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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 2018-01-16 20:00
Monsters Among Us
The Last Wish : Introducing the Witcher - Andrzej Sapkowski,Danusia Stok

"The Last Wish" is a collection of stories about Geralt Rivia, the Witcher, whose occupation is to deal with monsters. This is a frame story in which other stories are the memories that the protagonist recalls as he recovers from a nearly fatal wound.

Readers who enjoy dark fantasy, fables, and fairy tales will love this book. The author retells some well-known fairy tales with ingeunity, such as "Beauty and the Beast" , "Sleeping Beauty," "Rapunzel", and "Snow White", and he also offers unique twists on ancient Eastern European legends such as the strigoi and rusalka, jinn, and even the Fair Folk, Fae or Elves. Some stories are pretty scary, and some are fairly humorous. Some have a little of both. All are written with loving care, with emotional depth, and plenty of action scenes.

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review 2018-01-16 19:46
Two Women, One Man Who Didn't Know How to Let Go
Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal - Ann Rule

The cases depicted in this book also showed up on Forensic File and Murderous Affairs. Apparently those shows just look for true crime thrillers to show.

 

This one didn't quite work for me just because I think that Rule had a huge reach about some things (she claimed one woman had to be brainwashed) and her back and forth to two different time periods didn't work all that well. The ending just kind of happens and I felt like there was more missing. 

 

"Too Late to Say Goodbye" is a true crime book about Jenn Corbin and Dolly Hearn. Jenn Corbin is found dead one morning with a gunshot wound. Initially thought as probable suicide, things about Jenn's marriage come to light which leads to questions about what could her husband, Doctor Bart Corbin (a dentist) have to possibly do with her death. When the manner of Jenn's death is investigated, it comes up that a woman that Bart dated during dentistry school also committed suicide found with a gunshot to her head. When the police start digging, it starts to look like Bart Corbin may have played a role in both women's death.

 

I thought Rule did a good job showing us Jenn and Dolly in her book. Rule better than anyone I think in true crime books is able to make the person(s) that are lost feel like living/breathing people that you mourn when they are gone.

 

I just think she missed the mark a bit with Jenn and Dolly. I don't think she meant to, but I thought she pretty much lays things at Dolly's feet with her not being forceful enough to not see Bart anymore after the number of accidents/minor crimes occurred. I just don't get how the police didn't do more when the guy was breaking into her apartment and poured hairspray into her contact lens solution. That right there was assault to me. 

 

Same problem with Jenn who goes looking for some comfort outside of her marriage via an online game. She at times seems to blame Jenn for getting catfished (that's a term now, not anymore) and says she thinks that the person in question brainwashed her. I wish that Rule had stuck with the story in this one and not had tried to psychoanalyze these women.

 

The writing was okay, but honestly, parts of the book read as filler. I think Rule wanted to stretch it out because the eventual trials end up being non-starters. 


The ending didn't work for me either since it felt like a lot of things were left unsaid. 

 

 

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text 2018-01-16 11:00
Teaser Tuesday: The Chosen
Black Magic (Women Writers of Urban Fantasy #1) - S.J. Davis,Rue Volley,Faith Marlow,Lily Luchesi,Sarah Hall,Nicole Thorn,Laurencia Hoffman,Elizabeth A. Lance,Elaine White

 

The Chosen

smarturl.it/BlackMagicWWS

Charity Anthology for Meals on Wheels

#MM #PNR #BlackMagic #lgbtq #indieauthor #supernatural

 

 

~

 

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review 2018-01-16 09:17
Powerful and beautiful collection of adult fairytales, that would have impressed the Brothers Grimm
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic - Sara Kipin,Leigh Bardugo

This is a powerful collection of fairytales, and it would have made the Brothers Grimm incredibly impressed. Leigh Bardugo has such a disctinctive ‘voice’ when it comes to her writing, and it lends itself well to allegorical tales such as these, with vivid imagery, and vibrant characters, some frightening, and some beautiful.

You can’t help but be drawn into even the most scary stories, just like you did when you heard Little Red Riding Hood’ for the first time, but this you realize is on a much grander and more lavish scale.
The book itself is a delight to hold and read, and the illustrations by Sara Kipin make it a keepsake you’ll want to treasure. It’s not a book to rush through and the stories are definitely ones that make you think. Thorny, sumptuous and very clever.

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