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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Fall Flurry of Holidays Challenge -- October Reviews and Discussion

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message 1: by Nicole R (last edited Nov 06, 2016 05:31AM) (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7701 comments Let the holiday readings begin!!

Please post reviews for any Halloween/scary/fall/etc. themed books that go along with the month of October here. If it is not obvious as to why you selected your specific book for October, please include a sentence or two about the connection.

Each review you post will earn you a participation point that can be used in future voting for the monthly tags or in book auctions which are likely to become a more regular occurrence,

Don't forget to also cross-post your review to the appropriate thread for books that fit or do not fit the monthly tag to rack up even more participation points.

Still struggling with deciding what to read? Check out our discussion thread.

Did you read Frankenstein? Several members of PBT plan to this month and we have a discussion thread for that here.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7701 comments Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
4 stars

WOW! I really had only a basic knowledge of Frankenstein before I started reading this book, and then I quickly realized that everything I thought I knew was wrong.

First and foremost, Frankenstein is the name of the SCIENTIST, not the monster! Mind. Blown. And no just blown because a movie switched the names, but because that change has so fully permeated our culture to now be more recognizable than Shelley's original intent. I may be overanalyzing this, but I am amazed.

But, on to the actual story.

From a structural and stylistic point of view, it reminds me very much of Dracula, which I read last year, though Frankenstein predates it's classic gothic partner by over 75 years. The men had these odd attachments to each other (I feel like mens' friendships used to be much more devoted and flowery that modern ones) and the women were all weak (more on that later). Part of the story was told in a series of letters and it was massively symbolic.

However, I though Shelley was brilliant with her symbolism. And I picked up on it, which is skill that often eludes me. Shelley wrote this toward the end of the First Industrial Revolution (I think, Regina, Leah, or Care will correct me if I am wrong) and her theme of humans as natural, good beings created by god versus the unnatural, evil beings created by science was stark. It was a cautionary tale for her age.

There were also themes of religion and the natural world but I did not find them as compelling as the scientific cautionary tale. Which is not surprising given my professional background. And, how wonderfully pertinent to today's society where we use scientific advancements to prevent disease, engineer more productive crops, and literally determine genes of future humans. It may not be reanimation, but it is eerily similar and the effects are unknown.

Now let's move on to the portrayal of women, my second favorite topic after science!

I was truly surprised that there was not even a glimpse of a strong female character in this! Instead, we get the stereotypical evil woman (Justine) who is deemed responsible for the death of a man and falsely punished. Then we have the stereotypical stand-by-your-man woman (Elizabeth) who demurely follows Frankenstein to her ultimate demise, suffering for his failures.

And while this is not uncommon depiction of women at the time (looking at Dracula again) I expected more from MARY Shelley. I mean, she sounds pretty badass. She wrote Frankenstein on a dark and stormy night (no joke) on a party dare from Lord Byron. It is THE example of gothic literature and some argue the first true science fiction. On top of that, I think this "party" that she was at with Lord Byron sounds like a thinly veiled orgy. However, Wikipedia does not confirm that.

While some of the passages were a little long winded, and Frankenstein and The Monster both wax a little too poetic about the travesty of their lives, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I highly recommend to anyone who wants to get to the original impetus of gothic literature this Halloween season.

A note on the audio: I listened to this version, which was okay but I wish I would have gotten the version narrated by Dan Stevens. But alas, I went with the free version at my library instead of using an audible credit.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8285 comments At first, I was very excited about this book. But as it moved on, I found myself less and less entranced. Now those of you who know my likes and interests, know that I am both a sucker for and harsh critic of magic. I love premonition, predestination, dreams and ghosts presences, in stories that are woven together well, and powers that suit the protagonists' character profile. But used too weirdly, oddly, or gratuitously, or nonsensically - well, I become highly critical. Honestly in this story, nothing hung together well. I couldn't really understand the role or goings-on of the witches, and I kept wondering how and why the main character was involved. I didn't find myself moved, and kept hoping the story would pull together meaningfully. Few of the characters were likable, and not much of the character motivations made sense. And the mystical part of it? Didn't particularly add or fit.

