A Quiet Life: A Review of The Retirement

The Retirement by Keith Minnion book cover. Image on cover is of multiple gravestones crowded into a graveyard together. Title: The Retirement

Author: Keith Minnion

Publisher: White Noise Press

Publication Date: January 4, 2021

Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 9 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Charles Midwich, a recent retiree, decides to move to a new state, a new town, an entirely new life and lifestyle. What he finds once he gets there, and settles in, is nothing like what he ever expected.

Review:

What is your idea of the perfect retirement plan?

Mr. Minnion’s beautiful writing style sucked me into the plot immediately. He knew exactly when to describe one moment in detail and when to leave other details up to the reader’s imagination. I enjoyed switching between his descriptions of the scenes and characters and coming up with my own theories about the things he only mentioned briefly.

Unfortunately, the author gave far too many clues about what was happening to Charles as this character adjusted to retirement. I had a hunch about the ending from reading the blurb, and I was certain I was right by the time I finished the first scene. It would have been nice to be challenged more here.

With that being said, there was something about Charles I really liked. He was a conscientious man who thought through every decision he made carefully. I also appreciated how calm and polite he was no matter if he was ordering honey fig scones at the local bakery or taking a quiet stroll through the cemetery. This was one character I’d love to eat scones with, so don’t be frightened off by the horror tag if this isn’t a genre you normally read.

The Retirement was short, thoughtful, and worth checking out.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Fictional Characters I’d Love to Meet and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Two people hugging sideways as they stand on the side of a cliff at sunset and look at the peaceful forest below them.This was one of those topics I could discuss for hours. If any of us ever meet in person, ask me this question if you want to see me poke my head out of my shell! (I’m often a little quiet and shy at first with new people).

Character: Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series

Why: I adore it when talkative, extroverted people make the first gesture of friendship, especially when they’re as personable as Anne. Our personalities couldn’t be more different from each other, but our shared love of books and baked goods would give us all sorts of things to discuss.

 

Character: Sankofa­­ from Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control. (My review is here).

Why: She’s the sort of character who needs friends who move slowly and are highly respectful of her boundaries. I’m excellent at both of those things. It would be cool to have a chance to ask her about how her powers work and what she plans to do next in her life.

 

Character: Yetu from Rivers Solomon’s The Deep (My review is here).

Why: Our personalities are so similar! We’re both quiet, easygoing folks who enjoy learning new things and exploring. There’s definitely something to be said for companionable silence sometimes. Maybe she could teach me some new swimming strokes, too.

 

Character: The hobbits and the Entwives from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

Why: Honestly, who wouldn’t want to have a dinner party with hobbits? They’re peace-loving, jolly, and kind folks who are also fantastic cooks. I’d want to meet the Entwives because I’ve wondered what really happened to them ever since I read this series. In my opinion, they survived and eventually reunited with their husbands, sons, brothers, and other male relatives.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Most Recent Reads

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A lamp turned on next to a soft couch in a library whose walls are lined with booksAlong with my blogging slowdown as of about a month ago, I’ve also been reading less.

 

The good news is that I’ve been enjoying what I’m reading more than I did when my list of finished books was longer.

Here are my ten most recent reads.

1. The Fact of the Matter by Madeleine L’Engle (My review)

Genre: Fantasy

My Favourite Part: The twist ending.

 

2. Ambush Predators by Marina Ermakova (My review)

Genre: Science Fiction

My Favourite Part: A scene involving the main character hiding in a car. It made me jump!

 

3. Clocking Time by Mark McClure (My Review)

Genre: Young Adult

My Favourite Part: All of the time travel. It would be amazing if such a thing were truly possible.

 

4. People Count: Contact-Tracing Apps and Public Health by Susan Landau

Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Epidemiology

My Favourite Part: The comparisons the author made between previous epidemics and our current one. Human behaviour patterns have remained so consistent over the centuries when it comes to how we respond to invisible threats like disease.

 

Top view of 2-story library with red stairs
Someday libraries will reopen.

5. A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution by Lesley Newson

Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Anthropology

My Favourite Part: Learning about how children were raised throughout human evolution, especially once our distant ancestors began trusting each other to watch the baby while mom went off to gather food.

 

6. Apeiorn – Tales of an Argonaut 1 by M.P. Cosmos (My Review)

Genre: Science Fiction

My Favourite Part: Meeting the same narrator in every story even though they were set in very different places and times. It was such a unique way to connect those worlds.

 

7. Searching for Sam by Sophie Bienvenu

Genre: Fiction

My Favourite Part: The descriptions of how emotionally draining it is to be homeless. I’d never thought about how difficult the mental part of homelessness must be when you have no idea where you’ll sleep at night or when your next meal might come.

 

Photo of the many floors of the Toronto Reference Library
Come visit the Toronto Reference Library if you’re ever in Toronto! It’s wonderful.

8. Boo and the Boy – A Ghost Story by Wayne Barrett (My Review)

Genre: Fantasy

My Favourite Part: The heartwarming ending. It was something I was hoping for but really didn’t think the audience would get.

 

 

 

9. Fragments – A Collection of Short Stories by Jachrys Abel (My Review)

Genre: Science Fiction

My Favourite Part: Figuring out the speculative fiction angles to some of these stories. Not all of them were readily apparent.

