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review 2018-08-13 22:30
DANDELION WINE by Ray Bradbury
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury

 

Once I realized there wasn't going to be a plot, but instead a loosely connected set of vignettes about boys coming of age, I relaxed and enjoyed DANDELION WINE.  I marked several pages that I wanted to quote in my review, but now find myself thinking that reviewing it is going to take some of the magic out of it for me.

 

I absolutely adored the end, (Aunt Rose got sent packing!), and there's no doubt that this book is steeped in nostalgia, but overall, it was a little too wordy for me. I would have liked fewer pages full of solid text and more dialogue, but hey, this is Ray Bradbury and I love the guy but I think The October Country is still my favorite of all his works.

 

Lastly, much as I love Ray Bradbury, I still hold Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE as my favorite novel of all time.

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review 2018-07-06 18:30
WHITE DEATH by Christine Morgan, narrated by Matt Godfrey
White Death - Christine Morgan,Matt Godfrey

WHITE DEATH is the first book I've read from Christine Morgan and it was a winner!

 

Set during the Great Blizzard of 1888, it's apparent that Ms. Morgan has done her research. Set in the small town of Far Enough, Montana, this novel depicts what it was like for the inhabitants in a time when there were no weather forecasts, or warnings of any kind, before a storm.

 

At the same time, the author also weaves in some native American folklore in the form of a Wanageeska. In fact, it's the crossing of this creature that sets everything else off. I loved the characters in Far Enough, Montana, except for for the founder of the town, who deserved everything that happened.

 

The only problem I had was the large cast of characters, which are easier to follow on paper, than in audio. (I did find that jotting down notes on everyone helped quite a bit.) I thought the writing here was above average and detailed-if you ever want to know exactly what it feels like to have frostbite, or to debride the skin around your eyes trying to remove ice, than this is the book for you!

 

My only problem was that I didn't feel I got to know as many of the characters as I would have liked. However if I had, the book probably would have been much longer and the pacing slower. Perhaps a slightly smaller cast would have worked better and we could have become more familiar with people like Emma the schoolteacher, and a few others.

 

I listened to the audio of this story, narrated by the always excellent Matt Godfrey. In regards to excellence in audio, he never fails.

 

WHITE DEATH was entertaining and informative and caused me to want to learn more about the Great Blizzard of 1888. It was also quite a bit of fun where the Wanageeska was concerned and I would like to know more about that creature as well. Overall, it was a great time listening to WHITE DEATH and I definitely recommend it!

 

 

You can get your copy here: WHITE DEATH

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the Audible copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Matt to be my friend, even though we've never met, but this did not affect the honesty of my review.*

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review 2018-06-14 18:45
BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD written and narrated by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

 

BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD is hands-down, one of the most hilarious and informative audio books EVER. Seriously, it's outstanding.

 

I admit that I stopped watching THE DAILY SHOW after Jon Stewart left. I didn't know much about Trevor Noah other than the fact that he was a comedian before coming to that television show. I know a lot more now and I've started watching TDS again.

 

I remember hearing about Apartheid, but I didn't have a clear understanding as to how it affected people. Now, I understand a little better. This is Trevor's story about growing up in South Africa, his family-specifically his walking miracle of a mother, ("Jesus is my health insurance."), his father and his stepfather. It's about family life, church, music, and so much more. It's funny and entertaining, but it's also painfully honest at times, and it's those times that bring this book home. (I have never laughed at any story that involves the name Hitler. With this book and Trevor's Hitler story? I swear to all that's holy, I almost peed my pants.)

 

As the title suggests, this story only covers Trevor's time in South Africa. I can only hope that he will write another book about how his career as a comedian began and how he came to be hosting THE DAILY SHOW. Please, Mr. Noah, please write some more!

 

The audio is the only way to go with this book. Trevor Noah's accent and delivery make his special story even better. BORN A CRIME is worth your time. (Thanks to Ctgt, Petra and to Melissa for their reviews of this book, which you can find herehere, and here, respectively. 

 

My highest recommendation!

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review 2018-06-08 18:30
THE TEA PARTY by Charles L. Grant, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Tea Party - Charles L. Grant,Matt Godfrey

A tea party on the lawn in the middle of summer? Sounds great to me! Even if the tea party does take place at the creepiest property in town: Winterrest.

 

THE TEA PARTY plays with one of my favorite horror tropes: evil in a small town. It does it with a haunting atmosphere, unusual weather and natural events, (like winds, and earthquakes), and it also features a large cast of characters. I like quiet horror and this certainly fits the bill.

 

I see a lot of reviews and ratings that aren't so great on this book and it makes me wonder why. The story takes its time, that's for sure, and there's also little blood and gore. But for me, these days, this horror tale fit the bill perfectly, though I do have to admit the denouement left me slightly stunned.

 

I listened to the audio version, narrated by Matt Godfrey, who was outstanding as usual. I found his laid back style to be a perfect match for this slow burning tale of a haunted mansion, an insane stonemason, and the entire town of Deerfield who could not avoid being affected by the recent events in their tightly-knit neighborhood.

 

If slow burning, small town evil stories aren't your thing, (think Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon), you might want to give this one a pass. On the other hand, if this is the type of story you've loved since childhood, like I have, (and that love has only grown), then THE TEA PARTY is definitely one for your "To Read" list.

 

Recommended!

 

*I received this audio courtesy of the narrator with no strings attached. This review is my honest opinion. *

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review 2018-03-26 14:30
JACKRABBIT SMILE by Joe Lansdale
Jackrabbit Smile (Hap and Leonard) - Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard return to Hap's hometown of Marvel Creek in Joe Lansdale's latest release JACKRABBIT SMILE.

 

This time around our heroes are hired by a man and his mother to find their missing sister/daughter. The relationship between Hap, Leonard and Brett and their new clients isn't a good one, since both the man and his mom are openly prejudiced against any and all who aren't white. Which, of course, doesn't sit well with Leonard. Will the dynamic duo find the missing girl? Will the people who hired them get their due? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The humor Joe Lansdale is famous for is here in spades, but there's a lot of darkness as well. Hap's hometown is full of racism, violence, and both false prophets and profits. (It's hard to believe good-hearted Hap came from such an ugly place.) All of this makes for a quick, extremely entertaining read.

 

 

If you're reading the Hap and Leonard series, you already know how addicting these books can be. If you're watching the television series on the Sundance Channel, you'll note some similarities between the current season and this book. Both take unflinching looks at the ugliness of racism in all of its different faces and forms; but they do it with bravery and a sense of humor. I think that's what makes this series, (both the books and the television show), so special and enjoyable.

 

If you're not reading this series or watching the show, what are you waiting for?

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

 

 

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