My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing.
by Paulette Moon,Chris Moon
This is the authors' relation of their experiments with a 'ghost box', literally a box that works like a radio transmitter to pick up the voices of ghosts. Spooky! But that's what attracted me to the book.
It requires a big leap of faith. Apparently much of the activity happens on a psychic level so you're basically taking the word of the author that anything was heard at all, although some recordings apparently produced voices. Putting belief aside, I found the book interesting. The incidents mentioned in relation to a few high profile historic deaths made for good reading, scepticism or not.
I did find the suggestion that the box picks up alien voices as well a stretch. It started ticking too many woowoo boxes at that point and I found it more difficult to suspend disbelief. I keep an open mind about spiritual activity, but this pushed it a little too far for me and I found myself reading with more scepticism after that part.
Despite this, some of the stories related towards the end appeared to be corroborated by real world evidence, if you take the author's word for it. I decided that belief is subjective and on the bottom line, I enjoyed reading the book. It was well written and provided some interesting food for thought. Would I try the spirit box if given a chance? Definitely. Like some of the other sceptical people who came into contact with the authors, I would ask questions that only the person I was contacting would know, but I would not hesitate to give it a go and see what happened.
The only thing missing was any information whatsoever about how it supposedly works. Maybe the authors will include that in their next book.
by Mark W. McGinnis
This is a book of retold Chinese fables, based on the writings of the ancient philosopher Chang Tzu but written in modern language that any child could follow.
The tales are very short and each has a morale at the end to teach the reader something about the foibles of human nature.
The pictures are beautifully done and in full color in what looks like an oriental style. Overall the book is beautifully presented and would make a nice gift to a child, though adults would enjoy it too!
by Ben Aaronovitch
This seventh book in the Rivers of London series is shorter than the others, just over 100 pages. I was pleased to be dealing with ghosts again as they have a lot of scope for interesting situations and glimpses of history.
I also enjoyed the return to dealing a little with river spirits, bringing it full circle. This one has an old fashioned Mystery element in that someone has been kidnapped and cryptic hints from ghosts are all Peter Grant and company have to go on to try to find the missing girl.
The book makes an enjoyable, short read and I feel returns to the vibe of the first book in a way that is satisfying to someone who has been reading through the whole series.
by Ben Aaronovitch
This 4th book in the series started out differently in that there was no immediate connection to magic. As with most murder stories, a body is involved, but why Peter Grant would be involved isn't immediately apparent.
I don't know if it's the story itself or too many people yapping at me when I'm trying to read, but I never quite worked out the motivation of the Faceless Man, as he's called in this. It's also the first of this series that I felt ended without fully resolving. It wasn't quite a cliffhanger, but a significant and unexpected twist near the end left me feeling the story was unfinished.
The journey was enjoyable. As always, the characters were distinctive and some funny moments make it all good fun, but I'm marking this one down for leaving me feeling that it wasn't finished.
Three books finished this month. I'm obviously working too much and don't have enough reading time. How do some of you do it?
I've been working my way through the Rivers of London series because I have book 7 from Netgalley to read and review. I'm more than half through book 4 now. I do have book 5 on my Kindle, but unless someone tells me there are major spoilers I'm going to read book 7 next. I seem to have collected 3 Netgalley books again and am waiting to hear on one more... oops!
The samples collection has plummeted this month! I'm down to 32 despite new acquisitions! If I keep this up, I'll have it cleared by end of June and can start vetting those gazillion free books!
One of my newer favorite authors is participating in this. If you're a member of Kindle Unlimited and like Horror, Suspense and/or Dark Fantasy, some interesting choices here.
For those of us who have been hearing how good this book is, it's on .99 Kindle sale today. My computer shows 1.29 in the U.S. but I think if you're there it will be .99. It's .99 in the UK.
Got a copy last night and it's going into my A-list reading collection.
by Ben Aaronovitch
The stories in this series have a way of building on the established world, but always adding something new. This one nearly lost me when the nature of a peripheral character started to sound too much like it was borrowing from the teenage Paranormal Romance genre, but it recovered nicely and turned out to be one of the best in the series so far.
A new adventure for Peter Grant takes him underground, well, to the London Underground where tales of sewer creatures and secret tunnels always provide plenty of scope to extrapolate a good story setting. Watching this character develop along with his magical abilities is definitely one of the strengths of the series.
Magic, supernatural creatures and superior officers who don't want to know are all part of the job, right?
Anything else I can say will give spoilers, so I'll just move on to the next one in the series and simply say, this was good.
I've been warned there are developments so I have to read books 3 and 4 before continuing book 7 for Netgalley. So be it!
by Ben Aaronovitch
This is the second book in the Rivers of London series and takes our friendly magician/cop into the world of Jazz.
It pretty much stands alone and I get the feeling that all the books will be stand alone adventures, but with overlapping threads. A few tendrils from the first story work into this one but not in a way that would prevent someone from getting the full effect of this one if they read it first.
There was some unexpected sexual content that bordered on the graphic. It caught me by surprise because there was none if the first book. It wasn't quite enough to spoil it though.
Overall, I didn't find this one quite up to the first book's standard, but it was still enjoyable and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.
So now I'm reading the series out of order.
Anyone know if I'm likely to trip over spoilers for the previous books?
by Neil Gaiman
I kept hearing how good this book is, so when a buddy read came up, I had to join in. I had even bought the book without my usual vetting through reading a sample.
The beginning surprised me. It wasn't at all like I expected and although there were hints of weirdness to come, I found myself firmly in uncharted waters. It does take a little while to get going to where it starts to make sense.
I'll admit I found it slow at times and struggled to keep my attention on it. The subtle infiltration of gods was a brilliant idea, but it took an age to get to the revelations and if it hadn't been Gaiman, I might have given up.
A lot of diversions into side stories kept the continuity from grabbing hold, though they fleshed out the overall situation. A linear story does unravel before the end, but along the way I found myself caring less and less about the characters and looking forward to getting to the end so I could read something more engrossing.
A lot of people love this book, but for me it isn't one of Gaiman's best.