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review 2018-04-23 18:45
RAGE by Richard Bachman
Rage - Stephen King,Richard Bachman

I read RAGE for the first time over 20+ years ago, so the story seemed new to me.

 

In the light of all the school shootings that have occurred since this book was written, I understand why Stephen King, (aka Richard Bachman),  pulled it from publication in later editions of The Bachman Books.

 

That said, I do not think this is a good example of King's work. I've always thought that it was King's characters that make his stories so great, but I didn't find the characters in this story to have much depth. I didn't care about any of them and other than the novelty of being inside the school shooter's head, I didn't find anything special about this tale, other than that I did need to see it through to the end.

 

I re-read RAGE so that I could take part in a local Stephen King book group, and I'm glad that I did. (Though I'm still waffling about actually attending the group meeting, as my introvert alarm is sounding.) I say that I'm glad because this story reminded me that King hasn't always been the master of storytelling that he is today, he stumbled now and then. But hey, even when he stumbles he gets 3/5 stars from me because RAGE is a compelling tale.

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text 2018-02-05 22:19
Reading progress update: I've read 157 out of 320 pages.
Killers of the Flower Moon - David Grann

This book is fucking infuriating.

 

"The more White investigated the flow of oil money from Osage headrights, the more he found layer upon layer of corruption. Although some white guardians and administrators tried to act in the best interests of the tribe, countless others used the system to swindle the very people they were ostensibly protecting. Many guardians would purchase, for their wards, goods from their own stores or inventories at inflated prices. (One guardian bought a car for $250 and then resold it to his ward for $1,250.) Or guardians would direct all of their wards’ business to certain stores and banks in return for kickbacks. Or guardians would claim to be buying homes and land for their wards while really buying these for themselves. Or guardians would outright steal.

 

One government study estimated that before 1925 guardians had pilfered at least $8 million directly from the restricted accounts of their Osage wards. “The blackest chapter in the history of this State will be the Indian guardianship over these estates,” an Osage leader said, adding, “There has been millions—not thousands—but millions of dollars of many of the Osages dissipated and spent by the guardians themselves.”

 

The white community used the so-called "incompetence" of the wealthy Osages to mandate guardianships, and then proceeded to bleed them dry. 

 

"Some of the schemes were beyond depraved. The Indian Rights Association detailed the case of a widow whose guardian had absconded with most of her possessions. Then the guardian falsely informed the woman, who had moved from Osage County, that she had no more money to draw on, leaving her to raise her two young children in poverty. “For her and her two small children, there was not a bed nor a chair nor food in the house,” the investigator said. When the widow’s baby got sick, the guardian still refused to turn over any of her money, though she pleaded for it. “Without proper food and medical care, the baby died,” the investigator said.

 

The Osage were aware of such schemes but had no means to stop them. After the widow lost her baby, evidence of the fraud was brought before a county judge, only to be ignored. “There is no hope of justice so long as these conditions are permitted to remain,” the investigator concluded. “The human cry of this…woman is a call to America.” An Osage, speaking to a reporter about the guardians, stated, “Your money draws ’em and you’re absolutely helpless. They have all the law and all the machinery on their side. Tell everybody, when you write your story, that they’re scalping our souls out here.”

 
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text 2018-02-03 22:53
Please, tell me I'm not losing my mind completely
Medieval Future: The Last Dragon Throne - Michael Anthony

(edited to add more craziness at bottom)

 

I own this crappy Kindle book.  All I want to do is add it to my Booklikes shelf and know where it is.

 

The book page had the author listed as Michael Anthony Steele.  I've already reported that.  I don't know where the "Steele" came from, but I'm so frazzled now that I may have missed something.

 

The copyright page of the Kindle version only lists the author as "Michael Anthony."

 

I have difficulty finding things on my Booklikes shelves because the first names get all mixed up within the last names.  I've already pointed this out.  Piers Anthony books are mixed in with Evelyn Anthony books and so on, and it's very frustrating not to know how they're sorted.

 

But this terrible book doesn't show up anywhere in the Anthonys.  I don't know why.  Oh, it shows up if I SEARCH for "Anthony," but I don't know where it is.  It doesn't show up if I search for "Steele" either, so I know it's not with the "S" authors.  It shows up if I search for "Michael Anthony," but it's the only one that does, so I have no idea where on my shelves this book is.

