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review 2019-12-10 21:36
A solid if unremarkable pair of adventures
The Man Who Mastered Time / Overlords From Space - Joseph Kelleam,Ray Cummings

The more Ace Doubles I read, the more I come to appreciate how varied the experience of reading them can be. For all of their similarity of their size, their plot-driven approach, and their cover art (which typically consists of square-jawed white dudes inflicting violence on aliens or some other evildoers, often with a woman somewhere in the scene recoiling in terror), the quality and nature of the books can vary widely.


This pair provided the best reflection yet of these differences. Ray Cummings's The Man Who Mastered Time was unusual in that it was not an original work but a reprint of a 1920s story which reads like a riff on H.G. Wells's famous novelette The Time Machine. In it, a father-and-son duo of scientists stumble across a process that allows them to peer into the indeterminate future. Witnessing a beautiful girl imperiled by a thuggish brute, the two turn a hoverable aeroplane into a time machine, which the hormonally-driven son uses to travel thousands of years into the future to rescue the maiden. He soon finds himself in the midst of a political struggle between the people of an ice-age north and the remaining civilization, which has retreated to the Caribbean and reflects a class divide that ol' Herbert George would have found familiar (seriously, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find that he sued for copyright infringement). The young man soon summons his father for aid, and with the help of a friend, aid the civilized underdogs against the barbarian hordes. There are some aspects of the novel – such as the employment of "girls" in combat – that but for the most part it's a prime piece of pulp science fiction, and while it had it's share of problematic elements (the scientist's friend zeroing in on the beautiful girl's teenage sister seemed a little predatory even for the time) I enjoyed it for the action adventure it was.


The other novel was Joseph Kelleam's Overlords from Space. Here there was a real contrast with Cummings's novel; whereas Cummings has heroic adventurers as his protagonist, Kelleam's novel centers around humans enslaved by the Zarles, an alien species who conquered the Earth two centuries before. Though their domination of the Earth seems absolute, the ostensibly immortal Zarles are slowly dying from terrestrial disease. Worse they cannot reproduce, and the remaining Zarles are contemplating destroying the Earth and moving on elsewhere. It's a different premise from the ones I expect from the time, though the plot itself moves to familiar beats involving freedom, the discovery of resources and allies that can even the odds, and a climactic battle in which the outcome isn't really in doubt. In this respect it's as much a product of its time as Cummings's older novel (which ends, I kid you not, with a Jazz Age party), though one that proved entertaining enough to see through to its end.

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review 2019-12-10 19:00
IN THE HEART OF THE FIRE by Dean Koontz, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
In the Heart of the Fire - Dean Koontz

I was expecting a dog, a good guy and a bad guy. I got all 3, but in spite of that, I liked this short story.


The above is the reason I quit reading Koontz in the first place. It seemed to me that all of his books were the same. After WATCHERS and a few other Koontz books made me fall quickly in love with him, the re-use of that same formula over and over again made me fall out of love with him just as quickly.


I like the mystery surrounding Nameless, and I'm in to see what happens next.

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review 2019-12-10 18:45
THE NIGHTMARE ROOM by Chris Sorensen
The Nightmare Room - Chris Sorensen

THE NIGHTMARE ROOM starts off as a great haunted house tale but then evolves into something else altogether. I loved it!


Peter and his wife Hannah return to Peter's hometown after a family tragedy. A fresh start in Maple City is just what they needed. Moving into an old farmhouse, disturbing things begin to happen, (as they often do in these types of tales), and from there, hang on tight because it's a crazy ride!


Fast paced with characters I could really root for, I found it difficult to put this book down. I know everyone says that, and I know that the week it took me to read this book doesn't seem that fast. However, with everything I had going on in real life over the last 2 weeks, it truly is a miracle I was able to read anything at all. This is a testament to the quality and pace of the writing.


Will Peter and his wife get to the bottom of what is going on in their old farmhouse? Will they survive it if they do? You'll have to read this to find out! This was my first read from author Chris Sorensen and I'm starting part 2 in THE MESSY MAN series today. That should be another indicator of how much fun I had with this book!


Highly recommended!


Get your copy here: THE NIGHTMARE ROOM


*Thanks to the author for the signed paperback copy he sent in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*


**I apologize that it took so long to read this book. I regret it!**


***I had already purchased the Kindle copy of this book when the author contacted me, which is why my review on Amazon shows as a verified purchase.***

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review 2019-12-10 03:58
Review: A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol (Audiocd) - Charles Dickens,Patrick Stewart

I love this story, but hated the book.


I have always loved the story of Scrooge.  I enjoy the movie/play versions of the story--watching the various versions is one of the handful of things I enjoy about this time of year.  Having finally read the book a few years ago, I was disappointed.  I did not like the written version of the story and I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it is because some stories are best when acted?  Who knows?


With Sir Patrick Stewart as a narrator, I couldn't say no to giving the the book version another try.  The story comes to life again in this version and I definitely enjoyed it.  It is abridged, but the book isn't very long to being with, so I don't know that it makes much difference in the grand scheme.  Maybe one day I will give the written version another read, but for now I'll stick to the movies and this narration.

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review 2019-12-09 23:00
GHOST TRAIN by Stephen Laws, narrated by Hannibal Hills
Ghost Train - Hannibal Hills,Valancourt Books,Stephen Laws

GHOST TRAIN was a blast from the past!


Originally written in the 80's, when I first read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to have it. It appeared on offer from the folks at AUDIOBOOK BOOM in exchange for my honest feedback and here it is:


I loved the story-it had all the excitement, that awesome over the top 80's cheese, gory deaths, and excellent characters. (That last one is something that a lot of horror from that time period lacked.) I loved almost everything about it, except for that weird, kind of out of place exorcism, but that was easily overlooked amidst all the action.


I must admit that this narrator didn't quite do it for me. The book was fast paced and fun, but at those exciting moments, a few of the character voices grated on my nerves. Other than that though, this novel was a heck of a lot of 80's horror fun and I recommend it!


Recommended-especially to fans of bloody, fast-paced 80's horror!



Get your copy here: GHOST TRAIN


*Thanks to Audiobook Boom and the narrator for the Audible code, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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