I took this one back to the library because I am not in the mindset to read it right now. I couldn't really get a hold of the story, and the violence...moreI took this one back to the library because I am not in the mindset to read it right now. I couldn't really get a hold of the story, and the violence was getting to me a lot, as far as what I've read.
I may go back to this one at a later day. For this time period, this book isn't a good match for me.(less)
This is a partial review. I read The Vampyre out of this collection, but I will read the other stories when I have the opportunity.
Review of The Vampy...moreThis is a partial review. I read The Vampyre out of this collection, but I will read the other stories when I have the opportunity.
Review of The Vampyre by John Polidori Read: 6/13/12 Rating: Three Stars
The history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamous Lord Byron, and this work of fiction was conceived on that famous holiday event in which Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who would later become Mary Shelley) issued a challenge to each other to write Gothic stories. This was Mr. Polidori's result.
I have little doubt that Lord Ruthven was inspired by Lord Byron. Polidori's feelings towards his debauched past employer are quite clear. In this case, Lord Ruthven has a supernatural ability to ruin, damage, and destroy anything he lays his hands on, and enjoys doing so in the process. This does not speak well of Lord Byron, and based of what I have read of him, I can see some echoes of him in this character. Lord Caroline Lamb, the incredibly outrageous for her times, cast-off mistress of Byron is immortalized in a character who appears briefly in the beginning of the story, at least in my opinion.
As far as the writing, I didn't feel that it was particularly inspired or brilliant. This short story is all telling and little showing. This created a distance between the characters in this story and myself. It was hard to feel much sympathy for Aubrey, his sister Miss Aubrey, Ianthe, or anyone else because the narrative was too much like a bland newspaper article, with little connection to the intense emotions of the persons involved. I had a distant feeling of dislike and disgust for Lord Ruthven, which with more active, vivid writing could have been outright disgust. That is a sadly wasted opportunity for a writer, in my opinion.
It's hard to say much overall about this story. It wasn't bad. I can't say I was disappointed, because I didn't have high expectations. Regardless of the issues as far as the writing, Mr. Polidori has earned his place in the vampire fiction canon. Sadly, he lived a short, disappointing (to himself) life. Although he could not be aware of the famous status of this story, it is some comfort to me that he has created something that endured two hundred years later. For that I will respect and appreciate The Vampyre. And also for its commentary of Lord Byron, a man whose antics pretty much created its own character archetype in literature, the Byronic hero. Admittedly in this case, there is nothing at all to recommend Lord Ruthven. Lord Byron himself, I cannot say yay or nay to that question.
End verdict: Any vampire fiction aficionado should take the opportunity to read this story at least for its historical value.
**spoiler alert** I downloaded this from Project Gutenberg, and I intend to read the whole collection, since I am a fan of London. For now I will post...more**spoiler alert** I downloaded this from Project Gutenberg, and I intend to read the whole collection, since I am a fan of London. For now I will post the review of "Moon-Face," which I read today for the Tales to Chill Your Blood Classic Horror Lovers group read. It was a bracing way of waking me up from the ennui induced by the extremely cold, bad weather and a bad case of cabin fever. As of yet, the four star rating is for "Moon-face". I will post more to this review when I read the other stories.
This was a very effective story about the worst kind of evil to me: human evil. The narrator ruins a man and eventually murders him (and two innocent dogs) out of distaste for the man's features, and his determinedly cheerful mien. Perhaps it is inaccurate to call this an unreliable narrator, but London is so convincing in showing you why this man feels he is completely right in his awful deeds against the man who he calls 'Moon-face.' This is one of those stories that is very short, but manages to seep under your skin. The menace involved in the narrator's actions towards this poor man is very heinous, and unwarranted. I think that it illustrates very salient points about the foolishness of prejudice, and the belief that harming others has a justification. We can always argue that our actions are justified, and perhaps there are many cases where doing 'evil' might be more justifiable than this one. But at the end of the day, one should always question one's actions against another. Are they truly motivated by good intentions? When does the line get drawn in the sand that says it's okay to harm another person? How much better would it have been for this guy to remove himself from contact with this man, or better yet, get over himself?
