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review 2020-02-26 17:16
Hannah-Beast - Jennifer McMahon

So this short story to me is reflective of McMahon's longer novels. Starts off with a good idea and just falls apart in the middle and ending. Also the way this was written was confusing. We were jumping back in time getting Hannah's point of view and then sometimes Amanda (I think at one point) and then the present with us just being with Amanda. It would have made better sense to have it focus on Amanda with her past thoughts on Hannah and present thoughts on her today. 

"Hannah-Beast" follows a thirty something (I guess) year old woman named Amanda who is reflecting on Halloween and her town's macabre past. We find out that back in 1982 something terrible happened and a lot of kids run around to this day wearing so-called Hannah-Beast costumes. We don't know what the so-called Hannah did, but apparently it was awful and Amanda feels guilt and angry about it for some unknown reason. Amanda is now divorced and dealing with her young daughter Erin's resentment over her father leaving and how her mother treats her. The short story then flashes back to the past with a young lonely girl named Hannah. Hannah has a terrible child-hood and wants so bad to be friends with a group of three girls, one of which is Amanda in the present. The story jumps back and forth until the ending.

I was intrigued by McMahon shining a light on what real beasts pre-teen and teenage girls are though. I did feel for Hannah in the past. I just think that the story would have been better served if McMahon had stayed on either Hannah or Amanda. I had so many questions about the ending though, but just left it alone. It didn't make a lot of sense and I think that it read as rushed to me. 

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review 2020-01-16 03:50
When the past comes back to haunt you
The Invited - Jennifer McMahon

Straight away I want to say The Invited by Jennifer McMahon was such a fun reading experience! The book opens in the 1920s with a woman named Hattie who lives in a small house in the swamp with her daughter Jane. There's already friction with the local townsfolk but a tragedy occurs which results in an act of cruelty that resounds through history to the present day (2015 to be precise). And that's where we're introduced to Helen (a young woman who moves to Vermont with her husband) and Olive (a young girl who just wants to solve the mystery of her missing mother). It turns out that Helen is a history buff and she decides that she wants to use reclaimed objects to build a house on their newly purchased land...which is in the swamp. Yes, she and her husband are occupying the same space that Hattie had once called home and when they start using objects that tie back to Hattie Breckenridge and her kin weird (supernatural) things start happening. The unfolding of the plot is divided by the stages of the house's construction which I thought was really clever and further helped to make the novel feel more cohesive. While it ounces between different points of view it's done in such a way that it doesn't detract from the flow of the novel (which you all know is a pet peeve of mine). McMahon really knows how to weave a supernatural thriller/mystery with lots of intricate details and a host of characters. While I felt like I had a vague idea where the book was heading she somehow managed to keep throwing curve balls to lead me astray. Mystery fans and/or those looking for a spooky supernatural book will really get a kick out of this one. 10/10


What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 3: The Red Maze by Mark Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, & Boya Sun


What I'm Currently Reading: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-09-09 20:46
Pretty Boring Ghost Story
The Invited - Jennifer McMahon

This is the second book by McMahon I have read and honestly this may be my last. There was nothing really wrong with this one, I just found myself getting bored. I think that McMahon going back and forth between Helen and Olive didn't work. I also didn't really care for Olive so that didn't help. We have the underlying ghost story which was intriguing, but not enough to keep me wholly invested while reading this one.


"The Invited" follows married couple, Helen and Nate who move from their home in Connecticut, to live off the land on the ruins of an old farm in Vermont. Helen thinks that the location change is what she needs to make her happy and she throws herself into building up the home with her husband. We also follow 14 year old Olive who is dealing with the fact that her mother has abandoned her and her father. She thinks if she manages to scare off Helen and Nate, she may be able to find the treasure of a local woman named Hattie who was hung in the woods several decades ago in the 1920s. Eventually the story-lines merge up with Helen finding out more about Hattie and looking to communicate with her ghost. 


I honestly thought Helen and Nate's whole thing about "living" off the land was eye-roll inducing. Apparently farms are doing great in this fictional 2015 era we are reading about. Considering neither of them know anything about living off the land I had a flash to those Tiny House people who decide they will live off the land, with their five children in 1000 square feet. Bah. 


Olive initially bugged me, but grew on me after a while. I think I didn't mind her so much since McMahon jumps between her and Helen so much.


There's not much to say about the other women and Helen's husband in this story. They were not very developed and in the end the history of the other women we go to doesn't even matter. I am still puzzled why we follow them. 


The writing was okay, I just think that the book in the end jumped around too much. We start off with Hattie which was fine. Then we follow Helen, and then Olive. And we go back and forth between them during 2015. Then we jump back into the 1940s to follow another character and maybe at that point I ceased to even care what was going on. We jump again to another woman in the 1980s. And then we have another character to follow too. The flow just got hampered by all of this in my opinion. I just wanted to read the story and get to the end and felt impatient when we were not following Helen. 

The setting of Vermont didn't feel scary to me. I don't need blood and gore. I just think that McMahon didn't do enough to make me feel dread and fear like Helen did. I started comparing this to "Bag of Bones" and felt really disappointed after a while. 


The ending didn't really work for me at all. The whole buried treasure thing was such an inane plot point that I really wish that McMahon had given up on it. 


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text 2019-08-23 12:42
Moving on
The Invited - Jennifer McMahon
The Firm - John Grisham

I never got further than a couple pages into The Firm, and although I'm over halfway through The Invited, it just hasn't been the creepy book I thought it would be and I have zero desire to find out where it's going to go. These are both going back to the library, unfinished.

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text 2019-08-05 12:45
Reading progress update: I've read 182 out of 353 pages.
The Invited - Jennifer McMahon

Helen is now incorporating bricks from a building where people burned to death into the construction of her new home. Like, she's deliberately trying to build a haunted house. And she isn't telling her husband about her new goal. This is definitely the kind of thing couples get divorced over.

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