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LoraM

Lora's Rants and Reviews

My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing. I DO NOT accept review requests but only review books I choose to read and I don't post reviews on Amazon. I'm also persnickity about genre and plot. DO NOT FOLLOW ME IF YOU'RE HERE TO ADVERTISE, ESPECIALLY NON-BOOK PRODUCTS. I WILL BLOCK YOU!!!

Currently reading

Daisy Jones & the Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Once Upon a River
Diane Setterfield
The Search for Rasha
Paul B. Skousen
Athena's Champion
Cath Mayo, David Hair
The Sorrows
Jonathan Janz
The Dreamers
Karen Thompson Walker
Progress: 100%
Everyday Enchantments
Maria DeBlassie
Progress: 21%
Tombland
C.J. Sansom
Progress: 12%
Dissolution
C.J. Sansom
Progress: 28%
A Conjuring of Light
V.E. Schwab
Progress: 20%

The Amulet Thief

— feeling doubt
The Amulet Thief - Luanne Bennett

by Luanne Bennett

 

Alex was born in New York, but she was shipped off to Indiana as a small child and her return to the big city takes some adapting. What she finds most difficult is that people keep staring at her rather than minding their own business like she remembers New Yorkers doing in the past.

 

One of the two items she keeps close is a silver medallion necklace that her mother gave her, telling her to keep it hidden. She wears it under clothing, assuming the warning was because it has some value and keeping it as a treasure to remember her mother.

 

There were some seemingly supernatural forces at work here. The story had real possibilities, but I didn't like the turn it took.

 

The one thing I found really irritating was a significant character who is of help to Alex when she gets into a dire situation, but is rather domineering and keeps information to himself. The worst part is that the guy is treating her badly, but she finds him attractive. Puke! It would probably appeal to those who enjoy books like Fifty Shades of Grey, but it's not something I would normally even finish.

 

The writing was good enough, it was the plot and characters I found not to my taste. There was a chance here for a really interesting supernatural story, but the domineering romance took over as the main theme.

 

Finally got a Bingo!!!

Pieces of Her - Karin Slaughter Trapped in Room 217 - Thomas Kingsley Troupe The Hermit's Creepy Pet (Single Shot Short Story Series Book 10) - Terry M. West No 13 Toroni  - Julius Regis The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

Yay me!

 

Today's call filled my 4th row across. :D

 

 

Amateur Sleuth - Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter - 4 stars

 

Ghost Stories - Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe - 4 1/2 stars

 

Genre: Horror - The Hermits Creepy Pet by Terry M West - 3 1/2 stars

 

13 - No. 13 Toroni: A Mystery by Julius Regis - 3 stars

 

Shifters - The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan - 5 stars

Another change: I've read 4%.

End Times: Rise of the Undead - Shane Carrow

This was an accident. I had a different zombie book picked out but when I went into the folder for Bingo books I started reading this one (which was probably there as a back-up) and I've enjoyed so far so I'm just going to continue it. I'll find the other one and probably read it next year.

Halloween Bingo 2018 update

They say that close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and atom bombs...

 

 

Slash = called

Weird kitty = read

 

New Release - Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

- 4 stars

 

Darkest London - A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (336 pages)

                                   

Country House Mystery - The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (400 pages)

 

Modern Masters of Horror - White Lies by Jeremy Bates - 4 stars

 

A Grim Tale - The Second Sister by Rae D. Magdon - 3 stars

 

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Genre: Suspense - The Moor by Sam Haysom - 4 1/2 stars

 

Terrifying Women - The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (512 pages)

 

Gothic - Unsettled Spirits by J. Matthew Saunders - 2 stars

 

Romantic Suspense - Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart - 3 1/2 stars

 

Dead Lands - Incubation by Adrienne Lecter (312 pages)

 

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Cryptozoologist - Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea - 2 stars

 

Fear the Drowning Deep - Dark Voyage by Helen Susan Swift (260 pages)

 

Free Space - Dark Ride by P.G. Kassel - 3 stars

 

Classic Horror - The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe - 3 1/2 stars

 

Baker Street Irregulars - Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan - 3 stars

 

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Amateur Sleuth - Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter - 4 stars

 

Ghost Stories - Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe - 4 1/2 stars

 

Genre: Horror - The Hermits Creepy Pet by Terry M West - 3 1/2 stars

 

13 - No. 13 Toroni: A Mystery by Julius Regis - 3 stars

 

Shifters - The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan - 5 stars

 

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Diverse Voices - The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (832 pages)(N)