I have been an admirer of Jack London's adventure tales since high school when I read White Fang, and I had no idea that he was so talented with writing a chilling horror tale. I would like to read more of his work in this genre.(less)
I confess I have already read book three, Third Grave Dead Ahead. It's a great thing that I liked that one enough to go back and start the series from...moreI confess I have already read book three, Third Grave Dead Ahead. It's a great thing that I liked that one enough to go back and start the series from the beginning. I am glad I did.
This was a fun book on audio. The narrator clearly had fun with her job too. She dives in headfirst into the puns and verbal wordplay, imbuing Charley's voice with all the sassiness and spunk that is so much a part of her personality. At times, her cadence was a bit strange, but overall, I thought she was a good narrator. She narrates characters of various ages, sexes and ethnicity very well.
First Grave on the Right has an interesting concept, although a main character seeing ghosts isn't novel for urban fantasy. In this case, Charley is a portal in herself, a conduit for the spirits of those who have passed on to go through in order to leave this plane and to go to their final destination. She has had this ability since she was born. Charley is a Grim Reaper. No, she doesn't carry a scythe and doesn't wear a cape. Instead, she looks like a bright light to spirits, irresistibly bright. At twenty-six years of age, she has come to terms with her identity. It wasn't easy, and still isn't. But she has developed coping mechanisms, and she has embraced her ability to help spirits move on. Just this idea is great fodder for a series. On top of that, Charley is a private eye who helps her police detective uncle solve crimes. Yes, some of the cops thinks she's weird, but she has her snark to fend them off. But how about The Big Bad? The mysterious, caped entity who has watched over her since she was a baby just born. What role does he play and how is he related to a young man she knew a long time ago who called her "Dutch?" That's a mystery you have to read the book to find out about.
I can't speak too much about Reyes, because there are too many spoilers involving him. But what I will say is that he has won me over. Reyes is smoking hot, no pun intended! He's a good foil for Charley. I also like Garrett Swopes, who has a frenemies type relationship with Charley. It's clear to me that he has a crush on her. Charley's friend and secretary, Cookie, is a lot of fun too. One thing I couldn't get past was Charley's evil stepmonster. No excuse for how she treats Charley and treated her as a very young girl with a strange ability that she couldn't help possessing. I wonder why her dad lets her get away with that.
First Grave on the Right is one of those books that will have you laughing a lot. Jones is not above a bad pun or too, but they are too endearing to be annoying. And the humor is needed, because it can be quite sad to see these specters whose lives ended in various ways, many not from natural causes. The reader cannot help but feel for Charley, since she has no buffer against the dead. It would be enough to drive a person crazy, but not Charley. It's who she is and she doesn't know any different.
On top of the humor, there are some good mystery components, and the supernatural elements are well done. Darynda Jones lays a foundation for a very good urban fantasy/paranormal mystery with this book that teases me into coming back for more.
I read Green Tea on 9/30/10 for the Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood short story series. I'll read Mr. Justice Harbottle at a later dat...moreI read Green Tea on 9/30/10 for the Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood short story series. I'll read Mr. Justice Harbottle at a later date.
Here is my review for Green Tea:
Interesting read. I felt bad for Mr. Jennings for what he suffered, and for so long. Being who he was, it seemed even worse for the poor fellow. I don't think it was just a nervous condition. I think it's kind of funny that large amounts of green tea seems to open the poor man's 'third eye.' My sister is an avid green tea drinker. I suppose I ought to warn her. Personally, it's a little too bitter for my tastes, but I digress.
Dr. Hesselius is an interesting protagonist, a doctor who treats the spirit and the body. I hope to read more of his stories.
As far as writing style, I found this a little more easy to read than Carmilla. Mr. Le Fanu writes beautifully, although not simply. That's okay. I kind of like the old-fashioned manner of writing of the prior centuries, and this one wasn't a tad dry like Carmilla was.
Like many classic horror short stories, the conclusion is sort of up to one's interpretation. That works for me. I never liked being spoon-fed ideas in literature.
