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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 2018-01-13 23:10
Not a book -- an experience
Peach - Emma Glass

Nb: the quotes may be off a bit in punctuation etc. I went from memory.

 

Peach is a seemingly normal young woman. She's a "good girl" by her mother's estimation, a college student with a steady boyfriend who lives with her oddly sexual parents and her baby brother whom she adores. She's even a vegetarian. But the reader never meets that Peach. She meets Peach staggering home -- perseverating, incoherent, bloody, vomiting and in horrible pain.

This entire slim novel is present tense, stream-of-consciousness, and told to us by an extremely traumatized girl who sounds a lot like James Joyce (the author notes this herself at the end.) Joycean or no, it's a good portrayal of the way human brains deal with interpersonal trauma. Getting through the mundane "Get dressed, socks first...push swing door open, hear it swing shut -- swoosh", noticing the weather: "cold" -- detached from everything -- in complete survival mode, telling herself she will just "forget this" and move on.

 

I found her playing with sounds and repetitions of words interestingly poetic, though it's really just another way someone copes with an overloaded brain-body connection. It's much better than, say - muteness, for a book. and not unrealistic. The brain is a majestic thing that will do whatever it takes to get us through things nobody should have to live through.

 

"I want to say things but I don't know how to order the words. Sentences slither around my brain. Scattered words, scatterbrain, scattered semantics, scattered seeds..."

 

Peach denies herself any help - even medical, and we witness a young woman spiraling: instantly distant from her parents and boyfriend; uncomfortable with even the touch of her pet at times, then overwhelmed with love for these same beings she can't share her pain with. She lies to cover for her physical injuries; wishes she could tell her boyfriend Green, but can't get the words out; holds in bile, fakes having fun, tries to make her face look like it "should," goes through the motions of normal life while holding herself together literally and figuratively.

 
The damage doesn't end there. Her perpetrator, Lincoln, is not finished with Peach. He stalks her, professing his "love" in letters cut from tabloid papers. He feels completely entitled to come to her home, insist on his love for her, demand she not run away, remind her that he's watching, lingering outside her classes, barrage her with creepy letters and much worse. She starts to see him everywhere, but is this post-traumatic stress, or is he real? Peach imagines him as a greasy sausage, smells his putrid odor in the air, sees his greasy slime lingering in the air, on surfaces, windows and feels this greasy meaty mess invading her senses and body. She wonders if others can see what she sees, if her boyfriend hears her heart banging against her ribs?
 
She begins to see everyone as food stuffs (her very kind professor shakes his face, "showering the first row with splatters of custard" and proceeds to tell the class he's not "set yet." He is the only person who is sweet enough -- my word -- to notice she's in some sort of trouble, but she lets the opening slip past.) Her friend Sandy also notices something is wrong, but she's busy berating herself and wondering why he doesn't see her as she now does. She somaticizes her pain into an ever-distending stomach makes her instantly "fat" and never stops growing. She physically feels the sniggers of her classmates, she chokes on smells, she can't look at her teacher because he's "bright yellow and very shiny" custard. She's constantly being assaulted by her senses - another very real portrayal of trauma. Even the weather is constantly changing and unreliable.
 
Traumatic process is the entirety of this book, and it leaves the reader as discombobulated as the narrator. It's an extremely effective method to show how shock throws the mind into a complete tornado, despite outwardly being so "normal" that nobody else notices. Because she is acutely post-trauma, we are never sure how reliable this narrator is. We only have her word for what she is experiencing. This is especially true at the end of the novel. It feels like pure fantasy that Peach has devolved into, but since she's telling it, we know she believes it is true. And if it is, it's mighty macabre.
 
At first I didn't like the distance, then it just "clicked" -- oh, we're experiencing the same off-kilter perception/reality horror that happens to almost anyone who has just been shaken to their very core. Not everyone will have the same exact experience as Peach, but everyone will have their own unique experience. After I cottoned on to this, I was impressed with the way Emma Glass was able to sneak that past me. Lots of reviews have been unforgiving of this novel. I can see how it might seem contrived, but it feels very realistic to me, even if the events aren't "real" at all.
 
I'd imagine, if the novel had continued, what we'd see is some sort of eventual collapse, hospitalization and years of therapy. Maybe after all of that, we'd know what was real, but I doubt it, and frankly, I don't want to read all of that. This book is not really a book -- it's an experience.
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text 2018-01-01 01:39
16 Festive Tasks - Square 9 - Yuletide
Girls Made of Snow and Glass - Melissa Bashardoust

The northern half of the kingdom Girls Made of Snow and Glass where the majority of the book is set has a curse that makes it permanently winter and the land is covered in snow and ice as a result, so it's perfect for this square.

 

 

 

Book themes for Yuletide: Read a book set in the midst of a snowy or icy winter, –OR– set in the Arctic or Antartica.

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review 2017-12-28 22:24
Toller vierter Teil der Reihe
Die 100 - Rebellion: Roman (Die 100-Serie, Band 4) - Kass Morgan,Lars Zwickies,Michael Pfingstl

Cover:

Auf dem Cover sehen wir den Hauptcast von ‚The 100‘ wie wir ihn aus der Serie kennen. Passend zum Thema Rebellion haben wir eine raue Umgebung im Hintergrund.


