Oh, Abby Cooper, I've missed you so!! When I read a series, I tend to space out each book rather than reading it all at once. I suppose it's my way of savoring it? It's been a few months since I finished the sixth book in this series, Death Perception, and I couldn't wait to jump back into the story.
This book picks up with a case that was first introduced in the previous book, but went nowhere. Abby, a professional psychic, and her friend Candice, a PI, are aiding the FBI in the investigation of some missing teenagers. It's believed the kidnappings are linked because the teens were all children of senators.
Given that this book didn't take place in Abby's hometown, some of the best characters were unfortunately absent this time. In the case of Abby's older sister Cat, there was a brief mention in a single sentence and that was all. However, I was really excited to learn more about Candice. She was a central character in Doom With a View and I love that she's getting more and more time in the spotlight.
Abby's boyfriend Dutch works for the FBI (what a cool job!!). He recently got the position and now we get to meet some really awesome characters. Despite being a huge jerk for roughly 99% of the book, Agent Harrison grew on me. Can't wait to see him again! However, I will admit I was a little disappointed that the romance was so obvious (or maybe I'm just psychic :D!). Really, though, that was a bit of a let down and, to me, wound up feeling a bit forced and thrown together.
I wasn't completely happy with some of the previous books, but Doomed With a View sucked me back in and I can't wait to start the next book. Toward the end, a pretty big plan was announced and I'm both nervous and excited to see how it turns out!
These books (& cozies in general!) are so incredible. So, so much fun and just the right length for a cold and rainy day....more
Before I get into the review, it should be said that I hold Edgar Allan Poe to a ridiculously high degree. I was first introduced to him when I was in 3rd grade and since then, I have placed him atop a pedestal. He is directly responsible for my career goals and I do a great deal of what I do because of him and the effect both he and his writing have had on me. Apart from a trip to Gettysburg, the best vacation I ever took was a birthday trip to Baltimore where I visited his house and both of his graves. So awesome.
Because of this, anything that so much as references Poe (be it movie, song, book, etc) I feel compelled to seek it out. Nevermore was no different. I was a little hesitant once I read the summary - goth boy and preppy cheerleader are paired together for a project and ~sparks fly~? Please. It seems like that's a trend in YA right now. However, I hunkered down and gave it a shot.
Once you get past the writing - and a good portion of it is awful: far too flowery and descriptive - it's a pretty intriguing story. Varen (lol it seriously took me until 10 pages from the end to realize his name spelled Raven... yeah.) was by far my favorite character. He's the brooding, antisocial boy who doesn't speak to anyone and is a target for rumors. Isobel is the uber popular (& blonde!) cheerleader who has the football star boyfriend and perfect friends. The two are partnered up for an English project and that's when the story lost me.
Isobel's best friend Nikki immediately freaks out when she finds out Isobel's partner is Varen and insists on telling Brad (the boyfriend). Isobel then freaks out herself and insists that Brad must not find out and makes Nikki promise not to say a word to him. Nikki (oh so clever girl that she is) runs off to tell her own friend instead, who then, in turn, tells Brad.
Brad reasonably flies off the handle and begins making threats toward Varen, keys his car, even goes to far as to have the group visit Varen at work (an ice cream parlor) and completely trash it.
...all of this over an English project. I hope I wasn't the only one utterly confused and frustrated at this. I couldn't understand what the problem was. Isobel would even go out of her way to lie and make excuses so that her friends wouldn't find out she had been doing her homework.
Eventually Isobel comes to her senses and ditches her horrible friends and then we comes to the paranormal aspect of the book. There's another world based on Poe's tales. Poe himself was transported to this place multiple times and it eventually destroyed him. I looked forward to these chapters even though the writing was the most painful during these chapters, simply because I didn't have to deal with Isobel's terrible friends anymore.
The climactic fight scene at the end dragged on and on which frustrated me to no end. That should be the one part of the book I should have not been able to put down! Instead, I had to struggle to get through it (& succumbed to skimming a bit).
The Nocs, particularly Pinfeathers, were interesting! Isobel's little brother was awesome! I can't wait for more Varen (& it's such a shame he didn't get more time in the spotlight. There were some things that happened to him that I definitely wanted to find out more about - the scene with his father, for instance). I'm still not sure what to think of Isobel's dad. I thought it was so cool that Reynolds was a character!
Despite the horrible writing, I really enjoyed this book and of course I'll be continuing this series. Yay, Poe!...more
Fairy tales & retellings seem to be in right now. There’s been an influx in the number of books, movies, and television shows dealing with fairy tale characters and I fully support this movement. I think it’s awesome and I’m really loving retellings with new takes on familiar stories.
I first came across this book at work a few months ago and it immediately caught my eye. Admittedly, I’m usually not one for an all-female cast of characters, but the artwork was decent enough and I was intrigued by the plot.
Earlier this week I finally sat down and read it. I had read some disappointing reviews and I completely see where the readers were coming from. The entire book could have greatly benefited from some major editing. Entire chapters read more like fanfiction than an actual, published work.
One thing I wasn’t too fond of were the names. Cinderella’s real name is Danielle, Sleeping Beauty is Talia, and Snow White is Ermilina (although she prefers Snow). I did enjoy, however, the world building and the creatures that inhabit it.
