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review 2017-10-17 20:13
We Have Always Lived in the Castle ★★★★☆
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne

Shirley Jackson is so good at taking us inside the heads of characters who really don’t fully understand how disturbed they are, and neither do we, until we do. And that a-ha moment, when clarity hits. This story leaves me with even more questions about what is real or not and fascinated with the dynamics between individual characters, their family unit, and between them and the townsfolk. And maybe it’s because I was reading Carpe Jugulum at the same time, I couldn’t help thinking of

those final scenes in terms of classic stories of villagers becoming a howling mob with torches and pitchforks to storm the castle where the monster lives. Or maybe that was intentional on the author's part. The girls in their isolation in that big old house with their almost mythic backstory of murder really kind of fit the monster in the castle and angry, frightened villagers, don't they?

(spoiler show)

 

Audiobook via Audible. Bernadette Dunn’s performance is as outstanding as it was for The Haunting of Hill House.

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review 2017-10-16 01:58
Dark Matter ★★★★☆
Dark Matter - Michelle Paver

Although technically a ghost story, the real horror for me is the sense of creeping dread and isolation and loneliness as the last man left in the endless night of an arctic camp. Most chilling of all is the man’s horror at contemplating the afterlife should he perish there and become a ghost himself – not just a winter of endless night alone, but an eternity.

 

Audiobook via Audible. Jeremy Northam proves he’s as wonderful an audio narrator as he is an actor, which certainly isn’t true of everyone.

 

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review 2017-10-14 19:55
The Haunting of Maddy Clare ★★★★☆
The Haunting of Maddy Clare - Simone St. James,Pamela Garelick

This could have been a much better book with a 75% reduction in Romance. And I do mean Romance with a capital R. Including the tortured Hero and shy, plain, Heroine who doesn’t realize that she’s actually pretty and despairs over having a great big jiggly bosom when 1920’s fashion is cut for boobless figures. Because what man would find big boobs attractive?!?

 

Still, the ghost story and murder mystery stuff were good enough to overcome all that. If I gave half-stars on ratings this would be 3 ½ so I rounded up to 4 stars.

 

Audiobook via Audible, with performance by Pamela Garelick, who did a great job on pacing and voicing the characters. Not sure how she did on the sex scenes, I FFed through those.

 

Thanks to Murder by Death for the book/author rec. This is the second Simone St. James book I’ve read, since you rec’d this book to me, and I have a third (An Inquiry Into Love and Death) on my TBR.

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review 2017-10-14 19:25
Hangsaman ★★★★☆
Hangsaman - Shirley Jackson

This was a weird little book, and I enjoyed it very much, but I’m also glad that it’s just novella sized because I doubt I could have lasted through 300 pages of Jackson’s experimental writing. It was not an easy read, because nothing is very clear, least of all what’s real vs. what’s going on inside Natalie’s head. I had to take it in small sips, but what delightful little sips those were. What starts out as slyly mocking and funny, eventually becomes a little sad and terrifying, especially once 

I realized that it’s this very tendency of Natalie’s to critically examine everyone and everything about her, viewing it/them as characters in a story, imagine them in other storylines, etc., that isolates her from the ability to form any kind of meaningful relationship and contributes to her crushing loneliness and downward spiral.

(spoiler show)

At least, that’s my interpretation of what it all means. I could be completely wrong, because this is one weird little book.

 

Vintage paperback copy, found in a $5 (edit) $2 bundle of gothics I got at Half Price Books. A real gem in a pile of poop, if you will. My copy is a 50 cent Ace Star with delightfully musty yellowed pages and this fantastic cover:

 

Previous Updates:

10/11/17 12/191 pg.

10/11/17 39/191 pg

 

10/13/17 84/191 pg

 

 

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review 2017-10-12 22:38
Dissolution ★★★★☆
Dissolution - C.J. Sansom,Steven Crossley

Excellent historical mystery. This is the first in a recurring character series, and the first I’ve read of this author. An attorney in Tudor England, working for Thomas Cromwell, seeks to solve the murder of another of Cromwell’s agents in a monastery. Bonus mystery thrown in, and lots of interesting historical detail, which forced me to read up a little on Cromwell and the Reformation, which I only vaguely remembered from high school World History classes. I especially enjoyed the character development over the course of the book, of both the main and secondary characters.

 

Audiobook via Audible. I had purchased it so long ago that I don’t even remember why, because it’s certainly not something I’d spend my precious Audible credits on. Maybe it was on sale. I enjoyed Steven Crossley’s performance on the audio very much.

 

Previous Updates:

10/11/17 54%

 

 

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