ABOUT TIME: 12 SHORT STORIES, by Jack Finney, the author of the classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, is a collection of stories whose main theme is time travel. These stories were written between 1957-1962.
There are stories about the effects of a set of blueprints from the past on the lives of a modern couple, a time-travelling car, a hidden level at Grand Central station, ghosts, a home-made hot air balloon that only flies at night, and more.
“…just higher than the flat tops of the enormous [Golden Gate] bridge towers-they stopped and through several moments hung absolutely motionless not six feet from the northern tower of the bridge and nearly level with its top. Far below the cars had shrunk to miniatures, the six-lane roadway to the width of a man’s hand. Around them the air lay still and unmoving through a dozen heartbeats while they held their breaths.”
Of course, some of the writing shows the era in which they were written. I still love the stories.
My favorite stories are the ones set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being born and raised there, I know most of the sights and sounds described here and it makes me long for a time passed.
“Cora and I were driving to San Rafael over the county road. You can get there on a six-lane highway now, 101, that slices straight through the hills, but this was once part of the only road between the two towns and it winds a lot around and between the Marin County hillw, under the treers. It’s a pleasant narrow little two-land road…”
The stories just seem to get better and better. I think my favorite is the last one, but maybe that’s only because it’s the last one I read! Its called Hey! Look At Me! and its about an author living in Mill Valley who meets a book critic, and though they come from different mindsets, they become friends of a sort.      
Paperback, 224 pages, Published February 19th 1998 by Touchstone  (first published 1986) ISBN: 9780684848662

ABOUT TIME: 12 SHORT STORIES, by Jack Finney, the author of the classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, is a collection of stories whose main theme is time travel. These stories were written between 1957-1962.

There are stories about the effects of a set of blueprints from the past on the lives of a modern couple, a time-travelling car, a hidden level at Grand Central station, ghosts, a home-made hot air balloon that only flies at night, and more.

“…just higher than the flat tops of the enormous [Golden Gate] bridge towers-they stopped and through several moments hung absolutely motionless not six feet from the northern tower of the bridge and nearly level with its top. Far below the cars had shrunk to miniatures, the six-lane roadway to the width of a man’s hand. Around them the air lay still and unmoving through a dozen heartbeats while they held their breaths.”

Of course, some of the writing shows the era in which they were written. I still love the stories.

My favorite stories are the ones set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being born and raised there, I know most of the sights and sounds described here and it makes me long for a time passed.

“Cora and I were driving to San Rafael over the county road. You can get there on a six-lane highway now, 101, that slices straight through the hills, but this was once part of the only road between the two towns and it winds a lot around and between the Marin County hillw, under the treers. It’s a pleasant narrow little two-land road…”

The stories just seem to get better and better. I think my favorite is the last one, but maybe that’s only because it’s the last one I read! Its called Hey! Look At Me! and its about an author living in Mill Valley who meets a book critic, and though they come from different mindsets, they become friends of a sort.     

Paperback, 224 pages, Published February 19th 1998 by Touchstone (first published 1986) ISBN: 9780684848662
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MORT is one of the best-loved entries in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Its about Death getting an apprentice, a boy named Mort. Pratchett himself is a much-beloved British author. His Discworld series spans over 40 books.
So I can’t really add anything new to the bazillion reviews that have been put out there since the book’s first printing in 1987. I can say that MORT is really funny and can be read by all ages. It has some innuendo but its all in good fun. Everyone will find humor here. Pratchett pokes fun at bureaucracy, government employees, food, just about anything and everything.
As Death’s apprentice, Mort shares Death’s home along with an elderly man and Death’s daughter. He encounters a princess that he becomes attracted to and learns a couple of life lessons.
MORT does what it sets out to do: it gives you a funny story with characters that are entertaining until the end.
I highly recommend MORT.

 
Audiobook, Unabridged, Narrated by Nigel Planer, ISBN 9780753117460

MORT is one of the best-loved entries in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Its about Death getting an apprentice, a boy named Mort. Pratchett himself is a much-beloved British author. His Discworld series spans over 40 books.

So I can’t really add anything new to the bazillion reviews that have been put out there since the book’s first printing in 1987. I can say that MORT is really funny and can be read by all ages. It has some innuendo but its all in good fun. Everyone will find humor here. Pratchett pokes fun at bureaucracy, government employees, food, just about anything and everything.

