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review 2018-11-26 16:11
The limits of writerly ambition
Doctor Who: The Sands of Time: The Monster Collection Edition - Justin Richards

With Tegan rejoining the Doctor and Nyssa on their travels, the trio travel to the British Museum in 1896. No sooner does the TARDIS materialize in the Egyptian Room, however, then Nyssa is kidnapped. The Doctor and Tegan give chase, only to lose their quarry outside — whereupon they are met by a butler with an invitation to the unwrapping of a mummy. The arrive to find to their astonishment that Nyssa is underneath the bandages, having somehow been transported 4,000 years into the past for the nefarious goals of one of the most dangerous foes the Doctor has ever faced.

This is the second of Justin Richards's many Doctor Who novels that I have read, and in many was it reads like the previous one, Dreams of Empire, in that it starts with disparate threads that are then woven together over the course of the book. It's not a writing approach that I particularly enjoy, yet Richards pulls it off well and sticks the proverbial landing nicely. Yet I finished the book feeling as though the author was a little too ambitious in his approach. His book serves as a sequel of sorts to the Fourth Doctor serial Pyramids of Mars, which is regarded as one of the best of the original television series. It's admirable that Richards takes it on, and while his story measures up well I feel as though he doesn't quite pull off the degree of menace conveyed by Sutekh in Lewis Greifer and Robert Holmes's original story. Perhaps such a comparison is unfair, but it's one that Richards himself invites by taking on such an iconic tale and can't help but influence any judgment of the book.

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review 2018-11-10 15:05
Starts slow, but comes together well
Doctor Who: Dreams of Empire - Justin Richards

On a fortress built into an asteroid on the frontier of the Haddron Empire rests Hans Keysar. Formerly one of the three consuls of the republic, he is a prisoner after a failed attempt to become emperor that resulted in a debilitating civil war. Now on the eve of a visit by Milton Trayx — his friend, former co-consul and victor in the civil war — someone is engineering a plan of escape. But that plan doesn't factor in the unexpected arrival of the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria, who arrive just as the first moves are made . . .

I must confess that early on in Justin Richards's novel I was tempted to give up on it, as it starts out slowly and introduces a number of ill-defined characters who were at times difficult to distinguish in the text. Once Richards sets the pieces of his story into place, however, the novel snaps together into a fairly entertaining book that leavens the "base under siege" storyline that was such a standard of the Second Doctor's era with a degree of political intrigue. The twists at the end — some predictable, others less so — keep things lively and entertaining as well. I'm glad I persevered with it, as it proved in the end to be worth the effort.

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text 2018-01-31 18:45
January 2018-That's a Wrap!
The Warblers - Amber Fallon
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes
City of the Dead - Brian Keene,Joe Hempel
The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman
My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,Elizabeth Power
The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One - Justin Richards
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating (Random House Large Print) - Alan Alda
Wylding Hall - Elizabeth Hand

I've started the year off by reading 18 books in January.

 

Graphic Novels

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman 5*

Bitch Planet Volume One: Extraordinary Machine by Kellie Sue DeConnick 4*

The Walking Dead: Book 14 by Robert Kirkman 4*

Total: 3

 

Novellas

The Warblers by Amber Fallon 4*

Infestation by William Meikle 3.5*

The Conversationalist by Justin Bog 4*

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand 4*

Total: 4

 

Audiobooks

You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana BOTH-5*

City of the Dead by Brian Keene, narrated by Joe Hempel 3.5*

Seriously...I'm Kidding written and narrated by Ellen DeGeneres 3*

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, narrated by Rob McQuay 3*

If I Understood You...written and narrated by Alan Alda 4*

Total: 6

 

ARCS

After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard 3*

Dark Screams Volume Nine (Anthology) 4*

Hardened Hearts (Anthology) 4.5*

Total: 3

 

Random Reads

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 4*

Splatterpunk Fighting Back (An anthology benefiting the fight against cancer) 4.5*

Total: 2

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

Status: 2/40

 

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review 2018-01-22 19:15
The Conversationalist by Justin Bog
The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One - Justin Richards

Patrick doesn't seem to have one normal relationship in his entire life. He's a teacher and he deals with his students as necessary, but he and his sister don't get along very well and other than his coworker Margo, there's no one else in his life. So when he goes out on a date with Wendy, I had high hopes for him-but alas. It goes so poorly that Patrick leaves while Wendy's in the ladies room. Why? You'll have to read this novella to find out!

 

As many of you already know, I think that the novella is the perfect size for a horror tale. The length helps keeps the word count down by making every word count. In this story, it took a little while for Patrick's secrets to be revealed-maybe a bit too long. There wasn't a lot of action, but there was a lot of tension and atmosphere and those are the types of dark fiction stories that usually appeal to me the most.

 

Being an avid, experienced reader of horror, I found the denouement to be poignant, but tame. I also found the author's writing style took a little getting to used to. That said, it did grow on me and towards the end I was enjoying it immensely. (Except for the world "yearning." That one appeared a lot for such a short story.)

 

This novella was a dark and intriguing read with a distinct style that I enjoyed!

 

Recommended, especially for those new to dark fiction/horror stories and to those who don't like their horror too bloody!

 

You can grab a copy here: The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One

 

*Justin Bog was kind enough to send me a paperback of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.* 

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review 2017-07-12 00:00
Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss
Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss - Justin Ri... Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss - Justin Richards,Alex Kingston This audiobook was perfect, made more perfect by the fact that it is narrated by Melody herself, Alex Kingston. I think to have had anyone else narrate this book would have been insulting. Who better to portray River, than the actor who made her the larger-than-life character we all love?!

This was a typical Doctor Who adventure, sans the Doctor. It's like a prequel to "The Angels Take Manhattan". This shows us River in her full Melody Malone persona. She is sexy and a bit naughty without going too over the top. She's funny and witty in a way that is exclusively River Song. The story if full of intrigue as we follow Melody on a case in which she tries to find out who is trying to kill an actor and stumbles into the kind of mess that usually only the Doctor falls into. She handles herself brilliantly, as always, and saves the day...until the next adventure.

I truly hope they do more of these; because I highly enjoyed this!
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