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review 2019-03-22 18:25
WHILE YOU SLEEP by Stephanie Merritt Review
While You Sleep - Stephanie Merritt

“Even in sunshine there was a bleakness to the island’s beauty that had whispered to her.”

While You Sleep is a book dripping in beautifully written atmosphere and eerie goings-on and features a protagonist who isn’t entirely reliable or likable. 

Zoe arrives at a remote island to rent a recently renovated home in Scotland. She’s running from her life, for – reasons, and needs some alone time. The neighbors are welcoming and a little smothering even though she does her best to keep them at arm’s length. She quickly learns that the house where she is staying has a spooky reputation and her attempts to investigate upset some of the locals. When odd events start occurring inside the house; sex dreams, a man who may or not be there, strange voices and other haunting events, no one wants to take her seriously with the exception of an old bookseller and a young teacher who is attracted to her. 

So that’s the set up. What follows is a very slow burn but the pace is pretty steady and even. Zoe and her crew of two attempt to figure out exactly what is happening at the house and dig up what has happened in the past. This may or may not have something to do with a long deceased woman, her dead son and possible experimentation with the occult. There are many descriptive passages of sexy times past and present because there also may or not be an incubus involved here somewhere. This may or may not be your cup of tea, coffee or bourbon but I didn’t mind it. More of it wouldn’t have hurt me any either.

Secrets and hints hide in every nook and cranny of this house and its surrounding cliffs. I figured out a few and a few I didn’t see coming at all (a particularly juicy and scandalous one at that). I admit I was disappointed when I guessed at a big one because I don’t think I’m very good at this kind thing but that one was so obvious to me. The characterization is strong and detailed and even though I personally didn’t like Zoe very much (and that never changed); she’s, ummm, imperfect to put it nicely and comes off as self-involved, angry at the wrong people and scatter-brained, I was involved enough with the other characters and their welfare that it wasn’t a stumbling block for me. You can’t like everyone, right? I also NEEDED to know all the secrets and most of them were answered in the end. There’s a pretty big one left dangling though which was a wee bit frustrating after all of the build-up.

I’d give this book a 3.75 on a scale of 1-5. It’s better than average and kept luring me back in whenever I had to put it down to live my life.

I received an ARC from Pegasus Books, thanks for sharing!

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text 2019-03-22 06:01
Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 364 pages.
The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell

She missed him terribly. Missed him and hated him. How could he abandon her? He was meant to be her savior, her reward, the rich man who swept into the factory and fell in love below his station. She could not face the days ahead without him. She could not raise a child and cope with all the memories that stirred.


She is having memories of her dead husband, sitting in this dilapidated house, writing letters. And she can´t even have these memories, because she wasn´t even with him in the house. I´m not sure if the word "memories" is the right word for that. She imagines how he was sitting at that desk. Hmm....


Anyhow, she hasn´t even loved him. She might have come to love him, giving the appropiate amount of time. But in the beginning he is a cash cow for Elsie. And then he made the bad decision of suddenly dying. 


arrested development eye roll GIF







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text 2019-03-21 05:41
Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 364 pages.
The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell

Of all people, Elsie found servants to be the most judgemental: jealous of their master´s station, since it was tied closely to their own. Rupert´s London household had turned their noses up at her when she arrived from the match factory. Her confession that she hadn´t kept domestic help since her mother died had sealed their contempt. Only respect for Rupert, and Rupert´s warning glances, made them civil.


This is followed up by a scene in which the main character Elsie, who is accompanied by her cousin Sarah, has to change her dress in a carriage.:


Sarah leant forward. "What will you do? You´ll need to get changed straight away, without being seen. And Rosie isn´t here!

No, Rosie was unwilling to leave her London life and wages to live in this backwater. Elsie could not blame her. Andf to be honest, she was secretly relieved. She´d never felt comfortable changing in front of her lady´s maid, having strange hands against her skin. But she would need to hire another one soon, if just for appearances´ sake. She did not want to get the reputation of being one of these eccentric widows populating the countryside.

"I daresay I´ll manage without Rosie for now."

Sarah´s face brightened. "I could help you with the buttons at the back. I´m good at buttons."

Well, that made one thing.


Well, that was fast. I´m on page 20 and I already detest the main character.