Despite being a relatively short book, it took me nearly a week to finish due to the writing. I’m debating whether or not to continue the series – they certainly seem interesting enough, but I’ve learned in the past that a good plot isn’t enough for me if the writing is horrible....more
Drop what you're doing and read this now! I've been raving about this book for the past week and am finally able to sit down and put all my flailing into words.
"For heaven's sake, boy, put your mask on," Mr. Socrates snapped. "No one should see your face."
Mr. Alan Socrates hears about an odd little child and buys him. It sounds remarkably cruel - and it is - but it's as simple as that. He takes Modo (a terribly sweet but horribly deformed boy) to his estate, Ravenscroft, and there the child is raised.
While Modo views Mr. Socrates as his father figure, the man is hardly around. He's always off traveling and on the rare occasions that he does decide to drop by, he quizzes Modo in order to see how his studies are going.
Modo is raised by a wonderful woman, the caretaker of the estate. Whereas Mr. Socrates only allows Modo to read "approved" material (certain articles from the newspaper, for example), Mrs. Finchley will go out of her way to sneak in a picture book or two, something fun and light-hearted. She was the first person to truly care about Modo and it broke my heart when Modo had to leave Ravenscroft.
Modo undid the knots and removed the mask, setting it on a table. He felt naked. This was not a face for the world to see, Mr. Socrates had told him so.
The masks are vital. Until Mr. Socrates decided Modo was to leave to estate, Modo had no idea what he looked like. All of the mirrors and anything remotely reflective were to be removed. I wanted to rush to Modo's side the day Mr. Socrates forced him to see himself for the first time.
Modo has a wonderful gift: shape-shifting. He's able to see a portrait or merely use his imagination and his entire body will change and take on the features of another person. Mr. Socrates is determined to use Modo's ability to his advantage.
Mr. Socrates is the head of a secret organization that employs agents to do various tasks. From the time he was bought, Modo had been trained to become Mr. Socrates' ultimate agent.
When Modo is 14, Mr. Socrates takes him to London - the very first time Modo has ever been outside - and leaves him there. ...just leaves him. He tells Modo he'll check back soon and that Modo should put his training to use and fend for himself.
At various times throughout the book I wanted to throttle Mr. Socrates. This scene was one of those times. Here was Modo, a terrified boy who has never been outside before, suddenly dropped off in the middle of London and told to have a nice life. Throughout it all, Modo was such a sweetheart, I wanted to reach into the book and give him a huge hug. :( Don't let the jerks get you down, Modo. ♥
Modo only nodded, but smiled idiotically under his handkerchief.
Oh man. Modo's crush on Octavia (another agent employed by Mr. Socrates) is so, so, so insanely adorable. They were just too cute. I was really hoping their romance storyline would have been given a bit more attention, but there are other books, so yay! So cute.
Dr. Hyde is a mad scientist who took orphaned children (and Prince Albert), surgically enhanced them by placing large bolts into their shoulders, and fed them all a tincture, rendering them fully conscious, yet completely unable to control their bodies. There was a fascinating chapter where a character was under the influence of the tincture. He was aware, yet could not move a limb. Instead, his body moved on its own with its own purpose.
The action was fantastic! The Iron Giant-type machine was so cool and the fact that a prince and little children were all connected to it - literally - and forced to pilot it was neat.
Mr. Socrates gathered up the paper. "As a rule, I prefer no descriptions of my agents to appear in print." "It won't happen again, sir," Modo said. "Next time I'll just let myself burn up in the blaze."
I adored watching Modo grow. In the beginning, he was a tiny, timid boy who had no idea what the real world was like. After Mr. Socrates comes back into Modo's life, Modo is different - but in a good way. He's no longer scared and naive. He's a character you get to know and come to care about and multiple times I was honestly worried for him. I wanted things to work out for him, I was rooting for Modo the entire journey. When his transformations began to wear off or his masks slipped, I was scared for him. When he started having flutter feelings whenever he was around Octavia, I squealed in delight.
"Marvelously boring. Though there is a good sword fight at the end."
♥ One of my favorite scenes in the book was an Octavia/Modo scene. Modo is reading Hamlet and Octavia walks in on him. She immediately begins to mock Modo for reading not just Hamlet, but Shakespeare in general. Modo unsuccessfully attempts to defend himself, but Octavia isn't having it, although in the end she gives in and mentions the one part of the play she enjoyed.
This book was so, so, SO wonderful! I can't wait to tear into the next!...more
Everything about this book was perfect. Love, love, love. Easily one of my top reads of the year. & to think it's been on my to read list for ages! I'm so glad I finally hunkered down and gave it a shot.
Once upon a time - for that is how all stories should begin - there was a boy who lost his mother.
The Book of Lost Things takes place in war-torn England. German planes have destroyed a large portion of cities, but the threat of bombs means little to David: his mother is dying. She gets progressively sicker and sicker until one day when David is excused from class for the day. He immediately knew the reason for his early dismissal and blames himself for not being able to save his mother.
Life continues for David and his father and a few months later David is introduced to Rose, his father's new girlfriend (ultimately, wife). They move to the country - the country is safer than the city his father claims - into a large old house that Rose's family owns.
Rose's presence in David's life only serves to remind him of the realization that his mother is gone and he hates her for it. The arrival of David's half-brother Georgie only solidifies that hatred and he turns to his books for comfort.
Stories wanted to be read, David's mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.