The basic plot, is that an Asian professor, who comes from a long line of Chinese witches, decides on her 33rd birthday to become a witch/embrace her (unknown) powers. Under the guise of publishing and tenure, she travels to the Canary Islands, on the wisp of a dream, to find her destiny. She ends up in a disorienting dream space, with odd unlikeable characters, sort of drawn into solving a murder, and discovering things. It kind of just got odder and odder, and if she found her destiny, it wasn't clear to me what that was. That said, I have always wanted to visit the Canary Islands, so it was interesting to hear about the myths involved with that setting.

However, I did truly appreciate the opportunity to pick up a "witchy" book for this October Fall Flurry Challenge and it kind of put me in the mood. For that I am grateful. The one mystical question I am left with, is where did this book actually come from, and how did it land in my lap in the first place? For the longest time, I thought it was the sequel to Paula Brackston's the Witch's Daughter. I own it. I think I may have picked it up with 6 other books with a gift certificate from the New England Mobile Bookstore, for mere pennies. Otherwise, I have no idea where this thing came from. I sort of think that in some cases, how books fall into your lap can be mystical, so perhaps if I had liked this one more, I might have been more taken with its journey to me. Been wondering however, what is the name of the sequel I mentioned earlier? Perhaps I should check that out.

Speaking of Checking Out, I have wonderful problem. Not only has Today Will Be Different showed up ready and waiting at the Library, but so has Hot Milk. So since the Witches Market took only a day or so to finish, and A Gentleman in Moscow hasn't yet made its way to me, and its too early to read the Children Act for my two book groups in November, I picked up from my home library corner, the Storm Sister, second in the Seven Sisters Series. I will read that, and then sort out the rest of my exciting month later.

Last night I attended a book group on Lila, which was wonderful. I love when you get to deeply discuss a moving and beautiful book, with really interesting people. I am grateful that we get to do that here, and daily. Its truly wonderful to share stories and lives with you all.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8285 comments That was the Witches Market, author has an unintelligible name, and there is the back of an Asian Woman on the cover.


message 5: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2187 comments Nicole R wrote: "Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
4 stars

A note on the audio: I listened to this version, which was okay but I wish I would have gotten the version narrated by Dan Stevens. But alas, I went with the free version at my library instead of using an audible credit. ..."


I have the audio on reserve at our library - it's narrated by Jim Weiss. I hope it will be better than yours or at least as good as the Stevens [narr].


message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5638 comments Amazingly enough, this takes place over Halloween (in Hawaii, no less)!

Hula Done It? (Passport to Peril, #4) by Maddy Hunter
Hula Done It? – Maddy Hunter
1*

This is book number four in the Passport to Peril series, starring tour escort Emily Andrew and the group of Iowans she takes on various vacations. This time they are aboard the Aloha Princess exploring the Hawaiian Islands. The major attraction is renowned scholar, Professor Dorian Smoker, who is an expert on Captain Cook and his explorations of the South Pacific islands.

Oh, my …. The characters are cardboard, the plot is thin, and the dialogue is tortured. I had no interest in the supposed love triangle – probably because Emily doesn’t seem very interested in either guy. There’s a major “buried treasure” element to the plot, which is central to the whole mystery, but never really captured my attention. It was just ridiculous. Hunter did manage to add a few tidbits of Hawaiian history, but not really enough to give a real sense of the islands.

Oh well … it was a fast read, and it satisfied a challenge I’ve had for over a year to read a book set in Hawaii.


message 7: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7701 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Amazingly enough, this takes place over Halloween (in Hawaii, no less)!

Hula Done It?
– Maddy Hunter
1*..."


