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text 2018-11-01 18:15
October 2018-That's A Wrap!
Out Behind the Barn - Chad Lutzke,John Boden
Driving to Geronimo's Grave and Other Stories - Joe R. Lansdale
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson - Jeff Guinn
Bright Ruin - Vic James
Mister Jack - Chris Kosarich
All These Worlds - Dennis Taylor,Ray Porter
For We Are Many: Bobiverse, Book 2 - Audible Studios,Dennis Taylor,Darwin Porter
The Fungus - Leroy Kettle,John Brosnan,Harry Adam Knight
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden
100 Fathoms Below - Nicholas Kaufmann,Steven L. Kent

I read 12 books this month!

 

 

Audiobooks

 

 

For We Are Many by Dennis E. Taylor narrated by Ray Porter 5*

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jeff Frangione 4.5*

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, narrated by Stephen Lang 4*

All These Words by Dennis E. Taylor narrated by Ray Porter 5*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

Worms by J.R. Montague 4*

Out Behind the Barn (novella) by Chad Lutzke and John Boden 4.5*

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden (Anthology) 4*

The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight 4*

Driving to Geronimon's Grave and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale 5*

Bright Ruin by Vic James 4*

Mister Jack by Chris Kosarch (Novella) 4*

100 Fathoms Below by Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufmann

 

Total: 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

(I'm failing miserably)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

 

Running Total: 134

Total Goal: 150

 

Books read for Halloween Bingo: 20!

5 Bingos Total

 

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review 2018-10-30 18:41
In Times Like These by Nathan van Coops
In Times Like These (Volume 1) - Nathan Van Coops

Ben and his friends just wanted to play a bit of softball but that lightning strike zapped them back in time, going from 2009 to 1986. Ben, Fresca, Carson, Robbie, and Blake. They’re all in their mid-20s and quite baffled by the common fashion sense of the average 1980s Florida resident. The story has a bit of nostalgia to it but also plenty of action. Once they come to terms with their reality, sort of, they decide to address their immediate needs: shelter & food & perhaps clothes. Luckily, Robbie’s grandfather lives in the area in the 1980s and luckily he’s bored enough or lonely enough to give these young people a chance.

I love the pace of the story. The tale doesn’t linger over the how and the characters don’t get to wallow in self pity. Sure, some are more concerned than others (Blake – I’m looking at you pining away for Mallory) and some take longer to deal with the shock of it, but pretty soon our fab 5 are hunting for some scientists to help them figure things out. That’s there Dr. Harold Quickly comes into the picture, along with this well traveled daughter Mim.

There’s a challenging foe in the story as well. Strenger is an arsonist who doesn’t mind killing people along the way. Somehow he also got sucked back into 1986 and he is also hunting for answers. I liked this aspect of the story because it complicated matters for our heroes. As if accidental time travel wasn’t bad enough; here’s this murdering evil fire bug to stop.

There was so much I liked about this story. It’s all about the adventure and avoids the often drawn out drama of time travel that can bog a story down. Things keep going wrong and there were a few times that I wanted to give Ben a little shake for making such a simple mistake. There’s side characters that help our heroes and there’s those that do them wrong. I also loved that not all of the fab 5 decided to put everything on the line just to get back to their natural timeline. After all, there’s plenty of time travelers that live when they want to.

The one issue I have with this story is the dearth of female characters. Fresca holds potential but she’s pretty one dimensional in this book. There’s a handful of female side characters, and they do get names and a few lines. However, I had to get about 5 hours into the book before we got another main female character: Mim. And, of course, she’s immediately slotted into the role of main love interest. She contributes little else for the rest of the story. There’s no female scientists or individual time travelers and they make few plot related decisions.

The story leaves us with enough wrapped up to be satisfying but plenty open enough for the sequel to just stroll right in. I was especially happy with Robbie and his choices. I can see Ben becoming the great time traveler we all need him to be. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Neil Hellegers is a shear delight to listen to. He gives Ben the barest goofiness to his voice which makes him sound like the relatively innocent young man he starts off as. I loved his rough, angry voice for the villain Strenger. His female voices are believable and I liked his very light accent for Fresca. His Montana cowboy voice was also well done. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nathan Van Coops. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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text 2018-10-30 10:09
October wrap-up
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
Force of Chaos: The Coming of Age of the Antichrist - Lin Senchaid
Hippie - Paulo Coelho
End Times: Rise of the Undead - Shane Carrow
The Amulet Thief - Luanne Bennett
The Second Sister (Amendyr Book 1) - Rae D. Magdon
The Moor - John Haysom
The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe
Dark Ride - P.G. Kassel

Well, 9 books for the month isn't bad. I accepted a week ago that I just haven't been able to read fast enough to expect to finish any more, even though I have several still in progress. Maybe saving my longer books for the second month of Bingo wasn't the best strategy. Oh well, it's been enjoyable anyway.