As Death’s apprentice, Mort shares Death’s home along with an elderly man and Death’s daughter. He encounters a princess that he becomes attracted to and learns a couple of life lessons.

MORT does what it sets out to do: it gives you a funny story with characters that are entertaining until the end.

I highly recommend MORT.

 

Audiobook, Unabridged, Narrated by Nigel Planer, ISBN 9780753117460

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I HEAR THE SIRENS ON THE STREET was written by Adrian McKinty, one of my favorite authors. He has written many books set in Ireland during the “Troubles”. This one follows Sean Duffy in his second adventure. As a detective, he is called to investigate a partial body stuffed in a suitcase in an abandoned car factory.
Amazingly, McKinty weaves in the true-life tale of John DeLorean’s drug smuggling charges in 1982. It makes sense and works within the overall storyline.
Another great entry in McKintry’s Ireland-based books.
Audio, Unabridged, Published June 20th 2013 by Blackstone Audiobooks  (first published January 1st 2013) ISBN: 9781470879716

 

I HEAR THE SIRENS ON THE STREET was written by Adrian McKinty, one of my favorite authors. He has written many books set in Ireland during the “Troubles”. This one follows Sean Duffy in his second adventure. As a detective, he is called to investigate a partial body stuffed in a suitcase in an abandoned car factory.

Amazingly, McKinty weaves in the true-life tale of John DeLorean’s drug smuggling charges in 1982. It makes sense and works within the overall storyline.

Another great entry in McKintry’s Ireland-based books.

Audio, Unabridged, Published June 20th 2013 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2013) ISBN: 9781470879716

 

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Stuck Rubber Baby, review.
STUCK RUBBER BABY written and illustrated by Howard Cruse, is a well-done graphic novel concerning the life of a young white man growing up in the South during the 1960s. Amid the black civil rights movement, he is also wrestling with his sexuality. He’s not sure if he is straight or gay.The main character, Toland Polk, is more of an observer of the goings-on than a fully-involved participant. By default he ends up in a park where blacks are having a sit-in to prevent the town officials from closing it down. He goes to the Million Man March on Washington. Toland does a lot of internal contemplating about it all.At times I really didn’t like Toland. He doesn’t have any passion for anything – kind of a dishrag type. He actually acknowledges this, so I have to give him credit for that.There are many characters that we get to know. Toland has a sister who is married, he makes friends in the gay community, and has an intimate relationship with a woman who is very influential in these few years of his life. The older citizens have personalities instead of being in the background as they are often portrayed elsewhere. The artwork is really nice. Detail in the artwork such as the cars that were on the road in the 1960s shows that Cruse did his homework.The story is good for highlighting the civil unrest, the prejudice and the bigotry of the times.I recommend STUCK RUBBER BABY to all who are interested in the subjects of black civil rights history and LGBT stories.
Hardcover, 224 pages, Published June 8th 2010 by Vertigo  (first published 1995), ISBN: 9781401227135

Stuck Rubber Baby, review.

STUCK RUBBER BABY written and illustrated by Howard Cruse, is a well-done graphic novel concerning the life of a young white man growing up in the South during the 1960s. Amid the black civil rights movement, he is also wrestling with his sexuality. He’s not sure if he is straight or gay.
The main character, Toland Polk, is more of an observer of the goings-on than a fully-involved participant. By default he ends up in a park where blacks are having a sit-in to prevent the town officials from closing it down. He goes to the Million Man March on Washington. Toland does a lot of internal contemplating about it all.
At times I really didn’t like Toland. He doesn’t have any passion for anything – kind of a dishrag type. He actually acknowledges this, so I have to give him credit for that.
There are many characters that we get to know. Toland has a sister who is married, he makes friends in the gay community, and has an intimate relationship with a woman who is very influential in these few years of his life. The older citizens have personalities instead of being in the background as they are often portrayed elsewhere.
The artwork is really nice. Detail in the artwork such as the cars that were on the road in the 1960s shows that Cruse did his homework.
The story is good for highlighting the civil unrest, the prejudice and the bigotry of the times.
I recommend STUCK RUBBER BABY to all who are interested in the subjects of black civil rights history and LGBT stories.

