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Rick Kitchen

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I've recently started reading Thomas Ligotti's short stories, which were pitched to me as Lovecraftian. His writing reminds me of my favorite short story ever, The God of Dark Laughter by Michael Chabon. Ligotti's work is classified as horror, but it's mostly psychological, existential and cosmic horror as supposed to torture porn, which I won't read. I'm no nihilist but I haven't come across a story yet that wasn't worth reflecting or shuddering enjoyably over. I'm currently reading his Teatro Grottesco collection but I've heard that Grimscribe is some of his best work.

 

On the more whimsical side, I'm reading a Peter Pan inspired novel called The Child Thief. Except that it's much darker than even original recipe Pan because Peter is a violent, possibly demonic sociopath and the children/Lost Boys are abused runaways tricked into joining his cause. The author goes by the name Brom. This person has also written a book about Krampus and his rivalry with the dark-hearted Santa Claus himself, but I unfortunately can't get a hold of it anywhere. Hopefully I can track down a copy before Christmas.

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Brom is best known as an artist, mainly in the fantasy/sci fi community. If the book is illustrated I bet the art is good.

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Thanks for the info, I had no idea. There are neat illustrations at the beginnings of chapters and the cover is fantastic. The cover of the Krampus novel also looks amazing.

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I'm reading Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson in anticipation of the movie version coming out this fall.  I am enjoying it enough that I worry that I'm ruining the movie for myself.  If the movie sticks to the book, there will be no suspense.  If it doesn't, I may feel unhappy with the changes.  I have this conversation with myself every time I read something that's on tap for a film but I never resolve the situation.

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I'm about halfway into Brian Ruckley's return to more traditional fantasy with an advanced copy of The Free.  I really like it so far.  Good worldbuilding and fast plot development.

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I just finished Randy Susan Meyers' "Accidents of Marriage."  Very good but very intense and emotionally draining.

 

I'm listening to V. C. Andrews' "If There Be Thorns" on audio - -I'm on a V.C. Andrews kick and am thoroughly enjoying listening and then writing snarky reviews.

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I gave that series a shot when I was going through my vampire porn phase and, despite being embarrassingly easy to please, I bailed on it after a couple of books.  The characters didn't click for me and the writer's style didn't engage me either.

 

 

Have you tried Christopher Farnsworth's Nathaniel Cade Series about a vampire who was given a choice by Andrew Johnson in 1867; die or serve the United States and has been working for every US President since.  It's a fun, light read - and no sparkly vampires in sight. 

 

I just started reading Chris Wooding's The Ace of Skulls: A Tale of the Ketty Jay  #4 - think Firefly-ish with daemons, golems, and space pirates.

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I started reading Cherie Priest's 'Maplecroft' on Saturday and finished Monday morning (in between things like trying to purge clutter from the apartment and whatnot). It's the kind of scare I can get into (and I am a huge weenie when it comes to scary things) -- the right amount of Lovecraftian 'what the hell is going on?!' and really atmospheric.

 

I particularly liked the way the chapters shifted between POVs through written journals and whatnot. Very cool. I love her work anyway...

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I'm about halfway into Brian Ruckley's return to more traditional fantasy with an advanced copy of The Free.  I really like it so far.  Good worldbuilding and fast plot development.

 

His Godless World trilogy was pretty cool. A nice, fresh feeling fantasy world, and a sympathetic, if tragic, hero. The Edinburgh Dead was very different, and not as good, but still readable. I'll be on the lookout for this new book.

 

I'm about 100 pages into The Red Knight by Miles Cameron. Now this seems like it's going to be good. Again, a very different feel to what could be a standard fantasy world. The narrative is very, very fragmented, but so far most of the characters have distinct voices and their stories are all engaging enough.