Well, NOT adding this one to my list! lol


message 8: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8120 comments Ok, just an fyi that I've "shelved" the reviews added here (that weren't already added). Ok, one was added, one wasn't yet. I will keep checking back periodically, and posting where I finish (like I used to do at shelfari). For those who want to continue to add their own books to the bookshelf, that is fine, too!

(And I'm reminded that I've read a Halloween book (though I am planning another, as well), so I need to post it here!)


message 9: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8120 comments Second Child / John Saul
4 stars

When 15-year old Teri’s parents die in a house fire, Teri is the only one to get out. She is collected by her biological father to go live across the country with him, his wife and their 13-year old daughter, Melissa. Melissa is considered by some to be a bit… strange. But she has good reason. (The back of the book doesn’t say much, so I don’t want to give too much away.) They are rich, but Melissa and her mother (Phyllis) don’t really fit in, though Phyllis certainly tries.

This was really good. I was pulled in at the start and it kept me reading and wanting to read. I was quite horrified and disgusted with actions of many of the characters and felt so badly for Melissa. This book has elements of both supernatural and psychological horror, both of which I “enjoy” reading. Just be careful reading through some of the reviews, as much more is given away than I think should be for this book.


message 10: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2756 comments The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw -James
Audio performance by Emma Thompson and Richard Armitage
3 stars

This is the first time that I’ve read anything by Henry James. I’ve always meant to. Usually, I get along well with 19th century authors. I can’t say that I’m inspired to read anything else by James, especially a much longer book. I tired of his convoluted sentences and his overuse of unattributed pronouns.

There’s nothing wrong with the premise of this story. It’s spooky and there should have been plenty of suspense. The ending did surprise me even though I knew the general outlines of the story. On the other hand, I thought the abrupt ending was a rather lazy way out of a sticky situation.

Also, as an experienced elementary teacher, I totally I agree with Hester, the governess in The Thirteenth Tale;
"For the book is a rather silly story about a governess and two haunted children. I’m afraid that in it Mr. James exposes the extent of his ignorance. He knows little about children and nothing at all about governesses."


message 11: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5638 comments LibraryCin wrote: "Ok, just an fyi that I've "shelved" the reviews added here (that weren't already added). Ok, one was added, one wasn't yet. I will keep checking back periodically, and posting where I finish (like ..."

Oh, I hadn't even thought of that .... what's the shelf name?


message 12: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7701 comments Book Concierge wrote: "what's the shelf name? ..."

Fall Flurry of Holidays 2016


message 13: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8120 comments Book Concierge wrote: "LibraryCin wrote: "Ok, just an fyi that I've "shelved" the reviews added here (that weren't already added). Ok, one was added, one wasn't yet. I will keep checking back periodically, and posting wh..."

Nicole announced in a separate thread. We only set it up a few days ago.


message 14: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments I read The Turn of the Screw 1898, Henry James. A classic tale about a ghost, two children and a governess.


message 15: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I chose to follow a Halloween theme for October and chose to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Jacob's grandfather dies under suspicious circumstances, and he and his father travel to a small island off Wales chasing his past. What they first find is an abaondoned orphanage, but Jacob knows there is more to the story. He digs further, and magically finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, place where children who are different are hidden for their own safety.

I really enjoyed this book! It was a pleasant surprise as I wasn't sure that I would. I have had it sitting on my Kobo for ages but had decided that the print copy would be better as it contains a lot of photos. On impulse I bought a copy when I was buying books for my son, keeping it for the Fall Flurry Challenge as it fit the bill for a Halloween book for October. Once I started I couldn't put it down. My son said to me 'Mum, why are you obsessed with that book?'! I just had to know what was going to happen and it held my interest the whole way through. I loved the concept of 'peculiar children' being hidden to keep them safe, and I felt that it had wonderful magical quality, reminding me of when Alice fell down the rabbit hole. I can at times find the writing in YA novels to be overly simplistic and irritating, but I didn't get that feeling with Miss Peregrine's. I enjoyed the writing and felt a connection with the characters. It was a great, dark adventure story.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the Tim Burton adaptation. I think his films are wonderful. I will continue reading the series, too.


message 16: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Susie wrote: "I chose to follow a Halloween theme for October and chose to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children...."

