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review 2018-03-22 22:00
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP edited by Ellen Datlow
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow

An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply.


FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas!


WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.


SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.


SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read.


HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.


A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about.


With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it!


You can get your copy here: THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP


*A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2018-03-22 18:45
MYSTERY WALK by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan
Mystery Walk - Robert McCammon,Nick Sullivan


MYSTERY WALK is a story involving the epic battle between good and evil and Robert McCammon does these types of stories better than almost anyone.


I won't get into the plot much, as this book was written back in the 80's and hundreds of other reviews already do that. I will say that this is my fourth time reading this book, (I actually listened to it, courtesy of the narrator Nick Sullivan), and this time it affected me even more than it did previously. I'm not sure why that is-perhaps as I've grown older I see more truth and depth in this tale?


It could also be the fact that the narrator brought these characters alive for me. I easily pictured the small town of Hawthorn and both its hateful and sweet residents. I vividly pictured the tent revivals of J.J. Falconer and the bogus claims of healing from his son Wayne. (I had to try hard NOT to picture Wayne's first bout with healing, you'll see what I mean if you read this.) Mr. Sullivan's voicing worked really well for me here and for this reason I've bumped my rating of 4 and 4.5 stars from my previous reads to all five.


MYSTERY WALK is full of hope but at the same time does not shy away from the difficulties in life we all face. The wonderful prose of Robert McCammon is only improved by Nick Sullivan's narration. If you're in need of a little hope in your life during these difficult times, then I highly recommend giving MYSTERY WALK a listen. If you do, give Billy Creekmore a hug from me and tell him that Char said "Hi".


You can get your copy here: Mystery Walk


*I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2018-03-21 18:54
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt,Jennifer Woodward,Erin Hunter,Garrick Hagon

This is a fictionalized retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders and though it gets many “meh”reviews, I surprisingly enjoyed it very much. These people are awful! They are selfish, resentful, devious and maddening in their “woe is me” entitled thoughts but I LOVED reading about their misery. And, boy, did they all live in a cesspool of misery, resentment and hate.


I do think you have to be in a certain grumpy headspace to appreciate this one and I was there. We’ve had a never-ending winter and I hurt my back so bad I had to quit a much loved workout routine probably forever. Reading this when I did was perfect timing. We were all miserable together for a short time. So moral of this sad story? Don’t read this if you’re happy or want to be happy.


The story is told from three different points of view. Lizzie, Bridget the maid and a shady male character whose name I can’t recall right now. I listened to the audio which is narrated by three different people. The women do a fine job as does the male narrator EXCEPT when he attempts to do a female voice in a painful fake falsetto. Fortunately he’s mostly narrating the man part so the cringe level is tolerable.


Many people have an issue with the grit and grue factor in this book and I can understand that. This book is an experience. You can feel the cloying sickness permeating these people and for me that’s the mark of good writing but it’s almost enough to make one queasy and I have a strong stomach. There is an exceptional amount of blood everywhere but almost worse is the vomit and rumbling stomachs. These gross people have been eating rotten mutton broth for what seems like weeks on end! The maid suspects it’s bad but keeps adding more salt to disguise the reek of rotten meat. I’m guessing this was because poppa Borden was too much of a cheapskate to let food go to waste.  But I wasn’t there so who knows.


Many people also have issues with the way the story was told and I get that too. It jumps around in time and can be quite confusing and the people telling the story seem quite confused themselves at times. The end of the book leaves a lot of questions unanswered but still I love reading about these people. I cannot explain exactly why. Their relationships are poisonous and mean but if you’re up for that maybe you’ll love it too!

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review 2018-03-19 18:30
STINGER by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan
Stinger - Robert R. McCammon, Nick Sullivan


STINGER by Robert Mccammon is simply 80's horror F-U-N! With the entire book taking place over the course of one night, it's a great example of the horror being written during that time.


This is the story of a duel alien invasion-one alien crashed on earth due to a ship malfunction, (Daufin) and the other a bounty-hunter come to track the first one down, (Stinger). All of this takes place in the town of Inferno, in west Texas.


With a variety of small town characters putting aside their differences to unite against Stinger, the universal theme of good vs. evil comes into play. The shape-shifting abilities, (for lack of a better word), of Stinger allow it to take over host bodies and bend them to its will, making this a more interesting tale than it otherwise would have been. I think it also must have been quite challenging for the narrator of this audiobook.


The narration here took me a while to get used to, most especially during scenes where there was a lot of action. At first, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the entire way, (Stinger is 500+ pages long), but I did become accustomed to it and began to enjoy it thoroughly.


This is my third time reading STINGER and I think it's possible I might read it again in the future. Sure it's infused with a lot of 80's pop culture and lingo, (all the good looking girls are smash-foxes), but that was a special time for me, and for the horror genre, so I have no problem with that. Also, I think it's possible that STINGER has influenced a lot of authors, (it's difficult not to see a connection to King's UNDER THE DOME), whether they were conscious of it or not.


STINGER was a lot of fun to listen to and Nick Sullivan did a fairly good job of bringing it all home in a fun way. If you're looking for many hours of listening enjoyment and alien invasion action, STINGER is the book for you!


*Thank you to the narrator for the free Audible edition in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-16 19:03
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins,Bahni Turpin

This was a fun read until the killer was revealed with four hours left to go on the audio. This is way too early! Way, way too early. I was left highly disappointed with the dud of a reveal and disinterested in all the romance and minor bloodshed that followed because of it. But I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to these things and you may love it.


Someone is killing the talented high school kids in terribly gruesome ways but, no worries, most of the gore is left to the imagination. This is basically a 90’s teen slasher movie come to book life minus the scares and most of the grue. Who will be next? Why are they doing this? And, oh hell, who cares?! When will he give me a big sloppy kiss and bite his lip ring again?!


This is a romance set in a world where a serial killer just so happens to be murdering random people that have no impact on our main characters and zero emotional impact on the reader. The romance was well done and I liked the two teens together, they were interesting, imperfect kids, but I feel like too much went so very wrong with the “murdering” bits of the story. Also, many gut-wrenching opportunities were missed by keeping our main lovers too safe and that made reading it to the end a chore. I suppose I’m used to meaner stories that kick you in the gut. This one? I guess I’d recommend it as a good stepping stone for those who may want to meander over into the horror genre with their pinky toe and not get too scared or emotionally wrecked. I enjoy the wreckage and carnage and scares that a good horror story can deliver but none of those things were successful here. I’m bumping it up from a 2 ½ to a three only because there was one scene with a naked character that is still making me laugh when I think about it.

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