I loved that this book didn't take long at all to get right to the story. One of my biggest peeves is when a book is unbelievably slow, only to finally get to the action two chapters from the end of the book.
The Book of Lost Things wasn't like that one bit. As much as I enjoyed reading about David's homelife - particularly his interactions with his stepmother, Rose - I couldn't contain my excitement when the story delved into the "fairy tale" world. A few times I've talked about how fairy tales and retellings are very much in vogue right now and I loooove that. Matt & I are huge fans of Once Upon a Time and in the show, Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is a main character. He's by far our favorite in the show and we always go into fangirl mode during his scenes. This book was no different.
And the Crooked Man heard her dreams, because that was where he wandered. His place was the land of the imagination, the world where stories began. The stories were always looking for a way to be told, to be brought to life through books and reading. That was how they crossed over from their world into ours. But with them came the Crooked Man, prowling between his world and ours, looking for stories of his own to create, hunting for children who dreamed bad dreams, who were jealous and angry and proud. And he made kings and queens of them, cursing them with a kind of power, even if the real power lay always in his hands. And in return they betrayed the objects of their jealousy to him, and he took them into his lair deep beneath the castle...
♥ Oh, Rumpelstiltskin. I eagerly anticipated any scene the Crooked Man was in. So, so fantastic. A bit of a confession: during his scenes, I always pictured the Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time. Robert Carlyle does an incredible job with that role and imagining him as the Crooked Man only made the story that much more creepy and fantastic.
David touched his fingers to the wood, pressing and knocking hoping to find some way of reopening the portal back to his old life, but nothing happened. He almost cried, but he knew that if he began crying, all would be lost. He would just be a small boy, powerless and afraid, far from home.
After a German bomber crashes into his yard, David discovers himself in another world. There are a number of magical and mythical beasts he encounters along the way (trolls, harpies, the seven dwarves), the worst of which were the Loups: human/wolf hybrids. The pack is out to gain control of the kingdom and sees this strange little boy as both a threat and food.
The Woodsman was one of my favorite characters. :) He was such a lovely man and aided David on his quest to the castle after telling him that the king has a book that could potentially help David return to England.
"You mean...they killed her?" asked David. "They ate her," said Brother Number One. "With porridge. That's what 'ran away and was never seen again' means in these parts. It means 'eaten.'" "Um, and what about 'happily ever after?'" asked David, a little uncertainly. "What does that mean?" "Eaten quickly," said Brother Number One.
You won't find a Doc or Dopey here. Instead, the dwarves are numbered and for the brief scene they're in, they definitely made quite an impression. It turns out Snow White is a horrid, horrid girl and the dwarves felt oppressed. It's only natural they would seek revenge... :)
They walked like prisoners who had just been told that the executioner had a little extra time on his hands and could fit in a few more beheadings before he went home for his tea.
The Book of Lost Things had the whole package: great characters, wonderful storytelling, and absolutely beautiful language. The imagery was remarkable and there were so many passages that were simply a pleasure to read.
"I have walked through your dreams," he said. "I know everything that you think, everything that you feel, everything that you fear."
Apart from being an awesome villain, the Crooked Man is downright intriguing. He did and said things that made me think one way, then on the next page he did something that made me feel completely the opposite. I could read an entire book solely about him and would love every minute of it.
It wasn't like this in the stories. Soldiers and knights slew dragons and monsters. They weren't afraid, and they didn't run away from the threat of death.
I loved watching David grow throughout the story. In the beginning he was a lost little boy mourning the loss of his mother, and by the end of the book he's a young man. I've read books where the growing up seems forced and winds up being unbelievable, but that wasn't the case here.
There were so many wonderful things about this book. The twist-that-wasn't-really-a-twist, the supporting characters, the setting, everything about The Book of Lost Things was fantastic. Definitely one of my favorite books I've read this year!...more
I've mentioned time and time again that I adore Berry. I think he's simply fantastic. His books are always so interesting and the pacing is perfect.
That said, this book took me over a month to finish. I have no idea what happened. It wasn't bad, but there was something about it that stopped me from plowing through it in a weekend.
Berry always does such in-depth research and The Amber Room is no different. There were times when I was reading where I'd have to stop and head to the Internet to read more about a specific person/place or look at images. I love that about his novels; I'm always continuing the research long after the book has ended.
One of Berry's downfalls is the sheer number of characters he includes in his books. I couldn't keep track of all the bad guys and a few times I'd wind up confused while reading. I had no idea who was who.
It upsets me to make such a lackluster review. Steve Berry is a really great author who has some excellent books. Unfortunately, this wasn't my favorite....more
In a world where celebrity crushes tend to be leading actresses & rockstars, mine are chefs. Bobby Flay & Gordon Ramsay are my favorites, much to the dismay of my boyfriend.
I work in a bookstore and one of the wonderful perks of working there is that I'm able to borrow anything that catches my eye. When I saw Gordon Ramsay's autobiography one day, I immediately pounced on it and knew I needed to read it.
Anyone familiar with Gordon's television shows knows he's very no-nonsense. And this book is no different. He tells it exactly like it is & some parts (his brother's frequent trips in and out of rehab, his father's abuse towards his mother) are extremely shocking. Roasting in Hell's Kitchen is a quick read and I think his writing style plays a huge role in that. Gordon writes exactly how he speaks (including cursing every other word). But it's that conversational tone that made the book a breeze.