I didn't love this book, but the movie looks awesome and well - Tim Burton- so i will probably see it.


message 17: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2756 comments The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher - Scalzi
Audio performance by Zachary Quinto
4 stars

This is a truly creepy story. It’s contemporary detective noir with a bizarre twist of science fiction.

The overriding premise of this story is that murder has become impossible, almost always. Victims of murder, upon death, instantly disappear. They reappear, totally naked (ala The Time Traveler's Wife) safely at home. The story is set several years into a future when the ‘murder is not permanent’ phenomenon has become established and commonplace. Society adapts. An interesting job opportunity becomes available; that of Dispatcher. Natural death is still a real possibility, and suicides stay dead, but if an individual is murdered in advance of a natural death, they return home in a their previous state of health. Dispatchers are licenced murderers. They attend risky surgical procedures. They ‘assist’ emergency personnel at accident sites. They provide a valuable service. Usually.

This is a short story. I hope there will be a longer sequel to follow. It is available free from audible until Nov. 2, 2016. You can’t do better than free, and Zachary Quinto did an outstanding job of reading this one...with one small problem. The story is set in Chicago. None of his characters have anything that resembles a Chicago accent. They even sounded faintly Southern. Once I mentally set the story in a slightly southern location, it was great. And truly creepy.


message 18: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1311 comments The Turn of the Screw - Henry James

3 stars

The suspense created in The Turn of the Screw made it a perfect read for an October afternoon. I liked how the reader is never quite sure what is real and what is not. I liked that the ending was not typical of these types of stories. There were times that the narrator annoyed me a little bit with her focus on the appearances of other characters (they were too beautiful to be bad) and other times where I found myself tuning out her internal ramblings, but overall I liked that there were more than one explanation for the story and that the truth of what happened remained ambiguous.


message 19: by Charlie (last edited Oct 16, 2016 04:04PM) (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Pet Sematary - Stephen King - 5 Stars

Supposedly, of all the books he's written, Stephen King says this one is the scariest for him. I originally read Pet Sematary when I was in college and it didn't really have an impact. With some time in between readings and being a more mature reader, I'm "happy" to say it left a mark the second time around.

In my opinion, Pet Sematary (a book that almost wasn't published) is King's most mature book up to that point of his career (1983). It's still horror and it's still scary but its got a depth to it that is a precursor to books that follow later in his life like Insomnia, Bag of Bones and Dr. Sleep.

There is great writing throughout and October is the perfect time to read this book. The scariest thing for me about this book was its foreboding, ominous quality. Like watching a car wreck in slow motion HD from a very safe distance. More than anything, I think the book is about death, its certainty, how hard it is for people to cope and accept it and the lengths to which people will go to evade it (or at least try to). It reminded me of the movie No Country For Old Men in how it slowly unfolds in a descending fashion towards a certain end. Two of my favorite quotes are as follows: “The old sleep poorly. Perhaps they stand watch.” and "Louis Creed came to believe that the last really happy day of his life was March 24, 1984."

The last 100 pages or so were my least favorite. King says he just writes and books take on their own life as he writes them. Many blame this approach on his books having great beginnings and middles but bad endings and this one falls into that camp for me. I couldn't see it ending differently but I it just kind of seemed to me like he focused a little too hard at wrapping it up quickly.

I'm not sure what prompted me to read it again as I rarely read books twice, but I'm glad I did and I hope you do too. In spite of the ending, I'm giving it 5 stars.


message 20: by Linda C (new)

Linda C (libladynylindac) | 1053 comments Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery, #1) by Carol J. Perry
Caught Dead Handed (A Witch City mystery, #1) - Carol J. Perry (4 stars) 10/19/16 2014

Lee Barrett returns home to Salem MA to interview for a reporter job at WICH-TV only to lose out to a guy before even being interviewed. However, another position opens up when the call-in psychic, Ariel, who hosts the late night horror movie show is murdered. Lee takes it to get a foot in the door and sets about learning the psychic lingo and the props. Soon another murder occurs and Lee is seeing visions in Ariel's obsidian ball. It seems she may have a latent psychic talent. Lee avoids looking into any reflective surface if possible and tries to find logical ways to explain what she sees to police detective Pete Mondello.

