3.5 stars If you have been jonesing for a fast-paced, darkish whodunit urban fantasy with an MC stricken with a checkered-past, then give this book a t...more3.5 stars If you have been jonesing for a fast-paced, darkish whodunit urban fantasy with an MC stricken with a checkered-past, then give this book a try, or I should say series. A series I'll definitely continue on reading. Especially with the twisty-esque ending!(less)
Do allow me to be the sole voice of dissent. Regrettably, I was catapulted light-years away from the Land of Enchantment where readers found themselve...more Do allow me to be the sole voice of dissent. Regrettably, I was catapulted light-years away from the Land of Enchantment where readers found themselves gleefully immersed in during their time spent with In the Shadow of Blackbirds. My far-far-away status obviously attributed to the fact that I, for the life of me, couldn't for one moment, not even a sliver of a moment, a sliver of a sliver of a moment, get into this book. I tried, oh how I tried. But my will to pick this tome back up after perusing a few pages here and there was nil at best. So this is where I can honestly say that it comes down to "it's me, not you, book." Which is such a shame, for I love a good ghost story. Also, perhaps it's because the ghost story plot didn't kick into gear until roughly 100 pages in. Or perhaps the love story angle, or lack thereof, of a girl channeling Moaning Myrtle and whining about her love for Steeeeeeephen did absolutely nothing for me. Or maybe the glacial pace that was the story could be the culprit, have something to do with my sense of detachment. My mood at the time? Who knows?
Admittedly, I skimmed most of this book, which actually worked out in the end. The MC every 100 pages would kindly write a checklist of her investigation into mysterious ghost and how s/he ended up pushing up daisies, what had or hadn't been Sherlocked at that point and whatnot. Checklist much appreciated, thanks MC. I'll end on a positive note. Adored the photographs in all their historical yet creepy ways. They definitely added to the overall tale. And were a very creative touch to boot. Loved the time period and the idea of spiritual photography, something I wholly believe in. And lastly, it's more than obvious the author did painstaking research before she put pen to paper, so the attention to detail was definitely not overlooked by yours truly. (less)
2.5 stars A ghost in the midst of haunting the occupants of a house narrates the opening pages of this novel, setting quite the eerie tone. Needless to...more2.5 stars A ghost in the midst of haunting the occupants of a house narrates the opening pages of this novel, setting quite the eerie tone. Needless to say, this reader was hooked. Ghosts, I'm all about them, all day every day. Unfortunately said ghost's perspective was scarce. And by chapter three or somewhere around there, readers are told who the Big Bad is and who the object of his obsession is as well, aka next victim. That aspect completely murdered the suspense I relish from murder mysteries.
Also, there's something called The Event that occurred some time ago. This event caused a bevy of the Caspers of the world to materialize. Some interacted with those who still have a pulse. Some didn't. Some reenacted the same actions at certain times of the day. Ghosts became a part of everyday life all due to this elusive Event. This Event was discussed ad nauseam but its genesis was not.
While that aspect frustrated me so, along with the detached feeling that came about from knowing the killer's identity and his victim and a story that ultimately fell flat for me, I have to give the author mad credit for richly painting the world of ghosts and their eerie behaviors. In a way I wish the ghost's perspective had narrated the entire tale, and this review would've wound up being a tad more positive. (less)
A few days after finishing The White Forest, I'm still at a loss as to how to describe it, what to say. But I'll tell you this, I fell absolu...more4.5 stars
A few days after finishing The White Forest, I'm still at a loss as to how to describe it, what to say. But I'll tell you this, I fell absolutely, positively in love with the story, couldn't get enough of it, voraciously flipped its pages, for it was mantled in melancholy, a perennial gloom about it. Right up my alley.
Oddly, while reading, the brilliant movie Pan's Labyrinth would intermittently pop into my head. And oddly enough, another reviewer said the exact same thing. Natch, I had to like her review stat. Well, that and she so eloquently put into words what I seemed to be unable to do when it comes to this book. Said review here. So why Pan's Labyrinth? Not sure exactly. And to be clear, The White Forest is by no means derivative of said movie, in any way, shape or form. Perhaps it's because they're both steeped in gloom, both incredibly haunting. And both deal with occultism and paganism and otherworldly creatures, to an extent.
