Saturday, March 30, 2024

Book Review: All the Dead Shall Weep

All the Dead Shall Weep 
by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A full five stars for being a comfort read. Am I biased? Probably. Is it weird that this western, outlaw, magical series has become a comfort (or easy break) read for me? Maybe. But if you appreciate the way Charlaine Harris develops her characters, and makes the readers love them, then perhaps you get what I mean.

This is book five of the ‘Gunnie Rose’ series. You could start here, but I wouldn’t, especially because the first book is solid and sets the tone for the rest to come.

Just like when I read the Sookie series 20 years ago (gosh am I getting old!!); I’ve become attached to these books and even if the premise is silly, the plot a bit jolting (yes I will concur it was a bit odd the way things just suddenly ‘happened’ in this one), or the story seemingly unplanned, I’ll keep on coming back. Because Harris gives us love, hope, crushing loss, and violent encounters; what more can you ask for? ;)

Besides the next book is going to feature (I hope and assume) a debutante’s ball for grigori (wizards). Thus I have to assume it will be wonderfully pretty and (because you can’t have a Lizbeth or Felicia story without it) a bloody mess. :)

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Sunday, March 24, 2024

Book Review: Episode Thirteen

Episode Thirteen 
by Craig DiLouie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well this was different. Starts off creepy and fairly scary, then gets weird as it goes on… Overall a good, engaging read.
Some of my typical complaints about ‘found’ journals are here; like why someone would stop to write down a scary event when they are still trapped, or waste battery power for light to write. Things like that which always irk me a bit. However majority of the story is ‘footage’ found on video cameras so it works.

Would have loved more of the ‘analysis’ at the end to hear theories about what happened, or how it could have, or how it fits into quantum mechanics or other scientific theories. Although maybe the average reader of horror isn’t as geeky as me and doesn’t care once the scary jumps are done. Lol!

Overall this is a weird little book. The ending is reminiscent of Stephen King (just so odd you couldn’t ever have guessed it from the beginning). I appreciated the archetypes of characters used here. A couple characters could have been more fleshed out for me; but it wasn’t critical in the end. I’d really love to see this made into a limited series where each character could have some good screen time (and the ending could be over a 2-hour, 2-part episode).

Will be passing this onto my horror buff husband with fairly good certainty that he will enjoy the first 3/4, and likely go with the way the ending plays out. I did get a print copy of this one for us as it just seemed too good to pass up a book that we would both be interested in. I’m glad to see it on our horror shelf (most of which I haven’t read). Highly recommend this one for anyone looking for something spooky!

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: Thornhedge

by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is smart!
Some may find it funny that my favourite part of the book wasn’t the actual story; but instead Kingfisher’s explanation of why she felt the Sleeping Beauty story should go more in the direction she took it; than in the conventional beautiful princess kissed by a prince one. I love the twists here, and I don’t know that I’ll ever think of Maleficent and Aurora the same way again. (For the record Maleficent had been one of my fave Disney characters since I was a child. I just wanted magic and the power to turn into a dragon! Lol). 

Our fairy here is a cute little toad. She’s so sweet and endearing. I don’t want to give anything critical away; but just know that the introductory chapter really sets the tone for the innocence of our fairy, there’s not a spec of evil anywhere in her it seems. And yet for me she was a bit too flimsy and the primary reason for my taking a star away.

We then have our reluctant knight. This angle was very smart. Kingfisher approach’s the story in a more realistic way. Let’s face it, likely, It wouldn’t be the top Prince of the land that comes looking for a princess from a long told myth or story. Instead it’s a nobody with no prospects figuring it’s worth a shot.

All the steps in this novella inject realism (ironic for a fairy tale). This is Sleeping Beauty set in a less Disney-esque world and one more grey (like ours). Thus this story is absolutely a way the story could go. Huge props to Kingfisher for being so clever and for knowing exactly why each character does what they do (as explained in the authors note). If more authors considered their characters motivations to do things (instead of forcing the plot forward) there would be an exponential number of much smart books. In the meantime I’ll continue consuming everything I can get my hands on from Kingfisher.

A note on audio:
I did listen to a few chapters in audiobook format. This narrator wasn’t really for me. She wasn’t bad, but just didn’t hold much excitement for me. I found the story more engaging in print format for me to read. That said I’m still getting used to audiobooks so take that with a grain of salt.

Please note: I received an audiobook eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Monday, March 18, 2024

Book Review: The Dress in the Window

The Dress in the Window 
by Robert Tregoning
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

”One beautiful dress for my beautiful son.” 

This line really sums up this amazingly sweet book. Not once does anyone tell this boy he can’t wear a dress. The whole neighbourhood works with him to find chores to do so he can get money to help pay for the dress. 

It’s absolutely fabulous! No talk about being a boy or girl, and none is needed! Instead it’s about a child wanting a super pretty red dress.

The addition of the rhyming couplets and superb illustrations elevate this children’s picture book to a notch above most others on the shelf.
Love it!

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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