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review 2020-05-29 21:26
The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost, Johnny Dixon #4 by John Bellairs
The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost - John Bellairs

This is the first, and only?, direct sequel in the 'Johnny Dixon' series, and it may be why I remembered not liking this one as a kid. Most of Bellairs' work can be read independently, but 'Revenge' jumps right into one of Johnny's patented freaky dreams. An old man threatens Johnny, saying he's done his family a wrong, and that the ghost of Warren Windrow still roams. Warren Windrow is the 'Sorcerer' whose bespelled skull caused so much trouble last time.

 

Of course, Johnny doesn't tell anyone about the dream. This series. They either keep supernatural events a secret because they're embarrassed, or they disbelieve each other. Johnny starts sleep-walking and acting ornery, and has strong visions of saloons and gambling dens. Eventually, he becomes comatose and even an impromptu exorcism attempt by Father Higgins doesn't help.

 

As a kid, this one left me a little confused. I didn't read these in order so the abrupt revenge-plot left me in the dark. Also, with Johnny out of the picture we have the Professor and Fergie on a multi-day expedition to the Windrow estate to find ancient magical talismans (straight out of the Bible) that may be Johnny's last hope. 

 

The saving grace of this book, as with many others of Bellairs, are some genuine horror elements out of nowhere that keep a reader off guard, and the period details that evoke midcentury American boyhood and, in this case, Gold Rush-era California. 

 

Johnny Dixon

 

Next: 'The Eyes of the Killer Robot'

 

Previous: 'The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull'

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review 2020-05-23 00:22
Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti
Sweet Revenge - Rebecca Zanetti

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was really good! I have had a copy of this book to read for years but failed to actually start reading it until now. After reading the first book in the series recently, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I do feel like this series is best when read in order since some of the events from the first book come into play in this installment. Once I started reading this one, I hard a hard time putting it down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Matt and Laney are the focus of this book. Matt is the oldest of his brothers and always tries to take care of everything. He needs to find the doctor that has the ability to save him and his brothers and he has it narrowed down to the small town of Charmed, Idaho. He gets a job working at the local bar owned by Laney and the pair have an instant connection. Before long, things in town get a lot more complicated than they ever imagined.

Matt and Laney were both great characters and I thought that they were great together. I thought that the chemistry between them was amazing. They did have a few communication issues at the start of the story but they eventually learned to work together very well. They were both incredibly capable people that were protective of the people that they cared about. It was really easy to cheer this pair on.

This story was really exciting. Matt's mission to find the doctor that could save them was interesting enough but there was some additional crime occurring in the small town that really added to the excitement. There were some revelations in the story that completely surprised me and a ton of action worked into the story. It was really easy to be hooked by this story.

Karen White continues to do an amazing job with the narration of this series. I really like the quality of her voice and thought that she did a wonderful job with all of the character voices. I thought that she was able to bring a lot of emotion to the story. I had such a good time listening to this story and believe that her narration added to my enjoyment.

I would recommend this book to others. I put off reading this series for a number of years and am so glad that I finally have made it a priority. This book was filled with wonderful characters, intense action, and some incredibly romantic moments. I cannot wait to start reading the next book in the series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
This was really good! I liked Matt and Laney were both great characters and they were really good together. The story had a lot of excitement and there were a few twists that I didn't see coming. I was able to guess a few things but for the most part, this story kept me guessing. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a fantastic job with the reading of the story.

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text 2020-05-19 02:44
Snakes & Ladders 100th Square Poll - Now Open for Voting!
1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire - Rebecca Rideal
The Children's Blizzard - David Laskin
Kosovo: War and Revenge - Tim Judah
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic - Sam Quinones

Okay BL followers, it is time for my reading destiny to be shaped by your hands.

Please go wash them first.

I'll wait.

The poll will close at 12pm CST (6pm Greenwhich time for int'l readers) on Wednesday.

 

Now here are your choices!

