In 1994, Jasper College was host to a controversial class, Lit 424: Unraveling a Literary Mystery. Nine undergrad honor students are invited to attend...moreIn 1994, Jasper College was host to a controversial class, Lit 424: Unraveling a Literary Mystery. Nine undergrad honor students are invited to attend the class taught by the infamous Dr. Richard Aldiss who’s been convicted and currently incarcerated for the murder of two students at Dumant University. The class, held in the basement of the school to prevent prying eyes and distractions from protesters, is where they first meet their professor – via satellite – on a TV screen stationed in the front of the room.
Fifteen years later, Dr. Alex Shipley, one of the night students goes to meet Dr. Aldiss at his home. She’s come to speak with him about a murder – the victim being another student of the night class, Michael. He was found in a scene arranged much like the Dumant University murders, surrounded by books and open books covering their eyes.
All those years ago Alex unraveled the literary mystery that ultimately set her professor free, now given a new mystery that begs to be solved, will she be successful before more of her classmates are murdered, or will she prove that the answers she uncovered the first time around were false?
Let’s start with a shelf confession or two: I LOVE books about books and books that take place in a school/academic setting. I can’t explain why, but it’s like a little niche of goodness in the book world – especially books about books that I can’t get enough of.
Finley Jayne is not your average Victorian-era heroine. She has a dark side. Employed as a maid when Lord August-Raynes makes untoward advances, her d...moreFinley Jayne is not your average Victorian-era heroine. She has a dark side. Employed as a maid when Lord August-Raynes makes untoward advances, her dark side comes forward and she flees from the aftermath, knowing she will be fired. As she’s running from the scene of the incident, she steps into the path of Griffin King’s velocycle and he crashes to avoid hitting her. Griffin and his friend end up taking Finley back to his house in order to ensure she’s alright. He’s also curious because he senses that there is something different about Finley and hopes to discover what it is.
As Finley comes around she soon realizes that this is no ordinary household and perhaps they are as unique as she is. Never having any friends before she is wary and trust isn’t easy for her. However, Finley soon becomes aware of a mystery that Griffin and his friends are desperate to solve. A man known as The Machinist – because he uses automatons to commit his crimes – is on the loose and Finley Is hoping she can earn the trust and friendship she’s gone so long without, by helping them stop him before he destroys all of England.
Infernal Devices is an account told by George Dower of Clerkenwell, London in the hopes of repairing his ruined reputation as a result of the events h...moreInfernal Devices is an account told by George Dower of Clerkenwell, London in the hopes of repairing his ruined reputation as a result of the events he lays out in full description and detail. A wild adventure complete with sea creatures, people who've seen the future and now speak the lingo, secret societies for science, and a robot (automata) that takes on a life of it's own. A truely fantastical journey that requires a suspension of disbelief - but makes you all the more happy for it.
At first I had a hard time getting into the story because of the classic writing style of writing - which fits with the Victorian era setting and the narrator penning the tale, but had me rereading sentences in order to make sure I grasped their meaning. However, I'm glad I persisted because at some point I realized I wasn't having any problems stumbling over sentences and was fully immersed in the story. There are a lot of funny elements in the book and even though most of them weren't laugh out loud funny (which is rare for me anyways), I did fine myself smiling a lot while reading. However, the ending came together in a rush and some of the surprises left me going "huh?" I won't give any spoilers but it would've made a fine book without some of the surprises at the end, it was just too much. The ending did make me laugh; Dower is just such a stodgy fellow and all this stuff happens to rock his world!
Before the novel there is a forward by the author where I learned he coined the term "steampunk" to describe a genre that he and a few of his friends were writing. Little did he realize the word would take on a life of it's own (much like his robot in Infernal Devices). I found the history of steampunk's beginning very interesting - especially since I had no idea it began as a fiction genre; I usually see it expressed as jewelry since that's another hobby of mine. (less)
What do you do when you don’t know who you are – not your name, where you live, or who you love?
Daniel Hayes finds himself struggling in the frigid o...moreWhat do you do when you don’t know who you are – not your name, where you live, or who you love?