It is just before Halloween and there are witches everywhere in Salem. There is also a cat of Ariel's that Lee has adopted and who plays a part in the mystery. I liked this story because the cat is not given people qualities; just a cat who is part of the plot, and because Lee tries to find logical explanations for the psychic seeming things that happen to her. I will definitely look for more of this series.


message 21: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Although I kind of take issue with the how the Halloween aspect has taken over Salem I think this fits here loosely

A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience 5 Stars and a <3

I picked this book up prior to a trip to Salem, and let me say it was absolutely the perfect read for that trip. It isn't a very long book; only 286 pages of actual reading material. But, it packs a lot within those pages. The structure of the book, in my opinion, is the perfect way to approach the hysteria. The first part of the book deals with the context of the establishment of the colony and the legal system of the time before giving a high-level overview of events between 1692-1693. Then there are chapters that deal separately with the accusers, the accused, and the judges before dealing with the legacy of the city and how locals have dealt with the stigma beginning with the surviving relatives through current day dilemmas.

I found the chapter dedicated to the judges to be the most fascinating because they are often simply set aside as ignorant, religious zealots. No doubt, there was an aspect of religious fervor contributed to these events. But, their history is complex and simultaneously explains some aspects or their behavior but, ultimately, leaves you with additional, interesting questions. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that they were actually highly educated for the time (actually the entire populace was highly literate since the Puritan philosophy encouraged individual study of the Bible), all of them were Harvard graduates with one completing a masters from Oxford, and had tremendous legal experience for the time. They actually, took part in an earlier less-deadly rash of witchcraft accusations in the area as legal clerks.

Further, the ramifications this event had on the development of what I will loosely call precedent for our current legal system was utterly fascinating. It was also the first official government cover up on this land as well as seeing the first victory in a case of freedom of the press and speech. This may also be the first case to promote anti-female views within the judicial system, as the author makes the case that prior to the hysteria women were often successful in pursuing sexual assault claims on their own within the court, but afterwards, without strong corroborating evidence, a woman's word alone would not result in justice. Plus, who knew ignoramus was a legal term?!

Finally, while most literary fans are aware of the connection between Judge Hathorne and Nathaniel Hawthorne, there were quite a few additional ones with which I was completely unfamiliar. Those include: Louisa May Alcott, Benjamin Franklin, and Clara Barton.

If you are interested in early American history or judicial history or just the phenomenon itself this is a MUST read.


message 22: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments The House of the Seven Gables 3 Stars

“The wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and . . . becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.”

The entire story takes place within a home known as The House of Seven Gables, which still stands in Salem, MA. In the opening scenes Colonel Pyncheon covets the house owned by Matthew Maule. In order to get his hands on the property Pyncheon accuses Maule of witchcraft, of which he is ultimately found guilty and sentenced to hang. At his execution Maule, "curses" Pycheon by exclaiming, "God will give him blood to drink," a quote taken from historical events. When the home is open to a house-warming party, the Colonel is found dead under his portrait with blood staining his beard. The community is sure the family is cursed and the story follows succeeding generations in the home where family members seem to reinforce this notion even as a romance develops and a descendant of Maule.

Let me say I adored The Scarlet Letter. Of course, knowing I was going to visit the House of Seven Gables in Salem I thought it was time to read this work. I started it before the tour and it was a real slog! After touring the home and reading A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience which introduces Thomas Maule, a fascinating historical character completely overlooked by most historians and the inspiration for Matthew Maule, the book was more palatable. The tour was so great my husband, who is not a reader, has said he's going to read the book.