I had no idea Gordon had such a horrible childhood. I suppose I never really gave it any thought, but when it was there in front of me, I was horrified. His family was very poor and were constantly moving about. Then there was his father. I didn't jot down any quotes, but there was a passage where Gordon mentioned he never felt any love toward his father. Everything hardened into hatred.
I also was very surprised to learn he had such a passion for football (soccer!). It was such a neat thing to discover about him.
Gordon Ramsay is an extremely driven man. Just reading about how he pushed himself, all the hours he spent in kitchens, makes me want to go out into the world and do something. Obviously, given his profession, there's much food talk. Some of it - mainly specific techniques or certain chefs - went over my head, but for the most part, it was fairly easy to follow along (although he used some slang that confused me, though that's more of a US/UK thing).
It was so nice reading about his children and how he and his wife are raising them. They only go on one vacation a year, they go to a normal school, and the only restaurant of his that Gordon allows his children to eat at is a family-friendly one (he said the reason for this is because he respect his staff too much to make any of them at the other, more highbrow restaurants cook a meal for a child). I really like that he isn't allowing them to sit back and enjoy a life of luxury. He mentioned how much their allowance is and that anything more comes from helping out in the garden.
His past explains so much about how he runs his kitchens and how he is on television. He cannot tolerate liars and it's so nice to see him stick up for and encourage the younger chefs. He knows what it's like to be there.
The media has created this arrogant, rude persona and he's certainly no angel, but this book gave me a much different look at him. It's light and easy and short (less than 300 pages). Gordon's humor is wonderful and it was actually a pretty interesting book. Perhaps not for someone who isn't a fan, but I definitely enjoyed it....more
Forget lounging on the beach with a book. I find there's no better atmosphere for reading than a dreary, rainy day. Lucky for me, it was cold and rainy all of yesterday and I was off! ...which meant I took full advantage of some prime reading conditions.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to broaden my reading. For the most part, I stuck to a select few genres/subgenres and only strayed from my comfort zone for a class or if someone whose taste I trust really, really, OMG-IT'S-SO-GOOD, really loved a book. I wasn't one for brain fluff - I felt that if I was going to read, I wanted to read a book that could double as a doorstop.
At my own behest I decided to relent and gave cozy mysteries a try. I never would have guessed I'd fall in love. Cozy Mysteries are fantastic, incredible, awesome, amazing - I could go on. They're fun and silly and the titles are all so ridiculously punny. They're great.
I first came across the second book in this series (Grace Interrupted) and instantly wanted to read it. The plot dealt with Civil War reenactors (& I'm a huge Civil War buff). I needed to read it and that would be the review for today had I not decided to be sensible and read the series in order.
Grace Wheaton had a rough couple of months. She moved back home to care for her ailing mother, and mere weeks after her mother lost her battle with cancer, Grace's fiance and sister both ran off. Together. Now, still in her probation period at work, her supervisor has been murdered.
The picturesque Emberstowne is home to Marshfield Manor. Half a century ago the estate was turned into a tourist attraction complete with a hotel, restaurant, tours around the ground on horseback, the works. Half a century ago, an army of staff were hired and the majority of them are still there. Enter Grace. In an attempt to bring the manor to the 21st century, Grace and a few others were brought on.
One morning there's a disturbance in the tea room which winds up being a distraction for the real crime to occur: Abe, the manager of the manor, winds up shot and killed. With Grace being the next in line (and given that much of the staff still hasn't taken a liking to the idea of change), fingers start pointing.
Grace takes it upon herself to find the real killer, throw in a secret family past, add a love interest, and that's the book.
I was a little frazzled by Grace's insistence on taking matters into her own hands when the police were already investigating. I suppose it's a rule that all cozy mysteries must have the main character ignoring the demands of the police and taking on the case herself.
Although I know giant reveals - and the love interest! - were set up in order to be expanded upon in subsequent books, I really would have loved to have learned more about what was going on. Particularly with the sister/ex-fiance thread!
Overall, Grace Under Pressure had a few faults, but the characters were beautifully fleshed out (unlike other cozy mysteries I've read) and the pace was lovely. Here I come, Civil War reenactors!!...more
Civil war re-enactors have set up camp on the grounds of Marshfield Manor. The group is very believable, especially when the unrest spills out of the barracks and inside the sumptuous mansion. Grace manages to settle a minor squabble, but loses the war when actor Zachary Kincade is found stabbed to death.
Jack Embers, the groundskeeper, falls under suspicion when he’s linked to the death of Zachary’s brother years ago. But there were others out for Zachary, actors who can be very convincing when the coveted role of “General” is on the line. Grace feels responsible for finding the murderer…and for the sweet tuxedo kitten found on her doorstep, Bootsie. Can she come to the rescue of her friends without putting herself in danger's way
A Few months ago I reviewed the first book in this series. Grace Interrupted picks up shortly after where Grace Under Pressure left off. Marshfield Manor is slowly returning to normal after having been the scene of a gruesome murder and Grace is getting back into the swing of things with her newly acquired position.
The book opens with a bang. There's an altercation between two women and one of the Civil War reenactors (a group of reenactors is staying on the grounds for a week). It turns out the guy never showed up at their best friend's wedding. And he was the groom. Whoops.