Although not scary, there are some elements that are a bit eerie. Green Tea was a pretty satisfying story--a nice, quick read.(less)
I've read two of these stories. Caitlin Kiernan is bizarre, poetic, dreamy, surrealistic, and disturbing as always. The other story was about a man ma...moreI've read two of these stories. Caitlin Kiernan is bizarre, poetic, dreamy, surrealistic, and disturbing as always. The other story was about a man married to a Japanese woman who had bizarre night habits. He interrupts her and makes things a whole lot worse. This was a very horrifying story. I still think about it and shudder. I will read the rest of these stories when I'm in the mood for no holds barred scarefest reading.(less)
Disclaimer: I have only read The Haunted Hotel out of this collection so far, and so I will not rate the entire book at this time. My review and ratin...moreDisclaimer: I have only read The Haunted Hotel out of this collection so far, and so I will not rate the entire book at this time. My review and rating for this story are below. I will post a rating for the entire collection when I finish it.
Review of The Haunted Hotel Rating: Four Stars
I liked this story. It was multifaceted in that it was not just a haunted house story, but also a murder mystery. Collins builds the suspense and the feeling of curiosity that keeps the reader engaged. I found the writing to be far from dated. The language was not antiquated, but felt almost modern in some ways. The print for my copy is rather small, and that's the only reason I didn't read it faster. Yesterday, I kept saying, I'll read to this point, and to that point, before I knew it, it was quite late and I had to put the book down to go to bed.
I didn't find the prose melodramatic. Instead, I found that Collins is matter of fact in describing horrors. It's merely in the reading of such things that the horror is evoked. I was quite surprised at the horrible things that had occurred, and it wasn't due to that Campy Gothic or Victorian Penny Dreadful tendency to use outlandish language to evoke a dark, sinister tone. I liked his subtle but hilarious humor, particularly in the part in which Francis Westwick goes to the room in question. I was laughing out loud on that part.
The Haunted Hotel starts out in an curious manner, with a false narrator. Which is quite brilliant. This beginning narrator never makes another appearance, and I was left to wonder how this plot thread would end up in the titular place. Further reading shows Collins' tendency to continuously introduce new point of views, leaving it up to the reader to see how it ties together. As I consider this novella, I wonder if this was not his way of revealing the intriguing character of the Countess through different eyes. So one cannot easily make up their mind about her. (view spoiler)[ I have to admit that I felt sympathetic to her up to almost the end of the story. While what she does is completely heinous and terrible, I felt that her allegiance to her awful brother was no small factor in her moral failing. In the end, she seemed to merely live down to everyone's expectations of her, instead of reaching higher. Instead of staying true to what I felt was an inner cord of strength, she followed that fatal path to destruction. So I admit that in the end, I still pitied her despite her actions. I was in no small way surprised that she actually was guilty. I thought perhaps she was just a victim of a bad reputation. My feelings towards the Countess make me admire this story more for the clever way in which it was written. (hide spoiler)]
Now an impatient reader will wish for Collins to get to the point, but I rather enjoyed the journey. I found the characters interesting, all of which evoking sympathy to some extent (except the Baron, who I found totally repugnant). Collins has a way of writing characters that is quite appealing to me. Even the lesser important characters come to life and earn their screen time when they come into the scenes. I enjoyed the roundabout way of presenting a story that was actually quite chilling in parts. I appreciated how intricately the mystery builds to a satisfying climax for this reader.
In the end, I was impressed with this novella by Mr. Collins. I will read more of his work because I think he has a way of writing mystery and suspense that is timeless, drawing me into his writing and not easily letting me go. His characters have impact and come to life for this reader, not sacrificed to a greater goal of evoking horror or terror, as can sometimes happen in this genre. I for one recommend this story to fans of classic/gothic horror and suspense.
This collection is pretty uneven. There are some really good stories and some not so good.
The one that stands out in my mind is the Graham Masterson...moreThis collection is pretty uneven. There are some really good stories and some not so good.
The one that stands out in my mind is the Graham Masterson story, "The Seven Secret Senses" (I think that's the title). The protagonist is a young chef of Asian descent (yay) who gets approached by a strange, elusive millionaire to prepare recipes from a forbidden recipe book, forbidden because the recipes are made from human flesh. My ick alarm went off immediately. I cannot handle cannibalism. I just can't. Well I had to keep reading because I wanted to see where this story would go. Also because it was strangely non-gratuitous, and I liked the protagonist. He reads the book and is fascinated. He's a chef, so the culinary aspects are irresistible to him. He agrees to the job. Well like anything, there is a catch. The supposed food source is a beautiful young girl named Xanthippe, who is the lover of the millionaire paying for the meal. From there it gets pretty interesting as the chef starts to fall in love with the girl he will end up serving for dinner. This is one of the first erotic horror stories I've read. I liked it because it wasn't for shock value or gross-out factor, despite the subject matter.
