First up, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
That brief sketch of this book is all I'm prepared to say about the plot and even that might be a bit too much. This is genuinely one of those books that people need to read for themselves; knowing very much about it before you start is not a good thing in my opinion. Let me be honest, I haven't liked every full-length novel I've read by Gaiman, nor all of his short stories... some of those leave me cold, others I find so-so, and a few I thought were terrific. Nevertheless, I still think he's brilliant because when he hits the spot - he *really* hits the spot. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fine example of Neil Gaimen 'hitting the spot'. It's about family and home not always being the safe haven it ought to be. At seven, very little about your life is under your control and the boy instinctively knows this. He realises that there is little he can do about the terrifying things that are happening, but nevertheless he must try. And take it from me, there's some scary stuff in this book, really scary. Not horror in a gory sense but the kind of chilling stuff that could easily keep you awake at night if you were that way inclined which, as a child, I was. The three females living at the end of the lane are pretty fascinating. I won't go into the origin and ideas behind their characters or existance but for me they were what made the book work as well as it did and I loved the explanation for them. We all need that kind of wonder in our lives and Neil Gaiman is amazing at putting such ideas into writing. Brilliant, brilliant book.
So, one brilliant book and one er... not so brilliant: Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham.
I left my first two star rating on Goodreads when I finished this. It should have been two and a half really as it wasn't actually terrible - just a tiny bit *dull*. I bought it for my Kindle just before the start of Once Upon a Time VIII, thinking it sounded quite exciting. Luckily I didn't pay much as it really, really wasn't. Too much detail of day to day stuff and not enough of the magic and different magical lodges that exist in this 1920s world. Everything was described in minute detail... apart from anything really interesting. There was a connection with Roman gods and demons and an archaeology slant. Again not really centred on as it should have been. How frustrating! I kept reading thinking it would pick up and yes, it did a little, but sadly only marginally. Ah well, I've had a run of rather good books and it had to come to an end at some stage.
I've read four books for the Once Upon a Time VIII challenge now and am pretty happy with my progress so far.