 

And I'm trying to put off deciding whether to buy Fool's Assassin, by Robin Hobb. Fitzchivalry Farseer is perhaps my favourite character in all of fantasy fiction, but I just don't know if I want his story to continue any further. I would have been happy with just the first trilogy, as bittersweet as the ending was. The second trilogy was good, but even though the ending was happy, I didn't really like it (I wanted Fitz and Kettricken to end up together, just like I suspect Kettricken wanted, but Fitz was too dense to ever see it). But to drag him away from the happiness he's found again? I'm not sure I want to read it.

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Gawd, I devoured Fool's Assassin.  Got a e-galley of it and then a physical copy and I still bought it in hardcover for my Hobb collection.   I love all her work I should mention since Soldier Son does not get many raves.  For me it, after the last Assassin trilogy (Golden Fool etc), it is her best.  This new ongoing series she just launched looks to shove it down to second and Soldier Son to third.

 

I liked Ruckley's Winterbirth series quite a bit.  But I felt the publisher rushed it a bit when it didn't take off as big as the likes of Abercrombie or Sanderson (blech).  I'm hoping this gets enough attention that even as a standalone it might still get Ruckley the attention he deserves and a re-visit to a world I really enjoyed.

 

Red Knight took me a bit to get into,  I'm not a huge fan of Cameron's historial fiction he writes as Christian Cameron.  But I did enjoy it.  The Fell Sword is a bit faster paced but in the end a slighter book since most of it is setup for a climax that never quite delivers since it serves to merely remind us there is a third book.  Still I have enjoyed the series.

 

I have Richard K. Morgan's The Dark Defiles and might read that next.  I loved the first book of that series.  Enjoyed the second a bit less.  Still I really like Morgan's imagination and his ability to share it in prose. 

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Red Knight took me a bit to get into,  I'm not a huge fan of Cameron's historial fiction he writes as Christian Cameron.  But I did enjoy it.  The Fell Sword is a bit faster paced but in the end a slighter book since most of it is setup for a climax that never quite delivers since it serves to merely remind us there is a third book.  Still I have enjoyed the series.

 

Huh. I didn't know that they were the same author. Interesting. I read Killer of Men, and found it to be a rather by-the-numbers ancient history novel, but I also read The Ill-Made Knight, the first of his Medieval novels, and thought it was massively better. He seemed to have an incredible grasp of the period, the culture and politics and social strata. I always love novels that can teach me some history, while entertaining me, and I learned a lot about the messiness of the 100 Years War and the roving mercenary companies that ravaged France throughout that period.

 

As for Richard Morgan, I love his Takeshi Kovacs trilogy. Altered Carbon was something special. Gritty, dark, noir cyberpunk, in the vein of Blade Runner. The follow ups were not as immediately great, but were still very solid books.

 

As for the Fitz novels, I just feel like it's time he was left alone to live out his days in peace. I wish Robin Hobb had felt the same. But I still think I'll probably, like Fitz himself, be unable to resist the call back into that world. I did like her Liveship Traders novels, and feel like they get overlooked quite a lot. Some cool ideas, and engaging characters.

 

Though, funnily enough, Kennit is the reason that I have never liked Jack Sparrow. Too many similarities there, with the selfish fraud who manages to convince people he's a better man than he is. Kennit was almost as big a bastard as Regal, perhaps made worse by the fact that we readers were complicit in his deceptions.

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Finished The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning.  It's set in the early stages of WWII -- a newly married English couple are in Bucharest where he has a teaching position.  There's no plot -- just this couple and their friends going to cafes for tea and to restaurants for dinner, taking walks,wondering and worrying about what will happen.  But it was fascinating, with a lot of tension.  You really get the feeling of what it's like to be away from your home country in unsettled times.   It's also the story of their marriage -- a gregarious husband who loves everyone and a wife who feels neglected, justifiably IMHO.  (It's semi-autobiographical.)  I'm tempted to read The Levant Trilogy, which picks up after the couple has fled to Egypt. 

 

Started To the Last Man (a WWI novel) by Jeff Shaara and dumped it after a few pages.  Unrealistic, expository, clumsy dialogue.  If I hadn't recently finished some excellent WWI books, I might have kept going.

 

Reading The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer, a Kindle freebie. 