 

A. 1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal (Nonfiction)

1666 was a watershed year for England. An outbreak of the Great Plague, the eruption of the second Dutch War, and the devastating Great Fire of London all struck the country in rapid succession and with devastating repercussions.

 

B. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin (Nonfiction)

The gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier...In telling the story of this meteorological catastrophe, the deadliest blizzard ever to hit the prairie states, David Laskin has produced a masterful portrait of a tragic crucible in the settlement of the American heartland.

 

C. Kosovo: War and Revenge by Tim Judah (Nonfiction)

An account of how Kosovo became the crucible of one of the 20th-century's most poisonous ethnic conflicts. Written by a seasoned journalist who witnessed the Balkan conflagration and its aftermath, it presents an analysis of the origins of the Serb-Albanian conflict, the course of the battle, the issues and personalities, and options for the future.  

 

D. Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (Nonfiction)

In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin—the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin—to the veins of people across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before—from Charlotte, NC and Huntington, WVA, to Salt Lake City and Portland, OR—were overrun with it. Local police and residents were stunned. How could heroin, long considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here, and perhaps more importantly, why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered?

 

Happy Voting!

 

 

 

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review 2020-05-10 14:59
Loch Ness Revenge
Loch Ness Revenge - Hunter Shea

by Hunter Shea

 

The first chapter seemed to keep switching between present and past tense. Twins witness their parents killed by presumably the Loch Ness monster while on holiday. We jump ahead to the twins grown up and settle into mostly present tense.

 

Natalie is obsessed with hunting down the monster that killed her parents, with the obvious difficulty that most people don't believe Nessie exists. Eventually her brother joins in the hunt after not seeing each other for several years. They've grown up and have much to discover about each other.

 

The narrative lacks realism. There's no plan for hunting the creature that isn't suicidal and guaranteed to cause some close calls.

 

I've enjoyed Shea stories before, but on this one I feel he sort of dropped the ball. For one thing I regard whole novels written in present tense trend as the stuff of very young Romance writers who didn't pay attention in English class. There were a few glaring typos or wrong form of words and the plot was overly predictable and lacking suspense.

 

I did get a laugh from a particularly good one-liner and to be fair, there were some dramatic scenes towards the end but again, they were a little too difficult to suspend disbelief. Definitely not Shea's best work.

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review 2020-05-07 02:43
A Chimera's Revenge - Eve Langlais A Chimera's Revenge - Eve Langlais

I am...so torn. On the one hand, seeing our former villain's struggle with his inner monster, his caring for the h, which had been there before he ever started experimenting... And yet, previous books indicated a complete lack of concern about anything or anyone. That's problem A. That until the end of the previous book, there was no indication he really concerned himself about others.

 

And then you find he's kept the h's comatose body in a penthouse for...an undetermined amount of time, because he cared about her.

 

(scratches head)

 

Problem B would be the sudden delving into the supernatural. Up until now, the theme was they used some method to give animal DNA to damaged humans to help them heal. 1) we have a flipping phoenix, 2) the other Dr has apparently turned into a vampire or demon or..something.

 

So the H has kept the h hooked up to equipment in his penthouse for...years. She's been in a coma since ODing 20 years before. Her parents died, and he ah...absconded with her before she got unhooked. Sleeping beauty has undergone his special treatments, yet remains comatose...until he makes the decision that he's got to hide evidence he was here and blows the penthouse. Since the h has turned into a phoenix of sorts, she's finally warm enough to come out of hibernation. He finds out she's alive after she's seen walking into burning buildings, starkers. He manages to catch her attention, bad guys show up, failed experiments show up, a not-so-failed experiment and his wife show up... Eventually they are sort of all together but still being tracked.

 

Just guessing here but equipping a room to be a lab, complete with hospital bed, would likely get someone's attention. Just also guessing but if your former partner sold you out, you probably should have changed all the locks immediately, so to speak, as it's likely he knew all your bolt holes.

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