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review 2020-05-07 19:00
ETHAN FROME by Edith Wharton, narrated by Christopher Lane
Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton

I'm not sure why I thought this would be a pleasant, happy story. It is Edith Wharton after all!

 

I've loved her work since I first read The House of Mirth and she lived a good portion of her time in Massachusetts, which is my home state. When I saw I could listen to the audio free through Prime, I downloaded it and here I am.

 

Written in the early 1900's, the story takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield. It's one of the few tales from Wharton that does not take place in a location of high society. It's the story of a simple man, whose life plans change so that he can care for his ailing father. Rather impulsively, he marries a sickly woman to avoid being alone after his father passes. A few years later his wife's young cousin comes to stay and their lives will change forever.

 

I never expected this tale to go in the way it did. It was sad and tragic for everyone involved. It's amazing to me that Wharton was capable of packing so much into a relatively short story. Perhaps it is dated in regards to its setting, but the emotions and the characters involved are still perfectly relatable in today's day and age.

 

I have a volume of Wharton's ghost stories that I hope to read soon. In the meantime, I will be thinking of the cold town of Starkfield and Ethan's fate.

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review 2020-03-05 00:40
Under the microscope
It Takes One - Kate Kessler

Continuing with the theme of 'murder murder murder' I picked up It Takes One by Kate Locke which is a psychological thriller taking place in a small rural town. (Looking at the descriptions of some of Locke's other books it seems like 'small town murder mystery' might be a specialty of hers.) Audrey Harte is a criminal psychologist who is frequently asked to lend her opinion on true crime shows where a professional analysis is required. Unbeknownst to her colleagues, she has a dark past that she's been trying to leave behind for years. You see Audrey murdered her best friend's father when they were kids and spent several years at a juvenile facility for violent girls. O_O So when she goes home for the first time in several years and a body turns up...you can imagine where the fingers start pointing. Now Audrey has to find the killer before either she's found guilty or dead. I will say that when you find out whodunit it is a SHOCK to say the least.

 

This is the first in a series featuring Audrey Harte as the main character but I think I've probably had my fill after reading this one. (She's not particularly likable if you want my opinion and the explicit sex scenes are not my cup of tea.) A surprising ending doesn't override the fact that I've read better psychological thrillers. 5/10

 

What's Up Next: The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-07-07 15:29
THE KING OF THE WOOD by J. Edwin Buja
The King of the Wood: Book One of THE WOOD - Neil Dring,J Edwin Buja,Craig Shaw Gardner

 

What a cast of characters we have here! I'm ready for the next book. Preferably? Now, please!

 

Picture a small town. A young man living atop the highest hill in that town. The sheriff, his friend. A deputy, who is not. An old money villain who wants that house, (and the land surrounding it), and will do anything to get it. The villain's servant who hates his guts. A disturbed religious cult. (Though "disturbed" might be redundant in this instance.) A drug dealing, womanizing, mechanic with OCD tendencies. And lastly, the King of the Wood himself.

 

People in town are disappearing. Gardens that used to struggle now flourish with no additional attention from their gardeners. The earth is shifting in some places. Birds and wildlife follow commands from some people, (well, from one person, at least). And oh yeah, there was a man tied to a tree with his...well, you'll see. Can't forget that!

 

I can't give away too much of this story as you should discover it as the author intended. I will say that I had a TON of fun with this book! The characters are all vividly drawn and the writing was engaging. There are several mysteries waiting to be unraveled here and I need to have them solved. We were given small peeks into the background of The King, but I need more. Also, who is Ravenscroft and where is she? The writing has created this tension, anticipation and curiosity that I need to have satisfied-and the sooner the better!