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Just started The Children Act by Ian McEwan.  So far so good.  I never could get into Atonement but I liked Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

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Qoass, a friend just mentioned that book to me over the weekend and said it was an incredible read. 

 

I've just started Goodnight June by Sarah Jio.  So far so good - - but I believe all of SJ's books are.

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About 20 pages into David Mitchell's new one, The Bone Clocks. No idea how it's going to be - at this point, the main character is a 15-year-old girl in 1980s England. Seems promising in spite of that (I'm not a fan of teenage protagonists, for whatever reason).

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Season of the Jew by Maurice Shadbolt -- novel based on a Maori uprising in New Zealand in the 1860's -- loving it for the snappy dialogue but apparently it gets violent later on.

 

A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride -- meth, madness, and murder in the Appalachians -- some of McBride's metaphors are strained but others are so perfect, I want to marry them.  Another novel with realistic dialogue.  I can see this as a season of Justified.

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I just finished Mitchell's Bone Clocks and liked it quite a bit.  However i should maybe confess I never liked Cloud Atlas all that much and my favorite of his books is still Black Swan Green.

 

I'm working on City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.  Another thick book that I'm about a fifth of the way in and really liking it even if it isn't making me ignore anything else.

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Browsing in the local Indigo, I found A Study In Silks, by Emma Jane Holloway.  It's steampunk-ish: Victorian London is divided and controlled by the local Steam Barons, there are clockwork machines and toys, and dirigibles, and magic is illegal and harshly punished.  I really enjoyed the book and quickly found the sequels, A Study In Darkness and A Study in Ashes.  I liked the second book too.  I wouldn't say this series is for Sherlock Holmes canon types though because the heroine is his niece, and the man himself and his brother Mycroft show up as major supporting characters.  I found it interesting and enjoyable and had no complaints about the characterization but then I like both PBS's Sherlock and CBS's Elementary so I'd not wedded to canon.  There's romance and murder and mystery, and really interesting characters with varied agendas so I've been impressed with the series.  It can occasionally go into 'okay, what?' territory but it's a fun ride. 

 

I'm currently reading book three, A Study in Ashes. 

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I just finished Mitchell's Bone Clocks and liked it quite a bit.  However i should maybe confess I never liked Cloud Atlas all that much and my favorite of his books is still Black Swan Green.

 

Mine too.  I love coming-of-age stories anyway, and that one was a winner.

 

Women of a certain age might like one I just finished -- Mimi Malloy, at Last! by Julia McDonnell.  It has one of those flowery romancey covers -- I wouldn't have picked it up on my own but someone sent it to me and I was hooked from the first page.  Mimi is 68, divorced, with daughters who want to put her in a home and sisters who have different memories of their childhood.  There's mystery and romance and some Irish folk history. 

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I'm reading the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. It's Urban Fantasy & pretty good. I'm on the second to last book that's been published so far, so one more book & I'm all caught up.

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Iowa Public Radio had a segment last week about Iowa authors and Phil Stong was mentioned.  He wrote State Fair, which was a forgettable Pat Boone vehicle back in the early 60's.  He also wrote Marta of Muscovy, a biography of Catherine I of Russia.  Not that Catherine, the first Catherine deserved to be called Great the title went to the later one.  It's really quite good, published in 1945, and surprisingly witty and snarky.  Not much is known about Catherine's early years but instead of making stuff up, Stong extrapolates her childhood from what she was like as an adult.  I like that.

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I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird because I had never read it and no one should go through life without having read the perfect novel.  Of course I'd seen the movie a gazillion times.  The book was just as charming and heartfelt as I expected.  One thing that wasn't said in the movie that made me sad:  

At the end after Scout finally meets Boo and walks him back to his house she says she never saw him again.  I guess I had expected that she'd visit him occasionally but not according to the book.