Hardcover, 224 pages, Published June 8th 2010 by Vertigo (first published 1995), ISBN: 9781401227135
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Manifest Destiny, review.
MANIFEST DESTINY, Vol. 1, “Flora & Fauna”, contains issues 1-6 of the outstanding comic book series. It takes the basic story of the exploration mission of Lewis & Clark in 1804 and tweaks it until it hurts. The collaboration of writer Chris Dingess, artist Matthew Roberts, and colorist Owen Gieni has produced one of the best horror comics I’ve ever read. Image Comics has a winner here and I will continue reading this series.Lewis & Clark, along with their group of men, confront things much, much scarier than hostile Native Americans in the woods. These things, of strange and eerie types which I will not describe here, have one thing in common: they want to harm the humans! You will just have to read this collection and be drawn into the madness.As the story moves along, it gets weirder and creepier. What makes the story really believable is the artwork. It’s detailed, imaginative, and colorful.Ultimately, the goal of this particular adventure is to find the settlement of La Charette by boat and meet up with Sacagawea. Along the way, Lewis is categorizing the flora and fauna they encounter. Not all is business though, as there are moments of humor both dry and subtle. MANIFEST DESTINY is greatly entertaining – I could not put it down until I was finished. The ending will make you want the next volume NOW! I highly recommend this graphic novel. Mature audience, Published 2014 by Image Comics, I was given an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Manifest Destiny, review.

MANIFEST DESTINY, Vol. 1, “Flora & Fauna”, contains issues 1-6 of the outstanding comic book series. It takes the basic story of the exploration mission of Lewis & Clark in 1804 and tweaks it until it hurts. The collaboration of writer Chris Dingess, artist Matthew Roberts, and colorist Owen Gieni has produced one of the best horror comics I’ve ever read. Image Comics has a winner here and I will continue reading this series.
Lewis & Clark, along with their group of men, confront things much, much scarier than hostile Native Americans in the woods. These things, of strange and eerie types which I will not describe here, have one thing in common: they want to harm the humans! You will just have to read this collection and be drawn into the madness.
As the story moves along, it gets weirder and creepier. What makes the story really believable is the artwork. It’s detailed, imaginative, and colorful.
Ultimately, the goal of this particular adventure is to find the settlement of La Charette by boat and meet up with Sacagawea. Along the way, Lewis is categorizing the flora and fauna they encounter. Not all is business though, as there are moments of humor both dry and subtle.
MANIFEST DESTINY is greatly entertaining – I could not put it down until I was finished. The ending will make you want the next volume NOW! I highly recommend this graphic novel.

Mature audience, Published 2014 by Image Comics, I was given an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Legal Tender, review.
I mistakenly purchased the abridged audiobook of Legal Tender by Lisa Scottoline. Must have been why it was so inexpensive! Still, it was an entertaining story. Scottoline has written many, many legal thrillers over the years. I’ve read a couple of others and really enjoyed The Vendetta Defense.Legal Tender is about Benadetta “Bennie” Rosato, a lawyer, who is framed for murdering her law partner, with whom she had recently broken up with romantically. She goes on the run while she tries to solve the murder herself.The bodies start piling up and make for a confusing array of possible suspects. Is it her close friend Sam? Her ex’s new girlfriend Eve? Meanwhile, Bennie is still trying to stay one step ahead of the police.This is a good diversion for an afternoon.I liked that it wasn’t easy to figure out who was behind the murders.
Audio, Abridged, Published March 22nd 2000 by HarperAudio (first published 1996), ISBN: 9780694523283

Legal Tender, review.

I mistakenly purchased the abridged audiobook of Legal Tender by Lisa Scottoline. Must have been why it was so inexpensive! Still, it was an entertaining story. Scottoline has written many, many legal thrillers over the years. I’ve read a couple of others and really enjoyed The Vendetta Defense.
Legal Tender is about Benadetta “Bennie” Rosato, a lawyer, who is framed for murdering her law partner, with whom she had recently broken up with romantically. She goes on the run while she tries to solve the murder herself.
The bodies start piling up and make for a confusing array of possible suspects. Is it her close friend Sam? Her ex’s new girlfriend Eve? Meanwhile, Bennie is still trying to stay one step ahead of the police.
This is a good diversion for an afternoon.
I liked that it wasn’t easy to figure out who was behind the murders.

