I've been reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series since the beginning (of time - it sometimes feels like the beginning of time!) Hit List isI've been reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series since the beginning (of time - it sometimes feels like the beginning of time!) Hit List is book 20 in the series and I feel entitled to really be irritated with LKH at this point in the game over some very small things. It's a bit of a good news/bad news situation I'm afraid - I enjoyed the story very much, but the writing, well we'll get to that in a minute.
First, let me applaud the story - the story is good! Anita is back to crime fighting, which is her forte really. These days she uses different supernatural powers to locate and destroy the bad guys, but I am happy with her growth in this area. Hit List brings back our old friends, Marshals Ted Forrester, Bernardo Spotted Horse, and Otto Jefferies, along with a few "second-tier" weres from St. Louis, but the big four are MIA - Jean Claude, Richard, Micah, and Nathaniel.
The "bad guys" in Hit List are the predictable Mother of All Darkness and, her loyal guard the Harlequin. I am happy to finally have that dark cloud (pun intended) dissipate, although there are no guarantees with Mommie Dearest - I wouldn't put it past LKH to bring her back somewhere down the line.
Hit List is not all bad - its really not even mostly bad. The problems I have with the book may even stem from me out-growing the series a bit. After 20 books, you just get a little tired of some of the writing. For example, Anita always has "guy moments" and "girl moments," never just moments. I also get irritated by the way she portrays non-supe men - they all think she's just a little, tiny, cutie-pie, underestimate her skills with weapons, are completely unevolved, and think she's sleeping with all the men in her life. It's the same thing in all her books really, I don't know why I'm surprised.
I am also afraid the LKH is running out of men - perish the thought! She seems to be laying the groundwork for Anita to have sex with Edward and Olaf later in the series, which is sacrilege I tell you! For very different reasons, fans of the series may not survive this turn of events (and Anita might not either.)
There are also inconsistencies in Hit List that annoy me. When we first met the Harlequin back in boon 15, Harlequin, LKH told us that you must never speak their name unless they have contacted you already. They are very old, very powerful, and to speak their name signs your death warrant. In the beginning of Hit List, LKH is very careful not to let her characters speak their name out loud, but on page 67 Anita does say the name, and there are no repercussions. I even thought, "oh yay, Anita doesn't care anymore - she'll say 'Harlequin' instead of 'they who must not be named', etc." But then later in the book, she's back to not mentioning their name - a small thing, but a big one, basically cracking the mythos of her series. Nobody caught this during the editing process? I'm not even a super-careful reader and it struck me!
I don't know, peeps. I still recommend the series, but start at the beginning when the books were still new and good, and quit when you tire of it all. I'm a total completist, which means that I'll probably be reading these books from my rocking chair in the nursing home. I'm just a glutton for punishment I guess, with nobody but myself to blame. ...more
After reading From Dead to Worse last month, I was a bit Sookied out. I really wanted to read this one however, before the 10th book comes out next moAfter reading From Dead to Worse last month, I was a bit Sookied out. I really wanted to read this one however, before the 10th book comes out next month. Dead and Gone takes a far darker tone than some of it's predecessors, but it really worked for me. The direction Charlaine Harris has taken in her Southern Vampire Series is an interesting one, leaving lots of room for future books.
If you're looking for the soft world of Sookie Stackhouse - full of fantastic creatures and witty humor, you'll have to look elsewhere. Dead and Gone is full of violence. We do lose a few characters we've come to know and love, but this is just the evolution of a series if you ask me. When you write this many entertaining characters into as dangerous a world as Sookie's, there's bound to be some fallout some time or other.
Dead and Gone is my favorite book since Dead to the World (book 4). It was full of action, and an easy, albeit sad read. I read it in just a couple of days, and I can't wait to see what Harris has in store for us next. I think it is clear that there are intriguing times ahead in the Sookie-verse, and I'm jumping back on the bandwagon!...more
Douglas Clegg's Isis is a supremely creepy novella, with a fascinating Gothic aftertaste. According to my research, this novella is meant to provide aDouglas Clegg's Isis is a supremely creepy novella, with a fascinating Gothic aftertaste. According to my research, this novella is meant to provide a back story for a series of novels by Douglas Clegg. I will definitely be putting his other works on my lengthy tbr list! Isis is deliciously eerie and captivating. Iris is a well-written and sympathetic character and the setting and auxiliary characters are fantastic. I thoroughly expect the story to haunt my dreams tonight!
