Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2022

[Review]—In "Barnabas Collins and Quentin's Demon," Things Get a Little Hairy

It's another Thursday, so it's time for another Dark Shadows review. Don't I sound ecstatic? I lost track of how many of these Dark Shadows I've read, and, after a time, they started to blur together. Today we're looking at Barnabas Collins and Quentin's Demon, the fourteenth installment authored by Daniel "Dan" Ross under the pen name Marilyn Ross (his wife's name). What a split second, what happened to Barnabas Collins and the Mysterious Ghost, book thirteen? It's not accessible as an eBook on Kindle for reasons unbeknownst to me, so I had no alternative but to skip it and move on to the next.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

[Review]—"The Peril of Barnabas Collins" by Marilyn Ross

The cursed vampire played by Jonathan Frid in the original Dark Shadows soap opera and the theatrical spinoff "retelling," House of Dark Shadows, captivated young and old audiences in the late 1960s and early 1970s. If my memory serves me properly (it's been a while since I've seen the series), Barnabas Collins was continuously looking for a cure to restore his humanity. The Dark Shadows novel series, written by William Edward Daniel Ross under the pen name Marilyn Ross (borrowing his second wife's first name), strayed away from soap opera plotlines, but with the 12th book, The Peril of Barnabas Collins, he resurrects the "cure" narrative, but with a few intriguing twists.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

[Review]—A Magnificent Thriller from Start to Finish: "Girl, Forgotten" by Karin Slaughter

Despite knowing about both, I'm probably one of the few bloggers who hasn't read Karin Slaughter's Pieces of Her or seen the Netflix series based on it. I'd never read anything by the author until I read Girl, Forgotten, the sequel to Pieces of Her. I'm curious about the book for two reasons: the title and the cover. "Girl, Forgotten," the title's two simple words, are strangely alluring. Then there's the front cover. The cover is hypnotic... and a little creepy. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

[Review]—Shea Ernshaw's "Long Live the Pumpkin Queen"

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a cult classic, a must-see watch on Halloween and Christmas. For many years, there have been rumors (or talks) of a sequel, but nothing has come to fruition, with the exception of the recently released young adult novel Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw, published by Disney Press.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

[Review]—'Barnabas Collins Versus the Warlock' by Marilyn Ross

I haven't seen an episode of the Dark Shadows soap opera in many (many) years. According to what I recall, the creator, Dan Curtis, and his writing staff ran out of supernatural concepts, or, to put it another way, they basically used and reused every horror trope imaginable. As a result, the series came to an end. While his plots swayed away from the television storylines, William Edward Daniel Ross (a.k.a. Marilyn Ross) took the same approach with his Dark Shadows novels by incorporating every horror trope into his stories. This gave him the freedom to place the cursed vampire Barnabas Collins in unusual situations. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

[Review]—'Shattered' by James Patterson & James O. Born

It's hard to believe that James Patterson's enthralling "Michael Bennett" series has expanded to 14 books. The last 15 years have flown by, and it only seems like yesterday that I started reading Step on a Crack. Here I am, nearly 41 years old, reviewing the series' most recent volume, Shattered, co-written by James O. Born (his fifth in the series).

Thursday, August 25, 2022

[Review] - 'The Phantom and Barnabas Collins' by Marilyn Ross

Victoria Winters, the orphan governess, had vanished by the time "The Phantom and Barnabas Collins" was released in September 1969. It's the tenth book in Marilyn Ross's original Dark Shadows novel series (otherwise known as William Edward Daniel Ross). Victoria Winters abruptly left Collinwood, and Maggie Evans took over as David's governess. As a result, Victoria's parents' mystery remained a mystery.

Monday, August 8, 2022

[Review] - 'Crossfire' (Extreme Measures 2) by Lynette Eason

Last week, I binged-watched the second season of The X-Files and coincidentally read Crossfire by Lynette Eason, which centers on an FBI antagonist. The two are in no way linked together besides both having FBI characters. Crossfire is a Christian romance-thriller, and nowhere does the description fit in with The X-Files.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

[Review] - 'The Demon of Barnabas Collins' by Marilyn Ross

If you perchance to buy a Dark Shadows novel at a thrift store or used book store with only the bare minimum knowledge of the series, you'll be confused or disappointed after reading the book. Whether you have seen a few episodes of the original ABC daytime soap, the short-lived NBC series, or Tim Burton's spoofy remake, you know the vampire Barnabas Collins is imprisoned in a coffin and is released 100+ years later. Barnabas didn't make his way into the book series by Marilyn Ross (the pen name of William Edward Daniel Ross) until the sixth novel, and his backstory was different. Instead of being chained in a coffin, Barnabas lived among the living. Every once in a while, he would change his identity to a made-up son, grandson, great-grandson, etc., so nobody would find out about his vampire secret.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

[Review] - 'Down Range' by Taylor Moore

A Down Range paperback (published by William Morrow) had been sitting on a Walmart shelf collecting dust for nearly two months when I finally bought it. What lured me in was the back-cover quote from Providence Journal - "A masterwork of classic storytelling: a man defending his own in the best tradition of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood film." I'm in no way a John Wayne fan, but I love anything Eastwood-related.

