Archives for category: books

It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything. My reading juice has disappeared! However, I had to take the time to read Brian’s latest book. It’s definitely a stunner and is a two thumbs up necessary read for everyone!

Review:

Brian creates a really wonderful tale in his recent book, An Order of Coffee and Tears. He knows how to write the suspense, the fears of everyday life and how difficult it can be living with an earth-shattering secret. His sense of family among friends is truly astounding. I wanted to learn more about this little diner family and wanted the tale to continue well into the characters Golden Years.

Gabby is someone that almost every woman can feel akin to. There are characteristics she has that reminded me of myself, and I saw in a lot of my female friends. Mrs. Potts is a wonderful mother figure who cares deeply for her “wards”. I would have loved to make her materialize in real life. I felt terrible for Suzette and what she allowed herself to be put through in that horrible marriage of hers. I felt sad for the owner of the diner, Junior, as he never seemed to be able to catch a break. And these folks are just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s definitely a small world, and Brian Spangler paints this so well within Angela’s Diner. It’s a place that everyone could dream about, wishing there was just such a place right around the corner from your own home, in your own small town.

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Philly. I mean the city, not the sandwich. And Ms. Pepper. In my eyes, one does not go without the other. The City of Brotherly Love would be a much lesser place without Mandy, the teacher. Amanda Pepper is looking for some extra cash and decides that teaching summer school is the definitive answer. At least she gets to teach in her own school. Most of the other teachers are from different schools and so Mandy gets to once again try out her social skills. I, like her, detest most of her new colleagues. Except Flora. I feel bad for her because she’s such a likable character. To have to deal with hate mongering because she’s black must be a horrible thing. There seems to be quite the rash of hat crime happening in Philly that summer. Gang shootings, anonymous letters and graffiti adorning the nicest of buildings.

But back to the teachers. Five is a smug bugger. All the women fall for him, which immediately make him a turnoff for me. And Lowell….well he’s just a sniveling weenie. Poor Amanda, getting stuck with him because her mother knows his mother….makes them sound like they’re 16! Aldiss – now that’s a woman who needs to be wiped off the face of the earth. To imagine, being a teacher in a classroom that has major multiculture happening and being that much of a racist pig!! Every time she opened her mouth I wanted to slap her silly.

I love your books, Gillian Roberts. I love seeing what mess Ms. Pepper gets herself embroiled in. And I love that there always seems to be some moral standpoint behind every novel. Can’t wait to see what happens next – both at school and at “home”.

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I like short stories, and it’s a toss up between horror and mystery as to which I like best. Probably horror, as character development is less important in that type of short fiction. Tally Harbour (excellent name, by the way) can certainly tell a good tale. This book has many different types of “scary people” in it – some of them deranged, twisted and slightly psychotic. I really liked that the stories didn’t revolve around the big phenomenon of the paranormal. Since its the biggest rage right now, it was good to not read a full book of vampies, wolvies and ghosties.

I liked that Tally wrote from all sorts of characters points of view: an older man reminiscing about the witch he knew when he was a boy, a man who gets talked into visiting an armadillo farm, the lady who marries a cruel preacher and gets her own back, and other walks of life. I also enjoyed that these stories aren’t written to entertain a young male teenager. Most older horror stories feature gratuitous violence and sex, reminiscent of pre-teen boy fandom. Tally’s violence is just enough to get the point across when needed and is free of unnecessary sexual content. The stories are mostly psychological and creepy – perfect for me.

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I got really bored with this one half way through. So it sat, vegetating, on my bedside table until today. I still wanted to know who killed her husband so I took an hour this afternoon and completed it. To be honest, it was not the most thrilling, or plausible, of conclusions. Nor was it very satisfying. At least not to me. I did quite enjoy Grandma Ethel and her partner Sparky. Grandma may have no scruples but she can swear like a trucker and that made me laugh.

Who didn’t I like? The widow Gersten. She was so materialistic and her constant degrading of almost everyone became tiresome. Did I really care how well people dressed or how well they wore their designer or non-designer clothing? I would have preferred to hear more about her triplets. I also disliked the good doctor’s parents. They were snobs to the nth degree. Susie’s parents were also rather unlikable. It’s like they peered down their noses at anyone who was above the blue collar. It’s a shame that most of the characters in this book were so unlikable.

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So far, I think this is my favorite Brian Freeman. I wondered if I was going to enjoy it as the cover has a bloody shovel partially buried in snow. I tend to dislike books with snow as a major part of the plot. Maybe because winter here in Canada can be so cold and miserable sometimes and I don’t want to relive it. However, The Burying Place does not centre itself around snow, it’s just a minor irritation in the background. Never judge a book by it’s cover, they say. I usually do though. It’s a good thing I’m drawn to a lot of covers!

Stride is still a grumpy Gus. He seems to be getting worse as now he is having some pretty vivid flashbacks accompanied by blacking out. And there’s a massive strain on the relationship between him and Serena. But they are draw into a lost baby case together where their life together must take a backseat. And let’s not forget the missing women and one murder that’s running simultaneously. The missing baby’s father, an egotistical surgeon, looks to be their prime suspect but appears squeaky clean. This is a fast paced thriller with the usual twists and turns.

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Hamilton Waymire is fast becoming one of my favorite short story tellers. His hint of noir in his private dick stories is perfect. It’s not over-the-top like some of the noir stories I’ve read. The PI in this one has just enough brashness, just enough hard-nosed to make him excessively likable. Floyd Hunter is the type of private dick that you hope would be cheap, nasty and available when you need him. One that you’d find in the yellow pages, or on a business card wedged into a crack in the wall by a seedy pay phone in the back of an even seedier bar.

In this tale, Hunter turns down a job offer from his old sweetheart. She ditched him the night of graduation for a nerdy dweeb who’s father was a millionaire. And Hunter never quite got over her. When he watches her get murdered, he vows to find the culprit. He’ll either kill him with his bare hands, or one of his two precious firearms. Either way, someone’s going to pay for what they did to his not-so-beloved ex.

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I have now finished the entire Mervyn Stone trilogy. Will there be more? I honestly wasn’t sure if I would like this third part. I thought the second novel was inferior to the first and I was afraid that this one might limp along. However, I was delighted to see that Cursed Among Sequels was almost as brilliant as number one. (Nothing beats a murder or two that occur at a sci-Fi convention!) Mervyn is hired to help out on a remake of Vixens from the Void, his space-age Dynasty rip-off cult classic tv series from the 80s. It always amazes me how he continually gets suckered back into the Vixens lair, becomes a super genius investigator, and narrowly misses a horrible, painful death.

I’ve never been a sci-Fi fan. My dad and brother were the fans in the household. In fact, I think they both have blister-packed action figures lurking in their homes. Granted, my dad’s were probably gifts from my brother. But the both are still addicted to Doctor Who and Torchwood. I even have a nasty ex who was a Trekker and force fed me old Star Trek movies. All of that aside, this series tickled my funny bone and brought back memories of my tortured youth where Sundays were ruled by the males having ownership over the remote control with dreary Science Fiction programming brainwashed into my brain. I guess the point I’d like to make is: this series is for everyone. Mystery lovers will be highly entertained. Comedy lovers will giggle themselves silly. And Sci-Fi lovers….well let’s just hope they can laugh at themselves. Just a little bit.

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