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review 2018-08-06 23:44
BEHIND THE DOOR by Mary SanGiovanni
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

In the small town of Zarephath, PA there exists a door. Everyone knows about it, and everyone knows what it does. Everyone also knows not to open the door: as in NEVER, EVER open the door. But, of course, someone does, and this is the basis for BEHIND THE DOOR.

 

A slight spoiler follows:

 

 

In my mind, this is a novel of cosmic horror. It doesn't feature Cthulhu or any Lovecraftian creatures, (though there are tentacles), but major aspects of it are there. What's behind the door is not of this world. Check. What's behind the door doesn't give a hoot about humans or humanity in general. It is cold, indifferent and unfeeling. Check, check, check. Now, it could also be interpreted as supernatural horror, in general, and that's fine too. But this is MY review and here we are. 

 

(spoiler show)

 

Kathy Ryan is a fascinating character and I can't wait to read more about her. An occult specialist, she knows things. For this reason, she is called to Pennsylvania to help the town figure out what happened, and hopefully, how to undo it. She comes in and she's heard. Surprisingly, she's understood and respected-pretty much right off the bat, with the few naysayers quickly changing their tunes as the situation escalates. (As a women in a primarily male field, I felt that this was a bit optimistic, but hey, that's just me and again, my review.)

 

I thought the other characters were also well drawn and believable. I just wanted to hug both Kari and Cicely as much as I wanted to kick Ed and Toby. (And I wanted to kick a certain place on their bodies that isn't ladylike for me to mention.) Characters that inspire that kind of feeling in me demand to be heard.

 

To recap: BEHIND THE DOOR is a fast paced novel that moves right along. Evil in a small town is a favorite trope of mine, and combined with this type of horror, (see spoiler above), this was a must read for me. If any of this sounds vaguely good to you? This is a must read for you too!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere August 28th, 2018, but you can pre-order here: BEHIND THE DOOR

 

*Thank you to Kensington, Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-06-18 11:47
JURASSIC, FLORIDA by Hunter Shea
Jurassic, Florida - Hunter Shea

The quiet town of Polo Springs, Florida, (It's where you go to die!), is about to suffer from an invasion the likes of which it has never seen. Hurricanes? No problem! Climate change? No worries! Giant Iguanas? What the..what???

 

That's right, lizards! At first they're cute and remind you of those television commercials. Then, they seem to be larger than your average geckos. Then, they seem like they must be on steroids or something. And then? Then, they are bigger than your car and threatening to destroy your house! Will the people of Polo Springs survive? You'll have to read this novella to find out!

 

Hunter Shea is the man when it comes to fun creature features. That's all there is to it. There's no shame in serving up fine horror cheese, (and this is cheesy, have no doubt), because, let's face it - sometimes we are just in the mood for some chasing and chomping! What creature is doing the dining? Who cares? Who's getting eaten? Perhaps some of us like to substitute certain members of our families or co-workers for the actual characters... what? Who said that? Anyway, pretty much everyone is getting eaten and that's what's fun about it! There's no fake, drippy sentimentality here. Everyone is fair game.

 

Once again, I came away from this creature feature interlude totally entertained and with another story to tell my friends. "I just read this great book about..." 

 

Highly recommended for fans of creature feature FUN!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!* 

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review 2018-01-07 20:54
A Far Cry from Kensington
A Far Cry from Kensington - Muriel Spark

If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work ... the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp ... The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.

I am trying to get to know Muriel Spark's work a little better before going to an event celebrating her work at the end of this month, so I am reading up on a few of her works because the only one I had known was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

 

A few books into this little project and I have a new book to use as a benchmark of her work: A Far Cry From Kensington.

 

It took me a while to get into the book. I even re-read the beginning a couple of times because I just could not make out what she was going on about. Was this a serious book or not? 

Once I set every expectation aside and just let the story unfold, it became pretty clear that not much in the book was what it seemed. Advice given by the MC, was not meant to be serious advice. On the contrary, it was mockery. The whole idea of our larger than life protagonist being singled out and put on show by any of the characters in the novel was a mockery, a spoof, and most of all an exercise in exorcism as little by little our MC finds the confidence in her own voice and her own pursuit of life to stand up to the curses that have tried to bring her down. 

 

This will probably remain my favourite Spark for quite some time. It was a suspenseful little story told expertly with a lot of wit. Yet, there was also some warmth to it, which was not something I have seen in Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, or Memento Mori.

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review 2017-10-08 17:40
A Gritty Streetwise Story of Young Love and Life's Lies
A Few Streets More to Kensington - Alex Sheremet

Mature teens and new adult readers will relish a more contemporary backdrop to the traditional coming-of-age story in A Few Streets More to Kensington, which is set in New York City in the 1990s and focuses on the evolving life of Artem, whose newfound position as an artist opens up a wealth of memories on how he got to this uncertain point in his life.

 

Alex Sheremet's descriptions are poignant and pointed as we view the world through Artem's first-person thoughts and observations, which often wind past, present and future into their threads, adding an overlay of powerful imagery to cement impressions.

 

Artem's journeys between memories of the past and attempts to navigate the streets of New York to understand his world bring readers along for a stroll through memory lane and the rough face of present-day New York.

 

But there's more going on here than a walk through social situations and dangerous streets: an attention to introspective detail and dark, brooding encounters between prejudice, purpose, and people brings A Few Streets More to Kensington to life in an unusual manner powered by reflections that are thought-provoking and reveal Artem's evolutionary process.

 

By now, it should be evident that A Few Streets More to Kensington is as much a work of literature as fiction. Readers should anticipate crass language and conflicts, gritty street life, young love and life's lies, and Artem's urge to escape, change, grow, and even explore paths that are obviously dark and dangerous routes.

 

As Artem searches for elusive purpose to life, a better world, and connections, he discovers and forms a new life. In returning full circle to school, Artem finds his past, present and future coalesce as he organizes not just his room, but his mind.

 

Literature readers who relish coming-of-age sagas will find A Few Streets More to Kensington more than a cut above the typical new adult story, with entire worlds embedded into a tale of evolution and transformation that is as much about graduating as a person as it is about life's inevitable progression.

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review 2017-09-27 19:00
Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea

From what I understand, this is the last of the Mail Order Massacres novella series. That's a damn shame! The first dealt with sea monkeys, the second with X-Ray glasses, and this one- a nuclear submarine ordered from the back of a comic book. You shouldn't worry though because if you're not happy with your submarine, there's a money back guarantee!

 

So what happens when Rosemary orders said nuclear sub and her son tries to take it into his best friend's pool? As you can imagine, it doesn't go very well because the sub is actually made out of cardboard. Rosemary tries to get her money back and that's when everything goes south. Is her son okay? Will she be refunded her $5.00? You'll have to read this ripping novella to find out!

 

Money Back Guarantee was a fast paced story that can easily be knocked off in one sitting. Was it fun? Hell, yeah! Was it engaging? Oh yes! Was it totally believable? Probably not, but if you're looking at these kinds of books, believability is probably not your first priority. If what you ARE looking for is fun, then this is the novella for you!

 

I'm going with highly recommended on this one, because it's just so entertaining!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Money Back Guarantee

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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