Monday, August 1, 2022

[Review] - 'Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden' by William Shatner (with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens)

In 1994, Star Trek: Generation left a sour taste in many Trekkie's mouths after they watched the unnecessary death of Captain James T. Kirk and the destruction of the USS Enterprise-D. That same year, William Shatner teamed up with authors Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Pocket Books to resurrect Kirk in what would later become The Odyssey trilogy. Shatner would collaborate with the Reeves-Stevenses on the outlines, and the Reeves-Stevenses would do the actual writing.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

[Review] - 'Star Wars: Padawan' by Kiersten White

Star Wars: Padawan by Kiersten White is now available to own hardcover, audiobook, and Kindle from Lucasfilm Press Books. It's one of many young-adult Star Wars novels Disney has published since taking ownership of the franchise.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

[Review] - 'The Secret of Barnabas Collins' by Marilyn Ross

The cursed vampire Barnabas Collins finally makes his debut in the Dark Shadows lit-verse - that I couldn't read because it's not available on Kindle. All well! I had to skip over the self-titled sixth novel Barnabas Collins and jump right into The Secret of Barnabas Collins.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

[Review] - 'The Curse of Collinwood' by Marilyn Ross

I skipped The Mystery of Collinswood, the fourth novel in the Dark Shadows series because it's not available on Kindle. Instead, I'm reviewing the fifth installment - The Curse of Collinwood. Despite Barnabas Collins appearing on the cover, the cursed vampire doesn't make an appearance. The character's name is never even mentioned. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

[Review] - 'Shadows Reel' by C.J. Box

I've seen C.J. Box's novels numerous times in bookstores' bestseller section but was never interested in reading one of his stories until I started watching the Joe Pickett series on Paramount +. The television series debuted exclusively for Spectrum cable services last December. "Exclusively" is used loosely since Paramount + is streaming the show. Paramount Television produces Joe Pickett, so it's a no-brainer why the series is on there. After watching a few episodes, I had the urge to read a Joe Pickett novel, or specifically the first book, Open Season. My first instinct was to check my local library, and there wasn't one single C.J. Box title. There are currently 22 Joe Pickett novels and a short story collection, 5 (soon to be 6) Hoyt/Dewell mysteries, and three standalone novels, all written by C.J. Box, and my library doesn't carry any of them. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

[Review] - 'Strangers at Collins House' by Marilyn Ross

Did you think I had given up on reviewing the Dark Shadows novels? If your answer is yes, then you're dead wrong. Starting today, I'll be posting a new Dark Shadows review every Thursday. 

From 1966 to 1972, William Edward Daniel Ross published 32 Dark Shadows novels (minus the House of Dark Shadows novelization) under the pseudonym, Marilyn Ross. The book series didn't follow the soap operas' storylines. The first book, Dark Shadows, was partly a retelling of Victoria Winter's arrival in Collinsport. The second installment, Victoria Winters, was more or less a rehash of the second half of Dark Shadows, where Victoria gets mixed in with a mystery connected to the new guests at the Collins House (Collinwood).

[Review] - 'Critical Alliance' by Elizabeth Goddard

Almost every other book I've read this summer is set in Montana or Wyoming. No, this wasn't intentional on my part. I guess it's how the stars are aligning for me. I didn't know Critical Alliance had a Montana setting until I read it. What can I say? I wanted to read this book solo based on the cover. I skimmed the blurb but somehow missed two Montana mentions.  

Saturday, July 9, 2022

[Review] - 'The Songs That Could Have Been' by Amanda Wen

Available on Paperback and Kindle

About the Book 

Two couples in love. Two sets of impossible circumstances. One powerful God of grace. 

After a devastating tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love, and the man who broke her heart threaten to throw her well-balanced world out of control. 

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But his old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. Is he courageous enough to make a different choice this time around? 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

[Review] - 'Sands of Dune' by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Other readers have suggested countless times that I should read the science fiction series Dune. I'm sure everyone on Earth has at least heard of Dune or seen the overly-hyped 2021 film adaptation, and they know Dune is a weird story about the fight over "spice" that originates on the desert planet Arrakis (otherwise known as Dune.) I attempted to read Frank Herbert's Dune around 1989 or 1990 after watching 1984's cult adaptation directed by David Lynch but lost interest midway. Maybe there were too many characters and backstories for me to keep up with, or perhaps I was too young for the story. Whatever the reason was, I never took an interest in reading Dune until Denis Villeneuve's remake became a thing. Then I bought one of the newer editions with the movie's poster on the cover. And I've been on page 171 since March 19th. No, I'm not bored with it. It's quite the opposite. I like what I've read so far and intend to finish it by summer's end.  

Monday, June 13, 2022

[Review] - A Relative Murder by Jude Deveraux

It might seem strange that I'm reviewing a Jude Deveraux novel, but I grew up with the author's books. My mother was a fan of Deveraux's historical romances and kept the books on a homemade wooden bookcase in the living room of my childhood home. After running out of new books to read - I grabbed A Knight in Shining Armor off the shelf and read it. I believe I was a nine-year-old at the time. Yeah, I was probably a bit too young to be reading romances, but that was my introduction to Jude Deveraux.