Weekly Mash-Up #100 Getting Festive!

When I started writing this a couple of days ago, I had planned on sharing a festive photo of our Christmas tree.  But, because it’s 2020 and I should know better than to plan anything too far in advance, I will share this instead from one of my all-time favorite shows, Schitt’s Creek

Even with the strangeness of 2020 I’m still enjoying decorating the house and baking way too many sweets!  Or maybe it’s a much anticipated trip to a real bookstore for my birthday (staying safe, of course! ) that has put me in a good mood.  Like many of you, I haven’t been able to visit the library, let alone a book store, in a looooooong time, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things work out.   🙂

It’s not that I don’t have a lot to read already on hand though.  Here are my latest…

The Week in Books

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami — 4 out of 5 stars

Anyone familiar with Murakami’s works will know what to expect from this: strangeness abounds, whether it’s murder or sex or leeches raining from the sky.  And I really can’t describe this novel any better than that!  I really liked it, but I honestly don’t know who I would recommend it to.

Christmas Carol Murder by Leslie Meier — 2 out of 5 stars

I’m trying to be nice in these difficult holiday times so I’m not giving this story the negative stars it deserves.  It’s been a few years since I’ve read anything by Meier.  I do remember her using her main character, Lucy Stone, as a personal soapbox in past novels, especially when it came to what made a better mother (if you didn’t breast feed your kid, you were setting them up for failure, for example).  I always shrugged these things off since there was always a decent mystery to solve.  Welllll…that flew out the window with this installment.  This was beyond a minor soapbox issue, this story went full tilt into the world of politics and preaching about politics, and just bitching period, be it about the price of organic carrots or the fact that her POS car could get blown up if she doesn’t confront a suicide bomber.  It would be one thing if the main character wasn’t a pushover nervous Nellie and actually had some semblance of common sense, but the dialogues and arguments went into the ridiculous area that made me just want to throw this book in the trash.  Needless to say, this series is off of my to-read list for the foreseeable future.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Bones Are Made to Be Broken by Paul Michael Anderson — 4.5 out of 5 stars

What an awesome collection from Anderson!  There really is a bit of everything here, including a vampire’s familiar who wants more; a sci-fi ghost story; a haunting tale of two brothers with bleak futures; a mother willing to do anything to save her child from repeating her mistakes.  If you’re looking for haunting, disturbing, and strangely entertaining, you need to read this collection!!

Christmas Cupcakes and a Caper by D.E. Haggerty — 3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, but a quick note to the author:  do not guarantee “100% laughs” on the title page.  That’s just setting yourself up for disaster.  Was it fun? Yeah. Did it make me laugh out loud? Nowhere close.  I’m not sure where the laughs were at—the rape references?  The dumbass bimbo stereotype as a sidekick?  The mystery and writing were decent so I’m giving it a very low 3 stars.

Poetry

Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger — 5 out of 5 stars!

I’m going to put this out here now: I am not a poetry connoisseur.   I grew up thinking poetry was stuffy crap we had to study in high school, words that rhymed but were incomprehensible.  But thankfully I was introduced to the good stuff, so to speak, a few years ago by a friend.  And Sara Tantlinger delivers the really good stuff (and my apolgies right now to Ms. Tantlinger, I consider myself pretty well-read but I still don’t know the difference between free verse and narrative, so I’m not sure how to properly describe your poetry! ).  This is a collection of poems that focus on The Black Plague. This is a timely piece of work that made my skin crawl and several days after reading it I am still haunted by the imagery.  This is not for everyone, but one of those works I think everyone should read.  Highly recommend.


And so until next time, stay safe and Happy Reading!

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