Real World Meets Frequency Meets Bicentennial Man. Long ago, there was a situation I was very tangentially linked to (I was a classmate of the survivor) where a boy witnessed his brother be murdered in front of him via a shotgun blast meant for the boy. In the movie Frequency, my singular favorite scene is near the end when the dad in the 1960s uses his shotgun to blow off the hand of the bad guy and you see the hand wither to nothing in the present day timeline. And in Bicentennial Man, you follow Robert Williams’ robot character as he lives and loves over the course of two centuries. Literally this morning (as I write this), Catherine Ryan Hyde is using her telescope and camera setup to photograph the known universe, or at least the parts of it she can see from her own small slice of Earth.
This book wound up evoking the first three of these for me in that strange place that resides between my ears, and along the way we get a prototypical character-driven Catherine Ryan Hyde novel. It even included a scene that those that know Hyde even via her Facebook page could see playing out in her real life, making it all that much more “real”.
This isn’t an action filled book, it isn’t even really a mystery filled book. This is a solid character driven moving story about two people thrown together in very unlikely circumstances at a particular point in their lives, who turn out to be very rare types of people themselves. It is a powerful yet relatively sedate story very akin to Bicentennial Man itself.
And sometimes, those are exactly the stories we need to hear. Very much recommended.
This review of My Name Is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde was originally written on October 21, 2020.
Excellently Done. In this entrant to the Creek Canyon series, we lose focus on the work of the male lead – while it is there, it isn’t as prominent as the first book – while getting even more in depth with the emotional trauma of the female lead. Which, full disclosure here since it is such a sensitive topic for some, is domestic abuse. Bybee does an amazing job of bringing us in to Erin’s worlds and her fears about them ever meeting. The suspense built up through one part of the book in particular is some amazing work, ratcheting up the tension to almost unbearable levels. But then the payoff comes rather suddenly in the closing pages of the book, and that is arguably the book’s one flaw. Still, truly excellent work and very much recommended.
This review of Home To Me by Catherine Bybee was originally written on July 14, 2020.
This week we are looking at one of the darkest, most disturbing books I’ve read in quite some time. This week, we are looking at All The Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester.
At the back of this book, in the author bio, it notes that Winchester is a pseudonym for an author that primarily writes bubblegum pop level romance novels but who wanted to take a shot at psychological suspense. After reading this book, I can tell you first hand that if you went in expecting a bubblegum pop romance, well, those notions would have been dispelled in the first few pages. By the time you get to a rape scene fairly early in, the darkness has already been well established. So it is likely a very good marketing decision indeed to keep those two product lines separate.
That said, this was an absolute mind fuck of a book, particularly in the exceedingly dark and oppressive first half. As I say in the Goodreads review below, I really was questioning my desire to finish it, it was *that* dark. To the level that I’m actually glad I was alone when reading this one, just so no one else was impacted by how dark I became while reading it. It was an amazing effort, it really was. Winchester’s ability to bring the reader’s mind to such darkness was truly superb – and a bit disturbing. By the end, the story does in fact brighten up a bit, if only by a shade or two, and this was probably necessary just to preserve the reader’s sanity and ease them back into the real world outside the book.
This is an excellent book for a dark winter night laying around the fire reading, but probably a bit dark for the beach. (Scratch that, I was reading a fair amount of that first half while actually on a beach – there is no probably there. You really don’t want to take this one to a beach. But fall is coming anyway. 😉 )
And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release of the Week: All the Lovely Pieces by J. M. Winchester”