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August 2020 - How Many?

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    August 2020 - How Many?


    Finished 11 reads in August:

    Nut Jobs: Cracking California’s Strangest 10 Million Dollar Heist by Marc Fennell:
    This is fascinating story about Agricultural theft in California.
    5 Stars

    One Who Was With Me by Conrad Williams:
    This story starts slow and struggles to find its footing. A couple of times I finished a chapter thinking that is were this story will kick in only to find the author once again drifting into the weeds. The story never fully lost my interest, I always wanted to see where it was going. This story has three sex scenes and only one of them had anything to do with the actual story line. I still have no idea why the S&M realtors were included as part of the story. Some of the plot twists are very predictable and some are surprising. In the end this was a 278-page story that could have been told in less than 100 pages.
    3 Stars

    The Girl Who Builds Monsters by Brian James Freeman:
    This is the second book in Mr. Freemans children’s book series. The story is fun and Vincent Chong’s art is perfect.
    5 Stars

    Lost Echoes Volume One by Brian James Freeman:
    This chapbook is a standalone “Nightmare” chapter from a previously released novel. The chapter stands on its own well. I am looking forward to more.
    4 Stars

    The Hostage’s Daughter by Sulome Anderson:
    I believe every book published by released hostages from Lebanon. Some were really bad books and some were very good. The best was probably Den of Lions from Terry Anderson and Madeleine Bassil. Madeleine was pregnant with Mr. Anderson’s second daughter at the time of his abduction and the books gives perspectives from both during his seven years in captivity. This book is written by that daughter. She is now a journalist and the book travels two paths. The first is about what the abduction and the damage done did to her family and her personally. The second is her investigation into the events surrounding her father abduction, including several meetings with one her father’s abductors. The books chronicle the events in Lebanon at the time very well. Included are interviews with two other key players at the time, fellow Hostage Terry Waite and former Mosad Agent Victor Ostrovsky. Both of them also wrote books of that time in the middle east which are well worth reading as well.
    5 Stars

    Distinguishing Features by Kealan Patrick Burke:
    This is the first chapbook produced by It Came From Beyond pulp. I certainly hope it is not the last. Mr. Burke packed a lot of story into 22 pages. The first three paragraphs had me absolutely hooked wanting to know about Joe's life after the dissolution of his marriage. As good as those first few paragraphs were they gave no hint of the story to follow. This was a great read!
    4 Stars

    Dan Rather: Stories of a Lifetime by Dan Rather:
    In this Audible original Mr. Rather tells tales from his life. I would like more of these tales.
    4 Stars

    Sons of War (The Sons of War #1) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith:
    A worldwide economic depression has thrown a divided America into caos. The president forms a new domestic military unit called American Military Patriots (AMP) to quell the unrest. The vice president informs the nation that the Marines killed him in a coup attempt. The new president turns the AMP against the Marines and the US is engulfed in civil war. The story takes place in Los Angeles and follows to main groups. A Marine and his family and an Italian mafia family. An overall fun read but the author did spend too much time at the end setting up the next story rather than just closing up this one.
    4 Stars

    The Speed Queen by Stewart O’Nan:
    Marjorie sits on death row and on the eve of her scheduled execution she has some questions to answer. Stephen King has purchased the rights to her story with the proceeds going to her young son. She must dictate her responses to a series of questions and King will have the rights to use her story to create a fictional account. O’Nan once again brilliantly humanizes his characters bringing a depth that makes the story feel real.
    5 Stars

    Thicker Than Water by Tyler Shultz:
    I have read several articles about the Theranos scandal. Tyler Shultz was the primary whistle blower from within Theranos and happened to be the grandson of George Shultz, who as a board member was responsible for bringing in big name investors including Henry Kissinger. This is Tyler Shultz’s story about his time at Theranos. Thinking he was working for brilliant people who were on path to revolutionize health care. Realizing things were not as they seemed and finally realizing the company was corrupt and lying to investors. He also covers the extremes the company went through to silence him and the strain the ordeal took on him and his family.
    5 Stars

