Welcome

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 some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.


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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Leiber

The Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Leiber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Dover Publications
first published 1960
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Dover Doomsday Classics


Written in 1960 this post-apocalyptic novella is sent during the fall-out of a nuclear bombing. The book has a western gunslinger feel to it as we follow the three characters through the Deadlands, the name given to the majority of the wasted, uninhabited land left on Earth. The three are Deadlanders, people with a natural urge to kill who spend their lives murdering others they find out here. Even though the book certainly comes from the Cold War era it's not a dated read at all. The story deals with many human characteristics and emotions which could be of great discussion. I didn't find it particularly thought-provoking myself though and the naive suggestion of a future promised land was a hokey ending.




Monday, September 28, 2015

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Doubleday Canada
Source: Review Copy thanks to Penguin Random House Canada

Promise Falls (#1)


I've read all Barclay's books by this point and have to say, unfortunately, this is not his best. The first half was great, with lots going on, a murder, weird things and kept me turning the pages. Then a point came when I had an "Aha" moment and came up with a scenario that would explain the major case of the book and the way things worked out I was right. That's ok, I often do figure things out, but there were so many other story arcs going on that I couldn't place how they would fit that I was eager to see how it all came together in the end. Then the book ended!! The next page told me to read the *next* book *next* year for the continuing story. WTF? Barclay doesn't write series! I had no idea this book had no ending and was majorly pissed off. There is a lot going on here and yes, I want to see what happens next so yes, I will be reading the next book. However, the publisher did Barclay's fans a BIG disservice by not putting on the cover something to the effect of "First in new series by Linwood Barclay" to give us a head's up that this would not be a stand-alone like every other one of his books.




Friday, September 25, 2015

Winemaker Detective Mysteries #8: Montmartre Mysteries by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

Montmartre Mysteries by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 146 pages
Published September 3rd 2015 by Le French Book
first published in French May 11th 2005
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Winemaker Detective Mysteries (#8)



What I like about this series is that it 's always something a little different, you never know what kind of case you'll have. While at the same time every book places you in familiar territory with beloved characters who wine and dine while amateur detecting. I loved this entry in the series! It was a much darker story than the others, even though no murder was committed, per se. It is a tale of human imperfection, seeking atonement and redemption, with a bittersweet ending. This one actually reminded me of a Father Brown story. Well done!



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Cody Legebokoff, Canada's Teenage Serial Killer by J.T. Hunter

The Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Cody Legebokoff, Canada's Teenage Serial Killer by J.T. Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 178 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by RJ Parker Publishing
Source: Kindle Store

 Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked the Nation (#6)


A quick read. I'm Canadian and had never heard of this case so found it interesting. All the facts and information are given in an informative matter, but much of the details are not given in the narrative but instead left to be revealed with the trial, which made confusing reading at times. Legebokoff is a very atypical serial killer though and I found the book wanting in any psychological perspective. A professional profile of Cody would have been much appreciated. It is an interesting case that could have been written better.




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 430 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Crown
Source: Review Copy thanks to Penguin Random House Canada


A very readable narrative on the sinking of the Lusitania but more importantly on the days leading up to it and how the US became involved in WWI. I knew nothing about this topic more than the basic knowledge any average reader would have and found it an entirely intriguing history and study of the cold-blooded callousness that exists during war. However, it certainly wasn't a page turner. My interest in history has always been at a social level and this book is more about an event, politics and the military than people so while I didn't find it hard to read, I also didn't find it hard to put down either. Once the book got to talking about the passengers my interest was more keen and I certainly read the second half of the book faster than the first. I'm glad to have read it, but not a page-turner for me.




Dark Hunter: The House of Memories by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

Dark Hunter: The House of Memories by Benjamin Hulme-Cross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Darby Creek Publishing
Source: egalley via Netgalley


This is an easy chapter book, what I call a high-low reader. It's a horror story featuring a scary old woman, spiders and a demon. Much more scary than a Goosebumps book but shorter and easier to read. Not for little children though the reading level would seem to make it so. A decent story for what it is, obviously with this limited a vocabulary the story can't be very detailed, but it is a creepy little tale which is quite rare at this reading level. Best suited for mature children or reluctant/emerging teen readers.




