A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on the books I read.

I sometimes go through stages of "genre love", I'm addicted to
mystery thrillers, memoirs, 20th century Chinese historical fiction, Victorian fiction and nonfiction, Catholic theology and short story anthologies; but you'll find I read an even wider variety of books than that. I have a teensy fascination with macabre non-fiction books about death and anything about insane asylums.

I also tend to post a lot of reviews of
juvenile/teen books.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 482 pages
Published (first published September 25th 2007)

There is just something about Linwood Barclay that always captures me. I started reading and didn't come up for air until the next day! A gripping tale of a somewhat unbelievable crime and yet, it's uniqueness just made the read all that more fascinating. I loved the characters, especially the three main ones, a family. I was hooked from page one and particularly loved the author's use of two narratives. Interspersed amongst the main narrative are short chapters which detail an ongoing conversation between two people, which at first makes no sense at all and very slowly reveals to the reader who they are and what they are up to. There are only a couple of Barclay's backlist I hadn't read yet and I chose to read this now as his current novel is about the same family as here so of course I had to read this first :-)

Dark Screams: Volume Two edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar

Dark Screams: Volume Two edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition
Published March 3rd 2015 by Hydra

Dark Screams (2)

This is the second book in this ebook only series that collects five short horror stories by popular authors. Two of the stories in this collection are previously published with the other three being printed for the first time. In the first book, I knew all the authors, this time I only know two of them. However, my favourite story in the collection was by a new-to-me author, Shawntelle Madison.

1. The Deep End by Robert McCammon (1987) - This collection starts with a previously published story by master genre writer McCammon. A typical alien/monster story. Entertaining, I liked it, but the ending was a bit lacklustre. (3/5)

2. Interval by Norman Prentiss (2015) - Starting with a missing plane, which is such a current fear these days, the story progresses into a dark and morbid story of a visit by a demon to those who are going through grief. A genuinely morbid story, well told. (4/5)

3. If These Walls Could Talk by Shawntelle Madison (2015) - I can't say much about this as the story slowly builds up in tension and reveals it's plot at the chilling end. However it deals with a creepy Gothic mansion and one of most people's darkest fears, certainly one of mine. Never heard of this author before. Great story! (5/5)

4. The Night Hider by Graham Masterton (2015) - This was a fun haunting story. A bit creepy but more scary in a fun way, if you kwim. Here we have a haunted wardrobe and not just any wardrobe, but CS Lewis' original wardrobe that inspired the Narnia books! (4/5)

5. Whatever by Richard Christian Matheson (1997) - The second previously published story in this collection and by far, the longest. This is not a horror story by any means, but it is on the dark side. I'm not sure I feel like it really even belongs in the collection. Written as a series of recorded conversations/interviews, magazine articles and the narrator's personal notes this is the story of the rise and fall of a rock band during the span of the seventies. The letters/articles are partly chronological with the occasional one coming in from further ahead in time letting us know how some things turned out at the same time as the story is being told. This story honestly brings the collection to a unsatisfying ending, but I did enjoy it a bit. (3/5)

Looking forward to seeing wo the line-up of authors are for Volume 3!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dark Ritual by Patricia Scott

Dark Ritual by Patricia Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 199 pages
Published December 21st 2014 by Endeavour Press
(first published in 2007 as "Demise of a Dollybird")

A fast entertaining British police procedural. I picked this up when it was offered as a freebie on Kindle and am pleased to have found this gripping tale. Starting off with a murder that has all the signs of a pagan harvest sacrificial ritual, police have plenty of suspects who were not keen on the young journalist snooping around the small village's secrets and affairs. The book combines a police force team headed by an amiable DCI who takes up with a widowed police officer's wife who becomes his sounding board. This is a great pairing that lends an air of both the police procedural with the amateur cozy sleuth putting their heads together. I was utterly in the dark on figuring out who the perpetrator was until the twist near the end, then I must admit it became clear to me how the twist would turn once more to reveal the identity of the real killer. Behind the quite gruesome murder case is a light-hearted romance between the two main characters and I found this to be a charming British village mystery while maintaining an edgy dark side to the grisly murder case. The author has written a few other books which also look good.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 223 pages
Published August 1st 1993 by Dell Publishing Company
(first published 1958)

