2.5 stars Some nicely creepy moments, and along the lines of what I'd hoped for from Welcome to the Dark House--sort of a mad funhouse type of caper.2.5 stars Some nicely creepy moments, and along the lines of what I'd hoped for from Welcome to the Dark House--sort of a mad funhouse type of caper.
But the four kids' stories start running into each other and don't really go anywhere (I think it would have been better to cut down on the number of kids or to explore the stories more deeply), and the creep/tension aren't pushed far enough. The style of the black and white photographs and the set-up make it feel a bit like a very facile, slick middle grade version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Nearly downrated the star rating because it was also annoying that the book ends abruptly, and apparently there's a sequel. No need for either. With more development, this could have been a perfectly good horror book on its own....more
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London H4.5 stars Love love love love love.
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London Hospital's The Elephant Man, all from the perspective of a girl who has been severely disfigured by phosphorous necrosis. This story doesn't shy away from the gruesome nature of the crimes nor the rough realities faced by a woman without position, or a man who was put on display as a sideshow attraction. And yet it is imbued with a transcendent awareness of human dignity, and the beauty of soul and intellect.
Writing is textured and sharp, yet exquisitely restrained, the setting is vivid, and the historical details are seamlessly integrated. (I had such a good time looking up various figures and events referenced in the story!) I hope this author writes more historical fiction, because he has a knack for storytelling, an ear for dialogue, and an empathy for his characters that gives readers the rare sense of being completely immersed in the world he created. I felt the same level of excitement when reading this book as I did when reading my first Marcus Sedgwick and Sarah Waters novels, and I don't say that lightly.
Review to come. If you liked certain elements of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER or THIS MONSTROUS THING, you'll love this. ...more
A frighteningly loud crashing noise awakens me from what seems to be a weird yet wonderful dream, and I'm surprised to find I'm actually here, in theA frighteningly loud crashing noise awakens me from what seems to be a weird yet wonderful dream, and I'm surprised to find I'm actually here, in the same room where I went to sleep.
-- Page 7
I guess you could put down some of this to inexperience and English as a second language? Hope all these YouTube book deals are worthwhile for you, publishers.
A(n solicited) copy was provided by the publisher for this review. DNF....more
INSANE ASYLUM FOR GIRLS. That's enough to get anyone's attention, but unlike many slick, cheap-thrills books that quickly bore me, The Dead G4.5 stars
INSANE ASYLUM FOR GIRLS. That's enough to get anyone's attention, but unlike many slick, cheap-thrills books that quickly bore me, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is one of the most well-crafted YA horror books I've read in ages. It's a short but surprisingly thoughtful book, with good creepiness and suspense and sadness, as well as the right balance of teenage snark and feeling. It's hard to juggle humor and darkness, but the author does a great job of that here.
I would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But II would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But I suppose that would be unreasonable.
You'll love this book if the sad, tender pull between Liesl and Po tugged at your emotions, if you delighted in the dark humor and dire dangers of the Lemony Snicket series, or if you shivered ever so slightly at the delicious creepiness of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. This book is so comfortably appropriate for children (though perhaps best read reassuringly curled up against a loved one, for both comfort and discussion of serious topics--parents might also consider reading it first before giving it to younger children), even as it doesn't shy away from intelligent use of language or touching on scary topics. The real world can be a sad, scary place, after all. The author's preface was also very moving--the idea of this young cousin of hers clutching a beloved book for security after a death in the family brought a tear to my eye.
Review to come. I loved this, and am so looking forward to book two. I hope the author writes many more middle grade books in the future--particularly ones that so deftly show her rather infamous sense of humor, as well as a glimpse of her heart....more