come back.

 

2008

 

The best part about anything written by Ilona & Gordon Andrews is probably that they manage to include important issues, such as rape, abuse, family, in it. But they do it in a way that makes you see why an issue’s important yet

In diplomacy, like in great many other things, the rules of engagement survive only until one remarkable person decides to break them.

 

Which books did you read in October that left their mark on you?

 

Image

 

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 12, 2017.

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review 2017-10-09 19:00
Coraline, written and narrated by Neil Gaiman
Coraline - Neil Gaiman,Neil Gaiman,HarperAudio

A very cute nightmarish story for the young adult market.

 

This audiobook version was read by Neil Gaiman himself and was totally charming.

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review 2017-09-29 08:36
House by Neil Gaiman
House - Neil Gaiman,Allen Williams

I just finished reading this poem for National Poetry Day over at Tor.com and it was such an eerie but fascinating read. My interpretation of the poem is that the narrator is portraying a part of himself for the whole world to see, that his neighbors think they know who he is but in reality no one truly knows or understands him. I love how Gaiman uses a "house" as a metaphor for who we are as people and how no one knows what we have inside our houses, inside ourselves. It's such a great poem and I highly recommend you read it for National Poetry Day or just read it any ol'day! The artwork for the poem, done by Allen Williams is bizarrely intricate and matches the poem perfectly! Such a wonderful reading experience!

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text 2017-09-28 01:50
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Short Book Rambles at Mid-game
Garden of Lies - Amanda Quick
Every Secret Thing - Susanna Kearsley,Emma Cole,Katherine Kellgren
On the Night of the Seventh Moon - Victoria Holt
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

 


 


It's closing in on the end of September and our Bingo game is at it's midmark!

For the sake of my own sanity, I've come to a compromise with myself.  I would like to write a review for every book I read for bingo... but we know that sometimes that just doesn't happen.  So I've settled for a short compilation of all the books I didn't get around to formatting a review for.

Instead, you get some random ramblings... which, if we know me by now, always end up becoming short reviews anyway.  But I had this vision of wanting to throw a few books together in one post, make it Halloween Bingo specific, had it all formatted and ready to fill in my opinions for each book I come across that I don't know how to review... and I'm not changing my mind.

Here it is!

 

Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick
audio book narrated by Louisa Jane Underwood
Rating:  3.5 Stars


I love Amanda Quick books, if only because they follow a specific formula, so you always know what you're going to get out of them.  Garden of Lies is the usual Amanda Quick historical mystery and romance, with great characters and fast-paced progression.  And I never have any idea how to review these books, because they are simply just as enjoyable as the last Amanda Quick book I read: witty, fun, entertaining... standard.

It's always a good bet I will enjoy them; though also a greater bet that the story line is the same as others by this author.  Garden of Lies was no different:  Feisty, non-standard, too-modern-for-her-own-good heroine; broody, intensely passionate alpha with some tragic history.  They meet for reasons, they fall in lust at first sight, they fight the lust whilst working together to uncover a mystery, sex happens, feelings happen, cue some kind of last minute danger scene... Happily Ever After™.

Though the overall details of the mystery weren't the usual, the main culprits were fairly predictable, as were a lot of events.  There might have been entirely too much going on in this book... but that's about it.

 Louisa Jane Underwood is a lovely narrator and gave the "reading" experience a nice boost!

I read this book for Halloween Bingo 2017, for the 'Darkest London' square, since the story is set in Victorian London.

This book could also count for:

  • Murder most foul
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

audio book narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Rating:  4.0 Stars


This is one of the books that, after beginning, I started having doubts whether or not it would fit the Halloween Bingo square I chose it for.  While there are several deaths, as well as the MC wandering around trying to investigate the chaos that suddenly befalls her life, Every Secret Thing ended up reading more like an espionage thriller than a murder mystery.  I could classify it as suspense, I suppose, and the entire ordeal DOES start with the mention of an old murder, one still deserving justice.

Every Secret Thing wasn't what I'd been expecting when I started listening to the audio, if only because maybe I'd been expecting something a bit darker, or grittier.  Instead, this book gave me an almost old-timey type of story, as we follow Kate Murray's investigations, while simultaneously following some snippets of the now deceased Andrew Deacon's espionage lifestyle.  It was... charming... the entire experience.  At first it felt a bit dragged out, but once you get into the rhythm of it, the flashbacks to Andrew Deacon's story lines aren't so strange, and in fact, kind of intriguing.

I can't say that I one hundred percent enjoyed this book, and the truth is, while I loved Katherine Kellgren's narration, I'm almost wondering if this story wouldn't have been better experienced as a print book.

