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review 2018-04-19 18:58
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
The Strain - Guillermo del Toro,Chuck Hogan,Ron Perlman

I have not seen the show created from this material. I DVR’d it but the thing got full and it was deleted. That may have been for the best . . .

 

The Strain begins when a passenger plane lands with its windows all darkened and none of its 199 passengers getting off the plane. Is it a terrorist attack or something even more insidious?

 

I’ll give you a hint. It’s the second one and this part of the book is so very creepy!

 

There was something on that plane that is now wreaking havoc on the family members of the extremely unlucky passengers aboard the plane – and on society at large.

 

This story is basically pandemic via vampiric strain and focuses a lot of time on the rush for experts to discover exactly what the hell is going on and how to stop it before everyone dies a horrid death or worse.

 

The audiobook is narrated by Ron Perlman who gives the material a lethal edge and he doesn’t even attempt to feign a female voice (thank all that is good and kind in this world). He is deadly serious as well he should be for a story like this! It’s tense and gory and action packed.

 

But you need to know something. Terrible things happen to people, to children, and to dogs (gawd, the dogs!) in this book so guard yourself before you step in. Some may say this is a spoiler but I say you MUST know if you have any feelings at all. I wish I had. I might’ve skipped it had I known about one particular scene. That scene had me in complete dread mode guessing what was going to happen and wishing I could unhear it and pretend it never happened after it did. My heart let me know that it hasn’t completely shriveled up yet.

 

I love pandemic and plague stories even though they give me endless nightmares because I know it’s going to happen to us one of these days and that we’ll probably deserve it (well, most of us anyway). But I only sometimes enjoy thrillers and vampire stories. This one combines the two and I mostly enjoyed it before it got too gross and boring because the vampires are evil, hungry and not at all sexy. Nope, there is no sexy to be had here (more on that in a minute). My biggest complaint about this book was the fact that it was mainly a thriller with heavy handed violence and the characters weren’t given enough space for me to get to know them (especially the women) because they were so busy doing important things to stop this blight on humanity. I really didn’t end up giving any craps about any of them because the whole thing lacked an emotional connection for me. I know not everyone necessarily needs that but I do with very few exceptions. I think reading Salem’s Lot as a kid may have spoiled most vampire novels for me.

 

As I said, this book is deadly serious but there is a moment of dialogue that I must share because I am still laughing about it.

 

“I am a drinker of men.”

 

Heh, I’ve never quite heard it put this way before and I think I like it! I wish there had been more unintentionally funny bits to break up the slaying.

 

Towards the middle it gets rather gross and I rarely say that. There’s a proboscis thing, there’s white goo/blood and, grossest of all, there’s peeing/pooping vampires. And they do it as they feed! I told you there is no sexy here and I wasn’t kidding! There is just entirely too much yuck to behold. Even my cast iron stomach was screaming for it to stop. Maybe it’s because I listened on audio and I find audio such an intimate experience that it became way too much? Or perhaps I’m getting whimpy? I don’t know what my problem was but I do know I probably won’t be reading the next two in the series because the last bits bored me to tears. It’s all chasing down vampires and slicing off their noggins and looking at vampire pee/poo and lots of telling and not any showing. I tuned out during the final acts and I’m too chicken to rewind. I was also totally fatigued by the story at this point. I probably won’t be moving on to the two sequels even though my library has them unless someone decides to be super evil and makes me change my mind! Please don’t.

 

I’m going to give it a three because the first half or so was incredibly chilling. I just wish it had all gone another, perhaps less grosser, way in the latter half.

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review 2018-04-19 17:52
This isn't a love story...but it is a story about love...
Crocus - Amy Lane

First off...if you haven't read 'Bonfires' you need to scoot off and do that because reading this book without that one is like going to a movie and not having popcorn...you can do it, but it's going to feel like something's missing and honestly, it's just not going to be as much fun.