    When You Finish Saving the World by Jesse Eisenberg
    Actor Jesse Eisenberg wrote this Audible original. It is an interesting story that I am having trouble deciding if I liked or not. This is a story of a family that is told in three parts. In part one a new father records his thought regarding his new son and his perceived lack of connection with him. Part two is the now teenage son recording sessions with a bot after getting into trouble at school and part three is the wife/mom recording letters on tape letters to her boyfriend which took place about a decade before she met her eventual husband. At times the narration actually irritated me and at times I found myself intrigued. By the end I decided it was worth listening too but am not sure if I would recommend it.
    3 Stars


    #2
    Wow I read or listened to 19 books in August. 16 actually. 3 were books I have been working on for a couple of months.
    Rush Album by Album
    He Who Types Between The Rows by Mark Sieber
    Ghost Summer Stories by Tananarive Due.

    ​​​​ A few of the ones I read in August were
    Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage 4 stars
    Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon 4 stars
    Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke 4 stars
    How To Kill Yourself by C. V. Hunt 3 stars
    Baby Hater by C.V. Hunt 4 stars
    The Devils Own by Alan Judd 3 stars
    And a few more.
    A great reading month.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by bookworm 1 View Post
      Wow I read or listened to 19 books in August. 16 actually. 3 were books I have been working on for a couple of months.
      Rush Album by Album
      He Who Types Between The Rows by Mark Sieber
      Ghost Summer Stories by Tananarive Due.

      ​​​​ A few of the ones I read in August were
      Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage 4 stars
      Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon 4 stars
      Skullface Boy by Chad Lutzke 4 stars
      How To Kill Yourself by C. V. Hunt 3 stars
      Baby Hater by C.V. Hunt 4 stars
      The Devils Own by Alan Judd 3 stars
      And a few more.
      A great reading month.
      I count the read the month I finish it so to me your number stands at 19. I am reading Ghost Summer Stories now. I am on the title story which is the third story in the book. I am liking it so far but am hoping for more variety in the stories going forward.

      Comment


        #4
        Martin, glad you dug THE SPEED QUEEN...what a great book.
        Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by RonClinton View Post
          Martin, glad you dug THE SPEED QUEEN...what a great book.
          I may be reading that one once a year!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Martin View Post

            I count the read the month I finish it so to me your number stands at 19. I am reading Ghost Summer Stories now. I am on the title story which is the third story in the book. I am liking it so far but am hoping for more variety in the stories going forward.
            I forgot to put a star rating on Ghost Summer Stories. It's a 4 star book.I think I CD should make Ghost Summer a part of their Novella series. That was a 4 1\2 star story to me and deserves a special edition.
            Last edited by bookworm 1; 09-03-2020, 10:02 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Only read one in August. I finished Pyramids by Terry Pratchett.
              CD Email: danhocker@cemeterydance.com

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              Buy my stuff! - https://www.etsy.com/shop/HockersWoodWorks

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                #8


                Books read and recommended for August, 2020.

                Hard cover -

                1. A Little Amber Book of Wicked Shots by Robert R. McCammon from Borderlands. McCammon rocks.

                2. South of Here by Edward Lorn from Lornagraphic Material. Apparently Lorn’s last work. I will miss him and this dark humor and prose that flows.

                3. A Little Magenta Book of Malevolence by Sarah Pinborough from Borderlands. This gal writes great prose.

                4. Crimson Springs by John Quick from Thunderstorm. My first Quick but not the last. Excellent characterization with plenty of action, thrills and horror found here.

                5. Signalz by F. Paul Wilson from Crossroad Press. Wilson does it again. Great series.

                6. World’s Fare by Michael Huyck from Thunderstorm. Well-written story with much social commentary and sci-fi goings on. Good.

                7. More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale from Mulholland. Lansdale is a true treasure. Crime and love never mix well.

                8. Curse of the Bastards by Steven L Shrewsbury & Brian Keene from Thunderstorm. I love R. E. Howard and K. E. Wagner S&S with barbarians, damstrels in distress, demons and wizards but not this one.