Isis is thrilling and chilling - a truly satisfying tale of the world of the supernatural, told using the backdrop of the mythos of Isis and Osiris. Unique and interesting, Isis is also a quick and effortless read, easily conquered in just a couple hours time. I recommend it for any fan of classic horror. The spooky atmosphere Clegg has conjured in Isis will be well worth your time....more
I read I Am Legend for the first time about ten years ago, on the advice of one of my employees at Barnes & Noble. At that time, I enjoyed it butI read I Am Legend for the first time about ten years ago, on the advice of one of my employees at Barnes & Noble. At that time, I enjoyed it but didn't really appreciate the story as much as it deserved. I Am Legend is a short story. A very fast read and virtually un-put-downable ( how's that for a word,) I Am Legend is truly one of the greatest vampire novels ever written.
Robert Neville is a fascinating protagonist. His attempts to explain the vampire plague and explore the myths and legends regarding vampires are inspired and particularly relevant today, in a time where viral weaponry is no longer the stuff of a good piece of fiction. Richard Matheson's vivid descriptions of Neville's life and the things he goes through every day, are powerful and intense and allow the reader to fall into the story in a way that is pure magic.
I Am Legend is a story not to be missed. And with the addition of ten other short stories by Matheson - "Buried Talents," "The Near Departed," "Prey," "Witch War," "Dance of the Dead," "Dress of White Silk," "Mad House," "The Funeral," "From Shadowed Places," and "Person to Person" - this collection is a fine read. The other short stories are in no way as good as I Am Legend, but make a for nice just-before-bedtime reading. Read I Am Legend - a true post-apocalyptic, science fiction/horror classic, and better than any movie adaptation I've seen. ...more
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the selling out of your wife's womb to Satan?! WTF!
Ah Rosemary! You silly, simple girl! How is it poFirst comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the selling out of your wife's womb to Satan?! WTF!
Ah Rosemary! You silly, simple girl! How is it possible that you missed all the GIANT, HUMONGOUS, truly MAMMOTH warning signs?! The stinky, stinky necklace that belonged to the Castevet's first doomed girl Terry, the roofies in the chocolate "mouse," the date rape while you were unconscious, the weird chanting from next door, the pain that took forever to go away, the cravings for raw meat - yuck!
Hutch tried to warn you and ended up dead, but what's worse than that is that you refused to listen to your own intuition. You knew the Castevet's and their creepy old friends were evil. You knew that the all powerful Dr. Saperstein was all kinds of wrong. You even knew that something was a brewin' with your hubby, but you let it all pass through your silly, simple little feminine head. You kind of disgust me, Rosemary!
But I digress... onto my actual review of the book. Rosemary's Baby (the book) is exactly like Rosemary's Baby: the movie, and I mean that literally (I know people say literally all the time and obviously don't understand the meaning of the word, but I assure you, I literally mean literally!) Seriously, if you've seen the movie, do not bother with the book.
The writing is simplistic by today's standards, but it does not diminish the absolute creepiness of the book. There is just something about Rosemary's Baby that makes you want to turn on all the lights, lock your doors, check for any hidden passageways from your neighbor's place to yours, and burn local herb gardens to the ground! Ira Levin is a genius at weaving a dark, faintly Gothic tale full of witchy-goodness.