I got bored with the next stories and put this down, but I will finish it someday.(less)
I am rating this because I read Edition #6, although I do not have the entire Vol. 2 graphic novel. I specifically dug this out for my A to Z Book Cha...moreI am rating this because I read Edition #6, although I do not have the entire Vol. 2 graphic novel. I specifically dug this out for my A to Z Book Challenge, and it made me sad I don't have the other editions in this volume.
What I liked about what I read:
*The inking is very descriptive, even to the point of showing the character's emotion. *The story is realistic and well-grounded. As I read Rucka's afterword, he takes this seriously and does his research. I felt that this book has relevance and a scary realness. *Tara's character is complex and conflicted. She believes in her work, but there is the sense that it's destroying her. *Although no action occurs on scene, the sense of risk is apparent.
I hope to track down this collection so I can read the rest of it.(less)
I really appreciate that Ms. Gresh wrote this book. I find myself somewhat resistant in a way, because I don't like to identify myself with the religi...moreI really appreciate that Ms. Gresh wrote this book. I find myself somewhat resistant in a way, because I don't like to identify myself with the religious right, although my Christian faith and commitment to saving myself for marriage is very real to me. Even with my resistance, what she is writing in this book really speaks to me. I like that she includes objective research on sexuality. That adds a level of credibility. She also cites scriptures that pertain to sexuality. The only issue I've had so far is one passage where a girl talks about a man who asked her to marry him. She was very hurt because she regretted having had sex at fifteen, and ran away. He finds her and he said, "I forgive you," referring to the fact that she was not a virgin. I don't feel he has the authority or the right to forgive her. It's her body, and what she did with it before him is between her and God, so long as she doesn't put him at risk for disease, or bring a child into their relationship. Even if she has shame issues, that doesn't pertain to his feelings. That was about her self-worth. I don't feel that a woman should have to apologize for her life before her spouse (with the above things withstanding-and not so much needing an apology but disclosure). That raised my hackles a little. But so far, this has been a helpful book to read, although her target audience is probably much younger than me.(less)
I started reading this when I checked it out of the library. Unfortunately I had to return it to the library before I finished it. It was very interes...moreI started reading this when I checked it out of the library. Unfortunately I had to return it to the library before I finished it. It was very interesting and unique. Mr. Hodgson had a gift for telling a story and using language very efficiently, yet conveying the horror and the intensity of the plight of the characters. He had a great imagination, which is more than evident in the stories I read in this book. His writing is not dated, but definitely conveys the period in which he wrote. I really wish I could have kept this book as my own to read at leisure as this is not a book you can read in a week. You want to read a little, digest it, read something else, and then come back to read another story. Although the stories are all related, it can be read story by story. I definitely plan to get a copy of this for my own collection someday.(less)
I read book 1: Dead Until Dark. It was very good. It's Local Southern Color meets Urban fantasy. I like Sookie and I like Bill. I have heard they don'...moreI read book 1: Dead Until Dark. It was very good. It's Local Southern Color meets Urban fantasy. I like Sookie and I like Bill. I have heard they don't stay together. It makes me kind of sad, but I guess that's how relationships are in real life. Jason has some serious issues to work through. Sam's pretty interesting. I definitely think he's sweet on Sookie.
I gave this to my mother to read (along with the next Omnibus). No rush. I'll get around to reading them someday.(less)
Despite a slow start, I ended up loving this book. There was much to love in it, after all. If you read this book, hang in the past the helicopter sce...moreDespite a slow start, I ended up loving this book. There was much to love in it, after all. If you read this book, hang in the past the helicopter scene, which was filled with a bit too much technical information. You might like it, but I found it was a little dry for me. Shortly thereafter, things really take off.