                Paperback -

                9. Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 5: Going Global edited by Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax from Redroom Press. This is as was expected.

                10. Slaves to Gravity by Wesley Southard and Somer Canon from Silver Shamrock. Intriguing premise that became a page-turner.

                11. Depraved 4 by Bryan Smith from Grindhouse. Ends this series with a real page-turner. The best one yet.

                12. Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand. Fun werewolf romp as only Strand could do.



                Favorites = #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10,11 and 12.



                Support Indie Publishers and Enjoy

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Martin View Post


                  One Who Was With Me by Conrad Williams:
                  This story starts slow and struggles to find its footing. A couple of times I finished a chapter thinking that is were this story will kick in only to find the author once again drifting into the weeds. The story never fully lost my interest, I always wanted to see where it was going. This story has three sex scenes and only one of them had anything to do with the actual story line. I still have no idea why the S&M realtors were included as part of the story. Some of the plot twists are very predictable and some are surprising. In the end this was a 278-page story that could have been told in less than 100 pages.
                  3 Stars

                  You're more generous in your review of this book that I was. I will say, I wish I had finished so I could have read the sex scenes of the S&M Realtors. They might have had nothing to do with the plot, but at least SOMETHING HAPPENED! This book is the kind of book I would write with aimless characters who have no idea why they exist--including a privileged writer whining about his inability to write a good book. I wanted to support this book because I wanted to help Paul Miller sell some copies of it, but I just couldn't. I tried to lie about it and write a likewarm review, but I couldn't moderate my anger.

                  I'm discovering that very little angers me as much as a book that wastes my time.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jeffingoff View Post

                    You're more generous in your review of this book that I was. I will say, I wish I had finished so I could have read the sex scenes of the S&M Realtors. They might have had nothing to do with the plot, but at least SOMETHING HAPPENED! This book is the kind of book I would write with aimless characters who have no idea why they exist--including a privileged writer whining about his inability to write a good book. I wanted to support this book because I wanted to help Paul Miller sell some copies of it, but I just couldn't. I tried to lie about it and write a likewarm review, but I couldn't moderate my anger.

                    I'm discovering that very little angers me as much as a book that wastes my time.
                    I think our views are close but mine varied in that as much as it felt aimless it actually kept me wondering were it was going. I still vacillate between two and three stars. Since Goodreads does not allow 1/2 stars I had to decide and I fell on three, as I did not feel it wasted my time. I stand by that but I will not be re-reading this. The S&M realtors would have been an intriguing twist if only they had anything to do with the story.
                    Last edited by Martin; 09-03-2020, 09:33 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Joe Abercrombie - Last Argument of Kings (6/10) Final book in the fantasy trilogy. Overall the series was okay, just a major disappointment as I was expecting something more like A Game of Thrones.

                      Brian Keene - End of the Road (7/10) Informative and entertaining stories from the road on the author's book tour.

                      Michael McBride - Dead Eyes (5/10) Monster story that left me confused about whether the yeti-type creature was supposed to be of human decent or not. I would have preferred more monster mayhem.

                      Bryan Smith - Rock & Roll Reform School Zombies (7/10) The title says it all. Twisted fun from the always reliable author.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Jason we can agree to disagree about the virtues of The First Law Trilogy and A Game of Thrones. I think Abercrombie is great and compares favorably with Martin. I also like End of the Road.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Finished 5 in August with one DNF.

