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review 2018-10-09 01:50
Strange Weather - audiobook
Strange Weather - Wil Wheaton,Joe Hill,Kate Mulgrew,Stephen Lang,Dennis Boutsikaris

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot

Performed by Wil Wheaton.

This story features a creepy man (The Phoenician) with a Polaroid camera that steals memories. A teenage boy stumbles across the man and becomes tangled up in his plan.

The story is told from Michael’s memories of what happened. The narration is excellent; it was fun to listen to “Wesley Crusher” perform the story. The idea of a camera that steals memories by taking pictures is frightening. Hill relates it to Alzheimer’s in the way the Phoenician takes away pieces of the older woman’s memories and gradually destroys who she is. I liked that there wasn’t a simple fix. But I kept thinking the story was over and waiting for something cool to happen, and that was a bit of a letdown. (3 stars)

 

Loaded

Performed by Stephen Lang

With all the gun violence in our country, this one was hard to listen to. The story follows a mall shooting and how it affects the security guard involved. I liked the reporter character who helped figure out what really happened in the mall that day. But the story was a bit too dark for me and the ending didn’t help. (2 stars)

 

Aloft

Performed by Dennis Boutsikaris

This is a quirky story about a guy on his first skydiving excursion who somehow lands on a sentient cloud that doesn’t want to let him go. I have an open mind and appreciate fantasy as much as the next reader, but I didn’t love this story. The main problem was I couldn’t stand the main character. (2 stars)

 

Rain

Performed by Kate Mulgrew

In this story, one day instead of water, it rains crystal nails that shred anyone who is left out in the open. Honeysuckle tries to find her girlfriend’s father and, in the process, finds clues leading to the cause of the deadly rain. I liked following Honeysuckle’s journey and her interactions with other survivors, but there were too many coincidences and the final conclusion seemed highly unlikely. I did enjoy the narrow scope of the story and how it focused on Honeysuckle’s journey as opposed to the effects of the overall apocalypse. I must say that I love Kate Mulgrew and will happily listen to any story she performs, so that may affect my rating. (3 ½ stars)

 

I listened to this one for the Relics and Curiosities square.

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review 2018-09-16 20:57
Strange Weather ★★★☆☆
Strange Weather - Joe Hill

Dementia is cruel, in the way it steals from the person who suffers it, and steals from the people who love them. Joe Hill externalizes and personifies it in Snapshot, about a boy who finds that the woman who raised him and loved him as a mother is being attacked by a man with a camera that doesn’t just capture memories, but steals them, leaving empty spaces and confusion and fear behind.

 

“The idea that these days had been taken from her struck me as vile. It was a swallow of curdled milk. It was indecent.

 

There was no justification for the loss of her memories and understanding, no defense the universe could offer for the corruption of her mind. She had loved me, even if I’d been too witless to know it or value it. Anyone who looked at these pictures could see she loved me, that I delighted her somehow, in spite of my fat cheeks, vacant stare, and tendency to eat in a way that smeared food all down my bad T-shirts. In spite of how I thoughtlessly accepted her attention and affection as my due. And now it was all melting away, every birthday party, every BBQ, every plucked ripe peach. She was being erased a little at a time by a cancer that fed not on her flesh but on her inner life, on her private store of happiness.”

 

There’s more about the boy and how he battles the evil man with the camera and what he does with his life, but this was the essence of the story for me, the wish that it was as simple as a bad man with an evil camera who could be defeated, and that people would never have to lose their memories and essential selves again.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. As usual, Wil Wheaton brings the story to life with an outstanding performance. I read this story for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Relics and Curiosities: concerning magical, supernatural or haunted objects, such as spellbooks, talismans or swords. The memory-stealing camera in this story fits the square.

 

There are three other (short stories? novellas?) in this collection. Loaded was a horribly plausible story of a trigger-happy security guard whose prejudices lead him to shoot innocent bystanders in the excitement and confusion of responding to an actual shooting. It was maybe a little too realistic to be enjoyable, my stomach felt twisted through most of it, but the effect was spoiled in the end as Hill was just a little too heavy-handed with the evil, a little too over the top. Aloft was maybe the most fun of the four stories, on its surface about a guy who parachutes, not to the ground, but onto a mysteriously solid cloud. But the story is more about isolation and loneliness, and how we can fool ourselves into believing dysfunctional relationships give more, promise more, than they do. Rain seemed more up my alley as a straightforward weird horror – I mean, really, rain made of sharp needles of crystal that shred anybody unlucky enough to get caught in it? – but for some reason, it bored me enough that I skimmed most of it.

