This book was a delight to read, especially this time of year with Halloween right around the corner! Halloween is my favorite holiday and now that IThis book was a delight to read, especially this time of year with Halloween right around the corner! Halloween is my favorite holiday and now that I am past my months-long reading slump (huzzah!), I knew I was ready for a good, captivating, and spooky book to get me into the spirit of the season and boy did I ever pick a good one! The Monstrumologist was not only a spooky story, it was also an engaging tale of the human condition. I savored this book right down to the last page. Yancey has a gift for keeping his reader entertained through the entire ride. There was so much about this book that I liked but most of all I loved how flippin' gory it was! There was monster blood and pus and flesh eating and severed limbs and all of my favorite things! At times it was increasingly difficult to believe that this was a book aimed at young adult bibliophiles! This is because of the gore, yes, but more so of Yancey's elaborate yet eloquent, writing style. The novel is set in 1888 and much of the language and verbiage of the book reads as a novel of this era would. I feel like it could be over the heads of younger readers and would hesitate to recommend it to anyone in their early teens (and younger, of course).
I am not one to be easily scared by a book, especially a book about monsters. Ghosts? Yes. Demons? Oh hell yes. Monsters? Not so much. That being said, this book really spooked me out! I attribute this fact to Yancey's uncanny ability to world-build. The setting was very believable and realistic. If you are good at suspending your disbelief while reading, like I am, then you can really find yourself believing that monsters do exist!
The only complaint that I could have about this book is that it was a tad bit too long for me. I thought that some of the scenes were a little overdone and that maybe 50 or so pages could possibly have been shaved off. This is only book one of a trilogy and I am very excited to read the rest of this series! The next book is The Curse of the Wendigo which excites me more than the Anthropophagi that we were dealing with in this book; I'm a little more familiar with Wendigos from my days of Charmed watching! (The season one episode The Wendigo is my favorite episode of the entire series!)
If you are looking for a super spooky Halloween read then I can't recommend this one enough!...more
I received a copy of The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James from the Good Reads First Reads Program and I will honestly tell you that it tookI received a copy of The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James from the Good Reads First Reads Program and I will honestly tell you that it took me a long time to get around to reading it. When I did finally sit down and start it, I was able to read it in about a day and a half. Don’t get excited though, I wasn’t able to get through it so quickly because it was a great book; it wasn’t a horrible book either. I gave it four stars on goodreads, but I’m now starting to wonder if maybe it only deserved 3 or 3.5. Let’s go with 3.5. The story is set in 1920s England and revolves around a temp named Sarah Piper who has no family or friends and very little cash. Her temp agency calls her up and offers her a position which she accepts right away because..well…no cash. Sarah soon discovers that she has been hired to be the temporary assistant to a wealthy ghost hunter named Alistair Gellis. Piper and Gellis travel from London to a small English town containing one street of shops & pubs, one Inn, a few houses and a haunted barn. The barn is supposedly haunted by a mute girl named Maddy Clare who showed up to the Clare house one night dirty, frightened and unable to speak. The Clare’s adopt her as their own despite her periodic rages, inability to speak, and her avoidance of men. One day when she is 19 Maddy hangs herself in the barn and thus the ghost hunter is brought in to rid the barn (and the Clare family) of her raging spirit. Somewhere along the way Gelis’ actual assistant shows up (he had to hire Sarah because just like in life, in death Maddy hates men) and a romance blossoms between Sarah and the assistant. What I liked: -The story was engaging, cozy, and fun. I am a fan of ghost stories and a fan of historical fiction. The fact that this story was set in 1920s England was pretty much moot by the end of the book. Several times during reading it I simply forgot that it was set in the 20s. The story could have taken place at any time and it would have pretty much been the exact same book. -It was a quick read. I was able to get through it in a day and a half. I was engaged in it and I was very curious to see how the romance would play out in the end, especially since the male romantic figure didn’t seem to like the female romantic figure very much at all, but more on that later in the “what I didn’t like section.” I was so engrossed in this book I read the last half at a coffee shop. When I realized I had been there for almost 2 hours and I should probably free up some space for the people still eating scones