The Mermaid — Christina Henry

Another great story from Christina.

I certainly feel rewarded for reading ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Fabulous Showman’ before diving straight into this, as they do give one the feeling and attitude of the age and thereby give this story a sense of genuine realism.   So i would certainly recommend reading both before hand if you’re looking for a more immersive experience from this story.

Reading a work of fiction that contains real historical characters, in their real historical places and time, while only twisting the factual narrative where needed to make the fictional narrative fit was, at times, quite emotionally disturbing.   One can truly feel for Amelia as though she is a genuine historical person, because all the people around her were genuine historical people.

For example…   Barnum did put a huge tank into the museum, but he put whales in it.   And the way in which he treats the mermaid in this story is not too dissimilar to how he treated the whales.   One can almost read this story as the story of those whales, and have Amelia’s voice speak for them.   Sadly, the whales never had a voice, nor did they have someone like Levi to champion their corner, and all suffered and died serving the ignorance of the masses and Barnum’s bank account.   It made me feel genuinely uncomfortable, and moved in ways that an ordinary work of fiction simply doesn’t.   It’s quite the experience, and one i certainly recommend.

As with all of Christina’s books, the writing is wonderful, flowing, and, for me, perfectly edited.   A wonderful read.   It really does capture the feeling and attitude of the age.

Christina’s next book ‘The Girl in Red’ is out on 18th June 2019.   I’m so looking forward to having a ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ journey.

Christina’s Page

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The Fabulous Showman — Irving Wallace

I decided to read this to give me a little background before reading ‘The Mermaid’ and i’m really glad i did.   What a wonderful piece of history and a very interesting man.

I think, after reading this book, that if we want to blame anyone for the current cult of celebrity, modern advertising and marketing, tabloid journalism, etc., then we need look no further than P.T. Barnum.   While he may, or may not, have invented these things, he certainly brought them all together and exploited them in ways that no one was prepared for.

I do feel that this book does him justice though.   In exploring his background and reasons, from a stifled puritan childhood in a stifled puritan village, it seems his main driving force was to make life fun and interesting for all and sundry.   And his determination and drive to get things done and suceed was quite incredible.

My only complaint about this book is the timeline gets a little confused in places, hopping back and forward and back again and forward again.   But, it’s still very much worth reading as it exposes a lot about today’s modern world of celebrity, pop culture, tabloid journalism, advertising and marketing.   Maybe people shouldn’t be so gullible, but when people’s lives are so dull and tragic they’ll flock to anything that anyone markets to them that they want to believe, whether it’s true or not.   And people’s lives are probably more dull and tragic now than they have ever been.

And so i’m now really looking forward to reading ‘The Mermaid’ and i’ll let you know if learning about Barnum was a good idea or not.

Irving’s Page

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The Little Mermaid — Hans Christian Anderson

I decided i’d read this just to get my mermaid thing going before reading ‘The Mermaid’.

I’m very disappointed.

Silly little girl falls in love with handsome prince who she can’t have because she’s just not good enough and he loves another, blah, blah, blah.   So she has to die, like dead forever, because mermaids don’t have immortal souls like human beings do because they’re obviously just animals and Anderson obviously believes that animals don’t have souls and probably agrees with Descartes that you can even nail them to doors and dissect them without anaesthetic because they’re just soulless things unworthy of our consideration.

But wait, Hans gives this disgusting, soulless animal a chance, she can have legs to go on land and woo the handsome prince but she has to lose her voice by having her tongue cut out and suffer the pain of walking on knives for her whole life to do so.   So desperate is this soulless creature that she agrees to this obscene torture.   If she gets the prince to own her through marriage thus becoming a responsible pet owner for this soulless animal then god will bestow a soul upon this creature and it can live happily ever after as the sex slave of the prince.   Otherwise she’s just going to be a bit of nothing floating on the wind for all eternity.

And then we’re told that if children are good then the little mermaid may still get a soul and go to heaven but if children are bad then she won’t.   So if you you’re ever a naughty child, even for a moment, then you’re obviously a fucking evil little shit who hates mermaids.   WTF!!!   But mermaids are soulless animals who don’t get to go to heaven so its a bit confused as to whether a child should be worried about being good when its not actually the child’s fault in the first place that mermaids are soulless animals who god obviously hates and doesn’t want in heaven anyway.

Children should not have a sense of right and wrong built upon fairy tales, imaginary beings and/or other such nonsense.   Because what do you think is going to happen when the child finds out that everything it believed you told it was true is a complete lie that you conjured up in order to hoodwink and con the child into behaving to your unreasonable demands?

I seriously would not read this to any child i had in my care.   It’s disgusting, backward, patriarchal, god grovelling drivel.   Some books should be burned/deleted.

Deleted!

Han’s Page

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The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes — Ruth Hogan

Having totally enjoyed ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’, i just had to give this a read.

Mostly a book that deals with death, and how different people deal with death in its many guises.   I know, it sounds a bit morbid and miserable, but Ruth manages to pull this off without it being so.

As with ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’, Ruth creates a wonderful cast of characters that we can believe in and feel for.   People who have been hit by tradgedy and grief and have to learn to live on with it.   And Ruth does this with a wonderful compassion mixed in with just the perfect touch of humour to keep the story flowing along nicely while set mostly between a Victorian grave yard and a lido.