Rosemary's Baby is a good old-fashioned, suspenseful psychological thriller. I can't imagine what it must have been like to read it when it was first published in the 60's. We're all so jaded today. Between the dark, brooding (sometimes sparkly) vampires, and the zombies (OMG, don't get me started on the freakin' plethora of zombies that are in our faces every day,) it is impossible to conceive of a time when ordinary monsters like witches and the devil would be enough to scare the pants off of readers. Nevertheless, Rosemary's Baby impressed this somewhat cynical reader with its disturbing imagery and macabre characters. A beastly story - literally!...more
I think I would categorize Isolation as one part Christian fiction, one part suspense/thriller, and one part horror. The story centers around a missioI think I would categorize Isolation as one part Christian fiction, one part suspense/thriller, and one part horror. The story centers around a missionary family on furlough in the remote North Carolina wilderness. Jim Miller and his wife Stephanie have come to this lodge in North Carolina to find some peace, after suffering a serious crisis of faith during their last mission in Papua New Guinea. They each have begun to have serious doubts about their beliefs, and this leaves them open to spiritual attack. I don't want to give anything away here, so I'll just leave the synopsis at that.
Now, I am not a fan of Christian fiction. This is the first book I've ever read that I would consider to be within that genre. When I signed up for the giveaway, if I had know that it was a book of Christian fiction, I probably would not have put my name in for it. That being said, I could not put this book down! It is easily the scariest piece of literature that I have read in a long time. In fact, I would have finished it in one day, had I had the courage to stay up by myself. But alas, hubby was ready for bed when I had just 60 pages to go, and I was already getting really jumpy, so I took the coward's way out and finished the book by the light of the next day.
Travis Thrasher writes with every drop of suspense that you get in a Richard Laymon novel, but without the in-your-face gore and depravity. Don't get me wrong, terrible ritualistic acts were alluded to, and murder was committed, again and again, but the details of the carnage were left largely "off screen" in Isolation. It was every bit as terrifying as any horror novel I've ever read, but didn't manage to make me queasy while reading.
Isolation is a strong character-driven novel, complete with multi-dimensional personalities, full of humanity. Despite the fact that it really wasn't what I thought it would be, it turned out to be everything I look for in a good book: frightening, suspenseful, mysterious, and a real page-turner, right up to the last word. ...more
If you hunt and peck around the Internet, you'll see Robin McKinley's Sunshine described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Anita Blake. This descriptiIf you hunt and peck around the Internet, you'll see Robin McKinley's Sunshine described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Anita Blake. This description irks me because I couldn't disagree more. It irritates me when someone says, "Oh, hey - you like books about vampires right? Well, you'll like this too." Not necessarily so - I didn't really care for this one.
Rae (nickname Sunshine) Seddon is as outwardly normal as can be - she bakes cinnamon rolls for a living at her step-father's cafe, and doesn't have much of a life outside of her work. While out for some alone time by the lake one night, she is taken by a gang of vampires and chained to a wall in an abandoned house. Sunshine soon learns that she is to be a meal for a vampire who is also being held captive at the house. When she discovers that the vampire in question does not want to kill her, she decides to help him escape.
Constantine (Con or Connie for short) is being held against his will by a rival master vampire. He is surprised when the gang brings him Sunshine, oblivious to the fact that she is a powerful magic-holder, capable of great things. Sunshine comes into her power and is able to save them both, but in doing so, puts them both in even more danger. The rival vampire will not suffer their escape without consequences, and they must work together to defeat him.
The concept of Sunshine was great. McKinley created a world where vampires, demons, and part-bloods live alongside humans, and magic-handlers and wardskeepers help to create a safe society. The problem lies with our heroine - blah! I really didn't like her. First of all she is incredibly whiny. All of you people who didn't enjoy Twilight because you thought Bella was too whiny - DON'T READ SUNSHINE! "Oh, I'm not strong enough," "I don't think I can do this," "Poor me, I wish I didn't have this power." Give me a break.
The most interesting character in Sunshine is Constantine. Unfortunately, there's just not enough of him. Instead, we get to spend several boring pages inside Sunshine's head, getting to know how she came to invent different baked goods, and watching her get up a 4:30 a.m. to make her cinnamon rolls. Her never ending monologuing had me wishing that I could skip entire pages of the book. There was just too much superfluous detail that did absolutely nothing for the story.