This is about the third time I've read this book, but the first time giving a review. My rating is based upon this reading. I loved this book as a child and it always held special memories for me. I read it aloud about 17 years ago to one of my sons and I enjoyed it well that time also. It makes for a fine read-aloud and I got caught up in my listener's enthusiasm. This time though, reading independently as an adult I found the story somewhat slow, more of a romance than I had remembered, with a quiet plot yet extremely well-written and an easy read with flowing language. Despite the title, the book does not take place in Salem nor have a genuine plot about the Puritan witch trials. However, the fear of being thought a witch is always present in the background of the story and this is brought to a climax in one chapter close to the end. But also running through the book are themes of politics, especially the British annexing of Connecticut to Massachusetts and Connecticut's desperate plight to hide their Charter until they could rise again and fight those in England who wished to rule them from afar. Finally, the main plot centres around an outsider, her difficulties with fitting in, and most importantly the triangular love affair between 3 girls and 3 men who learn along with some painful moments, who each really loves and who is whose soul mate. A sweet, slow-moving, yet captivating historical fiction.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published December 23rd 2014 by Golden Books

Little Golden Books

Wonderful book for grown-ups who love Little Golden Books. The story is not for children. It is a sweet story about grown-up love, about feeling like you'll never meet the right person, how dating can be glamorous but sometimes the simple dates are the best, when you do find true love don't leave your friends behind, then it discusses all the wonderful things that love is, and how love can end suddenly, shockingly, but it will come again, put on your big girl panties and take a chance on love again! So sweet and cute. Each page is an illustration from an old LGB from the 40-60s with all the famous artists represented and some I'd never heard of before. Each page tells you the book the illustration is from. I liked this just as much as the Christmas one! Lovely to browse through and such a sweet story.

Dear Canada: A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson, Virginia to Canada West, 1863-1864 by Karleen Bradford

A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson, Virginia to Canada West, 1863-1864 by Karleen Bradford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 2009 by Scholastic Canada

Dear Canada Series

Karleen Bradford is a well-known and talented Canadian historical fiction writer for youth and teens. Needless to say, this is an entertaining and interesting addition the Dear Canada series. This particular book could be best suited to the younger end of the 8-12 age range as it is a basic story of American slaves escaping using the Underground railroad, then the troubles and successes they experience settling down in a community in Canada. The majority of the book takes place in Owen Sound, Ontario. The only weakness is that this story only barely touches upon the horrors the slaves endured and the 'escape'/Underground Railroad part of the story is over by page 25. The rest of the book deals with their Canadian experience. Bradford does manage to cover many topics in this presupposing book: the eldest brother joins the Union army once he reaches freedom, the family had three older children sold off and that effect on the family is pursued, the blacks are welcomed seemingly so open-armed at first but later a white attitude of jobs being lost to them starts to prevail, friendships between white and black children, integration between the races in general but only to a point of "knowing their place and limitations" and also the kidnapping of free slaves by bounty hunters because of the US Fugitive Slave Law. The historical note is a simple history of the Civil War, the underground railroad and the black communities in Toronto and Owen Sound. A good, well-written, atmospheric, introduction to the topic.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain

How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 174 pages
Published June 8th 2011 by Chronicle Books

I was completely smitten with this book for middle-graders. I wish I hadn't taken so long to get around to reading it. The unique plot involves a visiting alien whom a step-brother/sister duo tries to help whilst risking their own lives and sanity in the process. Lots of laughs, a whirlwind of action and blooming romance. These types of boy/girl fantasies are quite the norm, but this one does provide uniqueness with it's setting in the Parisian countryside of France and the capital city itself. Whilst the odd involvement of Johnny Depp is a story grabber and all three main characters, Frog, Malou and Zelda bloom and grow throughout the story. I enjoyed the fast-paced, high-quality writing and would read this author again. A wild, funny and meaningful ride for MGs and YAs. The author is Parisian-American and due to this my warning to some parents is a note on acceptable cultural differences. The book contains smoking, wine-drinking (even while driving) and suggestive sexual interaction. Personally, I rate the book Middle-Grade and up. Age 12+