 

Of the above list, I would happily recommend any of the first 4 (yes, even the zombie book). The others were mostly decent reads. The only disappointment was The Amulet Thief. I had high hopes for that one but found it boring.

 

So not a bad month over all. I haven't managed Bingo blackout. I will finish my Bingo books in progress. There are 6 of them and 3 of those are Netgalley reads. I also have 6 more Netgalley books not yet started. Guess what I'll be doing for November!

 

Only one of my Bingo books never got started, the Mary Shelley. From what I've heard it's a bit slow, but I want to read it anyway. Whether I do it soon or save it for next year is yet to be seen. My priority for the moment is shifting to Netgalley commitments.

 

I also want to have a blitz of my samples. I may not get to it in November with so many Netgalley books but I'd like to just take some time to sit and read them, keeping in mind that many never take more than a couple of pages to reject. Whether I do any holiday reads this year may depend on how far I get with both samples and Netgalley. I'd like to start the new year with a clear samples folder, though I find it easy to slip in short books. I'll let my mood take me where it will.

 

Bingo has been fun. I expect to get one more from tomorrow's call, but that's it for me. Next year I'll make sure I don't lumber myself with any bricks!

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review 2018-10-21 12:11
End Times: Rise of the Undead
End Times: Rise of the Undead - Shane Carrow

by Shane Carrow

 

Oh the feels! I'm not a big fan of zombie stories in general but this is one of the better written ones I've seen.

 

The story is set in Australia, beginning in Perth. Aaron is writing in his journal about applications to colleges, parties at the end of school where his twin brother Matt is very popular but he is not, and about a meteorite that falls near a small town on the other side of the country.

 

Soon reports start coming in from that town about a strange virus, first thought to be rabies, then something else... see where this is going?

 

All too soon Aaron and Matt discover they're on their own in a world where all services have stopped and the undead are out to attack anything that moves. Their phones are running out of charge so they can't even communicate with their father, who got stuck in another small town where he was looking after their grandmother before the road blocks went up.

 

I could really feel the tension as Aaron and Matt try to make decisions in an adult world where they were only just starting to take their first steps towards self-responsibility. Now they have to survive and there's no rule book, no authority to consult.

 

Despite a couple of predictable elements necessary for this genre, the plot progressed with a lot of unpredictable elements and what especially struck me was the realism of how people might react, both good and bad, in a survival situation. Since the journal is written by Aaron, it's a first person narrative and we see his own emotional responses to the need to adapt in a far too rapidly disintegrating civilisation.

 

Both Matt and Aaron develop in various ways as the struggle to survive takes them into situations they had never thought of and they have no choice but to think on their feet and react accordingly.

 

By the time we get to the last entry I was completely wrapped up in the boys' struggle and although I could see a couple of things coming as events led up to the action packed conclusion, it didn't detract from my full experience of everything that happened. This one is an easy 5 stars, just for bloody effective writing.

 

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review 2018-10-17 22:30
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHARLES MANSON by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jim Frangione
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson - Jeff Guinn

This is a fascinating look inside the head of a monster.

 

I especially liked the observations regarding how Charlie used a little bit of knowledge from all sorts of different subjects and wove them together to manipulate specific people. During his many prison stints, he met and listened to Black Panthers, Scientologists and he even picked up some tips from Dale Carnegie's book, HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. He melded TOGETHER bits from of all them, depending on his audience. The result was often striking-as a professional actor he might have done well, but as a professional musician he did not. There lies much of the frustration that ended up helping to fuel his attempt at "Helter Skelter."

 

Jeff Guinn writes excellent, detailed biographies, (I especially enjoyed his Bonnie and Clyde and Jim Jones books), which work well as audios. I'm not sure if I would have liked them all as much in print, but audio works perfectly for me. (There is so much detail included that I feel like I may have become bored in actually reading these books.) The narrator here, Jim Frangione, did an excellent job and helped keep me interested, especially when detailing the actions of various family members.

 

A warning for sensitive people-the descriptions of these brutal murders is graphic and unflinching. It's uncomfortable to listen to. Even after reading hundreds of books, (both fictional and non), about murders and horrific happenings, it never fails to bother me and I never fail to try to imagine how someone could do such things. Guinn attempts to tell us in his excellent biographies, but somehow, the answer to the question "Why?" is never fully answered in any of them. But I can't keep myself from continuing to try to understand.

 

Finally, one thing I wouldn't want to forget to mention is the ridiculously random nature and brutality of these crimes. I think that often gets lost in the mysterious aura that surrounds Manson and his "family." It would be an extreme disservice to forget: the very pregnant Sharon Tate and her friends, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and poor Steven Parent, (who was just a young man trying to sell a clock radio), the LaBiancas, Shorty Shea and Gary Hinman. May they all rest in peace.

 

Highly recommended to fans of true crime and detailed biographies.

 

*This fits the "Slasher Stories" category for Halloween Bingo 2018 here at Booklikes.*

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