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review 2018-01-16 20:46
Dark Mirror
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was the Goodreads Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood group read in October 2017. I listened to it on Kindle. This volume contains five stories: "Green Tea" "The Familiar" "Mr. Justice Harbottle" "The Room in the Dragon Volant" "Carmilla" I will go through and discuss each story separately.

 

"Green Tea"--I have read this story before. It's interesting, although the way it's written is a bit on the dry side. It's told with detachment, which I suppose makes sense as it's told through letters written by Dr. Martin Hesselius, a paranormal investigator. The interesting component was the concept of green tea as a substance that can cause a person's third eye to open and to allow them to see into the spirit world. The unfortunate clergyman who is the focus of the story is able to see a monkey that continues to haunt him until it drives him crazy. It could have been more suspenseful, honestly. 3 stars "The Familiar"--A psychological horror story about a man who is being haunted by a figure from his past as a sea captain. Another use of the trope of a person being driven mad by his perception of something no one else can see. I was not particularly impressed by this story. 2.5 stars "Mr. Justice Harbottle"--a story about a judge who is haunted by the spirits of those he wrongly condemned to death. Nice build of suspense. I think the writing is much better in this story than "Green Tea" and "The Familiar". Ironically, I read the original version of this story, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" (1853) out of another ghost story volume I was reading in October. I like that it deals with the concept of spiritual consequences for the wrong that one does, even when the person seems to be powerful in this life. The judge was not just a corrupt official, but he was also a degenerate who treated those around him poorly. 4 stars "The Room in the Dragon Volant"--This is more of a suspense story. It reminds me of something Robert Louis Stevenson might have wrote. It's one of the longer stories in the volume, with some involved storytelling. It's not a ghost or horror story, although there initially appears to be supernatural elements. Lots of nice twists in the story that did impress me. 4 stars "Carmilla"--Another reread for me. A very famous novella about a female vampire with some very obvious homoerotic overtones. Carmilla chooses exclusively female victims and uses her allure to develop their attraction to her. Carmilla is a create of simultaneous seductiveness and repulsion to her newest victim, Laura. Readers can plot this story out and see over time that there is something very wrong about Carmilla. The story builds to an exciting climax as Laura's father and other concerned parties work to deal with the evil vampire. This is old school vampire horror. Carmilla is the bad guy. Readers who enjoy the romantic angle cannot escape the fact that Carmilla is a sexual predator who is endangering the life of Laura. This was written during the Victorian age, in which sexual values were highly pruritanical, so it couldn't have been written any other way without national outrage. However, it was a night springboard for plenty of later vampire stories that focused more of the erotic aspects and less on the evil monster component. First time I read this, I found the flowery descriptions tedious. I enjoyed this a lot more this time around, maybe because I listened to the narration. 4 stars. Overall, I would give this 3.5 stars, which is an average of my individual ratings. Le Fanu is a good writer, but his style isn't my personal favorite. He's not the most active writer and I don't find his writing particularly scary (other than a couple of moments in Carmilla). However, he has some interesting ideas and concepts and his storytelling has been influential to the genre of classic horror.

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review 2017-11-09 17:42
Review: Check These Out by Gina Sheridan
Check These Out: One Librarian's Catalog of the 200 Coolest, Best, and Most Important Books You'll Ever Read - Gina Sheridan

Pretty much a book about books; each book recommended had it's own page along with a description of the book and which patron to recommend the book to. I picked this up at the library because I decided that starting in 2018, I will be working on my masters degree in library and informational sciences (right now I am just deciding on where to apply and what requirements I need to meet). So I figured a book by a librarian who surveyed other librarians about what they recommend to their patrons can come in handy.

 

And yes, it is handy, but most of the books aren't to my taste. However, I have to give credit to the author for the balance in diversity in the books she chose to highlight in this book - whether from authors of color, to authors from the LGBT* community, books about mental illness, disability, social issues are all there alongside more well-known authors/books. The author also chose to devote a chapter to audiobooks and another to graphic novels, so she wasn't snobby about format. There is also a chapter on YA novels, with the caveat that these YA novels would be good fits for adult readers who enjoy YA, so she wasn't snobby about patrons' reading tastes either. The book did lean more to fiction than non-fiction, but some recent non-fiction reads were recommend for the writing styles were as engaging as some fiction reads.

 

There were books from the cannon of English Lit (Shakespeare) and modern classics (O. Henry), but also some works dating post WWII all the way through to the early 2010s. Alas, no genre specific chapters were written, so no romance, mystery, sci-fi books were recommended - the author stayed pretty firm in mainstream fiction/literary fiction section of the library. Still I made a list of the books she recommends and that seemed interesting to me (there were a few that I have already read) so I could add them to my TBR pile.

