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review 2017-09-25 02:17
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers - Stuart Neville,Mick Herron,Helene Tursten,Peter Lovesey,Cara Black

I love anthologies like this. When your schedule is crazy & you find it difficult to make any progress on a full-meal book, these provide the perfect snack. Here we have 18 stories with an interesting theme. All are set around the Xmas season. But that’s about all they have in common as the authors took the brief & ran with it.

 

Some are funny, some are gritty. Settings include different centuries & locales such as Seoul, Bangkok, Ireland, America & Cuba. And genres run the gamut from psychological to full on action. There are even a few names you’ll recognize such as Jane Austen & Sherlock Holmes.

 

Like most collections some are great, most are good & a couple are meh. But what falls into those categories will vary from reader to reader. My favourites were those by Helene Tursten (do NOT mess with a Swedish granny), Teresa Dovalpage (great characters, set in Cuba), Tod Goldberg (poignant tale of a lonely sheriff’s final days on the job) & Martin Limón (American military police in 1970’s Korea). Two of these authors I’d never read before & therein lies the gift. It’s great chance to try out new (to you) authors & editor Peter Lovesey has included each writer’s back list at the end so you can easily select something meatier by whoever catches your fancy.

 

It’s a great book to take on your daily commute or leave on the bedside table. Just keep it handy for those times when you have a few minutes to escape to another time or country.

 

        

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-12 05:22
Into the Woods
The Ritual - Adam Nevill

FYI this is really fun to read while sitting outside and hearing a deer stomp around in the bushes by my apartment. 

 

The Ritual follows a group of four friends as they holiday in the Swedish wilderness. They brake the first rule of all horror movies and decide to take a short cut, leaving the path and going deeper in to the forest. As you might expect, things get all Blair Witch as they stumble across a spooky cabin used for ancient, pagan rituals and it leads to something unnatural following them through the woods. 

 

I really loved this book. It sucked me in from the beginning and kept me going with very few breaks in between. It was exactly what I wanted in a creepy forest story, what with them being lost and hunted by Moder. And once Moder and her family got to them...Well it was amazingly horrifying. 

 

The way Neville built up the tensions was incredible. It was so hard to stop reading because you knew something incredible was waiting on the next page. I think part of that has to do with him ending most chapters on cliffhangers. He was really terrific at this and it made the book a super compelling read.

 

One drawback of the book is I felt the two halves didn't mesh very well together. In one half you had lost in the woods, Blair Witch chasing after them, and in the next part it was Deliverance. The two did mesh together in the end, and did so fantastically, but there was a really awkward, disjointed period for a while. I definitely enjoyed the first part of the book better 'cause Deliverance just wasn't quite what I expected. 

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Everything I love in creepy forest stories wrapped into a fun package. 

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text 2017-08-13 17:24
The Eight by Katherine Neville $1.99!
The Eight by Katherine Neville (2009-04-30) - Katherine Neville;

A fabulous, bejeweled chess set that belonged to Charlemagne has been buried in a Pyrenees abbey for a thousand years. As the bloody French Revolution rages in Paris, the nuns dig it up and scatter its pieces across the globe because, when united, the set contains a secret power that could topple civilizations. To keep the set from falling into the wrong hands, two novices, Valentine and Mireille, embark on an adventure that begins in the streets of Paris and leads to Russia, Egypt, Corsica, and into the heart of the Algerian Sahara.
 
Two hundred years later, while on assignment in Algeria, computer expert Catherine Velis finds herself drawn unwillingly into the deadly “Game” still swirling around the legendary chess set—a game that will require her to risk her life and match wits with diabolical forces.
 

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review 2017-06-23 03:43
The Once and Future King by T H White (Audiobook)
The Once and Future King - T.H. White,Neville Jason

Series: The Once and Future King #1-5

 

Narrated by Neville Jackson

 

This was supposed to represent a collection of five books, but the titles didn’t seem to be announced (or I kept missing them) so they all just blurred together. I liked the first book, The Sword in the Stone, and I’d give that one 3 stars because although I liked it the animal stories became a bit repetitive. That covers Arthur’s childhood (I think). I’d recommend stopping after that because the rest just seemed long. Stop after he becomes king, anyway, at whichever book it is. It seems like it’s impossible to write an Arthurian story where Lancelot and Guinevere aren’t boring and whiny. Later on Merlin went on some long rants about the nature of man and war that could seriously put you to sleep.

 

My opinion may be in the minority but it is what it is. Oh, and I could definitely have done without so many songs. The narrator wasn’t bad but he couldn’t make Merlin’s philosophizing interesting.

 

Previous updates:

1023/1983 minutes (52 %)

681/1983 minutes (34 %)

 

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review 2017-06-08 21:59
Very average
Stolen Souls - Stuart Neville This is an average solid offering from Stuart Neville but not as good as the brilliant DCI Serena Flanagan...."Those we left behind" and "So say the fallen". DI Lennon is a typical over worked detective, the sole parent to his 6 year old daughter Ellen, mum having tragically passed away in a fire. He is helped in this endeavour by his one and only admirer Susan. It's almost Christmas on the streets of Belfast and a body has been discovered. Soon Lennon will be embroiled in the hunt for a killer and an investigation into the illegal importation of young girls from Europe for the purposes of prostitution. If we add to this a demented lonely killer then it is highly unlikely the dutiful detective will be sitting down to his turkey roast anytime soon....A book to pass away the time but instantly forgotten.
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