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text 2019-03-20 14:38
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Varney the Vampire Or the Feast of Blood - Thomas Preskett Prest


He's channeling Yoda.  LOL


pg 13:  


...of carved walnut-wood is it made,...


...nodding feathers are at its corners - covered with dust are they...


His descriptions though, lovely are they.  :  )

Without being overblown and repetitive.  So far.

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review 2019-03-03 03:29
The King's Grave -- Buried in history
The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds - Philippa Langley,Michael Jones

Disclosure:  I purchased the Kindle edition of this book at the then-current retail price.  I do not know the authors, nor have I communicated with either of them regarding this book or any other matter.  I am an author of contemporary and historical romance along with various (nefarious) non-fiction.


I was introduced to the mystery of Richard III in the early 1980s, through one of my snail-mail pen-pals Cheryl, who was at that time an active member of the U.S. branch of the Richard III Society.  Though I knew the outlines of the history, I did not know the debate over the last Plantagenet king of England had endured literally for centuries.


My background was superficial, gained through a slim volume that gave brief biographies of all the kings and queens of England and through a skimmed reading of the fourth volume of Thomas B. Costain's history of the Plantagenets. But had you asked me then to tell you all I knew of Richard III, I could only have told you that he was the last Plantagenet, that he died in battle, and his successor Henry Tudor was Henry VIII's father and Elizabeth I's grandfather.


I actually learned more about the mystery of the Princes in the Tower from reading Jan Westcott's The Hepburn, because one of the subplots involved Perkin Warbeck, the imposter who claimed to be the surviving younger son of Edward IV.


Cheryl knew a lot more.  She told me to see if I could find a very rare book by Josephine Tey, titled The Daughter of Time.  Some larger libraries might have it, she suggested, and maybe I could get it on interlibrary loan.


I knew Tey, of course, through Brat Farrar, but I'd never heard of this other book.  As luck -- or fate -- would have it, within days of receiving her letter with that recommendation, I found a paperback copy of Tey's book in a little used bookstore in our little town in Indiana.  I read it immediately, and was just as immediately hooked on the mystery.


I continued to research, to pick up odd little bits here and there.


When word got out in 2010 and 2011 that a serious search for Richard's grave was being undertaken, I began following the news reports.  I was still in occasional contact with Cheryl -- I have since lost touch with her, however -- and she provided me with links to updates through the R3 Society.  And then came the announcement in 2012 confirming the discovery.


I read the news reports and that was enough for the time being.  I'd been warned that Philippa Langley was a bit of a spotlight grabber; her book about the discovery was more about her and less about anything else.  But when a few weeks ago the book showed up on my Amazon "home" page at a reasonable price and at a time when I had a little bit of extra Amazon money, I decided to treat myself.


I've now read it, more or less, and the warnings were justified.


The book covers three main issues: The biography of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester and King of England; Philippa Langley's dream of finding his burial site; and the actual search in the city of Leicester in 2012.


The biography, broken into sections inserted between the various stages of the search, takes up at least 60 percent of the book.  This is great for someone who knows nothing of English history, especially the intricacies of the Wars of the Roses, and the complexities surrounding the legitimacy and/or illegitimacy of various claims to the throne.  But the fact that all of this detailed history broke up the actual search was annoying as hell for someone who actually knew the history.  Even if I didn't know every single detail, I knew enough that I finally ended up skipping the last few sections with a mental, "Yeah, yeah, I know all that, now get back to the digging!"


Langley played up her intuition and the dramatic feeling she had when standing in a certain spot in the car park.  Yes, there was research, and yes, there was scientific evidence, but her emotional reactions seemed overdone.  "Yeah, yeah, you got shivers down your spine, now get back to the digging!"


The digging got short shrift, and that really disappointed me.


Another major disappointment was the actual presentation of the Kindle edition, and I'm not sure whether that's because I was reading on the K4PC app or what.  The maps and diagrams were very small, too small to read easily. 



Many were at 90-degree angles to the page, making them even more difficult to read.  The photos reproduced were nice, but they were way too small and had very little narrative to explain them.



The notes at the end were just a listing of sources, not with any reference to the text.  Maybe most readers don't care, but I did.


I ended up giving it three stars, because the information was good, but it was too little.  If you're really interested, I recommended getting this from the library before you buy.

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