The following day the man, Zachary Kincade, winds up dead. Two officers introduced in the previous book have returned, along with a woman named Tank. She flew in from Michigan to help bring the department to the 21st century. How this was done, I have no idea. I didn't like Tank at all. The whole police force, for that matter. Admittedly, the only things I know about how investigations work come from Law & Order, but I had to raise an eyebrow at their conduct.
At one point Grace calls the police station and asks Tank is she could see a police report from nearly fifteen years ago. ...and Tank lets her. Little things like this accumulated throughout the novel and eventually it became too much.
Bennett, the owner of Marshfield Manor, is a great character. I looked forward to any scene he was in. Also, at one point he randomly bought this car. How gorgeous is that??
There's a subplot involving a kitten that I was pretty meh about. Grace comes home from work one day to discover a tiny little kitten sitting there, soaking wet from the storm. She, along with her two roomates, end up falling in love with newly-dubbed Bootsie and would rather not find the owner.
The one thing about this series - as opposed to other cozy mysteries I've read (& other series in general) - is that Grace and the obvious Love Interest didn't immediately get together. Jack Embers is the gardener at Marshfield Manor and although there was that cliche instant connection, it wasn't until this book that the pair finally went on a date (and that was after a series of setbacks and reschedules).
Jack and his brother Davey were both suspects in the murders (both this new one and the one from years back) and that's certainly putting a damper on things.
Although this series isn't spectacular or my favorite, it's quick and fun and I was able to finish it in a few sittings. Currently, the whole series consists of these two books (Ms. Hyzy has a few other cozy series she's working on including a White House Chef Mystery series which sounds ridiculous and fabulous), but I look forward to a third book....more
I could simply say drop whatever you're doing and read this book. Now. That wouldn't do it justice, though. This is the kind of story that needs to be discussed, demands to be gushed over, and ultimately stays with you long after you've finished those last words.
It is traditional to end with the Last Girl, the sole survivor, a young woman in a blood-spattered tank top. She drops her chain saw, her sawed-off shotgun, her crowbar - these details differ - and stumbles out of the ramshackle house and into the light. Perhaps the house is burning. Dawn glows on the horizon, and the ghouls have been defeated (for now, for now - all happy endings being temporary). Perhaps she's found by her fellow survivors and taken to an enclave, a fortress teeming with heavily armed government troops, or at the very least gun-toting civilians, who will provide shelter until the sequel. Perhaps this enclave is located in Easterly, Iowa, about sixty miles northwest of the ruins of Des Moines. Perhaps the girl's name is Ruby.
So begins our story. To say this is a zombie story would feel like a lie. Yes, the main character is a zombie and, yes, there was a zombie outbreak. However, Raising Stony Mayhall is so much more than a horror novel. There is an unassuming elegance in Mr. Gregory's writing and it's clear he carefully deliberated over each word. There were countless passages where I lost myself in the imagery and forgot I was reading what was being put forth as a run-of-the-mill zombie tale.
There are few gorey scenes. There really is nothing in-your-face about Raising Stony Mayhall. It’s so much more than yet another book cashing in on a popular trend: it’s a story about family and to what lengths we go to protect those we cherish. Don’t expect a Lifetime movie though. Thankfully, it’s not quite that sappy.
Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping, Brother John?
The story opens in Easterly, Iowa in the winter of 1968. (The prologue was set in the present day, 2011.) On both coasts there has been a zombie outbreak and what's left of civilization is trying to pick up the pieces and attempt to return to some sense of normalcy.
Wanda Mayhall is a widowed mother of three girls: Alice, Chelsea, and Junie. One night while heading back to their farm, they come across the body of a young woman barely out of her teens. There's no hope of saving the woman, but Wanda is unable to leave behind of body of the newborn discovered in the woman's arms.
"We should call him Gray," Chelsea said. "He's not a cat," Alice said. "We shouldn't name him anything." "We'll call him John," Wanda said, surprising herself again. "That's it?" Alice said. "John?" "Brother John," Chelsea said. The boy looked up at them. Then he blinked. He hadn't blinked before. "A boy like this," Wanda said, "is going to need a normal name."
Despite all evidence that the boy is dead - no pulse, he's not breathing, his skin is grey & cold - he soon begins to move. At first it's just a twitch of an arm. Then his eyes open. His chest heaves.
They just rescued an undead. An undead baby, at that.
The Mayhalls live on a fairly secluded piece of land with only one other house in viewing range. The Chos are a Korean family who had moved out west with dreams of farming, only to fall back on a mechanic business. The Chos have a 5-year old son, Kwang, and shortly after meeting John, the two become inseparable. Stony - the name given to him by Kwang - grows as Kwang grows. He ages he Kwang ages.
Despite being taken into a loving family, a series of extremely strict rules have been set in place for Stony. He's never allowed outside, he is never to walk past the windows, any friends (and as they grow, boyfriends) of his sisters are never allowed over, and school is completely out of the question. Instead, Mrs. Cho homeschools Stony and later he educates himself with the aid of his sisters' textbooks.
For the first time in his life, Stony felt it. It ran like a hot wire, up from his spine, to the base of his skull. His mouth opened on its own. He wanted to bite. He wanted to bite hard.
