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Search tags: halloween-bingo-2018
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review 2018-11-18 15:34
Dark Voyage
Dark Voyage - Helen Susan Swift

by Helen Susan Swift

 

Two people are out on a pleasurable boating trip on the North Sea when storm clouds suddenly move in and turn the sea violent. As if that weren't enough to ruin their day, things take a strange turn.

 

This is a ghost ship story with a few weird turns. It did stretch believability in some places, but was overall an interesting read. My one complaint is some lazy writing where one of the main characters would 'just feel' what she was meant to do or that a ghost wanted her to do something.

 

The majority of the story is told through the voice of a doctor who had been on the ghost ship and what happened to the rest of the crew. There are some triggers here. It was a sealing ship and animal lovers like myself may find some passages difficult, though it isn't gratuitous gore. Just the thought of a sailing expedition whose purpose is to slaughter animals, including baby animals, is enough to be upsetting.

 

The writing is excellent and the supernatural aspects of the story are very well done. The beginning and end sequences felt rather rushed, but the bulk of the story, told by the doctor's journal, made for a very good read.

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review 2018-11-15 17:58
"The Elementals" by Michael McDowell
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

If you're looking for a deeply atmospheric, well-written and perfectly narrated novel to fill you with an inexorable dread, "The Elementals" is the book for you.

 

"The Elementals" has a remarkably powerful, cliché-free start, that embeds your imagination in the South like a throwing knife splitting a rotting log. What better way to start than with a funeral that goes from dire and depressing to deeply disturbing in a few pages.

 

I'd never read Michael McDowell before but I wasn't surprised to learn later that he was an excellent screenwriter.  The style of"The Elementals" is cinematic in a lots-of-close-ups, see-the-motes-in-the-sunlit-air lighting and strange but intimate camera angles kind of way.

 

The characters, especially Luker and his preciously independent daughter India are engaging and believable. Despite being unconventional people (Luker came from around hear but he raised his daughter in New York City so you can't exactly expect them to be normal, can you?) become the anchor points for sanity in a world that is sliding towards the lethally strange with the slow grace of an unmoored house sliding of a cliff into the sea.

 

The heat becomes almost a character in the story in its own right. India discovers for the first time the heat and humidity induced languor of the South that bends time and alter perceptions. Luker explains to her that this hot humid coastal resort of Beldame is:

"...a low energy place. The kind of place where you can only get one or two things done in a day and one of those is getting out of bed."

 

Not surprisingly, the horror in this book is of the slow but deeply disturbing kind. It seemed to me that the dread in this book had a pulse: slow and strong, like an ambush predator waiting on a branch.

 

Having this atmospheric tale delivered to my ear in R.C. Bray's gravelly but insistent voice was a remarkable reading experience.

 

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text 2018-11-08 21:56
Late entry to Halloween Bingo
Devil May Care - Elizabeth Peters

I picked this one up for Southern Gothic (it's set in Virginia, so near enough), but real life and the Red Sox got in the way and I've only just started it.

 

And all I can say is I hope Henry dies a horrible death. He is awful. Run Ellie, run.

 

Of course the edition I have (ancient library copy) isn't in the Booklikes database. Published in 1977 by Dodd, Meade and Co. ISBN# 0-396-07413-8

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-11-04 23:05
Halloween Bingo 2018 | That's a Wrap!

This post is definitely a couple days late, but I had my reasons, so I'm rolling out all the final Halloween Bingo reviews and updates and have hopefully caught up with myself now.  As I'd stated in a previous update post, I tried to remain off the grid for a while in an attempt to finish the rest of my Halloween Bingo books.

Frankly, I'd stopped counting Bingos the week prior to the end of the game.  My main goal was finishing reading books.

I managed to finish one last Halloween Bingo book, The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins, about four hours after midnight, November 1st.  It may not count towards Halloween Bingo in terms of timeline, but I count it as a personal success.  Honestly, I could have ditched both The Haunted Hotel and Midnight Blue-Light Special, and inserted two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe to finish with a Blackout.  I have a volume sitting on my bookshelf with randomly bookmarked stories I'm interested in.  And his books would be able to fill the 'Classic Horror' square AND the 'Creepy Raven Free Space' just fine.

But I was stubbornly refusing to give up on The Haunted Hotel... which I managed NOT to finish before October came to an end, mainly because I'd been so exhausted from the past few evenings at work that I kind of just passed out after dinner and slept through until I suddenly awakened at 2:30 A.M. on November 1st and decided to just read.

 

le sigh... even the best laid plans have other plans in mind...


But moving right along...

I cannot stop expressing how much I love these reading games at Booklikes, which have, more than once, brought me out of a full reading slump.  This year my reading slump was probably the worst it's been in a very long time, starting up sometime in February... and continuing on until June when I tried to marathon Jayne Ann Krentz books... and then dipping again until right before Halloween Bingo started up.

 


So once again, a big thank you to Moonlight and Obsidian!  I'm prepping myself for Halloween Bingo 2019 already!

While September was still a slow month for me, in terms of average books read (as well as quality), October was a month of wonders as I pretty much increased my number of books read times two.

September:  8 books read
October:  17 books read

Meanwhile, I also discovered a few new authors I'd love to continue reading from!  In my book, that is one of the biggest pluses about Halloween Bingo--discovering new-to-me authors, and lots of new books to add to that ever-growing TBR!

In a nutshell, I decided to wrap up this post with some stats as well as The Good, The Bad, and The Meh--books I liked or loved, books that were sorely disappointing, and books that were just okay.

