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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« May, Jane: Hooked | Main | Walker, Gabrielle: An Ocean of Air »

Nixon, Joan Lowery: A Deadly Game of Magic

  

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Harcourt © 1983, 228 pages [amazon]
4 stars

This is one scary book. Four teenagers driving home from a speech and drama tournament in a blinding rain storm are stranded by car trouble north of Dallas. They're let into a home to call for help, but the man and woman they meet there almost immediately leave for a party. Left on their own to wait for a mechanic, the kids begin to think that the couple who let them in may not in fact be the owners of the house. And they begin to suspect as well that there's someone else in the house with them. When the storm knocks the power out, plunging the foursome into darkness...well, like I said, this is one scary book.

[INSET TEXT: For example, when it's pitch dark in a strange house that you think may be haunted and/or inhabited by a killer, and when there's a room down the hall in which you suspect there just might be a dead body, you don't react to finding an old scrapbook with a cheery cry of, "This is terrific! Look! Photographs!"] Joan Lowery Nixon's YA novel, originally published in 1983, isn't entirely successful. The occasional conclusion is jumped to without sufficient evidence, and the dialogue can be clunky. Also, Nixon's protagonists tend to say things and otherwise behave in ways that aren't credible given the context. For example, when it's pitch dark in a strange house that you think may be haunted and/or inhabited by a killer, and when there's a room down the hall in which you suspect there just might be a dead body, you don't react to finding an old scrapbook with a cheery cry of, "This is terrific! Look! Photographs!"

What's particularly impressive about A Deadly Game of Magic is how Nixon manages to instill the story with dread. We aren't told specifically what's wrong with the behavior of the couple whom the teenagers first meet in the house, for example. But there's something off about it. We sense it just as well as the teenagers do, and we want them to get out of there as soon as possible. But of course they don't, and things just get worse from there.

While facing their fears in the house Nixon's protagonists reveal their back stories. They are all bowed down, in various ways, by their parents' expectations for them. Battling evil in the house, we are to understand, will also give them the courage to choose their own paths in life. This is the uninteresting part of the book, the part that's meant to make the story relevant to its underage readers. Maybe they'll like the character development and maybe not; for sure they'll like the main story line.

Highly recommended to its intended audience and as a quick read for adults. But don't read this one right before bed.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

Sounds like the message is a little heavy-handed, which is sad. But certainly the rest sounds fascinating!

2.

Oooh, this one does sound a bit scary. I don't mind a thrilling book once in a while. Romance is my main niche, but I like to dabble with others once in a while. Thanks for the quick review.

3.

Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!

My daughter's going to read it soon, she claims. I'm curious to see if she likes it as well.

4.

I'm done with the book now. Mua-ha-ha




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.