Meine Zusammenfassung und Meinung:

Zunächst einmal hatte ich nicht damit gerechnet, dass noch ein Band erscheint. Die Bücher unterscheiden sich außerdem stark von der Serie. Wer also erhofft, hier Details zur nächsten Staffel zu bekommen, liegt falsch. Im Buch leben auch noch einige Charaktere, die in der Serie bereits gestorben sind.

Gerade als alle denken, dass langsam Ruhe einkehrt und die Arkadia in Frieden leben können, nachdem sie sich endlich auf dem Planeten behaupten konnten, passiert das Undenkbare: Eine Art Sekte formt sich in ihrer Mitte. Jugendliche, die auf Streit aus sind und jeden auf ihrem Weg erbarmungslos bekämpfen, rotten sich zusammen. Plötzlich werden einige der 100 entführt und es gibt einige Leichen zu beerdigen. Eine aufregende Jagd beginnt, in der sich unsere Hauptcharaktere nicht immer einig sind, wie sie vorgehen sollen. Besonders Bellamy schlägt mal wieder andere Wege ein und es gibt Streit.

Es war wieder sehr spannend, ‚Die 100‘ zu lesen. Ich bin großer Fan der Serie und auch wenn die Bücher in eine ganz andere Richtung führen, macht es mir trotzdem Spaß, das ganze zu lesen. Bei jedem der Charaktere gibt es mal wieder eine stark Entwicklung. Frau Kass versteht sich darin, die Bücher flüssig und spannend zu gestalten, auch wenn dieser Band etwas kürzer ist als die vorherigen. Dieses Mal mache ich nicht den Fehler zu denken, dass es der letzte Band ist und freue mich auf den nächsten Teil, der, denke ich, irgendwann nächstes Jahr erscheinen wird.


Bewertung:

Für mich eine sehr spannende Fortsetzung abseits der Serie. 4 Sterne.

Source: heart-books.org
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-19 14:46
Sugar & Spice Glühende Leidenschaft
Sugar & Spice - Glühende Leidenschaft: Roman (Die Sugar-&-Spice-Reihe, Band 1) - Seressia Glass,Nicole Hölsken

Klappenbroschur, Knaur TB

 

02.11.2017, 384 S.

 

 

Diese Ausgabe ist lieferbar

 

 12,99

 

Roman

 

„Sugar & Spice“ ist eine neue romantische Liebesroman-Reihe, die ihre Leserinnen in eine Welt voller großer Gefühle, heißer Leidenschaft und drohender Enthüllungen entführt.

 

 

 

Nadia Spiceland, Inhaberin des Cafés Sugar & Spice, kennt sich aus mit Verführungen. Jeden Tag kreiert sie süße Köstlichkeiten und verwöhnt damit ihre Kunden. Unter ihnen Kane, ein attraktiver junger College-Professor für Sexualpsychologie, dem der Ruf vorauseilt, auch privat in Liebesdingen umwerfend gut zu sein. Nadia lässt sich voller Neugier auf ein erotisches Abenteuer mit ihm ein. Doch je näher sie Kane kennenlernt, desto mehr verliert sie die Kontrolle über sich selbst und ihre Gefühle. Und das ist etwas, das ihr nie mehr passieren darf … 

 

 

„Sugar & Spice – Glühende Leidenschaft“ ist der erste Band der romantischen Liebesroman-Reihe. Sexy, aufregend und intensiv erzählt Seressia Glass in der „Sugar & Spice“-Reihe von vier Freundinnen – Nadia, Siobhan, Audie und Vanessa –, die Grund haben, ihre Vergangenheit zu fürchten, und von vier heißen Männern, die das Leben der Freundinnen für immer verändern.

 

Die weiteren Bände der Reihe:

- Band 2: Sugar & Spice – Wildes Verlangen

- Band 3: Sugar & Spice – Entfesselte Begierde

- Band 4: Sugar & Spice – Gefährliche Versuchung

 

Meine Meinung:

 

Ich bin auf der Buchmesse Frankfurt auf dieses Buch aufgrund des Covers aufmerksam geworden. Die Leseprobe konnte dann schon total begeistern. Glücklicherweise hatte ich bei einer Leserunde bei wasliestdu Glück und konnte dies mit anderen Lesen zusammen lesen. 

 

Der Einstieg ist mir sehr gut gelungen aufgrund des sehr flüssigen Schreibstils. Die Geschichte konnte mich gleich begeistern und das Buch war daher recht schnell weg gelesen. 

 

In diesem Buch überwiegt der Erotikanteil sehr stark, was mich hier aber nicht gestört hat, da die Autorin es sehr annehmbar beschrieben hat. Ich würde es aber nicht als romantischen Liebesroman bezeichnen, da es doch wohl eher ein Erotikroman war, auch wenn die Liebesgeschichte vorhanden war. 

 

Ich finde, es hatte ganz leichte Ähnlichkeit mit Shades of Grey, für mich aber völlig okay. Ich konnte hier gar nicht mehr aufhören zu lesen, so gefesselt war ich von der Geschichte. 

 

Die Protagonisten haben mir sehr gut gefallen, vor allem Kane fand ich toll. Ich bin aber jetzt auf die Geschichten von Nadias Freundinnen gespannt, die in den nachfolgenden Bänden erzählt werden. 

 

Alles in allem kann ich hier eine klare Kauf- und Leseempfehlung geben für alle, die mal einen Liebesroman mit sehr viel Erotik lesen möchten. Ich freue mich nun schon sehr auf Band 2, der bereits erschienen ist. Von mir bekommt das Buch sehr gute 4,5 Sterne. 

 

 
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