Audio, Abridged, Published March 22nd 2000 by HarperAudio (first published 1996), ISBN: 9780694523283
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The Curse of Chalion, review.
The Curse of Chalion is the first book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series. It’s a fantasy concerning a man named Cazaril, a tutor in the House of Chalion. Cazaril has been betrayed in the past, sold to be an oarsman on a ship although he came from higher circumstances. Upon leaving this adversity, he arrives at the House of Chalion, where he ultimately acquires the Curse. Now he must find a way to be rid of it!This is a great story with a satisfying ending. I have no idea what the next book is about, but this one can be read on its own and doesn’t leave you with unanswered questions.Without giving away any spoilers, there is a critical part of the story where I found absolutely no motive for the actions of one of the characters. Maybe I missed something? Be that as it may, I still enjoyed the scene. A part I did not enjoy were references to the multiple rapings of someone. At least it was only references and we didn’t have to be there while it happened. Chalion being in a medieval sort of setting, this kind of thing may have taken place but its something I would rather not hear about. Some people have talked about the religion in this book. I found it interesting but not a big deal. I was more interested in how the story would play out.The characters are given diverse identities and the narrator of the audiobook (Lloyd James) helps this by giving the major characters their distinct voices. Cazaril is quiet and brooding, Others are soulful, petulant, willful, innocent, or just plain disgusting, to name a few traits.What I really enjoyed was the interplay between the villains and the non-villains. There is intrigue and adventure! A little death and little destruction! Some lust in people’s hearts and some unrequited(?) love!Amid all that, there is the Curse. People who have it can see things that others can’t, like ghosts and auras. This contributed to making this an even more enjoyable, sometimes spooky, story for me. I highly recommend The Curse of Chalion.

The Curse of Chalion, review.

The Curse of Chalion is the first book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series. It’s a fantasy concerning a man named Cazaril, a tutor in the House of Chalion.
Cazaril has been betrayed in the past, sold to be an oarsman on a ship although he came from higher circumstances. Upon leaving this adversity, he arrives at the House of Chalion, where he ultimately acquires the Curse. Now he must find a way to be rid of it!
This is a great story with a satisfying ending. I have no idea what the next book is about, but this one can be read on its own and doesn’t leave you with unanswered questions.
Without giving away any spoilers, there is a critical part of the story where I found absolutely no motive for the actions of one of the characters. Maybe I missed something? Be that as it may, I still enjoyed the scene. A part I did not enjoy were references to the multiple rapings of someone. At least it was only references and we didn’t have to be there while it happened. Chalion being in a medieval sort of setting, this kind of thing may have taken place but its something I would rather not hear about.
Some people have talked about the religion in this book. I found it interesting but not a big deal. I was more interested in how the story would play out.
The characters are given diverse identities and the narrator of the audiobook (Lloyd James) helps this by giving the major characters their distinct voices. Cazaril is quiet and brooding, Others are soulful, petulant, willful, innocent, or just plain disgusting, to name a few traits.
What I really enjoyed was the interplay between the villains and the non-villains. There is intrigue and adventure! A little death and little destruction! Some lust in people’s hearts and some unrequited(?) love!
Amid all that, there is the Curse. People who have it can see things that others can’t, like ghosts and auras. This contributed to making this an even more enjoyable, sometimes spooky, story for me.
I highly recommend The Curse of Chalion.

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We Were Liars, review.


Hype, hype, hype! We Were Liars, written by E. Lockhart, is a story about a privileged family on a private island, hiding a big secret. The hype is: you can’t tell people any more than that about the book because you’ll give away the secret. Hmmm…Yes, the secret isn’t very secret; you can figure it out pretty quickly. But so what?
We’re then lead through a long stretch of family squabbles until the truth behind the secret is revealed. Or is it? After all, the protagonist insists she and her three cousins (actually, one boy is the nephew of the step-father of one of the cousins) are liars. I really didn’t see any evidence of this. Well THAT was irksome. Where are all these lies the four teenagers are supposed to have told?
Maybe it was the narrator. Maybe it was me. No, I think it was the narrator…
I did get tired of Cadence’s whining about why people wouldn’t tell her what really happened.
I don’t recommend this book. There are much better stories out there.

