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2019 New Releases
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As the delightful pun in the title suggests, bad things are about to happen to a group of Catholic nuns. The Sisters of the Abbey of the Sacred Heart have been granted the gift of a two-hundred-acre estate in the wilderness of Eastern Oregon if they can fulfill one condition--they must live in the lodge for two weeks without leaving. They quickly discover that the only way out is death, as they get picked off one by one in ways that would do Agatha Christie proud.
Huff has created a fast-paced page-turner to keep us warm in the winter doldrums. He treats the good sisters kindly--no caricatures of the ruler-wielding, hand-slapping, black-caped crusaders here. These are real women with convictions and dreams, problems and aspirations. The first stirrings of human love in Sister LaNora since her adolescence are described with respect and compassion, not ridiculed. The rivalries and competitions are the stuff of real relationships.
I found it difficult to stop reading once I had begun. In fact, I think I read the novel in two sittings. My thanks to Mr. Huff for providing welcome respite from another rainy evening!
An absorbing read with interesting characters and rich descriptions of everything from the Crusades to daily life at the castle of Avalon. . . . The author must have done extensive research into the times and the beliefs and customs of the day to provide his readers with an absorbing read within this doorstep of a book, reminiscent of the likes of Dumas' Three Musketeers, which is even longer. Ultimately, this book was worth the time and effort, with bang-up ending chapters that drew this work to a satisfying ending.
It's back to Victorian London for the second outing of the Werewolves and Gaslight series, with the unlikely sleuthing trio of Detective Inspector Royston Jones, Catherine Fairchild (a.k.a. Dr. Charles Foster), and Richard Bandon. Jones is the bastard son shunned by his wealthy family. Fairchild is a champion of women's rights but finds that her society makes her practice alchemy under the guise of a man. Bandon is an aristocratic scion who must keep his true identity as a werewolf secret or be expelled from his family.
This is a society where the class to which you belong means everything, and the lowest class is werewolves---often denied employment and their most basic rights, seen by many as sub-human.
Now werewolves are disappearing at an alarming rate. Jones suspects they are being abducted, experimented upon in ghastly ways, and murdered. He enlists his colleagues in a frantic quest to apprehend the culprits before more victims are lost.
The setting in old London, the vocabulary and pacing, all lend authenticity to the writing. But don't be mistaken. This is not merely a steampunk, urban fantasy take on the Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes archives. As in the first book in the series, A Hunt by Moonlight, Reppert has crafted an allegory for our current day, critiquing the way we treat our most marginalized citizens. Both entertaining and thoughtful, I give this novel an enthusiastic five stars.
Outlaws and Worse, Jonathan Eaton's followup to A Good Man for an Outlaw, is everything we hope for in a sequel and much more. While continuing the story of Deputy Hayes, the pharmacist Fowler, and the outlaw Mathew Mulkey, it weaves a new tale with outrageous characters. It's a story both droll and dark, told in chapters that deceptively head out into strange and unexpected territory, only to come gliding back to the main narrative like a flock of vultures circling in the Texas sky, awaiting the call to dinner.
Make no mistake--Eaton is serving us another helping of "Western noir," dark as a cup of black coffee, but sweetened with a cream of Coenesque humor. The characters are deliciously weird, their personal stories, funny and shocking. The novel is well-edited and the writing is crisp and clear. My only quibble is that one minor character in a short chapter speaks in a phonetically-rendered dialect, which I found somewhat difficult. But no harm done. The book remains a solid five stars. I highly recommend it.
With the world dying, governments around the world concoct a plan to not only save mankind but also the world. Their plan is to put everyone into suspended animation for 20 years to essentially reboot Earth.
Whenever the government is involved in something, there is always the chance it could go sideways. For Tim, a relatively sheltered young man, sideways it went. With the help of his neighbors and strays they pick up on the way, Tim must decide if he is going to stay the sheltered man of his past, or if he will become the man that his father never thought he could be.
I really enjoyed this story. The story was unique in that there wasn't a single event that caused the world to fail, but people being people, and I think that resonates with me. Yes while one person can make a small difference, without worldwide intervention, this story could be our reality in the near future. Awake is a look at the human condition through the eyes of a young oregonian who never really saw the world for what it was. That can be said for many young individuals, who are too wrapped up in their own worlds to understand what is happening around them.
I would suggest reading this book if you like the dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres. With it being based in Oregon, the author made sure to be really accurate with locations and descriptions, which I appreciate.
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