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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-07 17:02
January Wrap-Up
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece - Roseanne Montillo
The King - J.R. Ward
Anno Frankenstein - Jonathan Green




The Lady And Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo


My Review


The book follows Mary’s life right from the moment of her birth and touches on every source of inspiration that led to the writing of Frankenstein. Just a heads up, Mary Shelley's life was no bed of roses!



The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) by J.R. Ward


No reviews because the only reason I read this series is because my OCD won't let me stop. They have gone from bad to shoot-me-please-shoot-me-now worse! I mean, there was actually a Lion King scene ripoff in this installment: remember, when Mufasa raises Simba on the hilltop to show off the new heir? That!



Anno Frankenstein (Pax Britannia #7) by Jonathan Green


My Review


I mean, imagine what it would take to make a book with monsters, time travel, and steampunk elements fail this miserably for me!


The first two were chunksters and considering that the only time I get for reading is the 45 min to and from work, I'd say not bad.











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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-25 13:14
Roseanne Montillo’s, The Lady & Her Monsters, Takes us Behind the Scenes & Plops us Down Right into Mary Shelley’s Life
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece - Roseanne Montillo






Mary S.jpg

Oh, what a sad life Mary Shelley led!
The book follows Mary’s life right from the moment of her birth and touches on every source of inspiration that led to the writing of Frankenstein.
The story would leave Mary for a while at some points and follow other people who were vital to the writing of the book. These deviations made for refreshing changes.
Mary's Dad

Mary came from the union of two geniuses
. She gulped down revolutionary ideas, novel theories, and latest scientific developments with her mother’s milk. She grew up sneaking into the soirees thrown by her father every week. Scientists, artists, and all kinds of important people attended those events.

Those ideas took hold in her and came out in the form of Frankenstein’s story.

The pall that we find hanging in the going-ons within the novel is not much different from what Mary had to live with, all her life. She had inherited depression from her mother while her father did his best to make things worse every time she reached out to him for emotional support. Losing three children did not help much and marrying someone who was also going through a lot of guilt for driving their wife to suicide kind of sealed her fate.
Lord Byron
Percy Shelley
The people and her so-called friends and relatives weren’t too kind to her either and her husband’s death did the rest of the damage. She died at the age of 53 and the only source of happiness in her life was her happily married son and his wife.
Mary's Grave
Interwoven with Mary’s tale is the tale of grave robbers and resurrectionists who can be found operating in many parts of the world even today! Their profession — stealing bodies — helped medical science but horrified me. Here’s an example, where the body they stole ended up in the hands of Aldini who believed he could shock the cadaver back to life:
“On the first application of the arcs the jaw began to quiver, the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted, and the left eye actually opened.” For those who had not witnessed such things before, Foster actually appeared to have returned to life and was now staring up at them.
The Anatomy Act was introduced as a result of these macabre forays and just made me realize how new laws have to be forged with the arrival of novel situations. Nobody thought they’d need laws for the internet before it became mainstream and yet here we are. It reminds me of something else from the book: even during Mary’s life, others could use her work and adapt it for the theaters etc. There were no copyright laws back then to keep people from doing that!
It is said that while the son inherited his father’s good looks, he didn’t inherit any talent. Personally, I think he was the luckiest of them all.

Some words that stayed with me


All three, it was suspected, formed a crush on Shelley, but only Mary had the mental capabilities and legacy he was attracted to.


Those who came to learn of Shelley’s subsequent romantic adventures knew very well why his wife had been disposed of and that particular mistress gained. Even Harriet knew why she had been set aside. When asked this by Thomas Love Peacock, she replied, “Nothing, but that her name was Mary, and not only Mary, but Mary Wollstonecraft.” Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, at that.


Some interesting bits


He continued to investigate the drug’s properties and was so astounded with the results, he derived the name laudanum from the Latin word laudare,to praise.”


One such town was Nieder-Beerbach, on whose summit, barely visible from the water’s edge, stood the famed, or infamous, Burg Frankenstein.
“What’s in a name?” Mary Shelley wrote years later in a book titled Rambles in Germany and Italy.


the castle was the site of much bloodshed when a member of the family was locked in mortal combat with an enemy of unusual fortitude and cunning, with a deep understanding of psychological warfare. The enemy, intent on overtaking Burg Frankenstein, had successfully overthrown other families in the past. Known for his brutality, Vlad the Impaler and his doings provided, in part, inspiration for another gothic masterpiece: Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


most notorious inhabitant, Johann Konrad Dippel, a man who, strangely enough, bore a striking similarity to Victor Frankenstein, and to an extent, to Percy Shelley as well.


Words that I learned




More details on Project Frankenstein


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review 2015-08-15 19:16
The Wilderness of Ruin
The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer - Roseanne Montillo

In late nineteenth-century Boston, home to Herman Melville and Oliver Wendell Holmes, a serial killer preying on children is running loose in the city--a wilderness of ruin caused by the Great Fire of 1872--in this literary historical crime thriller reminiscent of The Devil in the White City.

