Closer to a 3.5 than a 3, but not quite a 4. I prefer this book to Vacations from Hell - part of the same series. The stories were better rounded, des...moreCloser to a 3.5 than a 3, but not quite a 4. I prefer this book to Vacations from Hell - part of the same series. The stories were better rounded, despite how played out vampires feel these days, and as I'm less familiar with these authors than I am with the authors in Vacations from Hell, there was no niggling little voice saying "these authors can write better than this! I feel gypped!"
I was especially fond of Alyson Noel's story, which was almost predictably old school Gothic but still highly enjoyable.(less)
Very, very cute. Picked this up today at Ukazoo, remembering Cassandra Yorgey raving to me about Charles de Lint. I intended to save this for Sunday n...moreVery, very cute. Picked this up today at Ukazoo, remembering Cassandra Yorgey raving to me about Charles de Lint. I intended to save this for Sunday night, but ended up devouring it tonight. Very short, *very* cute, and very fun to see Aboriginal mythos in YA fantasy (well, maybe there's more out there and I just don't know about it. Recs, please!).
The writing was kind of middle of the road for me; very approachable and didn't include any obnoxious "Teen Speak" moments for which I am always and forever grateful, but nothing really stuck out for me.
I tend to be a stickler for character, and sadly, I didn't really start to get a feel for Miguel, our narrator, until the very end. The other characters felt similarly - shallow? unfinished? two-dimensional? I feel like we got a pretty good snapshot of who all these people are, but I will always crave Caravaggio over a Polaroid.
The story is decent, though I can think of a few friends who would have issues with the pacing. All that aside though, I think this ranks among my favorite magical worlds, right up there with Libba Bray's Realms, Cornelia Funke's Mirror World, and Diana Wynne Jones' Mythosphere.
This doesn't fall into my "Favorite Books" pile, but it's a good one, it makes me want to read more from this author, and I'd recommend it easily. It's more fluff than substance, in my opinion, but it's darn good fluff. Sometimes, that's all I want.(less)
Okay, I think I get what the fuss is about Agatha Christie now. Hint: the fuss is totally earned.
The Harlequin Tea Set is a collection of rarely publi...moreOkay, I think I get what the fuss is about Agatha Christie now. Hint: the fuss is totally earned.
The Harlequin Tea Set is a collection of rarely published, thematically wide ranging stories. There are, of course, the murder mysteries which she's so famous for, including a story about her famous detective Poirot, The Spanish Chest. But there are also stories which edge into the domain of the supernatural and ephemeral, where some cosmic force is helping move things along to aid or bring justice to a character, stories about love and love lost, of betrayal and guilt. And of course stories about buried treasure.
There is something heavy in Christie's writing that goes beyond just subject matter. There were many times where I felt like I could have been reading Poe or, in the case of The House of Dreams, H.P. Lovecraft - albeit better written than Lovecraft. What surprised me most about Agatha Christie's writing was that, while I could definitely sense the era of the settings, the writing itself was as fresh and clear as though someone had written it now. I can't wait to read some of her full novels.(less)
As always, Charlaine Harris has written a Sookie Stackhouse book that's funny, dark, morally thought provoking, and engaging. It's a treat to find out...moreAs always, Charlaine Harris has written a Sookie Stackhouse book that's funny, dark, morally thought provoking, and engaging. It's a treat to find out more about Eric's past, and as a history geek and all around awful human being, I got a cheap enjoyment out of turning one of the Romanov's into a vampire.
While I wished Sookie's trauma from the last book had played in a bit more in this one, I liked that the narrative gave us insight into the subtler, and thus more pervasive and influential changes to her personality based on her associations with Supes.
Also, while I did really enjoy this book, like other books in the series, it irritates me sometimes at the way Harris drops one plot direction to focus on something new. The book started out with all sorts of murder conspiracy overtones and then we took a sharp turn at supernatural family reunions. Which is great! but not what the beginning of the book would lead me to expect. Still, unresolved plot points are great motivation for the publishers to contract for more books!(less)
A staple of any good, creepy childhood. I was a tough to terrify child, but some of these stories have stuck with me for over 15 years and still make...moreA staple of any good, creepy childhood. I was a tough to terrify child, but some of these stories have stuck with me for over 15 years and still make me shiver a little. That, of course, may also be because of the illustrations. Chilling and grotesque, the illustrations were what set this book above other ghost stories and urban legends aimed at kids. The illustrator obviously didn't let the intended audience age restrict the style, and I appreciate that as much now as I did as a child.(less)
Slightly rambling but filled with awesome points and ideas and miscellaneous factoids and history. I actually finished it months ago and forgot to upd...moreSlightly rambling but filled with awesome points and ideas and miscellaneous factoids and history. I actually finished it months ago and forgot to update Goodreads. I highly recommend it to other fans of monster, psychology, religious studies, history, and the location of creepy museums. I'll be reading this again, and soon.(less)
After further thought, I've taken my rating down to two stars. It's not that this book doesn't have some fun stories, but they are too few in number....moreAfter further thought, I've taken my rating down to two stars. It's not that this book doesn't have some fun stories, but they are too few in number. Only a few hold any relevance to Maryland, and the others are folktales and legends I've heard in a dozen other anthologies from all over the country. Out of 20-something tales, I can only remember the details of a few of them, and of those few, most are remembered because they're variations of stories I've heard before elsewhere. My other complaint was the writing. It was not good. Schlosser seems to be trying to write like she's telling the story over an evening campfire and it doesn't work. Add to that her attempts to capture the accents and colloquialisms of Marylanders, it's just bad all around.
