Home "Shady Talk" Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres

Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres

by Aleen @ Lampshade Reader

Review Clean up #2

To all the books I’ve read and forgotten, this review post is for you. Review Clean Up is a way for me to write the reviews that need to be written in mini review format. There is no definite genre that I’m sticking to with this, it’s just a way for me to feel vindicated and kind of get these off my chest.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


the hobbit audiobook cover

I read The Hobbit a long time ago and after seeing the movie a few times, was taken aback at the differences between the two. I might get a little flack for my opinion, but in this instance I do think the book is better than the movie version. Sorry. The movie took a lot of liberties with the story that I just did not appreciate.

The narration was superb, Rob Inglis did an amazing job with all of the character’s voices. The singing, especially. Overall, listening to this awesome story felt like a warm hug. This is definitely on my re-read/re-listen list.





The Hobbit

Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrator: Rob Inglis
Length: 11 hours 5 minutes
Also in this series: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Published by Recorded Books
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audio Book
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon
Narration Rating:5 Stars

Rating: 5 Stars



Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard's band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all - a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug.

In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers. Narrator Rob Inglis will hold listeners of all ages spellbound with his skillful portrayal of hobbits, dwarves, and enchanted beasts.

Audiobook Fantasy

Murder on the Orient Express-An Audible Original Drama by Agatha Christie


murder on the orient express audible

One may ask: How many versions of the same story can you read, watch, or listen to? Well, my friends, the answer is: MANY. Especially if it has anything to do with Agatha Christie’s Poirot, I’m always up for it.

I’m a stickler for Poirot actors. There’s only one in the book for me and that’s David Suchet’s version. However, I’ll always give another actor the chance to wow me. While, I wished for the sweet tone of Suchet’s Poirot, Tom Conti did not disappoint. His was different and still entertaining. This version of Murder on the Orient Express seemed a little darker and only naturally because of the subject matter.

No matter how many times I read or listen to this story I’m always appalled by the actions of Ratchett and he totally deserved what happened to him. For Poirot fans, this version is a must.




Murder on the Orient Express-An Audible Original Drama 

Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres
by Agatha Christie
Narrator: Tom Conti
Length: 5 hours 47 minutes
Published by Audible Studios
on November 1st, 2017
Genres: Mystery & Detective
Format: Audio Book
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon
Narration Rating:4 Stars

Rating: 5 Stars



What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?
Starring: Tom Conti as Hercule Poirot, Sophie Okonedo as Mary Debenham, Paterson Joseph as Colonel Arbuthnot, Walles Hamonde as Hector Macqueen, Jay Benedict as Monsieur Bouc, Jane Asher as Mrs Hubbard, Rula Lenska as Princess Dragonioff, Ruta Gedmintas as Countess Andrenyi, Eddie Marsan as Ratchett and Art Malik as the Narrator.

Also featuring: Marie Rabe, John Chancer, Cedric Cirotteau, Andreas Karras, Barnabas Reti, Cristina Catalina, Greg Canestrari, Harry Hadden-Paton, Christope Delesques, Atilla Akinci, Hakan Silahsiz and Jeff Gerard

Audiobook Historical

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss


european travel for the monstrous gentlewoman

This was a massive book. At 700+ pages, it was a lot longer than the first book The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter. If you enjoy slow build stories and Victorian settings this series is for you. Oh, and of course if you enjoy Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau, Van Helsing, Frankenstein etc., you will definitely enjoy this series.

While all of this might seem too much and overwhelming, I feel that the author, Theodora Goss, did a great job in making the plot unique and took the lore and classical fictional characters and made them fresh. The “monsters” that the crazy scientists created, band together and make their own society to bring them down. It really is all for female empowerment.

It could be a little slow at times, but when the action happens it really is a fun ride.




European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres
by Theodora Goss
Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2
Published by Gallery/Saga Press
on July 10th, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 720
Format: Print
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars



n the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

Fantasy Historical Series smart and funny

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco


hunting prince dracula

This is a book that I keep thinking about. It was loads better than book 1, Stalking Jack the Ripper. I feel like the characters were more evolved in this book and a lot more likeable. Audrey became a funnier ( if a bit on the dry side of humor) character and Thomas a lot more adorable. Audrey’s tragedy actually became her saving grace in terms of her character. I like her a lot more now.

Loved the setting for this book as well. Dracula’s castle and it’s secrets and such, really made for an entertaining read. Also, the fact that she’s taking forensic science classes tie into the series well. However, gone is the somewhat perfectionist from the previous book. Audrey, sacrifices her budding career to solve the mysterious deaths and happenings occurring in the castle and nearby village.

It really is a page turner.

*Note: If you’re going to buy this book, make sure it comes with the bonus content. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED*



Hunting Prince Dracula

Review Clean Up #2: A Smorgasbord of Genres
by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Also in this series: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Published by Jimmy Patterson
on September 4th, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: Print
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars


Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Fantasy Historical Series smart and funny Vampire Young Adult


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I enjoy these bite sized reviews more than the regular ones. I love the different versions of Murder in the Orient Express as well and I love her books too much.


This is a great post idea. I have a bunch of titles that I read in 2019 but didn’t review because (1) life happened, and I didn’t have energy for blogging, and (2) they were backlist titles that I purchased, so I didn’t prioritize them.

I tend to like the books better than the movie, so I understand your thoughts on The Hobbit. I can’t comment past that since I haven’t watched the movies.


I like the book version but I’ve only seen parts of the Hobbit movies. They don’t look nearly as good as the LotR movies, and I’ve heard a lot of negative things, so I haven’t been chomping at the bit to see them. And Murder on the Orient Express is one I should read. I did like the movie version of that that I saw, but I imagine it’s not like reading the book.

Mary Kirkland

Hunting Prince Dracula sounds like a book that I would probably like.


A lot of people think Prince Dracula is better than the first. I re-read Stalking Jack last year for my book club so I really want to re-read two and three now that the fourth is out. I feel like I need a refresher. I love that series.


Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

I listened to Stalking Jack the Ripper and thought it was fine. Glad to hear book 2 was better because I did like the premise but thought it was lacking a little. I definitely need that version of Orient Express. It’s one of my favorites.

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