A double helping as I didn’t blog my February reads. Haven’t set all goals this year and doubt I’ll do as well as 2022 when I read 80.
Mr Murder, Dean Koontz
It’s often easy to forget how many accurate social statements Koontz puts into his novels, but he certainly filled Mr Murder with them. An action packed novel, with a solid plot making for an excellent supernatural thriller. I found the most absorbing sections to be those with the family. Second with the assassin, and thirdly with those following, but this could be because it is a re-read for me and I remember much of the book because of the doppelgänger element of the story. It’s also surprising how dated some books feel because of the advancement of technology; however, as in most Dean Koontz early novels, this doesn’t subtract from the enjoyment.
Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
If you’ve read Jennifer Crusie, or a Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer collaboration before, this book is unlike anything they’ve written. There’s a theme park, demons, demon minions, and magic. Plenty to have you engrossed, but if you’re expecting the usual romance, although the book has some romantic elements, this really isn’t romance. It’s a lighthearted but well plotted book that’s a little of fantasy, a little horror, and a little of romance. I’m still not sure if the book is lacking something, but if I asked to imagine what it is, I would say there are so many characters, you don’t get to know all of them deeply. However, that does not spoil the fun of the ride. As for the romances, you won’t learn much about why these people fall in love. In one particular instance, I found this a little disappointing. Still, I’m glad I read this.
Who Whacked Roger Rabbit? Gary K Wolf
Another good book in the Roger Rabbit series. The author must have incredible fun playing with famous people and making them part of his novels. Here, it’s Gary Cooper. The author may also try to get a world record by inventing the most number of toon puns. He certainly excels himself in this book. Jessica makes her usual appearance, this time the most saucy so far.
Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
I can’t help thinking fans of Narnia would love this series. A story within a story it speaks to those who love books and want to step inside them, though in some ways it’s a cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for. The cast of characters is wonderful and oddly I’m taken with the love and hate relationship towards Dustfinger. He’s not a bad guy, but like people in real life is also far from perfect. I especially love the quotations from other books at the start of each chapter because they are so well thought out and selected. The threat is there, but if I was to point out any negative, it’s that designed as a book for children the bad guys are mellowed down somewhat, so for any adults reading this it comes across as a little diluted; I’m truly sorry I never discovered these as a child, though at the time I was reading books such as Treasure Island, and Oliver Twist, so could still deal with much more menace than this book offers. Ultimately, it’s a very enjoyable story, and the author has created an incredible world.
Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie
Not the usual book I’m used to from this author. It’s less a romance than a ghost story, with a romance incorporated. The romance doesn’t even really kickoff until halfway, and I found myself more interested in the ghosts. Still, this was an entertaining, pleasant read. I enjoyed it, liked the characters, and I’m happy to have spent time with it, although it wasn’t as much fun as some of her earlier books.
Winter Moon, Dean Koontz
Oddly, I had completely forgotten about this book. The premise didn’t ring a bell, and neither did I recollect anything when I began re-reading. I find this surprising, as it’s quite a good story. More purely science-fiction than much of Dean Koontz’s work, which I think of as supernatural and paranormal thrillers. Perhaps I had forgotten it, because while the first half of the book contains tension, it flows around two separate men with seemingly no connection. One dealing with the adversity of being a cop injured in the line of duty, and the other dealing with a no lesser threat but undeniably strange. It’s in the second half of the book that the tension escalates, ending at a fast pace towards the end. If I have any negatives to add, it’s that although the story is over, the conclusion feels a little rushed after so much tension, which left me feeling a little dropped. I’m also not entirely certain the final decision the family makes felt entirely satisfying to me — I felt that had to be a better compromise. Still, these are small niggles, and I thoroughly recommend this book. Perhaps one to enjoy as a modern twist on the Lovecraft universe.
Through the Woods, Emily Carroll
Certainly strange enough. Of the five stories in this graphic novel, Our Neighbor’s House lingers, as does A Lady’s Hands Are Cold, though mostly because of the rhyme. His Face All Red, and Janna felt a little disjointed. The Nesting Place has no actual surprises, but made me chuckle. The intro and end are fun, but nothing more. I love the style and atmosphere created, but only liked rather than loved.
Everything on a Waffle, Polly Horvath
Although this is a book for children, there’s a lot here for adults. Namely, the adult personalities seen through the eyes of a child. With her parents missing at sea presumed dead, it’s interesting to watch how the other adults react to Primrose’s plight and her insistence that they will return. It’s a decent read for the younger readers, and though I wouldn’t call it a must-have for a child’s library, it would be an interesting one to include. Contains some very peculiar recipes.
Thirteen Storeys, Jonathan Sims (audio)
An interesting cast of characters, each with their own story of being haunted while living in the strange building owned by Tobias Fell. A little wandering at times, though this may be because I was listening to the audio rather than reading the book, but the varied cast portraying the various occupants well read the audio. Of course, the stories come together in the climactic ending, one which wasn’t all together surprising but not entirely predictable. It’s one I might like to read on the page as well. A good one for the library of anyone who likes ghost stories.
The Book of M, Peng Shepherd
I’m ambiguous about this book. When I first began reading this, I thought this was going to be absorbing, and it is… in parts. Unfortunately, as the strangeness progresses, the author initially lost me quite early on (about 140 pages in) when something so bizarre happens, it truly makes no sense until much later. There are moments that are gripping, but moments I happily sped over. Some of the book feels overly long, or overly descriptive. I became invested with the characters, but maybe not as much with some as I should have. Parts of it are incredibly sad — made me think of what it must be like to live with someone who has Alzheimer’s, or to suffer from it — and the story has a shock or two. This is definitely one where you have to park your disbelief at the door. This is a tough book to review — on the one hand, it’s incredible. It’s certainly imaginative, certainly unique in a way that makes me want to applaud the author. Yet some will think it bizarre and it’s one I’m happy to put into the charity pile or to pass on to my local library. I think this story could’ve been told more concisely, and with more emotion to make it a keeper, but despite this, it’s an amazing concept.