 

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review 2018-08-21 23:42
Cloudy With a Chance
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Judi Barrett,Ron Barrett

This is a super silly book meant for the younger ones! In my opinion it would be best for 2nd grade. According to Fountas & Pinnell I think it would probably fall in that grade level as well. It's a tall-tale told from the perspective of the grandpa. It's about food falling from the sky. I think this would be a good introduction to learning about weather patterns. We could even branch off of that and go into the water cycle from there. 

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text 2018-08-07 10:43
Germany & Central Europe, seen from the International Space Station

Tweet by the current commander of the ISS, German Alexander Gerst.

 

I'd been planning to shut up about the weather, but this just came too pat ... Will finally be shutting up now, though.

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text 2018-08-06 22:53
Let the Cult Begin ...

So here's my super-shiny, super-pretty, brand-spanking new card, with very many thanks to Moonlight Reader, um,  Madness:

 

 

First -- still very vague -- book ideas:

 

Country House Mystery: No specific idea yet, but I'll try to combine this one with my Detection Club quest, if possible.

Cryptozoologist: Probably either a book from Terry Pratchett's "Night Guard" Discworld subseries, or Patricia McKillip's Fantastic Beasts of Eld.

Romantic Suspense: I still haven't gotten around to the book I was planning to read for this square last year, Candace Robb's Apothecary Rose.  Either that or something by Mary Stewart.

Terrifying Women: If I don't come up with anything more specific, likely either Shirley Jackson or Patricia Highsmith.

Terror in a Small Town: Another one to combine with my Detection Club quest.

A Grimm Tale: Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber (Richard Armitage audio).

Genre: Horror: Michael McDowell: Gilded Needles (R.C. Bray audio).

Gothic: I've been planning, for quite a while, to do a comparison listen & review of the two audio versions of Du Maurier's Rebecca that I own on CD (read by Emma Fielding and Anna Massey, respectively) -- this just might be the moment to finally get around to doing that.

Murder Most Foul: ... and another one to combine with my Detection Club quest.

Doomsday: If MM OK's it, Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora.  Otherwise, possibly one of Sheri S. Tepper's dystopias.  Or if I feel like I need some comic relief, I might just revisit Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, what with a screen adaptation now in the works and all.

13: You guessed it ... The Detection Club: Verdict of 13.

Supernatural: Patricia McKillip: The Riddle Master.

Free Space: TBD.

Amateur Sleuth: Amateur sleuths are a golden age mystery staple, so ... another category suggesting itself for combination with my Detection Club quest.

Southern Gothic: Either Barbara Hambly's Free Man of Color or Michael McDowell's Blackwater saga (Matt Godfrey audio).

Ghost Stories: Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (Nigel Anthony / Susan Jameson audio).  (Might switch this one with "Classic Horror", though, see below.)

Cozy Mystery: Yet another possible combination with my Detection Club quest.

New Release: C.J. Sansom, Tombland.

Diverse Voices: Esi Edugyan: Washington Black.

Creepy Carnivals: Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (Adjoa Andoh audio).

Fear the Drowning Deep: No idea yet -- I'll probably be revisiting a classic here.

Classic Horror: Edith Wharton's or Charles Dickens's ghost stories (but might switch this one with category "Ghost Stories," see above).

Darkest London: If I feel up to yet another 600+ page whopper (besides the new C.J. Sansom), J.K. Rowling aka Robert Galbraith's Lethal White. Or Andrew Taylor, The American Boy (Alex Jennings audio).  Otherwise, obviously one more category that suggests itself for combination with my Detection Club quest.

Genre: Suspense: Ditto here (Detection Club), also obviously.

Relics and Curiosities: Probably one of the Medieval Murderers books I haven't read yet.

 

On a related note, I was planning to use the audio version of Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis for "Modern Noir" -- since I didn't happen to end up with that category, I'm pretty much hell-bent on working it into another category.  It's read by Richard Armitage and I already downloaded it (had, in fact, before MM even posted her first "Halloween Bingo" alerts) ... there is no way I will not be using it as part of the bingo!

 

Though all told, it's probabably just as well we have another three weeks to go until the start, because with temperatures like these, who actually needs to read about horror?  (Sigh.)

 

(Source)

 

(And now I promise I'm done bitching about the weather ...)

 

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