One thing is for certain though:  Every Secret Thing is beautifully atmospheric, and I loved the descriptions of many of Kate's scenic travels, even as we were constantly moving forward at a rather fast paced stride.  There's an obligatory bittersweet ending when you come to the end of Andrew Deacon's tale, and even though we kind of already know how his life ended up playing out, it still plucks at the heart.

So the truth is, this was more a book about learning Andrew Deacon's story rather than following Kate Murray's investigations.

I may or may not swap this book out for another better suited book for the 'Murder Most Foul' square.  For now, this is just a tentative completion.  I'm seriously contemplating moving this book to either of the following squares:

 


This book could also count for:  Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  2.5 Stars


This is my first foray into Victoria Holt, and keeping in mind a few cautions from fellow readers, I read this book with a bit of trepidation.  Certainly, the story and the characters--especially our main heroine--is as I'd been warned.  But even as I became frustrated with the insta-love, the over-dramatics of our heroine, and the fact that none of the characters are very likable, On the Night of the Seventh Moon ended up being somehow addictively engrossing.  Even the frustratingly over-dramatic romance didn't put me off too badly.

For one reason or another, I just couldn't make myself put the book down.  It's got a nice mysterious twist to it that makes you want to keep reading to find out what's going on, even while the story was fairly predictable.  What happened to Helena?  Was it really just a dream, induced by drugs?  Was it real?  If it were real, then why all the theatrics by her cousins?  Why did Maximilian never come back for her?  And what of the baby?

It's hard to say what truly kept me hooked on this book--certainly it wasn't the characters, whom I disliked for many reasons, especially Frau Graben's blasé attitude towards the disgusting behavior exhibited by all the nobility.  She talks about how it's their given right, when either a count or a duke ravishes a girl and then tosses her aside; that the attempted murder or even the deaths were simply a matter of "state affair"; the deceptions of mock marriages, the lies, the betrayals--all simply part of their country's culture...

I get that it's probably part of the culture, which lends some authenticity to a more historical aspect of life... but I don't have to like it.

As I've already said, I didn't find any of the characters likable, except maybe the boy, Fritz.  Or Aunt Matilda--she was amusing, for sure.

It's also kind of irked me that the conclusion wrapped up too easily, in a very tidy, non-confrontational, and unrealistic way.  I like my HEA's, but we should at least follow through the world's logic.  All the concerns and the possible backlash and the possible war scenario that Maxi and Helena worried about if the two of them were to announce their relationship and marriage didn't even surface.  Everything just settled, all was forgiven, Happily Ever After™.

Really, the only amazingly wonderful thing going for this book was the beautiful writing, the imagery, the description, and a lot of the lore and history laid within the book's world.  For this alone, I will definitely give Victoria Holt another read when I get the chance.

(Ahem.  So much for a short ramble, but I'm not changing this, and I regret nothing...)

This book could also count for:

  • Gothic
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  3.5 Stars


I felt like Halloween Bingo wouldn't be complete without reading something by Neil Gaiman--last year I read The Graveyard Book and Coraline, both of which were very enjoyable, and one of them ended up being one of my favorites of the year.  Initially, I didn't have a book of his chosen for any of my Bingo squares (Yes, yes, I did; I just forgot I did).  I had originally only chosen a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman for the 'Genre: Horror' square, which I've been putting off listening to the audio... well, because Horror.

And I was hesitant about starting The Ocean at the End of the Lane... well, because Horror.  But I'm glad I decided to give it a go--if only because you get to revel in Gaiman's wonderful, magical descriptions... and because I found a different book other than Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning for this particular bingo square, because I just wasn't feeling Amy Tan at the moment.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a little difficult for me to get into at first; and it is equally difficult for me to figure out how I feel about it.  Outside of that magical, whimsical feel you get from reading a particularly good child's fantasy/adventure, I really can't pinpoint exactly what to say about it.  I've got a sort of bittersweet, wistful void after completing the book, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I know what the book was really about.

Certainly, there were a lot of though provoking lines and dialogue.  In the end, it's one of those books  you found enjoyment in, and it stays with you for some time, even as you can't quite pinpoint why.

This book could also count towards:

  • Genre: Horror -- the book is tagged as 'horror' on GR, and certainly, there were a lot of horror elements involved
  • Modern Masters of Horror -- published in 2013
  • Supernatural -- which goes hand in hand with Magical Realism
  • Chilling Children (?) -- I don't think I saw this tagged as YA or MG, but the main time frame of the book takes place when the protagonist is only seven years old
  • Monsters

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/halloween-bingo-2017-short-book-rambles.html
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