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review 2019-10-13 03:03
Lovely War
Lovely War - Julie Berry

I love Julie Berry. She's quietly breaking boundaries in young-adult literature, and doing it with hard work and beautiful prose, and good on her for that.


This one is exceptionally researched, as always. The framing device--having the stories of these four human characters told through the eyes of the Greek gods who are watching and influencing their lives--is a brave one. However, it asks us to be invested in the gods' story, too (Hephaestus's jealousy over Aphrodite's affair with his brother, Ares, god of war), and...I wasn't, terribly...invested, I mean. I was amused, though, and that's probably enough.  


Another trouble I had with the novel was a slight lack of depth of all the characters. They all had definite personalities, and we know what we're meant to feel about them, but they remain a bit distant and perfect. Aubrey felt the most rich to me, despite having less page time than others. The gods were a bit inscrutable--which maybe gods should be.  


Just keep at it, Julie. You're doing wonderful things.

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text 2019-09-06 02:03
In The Dark, Dark Woods
The Lovely and the Lost - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I already read a book for Amateur Sleuth, so the only square on the card The Lovely and the Lost fits now is In The Dark, Dark Woods. Not only does it have a forest on the cover, but it also the forest plays a large role in the story itself since a young girl has been lost in the Sierra Glades National Park and the main character, whose mom trains search-and-rescue dogs, joins the search with her brother, their mom, their neighbor, and their search-and-rescue dogs, so a lot of time is spent in the forest searching for the girl. In addition, the main character was originally found in the woods after being on her own there for several weeks and there are many flashbacks throughout the story to that time. This book was perfect for this square.



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text 2019-08-07 16:43
Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty -- Question for 08/07 (Day 7): Favorite Halloween Bingo Authors?
Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
White Shell Woman: A Charlie Moon Mystery (Charlie Moon Mysteries) - James D. Doss
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne
Death In A White Tie - Ngaio Marsh
The Blackhouse - Peter May
The Ballad of Frankie Silver - Sharyn McCrumb
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett

Going by the list of my favorite reads from years past, my favorite Halloween authors so far have been (in alphabetical order and not entirely surprisingly):


* Raymond Chandler

* Agatha Christie

* Arthur Conan Doyle

* James D. Doss

* Daphne Du Maurier

* E.T.A. Hoffmann

* Shirley Jackson

* Ngaio Marsh

* Peter May

* Sharyn McCrumb

* Edgar Allan Poe

* Terry Pratchett


All of these feature with anywhere from two to five favorite reads over the course of the past three bingos.


That said, Joy Ellis was a bingo 2018 discovery (perhaps the biggest discovery of last year's bingo, in fact), and I've read several other books by her in the interim already, so I'm definitely going to try and wiggle another one of her mysteries into bingo 2019 as well.  Similarly Fredric Brown's Ed & Am Hunter mysteries, another one of last year's  great discoveries (huge hattip to Tigus!).  And even just generally speaking, I'm definitely planning to make room for some classic mysteries from both sides of the Atlantic. 


On the other hand, it's very much going to depend on the makeup of my card how much horror I'm going to (re)visit, be it classic or otherwise.  So even though I read two novellas by E.T.A. Hoffmann for bingo 2016, it's not a given that I'll return to his oeuvre this year; and the same is true for Poe (and virtually all other horror writers).



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text 2019-08-04 19:17
Favorites From Halloween Bingos Past
Contagion - Erin Bowman
FantasticLand - Mike Bockoven
I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga
In a Handful of Dust - Mindy McGinnis
This Mortal Coil - Emily Suvada
Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters) - Rebecca Schaeffer
The Gone World - Thomas Sweterlitsch
Verity - Colleen Hoover
What the Woods Keep - Katya de Becerra
My Lovely Wife - Samantha Downing

...and a couple few that would work for Halloween Bingo.



I've only participated in Halloween Bingo for one year (last year) so I've added a few that I've read since then that could be used for HB.  Clicking on the links will take you to my reviews for each.


Contagion by Erin Bowman...not only a fav for HB, but also for the year.  I'm looking forward to the next Book Immunity which is already out.  I want to save it for HB, but I will probably have my hold from the library before then.  I used this for Dead Lands last year.


Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven...This was a stand-out on Audio, a different kind of story and it was super-creepy.  I used this for Creepy Carnivals.


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga...YA sleuthing at its best.  I used this for Amateur Sleuths.  It would also work for Serial Killers type of square.


In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis...This was excellent on Audio and a really good apocalyptic/dystopian story.  I used this for Doomsday, and it would also work for the new square Dystopian Hellscape.


This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada...A smart dystopian that has walking dead like creatures that eventually explode this could be used for Zombies (especially for those that don't like mindless killing machine-type Zombies), Doomsday, or Dystopian Hellscape.


Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer...this one definitely falls under the supernatural type squares. 


The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch...this one falls under a few categories as well.  It got a Mystery, and it's Apocalyptic with Time-Travel.  It's kind of crazy.


Verity by Colleen Hoover...is a Mystery and Romantic Suspense, that will blow your mind.  This could be used for Romantic Suspense Square and possibly a few others.


What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra...is supernatural, with creepy trees, possible witches or something like that.  I don't know where it would fit exactly because it's not very specific on what the beings are called.  It's way different than anything I've ever read before.


My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing...this will fit for Mystery-Suspense-Thriller or Serial Killers. 

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text 2019-08-03 21:37
Halloween Pre-Party 2019
The legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell
Pet Sematary - Stephen King
The Haunting of Maddy Clare - Simone St. James
Dangerous - Amanda Quick


Ghost stories are a little tough to really scare me because I'm 99% sure I don't think they exist. When I was younger, Scary Stories to tell in the Dark was a sleepover staple, we'd read (ok, me) aloud trying to scare the bejebus out of each other.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was one I read somewhere in early teens and remember loving the setting, slight creep factor, and relationships.

Pet Sematary I probably read in mid-teens and while I didn't feel too scared being an animal lover drew out the emotions in me. 

The Lovely Bones seems to be a book that likes to divide people. It seems weird to say I enjoyed the story because of how freaking awful some things in it are but gawd, talk about a story that will emotionally wring you out. 

I think it was last year for Halloween Bingo I read The Haunting of Maddy Clare and I still remember that barn scene, hair on neck standing up.

And because I'm a punk, I added a romance that has a main character that likes to investigate the supernatural and a ghost, seemingly, comes to the rescue.


Shout-out to people doing today's prompt, adding some to my potential Bingo reading list :)

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