Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lie Down in Green Pastures by Debbie ViguiƩ

Lie Down in Green Pastures (The Psalm 23 Mysteries, #3)Lie Down in Green Pastures by Debbie ViguiƩ
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well, this series just keeps getting better and better. It's turning out to be a bit more dangerous than the first two cozies. The relationships going on indeed is still cosy but the crimes got very intense this time. Cindy and Jeremiah have separate adventures though they end up being tied together into one case. So far the Rabbi's past as part of the Israeli army has been hinted at but this book finally brings his military training to the front and centre as he traipses through the wilderness with 14 teens while they are being hunted by professional assassins. Quite the page turner! For the first time in the series, this book ends with the set-up for the next book and it sounds like it will be a doozie!



Saturday, January 28, 2017

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

This House of GriefThis House of Grief by Helen Garner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Very well written presentation of an Australian murder case. Robert Farquharson was charged with the triple murder of his children, driving them all into a dam where they drowned and he escaped. Helen Garner follows the crime through the court trial which she attended every day. She enlightens us to some personalities and she talks to people during break and sometimes gathers her own thoughts as they occurred at the time. I'd never heard of this case before so I found it a thrilling ride not knowing how it would end. It often reads as quickly as a novel and I was hooked by the opening scenes, as good as any fiction.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

Skeleton CrewSkeleton Crew by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A collection of stories that starts with the novella "The Mist." There are a couple of fantastic stories with the rest being good. I didn't enjoy the inclusion of two poems, but overall the ratings averaged out to a solid four. This is King's second short story collection, but I enjoyed his first, "Night Shift", the best.

1.The Mist -I reviewed this where it originally appeared in the anthology "Dark Forces". See my review there. (5/5)

2. Here There Be Tygers - Short and strange. There is a tiger in the boy's bathroom. Interesting but has no point. (2/5)

3. The Monkey - Great! Loved this! Typical King. Two brothers find an evil toy, it causes death and the narrator gets rid of it. Twenty years later his son finds it and he tries to get rid of it for good before anyone else dies. (5/5)

4. Cain Rose Up - Short little story where we are inside the mind of a college kid who decides to go sniper on the college campus from his room. Ends mid-action. (3/5)

5. Mrs.Todd's Shortcut - I vaguely remembered this one as I read it.An old caretaker relates to his friend what happened the few months before a summer visitor rich woman disappeared. It has magical realism elements and is a very satisfying read.(5/5)

6. The Jaunt - A very compelling science fiction story set three thousand years in the future. While a family waits to teleport to Mars, the father relates the story of the invention of teleportation. The narrative switches from the father telling the story to inventor's point of view in the past. Shock ending. (5/5)

7. The Wedding Gig - A mob story involving the Irish, Italian and Greek. The Irish "boss's" very huge sister gets married and the reception is where the Greek gets even with him. An intriguing story. (4/5)

8. Paranoid: A Chant - A poem. Didn't like it.(1/5)

9. The Raft - Fantastic horror story! Four college kids swim out to an anchored raft at the deserted beach in October. There evil finds them. This one came back to me too. (5/5)

10. Word Processor of the Gods -This was really good! A writer who is depressed about his life receives a word processor from his nephew who just died.He finds that the "execute" and "delete" buttons make whatever he writes become true.(5/5)

11. The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands - Love, love, loved this one! A group of men gather around a fireplace where one man tells a tale. This is George's turn and his tale is riveting. (5/5)

12. Beachworld - Another excellent story! This one reminded me of classic science fiction. A ship crashes on a planet that is entirely made of sand. Two of the crew survive but one becomes hypnotised by the sand right away. Excellent creepy ending.(5/5)

13. The Reaper's Image - A creepy story of a supernatural mirror. The story slowly unwinds finally giving up the mirror's power at the end. Good! (4/5)

14. Nona - A man in jail writes about what got him in there, his murder spree and a supernatural force. Pretty good.(3/5)

15. For Owen - Another poem. Boring.(0/5)

16. Survivor Type - This is the story that I was excited to read again. It totally freaked me out the first time I read it. And it was as good as I remembered it! Really creepy (gross) story.(5/5)

17. Uncle Otto's Truck - The suspense rises from start to finish in this excellent tale with a common King theme of a malicious vehicle.(5/5)

18. Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) - A strange little story of a milkman who occasionally delivers poisoned goods. An odd ending which leaves the reader feeling creepy.(3/5)

19. Big Wheels: A Tale of The Laundry Game (Milkman #2) - Strange story that I couldn't make sense of.Related to the previous story but incomprehensible. The story is quite readable, though.(2/5)

20. Gramma - One of the best stories in this collection and probably my favourite. It's a story of fear. A boy is left alone with gramma whom he is terrified of. His fear rises and rises until something happens then the fear becomes terror and it rises and rises until the twisted end. Very creepy! (5/5)

21. The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet - The second longest story in the collection after "The Mist" and by far one of my favourites in the whole book. A fascinating story of madness. Five people in the literary business are having a get-together, an agent, an editor, and a writer and two wives. The single editor then proceeds to tell the story of a writer he knew in the late sixties and how both of them descended into madness and suicide. Even though it's quite long it was a fast read.(5/5)

22. The Reach - The oldest woman on an island tells her story. We learn about her life and the events of her death. A tale of living in one place your whole life and all the death that occurs in a long life. A good choice for a final story. (4/5)



I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See YouI See You by Clare Mackintosh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The first half of this book was slow for me, not because it wasn't interesting but rather I found it meandered along. The story always kept me reading but the pace didn't pick up until over halfway through. By then I was hooked and was taken for a ride during the intense climax and the twist ending was a surprise. I was totally shocked with who the villain ended up being, someone not even on my radar. I'll gladly read her first book.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz by Olga Lengyel

Five Chimneys: The Story of AuschwitzFive Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz by Olga Lengyel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What makes this book so interesting for the modern reader is that it was written in 1959. The events were still so fresh and raw in the author's mind that it is a still current event which places the reader so close to the time as opposed to a modern book that looks back in history. A very straightforward telling of concentration camp life from a survivor who holds nothing back. It's awkward to call a book like this "good" since the material is so horrible. However, it is a chilling and stomach-churning must read.


Labyrinth by Yoshinori Shimizu

LabyrinthLabyrinth by Yoshinori Shimizu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A perplexing tale that kept me riveted throughout. Any synopses would fail to completely describe this philosophical novel starting with an anonymous narrator with amnesia. The narrator (and we) are presented with a series of letters, news articles, interviews and police files which all relate in some way to a recent grisly murder of a woman killed by her stalker. I really enjoyed this!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Current ARC List for 2017



This is my updated ARC list for 2017. I did fantastic last year in keeping up with all incoming arcs. I accomplished my goals and feel like I'm on top of things and have a decent sized list now. This year I'm going to keep up to date on my incoming 2017 arcs, finish off the few left over from 2016 and get down to work finishing off the 2013 backlist.










2013
1. Buried Prey by John Sandford
2. The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
3. Far Far Away by Tom MacNeal
4. Vortex by S.J. Kincaid
5. The Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy
6. The Tilted World by Tom Franklin &
7. These Fragile Things by Jane Davis
8. Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
9. Songs of the Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
10. The Magical Fruit by Jo Nesbo
11. The Tree of Story by Thomas Wharton
12. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
13. Wise Acres by Dale E. Basye

2014
14. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
15. Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry
16. The Belief in Angels by J. Dylan Yates
17. Middle School: Ultimate Showdown by James Patterson
18. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 
19. Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
20. The Confabulist by Steven Galloway
21. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
22. Middle School: Save Rafe! by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts
23. 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajama's by Marie-Helene Bertino
24. The Sandman by Lars Kepler
25. The Broken Hours by Jacqueline Baker
26. The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
27. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
28. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
29. The Job by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
30. Motherless by Erin Healy
31. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
32. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang



2015

33. Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: Attack of the Alien Horde by Robert Venditti
34. Shattered Glass by Teresa Toten

2016

35. Barracuda by Sigmund Brouwer
36. Only the Hunted Run by Neely Tucker
37. Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton  (DNF)
38. I See You by Clare Mackintosh
39. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
40. Games of Make-Believe by Julie Ann Wambach

2017

41. The Girl Before by JP Delaney
42. Ellie Ultra: Super Fluffy to the Rescue by Gina Bellisario
43. Superman Science: Real-World Science Behind Superman's Powers by Agnieszka Biskup (DNF)
44. Gods and Thunder: A Graphic Novel of Old Norse Myths
45. Good Morning, Superman by Michael Dahl
46. A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay
47. The Black Tortoise by Ronald Tierney










TV/Movies watched in 2017

This is a running list for the year. The list will include the movie and indicate whether it is a re-watch otherwise, it can be assumed it was my first time watched. I mainly watch TV series though and am addicted to Season binging.

