Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: Think Yourself Lucky

Think Yourself Lucky Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THINK YOURSELF LUCKY by Ramsey Campbell

I think Ramsey Campbell is a genius. Not only a Grand Master of Horror and awarded the World Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award, and many others, he is the only author I've read who manages to personify the Inanimate and invest it with life, emotions, thoughts--and make the reader believe. With any of his works, there is no suspension of disbelief needed; the reader believes, and believes innately, and continues to believe even after the last page is turned.

THINK YOURSELF LUCKY, his newest novel (November 2018 release), focuses on an unassuming young man in Liverpool, David Botham, the adult offspring of two very dedicated local social workers. David works in a travel agency, which really doesn't elicit either his passion nor his intellectual ability, and is in a relationship with a chef. His former girlfriend unfortunately is his usually critical work supervisor.

David, he will tell one and all, is NOT a writer. Not at all. But he is also unassuming and quite a bit a people-pleaser. Roped in unwillingly and unwittingly to a local writers' group, he firmly insists "I am not a writer." But when pressed by a published author, he tosses out a title ("Better Out Than In") and then rushes away. Later, the bookstore owner (odd man) who hosts the group tells David, "Someone's using your title." True enough, there's a new Blog with that title, and it's a scary one: all about how the narrator deals with people who annoy him (which are many in number). Soon the events (actual and in thought) reach closer and closer to David, until a watershed climax.

You won't be able to set this book down. It's a compelling, ultimately nightmarish, read about a man's control of his own mind and his own life.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review: The Selk King

The Selk King The Selk King by Glenn L. Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE SELK KING is the second in the MAALSTROM sci fantasy series, a complex feat of world-building postulating a bizarre yet philosophically intriguing and enterprising alternative to Evolution. This is a case in which I strongly recommend starting the series from the beginning, so as to best comprehend the settings and plot.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Review: Vengeance: A Darkhurst Novel

Vengeance: A Darkhurst Novel Vengeance: A Darkhurst Novel by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this epic fantasy! Ms. Martin is a fine writer, who leavens her stories with humour and all the important human emotions. I was engrossed from the first page and suspension of disbelief came immediately. The magic is glorious, the monsters are imaginative designed, and there's plenty of swordwork as well. Plus there is camaraderie, brotherhood, and the struggle for justice against unjust foes.

View all my reviews

2019 Literary Escapes Challenge

Read the USA
Read the World


Fwd: [New post] 2019 LITERARY ESCAPES CHALLENGE – Sign Up Today!
Mallory A Haws
to me
2 hours ago

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:
From: Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book <donotreply@wordpress.com>
Date: November 11, 2018 at 1:00:59 PM EST
Subject: [New post] 2019 LITERARY ESCAPES CHALLENGE – Sign Up Today!

New post on Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book


by Dollycas


I did better this year on this challenge,
I still have some states to add before December 31 for books on my schedule.
My Map 
Challenge - Try to read 1 book set in each of the 50 states + the District of Columbia. (51 Points). If you complete the challenge you earn 50 Bonus Points. You also can earn Bonus Points for books set in Counties around the world. 1 Bonus Point for each country. (No repeats - only 1 point can be earned for each country.)
Your books can be fiction or non-fiction and can be in any format, print, digital, audio. 

So how do you decide what state a book is categorized under?

1.  In a fiction read it would be the State or Country that the book spends the most time in.  (Ie. If your main character is from Wisconsin but the book is all about his/her time in college in California – the books should categorize under California….)
2.  Non fiction reads categorize  in whatever State or Country it is about (Ie…. a book about fly fishing in Colorado is a Colorado point, and a book about women in Afghanistan is an Afghanistan point.
3.  If the book goes from one state to another… go with the state that most of the time is spent.
The way you keep track is up to you. I like making the map to visualize where I have been and where I need to go but I also keep a list on Reading ChallengesPage. Here is directions on how to create a map. - http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Google-Map. You do not have to just use Google Maps, you can use a map program you choose.
or just use this list
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Review: Dark Water

Dark Water Dark Water by T.W. Lawless
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Journalist Peter Clancy is on leave from his San Francisco newspaper while he composes his autobiography. But that's not going well--not going at all--and he is anxious to return to journalism. Summoned home to Queensland, Australia, by an Aboriginal friend formerly employed on the Clancy ranch, and now he has plenty to investigate, including murders.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review: Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns

Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns by Craig A. Price Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What could be better than dragons? Dragons plus Wyverns! DRAGONIA: RISE OF THE WYVERNS is the first in a very fast-paced epic fantasy series. I found significant parallels in both history and contemporary culture, as a monopoly government seeks to destroy all dissidence (which includes the starving poor who can't pay taxes) and dragons and dragonriders are the means. But when times are worst, Resistance arises. Finally, they have a weapon: Wyverns.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: Facing the Dragon: A Vietnam War Mystery Thriller

Facing the Dragon: A Vietnam War Mystery Thriller Facing the Dragon: A Vietnam War Mystery Thriller by Philip Derrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't know what to expect from this novel, and that's exactly what I discovered: a mystery/thriller that surely is unlike any other. Starting out as a heartwarming family saga, circumstances quickly turn scary and then horrifying. This high school freshman, on Christmas holiday with his family, demonstrates intense courage and will, casting aside routine sense and truly commences on the Hero's Journey, a path I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. He is one of the most outstanding characters in fiction.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: By Royal Appointment: The Love Affair That Almost Destroyed The Monarchy

By Royal Appointment: The Love Affair That Almost Destroyed The Monarchy By Royal Appointment: The Love Affair That Almost Destroyed The Monarchy by A. O'Connor
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Review of BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT by A. O'Connor

As soon as I read the description of this fine fictionalization of historical events, I was immediately reminded of a similar situation within the British Monarchy, only 75 years later. I refer to the abdication of the throne by King Edward VIII in 1936, due to his love for the American divorced commoner Wallis Warfield Simpson. In BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT, author A. O'Connor capably and giftedly illustrates the encounter and subsequent consequences of Bertie, Prince of Wales, an impetuous and willful young gentleman, easily diverted, readily debauched, and an equally misbehaving actress, Nellie Cliffden, in Ireland. O'Connor vividly brings history to life, drawing real historical figures so cleverly that we feel much as if they are our neighbours and friends.

View all my reviews

Review: The Curse Of The Nightshade: The Kingdom Of Plants Book One

The Curse Of The Nightshade: The Kingdom Of Plants Book One The Curse Of The Nightshade: The Kingdom Of Plants Book One by Julie-Anne Fountain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pure delight! A likeable young heroine, a mother with an odd paranoia, a delightful premise, and the heroine's very unique "super-powered" talent, create a fascinating novel--not just for middle-grade readers. This is a lovely story combining urban fantasy with serious contemporary issues such as bullying and ostracism. CURSE OF THE NIGHTSHADE is the first in a new series, KINGDOM OF THE PLANTS.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Review: A Serenade for Selene

A Serenade for Selene A Serenade for Selene by Atlas Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of A SERENADE FOR SELENE by Atlas Hill
(Memories from Oblivion Book 1)

An engrossing grimdark fantasy which delves into important philosophical issues such as the future existence of humanity, and are individuals who are “different” still part of the same human race—no matter what their abilities?

In a world that was suddenly nearly completely destroyed by “natural” (perhaps supernatural) disasters, a time of peace is actually a time of uncertainty, in which all are metaphorically holding their breath waiting for the arrival of the next catastrophic event; and when it comes, it comes in the form of magic, hitherto an impossible feat.

Exquisitely written with commanding sensory imaging, A SERENADE FOR SELENE is a delight, an epic fantasy unlike what readers have been trained to expect.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A. J. Finn

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is an exquisitely designed novel, written by a male author yet extolling wonderfully a woman's viewpoint. Anna Fox is a child psychologist who suffers severe agoraphobic disorder after an accident. Living alone in a vast four-story Harlem brownstone, she is fortunate in that she can have her groceries and prescriptions delivered and that her psychiatrist comes to visit her, since she is literally unable to leave her home. She plays chess and spends time in an online forum for agoraphobics and other anxiety disorders, where she endeavours to help guide others who suffer.

She also keeps an eye on her neighborhood, and herein arises the danger. Adjacent to her house, on the West, is a small city park, and on the far side, new neighbors have just moved in, apparently a couple and their adolescent son. Nobody in this neighborhood seems to understand the concept of window coverings (the only problem I had in relating to this novel), so Anna (and her Nikon) observe their goings-on. One afternoon she tries to step outside her front door and collapses; the new neighbor helps her back indoors, and spends a few hours with her, drinking Merlot and playing chess. Anna thinks she has made a friend, but shortly thereafter she sees a shocking event in the neighbor's parlor: the woman appears, bleeding, then disappears. Anna calls 911 and tries to go to the neighbor's home through the park, but collapses again.

Anna is an aficionado of classic black-and-white films, and there is so much of the film “Gaslight” in this story. No one believes Anna, everyone thinks she is disordered, mentally and emotionally unstable, and a rampant alcoholic. All blame it on her past circumstances. Yet although all of these “facts” are true, she is in danger, far more than she realizes.