Saturday, September 12, 2015

I.O.U. Dead: A Keno Kalder Mystery #1 by Michelle Wan

I.O.U. Dead: A Keno Kalder Mystery #1 by Michelle Wan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Orca Book Publishers
Source: LibraryThing EarlyReviewers

Orca Rapid Reads


This is the first in a new series about Keno Kalder. Here he and his partner, working as rent collectors, stumble across the serial killer The Hammer's third victim and Keno saw him running out the back door recognizing who it might be! Part of Orca's Rapid Read series with low reading levels aimed at adult readers perfect for ESL, Adult Literacy, reluctant readers or just anyone needing a quick read. This one started off with a bit too much "lingo" for my tastes, both related to the job and the narrator's age of 22. However, once the story got going, I found it an enjoyable little mystery. You know who did it right away so it's not really a mystery but more of a chase. Will they catch him before someone else gets killed? Well-written and, needless to say, action-packed. Because of the action and the shortness of the book one might think character suffers, yet Wan has done a good job here as well. There are three main characters, who will continue on with the series, and she has spent most of her development on the main title character who narrates the story. Many adults in the intended audience will relate with him as illiteracy is a setback he deals with.




Gray Redemption by Alan McDermott

Gray Redemption by Alan McDermott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 238 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Thomas & Mercer 
first published December 21st 2012
Source: Kindle Store

Tom Gray (#3)


Another adrenaline-pumping political thriller in the Tom Gray series. All the familiar characters that we love (and hate) are back again as the action moves from the Philippines to the UK. I don't usually read much in this genre, but I love this series and found this book just as good as I had anticipated. Full of action from beginning to end, if anything the only problem with this entry would be that there are too many things going on at once but McDermott manages to keep the plot tight and ties everything together at the end. Not exactly a cliff-hanger, but this volume does end on an intake of breath letting us know there will be another volume which I do already have and am looking forward to reading in the near future. A great series for those looking for an adrenaline rush and modern day intrigue.




Bleedovers: A Dystopian Novella by William Todd Rose

Bleedovers: A Dystopian Novella by William Todd Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook, 136 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Hydra
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Crossfades (sequel)


Excellent sequel to Crossfades! Not as scary but still downright creepy! Rose knows how to write scenes of intense grotesquery and horror. This book furthers the adventures of Chuck and Control in their unique job dealing with troublesome souls caught between here and the hereafter. A very evil spirit is out to make Chuck pay and a little girl from the psychic division is sent around to help them stop it. Great characters, some fun dialogue and truly disturbing scenes not for the faint of heart.




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer

Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Gallery Books
Source: egalley via Netgalley


An entertaining memoir of how the author got into the funerary business. I read a lot of books on this topic but usually read about the downstairs aspects, this is the first time I read a book solely about the upstairs customer service aspect of it. This is a light-hearted book about a spoiled privileged rich girl whose beloved father dies. Realizing life must be more than parties, shopping and travel she feels a need to help people and ends up working at the most prestigious funeral home in New York City. Nobody takes her seriously at first, but she's on the road to recovering her humanity and along the way has lots of insider information on the well-to-do's funeral habits. This is the meat of the book and much more flippant than what I usually read but Meyer includes stories of the industry as a whole, a few tales of genuine pathos and shows herself to have grown to mature beyond the "trust-fund kid" crowd she belonged to in the beginning. An engaging memoir aimed at twenty- or thirty-somethings.




Monday, September 7, 2015

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Doubleday Canada
Source: Random House Canada

Flavia de Luce (7)


An entirely fresh entry in the Flavia series with a change of scenery, pace and cast of characters. New life is injected into the series as Flavia is sent off to boarding to school in Canada. Of course, this being Flavia de Luce she finds herself in a setting worthy of the most overdramatic Gothic novels and a gruesome mystery literally falls into her lap. Surrounded by students and staff who are as mysterious as they should be, having been told by several of each to "Trust. No. One.", Flavia can't sit still until she's figured out what is really going on within these walls. I thoroughly enjoyed this entry though I will admit to being very apprehensive at first. I was worried that removing Flavia from her beloved home, Buckshaw, in England, would upset the series and I was very wary that the author was going to pull a permanent change of scene on us. But that is not the case, so if you feel like me don't worry, this is just a one-book adventure outside Flavia's usual world, her character does some maturing being away from the constant hierarchy of her family, gaining some authority to be the master of her own devices, as much as any 12yo in a boarding school could. A fun mystery with an ending that leaves Flavia between her residence abroad and her home in Buckshaw permitting me to wonder whether she will have an onboard mystery to solve in the next book before she reaches the shores of England. I could certainly take to an ocean mystery with new character Mrs. Bannerman but we'll have to wait and see what happens. As usual a fun cozy mystery with Gothic elements.