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text 2017-11-01 00:40
October 2017 Wrap-Up
Dead Sea - Tim Curran
Mary Reilly - Valerie Martin
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell
First Templar Nation: How the Knights Templar Created Europe's First Nation-state - Freddy Silva
Lava Storm In the Neighborhood (Giant Tales Apocalypse 10-Minute Stories) (Volume 1) - Paul D. Scavitto,Sharon Willett,Stephanie Baskerville,Robert Tozer,Shae Hamrick,Christian W. Freed,Rebecca Lacy,Douglas G. Clarke,Mike Boggia,Sylvia Stein,Gail Harkins,Glenda Reynolds,Lynette White,Randy Dutton,Joyce Shaughnessy,Amos Andrew Parker,Laura S
One Blood - Qwantu Amaru
Foxglove Summer: A Rivers of London Novel - Ben Aaronovitch
Sleepy Hollow: Bridge of Bones (Jason Crane) (Volume 2) - Richard Gleaves
Vampire - In the Beginning - Charmain Marie Mitchell
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

12 books for me this month! More than double my average. Add The thin Man and Turn of the Screw to the above pictured books.

 

Thanks to Bingo. Now time to get back to other things I do besides reading every spare minute, though it's been fun.

 

No samples again, but clearing that folder again will resume soon. I have 5 Netgalley books to clear and then I'll settle into keeping at least 1 A-list book going while working through the Bingo folder where I have a load of back-ups for some of the squares. I might even read something besides Horror soon.

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text 2017-10-31 08:00
October Reading Wrap Up
The Undoing (Call Of Crows) - Shelly Laurenston
London Calling - Sara Sheridan
DC Comics: Bombshells Vol. 1 - Marguerite Bennett
DC Comics: Bombshells Vol. 2: Allies - Marguerite Bennett,Marguerite Sauvage
March: Book Three - Andrew Aydin,Nate Powell,John Lewis Gaddis

 Dewey and setting more concrete goals in regards to Halloween Bingo helped me boost my reading back to my normal levels. The quality of my reading also improved from last month's crappy reads. My DNF trigger was pulled a lot this month and everything else about my reading improved greatly.

 

As Halloween Bingo ended yesterday, a big THANK YOU SO MUCH to Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for putting on another great game. I am ready for whatever MbD and TA have in store for the next game. I will spend the rest of the year finishing up prompts from the Pop Sugar challenge.

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 149/150

Pop Sugar: 1; 43/52 prompts filled

Halloween Bingo: 9 squares read; 19/25 overall

Library Love: 2; 48/36 for the year

 

1. Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Aliens square) - 5 stars

 

2. The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) by Shelly Laurenston (Dark Woods square) - 5 stars

 

3. London Calling (Mirabelle Bevan Mystery #2) by Sara Sheridan (Dark London square) - 4.5 stars

 

4. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (A Magical Cats Mystery #1) by Sofie Kelly (Magical Realism square) - 3 stars

 

5. Sleight of Paw (A Magical Cats Mystery #2) by Sofie Kelly (Amateur Sleuth square) - 3 stars

 

6. Final Crisis by Grant Morrison et al (Monsters square) - 1.5 stars

 

7. DC Bombshells, Volume 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett et al (Dead Will Walk square) - 5 stars

 

8. DC Bombshells, Volume 2: Allies by Marguerite Bennet et al (Supernatural square) - 5 stars

 

9. Frostbite: A Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2 by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon, and Emma Vieceli (Chilling Children square) - 3.5 stars

 

10. Shadow Kiss: A Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #3 by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon, and Emma Vieceli (Vampires square) - 3.5 stars

 

11. March, Volume 3 by Rep John Lewis et al (Pop Sugar prompt - "month/day in title") - 5 stars

 

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text 2017-10-29 16:26
Another Double Bingo!
A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
Symphony of Ruin: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel - Christina Lay
One Blood - Qwantu Amaru
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
A Latent Dark - Martin Kee
Mirror Mirror - Anthony M. Strong
Mary Reilly - Valerie Martin
Sleepy Hollow: Bridge of Bones (Jason Crane) (Volume 2) - Richard Gleaves

OK so that's no surprise this late in the game. I've already commented on these books in previous Bingo posts so will just say the ones to read are A Spark of Justice, Mary Reilly and Bridge of Bones (2nd in a series)

 

One square left waiting for a call. But I thought there was one I dn't have still not called, so I'm confused.

 

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