Daniel Hayes finds himself struggling in the frigid ocean waters, desperate to get to the shore. On the beach he realizes he’s naked and the whipping wind is going to kill him even if the water didn’t. He manages to find a car parked near the beach, desperate for warmth he crawls inside and falls asleep from exhaustion. When he wakes he begins to take stock of his situation. He’s sitting in a BMW, naked, and has no clue who is he is or anything about his past before almost drowning. There’s a shoe on the floor of the car, a map and liquor bottle on the side seat. He finds ID in the name of a Daniel Hayes and decides to go with that until he can figure out who he really is. Little does he know that his missing memory isn’t the only puzzle he’s going to have to solve: a con man turned murderer, a half million dollar necklace, and a wife who may not be playing it straight. He almost lost his life once, is he willing to risk it again? Does he really want to know the past he’s forgotten?
When I read the last page of the book I just stood staring: WHOA. When I requested The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, I expected a mystery/thriller. I was hoping it was going to be a page turner. I got way more than I bargained for – and loved every minute of it. One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was the philosophical aspect of the book. It came very natural in my opinion, since it has to be a soul-searching thing to lose your memories.
One of my favorite quotes from this book, because it’s so simple and elegant: “Life is a raindrop.”
There are so many twists and turns throughout that you never know what will happen next – and yet not enough to lose focus of the plot and what’s going on. Sakey really does a great job of putting the reader in the story and there were times when I felt as confused as Hayes did! Or I would read one of the philosophical lines in the book and would find myself pondering them. I think all great books leave us thinking “what would I do, how would I feel?”
If I had to describe The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, and Markus Sakey’s writing, I think I would say Dean Koontz meets Anita Shreve! I know that’s a weird combination but it has the thrilling elements of Koontz at his best, and Shreve’s depth.
I can’t recommend this book enough – add it to your summer reading pile! I highly recommend it for mystery/thriller lovers and anyone else that wants to get caught up in a story that grabs you and won’t let go! (less)
These Dark Things is a story that transports us to Naples, Italy where the Camorra (a crime syndicate older than the mafia) rules with an iron fist an...moreThese Dark Things is a story that transports us to Naples, Italy where the Camorra (a crime syndicate older than the mafia) rules with an iron fist and the Carabinieri (police force in charge of protecting cultural institutions) are called to oppose at every turn despite overwhelming odds against them. Captain Natalia Monte is called to the scene of a murder; a body has been found in the crypt of a local church. She arrives to find the body of a young woman posed, sitting in a chair surrounded by the bones of plague victims. From identification found she is Theresa Steiner, 23 years old, a student studying from Ulm, Germany.
Theresa Steiner, a very social person, has come in contact with many people – even the infamous Camorra leader Gambini himself has been seen with her. As the story unfolds there is no lack of suspects including: a blind monk, Gambini head of one of the biggest syndicates of the Camorra, and a philandering Professor who doesn’t mind ruining students careers to get what he wants. As the investigation heats up, so does the trash that’s being abandoned all over the city – two factions of the Camorra fighting for control of the lucrative trash removal contracts. Not to mention that Captain Natalia has had prior dealings with this philandering Professor and one of her best friends is involved with the Camorra in-fighting and doesn’t know which side to take, or who will win. If that wasn’t stressful enough, Natalia has a new love interest that may get her into more trouble than it’s worth.
I enjoyed the book, but it’s not going to be one of those books I remember for very long. I loved the premise of the book and the setting. If I could go anywhere in the world I would probably pick Italy. I really loved the history and the language, and I was glad to see that was showcased in the book. However, sometimes it seemed like a little TOO much. I would be reading a sentence and suddenly there would be an Italian word placed there. I wouldn’t have minded that so much if it didn’t happen so frequently. I didn’t need so many constant reminders of where the setting was. The only other thing that was a minor turn off was having the same things described all the time – people loitering in the streets, garbage everywhere, children running, etc. For me, it was just about moderation, in my opinion it was just, again, too much. The story is enjoyable and the mystery is interesting. I haven’t decided whether or not I will be reading the next in the series or not. Although this book left off in a very interesting place. (less)
Jackson Crow, an investigator in the Behavioral Sciences Unit in DC has been on leave since his last assignment ended in the tragic deaths of 3 team...more Jackson Crow, an investigator in the Behavioral Sciences Unit in DC has been on leave since his last assignment ended in the tragic deaths of 3 team mates. Adam Harrison, a government insider (working either alone or unofficially), especially in cases of "extreme weirdness" offers Crow a job heading up a new team, and their first case takes them to a New Orleans mansion with an infamous past that is supposedly haunted. Most recently, Regina Hollow, wife of the well-liked Senator Holloway, fell from her bedroom balcony to her death. Crow's team - a motley crew from all walks of life and interests, but all with special gifts of their own - is given the task of proving or disproving the existence of ghosts in the house and figuring out the mystery behind Regina's unexpected death. With no lack of suspects - including a cult and a group of Aryans, Regina's death may not be all that it appears.