 

Maybe it sounds nitpicky, but I have had so much difficulty locating books that I know are on my shelves, that have been listed under alternate authors, or alternate titles, or the wrong authors, or whatever, that I'm tearing my hair out.

 

REAL LIBRARIES DON'T OPERATE LIKE THIS.

 

 

 

EDITED TO ADD

 

 

Why are these Marx books in the middle of the last A authors?

 

 

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review 2018-01-26 16:19
I can't even - A Nit-Picky Review in Real Time
Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries - Roger Hayden

Disclosure:  I obtained this collection when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know any of the authors, nor have I ever had any communication with any of them about these books or any other matter.  I am an author of historical and contemporary romances, including gothic romances.

 

This is a collection of four separate novels by four authors.  When it showed up as a freebie in my email notices on 25 January 2018, I went ahead and downloaded it.  It is still free as of 26 January, if anyone is interested.

 

The first novel is The Haunting of Saxton Mansion. I had in fact "purchased" this as a freebie a few months ago, but hadn't read more than the first page or so.  Later, when checking the reviews on Amazon, I learned that this was one of those teaser books, where the first half is free, but the ending is in the second half that isn't free.  Since I hadn't been immediately captivated by the opening, I didn't go back to read any further.

 

I'm assuming, therefore, that the boxed set contains the whole thing.  The Table of Contents lists Book 0, Book 1, and Book 2.

 

The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 0

The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 1

The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 2

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 7-10). Kindle Edition.

I began reading Book 0, which is a very different opening from what I had read from the first freebie.  Whether it is a prequel or backstory, I don't know yet.  I may never find out, because I may not be able to force myself through it.

 

The scene is set as December 22, 1982, in Cypress Creek, Florida.

 

I don't mind a haunting from the recent past.  In fact, I find it intriguing, because it seems there has always been a preponderance of ghosts from past centuries when it's just as likely that unhappy, restless spirits might be active from more recent times.  So the near-contemporary timeframe didn't bother me.

 

The opening text is visual description of the scene.  Full moon, clouds, and so on.

 

Wispy clouds streaked the evening sky, illuminated by the glow of a full moon. Palm trees in a slumbering town swayed in the slight breeze. On the corner of a sparsely populated back street sat a grand, two-story Victorian home. An iron gate over six feet tall surrounded the premises.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 28-30). Kindle Edition.

Four sentences into the book and I stopped, dead.  Four sentences.

 

The clouds and the moon, okay.  Overview of the whole town, hm, okay.  Zoom into house on the corner, hmmmm, less okay but passable.

 

Iron gate surrounding the premises?  NO.

 

A fence surrounds a property, but a gate doesn't.

 

Disbelief is no longer suspended.

 

Freshly cut St. Augustine grass encompassed the massive front lawn where the old Saxton manor rested atop a small hill, shrouded by thick, looming tree branches in a neighboring forest.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 30-31). Kindle Edition. 

The grass doesn't "encompass" the lawn.  Lawns aren't usually described as "massive." How is there a small hill on a corner city lot?  If the forest is neighboring, how are its branches shrouding the house?

 

I'm barely onto Page 2, and my eyes are spinning in their sockets.

 

This is bad writing.  It's poor word choices mixed with bad cinematography.  And it doesn't stop.

 

Past the gated entrance was a long driveway that ran past the courtyard to the garage. The house itself had been constructed in 1970 and was one of the oldest homes in Cypress Creek. Its history was shrouded in secrecy.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 32-33). Kindle Edition.

 

What courtyard?  Does this author know what a courtyard is?  I have my doubts.

 

And, a house built in 1970 is not Victorian.  While it might be Victorian style, or Queen Anne Style, or whatever style that evokes the Victorian era, it's way too new to be true Victorian.

 

Maybe today's readers don't care.  Maybe they're so accustomed to inaccuracies and otherwise bad writing that they can't tell the difference.  Maybe they don't know the difference between a gate and a fence.  Maybe they think "Victorian" is a synonym for "big and looks old."  I don't know.  As we here on BookLikes learned from our buddy reads Ammie, Come Home and Jamaica Inn, even traditionally published books can be loaded with errors.

 

Is that an excuse for the kind of crap that shows up in books like The Haunting of Saxton Manor?  Because, hoo boy, it gets worse.