I admire the character of Anna, because no matter what, she perseveres. She doesn't stop, she tries, and tries, and tries. She doesn't give up. She isn't catatonic in a psych ward. She lives, she does so alone, and she helps others online, and tries to help her neighbors. Despite it all, her character is strong and high in integrity.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: Perfect Prophet

Perfect Prophet Perfect Prophet by Diane M. Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Years ago a famous ad campaign that queried "Is it live or is it Memorex?" (Recorded on tape) That stayed on my mind throughout this novel, which in large part faces the question of "Is it Fake, or is it Real?" and the concomitant question, in essence asked of all its characters: "Do you really believe?" Also there's the Theological Conundrums:
"Does Satan exist?" "Does God exist?" "Do I worship, or trust in secular humanity?" As.you read, you will witness the unraveling of conspiracies and ponder these questions for yourself.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review: Tales from The Lake Vol.5: The Horror Anthology

Tales from The Lake Vol.5: The Horror Anthology Tales from The Lake Vol.5: The Horror Anthology by Kenneth W. Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whenever a new Anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing appears, I approach it with an air of anticipation and enthusiasm: what will I find in these new pages? This volume, volume 5, is edited by Kenneth Cain, one of the as yet unsung heroes of dark horror fiction--an author in his own right who deserves much more attention and spotlighting.

I also need to remind myself not to read these tales alone at night. The selected authors are too excellent to miss, but each tale is guaranteed to bring either sleeplessness (did I REALLY just read that???) or nightmares--often both.

Get it. Devour it. Marvel in awe.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Review: Death Chase

Death Chase Death Chase by Lizella Prescott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An unsettling psychological thriller that stirs up a lot of deep emotions, DEATH CHASE begins with a bizarrely unexpected reader's hook, and then subdivides itself to explore past and present, chapter at a time as three voices compete--or share the limelight--to tell the story of three women: three staunch friends; or are they?

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Review: Satan's Lullaby: A Medieval Mystery

Satan's Lullaby: A Medieval Mystery Satan's Lullaby: A Medieval Mystery by Priscilla Royal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of SATANS LULLABY by Priscilla Royal
(Medieval Mystery, #11)

Priscilla Royal possesses a delightful gift for bringing to life the Medieval Era in England (with reference to Wales and France as well, in this particular novel). She draws the period in such a way as to vivify her characters (all of them) and to bring the setting gloriously to life. She also uses medieval terminology (which inspires me to find definitions and further research) and reading her Medieval Mystery series has reignited my lifelong interest in the Middle Ages.

The Medieval Mystery Series focuses on Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas of the Tyndal Priory near the North Sea, a dual priory (monks and nuns, separate) of the Order of Fontevraud in France. Close friends as well as Prioress and Confessor, the two are compassionate and talented individuals, and one of their talents is solving mysteries so that justice might be administered while yet tempered with mercy. In SATANS LULLABY the priest who is brother of the founder of the Order and a close advisor to the King of France arrives to investigate the Tyndal Priory, with disastrous results, including a horrible accusation and death. Constrained by his order from investigating, Prioress Eleanor must consider a way around Father Davoir's restrictions in order to free the innocent and identify the guilty.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 29, 2018

Review: Tangled Web

Tangled Web Tangled Web by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of TANGLED WEB by Gail Z. Martin
(Deadly Curiosities #3)

I haven't read Urban Fantasy in quite a while but find this series a great reason to delve in again. Set in Charleston SC, a city with a rich and varied history of several centuries, magic is afoot and sometimes treacherous. Cassidy is a psychometric, a person who reads objects and identifies their history and their magic. She, her assistant manager, and her business partner are the defense line against magical predators: not just in their city of Charleston, but throughout the world. When they encounter evil utilizing magic to upend the world as we know it, Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren will act—strongly and effectively...Or we'll all suffer the consequences.

Readers who've enjoyed the former television series “Friday the 13th The Series,” about the antique/curio shop and the uncle, niece, and nephew who track down accursed artifacts and return them to safety in the shop, will adore the Deadly Curiosities Series by Gail Z. Martin.