With each page, I grew to care more and more for Stony. He's not the quintessential zombie that everyone immediately thinks of: moaning, shambling along oh-so-slowly, viciously attacking any living being. However, in a sense, he is: super-human strength, no pain whatsoever, he requires no sleep or food, physical exercise doesn't tire him. He is virtually indestructible.
Seeing things through Stony's eyes, knowing his thoughts and feelings, it's easy to forget that, technically, he is a monster. Mr. Gregory is wonderful at allowing the reader to settle into a period of comfort, only to bring to light the horror of the situation. And what a quiet horror it is. It silently sneaks up on you, greeting you around the corner. The climax was so eloquently written I felt as though I was in the middle of a zombie outbreak. I panicked when the zombies were in the stairwell. A flash of terror ripped through me with the lone zombie calmly ambling down the road while the policemen stood waiting.
Stony looked up. Calhoun was staring at him, hollow-eyed. His skin was glossy, his teeth perfectly white, but his eyes were ancient and terrified. Calhoun was more afraid of death than anyone he'd ever met. While so many LDs were becoming sleepers, throwing themselves into the abyss, Calhoun was doing everything in his power to pave over it, seal it up. He was going to the stars, damn it. He was going to be immortal.
I loved how the book progressed through the decades. The novel occurs between 1968 and 2011. When Stony is a teenager, something happens that changes his life forever. He lives the majority of his adult life on the run (what part isn't spent in hiding).
It was this part of the book that didn't grip me as the beginning did. There are new characters involved (one still rubs me the wrong way) along with some sub-plots that weren't entirely clear. I longed for Stony to return to being a 5-year old on the farm.
The mailman reached the fence, planted two hands, and vaulted over without breaking stride. The move looked so practiced that Stony wondered if he'd learned it in postal school. Advanced Canine Escape Techniques.
Mr. Gregory has a deliciously wicked sense of humor. I'd never hail Raising Stony Mayhall as a comedy or as a wacky, zany story because it certainly isn't. That said, there are plenty of great one-liners and witty quips that brought a smile to my face and made me giggle.
Thanks to Romero's endlessly replayed documentary of the outbreak, everyone thought the living dead shuffled around like geriatric patients. But those were the fevered dead, brain-damaged and confused, at the mercy of recalcitrant limbs jerking to their own rhythm. After the fever passed, a sane LD only had to tell the muscles to move, and they moved. Jump, and they jumped. Free will, or its compelling illusion, was restored.
No zombie tale is complete without a shout-out to Night of the Living Dead. I wonder if Raising Stony Mayhall wasn't supposed to be a sequel or a spin-off of some sort. NofLD premiered October 1, 1968...which was when the original outbreak occurred in Raising Stony Mayhall. Also, NotLD takes place in Pennsylvania (in the area where I live, which is pretty awesome), and Stony discovers his birth mother was from Evans City, PA.
The more I think about this, the more I wonder if this wasn't the case. And if so, this book just became all the more incredible.
All LDs were going to hell in an inescapable handbasket. The graveborn said they understood more because they'd gotten closer to the other side than anyone - they had a better idea of what was spiritually at stake. The bitten LDs argued that they'd all died, and the graveborn were putting on airs.
I could ramble on and on about how much I loved this book. June seemed like an odd time for release, but I suppose since Raising Stony Mayhall isn't your typical zombie novel, it wouldn't receive an expected Halloween publication date.
Prior to writing this review I had a massive list of quotes and lines and entire paragraphs I loved enough to write down. Mr. Gregory's style is so effortless and beautiful. I will definitely be hunting down his other works.
I highly, highly recommend Raising Stony Mayhall, even for those of you who aren't normally into zombie books (I know I'm not). You won't be disappointed!
The fevered dead didn't attack animals, or invade butcher shops. They craved human meat, human and nothing but, as if taking revenge for being kicked out of their former species. The Payback Diet.
Abby Cooper’s betting the house on her inner eye...
It took a while for Abby Cooper’s FBI agent boyfriend, Dutch Rivers, to accept her psychic gifts as the real deal. But these days he knows better than to question Abby’s visions. So when his favorite cousin Chase is kidnapped in Vegas, they both catch the next flight to Sin City. Abby’s inner eye insists that Chase is still alive, but nothing else about the case adds up—especially Dutch’s reluctance to involve his own Bureau.
On top of everything, Dutch is battling a mysterious illness, and Abby keeps having disturbing dreams that predict his death. Dutch wants Abby to promise that if the investigation goes south, she’ll head home to safety. But when the chips are down, Abby won’t fold without a fight...
I adore this series. At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal of mine to step out of my comfort zone and read some authors/genres I hadn't before. Through some book-hopping at goodreads, I discovered a whole new world in cozy mysteries. They are so ridiculous and fun and completely unlike anything I had ever read! While there were some brain fluff books I enjoyed, I would only read ~true literature~ and unfortunately missed out on so, so much. :) I'm so glad I decided to broaden my reading this year.
This series follows Abby Cooper, a professional psychic. The first four books worked as stand-alone novels; you could have started with book 3 and not be lost. Anything important is explained repeatedly (sometimes this becomes a little grating, particularly when you're halfway through the series and the author still insists on reminding you of Abby's dog's name/why he was named that). The fifth book, Crime Seen & this book however, are connected. Parts one and two if you will.
In Crime Seen Dutch begins to investigate a cold case involving a superior. Death Perception gets to the heart of the action and Abby finds herself in Las Vegas.