 

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I just started Kim Harrison's The Undead Pool.  Apparently she's ending her Hallows series and this is the second last book.  Nobody told me!  I've been reading this series since the beginning.  I had the hardest time finding the book in the store.  I spent ages looking through the fantasy and sci-fi sections to no avail.  The in-store computer insisted there were 12 copies available.  I did find the hardcover copy, which I had no intention of buying.  I went back to the computer and actually read the whole entry this time and learned that Kim Harrison was classed as a Horror writer.  What?  I couldn't even find the Horror section, which turned out to be a single shelf in the Mystery area where Kim Harrison kept Kelley Armstrong company.  I wouldn't class either of these writers as Horror, but Indigo disagrees with me.

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I just started Kim Harrison's The Undead Pool.  Apparently she's ending her Hallows series and this is the second last book.  Nobody told me!  I've been reading this series since the beginning.  I had the hardest time finding the book in the store.  I spent ages looking through the fantasy and sci-fi sections to no avail.  The in-store computer insisted there were 12 copies available.  I did find the hardcover copy, which I had no intention of buying.  I went back to the computer and actually read the whole entry this time and learned that Kim Harrison was classed as a Horror writer.  What?  I couldn't even find the Horror section, which turned out to be a single shelf in the Mystery area where Kim Harrison kept Kelley Armstrong company.  I wouldn't class either of these writers as Horror, but Indigo disagrees with me.

I tried very hard to get into this series, but I just find Kim Harrison's writing too drawn out & repetitive for my tastes. I finally gave up during A Fistful of Charms when a character was supposed to find a pamphlet that was important at a motel, & it took 6 pages of people checking in, getting overcharged, not liking their room, & getting another room before the pamphlet was discovered. It drove me crazy. I am surprised to find out she's considered a horror writer though, I would have thought she was urban fantasy.

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The Kill Room.  Tenth in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jefferey Deaver.  The first one was made into a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington...The Bone Collector.  I enjoy the crime drama series books.  Revisiting old friends every time a new one comes out.  Lincoln Rhyme, Lucas Davenport, Jack Reacher, Will Trent.

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I never took to Lincoln Rhyme, but the other three?  Right there with you.  I've read the Prey series for years and have yet to find one I dislike.  I like the Virgil Flowers series too.  My sister recommended Karin Slaughter to me, and I really like Sara and Will.  I found the Jack Reacher series late and have making up for lost ground.  I haven't seen the Tom Cruise movie because I just can't see him as Jack.

 

GaT, I'm not a huge fan of Harrison's writing either.  In the book I just read, some of her sentence structure is really odd and sometimes I had to re-read just to get what she was telling me.  I've also never forgiven her for what she did to one of my favourite early characters, the demon Minias.  I really like Rachel though and the other major supporting characters which is why I've stuck with the series for so long.  I'm really curious to see how she'll end it (Rachel's current Love Interest is someone I would not have expected when the series began)  I'm not curious enough to shell out for the hardcover though.

 

I just finished reading The Accidental Sorcerer, by K.E. Mills and am going to go find the second one in this series which is Witches Incorporated.  If that's in the nearby bookstore, it'll be the next book I'm Currently Reading.

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I refuse to see that movie because the books always describe Reacher as 6'5 230+ w/ blond hair and blue eyes.  Does that sound like Tom Cruise to anyone?! I realize that movie producers have their own "vision", but some of them need glasses.

 

I've never read the Virgil Flowers books.  Not sure why.  Harlen Coben is another good one, with Myron Bolitar.

 

And to keep this on topic, I just finished the 11th Lincoln Rhyme book in the series, The Skin Collector.  Now I need some new books.

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Just about to start The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron. Finished The Red Knight a week ago, and bought this one as soon as it came out in regular sized paperback.

 

Really cool blend of real history and complete fantasy, by a man who clearly knows so, so much about Medieval warfare, weaponry and armour. Not only that, but he knows how to create vivid, sympathetic characters too.

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I'm almost halfway through We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas and I'm really struggling with it.  I really don't like stories that start with an unhappy premise and then get sadder and sadder as they go on.  Can someone who has read this give me some hope?  If I hadn't seen so many glowing reviews of this, I would have given up 100 pages ago.