 

Ok, so you've been warned this is one of those times when book #2 needs to follow book #1.  In the first book we got to meet Deputy Aaron George and Principal Larkin (a,k.a. Larx)  and see them do their adorable mating dance and cheer for them as they figured out how to make their lives mesh...kids and all.

 

So here we are after the events of 'Bonfires' and Larx and Aaron are together...well, there's Larx and Aaron and their combined family of 5 kids (Larx has 2 and Aaron has 3) and then we have some strays...see, Larx and Aaron are both nurturers in their own right and they're men with big hearts and a lot of love. So as we lovingly say at my house they take in strays and I'm not talking about four-legged furry ones, either...although I'm pretty sure they take in those as well. I'm talking about kids who got the short end of the stick in the life lottery...kids who's parents weren't bright enough or unselfish enough to get what being a parent really means...kids who just need someone to love and believe in them so that they can show the world what an awesome person they really are.

 

'Crocus' is still Larx and Aaron's story but it's a busy one and you can't have the jobs that these men have and the number of people depending on you that these men have and not have a busy life...it's neither possible nor realistic. 

 

You can't have a big family and not have chaos and confusion...I know  I came from a big family and whether it's the family you're given like mine was or the one that you've created like Aaron and Larx's the results are pretty predictable and this family that we get see here is just filled with love.

 

'Crocus' is about two men who are in love but like many of us they don't live in a bubble and much of what happens in their world intersects with their private life whether they want it to or not and luckily for these men love is something that the more you open up your heart and share the more you seem to have and 'Crocus' shows that in so many ways.

 

Larx and Aaron are already living together in a house that's packed tight not just with love but with kids...they've got Christiana, Kelsey and Kellen living with them and then there's Dozer...Larx's (read Aaron's) big blonde retriever dog. So do they really need a pregnant Olivia knocking on their door followed by Elton (Wombat Willie) and Jamie and his brother Berto...of course not but sometimes life gives to us that which we can handle and not necessarily only what we want.

 

I have to admit I loved this. I'm not bothered by big, noisy family type stories for me it's the familiar and having lived away from mine for a few years now for me stories like this are becoming comfort food and I'm not sure that anyone does this recipe better than Ms Lane. 

 

For me 'Crocus' was about family and love. It's set in a small town and sure there's more going on in this small town than the usual but let's face it if there wasn't a little extra imagination added to this...well, we'd all be bored silly. Yeah, I've lived in small towns for most of my life and really there's only so much of neighbor 'A' sleeping with neighbor 'C' while neighbor 'B' gets quietly sloshed every night that one can take before 'neighbor 'D' falls asleep from the sheer boredom and repetition of it.

 

While Larx and Aaron both seemed to frequently have the same objective...one that, while it seemed simple enough, was often a task of monumental proportions for them to accomplish and that was simply getting some time together...alone as couple...trust me when I say while it may not have happened often when it did these two men know how to take full advantage of their time together and it as worth the wait.

 

We've got a world of opportunities here for what can happen next in this series and while I'm on board for pretty much anything even different MCs for the next story. I'm still hoping that no matter what we'll always get more Aaron and Larx because truthfully I'm not even close to having had my fill of these two men. I'm so enjoying having a series with 'mature' men as the MC's, men who love and have messy, busy, crazy at times overwhelming and larger than but still real lives that we get to be a part of.

 

From start to finish for me it never felt like the happiness that Aaron and Larx had found was at risk it was more about the reader getting to see what as individuals we already know...if you are lucky enough to get an HEA in life, then keeping it means a lot of hard work and effort, keeping it takes a lot of effort and hard work, you have to hang on to it with everything you've got...but and I'm sure that Aaron and Larx would agree with me when I say...it's worth it, so very worth it.

 

This one definitely gets 5 big, shiny, messy, happy family stars from me as I try to patiently wait for what comes next.