While the book will never be a favorite. I'm glad I read it. Most of us are aware of the author's change of spelling in his last name with many theories surrounding why. After reading this book I can't buy that he wanted to distance himself from his relative. I got the sense he was more trying to come to terms with his family's past. But, it is also certainly an important read as the witch trials marked the beginning of the end for Puritanism and Classicism as Romanticism and Transcendentalism emerged. I also simply adored Hepzibah and Phoebe. I found those characters incredibly well-drawn.


message 23: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Charlie wrote: "Pet Sematary - Stephen King - 5 Stars

Supposedly, of all the books he's written, Stephen King says this one is the scariest for him. I originally read Pet Sematary when I was in college and it did..."


I was reading this book when my cat, who was 15 years old died. I had such nightmares I had to stop reading the book. I finished it several months later, but it has always stuck with me as one of his scariest books.


message 24: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments Read The Midwich Cuckoos for Fall October read. A old SF published in 1957. I enjoyed this one, not particularly scarry but if it really did happen, alien beings that potentially could take over by the power of their minds, it would be scarry. My third book by Wyndham and I have liked them all. Women characters are inadequately represented and that may reflect the time period in which he wrote.


message 25: by LibraryCin (last edited Oct 21, 2016 05:30PM) (new)

LibraryCin | 8120 comments Ladyslott wrote: "I was reading this book when my cat, who was 15 years old died. I had such nightmares I had to stop reading the book...."

Oh, that would have been awful!


message 26: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7701 comments Regina wrote: "Although I kind of take issue with the how the Halloween aspect has taken over Salem I think this fits here loosely

[book:A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience|218745..."


I am still plugging away on this one! It is very good but I just haven't had much reading time. I likely won't finish it this month but I definitely will by the end of the year. And, every time I pick it up now, I can actually picture Salem!


message 27: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Nicole R wrote: "Regina wrote: "Although I kind of take issue with the how the Halloween aspect has taken over Salem I think this fits here loosely

[book:A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Ex..."


So glad you are enjoying it!. I had a feeling you would. Can't wait for you to finish!


message 28: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments Finished a vampire book, too bad vampire didn't win, The Vampire Lestat. Second book in a series. Good author, I enjoyed the first book, this gives a different story and reader must decide what to believe. Book ends with cliffhanger.


message 29: by Charlie (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Ladyslott wrote: "Charlie wrote: "Pet Sematary - Stephen King - 5 Stars

Supposedly, of all the books he's written, Stephen King says this one is the scariest for him. I originally read Pet Sematary when I was in co..."


You are braver than me, I'm not sure I would have gone back to finish it. Very scary indeed.


message 30: by anarresa (new)

anarresa | 251 comments Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night
By Nicholas Rogers
3 stars

Written in the late 1990s and published in the early 2000s this is a Canadian historian’s look at the phenomenon of American Halloween. He’s writing for a popular audience but does regularly fall into the historical weeds. That history is a bit interesting but the most interesting part, I think, is the late 1990s priorities and analysis. It’s recent enough to remember but clearly part of the past. Christian Evangelicals were worried about the moral failings of America and were gaining followers with hell house events, cities were torn between the costumed gay parades as tourist attractions versus public discomfort with homosexuality, anthrax scares could keep children in on Halloween night, terrorist attacks were bringing out the patriotism of the holiday, Mexicans were concerned about American culture infiltrating their Day of the Dead festivities after NAFTA, even the author’s point of view is influenced by the time period. I got a kick out of the dated (but completely legitimate and sometimes accurate) analysis.


message 31: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5638 comments The "quintessential" Halloween read ... maybe ...