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I'm reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. It's the final (yay!) book in the Mortal Instruments series. I got pulled into all this paranormal YA stuff after Twilight, & I'm still reading it LOL. Luckily I found an eBay seller who sells ebooks cheap, so I didn't have to spend a lot of money on it. 

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My son got me hooked on all of those too.  I have all of them. It looks like she is going to start another 'spin off(ish) series' though, like the Infernal Devices were.

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For those of you who have read Reacher, Lucas Davenport, Lincoln Rhyme, Harry Bosch etc- have you caught FaceOff?  I liked some of the combinations but some of them just didn't work. An interesting idea and take - kudos to Baldacci.

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anstar, have you tried Robert Crais?  I've been reading his Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series since The Monkey's Raincoat (a title I could not ignore on the shelf)  I'm currently reading The Sentry, which is the latest in Pike's series.  I picked that up because my local bookstore didn't have Witches Incorporated in stock; I'll have to wait till the weekend when I can get to a different branch.  I really need to find the nearest library in my new neighbourhood because I'm going to go broke.

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I haven't, but I'll look for it.  You're right. "The Monkey's Raincoat" is a title just begging to be picked up.  The new Rick Riordan book comes out tomorrow, so I have that first on the list, but I'll put Robert Crais right behind it.

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Been reading Michael Palin's Diaries 1980-88: Halfway to Hollywood. Am towards the end, around 1987, when he's filming A Fish Called Wanda. Read his previous volume (1969-79), which covered the Python years. My next book is Mapping Decline, which I checked out from the library (along w/my current read) after having it on reserve for weeks. It's about the white flight patterns of St. Louis. As a (white) lifelong St. Louisan, there's some that I know, and in light of recent events, I've only recently learned about (which is embarrassing to admit), but I want to learn more.

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I just picked up Attrition: The First Act of Penance by S.G. Night (it was a BookBub* deal of the day) and although I am only 75 or so pages into the book, I find that I am really enjoying the book.  I am beyond impressed that this was written by an 18-year old - (don't let that scare you away from this book, the author has an incredible way with words).

 

*Speaking of BookBub, those of you with electronic readers should check out the BookBub.com website - when you sign up (free) you receive a daily email with various book deals (lots of them 99-cents or less) based on your reading preferences - I've discovered lots of new books and authors (granted some books were total duds, but for the amazing price of free, I can deal with it).

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I've recently gotten interested in the Lindbergh kidnapping, so I'm reading a couple of books on the subject: The Ghosts of Hopewell, by Jim Fisher, and The Case that Never Dies, by Lloyd C. Gardner.  One argues for and one against Hauptman's guilt.

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I've recently gotten interested in the Lindbergh kidnapping, so I'm reading a couple of books on the subject: The Ghosts of Hopewell, by Jim Fisher, and The Case that Never Dies, by Lloyd C. Gardner.  One argues for and one against Hauptman's guilt.

If you're interested by the Lindbergh Kidnapping & you like mysteries, try Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. That was inspired by the kidnapping. If you're not interested in the book, the movie was really good too, in fact, it's one of the few good movies made from an Agatha Christie novel.

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If you're interested by the Lindbergh Kidnapping & you like mysteries, try Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. That was inspired by the kidnapping. If you're not interested in the book, the movie was really good too, in fact, it's one of the few good movies made from an Agatha Christie novel.

Yes, I've read that one, and have seen one of the movies (have not yet seen the David Suchet version -- it's in my Netflix queue).  Hard to beat Christie for a good old-fashioned who-done-it.

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As a follower of all of the various "Case of the Century" cases from the 20th century, I was really surprised when yesterday's Jeopardy question asking for Hauptman's name didn't even produce a guess from any of the contestants. I was yelling at the tv, "Hauptman! Hauptman!!" 

 

I'm actually looking for a good nonfiction telling of the Stanford White murder by Harry Thaw over White's affair with Thaw's wife, Evelyn Nesbit, which was the first of the Cases of the Century.

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