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Search tags: 2016-ha-top-101-challenge
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review 2016-11-01 10:04
Obsession & Possession...
Burnt Offerings - Robert Marasco

This was one of the best haunted house stories I've ever read! I just loved it! It's about The Rolfes- Marian, Ben & their son David. They live in a noisy apartment building in Queens so in order to get some peace they rent a house in the country for two months for their summer vacation. The house turns out to be a huge mansion that has fallen in disrepair. They find the renters, Roz & Brother, to be very eccentric and in the back of their mind they know that something isn't quite right. They present them with an offer they can't refuse though so they move in and take possession of the house but they'll come to find out that the house has taken possession of them; and as Marian's obsession with the house intensifies and her will to choose her family over the house is slowly taken from her, the house comes back to life...

 

Sometimes I find the endings to haunted house stories can be kind of hokey but I thought this one was very satisfying. The entire story was very atmospheric and I really enjoyed the sense of dark foreboding that overcast their stay. Seeing the house take possession of the family was very eerie and nicely written by the author.

 

If I absolutely 'had' to pick something that I didn't care for, it would probably be Marian & Ben's lovey-dovey dialogue. It was kind of sweet at first, and to give the author credit where credit is due, it was pretty realistic but I really don't care to hear couples baby talk in real life so I definitely don't care to hear it in a book either. That's really just a personal preference though and it didn't bother me enough to sway my rating.

 

On a side note, my 'obsession' with books 'possessed' me to buy a 1973 first edition of this but I'm so glad I did! It was totally worth it and I know I'll go back and reread it one day. For now though, it's going back in its Brodart and I'm going to find a copy of this movie that I'm dying to see!

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review 2016-09-17 00:12
Sweetheart, Sweetheart...
Sweetheart, Sweetheart - Bernard Taylor

Sweetheart, Sweetheart is an old style ghost story about twin brothers, Colin & David. David, who lives in New York, senses that his brother Colin is in trouble and he can't rest until he goes to visit him in England to find out what's going on...

 

I think one of the things Taylor does very well is creating that deep sense of foreboding and you can really feel that in the first half of the story especially. It does have a very slow building pace though, but if you stick with it, the second half of the story more then makes up for it. The culmination is very intense and chilling and it really tied up the story nicely, which isn't always the case, I think, in ghost & haunted house stories. If you enjoy a vintage ghost story, then this is a great pick. 

 

 

 

*I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Classic Horror~ square

 

 

 

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review 2016-05-13 07:15
House of Depravity- 4.5 stars...
Hell House - Richard Matheson

So much has already been said about this book so I'm not going to beat it to death but I thought it was a fantastic haunted house story. I can definitely understand why it garnered so much attention. I even really liked the ending which isn't always the case for me in this genre. It was thoroughly satisfying and it wasn't left open for you to draw your own conclusions like some of the paranormal horror stories that I've come across. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because, yes it nailed the gruesome and the shocking but, I thought it lacked the foreboding and build up of suspense to give it the scare factor that I was hoping for and would have been the perfect accompaniment to Belasco's Hell House.

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review 2016-04-20 10:58
Bedlam at Beldame -4.5 stars...
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

Beldame - the home of three secluded houses on the Alabama coast and the summer retreat of the dysfunctional Savage and McCray families.

 

After the death of the matriarch Marian Savage, the families retreat to Beldame for a little peace and relaxation but what they get instead is far from it. The third house which has sat empty for years and has always had a sinister aura to it has other plans for the family. Can they root out the evil, manifested as sand, in the house before the evil and sand overtakes them, literally?

 

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book but I've always had a soft spot for gothic fiction so I was looking forward to delving into it. It's also set in my current home state of Alabama so I was really curious to see how McDowell portrayed the state and it's residents. : )  Let me tell you, he did not dissapoint! Really what I enjoyed most about the book, was how realistic the character's personalities and the family dynamics came across in the story. He did a fantastic job of recreating a dysfunctional Southern family. My two favorite characters though were the only two family members that lived outside the State of Alabama; Luker McCray and his precocious 13 year old daughter, India. They reside in New York City and there was never a dull moment between the two. Some of the dialogue between them and the family in general was just hilarious! : ) 

 

The only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars is because the author never gave us a reason for the evil presence existing in the third house in the first place or a motive for its intentions to harm the family. Great story though otherwise; definitely recommend to all the Southern gothic fans out there.

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2016-04-18 02:57
Reading progress update: I've read 37%.
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

I just finished Part I. As crazy as it is, I'm really liking this book. The family dynamics are cracking me up! India, the precocious 13 year old daughter of Luker is my favorite character so far. But what father offers their 13 year old daughter an alcoholic drink and downers and openly discusses his sex life?? : )

 

Can't wait to see what happens with The Third House in Part II. This ought to be interesting! 

 

 

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