I found the whole premise of the book intriguing. I love books set in New Orleans' mansions, especially the haunted variety. The house has a very interesting history that slowly unfolds as you read, and I loved other aspects of the story as well - namely the romance that builds between two of the characters. I also enjoyed learning about each of the team members and what their specialties were and seeing them all become fast friends. It had all the elements I usually love in a story.. but for whatever reason, and I really can't put a finger on it, I just had a hard time getting INTO the book. It took me longer to read than it normally would have, and that's when I realized I was having trouble keeping focused on it. There are really no obvious flaws to point out, nothing that I hated; so I think it was just a case of me reading it at the wrong time. I learned that this is the first in a new series, and I will be reading the second book, because I did like all the characters, and I hope that the next book will be a little more action packed and hold my interest a little more.
All in all, I give this one 3 stars because I did like it, it just wasn't the fabulous book I was expecting from the premise. However, this is the first Heather Graham book I've read and I do plan on reading her other books, and I recommend this book for anyone who loves a mystery - or books set in New Orleans. (less)
Charlotte Silver is the daughter of the well-known paranormal investigation team Silver Spirits. On New Year’s Eve Charlotte and her friends end up at...moreCharlotte Silver is the daughter of the well-known paranormal investigation team Silver Spirits. On New Year’s Eve Charlotte and her friends end up at the house of a schoolmate who is hosting a ceremony that consists of sitting in a circle and each person sharing at least one paranormal experience they’ve had and then lighting a candle, until one hundred candles are lit. When all the candles are lit everyone waits for something to happen and when nothing does, everyone goes home.
Charlotte tries not to think much of it, but when odd things start to happen at school that seem to relate to the tales told on that night she decides to investigate. Not an easy task when her parents are having marital problems, she’s having to deal with tension between her new boyfriend and one of her best friends – not to mention that there is some sort of entity that’s apparently out to get her. I enjoyed One Hundred Candles; it has all the elements that make a good paranormal mystery. The tension builds slow and steady until about the last 30 pages, where I was turning the pages fast and furiously wondering how the drama would end. I shed a tear as I finished the last sentence, glad that it ended on a heartwarming note.
I give this book ¾ stars because I liked it and I think it will appeal to most paranormal fiction readers (of all ages) but I couldn’t help but feel like I would’ve enjoyed the book even more if I was a little younger – say middle school age. I don’t hold this against the author; I think it’s just me loving these types of books so much and having read so many, that I’m a little jaded. I do recommend the book especially for young adults and anyone interested in paranormal fiction and I plan on reading the next book in the series.
Note: This is the 2nd book of the series but it definitely stood on its own two feet. You won’t feel out of the loop if you don’t read the first book before reading One Hundred Candles. (less)
I read this in high school. I would never have chosen to read this book had it not been assigned a) because I usually don't read memoirs and b) becaus...moreI read this in high school. I would never have chosen to read this book had it not been assigned a) because I usually don't read memoirs and b) because it looked so sad.
I have to say after finishing the book that I am glad I had to read it. It's probably one of the saddest books I have ever read but it grabs your heart and won't let go. As you read you are rooting for John and yet you know how it ends. When you finish the book you have to have a moment of silence in remembrance of someone who was so brave and hopeful even in the midst of an insurmountable challenge.
It is a very powerful book that provokes strong emotion. Not easy reading for sure.. but worth it. (less)