What's most disappointing is that this book could be filled with *unique* stories from just *one* of the locations she uses. In Baltimore, there's the love spell George Peabody place on the Peabody conservatory to help students find their true loves, the ghosts on the USS Constellation, the legends of children getting lost in the mining tunnels under Federal Hill to name a few. Old Ellicott City has a ghost or a legend in almost every building and house! Instead, we're treated to a retelling of the vanishing hitch-hiker, a poorly veiled version of Poe's Tell Tale Heart, and one of the tamest stories about Black Aggie I've ever heard.
This isn't a *bad* book. It's just not a good one. If you want a collection of urban legends and you're not picky, I doubt anyone will have a problem with this book. But I have most of the same stories in different books, better written, and the others I'll remember.(less)
Whether you need it for research like me, or just have an interest in some of Baltimore's weirder history, this is a great book. Well written, well re...moreWhether you need it for research like me, or just have an interest in some of Baltimore's weirder history, this is a great book. Well written, well researched, and a quick read.(less)
4.5 stars. This is almost my perfect book. Almost.
While I enjoyed Bradley's writing in Mists of Avalon, I like it even more here. There's beauty and a...more4.5 stars. This is almost my perfect book. Almost.
While I enjoyed Bradley's writing in Mists of Avalon, I like it even more here. There's beauty and a sense of ease to her words and she switches perspectives between characters easily. Her description of West Virginia is pretty spot on for the type of location she's set the story in. Not all of West Virginia is that backwards...but I've visited some places when my grandfather truck broke down a couple times that could easily be Morton's Fork. I love Bradley's description of the supernatural and of psychic phenomena, and while the characters follow familiar archetypes, they're still themselves. Most of all, I enjoyed the gradual breakdown of the characters mental states, Wycherly especially, though Sinah became really interesting as the story went on. Bradley's hallmark of feminist ranting also makes an appearance, but it isn't overwhelming and is understandable in the context of the relationships deteriorating as they were.
My complaints are few, but they're enough to cause someone else issues with this book. There are some unclear resolutions of plot points - like what was in the bag Wycherly pulled from the stone, and what exactly happened to Luned - and I would've loved a more detailed epilogue. Also, the unseen forces that motivate the main characters could've been better explained. I loved the book despite the things that are missing, but yeah. I get the sense that there was much MUCH more to this story than Bradley could justify fitting in. The story of just one of Sinah's ancestors could've filled a book the same length I think.
Regardless of the problems, though, I'm eager to find and read more of the books from this series, if for no other reason than to understand more about the Otherworld.(less)
One of the best anthologies I've read in a long time. While there were a few stories that made me wonder why they were being considered steampunk, I e...moreOne of the best anthologies I've read in a long time. While there were a few stories that made me wonder why they were being considered steampunk, I enjoyed all of them. Okay, so Seven Day Beset by Demons was a let down, but that was the only one.
These authors are not steampunk authors, or even genre writers. Where so many steampunk writers seem to think of the world before the story, these are simply authors who have taken on the concept of steampunk and used it to accent a story, and for that, the impact and dept of the world is so much more potent. I think fans of steampunk and readers who are new to the genre will both find this a fantastic collection.
Also, the cover is really, really pretty.
Some of my favorites are:
The Last Ride of the Glory Girls by Libba Bray Clockwork Fagin by Cory Doctrow The Ghost of Cymwer Manor by Delia Sherman Finishing School by Kathleen Jennings Gethsemane by Elizabeth Knox and The Summer People by Kelly Link
but really, everything in here is good. Go read it.(less)
Like all anthologies, some stories are better than others. However, the concept - a precocious machine in the not too distant future can tell you how...moreLike all anthologies, some stories are better than others. However, the concept - a precocious machine in the not too distant future can tell you how you're going to die - is fantastic, and the writers rise to the occasion nicely.
The stories examine the affect such a machine has on the people who share a world with it, both individually and society at large. They run the gamut from funny to tragic, scary to poignant. An additional selling point are the illustrations at the beginning of each new story.
The website, machineofdeath.net offers free pdf ebooks, but this is a story I plan on buying in hard copy as well.(less)