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review 2018-08-15 19:39
Unidentified by Michael McBride Audio Review
Unidentified - Michael McBride,Joe Hempel

This is a brief little novella that runs a little over 2 hours on audio. It’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Joe Hempel, who helps the story leap off the pages. He also never grates on my last nerve like some narrators do. His pace is on the slower side and it draws you into the chilling atmosphere of the story and his performance of the characters sounds natural. If you like audio and scary tales, this is a really good one. 

40 years ago a group of teens stumbled across something terrible in the aftermath of crop circles, missing teens and animal mutilations. They woke without memories of the events that cost them a friend but now that another child has gone missing and one of them writes a chilling email saying only “I remember everything”, they reunite to start digging into the past and end whatever it is from tormenting their hometown once and for all. 

Since this is such a short story I don’t have a lot to say about it. It left me guessing and I loved the bleak threads running throughout it and if you listen to the author notes at the end, and you should, you might be a little terrified of the sky!

 

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text 2018-08-14 17:55
Reading progress update: I've read 14%. - feeling disoriented
Our Friends In Berlin - Anthony Quinn

Competent if slightly disorienting start to an unusual idea: a spy novel set in London during the Blitz where the German spies are the heroes.

 

I'm not sure where this is going but the ever-so-English almost "Mrs Minerva" atmosphere is made oxymoronic when applied to descriptions of "Little England" fifth columnists meeting discuss how to accelerate Hitler's liberation of Europe.

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review 2018-08-14 12:48
"Bearskin" by James A. McLaughlin - Highly Recommended
Bearskin - James McLaughlin

"Bearskin" is a rare find: a literary thriller that is as lyrical as it is muscular.

 

Instead of choosing between writing a literary book about how a man can surrender himself to the dark sentience of an ancient forest and walk out more himself than he was before or a thriller about a man deeply maimed by violence who, although living an almost invisible life in the wilds, knows his past will catch up with him, James McLaughlinhas written a book that is both a literary achievement and a page-turning, viscerally realistic thriller.

 

Two things caught and kept my attention throughout this book: the development of Rice Moore, the man at the heart of the story and the sometimes total immersion into the ancient Appalachian forest. Either one would have been reason enough to read this book. Together they became compelling.

 

Rice Moore is a great creation. Recent acts of extreme violence against him and by him have left him emotionally scarred and subject to fugues states and hallucinations. A solitary man who no longer entirely trusts himself to play well with others, he seeks isolation, partly to hide from his enemies and partly to avoid people. Alone in the forest, feeling its pulse next to his own, his inability to let go of his territoriality or his instinct for violence, repeatedly draws him into conflict with the people around him.

 

Yet this isn't a one-man-triumphs-against-the-world sort of story. Moore is losing his mind. His fugue states, his obsession with protecting the black bears on the estate he is warden of and his personal ghosts, lead him down a path where he literally puts on another skin and enters a different kind of consciousness. James McLaughlin's ability to help me experience this altering of states as something real and raw was deeply impressive.

 

Even though "Bearskin" is as fast-paced and propulsive as a thriller needs to be, McLaughlin is able to incorporate the forest and its fauna and fauna as a deeply experienced part of the story. Ecology is more than a plot device or a scientific concept here, it is about understanding our place in the world and its rhythms.

 

In addition to these two strong themes, McLaughlin gives us an insight into the poaching of black bears, the vengeance of the Mexican drug cartels and the rules and rituals of outlaw motorcycle clubs and an up-close experience of violence that is hard to look away from.

 

I recommend the audiobook version of "Bearskin" as MacLeod Andrews' narration enhanced my experience of the book.

 

Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/441607044" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

 

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review 2018-08-14 01:29
People I want to Punch in the Throat
People I Want to Punch in the Throat: True(ish) Tales of an Overachieving Underachiever - Jen Mann

A friend recommended this book and I was skeptical because of the title, but after reading a few chapters I had trouble putting it down and was totally that mom and understood where the author was coming from. As I listened to the book (driving to KY and back is an easy 4 hours of listening) I told my kids this is why I never sell at a garage sale. Other points I was nodding my head in complete understanding. I even recommended this book to my sil. She went looking for it, too on the library sites to see if she could get it. 

 

The title may be off-putting, but I do think this is a good book and I really want to get my hands on her other books, especially the holiday one. 

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review 2018-08-13 11:39
Wild Things - Chloe Neill,Sophie Eastlake

While I liked this series, I decided not to go any further. I felt like I had read the same book with a different villain the last few books. Plus, the men are wishy-washy and the vampires are not as smart as they think they are. The mysteries are the weakest part of this series. They don't figure things out until they are almost hit over the head with it. 

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