In the early 1870s, local children begin disappearing from the working-class neighborhoods of Boston. Several return home bloody and bruised after being tortured, while others never come back.

With the city on edge, authorities believe the abductions are the handiwork of a psychopath, until they discover that their killer--fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy--is barely older than his victims. The criminal investigation that follows sparks a debate among the world's most revered medical minds, and will have a decades-long impact on the judicial system and medical consciousness.

The Wilderness of Ruin is a riveting tale of gruesome murder and depravity. At its heart is a great American city divided by class--a chasm that widens in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1872. Roseanne Montillo brings Gilded Age Boston to glorious life--from the genteel cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill to the squalid, overcrowded tenements of Southie. Here, too, is the writer Herman Melville. Enthralled by the child killer's case, he enlists physician Oliver Wendell Holmes to help him understand how it might relate to his own mental instability.

With verve and historical detail, Roseanne Montillo explores this case that reverberated through all of Boston society in order to help us understand our modern hunger for the prurient and sensational. (source)


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text 2015-08-07 22:21
Next up... Wilderness of Ruin!
The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer - Roseanne Montillo

A few days ago, I asked the Booklikes community to select my next book out of a few books that I was contemplating reading. The one you chose for me (unanimously!) was The Wilderness of Ruin, so I'm starting that now! 


I think I am going to ask you all to pick a new book for me each month - that was fun! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for September's choices :) 

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text 2015-08-05 17:56
What should I read next?
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer - Roseanne Montillo
Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

So, my time at school is officially done and stay-at-home-mommyhood has begun! This means that my time to read has increased hugely (though not quite back to where it once was - O keeps me busy!), and I am faced with the wonderful dilemma of not knowing which book to read first. Since you've all been reading much more than I have lately, I thought it might be fun to put it to a vote on here! This might become a monthly thing for me, we'll see :) 


So - here are my options: 


I, Robot by Isaac Asimov - this was gifted to me by my friend Tina Rae (the reading chronicles - follow her, she's awesome!) during our book club's Christmas book exchange... and because I've been so horribly, terribly busy, I have yet to read it! If you aren't familiar this book, here's what the blurb on the back says: 



1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 

2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. 


Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the classicl laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot Asimov chronicles the development of the robot from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future - a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete. 


Here are stories of robots gone mad, mind-reading robots, robots with a sense of humor, robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world, all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asimov's trademark. 


The Wilderness of Ruin by Roseanne Montillo - I got this through the Book of the Month club in May (or June? It's all a blur) and, again, have yet to read it. It looks really interesting though! Here's what the inside cover says: 


In 1871, young children were disappearing from Boston's working-class neighborhoods. The few who returned told desperate tales of being taken to the woods and tortured by a boy not much older than themselves. The police were skeptical - these children were from poor families, so their testimony was easily discounted. And after the Great Boston Fire of 1872 reduced much of downtown to rubble, the city had more pressing concerns. Finally, when the police apprehended Jesse Pomeroy for the crimes, he, like any twelve-year-old, was sent off to reform school. Little thought was given to the danger he might pose to society, despite victims' chilling reports of this affectless Boy Torturer. 

Sixteen months later, Jesse was released in the care of his mother, and within months a ten-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy went missing, their mutilated bodies later discovered by the police. This set off a frantic hunt for Pomeroy, who was now proclaimed America's youngest serial killer. When he was captured and brought to trial, his case transfixed the nation, and two public figures - Herman Melville and Oliver Wendell Holmes - each probed the depths of Pomeroy's character in a search for the meaning behind his madness. 

Roseanne Montillo, author of the acclaimed The Lady and Her Monsters, takes us inside those harrowing years, as a city reeling from great disaster reckoned with the moral quandaries posed by Pomeroy's spree. What makes a person good or evil? How do we develop as moral beings? At what age do we hold someone responsible for violating society's moral code? And what does our fascination with such ghastly deeds reveal about us? 

The Wilderness of Ruin is a dazzling combination of true-crime thrills, a fresh perspective on mental illness, and a fascinating look at American class turmoil that captures the spirit of a turbulent age. 


Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - This is one that I preordered and, again, didn't have time to read right away. My husband is getting frustrated about that, haha - he keeps asking me why I'd spend the money on it if I wasn't planning to read it ASAP. My answer - 1) I got it for less than $10 because I preordered it from Amazon and they gave me the lowest price during the time when I preordered it and 2) I just had a baby and finished grad school, no time to read! Well, now my reading time is back and I'm really excited to see what To Kill a Mockingbird evolved from. And even though I'm sure that you've all heard what this is about, here's the synopsis: 


MAYCOMB, ALABAMA. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch - "Scout" - returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past - a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.


Well, those are my options! Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks. I've got quite a variety to choose from and I think each of these will be good for different reasons. I'll start whichever has the most votes on Friday! 


Cross-posted on both Booklikes and Tumblr. 

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