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review 2020-05-31 21:05
The Chessmen of Doom, Johnny Dixon #7 by John Bellairs
The Chessmen of Doom - John Bellairs

When Professor Childermass' brother Perry dies, he leaves the Prof ten million dollars and his landed estate in Maine. The catch, of course, is that he must spend the summer at the remote country estate with no paid help. Naturally, the Prof is up to the task, but invites Johnny and Fergie to join him. The letter informing the professor of his brother's death comes with a riddle that comes back to haunt the professor. It speaks of pallid dwarves, dead eyes, and hairy stars. What does it mean?

 

This book is the usual absurd Gothic nonsense I love from Bellairs. The estate is not only large it is filled with "worthless" statuary and books imported from Europe, features a personalized tomb and statue by the front door and a 300ft memorial column - that you can climb up - for General Herkimer of the American Revolutionary War. There's also an observatory, among other things. I wish Bellairs had spent more (read: any) time describing what the boys discover in the house instead of glossing over it. I felt the lack, though child-me filled the mansion with all the Victorian trappings I longed to find in my '80s ranch. Stone Arabia and Lake Umbagog join General Herkimer as real references moved into Bellairs' world, along, of course with some recently stolen ivory chessmen from the British Museum.

 

Need I go into the plot? A nefarious person plans on ending life on Earth as we know it with the use of ancient, dark magic and ineffectually tries to scare the Prof and the boys from the estate so he has a clear path. He might as well have employed an unnecessarily slow dipping mechanism when he lures the gang out onto the lake. I did love the detail that Professor Roderick Random Childermass and his brothers Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker and Ferdinand Count Fathom were all named after heroes of Tobias Smollett's novels by their literary parents.

 

'Chessmen of Doom' makes up for its plot - stretched over a year to little purpose - with such details.

 

Johnny Dixon

 

Next: 'The Secret of the Underground Room'

 

Previous: 'The Trolley to Yesterday'

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text 2020-05-31 18:43
Booklikes-opoly 2020: Roll 2

I finished the book for space 7:

Survivor Song - Paul Tremblay 

At 320 pages, I collect $3.00 and roll again:

You rolled 2 dice:

6 3

Timestamp: 2020-05-31 17:06:02 UTC

 

Which brings me to 15:

 

                          15. Read a book with a tree (or trees) on the cover, or that is set in                                                         a  mountain community.

 

I am waiting for my fellow Booklikers to choose my next read, though I don't think any of them fit this category. 

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review 2020-05-31 17:42
SURVIVOR SONG by Paul Tremblay
Survivor Song - Paul Tremblay

 SURVIVOR SONG consists of the fastest 320 pages I've ever read!

 

Nats, (Natalie), is waiting at home for her husband to return from the store. This is no ordinary trip, however. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is a virus loose...a fast acting rabies virus that turns its victims, (animal and human alike) into rabid, (see what I did there?), strong, uber-violent attackers. Those infected will attack cars, humans, pretty much anything at all, and Natalie's husband is late. With Natalie being very pregnant, this is quite a scary turn of events. Will Nats' husband ever return? If so, will he be infected or not? What happens to Natalie's unborn baby? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I started this book in earnest early yesterday afternoon, (with only part of a previous lunch hour dedicated to it previously), and I had a hard time putting it down. The main characters, the previously mentioned Natalie and her friend Ramola, were so human, so REAL, that I never doubted the actions of either one of them.

 

Unfortunately, I never doubted the bad guys in this story either. I have to admit though, that some I thought were bad guys, weren't spoiled through and through and I ended up shedding some tears for a couple of them, to be honest. Most of the others, though? I had no problem believing in them either, because all I have to do is turn on the television any time, night or day, to see them in real life.

 

As in any zombie story, (I can hear Ramola now, in her British accent "They're NOT zombies!"), the real story is with the survivors. The things they have to do, or are forced to do, to save lives or to take them. This tale is brutal in that regard-the loss of humanity, or perhaps the salvation of humanity...we never know which is which at the time, do we?

 

I got a bit of a kick that the story takes place in my home state and that I was familiar with some of the places mentioned. For me, the locations made this tale even more real.

 

The only issues I had were that I wished it was a bit longer and, though I enjoyed the denouement and the end, I would have preferred a bit more explanation. For the latter reason I deducted half a star. I don't need everything wrapped up with a bow, but some elaboration would have pleased me more.

 

SURVIVOR SONG is destined to be up there on top tens lists this year and it deserves to be. My highest recommendation!

 

 

Available July 7, 2020, but you can preorder here: SURVIVOR SONG

 

*I received the e-ARC of this book from William Morrow, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-05-30 21:42
Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath
Rusty Nail - J.A. Konrath
Fuck this is an intense read!
LIke seriously, I was flipping the pages like a madman. I had to know what the heck was going on. Who was the killer? Who was next?
This one blew me away too. I kinda had a suspicion that Holly was bad news but I had no idea just how bad.
I'm so wanting more right now. I am kinda pissed it's over.
Yeah, this is one of my favorites in this series so far. No, it is my favorite. So vivid and gripping for thriller/horror fans!
Read this series! What the heck are you waiting for?!
 
 
Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2020/05/rusty-nail-by-ja-konrath-32.html
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review 2020-05-30 15:47
The Graveyard Speaks
The Graveyard Speaks - Hunter Shea

by Hunter Shea

 

Another cute little story from the YA shelf. A nineteen-year-old college student likes to go ghost hunting at night and help lay the ghosts to rest. She is told about a restless spirit who appears around 8pm every night by a graveyard night watchman and decides to investigate.

 

The characters were well written, but the plot far too simple to make a very interesting story. The editing was pristine though, so perhaps something good for young readers. There's a touch of mystery, though far too much convenience.

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