 

THE KING OF THE WOOD hummed right along and I read the second half in one day. Seriously, I could not have put it down if I tried. (Good thing I had the day off from work!) This novel, which was full of magical realism, mystery, death, gore, evil villains, humor and heroes, (even if I'm not sure who the heroes are just yet), kept my mind spinning with possibilities and left my lungs breathless!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Available July 22, but you can pre-order here: THE KING OF THE WOOD

 

*I received an ARC of this book from Haverhill House and J.Edwin Buja in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

**Further, I have met Mr. Buja and his lovely wife in person a few times at various book festivals. This did not affect the outcome of my review.**

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review 2019-06-30 14:46
THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB by Craig Davidson
The Saturday Night Ghost Club - Craig Davidson

 

 We meet Jake as a brain surgeon, talking about memories and how our minds mold and shape them. It's an excellent framework for a coming of age story, set in Cataract City, (or Niagara Falls to the rest of us.) So let's get on with it, shall we?

 

As Jake struggles with school and the inevitable bully he meets brother and sister, Dove and Billy. They all become friends just in time for summer and the stage is set. Enter Uncle C and his weird curiosity shop and his Batphone. From which come calls originating from all over the country about weird and odd sights, happenings, hauntings and so forth. Uncle C and friends set out on Saturday nights to investigate local rumors and legends and everybody has a good time. Until they don't. What happens during these Saturday night outings? How did things go wrong? You'll have to read this to see.

 

I realize that I am one of the few people who didn't give this book 5 stars. This is why in two words: BOY'S LIFE. It was written by Robert McCammon and it's my favorite book of all time. I just couldn't help but compare the two, and BOY'S LIFE always came out ahead. But it's not just the comparison, it's the fact that there is a paragraph in this book that even uses some of the same phrases from my favorite quote of all time. That bothered me. It bothered me a lot.

 

That said, I did enjoy this tale. I found it not only to be nostalgic, as all good coming of age tales are, but I also found it to be poignant and sad. I did enjoy where the story took me, though I did guess, (for the most part), the dark secret that was revealed. I would have liked to have learned more about some of the characters, especially Dove, who had some secrets of her own. But this book was so short, I didn't feel that I got to know the characters as much as I would have liked.

 

Perhaps BOY'S LIFE has ruined all coming of age tales for me? Then again, I'm not sure of that, because I have enjoyed a few of them from independent authors lately and they all scored higher than this one for me. Perhaps it was only the similarities between this novel and my favorite book that disallowed me from becoming fully invested? Yeah, that's the reason I'm going with. Either way, this was a fun, (though poignant), quick read, and I enjoyed it!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-04-16 18:45
THE NEST by Gregory Douglas
The Nest - Gregory A. Douglas

 One of my favorite sub-genres of horror is the creature feature, and boy does this one deliver! On a small island off the coast of Cape Cod, something is happening in the middle of the island's dump. There's hissing and movements, then someone's dog dies and so begins THE NEST.

 

I'm not going to make like this book is some kind of literary achievement, because it's not. (Does anyone really pick up a giant cockroach book and think it's literary? I guess it's possible, but it's not the case here.) What this book IS is....just plain romping and chomping F-U-N!

 

Set on an island in my home state-the isolation makes for a cockroach feast! And that's basically what we get: cockroaches feeding on this one and on that one, in increasingly inventive and gross ways. (See my previous statement: F-U-N!)

 

Being that this was originally written back in 1980 we also get: some preachy scientist talk, some man-splaining, a smidge of schmaltzy romance, a wee bit of anti-feminism, and a tad of classism. Did I mention the gross cockroach kills?

 

Okay, so this isn't the "great American novel" but what it is is a lot of gross out laughter and chills, and a few hours of mindless entertainment. In these political times, who couldn't use that? I would have given this three stars based on the writing alone, but I added a half star because of the FUN factor!

 

Recommended to fans of 80's horror and creature features!

 

Valancourt Books has teamed up with Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson (Co-Authors of PAPERBACKS FROM HELL), to bring you an entire line of horror books from the 70's and 80's called the PAPERBACKS FROM HELL series.

 

Find out more about the series here: http://www.valancourtbooks.com/paperbacksfromhell.html

 

*I was given an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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