 

10.Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz

Genre: History

My Favourite Part: Reading the most recent theories about why Çatalhöyük was abandoned. It’s the first city humans ever built (that we know of), so I’m thrilled to see how much effort has been put into understanding who lived there and why they eventually moved elsewhere.

Hidden in Plain Sight: A Review of The Fact of the Matter

The Fact of the Matter by Madeleine L'Engle book cover. Image on cover is a stylized design of a plant that is just about to bloom.

Title: The Fact of the Matter

Author: Madeleine L’Engle

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical

Length: 21 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

Enjoy this free short story from award-winning author Madeleine L’Engle’s newest book, The Moment of Tenderness, a collection of 18 short stories, some never before published.

It was a frigid winter day when Old Mrs. Campbell stormed into the Franklins’ general store, decrying the devilish nature of her daughter-in-law-a sentiment that deeply disturbed Mrs. Franklin, considering the woman in question, Alicia, was oft described as “saintly” by everyone around her.

When she leaves the store in a huff, Mrs. Franklin thinks she’s done with Mrs. Campbell’s ravings for the day-until the woman calls her late in the night, urgently demanding to see her.

Blending elements of fantasy and horror, what transpires between the two women over the course of the evening will test the boundaries of reason, faith, and family-and prove that, in times of great danger, even strangers can come together to help one another in need.

For more stories by Madeleine L’Engle, read The Moment of Tenderness, available now.

Review:

Is Mrs. Campbell telling the truth or is she making up stories?

My first impression of this tale was that it might have been a character study of Mrs. Campbell. She had a strong personality that tended to command a great deal of attention from everyone around her. While she was definitely the most memorable character in this cast, what she believed was happening to her at home quickly became even more interesting than she herself was.

I was confused by the ending. Some parts of it were foreshadowed earlier on, but one of the most important aspects of it suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I can’t go into more detail about it than that without giving away spoilers, but I do wish it had been developed better. The parts I understood were delightful.

To be perfectly honest, the word in the blurb that grabbed my attention first was devilish. Was Mrs. Campbell using this term figuratively or literally? What was her daughter-in-law really like? There were so many different ways to interpret that one little word that I immediately needed to find out which one the narrator might discover as she got to know Mrs. Campbell better. I was completely satisfied with how this part of the plot was written.

Anyone who enjoys it when an author mixes several genres together should check out The Fact of the Matter.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Outdoor and Nature Activities

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

There are so many things I enjoy doing outdoors.

Landscape photo of pathway between green leaf trees in a forest

Nature Walks and Light Hiking. That is to say, I’m happy to walk or hike for a few hours, but I wouldn’t want to do it for multiple days or weeks in a row like some of my relatives do! I like coming home to my warm, soft bed at the end of the day. LOL.

Bird watching. I will also happily watch squirrels, dogs, and just about any other animals that cross my path.

People watching. Humans are fascinating. I love observing how we interact with one another when it’s possible to watch strangers in socially-appropriate ways.

Bicycling. It’s been ages since I did this, but I do enjoy bike rides quite a bit. They’re even more interesting if you can do them somewhere quiet and close to nature.

Canoeing. My last canoe trip happened even longer ago than my last bicycle ride, but there is something incredibly peaceful about skimming over a calm pond or lake in a canoe.

Going to the Beach. I especially enjoy building sand castles and walking up and down the pier there.

Swimming pool with stainless steel ladderSwimming in Chlorinated Water. I prefer swimming in places where I know there isn’t anything sharp or slimy at the bottom of a pool. Occasionally, I will swim in a lake, pond, or ocean, but I try to wear protective footwear in those cases.

No, I’ve never had a terrible experience with getting cut or bitten or anything. It simply weirds me out to unexpectedly touch things with my feet in cloudy water.

Picnics. It’s so relaxing to me to pack or buy a meal and then eat it outside on a nice day. Somehow, food tastes a little better when the wind ruffles my hair and I can see birds flying by.

Visiting Cemeteries. Does anyone else enjoy reading headstones and seeing how the art and inscriptions on them has changed throughout history? Cemeteries are such peaceful places, and they’re generally filled with a lot of nature to observe as well if you remain quiet and alert.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rabbits from Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Anyone who has followed this blog or my accounts on Twitter or Goodreads for a long time knows how much I love rabbits. Today I will be sharing books about rabbits! Yes, I have read them all and recommend checking them out yourself if you’re interested. Do speak up… Read More

Myths Come to Life: A Review of Ambush Predators

Title: Ambush Predators – a Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Short Story Author: Marina Ermakova  Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: September 30, 2020 Genres: Science Fiction  Length: 18 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author.  Rating: 3 Stars Blurb: Mythical carnivores that prey on humans…and the researchers who study them. New graduate student Jordan begins… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Colourful Book Covers

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I narrowed this week’s prompt down a little bit. The original theme was so broad that I wasn’t sure where to begin. You could interpret it to be about rainbow covers, or brightly-coloured covers, or books that include as many different colours in them as possible. Honestly, even those… Read More

The Last Minute Decision: A Review of Clocking Time

Title: Clocking Time Author: Mark McClure  Publisher: JFR Publishers  Publication Date: October 31, 2020 Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult  Length: 31 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author Rating: 4 Stars Blurb: Two teenagers share a secret superpower: clock jumping. Confined to his house by the authorities, remote viewer Briann enters into… Read More