Although it was nice to have some sense of continuity, I miss the silly antics of the earlier books - the mafia dons, the haunted houses, it was all light and fun.
I'm far less judgmental when it comes to cozy mysteries than I am regarding other genres. These books aren't aiming to be anything other than fluff. That said, few things put me off more than a long-winded spiel from the villain detailing every last part of the plan. I. Hate. That. During the big reveal, the Bad Guy goes on for a few pages explaining absolutely everything!
Also, it just now dawned on me that the covers for this series are totally wrong. Multiple times it's been mentioned that Abby has waist-length hair..
Despite a few minor issues, I still enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next!...more
Rainy days are great curl-up-with-a-book days! Sick days are fabulous curl-up-with-a-book days! Combine the two and you get the perfect day for reading. Yesterday I finally read The Case of the Missing Marquess.
When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers—all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother's strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?
What a lovely, lovely book. I finished it in one sitting (granted, I was sick in bed and it wasn't a particularly long book, but there's something to be said for a book you can read cover-to-cover in one go). I love when I stumble upon a book by chance and it turns out to be magical. I forget where I first heard of this series, but something about Sherlock Holmes's little sister intrigued me.
The book opens with Enola's 14th birthday. Her mother mysteriously vanishes and cannot be found anywhere. All she's left behind for Enola are a few small presents: a handmade book of ciphers and a small book about the meaning of various plants and flowers.
After searching the grounds of Ferndell Hall Enola sends a telegraph to her brothers, Mycroft and the famous Sherlock. It has been ten years since she last saw either of them - not since their father's funeral - and she had always believed it was her fault. She was born so late in her parents' life, she wasn't a son, she wasn't ladylike enough, she was always viewed as a disgrace to her family, the list goes on and on.
Her brothers arrive and Enola realizes things aren't always what they seem. Her brothers, in their own way, do care about her, and the reason for their avoidance wasn't because of her, but because of their mother. After the death of their father, Mycroft became head of the household and, therefore, in charge of both Lady Eudoria and Enola. Both Mycroft and Sherlock are appalled by the state of the house and its grounds: the only help left are the cook and butler. It is discovered Lady Eudoria had been requesting more and more money from Mycroft (to pay for larger stables, various maids, gardeners, a governess, etc) only to take the money for herself and eventually flee the house she viewed as a prison.
Mycroft takes it upon himself to send Enola to a boarding school and the day she's set to leave, she flees. After solving a few of the ciphers, she finds some of the money her mother hid away and embarks on her own quest to find Lady Eudoria.
I truly don't think I can say enough about this book. It was that wonderful. I adored Enola. Whereas Sherlock feels she is of "limited cranial capacity" she is, on the contrary, quite smart and loves solving riddles and puzzles. She's also incredibly witty and sarcastic and I simply loved her.
She looked all of a glow from the heat and the exercise. Horses sweat, you know, and men perspire, whereas ladies glow. I am sure I looked all of a glow also. Indeed, I could feel all-of-a-glow trickling down my sides beneath my corset, the steel ribs of which jabbed me under the arms most annoyingly.
The other characters - particularly Viscount Tewksbury - were equally as lovely and I hope they have larger roles throughout the rest of the series.
Quotes I enjoyed:
That word: Perditorian.
From the Latin perditus, meaning "lost."
Perditorian: one who divines that which is lost.
But...but how dare she, with all her blather of spirits, title herself no nobly? Knower of the lost, wise woman of the lost, finder of the lost: That was my calling.
Sherlock and Mycroft would have wanted Mum back in Ferndell Hall, but obviously she did not wish to be there. When--not if, but when I found her, I would ask of her nothing that might make her unhappy. I was not seeking her in order to take away her freedom.
Twenty thousand years ago, when man crossed the land bridge to North America, creatures called They Who Follow made the great trek as well. But once in the new continent, the giant beasts disappeared, whether into hiding or extinction, no one knew.
Centuries later, a battered journal–the only evidence left from the night of the Romanovs’ execution–turns up in a rare bookstore. As the U.S. and Russians vie for the truth, and the lost Romanov treasure, they collide with a prehistoric predator thought long-extinct.
It’s up to the Event Group to lay to rest the legends. On an expedition into the wilds of British Columbia, Colonel Jack Collins and his team make a horrifying discovery in the continent’s last deep wilderness, where men have been vanishing for centuries.
This book. Just…no. I made the mistake of buying two of Mr. Golemon’s books – at full price, no less! I’m a sucker for books like his: thrillers dealing with ancient legends/conspiracies. Basically anything Dan Brown-esque. Also, the Romanovs. Anything involving that family instantly captures my interest, particularly novels where the Tsar’s children escape (thus began my starry-eyed love affair with Steve Berry). Unfortunately, the summary was extremely misleading. Apart from the prologue, the Romanovs play no part in the story & are only briefly mentioned again at the very end.
Instead, the book revolves around a tribe of Sasquatch. Sasquatch who carry around 50lb. clubs that they use to bang on tree trunks. …no joke. So many random, unnecessary subplots are thrown in (including one where Amelia Earhart’s remains are planted for an archaeology group to ‘discover’). It got to the point where I continued reading just to see what on earth could happen next. Each page was more ridiculous than the last.