McKinley also used ridiculous abbreviations that I could not understand for several pages. An example of this is "'fo" - what the hell is 'fo?! I feel that I am a reasonably intelligent adult, and it still took me several pages to realize that 'fo is short for information. Is is really that difficult to use the word information? I'd even settle for info, but 'fo? Has it really come to this? Are we really that lazy? And McKinley uses 'fo throughout the book, many times. How 'ting - oh sorry, I mean aggravating! Ugh.
The first hundred or so pages were really good, and the last hundred or so pages were really good, too - it's just the middle 200 that I could have done without. I can't really say that I recommend Sunshine to anyone. I'll probably give McKinley another shot, but next time you can be sure that I'll check her out at the library, rather than spend money on her and risk being disappointed....more
At the L.A. zoo a 700 pound Siberian tiger is restless. Rajah, the largest Siberian ever to be kept in captivity, has been exhibiting unusually aggresAt the L.A. zoo a 700 pound Siberian tiger is restless. Rajah, the largest Siberian ever to be kept in captivity, has been exhibiting unusually aggressive behavior that has led veterinarian Meg Brewster to set a special night watch for a clue to the animal's rages.
The night keeper, frustrated by the great cat's refusal to show himself for her observation, unwisely climbs into his enclosure, up along a wall she is quite certain he cannot scale. Hunting her, Rajah scales the 20-foot wall and drags his keeper down into his cave. Meg quarantines the cat, sends blood samples to her mentor, deals with the L.A. cops and fends off the press.
The zoo's in trouble though, heavy financial trouble. So, over Meg's irate objections, the chief curator and director of the zoo, in order to capitalize on the publicity, put Rajah back on view.
Predictably, an excited crowd pushes loose a security rail and tumbles into the furious tiger's enclosure, from which he claws a bloody path to freedom in the 4000 acres of Griffith Park, sparking terror throughout the city and drawing animal control, cops, and federal agents ordered to shoot to kill.
Meg's fears for Rajah turn to suspicion when her bosses try to pin the cat's escape on her, the feds yank her files and samples and her mentor is killed after leaving a frantic phone message. Further events link the zoo and a top-secret scientific experiment, and it all culminates in a blood-spattered mountainside chase.
Claw was a really quick read. It's a fantastic, gory horror/adventure story that asks important questions about animal intelligence, aggression, and revenge. I can't say I'd recommend it to just anyone, because there is a lot of blood - from the beginning of the book to its end. And I can't say that it was a great literary find or anything. It's really just a good book to curl up with at night, and scare yourself with. ...more
"My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I c"My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead."
I was hooked immediately - I had to find out what happened to the rest of her family. It was so easy to get caught up in this haunting tale. Mary Katherine Blackwood, known as Merricat, is the narrator, living with her reclusive sister Constance and their Uncle Julian, the surviving members of a large family that came to a sad end through the consumption of arsenic laced sugar.
The intriguing Merricat tells the story, regaling the reader with her rituals, talismans and magic, but these alone are not enough to counteract the interloper, who threatens her familiar lifestyle, and tries to destroy the strong family unit.
Cousin Charles arrives at Blackwood house, with his eye on the family fortune. He disturbs the sisters' careful habits, installing himself at the head of the family table, unearthing Merricat's treasures, talking privately to Constance about "normal lives" and "boy friends." Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods. The result is crisis and tragedy, the revelation of a terrible secret, the convergence of the villagers upon the house, and a spectacular unleashing of collective spite.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one of Shirley Jackson's earlier novels. It is a Gothic horror masterpiece, full of murder, poison and madness. This story explores the evils of the human mind - sometimes much more frightening than ghoulies, ghosties, vampires, and all other things that go bump in the night.
This book examines what happens when a family is shattered and the truth is held back too long. The fear and anxiety of the sisters combined with the hostility, blunt rage, and inhumanity of the villagers makes this a compelling novel.
The story is compelling and darkly humorous, making this novel downright creepy - but wonderful!...more
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream."No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone." The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
I can't tell you how many times I've seen this opening paragraph to The Haunting of Hill House repeated in someone's review, and yet here I am reprinting it. It's just so fantastically creepy that I can't help myself! If that alone does not compel you to read this book, then I just don't know what else to say to you.