 

Terror in a Small Town - General of the Dead by Richard Gleaves (608 pages)

 

Supernatural - John Peters In The Land Of Demons by A.H.Matai -1 star

 

Relics and Curiosities - The Amulet Thief by Luanne Bennett (325 pages)

 

Doomsday - Doomsday Anthology by Samie Sands - 3 stars

The Second Sister

The Second Sister (Amendyr Book 1) - Rae D. Magdon

by Rae D. Magdon

 

This is an interesting re-imagining of the Cinderella story that features the two step-sisters as important characters, second only to Eleanor herself. It takes place in an imaginary kingdom like the original, but with a stronger political intrigue. It's brutal in places and the personalities of the two step-sisters are well-developed. What I didn't know when I picked up the book is that the author is known for writing lesbian fiction, which puts a different spin on things.

 

In this re-imagining, the step-mother doesn't appear to be the problem. One of the step-sisters even appears friendly, at first. The other one, however, has a rather nasty disposition to say the least. The writing itself is excellent, but the plotting has some holes. The story overall has a more realistic feeling to it than the fairytale, yet possible ways out of Ellie's predicament weren't explored.

 

There's more abuse than I felt comfortable with in various ways. I was more bothered by the outright cruelty than any of the sexual aspects, but there was far more of that than I like to read about. I don't care if it's gay, straight or anything else, I'm just not into erotica and adding abusiveness doesn't help.

 

Scoring according to quality rather than my personal reading preferences. If the plotting were better, the writing and character development would score very high.

 

The Moor

The Moor - John Haysom

by Sam Haysom

 

This story is divided in an odd way. It starts with a news clip about two missing boys. There are occasional time jumps forward, written in present tense alternating with memories, which is all rather jumpy.

 

When it gets to a proper chapter one, the story becomes mostly linear. There are other news clips and time jumps interspersed, but basically the story is told from the pov of five different boys involved in the camping trip that led to the boys going missing, each of them having their own section, though each one progresses the story further forward.

 

First is James, the overweight boy who doesn't really want to go but gives into peer pressure to be part of the group. Then Gary who has an unfortunate habit of playing sick practical jokes. He's followed by Tom, a bigger boy who defends James against his friend Gary's jokes when they get out of hand, then Tim who is a small boy, son of the responsible adult leading the group and doesn't have many friends. The sequence of events is finished up by Matt, who is the sharpest of the boys and takes us through the climax of the story, which was very well done. The details and built up suspense were definitely worthy.

 

Through these various points of view, we slowly learn what happened, why each of the boys took part in the camping trip, what sort of person they appear as to the others and how the two boys went missing. Some of the story gets rather horrific. I sort of guessed what had to happen in the end, though not how it would play out.

 

This is apparently a debut book by a young author. I think he's going to be one for the Horror enthusiasts to watch.

The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

by Edgar Allen Poe

 

This story is classic Poe and fairly well known, but I'll try to avoid spoilers anyway. It's about a man who has endured constant insults by a man named Fortunado. The Horror aspect is the coldness within which he plans a premeditated murder out of revenge.

 

The two men are ostensibly friends and Fortunado is invited to enjoy a special wine, Amontillado, secretly in the dark cellar that serves as both wine cellar and catacomb. What could go wrong?

 

In a way I was disappointed by the lack of emotion put into the latter part of the story. I knew it from a song written by the Alan Parsons Project by the same title. If you're read the story but not heard the song, I strongly recommend going to YouTube to have a listen. It captured the despair of the victim in a haunting manner that was actually missing from the written story.

 

There is no supernatural aspect to this particular Poe story. It is pure human cruelty to his own species. If torture and torment are your thing, Poe can always be trusted to deliver.

 

Replacement

The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

Ok, I'm being cheeky here. But with no Bingos and 4 non-Bingo Netgalley books to read I'm drowning! For Classic Horror I'm trading in over 400 pages for this, 21 pages.

 

Aren't I a stinker? ;)

 

One of these days I'll read The Monk.

Halloween Update 7 October 2018

Well this is interesting. I've accepted that my Diverse Voices book probably won't get finished before October is over, however, if Genre: Horror gets called, I'll finally have a Bingo! Also if Romantic Suspense gets called, I can read myself a Bingo there and one of the two books I need is fairly short. The Classic Horror book is a little on the long side, but I could always choose a different one.

