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review 2019-02-15 19:59
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire Audiobook Review
In an Absent Dream - Seanan McGuire

In An Absent Dream is a prequel to a series of books I have not read so I’m walking in cold here.

 

The tale begins when a young girl spots a tree where previously there wasn’t one. The tree does some twists and contortions and a little door appears. On that door it says only, “Be Sure”. Katherine is pretty sure she wants to step through that door so she does. Who could resist?! As you can guess, there are wonders on the other side of that door. Centaurs, cow people and girls who look almost human and the tastiest of pies! It’s a wonderland of freedom and choices and glorious sights free from the prying eyes of pesky parents and their expectations to form you into a proper wife. But then there are the rules. And the rules cannot be ignored. To ignore a rule is to lose a wee bit of what you makes you human and that is all I’m going to say about that.

 

This tale begins a little like a skewed Alice in Wonderland and it is completely enchanting. I loved Lundy. Young Lundy learned at the tender age of six that books are often better company than people and she wasn’t wrong, haha. She lives in a world that doesn’t value smarts in a girl and there are a lot of things written here worth chewing on.

 

“He shouldn’t have treated her like she didn’t matter. He shouldn’t have treated her like his idea of a girl.”

 

I loved watching Lundy grow and mature into a thoughtful and caring young lady. She faces some very tough choices and this book has some dark edges when the incorrect choice is made. I was a bit worried, as I always am when dipping my toe into the fantasy/YA world, that a boy would arrive and become the focus of the plot but it doesn’t happen here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike romance but I get testy when it is shoe horned into a story where it doesn’t belong. This story stays focused on friendship and family and obligation and there isn’t a wisp of forced romance no matter how hard you look.

 

I listened to this book as an audiobook narrated by Cynthia Hawkins. She does fine with all of the voices and changes her tone enough so you easily differentiate between the characters but her pace was just a wee bit slow for my liking and my player wouldn’t allow me to speed it up. Had I been able to pace it at 1.25 or maybe even 1.5 I think it would’ve been perfect.

 

If you enjoy a beautifully written modern day fairytale, this one is for you!

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review 2019-02-08 20:03
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
An Anonymous Girl - Julia Whelan,Sarah Pekkanen,Barrie Kreinik,Greer Hendricks

I gave The Wife Between Us five stars when I read it in 2017. It was so twisty and so turny and filled with dark surprises that kept me in a constant state of anxiety. I loved everything about it so when I saw this one was releasing, I put it at the very top of my list.

 

I don’t think any follow up would have lived up to my expectations after loving The Wife Between Us so hard but An Anonymous Girl was definitely a decent, if not mind-blowing, follow up. It didn’t reach 5 star territory for me because I am spoiled and I didn’t think the reveals were all that shocking. It’s highly likely that I am probably terribly jaded too. So my four star may well be your five star. Despite that, it was an entertaining thriller/mystery/secret filled read that kept my attention.

 

The story revolves around a broke makeup artist who is riddled with guilt over something in her past. She has secrets and I love secrets! She decides to take the place of another young lady in an interview that promises to pay $500 bucks simply to answer a few questions. Well, wouldn’t you?!

 

But, of course, you know it entails far more than that for our hapless heroine, don’t you?

 

She is chosen by the doctor running the study to step out from behind the laptop and handle some real life situations as part of a morality and ethics “study”. To say more will ruin things so I will say no more about that strange situation.

 

The doctor is cold and calculating and manipulative and frankly, creepy as hell. Especially when you’re listening to the voice in your ear! What is that doctor up to? This is one of those books you’ll have to keep reading just one more page until the whole thing is done because you HAVE TO KNOW. Or maybe it’s just me because I am so nosy.

 

Jessica, our hapless heroine, soon becomes entwined in quite a nasty little web of deception and I enjoyed watching everything unravel but as I said earlier, the secrets weren’t so big as to shock me very much. I was expecting more to happen, something truly terrible and earth-shattering, but alas perhaps I am twisted. As written, An Anonymous Girl is a perfectly entertaining and often unsettling way to spend a few hours. If you listen to the audiobook I think it’ll be another experience altogether. Hearing the doctor’s voice in my head still haunts me. It was done perfectly; cold and unemotional and it made my skin crawl a little. The other voices suit as well. Thomas sounds a little dull which was fitting (he was not my favorite) and Jessica had a youthful tone that struck all the right notes.

 

“Sometimes an impulsive decision can change the course of your life.”

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review 2019-01-31 19:12
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Geek Love (Audio) - Katherine Dunn,Christina Moore

I’ve read this book numerous times. It’s one of the few books I’ve ever reread, never mind more than once! This time around I read it on unabridged audio which made the story all the more intimate for me. I also buddy read it with a great group of reading friends. We don’t always agree on books (see my Ghost Story review for more on that) but this time we all LOVED it. Whew, I was so relieved because I’ve been pushing this book on everyone for years and sometimes people do not like it. At all.

 

This is my most favorite book in the entire world and this fourth or so reread of it did not change my opinion. GEEK LOVE, written in the '80's, satisfies all of my reading needs. It is character driven, the plot is highly disturbing and it always hurts my heart even when I know what is coming but I LOVE it so very much.