                          Dog Days by Joe McKinney was a YA novel about a boy who spends his summer before starting high school involved with a homeless man who may or may-not be a werewolf. As with all of McKinney's fiction the story was fast paced and the writing flowed well. The ending was somewhat unambiguous, for those who are bothered by that sort of thing. I liked Dog Days, but not the best thing I've read from McKinney. 3.5 / 5

                          A Season in Carcosa was an anthology of stories inspired by Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow edited by Joe Pulver. For the most part I didn't care for the stories I read in this anthology. There were a few stories that were interesting, but they just kind of ended; there was discernable conclusion. Most of the other stories I just didn't care for. Two exceptions were 'Movie Night at Phil's' by Don Webb and 'Slick Black Bones & Soft Black Stars' by Gemma Files. I've noticed that Files is becoming one of the more consistent of the new wave of Weird Fiction writers in recent memory. Overall, I only made it through 2/3 of the stories before I tapped out on A Season in Carcosa. DNF

                          I really liked The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Lebbon used to be an automatic purchase for me 10 years ago, but since then his fiction has seemed to wander into more of the fantasy territory than the horror fiction he started out writing. In The Silence, a scientific excavation in eastern Europe releases a primordial species that are blind, voracious, rapidly reproducing, and hunt entirely by sound. The ancient predators, with a seemingly unending food supply above ground, quickly propagate throughout Europe. The story centers on an English family trying to make their way north to what they feel will be a safe have in Scotland before the carnivorous pandemic reaches England. At the end of the day, The Silence is really a story about family, friendship, & the sacrifices needed to maintain those relationships during an apocalyptic event. Highly recommended. 5 / 5

                          Rust & Bone was an early collection of stories by Craig Davidson, better know in the horror world as Nick Cutter (or to some, as Patrick Lestewka). The stories tended to be dark, but firmly based in reality, with only the last story (The Apprentice's Guide to Modern Magic) straying into the realm of the supernatural. My favorite stories both centered around boxing. The title tale, 'Rust & Bone' about a potential up & coming Olympic hopeful whose dreams are ended when he shatters his hands saving his drowning nephew from a frozen pond, and 'Life in the Flesh' about the volatile relationship between a recovered alcoholic trainer and a head strong young boxer. Just about every one of the eight stories has something memorable to them, though several of them were open ended, leading the reader to draw their own conclusions. Based on other reviews, I went into to this collection with high expectations, and for the most, they were met. 4 / 5

                          The Sorrows was the first novel published by Jonathan Janz. The Sorrows has several things going for it. The story is well paced, with an interesting story line that quickly drew me in as a reader, enough gore & blood to satisfy any horror fan, malicious ghosts, & an ancient Greek monster trapped in an old gothic castle on an isolated island off the coast of California. That being said, The Sorrows was a first novel, and it has some issues. There are several holes in the plot line that you could drive a tracker trailer through, there were several action scenes / sequences (especially during the climatic helicopter scene) that were just physically impossible to occur as Janz had written them, and the lead protagonist, who is near death for the last 50 pages, but seemingly has more recuperative powers than Michael Myers & jason Voorhes combined. All in all, not a bad story, & interesting to see where Janz started as a published author. 3 / 5

                          Distinguishing Features by Kealan Patrick Burke tells the story of a recently divorced man who takes up running again. Soon he begins to find body parts (a foot while running, a hand brought into the house by his dog) that appear to match his own. This was a creepy short story by KPB, reminiscent of David Morrell's 'Rio Grande Gothic", but ultimately I didn't know what to make of the conclusion of the story. 3.5 / 5

                          B

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by brlesh View Post
                            Finished 5 in August with one DNF.

                            Dog Days by Joe McKinney was a YA novel about a boy who spends his summer before starting high school involved with a homeless man who may or may-not be a werewolf. As with all of McKinney's fiction the story was fast paced and the writing flowed well. The ending was somewhat unambiguous, for those who are bothered by that sort of thing. I liked Dog Days, but not the best thing I've read from McKinney. 3.5 / 5

                            A Season in Carcosa was an anthology of stories inspired by Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow edited by Joe Pulver. For the most part I didn't care for the stories I read in this anthology. There were a few stories that were interesting, but they just kind of ended; there was discernable conclusion. Most of the other stories I just didn't care for. Two exceptions were 'Movie Night at Phil's' by Don Webb and 'Slick Black Bones & Soft Black Stars' by Gemma Files. I've noticed that Files is becoming one of the more consistent of the new wave of Weird Fiction writers in recent memory. Overall, I only made it through 2/3 of the stories before I tapped out on A Season in Carcosa. DNF