Title (the year)(rewatch?)(stars)(5/5)

No rules here just a list with a bit of extra information. I will also probably note who I watched it with.

January: 14

1. The FBI Files Season 1 (1998) - Discovery crime documentary - I've seen lots of random episodes but never the whole thing before.

2. Pete Burns: The Last Interview (2016) - A one-hour UK TV documentary by BBC or similar.

3. Inspector Morse Series 5 (1991) - 5 one-hour episodes - UK crime drama by ITV - I've seen every episode of this mostly more than once but never all in order before.

4. Hoarders Season 2 (2009) - Reality show by A&E.

5. Criminal Minds Season 6 (2010) - CBS crime drama. A really annoying season seeing two cast members go and a new one added. I hate this new girl! She has no character and looks so much like JJ it's hard to tell them apart. Season finale brings some hope for the next season. The individual cases are just as good as ever.

6. Wallander Series 4 (2016) - Final season of this BBC scandi-crime show starring Kenneth Branagh. Very moody and gloomy with a bittersweet ending.

7. Most Evil Season 2 (2007) - Investigation Discovery's crime documentary featuring mostly serial killers.

8. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) An old b/w British movie based on the story of the same name by Alan Sillitoe which I read last year. Really fun to see actor John Thaw (Inspector Morse) as a young thug!

9. Sopranos Season 6 (2006) - The final season of this HBO series is amazing! One of the best TV shows ever made.

10. Inspector Morse Series 6 (1992) - UK crime drama by ITV -Classic series continues par excellence. I'm re-watching this in order.

11. Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 (2003) - Nickelodeon animated series - I've ever only seen a few random episodes of this but always enjoyed it. I'm really enjoying this.

12. Sherlock Series 4 (2017) - BBC crime drama - Totally jumped the shark! Very disappointed.

13. Hitchcock (2012) - Fox Pictures: Helen Mirren Anthony Hopkins; I read the book this was "based" on and the movie tells a completely different story. I've read a lot about Hitchcock and most of this is just glancing over the real truths behind the man. Very disappointing!

11. Inspector Morse Series 7 (1993) - UK crime drama by ITV - Only three hour-long episodes for this series but this year is Morse at top form.

12. Most Evil Season 3 (2008) - Investigation Discovery crime drama. Final season withDr. Michael Stone. Still enjoying this even if there is a lot of repeat.

13. Criminal Minds Season 7 (2011) - CBS crime drama. Thank God everybody is back and the team is together again with no newbies. Most episodes were according to form and what you expect with a couple of stellar episodes and a good season ending though it means one of the regulars is leaving again.

14. Inspector Morse Series 8 (1995-2000) - UK crime drama by ITV - Nott really a season but a series of movie-length episodes filmed yearly with a gap before the final one. These are the best episodes of the whole show with fantastic dialogue and production value. Probably because they had a whole year to focus on one "episode". The final episode is really sad and is the only one I had never seen before.

February: 8

15. Crazy Love (2007) crime documentary. Good.

16. People Magazine Investigates S1

17. I, Witness S1

18. To Catch a Killer S1 (8-episode TV show)

19. Most Evil S4

20. The 1980's: The Deadliest Decade S1

21. Autopsy: Last Hours of ... S1 & S2

March:

22. Autopsy: Last Hours of ... S3

23. Autopsy: Last Hours of ... S4 & S5

24. Most Evil Men and Women in the World

25. Drunk History S1

26. Autopsy: Last Hours of ... S6

27. Killer Legends (movie, documentary)

28. Cropsey (movie, documentary)

29. Truth is Stranger Than Florida S1

30. A Very British Hotel S1

31. Secrets of the Underground S1

32. Team Foxcatcher (movie, documentary)

33. Evil Kin S1