Dracula by Bram Stoker Dracula – Bram Stoker – 5*****
Stoker wrote this as a series of journal or diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings. This gives a certain immediacy to the writing, and builds suspense. The novel is wonderfully atmospheric; from the delights of a new culture as Harker first experiences the loveliness of Eastern Europe, to the creepy, skin-crawling scene with the hordes of rats, and finally to the “pure-white” snow of the mountain blizzard, time and again Stoker puts the reader smack dab in the middle of the scenes. But the novel is more than just a horror story. There are several themes which would be great for book group discussion.
Full Review HERE


message 32: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments The Haunting of Hill House - 2 stars

Eleanor has spent the past eleven years caring for her mother until her passing at which point she moves in with her sister. The two do not get along. So, when a letter arrives Dr. Montague inviting her to participate in a experiment at Hill House to scientifically prove the existence of ghosts, she gladly accepts and joins the Dr. along with Luke, a member of the family who owns the house, and Theodora, another invited participant. As the experiment progresses strange occurrences take shape within the house, seemingly more focused on Eleanor than the other.

I have not found a single tepid rating on this book within. I know many in my reading network speak very highly of it. I was always dread rating a book like this. I'm not sure why I had such a I such a different reaction that most. I adored The Lottery. So, I was really looking forward to reading this. While I've only read two other horror books, I enjoyed them a great deal. One of them was The Turn of the Screw, of which Jackson's work is often compared. I was just bored, utterly bored. At under 200 pages it felt like a slog to get through a single chapter. It felt like it took way to long for the story to start moving. While I thought juxtapositions between the livewire Theodora and the emotionally repressed Eleanor could have been fascinating, it simply wasn't. By the time the characters begin to feel the terror within the house I simply didn't care what happened to them.

Obviously, this book simply wasn't for me.


message 33: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments I've officially given up on reading Frankenstien. I'm going to try and get my hands on an audio version to try and finish it (like the 26 pages I got into the story part is anything.)

After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris

Well that was dumb.

I though this was going to a novella chronicling some of the Sookie characters after the ending on the series. IE. Telling in story where Sookie, Sam, Eric, Bill, and Jason are maybe a year after the fact. Nope. It was literally a list of characters in alphabetical order and what 'happened to them' after the series ended.

Honestly, I couldn't remember who 5/6 of the characters even were. But even if that is the route she was going to take, I'd expect more than one sentence on them. I don't remember who but one persons was "This character contracted gonorrhea". Really? Barry the bellboys ended with "We may hear more about the rest of his life". This this you trying to tease me Charlie Harris? Because it's not working.

Spoilers here, which was my only reason for not giving it 2 stars. (view spoiler)


message 34: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8120 comments The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving

Reread a 3rd time:

3 stars. I have read this two previous times, two years in a row. This is the first time I was able to sit and read uninterrupted. I had hoped I would like it better, but I’m actually rating it lower than I rated it the first two times. Maybe my mindset; maybe I was rating more leniently at the time, but I just am not interested in the super-detailed description, most of which has nothing to do with the story. Once again, I do agree that the actual meeting of Ichabod Crane with the Headless Horseman is the most interesting part.


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LibraryCin | 8120 comments Shelf updated, Nov. 5/16.

I had hoped to do this every week, but got busy in October. I'll try for that in November! Thank you to those of you who have been helping out by adding your own reads to the group bookshelf!


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Jgrace | 2756 comments Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley
3 stars
Blackstone audio performance by Simon Templeton, Anthony Heald, Stefan Rudnicki


Probably, I should have read this one before I ever saw Young Frankenstein. I’m glad that I finally read the original effort that has inspired so many others. But, as I was reading and listening to Mary Shelley’s pompous, moralizing characters, I kept thinking that it would be so much more fun to watch Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn. From a 21st century perspective, I think I find the genius of the young author more interesting than her creation.


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Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2187 comments I have had the busiest October and it just wasn't a good time to actually finish Frankenstein. I never got to the point where I really wanted to pick it up again. It might have been the audio and the fact that the beginning really threw me off. Maybe another time in print.


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LibraryCin | 8120 comments shelf updated, Nov. 26/16


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