View all my reviews

Review: The Dragon Tamer

The Dragon Tamer The Dragon Tamer by Ava Richardson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of THE DRAGON TAMER by Ava Richardson
(Alveria Dragon Akademy Book 1)

Wow, this author can write! I was immediately engrossed in this epic fantasy of Dragons, Dragon-Blooded, Dragon Tamers, and oh yes—mere humans. Kaelan is a young woman in training with her mother and grandmother to be a healer, as they are. Always fascinated with Dragons, she knows she will never be closer to one than to seeing one fly overhead. Moving from cottage to cottage in various locales, Kaelan and her mother and grandmother eke out a precarious but loving existence, until Kaelan's sense of justice protects an elderly citizen and results eventually in the village turning on her. Then she discovers at last the truth of her heritage...

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Review: Fantastic Tales of Terror: History's Darkest Secrets

Fantastic Tales of Terror: History's Darkest Secrets Fantastic Tales of Terror: History's Darkest Secrets by Eugene Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of FANTASTIC TALES Anthology edited by Eugene Johnson

Subtitled “History's Darkest Secrets,” this “fantastic” collection goes where few if any writers have gone before. In the tradition of excellence readers expect from Crystal Lake Publishing, these incredible stories will expand imaginations (and instill terror at times). A stellar line-up of favourite authors are included in this Anthology, very well chosen and curated by Editor Eugene Johnson. I expect this one will achieve the Bram Stoker Award; it's unbeatable.

View all my reviews

Review: Covenant with Hell

Covenant with Hell Covenant with Hell by Priscilla Royal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of A COVENANT WITH HELL by Priscilla Royal
(Medieval Mystery #10)

A well-crafted and quite engrossing medieval mystery-thriller, A COVENANT WITH HELL is the tenth in an intriguing series featuring as its twin protagonists the Prioress of a convent on the North Sea Coast of England, and the monk who is her assistant. Prioress Eleanor is the daughter of a Baron, and the younger sister of one of the trusted companions of King Edward. Her monk, Brother Thomas, has a distinctly checkered background (much of it beyond his control) and has served as a Church investigator. Together, they are reputed to be a pair always eager to enquire into various mysteries and suspicious circumstances, and of course they are.

On a quiet pilgrimage to the shrines at Walsingham in advance of the Easter pilgrims, Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas are shocked and dismayed at the sudden unexplained death of one of the nuns at Ryehill Priory, who had been the Prioresses' attendant. Brother Thomas is furious when the Priory's priest, Father Vincent, rails against a young street child and refuses her alms. Then the suspicion becomes clear that the impending potential visit of the King to the Holy Places at Walsingham, as he is preparing to campaign against the Welsh, may place the anointed King in the path of an assassin.

Even for readers whose usual forte is not the Middle Ages, or history, the protagonists will reach out to you and pique your interest. The exquisite characterizations and the developing suspenseful plots (which are multiple) are bound to keep mystery readers enthralled.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: Go to My Grave

Go to My Grave Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: GO TO MY GRAVE by Catriona McPherson

This engrossing thriller kept me breathless to the end, as it subtly unfolded revelation after revelation, subtly mounting the terror for the characters and keeping readers puzzled but hungry for more discoveries.

A mother and daughter have purchased a seaside villa at Galloway, an older upper-class home, to operate a Bed & Breakfast. Their first scheduled event is a tenth-wedding anniversary plus family reunion. Turns out, all but the bride stayed here before, decades ago--with disastrous and ugly consequences. Now somebody is determined to reestablish the memories--and make someone pay.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: The Storyteller

The Storyteller The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult

THE STORYTELLER is a fine and compelling novel which is also tremendously heartwrenching in many aspects. It is not a novel to be taken lightly or readily dismissed, because once entered upon, this story will linger in your consciousness and heart. I admit to not having been a regular reader of Ms. Picoult, though I probably have been aware of each new release, and I'm certain I've read one or two of hers, some years ago. Now I have reason to find the ones I've missed (a lot of her novels) because as a novelist she is in a category all her own. Call her work “Women's Fiction” or “Psychologically Deep,” nevertheless she is in a class of her own.

THE STORYTELLER I expected to go in one particular direction, after the frequent mentions of the narrator Sage's ancestry and especially of her grandmother. However, the author “fooled” me, and the story went in an entirely new, and to me shocking, direction (I think many readers are shocked also). No doubt the direction Ms. Picoult took made the novel all that much stronger. It certainly “tore my heart out.” But all is not lost, and there are positives here, and good people as well. I give this a 5-star rating (I'd give it 12 stars if I could).

(Personal Aside): My 19-year-old granddaughter, who had been an avid reader until a couple of years ago, recently took up reading again. The book she started with was a memoir focusing on the Holocaust and its aftermath. Shocking? Yes, but she loved the book, so I've suggested THE LAST WITNESS by Jerry Amernic and THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult, both fine novels dealing with this topic.)

--wc 290--

View all my reviews