Oct 25 2018

Four Book Reviews

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

I enjoyed the discussion of Chess. Hoyle (a game I’ve never heard of) comes up next, which I’m guessing is like poker, based on the book’s description. Telling me about a library in Paris… that’s always a quick way to entice this reader! I learned about Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon and his failure of a play, Xerxes (1714), while reading this. (How often do we sneak pop-culture into stories? How much of it will future readers need to look-up to figure out what we meant? How did past readers figure these things out?)

A dead woman up a chimney? That’s basically the opposite of Santa. “No woman could have inflicted the blows…” That was the point I really wanted the killer to be a female, just to turn the tides of thought. The passage about the range of what a “shrill voice” could be made me laugh. Language barriers!

Why are there nails in windows? Is that a thing people do, or was that a metaphor for shutting out the transparent, for being closed-off and keeping secrets? And why does a nail have a spring?

When I got to the end, with the “Ourang-Outang” and realized what was going on, I chuckled to myself. So this is where tv shows and movies have based the idea from so often? (Like the “Mr. Monk and the Panic Room” episode.)

Fantastic read. A twisted tale with well-developed characters. A very entertaining murder mystery.

I have not read this story before. It’s speculative fiction (horror, a murder mystery with a certain twist). And it’s certainly been published before 2018. I read this as part of the IWSG book club discussion for October 2018.

try something new square 2018 book reading challenge #SpecFic #BeatTheBacklist
Book selected by The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club

Man Up Your Meals
3 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

“You’re not here to be told how to be a man. You know how to be a man. You are a man!” The introduction of this cookbook amused me.

Beer Waffles with Ham and Cheese sound pretty good. There’s a section on brewing your own beer, which reminds you that it’s meant to be fun. Peanut Butter S’mores sound like a good way to bring the outdoors inside (if you like doing that). I wish the Mega Meat Feast had more wild animals. (I’m a hunter. Cow, lamb, pig, eggs, and mushrooms are not my “mega meats” of choice.)

It’s an okay book overall, but I feel that everything in it can be bought at a grocery store and prepared at a typical suburban home. I suppose, based on the title, I hoped for something requiring more “outdoor survival skills.” So, it’s great if you’re a guy (or hope to eat like the book thinks men ought to eat) and aren’t especially adventurous. American grocery stores everywhere carry these ingredients.

I have not read this book or anything by this author (publisher) before.
Published October 2, 2014
try something new square 2018 book reading challenge #BeatTheBacklist


5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

This free guide is provided by my local writers’ group. It’s full of fun tips, an excellent “unstucker” to fight writer’s block, websites, and other writing resources. It took a small village to put this together. All in the name of helping people write more books. I found it to be very useful and well presented.

Strangely, Incredibly Good by Heather Grace Stewart
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

The main character calls herself fat throughout the book. (In fiction, that is a diverse body type.) “The problem was, I just couldn’t hop out of bed. That would require energy, and a sense of hope.” That line speaks to the chronically ill, the depressed, the overweight, etc — it works on so many levels. Later, however, she’s able to do physical activities just by changing her attitude. Increasing her strength and dexterity just by believing in herself. (If only that worked in tabletop RPG… am I right? Ha!)

Part of the book, the theme in a way, is to find self-love. “I hate how society makes you feel that you are the size you wear.” Quotes like that make this a riveting social commentary.

The book, published back in January 2016, should have a meme or two floating around. Eugene mentions how wishes aren’t always used wisely. “Take Donald Trump. He never asked for great hair. He asked for great wealth.” As I said, there should be a meme or two out there. Plus, later in the book, it mentions a genie probably being in the White House, catering to POTUS. Again, it’s funny considering when the book came out.

Early on, the book makes one wonder who “little Logan” was. But it tells the sad story of an abusive marriage long before getting into a moment in the past where everything could have changed. The book has a lot of flashbacks. It seems like it has a “Dead Man’s Curve” cliche, but then in tosses in a twist to keep things fresh. I loved that about this book.

My very favorite part of this book was the description of the Book Mobile.

And yes, the grandmother character gives a real Twitter handle! Hasn’t tweeted in some time, but still. I love that kind of authenticity.

Publication Date: January 14, 2016
I have not read this book or anything by this author before. The main character’s body type makes it a diverse book. The genie makes it Speculative Fiction. “Strangely, Incredibly Good is Heather’s first novel.” — That’s what the book says.
try something new square 2018 book reading challenge #WeNeedDiverseBooks #SpecFic #BeatTheBacklist #DebutAuthor


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  1. You big images in the post and one on sidebar are not showing up we get the gray sad face place holder.
    Find on Twitter:

    1. I believe you and thank you for the heads up.
      However, I can’t see the gray sad face. I see all the images. So I don’t know what was missing, or if it’s always missing or was just an error at that moment, or if you have an adblocker that might have kicked it out, etc. So I’m not sure how to correct the issue.
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