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review 2021-04-18 16:24
Wonderful and original short story collection
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales - Yōko Ogawa

A wonderful collection of short stories some dark some a little weird but all cleverly written. There is a loose connection theme running along side the clear prose that is always prevalent in Japanese literature. Highly recommended.

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review 2020-11-07 05:39
Revenge in Rubies (Harriet Gordon, #2)
Revenge in Rubies - A.M. Stuart

My issues with this one remain the same as the first, but I realise after some thought, that I am the victim of the romantic tension trope.  Possibly a willing victim, as it turns out.  I understand that Stuart is bucking the trope by having the two MCs not being romantically available to each other, but alas, I don't like it.  It feels like something is missing, in spite of my not being a fan of romances.  Given the time period these are set in, and  the general attitude of society that a man and a woman can't really be partners and bond on any level other than romantically - and should they try everybody accuses them of being romantically involved anyway, I can't see this going anywhere that isn't going to irritate me.


Still, the mysteries are good, and the Singapore setting is threatening to become trendy.  The characters are growing on me in spite of the lack of oomph.  The plotting is intricate enough, though one scene gave away the villain just a few pages before the big reveal.


I'll definitely read a third one and who knows, maybe the character dynamics will go somewhere interesting without all the silly angst.

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text 2020-07-17 07:04
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review 2020-06-05 21:00
Revenge of the Shadow People, Ghosts of Fear Street #9 by R.L. Stine
Revenge of the Shadow People - R.L. Stine,Jahnna N. Malcolm

Vinny Salvo loves hearing his friend Benny's terrifying stories about monsters on Fear Street, but friend Sharon is more skeptical. Then shadows begin moving on their own and one horned shadow monster is coming for him!


Stine's books (and his ghost-writers) are always a  roll of the dice. Sometimes you get something that's fun, middle-grade spooky, and with a bit of something to remember after its over. 'Revenge of the Shadow People'...not so much. We have a concept of shadow people - which is scary - but we have nothing other than Vinnie's gullibility and his jealousy of his toddler brother to work with character-wise. I think we're supposed to think Sharon's a jerk because she claims she deserves the award for their photography project more than Vinnie because she took and DEVELOPED all of the photos. Vinnie did glue them on to the poster board, though. And Benny? If he's not a shout-out to another book in the series I see no point to his character.


This was only twenty minutes of my time so I shouldn't be so picky, but there are books in this series that were a heck of a lot better.


Ghosts of Fear Street:


Next: 'The Bugman Lives'


Previous: 'The Ooze'

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review 2020-05-29 21:26
The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost, Johnny Dixon #4 by John Bellairs
The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost - John Bellairs

This is the first, and only?, direct sequel in the 'Johnny Dixon' series, and it may be why I remembered not liking this one as a kid. Most of Bellairs' work can be read independently, but 'Revenge' jumps right into one of Johnny's patented freaky dreams. An old man threatens Johnny, saying he's done his family a wrong, and that the ghost of Warren Windrow still roams. Warren Windrow is the 'Sorcerer' whose bespelled skull caused so much trouble last time.


Of course, Johnny doesn't tell anyone about the dream. This series. They either keep supernatural events a secret because they're embarrassed, or they disbelieve each other. Johnny starts sleep-walking and acting ornery, and has strong visions of saloons and gambling dens. Eventually, he becomes comatose and even an impromptu exorcism attempt by Father Higgins doesn't help.


As a kid, this one left me a little confused. I didn't read these in order so the abrupt revenge-plot left me in the dark. Also, with Johnny out of the picture we have the Professor and Fergie on a multi-day expedition to the Windrow estate to find ancient magical talismans (straight out of the Bible) that may be Johnny's last hope. 


The saving grace of this book, as with many others of Bellairs, are some genuine horror elements out of nowhere that keep a reader off guard, and the period details that evoke midcentury American boyhood and, in this case, Gold Rush-era California. 


Johnny Dixon


Next: 'The Eyes of the Killer Robot'


Previous: 'The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull'

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