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March 2019

The Ghost Bride – a book review in 200 words

The Ghost Bride
by

Yangsze Choo

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Li Lan, a young Malayan woman, is approached with an offer to wed the recently deceased Lim Tian Ching, whose family is very wealthy. Accepting the offer rescues her father from further financial ruin and she will be set for life. Except, she will also be marrying the man who haunts and harasses her in her dreams. In an effort to exorcise Lim Tian Ching, she ends up on an epic adventure in purgatory.

I found the parts of the book set in the “real world” a little slow and Li Lan just a tad annoying. However, the peek into Malayan culture in 1800s Malacca was intriguing and the author’s narration of the audiobook a particular pleasure to hear.

Once the action moves into the realm of the dead, the story is fantastic. Ghosts, demons, dragons and all manner of strange creatures inhabit the dreamy, haunting world created by Yangsze Choo (based on Chinese folk religion). A murder mystery, and let’s say, unusual family drama, are also thrown into the mix.

So, if you enjoy weird, wonderful and completely enjoyable trips into fantasy worlds that just happen to be inhabited by ghosts and demons, then this book is for you.

Rating: 82/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Verses for the Dead – a book review in 200 words

Verses for the Dead

(Pendergast #18)

by

Douglas Preston  and Lincoln Child

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(Contains some slight spoilers.)

I realize that everyone has different tastes and just because I hate a book, it doesn’t mean that you will. Also, I appreciate authors for their hard work and the guts they have to put their work out there. But sometimes, a book makes me very angry.

Unfortunately, this book lacks any sort of cohesive mystery. My favorite serial characters are again absent. I am also severely disappointed in the fact that they chose to WRITE A LAST CHAPTER EXPLAINING THE ENTIRE CRIME instead of writing the actual clues into the book.

Preston and Child seem to understand that we will buy their Pendergast books regardless. Obviously, we all love Pendergast and hope that the next book in the series will be as good as the one that got us hooked. So, let me say this:

Authors, if you are bored with your characters, just stop writing them. Give us a book with a nice, going-away, this-is-the-last-you’ll-see-of-me story arc and we will grieve for a while and then thank you for it.

My god, I hope I can resist the temptation to buy the next in the series so I don’t have to experience this deep sense of disappointment again.

(Let me say though, the narrator of this audio book, Rene Auberjonois, is FANTASTIC as always, so I will need to listen to some of his others to now get my fix.)

Rating: 20/100

Buy this book (if you must) at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Daisy Jones & The Six – a book review in 200 words

Daisy Jones & The Six

by

Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Daisy Jones is young, wild and naturally talented.

The Six have worked steadily to get the success that is heading their way.

By chance, Daisy and The Six’s frontman, Billy, end up singing a hit song together and their respective managers decide that touring together is the best option for both.

What follows is rock-and-roll magic, except when it’s not.

Written as the transcript of a documentary film, the author’s newest book contains all of the usual plot points for a story about up-and-coming rock stars. Drugs, sex and partying. Riding the high of becoming famous. The dark places fame can take a group of people so closely intertwined. (And be warned, the probability that you will sob for two entire chapters is high.)

But the author so deftly writes about these characters that you forget the entire thing’s fiction. I often went to Google people and places only to remember this was entirely made up. I really wish that I could hear the songs of Daisy Jones & The Six. They must have been amazing!

A Taylor Jenkins Reid book is now an absolute must-read book for me going forward. You should probably try this book to find out why.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 95/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones – a review in 200 words

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

by

Micah Dean Hicks

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What a deeply strange and compelling book about a dying town haunted by its inhabitants, both living and dead. Jane is possessed, her brother is possessed, her mother is possessed. Her father is so damaged that he cannot be possessed. The town, from its buildings to its machinery, is overrun with ghosts. The only place that can still be considered operating in any capacity is the pig-slaughtering factory on the edge of town.

There is so much to this book. It’s about family and regret and relationships and change and resistance to change and prejudice and longing and love. I feel like I need to re-read it just to get the meaning of everything contained within. BUT it’s also just a really good ghost story, unlike any I’ve read before. You can either enjoy it as an allegorical tale or as a straight-up horror book.

I would be interested to know what you thought of this book. Did it have any special meaning for you or did you read it as a straightforward book about a haunting? If you’d like to go read it quick, I’ll wait here for you so we can discuss.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 92/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

The Silent Patient – a book review in 200 words

The Silent Patient

by

Alex Michaelides

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Full disclosure, I knew the huge twist (and bad guy) in the story before I read The Silent Patient.

Therefore, it’s difficult for me to tell you if the ending will surprise or not. I can tell you that I started the book because I was curious about all the hype and didn’t think I’d bother to finish it. And…I ended up reading the entire thriller in one day. I also really enjoy books set in a mental institution of any kind, so this story was in my wheelhouse from the get-go.

If you don’t already know the premise of this book, a well-known artist kills her husband and immediately goes silent. No communication of any kind. Not even to defend herself – because did she really kill the husband that she adored and doted on? Most of the story is told by the new doctor who believes he can cure the artist and make her speak. (Messiah complex, anyone?) Pretty simple premise, really. But the execution is interesting and there were still enough little surprises that I didn’t mind knowing the ending. If you haven’t read it already and you are a thriller fan, than what are you waiting for?

(A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 80/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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