and drinking coffee, I went out to my car where I promptly sat until I had finished it. -I like a ghost story and I’ll have to admit that on the first night of reading this, I jumped at a few odd noises. It’s not a scary book at all, it’s one that you can definitely read by yourself, but there are a few twists and turns and spooky goings on. What I didn’t like: -The setting. Like I mentioned earlier, I wish that it had had more of a 1920s feel to it. The only reason I was able to remember that it was historical as I was reading it was because I kept imagining the characters in the book as characters from Downton Abbey. Other than that and a few mentions of newfangled motorcars and antiquated outfits it really could have been set at any point in history. -The characters. They seemed eternally flat to me. Let’s start with our main character Sarah. She was a flip flop. At the beginning of the book she was constantly blushing and getting embarrassed over small things like sitting at a table with Alistair. As the book progressed though she became more brazen and even admitted that she’d had several one night stands with random lovers. I couldn’t tell what kind of person Sarah really was. Was she this innocent little thing, or was she the wanton lover who allowed Matthew to use and leave her? Then there’s Maddy, the ghost. Towards the end of the book we discover what has actually happened to Maddy to cause her to become mute (and why she was so dirty when she first appeared at the Clare house). It was a pretty predictable event and the “bad guys” were easy to spot. So easy that I had it pegged by page 20. But I digress. Maddy was an unfortunate character who had endured a terrible thing, but I still could not find it in me to care about her. Instead, I resented her. She had rages, destroyed things, haunted people, physically hurt Sarah when Sarah was attempting to help Maddy, made the Clare families lives awful even though they were the only ones who would take her in and care for her and then she almost killed Alistair. There just isn’t a whole lot to like about her and I didn’t. The only character I actually appreciated was Alistair. Alistair (and Matthew) had both survived WWI which is where they had met. I say survived lightly because they both have a strong case of PTSD. I felt like Alistair’s PTSD was more fully explored and utilized in the story and consequently I found him to be the only tolerable character in the book. I wish that the book had taken on a more symbolic tone and made the ghost somehow symbolic of emotional scarring, which maybe St. James was trying to do, if so it did not work for me. -The romance between Sarah and Matthew was soooo not believable at all. When the book first opens Sarah is gaga over Alistair but then being the flip flop that she is she is suddenly madly in love with Matthew out of nowhere. Matthew takes it upon himself to physically use Sarah and then say “I won’t be back.” Jerk. In fact, Matthew didn’t seem to even like Sarah at all for the entirety of the book. He barely even tolerated her. In preparation for this review I read an interview with Simone St. James in which she said she wanted to write a ghost story with a romance in it. I really wish that she had just left the romance OUT of the book, if she had, it would have been a solid four stars for me. The romance dragged the book down and it brought me out of the story and I just didn’t buy into it. Overall it was a cozy and fun read, just what I needed to end the school year with. However, I wouldn’t say I loved it. I give it a 3.5 which is in between 3 (it was okay) and 4(I liked it!). I’ve read better and I’ve read worse. I can’t say that I would recommend it to everyone. If you want a really good ghost story I have been told that The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and most recently made into a movie starring Harry Potter, I mean Daniel Radcliff, is a perfect ghost story. I have not read it yet, but I do hope to get to it sometime this summer so I can finally see the movie starring Harry Potter, I mean Daniel Radcliff....more
If there is one thing I hate, one pet peeve so to say that I have, it's stupid women in literature. Rosemary Woodhouse is a stupid woman. I liked thisIf there is one thing I hate, one pet peeve so to say that I have, it's stupid women in literature. Rosemary Woodhouse is a stupid woman. I liked this book a lot. I read it in two seperate sittings and was so curious about what was going to happen next. I did not like Rosemary very much at all. A simple, stupid, naive girl, she made me pity her from the beginning more than anything. The book is divided into three parts and right about the time part two came around, I began to simultaniously loathe and pity Rosemary. Perhaps it was because I had seen the movie and knew what was going to happen, but it just seemed so obvious to me that the people around her were just not that trustworthy and honest. Even (ESPECIALLY) her disgustingly selfish husband. I was also quite disappointed in the ending. I won't give anything away, but I was longing for Rosemary to take her kitchen knife and destroy every single person (including that yellow eyed baby) involved. ...more