10/10 for taking a topic that most writers would shy away from and making it into a really enjoyable, thoughtful read, with quite a few titbits of genuine wisdom thrown in.

I really enjoy Ruth’s writing, and you’ll definitely find me reading Ruth’s next book, ‘Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel’, at some future date.

Ruth’s Page

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The Last Town — Blake Crouch

‘Pines’ and ‘Wayward’ were brilliant, and so i dove straight into this finale to the trilogy without pausing for air.

It’s been a while since i’ve been treated to such unputdownable books, and to have 3 of them in a trilogy is wonderful.

As with the other two books, great writing, great characters and great all-around story telling.

And what a great ending.   Although, for me, i feel it would have been a tiny bit slightly better without the Epilogue — it wouldn’t be a good review without some negative criticism, now would it?

I am most certainly going to be reading more from Blake in the future.

I’m now a fanboy.

Blake’s Page

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Wayward — Blake Crouch

‘Pines’ was a really good read, and ‘Wayward’ did not disappoint in any way either.

I found both books totally unputdownable, any spare moment my head would be glued to my Kindle reading.

The story keeps on having more layers and twists added to it as more information from the time before suspension is revealed — all to be played out in Wayward Pines.   And the characters just get better the more we learn about them as Blake artfully drip feeds the occasional back story snippet from their previous lives.

Full on story telling from a full on story teller.

And now it’s straight into ‘The Last Town’ for the finale.

Blake’s Page

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Pines — Blake Crouch

I started to watch the TV series a couple of years ago, just because Juliette Lewis was in it.   And then they had the utter gall to kill her off in the third episode.   WTF!!!   So i binned watching the TV version and decided to read the books instead.

So how was the book?   Awesome!

I was very surprised to see this listed as ‘horror’ in Amazon.   I would definitely put this in dystopian sci-fi, i didn’t notice any horror, just the normal dystopian sci-fi kind of stuff.

I’ve previously read Blake’s book, ‘Dark Matter’, which was exceptionally well written and Pines is just as good.   Blake does a fantastic job of putting his protagonists into some really mind bending, disturbing situations and putting the reader well and truly into the protagonist’s mind.

All in all, a great start to this trilogy and i’m diving straight into book 2, ‘Wayward’, very optimistic for more of Blake’s style of writing — i’m becoming a big fan.

Blake’s Page

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The Bookshop Of Yesterdays — Amy Meyerson

WTF!!!

I was hoping for another good book about a bookshop, but what i got was someone who thinks that completely rewriting the rules of punctuation is somehow a good thing.

FYI Amy… Speech is defined in prose by quotation marks, not just simply put into italics.   Italics in prose means something completely different.   I’m not sure what Amy is trying to achieve with this but it’s utterly lost on me.

It was utterly ridiculous trying to read this, there’s no hope of simply relaxing and just enjoying the story, you have to spend most of your attention deciphering the absolute lack of quotation marks and shambolic misuse of italics.   Add to this that most of the start of the book is people saying things and one simply has no choice but to quickly delete the book from ones Kindle.

Total waste of money.   Thanks Amy.   Go back to school and learn how to write before publishing books and taking people’s money.

Deleted!

Amy’s Page

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The Vernal Memory — J. N. Chaney

I was hoping for a bit more from this last book in this very enjoyable series.   It was still very enjoyable, fast flowing, full of action and everything the first three books were, that’s not the problem.   The problem is that throughout the previous books it’s felt like we’ve been thrown a trail of breadcrumbs concerning lots of things, and i started reading this book thinking that that trail would have lead to somewhere.   Sadly, someone seems to have run out of breadcrumbs.

Previously we were told that the Variant came from a hole that was drilled into the ground, which sounded like someone was covering something up.   Like a hole in the ground would have enough gas to destroy a whole planet plus one more when it leaked through a worm hole.   It didn’t seem plausible for all this gas that has flooded two whole atmospheres to come from a hole drilled into the ground.   But that’s all that’s said about it in the whole series — nothing more.   No further explanation is given.

I was also hoping to have explained to me why the people of Everlasting can’t breathe Variant but the rest of the people on the planet can.

Then there’s Garden.   Who seem to have been around quite some time before the humans arrived, yet their sole purpose seems to have been to stop Gel from his master plan to invade Earth with genetically modified people from Everlasting — genetically modified with Earth’s help.   So no real explanation as to what has been going on in Everlasting before the humans arrived to have caused the insurrection was given.

And there’s other little picky things that just made this feel like a ‘quickly wrap the series up and move on and not get too deep about anything’ kind of book.

But, as i said at the beginning, it’s still an enjoyable read, but i’m just left with the feeling that it could have been so much more.

All in all, a good series, good writing, great characters, fast flowing pace throughout, just slightly lacking at the end.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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Hope Everlasting — J. N. Chaney

The third book of this, so far, very enjoyable tetralogy.

We left book two after the story split into two stories on two worlds, Earth and Kant, and enter book three where the story moves onto Kant almost in its entirety.

One would have expected a little slowing down in the story by now, but no, in fact the story starts going more, especially towards the last quarter of this book.

More characters are added to the cast, more ingredients are stirred to the mix, more clues are added to the puzzle, but still very little is being revealed as to what is really going on.   And it works really well, you just want more of it.

And so wanting more i dive straight into the fourth and final book, where, hopefully, all will be revealed and we will find all the answers to this puzzle.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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