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text 2017-04-23 20:09
Freebie that was recommended
Graveyard Shift - Angela Roquet

Just downloaded this first book (with more of series already published) based on a friend's recommendation.  Currently free for kindle.

 

Sounds like I'll like the main character if the story isn't too much like too many other UF/PNR books.

 

Synopsis reads:

"The Inferno has Evolved… Lana Harvey is a reaper, and a lousy one at that.

 

She resides in Limbo City, the modern capital of the collective afterlives, where she likes to stick it to the man (the legendary Grim Reaper himself) by harvesting the bare minimum of souls required of her. She’d much rather be hanging out with Gabriel, her favorite archangel, at Purgatory Lounge.

 

But when a shocking promotion falls in her lap, Lana learns something that could unravel the very fabric of Eternity. If the job isn’t completed, there could be some real hell to pay."

 

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review 2017-04-21 23:30
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time & The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - Yasutaka Tsutsui,David James Karashima

I feel like this is a really difficult book to review because I can't tell if the problems were with the writing itself or the translation. The concepts were interesting in both stories (this book actually contains two short stories), and I quite enjoyed Tsutsui's creativity. I actually think I enjoyed the second story, The Stuff that Nightmares are Made Of, more than the titular piece. However, the writing was...not good. The prose was stilted and awkward, and the descriptions felt lacking. I also couldn't get a good feel for the characters, and often felt as though the clues were there but I was missing them. I might be inclined to write this off as me missing cultural cues, but I haven't had this difficulty with other Japanese books and media. I strongly suspect this is one of those works that wasn't translated well, and is missing a lot of the original elegance and nuance.

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review 2017-04-20 18:35
Nightmares and Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Nightmares and Geezenstacks - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Fredric Brown

This was a thoroughly enjoyable collection of short stories, superbly narrated by Matt Godfrey. I can see now why Stephen King gave Fredric Brown and specifically this collection a special mention in his non fiction book about influential horror written during the 1950's through the 1970's: Danse Macabre.

 

Within this volume, there are nearly 50 stories, most of them very short. There were some sci-fi tales mixed in, but most of these were horror. For whatever reason, these tiny gems brought me back to the stories I read when I first got into horror. I would say the period after Poe, but before King. I did a lot of short story reading back then; I used them as a way to find new authors, and then longer works written by them. Somehow, I never discovered Mr. Brown back then, but I'm so glad that I've discovered him now.

 

There are too many tales to get into here, but a few of the standouts to me were:

 

The Geezenstacks This was Just. Plain. Fun! How can you go wrong with a horror story about dolls?!

 

Cat Burglar That ending cracked me the hell up!

 

There were several stories that began with "Nightmare in..." and I pretty much loved all of those.

 

Matt Godfrey does a tremendous job narrating these stories. I've listened to a few of his audios now, and he's quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. Will Patton had better watch out!

 

This collection really stands above most others of its kind, not only from that time period, (the 60's), but this time period as well. That's not to say that some of these stories don't feel dated, because some do, but I don't feel as if that affected their impact. Also, Nightmares and Geezenstacks will not work for everyone, especially those who love their tales to be extra bloody or leaning towards bizarro. Horror was tamer in the 60's, and these stories are a product of their time.

 

That being said, I loved this collection. It had short stories that were actually short, it had a great deal of variety, most tales packed a real punch and the narration was wonderful. I give this my highest recommendation!

 

*I received this audio free from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-20 18:13
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

In the village of King's Abbot, a widow's sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed, and was carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study--but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow's blackmailer. King's Abbot is crawling with suspects, including a nervous butler, Ackroyd's wayward stepson, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd, who has taken up residence in the victim's home. It's now up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who has retired to King's Abbot to garden, to solve the case of who killed Roger Ackroyd--a task in which he is aided by the village doctor and narrator, James Sheppard, and by Sheppard's ingenious sister, Caroline.

 

M. Poirot, what were you thinking? Retiring to a small village to grow vegetable marrows? I too would hurl them in fits of regret! As if marrows could suitably engage those little grey cells!

Excellent depiction of the competitive sport of gossip. Small communities everywhere suffer from it. That is one of the reasons that I came to live in a city—I can actually keep my private life relatively private!

Dame Agatha really did set the patterns for current mystery literature, didn’t she? Very, very enjoyable and as usual, I had no idea who the perpetrator was until M. Poirot did the big reveal.

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review 2017-04-20 17:21
A TIME TO KILL Review
A Time to Kill - John Grisham

My first John Grisham novel was his latest release, The Whistler: a capable, if not entirely thrilling, read. Because I give every author two chances to 'wow' me, I decided to take a stab at Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill.

 

Wow. Wow wow wow. Was I impressed!

 

Set in northeastern Mississippi (an area I've ridden through many times, and have a certain affection for), a young black girl is kidnapped and brutally raped by two white rednecks, both career criminals despite only being in their twenties. The two are caught and arrested, but that does not make the girl's pain go away, of course — so her father takes matters into his own hands, and murders the two rapists in cold blood. Jake Brigance, a young lawyer who is desperate for the big time, takes the case despite its daunting nature. What unravels is something that thoroughly impacts the entire fictional town of Clanton, Mississippi, and the reader as well. There is no black or white here, only a world of gray; while most readers can sympathize with the girl's father, was it right of him to murder the men? What is morally justifiable? What role does the court system play in our lives, and even when juries make the 'right' decision, is it still wrong? These are questions Grisham leads the reader to, never fully answering them but instead inspiring thought and meditation. I know I certainly look at the American justice system in a new light after reading this fabulous novel.

 

This was a journey that had me glued to the pages, and I would have read it much faster had life not intervened. I was shocked by how fleshed out the town of Clanton and its inhabitants really are, in the pages of this weighty story; Grisham is one who can tell a tale, and had that talent from the very beginning . . . as is evident here, in his debut novel. I was not sure what I wanted the final decision to be — guilty, not guilty, mistrial — because of all the twists and turns and new revelations that come to light during this volume's 480-ish pages. That's a good thing. The person who begins reading this novel and the person who finishes this novel aren't the same, not completely; this is one with true potential to impact, all these years later. It really stands up.

 

John Grisham is one of America's most popular authors, and I can now see why. I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of his releases, but I don't know if any of them can top this one.

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