The Haunting of Hill House is a horror classic. You will not find violence or gore here, just an old-fashioned spooky good time for all. There's a big evil a-brewin' in Hill house. Or is it all in the mind of one of the house's four summer guests. Elanor Vance is socially awkward, painfully shy, and incredibly self-conscious; she's also a house guest, participating in paranormal experiments in Hill house. The group is led by Dr. John Montague. Along with narcissistic Theodora and well-to-do Luke, Eleanor is charged with reporting paranormal phenomena in the house over the summer.
I should probably tell you here that the guests do not actually see any demonic displays during their stay at Hill house. Nevertheless, the effect the book has on the reader can only be described as jolting. The horror here is very subtle and entirely psychological. Seriously, you don't even realize how scared you are until your husband (innocently) walks up behind your chair and makes you jump out of your skin just by putting his hand on your shoulder.
Jackson's descriptions of the actual hauntings are chilling and will have you turning on all the lights in your house, checking behind the doors, and looking under your bed. Her characters, in particular the main character, are written with an attention to detail and you will quickly find yourself absorbed into their fate.
The Haunting of Hill House is an unsettling and engrossing really quick read that will have you searching for more Shirley Jackson books at your local library. It's chilling and disturbing in the best sense of the words, and is easily the best ghost story I've ever read.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 20 or so years, you already know the premise of Jurassic Park. To quote one of my favorite lines fUnless you've been living under a rock for the last 20 or so years, you already know the premise of Jurassic Park. To quote one of my favorite lines from the movie: "God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth." Well, there you have it in a nutshell: a wealthy eccentric named John Hammond buys an island in Costa Rica and turns it into Jurassic Park - a living biological preserve for genetically engineered dinosaurs.
The thing you need to know about the book is that it is quite different from the movie on a number of points. I will not spoil it for you here, but suffice it to say that I have seen the movie numerous times, and I never knew what was coming next in the book. It had me reading quickly to get to the end and see how the characters were going to get out of trouble. In my opinion, the book kicks the movie's a**.
Jurassic Park was captivating and completely engrossing from the very first chapter. Michael Crichton sure knew how to create tension and suspense in his novels! I was on the edge of my seat, racing toward the finish line and hoping none of my favorite characters ended up on the dino-diet. It was a fast-paced read and almost impossible for me to put down.
Jurassic Park is simply thrilling - and quite a bit darker than it's movie adaptation. Crichton manages to give the reader all of the scientific details without bogging down the story or giving up even an ounce of the creepy suspense that builds from the first pages. A phenomenal "techno-thriller," Jurassic Park and Michael Crichton deserve every bit of accolade they have received. I am deeply impressed, and will definitely be recommending this book to others.
At the beginning Michael Crichton's Congo, a research team looking for blue diamonds deep withing the Congo region has been mysteriously killed - theAt the beginning Michael Crichton's Congo, a research team looking for blue diamonds deep withing the Congo region has been mysteriously killed - the prime suspect: a possibly new species of gorilla. A new team, including a university professor and his research subject Amy, a gorilla who communicates using American sign language, is quickly dispatched to find answers (and diamonds). Unfortunately for them, they seem to be no match for the cunning and ruthless killing machines they discover.
I recently read and really enjoyed Jurassic Park. Having said that, Congo failed to entertain me in the same way. It's not that it wasn't a good story. The premise is incredibly clever, and the natural history of primates and language development are subjects that I find fascinating. The thing that bogged things down for me in Congo was really all of the technology crud. It was simply too over-the-top for me and didn't really add anything to the story.
It is obvious that Micheal Crichton was a talented and creative writer. Technology plays a big part in both of the books I've read by him, but in Congo the sheer magnitude of scientific data completely overwhelms what could have been a truly fascinating story. I can't say I'd recommend Congo, but if you're interested in trying Crichton on for size, try Jurassic Park. I'll be picking up The Lost World next week and I expect it to be wonderful. ...more