                            I really liked The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Lebbon used to be an automatic purchase for me 10 years ago, but since then his fiction has seemed to wander into more of the fantasy territory than the horror fiction he started out writing. In The Silence, a scientific excavation in eastern Europe releases a primordial species that are blind, voracious, rapidly reproducing, and hunt entirely by sound. The ancient predators, with a seemingly unending food supply above ground, quickly propagate throughout Europe. The story centers on an English family trying to make their way north to what they feel will be a safe have in Scotland before the carnivorous pandemic reaches England. At the end of the day, The Silence is really a story about family, friendship, & the sacrifices needed to maintain those relationships during an apocalyptic event. Highly recommended. 5 / 5

                            Rust & Bone was an early collection of stories by Craig Davidson, better know in the horror world as Nick Cutter (or to some, as Patrick Lestewka). The stories tended to be dark, but firmly based in reality, with only the last story (The Apprentice's Guide to Modern Magic) straying into the realm of the supernatural. My favorite stories both centered around boxing. The title tale, 'Rust & Bone' about a potential up & coming Olympic hopeful whose dreams are ended when he shatters his hands saving his drowning nephew from a frozen pond, and 'Life in the Flesh' about the volatile relationship between a recovered alcoholic trainer and a head strong young boxer. Just about every one of the eight stories has something memorable to them, though several of them were open ended, leading the reader to draw their own conclusions. Based on other reviews, I went into to this collection with high expectations, and for the most, they were met. 4 / 5

                            The Sorrows was the first novel published by Jonathan Janz. The Sorrows has several things going for it. The story is well paced, with an interesting story line that quickly drew me in as a reader, enough gore & blood to satisfy any horror fan, malicious ghosts, & an ancient Greek monster trapped in an old gothic castle on an isolated island off the coast of California. That being said, The Sorrows was a first novel, and it has some issues. There are several holes in the plot line that you could drive a tracker trailer through, there were several action scenes / sequences (especially during the climatic helicopter scene) that were just physically impossible to occur as Janz had written them, and the lead protagonist, who is near death for the last 50 pages, but seemingly has more recuperative powers than Michael Myers & jason Voorhes combined. All in all, not a bad story, & interesting to see where Janz started as a published author. 3 / 5

                            Distinguishing Features by Kealan Patrick Burke tells the story of a recently divorced man who takes up running again. Soon he begins to find body parts (a foot while running, a hand brought into the house by his dog) that appear to match his own. This was a creepy short story by KPB, reminiscent of David Morrell's 'Rio Grande Gothic", but ultimately I didn't know what to make of the conclusion of the story. 3.5 / 5

                            B
                            I was provided with a digital ARC of The Sorrows before it came out. You review matched my impression exactly. I keep thinking I need to read more of his work to see how he developed. I have yet to pick up another story though.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by brlesh View Post

                              I really liked The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Lebbon used to be an automatic purchase for me 10 years ago, but since then his fiction has seemed to wander into more of the fantasy territory than the horror fiction he started out writing. In The Silence, a scientific excavation in eastern Europe releases a primordial species that are blind, voracious, rapidly reproducing, and hunt entirely by sound. The ancient predators, with a seemingly unending food supply above ground, quickly propagate throughout Europe. The story centers on an English family trying to make their way north to what they feel will be a safe have in Scotland before the carnivorous pandemic reaches England. At the end of the day, The Silence is really a story about family, friendship, & the sacrifices needed to maintain those relationships during an apocalyptic event. Highly recommended. 5 / 5
                              I really need to stop resisting that beautiful S/L HC of THE SILENCE that SST recently published. Like you, Lebbon's work used to be a Must Have, but his prolonged foray into fantasy left me largely behind. Again like you, I really enjoyed THE SILENCE, though, and books on families really hit me in the sweet spot...really not enough of that in our genre.

                              Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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