Ty Derrick isn't your typical hero. He is extremely intelligent. So intelligent that he isn't very good at doing the normal life kinds of things. He has poor social skills, and will say exactly what he thinks. Ty is a nerd. He's a delicious nerd. I am so happy that Ms. Feehan was brave enough to write a hero who was without any doubt a big nerd. Now Ty is also gorgeous and built from his extreme sports. But the cool thing is Libby has loved him from afar in large part because of his brilliance. Although most things of normal life cannot keep his interest, Ty was always interested in Libby, but hadn't worked up the nerve to pursue her until this book starts. It's good that he finally decided that she was the woman he wanted. Ty is not an easy man to love or to live with. So it's great that Libby understands and accepts him for who he is (in ways that no one ever did, including his cousin, whom he is very close with). He's so abstract in his thinking, so absent-minded, in the ways that truly brilliant people are. However, as the book unfolds, it is clear to see the change that Libby's love makes on him, and it is realistic. Ty will always be the absent-minded professor, but Libby has become one of his major fixations, and she'll always take number one spot in his life. Ty might be a braniac, but he makes a formidable hero in pursuit, and definitely makes my possessive/jealous heroes list.
I loved seeing Libby's story. She's truly a gentle, loving person. Her gift for healing is incredible, and she uses it with profound cost to herself in this book. I am a big fan of heroines who are educated and have careers in the scientific and technical fields. I loved how she was able to meet Ty on his level, although he is more on the analytic side of science, and she is on the applied, humanistic side. Their discussions on science and medicine were interesting to me (since I am in the medical science field), and it was an excellent way to show that this couple were made for each other.
Ty and Libby is one of those couples I root for. They are very good together. They seemed to complement each other. Ty finds it hard to feel, and Libby feels maybe too much. Instead of it being the case of Ty walking all over Libby's feelings (although he seemed to say cutting things to her in school that hurt her, he didn't mean it from a cruel way, but didn't know how to talk to this girl he was in awe of), he finds the ability to open up to her and love her in ways that he never could love anyone. Ty did frustrate me how he was determined to believe that the Drake family was a bunch of shysters, but it made sense for a man so rational and used to applying the principles of science to everything, and breaking everything down to its fundamental level, would have trouble reconciling the powerful magic of the Drake family. When Ty begins to pursue Libby, he is determined to save her from her family. I am really glad that this was not dragged out too long. I like how Ms. Feehan resolved Ty's doubts about the magical abilities of Libby and her sisters. I like how Ty came to find himself the family he always felt he was denied with the Drake sisters. He becomes part of their circle of love and protection.
Ty and Libby had excellent chemistry, but also a love for each other was gentle and strong in equal measures. They cared for each other and wanted each others' happiness. The love scenes are pretty sizzling, and show that their bond is deeper than just physical. I really love how Ms. Feehan wrote the perfect hero for each sister, intensely compatible and right for these wonderful women.
I never realized how much I would come to enjoy the theme of this series. I don't want to belabor a point about my usually avoidance of witch stories. But these books really show the elemental nature of these incredible young women, how good they are, and how natural what they can do is. I truly love the scenes in which the sisters are spending time together, how deep their love and support for each other is. How much they are willing to sacrifice for each other. They really show how strong family can and should be. I liked that Jackson and Jonas were in this book a lot. They are great characters, and I can't get enough of them. You can see how important they are to the Drake sisters, although they haven't found their happy endings with their respective Drake sisters quite yet. Only brief appearances by Damon and Matt, alas.
Again, I was laughing out loud with this story. Christine Feehan is really funny. I love the humor in her books. It's just as good as all the intense passion, steamy love scenes, and tortured angst, and it's a great counterbalance to the darker, more serious and emotionally-wrenching moments.
This book had less of the supernatural darkness aspects than some of the books. It was more of a crime/mystery type plot underlying the love story. The resolution of this story was rather heartbreaking in some ways. There is a happy ending, but the betrayal that Ty faces is astounding.
I am so glad that I picked this book up again after laying it down a couple of months ago, because this time I could barely put it down. It just goes to prove what a mood reader I am. It was a bittersweet read for me, since this is the last Drake sisters book that I can read for the first time (I ended up reading this series out of order). But I have a feeling I will be rereading this series sometime in the future. And there's always Ilya's brothers' books to look forward to. Thanks for writing another excellent book, Ms. Feehan. (less)