 

I could tell you all about the plot and the dastardly and innocent characters that inhabit the pages but this book is something you must experience on your own. The twists and the turns should come as a surprise and a terrible shock to the system or you won’t get to live out the full impact of Geek Love. I will only say that it is most definitely NOT a romance, despite its name, and that it might crawl under your skin and stay there for a very long time. Give it a read and tell me what you think!

 

The audiobook version I listened to was narrated by Christina Moore and I thought she did the story justice, imbuing the words with innocence and with rage and despair and narcissism when called for.

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review 2019-01-25 16:11
Elevation by Stephen King
Elevation - Stephen King

This was a perfectly meh weird story. It didn't offend me but do you know what does? The fact that Goodreads READERS awarded it the best HORROR novel award only because it had Stephen King's name on it. Do these people even read the genre they are voting on? Do they even read the books? 

Anyway, this is the story of a perfectly bland middle aged white man who got off on the wrong foot with his new neighbors. He's also suffering from a very odd affliction. When he steps on the scale he loses weight at the rate of a pound or so a day, even when he's holding bags of coins but he's not losing body mass. He's just getting lighter and lighter and soon he knows he will simply drift away. 

I don't know about you, but this plot doesn't excite me in any way. It's hard to work up worry about a man who can eat whatever he wants and lose no weight. Worst case scenario? He'll either die or leave this terrible planet and float out into the universe to see things never seen by human eyes. The latter option doesn't sound too bad to me right about now! The side plot about his relationship with the married lesbian couple is only mildly interesting. It felt forced and didn't hit me emotionally at all. Likely because I've read/seen these people a million times before starting this story and there was nothing unique about any of them. I wish their pooping dogs had a bigger place in the story. But at least it's short and I'm out nothing but time because I borrowed the audiobook from my library. It's read by Stephen King so you're either going to enjoy his nasally narration or not. Personally I don't mind it but the story gets a 2 because it just wasn't that great, if you ask me.

The audiobook includes another short story called Laurie. It's about a grieving old coot who has a puppy foisted upon him by his worried sister. After much grumping and complaining he grows to love Laurie and Laurie, like all good dogs, loves him right back. This story I loved. I loved the grumpy old man and Laurie's relationship and there's a moment of suspense that had my heart in my throat. I'd give this one a four. It could've been a five if it were longer. 

Combine these two together and this version is getting a three from me.

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review 2019-01-15 18:59
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ghost Story (Audio) - Peter Straub,William Windom

I originally read this book back in my early 20’s, back before I obsessively reviewed everything I read, and the only thing I could remember about it was an intense feeling of boredom. I later tried to read Mystery and Julia thinking it was me and not the writing. But I couldn’t get through either of those without wishing they’d end with every page I struggled through. At that point, I put Peter Straub down for good. Or so I thought. Back in December, I decided to use my Audible credit on Ghost Story to torture myself, it turns out.  Also, my book buddies were reading it and talked me into joining them but truly I only have myself to blame for thinking I’d matured enough to enjoy it now. Haha. Jokes on me! It was just as boring the second time around. Maybe even moreso . . . 

 

It was just as tedious as I’d remembered. It was so plodding, so slow to me, that I hadn’t realized I had sleep-read the last third. I had to rewind the entire seven hours of this audio because I was left so confused at the ending (who were these people and what the hell was going on?!). SEVEN HOURS. I want them all back and the previous seven too, ffs! What is the matter with me? At any rate, once I forced myself to listen again, this time with all of my faulty listening skills, the book made a lot more sense to me but it was still not very interesting. I tried, damn how I tried, but apparently not all books are made for every reader. Someday I will learn this about myself.

 

This book is not really a ghost story in the traditional sense. It’s about a group of elderly fellows who call themselves “The Chowder Society”. They spend nights sharing “ghost stories” with each other, smoking cigars, drinking spirits and keeping secrets as old fellows do, I suppose. I don’t really know as I’m not an old fellow. The old friends who tell the tale are most definitely haunted but they are haunted more by something that happened in their youth. Something they cannot escape, mwahaha. I don’t want to give the thing away so that’s all I’m saying about that. When the book begins one of the old fellows in the club has died and this stirs up a series of events and endless pages of tangents and memories in which the reader gets dragged along until the conclusion eventually happens. It’s easy to get lost and confused in this story so do yourself a favor and either DNF it or pay very close attention. Don’t be like me.

 

I found some of the stories interesting and there are some disturbing and pervy bits that I found rather comical but the book just went on and on and I felt like I had been reading/listening to it for my entire life. Eventually it did come to an end though and for that I am grateful. My two friends enjoyed this book very much while all I did was complain about the old coots, their roving eyes and their cheating ways and bitch about how confused I was about the time jumps and the plethora of unnecessary characters popping in and out of the story. This may be the last time I’m invited to a buddy read again, lol. So what I’m getting at here is don’t go by my opinion because my taste is atrocious. Also, don’t sleep read your way through this because it will not make any kind of sense.

 

Now I will leave you with my favorite quote courtesy of one of the many side characters whose name I have long since forgotten.

 

“There’s no teaching without beating.”

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