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review 2018-09-13 00:01
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King, Owen King for Modern Masters of Horror
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King,Owen King

  I enjoyed this enormously. There were some surprises and some poor reading on my part (my earlier race comment was wrongish, because of my failure to notice and/or remember the race of characters, but also kind of accurate given later developments - it's complicated). Anyway, nice work with archetypes and fairy tales and a premise that is clearly fantasy, but also very grounded and concrete. There's a large cast and lots of plot. But also really nuanced and generous, kind even. Stephen has always showed an understanding of and sympathy with abused women, so a whole lot of compassion towards the inmates of a women's prison is no surprise. But there is also a lot of anger, some of it directed at people behaving badly and some of it directed at society for creating and exacerbating iniquity. Dickensian.


Good on these two for writing a book that is absolutely entertaining, but more than just entertaining.


Good for many squares, and recommended to those who don't care for horror in general.



Library copy

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review 2018-09-12 23:22
The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse
The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse - Joel Morris,Jason Hazeley

Some people say civilisation after a zombie apocalypse will go back to The Stone Age. Nobody tidies up or collects the bins.

The electricity keeps going off.

There are dead bodies piled up in the streets.

It is actually more like the 1970s.


I guess, I'm just not the right audience for this book. Or really any book about zombies.

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text 2018-09-04 19:44
Wrap up for the Summer of Spies
The Hanged Man - P.N. Elrod
Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen
The Apocalypse Codex - Charles Stross

I am pleased to have finished 28 books as part of my Summer of Spies reading!  I knocked quite a bunch of books off my TBR and learned about some new series and authors that topped it right back up again.


I have to say that I loved the 4 Agatha Christie titles included in the total and that I appreciate the look into Ian Fleming’s work that I got through reading his biography plus 7 (!) of the Bond novels.  I also enjoyed Len Deighton and John Le Carré although I’m not sure that I’ll read much by either of them again.  I was very taken with Helen MacInnes and Somerset Maugham and can see myself perusing more of their writing sometime in the future.


I regret that I never did get to any books by Graham Greene.  His writing is a hole in my reading life that I must fill at some point, but unfortunately not this summer.


True to my fantasy-adoring self, my favourite reads of this summer were Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series, Charles Stross’ Laundry Files, and P.N. Elrod’s The Hanged Man.


I hope that all of you who joined me in the Summer of Spies also had fun and got some memorable moments out of the experience.


And now, Happy Halloween Reading, everyone!



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review 2018-09-02 14:10
The Last Hours - Minette Walters 
The Last Hours - Minette Walters

The first outbreaks of the Black Death in Dorset. There is crime and secrets and lies, but this is counterbalanced by great kindness and cooperation and thought. You wouldn't think it could be a hopeful kind of book, but even as the plague strikes so swiftly with such high mortality, it does free up all the wealth and power that was gathered into so few hands.


Now I just have to wait for the story to be continued.


It's situations like this that make me reluctant to start a series until it's all written


Library copy


Edited to add, 9/2/18:  I often give authors of fiction about plagues a hard time for giving their imagined diseases an easy transmission, an incredibly high mortality rate, and a very brief latency: these three ratios all being very high means an infection will burn out in a population too quickly to spread. Even the worst plagues in naive populations don't score high on all three. They also tend to avoid people getting ill and recovering, which some portion of the population usually does. Most fiction wrlters avoid the importance of hygiene and sanitation and supportive care: they have everyone dying from the primary disease directly rather than address indirect mortality. I've encountered more than a few books that use 99.99% in order to decrease the surplus population. I mention this because I can only think of two writers who don't cheat that way: Connie Willis and now Minette Walters. If you want realistic plagues, these are the women to read.


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review 2018-08-18 04:19
Suffer the Children
Suffer the Children - Craig DiLouie


Most people didn't understand how strongly mothers felt toward their children from the moment they were born. That this screaming thing in your arms was your entire reason for being. That you would do anything to make it happy. That you would fight, kill, die.

- Chapter 11


This book is chilling, heartbreaking, gruesome, and I couldn't put it down. I don't want to give anything away, but what these parents are willing to do for their children is horrifying. The parents in this book are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep their children alive. DiLouie's writing is masterful and he makes the entire premise believable and so all the more terrifying. I highly recommend this book to horror fans everywhere.

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