 

The action takes place a mere 12 years after the house was built, yet its history is "shrouded in secrecy."  Um, no.  The description of the setting is clichés upon clichés, but without substance.  This is bad writing.

 

A decorated Christmas tree shined through a front window with its colorful reds, blues, and greens. The Saxton family living inside had much to celebrate during the coming holidays, unaware that outside their home, someone was watching.

 

Gerald Saxton’s black BMW drove through the automatic gate and up the driveway. He parked near the courtyard and got out, carrying two full paper grocery bags in each arm. Dressed in his creased gray suit, he walked up the three concrete steps onto the front porch with its wooden railing and thin white columns that ran up to the roof.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 33-38). Kindle Edition.

The lights of the Christmas tree shone (not shined) through the window, not the tree itself.  And the family probably lived inside the house, not inside the tree.

 

Gerald drove the car; it didn't drive itself.  Why did he park "near the courtyard" and not in the garage?  Does the writer stop to think how impossible it would be to carry two full paper grocery bags in one arm and then grab two more with the other arm and then, with both arms full, open the car door and maneuver past the steering wheel to exit the vehicle? 

 

Why is his suit creased?  Does the author mean the suit is wrinkled, as though Gerald slept in it?  Or does the author mean the suit is neatly pressed, with sharp creases in the trousers?  Does the author know what words even mean?

 

Potted plants lined the top railing. A porch swing, held by chains from above, creaked with the wind. It was a cool sixty-eight degrees that evening, hardly winter, but quite normal for the south Florida neighborhood.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 38-40). Kindle Edition.

 

If the columns described in the previous paragraph rose all the way to the roof of the two-story home, it's unlikely the swing would have been on chains that long.  And the temperature would have been "quite normal" for all of south Florida that time of the year, not just the local neighborhood.  Though this lucky paragraph didn't have any major errors, it's still an example of what happens when a writer doesn't pay attention to details.

 

Fresh aqua paint covered the home’s wooden exterior; its steep roofline was a dark gray. Much of the house had undergone renovations some five years prior. The roof arched in the center, and there were two windows on the second floor that resembled eyes, with an even higher single attic window centered above. With its unique architecture, expansive courtyard, and adjacent tennis court, the Saxton estate was like no other home in Cypress Creek.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 40-43). Kindle Edition. 


The house is only twelve years old, yet it had undergone renovations at the age of seven?  Why?  And what does the author mean by "The roof arched in the center"?  And we still don't know about this "courtyard."

 

I'll give you a break, dear reader, and not quote every single line for a while.  Gerald enters the house and greets his wife, Annette, who is wearing a silk purple bathrobe.

 

Usage dictates that the bathrobe should be purple silk, not silk purple.

 

1  /   SIZE  :       How big ?         Large, small, tiny, enormous

2 /     AGE   :      How old ?           New, young, old, ancient

3 /    SHAPE :    What shape ?     Square, round, rectangular, flat

4 / COLOUR :    What colour ?      Blue, pink, yellow, crimson

5 /  ORIGIN :    Where from ?      English, American, Chinese,French

6 / MATERIAL: What it is made of ?    Plastic, cardboard, glass, wooden

7 / PURPOSE : What it  is used for ?    Racing car, frying pan, rocking chair 

 

Though we -- as both readers and writers -- don't normally think in terms of these rules for ordering adjectives, "silk purple" just doesn't read as comfortably on our mental ears as "purple silk."  Is it possible the author of this book is not well read?

 

At any rate, Gerald greets Annette and takes the groceries into the kitchen.

 

Gerald set the bags onto the kitchen counter and sighed. “Another long night at the office. What can I say?” He pulled a bottle of red wine from one the bags, proudly displaying the Dom Perignon label.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 54-56). Kindle Edition.

 

WALLBANGER.

 

 

 

I can't leave a review on Amazon because I'm also a writer, and we're only allowed to write positive reviews, not negative or critical ones.

 

How many asinine mistakes is a reader supposed to put up with before DNFing and zero-starring a piece of garbage?  How many "mulligans" does a lazy, incompetent writer get?  This book (or at least the original first part of it) has 256 ratings on Amazon, with an average of 4.2 stars.  What the ever living fuck?

 

 

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text 2018-01-26 03:55
You get what you pay for
Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries - Roger Hayden

Kindle freebie today via Free Booksy.

 

Within the next few days I will have more of a review, but I am right now so angry I'm ready to scream.

 

 

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