 

 

New Release - Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

- 4 stars

 

Darkest London - A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (336 pages)

                                   

Country House Mystery - The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (400 pages)

 

Modern Masters of Horror - White Lies by Jeremy Bates - 4 stars

 

A Grim Tale - The Second Sister by Rae D. Magdon (212 pages)

 

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Genre: Suspense - The Moor by Sam Haysom (224 pages)(N)

 

Terrifying Women - The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (512 pages)

 

Gothic - Unsettled Spirits by J. Matthew Saunders - 2 stars

 

Romantic Suspense - Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart - 3 1/2 stars

 

Dead Lands - Incubation by Adrienne Lecter (312 pages)

 

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Cryptozoologist - Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea - 2 stars

 

Fear the Drowning Deep - Dark Voyage by Helen Susan Swift (260 pages)

 

Free Space - Dark Ride by P.G. Kassel - 3 stars

 

Classic Horror - The Monk by Matthew Lewis (416 pages)

 

Baker Street Irregulars - Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan - 3 stars

 

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Amateur Sleuth - Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter - 4 stars

 

Ghost Stories - Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe - 4 1/2 stars

 

Genre: Horror - The Hermits Creepy Pet by Terry M West - 3 1/2 stars

 

13 - No. 13 Toroni: A Mystery by Julius Regis - 3 stars

 

Shifters - The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan - 5 stars

 

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Diverse Voices - The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (832 pages)(N)

 

Terror in a Small Town - General of the Dead by Richard Gleaves (608 pages)

 

Supernatural - John Peters In The Land Of Demons by A.H.Matai -1 star

 

Relics and Curiosities - The Amulet Thief by Luanne Bennett (325 pages)

 

Doomsday - Doomsday Anthology by Samie Sands - 3 stars

Dark Ride

Dark Ride - P.G. Kassel

by P.G. Kassel

 

The story follows a criminal, Marty Wedlow, as he tries to get money to skip town before some thugs catch up with him. He's known by the local police and gets pulled in when he's the main suspect in a robbery, but the witness can't positively ID him so the police have no choice but to set him free. While he's in the cop shop, a spooky man is brought in for a fortune telling charge and he predicts that Marty's luck is about to run out.

 

Marty dismisses this incident and sets about more robberies to get the money he needs. Eventually after the usual small shops provide too little cash for his trouble, he hits on the idea of trying the local amusement park where money flows prolifically.

 

The story is predictable, but the writing is good and the characters were a bit of fun. Nothing spectacular, but an easy short read with he fear of dark places and a carnival atmosphere to keep the reader amused.

 

2018 Halloween Bingo Update 1 October

So, 13 books read, 12 to go. Several in progress.

 

 

I have no Bingos yet. Weird kitty=read, slashes=called. Today's call may give me some direction. The obvious row is first row down, but Diverse Voices is my 800+ page book. The other one in that row is in progress and won't take long, but the brick might hold out until the end, even with giving it a lot of reading time. I'm inclined to target top row across at this stage, but as I said, today's call could change that. Free square is likely to be the next one I finish reading, so that increases possibilities. :)

 

Books and scores so far:

 

New Release - Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

- 4 stars

 

Darkest London - A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (336 pages)

                                   

Country House Mystery - The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (400 pages)(in progress)

 

Modern Masters of Horror - White Lies by Jeremy Bates - 4 stars

 

A Grim Tale - The Second Sister by Rae D. Magdon (212 pages)

 

---

 

Genre: Suspense - The Moor by Sam Haysom (224 pages)(N)(in progress)

 

Terrifying Women - The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (512 pages)

 

Gothic - Unsettled Spirits by J. Matthew Saunders - 2 stars

 

Romantic Suspense - Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart - 3 1/2 stars

 

Dead Lands - Incubation by Adrienne Lecter (312 pages)

 

---

 

Cryptozoologist - Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea - 2 stars

 

Fear the Drowning Deep - Dark Voyage by Helen Susan Swift (260 pages)

 

Free Space - Dark Ride by P.G. Kassel (116 pages)(in progress)

 

Classic Horror - The Monk by Matthew Lewis (416 pages)

 

Baker Street Irregulars - Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan - 3 stars

 

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Amateur Sleuth - Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter - 4 stars

 

Ghost Stories - Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe - 4 1/2 stars

 

Genre: Horror - The Hermits Creepy Pet by Terry M West - 3 1/2 stars

 

13 - No. 13 Toroni: A Mystery by Julius Regis - 3 stars

 

Shifters - The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan - 5 stars

 

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Diverse Voices - The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (832 pages)(N)(in progress)

 

