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Showing posts from September, 2010

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice is the first novel for Rebecca James, who lives in Australia.  It wasn't until I was about halfway through the book that I realized that while the author is Australian, the book takes place in the United States.  I suppose I let the confusion of place setting bother me more that it really should have.  Ultimately, it took a lot longer to read this book than it normally would have (I was reading another one: thank you Food For The Dead) and also if I'm honest, I was afraid.  You can tell right from the first lines that something bad--really bad--is going to happen to the narrator, and knowing this wasn't conducive to reading.  It's like if I don't read it--it's not gonna happen to the characters and they'll be just fine!  Yes.  I know the characters aren't real people, but sometimes they feel real.

From the very beginning of the very first lines, one feels as if they are on a one way trip on a speeding train that is quickly picking up ev…

Food For The Dead: On The Trail of New England's Vampires by Michael E. Bell

Food For The Dead: On The Trail of New England's Vampires is written by Rhode Island folklorist Michael E. Bell; it was published about ten years ago--way before the current vampire craze spawned by Twilight and True Blood and their compatriots.  The author spent two decades tracing the origin of the legends of New England's vampires, and the New England legend is not your stereotypical, Hollywood vampire.

Bell uses interviews, newspaper and other published accounts, as well as town records to research various local, Rhode Island vampire legends.  He also utilizes genealogical research to trace the origin of several vampire legends back to a single Rhode Island family.  Bell paints an intriguing, fascinating and, at times, puzzling picture of Rhode Island's own vampire legend.

In eighteenth and nineteenth century America a bloody, deadly and mysterious ghoul was stalking its citizens, indeed, entire families in some instances: this was the ever dreaded disease consumption,…

The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb is a spooky ghost story.  Spooky.  Creepy.

One day out of the blue Hallie James receives a bewildering and shocking missive from an attorney on Grand Manitou Island, Michigan, that shatters everything she ever knew about her past and about her father.  The letter claims that Hallie's mother, Madlyn Crane, a famous photographer, has not been dead for thirty years as her father, who refused to speak of her mother, maintained.  What's more the lawyer says Crane has only recently died and he needs to speak to Hallie regarding her mother's will.  Hallie finds that not only did her mother, Annie, not die in a house fire three decades ago, but that wasn't even her name--and Hallie and her father have been living under assumed names all these years.  Unfortunately her father's unable to shed light on why he fled the island all those years ago and faked their deaths because he's deep in the weeds of early onset Alzheimer's.

U…

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

I just finished Spider Bones--the latest release in Kathy Reichs' Dr. Temperance Brennan series.  It was on my own personal list of (in some cases very highly) anticipated summer blockbuster book releases.  I look forward to some book releases with a higher degree of trepidation, anticipation and excitement than I do most movie releases.  In some cases (this means you Karin Slaughter, S.J. Bolton, John Connolly and this summer, Tess Gerritsen), I'm nearly beside myself with obsessing over what the next book will be about and what will happen to the characters (this is especially true for the series I read).

This summer was an especially busy summer of book releases.  It began in May with Brunonia Barry's The Map of True Places, her follow up to The Lace Reader (which in the end didn't live up to her debut but was still good nonetheless).  Then came Broken by Karin Slaughter--it did not disappoint.  Karin Slaughter never disappoints.  John Connolly's The Whisperer…

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Then all of a sudden there's a flash of white in front of the car.  Lindsay yells something--words I can't make out ... suddenly the car is flipping off the road and into the black mouth of the woods.  I hear a horrible, screeching sound--metal on metal, glass shattering, a car folding in two--and smell fire.  I have time to wonder whether Lindsay had put out her cigarette--And then--That's when it happens.  The moment of death is full of heat and sound and pain bigger than anything, a funnel of burning heat splitting me in two, something searing and scorching and tearing, and if screaming were a feeling it would be this.
from page 80
Before I Fall is the heart wrenching debut novel by Lauren Oliver.  I first read about it in BookPage, and then looked it up on Amazon for more information.  Recently one of the county libraries acquired a copy and I put a reserve in for it and was surprised at the thickness of the book when it arrived.  It has some heft to it.

Samantha has it …