 

 

The Card

 


Nothing really changed from the last time I updated.  Since I technically didn't finish reading The Haunted Hotel before the end of the game, I didn't earn that one last Bingo in the first column.  It wouldn't have made much of a difference since without that middle square being read (which should have been the easiest one to finish), I'm short four Bingos and one Blackout.

But no matter!

I've got 23 books read and 23 squares completed with 7 total Bingos to appease me!

 

 

The Good

 

 


As I'd already stated, I discovered a lot of new authors I'm very interested in continuing to read from.  While there were some pretty disappointing books these past two months, there were fortunately more than enough enjoyable ones to make up for it.

I found an author that made me super giddy to continue reading in Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon.  I found a strong, intriguing, fast-paced cozy mystery with LynDee Walker's Nichelle Clarke series--three books of which I read for Halloween Bingo.  Jasper Fforde is an author I've always had my eye on, and after reading The Big Over Easy, I will definitely be picking up more books by him.  I enjoyed The Name of the Star much more than I'd expected.

Then there were my typical go to authors: Laura Griffin and Jayne Ann Krentz.  Finally, Barbara Michaels is an author I'm still following since I started reading her in last year's Halloween Bingo.

 

 

The Bad

 


I think, in terms of quality of books read, September's reads were the more disappointing ones.  I'd been looking forward to Nora Roberts' Circle trilogy, if only because I like her Romantic Suspense books, and because all three books potentially fit several possible squares on the Bingo Card.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into them and they felt repetitive.  How I finished them was a bit of a miracle in itself.

Same goes for Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright, in that I think I probably would have abandoned it if not for it being a Flat Book Society read that I stubbornly wanted to finish.  The Splendour Falls was only easy to finish because I listened to it as an audio book during my drives to work and back.  Secret Admirer's only good point was that it was a quick, bite-sized read.

 

 

The Meh

 


These books were neither excitingly awesome, nor were they really terrible.  My favorite of these might actually be Spinning Silver, if only because the writing is wonderful.  But the drag of the story, and the chaos of the multiple first person POVs kind of played a disadvantage to it, so I couldn't quite love it, even if I didn't dislike it.

 

 

The "I Don't Know Where to Put This One"


Because I'm still reeling from the ending weeks later and still cannot say whether or not I liked it... for reasons.

 

 


Yeah... I don't know how to feel about this one.  I still feel kind of blindsided, but I'm not sure whether it was a GOOD feeling of being blindsided (if that even exists), or a bad way...

 

 

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review 2018-11-04 22:55
Brief Thoughts: Small Town Spin
Small Town Spin - LynDee Walker

Small Town Spin

by LynDee Walker
Book 3 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

 

 

A YOUNG ATHLETE IS DEAD.
A TRAGIC SUICIDE?  OR FOUL PLAY?


A retired NFL quarterback's teenage son is found dead on a rocky shoreline near his family's Virginia home, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is called in on special assignment to handle the delicate story.  Just yesterday, T.J. Okerson seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps towards gridiron glory.  Now his parents, close friends to one of Nichelle's inner circle, are blind-sided and grieving.

The sheriff of the sleepy Chesapeake Bay town is ready to stamp the case a tragic drug overdose and move on.  But Nichelle isn't so sure.

Determined and unafraid, she dives into the seedier side of the quaint island community.  Nichelle's investigation reveals an underground moonshine operation--and more suspicious deaths.  Soon she finds herself confronting a killer who will stop at nothing to keep Nichelle from uncovering the truth.



Small Town Spin is another solid story in this well-written cozy series that I'm happy to have been recommended.  As per usual, I love Nichelle's thought process whenever she starts investigating each case, and I love that she's so resourceful and confident.  I also appreciate the fact that Nichelle has kind of learned from her previous experiences and indeed DOES try not to be the TSTL.  As she mentions, she's not exactly looking to get herself killed or anything.  She just wants her story.

Unfortunately, danger just seems to keep popping up because she's so determined to get to the truth of each story.

Of all the books so far, I kind of feel like this is one with a meatier plot than the rest.  It's quite thought-provoking, even if the entire detailed outline of the murder mystery was quite convoluted.  Maybe Nichelle was following too many trails, I don't know.

Still, this was highly enjoyable!

On a side note:  the love triangle is quite prominent in this particular book than it had been in the previous.  I suppose I understand Nichelle's need to play the field a little bit.  But something about triangles just really ruffle me up.

On another side note:  I was chatting with my BFF about this series, wanting to introduce her to it if she were in the mood for a new cozy.  The topic of the love triangle came up, and then I suddenly admitted that I was really hoping that Nichelle and fellow reporter, sports persona Grant Parker would end up together.  I'm sure that's not going to happen, because the two have already friend-zoned each other; AND Parker is in a committed relationship.  Also, a lot of other readers seem to be rooting for the mafia boss...

But anyway, I just felt like Parker and Nichelle just clicked really well, especially after they finally started communicating more properly at the end of the first book.  Now the two are sort of partners in crime as he had helped her out, both in the previous book and this one.  And they seem to really understand each other.

While love interests, Joey and Kyle, will just tell Nichelle she needs to stop getting herself into trouble, Parker will offer his services to aid her investigative efforts.  I think I like that he doesn't immediately try to coddle her... then again, he's also not playing the role of over-protective potential boyfriend.

Anyway, another entertaining installment to the Nichelle Clarke series, and three more to go!

 

 


 

Halloween Bingo 2018

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/brief-thoughts-small-town-spin.html
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