 

*************************

An ARC of 'Crocus' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-04-18 02:36
Review of Slouch Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide to Witchcraft) by Helen Harper
Slouch Witch - Helen Harper

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


Posts running across my booklikes dashboard made this one sound good.  It was; I really enjoyed this Kindle Unlimited offering.

 

This is Bewitched and PNR type of witchcraft rather than horror, satanistic rituals, etc.  Book synopsis is accurate.

 

I liked the snarky, lazy heroine. Not at all a grim anti-hero, but not eager to exert.   Loved her cat.  Even liked the building romance (not where it went at the end of this book in the series).  Lazy or not, I do wish she had fought harder against the false accusation tanking her with the order and still tarnishing her reputation.  

 "He stared at me. Screw him. I wasn’t going to apologise for my clothes lying around my home."

Being kicked out of formal magic meant she developed some unique things herself.  At least things she really wanted -- like bespelling her cat to actually speak.  Made for fun worldbuilding.

" Scouts would be looking to hire me as their personal mascot – or better still, the fire brigade. I pictured myself on their annual calendar, surrounded by broad-chested firemen. Now there was an idea"

 

 

" ‘It might not be a drink, it might be an orgy. Well,’ I amended, ‘a threesome anyway.’

Winter looked faintly green. ‘Let’s hope not. Come on. There’s probably a back door.’ "

All in all a good read with even side characters and love interest developed nicely.  Looking forward to reading the next in series.


*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  

 

Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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review 2018-04-17 18:49
Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
Afterage - Yvonne Navarro

This is a book I had kicking around since the 90’s but just got around to reading when my horror loving friend Char created a buddy read at Goodreads.

 

A vampire apocalypse has occurred. Navarro starts things off after it has happened. The few remaining humans must struggle to survive in a wasteland ravaged by monsters both vampiric and human. And, as usual, the human monsters are always the worst! Only the suicidal dare venture out after dark because the vampires are fast, ravenous and deadly.

 

The book follows a rather large cast of survivors, most of them eking out a life by themselves but eventually they come together to save a group of humans being kept hostage by a vampire called Anyelet for reasons that are gross, disturbing and so, so awful!

 

I loved the fact that the Big Bad was a woman! She was vicious and selfish and so perfectly evil and so much better a villain than Anne Rice’s whiny creatures. I don’t think she had even one “poor me” moment. She was lonely so she changed her situation. It created an apocalypse but thems the breaks! Her human henchman was a vile man and she surrounded herself with lesser vampires that she could easily boss around. There’s some nasty stuff insinuated within these pages!

 

The survivors are all pretty well fleshed out and, despite the high number of them, I miraculously didn’t find myself terribly confused which is usually the case. I think it’s because the chapters were short and I tried to read big chunks of the book at each sitting so it was easier to remember who was who and what they had done a few chapters earlier.

 

This reads like old school horror because, well, it is! It reminds me of those long lost days when I was able to spend an entire day under a tree reading King and McCammon until the sun went down. It’s not quite at the emotional level of those two but it comes close at times and it isn’t overly wordy as some books of that time were. These characters were in peril from start to finish but they find time to love and help each other. The baddies are BAD but there are a few who haven’t totally lost their humanity and I appreciated that.

 

If you’re into nasty vampires that aren’t romanticized you should give this one a try.

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review 2018-04-16 21:57
Review of "All Systems Red" (Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells
All Systems Red - Martha Wells

I have the worst trouble writing reviews for books I unequivocally ★★★★★.

 

Probably the best review I can give this is that I immediately pre-ordered the next book, Artificial Condition.

 

I just loved being inside Murdebot's head.  Grumpy, introverted, snarky, lazy, fighting any emotions or involvement ... anti-hero, indeed.  

 

The worldbuilding with greedy corporations had a fond déjà vu for me of H. Beam Piper's works—but, original rather than derivative.

 

This had been on my radar since publisher first announced it.  So glad I read it now for booklikes bookclub http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/88/tor-monthly-free-ebook-science-fiction-and-fantasy when publisher TOR offered as this month's free ebook.

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