Giving Mr. Golemon the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the sheer number of main characters would have been easier to keep track of if I had started the series from the beginning. Even after finishing the novel, I still have no idea who is who. This seems like a book that works fine on its own, but there were a few passages that specifically referenced events from previous books.
There were a number of factual errors and a surprising amount of spelling/punctuation errors. In one instance, holy became holly.
Were it not for the other book I bought, I wouldn’t give this series another look. As the case may be, however, it looks like I’ve got another book to force my way through. Ugh....more
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.
Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.
From the first moment I heard of this book I was intrigued. It seemed like a fairy tale for grown-ups. I was finally able to read it over the weekend and completely devoured it.
The chapters alternate between Pheobe (present day) and Lisa (fifteen years ago) which I thought was neat, particularly how the events relate and intertwine. I will admit I wasn’t expecting such a dark story (don’t pick this book up thinking you’re in for a light-hearted tale). It’s not often I come across a book that I will happily sacrifice sleep for, but Don’t Breathe a Word was one. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a baby and the trapdoor-under-the-bed/shadow-figures-in-the-corner seemed all too real in the middle of the night.
When I read mysteries, I love trying to see if I can figure out Who Did It. I had my suspects, but in the end, I couldn’t have been more wrong. (I was a little disappointed with the big reveal. It just didn’t seem fair for readers playing along at home.)
Even though I absolutely loved Don’t Breathe a Word, I still have lingering questions that were not answered.
Glancing at the rest of Ms. McMahon’s books, it seems the covers are all very similar: close-up of a girl’s face. A bit uninspired, yes, but this one was perfect. The girl on the cover of this book was Lisa in my eyes. She looks every bit the part of a girl who wanted to be whisked away by the King of the Fairies.
For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true
For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.
Adam’s not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn’t even know the difference between poaching and paring. He’ll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching her what it means to cook with passion…and doing more with his hands than simply preparing sumptuous food.
200 pages in; My patience is starting to wan. I wanted to like this book. I really did! I went into this thinking it would be a quick, light, fun read. The characters are boring - and annoying, the plot twists could be seen from a mile away, & both romance plots seem far too rushed and "magical." Even though food is the driving force behind this novel, I was immediately jerked out of the moment anytime Adam would have a food-related simile or thought. Ms. Edwards really didn't want me to forget that Adam is an amazing chef. Miranda is having a pouting fit again and Adam is comparing her mouth to dessert. See? SEE?? He's such an awesome chef, you know.
Adam is turned on whenever Miranda uses her "ten-dollar words" in the bedroom. Call me crazy, but having a restaurant review mixed in with the bedroom scenes is not sexy.
Frankie is, time and time again, referred to as a sex fiend who goes through both sexes without a second thought. However, once he lays eyes on Jesse, he's suddenly romantic and caring, and in love. Surprise, surprise.
I don't understand where all the 4- & 5-star reviews are coming from....more
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living–and whom he does it for.
A few years ago I discovered that any Man Booker Prize winner (or even nominee) is a book I will love and adore and cherish for all eternity. It reached the point to where I wouldn't even bother to look at the summary; just knowing it was a Man Booker novel was enough for me.
Earlier in the year I heard about a new novel called The Sisters Brothers and immediately the cover caught my eye. Seriously, how cool is it?? When I found out it earned a spot on the Longlist, I was set. I knew I needed to read it and this month that's just what I did.
He paused to study my words. He wished to check if they were sincere, I knew, but could not think of a way to ask without sounding overly concerned. The joy went out of him then, and his eyes for a time could not meet mine. I thought, We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.
Unfortunately. Unfortunately. As much as it pains me to not be thoroughly overwhelmed with a Man Booker novel, The Sisters Brothers just didn't work for me. It sounded interesting enough and the writing but good, but something wasn't there. According to GoodReads' rating system, two stars is okay. And that's what it was: The Sisters Brothers was an okay book. Nothing more, nothing less.
The humor was so lovely, I will say that much. Out of nowhere a character - usually Eli - said a line that was perfect. I actually wouldn't allow myself to read this book at lunch unless I was alone. Some parts were that funny.
He was resting in the bath and giving an imaginary speech and I though, What is it about bathing that prompts a person to do this?
I feel like I wasn't able to understand what was essentially an extremely simply plot: two brothers set out to California to kill a man. And that's just what they do. They work for a man called the Commodore, but you never find out anything other than that. I would have loved a little more depth to that character, seeing as how he's responsible for the whole plot.
'And what is it you two do?' 'We are Eli and Charlie Sisters.' 'Oh,' she said. 'Oh my.' 'My father is dead. He was killed, and deserved to be killed.'
The book revolves around two brothers: Eli and Charlie Sisters. They're known - and feared - throughout the country as killers. When the novel opens, the two are moving on from a previous job that resulted in the loss of both of their horses. The Commodore supplies them with new ones and Eli gets the short end of the stick. His horse Tub is everything you would think a horse named Tub would be. Oddly enough, Tub grew to be one of my favorite characters in the book.
The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.
Looking over other reviews, I feel that I'm the odd man out. Everyone else seems to love this book. I wanted to. I wanted to love it: all of the elements were there! I'm not sure what went wrong.
I reentered the cave to stoke the fire, curling up beside it for warmth, but I could not sleep without proper covering and instead spent the rest of the night rewriting lost arguments from my past, altering history so that I emerged victorious.