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Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Reaping by Bernard Taylor

Book 54/75

The Reaping The Reaping by Bernard Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bernard Taylor's The Reaping is an unsettling Gothic tale of seduction, and the myriad ways that seduction can be used against a person. Tom Rigby, former artist-turned-shop owner, is commissioned to paint a portrait in a secluded country mansion. At first reticent, the money offered is too lucrative for Rigby to turn down.

Rigby soon finds himself romantically involved with the subject of the portrait, a young relative of the owner of Woolvercombe House. However, during his stay at the mansion, Rigby observes more and more distressing goings-on, and is more than happy to have his leave of the mansion at the completion of the portrait.

Soon, to his horror, Rigby discovers that the commission for the portrait and all that he observed at the manor were all part of a diabolical plot, and that his was a small but integral part in a much larger, more sinister scheme.

Whether of wealth, the flesh, or youth, seduction is at the core of this book. Some plot points seem too contrived for necessity, but the twists and turns will keep the reader guessing. The horror is a very slow build, but once all the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place, the story takes a rapid chase to its chilling and unexpected end.

Hannibal Hills narration is excellent and easy to understand. An all-around great book to listen to.

I would like to thank Valancourt Books for providing a free audio download of The Reaping in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition by Rae Carson

Book 53/75

The Rise of Skywalker The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A solid adaptation of the film, with a few bits added in to clarify some of the murkier explanations made in the movie.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom

Book 52/75

Black Ambrosia Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Engstrom's Black Ambrosia follows Angelina's descent into darkness as she decides that she's had enough of the world around her and feeling weak so decides to become a vampire. Engstrom's prose is almost romantic as she describes Angelina's journey, and what ends she'll go to to achieve her goals. At turns both perverse, depraved, and beautiful, Engstrom does not shy from the darkness found in humanity.

Karly Hutchins narration is clear and understandable and perfectly captures Angelina's detached emotions. My only drawback for the audiobook are the chapter ending interviews. As Angelina makes her way across the country, characters give interviews of their impression of the young girl at the end of each chapter, and sometimes there is no break between the chapter and the interview, making it sound like it's part of the continuing story. I found this confusing at times. Had there been a slight pause before these interviews, or if they had even been narrated by someone different, I think these breaks would have been much more clear. Overall, however, it doesn't detract from the story's telling.

I would like to thank Valancourt Books for providing a free audio download of Black Ambrosia in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Book 51/75

The Black Flamingo The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a remarkably beautiful book. A coming of age story that is just as much about discovering cultural identity as it is discovering queer identity, Michael never felt he found his place in his mixed family in addition to being queer. Moving to college, he discovers the local Drag Society and finally finds his way to the person he was always meant to be. Told in verse, the book has a definite lyrical flow. I wish I had this book when I was at a younger age; I think it would have helped me on my own self-discovery journey.

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