So if the aforementioned subject matters rock your world, along with Gothic mysteries and historical fiction, then give this gem of a novel a go. Bonus, the writing is delicious! (less)
I was originally stoked to read this book because I was under the impression that it was being touted as a hard-boiled mystery set within an amusement...moreI was originally stoked to read this book because I was under the impression that it was being touted as a hard-boiled mystery set within an amusement park. Murder and mayhem around every shadowy corner. I must say that said genre doesn't seem to mesh with this gem of a novel. Not at all. Sure there's a mystery, but the story is driven by the charming characters. And it's their stories that take center stage. Really, this tale belongs to fresh-out-of-college Dev (I adored this MC and his Wonder Years older self narrating) as he tries with all his might to recover from a severely broken heart (first loves and all), the lasting friendships he forges after moving solo to another state, and how in life the good deeds you do along the way will not go unnoticed by the Universe. And the ending, the absolute best ending out of all the King books I've read. Caused quite a few tears to tumble down my cheeks, it did. (less)
Earlier this year that I stumbled upon a novel entitled Acceleration. Instantly I fell in love with it, the writing style, how the author doesn't pull...moreEarlier this year that I stumbled upon a novel entitled Acceleration. Instantly I fell in love with it, the writing style, how the author doesn't pull any punches or waste readers' time with excruciatingly boring, supposed build-up to what turns out to be a scant plot. When I began reading Beyond: A Ghost Story, the writing style was reminiscent, very reminiscent, of Acceleration. Well, there's a good reason for that. They're both written by McNamee.
I'm a huge roller coaster fanatic. Two of my favorites, The Hulk and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, literally blast off mere seconds after boarding them, sending thrill-seekers from 0-60, in a snap. So fast the acceleration, breath is stolen and your very heart is jolted, skips a beat or two, flutters before finally regulating. It's an amazing rush. Can’t get enough of it. Back on point, the whiplash-y acceleration is a perfect way to describe McNamee's writing style. And unlike a roller coaster that takes its sweet time dramatically crawling up a rickety steep incline, taking forever to reach its summit - any day now roller coaster, can we just get to the plummet already? - McNamee is more like The Hulk. Slow build-up isn’t in his nature, methinks. Nope, this writer puts readers right into the crux of the tale. The action. And I have to admit that's rather refreshing, especially with many books that take, gee, well over 100 pages to get to the actual plot. Can you tell books like that annoy me as all get out?
Now onto the story itself. Was it scary? Well, not to me. But again, I’m rather warped and a veritable sicko when it comes to horror and frights and chills. Desensitized to them I am. Growing up on horror movies would do that to a kid. To me this novel is ghost story-lite. Casper-esque. Okay, maybe not so frivolous as Casper. So if you’re not a sicko like me, get scared easily, looking for a ghost story, on the lookout for a new author, sick of books that take an eternity to reach the so-called plot, craving a quick read, then Beyond: A Ghost Story is just for you. And you never know, the tale within just might cause chills to snake up your spine, make the hairs on your arms stand at attention. (less)
3.5 Upon finishing this book last night, I was left scratching my head. For I'm not really sure if there was a ghost or if it was a story of a girl spi...more3.5 Upon finishing this book last night, I was left scratching my head. For I'm not really sure if there was a ghost or if it was a story of a girl spiraling into madness. I guess you'll have to decide for yourself. Aside from that, it's a fairly quick read. The story moves along at a swift pace. Though kinda gets a tad wonky towards the end and happened rather quickly to boot. Bam! THE END.
The Unquiet definitely has a Girl Interrupted vibe if the characters had been checked out of treatment, add in a pinch of Mean Girls, and a dash of Ghost Hunters and there you have it. Though don't read this book if you're expecting grim, grinning ghosts. You'll be sorely disappointed. More of the hunting and sleuthing. (less)
Upon finishing Glimmer, I was bereft of any sort of satisfaction. In fact, I feel cheated. Let me explain why.
Glimmer, you hooked me, had me invested...moreUpon finishing Glimmer, I was bereft of any sort of satisfaction. In fact, I feel cheated. Let me explain why.
Glimmer, you hooked me, had me invested, the mystery you wove spurred me on to hungrily flip each of your pages, all the while anticipating the big reveal. Why are people falling down into catatonic states called heatnaps? Memories being erased? A Pleasantville atmosphere populated by Stepford Wives? And lo and behold, when the big reveal finally came to pass it was very remisncent of the demon Gachnar in BTVS. On one Halloween, Gachnar created mayhem and devilish deeds in its itty-bitty, wittle, pint-size wake. Then when the "Dark Lord of Nightmares", "the Bringer of Terror" was released from the appropriately named Mark of Gachnar, after much laughter by the Scooby Gang, Buffy squashed his few-inches-in-height frame with the heels of her Little Red Riding Hood shoes. For he was much ado about nothing. Point being, the ending is what did me in. The ending? What the what was that? A Velveeta-y cheesefest and then some is what it was. Lots of build up for a Gachnar-sized denouement.