Unabridged audiobook published by Listening Library, May 13th 2014, ISBN 13: 9780804168403

We Were Liars, review.

Hype, hype, hype! We Were Liars, written by E. Lockhart, is a story about a privileged family on a private island, hiding a big secret. The hype is: you can’t tell people any more than that about the book because you’ll give away the secret. Hmmm…Yes, the secret isn’t very secret; you can figure it out pretty quickly. But so what?

We’re then lead through a long stretch of family squabbles until the truth behind the secret is revealed. Or is it? After all, the protagonist insists she and her three cousins (actually, one boy is the nephew of the step-father of one of the cousins) are liars. I really didn’t see any evidence of this. Well THAT was irksome. Where are all these lies the four teenagers are supposed to have told?

Maybe it was the narrator. Maybe it was me. No, I think it was the narrator…

I did get tired of Cadence’s whining about why people wouldn’t tell her what really happened.

I don’t recommend this book. There are much better stories out there.

Unabridged audiobook published by Listening Library, May 13th 2014, ISBN 13: 9780804168403

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DAWN, review.

I read DAWN, by Octavia E. Butler, as part of the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club read for June on goodreads. The first book in the Xenogenesis trilogy, it was first published in 1987 by Warner Books.

Lilith wakes up on a strange spaceship run by aliens, called Oankali. She finds that she has been in a state of animated suspension for over two hundred years.

It’s a good story about aliens wanting to interbreed with humans in order to improve both species. After years of training on the spaceship, where all of the action takes place, Lilith, on orders from the Oankali, must reawaken other humans from their pods and teach them how to survive the conditions on Earth before being transferred back there. Centuries earlier, Earthlings had been wiped out and now Lilith is to lead them in re-establishing life there.

But what if not all of the re-awakened humans agree on the plan? What if some of them don’t even believe they’re on a spaceship? 

Butler shows in her writing the difficulties that could arise between humans with each other and with the aliens. Especially with Lilith, we can clearly see her struggle with her own emotions.

Even though the book was published in 1987, it felt earlier, as the women are sometimes treated subserviently. For a setting far in the future, I’d hope that treatment would be obsolete.

Lilith is really the star of the show. She has conflicting feelings towards the Oankali. At first horrified by them, she eventually develops warm feelings for some of them.

Butler has created in DAWN an interesting universe with the Oankali. One wonders if they have any other motives hidden away. Perhaps we’ll find out in the second book of the series.

DAWN, review.

I read DAWN, by Octavia E. Butler, as part of the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club read for June on goodreads. The first book in the Xenogenesis trilogy, it was first published in 1987 by Warner Books.

Lilith wakes up on a strange spaceship run by aliens, called Oankali. She finds that she has been in a state of animated suspension for over two hundred years.

It’s a good story about aliens wanting to interbreed with humans in order to improve both species. After years of training on the spaceship, where all of the action takes place, Lilith, on orders from the Oankali, must reawaken other humans from their pods and teach them how to survive the conditions on Earth before being transferred back there. Centuries earlier, Earthlings had been wiped out and now Lilith is to lead them in re-establishing life there.

But what if not all of the re-awakened humans agree on the plan? What if some of them don’t even believe they’re on a spaceship?

Butler shows in her writing the difficulties that could arise between humans with each other and with the aliens. Especially with Lilith, we can clearly see her struggle with her own emotions.

Even though the book was published in 1987, it felt earlier, as the women are sometimes treated subserviently. For a setting far in the future, I’d hope that treatment would be obsolete.

Lilith is really the star of the show. She has conflicting feelings towards the Oankali. At first horrified by them, she eventually develops warm feelings for some of them.

Butler has created in DAWN an interesting universe with the Oankali. One wonders if they have any other motives hidden away. Perhaps we’ll find out in the second book of the series.

2
Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1, review
I really wanted to like this graphic novel. I didn’t. It was hard to follow and was filled with too much violence for my tastes.

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1, review
I really wanted to like this graphic novel. I didn’t. It was hard to follow and was filled with too much violence for my tastes.

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