Terror in a Small Town - General of the Dead by Richard Gleaves (608 pages)(in progress)

 

Supernatural - John Peters In The Land Of Demons by A.H.Matai -1 star

 

Relics and Curiosities - The Amulet Thief by Luanne Bennett (325 pages)

 

Doomsday - Doomsday Anthology by Samie Sands - 3 stars

September wrap up

White Lies - Jeremy Bates Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden John Peters in the land of Demons - A.H. Matai Loch Ness Revenge - Hunter Shea Doomsday - Samie Sands Rose Cottage - Mary Stewart Unsettled Spirits - J. Matthew Saunders Barnabas Tew and The Case Of The Missing Scarab - Columbkill Noonan The Hermit's Creepy Pet (Single Shot Short Story Series Book 10) - Terry M. West Trapped in Room 217 - Thomas Kingsley Troupe

 

Wow, 14 books this month! That's a lot for me. Admittedly I was going for the shorter ones to get through as many as possible. I do have some reading done on longer ones too, so we'll just see how things go in the coming month.

 

Stand outs this month are The Last Werewolf, White Lies and Pieces of Her. These were all really good. I got various levels of enjoyment from most of them, only one got below 3 stars from me.

 

Bingo reads continue! But I also have 4 Netgalley books that aren't for Bingo squares so will need to at least make a start on those. Not much sample reading during Bingo. I'll have to devote some time to that in November.

White Lies

White Lies - Jeremy Bates

by Jeremy Bates

 

This had me unsettled right away. Katrina is driving with her Boxer dog to a new city to start a new job. Rain is pouring down and when she passes a man hitchhiking, her humanitarianism outweighs her caution about being a woman alone and she offers him a lift. However, within minutes he makes her feel unsettled and having already lied about her destination, she pulls over and demands that he get out of the car.

 

The little white lie that she was turning off at the next stop seems harmless, but it will set in motion a series of lies that escalate until Katrina finds herself wrapped up in a horrific situation, one lie at a time.

 

The plot is extremely well done. The spreading of the web of lies and the complications that result was at a pace and done with an artistry that you could easily imagine actually happening, apart from a few events towards the end that felt a little rushed.

 

The one thing that wasn't realistic was Kat's responses that got her into so much trouble. Mr. Bates should have asked a few women how they would handle the situations because part of being female 101 is how to lie to creepy guys that make you uncomfortable.

 

Rule number 1: you NEVER cop to living someplace, real or not. Creepy guys are too inclined to follow you home. Whatever the truth is, you're going to someone else's house for an unpleasant reason and no, it wouldn't be okay for someone to go along with you. They might get shot/contaminated or whatever.

 

You sure as Hell don't mention what street you live on and no, you can't invite people because it's not your cabin and you're just moving out from a violent ex.

 

How hard is it? Sorry guys, blame the creeps in your midst. For us, it's survival.

If you've pressured a woman or even curb crawled to insist she give you her phone number, don't complain when it turns out to be the number for the local police. I had that one memorized by the time I was 11.

 

Again, towards the end a few of her actions were outright stupid. I don't want to give spoilers but if you've established someone is dangerous, you get as far away from them as you can and let the police handle it.

 

The suspense and characterisation were very well done and I will continue to count Jeremy Bates as a Modern Master of Horror, but he really does need to talk to some women about 'what would you do' situations.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 84%.

White Lies - Jeremy Bates

I may have to finish this before I can sleep.

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.

White Lies - Jeremy Bates

If you've ever enjoyed a book by this author, get this one. Things are getting very real!

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden

by Christopher Golden

 

A collection of Christmas stories in the Horror genre was just too good of an idea to pass up! This one is a collection of 18 stories by a variety of authors. I had actually heard of three of them and read something by two of those, which gave me confidence of a certain level of writing.

 

To be honest, not all of the stories held up to expectation but enough of them did to make the collection worthwhile. Just two of them were written in present tense, which I find difficult to read, and two others were written in second person, which I don't see often.

 

There were some interesting ideas explored; zombie elves, creepy children, melting babies, obsessive or robot pets, a great twist on revenge, and an abusive husband returning from the dead among others.

 

The stand outs for me were Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski, Not Just For Christmas by Sarah Lotz, It's A Wonderful Life by Christopher Golden, The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale and Darrow Street by Elizabeth Hand.

 

Also very worthwhile were Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seaman McGuire, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand (a very humorous entry), Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore, Home by Tim Lebbon and The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough.

 

The collection is definitely worthwhile for the Horror fan.