Also, The Gachnar, the big bad in Glimmer, I guessed this person fairly quickly. Some things just didn't add up. But hey, the kids were still amnesiacs. So, natch, I cut them some much needed slack. But towards the end of the story and the brain trust comprised of Elyse and Marshall still hadn't ferreted out the identity of said person, wow. Just wow.
So all in all, aside from the letdown ending, the book definitely intrigued me. And for the most part, the entertainment value was there. It's always fun to puzzle out what's going on along with the MCs.
Also, to be fair and honest, I'm a sucker for explosive endings, like right out of a summer blockbuster movie. Which explains my lack of gratification with this novel's ending. Also, another reason for the 3 stars, I failed to connect with Elyse. She annoyed me for the majority of the time, but then I felt a pang of guilt when her back story came to light. Still, even with that truth revealed, I failed to feel her. Can't say the same for Marshall. I wish every chapter was told from his POV, not alternating with Elyse.
So would I recommend this novel? Yeah, it's different, mysterious. And a standalone, for those sick of series. (less)
Sharing time. I've never watched Green Mile. I know, I know, something is drastically wrong with me. I probably shied away from the movie's purported...moreSharing time. I've never watched Green Mile. I know, I know, something is drastically wrong with me. I probably shied away from the movie's purported awesomeness because I knew the rather heavy subject matter would've left me feeling incensed and unsatisfied come The End. Well, turns out my prediction was exactly how I felt upon flipping to the last page of the novel. Aargh! Is it wrong to demand happy endings? Putting my anger of the nonriding-off-into-the-sunset ending aside, though slow moving, the Green Mile was enjoyable and moving and deeply unsettling, what with the social injustices of the time, sprinkled with likable characters (one in particular was downright maleficent) that sure wormed their way under my skin, especially Mr. Jingles. Buddy, I so would've adopted you. Speaking of which, would it've killed them (them being prison guards) to have given a home to the angelic mouse? I get it, he wanted his Mouseland, but still. C'mon now.
An aside before sharing time ends. Stephen King has morphed into a salve for when I'm so not vibing with other books. And when that happens, I feel compelled to pick up one of King's novels and am subsequently sucked into the yarn and inevitably connect with the realistic characters. So yeah, I guess I can proudly say I'm a Constant Reader. Yay!
If you're like me and have recently crawled out from the subterranean depths of the rock you once called home and haven't watched or read The Green Mile, I highly recommend that you do so. It is really a gem.
Stuck in a reading rut? Try Soul Trapper. It's definitely an escape type of book and pulled me out of my bizarre reading funk. It reads like an episod...moreStuck in a reading rut? Try Soul Trapper. It's definitely an escape type of book and pulled me out of my bizarre reading funk. It reads like an episode of Ghostfacers. (I'm referring to the group of paranormal investigators featured on a few episodes of Supernatural.) Too obscure of a description? How about Paranormal State or Ghost Hunters? Anyhow, picture if you will, an episode of one of the aforementioned TV series morphing into a stand-alone novel. And there you have it - Soul Trapper.
Little known fact about yours truly: the Exorcist movie was a childhood favorite of mine. Let's just say my mom was very lax on telly viewings. My chi...moreLittle known fact about yours truly: the Exorcist movie was a childhood favorite of mine. Let's just say my mom was very lax on telly viewings. My childhood best friend and I would watch it and even laugh during certain parts. (Not your average kids, I'm aware.)
With that confession out of the way, it should come as no surprise that I'm a horror buff (slasher films exempt. Can't stand gore). I don't frighten easily. While the movie version of The Exorcist failed to send a chill dancing along my spine (except for the Ouija board part in the beginning with the creeptastic Captain Howdy making his introduction), the book certainly did just that. This novel is fantastically creepy and totally scratched my wanting-to-be-horrified itch. If you're a fan of the movie; or a horror buff; craving an unputdownable, page turner; or just want a good scare, I'd totally recommend that you read this novel. You won't regret it. (less)